The order’s private set of rites, created by MacGregor-Reid in 1948, left those who worked them in no question that they were joining an elite group. They featured the candid admonition to be aware that “the people of the world are all more or less well-meaning and more or less stupid.” The primary initiation ceremony in the rites was modeled after one of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. It stated that the initiate’s goal was to return to ‘the Light of Our Father’ and ‘the peace of God’, as well as ‘to learn of the truths of Nature and uncover the marvelous laws by which All is ruled’.

The late Victorian esoteric orders, beginning with the Theosophical Society and the Societas Rosicruciana, pursued the hidden wisdom that explained the workings and purpose of the universe. Christians would be comforted by the use of the Cross as the primary symbol of ‘love’s unity’ in the rituals. The proclamation that Druids aimed at ‘the spread of the Great Primal Revelation’ would provide them with another familiar reference point. It would also have been comforting to individuals in established faiths as well as those who desired a philosophical rather than religious slant to their spiritual desires to be taught that Druidry was a science, not a cult, that demanded independent thought and sought nature’s mysteries. MacGregor-Reid definitely wanted to please as many people as possible. MacGregor-Reid’s order, like the Golden Dawn and its successor orders, but unlike the previous Universal Bond, had not only initiations but also magical names that each member adopted during initiation and by which he or she was commonly known to other initiates.

Private set of rites, created by MacGregor-Reid in Stonehenge
A set of instructions, written by MacGregor-Reid for transmission to prospective members, survive and shed light on several aspects of the Universal Bond’s identity and self-image, both during his lifetime and before. They begin with the uncompromising statement that the Bond was ‘a most old order of seers, sages, and instructors, who cling to the wisdom and mercy message of the most ancient faith’. Its goal was’spiritual elevation and the amelioration of the oppressed and enslaved’. It has existed since prehistory and ‘always raised the banner of freedom against tyranny in whatever guise this presented, religious, political, or social’.

Then, MacGregor-Reid revealed how this magnificent history was constructed, claiming that every ‘intelligent and spiritually enlightened individual belongs to it by right of her or his nature’, even if they are unaware of its existence. The order could thus claim the spiritual membership of anyone whom its current leadership happened to appreciate in the past; this is undoubtedly how the elder Reid co-opted persons like Charles Dickens, and the younger created his list of order chiefs since Toland. MacGregor-Reid confessed that, even now, relatively few of these wise and enlightened individuals were aware that a group existed to promote their principles. He concluded his first talk by advising recruits that they must believe everything their instructors in the order taught them, otherwise they will be unable to get adequate instruction. It appeared that the Universal Bond’s unshakeable dedication to freedom did not include the right of its members to disagree with anything its leaders said.

The public ceremonies of MacGregor-Reid’s order are widely documented. Stonehenge’s midsummer tradition began with an all-night vigil in the car park. For the sake of tradition, a procession was held at midnight to the Double Circle, where participants formed a circle and joined hands for a few minutes before hearing a brief address. As morning approached, the Druids gathered around the altar stone for an incantation and benediction. They then proceeded around the monument’s perimeter, following Smith’s Universal Bond, to the four points of the compass where the elemental symbols – bread and salt, water, a rose and a brazier of fire had been left. The fire received a donation of oak leaves. At the monument’s outermost monolith, the Heel Stone, each participant put a hand on its surface and renewed a personal commitment with divine fatherhood and motherhood. They then went to the center of the stones and laid the elemental symbols on a white linen cloth spread out on the ground there. All held hands as the presiding member declared, just as the sun was about to rise, that humanity should prepare for the ‘Restoration’ and the earth for the ‘arrival of the Great Peace’. As the sun rose, a sequence of songs, prayers, hymns, and invocations were recited.

At midday, everyone returned for a similar procession, with the addition of drawing and sheathing a sword at one of the megaliths, as well as a declaration of peace to the four regions, as represented by this deed. The presiding member placed an oak crown on his own head in the center, and everyone else in the room followed suit. Once again, the transference of ceremonial activities from the AODH is clear, as is the appropriation of the sword from the Welsh Gorsedd. In the late 1950s, the order implemented another ritual innovation that would have a long-term impact on modern Druidry. Iolo Morganwg described a’mystic word’ with which his creator deity created the universe.

The Universal Bond now determined that the relevant word was ‘awen’, which in medieval Welsh literature denotes creative inspiration. As a poet and forger, Iolo had a fondness for this term, and MacGregor-Reid’s Druids began to say or chant it in chorus at Stonehenge to represent the power of creation. The order had also begun to repeat Iolo’s prayer, as employed by the Welsh Gorsedd, in an English translation at both dawn and noon ceremonies.