Queen Christina was just six years old when she became ruler of Sweden some three hundred years ago. During her reign as Queen, she created the Order of the Amarantha for the ladies and knights of her royal court. Queen Christina herself played the character, Lady Amarantha, who was portrayed as being a beautiful, virtuous and talented Lady of the Court. The name of the Order was possibly chosen from the beautiful never-fading red Amaranthus flowers growing in profusion in Spain and Portugal. The Order was perpetuated and presently exists in the Royal Court of Sweden. Originally, the Royal and Social Order of the Amarantha had no connection with Masonry as it does today.
In the middle of the 19th century, a number of societies were introduced, in which females could become active members.The “Order of the Eastern Star” and the “Order of the Amaranth” are just two such organizations.
In 1860, Brother James B. Taylor from Newark, NJ, attempted to compose the material to start a New “Society”. He learned that in 1653, Queen Christina of Sweden had combined a group of “Sir Knights” and “Ladies” together to have “gala” parties. She called this group the “Order of the Amaranta”.
The story goes like this…
“The person kneeling down before the Queen held up his hands between the Queen’s hands: she declared his duty in that Order, was to maintain and defend virtue and the honor of virtuous ladies, to endeavor to correct vice, to perform honorable actions, to keep his faith inviolable, in all matters relating to honor and virtuous performances; which the Court promised to observe. The Queen put upon his left shoulder and tied under his right arm a scarf of crimson taffeta, with a broad silver fringe; and the jewel of the order hung in the scarf, it was about the compass of half a crown; it was made of gold, a round wreath wrought and enameled like a laurel, and in the midst thereof two great AA reversed, set thick with diamonds, the two AA for the first and last letters of Amaranta, and about the wreath was written ‘dolce nella memoria’, ‘Sweet is the memory’, that is of a certain noble and famous great lady named Amaranta, who was an eminent pattern and example of the highest honor and virtue, in memory of whom this Court was instituted.”
Brother Taylor was so impressed with what he had read that he copied many of the symbols and much of the phraseology used therein. He even copied the name, the “Order of the Amaranth”.
Brother Robert Macoy, who was in control of the “Order of the Eastern Star” around 1870, decided that it might be advisable to add two or more degrees to it. Then, in 1873, he formed the “Rite of Adoption”, with the “Order of the Eastern Star” as the first, or initiatory degree, and “The Queen of the South” as the second degree and the “Order of the Amaranth” as the third, or highest degree. His plan was to have these degrees given separately but under the control of one body.
Both Eastern Star “Chapters” and Amaranth “Courts” were included in the Adoptive Rite Ritual. The Order of the Amaranth was officially organized June 14, 1873 in New York City as part of the Rite of Adoption. In the Rite of Adoption Ritual it was said: “This Organization shall be known as the ‘Rite of Adoption of the World’ and shall consist of the degrees of the Eastern Star, the Queen of the South and the Amaranth.”
Brother Robert Macoy obtained the material that Brother Taylor had written about the Amaranth, and revised and perfected it into “ritualistic” form so that it could be used as the ritual for the third degree. From 1873 until 1921, all members of the Amaranth were required to join the “Order of the Eastern Star” first, and to maintain this membership to be able to stay members of the Amaranth.
In 1921, by mutual agreement, this requirement ceased. They are now completely separate organizations, though many are members of both organizations.
Under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council we have forty Grand Courts (each is Statewide), located in the United States, Canada, Australia, Philippines and Scotland. Also, Subordinate Courts (local) there are a few individual states in the U.S. that do not have Grand Courts.
The “Order of the Amaranth” means many things to many people. To its early members it meant the opportunity to build upon the strong foundation of TRUTH, FAITH, WISDOM and CHARITY. A fraternal Order having for its purpose, service to humanity, set to the music of fraternal love.
To its present members, the “Order of the Amaranth” means a challenge to build higher and stronger upon these foundations of fraternal love and service. It means the hand of fraternal friendship to those in distress. It means thinking and remembering about its members in their hours of sorrow and sickness. Most of all, it means the opportunity to serve our fellow human beings, to enjoy the close fraternal ties of mutual respect and understanding to enrich our lives with friendship worth far more than gold or silver.
Who May Join?
Membership is open to anyone with proper Masonic affiliation. The affiliation may be one of the following: Master Masons in good standing in their respective Masonic Lodges, and the wives, widows, mothers, sisters, half-sisters, daughters, legally adopted daughters, step-daughters, or granddaughters, nieces, grandnieces, aunts, great granddaughters and grandmothers of Master Masons in good standing, or of deceased Master Mason who were in good standing, at the time of death.
Petitions are available from any member of the Order of the Amaranth. After the petition is filled out and returned, an investigating committee is appointed to verify the Masonic affiliation. When the affiliation has been verified, the petitioner will be notified of the initiation date. There is only one degree in the Order of the Amaranth. Candidates for the degree must believe in the existence of a Supreme Being and take an obligation to assist in the work and share in the privileges of the Order.Subordinate Courts have stated meetings at least once a month and have activities planned for regular meetings and social activities throughout the year. Members give moral and financial support to their Court by attending regularly and participating in planned activities. Members are encouraged to attend functions of other fraternal organizations to promote harmony among all concordant bodies of the Masonic Family.
Members take an active role in the Masonic Youth Groups as adult leaders and by supporting their activities.
- The International Order of DeMolay – Boys, ages 13 to 20
- International Order of Jobs Daughters – Girls, ages 10 to 20
- International Order of Rainbow for Girls – Girls, ages 11 to 20
These youth groups teach reverence for God, spiritual values, leadership skills and service to others.
An Amaranth Scholarship program administered by the California Masonic Foundation provides scholarships to young women residing in California requiring financial assistance to attend the college of their choice. These scholarships are given to the young women regardless of their race, creed, or Masonic affiliation. To date, the Order has given $340,315 in scholarships.
The extent of the charitable work is multiple. The Order’s main philanthropic project is the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation administered by a Board of Directors of the Supreme Council. The Grand Royal Matron of a Grand Court chooses a charity such as the Shriners Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, etc., and at the close of her year of service, all donations are given to the charity specified.
There is also the Assistant Fund from which monies are granted to needy member recipients for the purpose of paying medical bills due to a catastrophic illness. Or, monies may be granted for paying bills for a member in financial need.
Members of the Order of the Amaranth are banded together to be of mutual comfort and assistance to one another. This is evidenced by their generous donations to the charitable work of the Order.
What Are The Teachings of the Order?
Members are emphatically reminded of their duties to God, to their Country, and to one another; to live in harmony with their fellow beings; to possess a forgiving spirit and exercise an influence for good upon their associates. They are urged to portray, by precent and example, their belief in the “Golden Rule;” and by conforming to the virtues inherent in Truth, Faith, Wisdom and Charity prove to others the goodness promulgated by the Order.