Saturday, June 13, 2009

There Are No 'Drop In' Knights

At the beginning of the Order of Scathach Armoring Ritual (see the Rituals page of our training blog) is the Challenge where the Constable addresses the participants. In part, it reads:

“And some of you have that inward look which tells me that you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror. You consider yourself weak or flawed or insignificant. That’s a difficult thing to deal with, to be sure. But if you came here to rub shoulders with us Warriors, hoping that you’d gain some respect or honor by association only, then I suggest you get lost. We’ve no time for that. But if you’ve come here to reinvent yourself, to rise from your own ashes like the Phoenix, to be glorious, then you are very welcome indeed. We are here to witness your triumphs and cheer you on.”

Recently I went through our membership list, identifying people that had not been heard from in some time. Some, due to extenuating circumstances in their lives, wished to take a “sabbatical” and be listed as supporting members. The idea was that at a later date, once things in their lives had been sorted out, they would be able to get involved once again in the lessons and move onwards towards mastery of their situation and themselves. I have no problem with that at all. We all have our times of trial and tribulation. Supporting each other is part of what this organization is all about.

Let me be very clear about something: The Order of Scathach will not have “supporting members”, auxiliaries or “fans” of any description who “rub shoulders with us Warriors, hoping that you’d gain some respect or honor by association”. Like we say in our Armoring ritual challenge, we don’t have time for that. That’s why I wrote that into the Challenge. If you want to be part of this Order, you must participate in this Order. As one of our Knights, Dame Devenir, put it: “There hasn't been an Order of Knighthood in history that has ever allowed ‘drop ins’.” I concur wholeheartedly and we're certainly not planning to be the first.

Recently some people have attempted to sit on the sidelines, thinking that just being on the membership list entitles them to show up at all events (while missing all classes). They’ve demonstrated that they’ve got time to waste on meaningless posts but are not willing to devote time to learning like the rest of us. If you simply want an audience for what you have to say, there are plenty of Pagan chat groups. The Order of Scáthach isn’t just a chat group. We don’t mind visitors to our rituals: That’s one of the ways that we let people discover for themselves if this is a path for them to follow. On line students from all over the world are always welcome. We periodically do public rituals for the public to see what we are all about. What we will not tolerate at any Motherhouse is freeloaders who never show up for classes, make no effort to study on line, and yet want to participate in all of our rituals. This isn’t a club for people who are fans of knighthood. It is a Fianna of Warriors. This isn’t a Church. It is an Order of Knighthood. In church you stand up or sit down when told to and sing the hymns that you are directed to. In this Order of Scáthach you stand up for yourself and sing the songs from your heart.

I want the Order of Scathach to be something special, something different. It isn’t going to be special unless we insist on standing up for our Precepts and Code of Chivalry. Let me remind you that one of our precepts is: Who dares, wins. Industriousness is part of our Code of Chivalry, and it is commitment that will earn you your Mastering degree. You can’t “buy” a degree here. This is like a dojo. Hopefully here a colored belt means something.

It is amazing to me how many people wish to be considered experts but never make any effort to learn. They want to be treated with respect and yet they make no effort to earn it. Telling the world that you are a master won't last long if you don't make any effort to be a master. Laziness isn't a path to mastery. People will eventually see through the facade to the real person underneath. Master yourself and you master everything else.

In Her Service
Kerr Cuhulain
Grand Master, Order of Scáthach

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