The Brotherhood Honor is the only honor in the Order of the Arrow that a member can pursue on his own. An Arrowman is nominated as an Ordeal Candidate by his peers in his Troop, and he is nominated as a Vigil Candidate by his peers in the Order, but he must seek the Brotherhood Honor of his own volition.
There are five challenges that an Arrowman must meet before he is accepted into the Circle of Brotherhood. The first is simple, and takes minimal effort on the part of the Arrowman:
Requirement #1: Memorize the signs of OA membership:
The next 3 requirements are more intense, and require a steady effort over a longer period of time. The purpose of these requirements is to have the Arrowman reflect on his Ordeal experience and the traditions of the Order of the Arrow. He must understand why the OA exists and why its cause is so important if he wishes to advance in the Order:
Requirement #2: Advance in your understanding of the Ordeal. Gain a thorough understanding of the Ordeal through which you have passed.
Requirement #3: Serve your unit. Be active in the OA for at least 10 months, during which time you strive to fulfill your Obligation by continuing and expanding your service to your own Troop or Team.
Requirement #4: Plan for service in your Lodge. Retain your registration in your Lodge and keep your dues paid. Be aware that acceptance of Brotherhood membership involves a pledge of service to the Lodge. Develop a solid idea of how you plan to fulfill this pledge.
The final challenge ensures that an Arrowman has both reviewed his progress in the Order of the Arrow and has looked to his future in the program. You should meet the first 4 challenges before fulfilling this final requirement:
Requirement #5: Review your progress. When you feel that your have met the 4 challenges above, write a letter addressed to your Lodge Secretary. In this letter:
I do hereby promise, on my honor as a Scout,
to always and faithfully observe and preserve
the traditions of the Order of the Arrow:
Wimachtendienk, Wingolauchsik, Witahemui.
I will always regard the ties of Brotherhood
in the Order of the Arrow as lasting,
and will seek to preserve a cheerful spirit,
even in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities
and will endeavor, so far as in my power lies, to be unselfish
in service and devotion to the welfare of others.
Firm bound in Brotherhood, gather the clan
that Cheerful Service brings to fellow man.
Circle our Council fire, weld tightly every link
That binds us in Brotherhood, Wimachtendienk
Listen to the tune!
The Admonition of the Order of the Arrow is only spoken, never written. It was given to you by Chief Allowat Sakima during your Ordeal ceremony, and its English translation is “To love one another”. If you do not remember the admonition, the Brotherhood Chairman will gladly remind you during your screening.
The Sign of Ordeal Membership is supposed to be used as a way to determine whether or not someone is a member of the Order of the Arrow. The sign consists of putting your right hand over your left shoulder and then drawing it straight up, as in drawing an arrow from a quiver.
The Arrow Handclasp is a slight modification of the Boy Scout handclasp, which is performed with the left hand and the pinky fingers interlocking. The Arrow Handclasp is performed similarly, but with both the pinky fingers and the ring fingers interlocking.
Arrowmen are asked to advance in their understanding of the Ordeal before attaining the Brotherhood Honor. You should review the following material about the Ordeal that you passed through before contacting the Brotherhood Chairman for a screening.
a.) Kichkinet is your guide in the ceremonies. He symbolizes helpfulness and friendliness.
b.) Nutiket is the guard of the Circle. He upholds the tradition of cheerfulness.
c.) Meteu is the medicine man and representative of brotherhood. He reminds us of our need to love one another.
d.) Allowat Sakima, the mighty chief, symbolizes service. From him you accepted the Obligation of the Order of the Arrow.
a.) Nutiket gave the bow to Allowat Sakima as a token of liveliness and flexibility under stress, the principle of cheerfulness.
b.) Meteu gave the bowstring to Allowat Sakima as a token of the ties of Brotherhood, also symbolized by the rope in the Ordeal Ceremony.
c.) Allowat Sakima strung the bow, uniting brotherhood and cheerfulness in service, then drew an arrow from a quiver as a token that your election separated your from your fellows for a higher purpose. He then asked your to test the bow as a sign of willingness to test the dedication to Scout ideals which led to your election.
d.) Lastly, Kichkinet show the arrow upward, symbolizing the pathway you will follow if your dedication is unwavering.
a.) The night alone focuses attention on your need for courage and self-reliance on the trail ahead. You must be willing to accept individual responsibility for your thoughts and actions. You will find that your course will set your apart from your friends to the extent of isolation, but you must act according to your resolution regardless of what others do or fail to do.
b.) Your pledge of silence emphasizes the continuing need for you to spend time in thoughtful silence. Difficult decisions will face you now and in the future, and you will need to search your heart and spirit deeply to find the resolution to guide your onward successfully.
c.) The scant food tests your self-denial. Often you will find it necessary to abandon mere personal comfort or desires if you are to fulfill your Obligation.
d.) The day of strenuous labor indicates your willingness to give service, even when this service involves hardship and toil. In the Ordeal, you worked with the help and cooperation of other candidates and members, but now you must be ready to serve without the help and cooperation of others.
Before you entered the Circle, you placed your hand on the shoulder of the Candidate ahead of you to indicate your intention to continue in service to your own Scout Unit. Kichkinet, seeing that you all had the same purpose, symbolized the bond of brotherhood by binding you all together with rope. Finally, upon Allowat Sakima’s direction, Kichkinet asked you to advance before the fire of cheerfulness.
The legend tells how the peaceful lives of the Lenni Lenape Native Americans were threatened by neighboring tribes and distant enemies. Chief Chingachgook’s call for volunteers to go and alert other villages of the tribe was met with apathy and indifference from tribal members.
Uncas, son of the Chief, cheerfully offered his help despite the negative attitudes of everyone around him. He cared enough for others that he was willing to face hardship and danger to protect them from harm. Uncas clearly saw a higher vision, and his desire for his brothers was that they could see it, too. The self-sacrificing service given by Uncas and Chingachgook is said to have saved the tribe from annihilation.
Allowat Sakima stated that the various qualities attributed to the Arrow are ingredients of great leadership. This is a continuation of his comments about the Arrow in the pre-Ordeal Ceremony. The Ordeal asks individuals to act according to their highest sense of right, regardless of the attitudes or actions of others. The four tests and the Obligation point the way, and Allowat Sakima reveals this way as one of real leadership. Any member who understands his or her Obligation and is striving to fulfill it becomes a center of strength in his Troop. His example sets the pace in cheerful service, and his dedication had a rich effect on those who know him. Although wearing the sash identifies a Scout or Scouter as a member of the Order of the Arrow, it is his efforts to fulfill his Obligation that truly distinguishes him and provides others with glimpses of the Arrow.
Like the Ordeal, it is a time of trial, during which your understanding of the traditions of the Arrow will be put to the test. In the Ordeal Ceremony, each advancement you made into the Circle was challenged, but your resolution and faithfulness in time of testing enabled you to go forward. You will find this to be true also in your experiences ahead. By striving to fulfill your Obligation, you will provide the higher vision of Brotherhood, Cheerfulness, and Service to your fellow Scouts, even as Uncas did for his tribe.
Wimachtendienk Wingolauchsik Witahemui is from the Lenni Lenape language, and translates to “Brotherhood of Cheerful Service”.
The OA Sash is only worn when at an OA event or when representing the Order. It is never used to show off one’s membership in the OA, only out of respect to the Order, like how the Boy Scout uniform is worn out of respect to the Scouting program. The OA sash should only be worn while in uniform with the arrow starting at your left hip and facing towards your right shoulder.