The Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots
Scio, so called by the Romans, and Chyos by the Greeks, is an island in the Aegean Sea, on the West Coast of Asia Minor. It is about thirty miles in length from North to South and varies in breadth from eight to fifteen miles. It is divided into a larger Northern and a smaller Southern part, called respectively, Apanomeria and Katomeria.
The island is rugged and well deserves the description "craggy", applied to it in the Homeric Hymn. Scio has always been noted for its excellent wines, figs and other fruits.
The legend placed the following events about 1124 B.C., or sixty years after the fall of Troy. At that time the Sciots were Greeks, in whom the Grecian characteristics were most pronounced. They had no nobility — to be a sciot was of itself noble.
They evinced a deep patriotism and love of Country as well as love for their homes. They were in spirit the most democratic of the neighboring tribes — in which predominated not only their love for liberty and justice, but especially of equality. There was an association among the tribes of those neighboring islands, for the common worship of the same God. These Associations were federal in charachter; that is, while the members were independent in other matters, they were subject to a common central authority in all that concerned religious worship. Such a federal association was called an Amphictyony, that is, "A League of Neighbors".
While in most instances this League of Neighbors was used by the various tribes merely for religious purposes, the Sciots, owing to the rugged top- ography of their island home, however, took the principles of the League into their every-day business and domestic affairs. In many instances it took three of four stron men to hold the rude instruments for tilling the soil against the hillsides of the rocky farms and vineyards. It therefore became the custom to work in unity in all things. The Sciots would remove their tunics and help on another. They applied the principles of the League to the exchange of commodities; thus they were enabled to secure for themselves what their needs demanded, and at the same time purchase from a neighbor that of which he had an overabundance. In their journeys to and fro, they would travel as a League of Neighbors, and when an obstruction was encountered, it was their custom to build a Pyramid with their bodies, thus allowing on of their number, by removing a sandal, the better to hold with the bare feet, to climb to the top. He, in turn, would grasp a Brother Leaguer by the hand with a firm grip and pull him up, and thus, in succession, the Sciots were enabled to easily surmount obstacles as a "League of Neighbors", which would have been impossible for them to overcome as individuals.
Under their Organization as a League of Neighbors, the Sciots prospered. Their vineyards and orchards, cultivated through mutual helpfulness and assistance, yielded the richest wines and the finest fruits. So widespread had their fame become that even the Pharaoh in Egypt heard thereof. Accordingly he sent his Mohar or Tablet Bearer to the Toparch, or the Chief of the City, with a royal order that some of the famous wines and fruits of Scio be secured for the royal banquets and ceremonials at Mephis. The Pharoah was all-powerful and must be obeyed. The Toparch summoned his Mazai, and bade him take unto himself guides and retainers and go forth to find this wonderful island, and, if found, to secure a full meet of the wonderous wines and fruits, demanded by the royal edict. And we learn that the Mazai found the Island of Scio and formed a close friendship with the Sciots; and when the wind next blew from the North, in galleys richly laden with wines and fruits, the Mazai, accompanied by the Sciots, departed on his journey to the Toparch's Palace.
But, alas, an ill wind sprung up and lashed the sea into dangerous moun- tains of water. They were compelled to land on an island to seek shelter from the storm, and, to their great misfortune, they found themselves surrounded by henchmen who had been brought as slaves from the Libyan Desert and made to serve a bandit known as the Chief of the Me.
With him was the Greek robber, Procrustes, who, it is said, would cut off the legs of his victims, or stretch their bodies to make them fit a certain bed.
And we learn that at that time there was confined in the Creten Labyrinth, the Monster Minotaur, who had the head of a bull and the body of a man, and was said to have been the offspring of Pasiphae and the bull sent to Minos by Poseidon, and where he devoured the youths and maidens sent to him every nine years as tribute.
About this time Minos, who, it is said, afterward died and became a judge of torture in Hades, was the King and law-giver of the Island, and before him the Sciots were conducted by the Chief of Me, with his Libyans, for sentence. Minos decreed that nine of the Sciots should be offered up as tribute to Minotaur. The Toparch, in the meantime, becoming alarmed at the non-arrival of the Mazai with the Sciots, ordered the Captain of the Guard to take unto himself a guard of Memphites and search for the Mazai and the Sciots, and, if found, to give them safe conduct to the Palace.
And, it chanced that the Captain of the Guard and his Memphites arrived on the island in due time whereupon the Chief of the Me, together with his henchmen and Libyans, fled to the mountains and the Sciots were rescued. They were conducted in safety to the Toparch's Palace. At the River of Joy they were met by maidens of the royal household, accompanied by spearmen and mermaids. And we learn that the received a most hearty welcome at the River of Joy.
Within the gates of the city they were welcomed with great acclaim and on the Palace of the Toparch there was written "Welcome" in the words and heiroglyphics variously depicted in these chronicles.
The Sciots and the Egyptians became great friends, and it came to pass that at each third moon the Sciots would journey to the Palace of the Toparch, in the interchange of commodities, and it is related that they were received at the River of Joy as before and given a royal welcome, and on their way, in their journey among the Pyramids, there was much feasting and merrymaking.
Further the legend sayeth not...
Our neighbor's assistance and cooperation in your business affairs; the strong grip of a friend to help you over the rough places in life; a kind word spoken on your behalf or in your defence; a watchful care over your brethren in their journey through life; and a full measure of innocent amusement, is worth many times more to you while living, than the most beautiful requiem, the most unctuous sermon, or the most elaborate pyramid over your remains when you are dead.
HISTORY OF THE ORDER OF SCIOTS
In 1905 a number of Masons Met in Mission Masonic Temple, in the City of San Francisco, for the purpose of forming a social club, where Masons could get together on an equal footing, free from the restraint of the lodge room, yet organized for the purpose of furthering Masonic teachings and applying, in a practical way, in everyday business affairs, the teachings of the fraternity. The result of this meeting was the organization of the "Boosters". Charles H.S. Pratt, known for many years for his activity in boosting his Brethren and wherever he could render assistance or boost them along, was chosen the head of the order and given the title of Kadih Al Malik, or King of the Ceremonials. A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted, which vested the Government of the Organization in a Council of Twelve. The purpose of the Organization was set forth as follows:
It is secret, not that it has anything to conceal, but simply that it may choose its own associates. It is to be one family of boosters and brothers and has the same right of protection, as has the household. Its membership shall be composed of our best citizens, moral, upright, virtuous, law-abiding fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, and all of them Masons in good standing.
The idea was an instant success. It was recognized that such an Organ- ization filled a long-felt want because it brought the brethren into closer contact in their daily lives; fostered the true spirit of fraternity; caused men to forget their worries, troubles and cares of life; made them look upon the bright side of things and gave them new hope and much joy. The slogan was:
BOOST ONE ANOTHER
The first Ceremonial and Banquet was held at Pioneer Hall, San Francisco, December 12, 1905, and the Organization as a live factor in Masonic Circles came into being. The earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, having destroyed the meeting place and reduced a part of San Francisco to ruins, the Sciots devoted their time and money to such releif as came under their observation.
In the course of time it was discovered that on account of the popularity attained by this Organization there were a number of other organizations that had taken the name of "Boosters". A general meeting was called for January 23, 1910, at which time the name was changed to "Sciots" as typifying every- thing that it stood for in the way of ritual assistance, social and fraternal intercourse. The Government of the Organization was changed from the Com- mittee of Twelve to the Supreme Pyramid, the first Supreme Pyramid, similar to a Council, was composed of the Committee of Twelve, all of whom were made Pharaohs, which is the highest honor that can be conferred in the order. They adopted the following preamble:
"To bind closer the time of Masonic Brotherhood, to promote the well- being and elevate the condition of its members, to widen the field and increase the harvest of brotherly love; to cultivate the Social and Fraternal Instincts and increase the Happiness of those who are or may become members of it; to provide for its Government, and to lay the foundation of a permanent Fraternal and Social Organization."
At the same time the official name was declared to be: "ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ORDER OF SCIOTS"
The Government of the Order is vested solely in the Supreme Pyramid, the the officers of which are a Pharaoh, a Supreme Mobib, Supreme Armeses, Supreme Pastophori, Supreme Lecturer, Supreme Scribe, Supreme Chancellor, Supreme Mazai, Supreme Marshal, Supreme Standard Bearer, Supreme Neokori, and Supreme Chief of the Me.
The Supreme Pyramid meets semi-annually in the month of May and annually in the month of November, at a city selected by vote of the Supreme Pyramid in Annual Session. At the Annual Session most colorful parades are held and pageantry unfolded to the populace. During the interim between the Sessions of the Supreme Pyramid, the Pharaoh is in absolute authority and his rulings stand as the law of the order until modified or set aside by the Supreme Body. But one sub-ordinate pyramid can be established in any one city. Fifty Masons in good standing, who may sign a petition to that effect, if the same is approved, shall be deemed as sufficient - "to organize a Pyramid". The minimum fee for initiation is $15.00. Each member is assessed $1.00 per year, 50 cents for the Foundation and 50 cents for the Youth Activities.
There are many inquiries at hand as to what are the Sciots, and that question this pamphlet is expected to answer.
The Supreme Pyramid is composed of Past Pharaohs, Past Pharaohs Honorary, Toparchs, Past Toparchs and representatives elected by the subordinate Pyramids on the basis of one representative for each one hundred members in good standing, and for a fraction of one hundred if over sixty; provided that no Pyramid shall have more than five representatives, and provided further that any Pyramid having less than one hundred members shall have one representative. Past Toparchs have a collective vote for each Pyramid.
The Organization has been called the Blue Lodge Shrine. That is only true so far as the eligibility to membership and the amusement features, being referred to as the accepted term, "The Playground of Masonry" is concerned, as every Blue Lodge Mason is eligible to become a Sciot and thereby entitled to enjoy the social intercourse of on organization in his own locality which in many instances is now denied him. The practical features of the Sciots are many and varied and closely follow the actions of our ancient brethren whom we can trace back to 1124 B.C.
The Sciots maintain a Foundation Fund, which is for the rehabilitation of underprivileged children, between the ages of two and fourteen years, - no matter of what race, creed or color. They also have a Sunshine Fund for the dissemination of pleasure otherwise denied these underprivileged children.
Then in later years, a Youth Activity Program was instituted, which is open to all Youth Organizations, but which has so far been directed to DeMolay, Rainbow Girls, and Job's Daughters. As far as the local youth groups are concerned, the greater part of our effort is directed towards helping the new groups get started. The Sciots Youth Activity Fund also sponsers the California State DeMolay Association. By sponsoring, we mean financially. Sciotry is also the owner of seventy acres in the High Sierras bordering on the south-eastern corner of Sequoia National Park. Sciotry has made this property into a Youth Camp Site.
There is also a Widows and Orphans Fund, which a Sciot under the age of sixty-one years may join for a minimal fee and nominal assessments, which pays $1000.00. The Widows and Orphans Fund Association is incorporated under the laws of the State of California.
Any further information desired, may be obtained by communicating with:
Ancient Egyptian Order of Sciots
P.O. Box 1308
Clovis, California 93613