Becoming a member of the Order is not for everyone.
Joining the Laurels is not simply being given a higher rank, it is a great responsibility not to be taken lightly. Before you accept this office, carefully consider the following aspects of the job:
When you are asked to join the Order, you are under no pressure to give an answer right away. If you have any doubts or hesitations, or would like to take some time to think about it, please feel free to do so. It is much better to take some time to think about the issues at hand than to make a hasty decision and come to regret it afterwards. Also, you may opt to be elevated at a certain event to give you time to prepare for your ceremony. It will only happen once, so make the most of it!
Consider the honour being offered to you by the members of the Order. They wish to make you one of their own, a Companion. The Order has thought about and discussed this, and have agreed, as has the Crown, that you are capable of fulfilling this role, or that you do already. There is an oft-cited phrase, "we recognise Peers, we don't create them".
There are two main parts to being a Laurel. On one hand, you are a master craftsman, with your skills and knowledge officially recognised by the Crown. As such, it behoves a Companion to continue their work developing, refining, fostering and encouraging the arts and sciences. This is a Laurel's prime function.
On the other hand, you are also a Peer of the Realm. This is defined by the qualities inherent in all the Peerage Orders. Peers are the pillars that support and hold together the SCA. They are the "good guys" who provide a more enriched experience for all, every time they attend events. They fulfil their role by being worthy of respect from those of every rank.
Essentially a Peer is a SERVANT to the masses, forever performing great and inspirational deeds.
Being a member of the Order, you are entitled to wear the symbol of the Order, the laurel wreath.
This is most commonly on a medallion, given to you at your elevation. You may request one from a member of the Order who you view highly, it may be offered to you, or you may choose to start a history of your own. If you do receive a medallion with a history, attempt to trace it so if you are fortunate to pass this medallion on, you can also pass on its history.
You may also receive a "laurel cloak". This is your robe of estate. It is usually green with a gold laurel wreath prominently displayed on the back, and perhaps a smaller one on the front. In Lochac, you may robed with the Laurel Cloak (the "Baby Laurel" cloak) at your investiture, which is then passed on to the next person to be elevated. This depends on the organisation levels of the order and the last person to be robed... You may wish to make a cloak of your own to suit your investiture garb. Laurel robes can be of any design: the traditional half-circle cape, cloaks of various styles, even Tudor or Elizabethan gowns.
Lochac is not known for its cold temperatures and cloaks can be hot and cumbersome. Many Companions in Lochac wear the laurel wreath in other ways eg: embroidered design, woven in to the cloth of their garb, upon a circlet of rank, etc. Remember, creativity is the hallmark of the Order go nuts!
If you swear fealty, you have the right to wear a fealty chain or collar of medallions emblematic of the Laurel. Some Laurels hang their medallions from their fealty chains, some dress up their chains to look more like period jewellery, some wear a collar of maintenance made up of laurel medallions. Again, be as creative as you like with this.
You also have the right to the title of Master or Mistress (or Dame if you prefer). The common SCA usage of this is Master/Mistress First-name; a more period form is Master/Mistress Surname (if indeed you have one). In Lochac, the form of address "Your Excellency" has customarily been extended to Companions of the Chivalry, Laurel, and Pelican, in addition to Royal Peers.
Wearing the regalia and using the title are highly encouraged. You support the Order by being visible and "showing the flag", and you enhance the pageantry of the Society. You should be proud of your regalia it was your accomplishments and virtues which earned you the right to wear it!
All Peers are equal. End of story.
Some people, in addition to being members of the Laurel, have been admitted to the Orders of the Chivalry or the Pelican. Such people are colloquially referred to as "double Peers" or "triple Peers". Unfortunately, this usage can leave a "single Peer" feeling embarrassed, degraded and devalued. However, a Peer is a Peer is a Peer. Someone who belongs to two or more Orders has no more "power" or "prestige" than someone who is "only" a member of one Order. All Peers are equal in rank, status, authority and responsibility, whether they have been a Peer for one year or twenty, and whether they belong to one Order or to three.