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Willie Maple Smith HOJ Court #540

Heroines of Jericho

The Heroines of Jericho is an androgynous degree conferred in America on Royal Arch Masons, their wives, mothers, widows, sisters and daughters. It is intended to instruct its female recipients in the high and noble principles inculcated in the degrees which will appeal to the better instincts of the human mind and to make known to them the claims which they have upon the protection of their husbands, fathers, and companions, and to communicate to them an effectual method of proving those claims.

"An instance of friendship extended to the whole family of a benefactress by those whom she had benefited, and of the influence of a solemn contract in averting danger, is referred to in the case of Rahab, the Woman of Jericho, from whom the degree derives its name. When the degree is received by a male he is called a Knight of Jericho, and when by a female she is termed a Heroine. It is a side or honorary degree of Royal Arch Masonry, and may be conferred by any Royal Arch Mason on a candidate qualified to receive it.

Brother Moses Dickson, in his History of the Heroines of Jericho, says:--"After years of patient search in the mysteries of the Ancient Craft, we trace the origin of female degrees through ancient and modern times, and find that the three degrees, as they are given in the Ritual, were first brought to perfect order in France, as early as the year A.D. 1220, in the reign of Louis VIII; and from thence passed into England, Germany, Scotland, and many other established governments. In fact, these degrees were known and given when we had nothing but the good Ancient Craft Masonry, which is almost as old as creation.

"History plainly tells us that as far back as A.D. 1283, the H. of J. was well known and practiced by Masons and their wives and daughters. Read the Masonic history of Sir William Wallace, and others, of Scotland; that of the reign of the House of Valois, in France; from A.D. 1428 to 1500 in England and other countries. From A.D. 1500 to 1790 these degrees did exist, but there were no regularly organized Courts. Courts were revived in France in A.D. 1790, and were presided over by some of the most eminent ladies of Paris and other cities of France. Under the Empire of the First Napoleon, the Court of H. of J. assumed a splendor in machinery and appointment, in dress and richness, never before or since equaled. a Court in Paris, presided over by the Empress Josephine, was oriental in magnificence, and as splendid and mysterious as Aladdin's Palace and the groves of enchantment.

"These degrees are the oldest and most perfect of all the female degrees. Among the many hundred that have been born in the last hundred years and taught by grand lecturers, these, the oldest, have outlived them all, and they have come down to us through centuries, unaltered--though sometimes almost buried in the crash and fall of nations. Historians have tried to find the time when these degrees were introduced into this country, and failed to fix the period; but we are assured that, with the introduction of Masonry into the provinces of America, came these degrees."

Interested in becoming a member of Willie Maple Smith Court #540, contact our court secretary Her. Bertha Chambers @ williemaplesmithtcourt540@yahoo.com