What follows is a FAQ containing many questions that have been raised regarding our treatment of the Feminine, and our understanding of the relationship between the Masculine and the Feminine, according to our Order's Philosophy.
Many people have raised many contentions, and each has been carefully answered here. The Order is not a "church" or a religion in the usual sense; we are a Social Action Order, working for Social Justice. All orders of any kind have a philosophy that underlies them; ours is not different, with the exception that our philosophy is a touch more metaphysical. But our metaphysics are not what you need to accept to join our order- only the Code of Chivalry.
Here is a list of the Questions answered and discussed in this FAQ:
1. Concerning Women's full membership in the order
2. Concerning the title "Knight" and "Cup Bearer"
3. Does the Order See Women as "more than human"?
4. If women have a grace that is unique to them, do men have a special uniqueness, as well?
5. Why is such an important aspect of this Order's philosophy specifically aimed at the idea of Men's service to the Feminine?
6. Concerning the Cup-Bearers and the Sophia of the Order
7. Are men and women equally endowed with dignity and equality?
8. What roles will women take in the order, compared to the Men?
9. Do you think that Men are intended to control or "protect" women because women are naturally "weak"?
10. Does your order "Fetishize" women?
11. It still seems to me, as a woman, that what you're fetishizing women and femininity. Why not focus on bringing about situations in which women wouldn't need protection because of (our) sex?
12. Your order seems to function around an idea that women are inherently weak.
13. But you said "the true strength of the feminine exceeds that of the masculine, for it is a strength of the soul, not the body"- and I don't see that at all. Why can't women be physically strong, too/
14. Do you segregate women?
15. This worship you seem to have for the "Divine Feminine", tied up with women, is off-putting. It's just you trying to elevate women over men.
16. Modern day feminists think that we should do away with Gender roles and pre-concieved notions of Gender roles altogether. It seems like your order is just codifying new ones.
* * *I. Concerning Women's full membership in the order:
Women have full participation and membership in this order. The original announcement used the term "honorary membership" for women- but that wording was a typo- It should have stated an "honored membership".
The order was founded by men, aimed specifically at the issues facing men and their relationship to the Feminine, both spiritually, as well as in the secular world- but this Order is not just for men.
The title "Brother Knight" or "Knight" is held by men in the order, and "Cup Bearer" is held by women; but we want to make it very clear that "Cup Bearer" is the title for a Female Knight in our organization.II. Concerning the title "Knight" and "Cup Bearer"
The Female members are Knights. Their title in the order is Cup-Bearer, but they are Knights. The Males members are Knights. Their title is "Brother Knight".
It's just a title.
To be upset that only a man is called "Brother Knight" in this order, is the equivalent of a woman being upset that she can't call herself a "man".
In our language, there is a designation for females- "woman". There's a designation for males- "man". I really can't see sexism here.
Regarding the title Cup-Bearer: The Cup refers to the Grail, naturally, in the Esoteric sense: Redemption itself.
But if you want to see an even older strand of thinking that endowed the Female who bore the cups around houses and halls, look to Pagan Germania and Scandanavia, where the Dis, or Disa, the Woman of the House, who was, incidentally, completely in charge of the House or Drinking Hall, and who decided who could stay or enter or leave- was given a great honor by being the Dis. Her lifting of the Cup to the Chieftain or Leader present was the sign of his authority being handed to him by a greater authority. Few positions were as honored. III. Does the Order See Women as "more than human"?
Women are not more than human; they are full human beings endowed with a further grace that is unique to them. This is not the same as saying that they are simply more than human. The particulars of the healthy relationship between men and women is a divinely ordained thing, and both sexes have a responsibility to the other to see that each achieves its full potential.IV. If women have a grace that is unique to them, do men have a special uniqueness, as well?
Men are, of course, endowed with their own uniqueness. What has failed of recent centuries is men's recognition of their responsibilities to the feminine, not men's natural uniqueness. Ideally, in service to each other, and to the feminine, men discover their real strength. V. Why is such an important aspect of this Order's philosophy specifically aimed at the idea of Men's service to the Feminine?
Men, in our opinion, are more in need of discipline and submission to the concepts of the sovereign Feminine, and to using strength for the preservation and protection of what is good and noble.
Women are, in our estimation, considered not just human beings endowed with the full dignity of humanity, but also living representations and representatives of the Holy Feminine, who is the most sublime vehicle of Grace to mankind. Men have failed in their duty to both the divine feminine, and women in general, to a large extent in recent centuries, and by doing so, they have failed themselves as men.
So, we mean no mysoginy of any kind. We mean this to be an order that leads men to repair and regenerate their own inner lives, and heal the rift between themselves and the feminine, both within and without. We hope that the female members of this order will support the men in this- Men do not make women "Free" or "safe"- men could not do what they do without the strength afforded them by the Feminine.
VI. Concerning the Cup-Bearers and the Sophia of the Order:
Cup Bearers in the order will be considered 'superior' to the male members in the order
, in the sense of rank and honor, not any ontological, innate "superiority of essential being". One of the Cup Bearers will be elected to be the Sophia of the Order, and she will be considered the spiritual head of the entire order. The administrators will have to get her blessing on any and every substantial decision that they make in regards to the order's activities.
We believe that authority ultimately derives from the Sophia, spiritually, and this is reflected in the order's simple structure.VII. Are men and women equally endowed with dignity and equality?
Women and Men are equally endowed with dignity and equality. Cup Bearers are considered superior in the order (note my emphasis) because each woman is furthermore an image of the Divine Feminine, who is, in our chivalric "theology", the mediator of Wisdom, Peace, Hope, and Strength to mankind. She is also the image of the "Lady" that Knights of the past were sworn to.
The Feminine, across the board and on all levels, is the source of new life, the source of hope; theologically, even God had a Mother. She is the strength of mankind and the source of all that is Good.
Honoring women is another way of honoring Her. When you honor the source, you honor what has come from it, which is everything else, God or Man, Tree or River.
We are not involved in inequality. We are involved in honestly allowing men to submit to a strength greater than their own- which is embodied in the feminine, for inside men, it is the feminine presence that gives them internal strength and honor. It is the internal feminine that makes him balanced and tempers his own masculinity with a sorely needed stability and stable, long-lasting fertile ground.
Women in our order are there to support men in that goal, and, with the now properly-placed strength of men supporting and protecting them, (and supporting and protecting their free wills as women, as it was always meant to) woman can have peace, a new stability, and an ability to achieve whatever they desire with greater ease.VIII. What roles will women take in the order, compared to the Men?
Women will take a lead role in guiding the movement that will bring greater freedom to anyone who is oppressed- other women, people who suffer under tyranny, and those who cannot speak, like animals or the environment itself. In our opinion, few know more about subjection than women, west or east.
In our vision, Women are the Guardians of the Guardians, the inspiration for men to turn their strength back to noble ends. As agents of Chivalry, women alone, without men, can enter into a community, work for the ends of Good, and bring about a greater harmony. It is an added bonus that men are being brought to a greater balance and humility by seeing a new, sacramental relationship with women and the concept of the feminine, through these Obligations embodied in our Order.
Women will be as important in the order as Men, and there will be no activities that both do not take part in- both will play a part in addressing the five Obligations, and seeing them brought out in the world.IX. Do you think that Men are intended to control or "protect" women because women are naturally "weak"?
A woman is not meant to be controlled; that is a violation of her natural dignity and freedom. Men are meant to protect her freedom in every way they can, just as they would other men.
But it can be taken up to another level:
The Divine Feminine, the source of Grace and Wisdom to mankind, cannot be approached in terms of "control"- submission to Wisdom is required for Wisdom. Love, Devotion, these are the roads to Wisdom, not force. If anything, allowing Her will or spirit to move YOU is the key.
To think that we can Control or Master that which is our Mother, our deepest origin, the source of God; who could ever imagine such a thing?
And again, who could ever imagine that it should happen to human women, the source of us all, physically? Women, who offer men emotional and spiritual fertility and new life? Women, who, like Our Lady Wisdom, desire not force, but love and acceptance?
What terrible and misguided urge is it that leads men to consciously and unconsciously use ugly force against those which his deepest soul inclines to with devotion and desire, inside and outside of himself?
It is women that must make men capable of any strength or protection that they can offer others. Without devotion to the feminine, within himself and without himself, man does not achieve his real strength. Without his real strength, which was meant to serve others- to protect other men and women- he cannot fulfill himself as a man.
There are no gallant Knights without strong and noble women, nor without the Strength of the Divine Feminine, which is the source of all Good things.X. Does your order "Fetishize" women?
We do not fetishize anything; we respect the Divine Feminine as the bearer of grace and gnosis to the world, and Women as being the bearers and mediators of gnosis and grace to men. These are theological issues, more spiritual, and not necessarily a part of the Order's day to day working; it is based purely on our Chivalric Code.
But the respect and veneration for women and the feminine principle comes from the idea that Woman is the Savior of Man, and Man reciprocates with (a now sacralized) Love and Protection, supporting She who has made him whole, that she can rise the higher. This is a two-way system of Grace, not a one way system, and is really rather Gnostic in its overtones.XI. It still seems to me, as a woman, that what you're fetishizing women and femininity. Why not focus on bringing about situations in which women wouldn't need protection because of (our) sex?
I wish everyday that the world would be a place where your sex did not need protection, but it just isn't so. Regardless of how the situation got here, women need to emotionally and spiritually fertilize and strengthen men, which is something only they and the principle they embody can do, and men need to ensure that women and other men are kept safe, that life and good can continue.
Perhaps one day, the world we both desire will exist. Until then, we have to deal with this one, and seeing how men play a rather larger role in the mess the current world is in, the balance between men and women and the good they can do together has to be created.XII. Your order seems to function around an idea that women are inherently weak.
We are not operating around the idea that "women's are inherently weak"- nothing could be further from the truth, and we have never stated this.
We believe in feminine grace; it is a reality to us. We make no apologies for that, and we see it in every woman we meet.
But our order is not there to protect weak women- it is there for women to empower men, and for men to reciprocate by empowering women. But the flow begins, like everything else in life, in a feminine source, which must be passively accepted by men, before it makes them whole, and fulfills them, makes them capable of being real protectors of humanity- protectors men and women both.
There is no assumption of weakness on the part of women; you are assuming that we think that men are strong and capable to begin with, and have some duty to protect naturally weak women. Nothing could be further from the truth- men are NOT capable to begin with; they need the feminine- ON ALL LEVELS- internal, external, and even divine, to make them balanced and capable of doing what men should do.
The inherent weakness is not in women, but in the system of men and women that do not relate to each other properly. Together, men and women create the conditions for the flowering of each other's potential.
We do not believe that the feminine is "weak" and in "need of protection". She inaugurates the system by making men capable of real strength, before they can offer their own particularly masculine gifts to her in return, or protect anyone, including themselves.
The issue here is that neither man nor woman by themselves are as strong as man and woman working together, in a relationship that can be taken on many levels; as a philosophical order, (at least in the background) we take it to a spiritual one.
And finally- nobody 'inherently' exceeds anybody. Feminine and Masculine are not limited to biology; Women are not alone in having feminine elements to their nature- men have an internal feminine, as well, which is the source of his best strength, the road to his own balance.XIII. But you said "the true strength of the feminine exceeds that of the masculine, for it is a strength of the soul, not the body"- and I don't see that at all. Why can't women be physically strong, too?
I did say "the true strength of the feminine exceeds that of the masculine, for it is a strength of the soul, not the body"- and It is the feminine aspect of the soul in man
that far exceeds the strength of his arm.
This aspect of his soul is normally 'activated' or consecrated by devotion to the feminine on the outside- that is, women. Men seek for this on some innate level, and this drives men to many kinds of attraction, fascination, and even relationships with women.
Women can easily be strong, physically, but men cannot be strong on all levels without understanding, acceptance, and submission to his own internal feminine. One sign that a man has done this, and an outward sign of his willingness to do this, is found in how he treats and respects women.XIV. Do you segregate women?
We in no manner segregate women. They have full membership in the order, and participate in all order activities. Women are as human as men and equal to men, but they are seen in the order as having a superiority in the sense that they reveal something of the divine feminine, that which we love and respect before all to us, by sheer virtue of their womanhood.
We respect the feminine and venerate it, on every level. We want it to be free to live according to its own heart and will.
Many people seem to be put off by this; and that is why our order is not for everyone. Many people are naturally cynical and slow to trust; this is a symptom of our times, and to be expected. We take no offence on this point.XV. This worship you seem to have for the "Divine Feminine", tied up with women, is off-putting. It's just you trying to elevate women over men.
You should probably examine deeper the reasons why our veneration of the Divine Feminine and our extra respect for Her daughters, in the context of an order and its philosophy, bothers you so.
We aren't elevating anyone anywhere. We have said over and over again that human beings are both endowed with dignity and humanity in equal proportion. It just so happens that women, in our order bring the image of the Divine Feminine to our mind, and that we see the action of grace as flowing from the feminine to the masculine, before being returned to the feminine, and being made perfect. It is a divine, two-way flow; the Sophia is the bearer and granter of Gnosis, and the Woman is the Salvation of the Man.
This does not imply a superiority for women. These are all just metaphysical ideas; the order is not a church. We are a social action order. The people who founded the order felt the strength of the divine feminine, and pledged to honor her and her daughters. That is all. Most of our members will not join looking for our metaphysics- they will join because they believe in the Code of Chivalry and want to make a difference in the lives of other people in the world, through supporting our charities and activities.
Not everyone is going to agree with the "men and women are equal, the same, in every possible way" idea. It's actually somewhat absurd; men and women have many, many differences, which should be honored and celebrated. Too long have women's special qualities, which are vital to man, been ignored and abused, and for too long have the denial of both men AND women led to the psychic and social tension that causes so many of our problems today.
Differences exist, and when you keep an eye on freedom and dignity, those freedoms are both fantastic and powerful, and deserving of special honors. The Feminine Principle, on any level, DOES deserve special honor, for what She does- and the masculine one finds its special honor IN the activity of giving itself and it's honor to Her. It is right and natural that men serve, make sacrifices, be selfless- this is how he finds peace. It is right and natural that women empower them to this end, then join them. The two sexes cannot do this alone, nor can they do it if they are "made precisely the same". They aren't the same.
XVI. Modern day feminists think that we should do away with Gender roles and pre-concieved notions of Gender roles altogether. It seems like your order is just codifying new ones.
I personally do not agree with the strand of femininst thought that feels the need to do away with gender, or such concepts; I feel that these things are natural and important; what is needed is a re-appraisal of their social impact and application, for sure- and a force for wisdom and balance to re-align and regenerate them into a more positive form. Men and women will both have to take part in this, for it to happen. They begin by protecting and upholding each other's freedom and inherent dignity.
Peace to you all!
"...Neither the female nor the male is "inherently" more holy than the other. All things are Holy. In our Order, women are venerated as being visible images of the Divine Feminine who is, as you said, "the bearer and transmitter of Gnosis"- Holy Sophia herself claims that title in the Gnostic Gospels.
In our estimation, if there is a "sacrament", it flows from the Female, to the Male, and from the Male back to the Female. Woman is the savior of Man, who in turn lifts her up and supports her, as the Christ lifted the Sophia up to the Fullness. There is a two-way activity of Grace here; it is a system, a sharing, not a one way flow."