. . . F. A. Q.'s . . . Intermediate ?. . .
OK, we haven't had the site up even 24 hours and we've already received a few e-mails from excitable PTA members and church deacons about some of the content herein, so we'd like to CLARIFY a point or two just for them. . . . To Wit. . .
. . . These F.A.Q.'s sections were adapted from stuff that Uncle Jake, Uncle Algernon and their WWII commando buddies put together when they weren't busy liberating the Phillipines from the Axis. We've said it before and we'll say it again. . . We inherited our strange little outfit from older relatives and their friends. . It was called the Mystic Order Of The Poltergeist when we first heard of it. One of the earliest recollections we have of the group involved all these seriously hardened combat veterans and their girlfriends getting together to barbeque steaks, drink martinis and argue the finer points of James Branch Cabell, H.P. Lovecraft, H.G.Wells & Doc Savage over cards. . . all very impressive to us younger types.
Jake & his crowd didn't mind a bit that we devoured every one of the paperbacks and pulps they gave us (or left unguarded). In fact, they all conspired to help us keep this forbidden material from the disapproving attentions of our parents, telling us that's the way they got their collections started, nipping dime novels and Jules Verne hardcovers from the grandfolks. Thus we were inducted into a fraternity of wonders.
Later down the line, when we were the ones getting together for burgers and beers, we figured we should keep things going in much the same manner, just because. We've changed the name of the group a few times over the years, and might again one day, but the form has always remained constant.
So, when we were putting things together for our internet presence, we went digging for some historical background material and found the following gems, directly handed down to us by our forebears, in pretty much their own words. And, blown away by the sheer scope of the piece, let alone it's panache, quite naturally we thought it deserved to be seen by the rest of the world. OK??. . .
And with THAT understood, back to the Questions At Hand. . .
. . . F. A. Q.'s . . . Advanced . . .
Periodically throughout our long & colorful existence, we of the Ancient & August Order of the Rings have opened our doors to Fellow Seekers. And whenever we do, the inevitable questions arise. . .
Just how old is this Order?. . .Where th' blazes did it come from? . . Who were its Founders ?. . . What is its Purpose?. . . What's with all the stories about it being present at all these great moments in history?. . . etc.,etc.
In short, What Gives? . . .
Well, Friend, you've come to the right place.
Here's where we periodically post bits of background info from the Annals & Archives of our fine organization in an attempt to answer some of the more interesting questions we constantly receive. . .
Uhhh,. . . like ?. . .
. . . Just How Old IS This Order?. . .
". . . From far back in the Beginning, before the Rise of Civilization, tales were told of rites in the Desert & the Forest Primeval. Strange stories of Wild Celebration, associated with Equinox & Solstice; the Quickening of the Earth, & the Coming of Spring; the Glory of Summer & the Halcyon Days; the Bounty of the Harvest & the Autumn Hunt; the Passing of the Season & the Coming of Frost. . ."
. . . Where In Blazes Did It Come From?. . .
". . . Legends arose that the Practitioners of these Revels were Not All Human!!, but perhaps of some Stranger Stock. Out of the Deeps of Time they came; Wild-Eyed, on the Wings of Storm, bringing with them their Heady Liquor, Delirious Music & Curious Ways. . . "
. . . Who Were Its Founders?. . .
". . . To the North, the Vikings. . . to the South, the Egyptians. . . to the East, the Golden Horde. . . to the West, the Atlanteans. . .among each of these were those who shared secrets which bound them together as brethren. . . knowledge gained by venturing into the Unknown. From these beginnings, there arose an Order of the Mysteries, an Order whose symbol became a Golden Ring. . ."
. . . And What Is Its Purpose?. . .
". . . To peer through the Looking Glass; To unravel the twisted skein of Myth; To look behind the veil of Legend; To peer into the mists of Superstition; To journey beyond the Edge of Twilight and to gain the Wisdom and Understanding that is hidden from the Waking World. . ."
. . . Why Is There No Mention Of This Order In History?. . .
". . . Down through the Ages, the Order has kept its existence carefully shrouded and thus weathered the ebb & flow of the tides of Time, gathering knowledge & dispensing wisdom, guiding the rise & fall of Kings & Nations. . ."
. . . How Has This Order Survived So Long?. . .
". . . Like the Phoenix, continually rising from it's own Ashes, our Order has survived Centuries of Persecution by Politicians, Clerics, Narrow-Minded Moralists, & Unknowing Fools by various means; disguising itself under different names, wending its way into establishment positions in times of enlightenment, and periodically going underground in times of political unrest. . ."
. . . Who Have Been Members?. . .
". . .All manner of Pioneers, Adventurers, Mystics, Experimenters and Seekers after Truth. . . . The Druids of Stonehenge. . . the Astrologers of Babylon. . . the Whirling Dervishes of Arabia. . . the Legionnaires of Rome. . . each of these counted members and friends of our Order among their number. . .
. . . And while Order Policy prohibits revealing names of our present members and friends, we can tell you that historical figures who are said to have associated with our Order in the past are Many. . . Ramses, Constantine, Eric the Red, Kubla Khan, Socrates, Tactus, Arthur, Morgan la'Fey, DaVinci, Nostrodamus, Catherine the Great, Elizabeth, Bacon, Shakespeare, Magellan, Darwin, Franklin, Tesla. . . to name but a few. . .
. . . Sundry Artists and Writers have been seen in our circles as well. . . Michelangelo, Dante, Rembrandt, Rosatti, Bosch, Clements, Dali, Burroughs, Pollack, Griffin, Wells, Ludlow, and more. . ."
. . .What's All This About Being Present at Certain Great Moments In History?. .
". . . At our gatherings, on occasion one will hear talk of such things. With so many notables having been part of our Order over the centuries, we suppose it's natural that some people have suspected us of somehow manipulating history. A few of the more popular fables include. . . .
. . .The Eye Of The Pyramid? . . .
. . . One wild story boasts claims that some of our earliest members were the architects responsible for the design of the great Egyptian temple complex at Giza. While this is possible, even likely, the part about us having possession of the long-lost capstone known as the Eye of the Pyramid is not. We've seen it, but that was a loonnnnng time ago. . .
. . .The Discovery of Radium? . . .
. . . Another oft-told anecdote has our Order involved in the discovery of radium. Certainly, several principal researchers in the field of radiation were members at the time. But reports that we gave Madam Curie a magic wand to grind her pitchblende with were simply the over-imaginative journalism of the day. In the same vein, responsibility for the radium cure-alls of the 1920's has oft been laid at our doorstep. All this because our Kindred of Dwarves were the first to recognize the practical uses of radioactive ores. . .
. . .The Golden Spike? . . .
. . . Of all the historical tales that have risen up around us over the years, the one about the Driving of the Last Spike is one of our favorites. As any school kid can tell you, this storied event took place in 1869, when old Leland Stanford, father of Stanford University, supposedly drove a Golden Spike linking the rail lines of East and West at Promontory Summit, Utah. Someone is always saying that half the folks posed in the famous picture of the event were members of our Order. That's just not true. But the guy who did drive the actual last spike (made of iron) may have been! He was a railroad worker present at the REAL Meeting of the Rails, which took place 15 months later near Strasburg, Colorado. And we didn't steal the Golden Spike either, as many have alleged. Stanford University has it in Palo Alto, California. And it's not pure gold, as legend would have you believe, but plated. And it was never driven into the alledged Last Tie either. It was set into a pre-drilled hole and then Stanford missed it. . . twice!. . . "
. . .So What Else Have You Accomplished?. .
. . . Throughout it all, the Order has Maintained its Position in the Forefront of Innovation & Improvisation. Notable amongst the many Firsts Achieved are Toga Parties, Barley Malt, Telekinetic, Jousting, Fascinatio (Evil Eye), Sub-meson Circuitry, Levitation (as seen on TV), 3D Digital Sculpture, & Astral Hang Gliding, to name but a few. . . "
. . .What About The Lurid Accounts Of Your Historical Conclaves?. .
". . . Well, there have been quite a number of these. . . typically connecting some of our more memorable Conclaves to plagues, wars and other disasters. These are almost all malicious rumors started by detractors bent on slander. But occasionally we do have our moments. . .for instance. . .
. . .the Conclave Of Hastings. . .
. . . Our archives reveal that an early Conclave in the 1060s sent forth a large foraying party in search of more supplies of ale. Their landing in England was unwisely contested and the terrible Battle of Hastings was the unfortunate result . . .
. . .the Great Conclave Of London. . .
. . . Some wags have claimed that the Great Fire of London in1666 was caused by a similiar such incident. This is simply not true. While another of our Conclaves was held in England that year, the blaze was started by a warehouse accident, not by our crowd at the distillery. . .
. . .the Conclave at Lakehurst. . .
. . . Further, while we readily admit that our Kindred of Wizards were conducting weather control experiments in the vicinity that year, it is likewise untrue that they precipitated the Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, NJ because the captain refused to book an Order pleasure cruise. . .
. . .the Atlantic Conclave. . .
. . . Finally, allegations that we were somehow to blame for the sinking of the Titanic are patently ridiculous. While it is certainly true that we have occasionally towed small ice floes to port in order to supply enough ice for guests at our Conclaves, the mountainous burg struck by the Titanic was, by all accounts, a tad large for any such use. And besides, we held our gathering in Paris that year. . .
. . . Well, you wanted to know. . ."
. . . Okay, Then Explain Those Press Release Parties Of Yours?. . .
Yeah, it's true. . . We like to party hearty. . .And we've been at it a long time too. ". . . Zulu war dances, the Chinese Dragon Procession, Coronations of Kings & Popes, Spring Break; all these draw upon our traditions to some Degree. . ."
And Hey!. . . since people insist on telling all these crazy stories about us anyway, we just can't help throwing in a little grand theater of our own once in awhile, just to keep 'em guessing! Our press release concerning flying saucers over Lake Michigan in 1996 generated about 700 independent reports of sightings. And our report of the . . ahem. . . grisly demise of the famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, on Groundhog's Day 1998 caused a furor on the evening news.
All in good fun!. . . Heh, Heh, Heh!. . .
. . . And Just What Is This Order Up To These Days?. . .
". . . In Modern Times, the organization has come to be known to the World-at-Large as " The Ancient & August Order Of The Rings". As Guardians of a secret Esoteric Tradition, we work to bring about the creation of New Dimensions on the Psyonic Frontier. . .
And if you find that statement perhaps a little deep, let's try this description typical of our more memorable gatherings of the 1990's . . .
. . . It is another foggy winter afternoon, with one of those lowering slate grey skies. A group of us arrive at a roadhouse somewhere off the beaten track & we pile through the door. Were expected. A hearty repast & flagons of tasty ale await us at the tables.
As we settle in, more members & friends arrive.Maybe a few faces not seen in a long time, maybe a few new folk who have tagged along, intrigued by tales of gatherings past. Some darts commence & the conversation is good. Then, strange folk begin to turn up. A juggler is first. Next, several Dwarves roll in, carrying all manner of musical instruments, including a beautiful golden harp. Then a magician and an astrologer walk in, followed by a pair of tourists and a group of fashion models, dressed to the nines. Soon there are several bikes pulling into the lot. Now one of the Dwarves strikes up a tune & two more join in. And the beer begins to flow. Before anyone knows it, the joint is roaring.
We have parked ourselves in a corner, over by the fire. In the eye of this hurricane of sights & sounds, we pore over the latest completed sections of the infamous Book of the Rings, a compendium of eldritch lore that has been in the works for the last three centuries or so.
Anyway, as we discuss the finer points of the latest additions to this work in progress & guzzle alarming amounts of brew, we have not a care in the world, for we have booked lodgings on the premises & thus, are guaranteed a place to hang our hats for the evening. No need to drive, no need to limit our intake or fun.
As the evening draws near, we withdraw to our various rooms for a while to dress for dinner. ( Could such a wild crowd be THIS civilized???) Then, at the hour of eight, we assemble in the great hall, where we enjoy a feast with all the trimmings, served by a liveried staff.
After dinner, port, pipes & pontificating are the order of the day.We head to the lounge to plan yet another expedition in search of the paranormal. There our lively discussions and philosophical debates on matters of Myth and Legend continue, as we plan our tactics for the coming venture. After a while, a group of our bards announce they are ready to present their latest heroic lay. More ale is brought forth & presently the singing begins. We carouse till all hours & then one by one, we retire to our respective quarters. In the morning, we gather again to enjoy a genial breakfast meal before heading out to our various destinations. . .
And as if that isn't enough, try THIS on for size. . .
". . .Together, we have traveled a distance to Weary The Comet, riding together on the Golden Fleece & Silver Ram. We have Braved the Unknown and witnessed Many Wonders. During our Epic Pilgrimage, we have ventured into Places where Few Dare Tread, hunted Eldritch Terrors and returned Unscathed with our Trophies. Along the way, we have watched Sir Tall Tankard stand forth in Single Combat against a legion of would-be Stalwarts. We have sung Songs of Yore & Lays of the Heroes. We have feasted upon Tons of Victuals, drunk Oceans of Ale, striven with Gods & Devils & celebrated many Rites of Passage. And now we find ourselves standing together in a new Millennium, with the best part of our journey ahead. . ."
Paints quite a picture, don't you think?
. . . So How DOES One Become A Member?. . .
". . . While anyone can become a Friend Of The Order, becoming a full Member is quite another matter. We are a very close-knit group and we insist on getting to know a person very well before we will consider them for such a honor. Membership in our Order is a great responsibility involving many obligations which cannot be undertaken lightly. Those who truly wish to become Members must seek to be sponsored and are subjected to rigorous screening. Those candidates considered as promising by our Council are approached at such time as we deem them ready. The rest is up to them. . . "
. . . In Closing . . .
". . . When one first encounters those who tread the Unseen Paths, the questions raised can be many. We hope this dissertation has helped you answer some of yours. As to whether you are fated to be one of us, the answer to that can only be found within. We challenge you to Know Thyself. . . .and DARE TO BE!!. . .
. . . Godspeed upon your quest. . ."
last updated 02/29/2008
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