My name is Cynehild Cynesigesdohtor, I was elevated to the Order of the Pelican by Their Occidental Majesties Marc and Patricia in July 2011 and to the Order of the Laurel by Their Occidental Majesties Uther and Kara in January 2012. The purpose of this essay is to (attempt to) demystify what happens during meetings of the Order of the Pelican and Laurel in general, rather than specific, terms. Obviously, I won’t get into the details on individual candidates.
First, this is one peer’s comments/opinions, mine. If something upsets you, please contact me and we can talk about it. Second, I live in Oertha and so that’s where the majority of the meetings I attend are. Meetings in Oertha and Central are typically the same, but I don’t want to speak for meetings I haven’t attended. Last, but not least, obviously this only applies to Pelican and Laurel meetings, I’ve never been to Chiv or Defense meetings (though I’m told the Chivalry have scotch)!
Questions or concerns can be sent to me at the email address at the end of this essay type object.
So, what actually happens at an Order meeting?!
Generally, the meeting goes like this:
- The Order Clerk, an individual Order’s secretary, checks in with Their Majesties on who will chair things (the Crown or the Clerk). In Oertha, if the Crown is absent, Council meetings are sometimes held under the auspices of the Coronets of Oertha as representatives of the Crown.
- The Chair starts at the top of the List and identifies each candidate, giving those in attendance the opportunity to indicate by hand signs whether they recommend holding (a hand held flat, palm down), discuss for elevation (thumbs up), discuss for dropping (thumbs down), or that they don’t know who the candidate is (the moose sign/deer in the headlights sign [hands held next to the head like moose antlers, the gods alone know why we do this]). If sufficient thumbs up/down are raised (or if someone indicates specifically that they’d like a discussion) the Clerk makes a note.
- After the Council has gone through the entire List, the Clerk goes down the list of candidates the Council wants to discuss in depth and we get down to brass tacks. Discussions about individuals will try to use “the candidate” rather than names to avoid passers-by over-hearing things and focus on the candidate’s body of work and Peer-like Qualities (PLQs) (and occasionally what we all ate for breakfast, we’re not perfect). After the discussion has reached its natural conclusion (or when the Crown feels it has heard enough), the Crown will poll the Council again looking for consensus on a recommendation.
- What does dropping mean? Almost always, if a candidate is dropped, they are dropped without prejudice. Usually, this is because the Crown, as advised by the Council, thinks it will be longer than two years until the Candidate is ready to be elevated. Rarely, a Candidate is dropped with prejudice. This happens when a Candidate has done something serious (for example, something that would involve modern legal issues) that would prevent them from being considered. If a candidate is dropped with prejudice, whatever caused the drop will need to be resolved before the Council considers re-adding them.
- In the West, the Crown has the final say. They take advice from the Council in the form of order meetings, but the decision belongs to Them alone. If the Crown decides to elevate a Candidate, they will typically inform the Council of Their decision at the meeting, or at least let the Council know which way they’re leaning. Sometimes, the Crown will want to gather additional information before making a final call and will notify the Council after the meeting.
- After the pollings are complete, the chair will call for new additions to the List. Any suggested names are usually followed by a brief discussion and either added or not.
- The final item of business is words from the Crown. This can be a quick thank you, or a discussion of some issue impacting the whole order.
- After the Crown says the meeting is over, the Clerk will lead the order in “Long Live the King” and “Long Live the Queen” (in Council meetings held in Oertha, the Coronets of Oertha may be present and so this is followed by “Long Live the Prince” and “Long Live the Princess”) and the Council disperses.
Can you tell me more about how discussions work?
No, but not because it’s a secret, because the discussions are different every time. We try to keep the discussion to the candidate’s body of work and PLQs, but we’re only human and sometimes we get distracted. Want to know what we’re looking for? Aside from what’s in Corpora, it really depends on the Peer. You can find my thoughts on criteria for admittance here (Pelican) and here (Laurel).
What is this “List” you keep talking about?
The List is the list of Candidates who the Council believes is roughly two years out from elevation. HOWEVER, the List is 1) not hard and fast, 2) not a static thing, 3) not the be all and end all. Why do we use a list if we’re not tied to it? Humans like organizing things. The List helps us order our universe and keep track of potential new peers. Being on the List doesn’t mean that a person will definitely be elevated in two years’ time and not being on the List doesn’t mean they won’t. It’s a guide, not a rule or requirement.
Here’s what the Laurel List looks like (the Pelican List is similar, with some small differences):
Believe that someone should be considered for a Peerage? Please write us a letter. You can use the award recommendation form here:
The more specific you are the better. Note, other than acknowledging that the Council has received your suggestions we cannot discuss what happened in the meeting.
You can also email the order Clerks directly at:
A brief aside on electronic polling.
In recent years, the Kingdom of the West has added electronic polling to augment in-person meetings. Electronic polling uses Google Classrooms to provide a venue for online discussions. Individual Candidates on the List are given classrooms that are used to collect comments and information on their body of work and PLQs, these are then copied onto the physical copy of the List provided at in-person meetings. Pre-polling (held before Crown events) is used to speed up the meeting process. An important note: Online polling does not take the place of in-person meetings. Any decisions about elevations or drops are done only in Council, never online.
Someone told me I’m on the List, what does this mean? Who can I ask about it?
This is tricky because we try very hard to avoid letting folks know if they’re on the List (it adds pressure that no one wants, I promise, I’ve been there). I understand that knowing you’re on the List can cause feelings of excitement and anticipation, or anxiety and stress. If you want to talk to someone about whether or not you’re on the List, I would encourage you to talk to someone you know well who’s on the Council. Don’t know anyone? Feel free to drop me a line, I’m nice (unless I’m sleep deprived and without my coffee, then I can be a bit brusque). PLEASE NOTE: I won’t confirm if you’re on the List or not, and I highly doubt anyone else will either. However, I/we will listen to your concerns and can talk to you about any feedback the Council might have or we might have as individuals. Some Council members are also willing to discuss you as a potential candidate. I’m not as good at this kind of theoretical, so I can’t volunteer myself for this.
I heard the Council said X about Y and that upset me.
I’m sorry. The Council is made up of fallible human beings and we’re as prone to putting our collective foot in our collective mouth as anyone. If I have said something that upset you, please come talk to me about it. If you’ve heard I said something about you, please come talk to me about it. I may act like I’m full of piss and vinegar, but I promise, it’s all an act.
The flip side of this is the rumor mill. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, stories get started and people are hurt. Before passing something you heard on, consider that what you heard may be missing the context or other important information. We all want to be in the know, but sometimes it’s best to just let things go.
If you have serious concerns about something you heard the Council said, talk to the Clerk or another Council member. Don’t know who the Clerks are? As of March 2019, they are: Francisco de Salamanca (Pelican), Caitríona inghean ui Chionaodha (Pelican Deputy for Oertha), Theodora Groves (Laurel), Cynehild (Me, Laurel Deputy for Oertha), Brion of Bellatrix (Chivalry), Verica of Lighthaven (Chivalry Deputy for Oertha), Staffan Arffuidsson (Defence), and Sorcha Careman (Defence Deputy for Oertha). The Clerks are best reached by email at:
I have other questions about meetings or just want to talk.
Thank you to the kind individuals who helped me with editing this document, Mistresses Else, Brid, Tullia, Donata, and Chani, and Sir Dirk.