11. I will maintain loyalty to the endurance of my Order.
When you join the Order, you are entering a community that will be the equivalent of your family and friends for whatever period of time you remain in it. You will be living in close quarters with these people, working chores side by side, getting up together and going to bed together, doing daily ritual and worship together, and seeing the same faces day after day. Sometimes it can become wearing, and friction may arise. The elders of the House, and the House Mama or Papa, have the job of mediating such issues when they inevitably erupt due to personality clashes.
No matter what the internal issues of the House, however, the Order and its branches must survive. If someone is called to leave a House, that is their choice, but the House itself must not be allowed to break up due to explosive confrontations that do more harm than good. When Branch and Root members take a vow to maintain loyalty to the endurance of the Order, what it means is this: You must put the survival of the Order as a whole before your personal issues. If you feel that you cannot stay in a particular House, could you move to another one? Could you hive off and form your own? Is there a way that you can get what you want without wrecking the energy of the House? Can you speak with clarity and still respect your fellow brothers and sisters? Is your pain perhaps getting the better of you to the point where your ability to be rational about the situation is severely compromised?
As with many of the principles, this requires a fine and delicate balancing act. On the one hand, people do make mistakes and have interpersonal problems, and sometimes they are even unfair. This includes the Mama or Papa of the House. No one is perfect, and sometimes they need to be reminded of that. There is no reason to sit still while an injustice is done to you. On the other hand, it is worth the time to make sure that one's motives are also just. Gossip, for example, should be forced through that small third door of communications: Is it kind? Additionally, is it going to create rifts in the community? If it still needs to be said, do you have a safety net ready to collect the flying pieces, or do you simply intend to drop a bomb and walk away cackling?
Each individual will come to a personal understanding of how they intend to commit to the continued existence of the Order. Sometimes those motivations will conflict with each other. Group communication is imperative; general silence all around while things brew resentfully under the surface is a sure way to kill a House. On the other hand, it is worthwhile to be courteous to one's brothers and sisters, even when bringing up difficult things.
Sometimes loyalty to the Order's existence means that one must leave that particular House and go elsewhere, or that in extreme cases, someone must be cast out if they are unrepentantly disruptive, and their disruptions are not aiding the community in any way. The Root members of the House will vote on this matter, although the House Mama or Papa has a strong influence. Care should be taken not to scapegoat a single member who is pointing out uncomfortable areas of denial, in order to stay mired for a little longer. Any member who thinks that this is the case may, of course, appeal to the Gods for a karma dose for the House. The Gods always listen, and Justice is there for the calling.
When two or more members have disagreements with each other, mediation and discussion should be done with the overarching needs of the House in mind. In other words, they should approach the issue as a team problem to be solved, not a confrontation between good and evil. Ideally, they should come to the table with a variety of possible compromises already in hand. This kind of negotiation is not taught in our schools, so many must learn it the hard way while in the Order, and learn not to see every internecine conflict as a clash of the Titans.
Sometimes, maintaining the continuance of the Order may mean enduring hardship together, especially if there is financial difficulties. Sacrifices may be necessary, especially when the only decision is to either compromise the Rules or go without money. It is especially important at these times to support each other emotionally, and keep everyone remembering that they are all in it together, as a team effort, and that this hard period shall pass away eventually.
As a lay member, the best way that you can contribute to the survival of the Order is to keep in touch with Branch and Root members, and help them to keep remembering that there is a world beyond their boundaries that is as important as their own. The denizens of a House can get a bit claustrophobic, and a lay member's periodic presence helps to bring a breath of fresh air into their world. Just being present, and striving with what you can of the Rules, and communicating honestly about what you see, and bringing an outsider's perspective, is the best gift that you can give.
[Order of the Horae]