image of a knight is very strong in Western culture.
We see him as a medieval warrior who
is disciplined by ideals, fearless, confident, a civilizing presence
emerging from darkness, glorified by romantic tales. He is adorned
by various types of armor, wielding sword and shield, lance or cudgel.
He rides to adventure on his trusted warhorse to challenge evil
where he finds it, liberates the oppressed, protect those in need,
uphold the rights of women.
The knight is more than the stuff
of legend, myth and romance. His very real existence in history,
imperfect though it was, continues to provide a tangible catalyst
of possibility for Western males. His image whispers inspiration
that stirs men's hearts even as the world contradicts all he stands
As we study this, however, we soon
discover that the whisper of information we hear comes not from
any image, but from within ourselves. We come to realize that if
we really want our true nobility in life, we need to claim it first
on our own.
Knighthood speaks of transformation,
the kind of personal fulfillment that comes only through commitment
to what is just and good. Chivalry reflects the highest aspirations
of what it means to be a man. We are less for the want of it. We
are tragic to the very core, despite the "good life" we
supposedly enjoy, that ebbs and flows without moral direction.
The image of the knight tells us that
our ultimate destiny, if we choose to grasp it, is to stand up for
something that is grand, something that creates a better world for
all not just for some. Any lesser vision, ends upcontributing
The knight's strength comes from the
moral convictions of his principles. He simply lives them. In living
them, he embodies the very ideals that inspire him, and defines
In a very real sense, the image of
a knight, his courtesy and fairness, his admirable strength with
purpose, his dedication and dependability, all reflect the highest
potential of the male gender. Here we find the essence of man, despite
his fallibility. Indeed, it is the contest between his ideals and
fallibility, always at least leaning toward the former, that shapes
How does this image translate for
today's world? What can we glean from the legacy of knighthood for
our everyday lives?
More succinctly, from our perspective,
what does it mean to be a Knight of Chivalry-Now?
First and foremost, the Knight must
be a recognized proponent of chivalry. His personal commitment must
be total and inviolate not just another grasp of ego, a façade
raised when convenient, without depth or substance. It is
a matter of soul, of personal authenticity.
A true Knight of Chivalry-Now
has to earn his knighthood every day. He cannot claim
it from desire alone, or a single good deed. It would be meaningless
otherwise. Knighthood is a second birth. It involves the pangs of
labor and careful nurturing, physically, intellectually, spiritually.
It can be likened to the making of a good sword, hammered into shape
by life itself, fired by adversity, tempered by self-control. It
encompasses growth and maturity of spirit, a willingness to learn
by confronting truth with bold commitment.
Not a passing fad or honorarium. No
halfway measures, doing only what is comfortable or convenient.
One cannot be half a knight, or indulge in it part-time.
It must be real, or not at all.
There are requirements to Knighthood
in Chivalry-Now. There are tests and challenges. Most are
provided by how one responds to life itself. Others are imposed
by our Council to determine worth. Like any Grail Quest,
there are temptations to deny and habits to break. Shadows must
be confronted and dragons slain. Prejudices examined and reshaped.
Old loyalties rebuked and new ones fixed elsewhere.
Our code consists of principles we
call Trusts, for each is a vow based in belief and
Knighthood subsists on nobility of
the heart, the kind of honor that transcends both circumstances
of birth and the dull idiocy of pride. We bow to no man, but submit
ourselves to Truth and the Mystery that sustains it. Each, in its
own way, contributes to who we are.
In short, we accept the responsibility
of our own lives and take it to the highest level in thought, word
Be forwarned. Knighthood sometimes
brings with it more scourge than bliss, for it manfully confronts
the vicissitudes of life and tries to rectify tragedy. It strives.
It lives. It carries the blessing and burden of self-knowledge.
It weeps for the innocent and pities the guilty, who once were innocent
It longs for a better world enough
to work for it, and fight for it when necessary. It carries inner
vision of the sublime, and never sacrifices hope.
Knighthood is an ideal, but it stop
far short of connoting perfection. Perfection can only be striven
for,nnot attained. It is that effort, that struggle, from which
true nobility is born.
Chivalry-Now has reinstituted
knighthood under the banner of its 12 Trusts and goal of liberation.
As every order of knighthood differs somewhat from the next, this
moral conduit reflects meaning of its own:
- The knight
is first a man in the fullest sense of the word. An open-minded
thinker, a searcher for truth, which is his never-ending quest.
- He has taken
vows to uphold the principles he believes in, a particular code
of ethics, exemplified by the 12 Trusts. These principles
must be reflected in his life and in the way he relates with others.
- He holds
the vision of a better world to which he contributes daily. He
is a citizen of that world, and lives as such.
- He is one
of the first fruits of the Chivalry-Now movement, an advocate
of our principles, who leads others not through dictate but through
example. He is sanctioned by our Companionship as an official
member of a Round Table that circles the earth.
We offer our
Path to Knighthood to all Companions as a means of formally
declaring and recognizing one's commitment. It is not handed out
lightly, and requires a investment of time and thought given to
prove one's sincerity and convictions.
While Chivalry-Now is a Code
of Male Ethics, our Companionship and Council are open not only
to men but to women as well, women who choose to help our cause
and exemplify our ideals from their perspectives.
Our aim is to produce a sufficient
number of Knights to represent Chivalry-Now and propagate
our principles back into the culture, thereby replacing what was