(Version 1.2 - DRAFT) Master Rhys Terafan Greydragon
Introduction: What is an apprentice
and how do you become one? Many people have wondered about this. After Sir
Wiglaf produced his
"Thoughts on Qualifications of the Peerage ", a friend of mine began preparing to take her
first apprentice and was thinking in greater detail about apprentices and
everything that it means. She wanted a document that codified thoughts on
apprentices (similar to what Wiglaf 's does for peerage qualifications) and so (in her amazing ability to
give me projects) I started this. This document (modeled along the lines of
Wiglaf 's) is intended to attempt to answer questions
like how to go about apprenticing, how laurels view it (and eventually, the equivalent for chivalry
and pelicans), expectations one has of their peer/associate, agreements,
evaluations, and getting out of a bad situation. This is a compilation of my
own thoughts, even as they have been influenced and affected by others, and
others as they have provided them for me. Nothing in here is official, and
should not be taken as such.
Caveat: This document is intended to apply to both genders, both in terms of apprentices and laurels. The use of either gender is strictly for the convenience of the author, with the understanding that the reader is intelligent enough to realize the intent.
What exactly is an apprentice? In a nutshell, an
apprentice is a student who is in a relationship with a Master or Mistress of
the Laurel. A
master (or mistress) is one who has been recognized (by a kingdom) as meeting
Òinternational Ó standard of excellence in knowledge and
performance of technique in a particular art or science. An apprenticeship can
take many forms and has different aspects
to it. Two important aspects are whether or not the relationship is based in
fealty, and whether or not the master is a master of the same art or science
that the student is interested in.
Õs start with the fealty issue. In my
experience, apprenticeships are predominantly a fealty based relationship. Not
that it has to be, but my experience is with apprenticeship that is based on
fealty. In my opinion, it is important to have that fealty relationship, because
then there is a formalized (oath of) commitment, both on the part of the laurel
and on the part of the student. Fealty becomes very personal and for some
people, very intense. In this way, the apprentice knows that they can depend on
their laurel and
that they have a personal relationship, meaning that they can contact the
laurel any time, and will probably even have priority in the various demands on
a laurel Õs time. Laurels, as peers, are bound and
committed to teach any one, but they
usually feel the personal relationship with their apprentices is special and so
they give it priority and extra care. Not all laurels require fealty from
their apprentices. A friend of mine, Mistress Siobhan O 'Neill (from the Midrealm), is one who does not require fealty
from her apprentices. However, she does not believe that her relationship with
her apprentices is any less committed. Her apprentices are active ones that
are committed, and that in turn makes her committed to them.
Fealty is important to me, and because that is my frame of
reference (my experience), I feel awkward without it. To me, having that
fealty relationship goes deeper than just a relationship for teaching an art or
science. There are students and there are apprentices. In my eyes, the
relationships are not the same. Both get all the technical knowledge I can
share. Both have maximum opportunity to learn everything they can, and both
can even delve into other aspects of being a peer. However, (to me) the
involves a deeper personal relationship (and commitment) and covers all the
other aspects of being a peer. The opportunity for frank and honest discussion
about peerage, its qualities, requirements, and meanings, is important.
is my willingness to
Òpush Ó or encourage my apprentices. Because they
are my apprentices, I feel that they have made the commitment to learn and
improve, and I have no qualms about encouraging them. Everyone needs a push
now and then, and I try to provide
that for my apprentices. That "comfort with pushing " extends my teaching and guidance into areas
other than the specific art without prompting from my apprentices. The
relationship we have includes my guiding them towards peerage in any field. My students, on the other
hand, want to learn a particular art or craft at their own leisure and I feel
less comfortable about pushing them. So, for me, a student relationship is "strictly art ", which doesn 't mean that other topics won 't be touched and taught if they come up, but I 'm not (as) concerned about their advancement
in other areas. This "ability to push " is the most major difference for me between
my apprentices and my students. My apprentices have made the commitment and my
students have not
(or they are in fealty to someone else).
What is the purpose of being an apprentice? In my opinion, the
purpose of being an apprentice is to receive the guidance, mentorship,
teaching, encouragement, and honest feedback on the path to becoming a laurel in your own right.
For some people, the sole purpose is to have a personal relationship with
someone they think is
Òcool Ó or someone whose household they want to be
in, but they really have no burning desire to master a particular art or
purpose (to be in a cool household) is not necessarily bad, but needs to be
understood up front because (in my opinion) it is NOT the right thing for an
apprentice. In my opinion, there are other appropriate relationships for being
in a household, and
possibly even being in fealty, without being an apprentice.
What are the duties of the apprentice? This depends on the people involved. There are no real guidelines or rules in this regard. Each teacher-apprentice pair defines the duties on their own. In most cases, however there are three things that are important. Most laurels expect their apprentices to
Have an honest desire
to learn, not only a particular craft, but the various peerage attributes,
qualities, and attitudes. To ultimately move on from apprenticeship and earn
the accolade of a peer, you must know a little about a lot of things, a lot about four or five things,
and (as Mistress Siobhan put it)
"have one passion that burns in the soul. " Learning is the number one duty of an
Motivate the laurel to do things and work on projects by providing eagerness and energy, time together and phone calls.
Honestly desire a peerage (eventually), and be willing to work toward it by teaching their chosen craft, sharing their knowledge with others for the enrichment of the kingdom, and applying things learned to their own skills, attitudes, and philosophies.
I think the primary duty for an apprentice is
to work and learn. Sometimes this learning process follows a very specific
"assignments " being given to the apprentice by the laurel.
This plan is usually designed to start very basic, and gradually work towards
the more difficult and complex, with the goal of truly teaching how to master a
particular craft. Sometimes students prefer to wander through whatever particular crafts or
aspects of a single craft interest them. In both cases, projects and
activities will be demonstrated and discussed with the laurel, with specific
comment, feedback, and suggestions for improvement being provided. Both methods work well
and it is really up to the laurel and the apprentice on which one to use, or
which to use at this particular moment or for this particular craft.
Regardless of the method, in the beginning, the student may often be expected
to go back and "do it again " because it can be done better, and there are
specific things that should be done. As the apprentice gains experience and
skill, the number of times they have to "do it again " will become less and less frequent.
Master Wiglaf has another important duty for his apprentices.
After he runs into some blithering geek, he grabs his apprentice and vents (at
him or her). Things along the lines of
"I 'm going to set that guy on fire! " Wiglaf then expects his apprentices to smile
and nod. "Yes master. He deserves it, master. "
What is the
Òposition Ó of an apprentice? Apprentice is NOT a
title. It is a job description. I would personally crush the head of any of
my apprentices who walked around claiming they were ÒApprentice So-and-So Ó. To me, apprentice means that you are in a
fealty-based relationship pledged to the pursuit of knowledge and excellence
(of execution) in a particular art or science, while learning and practicing
all the aspects and virtues of the chivalric
Òideal Ó of a peer.
What does the apprentice bring to the
relationship? He brings enthusiasm and unbridled passion.
He provides motivation and energy. He is the one who calls the laurel and says
ÒHey, let Õs get together on Thursday night and brew! Ó or ÒI Õm coming over on Sunday afternoon to show you
how the chip-carving is going on my oak chest! Ó Depending on the relationship he can even
provide new information or a new way of looking at things. Laurels don Õt have the monopoly on knowledge and many
times can learn things from their apprentices. This is a good thing, and can
certainly be a challenge and motivation for the apprentice to find the Òone thing that their laurel didn Õt know Ó. What a great opportunity for both to grow.
What does he gain? He gains a friend and confidante, as well as consistent instruction and patronage. He gains an honest critic, guide, mentor, teacher, and source of encouragement. He gains a safe harbor in which to learn and make mistakes, and an open ground on which to experiment. He may also get somebody who pushes him to (new levels) of activity, because sometimes the laurel is the more energetic person of the pair.
Consistent instruction is an element because
you can (and should) get instruction from multiple sources, meaning that pretty much, any peer can
and should teach you. But the
"consistency " means that your weaknesses are identified and
you get a coherent structured program to deal with them.
As previously discussed, patronage is an
element that often
only occasionally appears in a relationship. Generally, the apprentice screws
up, but the patron intervenes and creates a solution where the screw-up becomes
a learning experience. The patron also acts to head off the worst of the
What does the laurel bring to the relationship? The laurel brings confidence, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, critique, and sometimes prodding. He provides that safe environment and honest evaluation. He provides the frank discussion about peerage as well as the hard correction for things that need improvement. He provides a shield and shelter and allows a mistake to become a learning point.
What does the laurel gain from the
relationship? Laurels gain the opportunity to share their expertise, knowledge
and wisdom. They have the chance to guide someone in their growth, hopefully
to the peerage, and the satisfaction and pride that comes with seeing their
Õs success. Laurels gain the chance to give
unto others and make the Society
a better place as a result of it. Laurels also gain the motivation to strive
to be a good example, because now someone is looking to them for that example.
How do you become an apprentice? The simple answer is
that it begins by you expressing your
desire to the appropriate laurel or the laurel approaches you because they
think you have expressed an interest in or a desire to learn a certain craft.
The complete answer is little more lengthy, and just because you express your
you will automatically become an apprentice. There should be some (actually
LOTS) of discussion about and exploration of all the aspects of the
relationship, the expectations (on both sides), the teaching style, and the
desired end goal. Some people wind
up apprenticed to a laurel that they really don Õt get along with and who has different core
values, and this can be a major problem. Some laurels have very high
expectations on the amount of time they expect their apprentices to spend
either on their projects,
or hanging out doing SCA stuff at the laurel Õs house, or at events. If this is different
that what the apprentice has in mind, then again the end result is a conflict.
Terminating a relationship in this type of situation is never very fun and normally hurts both
sides. I have a separate section that tries to address how to gracefully
terminate a relationship.
Some laurels start out with
Òstudents Ó that later become apprentices. Mistress
Siobhan is one who uses that classification for those who have expressed a desire to have an
association with her. If she knows the person well already, she may skip the "student " stage and go directly to apprenticing. If she
doesn 't really know them, she uses the student
classification during a trial period. That period lasts for about a year or so.
During that time, they interact in a similar fashion to how she interacts with
apprentices. Sometimes she nudges and inquires "What are
you doing lately? " The trial period gives them time to get to
know each other, sample each other 's style of communication and conduct, and in
general see how well they work together. If Siobhan feels she can be of benefit
to the student, and the student
is receptive to learning from her, that 's an excellent sign. If the student turns out
to be a jerk (or worse), either of them can end the association with no hard
feelings, no residual problems, and they go onward. If they get along, if
seems to be working to mutual benefit and enjoyment, they can make things
official. I like this classification, because it also fits with my
classification of a student as someone who has not made a fealty commitment to
me. Perhaps they are in fealty to
someone else, we haven Õt reached that point yet, or they don Õt want that commitment, and they merely want
to learn what I can teach with no strings attached.
What about being an apprentice to a laurel who
does a different art than the one you are interested in? This is OK. While in
the ideal world, it is very nice to have a laurel who does the same art as you
do, that doesn
Õt mean it is mandatory or necessary. Very
often, there simply are not enough brewing laurels to go around for everyone
who wants to be a
brewer, nor are there enough woodworking laurels, enameling laurels, or
embroidery laurels, etc. Can you learn woodworking from a calligraphy laurel?
The answer lies in the motivation of the apprentice. While the calligraphy
laurel may not be
able to explain that a different type of joinery would be used on that 14th
century chest, they can certainly guide you in research and study of period
joinery techniques, finishing practices, and assembly methods, and then
evaluate your application of those
in the current project. They can help you understand how to go about creating
a project, from where to start and what resources you should consider, to the
end result and the documentation of what you learned during the project (and
its research). They
can also help you when it comes to mentorship, guidance, and patronage. Are
they right person to mentor you on other peerlike qualities? Can they provide
guidance to improving your abilities and the direction you are headed with your
research and your
execution of period techniques and methods? The patronage you receive from a
laurel comes in the unique form of a) all the glory and praise (for things done
well) are a direct reflection on the apprentice and b) all the bad things and
screw ups are a direct
reflection on the laurel (and their failure to provide adequate guidance and
assistance). Hopefully a laurel can run interference and can turn major
mistakes or screw ups into opportunities for learning and growth.
What about long-distance apprenticeship? Are there
certain things that make it work or fail? First we need to define
Òlong-distance apprenticeship Ó. Not everyone has the same definition, but
most can agree on some basics. Certainly an apprentice in a distant kingdom,
or even in a distant part of your own kingdom (another state, another country,
more than 8 hours drive) is what most would call Òlong
distance Ó. My personal definition is if I can Õt drive there on a Friday night (4-6 hours of
so), spend the weekend, and drive back on Sunday, then it is long distance. If
I am seeing my apprentice a couple of times a month at events, it is probably NOT long distance. If
however, it is only a few times a year, then it is probably long distance.
Can it work?? Yes É IF the laurel and apprentice can stay in touch even though they only get to see each other a few times a year. Some people can handle the long distances and very little personal contact with no problem, while others just cannot, and that is a very important thing to find out BEFORE you enter into this relationship. If either party needs the physical presence of the other on a regular basis, long distance is not going to work. Plus, at least one of the two has to be active enough (as in energetic/pushy/etcÉ) to maintain regular communication, be it phone, email, or old-fashioned postal mail. The current ability to have daily contact with e-mail and sent digital pictures (or put them on the web) makes long distance relationships much easier for those apprentices who are self-motivated. In my opinion, the single biggest thing that makes them fail is the lack of regular communication, comment, and feedback. Sometimes this is a lack of encouragement and prodding on the part of the laurel.
Are there things that laurels and potential apprentices should talk about before making the relationship formal or official? I believe that are several key items the two individuals should discuss prior to making the relationship official. Most of them are the same basic questions I have tried to address here, but they include:
o What expectations does the potential apprentice have for an apprentice relationship?
o How much time does the apprentice hope to spend with the laurel, both events and non-events?
o How often does the apprentice hope to see the laurel at events? How many events a year?
o What does the apprentice want to get out of the relationship?
o What does the apprentice think the laurel will contribute?
o What will the apprentice think he/she will contribute?
o What are the potential apprentices hopes, goals, and objectives?
o Why does the apprentice think that this laurel is the best laurel to apprentice to?
o What teaching style does the potential apprentice prefer? Specifically assigned projects or meandering through the craft and merely coming back from time to time for comments on the latest project? Is this preference OK with the laurel?
What about the
"apprenticing " ceremony? A ceremony is an item
that differs from kingdom to kingdom, and even from peer to peer within a given
kingdom. Some people like to take apprentices in court. I am not a big fan of
taking apprentices in the middle of court. I don 't think it is
court business, and there is no requirement for the Crowns to be there.
Becoming an apprentice is not an award, nor is it a title and so it doesn 't belong in court. If there is some other
particular reason to do it in court...then I don 't have a real
problem with it, but I prefer it to be the exception rather than the rule. An
example might be if the person just won the Kingdom A&S competition or was
awarded a the kingdom A&S award and it will significantly add to the
apprentice 's glory to do it in Court, then fine.
Some people expect oaths and ceremonies, some
't. I myself would prefer oaths, because the
relationship acts as a "training fealty . " The student lives in a fealty relationship
and then when he
or she becomes a peer the oath to the crown is something that is understood and
can be dealt with in many different situations. There is usually ceremony at
the beginning (the apprenticing), but it may be rare after that. Many people
like a very low
key, informal, personal relationship. Some laurels, like Master Wiglaf, like
to give their apprentices presents from time to time, since this is a form of
ceremony and is very period for him.
My own personal feeling (and desire) is that the apprenticing ceremony should last about 10 or 15 minutes, and I think that is too much time to take in court. If you do it shorter out of court, then it may lose some of the impact and meaning for the person entering the apprenticeship.
My own personal thoughts on specifics for a ceremony...
Appropriate medieval location, i.e. a pavilion with candles, tapestries, etc or some nice secluded grove in the woods or other similarly appropriate setting
Some discussion by the laurel about being a laurel/peer, including not being perfect, not knowing everything, and continuing to study, learn, and grow.
Some discussion by the laurel about being an apprentice and the requirements of apprenticeship including diligent work, study and research; attempts to be medieval whenever possible; honest and frank discussion that may involve pointing out weakness or shortcomings in the laurel as well as shortcomings or weaknesses in the apprentice; aspects and meaning of fealty relationship
Does the person agree to all this and intend to live up to this?
Does the person have any other ties to be released before entering into this?
Oaths of fealty
Presentation of belt and other symbols of the relationship; i.e. household garb, cloaks, hats, etc
Speech by laurel (to
those watching) about all the credit/glory/praise going directly to the
apprentice and all problems/issues/shortcomings being directed to laurel,
because it is the laurel
's failure to provide adequate instruction,
guidance, and example.
Presentation of apprentice to remainder of household and to audience
I think that too many things in the above
ceremony have to be removed
if you want to do it in court. This would not have the same impact as a
special ceremony out of court. By having an appropriate location, set up and
ready, it emphasizes to the candidate how important and special this is. If
you, the laurel, have
taken time to set things up special, then it must be important. (Anybody can
take a belt with them to court.) By taking time to discuss peerage aspects and
then important apprentice aspects, it reinforces the expectations,
responsibilities, and seriousness
of becoming an apprentice. By not rushing things, and taking time to explain
that all problems are the laurel
's fault, it adds a very personal grandeur to
the relationship and the ceremony.
Many people want to invite certain
individuals. If you regard
this as a legal contract, then you may want to have a certain number of
witnesses. (Check period law for specific examples.) An important person in
the ceremony, for me is my lady, as well as my apprentice
's lady. My lady is an important part of the household, and
apprentices need to understand their relationship to her as well. (they need
to follow her wishes as well as mine). I certainly would not take an
apprentice that my lady did not approve of. I would have all of my other
for I am adding a brother to their family and they need to witness it. I would
invite the Crown 's, especially the Queen. She is supposed to
foster the Arts and Sciences within the kingdom, and she may want to be a
If my laurel and knight were present, that is great because I am
expanding the family. I would also invite other friends and
"family ". Many of my friends and former teachers may
also be helping me teach my apprentice. I would send my apprentice to Mistress
Oriane to learn
how to do detailed painting and calligraphy. Master Wiglaf can teach him much
about peerage qualities and critical thinking. Master Dafydd can teach about
creating medieval objects and good methods of maintaining a project diary and
I normally wouldn 't invite people from my local group or the
general populace. One or two might show up, and I wouldn 't throw them out, but I don 't see any reason why they should be there.
The apprentice-to-be might also invite some of his friends though, and this is
fine. He can invite pretty much whoever he wants, within reason.
The oaths are pretty much a personal
preference. I think it is appropriate to have the apprentice kneel at the
's feet, and offers up his folded hands. (Note
gesture, that of prayer, belonged to fealty FIRST. People praying held their
arms out, making a cross, throughout the first millennium. Our prayer-gesture
comes from fealty-with our hands, we are offering service to God. --Thanks,
Wiglaf for that info!)
The laurel places his hands over the apprentice 's and they say their oaths. I 'd rather use hands for apprenticing, although
if an apprentice wanted to use some other symbol (the end of my laurel belt, or
a cross) I 'd let him place him use it.
The apprentice stands and my lady girds the
belt on my apprentice. Other symbols of household membership should use (and
include) the apprentice
's lady, as they are normally now both
associated with the household. Some discussion about the meaning of all the activity of the
apprentice and the apprentice is presented to the witnesses.
Some students/apprentices want a very formal
arrangement, which includes a formal apprenticeship ceremony and contract, as
well as set assignments, at least at first. They
want the discipline one gets from a teacher. They like a formal belt ceremony
and the giving of gifts to their laurel, because they feel it is an outward
manifestation of the commitment they feel in their heart. That
Õs cool, because receiving a belt and giving
gifts ARE outward, visible signs (in front of witnesses), that the apprentice
is putting his money where his mouth is, and has decided he is willing to go
through the journey of self-discovery and self-improvement (regardless of
whether or not that journey results in peerage).
What effect does the type of ceremony have on
the relationship that will grow thereafter? I think it has a
significant impact. A friend of mine, Master Wiglaf, doesn
't think it has a huge effect. He does admit there is some impact.
If you start off with a solemn, pleasant ceremony, both of you are reminded
that this is at times serious. If you just have a big party and everyone gets
really loaded, then what kind of standard have you set? I would see the relationship that develops
from the oaths and the ceremony as the most important factor, not the ceremony
Are there specific items that laurels and
their apprentices should talk about after the relationship is formal or official? Beyond the obvious
ÒYes, laurels and their apprentices should talk
about all aspects of being a peer, doing their art, virtues and vices, etc. Ó, are the often forgotten or not-thought-about
things. I think that perhaps the biggest item that often gets neglected (in all peer/student
relationships) is finding out what are the student Õs hopes, desires, and expectations for their
peerage ceremony. This conversation should probably not take place until the
end of the first 12 months or so of
the relationship. Having this conversation fairly early in the relationship
(and continuing to re-visit the topic every year or so) does several things.
First, it makes known whether or not the apprentice wants to be surprised
whenever the decision is made
to elevate them. Second, this information can be discovered long before the
elevation is even considered and it eliminates the laurel circle trying to
sneak around to find out if the candidate wants a vigil, who else should know
so they can be there,
etc. It can be a big tip-off if suddenly out of the blue, after 4 or 5 years,
conversations about laurelling ceremonies suddenly spring up. Good pieces of
information to know (and discuss) are:
Do they want to be surprised when called into court for the ceremony? Some kingdoms like to surprise the person when they are put on vigil, but then not do the actual elevation ceremony until some later event. This allows the candidate to invite out-of-town or out-of-kingdom friends and family, make special garb, etc. Other kingdoms like to sneak around making all the arrangements beforehand, and then surprise the person, put them on vigil and then elevate them at the same event. There are lots of different ways to do it, but some discussion about all the options will only improve the final outcome.
Does the student have particular thoughts/preferences about what they would like for their vigil? Some people prefer to be in a nice tent outside, some prefer a cozy room inside, some want an all-night vigil. Other option are being to led a vigil directly from court versus being placed on vigil by the Crown on Friday evening with only a small ceremony with those available.
Are there certain items that will add special symbolism and meaning to either the vigil or the elevation? Some would like a place to pray, some want a pitcher of water to wash their face and hands, while others merely prefer that those coming to visit them on vigil have a drink and snack available to them. Some want a hard firm chair with little comfort, while others prefer a little more comfort.
Who should make corrections for things an
apprentice does wrong? I like to make the corrections myself.
While there are times that it is unrealistic to think that only I should
address problems with my apprentices, it is important for me to always know
about the issue/concern. Some friends believe that if one of their apprentices
says something that gets around to other laurels who have a problem with
it...they (the other laurels) should go ahead and tell the apprentice that they
't like what the apprentice said. BUT...they
should also tell the laurel. Mistress Siobhan wants to be copied prominently
on the email sent to any of her apprentices. She wants her apprentices to know
(1) that she has spies everywhere and (2) what an apprentice says can and will be their
responsibility to uphold and defend, or to retract and apologize for.
Very few laurels feel that anyone would be
interfering in a peer/apprentice relationship if you tell an apprentice that
"did a good job " or they "screwed up ". Part of becoming a peer/better person is to
be held accountable for your actions...good or bad. However most laurels
absolutely want to know about things their apprentice Òscrewed up Ó. I take the view that any problems/issues/shortcomings of my
apprentices are the result of my failure to provide adequate instruction,
guidance, and example. For me this is very important and so I get very
maniacal about knowing.
Hopefully, apprentices will someday be peers
in their own right and
will have to defend themselves and their occasional unpopular stances against
their peers. It does not necessarily have to wait until the time they are
peers. I think it is a good thing to let them get used to being held
responsible for their words and
actions NOW, but I also want to know. How an apprentice handles reprimands
from either me (their laurel) or from other peers is going to tell me a lot
about the character of that apprentice. This personal accountability provides
the opportunity to find
out how they handle some
"heat " if they say something that warrants a
reprimand or correction or whatever.
But...as in any critical situation, if I can
find something positive to say about the person too, it makes the correction
much more constructive.
's the WORDS or the BEHAVIOR you may object to,
not the person themselves.
Mistress Siobhan has extended what she
laughingly refers to as
"reciprocal beating rights " of her apprentices to several of her cousins
(peers) whom she feels would
be good role models and mentors for her apprentices. Those peers have the
rights and responsibility to either praise or correct any of her apprentices
who either do something noteworthy or manage to screw up publicly. Siobhan
tries to choose those people
who will help guide her apprentices in a positive and constructive fashion, who
embody the peerlike virtues in a positive fashion, and try to live them within
and without the SCA. The only thing she asks of them is to let her know if they
either praise or
criticize her apprentices, so she is aware and can either enhance the praise,
or help the apprentice understand why whatever they did ticked people off.
I feel that personal accountability is an
excellent method of teaching apprentices what it means to be a peer. The reason is that when you
are not a peer, you can generally make comments that are
"anonymous ", but once you become a peer...you 're in a public light and everything you say
and do is subject to scrutiny. It 's part and parcel of peerage, and KNOWING that
can often keep you from shooting off your mouth before you 've engaged your higher mental functions first.
How do you (gracefully) get out of a
Òbad Ó relationship, or end one that is not working
out? This is probably the
most difficult to talk about because it usually depends on exactly why things
are not working out. Often there are Òfailures Ó due to long distance (and subsequent lack of
communication and interaction), failures because the laurel has become inactive or
dropped out, and sometimes because the personalities (or core values) simply
clash. The last is truly the most difficult. In all situations, simple
objective honesty is the best start. If you can avoid casting Òblame Ó or Òfault Ó it can usually be done with no hurt feelings.
It is important to be able to look someone in the eye (unless doing it on the
phone) and say ÒI appreciate all you have taught me and the
time you have shared with me. However, due to XXX (distance, my personal
learning style, my activity level, my values, etc.) I feel that we would be
better simply being friends and ending our formal relationship. Ó Words along these lines are not accusatory,
nor are they blaming, but simply an objective statement. If the two can part
with no hard feelings, they can both continue to grow and have fun in the
Conclusion. The only real advice I have for someone who wants to be an apprentice is to start asking questions. Any peer who becomes offended because you started asking questions is probably not worth talking to. Most peers, especially laurels, love to talk about their art. The society is about having fun and learning. Even laurels want to have fun, and sharing their fun (the joy they get from their art) can really make it that much more fun for them and those around them.
If you have specific
comments about any part of this document, please let me know. Although I had been a laurel
over 4 years when I wrote this, there are many other perspectives and points of
view that are valuable. I may or may not know them, but may simply be focusing
in another direction and not thinking about that particular item. Comments can always be sent to
terafan at greydragon.org or just find me at
some event and chat with me.
APPENDIX I: CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
First, credit goes to
Wiglaf Wilfriding, KSCA, OL, who was a major part of the genesis for this
"peer document " I used heavily, who came up with the "international standard " definition, and some of the specific thoughts are his.
'Avallon, OL, the person who gets me to
volunteer to do more work than any other single person. Her encouragement,
attention to detail, and willingness to point out my shortcomings, are
provided an alternate viewpoint to apprenticeship being fealty based. She also
helped me with much of the information on who should make corrections when an
apprentice does something wrong, and her philosophy of "reciprocal beating rights. "
APPENDIX II: DOCUMENT HISTORY
1.0 [4/00] Some basic thoughts (questions and
answers) flung down on paper in response to Oriane
Õs initial request for something in writing.
1.1 [12/00] First draft improved with additional information, including an introduction, conclusion, and the sections on correcting apprentices, and things to talk about before and after the relationship is formal. Handed out to various peers for comments and reactions.
1.2 [2/01] A reorganization of the topics so they are in a logical sequence and a clarification of students. Sections added on getting out of a bad relationship, long distance apprentices.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE This document was
written by Rhys Terafan Greydragon, known outside the SCA as Peter C Barclay.
It is copyright
(c) 2000. You have permission to make copies for personal use and to
distribute it as you wish (that means, give it to your friends), but only if it
remains complete and entire (don ' t chop it up and send
parts of it around). It is free and you may
not charge money for it.