by Kay Elam, Sigma Delta (Huntingdon College), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
Several times a year, the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) gets an e-mail or call from a frantic member telling us our Ritual has been discovered online. If from a collegian, often the whole chapter is aware and upset, and they are looking for guidance on how to handle the situation.
RT&J is always grateful to receive such communications because it demonstrates how important maintaining the secrecy of our Ritual is to our initiated members.
When initiated into Alpha Omicron Pi, the candidate promises to keep secret all parts of Ritual. This is reinforced frequently for our members when reciting our pledge.
Why then do we sometimes find the “secrets” of our Ritual online?
My best explanation for this is not all members “get” our Ritual, for if they did, they’d never consider revealing it.
Our Founders were adamant that we let each member interpret for herself Ritual’s meaning. That’s part of its beauty.
While each of us may have our own interpretation, the mechanics, and logistics don’t change, nor do the words spoken. And, this is where it gets interesting. I’ve yet to see one of these online postings that is completely correct or, more importantly, captured the spirit of our Ritual. Perhaps that’s because part of our Ritual’s significance is in performing/sharing it with our sisters and developing our own interpretations of it.
So, why don’t we do something about these online posts? Why don’t we insist they be removed from the Internet?
While the Fraternity is well aware of these sites, we’ve had little success in removing the posts, even with threats of copyright violation.
Why? What is the motivation to keep this (mis)information posted?
We’ve discovered clicking on the link drives more traffic to the web page, thus incentivizing such sites to keep the information online due to the ad revenue from the page. Therefore, we encourage members not to go to these sites because we don’t want the web pages to have more views.
However, should a member find herself on such a site, we strongly suggest she refrain from responding to the posts as that may legitimize it to others. All and all, it is best (though extremely difficult) to just ignore these types of postings.
Almost all of the reports RT&J has received in recent years about information regarding our Ritual being online stem from a particular (incorrect) post from several years ago. Even so, RT&J does appreciate being informed of any information about our Ritual that appears online so we can take any appropriate action.
Remember, we carry Ritual in our hearts. We share it with our sisters. Nothing found outside our Rituals Book could ever adequately capture its spirit or meaning. Thus, anything found online should be ignored and categized as insignificant.
Happy New Year!