Duckford University was our fun name for a nebulous bunch of discussions and activity in the late 90's, when Gunwaldt was working in Minneapolis and Artan was largely inactive and I/AElflaed had a big season of hanging out with students and squires of all three, during the time several of them advanced to peerage. There was a lot of good, fun energy for a couple of years. Many of the principles moved and spread out. Duckford U has "alumni" but no other currency. I leave the page because it's inspiring and triggers good memories for those who were involved. The writings remain.

Duckford University

Duckford University is an elite group of crime-fighting philosophers who work to keep their oaths and always to leave the site cleaner than they found it. Guerilla social work and peace-planting would be on the group resume if we kept one.

Recent productions have featured Countess Aindrea MacCullaich , Comtesse AnneAliz du Bale, Earl Cathyn Fitzgerald , Mistress Helena the Fortunate, Master Balthazar Tigrerro, and a cadre of guest stars and cameos unparalleled in the history of teamwork.

What was once organized by Ælflæd of Duckford took on a life of its own.

People ask whether the Duckford gang is REALLY truly expected to be honest and good all the time. The answer is yes, but it's easier than it might seem, and we help each other. Not all steps are forward, but the direction is always forward.

Humility and Formality

A main text for Duckford University is Humility and Formality, which originated as an e-mail course in humility and now is available as eleven (mostly very short) lessons for squires and students, and for their teachers, and for royal peers, and anyone thoughtfully involved in any SCA relationship, which is just about everyone in the SCA.

Teaching as a Period Art

Not all period endeavors can be set out on a display table and examined. Teaching is such a study and practice.

Truth as a Basis for Living

Can people be truthful and not hurt others with it?

I think so. I've been working on doing it for years, and I find my children picking it up naturally.

I've chosen, kept and moved away from various people in my life based on their truthfulness, and the result after many years of such choices is that I am surrounded by trustworthy people. That makes life good.

Duckford University's Big Belief

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Being Good

Being good isn't all that hard.
Awareness of other people's needs and feelings,
advance thought, desiring sweetness and light...
Seems to me it works.

Cynicism kills hope.

Seek out goodness and your life will fill up with goodness.
Go on, click.
It's easy.

Why the wombats? (Don't click if you don't care.)

Finding Inspiration

Some people like to read Twelve-Step affirmations books, some like the Bible, some people like to go to the mountains and hear the wind in the trees and smell the clean sky. Whatever it takes to be inspired, find that and do it. (And now, again, I'm talking to myself because I forget.   Everyone forgets.)

My favorite book is ZEN LESSONS: The Art of Leadership from Shambhala Books. My copy was a birthday gift from Wendy/Aindrea when she was my student.   I've had it for just a couple of years, and it's dog-eared, dog-bitten, written in and well loved. Here's a quote:


Mingjiao said:

Nothing is more honorable than enlightenment, nothing is more beautiful than virtue. Those who have enlightened virtue have it even though they be ordinary people, while those who lack enlightened virtue lack it even though they be kings.

There were some people who starved to death in ancient times but have been admired ever since for their virtue; there were others who were kings but have been despised ever since for their lack of virtue.

So learners worry about not being imbued with virtue, they do not worry about not being in positions of power and authority. —[Tanqin Annals]


to consider when considering virtues:

Chastity and sobriety are not popular virtues, but practiced within the bounds of one's beliefs and in their greater and less literal/Christian meanings, they are very useful to consider. There are times and places for everything. It IS possible to harm others when being thoughtless about substances and sexual behaviors, and there are times when we need to be responsibly and alertly in the moment.

Of these virtues, honor (external) and integrity (internal) are made.
Through service the virtues are manifested.
The ultimate goal is probity.

It's hard to "list virtues" because some terms aren't virtue so much as they are personal traits and earned advantages. But the more we think and work with these concepts, the clearer they become in our minds and the more real they are in our lives and the lives we touch.

The SCA is a good place to practice virtues and courtesies which might find fewer applications in modern American life.

Links to Online Writings, Ælflæd of Duckford

Websites of Respected Friends

We have wise and artsy SCA friends who have useful online info.
Sir Raymond the Quiet was Cathyn's knight years ago and still a hero to Cathyn, Artan, Bohemond and lots of good people.
Sir Bohemond was Jarl Gunwaldt's squire, and he makes boots.
Duke Finnvarr is a philosopher and historian and one of Ælflæd's favorite advisors.

For more information about Ælflæd-related things, click here.