to Start Your own Round Table
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encourages participating in a group process, some sort
of Brotherhood of the Code.
When two or more people meet to discuss
things on a regular basis, using chivalry as a basic theme, the
idea of participating in a brotherhood is fulfilled. One need not
belong to such a group, but the benefits derived from such companionship
Fellowship can be important to the propagation
and steadfastness of chivalry. Having regular discourse with men
who share similar values helps to encourage and expand one's views
of manhood. You can learn through someone else's perspective, while
helping others to learn from yours, raising the level of chivalry
among everyone in the group. You can present problems and ask for
advice, or direct assistance. It gives you a support group of friends
who will not lead you astray.
You can support good causes as a group.
Have book discussions. Share viewings of movies. Discuss themes
or issues. Devise traditions or rituals that support chivalry and
Such personal sharing among men is nothing
new. It occurred in earliest times as men gathered around the campfire
sharing details of the hunt, and later filled medieval halls to
feast and tell stories and solidify bonds of loyalty and friendship.
Unfortunately, such group dynamics among
males is largely absent from today's society. Boys night out
usually ends up at a bar where self-improvement and bonds
of brotherhood are not on the agenda. Men turn to drinking and drugs
and even aberrant behavior because of what is culturally lacking
for males. We mourn and anesthetize ourselves to the emptiness we
inherit. Our personal value has been depreciated to our income levels,
or job prestige, or winning the rat race instead of something more
significant. Even our families often fail to recognize us as complete
human beings, and there's good reason for that. We often fail to
see ourselves as complete as well, which pushes us to the next drink,
or next meaningless conquest. Our political system, which was supposed
to empower the common citizen, is run in such a way as to leave
us feeling powerless.
Feminism has been a blessing for men as
well as women, for it has helped correct social ills that have long
plagued our society. With the rise of women's rights, however, men
look at themselves and found nothing comparable beyond the requirement
of the assembly line. They suffer from what the industrial age took
away from father/son relationships, and the kind of pride that comes
from raising your own crops, or building something with your hands.
In many respects, we have become cogs in an economic machine that
dehumanizes people. We are bombarded by market-driven messages that
would reduce all of us to being consumers and nothing
Chivalry-Now offers something concrete and culturally rooted that
can alleviate the cultural deprivation men feel. Group dynamics
can help bring this about. They carry the intrinsic value of the
clan, or brotherhood, a mutually shared commonality that the culture
of chivalry can thrive on.
need to be introduced to what Chivalry-Now is all about. Explaining
the virtues and goals of this ethic might take several sessions.
It begins with a short description, and then goes on to more deeply
explain the individual virtues that comprise Chivalry-Now. A leader
will facilitate this introduction. Once the introduction is complete,
the new member should have an appreciative understanding of the
group, which makes him a Friend of the Round Table . Later
on, if the member wishes to make a commitment to Chivalry-Now and
to the membership of the group, he can take a pledge making him
a Brother of the Code. Knighthood, would provide the
highest tier attainable.
of chivalry must be applied to the dynamics of group discourse.
That means sharing mutual respect and courtesy at all times. Listen
with an open mind and encourage others to share their opinions.
No outbursts or personal insults. Make sure everyone has a chance
to speak and is never intimidated or made to feel unwelcome. Each
man should be considered a brother to all.
and Rituals add a special dimension of solemnity to group dynamics.
They use symbols to express what words cannot, and allow participants
to directly experience the myth or value that they represent. They
also allow for continuity of message over time.
King Arthur's Round Table offers the most
obvious and meaningful example of a chivalric men's group, and is
therefore valuable to emulate. Here men meet in a circle that represents
the equality of their membership, no matter what their vocation
or monetary worth. Once a year, on a recognized holyday, the members
would repeat their original vows of chivalry and loyalty. Members
would discuss their accomplishments and failures in an honest fashion
among their peers, and fashion strong bonds of brotherhood. In a
sense, they formed their own mutual support group.
As a tradition, the members can mull around waiting for everyone
to arrive. They are then called to stand in the circle as the meeting
is called to order, and then sit as a group.
Newly formed groups have to have a leader well-versed in Chivalry-Now,
who can, or the span of several meetings, instruct the membership
about the finer aspects of this male ethic. Workshops can also be
held as time goes on for future members. Literature can be prepared
and handed out.
A leader should be democratically elected
once the group has a sense of self-identity, with new leadership
voted on once every year or two. So-called elders can serve as consultants.
The membership has to decide how often
it will meet.
The original Round Table kept one chair
empty. It was called the Seige Perilous. It was reserved
for the advent of the perfect knight. This tradition could be carried
on, with the empty chair reserved for all the men who have not yet
embraced chivalry, whom should be considered future members. It
could also represent a place reserved for King Arthur.
A pledge should be formulated by the membership
that will be repeated once per year.
Those members who wish to seriously advance
themselves according to Chivalry-Now, can take another, more committed
pledge, which would be accompanied by a special ceremony (such as
anointing oil on the forehead by the leader). The 12 Trusts can
serve as a model. Their commitment can be differentiated from the
rest of the group by calling them Brothers of the Code, while
everyone else is a Friend of the Round Table. A higher degree
of commitment or accomplishment can result in the bestowing of Knighthood,
by anointing both forehead, throat and hands. Striking the shoulder
should also be included as part of the induction, since this has
roots in the original induction. An hour of contemplative solitude
might precede this ceremony.
The important thing is to keep things simple
and avoid farce. Members should not be treated differently accord
to degree, other than the bestowing of knighthood has to come from
another knight who recommend or sponsors the acolyte..
Holidays offer special occasions to celebrate
and start new traditions. Religious holidays might not be the best
pick, if your membership includes non-religious people or those
of different faiths. Winter Solstice, for example, can celebrated
by holding a party in which members can bring their partners for
a Yuletide feast with decorations and a blazing fire. Each person
can write a wish on a piece of paper which is then collected on
a platter. The wishes are then aloud read by the youngest (or oldest)
member, who then throws the piece of paper into the flames. Special
honors or recognition can be made for those who accomplished the
most impressive achievements. Music can be provided by CD or a live
can involve far more than just social group dynamics. Indeed,
they can serve as a vehicle for political involvement. More specifically,
it lends itself well to civil political discussion on pertinent
issues. The members, if so moved, can then contact their elected
representative to share their views. There can be no finer method
of citizen involvement in the democratic system. Here we have intelligent
adults discussing issues, sharing their opinions, educating one
another in civil discourse, followed by contacting representatives.
If such groups were commonplace throughout America, our democratic
system would be far more powerful and reflective of the people's
When representatives receive letters or
emails from everyday citizens, they consider each contact to represent
fifty to a hundred people who did not bother to write. Just think!
Your letter carries the weight of fifty to a hundred people! Politicians
take such contacts very seriously. If you are taking the time and
energy to write to your representatives, they know that the issue
is important to vocal and knowledgeable members of their constituency.
They respond. The more letters they receive, the more influenced
Letter writing empowers us as citizens,
placing us in the dynamic political position where we belong. This
is a powerful responsibility, and should not be taken lightly. It
is important that we study the issues we write about, and articulate
our opinions as intelligently as possible.
Rules for discourse have to be formulated
at these meetings, so that every voice is heard and respected. Time
limits are possible. Personal insults cannot be allowed. Members
should be encouraged to listen with an open mind, and not try to
force people into sharing their opinions.