OTO

Top 5 Mistakes of Newcomers about OTO

Top 5 Mistakes Newcomers make about OTO

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

What are some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that newcomers have about OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis)?

1) Thinking that OTO is an occult society that teaches occultism.

SOLUTION: Realize that it’s not. OTO is a fraternal order that teaches how to live in accordance with the Law of Thelema, with a strong ecclesiastical arm to administer sacraments in accordance with the New Aeon’s Law of Liberty. We are here to establish the Law of Thelema in the world, and to spread its message, not to yell mispronounced Hebrew at the walls.

2) Expecting that all OTO members are High Adepts that conform with your distorted notion of ‘how an Adept should act’.

SOLUTION: Realize that OTO is made up of human beings who are living, thriving, shitting, fucking, and making mistakes like the rest of us. We are just doing it together, to try to build something. Care to help serve?

3) Thinking that taking an OTO degree somehow makes you a better person than someone of a lower degree or someone not in OTO.

SOLUTION: Realize that the Work is your own and the initiations are guidance, and that your smarminess actually, if anything, makes you a worse person. If you actually learned the lessons you wouldn’t be wasting your time comparing your dick length to others and you’d be trying to go and do your Will.

4) Expecting that joining the OTO means you get free access to sex orgies, or free access to touch anyone without their consent.

SOLUTION: Grow up and be an adult, and realize that both Thelema and general adult human society agrees that you need consent before engaging in such things.

5) Expecting OTO to hand you all the Real Secrets™ on a platter so you can do absolutely no work.

SOLUTION: Realize that you get out of OTO what you put into it, and that the real Karma Yoga of OTO is service to the Order.

Love is the law, love under will.

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HRILIU Super Deluxe vellum edition

‘HRILIU: Symbolic Explorations of the Gnostic Mass’ available for pre-order!

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I am very happy to announce that pre-orders are now available for my new book, HRILIU: Symbolic Explorations of the Gnostic Mass! This is ~300 pages on various aspects of the symbolism of Liber XV: Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae Canon Missae, more widely known simply as the Gnostic Mass. It includes, among other essays, a line-by-line symbolic analysis of the rubric of Liber XV. See more details on the website.

**Pre-orders now being taken Shipment first week of May… See the website to order!**

• 31 copies: Super Deluxe Binding of goat vellum with slip-case
• 220 copies: Deluxe binding with Lincoln Green grained English sheepskin. (Pictured here)
• All copies fully hand bound! More details below…


HRILIU Super Deluxe vellum editionSuper Deluxe Binding
Creamy English Goat Vellum; Slip-cased & limited to only…
**31 hand-numbered copies**
Available in a super deluxe binding of creamy English goat vellum prepared by William Cowleys (established 1860), bright yellow Kashgar silk endpapers, black and gold headbands, each copy fully hand bound and gilt in our own bindery.


 
HRILIU Deluxe green leather editionDeluxe Binding
English Sheepskin
**Limited to only 220 hand-numbered copies**
Available in a deluxe binding of Lincoln Green grained English sheepskin, bright yellow Kashgar silk endpapers, dark green and gold headbands, decorated in blind and gold tooling, each copy fully hand bound in our own bindery. *
—–
Click here to go to the website to pre-order your copy.

A paperback edition at a cheaper price should be available within a couple months!

Love is the law, love under will.

‘The Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass’ is now available

The Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic MassThe Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass

2015 e.v. ••• 8.5″ x 11″ Perfect-bound Paperback, Full color ••• 112 pp. ••• $44.93

Description: ‘The Journal of Thelemic Studies: Volume III, Number 1 – The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass’ is a special issue devoted exclusively to the central public and private rite of Ordo Templi Orientis, Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass. This issue has over 15 articles from a diverse group of Thelemites writing on a wide variety of topics from the Creed, to magical energy in the Mass, to preparation of Cakes of Light, to music in the Mass, and more.

Click here to order a print version: [Print version]

Click here for a free PDF version: [PDF Download]

The Symbolic Dimensions of the Gnostic Mass

The Symbolic Dimensions of the Gnostic Mass

The Symbolic and Mythic Dimensions of the Gnostic Mass

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Introduction

Liber XV, most commonly known as the Gnostic Mass, is a rich and multi-layered ritual. The Mass has many dimensions, and the more of these perspectives that one sees, the more one can have a deeper appreciation of the ritual.  Sometimes individuals seem to get stuck in a single dimension and see, for example, only the dimension that the Mass is a ritual enactment of sex magick and a veiled form of the IX° O.T.O. supreme secret. This is certainly one dimension, but to only see one dimension forecloses on the possibility of seeing the many perspectives that will enrich one’s knowledge, experience, and appreciation of the Mass. Therefore, the purpose of this essay is to discuss certain important dimensions of the Gnostic Mass, although it will not (nor can it be) a completely exhaustive list.

For example: From the dimension of the Hermetic Qabalah, the Priest is in Tiphareth, the Ruach or conscious self, with the surrounding faculties (Chesed/memory, Geburah/volition, Netzach/desire, Hod/reason) being represented by the Deacon. The Priestess is both the Nephesh, the animal soul, as well as the Neschamah, aspiration toward the divine and the influx of divine intelligence/intuition. Qabalistically, the Mass shows the Nephesh (Malkuth; the Virgin Priestess as Earthly) being elevated to the Neshamah (Binah; the High Priestess enthroned as an embodied form of Nuit), and the Ruach (Tiphareth; the Priest as a man among men) being elevated to Chiah (Chokmah; the Priest whose Rod is that which was, and is, and is to come). Their final union releases Yechidah, the supreme individuality of Kether, which communes with the entire Tree down to Malkuth (the Congregants).

This is just one dimension of the Gnostic Mass given as an example. I will now go through several important dimensions of the Mass in a bit more detail to show there are many different perspectives from which to view this ritual.

Celebration of the forces of Nature

If one reads the Mass fairly literally, one sees that it is a celebration of the forces of Nature. Crowley was a proponent of scientific religion that did not flaunt our current knowledge of the world. On this he wrote:

“Human nature demands (in the case of most people) the satisfaction of the religious instinct, and, to very many, this may best be done by ceremonial means. I wished therefore to construct a ritual through which people might enter into ecstasy as they have always done under the influence of appropriate ritual. In recent years, there has been an increasing failure to attain this object, because the established cults shock their intellectual convictions and outrage their common sense. Thus their minds criticize their enthusiasm; they are unable to consummate the union of their individual souls with the universal soul as a bridegroom would be to consummate his marriage if his love were constantly reminded that its assumptions were intellectually absurd.

I resolved that my ritual [the Gnostic Mass] should celebrate the sublimity of the operation of universal forces without introducing disputable metaphysical theories. I would neither make nor imply any statement about nature which would not be endorsed by the most materialistic man of science. On the surface this may sound difficult; but in practice I found it perfectly simple to combine the most rigidly rational conceptions of phenomena with the most exalted and enthusiastic celebration of their sublimity.” (Confessions)

There is a consistent Thelemic cosmology espoused in the Gnostic Mass that is fairly naturalistic. The cosmology is also reflected in many parts of The Book of Lies as they were written in the same year and show very similar views. The universe espoused in the Gnostic Mass is a series of dyads: one might call them “pairs of opposites” but they are not absolutely opposite in many ways, and their function is more to complement and work with one another. Crowley says “the universe [is] enclosed in the law of Lingam-Yoni,” which is another way to say “the law of yin-yang” or simply complementary dyads.

There is an ineffable Lord, Hadit, and an ineffable Lady, Nuit, who are consorts. This is mentioned in the Creed (“one secret and ineffable lord), the Collects (“The Lord” Collect and “The Lady” Collect), and elsewhere. Nuit is Space and Hadit is Motion. Another way to say “motion” is Time, as motion only takes place through the unfolding of time. Therefore, Nuit and Hadit are Space and Time, or simply Space-Time since it is an interwoven continuum. Nuit and Hadit are the foundations that give rise to the potential of a universe.

When manifested in the world, Hadit becomes “Chaos,” the “father of life.” Chaos is the masculine principle in all things, which on the grandest scale is Energy itself, the forces which constitute the universe. When manifested in the world, Nuit becomes “Babalon, “the mother of us all.” Babalon is the feminine principle in all things, which on the grandest scale is Matter itself. Therefore, Chaos and Babalon are the Energy and Matter which constitute the universe. “GOD is concealed in the whirling energy of Nature” (The Book of Lies). We also know that energy and matter are essentially the same thing, so Chaos and Babalon are consorts representing Matter-Energy. “[There is] a seeming duality of Chaos and Babalon; these are called Father and Mother, but it is not so. They are called Brother and Sister, but it is not so. They are called Husband and Wife, but it is not so” (The Book of Lies). As Crowley comments, “Chaos and Babalon… are really one” (The Book of Lies).

Chaos and Babalon are both reflected in the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.  In the Macrocosm, the Lord is the Sun and the Lady is the Earth. The Sun is “masculine” insofar as it gives life and light, and the Earth is “feminine” insofar as it conceives and nourishes life. The union of the life- and light-giving powers of the Sun with the conceptive powers of the Earth gives rise to all life.

Gnostic Mass CosmosChaos and Babalon reflected into the Microcosm are the Generative Powers in men and women. Hadit says of himself in The Book of the Law, “I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death” (AL II:6). “Generative Powers” refers to our life-energy and creative power in general, but especially the power to sexually reproduce. “GOD the Father and Mother is concealed in Generation” (The Book of Lies). The union of Man and Woman give rise to the perpetuation of new life. This is known as the “Phallus,” which is the creative-generative power within each individual regardless of sex. The name goes unspoken or is called Mystery of Mystery in the Gnostic Mass, although the Priest does say “Phalle” in the rending of the Veil. It is called “the essence of every true god that is upon the surface of the Earth” in the Collects.

The Generative Power of Man is reflected in the Sacred Lance and that of Woman in the Holy Graal or Chalice. These are the reproductive organs (and their powers) of the male and female, specifically the penis and the womb. The particle represents the Semen or Seed of the Man, and the wine represents the menstruum of the Woman. Therefore, one important dimension of the Gnostic Mass is the celebration of the the process of Generation, the union of complementary powers to perpetuate Life. The Lance and Chalice are used to create the Eucharist, the masculine reflected in the Cake of Light and the feminine reflected in the Wine. The Cake of Light is that which fortifies our bodies (“life”; “sustenance of endeavour”) and the Wine is that which vitalizes our minds (“joy”; “inspiration of endeavour”).

The Path of Initiation

Another dimension of the Gnostic Mass is that it is an enactment of the Path of Initiation. Initiation is the process of “spiritual advancement”; it is called “the process by which a man comes to learn that unknown Crown” (Liber Causae) as well as the path of enlightenment, the path of attainment, and many other names. In other words, the Mass depicts the unfolding of inner transformation.

The Priest represents every individual, the conscious self: he is the one who undergoes the “hero’s journey” in the narrative of the Mass. The other Officers (Priestess, Deacon, and Children) are “part of the PRIEST himself.” This shows that the interaction between the Officers shows an interaction within every individual, reinforcing that the Mass depicts an inner transformation.

The Priest begins asleep in the darkness of ignorance. The rest of the Mass involves his awakening to the Light of Truth. The Priestess represents both the spiritual forces of awakening as well as the object of attainment itself. She can be seen as the Holy Guardian Angel of the Priest. He is “directly inspired from Kether, the ultimate Self, through the Path of the High Priestess, or initiated intuition” (Liber Samekh).

The Priestess descends to the Tomb and rends the veil of darkness “by the power of Iron.” Iron represents Mars or destructive energy, and individuals are often called to the path in response to tragedy, crisis, or suffering in general. “The Aspiration to become a Master is rooted in the Trance of Sorrow” (Little Essays Toward Truth). The Priestess raises the Priest in order to “administer the virtues to the Brethren.” This shows the ultimate goal is to vitalize others, “the Way of Service” (Liber Causae), essentially identical with the bodhisattva vow to attain for the sake of all beings.

The Priest is purified and consecrated in body and soul, and he obtains the Lance, a symbol of spiritual maturity. Crowley wrote, “What then is the formula of the initiation of Horus? It will no longer be that of the Man, through Death. It will be the natural growth of the Child. His experiences will no more be regarded as catastrophic. Their hieroglyph is the Fool: the innocent and impotent Harpocrates Babe becomes the Horus Adult by obtaining the Wand. ‘Der reine Thor’ [the pure fool] seizes the Sacred Lance” (Liber Samekh).

The Priest’s spiritual fire is kindled by his aspiration toward Godhead. Through this, he has the Power to raise the Priestess to the High Altar in the East, which can be seen as the sacralization or spiritualization of the “lower self,” the transformation of the materialization of energy into its more subtle form of Spirit. After purifying and consecrating the now enthroned Priestess, the Priest is cast out into darkness in the dark night of the soul; having set upon the Path, he encounters trials and troubles. Through his aspiration, the Priest invokes Nuit in the Priestess, the ultimate object of desire and union. The Priest invokes Hadit in himself, identifying with the ultimate subject, Life and Motion itself. Finally he invokes Nuit and Hadit’s union, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the God within who transcends space, time, and causality, who transcends all the gods and even death itself. The complete identification with Him essentially constitutes Attainment.

The veil of darkness is then thrown open, casting light from the High Altar upon the Priest and filling the whole Temple with brilliance. The Priestess is transformed and is now naked, holding the Chalice and Paten, the Godhead that is beyond particular forms with which we commune in Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The Collects are then read, each element of the world being invoked, a perfect, complete, and balanced Microcosm of the Universe. The Priest then consecrates the Cake of Light and the wine with the power of the Lance, turning them into their Divine form, the body and blood of God. These are the elements of the Priest with which he will interact with the world: his body and his spirit. They are prepared as such through the “spiritual power” obtained through the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel.

Chamber of AnnihilationThe Priest then invokes the highest, ineffable Godhead through the Anthem, That which is “I beyond all I am who hast no nature and no name,” “male-female, quintessential, one.” This is the steady aspiration and devotion that propels the Priest to confront the Abyss, the dissolution of self whereby the True Self, that which is one with Godhead, arises. The Priest breaks off a particle, which represents “his Soul, a virgin offering to his Angel, pressed forth from his being by the intensity of this Aspiration” (Liber Samekh). It is the final offering of the self, the draining of one’s blood into the Cup of Babalon, whereby one becomes annihilated and crosses the Abyss. This occurs in the simultaneous “HRILIU,” the orgasm of the spirit wherein Two become One, the dissolution of All into None, and the Priest has thereby become a Master of the Temple.  

Then, Baphomet is invoked, the Two-in-One God who is “male-female, quintessential, one,” representing a state of consciousness where opposites are fused into a unity. The Priest turns around to utter his Word. He lowers the Lance, announcing the Law, and the Congregants respond in kind, signifying the descent of this Two-in-One into all parts of the self, the entire Tree of Life from Supernals to Malkuth. This includes the Brethren for whom the Priest has attained in order that he may administer the Virtues to them. The Brethren take part in his Wisdom and Understanding through the Eucharist, and through this they come to recognize the Godhead with themselves. “God manifest in flesh” is their name. After a final blessing, the Priest exhausts his purpose and dies, descending into the darkness of the Tomb that another Priest may arise and the cycle perpetuate through the generations.

Psychological Transformation

Another dimension of the Gnostic Mass is that it represents psychological transformation. The Jungian model of the psyche is especially conducive to being seen reflected in the Mass.

The Jungian Model of the PsycheThe Priest represents the conscious self, the sense of subjectivity. This is not confined merely to the ego, the sense of personal identity, but the conscious awareness itself (within which is the ego). The Deacon represents the faculties of the conscious self. The Priestess represents the Unconscious: she is both the earthly, animal, instinctual side as well as the heavenly, divine side. In particular, she seems to be identified at parts with the “anima,” an anthropomorphization of the unconscious mind, and an intermediary between the conscious self and the archetypal Self, the true center of one’s being.

The entire Gnostic Mass shows the psychological transformation of the Priest going from an identification with the persona to an identification with the archetypal Self, which encompasses the totality of the psyche, both conscious and unconscious. The entire process may be summarized as: the Priest identifying with Persona → Priest identifying with Ego → encounter with the Shadow → encounter with the Anima → union with the Anima to “release” or access the Self with which the Priest finally identifies. 

At the beginning of the Mass, the Priest is in the Tomb representing the darkness and confinement of being identified with the persona, one’s outer personality. The Priestess descends as an unconscious impulse, experienced by the Priest as an appearance or a welling-up of unconscious forces. The Priest is awakened to a self not confined merely to persona, and he becomes identified with the ego.

As the ego, he then exerts his power over his unconscious and habitual instincts, represented as the Priestess kneeling before being upraised. Then, the Priest and the Temple are plunged into darkness as he confronts his “shadow”, those aspects of the self that are denied, repressed, and feared. His aspiration carries him through the darkness, and eventually he rends the veil to be met with an image of his “anima,” the naked Priestess enthroned. The anima is the almost like a reflection in the unconscious of the conscious self, it is the “hidden opposite gender in each individual,” representing a layer of the psyche deeper than the shadow. As Jung wrote, “Every man carries within him the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, an hereditary factor of primordial origin engraved in the living organic system of the man” (Collected Works vol.17). The “anima” or Priestess acts as mediator between the unconscious (the High Altar and all within the Veil of the Supernals) and the conscious (the Priest).

The Priest and Priestess unite, representing the acceptance and integration of the contrasexual archetype into oneself, i.e. becoming Two-in-One, represented in imagery such as the Alchemical Androgyne or, more aptly, Baphomet. The final proclamation of “There is no part of me that is not of the gods” signifies the emergence of the archetype of the Self, that which contains all elements of the psyche in a unified totality. This is not the same as “mystical union” or samadhi, but a sense of complete unity within one’s own being, the integration of all the parts of oneself into a single whole. Jung defined individuation as:

“becoming an ‘in-dividual,’ and in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization…’ Egotists are called ‘selfish,’ but this, naturally, has nothing to do with the concept of ‘Self’ as I am using it here… Individuation, therefore, can only mean a process of psychological development that fulfils the individual qualities given; in other words, it is a process by which a man becomes the definite, unique being he in fact is. In so doing he does not become ‘selfish’ in the ordinary sense of the word, but is merely fulfilling the peculiarity of his nature, and this… is vastly different from egotism or individualism.” (Collected Works vol.7)

In other words, the Priest has immersed himself in the unconscious self stage by stage. He has united by “love under will,” i.e. revealed, accepted, and integrated the various archetypal forces that emerge, and he has become wholly Himself.

The Union of Subject and Object

The Gnostic Mass also contains the dimension of it being a symbolic, ritual reflection of the process of meditation whereby the subject of awareness merges with the object in samadhi.

The Temple represents the field of consciousness itself. The Priest represents the subject of awareness, the sense of “I” or self. The Priestess represents the object of concentration or devotion. The Lance of the Priest represents the power of concentration itself.

Traditionally, the process of concentration culminating in samadhi is called, as a whole, samyama. Samyama has three stages: dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. To oversimplify, dharana is when the subject begins to concentrate on the chosen object: the focus has been narrowed down to that particular object of concentration so that no other object takes the subject’s focus away. Crowley writes, “In the course of our concentration we noticed that the contents of the mind at any moment consisted of two things, and no more: the Object, variable, and the Subject, invariable, or apparently so. By success in Dharana the object has been made as invariable as the subject” (Liber ABA, Part I).

Dhyana is when dharana has been intensified to the point where there is only an awareness of the object, even the awareness of oneself as a subject has faded away. Samadhi is the culmination of dhyana whereby both subject and object “merge” or disappear into a non-dual unity.

SamadhiIn the Gnostic Mass, the Priest’s Lance is stroked eleven times by the Priestess; this shows the awakening to dharana, the first stage of samyama. This dharana culminates in the Priest kissing the Book on the Priestess’ chest three times and kneeling in adoration. The Priest is then in darkness for three circumambulations of the Temple. This may represent the “darkness” or struggle that often comes when beginning in the practice of samyama. Crowley likens this aspect of the work of samyama (or simply “Yoga”) to the formula of IAO:

“In beginning a meditation practice, there is always a quiet pleasure, a gentle natural growth [dharana and the raising up to the High Altar]; one takes a lively interest in the work; it seems easy; one is quite pleased to have started. This stage represents Isis. Sooner or later it is succeeded by depression—the Dark Night of the Soul, an infinite weariness and detestation of the work [the three circumambulations of the darkened Temple]. The simplest and easiest acts become almost impossible to perform. Such impotence fills the mind with apprehension and despair. The intensity of this loathing can hardly be understood by any person who has not experienced it. This is the period of Apophis.” (Magick in Theory & Practice)

By continued concentration, the dharana breaks into dhyana in the piercing of the Veil and the influx of Light from the High Altar. This trance of dhyana continues throughout the Collects.

This dhyana builds slowly through the Consecration of the Elements and the Anthem, and it culminates in the only word spoken simultaneously by Priest and Priestess in the Gnostic Mass: HRILIU. At this moment, both Priest and Priestess hold both Lance and Cup and depress the “particle,” the last bit of separateness, into the Wine so that the two become One in samadhi. 

This “Eucharist” of samadhi may be understood as a subtler level of meaning to what Crowley says when he writes, “The highest form of the Eucharist is that in which the Element consecrated is One. It is one substance and not two, not living and not dead, neither liquid nor solid, neither hot nor cold, neither male nor female. This sacrament is secret in every respect” (Magick in Theory & Practice). It is “neither this nor that” because the samadhi is transcendent of dualities – it is non-dual – and it is “secret in every respect” because it is beyond the possibility of communication as all language is inherently dualistic.

Tantric Rite

The Gnostic Mass also contains the dimension of being an enactment of a Tantric rite. There are an immense amount of similarities between Tantra and Thelema, including but not limited to: seeing the body as “good” and useful for attainment, seeing the body as a microcosm of the Universe, seeing the world not as maya or illusion but as the play of the power of Godhead, the visualization of self as Deity, the transcendence of common morality and ethics, et cetera. 

In Tantra, there is something called the “Great Ritual” or the “Secret Ritual,” which involves the use of wine (madya) and sexual union (maithuna). Sound familiar? There are “left-hand” Tantrics who actually engage in sexual intercourse and “right-hand” Tantrics who only engage in sexual intercourse symbolically (with sexual union itself being symbolic as well as the visualization of sexual union).

Shiva is the formless, motionless Godhead that is beyond all forms and expression, and Shakti is the Power of that Godhead when expressed in form and motion; it is very similar to the concepts of Tao (Shiva) and of Teh (Shakti). Shakti is often identified with Kundalini, reinforced in the Mass by the Priestess’ 3 and a half circles around the Temple reflecting the Kundalini serpent coiled 3 and a half times around the base of each individual’s spine. Interestingly, Shakti’s symbol is that of a triangle with the apex downward, which is the symbol of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and the sign given by the Priestess when she is first raised to the High Altar. The Priestess becomes not merely a woman but the Absolute Woman when raised to the High Altar, and she becomes Shakti devoid of all particular forms in the stripping away all clothing.

Basically, the yogi identifies with Shiva and all his corresponding properties; the female identifies with Shakti, the primordial Power inherent in all motion. This is similar to the idea of the Scarlet Woman as an earthly avatar of Babalon. Their union is a hieros gamos or “holy marriage”: the union of male and female is seen as the union of Shiva and Shakti, which may be oversimplified as the ultimate Subject and the ultimate Object. This union creates the “androgynous Shiva,” known as Ardhanarishvara, which literally means “the Lord who is half woman.” Ardhanarishvara is essentially a Two-in-One form representing both elements fused into One: nearly identical images are found in that of Baphomet and of the Alchemical Hermaphrodite or “Rebis.”

Baphomet and Rebis

This suspension of duality occurs during the erotic rapture of union, liberating this “Force” of Ardhanarishvara or Baphomet. This Two-in-One figure transcends all, including space and time: it therefore is That which is the “breath that makest every God even and Death to tremble before Thee.” It is the Lion and Serpent that “destroys the destroyer” of Death, being That which transcends all manifestation, all motion, and all duality. This is the amrita or ambrosia, both words meaning “not mortal” or “beyond death”; this is the true Elixir of Immortality, the sacrament of which one may partake and truly proclaim “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.”

Concluding Remarks

It should be emphasized once more that this list is not exhaustive: there are potentially infinite other dimensions at work in the Gnostic Mass. Also, none of these dimensions that are mentioned are fully fleshed out: one could easily write a whole book on the Gnostic Mass as a Tantric rite, for example. The real point is to emphasize that there are, in fact, many dimensions to the Gnostic Mass. I believe that the more dimensions one can appreciate, the deeper one’s experience and appreciation of the Mass can be. Therefore, I hope that this essay will spark in the reader a desire to see the Gnostic Mass as something beyond merely a Qabalistic drama or a veiled sexual magick ritual. There is a vast reservoir of potential hidden within the central rite of O.T.O., merely waiting for the ingenium and courage of an earnest seeker to tap into it.

Love is the law, love under will.

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Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

A Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

NOTE: This ritual is not “official” in any way: It is not traditional in any form nor is it the official ritual of any organization whatsoever. It is simply a way that one might celebrate these Feasts of the Times. 

BACKGROUND

This dramatic ritual combines two feasts, the feast for the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods. The Equinox of the Gods is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox and – since the Supreme Ritual is celebrated on March 20 – they will virtually never fall more than 2 days apart from one another. Since they fall close together on the calendar, since they share a single line in The Book of the Law, and since they are both related to the shift from the Old Aeon to the New, I have combined them into a single ritual and feast.

The Supreme Ritual celebrates the invocation of Horus that was performed on March 20, 1904 and the Equinox of the Gods celebrates the changing of the Aeons from Old, where Osiris ruled, to the New, where Horus now rules. Crowley comments, “The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20. The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox…”1

This combined feast has five parts. The first four parts or scenes show important semi-historical events that are relevant to the revelation of the New Aeon, and the last scene involves audience participation in a renunciation of the slave-ideals of the Old Aeon:

  1. The first scene goes back approximately 2,600 years to the time when the Stele of Revealing was created as a funerary stele for Ankh-af-na-khonsu. Since this Stele is an important symbol for Thelema, this scene involves a reading of the content of the Stele of Revealing. There is then a list of the seven Magi that have come to Earth and give their Words since that time. This scene therefore serves to educate the People about the Stele of Revealing and the Magi of the past.

  2. The second scene jumps forward to March of 1904 when Crowley tried to invoke the sylphs, the elementals of Air, through the preliminary invocation of the Goetia (also known as the “Bornless Ritual”), which put Rose into a trance who has vague messages that foreshadow the coming of the New Aeon. Crowley then questions Rose to ascertain the accuracy of her message. He then leads Rose through the Boulaq Museum in Cairo where she points to Stele #666, the Stele of Revealing.

  3. In the third scene, Crowley performs the Invocation of Horus, which “brought about the Opening of the New Aeon.”2

  4. The fourth scene dramatically re-enacts the Equinox of the Gods itself. Osiris’s seat in the East is taken by Ra-Hoor-Khuit and the New Aeon is established.

  5. The fifth scene involves the renunciation of the slave-gods by everyone present who wills to do such. Crowley wrote in a letter to Karl Germer, “You can take outsiders; but everyone who has anything to do with us at all must make a formal renunciation of ideas denounced in AL 49-56. Cap III.”3 He also wrote to Frater Achad, “I am inclined to propose that you should prepare a formula, to be presented at your lectures, by which any person can publicly renounce the errors of Christianity and so on, and accept the Law. Such a person should at that time burn a copy of his old ‘sacred book’, Bible, Mrs. Eddy, or what not, and be marked by you with The Mark of The Beast, to wit, the Acid on the Pulse of the Left Wrist.”4 The renunciation is based on rituals developed by T Polyphilus and T Omphalos.

PERSONS

: Master of Ceremonies

Dressed in white robe with yellow stole, i.e. as a Deacon. He performs the role of narrator and conductor of the People.

A: Ankh-af-na-khonsu

Dressed in Egyptian garb, or a plain white robe.

: The Magi

Dressed in white robes or in garments proper to the culture of the Saints.

: The Beast

Dressed in blue/azure. He performs the role of Aleister Crowley.

: Rose

Dressed in red/scarlet dress. She performs the role of Rose Crowley.

: Osiris/ Jesus

Dressed as Osiris, as Jesus, or in a black robe, representing the Aeon of Osiris.

: Horus

Dressed as Ra-Hoor-Khuit, or in scarlet and gold.

d : Ma’at

Dressed as Ma’at, representing the Aeon of Ma’at/Thmaist in the future.

c : Isis

Dressed as Isis, representing the Aeon of Isis of the past.

: The People

Dressed as they will. They participate when appropriate.

PART I: Ankh-af-na-khonsu in Egypt & the Seven Magi

[☿ stands in the East]

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: Love is the law, love under will.

: We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the feast for the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods. Crowley wrote, “The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20. The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox.” To understand the Supreme Ritual and the Equinox of the Gods, we must go back in time over two and a half millenia.

[He says the following while moving to the West where A stands in Osiris Risen in front of the Tomb]

: Over 2,500 years before the reception of The Book of the Law , Ankh-af-na-khonsu, a high priest of Mentu, lived in the Egyptian city known as Thebes. As was customary, a funerary stele was prepared for Ankh-af-na-khonsu.

[☿ moves behind A and holds up the front of the Stele over A ‘s head]

On the front it said:

A:

Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The winged globe, the starry blue,
Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!

I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsu
Whose words are truth. I invoke,
I greet Thy presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee:
– I, I adore thee!
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it fill me!

The light is mine; its rays consume Me:
I have made a secret door
Into the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

[☿ then holds the back of the Stele up] 

: …And on the back it said:

A:

Saith of Mentu the truth-telling brother
Who was master of Thebes from his birth:
O heart of me, heart of my mother!
O heart which I had upon earth!
Stand not thou up against me a witness!
Oppose me not, judge, in my quest!
Accuse me not now of unfitness
Before the Great God, the dread Lord of the West!
For I fastened the one to the other
With a spell for their mystical girth,
The earth and the wonderful West,
When I flourished, o earth, on thy breast!

The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
O thou that hast a single arm!
O thou that glitterest in the moon!
I weave thee in the spinning charm;
I lure thee with the billowy tune.
The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds,
Hath joined the dwellers of the light,
Opening Duaut, the star-abodes,
Their keys receiving. The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Hath made his passage into night,
His pleasure on the earth to do Among the living.

[☿ then steps away, gives the Stele to A , and A backs into the Tomb, which is then covered]

: There was then great darkness as the Aeon of Osiris took hold upon the earth. Throughout these times of darkness, the Secret Chiefs send forth certain men to bring Light to the world know as Magi. There are many magical teachers but in recorded history we have scarcely had a dozen Magi in the technical sense of the word. They may be recognized by the fact that their message may be formulated as a single word, which word must be such that it overturns all existing beliefs and codes.5 The essential characteristic of the Grade is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet.6 He then is called the Logos, or Logos Aionos, that is to say, he Word of the Aeon or Age, because he is verily that Word.7

[Pause]

First, there was Lao-Tzu, whose word was TAO.

[Lao-Tzu comes out with a candle and a copy of the Tao Teh Ching. He places the Tao Teh King on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

This Tao is the true Nature of Things, being itself a Way or Going, that is, a kinetic and not a static Conception. Also He taught this Way of Harmony in Will… So then this Tao is Truth, and the Way of Truth, and therefore was He Logos of His Aeon, and His true Name or Word was Tao.8

(Lao-Tzu): The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal name The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth The named is the mother of myriad things Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations These two emerge together but differ in name The unity is said to be the mystery Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders.9

[Lao-Tzu turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: Next came he whom Men call Gotama, or Siddartha, or the Buddha, and His Word was ANATTA. [Siddhartha comes out with a candle and either a statue of Buddha,a copy of sutras, or a copy of the Dhammapada. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

The Root of His whole Doctrine was that there is no Atman, or Soul, as Men ill translate it, meaning a Substance incapable of Change. Thus, He, like Lao-Tze, based all upon a Movement, instead of a fixed Point. And His Way of Truth was Analysis, made possible by great Intention of the Mind toward itself, and that well fortified by certain tempered Rigour of Life. And He most thoroughly explored and Mapped out the Fastnesses of the Mind, and gave the Keys of its Fortresses into the Hand of Man. But of all this the Quintessence is in this one Word ANATTA, because this is not only the foundation and the Result of his whole Doctrine, but the Way of its Work.10

(Siddhartha): There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.11

[Siddhartha turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: Next there was Krishna who has Names and Forms innumerable, and we know not His true Human Birth, for His Formula is of the Major Antiquity.

[Krishna comes out with a candle and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. He places the Bhagavad Gita on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

The true Word of Krishna was AUM, importing a Statement of the Truth of Nature.12 The word AUM is the sacred Hindu mantra which was the supreme hieroglyph of Truth, a compendium of the Sacred Knowledge. It represents the complete course of sound. Symbolically, this announces the course of Nature as proceeding from free and formless creation through controlled and formed preservation to the silence of destruction. The three sounds are harmonized into one; and thus the word represents the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; and the operations in the Universe of their triune energy.13

(Krishna): The Supreme Self is eternal, and the visible world including the physical body is transitory. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. The Supreme Self by which all this universe is pervaded is indestructible. No one can destroy the imperishable Self. One who thinks that the Self is a slayer, and the one who thinks Self is slain, are both ignorant. Because Self neither slays nor is slain. (2.19) The Supreme Self is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being, or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.14

[Krishna turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: There was also Tahuti, or Thoth, whose word was AMOUN.

[Tahuti comes out with a candle and a papyrus or a statue of himself. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

Amoun was “the concealed one” from whom the Hebrews borrowed their holy word “Amen.”15 The true Word of Tahuti, AMOUN, therefore made Men to understand their secret Nature, that is, their Unity with their true Selves, or, as they then phrased it, with God.16

(Tahuti): True, without Deceit, certain and most true. As Above, so Below, and as Below, so Above, in the Accomplishment of the Miracle of the One Thing. And just as all things have come from One, through the Mediation of One, so all things follow from this One Thing in the same Way. Its Father was the Sun, the Moon its Mother. It was carried in the Womb of Air, and the Earth was its Nurse. It is the Father of every Willed Thing in the whole World. Its Power is perfected if it becomes as Earth. Separate the Earth from Fire: the Fine from the Gross, gently and with great skill.17

[Tahuti turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: There was then a follower of Tahuti was an Egyptian whose Name is lost; but the Jews called Him Mosheh, or Moses, and their Fabulists made Him the Leader of their Legendary Exodus. Yet they preserved His Word, and it is IHVH [Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh].

[Tahuti comes out with a candle and the Old Testament or Tanakh. He places the Old Testament on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

This Word is itself a Plan of the Fabrick of the Universe, and upon it hath been elaborated the Holy Qabalah, whereby we have Knowledge of the Nature of all Things soever upon every Plane of By-coming, and of their Forces and Tendencies and Operations, with the Keys to their Portals.18

(Mosheh):  And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.19

[Mosheh turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

There was also Dionysus.

[Dionysus comes out with a candle and statue of himself or a papyrus. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

His Word hath spread into many Lands, and we know it today as INRI with the secret IAO concealed therein. And the Meaning of this Word is the Working of Nature in Her Changes; that is, it is the Formula of Magick whereby all Things reproduce and recreate themselves.20 This formula is the principal and most characteristic formula of Osiris, of the Redemption of Mankind. I is Isis, Nature, ruined by A, Apophis the Destroyer, and restored to life by the Redeemer Osiris.21

(Dionysus): I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus, primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord, wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped. Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, You take raw flesh, you have feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters. Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus When he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union. Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nymphs breathe on me in a spirit of perfect agape.22

[Dionysus turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

Then, Mohammed, who followed, is darkened and confused by His Nearness to our own Time, so that we say not save with diffidence that His Word ALLH may mean this or that.

[Mohammed comes out with a candle and a copy of the Qur’an. He places the Qur’an on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

But we are bold concerning His Doctrine of the Unity of God, for God is Man, and he said therefore: Man is One.

(Mohammed): There is no god but Allah.23 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.24

[Dionysus turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

[Pause]

: All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little.25

[The veil is drawn to encompass the Magi and the candles]

It was not for over a millenium that another Magus arose…

PART II: The Discovery of the Stele

: For over 2,500 years, the Stele of Revealing laid undisturbed until it was discovered by a French archaeologist and placed in the Boulaq Museum in Cairo, Egypt under the inventory number 666. In March of the year 1904 era vulgaris, Rose and the Beast were on their honeymoon in Cairo, Egypt when the Beast decided to try to show Rose the elementals of Air known as the “sylphs.”

: Thee I invoke, the Bornless one. Thee, that didst create the Earth and the Heavens: Thee, that didst create the Night and the day. Thee, that didst create the darkness and the Light. Thou art Osorronophris: Whom no man hath seen at any time. Thou art Iabos: Thou art Iapos: Thou hast distinguished between the just and the Unjust. Thou didst make the female and the Male. Thou didst produce the Seed and the Fruit. Thou didst form Men to love one another, and to hate one another. I am Ankh-af-na-Khonsu Thy Prophet, unto Whom Thou didst commit Thy Mysteries, the Ceremonies of Khem: Thou didst produce the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all created Life. Hear Thou Me, for I am the Angel of Apophrasz Osorronophris: this is Thy True Name, handed down to the Prophets of Khem.26

[A brief pause]

: Hmmm… no sylphs in sight at all…

[☽ sways as if in a trance]

: They are waiting for you.

: What’s that?

: They are waiting for you.

: Who is waiting for me?

: It’s all about the child.27

: What nonsense is this?

: You have neglected and offended him. You must invoke him!

: I make a sport of exposing people who claim clairvoyance, my dear. You should beware.

: He is waiting for you.

: Well, then, let’s prove the identity of this waiter and your authenticity as his messenger. What are his moral qualities?

: Force and fire.

: Describe the conditions caused by him.

: Deep blue light.

: Who is his enemy?

: Forces of the waters – the Nile.

: What is his lineal figure?

: A triangle pointing downwards.

: Its color?

: Red.

: What is his planetary nature?

: Mars.

: What is his weapon?

: The double wand of power.

: What is his place in the temple?

: The West, but it will soon change.

: Out of this list of names, which one is he?

: Horus.

: [aside] Here is a novice to magick, a woman who should never have been allowed outside a ballroom, but she is now speaking with the authority of God, and proving her clairvoyance by unhesitating correctness. [To Rose] Come with me to the Boulaq Museum, and you will pick out his image.

: They traveled to the Boulaq Museum in Cairo so that Rose could pick out the image of the god she saw. She passed by several images of Horus and the Beast smiled with glee at thinking he had disproved Rose’s message. They went upstairs, and a glass case stood in the distance, too far off for its contents to be recognized, but Rose instantly recognized it.

: There! There he is!

: The Beast approached the case and saw that it was marked as Stele #666. At that moment he could not debate the authenticity of Rose’s message, and he resolved to immediately rectify his previous scorn of Horus through an invocation.

PART III: The Invocation of Horus

: Unprepared and uninvoking Thee, I, Perdurabo, Brother of Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis, am here in Thy Presence – for Thou art Everywhere, O Lord Horus! – to confess humbly before Thee my neglect and scorn of Thee.28

How shall I humble myself enough before Thee? Thou art the mighty and unconquered Lord of the Universe: I am a spark of Thine unutterable Radiance.

How should I approach Thee? but Thou art Everywhere. But Thou hast graciously deigned to call me unto Thee, to this Exorcism of Art, that I may be Thy Servant, Thine Adept, O Bright One, O Sun of Glory!

Thou hast called me – should I not then hasten to Thy Presence? With unwashen hands therefore I come unto Thee, and I lament my wandering from Thee –but Thou knowest!

Yea, I have evil! If one blasphemed Thee, why should I therefore forsake Thee? But Thou art the Avenger; all is with Thee. I bow my neck before Thee; and as once Thy sword was upon it, so am I in Thy hands. Strike if Thou wilt: spare if Thou wilt: but accept me as I am. My trust is in Thee: shall I be confounded?

This Ritual of Art; this Forty and Fourfold Invocation; this Sacrifice of Blood – these I do not comprehend. It is enough if I obey Thy decree; did Thy fiat go forth for my eternal misery, were it not my joy to execute Thy Sentence on myself? For why? For that All is in Thee and of Thee; it is enough if I burn up in the intolerable glory of Thy presence.

Enough! I turn toward Thy Promise. Doubtful are the Words: Dark are the Ways: but in Thy Words and Ways is Light. Thus then now as ever, I enter the Path of Darkness, if haply so I may attain the Light. Hail!

[Drums begin a slow war-like beat or some other war-like music is played]

[People are prompted to ‘sing along’ for the occurences of ‘Thee, Thee I invoke!’ ‘I invoke Thee!’ and ‘ABRAHADABRA’]

Strike, strike the master chord! Draw, draw the Flaming Sword! Crowned Child and Conquering Lord, Horus, avenger!

O Thou of the Head of the Hawk! Thee, Thee, I invoke! [At every ‘Thee I invoke,’ throughout whole ritual, give the sign of Apophis; Rose can also put incense on the censer]
Thou only-begotten-child of Osiris Thy Father, and Isis Thy Mother. He that was slain; She that bore Thee in Her womb flying from the Terror of the Water. Thee, Thee I invoke!
O Thou whose Apron is of flashing white, whiter than the Forehead of the Morning! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou who hast formulated Thy Father and made fertile Thy Mother! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou whose garment is of golden glory with the azure bars of sky! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou, who didst avenge the Horror of Death; Thou the slayer of Typhon! Thou who didst lift Thine arms, and the Dragons of Death were as dust: Thou who didst raise Thine Head, and the Crocodile of Nile was abased before Thee! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou whose Nemyss hideth the Universe with night, the impermeable Blue! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou who travellest in the Boat of Ra, abiding at the Helm of the Aftet boat and of the Sektet boat! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou who bearest the Wand of Double Power ! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou about whose presence is shed the darkness of Blue Light, the unfathomable glory of the outmost Ether, the untravelled, the unthinkable immensity of Space. Thou who concentrest all the Thirty Ethers in one darkling sphere of Fire! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou who bearest the Rose and Cross of Life and Light! Thee, Thee, I invoke! The Voice of the Five. The Voice of the Six. Eleven are the Voices. ABRAHADABRA!

Strike, strike the master chord! Draw, draw the Flaming Sword! Crowned Child and Conquering Lord, Horus, avenger!
By thy name of Ra, Hawk of the Sun, the glorious one, I invoke Thee! [At every ‘I invoke Thee,’ throughout whole ritual, give the sign of Apophis; Rose can also put incense on the censer]
By thy name Harmachis, youth of the Brilliant Morning, I invoke Thee!
By thy name, Mau, Lion of the Midday Sun, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Tum, Hawk of the Even, crimson splendour of the Sunset, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Khep-Ra, O Beetle of the hidden Mastery of Midnight, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Heru-pa-Kraat, Lord of Silence, Beautiful Child that standest on the Dragons of the Deep, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Apollo, O man of Strength and splendour, O poet, O father, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Phoebus, that drivest thy chariot through the Heaven of Zeus, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Odin, O warrior of the North, O Renown of the Sagas, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Jeheshua, O child of the Flaming Star, I invoke Thee!
By Thine own, Thy secret name Hoori, Thee I invoke!
The Names are Five. The Names are Six. Eleven are the Names! ABRAHADABRA!

Behold! I stand in the midst. Mine is the symbol of Osiris; to Thee are mine eyes ever turned. Unto the splendour of Geburah, the Magnificence of Chesed, the mystery of Daath, thither I lift up mine eyes. This have I sought, and I have sought the Unity: hear Thou me!

In my hand is thy Sword of Revenge; let it strike at Thy Bidding! By the Sword I invoke Thee! The Voice of the Five. The Voice of the Six. Eleven are the Voices. ABRAHADABRA!

Mine is the Head of the Hawk! Abrahadabra!

[Give Sign of Apophis at each ‘Abrahadabra’]

I am the only-begotten-child of Osiris and Isis! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the Apron of flashing white! Abrahadabra!
I have formulated my Father and made fertile my Mother! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the garment of golden glory with the azure bars of the sky! Abrahadabra!
I have avenged the Horror of Death, I raised mine Head and the Crocodile of the Nile was abased before me! Abrahadabra!
Mine Nemyss hideth the Universe with night! Abrahadabra!
I travellest in the Boat of Ra, abiding at the helm! Abrahadabra!
I bearest the Wand of Double Power! Abrahadabra!
About me is shed the darkness of Blue Light! Abrahadabra!
I concentratest all the Thirty Ethers in one darkling sphere of Fire! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the Rose and Cross of Life and Light! Abrahadabra!

[Remain in the sign until the conclusion of the invocation; drums/music ceases]

Therefore I say unto thee: Come forth and dwell in me; so that every my Spirit, whether of the Firmament, or of the Ether, or of the Earth or under the Earth; on dry land or in the Water, or Whirling Air or of Rushing Fire; and every spell and scourge of God the Vast One may be THOU. ABRAHADABRA!

[Sounds of storms: rain, lightning, thunder, etc]

PART IV: The Equinox of the Gods

[♄ as Osiris/Jesus is in the East on a Throne that is within the opened veil of the High Altar; d as Ma’at is in the North; c as Isis is in the South; ♂ as Horus/Ra-Hoor-Khuit is in the West. The Holy Bible with Old & New Testament is on the superaltar in the East. The sounds of the storm continue.]

: The Voice of the Lord upon the Waters: the Terror of God upon Mankind. The voice of the Lord maketh the Skies to tremble: the Stars are troubled: the Aires fall. Cursed, cursed be the Earth, for her iniquity is great. Oh Lord! Let Thy Mercy be lost in the great Deep! Open thine eyes of Flame and Light, O God, upon the wicked! Lighten thine Eyes! The Clamour of Thy Voice, let it smite down the Mountains! Let us not see it! Cover we our eyes, lest we see the End of Man. Close we our ears, lest we hear the cry of Woman. Let none speak of it: let none write it!29 No!

d : No!

c : No!

: All is changed!

d : All is confounded!

c : Naught is ordered!

: The white is stained with blood!

d : The black is kissed of the Christ!

c : Return!

: Return!30 Tremble ye, O Pillars of the Universe, for Eternity is in travail of a Terrible Child; she shall bring forth an universe of Darkness, whence shall leap forth a spark that shall put his father to flight.

d : The Obelisks are broken!

c : The stars have rushed together!

d : T he Light hath plunged into the Abyss:

c : The Heavens are mixed with Hell!

: My Father shall not hear their Noise: His ears are closed: His eyes are covered with the clouds of Night.

d : The End!

c : The End!

: The End! For the Eye of Shiva He hath opened: the Universe is naked before Him: for the Aeon of Saturn leaneth toward the Bosom of Death!31

: It is a new chaos that thou findest here: chaos for thee: for us it is the skeleton of a New Truth!32 I have opened mine eye, and the universe is dissolved before me, for force is mine upper eye-lid and matter is my lower eye- lid. I gaze into the seven spaces, and there is naught.33

[♂ chases ♄ out of his Throne to the West and then to the South and then to the North where he sits]

: I have gone forth to war, and I have slain him that sat upon the sea, crowned with the winds. I put forth my power and he was broken. I withdrew my power and he was ground into fine dust. Rejoice with me, O ye Sons of the Morning; stand with me upon the Throne of Lotus; gather yourselves up unto me, and we shall play together in the fields of light. I have passed into the Kingdom of the West after my Father. Behold! where are now the darkness and the terror and the lamentation? For ye are born into the new Aeon; ye shall not suffer death. Bind up your girdles of gold! Wreathe yourselves with garlands of my unfading flowers! In the nights we will dance together, and in the morning we will go forth to war; for, as my Father liveth that was dead, so do I live and shall never die!34

[♂ takes the different books and objects from the High Altar that were set thereupon by the Magi and with each, ♂ holds them up and says:]

Curse them!35

[After all have been thrown down, ♂ says:]

Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds.36

[♂ spits on them and tramples them underfoot; d takes the Stele of Revealing and places it on the superaltar and then sits in the West; c takes The Book of the Law, places it below the Stele on the superaltar, and then she sits in the South; ♂ sits in the throne in the East]

: Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs!

d : Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods!

c : And let Asar be with Isa, who also are one!

: But they are not of me!

d : Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer!

c : Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating!37

[A pause. ♂ gets up and stands before his throne]

: The word of the law is Θελημα .38

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Every man and every woman is a star.39

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.40

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: The word of Sin is Restriction.41

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.42

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Love is the law, love under will.43

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.44

[ ♂ takes his seat in the throne]

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

PART V: The Renunciation of the Slave-Ideals of the Old Aeon

[☿ passes out slips of paper and pens, and generally acts as the facilitator of the People]

: If it is your Will to renounce the slave-ideals of the Old Aeon, Please write upon this paper, silently, and as briefly as you can, the name of the religion that you grew up with and the essential falsehood or wrong conduct taught by that religion.

[Pause for ~1 minute]

: Is there anyone present who wishes to disavow their previous ties to slave-ideals of Old Aeon religion with the ambition of embracing the Law of Thelema? Please rise.

: Hoor hath a secret fourfold name; it is Do What Thou Wilt. Four words: Naught—One—Many—All… Thou—Child! Thy Name is holy. Thy Kingdom is come. Thy Will is done. Here is the Bread. / Here is the Blood. / Bring us through Temptation! Deliver us from Good and Evil! That Mine as Thine be the Crown of the Kingdom, even now. ABRAHADABRA.

[brief pause]

: Brothers and sisters, is it your will to renounce the superstitious oppression of the Old Aeon?

: It is.

: We have to fight for Freedom against oppressors, religious, social, or industrial; and we are utterly opposed to compromise. Every fight is to be a fight to the finish; each one of us for himself, to do his own will; and all of us for all, to establish the Law of Liberty. Let every man bear arms, swift to resent oppression, generous and ardent to draw sword in any cause, if justice or freedom summon him! [Pause] Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: Love is the law, love under will.

: I am come against sorrow, against weariness, against them that seek to enslave you. I pour you lustral wine, that giveth you delight both at the sunset and the dawn. Come with me, and I will give you all that is desirable upon the earth. Because I give you that of which Earth and its joys are but as shadows. They flee away, but my joy abideth even unto the end. Only those who fear shall fail. Those who have bent their backs to the yoke of slavery until they can no longer stand upright; them will I despise. But you who have defied the law; you who have conquered by subtlety or force; you will I take unto me, even I will take you unto me. Only if ye are sorrowful, or weary, or angry, or discomforted; then ye may know that ye have lost the golden thread, the thread wherewith I guide you to the heart of the groves of Eleusis. My disciples are proud and beautiful; they are strong and swift; they rule their way like mighty conquerors. The weak, the timid, the imperfect, the cowardly, the poor, the tearful – these are mine enemies, and I am come to destroy them. This also is compassion: an end to the sickness of earth. A rooting-out of the weeds: a watering of the flowers. O my children, ye are more beautiful than the flowers: ye must not fade in your season.45

: Please come forward and place your slip of paper in the fire. [☿ aids the People in accomplishing this, while ♂ says: ]

: I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men. Curse them! Curse them! Curse them! With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din. Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds. Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: for her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you! Also for beauty’s sake and love’s!46 There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.47

: You will now stand in the posture that we call dieu garde, with your feet together at a right angle, and your thumbs linked before you. [ ☿ demonstrates]

: It is in this position that we break the bonds of slavery and forge those that lead to Freedom. You will now renounce the slave-ideals of the religions of the Old Aeon and their superstitions. At each query, make the loud declaration, “I renounce it!”

[Pause]

♂ Do you renounce the superstition of the Old Aeon?

: [lead by ☿] I renounce it.

Do you renounce the tyranny of the Old Aeon?

: I renounce it.

♂ Do you renounce the oppression of the Old Aeon?

: I renounce it.

♂ : Repeat after me… BAHLASTI!

: BAHLASTI!

♂ : OMPEHDA!

: OMPEHDA!

♂ : The word of the law is Θελημα. Every man and every woman is a star. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. The word of Sin is Restriction. Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect. Love is the law, love under will.

[Pause and hold up Mark of the Beast stamp]

: By the Sign of the Mark of the Beast, I applaud your renunciation of the slave-ideals and celebrate that you have broken the bonds of the slave-gods of the Old Aeon.

[♂ puts the Mark of the Beast on the inner left wrist of each individual with ☿ attending him if needed. After marking an individual, ♂ says to each:]

: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

[When finished with the last person, ♂ goes up to the throne in the East]

: Conquer! That is enough. Thou shalt have danger & trouble. Ra-Hoor-Khu is with thee. Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms. Refuse none, but thou shalt know & destroy the traitors. I am Ra-Hoor-Khuit; and I am powerful to protect my servant. Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not over much! Them that seek to entrap thee, to overthrow thee, them attack without pity or quarter; & destroy them utterly. Swift as a trodden serpent turn and strike! Be thou yet deadlier than he! Drag down their souls to awful torment: laugh at their fear: spit upon them! I am the God enthroned in Ra’s seat, lightening the girders of the soul. To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss. There is success.48

[The veil is drawn]

: I witness and commend your renunciation of slave-ideals of the Old Aeon. A feast has been prepared to celebrate the Supreme Ritual that invoked Horus and the Equinox of the Gods, when the world entered a New Aeon of the Law of Liberty, ruled by the Crowned and Conquering Child.

[☉ or ☽ stands at the head of the table and knocks 3-5-3]

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: What is thy Will?

: It is my Will to eat and to drink.

: To what end?

: That I may fortify my body thereby.

: To what end?

: That I may celebrate the feast of the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods.

: To what end?

: That I may accomplish the Great Work.

: Love is the law, love under will.

[☉ knocks once, makes toasts if (s)he wills]

References

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1 New Comment to Liber AL, II:40.

2 New Comment to Liber AL, II:40.

3 Letter from Aleister Crowley to Karl Germer, March 14, 1942.

4 Letter from Aleister Crowley to Charles Stansfield Jones, a.k.a., Frater Achad, April 1, 1919.

5 Confessions, chapter 49.

6 From Crowley’s “One Star in Sight.”

7 Liber Aleph, “De Magis Ordinis A∴A∴ Quibus Caro Fit Verbum.”

8 Liber Aleph, “De Magis Tempori Antiqui: Imprimis, De Lao-Tze.”

9 Chapter 1 from Tao Teh Ching.

10 Liber Aleph, “De Gautama.”

11 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, translated by Thanissaro Bhikku.

12 Liber Aleph, “De Sri Krishna et de Dionyso.”

13 Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 7.

14 An adaptation of chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.

15 Liber ABA, part II.

16 Liber Aleph, “De Tahuti.”

17 Adapted from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

18 Liber Aleph, “De Quodam Mago Aegyptiorum, Quem Appelunt Judaei Mosheh.”

19 Exodus 20:1-6, King James Version

20 Liber Aleph, “De Sri Krishna et de Dionyso.”

21 Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 7.

22 Adapted from the “Invocation of Dionysus” from Orphic hymns.

23 The first part of the “shahada” of Islam.

24 Sura 112 of the Qur’an.

25 Liber AL vel Legis, II:56.

26 From the “Preliminary Invocation of the Goetia,” which is more likely similar to what Crowley actually performed rather than Liber Samekh, which has changes that obviously occurred after the revelation of the New Aeon.

27 These are both things that Rose reportedly said to Crowley after the Bornless Invocation.

28 This entire invocation is adapted from the one used by Crowley as reported in The Equinox of the Gods, chapter 6.

29 The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

30 This entire exchange also comes from The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

31 This exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 30th Aethyr.

32 The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

33 The Vision and the Voice, 22nd Aethyr.

34 The Vision and the Voice, 22nd Aethyr.

35 Liber AL vel Legis, III:50.

36 Liber AL vel Legis, III:54.

37 Liber AL vel Legis, I:49.

38 Liber AL vel Legis, I:39.

39 Liber AL vel Legis, I:3.

40 Liber AL vel Legis, I:40.

41 Liber AL vel Legis, I:41.

42 Liber AL vel Legis, I:42-44.

43 Liber AL vel Legis, I:57.

44 Liber AL vel Legis, III:60.

45 Liber Tzaddi, lines 10-14, 18-19, 23-27

46 Liber AL vel Legis, III:49-56, as stated in the letter from Crowley.

47 Liber AL vel Legis, III:60.

48 Liber AL vel Legis, III:11, 17, 42, 61-62, 69.

 

 

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - The Gnostic Mass

The Officers of the Gnostic Mass – pt.3: The Deacon, Children, & the Congregation

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - The Gnostic Mass

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions related herein are strictly my own. They do not represent any kind of official stance of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, Ordo Templi Orientis, or anyone else. 

THE DEACON

1) The Master of Ceremonies: Leader of the People

The Deacon generally serves as the “master of ceremonies” in several ways. The Deacon acts as the leader of the People (i.e. the Congregation) right from the beginning. Before the Mass begins, the Deacon commonly is the individual who explains the participatory elements of the Mass to newcomers, he is the Officer that technically opens the door of the Temple to lead in the Congregation,  and the Deacon leads the People in the participatory elements (Step, Creed, Signs, Anthem, et cetera) within the Mass itself. This “role” of the Deacon is intertwined with several others:

2) The Mediator: Mercurial Psychopomp

Similar to being the leader of the People, the Deacon acts as the Mercurial “psychopomp.” The psychopomp was traditionally the spirit or god (or whatever else) that led someone through the afterlife like Mercury, Virgil to Dante, Valkyries to the Norse, et cetera. In this way, the Deacon symbolizes the mediator between several things. The Deacon is the mediator between the Supernal Triangle (represented by the High Altar) and the rest of the Tree of Life; the Deacon is able to go up to the High Altar and come back down in the beginning of the Mass, and he is also able to go up and receive the Eucharist for communion to bring it down for the Children to hold. The Deacon therefore also serves as mediator between the Priest/Priestess and the People, either leading the People to emulate the Priest/Priestess (as when the People are guided to strike their breasts like the Priest) or helping the Priest to communciate with the People (such as by holding the Lance).

3) Aid of Priest & Priestess

In a similar role as above, the Deacon acts as the aid for the Priest and Priestess. The Deacon brings the Priestess the Priest’s robe, cap and crown, he holds the Priest’s Lance, and he also aids the Priest and Priestess by generally taking care of and leading the People as previously mentioned.

4) The Faculties of the Conscious Self

Much like the Deacon literally aids the Priest in his endeavors, the Deacon can symbolize the faculties of the conscious self. If the Priest represents the Subject-hood of each individual, the Deacon symbolizes the various conscious faculties of memory, volition, imagination, desire, and reason. Qabalistically, this can be seen as the Priest being Tiphareth (Sol) and the Deacon represents the surrounding Sephiroth that aid and are coordinated by Tiphareth. This also shows several other ideas symbolically at play: Firstly, this symbolism shows the conscious mental faculties (the Deacon) as that which helps mediate between the Self (or “Individuality”; the Priest) and the physical world, including the body (the People/Congregation). Secondly, it shows the conscious mental faculties as guiding the Self and inflaming it to continue to union with the Not-Self (the Unconscious; the Priestess), as when the Deacon remains “below the Abyss” and intones the Collects while the Priest and Priestess commune in the Supernal Triangle (the High Altar).

5) The Vav of Tetragrammaton: The Hermetic Androgyne, Mercurius

In terms of the symbolism of Tetragrammaton, the Deacon is the Vav (YHVH). Reinforcing this, the Priest wears red (Fire/Yod), the Priestess wears blue (Water/Heh), and the Deacon wears yellow (Air/Vav). Further, the Deacon’s “stand” is “between the small altar and the font.” This often, for practical reasons, looks more like the Deacon is standing at the small altar (situated symbolically at Tiphareth in terms of the Temple layout), which is the place of Vav of Tetragrammaton. More subtly, the Deacon’s stand is specifically between the small altar (Sol/Tiphareth) and the font (Luna/Yesod). That is, the Deacon stands as the Hermetic-Mercurial Androgyne between Sol and Luna. The Tarot trump associated with the Path connecting Yesod and Tiphareth is Atu XIV: Art. This card shows the intermixing of Sol & Luna in the Alchemical Grail, and the Hermetic-Mercurial Androgyne can be seen presiding over the operation in the center. Further reinforcing this symbolism is that Atu XIV: Art is attributed to Sagittarius, the Archer, and as the Master Therion says, “The Arrow is, in fact, the simplest and purest glyph of Mercury, being the symbol of directed Will” (The Book of Thoth).

6) The Logos

Related to the Deacon’s function as Mercury is his role as bearing the Word of the Law, i.e. being the Logos. The description of the Deacon actually says “He bears The Book of the Law,” i.e. he bears the Logos (for the Qabalah-inclined, note that “Logos” = LGS = Legis, and LGS = 93). At the very beginning of the Gnostic Mass, the Deacon places The Book of the Law, symbolic of the Logos/Word of this particular Aeon, upon the High Altar. The Deacon then turns and proclaims the Law to the People, symbolically establishing a Divine Covenant between Heaven and Earth for this Aeon whose Law is “Do what thou wilt.” This reflects the previously mentioned role of being “mediator,” specifically between Heaven and Earth. Just as Prometheus brought the fire from the Heavens down to Mankind,  as Aiwass is the minister of Hoor-Paar-Kraat, as Christ the Son bears the Word of his Father, as Mercury is the messenger of Jupiter (et cetera), the Deacon acts as the Logos or Word of the Ineffable Lord. The Deacon therefore represents “Mercury [who] is pre-eminently the bearer of the Wand: Energy sent forth [and] therefore represents the Wisdom, the Will, the Word, the Logos by whom the worlds were created” (The Book of Thoth); also in this light, the Master Therion writes, “In the Beginning was the Word, the Logos, who is Mercury; and is therefore to be identified with Christ. Both are messengers; their birth mysteries are similar” (The Paris Working).

THE CHILDREN

1) Final Heh of Tetragrammaton

The Children form a kind of Two-in-One (or One-in-Two) Officer. They are called the “negative child” and “positive child” because the negative child bears the “passive” elements of Earth (salt) and Water, while the positive child bears the “active” elements of Air (incense) and Fire (censer). In this sense, they represent the Final Heh (YHVH) that is associated with Malkuth, the 10th Sephirah. Just as they encompass all 4 Elements, Malkuth represents the material world that is composed of these 4 Elements (in fact, Malkuth is often shown divided into 4 sections on the Qabalistic Tree of Life). Their double-nature reflects itself into other aspects of their symbolism:

2) Duality of the World 

The two Children “are clothed in white and black,” which symbolizes the duality of the world below the Abyss. As Helena and Tau Apiryon note, “The black and white squares [of the dais] may be seen as symbolizing the interplay of primal opposites,” and the Children are dressed in colors reflecting this interplay of primal opposites. In general, the two Children travel up and down the Pillars of Mercy and Severity, acting as reflections thereof.

3) Aids of Priest & Priestess

The Children aid the Priest & Priestess in their roles in several ways including holding the active and passive Elements for the Priestess to purify and consecrate the Priest (and vice versa), they “attend the PRIEST and PRIESTESS, ready to hold any appropriate weapon as may be necessary” during the Consecration of the Elements, and they hold the two elements of the Eucharist during communication.

4) Future Priest & Priestess

The two Children act as the future Priest and Priestess. They are, after all, called “Children” which implies, in a way, they will mature into different roles in time. They bear active and passive Elements, reflecting the Lance and Grail on a “lower scale,” and they move and act complementarily much as the Priest and Priestess do.

THE CONGREGATION

1) The Gnostic and Catholic Church: Final Heh of Tetragrammaton

The Congregation – or “the People” – also act as the Final Heh of Tetragrammaton (YHVH) in their own way. In this way, the People act as the symbolic representation of humanity in general or the Earth itself. If we are using the symbolic map of Tetragrammaton, we can see in the Creed that Baphomet is in the place of Vav (YHVH) and the “one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is ΘΕΛΗΜΑ” as the Final Heh (YHVH). In this way, the Church is the “bride” of Baphomet much as the Christian Church saw itself as the “bride of Christ.” Consider in this light what is said in Revelation 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem [Gnostic Catholic Church, Final Heh], coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband [Baphomet, Vav].”

2) The Brethren: The Company of Heaven

The People are mentioned as “the Brethren” to whom the virtues are administered. As the famous saying goes, “As above, so below.” The order of the Stars in Heaven is reflects in the order of “every man and every woman” (ALI:3) on Earth, with Hadit burning at the core of stars and in the hearts of men (ALII:6). As it says in Matthew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world.” This shows each individual as being part of “the company of heaven” (ALI:2), sources of Light & Life on Earth as the stars are in the Heavens. There is a deep symbolic connection between the company of stars in Heaven and the “communion of Saints,” with the many stars representing the many Saints “that transmitted the Light of the Gnosis.” Note that the Priest strikes his breast, showing his communion with the Saints, and all the People similarly strike their breasts. Jung discusses the medieval Alchemists’ understanding of this when he writes:

“Dorn, like Khunrath, owes much to Paracelsus with whom he concurs when he supposes an ‘invisibilem solem plurimis incognitum’ in man (an invisible sun unknown to many). [Also], ‘Sol est invisibilis in hominibus, in terra vero visibilis, tamen ex uno et eodem sole sunt ambo’ (The sun is invisible in men, but visible in the world, yet both are of one and the same sun)… Thus the one archetype emphasized by Khunrath is known also to Dorn as the sol invisibilis [invisible sun] or imago Dei [image of God]. In Paracelsus the lumen naturae comes primarily from the ‘astrum’ or ‘sydus,’ the ‘star’ in man… Indeed, man himself is an ‘Astrum’: not by himself alone, but for ever and ever with all apostles and saints; each and every one is an astrum, the heaven a star… therefore saith also the Scripture: ye are lights of the world [Matthew 5:14].”

3) Reflections of the Priest

As mentioned previously, the Priest represents each individual in the Congregation. At the culmination of the Gnostic Mass, “The PEOPLE communicate as did the PRIEST, uttering the same words in an attitude of Resurrection,” in effect imitating him and showing an identity therewith. Similarly, as mentioned previously, the People strike their breast as the Priest does, showing all of their connection to and communion with the eternal Priesthood of the Saints. Since “the PRIESTESS and other officers never partake of the Sacrament, they being as it were part of the PRIEST himself,” the various Officers of the Gnostic Mass can be seen as aspects of the Priest. By extension, the entire Gnostic Mass can therefore be seen as an enactment of a mythopoetic psychodrama within the consciousness or “soul” of each Congregant, showing-forth the internal process of the Great Work and allowing each individual present to partake thereof.

Again: This list is not exhaustive, nor is the symbolism of any of those meanings listed above completely fleshed out. The idea is to show there are many interconnected, intertwining, overlapping sets of symbolism by which one can more fully appreciate the mysterious depths of the central ceremony of Ordo Templi Orientis.

[← Part 2: The Priestess ←]

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - The Gnostic Mass

The Officers of the Gnostic Mass – pt.2: The Priestess

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - The Gnostic Mass

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions related herein are strictly my own. They do not represent any kind of official stance of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, Ordo Templi Orientis, or anyone else. 

THE PRIESTESS

1) The Unconscious Self

Just as the Priest symbolizes the conscious self, the Priestess symbolizes the unconscious self. The “unconscious self” constitutes all those parts of the psyche (which originally meant “soul”) that are not conscious, including both the “lower” instincts of the body and the “higher” impulses of the spirit. The unconscious encompasses both the Nephesh (“animal soul”; material impulses) and the Neshamah (divine intuition; spiritual impulses) in terms of the Qabalistic view of the soul. The Priestess is therefore the “greeting of Earth and Heaven” in herself. In terms of the unconscious self, the Priestess represents those impulses that appear to the Priest (or conscious self) to come from “outside.” This basic idea will be expanded in the different symbolic ideas that follow:

2) The Object of Desire

The Priestess represents the Object that complements the Subject-hood of the Priest. In terms of Yoga, the Priestess represents the Object of concentration with which the Subject of awareness unites in samadhi. 

The Priestess therefore represents the ultimate Object of Desire, which we understand as symbolized by “Nuit” in Thelema. In Liber AL it says, “At all my meetings with you shall the priestess say—and her eyes shall burn with desire as she stands bare and rejoicing in my secret temple—To me! To me! calling forth the flame of the hearts of all in her love-chant. Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!” (I:62-63). The Master Therion comments on this: “Nuit: Her public Cult. Now lastly she ordains her public cult. Her image, she being All-Desired, shall be a living Woman, calling to her that Spirit which shall make her perfect in Event. Of all this Rite I have written in another place” (The Comment Called D). The “Rite” referenced is an explicit reference to the Gnostic Mass where these lines from Liber AL are actually spoken by the Priestess.

The Priestess represents the object of desire but not simply the object of sexual desire; the idea is that sexual desire (and all other desires) are masks or veils upon the ultimate Desire to accomplish the Great Work, to unite Microcosm and Macrocosm, Subject and Object, Adept and Angel, Lance and Cup (et cetera), in the ecstatic union of Love. In fact, the Gnostic Mass can be seen as a ritualized way to harness the power of sexuality to accomplish the “spiritual” aim of the Great Work. As the Master Therion says, “We of Thelema are not the slaves of Love. ‘Love under will’ is the Law. We refuse to regard love as shameful and degrading, as a peril to body and soul. We refuse to accept it as the surrender of the divine to the animal; to us it is the means by which the animal may be made the Winged Sphinx which shall bear man aloft to the House of the Gods” (New Comment to AL I:51).

3) The Heh of Tetragrammaton: The Mother of Life

In the symbolism of Tetragrammaton, the Priestess can represent the “Heh” (YHVH). This Heh relates to the Mother, the Queen, the Element of Water, and the magical weapon of the Cup. The Priestess bears the Holy Graal, a form of the Cup, a receptive instrument of Universal Life. She is clothed in blue, the color of the Element of Water that is attributable to Heh of Tetragrammaton. On the Priest’s first step toward the Veil, the Priestess identifies with Nuit, the star-goddess of Infinite Space and the Infinite Stars thereof, which is the ultimate Maternal idea beyond even notions of gender. In the Creed, the “Mother of all” is called BABALON, who is “the Mother of Abominations” and the “mighty Mother” who bears “the cup of her whoredom” (12th Aethyr). All of these things are Mother-Form symbols attributable in the Qabalah to the 3rd Sephirah, Binah. All these things go to reinforce the fact that the Priestess can be identified as the Heh of Tetragrammaton, the Mother-Queen of Life.

4) The Final Heh of Tetragrammaton: The Virgin Daughter

To further complicate things (as is natural with symbolism), the Priestess can be identified with the Final Heh of Tetragrammaton (YHVH). On the Tree of Life, Yod can be attributed to Chokmah, Heh to Binah, Vav to Tiphareth (and the surrounding Sephiroth), and Final Heh to Malkuth. In this scheme, Final is attributed to the Earth, and the Priestess’ first words are “Greeting of Earth and Heaven” (showing her identity with both). She is also called “Virgin pure without spot” by the Priest, and she is explicitly named “The VIRGIN” in the beginning of the rubric of the Gnostic Mass (and she is said to be “Virgo Intacta”).

Further, in the incestuous Qabalistic drama of Tetragrammaton, the Son/Prince is said to marry the Daughter/Princess and set her upon the Throne of the Mother. This is explicitly seen when the Priest says, “I, PRIEST and KING, take thee, Virgin pure without spot; I upraise thee; I lead thee to the East; I set thee upon the summit of the Earth.” The Priest then literally sets the Priestess upon the Throne in the East. As it says in the 4th Aethyr, “And this is that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah.” Also in the 9th Aethyr it says, “This is the daughter of BABALON the Beautiful, that she hath borne unto the Father of All. And unto all hath she borne her. This is the Daughter of the King [Final Heh of YHVH]. This is the Virgin of Eternity. This is she that the Holy One hath wrested from the Giant Time, and the prize of them that have overcome Space. This is she that is set upon the Throne of Understanding [Heh of YHVH]. Holy, Holy, Holy is her name, not to be spoken among men. For Kor they have called her, and Malkuth, and Betulah, and Persephone [all Earthly names attributable to Earth, the 10th Sephirah of Malkuth].” In this sense, the Priestess begins as the Princess/Daughter and, by virtue of her interaction with the Prince/Son, is uplifted to become Queen/Mother on the Throne of the East.

5) The Holy Guardian Angel: The Heavenly Virgin

The Priestess represents the Mother of Life (Atu III: The Empress/Binah), the Virgin-Earth Daughter (Atu XXI: The Universe/Malkuth), and she also represents the Heavenly Virgin or Initiatrix (Atu II: The High Priestess). In this way, she can be attributed to the Path of Gimel on the Tree of Life which descends from Kether across the Abyss to Tiphareth. Atu II is called “The High Priestess” and the role is called the “Priestess.” If we take the Gnostic Mass temple as being laid out according to the Tree of Life, when the Priestess is set upon the High Altar in the East she sits exactly in the place of the Path of Gimel/High Priestess in between Kether (represented by the Stele of Revealing raised up all the way in the East) and Tiphareth (represented by the small altar in the center of the Temple). As the Master Therion says, “She is the symbol of the Angel as represented by the Path of Gimel where is ‘The High Priestess.’ This Path connects Macroprosopus (Kether) and Microprosopus (Tiphereth), the supreme divinity and its human manifestation” (Commentary to Liber LXV).  The Master Therion also writes, “To the aspirant, that is, to the adept who is already in Tiphareth, to him who has attained to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, this is the path which leads upwards; and this card, in one system entitled the Priestess of the Silver Star, is symbolic of the thought (or rather of the intelligible radiance) of that Angel. It is, in short, a symbol of the highest Initiation” (The Book of Thoth). In the beginning of the Mass, she descends as the spiritual impulse that draws the Priest out of the darkness of the Tomb to the Path of the Great Work represented by the rest of the Gnostic Mass.

6) The Woman of the New Aeon

In yet another sense, the Priestess represents the Woman of the New Aeon. As Liber AL says, “Let the woman be girt with a sword before me” (III:11), and “in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given” (I:15). In the foreground of Atu V: The Hierophant, we see “the woman girt with a sword; she represents the Scarlet Woman in the hierarchy of the new Aeon… This woman represents Venus as she now is in this new aeon; no longer the mere vehicle of her male counterpart, but armed and militant” (The Book of Thoth). We can see in the rubric of the Gnostic Mass that the Priestess “bears the Sword from a red girdle.” This shows her “girt with a sword” and the “red girdle” identifies her with Nuit when She says her symbol is “The Five Pointed Star, with a Circle in the Middle, & the circle is Red” (Liber ALI:60). The Gnostic Mass therefore is, on one level, showing that the Feminine is now equal and complementary to the Masculine, for this is the Aeon of the Child who combines Mother and Father, feminine and masculine, as Two-in-One in each star.

7) The Feminine Operator in Sexual Magick

As if it is not already obvious from the previously mentioned symbolism (and the Mass itself), the Priestess represents the feminine operator in sexual magick. I say “feminine” because she represents one half of the equation, and each individual “soul” is androgynous, containing both male and female (and all other opposites) in itself. In this way, in Hindu symbolism, the Priestess represents Shakti and the Priest is Shiva. The Lance represents the lingam, the Cup represents the yoni, the particle of the Host represents the Seed of the lingam, and the wine of the Cup represents the menstruum of the yoni. They are combined in the Grail and then the Two-in-One Eucharist is ingested so that the partaker thereof becomes Godhead Itself.

6) Kundry

If the Priest represents Parsival, the Priestess represents Kundry. As the Master Therion says, “for every Parsifal there is a Kundry” (Liber Aleph). Kundry assumes multiple forms and roles in Wagner’s opera, reflecting the fact that the Priestess is Venus, Earth, and Luna all wrapped into one (as explained in the previous sections). She is even called the “nameless one” in Parsival, implying she has many identities and many forms.

In Act I, Kundry is the messenger of the Grail (Kundry is used by Wagner as a play on the German “Kunde” that implies a news-bringer or messenger), who comes into the scene and allows for the entire rest of the drama to unfold, for Parsival is a pure fool and does not even know his own name; it is Kundry who knows of Parsival’s true identity and past, allowing him to remember his heritage and his purpose. This is reflected in the Gnostic Mass when the Priest issues from the Tomb and says “I am a man among men, how should I be worthy to administer the virtues to the Brethren?” The Priestess then answers him the purification, consecration, robing, and “activation” of the power of the Sacred Lance.

In Act II, Kundry tempts Parsival which represents the necessity of the Priest’s purity of aspiration to the Highest, not being dragged down into more animalistic-materialistic forms of desire (i.e. what is mentioned previously about the Priestess as the Ultimate Object of Desire behind the veils of other desires). As the Master Therion says, “In order to live his own life, the child must leave the Mother, and overcome the temptation to return to her for refuge. Kundry, Armida, Jocasta, Circe, etc., are symbols of this force which tempts the Hero” (Magick in Theory and Practice) and “in the second act, it is the same quality [of innocent purity] that enables him [Parsival] to withstand the blandishments of the ladies in the garden of Kundry” (The Book of Thoth). In the end, as the Master Therion says, “Kundry is saved in Parsifal’s redemption” (Astrology) and also “[Parsival] redeems not only Kundry, but himself” (The Book of Thoth). This is reflected in the fact that “The PRIESTESS and other officers never partake of the Sacrament, they being as it were part of the PRIEST himself.” In fact, the entire Temple is transformed by the Sacrament, which is to say that the entire Tree of Life – or the entire Being of the individual – is transformed through the partaking thereof. The Master Therion notes that “the only words spoken by Kundry after her redemption were ‘Dienen! Dienen!’ [‘Serving! Serving!’]” (Moonchild). This shows that the retrieval of the Lance and its immersion in the Cup has “ordered Kundry to right Service” (Liber Aleph); that is, the Feminine is in “service” to the Highest and not animalistic impulses, being a pure vehicle of the “joy of the earth” as the Lance is a pure vehicle of “the life of the Sun.”

Again: This list is not exhaustive, nor is the symbolism of any of those meanings listed above completely fleshed out. The idea is to show there are many interconnected, intertwining, overlapping sets of symbolism by which one can more fully appreciate the mysterious depths of the central ceremony of Ordo Templi Orientis.

[← Part 1: Introduction & the Priest ← | → Part 3: The Deacon, Children, & the Congregation →]

The Officers of the Gnostic Mass – pt.1: Introduction & the Priest

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - The Gnostic Mass

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions related herein are strictly my own. They do not represent any kind of official stance of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, Ordo Templi Orientis, or anyone else. 

INTRODUCTION

The Gnostic Mass is an incredibly deep, complex, multi-layered ceremony. It seems to be an inexhaustible source of meaning and illumination. This is because the Mass itself represents the Mysteries. These are not the secrets that are known by some and guarded from others, but the “Mystery of Mystery” Itself. It represents in dramatic form that which is “secret and ineffable,” “beyond speech and beyond sight,” and “beyond all term.” It celebrates “that most holy mystery.”

As The Master Therion says, “Since truth is supra-rational, it is incommunicable in the language of reason” (Postcards to Probationers), and “all real secrets are incommunicable” (Magick in Theory & Practice). The Gnostic Mass therefore “refers to a knowledge incommunicable—save by experience” (Temple of Solomon the King). This knowledge attained through experience is what is meant by gnosis, the direct experiential “knowledge” that is not (and can’t be) communicated with words – it can only be hinted at through symbol and allegory, like fingers pointing to the moon. And this is one reason our Church is the Gnostic Catholic Church. As the Master Therion says, “ye shall comprehend, when, rising above Reason, which is but a manipulation of the Mind, ye come to pure Knowledge by direct perception of the Truth” (De Lege Libellum).

One issue I see in some individuals’ writings and understanding of the Gnostic Mass is that they often get quickly “locked in” to a certain symbolic interpretation being “right.” For example, the most common I see is the understanding that the Creed or the Officers represent the formula of Tetragrammaton (YHVH) and nothing else. Since the nature of the Mysteries is that they are, by definition, not exhaustible or completely explainable through language, there is therefore a theoretically infinite amount about them that one can say or write. Because of this, what is expressed below is most certainly not exhaustive in its explanation of anything in the Gnostic Mass. What follows is neither official nor “Absolutely True,” but it is intended to offer different perspectives in the hopes of widening and deepening one’s understanding and appreciation of the Gnostic Mass.

THE OFFICERS

There are technically 4 “roles” filled by 5 individuals in the Gnostic Mass: (1) The PRIEST, (2) The PRIESTESS, (3) The DEACON, and (4) The two CHILDREN. I am going to go through each one and briefly discuss different ways of understanding the Officers symbolically. This will not be an incredibly in-depth analysis because the intent is to make these different perspectives known in order to broaden and deepen one’s understanding, not to make an academic-intellectual case for one or the other. It is also intended to leave room open for one’s own scholarship, fantasy, and experience.

Before beginning, it is important to remember what is said in the 5th Aethyr, “there could be nothing true except by virtue of the contradiction that is contained in itself.” That is to say: Each symbol is not “X to the exclusion of not-X.” Something may very well symbolize something and its exact opposite. One example is the symbolism of “darkness” and “night”: It can symbolize the darkness of the uninitiate’s ignorance or it can symbolize the highest attainment of NOX, the dissolution of All into None. Remembering this, no explanation of symbolism can ever be “logically consistent” because logic insists on something being either X or not-X; symbolism works with something beyond logic – something “supra-rational” – where meanings combine, oppose, intertwine, and interrelate in many different ways.

THE PRIEST

1) John Everyman: A Man Among Men

The Priest, in many senses, represents every individual. In particular, the Priest is a representation or archetypal expression of each of the Congregants. This is reflected in the Priest’s words when he exits the Tomb: “I am a man among men.” It even says in the rubric of the Gnostic Mass that “The PRIESTESS and other officers never partake of the Sacrament, they being as it were part of the PRIEST himself” (emphasis added). He is the natural protagonist of the Gnostic Mass, although I very much agree with several people who mention that the Priest, Priestess, and Deacon are each the protagonist from their own point-of-view. Nonetheless, the Priest is the one who undergoes “the Hero’s Journey” in the mythopoetic drama of the Gnostic Mass, and individuals often naturally will identify with him. This relates to the next symbol:

2) The Conscious Self: The Subject

The Priest is the natural “protagonist” and symbol with which people identify most readily because he symbolizes the conscious self. One could say the Priest represents the “ego,” but he is deeper than that: He is the Self that expresses itself through the ego on a “lower level”. The Priest is the individuality of each individual. For comparison, one could say the Priest is the Self and the Deacon represents the ego with all of its mental-rational capabilities (memory, volition, imagination, desire, reason) that assists the Self. Qabalistically, one can think of the Priest as Tiphareth, the Sun, and the Deacon as representing the Sephiroth surrounding and aiding it. Again, since the Priest represents the conscious self, he naturally represents the Subject of awareness and represents each individual’s Subject-hood. In relation to this, the Priestess represents the Object. In terms of the language of Yoga, the Subject of awareness unites with the Object of awareness in samadhi, or non-dual awareness.

3) The Yod of Tetragrammaton: The Father of Life

In the symbolism of Tetragrammaton, the Priest can represent the “Yod” (YHVH). This Yod relates to the Father, the King, the Element of Fire, and the magical weapon of the Wand. The Priest is called “Lord” and calls himself “Priest and King,” identifying himself with the “Kingly” element of Yod. The Priest bears the Sacred Lance, which is a form of the Wand, a phallic instrument of force and power (but it is not the exact same thing as the Wand, as will be mentioned later). The Lance (Yod) combines with the Chalice (Heh), further emphasizing this connection. Further, he is clothed in scarlet, a shade of red which is attributable to Fire and therefore to Yod. Further: On his second step toward the Veil, the Priest identifies with Hadit, the heart of every man and the core of every star, which is the ultimate Paternal idea beyond even notions of gender. In the Creed, the “Father of Life” is called CHAOS, who is identifiable with “Therion” (The Great Beast 666), which are all Father-Force symbols attributable in the Qabalah to the 2nd Sephirah, Chokmah. All these things go to reinforce the fact that the Priest can be identified as the Yod of Tetragrammaton, the Father-King of Life.

4) The Vav of Tetragrammaton: The Sun/Son

To further complicate things (as is natural with symbolism), the Priest can be identified with the Vav of Tetragrammaton (YHVH). On the Tree of Life, Yod can be attributed to Chokmah, Heh to Binah, Vav to Tiphareth (and the surrounding Sephiroth), and Final Heh to Malkuth. In this scheme, Vav is attributed to the Sun, and the Priest is called the “Priest of the Sun” by the Priestess. Further, in the incestuous Qabalistic drama of Tetragrammaton, the Son/Prince is said to marry the Daughter/Princess and set her upon the Throne of the Mother. This is explicitly seen when the Priest says, “I, PRIEST and KING, take thee, Virgin pure without spot; I upraise thee; I lead thee to the East; I set thee upon the summit of the Earth.” The Priest then literally sets the Priestess upon the Throne in the East. As it says in the 4th Aethyr, “And this is that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah.” In this sense, the Priest begins as the Prince/Son and, by virtue of his interaction with the Princess/Daughter, uplifts her to become Queen/Mother and he assumes the place of King/Father.

Again: the symbolism intertwines and overlaps in many ways. At the end of the Gnostic Mass, the Priest consumes the two-fold Eucharist and, in the attitude of Resurrection, proclaims that “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” This is the traditional symbol of Osiris who died and was reborn, and the attitude of Resurrection was called “the Sign of Osiris Risen” in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which was attributed to the Sephirah of Tiphareth (that was, in turn, attributed to the grade of 5=6, that of the formula of LVX, IAO, and INRI, i.e. Life-Death-Rebirth). In a certain way, the Gnostic Mass represents the “perpetuation of the Tetragrammaton,” which is to say that it represents evolution (One becoming Many, Creation) and involution (Many becoming One, Attainment) and evolution again, et cetera ad infinitum. In this light, Crowley comments on the quotation from the 4th Aethyr mentioned above, “This mystery of the Daughter awakening the eld of the all-Father and thus perpetuating Tetragrammaton is of great importance.”

5) The Masculine Operator in Sexual Magick

As if it is not already obvious from the previously mentioned symbolism (and the Mass itself), the Priest represents the masculine operator in sexual magick. I say “masculine” because he represents one half of the equation, and each individual “soul” is androgynous, containing both male and female (and all other opposites) in itself. In this way, in Hindu symbolism, the Priest represents Shiva and the Priestess is Shakti. This is reflected in Atu XI: Lust where Babalon (Shakti) is astride the Beast (Shiva). From this symbolism, one comes to wonder why the Priest is constantly identified as the “active” element in this duo when the symbolism repeatedly points to Babalon-Shakti as the more “active” participant – the masculine seems to often be “along for the ride,” so to speak. She’s the one who came down and pulled the Priest out of the Tomb, after all. In fact, Babalon is literally on top of the Beast in Atu XI, and – during the Collects – the Priestess can be seen above the Priest as they exchange their loving glances and breath.

Alchemically, the Priest is the Red Lion who interacts with the White Eagle, combining their essences in the hermetic vessel (or Grail) in order to produce the Elixir of Life, the Stone of the Philosophers, the Arcane Substance, the Two-in-One (et cetera). This alchemical symbolism is shown most explicitly in Atu VI: The Lovers where the Chymical Marriage takes place, and the result of their Consummation is shown in Atu XIV: Art.

6) Parsival: The Fool’s Journey

The Priest represents Parsival, specifically the character from Wagner’s opera. The Master Therion was obviously most fond of this allegory and he references it in many different works. In fact, he notes that “The dramatic setting of Wagner’s Parsifal was arranged by the then head of the O.T.O.” (i.e. Theodor Reuss). He explains that “Parsifal in his first phase is Der reine Thor, the Pure Fool” (The Book of Thoth), so the Gnostic Mass can be seen as the archetypal narrative of “the Fool’s Journey.”

Consider this: The Priest issues from the Tomb in white, symbolizing purity and innocence, just like that of Parsifal in the first Act of Wagner’s opera. Next, “Parsifal seizes [the sacred lance]; in other words, attains to puberty.” This is shown by the 11 strokes of the Lance by which the Lord is made present among us; further, going back to the symbolism of Tetragrammaton, this shows the Priest attaining “spiritual puberty” represented by the Lance (Vav) by which he may unite with the Daughter (Final Heh) and set her upon the Throne of the Mother (Heh). As the Master Therion explains, “the Fool: the innocent and impotent Harpocrates Babe becomes the Horus Adult by obtaining the Wand. ‘Der reine Thor’ [the pure fool] seizes the Sacred Lance. Bacchus becomes Pan. The Holy Guardian Angel is the Unconscious Creature Self – the Spiritual Phallus. His knowledge and conversation contributes occult puberty” (Liber Samekh).

Next, Parsifal must seek Monsalvat, the Mountain of Salvation, that is the same as “Abiegnus” the sacred mountain of Rosicrucians (as well as Mount Sinai, Mount Meru, the world-ash wonder-tree, and all other symbols of the axis mundi) that is symbolically shown as the High Altar in the East. The Master Therion continues, “Where is Monsalvat, the mountain of salvation, which he has sought so long in vain? He worships the lance: immediately the way, so long closed to him, is open.” This is seen in the Priest’s three circumambulations of the Temple in darkness, led only by the Light of the Sacred Lance, which eventually brings him to the Veil of the Sanctuary. Then, “Accordingly, to redeem the whole situation, to destroy death, to reconsecrate the temple, he has only to plunge the lance into the Holy Grail; he redeems not only Kundry, but himself.” This is seen in the moment of the Lance plunging the particle into the Grail with the simultaneous orgasmic “HRILIU” from Priest and Priestess. It is from this “mixture,” the Eucharist infused with Godhead Itself, that the Priest (and the People) can partake and arise as that which may truthfully proclaim, “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” This is one reason that the Sacred Lance is not just another name for the magical implement of the Wand. Without the Lance, the entire symbolism of Parsifal’s “Fool’s Journey” (the connections of which goes much deeper than the above) is almost completely lost.

Again: This list is not exhaustive, nor is the symbolism of any of those meanings listed above completely fleshed out. The idea is to show there are many interconnected, intertwining, overlapping sets of symbolism by which one can more fully appreciate the mysterious depths of the central ceremony of Ordo Templi Orientis.

[→ Part 2: The Priestess →]

On Contributing to the Greater Community in Thelema

IAO131 - On Serving the Greater Community in Thelema

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Prologue

Before even beginning to discuss the extent that contributing to the greater community is part of Thelema, it should be acknowledged that the “alpha and omega” of Thelema is Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. There is no law beyond doing your Will and you have no right but to do It. The answer to any question that takes the form “Is X or Y part of Thelema” is always “if it is your Will, then yes; if it is not your Will, then no.” I am not saying anyone “should” or “should not” do anything, but I am presenting an argument why contributing to the greater community is justified within the philosophy of Thelema. With that in mind, we can take a look at what Thelema implies and Crowley said about contributing to the greater community.

A maturing view of True Will

I would argue that, at a less mature level, Thelema is understood to be an entirely selfish doctrine. (By “less mature,” I simply mean “not fully developed,” and no pejorative implication is meant by it). When first learning about Thelema, individuals often understand “Do what thou wilt” to essentially mean “I have the right to find my Will and do it, so my personal needs trump everyone else’s.” From a certain standpoint, this is true. Your needs certainly deserve to be fulfilled. The problem is that many people simply do not know yet what their true “personal needs” and desires are in the first place – hence the necessity to engage in the process to know one’s Will. Further, one in this mindset maintains a very dichotomous (i.e. dualistic, black-and-white) view of the “self” as distinct from “others.” 

Many people move to the next level of maturity when they join an organization or start applying Thelema at a broader scale. That is, one matures to realize that everyone else has the right to do their own Will just as much as oneself. It is the realization that, just as you are the center of your own universe, everyone around you is the center of their own universes. Not only this, but many come to realize that becoming aware of others’ needs and even helping to fulfill them actually makes one’s own Will much easier to accomplish. The dichotomous view of “my Will versus the world” begins to break down and we see that we are a Star in the company of Stars. We see that disagreement does not preclude a greater harmony or cooperation, and often we find that we can accomplish greater things if we work together with others. We may even begin see that the distinction between “self” and “other” is much more tenuous, fluid, and dynamic than previously supposed, perhaps gaining a glimmer of the meaning of “the union of opposites” being the Great Work. 

This all may sound very obvious to some, but this is where things generally start to “break down.” Thelemites may see the rationale to serve their own needs and the needs of their Brothers and Sisters, but many do not see a rationale for contributing to the greater community. By “the greater community” I simply mean “people who are not part of OTO” or even “people who are not self-identified Thelemites.” Why might this be?

Why should we contribute to the greater community?

I am defining contributing as “giving resources, including but not limited to time, energy, and money.” We should certainly make sure to dedicate our resources to ourselves, making sure that our needs are met so that we may accomplish our Wills. Many Thelemites naturally and intuitively understand that contributing to an organization like OTO – i.e. by giving their time, energy, and money – is a great way to not only aid others in accomplishing their Wills but to learn more about one’s own Will in the process. The struggle for freedom – and the freedom that one has won for oneself – is naturally desired to be shared with others, so we band together into communities in order to preserve and promulgate the Law of Life, Light, Love, and Liberty. Why should we stop at our local community of Thelemites? Is not the Law for all? Do we not acknowledge that every man and every woman is a star? Do we not want all individuals to have the freedom to do their Wills? 

The image that precedes this essay is a well surrounded by four palm trees. This comes from Crowley’s essay “Liber CXXIV: Of Eden and the Sacred Oak” with the subtitle “And of the Greater and Lesser Hospitality of the O.T.O.” The subject of the essay is about “Profess Houses” in OTO, but I believe many of the principles apply on a greater, more general scale. As it is said, “For, in True Things, all are but images one of another; man is but a map of the universe, and Society is but the same on a larger scale.” The import of the image is that the Thelemic community – represented by the Profess House, but it could be any group of Thelemites of any or no formal organization – is a source of nourishment and hospitality to everything around it. Crowley writes:

“The symbol of the Profess-House is therefore a great Oak from which flow streams of water to every quarter fertilising indeed the ground about the hill and fortifying with moisture the roots of the oak itself, but not eddying about it and sapping its foundations. And in the spread of this Eden shall many men rejoice, taking shelter beneath overspreading branches, and refreshing their weary limbs in the fresh waters of the fount celestial pure. Alternatively, the symbol may be that of a well in the desert, sheltered by four great palms.”

Although the idea of the paradise of Eden with 4 rivers is a bit utopian and hyperbolic, it is nonetheless an important symbol.IAO131 - On Serving the Greater Community in Thelema The idea is that the community (represented by the oak or the well) nourishes things around it (the four streams of water or the four palms); further, in the community’s nourishing of others, it also fortifies itself without losing its own foundations. I think this is a beautiful image: every Thelemic community is a beacon of Light to those who stumble in darkness, a well of Life for those who struggle to subsist. 

Crowley himself says clearly, “thou must by Law assure to every Man a Means of satisfying his bodily and his mental Needs, leaving him free to develop any Super-Structure in Accordance with his Will, and protecting him from any that may seek to deprive him of these vertebral Rights.” This is essentially the idea of Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” about 4 decades before the idea was described by Maslow: every individual needs the foundation of their basic needs – their “bodily and mental needs” – before the capstone of any kind of “Super-Structure” can be developed. Crowley reinforces this idea when he wrote to Lady Frieda Harris, “The whole world as I see it is at present lost in constipations of this kind; the real needs of humanity are what they have always been: food, shelter, love and freedom. That, roughly speaking, is the general true will of the species, and all devices, which are not subservient to this will, are errors.” If we have the means to, for example, satisfy the bodily needs of those who spend most of their energy concerned about food and shelter, does it not make sense to contribute to them if we are capable? That is, if we have the resources – the time, money, and/or energy – to aid others in by helping to satisfy their basic needs, are we not simply – in some some small way – allowing more and more individuals to do their Wills more fully? 

Crowley writes in Duty, “Pity, sympathy and like emotions are fundamentally insults to the Godhead of the person exciting them, and therefore also to your own. The distress of another may be relieved; but always with the positive and noble idea of making manifest the perfection of the Universe. Pity is the source of every mean, ignoble, cowardly vice; and the essential blasphemy against Truth.” Here we have a very good lesson from Crowley: if we are to help people, it is to manifest the perfection of every man and every woman being able to do their True Wills. It is to work towards the order and harmony of all the stars on Earth being as perfect as the order and harmony of all the stars in the Heavens. It is not done out of pity for distress or suffering, nor is it really done out of any emotion at all. This relief – this service of others – is done out of the desire to fulfill the Law of Liberty, to bring about a world where everyone has the capability and freedom to accomplish their True Wills. Perhaps this is one way that we can fulfill what is hoped for in OTO US Grand Lodge’s Vision Statement, “We will foster harmonious and constructive relationships with the academic, business, civil, and greater social communities within which we operate.”

We therefore have a very powerful but very simple view of contribution to the greater community: Contributing is done to help satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter which are common across all humanity that they may be able to more fully accomplish their True Wills. We do not impose any “Super-Structure” upon others but allow them to develop as they Will and make their own choices, and we do not contribute aid out of pity. This is done to “make manifest the perfection of the Universe.”

So why aren’t we doing this already?

Contributing to others is too Christian! The most obvious answer to why many Thelemites do not see contributing to the greater community as justified is that helping other people sounds like “charity,” a word that is inevitably tied up in many people’s minds with Christianity. Aside from the various arguments around charity itself, I think  we can acknowledge that rejecting an idea or behavior simply because it resembles some other belief system is not a good reason for rejecting it. Most Thelemites would think twice before rejecting Liber Resh as “too Muslim,” rejecting the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram as “too Jewish,” rejecting the Gnostic Mass as “too Christian,” or rejecting the use of a mantra as “too Hindu.” The reason to reject all these things should be determined by whether or not it is fulfilling or thwarting your individual Will, and that is always the only determining factor for everything. Perhaps some do not realize that “charity” comes from “caritas,” the Latin word used in the New Testament to translate the Greek word “agape which some Thelemites may be familiar with. With this, I would also add things like the argument that contributing to others is too “liberal,” “socialist,” “communist,” or whatever label associate with the general idea.

Contributing to others is too Humanitarian! Yes, Crowley said “An end to the humanitarian mawkishness which is destroying the human race by the deliberate artificial protection of the unfit.” He also lived off of a family inheritance and the generous donations of his friends and disciples. There is no need to even argue what “unfit” means in this context. I personally believe that we should concern ourselves with what is “fit” and “unfit” within ourselves to accomplish our own True Wills, and we acknowledge that every man and every woman is a star with an indefeasible right to accomplish their Wills as we do ours. Further, we have all benefited from others’ resources, from amniotic fluids to stimulating conversations to job promotions. While it is obvious that our own choices determine our destiny to a large extent, it would be a vain and short-sighted thing to believe we are entirely “self-made” in any way. As Liber Librae says, “A man is what he maketh himself within the limits fixed by his inherited destiny; he is a part of mankind; his actions affect not only what he calleth himself, but also the whole universe.” Aside from the fact that this means your acts (such as contributing to others) affect all of those around you, it  also means every single other individual’s actions affect your universe as well. A humble acknowledgment of this fact makes the idea of contributing to others seem quite natural.

We need to focus on our own! Yes, we do need to focus on “our own.” Our concern should begin with ourselves and emanate outward farther and farther. If, for example, an OTO body is struggling to even pay the rent, it would not make sense to devote money toward contributing to the general community. As Liber Librae says, “If thou thyself hast not a sure foundation, whereon wilt thou stand to direct the forces of Nature?” Of course you need a sure foundation, both individually and organizationally. That still doesn’t preclude the possibility of extending influence and resources beyond oneself once that sure foundation is secured.

Summary

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. If it is your Will to contribute to the greater community, then that is fine; if it is not your Will, then that is fine as well. Nonetheless, there is a good rationale for engaging in contributing to the greater community. If we appreciate the freedom to know and do our Wills, we will naturally appreciate aiding others to achieve this freedom, even if it is in a small way. Crowley insisted that we are to assure the satisfaction of basic needs such as food and shelter so that individuals may have the capacity and freedom to develop their own unique proclivities. He also reminded us that this should be done out of making manifest the perfection of the Universe on Earth, of wanting every man and every woman to be able to accomplish their Wills, not out of pity or distress. If we have the resources to help others satisfy their basic needs so they may more fully know and do their Wills, why wouldn’t we contribute to the greater community?

Love is the law, love under will.

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Feasts of the Times: A Feast for the First Night of the Prophet and his Bride

A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride

by Frater IAO131

BACKGROUND

This feast is celebrated on August 12, and its primary purpose is to celebrate the anniversary of Crowley’s marriage to Rose that made possible the reception of The Book of the Law. Crowley comments, “There should be a special feast on the 12th day of August in every year, since it was the marriage of The Beast which made possible the revelation of the New Law. (This is not an Apology for Marriage. Hard Cases make Bad Law).”

In terms of E.G.C., this ceremony represents the Collect of Marriage, which involves the union of all things, not only the legal proceedings of marriage. In terms of M.M.M., this ceremony represents II° insofar as this shows the soul “how it may best carry out its object in the eucharist of life. It partakes, so to speak, of its own godhead in every action, but especially through the typical sacrament of marriage, understood as the voluntary union of itself with each element of its environment” (Confessions, ch.72).

This feast has five scenes that follow the basic 5-act structure. Each scene refers not only to semi-historical events but also to important parts of each star’s journey in accomplishing their Wills:

  1. The first scene involves Rose, who is the hero of this story and symbolizes each aspirant, and her Father, who symbolizes the “great dragon” of tradition and authority, being a microcosm of the Old Aeon of slave religion in general. This scene symbolizes the oppression of the values of the Old Aeon, both historically as well as individually in terms of the various constraints, beliefs, habits, and values of youth that must be discarded and transcended in the process of growth.

  2. The second scene involves the arrival of the Beast, who represents Crowley historically and the Holy Guardian Angel of each individual symbolically. Rose confides in the Beast about her arranged marriage and he resolves to marry her to absolve her of her obligation. This represents, more generally, the Trance of Sorrow where the aspirant becomes dissatisfied with the world and is given the motive to start upon the Path of the Great Work.1

  3. In the third scene, Rose is then given a choice to adhere to the security of tradition and authority as symbolized by the Father on the one hand or the Liberty and Light of the path of the Great Work as symbolized by the Beast on the other hand. Rose chooses to follow her own True Will, and leaves with the Beast. This represents every aspirant’s choice to begin the journey out of the Darkness of ignorance and into the Light, out of the Old Aeon and into the New. The scenes therefore get more and more comedic as the Laughter of the Child slowly overtakes the Sorrow of the Dying Father.

  4. The fourth scene involves the marriage of the Beast and Rose. Before being married, the Beast or Holy Guardian Angel teaches that she must be balanced in herself before uniting with him. “Equilibrium is the basis of the Work.”2 The Beast tests Rose in the Four Powers of the Sphinx as a form of acquiring balance or equilibrium of the Four Elements.

  5. The fifth scene involves the marriage of the Sphinx and Pyramid, Rose and the Beast, which is the act of conception that will eventually lead to the birth of the Child of The Book of the Law. This can be seen as symbolically reflective of the task of all individuals in uniting with their Gods or Holy Guardian Angels so they may bring forth their own Word to the world.

PERSONS

: Master of Ceremonies – Dressed in white robe with yellow stole, i.e. as a Deacon. He performs the role of narrator and conductor of the People. 

: Rose – Dressed in red/scarlet dress. She performs the role of Rose Kelly who is symbolic of the soul of the aspirant.

: The Beast – Dressed in blue/azure. He performs the role of Aleister Crowley who is symbolic of the Holy Guardian Angel/Beast.

: The Father – Dressed in black garments or a black robe. He performs the role of the father of Rose who is symbolic of the “great dragon (c.f. Zarathustra) of authority, obligation, and the Old Aeon in general.

: The People – Dressed as they will. They participate when appropriate.

* * * * *

SCENE I: Rose & her Father

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: Love is the law, love under will.

: Upon all that this day unite with love under will let fall success; may strength and skill unite to bring forth ecstasy, and beauty answer beauty.

: So mote it be.

: In the eucharist of life, the soul partakes of its own godhead in every action, but especially through the typical sacrament of marriage, understood as the voluntary union of itself with each element of its environment. Every mundane marriage is therefore symbolic of the union of the soul and the elements of its world, and – on a higher level – the union of the Adept with her God.

[pause, focus shifts to ♄ and ]

: We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the feast for the first night of the Prophet and his bride, which made possible the revelation of the New Law. We must therefore go back in time, 110 [change accordingly] years ago, before Rose and Aleister were married.

[A pause]

: My dear Rose, I have tended this garden with careful watch for many seasons. The weeds of temptation have been uprooted so they could not corrupt you; pure waters of the Lord’s word were gathered for you to be fed. I have labored for years so that you, my flower, could one day be plucked to be worn as boutonnière.3 My dear Rose, you are like the red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June. O my girl’s like the melody that’s sweetly played in tune.4

: Your words are kind and full of lightness, Father, yet I hear a dark and heavy drone that weighs down my soul.

: What mean thing could possibly besmirch your fair bosom with weight at such a joyous time? I have arranged for you to be married to a noble man, noble and gold-endowed! All the preparations have been made; there is no reason left for you to fret.

: It is just that, my lord. Make no mistake. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both taught me how to respect you: you are the lord of duty. I am hitherto your daughter.5 I wish I could profess such undying duty to my future husband.

: Do you doubt my judgment in selecting a suitor? I have called in every favor to make for the most profitable and secure arrangement for you.

: Yes, profitable and secure, indeed. With that I can agree.

: What else would could one wish for in the future father to one’s children?

: I would that my heart was as well-endowed as my purse.

: A heart requires health, and the greatest health is gained through comfort and security.

: [aside, said sarcastically about her father] Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art!6

: What is that, my dear?

: Nothing, father, you are kind in your care for me, and you know me well.

: Aye, of course I know you well, and you are a worthy daughter for honoring your father. A thought almost occurred that you might be balking at my carefully cultivated arrangements.

[The father walks off mumbling to himself]

: Nobody knows this little Rose… I might a pilgrim be.7

SCENE II: The Arrival of the Beast

: Later that night, Rose attended a gathering organized by her brother Gerald Kelly. There she met the Beast in whom she confided her secret suffering.

: …and he is arriving from America in no less than a week. Though I am indebted to my father through duty, I cannot in good faith accept the suitor arranged for me. I don’t love him; I barely know him! Oh, what a troubling song my heart-strings play!

: My fair Rose, duty that is imposed by others is naught but tyranny. A rose is rightly colored with love’s strong pulse, never by the bloody stains from traitorous refusal of your soul’s decrees. [Rose is distressed] Don’t upset yourself about such a trifle.8 Luckily for such a damsel as yourself, I am pledged through a solemn oath to battle all forms of oppression.

: Such wise benevolence and incorruptible justice9 you display! What must I do to acquire your aid?

: All you must do is marry me.10 I will absolve you of your obligations, and you will be responsible only for your own conduct.

: But my father will never accept our treacherous tryst!

: I would only that your fate were free, not for any benediction of paternity.

: Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art!11

: Ah, you speak in sweet poetry that bewitches even the Beast! Yes, we will confront your father soon, when the sun next rises! There is a budding morrow in midnight12… who knows what species of fortune may flower?

SCENE III: The Confrontation

: The next morning, Rose and the Beast went to confront her father.

[Rose enters the Father’s room]

: Good morning! What signs do your petals unfold to tell today, young Rose?13

: Father, my lord, I have come with my bridegroom.

: Here already? What great fortune! Bring him in!

[The Beast enters]

: What? Who is this ghastly beast of a man?

: Great and wild Beast to you, good sir. Although my friends may call me Little Sunshine.14 I am to wed your Rose today.

: What sins have you committed to be indebted to such a devil?

: I owe no debt but undying gratitude. I marry him of my own free will!

: How dare you! Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother!15

: Ah, Father, every scale on your serpentine skin glitters a golden “Thou shalt.” The values of ages long-since past are etched in your scales. You are the great dragon that I am no longer inclined to call Lord. “Thou shalt,” you say, and “Thou shalt not.” To that, this man lent me a portion of his lion-spirit and now I say to you, “I will.”16

: You are indebted to me for life and education, remember? I own you and you will marry as arranged!

: There is no property in human flesh.17

: I own myself and answer only to myself!

: O Rose, you are sick. The invisible worm that flies in the night in the howling storm has found out thy bed of crimson joy, and his dark secret love does your life destroy.”18

: O Rose! Who dares to name thee! I can see you no longer roseate now, nor soft, nor sweet, but pale, and hard, and dry, as stubble-wheat. Kept twenty-eight years in a drawer…

: Twenty-nine!19

: Kept twenty-nine years in a drawer, I’m not surprised your name shames thee.20

: Where is the modest woman I raised so carefully?

: The veil of the modest woman is the veil of sorrow and the pall of death! She has torn down that lying spectre of the centuries and veils not her vices in virtuous words any more!21

: I fear that my own shock and sorrow have paralyzed me. [He leans against a table or bed] Go now, Rose. Go now, you miserable Beast! I must lie down and hopefully awake from this horrible nightmare.

[Rose starts to exit]

: A Woman under Tabu is loathsome to Life, detested by her fellows, and wretched in herself.22 To me, a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is.23

:[Rose grabs the Beast] That is enough! Indignation may stir the dragon out of his cave and we will miss our chance. Let’s go!

[They exit]

SCENE IV: The Equilibration

: Having chosen liberty over obligation, Rose set upon a dangerous path. Before the marriage, the Beast described the preliminaries that would need to be undertaken.

: Through my extensive travels in the lands of mysticism and magick, I have fashioned myself four-fold as a proud Pyramid. My sides are life, love, liberty, and light, and my apex is poised to receive the kisses of the stars.24 Being that I am such a monument of man, I will have no bride but a spotless Sphinx.25

☽: Ah, I know this riddle!26

☉: This is no riddle as there is no sure solution. I speak of the four powers of the Sphinx. One must find and learn and re-learn these: to know, to will, to dare, and to keep silence.

☽: Though these ideas are new to me, I pray that you would test my present ability.

☉: Fine then, let’s jump right in! I will put four questions before you and let’s see if you sink or swim.

☽: Although I’ve been cloistered, I believe I’ve still learned my fair share. Do your worst, ‘you miserable Beast!’

☉: First, what is true knowledge?

☽: True knowledge is not known but what’s felt as innately right, the heart’s subtle understanding is one’s sole guiding light.27

☉: A bit sentimental and a bit unclear, but I’ll accept your answer and press on, my dear. Now, tell me, what is true will?

☽: When the heart’s understanding is wed to the brain’s bright wisdom, the foot walks with a solemn swiftness towards the Lord’s kingdom.28

☉: Though harmony of the soul’s faculties is the prerequisite thereof, you will one day find that the star you seek is within and not above.29 Now, pray tell, what is true daring?

☽: A will that desires demons and dangers on all sides,30 not sett’ling in security of what comfort decides.

☉: Though father Friedrich31 said living dangerously’s the secret of success,32 even Liberty’s greatest warriors require repose and recess. Your answers are satisfactory but I require a final proof; now with Pontius Pilate33 I ask most solemnly of you… What is Truth?

[Rose takes a breath with her finger in the air to give another answer, but she hesitates, looks puzzled, and puts her forefinger to her lips in deep thought]

☉: Wise you are, indeed! Wise beyond your years! Beyond my highest hopes you’ve dispelled my fears. Who knew that a lotus and not a rose sprung, from the dark mire of your education’s dung, that your roots in blackened depths produce fruit fresh and new, that your petals hide Harpocrates in his egg of blue!34

[The Beast laughs]

Ah! this lyrical exchange has quelled all my insecurities about this arrangement. Let us defy convention and pre-emptively consummate our marriage, at least until the evening star arises35 to preside over the proper legalities.

[They exit]

SCENE V: The Marriage

[☿ stands behind the Beast and Rose but not out of sight, presiding at the priest for the marriage]

: For the many years of your youth, you have beared the weight of tradition and custom as a camel. You then defied law and convention as a lion, replacing the “Thou shalt” of tradition with the “I will” of independence. Now, having created freedom for yourself, you must become as a little Child,36 and find your own way with a holy Yea unto one’s new life.

: What a heavy burden has been lifted from me! I can feel the lightness of liberty that this new life allows!

: On the contrary, my dear Rose, for freedom is the greatest restriction of all. Having extricated yourself from the web of obligations to others, one must re-affirm with equal intensity one’s duty to oneself. Though the Child of the spirit is free from all convention, he is bound with equal obligation to his own law. You must find your true destiny, the purpose on this earth for which you were fitted, and adhere solely to it. This is the apotheosis of Freedom but it is also the strictest possible bond,37 for having begun to tread the path of the Great Work, you are bound to continue walking thereupon and never swerve therefrom.

: What a strange and terrible oath I have unknowingly taken!

: Terrible, indeed, the most daunting task that one can possibly attempt. Yet it is also the path to complete peace, true wisdom, and perfect happiness.

: What is my goal upon this long and winding road of attainment?

: One must never ask or ponder about the final goal but always focus one’s energies upon taking the Next Step.38

: My love for you is undeniable and unconquerable. Lead me to take this Next Step!

: Love is indeed the right motive and fuel for this path, yet your marriage to me is but a symbol of your true goal. Even as you wed me today, you must seek the inward marriage of the soul with your God. With all the love you love me today, it must be inflamed a thousandfold towards the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Though I vow to guide you in whatever way may be of use, you must do the work and it is only you that may take the final plunge. No one can ever do that for you, nor can any man ever know the Name of another’s God. It is the most universal and unique of all goals, it is the Holy of Holies.39

: I vow to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel. Nothing will deflect me from this most holy and austere obligation.

: May this ring be a seal of your solemn oath, forever reminding you of the promise you made today.

[☿ approaches to stand between the Beast and Rose]

: With your vows being made, I now proclaim you man and wife!

[The Beast whispers in ‘s ear]

: Excuse me… I now proclaim you Beast and whore! You may kiss the harlot.

: It is accomplished, the marriage is complete. What Child this union may bring we know not yet. There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.40 For our honeymoon we will travel to the land of the Sun. To Egypt, where the other Sphinx and Pyramid stand as we now do!

[The Beast and Rose exit]

: It was on this day of August 12, the first night of the Prophet and his bride, that the events were set in motion which would lead to the revelation of the New Aeon several months later with the reception of The Book of the Law. Even as Rose’s marriage to the Beast led to the birth of the Child of the New Aeon, so too must each individual come to unite with their own Gods and give their Words to the world. So mote it be.

[Applause]

THE FEAST

: But ye, o my people, rise up & awake!

[☿ motions for all to stand]

Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.41 Tonight there is a feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!42

[☿ motions for the feast to be brought out and for everyone to sit at the table or stand around the table with food]

Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.43

[☽ stands at the head of the table and knocks 3-5-3]

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: What is thy Will?

: It is my Will to eat and to drink.

: To what end?

: That I may fortify my body thereby.

: To what end?

: That I may celebrate the feast of the first night of the Prophet and his Bride.

: To what end?

: That I may accomplish the Great Work.

: Love is the law, love under will.

[☽ knocks once]

: Now please direct your attention to the Beast.

: I’d like to make a toast, so everyone please get a drink.

[☿ and other appointed helpers give everyone a glass and pours drinks]

: First, as always, to Nuit, our Lady of the Stars!

: To Nuit!

: To Rose, who played an integral part in the revelation of the New Aeon!

: To Rose!

: To the prophet of the lovely star, the Beast!

: To the Beast!

: To our great Thelemic fraternity, the O.T.O.!

: To O.T.O.!

: To [insert local body name]!

: To [insert local body name]!

: And finally, to all of us!

: To all of us!

: You may now feast and rejoice!

Finis.

Notes

1 

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Crowley wrote in Little Essays Toward Truth, “The Aspiration to become a Master is rooted in the Trance of Sorrow.”

2 Liber Librae sub figura XXX.

3 A boutonnière is the flower worn by men at formal occasions in general and worn on the chest of a bridegroom in particular.

4 Adapted from Robert Burns’ poem, “A Red, Red Rose.”

5 Adapted from Shakespeare’s Othello, Act I, Scene 3, lines 182-185.

6 The first line of a sonnet by John Keats, which Crowley notes in his Confessions (chapter 46) is a line that Rose often quoted.

7 Adapted from Emily Dickinson.

8 A direct quotation of what Crowley claims he said to Rose in his Confessions, chapter 45.

9 A reference to Confessions, chapter 45, where Crowley writes, “There is something in my character which makes people confide in me. I think the bottom of it is my chastity. They instinctively understand that I have no personal axe to grind; that I shall display a wise benevolence and incorruptible justice, being detached from every form of desire.”

10 Another adapted quotation of what Crowley claims he said to Rose in his Confessions, chapter 45.

11 The first line of a sonnet by John Keats, which Crowley notes in his Confessions (chapter 46) is a line that Rose often quoted. It is here said truly, to be contrasted with its sarcastic tone when directed at Rose’s father in the previous scene.

12 From Keats’ poem, “Ode to Homer.”

13 An obscure reference to the first lines of “AHA!”, “Master, ere the ruby Dawn / Gild the dew of leaf and lawn, / Bidding the petals to unclose / Of heaven’s imperishable Rose, / Brave heralds, banners flung afar / Of the lone and secret star.”

14 Crowley tried to explain this name in court when he testified in a 1934 lawsuit. He was asked, ‘Did you take to yourself the designation of ‘the Beast 666′?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you call yourself the ‘Master Therion’?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What does ‘Therion’ mean?’ ‘Great wild beast.’ ‘Do these titles convey a fair impression of your practice and outlook on life?’ ‘It depends on what they mean.’ ‘The Great Wild Beast and the Beast 666 are out of the Apocalypse?’ ‘It only means sunlight; 666 is the number of the sun. You can call me ‘Little Sunshine.”

15 One of the Ten Commandments of the Old Aeon.

16 This entire speech is adapted from the first chapter of Thus Spake Zarathustra, “The Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit.”

17 Adapted from Crowley’s Liber Aleph where he writes, “There shall be no property in human flesh.”

18 Adapted from William Blake’s poem “The Sick Rose.”

19 Rose was 29-years-old when she married Crowley, who was 28.

20 Adapted from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “A Dead Rose.”

21 Adapted from The Book of the Law, II:52.

22 Quoted from Crowley’s New Comment to Liber AL, II:52.

23 Quoted from Crowley’s New Comment to Liber AL, III:55.

24 A reference to Liber Aleph where Crowley writes, “Now then at last art thou made ready to confront the Pyramid, if thou art established as a Sphinx. For It also hath the foursquare Base of Law, and the Four Triangles of Light, Life, Love and Liberty for its Sides, that meet in a Point of Perfection that is Hadith, poised to the Kiss of Nuith.”

25 Crowley writes in Liber Aleph, “Now then this Sphinx, being perfect in true Balance, yet taketh the Aspect of the Feminine Principle that so She may be partner of the Pyramid, that is the Phallus, pure Image of Our Father the Sun, the Unity Creative.”

26 A reference to the Riddle of the Sphinx to which Oedipus famously gave a solution with the answer, “Man.”

27 This refers to the distinction between Knowledge which is below the Abyss (Da’ath), and Understanding which is above the Abyss (Binah).

28 Qabalistically, “Wisdom” is Chokmah, “Understanding” is Binah, and “the Lord’s kingdom” is Malkuth.

29 A reference to Crowley’s poem “One Star in Sight” where the last stanza is “To man I come, the number of / A man my number, Lion of Light; / I am The Beast whose Law is Love. / Love under will, his royal right— / Behold within, and not above, / One star in sight!”

30 A reference to Thus Spake Zarathustra, chapter 7, where Nietzsche writes, “The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit full of a joyful wickedness: thus are things well matched. I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous. The courage which scareth away ghosts, createth for itself goblins – it wanteth to laugh.”

31 A reference to Friedrich Nietzsche who Crowley claimed was a Prophet of Thelema and who is listed as a Saint in the Gnostic Mass.

32 Adapted from Crowley’s reference to Nietzsche in Liber Aleph where he writes, “Yet this I charge thee with my Might: Live Dangerously. Was not this the Word of thine Uncle Friedrich Nietzsche?” This is itself a reference to what Nietzsche wrote in his book The Gay Science, “For believe me: the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously.”

33 Pontius Pilate asked Christ “What is Truth?” as in John 18:38.

34 Harpocrates or Hoor-paar-kraat is the god of Silence who is often depicted with his finger on his lips. He is also, in the Western Hermetic tradition, often depicted in an egg of blue or Spirit on top of a lotus.

35 The evening star is actually the planet Venus, which is the planet of Love and Union.

36 A reference to (1) Matthew 18:3 (“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”), (2) to the “Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit” in Thus Spake Zarathustra, and (3) to the fact that the New Aeon is that of the Crowned and Conquering Child of Horus.

37 A quotation from “Liber II: The Message of the Master Therion” by Aleister Crowley. This entire speech is an adaptation or paraphrase thereof.

38 The Next Step is a reference to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley wrote in The Vision and the Voice that he “became aware of his True Will, of the purpose for which he had undertaken Incarnation. And this was expressed thus: to aid Mankind to take the Next Step. And at the time he understood this as meaning: to lead them to aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.”

39 A paraphrase of “One Star in Sight” where Crowley writes, “It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which a man may attain to the knowledge and conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel; for that is the particular secret of each one of us; as secret not to be told or even divined by any other, whatever his grade. It is the Holy of Holies, whereof each man is his own High Priest, and none knoweth the Name of his brother’s God, or the Rite that invokes Him.”

40 A quotation from Othello, Act I, Scene 3, lines 369-370.

41 Liber AL vel Legis, II:34-36.

42 Adapted from Liber AL vel Legis, II:37.

43 Liber AL vel Legis, II:44.

Thelemic Blog Roundup 002

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Thelemic Blog Roundup 002

The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “Restriction in Italy” on AC2012

A post on Aleister Crowley 2012 about recent events in Italy that are against the Law of Liberty.

2. “Lodge Deputy Master’s Address: Karma Yoga” on The Story of a Letter Called P

A post given by Sekhet-Maat Lodge’s current Deputy Master on the topic of Karma Yoga, especially how it factors into work in the Lodge.

3. “Apostasy” on stevensteven

Steven posts about apostasy within Thelema. Also check out his other post “Contra Haereses” regarding heretics.

4. “Book Review: The Body of Light: History and Practical Techniques for Awakening your Subtle Body” on paradoxosalpha

A book review by T Polyphilus on Mann & Short’s 1992 volume on the body of light and astral projection.

* * * * *

Check out the past installments of the Thelemic Blog Roundup:


Love is the law, love under will.

Thelemic Blog Roundup 001

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Thelemic Blog Roundup

The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “16,000 OZ” on Clerk-House

A post about recent developments regarding the 16,000 Liber Oz postcards that are being sent out to OTO bodies around the United States by The Island.

2. An investigation into the structure and function of the O.T.O. – A 3-part post by Kjetil Fjell

3. “The Lesson of Saying Will” on Liber Deus Absconditus

An explanation of the import of this simple practice. Also, check out the Outline of Crowley’s essay The Law of Liberty

4. “The Abbey of Thelema: the 90th Anniversary” by Aleisterion

A celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily

Love is the law, love under will.

Panopticon Podcast: Exploring Thelema with IAO131

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

IAO131 on Panopticon

“On this episode, Panopticon speaks with IAO131. IAO131 is the creator & editor of the Journal of Thelemic Studies and author of many essays on Thelema, magick, and mysticism including the short treatise Naturalistic Occultism. He has been an active Thelemite for over 6 years and is a member of the O.T.O. and A.’.A.’..

We speak about The Journal of Thelemic Studies, ways in which Thelema can inform our culture, politics, and art. We also speak about Thelemic groups, as well as the podcast that IAO131 is working on, The Speech in the Silence podcast.”

Love is the law, love under will.