Because our creed is “Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted,” chapters may form themselves as their own unique creations within the most basic of guidelines. Open source chapters work just like open-source computer software. Open source software allows individuals and groups to revise, edit, modify, collaborate on improvements, and create supplemental content and add-ons, so long as basic functions are performed and copyrights and licensing are honored, permission is obtained for distribution, and the original creator is credited. In many cases, users may resell the modified software so long as certain conditions are met.
What this means for OSC is that it is permissible for chapters to take the basic model, manual, and other source materials from OSC and modify them to create their own unique group which remains affiliated with OSC Chapter One and other OSC chapters nationally and perhaps eventually worldwide. We ask that the Order of the Stone Circle be credited as the original source of materials and that chapters obtain “permission” to use our name and materials in the form of an official charter. Reasonable dues may be imposed on chapters and members by OSC Chapter One, but individual chapters may also choose to charge local dues or not as they see fit. Minimal guidelines are set for chapters to ensure they meet with the intent and functionality envisioned for individual chapters and OSC as a whole.
There are several advantages to this model compared to others. Many large organizations, fraternities, and mystical schools require new and existing chapters to conform to a larger set of dogma and to mold themselves within a specific structure, but with the Open Source Chapter model you can create something unique to yourself and your chapter members. Many smaller groups form themselves as unique, but they lack affiliation with other chapters and lack the resources, support, networking opportunities, and continuity that belonging to a national group can offer. Since we offer manuals and other resources that you can modify to meet your unique needs and goals, there’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel. Because OSC merges several traditions and paths, as well as our primary tradition in fraternal revivalist Druidry, your chapter has the opportunity to be included in the continuity of traditions from original sources and to confer with others who follow these paths and have their own experience, training, and credentials within these paths.
Another advantage to Open Source Chapters is that it is permissible for there to be more than one chapter in any given area with their own unique flavors. So if there’s an existing chapter in your area, but you want to do something different then feel free to go for it.
There is no official hierarchy among chapters. All chapters are considered equal and independent, though symbiotically affiliated to the Order of the Stone Circle at large. OSC Chapter One serves to manage the logistics of the Order as a whole and serves a central and leading role for the Order, but is neither higher nor lower than any other chapter in our network.
Chapters / Groves:
Traditionally chapters, also known as groves, of the Order of the Stone Circle and its predecessor United Ancient Order of Druids were formed as separate men’s and women’s groups. The UAOD had men’s fraternal lodges and women’s auxiliaries. OSC originally met as a men’s fraternal brotherhood, but eventually opened up the way for sisterhoods to form. There is precedent for this among the ancient druids as men and women were trained in separate gender specific schools and orders.
Given our Open Source Chapter model, there is much flexibility in the types of chapters that can be formed. For those who wish to keep to traditional models or those who wish to focus on gender specific mysteries, brotherhoods and sisterhoods are valid options. For those who wish for inclusive mixed chapters, this is also valid. For those wishing a smaller, more focused group, triads of three are valid.
Below are the types of chapters / groves that the Order of the Stone Circle open source chapter system supports:
- Brotherhoods – Chapters consisting exclusively of men.
- Sisterhoods – Chapters consisting exclusively of women.
- Coed Chapters – Chapters consisting of both men and women.
- Triads – A group consisting exclusively of three people of either or both genders.
- Individual Members – Solitary members either through choice or because there is no appropriate chapter existing in their area.