A Postulant is an inquirer or observer - a probationary candidate for membership. During this time, the postulant generally participates as fully as possible in the work of the house, watching the Novices and Fully Professed members at work. Since the candidate is not a formal member of the order at this stage, it is easier for an individual uncertain about their role to re-examine his or her intentions and commitment before entering the novitiate. It is also important at this stage that the candidate look at the personalities and dynamics that make up the house and how they would fit in. Likewise, the membership will be looking at the Postulant for suitability and how the group dynamics work together.
Postulants attend regular business meetings as observers, but may not yet vote or speak out on matters. They spend time on their own researching the history of the Order (referred to as Sistory) both globally and locally to gain a working knowledge. The By-Laws and Policy Handbook is studied carefully so that the Postulant understands the culture and operational methods. when in pubic, Postulants travel with the Sisters but keep to the background observing more than interacting. It said that this period is therefore ruled by the eyes and centers on learning by watching rather than the mouth by speaking. Some find this period restrictive and unfair, but a candidate with a true calling understands it is an important and necessary step on their journey.
During this time, the Mistress of the Novices (MoN) will mentor the Aspirant, answering any questions they may have and gently conducting them on their path. This will include someone one on one workshops designed to help the Postulant begin to uncover her Sister self. She offers ideas to help the Postulant discover their vocation or live more fully into the vocation they have chosen. It is about exploring, trying things out and trying things on. The MoN will guide the Aspirant by working with them to create a name, choose a colour, pick a symbol, identify with a song, etc. These choices will help the Postulant better recognize who they are as Sisters and personalize their appearance and work accordingly.
Postulants wear black outfits of their choice predominantly female in appearance but always including gender-fluid elements. For their headgear, Postulants wear a smaller, thinner version of our house coronet (called a bourrelet), a simple bandeau and a plain, short, grey veil. The bourrelet may be wrapped in a fabric of the Postulants choice – perhaps in the Sister colour they have chosen. They may wish to accessorize their black outfit using this colour as well. Their charm or symbol may also be added to the outfit or bourrelet. Prayer beads may be worn at the waist. Postulants may wear the sacred clown whiteface from the nose up with any desired eye and cheek makeup (including jewels and/or bindi as desired) but their lower face including lips must remain unpainted, symbolizing their dedication to watching and learning during their transition. Postulants may ony manifest when there is a Fully Professed member present.
Postulancy generally lasts between 3 - 6 months, depending on the individual but there is no set limit. When the MoN feels the time is right she will petition the Postulant for Novancy at a Monthly Business Meeting. The vote is by majority to either elevate the Postulant to Novice status, or to suggest the Postulant learn more at their current level before progressing. Either the MoN or the Postulant may also decide at any time and without the need for any formal procedure that the union is either not a good fit or not the right time to continue.