[Ansteorra] Vigils for White Scarves

James Crouchet james at crouchet.com
Mon May 7 12:17:45 PDT 2007

> Salut cozyns,
> An interesting thread was initiated on the SCA Chivalry list in
> response to
> the first member of the Order of the Western White Scarf. Apparently that
> gentleman sat a vigil. From an historical perspective, anyone can
> choose to
> hold a vigil prior to any major life change, but I began wondering about
> former and current practices here.
> Do candidates for the White Scarf in Ansteorra ever hold vigils? If
> yes, is
> this the norm or a rare event?

It has happened, more than once but it is rare. I believe in at least
one case it was at the request of the Crown.

I think this "it has happened but it is rare" status accurately reflects
our own in-between status in the SCA. Vigils are not really reserved for
anyone but tend to be associated with knighthoods so we generally shy
away from them, in spite of the fact that we are taking a lifetime
position and rank in a martial order.

Some things we must do because we are the leaders of our community. Some
things we need to avoid because they are associated with Peers or
knights. Sometimes the two are almost identical. It is a constant
balancing act to fulfill our duties but avoid the appearance of
presumption. From time to time we are bound to make mistakes on both
sides of this issue.

I should probably end with that comment but I will add an example. In
Ansteorra the WS take an oath before the Crown each reign, generally at
coronation. What many people do not realize is the practice of  taking
of an oath as an order was begun by King Inman who was uncomfortable
having a martial order and fighting community in Ansteorra without a
tight binding to the crown. This tradition has continued and we have
written our own oath (in consultation with the crown) which we swear as
an order (that oath was constructed mostly from bits of period oaths of
fealty, BTW). On very rare occasions I have heard grumblings that taking
that oath is presumptuous on our part. However, I think Inman had a
valid point in that it is our duty as the leaders of our community to
bind our community to the crown and to Ansteorra. Of course, the Royal
Command aspect of this makes it simple for us since we do not have to
worry about how it looks, we just have to say, "Yes, your majesty," and
enjoy being considered important enough to warrant Their Majesties'

Don Christian Doré

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