Over the last few weeks, there was some talk about the proper form of dress and acknowledgement in Outer Order on one of the forums. I could not help laughing about the discussion, for I could not imagine anyone who would need to see my Grade sash to know what my actual Grade was in Golden Dawn tradition.
Think about it. If you have been reading my blog and forum posts for any length of time, you have came to a conclusion about what my actual Grade is in the system. It does not matter what I claim that my Grade is (if I even bother to tell you); all that matters is what you percieve it to be. (The same holds true for Wicca, by the way.)
The level of your support and willingness to have a conversation with me, and the level that we talk at, will be determined solely based on what Grade that you think that I am really at. This is a two-way street; my opinion of your actual Grade will color how much information that I am willing to impart, and exactly how I say stuff. We do not need to see each others' sashes; perception and belief is everything.
A lot of people talk about mutual recognition among lodges. It is a nice concept, but I think that it ultimately falls apart. For instance, I can't think of any organization that would call the lodge I belong to "proper Golden Dawn." Sometimes, it is for major things like not acknowledging that a certain Adept is the greatest thing since white bread; other times, it is for minor things like not requiring "perfect scores" on the advancement tests.
And seriously, even if you and I belonged to Order that mutually recognized one another, would you want to sit in lodge with me? I know several groups, that while for the most part I think that they are doing a great job, which have at least one member that I would not want to sit in lodge with (for one reason or another). Often because I cannot figure out how they managed to get to the Grade that they shout from the rooftops. And seeing their Grade sash will not get me to change my mind either.