the (Annotated) Oath of the Renunciates

From this day forth, I renounce the right to marry save as a freemate. No man shall bind me di catenas and I will dwell in no man’s household as a barragana.

(Simple enough. To be bound di catenas is a specifically Darkovan marriage that can’t be undone, and I’m definitely never becoming anyone’s mistress.)

I swear that I am prepared to defend myself by force if I am attacked by force, and that I shall turn to no man for protection.

(I have always read this as “I’m going to be prepared, all right, and whoever I turn to, I turn to that person regardless of gender.)

From this day forth I swear I shall never again be known by the name of any man, be he father, guardian, lover or husband, but simply and solely as the daughter of my mother.

(Trickier to uphold in real life, and in any event the structure of the name wouldn’t be “X daughter of Y.” There is no such construction. Instead, let it be my goal to choose something that honors my mothers’ contribution.)

From this day forth I swear I will bear no child to any man save for my own pleasure and at my own time and choice; I will bear no child to any man for house or heritage, clan or inheritance, pride or prosperity; I swear that I alone will determine the rearing and fosterage of any child I bear, without regard to any man’s place, position or pride.

(Well. Pregnancy isn’t an option, so this is the easiest part of the Oath. I will happily refrain from bearing a child for anyone else’s sake.)

From this day forth I renounce allegiance to any family, clan, household, warden or liege lord, and take oath that I owe allegiance only to the laws of the land as a free citizen must; to the kingdom, the crown and the Gods.

(I may not owe allegiance as others demand it — I do give it freely. I am still allowed to swear fealty if I’m ever called to do so; the United States isn’t going to ask that of me, but Æthelmearc might in time! I hope!)

I shall appeal to no man as of right, for protection, support or succor: but shall owe allegiance only to my oath-mother, to my sisters in the Guild and to my employer for the season of my employment. And I further swear that the members of the Guild of Free Amazons shall be to me, each and every one, as my mother, my sister or my daughter, born of one blood with me, and that no woman sealed by oath to the Guild shall appeal to me in vain.

(I will point out that I have exactly one other Guild-sister. But she’ll never find me wanting in this regard. When it comes to the gendering: again, I read it as “don’t turn to a man because he’s a man; turn to him because he’s your fellow mensch”.)

From this moment, I swear to obey all the laws of the Guild of Free Amazons and any lawful command of my oath-mother, the Guild members or my elected leader for the season of my employment. And if I betray any secret of the Guild, or prove false to my oath, then I shall submit myself to the Guild-mothers for discipline as they shall choose; and if I fail, then may every woman’s hand turn against me, let them slay me like an animal and consign my body unburied to corruption and my soul to the mercy of the Goddess.

(With no Guild-mothers, I’m the keeper of my own conscience. Knowing no secrets, I can betray none. I mean, they’re all there in the books, so… secrets, not so much. As to the ultimate punishment, if I do something that bad, I probably deserve what’s coming.)

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