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The 12 Trusts

In medieval romances, King Arthur had his elite Round Table Knights swear the following oath to chivalry once each year during the feast of Pentecost:

"Never do outrage nor murder, and always flee treason; also, by no means to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur forevermore; and always to do ladies, damsels, and gentlewomen succor, upon pain of death. Also, that no man do battle in a wrongful quarrel for no law, nor for the world's goods."

The oath was surprisingly sparse for a warrior ethic like chivalry, which encompassed every aspect of a knight's life. This should not be surprising. The knights understood what was required of them already. Chivalry saturated the very air that they breathed.
     
Lord Tennyson's masterpiece, Idylls of the King, added further dimension:

"To ride abroad redressing wrongs,
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honor his own words as if his God's"

and

"To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds, Until they won her."

To resurrect a new chivalry in modern times (more specifically, in our personal lives), it would be helpful to have some sort of template or code to guide us, and as a reminder of what chivalry is all about.
     The following is such a template. We call it the 12 Trusts.

Upon my honor,

    1. I will develop my life for the greater good.
    2. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth.
    3. I will never boast, but cherish humility instead.
    4. I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word.
    5. I will defend those who cannot defend themselves.
    6. I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises.
    7. I will uphold justice by being fair to all.
    8. I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship.
    9. I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them.
    10. I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help.
    11. I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven.
    12. I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.

By adhering to these 12 Trusts, I swear to partake in the living Quest in everything I do.

This oath can be taken in privacy of your own soul, or aloud in the presence of a group of friends, signified by some ritual reminscent of the solemnity and meaning of the accolade of knighthood.

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