2. I will maintain simplicity in my possessions.
As part of communal monastic living, nearly all possessions will be held in common. Emphasis is placed on keeping the communally held possessions to what is useful, what is necessary, and what does not harm the Earth. Every tool, building, and other item should be selected with this criteria in mind. As a prime example of the priorities of physical objects, it is far more appropriate to acquire a good used item than to buy a new one, as this recycles something that might otherwise have been wasted, and does not contribute to consumer culture.
Waste is a sin, or as close to sin as we get in our cosmology. At the very least, it is harmful in the long run. Recycling, on the other hand, helps to prevent waste. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the House to do as much recycling as possible, and this means buying secondhand, trashpicking, checking yard sales, and generally only buying new when secondhand absolutely will not do. (For example, replacing parts on a repair job might require buying new, or an item where wear is a hazard.) As a House should also be functioning on a limited budget, this also helps to keep costs down.
Maintaining simplicity in one's possessions means that one should not have things just for the sake of having them. Everything in the House should have a specific purpose. Being a source of beauty can be a good purpose, especially if that beauty is spiritual in nature, and can serve as a focus of meditation. However, things that serve no purpose should find a new home.
There is a difference, however, in "owning" something and "holding" it for a potential new owner. Sometimes the House may come across something that is not useful to them, but may be useful to someone else. It is perfectly acceptable to "hold" that item, put the word out that it is free for the taking, and let the Gods send its proper owner around. Ideally, each House would have a room dedicated to being a free store for outsiders, where clothing and other items that are in decent condition, but inappropriate for House use, are kept for perusal. Sometimes it may take years for the proper owner to come around; the House should make its own judgments on how long to hold something, and how many things to hold.
When a new person joins the House as a Branch member, they should bring no more than the following:
A) A few sets of clothing that are acceptable in style (see below).
B) A dowry for the House, which will be supporting them for a period of time, whether a month or the rest of their lives. This can be cash, but it would probably be more appropriate to pay it in actual objects that the House needs. The House should have a list of needed items so that entering Branch members can select from it.
C) Only as many personal items as can fit in a box that is 2' square. Every one of these items should be either useful, necessary, or meaningful in some way. An example of the first category might be an alarm clock. An example of the second might be the lens cleaner for your glasses. An example of the third might be a photo of your loved ones. All non-useful personal items should be a reminder of some important thing, and there should not be too many of them. The House reserves the right to inspect each new member's belongings and take into communal use anything that they feel would be better served there. The member does not get their item back should they decide to leave.
The House should provide a room, clothing, basic furniture, food, and simple personal necessities. Members of the Order should not need more than these basic items. Possessions should not be used as security blankets; although one can keep the photograph of one's beloved friends or relatives, one should make an effort not to be so attached to it that its potential loss is devastating. While a member, one should not purchase unnecessary items for personal use, although accepting gifts from loved ones is allowed, and better at any rate, as then the item becomes a reminder of something besides mere vanity.
While in the Order, you will not need a car. If you own a car, you may either give it away, lend it to a friend for the duration of your stay (or garage it with someone), or give it to the Order, in which case you must realize that they may choose to sell it. You will not have use of it as a personal vehicle for the length of your tenure.
This monastic order will not have uniforms. There are several reasons for this. The first is that our society has no cultural context for pagan monastics, and they will not recognize us by our trailing green robes. Second, to dress too strangely sets one apart and attracts attention, which is not something we are striving for. Third, to create a uniform that is the same for everyone would require making or buying new ones all the time, and prevent an excellent chance for recycling.
Clothing in the Order should be practical, durable, comfortable, and very plain. It should not be designed to display one's physical attributes, and that may include modest but very feminine clothing which advertises that the individual is a certain kind of attractive female. There is no restriction on color or fabric, but it should not call attention to oneself. All external clothing should be either handmade or secondhand, as it is better to recycle existing clothing than to buy more. Exceptions can be made for underwear and socks, which are difficult to get secondhand in any decent condition. Handmade clothing can be made from bought material, but it is better if it is recycled from existing clothing.
If one comes to the House with no acceptable garb, the House will provide it, although if one can sew, one may be required to make much of it. Those who come with already acceptable clothing will be allowed to keep it. Clothing choice should be based on practical wear rather than vanity at all times. This does not mean that one ought to wear ill-fitting or ragged clothing; one's garb should be comfortable enough so as not to interfere with daily work, and durable enough to provide protection from the elements.
While a member of the Order, one will not be allowed the use of personal money. Since the Order is not sponsored by any large centralized religious organization (and is unlikely ever to be), some members will likely have to work outside the House. (See Principle #6 for a discussion of appropriate work.) All money earned by anyone during this time will be turned over in full to the House. Decisions as to how it is spent will be decided communally by the Root members, but the House Mama or Papa has final veto. The House will provide room, board, and medical care, including group insurance if necessary. If one's medical needs are too great for the House to afford, then one may be required either to take an outside job with better insurance, or if one is too disabled to work, to go on disability and acquire Medicare or Medicaid or some equivalent.
When one enters the Order as a Branch member with no money or worldly goods in the outside world, a small amount of money will be set aside for you. Should you choose to leave, you will be given it as a gift to see you on your way. (Bank statements will be required for proof upon entry.) Should you have money saved in the outside world, you will be required to place it in some account that cannot be touched by you until you leave the Order or take vows as a Root member. If you leave, it is yours to use. If you take vows as a Root member, the money must be given away, either to loved ones or to charity. The sole exception is if the money is saved for your own medical care as an elder, in which case it must be placed into an outside trust that will pay directly to hospitals or medical practitioners when the time comes. At no time should you be able to access it yourself, nor should the House demand it as any kind of payment. The dowry you provide at the beginning should be enough. It should go without saying that the size of the dowry should be the choice of the applying new member, and should reflect their monetary status; if they are penniless and can only provide a few pieces of used Tupperware and an old pot, the House should be grateful for their presence and energy.
If a Branch member enters the House with outstanding debt, they must have saved enough money to cover payments during the time that they will be staying in the House. They must not assume that they will be able to hold their existing job, or get another one that will pay their bills. If the money runs out and they wish to stay longer, they must leave the House and take care of the situation. They may live as a lay member during that time, but they must not inflict their previous debt onto the House. Before taking vows as a Root member, all outside debts must be cleared up, as part of tying up all loose ends of one's previous life.
If a member incurs debt while staying at the House, through accident or otherwise, the House shall cover the debt to the best of their ability, but the member may be required to work at an outside job and put all income toward paying it off, or they may be required to do a great deal of the menial work for the House's earning projects. The severity of the sentence will depend on whether the debt was incurred purely accidentally (the car skidded on a dangerous icy road and plowed into someone's mailbox) or through carelessness (you got a speeding ticket for doing 80 in a 55 MPH zone).
If you are a lay member, look through your possessions and cut them down based on what you need and what you don't. Don't go into debt if you can help it. Pay off your debts if possible. Learn to live on a smaller, lighter budget, with fewer possessions. Do not, however, impose this lifestyle nonconsensually on your dependents or housemates. If it cannot be taken with a whole heart, it is useless.
[Order of the Horae]