vision and the voice

Thelemic Mysticism – part 5: Mysticism in Practice – Crossing the Abyss & The Hermit

Thelemic Mysticism

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PART 5: MYSTICISM IN PRACTICE – Crossing the Abyss & The Hermit

The Ordeal: The Dark Night of the Soul – The Babe of the Abyss

One might think that such light, love, and bliss has no ordeal, but there is a distinct ordeal that awaits the Mystic at this second Stage of Illumination. As mentioned previously, the Mystic is united with the Object of her devotion in this Stage but still remains separate therefrom. If this Illumination is continued through the Mystic’s persistent devotion and meditation, the by-products of this Illumination – especially the sense of overwhelming joy, bliss, and rapture – eventually “settle down.” The initial Illumination is like an explosion and if one remains in it, the clouds slowly disperse and one can see clearly.

At a certain point, the Mystic may realize that – despite all the joys and encouragements that Illumination has brought – she is still not completely united with her Beloved. In other words, a sense of distinction, separateness, or duality still remains. The opposition between self and not-self, between ego and non-ego, has not been completely transcended. Upon achieving this insight, the Mystic must re-engage with the Art of meditation with renewed vigor in order to know the Absolute so intimately and completely that there is no duality that can remain. This brings the Mystic to the final “crisis” of the Path: the ordeal of Crossing of the Abyss.

The Nature of the Ordeal of Crossing the Abyss

• “Verily and Amen! I passed through the deep sea, and by the rivers of running water that abound therein, and I came unto the Land of No Desire.”
Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente sub figura LXV, III:1

• “…they abode in the Land that the far-off travellers call Naught.”
Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente sub figura LXV, V:59

• “…the Land of No-Thing.”
Liber A’ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici, line 32

The crossing of the Abyss is a metaphor that essentially correlates to Saint John of the Cross’ term “the dark night of the soul.” A similar metaphor is given in Buddhism where one has “crossed the stream” to the other side, from samsara to nirvana. It is sometimes referred to by Christian mystics as “Dryness” or “aridity.” This term is adopted by Crowley when, for example, in De Lege Libellum he writes, “But this Dryness hath its virtue, in that thereby the Soul is purged of those things that impeach the Will: for when the drouth is altogether perfect, then is it certain that by no means can the Soul be satisfied, save by the Accomplishment of the Great Work. And this is in strong souls a stimulus to the Will. It is the Furnace of Thirst that burneth up all dross within us.”

In Thelemic terminology, in this process of “crossing,” one becomes a “Babe of the Abyss.” After the period of Illumination which is characterized – as mentioned previously – by joy and beauty, there is a corresponding darkness and blankness that occurs. This shift may go back and forth repeatedly but ultimately, if there is persistence, the Mystic comes to the Abyss, the dark night of their soul. This is characterized by various things:

“[He then] is stripped of all his attainments and of himself as well, even of his Holy Guardian Angel, and becomes a babe of the Abyss…”
One Star in Sight

  • The loss of a sense of “presence” of the Absolute/Divine.
  • Intense feelings of stagnation, impotence, solitude, fatigue, and difficulty. They are essentially opposite of that which is felt in the midst of Illumination; it is the withdrawal of the ‘Beatific Vision’ characteristic of the grade of Lover.
  • There may even be physical trials of illness and weakness, a sense of oppression by circumstance.

All this serves as a great purification, a great trial by fire, by which the Mystic is purged of attachments. It is the purgation that breaks apart the life of the Mystic, allowing a new stage of attainment to arise from its destruction. It is as if all those darkest corners of the self that were not purged in the initial purification find their way to expression in the Mystic, and this is because the whole individual – the microcosm of the Mystic – must be transmuted in this ordeal. As the Alchemists might say, there is no transmutation without fire. It “cures” the aspirant of being able to settle in any lesser satisfaction than the achievement of the final stage or grade, that of the Hermit.

• “Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop.”
Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni, line 3

• “…It is attained by the resolve of the Adeptus Exemptus to surrender all that he has and is for ever. It is an annihilation of all the bonds that compose the self or constitute the Cosmos, a resolution of all complexities into their elements…”
One Star in Sight

In order to Cross the Abyss successfully, one must be purged of all that one has and all that one is. This is what, in Thelema, is metaphorically stated as the draining out of one’s blood into the Cup of Babalon. This is called the “Universal Life” insofar as one has drained out the blood of one’s “individual life,” the separate self, to be merged with the Universal Life. That is, one must release all attachment to everything that one possesses and to everything with which one identifies. This is why this phase is often called “annihilation,” “dissolution,” “cessation,” “self-naughting,” or “self-surrender.”

The Holy Book of Thelema, Liber Cheth, lists in particular the discarding of wealth (attachment to all possessions), health (attachment to the body), and love (attachment to others). These can be simply taken as three symbols that, together, refer to all of one’s attachments.

“[There] are the Black Brothers, that cry: I am I, they that deny Love, restricting it to their own Nature.”
Liber Aleph, chapter 157

Failure to do this results in what Thelema calls a “Black Brother,” one who has attained this far yet refuses to give up the self in dissolution; the “Black Brother” is one who insists on retaining a sense of individuality or selfhood and does not drain the blood of their individual life into the Universal Life. However, if one succeeds in persisting to the end, one achieves the final stage.

3) The Hermit: The Arising of Nemo

The complete dissolution of the sense of separate self, of the ego, constitutes the attainment of the third grade, the Hermit. One is then, in Thelemic terminology, a “Magister Templi” or “Master of the Temple.” One is an arhat or buddha in Buddhist terminology, and one has achieved moksha, or “liberation,” in Hindu terminology; it is equivalent to Samadhi in the terms of Yoga, the total union of subject and object. Since one is stripped of one’s identity, any sense of self, then one also may be called “Nemo,” which is Latin for “no man” (see The Vision and the Voice, 13th Aethyr for more on this symbolism).

“The essential Attainment is the perfect annihilation of that personality which limits and oppresses his true self.”
One Star in Sight

Aside from this attainment being characterized negatively by a total dissolution of the sense of self or ego, it is also characterized positively by awakening to the ultimate reality, the transcendence of duality, the complete union of subject and object, or the total identification with the Absolute. These are really two sides of the same coin, so to speak, and lead Mystics to make pronouncements such as “My eye and God’s eye are one eye” (Meister Eckhart) and “I am the Truth” (Mansur al-Hallaj).

Characteristics of this grade include:

  • Peace: The dissolution of the self means a complete identity with the Infinite and therefore with nothing partial. No event can trouble the individual who has perceived this Reality, for there can be no anxiety or fear of death if there is no one there to die, so to speak. The identification with any partial, component thing has been transcended and therefore any occurrence to these things does not disturb the Hermit. It represents equanimity of the mind raised to highest possible degree.
  • Energy: New creative powers are conferred upon attaining this grade, for the Mystic has unified her entire self, feeling oneself to be an agent of divine vitality. The superabundant energy of Mystics can be seen historically with those who have had this Mystic experience including St. Paul’s many letters and evangelizing efforts, St. Joan of Arc’s leading the armies of France, St. Ignatius Loyola leading the Jesuits, let alone the histories of figures like Christ or of Buddha who taught for 40 years after his attainment.

The Task: Being cast out of the Abyss and tending to the Garden

“Those other parts of me that I had left for ever below the Abyss must serve as a vehicle for the energies which had been created by my act. My mind and body, deprived of the ego which they had hitherto obeyed, were now free to manifest according to their nature in the world, to devote themselves to aid mankind in its evolution.”
Confessions, chapter 66

The complete dissolution, as previously said, leads to what one metaphorically may say is the birth of a New Man, the Master of the Temple or “Nemo.” The mind and body are not destroyed in this attainment, but they are purged of a sense of ego or self.

Although the trance may involve the obliteration of consciousness itself, there is consequent to this the inevitable re-formulation of awareness. This is symbolically called being “cast out from the Abyss.” The symbolism at work is that one has attained the Supernal Triangle of the Tree of Life and then one is “cast out” from it back into the lower Sephiroth of the Tree of Life. One then “re-occupies” one’s body and mind but free of ego.

“From the Abyss comes No Man forth, but a Star startles the Earth…”
One Star in Sight

This is essentially equivalent to the Bodhisattva Vow to “come back to the world” to aid others in enlightenment, and it is found in symbolism of people returning from a remote or isolated place to teach humanity (e.g. Jesus returning from the wilderness, Mohammed returning from a cave, Buddha returning from the Bodhi-tree, et cetera).

Thelema uses the symbolism of a “Star that is cast forth to give light to the Earth… [One] appears ‘as a morning star, or as an evening star, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.’ This is then the man himself, save that his separate individuality is no longer present; it is replaced by this single passion to rescue mankind.” (18th Aethyr).

In short, one becomes conscious once again, devoid of ego, to do one’s Work in the world, to accomplish one’s Will purified from the elements of separateness and the sense of self. In Thelema, the symbolism used is that of Nemo “tending his garden.” In the 13th Aetyhr it is stated, “Know thou that every man that is called NEMO hath a garden that he tendeth,” and Crowley comments on this by saying, “Every Magister Templi has a Work to do for the world.”

This Work is the Will of the individual, purified by the Mystic path of imbalance and egotism, invigorated by a reconnection to one’s deepest creative wellspring of power stemming from one’s own Godhead.

← Part 4: Mysticism in Practice – The Lover ← ]

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The Rituals of the Elements: Summer Solstice

Introduction

It is written in Liber AL vel Legis II:36, “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” Crowley comments, “The entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” This cycle of dramatic rituals are therefore invocations. They are intended to generate energy at the entrance of the Sun into the cardinal signs of elements at the four quarters of the year, i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices.

The entire cycle of rituals simultaneously show:

  1. The macrocosmic cycle of the Sun going through the seasons
  2. The microcosmic cycle of Man going through the generations/Incarnation (birth/youth-adulthood-old age-death).
  3. The process of Attainment from 0=0 to 8=3 and back again.

The energies of each ritual correspond to each of these planes at once:

Equinox and Solstice rituals

Each ritual invokes a particular energy. Each ritual has a particular Word of Power associated therewith and it is intoned in between the scenes. The Word also appears once in each ritual within a particular Scene.

Each of the four rituals has 3 scenes for a total of 12 scenes for the entire cycle, one for each of the signs of the Zodiac. The middle scene of each ritual is the sign of the Equinox or Solstice – for example, the middle scene in Autumn is Libra. The first scene is therefore Virgo, the sign before Libra, and the last scene is Scorpio, the sign after Libra. In general, the first scene represents events leading up to the Equinox or Solstice, the middle scene represents the actual turning-point, and the last scene represents events leading to the next Equinox or Solstice.

The Basic Characters

  • (☉/♂) Priest/King – the conscious Self. The Child who grows to become King who attains and becomes a Priest and then dies and is reborn as the Child.
  • (☽/♀) Priestess/Queen the Non-Self (the unconscious self, the “higher self,” etc.)The  Mother of the Child, the Queen/Beloved of the King, the High Priestess of the Priest.
  • (+ and -) 2 Children – the duality of the World. Various roles throughout the entire cycle.
  • () The People (participants) – the inhabitants of the World; they identify (at least their conscious selves) with the Priest.


Summer SolsticeTHE SUMMER SOLSTICE CEREMONY

Also known as “The Chymical Wedding”

The Word of this ceremony is ‘ABRAHADABRA.’ It is repeatedly intoned in between scenes by the People/Congregants. The Incense of this ceremony is Sandalwood.1 The Talisman of this ceremony is the Mark of the Beast2.

SCENE I: Gemini.
The Maturation of the Child, the strengthening of the Mind, and the King’s approach to the Lower Kingdom.

The Queen sits enthroned in the East3 behind the Veil. She is wearing a white robe with no tabard, is crowned with twelve flowers, and she holds a wilted Lotus flower. + and – stand in the center of the Temple; + holds a censer with incense4 and – holds a cup of salt and water.5 The King is in the West with the Lance, wearing only a white robe with no tabard. The body of the King has been equilibrated6 and now the mind7 requires equilibration.

[INTRO MUSIC: The end of Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War” continuing from the end of the Vernal Equinox ceremony]

The King begins to approach the East from the West.

KING: I have balanced the Elements within myself and become worthy to seize my Father’s Sacred Lance of power. I travel into the Lower Kingdom to seek the Daughter of the King, that she may become my bride and be set upon the Throne of my Mother.

+ and – approach the King and stop him.

+ and : Halt!

They attach a garotte to his throat.8

–: Child of Earth, un-purified, you cannot enter the path to the Lower Kingdom.9

makes three crosses with the cup of salt and water in the shape of a downward triangle10 over the chest of the King while saying:

–: For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.11

+: Child of Earth, unconsecrated, you cannot enter the path to the Lower Kingdom.

+ makes three crosses with the censer in the shape of an upright triangle12 over the chest of the King while saying:

+: I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.13

In the following back-and-forth, the lines are spoken fairly quickly, with the King turning his head back and forth to face + or – as they speak, giving the sense of being bounced back-and-forth between two extremes of duality.

+: Thoughts are false.14

–: All thought is dis-ease.15

+: All this is true and false.

–: And it is true and false to say that it is true and false.16

+: Now a curse upon Because and his kin! May Because be accursèd for ever!

–: If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.

+: If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.

–: Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.17

The King then looks straight ahead, the head tipped slightly upwards to expose the neck.18

+: Strain forth thine Intelligence, O man, for thus thy reason shall at last break down.

–: As the fetter is struck from a slave’s throat.19

The garotte is removed from the King’s throat.20

+: Balance against each thought its exact opposite!

–: For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.21

QUEEN: The Oracle of the Gods is the Child-Voice of Love in thine own Soul! hear thou it!

She pauses briefly.

QUEEN: Heed not the Siren-Voice of Sense, or the Phantom-Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to the Silence!22

The King gives the Sign of Silence. + and – move to the sides of the King, allowing him passage into the Lower Kingdom.23 The King proceeds to the East and passes through the Veil.

END SCENE.

[MUSIC: Gustav Holst’s “Uranus, the Magician” from op.32, “The Planets”]

SCENE II: Cancer.
The Union of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms, and the re-ascent of the Man to Kingship.

The King stands in the West, approaching the Lower Kingdom.24 The Queen sits enthroned in the East with the Veil open. She appears as the Empress25, bearing the Lotus flower and wearing a crown of 12 white flowers26; she wears only a pure white robe.27 The Lotus flower is dying as it has lacked sunlight for it to flourish. The Man approaches and the Queen questions whether he is worthy. + and – stand on either side of the Queen in the sign of Osiris Risen.

The King walks towards the East.

+: A man approaches.

–: It is the young King of the Upper Kingdom.

QUEEN: Assure yourselves that he is purified and consecrated.

approaches the King and touches his forehead, mouth, and chest.28

–: He is pure of body and soul.29

QUEEN: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.30 To the pure, all things are pure.31

+ approaches the King and touches his forehead, mouth, and chest.

+: He is fervent of body and soul.32

QUEEN: Blessed are they that seek God with the whole heart and walk in his ways.33 The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.34

The Queen approaches the King and touches his chest with her left hand.

QUEEN: Kαθαροσ!35

+ touches the King’s right arm with his right hand.

+: Fortis!36

touches the King’s left arm with her left hand.

–: TAN!37

The Queen touches the King’s head with her right hand.

QUEEN: Samajh!38

The Queen, +, and – step back from the King.

QUEEN: To what end do you journey into this Lower Kingdom?

KING: To seek you, the Daughter of the King, that you may become my bride and be set upon the Throne of my Mother.

QUEEN: By what power do you approach my Lower Kingdom to take me as your bride?

The King raises his Lance.39

KING: By the power of the lifted lance!40

+ and – both give the Hailing sign of the Magician.41 The Lotus is transformed, blooming, and beautiful. The Queen holds it up, looks at it, and recognizing the Man’s authority and right as the King, gives the Hailing sign of the Magician as well.

+: It beams!

–: It burns!

QUEEN: It blooms!42

The Queen sets the Lotus on the altar in the East and clothes the King in a red robe/tabard.43 In the center of the robe is a golden cross; above the cross is written, “BLASFHMIA44 and at the groin is a sun.45.

QUEEN: Who is like unto thee? Who is able to make war with thee?46 Blessing unto the name of the Beast, for thou hast let loose a mighty flood of fire from thy manhood, and from thy womanhood hast thou let loose a mighty flood of water.

She turns and speaks to the People.

QUEEN: Great is the Beast that cometh forth like a lion, the servant of the Star and of the Snake. He is the Eternal one; He is the Almighty one. Blessed are they upon whom he shall look with favour, for nothing shall stand before his face. Accursed are they upon whom he shall look with derision, for nothing shall stand before his face… Who shall strive with his might? Hath he not the spear of the Warrior Lord of the Sun? Who shall contend with him? Who shall lift himself up against him? For the latchet of his sandal is more than the helmet of the Most High.47 The Beast whereon I shall ride is the Lord of the City of the Pyramids!48 By your might as King of the earth, you shall cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark.49

The King gives the Mark of the Beast50 to the People. The King returns and then clothes the Queen in a green robe/tabard, being Venus the Beloved; in the center of the robe is a silver circle51; just above this is written, “MUSTHRION52 and at the groin is a moon.53

KING: Beautiful art thou, O Babalon, and desirable, for thou hast given thyself to everything that liveth, and thy weakness hath subdued their strength. For in this union thou dost understand. Therefore art thou called Understanding, O Babalon, Lady of the Night!

He turns and speaks to the People.

KING: This is the Mystery of Babalon, the Mother of abominations, and this is the mystery of her adulteries, for she hath yielded up herself to everything that liveth, and hath become a partaker in its mystery. And because she hath made herself the servant of each, therefore is she become the mistress of all. Not as yet canst thou comprehend her glory.

The King turns back to the Queen.

KING: O Babalon, Babalon, thou mighty Mother, that ridest upon the crowned beast, let me be drunken upon the wine of thy fornications; let thy kisses wanton me even unto death!54

END SCENE.

Congregants repeatedly intone ‘ABRAHADABRA’ in between scenes.

[MUSIC: The first part of Tchaikovsky’s Op.45 “Capriccio Italiano,” stopping before ~1:30]

SCENE III: Leo.

The Marriage of King and Queen, and the Conception of the Demi-God Redeemer.

The King and Queen are in the East in front of the Veil and below the dais. The Queen stands to the right and the King stands to the left.55

bears a Chalice, not the one used earlier for purification, to the King and Queen, and + fills this with wine or champagne.

+: Wisdom is the Man.

–: And Understanding the Woman.56

The wine is shared between the King and Queen as is traditionally seen at marriages.57 The King then leads the Queen up the dais to the East where he stands on the right and the Queen stands on the left.58 The King and Queen face one another; the Queen holds the Lance in the King’s right hand with her right and the King holds the Chalice in the Queen’s left hand with his left (right hands over left), forming a lemniscate, a symbol of interlocked opposites and infinity.

[MUSIC: Fade in Tchaikovsky’s Op.45 “Capriccio Italiano,” starting from approximately ~1:45]

+: Hallelujah, for the Lord omnipotent reigneth!59

–: Hallelujah, for the Lady omnipresent reigneth!

+: Let us give honor to them!

–: Let us be glad and rejoice!60

+ and –: Hallelujah!

The King then moves to the center of the East, facing outwards, and sits in full-lotus (or cross-legged). He holds the Lance with the point upwards in his right hand. The Queen mounts the King while bearing the Cup61 in her right hand.

KING and QUEEN: ABRAHADABRA.62

+ and – close the Veil as the song reaches ~3:15 where there is a short break in the music.

END SCENE.

1 In 777, Sandalwood is attributed to Venus and generally refers to Love. This ceremony deals with the union of Father and Mother, King and Queen, in the sign of Cancer whose symbol shows the union of opposites (♋). Insofar as Sandalwood is attributed to Venus, it corresponds with Atu III: The Empress in the Tarot which shows a mature female who is often shown wearing or being adorned with flowers; this is the character of the new Queen that appears in this Solstice ceremony.

2 The Mark of the Beast is, symbolically, the union of Sol and Luna, which is the basic alchemical process at work throughout the Summer Solstice ceremony.

3 This is the Daughter of Tetragrammaton, the Final Heh of YHVH. She is explicitly called “the Daughter of the King” in the third scene (Taurus) of the Vernal Equinox ceremony. She is not yet raised to be the Mother/Queen, which requires the union of the Son with the Daughter in the second scene (Cancer) of this Summer Solstice ceremony.

4 These represent the “active” elements of Fire (censer) and Air (incense), reflecting the censer used by the Positive Child in the Gnostic Mass.

5 These represent the “passive” elements of Earth (salt) and Water (water), reflecting the pitcher of water and cellar of salt used by the Negative Child in the Gnostic Mass.

6 The body refers more abstractly to the Elements in general, and the Child has passed through the equilibration of the 4 Elements in the third scene (Taurus) of the Vernal Equinox ceremony.

7 Gemini is an Air sign and is ruled by Mercury which both represent the Mind in Elemental and Planetary symbolism, respectively.

8 The garotte is a symbol of the restraint of thought and speech. Crowley writes in The Book of Lies, “The reason is situated in Daath, which corresponds the the throat in human anatomy.”

9 This line comes almost directly from the Golden Dawn Neophyte initiation ceremony.

10 This downward triangle is a symbol of the Element of Water.

11 Liber AL, I:44. In Magick in Theory & Practice, chapter 14, Crowley writes, “The words of purification are: Asperges me, Therion, hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor. Those of consecration are: Accendat in nobis Therion ignem sui amoris et flammam aeternae caritatis. These may now advantageously be replaced by (a) ‘… pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.’ (CCXX, I, 44) to banish; and (b) ‘I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.’ (CCXX, II, 62) to consecrate. For the Book of the Law contains the Supreme Spells.”

12 This upright triangle is a symbol of the Element of Fire.

13 Liber AL, II:62. See note 98(???) above.

14 The Book of Lies, chapter 5.

15 The Book of Lies, chapter 85.

16 This exchange comes from The Book of Lies, chapter 31, which is titled “The Garotte.”

17 This exchange is a quotation from Liber AL, II:28-32.

18 The neck is the place of Da’ath, “Knowledge,” that is the crown of the Ruach but also what prevents passageway to the Abyss.

19 This exchange comes from The Book of Lies, chapter 31, which is titled “The Garotte.”

20 Crowley writes in his commentary to chapter 31 of The Book of Lies, “As soon as the reason is vanquished, the garotte is removed; then the influence of the supernals (Kether, Chokmah, Binah), no longer inhibited by Daath, can descend upon Tiphareth, where the human will is situated, and flood it with the ineffable light.”

21 These two lines come from The Heart of the Master under the section for Libra, which here represents the balance of the King’s mind.

22 From the section for Gemini in The Heart of the Master, which is proper to this scene as being of Gemini.

23 This represents the culmination of Adolescence in the expansion and fortification of the mind/Ruach.

24 The Lower Kingdom represents the unconscious and therefore the marriage between Kingdoms symbolizes a harmony between the conscious and unconscious self.

25 Atu III: The Empress. The Queen is the Empress, the Beloved, bearing the Lotus of femininity.

26 These 12 white flowers are the Earthly reflection of the High Priestess’ crown of 12 stars that is seen in the Winter Solstice ceremony, showing the identity of Queen and Priestess.

27 This reflects the fact that she is, at this point, the “Virgin, pure, without spot” from the Gnostic Mass who will be uplifted by the Priest to become the Queen/Mother. It also is a reference to Revelation 19:8, “And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of saints.”

28 The forehead represents thought, the mouth represents speech, and the chest represents deed or action.

29 This line is adapted from the Gnostic Mass.

30 Matthew 5:8.

31 Titus 1:15.

32 This line is adapted from the Gnostic Mass.

33 Adapted from Psalm 119:2-3.

34 James 5:16.

35 Pronounced “ka-tha-rahs.” Kαθαροσ or “katharos” is Greek for “purity,” which pertains to the 6th Sephirah of Tiphareth, or Sol, in the Heart. As Crowley writes in the 15th Aethyr, “This Adept guards Tiphareth and tests the heart (which pertains thereto) for its purity. (kαθαροσ = pure).”

36 Fortis is Latin for “strength” or “strong,” which pertains to the 5th Sephirah of Geburah or Mars. As Crowley writes in the 15th Aethyr, “Fortis means strong,”

37 Pronounced “tahn.” TAN is Enochian for “justice” or “mercy,” which pertains to the 4th Sephirah of Chesed, or Jupiter. The 17th Aethyr is named “TAN” and within the Aethyr it is said, “TAN is that which transformeth judgment into justice. BAL is the sword, and TAN the balances… this word TAN meaneth mercy.” Crowley comments thereupon, “TAN is given in above as meaning the Balances. Thus… the truth of Justice is Mercy.”

38 Pronounced “sah-mahj.” Samajh means “understanding” in Sanskrit, which pertains to the 3rd Sephirah of Binah. All the previous words ([urity, strength, mercy, and understanding) all come from The Vision and the Voice, 15th Aethyr.

39 This is an invocation of the King’s solar power and an assertion of his having obtained the sexual-procreative powers of maturity.

40 From the Gnostic Mass.

41 The sign of Life (II°) that is given in the Gnostic Mass.

42 This exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 5th Aethyr. It refers to the Rose-Cross.

43 This goes over the white robe, virtually identical to the Priestess clothing the Priest in the radiance or ambience of the flame of the Sun at the beginning of the Gnostic Mass. This signifies his ascent to Kingship and being Lord on Earth.

44 A reference to Revelation 13:1.

45 A symbol of the masculine-generative power.

46 Adapted from Revelation 13:4 where it refers to the Beast.

47 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.

48 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.

49 A reference to Revelation 13:16.

50 This Mark of the Beast is also the Mark of Cain, i.e. the mark of initiation. The people receiving this mark refers to 6=5 in Geburah, the martial expansion of power to the kingdoms of the earth, the leading and enlightening of others. It also refers to the attainment of the Grade of Lover whereof it is said in the 13th Aethyr, “The lover giveth his life unto the work among men.” The Mark of the Beast can either be rubber stamp bearing the Mark of the Beast (either Sol-Luna with 2 Testes, or the Cross-in-the-Circle) pressed onto the hands of the People or it can also be a coin bearing the same symbol.

51 The silver circle of the Queen complements the golden cross of the King, together they form the Rose-Cross.

52 A reference to Revelation 17:5.

53 A symbol of the feminine-generative power.

54 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr. Note that the original text has “Babylon” because the correct spelling as “Babalon” was not revealed until the 10th Aethyr. The term is switched to “Babalon” in this ritual, for To Mega Therion discovered the true spelling of Her name for us.

55 That is, the Queen stands in the place of Chesed and the King stands in the place of Geburah on the Tree of Life. The path between them is that of Leo to which is attributed the Tarot trump Atu XI: Lust that depicts Babalon astride the Beast.

56 The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.

57 This refers to 5=6 in Tiphareth.

58 That is, the Queen stands in the place of Binah and the King stands in the place of Chokmah on the Tree of Life. Their switching positions shows the change from being Prince/Princess to King/Queen. The path between them is that of Venus, i.e. Supernal Love.

59 Revelation 19:6.

60 Adapted from Revelation 19:7.

61 This is Shiva-Shakti in Hindu imagery and Babalon astride the Beast as seen in Atu XI: Lust in the Thoth Tarot, which is ruled by Leo.

62 ABRAHADABRA refers to the interlocking unityof opposites, specifically the 5 of the Microcosm with the 6 of the Macrocosm. As it is written in The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr, “this is the word of double power in the voice of the Master, wherein the Five interpenetrateth the Six.” 

 

Rituals of the Elements: Vernal Equinox

The Rituals of the Elements: Vernal Equinox

Introduction

It is written in Liber AL vel Legis II:36, “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” Crowley comments, “The entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” This cycle of dramatic rituals are therefore invocations. They are intended to generate energy at the entrance of the Sun into the cardinal signs of elements at the four quarters of the year, i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices.

The entire cycle of rituals simultaneously show:

  1. The macrocosmic cycle of the Sun going through the seasons
  2. The microcosmic cycle of Man going through the generations/Incarnation (birth/youth-adulthood-old age-death).
  3. The process of Attainment from 0=0 to 8=3 and back again.

The energies of each ritual correspond to each of these planes at once:

Equinox and Solstice rituals

Each ritual invokes a particular energy. Each ritual has a particular Word of Power associated therewith and it is intoned in between the scenes. The Word also appears once in each ritual within a particular Scene.

Each of the four rituals has 3 scenes for a total of 12 scenes for the entire cycle, one for each of the signs of the Zodiac. The middle scene of each ritual is the sign of the Equinox or Solstice – for example, the middle scene in Autumn is Libra. The first scene is therefore Virgo, the sign before Libra, and the last scene is Scorpio, the sign after Libra. In general, the first scene represents events leading up to the Equinox or Solstice, the middle scene represents the actual turning-point, and the last scene represents events leading to the next Equinox or Solstice.

The Basic Characters

  • (☉/♂) Priest/King – the conscious Self. The Child who grows to become King who attains and becomes a Priest and then dies and is reborn as the Child.
  • (☽/♀) Priestess/Queen the Non-Self (the unconscious self, the “higher self,” etc.)The  Mother of the Child, the Queen/Beloved of the King, the High Priestess of the Priest.
  • (+ and -) 2 Children – the duality of the World. Various roles throughout the entire cycle.
  • () The People (participants) – the inhabitants of the World; they identify (at least their conscious selves) with the Priest.


Mucha Winter SolsticeTHE VERNAL EQUINOX CEREMONY

Also known as “The Bornless Reborn”

The Word of this ceremony is ‘VIAOV.’ It is repeatedly intoned in between scenes by the People/Congregants. The Incense of this ceremony is Frankincense1 and/or Rose.2 The Talisman of this ceremony are fresh, Spring flowers.3

SCENE I: Pisces.
End of Winter, the Final Lamentations of the Mother

[MUSIC: The last ~2 minutes of Alexander Glazunov’s “Winter” from “The Seasons,” which continues the song that ended the Winter ceremony]

The Queen is the Mother4, lamenting the death of the King at the tomb in the West5. + and – stand in the East in front of the dais as forms of Anubis6, looking to the West at the Queen. The Obelisks are still broken.

[MUSIC: Sounds of wind howling/storm fade in and overpower the music]

MOTHER: Sterility is my name, and desolation.

+: Intolerable is thine ache

–: And incurable thy wound.

MOTHER: I said, Let the darkness cover me; and behold, I am compassed about with the blackness that hath no name.7

+: The sun has become black!

–: The moon has become as blood!8

MOTHER: All that was ordered and stable is shaken!9 The winter storm has plunged our kingdom into darkness.

The Queen pauses and listens to the howling winds.

MOTHER: The mystery, the evil darkness of these incoherent cries, sets my teeth on edge with horror. And yet I cannot give up the hope which thrilled me at the Voice.10 But so keen, so desolate, so deadly is the pain of my spirit that blank darkness overwhelms me altogether.11

+: Yet there was a star in sight…

–: A star of hope arose…

MOTHER: Yet fell back into the darkness of the waters!12 A Star in the West? What folly!13 The King has left no heir and I fear we may wallow in this darkness forever. This discipline is sorrowful…

+: And ploughing is laborious…

–: And age is weariness…14

MOTHER: I sink through waves of blackness… down!

The Queen falls down.

+: Down!

+ falls down.

–: Down!15

falls down.

MOTHER: In this Kingdom of the Grave, there is no light or knowledge.

+: Nor beauty.

–: Nor stability.

MOTHER: The worm is crowned!

The Queen places her crown on the ground.

MOTHER: All that we have been hath been eaten up! All that we shall be is nothing!16

+: The darkness of the earth is ruddy.

–: The darkness of the air is grey.

MOTHER: The darkness of the soul is utter blackness.17

The Mother laments and, with each wave of sobs and cries of pain18, the thunder of the storm gets louder and longer, an earthquake19 rumbles stronger and stronger.

+: The Queen is sore distressed!20

–: Who is now set to save us?21

+: Is not the egg of spirit a black egg?

–: Is not the snake that devoureth the spirit of man the lust of light?22

+ stands up while saying:

+: Let us beseech the Babe that abides in the egg!

stands up while saying:

–: Let us invoke the Son of Morning hidden in the Lotus!23

+ and – walk to the West and gather on opposite sides of the Mother. + turns around, and + and circle the Queen widdershins (counter-clockwise) while vibrating VIAOV three times. During the first vibration, + and – are in the Sign of Isis Mourning; during the second vibration, they are in the Sign of Apophis; during the third vibration, they are in the Sign of Osiris Risen; there are a total of 9 widdershins circumambulations.24

+ & –: VIAOV. VIAOV. VIAOV.

The King is hidden inside the Veil in the East. The Music gets quieter for a moment.

KING: In the thick darkness the seed awaiteth spring.25

END SCENE

[MUSIC: The thunderstorm continues and gets louder.]

Congregants repeatedly intone ‘VIAOV’ in between scenes.

SCENE II: Aries.
The Vernal Re-Birth of the Father in the Child

[MUSIC: The storm continues to rumble with thunder.]

The King is still behind the Veil. The Obelisks are stood upright and in front of the Veil.

The Queen gives + a Dagger and – a Disk.26

KING: Let the Illusion of the World pass over thee, unheeded, as thou goest from the Midnight to the Morning!27

+: It is He! The Bornless Spirit!28

–: It is He that lighteneth and thundereth!29

The Mother rises.

[The sound of the storm begins to fade away]

MOTHER: It is He! The Truth!30 He is risen!31

+: He is exalted!

–: He is great!

+: Glory to God!

–: Thanksgiving to God!32

MOTHER: There is no god but man.33

[MUSIC: Sound of lightning and “OM” intoned]

The Mother gives the Sign of Isis Rejoicing,34 and there is a flash of lightning.35 +, –, and the Mother all kneel in awe as the Child emerges. The King is seen as the Child36 in the East37 in the attitude of Resurrection,38 dressed in Green39 or Rose-pink40 or plant-life with a golden sash around his chest,41 and he carries fresh flowers in both hands. + holds up the Dagger42 and – holds up the Disk43; they then both kneel and adore the Child when he begins his speech.44

KING: “I am that I am, the flame / Hidden in the sacred ark. / I am the unspoken name / I the unbegotten spark. / I am He that ever goeth, / Being in myself the Way; / Known, that yet no mortal knoweth, / Shewn, that yet no mortal sheweth, / I, the child of night and day. / I am never-dying youth. / I am Love, and I am Truth. / I am the creating Word, / I the author of the aeon; / None but I have ever heard / Echo in the empyrean / Plectron of the primal paean! / I am the eternal one / Winged and white, the flowering rod, / I the fountain of the sun, Very God of very God! / I am he that lifteth up / Life, and flingeth it afar; / I have filled the crystal cup; / I have sealed the silver star. / I the wingless God that flieth / Through my firmamental fane, / I am he that daily dieth, / And is daily born again.”45 VIAOV!46

The King looks to + and – who are kneeling in supplicated adoration.

KING: Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, for I have the keys of hell and of death.47 Kneel not in supplication, for I am your fellowservant. You are my brother [he raises + to his feet, takes the Dagger in his right hand, and gives + half of the flowers] and my sister [he raises – to her feet, takes the Disk in his left hand, and gives – the other half of the flowers]. Worship Thyself!”48

The King stands in the Sign of Osiris Risen, holding the Dagger and Disk against his shoulders. + and – go around and give each of the Congregants a flower with the words “Worship Thyself!”

[MUSIC: Part of “Appalachian Spring” by Copland]

When complete, + and – return, place any extra flowers on the High Altar in the East, and take back the Dagger and Disk, respectively. The King then approaches the West to comfort his awe-struck Mother. + and – go with him, flanking him.

KING: Mother, you mourn sincerely, but your sorrow has no cause. The change which ye lament is the life of my rejoicing, and the sorrow that blackeneth your heart is the myriad deaths by which I am renewed.49 Grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. There has never been a time when you and I and all the stars gathered here have not existed, nor will there be a time when we will cease to exist.50 Wipe the tears from your eyes.

+: There is no death!

–: There is no sorrow!

+: There is no crying!

–: Nor is there pain.51

KING: Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.52 I am the Eternal Sun, the motionless axle of the cycle of night and day, constant and triumphant throughout the changing seasons. Realize you are That which pervades the universe and is indestructible; no power can affect this unchanging, imperishable reality. Even in the face of death, you should not grieve. Death is inevitable for the living; birth is inevitable for the dead. Since these are unavoidable, you should not sorrow… There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was53 … there is no sin, and there is no salvation54… Death means the attainment of heaven, and life means the enjoyment of the earth. Therefore, rise up, Mother, and resolve to rejoice!55

MOTHER: Behold! where are now the darkness and the terror and the lamentation? For we are born into the new Aeon; we shall not suffer death… In the nights we will dance together, and in the morning we will go forth to war; for, as my King liveth that was dead, so do you live now and shall never die!56

END SCENE.

[MUSIC: Alexander Glazunov’s “Spring” from “The Seasons,” fade in starting from ~1:00.]

Congregants repeatedly intone ‘VIAOV’ in between scenes. 

SCENE III: Taurus.
The growth of the Body in Boyhood, the equilibration of the Elements

The future King is a youth, growing into adolescence. He is counseled by the Mother to grow in preparation for the Child to take the throne as King: he is taught to balance the Elements57 in the form of attainment of the 4 Powers of the Sphinx:58 To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silence. The Mother leads the Child around to each Quarter.59

MOTHER: Ah, my son! You are like a hawk with mighty-sweeping wings of mother-of-emerald. The very earth gladdens into green at your coming. Children of Earth! Rejoice! Rejoice exceedingly, for our salvation is at hand. The end of sorrow is come!60

KING: I am still but a child, innocent and impotent.61 How should I ever become deserving to take my Father’s throne?

MOTHER: You must first become worthy to seize the Sacred Lance of his power.62 The temple must be builded before the God can indwell it.63 Strengthen thyself! Set thy feet firmly upon the earth.64 Tend the garden of your soul!65

KING: Heavy is the labour, but great indeed is the reward.

MOTHER: You shall not see the reward,66 but you must tend the garden. Who can tell upon what day a flower shall bloom?67 In the impure Soul no Vision will arise, therefore cleanse the Soul68: balance the Elements within oneself: You must achieve the Four Powers of the Sphinx, though even adepts hardly attain to one of them!69

The Mother leads the Child-King to the West where + stands as representing the threat of unbalanced introversion. – stands in the East.

+: The wiles of the world are a plague upon the spirit! Build yourself up as a fortress to withstand the poisonous attacks of sense.70

The King looks to the Mother for guidance.

MOTHER: Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this. Exceed! Exceed! Strive ever to more! Love is the law, love under will.71

The Mother gives the Sign of the Enterer,72 and the King turns back to + to give the Sign of the Enterer himself.

MOTHER: My Child, the Power of Daring is in your heart, coiled and ready to leap!Springcircle_1

[MUSIC: Fade in “Mars” by Holst during circumambulations and fade out before the next line is spoken]

The Mother leads the Child-King 1¼ deosil/clockwise circumambulations while + moves widdershins-counter-clockwise ¾ circle (– mirrors movements of + on the opposite side of the circle; + ends in the North and – in the South); King and Queen come to the North where + stands as representing external Tyranny. The King faces + with the Mother behind him and to the side, guiding him.

+: Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother! Thou shalt not commit adultery!73

The King looks to the Mother for guidance.

MOTHER: Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.74

The Mother gives the Sign of Silence,75 and the King turns back to + to give the Sign of Silence himself.

MOTHER: My Child, the Power of Knowledge grows within you!springcircle_2

[MUSIC: Fade in “Mars” by Holst during circumambulations and fade out before the next line is spoken]

The Mother leads the Child-King 1½ deosil/clockwise circumambulations; + and – do not move. The King and Queen come to the South where – stands as representing unbalanced extroversion. The King faces – with the Mother behind him and to the side, guiding him.

–: Be not lead into temptation, beware of your prideful sins!76 Love is charity and sacrifice to others.

The King looks to the Mother for guidance.

MOTHER: Ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve.77

The Mother gives the Sign of Silence,78 and the King turns back to – to give the Sign of Silence himself.

MOTHER: My Child, do not give overly of yourself to others in thought, word, or deed; Knowledge, Will, and Courage are for naught if you do not Keep Silence!

[MUSIC: Fade in “Mars” by Holst during circumambulations and fade out before the next line is spoken]

springcircle_3The Mother leads the Child-King ¾ deosil/clockwise circumambulations while – moves widdershins-counter-clockwise ¼ circle (+ mirrors movements of – on the opposite side of the circle; – ends in the East and + in the West); King and Queen come to the East where – stands as representing internal Tyranny. The King faces – with the Mother behind him and to the side, guiding him.

–: Who art thou that dost float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many æons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?79

The King looks to the Mother for guidance.

MOTHER: A curse upon Because and his kin! May Because be accursed for ever! If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.80

The Mother gives the Sign of the Enterer,81 and the King turns back to – to give the Sign of the Enterer himself.

MOTHER: My Child, you have begun to unfold the Power of Will. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.82

The Mother takes off the King’s green/rose-pink tabard.83 + takes the tabard from the Queen; + and Queen move to the East to join –, and + places the tabard in the East.

The Queen retrieves the Lance from the High Altar. + and – move to the center, The King in the West, the Mother in the East, + in the South, and – in the North so that all four individuals form a circle or diamond in the center, all facing inwards.

+: You have passed through each of the quarters.

–: You have become an adherent, a Man of Earth.84

+ holds the Lance upright in the center. +, –, and the Mother all intone a syllable of “IAO.” The Mother begins with “I,” and while she is still intoning, + begins to vibrate “A,” and – vibrates “O” so that all three are vibrated at once. Finally, the King vibrates “VIAOV” and they all end at the same time.

QUEEN: I!

+ holds the Lance with the Mother while intoning:

+: A!

holds the Lance with the Mother and + while intoning:

–: O!

The King grabs the Lance and raises it while the Mother, +, and – all let go, all while the King intones:

KING: VIAOV!

+ and – turn to flank the Mother while facing toward the King.

KING: Am I not nearly purged of the iniquity of my forefathers?

MOTHER: Yet a little…85 This is only the first step upon the Path of the Great Work. Our Kingdom is still in danger: the Lower Kingdom threatens us where the Daughter of their King still rules. You must now leave me: win your own adulthood by winning a worthy Queen, and reclaim your rightful place as King.86 Go now, with ecstasy of worship in your heart.

+: With a clear mind.

–: And a passionate body.87

MOTHER: Go now, and may you grow to be a great King!

+: May you wax strong in spirit.

–: May you be filled with wisdom!88

[MUSIC: Fade in “Mars” from “The Planets, op.32” by Gustav Holst, starting from ~3:45]

KING: I shall find the Daughter of the King89 and she will become my bride! The voluptuous Virgin of Night will illumine my soul with arcane delight!90 Our Upper Kingdom will be united with the Lower once more: I shall set her upon the Throne of my Mother91 and the whole earth will rejoice.92

The King raises his Lance and marches to the West and into the Tomb.

END SCENE.

[OUTRO MUSIC: Play out “Mars” for about 2-3 minutes.]

1 In 777, Frankincense is attributed to Tiphareth (the Sun) and to the Element of Fire, which rules the Vernal Equinox because it occurs in the sign of Aries.

2 In 777, Rose is attributed to Tiphareth in the King Scale of Color, and it is also “traditionally been taken as [a] glyph of the circle” which refers in this case to the circle or cycle of the Seasons itself.

3 This represents vegetative Growth, the “Green Man” of Spring, and the general flowering of Beauty after lying fallow during the darkness of Winter.

4 Isis mourning Osiris/Mary mourning Jesus; Isis Mourning (L) of the INRI/LVX/IAO formula

5 The Sun sets in the West and therefore represents Death.

6 Atu XVIII: The Moon.

7 The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr.

8 These lines are adapted from Revelation 6:12.

9 The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.

10 In terms of these Seasonal rites, “the hope which thrilled me” refers to the Star of the Redeemer appearing at the end of the Winter Solstice ceremony, i.e. in Aquarius, which directly precedes this particular scene.

11 The Heart of the Master.

12 A reference to the Star of the Redeemer that appeared at the end of the Winter Solstice ceremony, i.e. in Aquarius.

13 The Heart of the Master.

14 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 28th Aethyr, where it refers to the dispersion of the Abyss.

15 The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.

16 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr.

17 The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr.

18 These are the pangs of birth.

19 A reference to Revelation 6:12, “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

20 An adaptation of Liber LXV, I:38.

21 An adaptation of Liber LXV, I:37.

22 The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr.

23 These two lines are adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr, “The voice of the Crowned Child, the Speech of the Babe that is hidden in the egg of blue… Rejoice with me, O ye Sons of the Morning; stand with me upon the Throne of Lotus…”

24 The three vibrations of the threefold word “VIAOV” (the V’s are silent) give 9 total syllables that are intoned, symbolic of the 9 months of the Child in the womb. They do not necessarily need to perform 9 circumambulations but it would strengthen the symbolism.

25 The Vision and the Voice, 15th Aethyr.

26 The Mother is the source of the mind (Dagger) and body (Disk) of the Child, which are given to Him in order that he may incarnate or “manifest.”

27 From Crowley’s The Heart of the Master.

28 He is the “Bornless Spirit” because the True Self is never born nor does it ever die, yet it enters into incarnation or manifestation – represented by the four seasons and four Elements – in order to experience Itself.

29 It is seen that the storm is the Child itself, no longer a source of fear but a signal of the divine presence. As it says in the Holy Book of Thelema known as Liber A’ash, “Fear not when I fall in the fury of the storm; for mine acorns are blown afar by the wind; and verily I shall rise again, and my children about me, so that we shall uplift our forest in Eternity. Eternity is the storm that covereth me.”

30 This exchange comes from Liber Samekh, Section Gg. “The Truth” is a name Christ gives to himself and it is also one of the many names of Allah. Mansur al-Hallaj – a Persian Sufi of the 9th and 10th centuries C.E. – attained this identity with Godhead and he was promptly killed for blasphemy when he proclaimed “I am the Truth.”

31 “He is risen” comes from what is called the “Paschal greeting.” On Easter, certain Christians will greet each other by saying “Christ is risen” and the response is “Truly, He is risen!” Easter, i.e. the Resurrection, corresponds to the Vernal Equinox ceremony insofar as the Father is resurrected in the Son in this Season.

32 This exchange is adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 15th Aethyr. “Exalted” and “great” are qualities or titles of the 5th Sephirah, Geburah, while “glory” and “thanksgiving” (the literal translation of eucharistos) are qualities or titles of the 4th Sephirah, Chesed. Together with Tiphareth, the Sun, they form the descending triangle of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the Crowned and Conquering Child.

33 This line comes from Liber LXXVII: Liber OZ, and is switched in here for “There is no god but god,” which occurs in the 15th Aethyr. It is thus, in one sense, a development from the Muslim proclamation of faith insofar as the human being is understood to be the true God. It is said here by the Queen almost as a correction to the paeans being made by + and –.

34 The final sign of the NOX series, Mater Triumphans; it signifies the completion of the crossing of the Abyss to be born as Nemo

35 Lightning represents (a) Incarnation or Manifestation, i.e. the Qabalistic Lightning Flash ; (b) the birth of the Zarathustran Overman as in “Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the frenzy with which ye should be inoculated? Lo, I teach you the Superman: he is that lightning, he is that frenzy!-”; it is also therefore the birth of the Child of Attainment, i.e. Nemo in the City of the Pyramids; he is also the birth of the demi-god Savior as in, for example, the stories of Christ or Buddha (c) the Thelemic image of the generative force as in Liber A’ash, “Gnarled Oak of God! In thy branches is the lightning nested! Above thee hangs the Eyeless Hawk” and throughout Liber VII. It is therefore the Incarnation of the Spirit into Man and the birth of the Savior into the World, the Master of the Temple being cast from Binah back down into Malkuth to restart the cycle. The idea also relates to an aphorism from the Chaldean Oracles, “If thou often invokest thou shalt see all things growing dark; and then when no longer is visible unto thee the High-arched Vault of Heaven, when the Stars have lost their Light and the Lamp of the Moon is veiled, the Earth abideth not, and around thee darts the Lightning Flame and all things appear amid thunders.”

36 The Green Man/Pure Fool of Spring and youthful folly; also the Crowned & Conquering Child Horus

37 The East is where the Sun rises and therefore represents Birth.

38 The Sign of Osiris Risen with arms crossed over the chest; it is the sign of Life triumphant over Death.

39 This refers to the re-emergence of plant life after Winter and is reflected in many traditions, e.g. the Green Man, the green color of Osiris’ skin, or Atu 0: The Fool in the Thoth Tarot.

40 Rose-pink is a color of Tiphareth, the Sun, specifically “the rose-pink of dawn, the spring of the day” (777).

41 Revelation 1:13, “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.”

42 The Dagger is the weapon of Air and therefore symbolizes the bestowing of a Mind as a weapon to work his Will. It also reflects the Scourge, i.e. of Geburah/Mars that Osiris traditionally holds.

43 The Disk is the weapon of Earth and therefore symbolizes the bestowing of a Body as a weapon of work his Will. It also reflects the Crook, i.e. of Chesed/Jupiter that Osiris traditionally holds.

44 This is Baphomet, the Two-in-One God, who is seen as Christ the Redeemer in Revelation 1, the Alpha & Omega.

45 “The Ship: A Mystery Play” by Crowley

46 VIAOV represents the V passing through the cycle of Incarnation (IAO), triumphant and sustained by the process rather than it being a catastrophe. It represents the triumph of Life/Hadit through apparent death.

47 An adaptation of Revelation 1:17-18.

48 An adaptation of Revelation 22:9, “Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets,and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” The switch from “God” to “Thyself” represents the switch in perspective of the New Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child.

49 This particular line comes from The Vision and the Voice, 23rd Aethyr.

50 An adaptation of chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita

51 Adapted from Revelation 21:4.

52 Liber AL II:9

53 Liber AL II:58.

54 This one line comes from The Vision and the Voice, 26th Aethyr.

55 An adaptation of more of chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita

56 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 22nd Aethyr.

57 The 4 Elements are seen around the edges of Atu V: The Hierophant to which is attributed the sign of Taurus.

58 This arduous work of winning mastery over the Elements is reflected in the hard work of plowing the fields; Taurus, the Bull, is an animal used to help plow fields.

59 The Quarters represent the 4 Elements and the 4 Powers of the Sphinx.

60 Adapted from Liber Tzaddi, lines 1-4.

61 “Innocent and impotent” is a phrase used in Liber Samekh to describe the Pure Fool, the Babe Horus (Aleph – Atu 0: The Fool) that must obtain the Lance and become the Adult Horus (Ayin – Atu XV: The Devil).

62 Crowley writes in Liber Samekh, Point II, line 5, “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’ 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.”

63 Liber LXI vel Causae, line 21.

64 The Vision and the Voice, 15th Aethyr.

65 A reference to the garden of the 13th Aethyr where a certain flower may arise as NEMO, the Master of the Temple.

66 A foreshadowing of the King’s death next Winter, and also a more esoteric reference to the fact that Attainment ultimates in the annihilation of the ego so the “you” of the ego shall not see the “reward.”

67 The Vision and the Voice, 13th Aethyr.

68 Adapted from AHA!

69 Adapted from AHA!

70 Basically, + represents the Threat of unbalanced Introversion: + tries to get the Child-King to keep to himself and be concerned only with himself.

71 Liber AL, II:22, 71, 72 and Liber AL, I:57.

72 The Sign of the Enterer, i.e. Silence, i.e. of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, represents a response to or attack against the – imbalance.

73 Two of the 10 Commandments of the Old Aeon. They represent, in general, the “Thou shalt”s and “Thou shalt not”s that are overturned in the New Aeon. In particular, the father and mother are no longer adored for it is the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child. Adultery is no longer sacred, for we no longer pathologize the sexual instinct nor think it sinful, and Babalon is the Great Whore that we adore. Basically, + represents external Tyranny, i.e. religious-social Authority, and + tries to get the Child-King to conform to his ideal of what is right.

74 Liber AL, I:42-43.

75 The Sign of Silence, i.e. of Harpocrates or Hoor-Paar-Kraat, represents a response to or defense against the + imbalance.

76 A reference to the Lord’s prayer as in Luke 11:4, “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Basically, – represents the threat of unbalance Extroversion: – tries to get the Child to engage in self-sacrifice, only thinking of others, which is a hallmark of the Old Aeon of Osiris, the Dying God.

77 Liber AL, II:58.

78 The Sign of Silence, i.e. of Harpocrates or Hoor-Paar-Kraat, represents a response to or defense against the + imbalance.

79 This line comes from Liber LXV, II:21 where it is asked by the “little crazy boy” of Reason to the Adept. Basically, – represents Internal Tyranny, i.e. superstition and habit. – tries to get the Child-King to question himself through hyper-rationality.

80 Liber AL, II:28-31.

81 The Sign of the Enterer, i.e. Silence, i.e. of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, represents a response to or attack against the – imbalance.

82 Liber AL, III:60.

83 This represents the end of childhood and the entering into adulthood. There have now been a total of 3.5 deosil circumambulations, symbolic of the Kundalini serpent coiled 3.5 times at the base of the spine. The awakening of the Kundalini represents the awakening to the Creative Life-force of Godhead, which is seen symbolically in puberty in the course of the individual’s life.

84 This represents attaining the “grade” of Man of Earth, corresponding to the Third Order of Golden Dawn (Malkuth, 1=10) which contains the 4 Elements. The next grade is the Lover, which is in Tiphareth (5=6). This grade, as well as that of Geburah (6=5) are attained in the Summer Solstice ceremony. The grade of 7=4 is attained in Autumn when the King becomes a Hermit, which is the final aspect of the grade of Lover. The next grade of Hermit (8=3) is attained in the Winter Solstice when the King gives up his life in an act of supreme Love.

85 The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.

86 This represents the child leaving the home of the family and becoming an independent adult. It also refers to the Son/Prince of Tetragrammaton (YHVH) uniting with the Daughter/Princess of Tetragrammaton (YHVH), so that she may be set upon the throne of the Mother (YHVH) and the Prince may become King (YHVH).

87 The Vision and the Voice, 16th Aethyr.

88 Luke 2:40.

89 The Vision and the Voice, 9th Aethyr. She is the Daughter or Princess of Tetragrammaton, the Final Heh of YHVH. The King, having attained the Lance, has achieved become the Prince (Vav of YHVH) who weds the Princess (Final Heh of YHVH) so that she may be set upon the Throne of Understanding (Heh of YHVH) and he may assume the Throne of the King (Yod of YHVH).

90 Adapted from AHA!

91 The Vision and the Voice, 9th Aethyr, “This is she that is set upon the Throne of Understanding. Holy, Holy, Holy is her name, not to be spoken among men. For Kor they have called her, and Malkuth, and Betulah, and Persephone.” Also, the 4th Aethyr, “And this is that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah.”

92 A foreshadowing of the Summer Solstice ritual, which reflects Revelation 19:7, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” The King is, of course, the Lamb, the Solar Savior of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty.

 

The Rituals of the Elements: Winter Solstice

Introduction

It is written in Liber AL vel Legis II:36, “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” Crowley comments, “The entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” This cycle of dramatic rituals are therefore invocations. They are intended to generate energy at the entrance of the Sun into the cardinal signs of elements at the four quarters of the year, i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices.

The entire cycle of rituals simultaneously show:

  1. The macrocosmic cycle of the Sun going through the seasons
  2. The microcosmic cycle of Man going through the generations/Incarnation (birth/youth-adulthood-old age-death).
  3. The process of Attainment from 0=0 to 8=3 and back again.

The energies of each ritual correspond to each of these planes at once:

Equinox and Solstice rituals

Each ritual invokes a particular energy. Each ritual has a particular Word of Power associated therewith and it is intoned in between the scenes. The Word also appears once in each ritual within a particular Scene.

Each of the four rituals has 3 scenes for a total of 12 scenes for the entire cycle, one for each of the signs of the Zodiac. The middle scene of each ritual is the sign of the Equinox or Solstice – for example, the middle scene in Autumn is Libra. The first scene is therefore Virgo, the sign before Libra, and the last scene is Scorpio, the sign after Libra. In general, the first scene represents events leading up to the Equinox or Solstice, the middle scene represents the actual turning-point, and the last scene represents events leading to the next Equinox or Solstice.

The Basic Characters

  • (☉/♂) Priest/King – the conscious Self. The Child who grows to become King who attains and becomes a Priest and then dies and is reborn as the Child.
  • (☽/♀) Priestess/Queen the Non-Self (the unconscious self, the “higher self,” etc.)The  Mother of the Child, the Queen/Beloved of the King, the High Priestess of the Priest.
  • (+ and -) 2 Children – the duality of the World. Various roles throughout the entire cycle.
  • () The People (participants) – the inhabitants of the World; they identify (at least their conscious selves) with the Priest.


Mucha Winter SolsticeTHE WINTER SOLSTICE CEREMONY

Also known as “The Gate of Life”

The Word of this ceremony is ‘AUMGN.’ It is repeatedly intoned in between scenes, i.e. between Scenes 1 & 2 and between Scenes 2 & 3, by the People/Congregants. The Incense of this ceremony is Myrrh.1 The Talisman of this ceremony is the goblet(s) of Wine.

SCENE 1: Sagittarius.
The Wandering in the Wilderness.

The King is in the West, facing East. + and – are on either side of the King, holding the staff and lantern. The High Priestess sits behind the Veil in the East. The King circumambulates2 the Temple clockwise/deosil to symbolize his wandering in the wilderness.

[INTRO MUSIC: Frédéric Chopin’s Sonata, op. 35, Part III: “Marche funèbre” a.k.a. “Funeral March”]

The King approaches the East from the West in a winding or serpentine manner. + and – follow behind the King, + behind the King and in front of –.

KING: I have left my Beloved and my Kingdom in search for the Elixir of Immortality; I have wandered alone in the wilderness; I have endured the travails of the desert… The footprints of the Camel lead up this winding way to the Summit of the Mountain.

The King stops a few steps in front of the Veil, as if he was in front of the small altar in the Gnostic Mass. + and – stand on either side of the King, slightly behind him.

PRIESTESS: I am the Soul of the Desert; thou hast sought me in the wilderness of sand.3

The King turns to his right (deosil) and heads towards the West, starting his first circumambulation with + and – behind him in a line,.

KING: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the Way of my Will!4

The King, halfway done with his circumambulation in the West, turns deosil back towards the East, + and – still following behind in a line, and finishes his first circumambulation while the Priestess says:

PRIESTESS: With courage conquering fear shall ye approach me.5

The King turns to his right (deosil) and heads towards the West with + and – behind him, starting his second circumambulation.

KING: By the word and the will, by the penance and the prayer, let me behold thy face.6

The King, halfway done with his circumambulation in the West, turns deosil back towards the East with + and – behind him, and finishes his second circumambulation while the Priestess says:

PRIESTESS: Fear not for aught; turn not aside for aught, eremite of Nuit, apostle of Hadit, warrior of Ra Hoor Khu!7 Only those who fear shall fail!8

The King turns to his right (deosil) and heads towards the West with + and – flanking him, starting his third circumambulation.

KING: I fear no power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth.9 Success is my proof; courage is my armor; I shall turn not back for any!10

The King is halfway complete with his third circumambulation and stops in the West, facing East.

PRIESTESS: Many are the champions of life, but all are unhorsed by the lance of death.11

The King is stripped of his staff so that he has no support, i.e. + snaps the staff in two or throws it away and stands next to the King in the attitude of Resurrection (Osiris Risen).

PRIESTESS: Many are the children of the light, but their eyes shall all be put out by the Mother Darkness12

The King is then stripped of his lantern so he cannot see at night, i.e. – blows out the flame of the lantern and stands next to the King in the attitude of Resurrection (Osiris Risen). + and – then approach the King and remove his scarlet robe, throwing it on the floor, showing he is stripped of everything extraneous and unnecessary, i.e. the purging fire13 of asceticism. + and – then go to the sides of the Veil, and face outwards towards the West in the sign of Osiris Risen.

The King is exhausted but he persists to the East to finish his third and final circumambulation while saying:

KING: “Mighty and erect is this Will of mine [he lifts the Lance], this Pyramid of fire whose summit is lost in Heaven. Upon it have I burned the corpse of my desires!”14

PRIESTESS: “He who endures unto the end will have eternal life.”15

END SCENE.

No Music. A light is turned out to make the Temple slightly darker. Congregants repeatedly intone ‘AUMGN’ in between scenes.

SCENE 2: Capricorn.
The Temptation of the Buddha-Christ King and the Rending of the Veil of the High Priestess

Everyone is in the same position as the end of the first scene. + now holds a “false Grail” filled with jewels, jewelry, coins, and other things indicating material wealth. holds a “false Grail” filled with a potion (although not necessarily filled with anything, the symbolism remains). The King is three steps away from the Veil16, and with each step he undergoes a Temptation.17

The King takes his first step towards the Veil/on the dais.

+ steps down to the first step on the dais and turns to face the King, offering the “false Grail” full of coins, jewels, etc.

+: You have finished your quest. I will give you the endless pleasure of the most beautiful women of the world; I will grant you rulership over all the kingdoms of the Earth.

KING: It has been written, ‘Thou hast no right but to do thy will.’18 I am not swayed by your appeal to petty lusts. Neither pleasure nor power shall satisfy me. I seek only Nuit and will turn not aside for anything.

The King extends his Lance forward towards + (towards the South if the High Altar is in the East) to make a horizontal arm of a Cross of Light. + spins away, puts the “false Grail” away, and retreats back to the former position at the Veil in the Sign of Osiris Risen.

The King takes his second step.

descends to the second step, turns to face the King, and offers another “false Grail” containing a potion.

–: It is also written, ‘To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all.’19 Therefore, drink this concoction and you will not be harmed.

KING: We have been warned to shun those who would interpret the Law for us as centres of pestilence.20 I have “certainty, not faith,”21 the certainty of my own Understanding won through my own struggles. I seek not to be deceived into swaying from my own path by resting content in adhering to others’ beliefs. I seek only Nuit and will turn not aside for anything.

The King extends his Lance forward towards – (towards the North if the High Altar is in the East) to make the second horizontal arm of a Cross of Light. – spins away, puts the “false Grail” away, and retreats back to the former position at the Veil in the Sign of Osiris Risen.

The King takes his third step.

Both + and – stand outward, questioning the King on the third step.

+: O man, who art thou that wouldst penetrate the Mystery?22

–: What makes you think you are worthy to speak to the High Priestess Nuit?

+: Who attests to your authority?

–: Who attests to your attainment?

KING: I am the Holy Chosen One.23 The very Earth testifies to my attainment.

The King raises the Lance and there is the sound of a lightning strike; he then strikes the ground with the Lance and there is the sound of loud thunder; he thereby makes the two vertical portions of the Cross of Light, therefore completing the entire Cross; the Earth trembles and thunders.24

+ and – retreat to the Veil, face one another, and are ready to rend the Veil.

KING: I seek only Nuit and will turn not aside for anything!

The Veil is then rent by + and –. The High Priestess sits enthroned. She has the moon under her feet, and upon her head is a crown of twelve stars.25 The golden Holy Grail is hidden behind her.26

PRIESTESS: Lonely am I and cold in the wilderness of the stars. For I am the queen of all them that dwell in Heaven, and the queen of all them that are pure upon earth, and the queen of all the sorcerers of hell. I am the lady of the stars, the Bride of them that are vowed unto loneliness.27

KING: O Lady of the Stars! I have left my Beloved and my Kingdom; I have wandered alone in the wilderness; I have endured the travails of the desert; I have followed the footprints of the Camel to the summit of the Earth… all in search for the Elixir of Immortality.

PRIESTESS: I alone have the Wisdom wherewith the Elixir may be produced… yet it requires a sacrifice.28

The High Priestess retrieves the hidden Holy Grail that was hidden behind her, and she holds it before the King.

KING: I have been stripped of all I have. What could I give as a sacrifice?

PRIESTESS: The Elixir may only work upon those who have sacrificed their body and blood.

KING: How could eternal life be given unto them who are no longer alive? I pray that you explain this paradox.

PRIESTESS: The reasoning mind cannot pass this threshold. “If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.”29 What spurned thee to this quest?

KING: Naught but Love.

PRIESTESS: Have you no Love left?

KING: The beat of my heart is the pendulum of love. The songs of me are the soft sighs: The thoughts of me are very rapture: And my deeds are the myriads of Thy children, the stars and the atoms. Let there be nothing! Let all things drop into this ocean of love!30

PRIESTESS: Give your last particle of dust31 in the ecstasy of sacrifice! Consummate Thy rapture!32

The King stabs himself in the side33 with the Lance.

KING AND PRIESTESS: Falutli!34

The Priestess and King kiss.

The King staggers and falters, and is almost dead. The Priestess fills her Cup with the blood from the King’s wound.35

PRIESTESS: It is done!36

+: He hath drunk of the waters of death!

PRIESTESS: Not otherwise could he water the Rose.

–: He hath burnt himself at the Fires of life!

PRIESTESS: Not otherwise could he sun the Rose.37

The Priestess raises the Chalice, and the King looks up at it.

Let him look upon the cup whose blood is mingled therein, for the wine of the cup is the blood of the saints. I have spilt their blood in every corner of the earth and lo! I have mingled it in the cup of my whoredom. With the breath of my kisses hath I fermented it, and it hath become the wine of the Sacrament, the wine of the Sabbath.38

The Priestess descends to fill the Congregant’s goblets with some wine from the Grail.

[MUSIC: Benedictine monks chanting of “Ave Maria” and “Alma Redemptoris Mater”39]

PRIESTESS: In the Holy Assembly hath I poured it out for my worshipers, and they had become drunken thereon, so that face to face they beheld my Father.

+: Thus are they made worthy to become partakers of the Mystery of this holy vessel.

–: For the blood is the life!40

PRIESTESS: Death is no catastrophe; it is Love.

The High Priestess raises her Grail and motions as if drinking from it, signaling to the People that they may drink the wine in their goblets.

PRIESTESS: Death is not the end; it is Life to come!41

The Priestess, +, and – all turn to face the King with arms extended towards one another to form a Hexagon.42

PRIESTESS, +, and –: AUMGN.

[MUSIC: While this is being intoned, begin to play Gustav Holst’s “Saturn” from “The Planets,” starting around ~4:15 so the crescendo comes right after the last line]

The Priestess crowns the King.

PRIESTESS: The King is dead! Long live the King!

END SCENE. 

[MUSIC: Let Holst’s ‘Saturn’ play out]

Congregants repeatedly intone ‘AUMGN’ in between scenes.

SCENE 3: Aquarius.
The Mourning of the Mother and the Portend of the Child-Savior.

The Queen (divested of her Priestess garments, now wearing her Green robe and crown of flowers) is back at the Kingdom; she is in the throne and mourning the absence of the King.

+ and – stand to the West and look concerned and distressed.

+: She is weeping…

–: Weeping…43

QUEEN: I sit solitary; I have become a widow! I weepeth sore and there is none that can comfort me! There is naught but treachery and affliction!44

The Queen gets up and starts to move towards the West.

I can neither strive nor wait. There is agony in my ears, and in my throat, and mine eyes have been so long blind that I cannot remember that there ever was such a thing as sight45. The Obelisks are broken; the stars have rushed together: the Light hath plunged into the Abyss: the Heavens are mixed with Hell… I am lost in the night of infinite pain: no hope: no God: no resurrection: no end: I fall: I fear.46

The Queen turns back towards the East and falls to her knees. + and – approach and kneel to comfort her, facing the West.

QUEEN: My mind is distraught by the bitterness of my heart.47 I doubt whether I may endure this winter storm.

The Eightfold Star48 [a Unicursal Hexagram can be substituted] then rises on the horizon (in the West) as a portend of the birth of the Child-Savior. The Queen is given Hope49 to persist through the final hours of Midnight/Winter50.

+ looks up, points with fear, and stands up.

+: Look! A great star falling from heaven, burning as if it were a lamp; it is falling upon the waters.51

+ starts to back away a few steps. – gets up and starts to back away as well while saying:

–: Beware: that is the Star called Wormwood!52 Many men will die of the waters, because they are made bitter.53

The Queen turns to look at the Star in the West, rises to her feet, and says:

QUEEN: Fear not my brothers and sisters… This is the world of the waters of Maim; this is the bitter water that becometh sweet!54

+ and – walk together to stand next to the Queen while + says:

+: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.55

–: They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.56

QUEEN: I have dreaded this midnight of the soul, for I thought it was the end. Now I welcome the herald.57 Ay! It is the end!

[MUSIC: The beginning of Glazunov’s “Winter”]

QUEEN: …the gate of the beginning!58

END SCENE.

[OUTRO MUSIC: Play out the first ~6 minutes of Alexander Glazunov’s “Winter” from “The Seasons,” starting from ~0:45]

1 Myrrh is attributed to Saturn. In the story of Christ, “myrrhbearers” were said to be those involved in the burial of Christ or finding his tomb, which corresponds to the Winter Solstice ceremony insofar as the King (who is identified with Christ) dies and the world enters into complete darkness of the middle of Winter.

2 These three circumambulations are seen in the Gnostic Mass before his three steps of approaching the Veil.

3 Liber LXV, IV:61.

4 A reference to Mark 1:3 and John 1:23 where it is put in the mouth of Christ, which is itself a reference to a similar line in the Old Testament, i.e. he is fulfilling the prophecy of the Redeemer.

5 Liber Tzaddi, line 16.

6 The Vision and the Voice, 20th Aethyr.

7 The Vision and the Voice, 20th Aethyr.

8 Liber Tzaddi, line 18.

9 Liber AL, III:17.

10 Adapted from Liber AL, III:46.

11 The Vision and the Voice, 19th Aethyr.

12 The Vision and the Voice, 19th Aethyr.

13 It is like the Sagittarian Arrow of aspiration soaring upwards, leaving behind the chaff.

14 The Book of Lies, chapter 15.

15 An adaptation of Matthew 10:22 and 24:13; it is also a reference to the motto of 666, “Perdurabo,” i.e. he who endures unto the End.

16 This is seen in the Gnostic Mass in the Three Steps of the Priest toward the Altar before rending the Veil.

17 These refer to the three Temptations of Christ by Satan on the Mount as well as the three Temptations of Buddha by Mara.

18 Liber AL, I:42.

19 Liber AL, II:22.

20 A reference to the Tunis Comment to The Book of the Law.

21 Liber AL, I:58.

22 The Vision and the Voice, 28th Aethyr.

23 Liber AL, I:65.

24 A form of Buddha in his pose of defying Mara, i.e. in Lotus position with one hand on the ground.

25 Revelation 12:1.

26 The Cup of Babalon that is mentioned in Book of Revelation as well as in The Vision and the Voice; it is seen in the Gnostic Mass.

27 Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 27th Aethyr. At this point, the King believes he has found the mythical “High Priestess Nuit” mentioned in the Autumn Equinox ceremony.

28 This line shows a sinister turn of the character of the High Priestess. At first we think she is the benevolent Nuit, lady of the stars, but she is actually Babalon, the Mother of Abominations, the Great Whore, who has the blood of the saints in her Cup upon which she is intoxicated.

29 Liber AL, II:30.

30 Liber VII, V:21-28.

31 Liber AL, I:61, “For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour.”

32 Liber VII, V:30.

33 The final wound of Christ on the Cross, c.f. John 19:34, “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

34 Liber VII, V:30; Also called “The outburst of the orgasm” in The Vision and the Voice, 2nd Aethyr, and is therefore identical to “HRILIU” as seen in the Gnostic Mass.

35 This is similar to the Crucifixion scene where Christ is stabbed in the side. His blood, in this ceremony, is collected into the Chalice by the Priestess who would be Mary Magdalene in the Crucifixion (who is often identified as a prostitute).

36 A reference to Revelation 16:17 that is itself referring to Armageddon, the End, which is here identified with the death of the self, the dissolution of the ego in the Absolute whereby 8=3 may be attained.

37 This exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 14th Aethyr.

38 This entire exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.

39 These are two of the four “Marian hymns” dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Mother Mary was the Old Aeon version of the Divine Feminine, which is equivalent to Babalon, the Whore, in the New Aeon. MARIE in Greek (Marie) = 156 = BABALON in Hebrew (n(l)b)b) as well as Greek (Babalon).

40 This entire exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 12th Aethyr.

41 An adaptation of The Book of Lies, chapter 18, “Verily, love is death, and death is life to come.”

42 The hexagon is a 6-sided figure, which relates it to the 6th Sephirah on the Tree of Life, Tiphareth, that is attributed to Sol, Death-and-Rebirth gods (e.g. Osiris, Christ, Orpheus, Dionysus, etc.), and the Son in whom the Father is reborn (which can be seen in the Vernal Equinox ceremony). Alternately, they form a triangle with the King in the center, representing the axle of the Wheel of Jupiter or Fortune that moves not yet undergoes the triplicity symbolized by the Sphinx, Hermanubis, and Typhon (i.e. Rajas, Tamas, and Sattvas or Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, etc.)

43 The Vision and the Voice, 27th Aethyr.

44 Adapted from Lamentations 1:1-3.

45 The Vision and the Voice, 2nd Aethyr.

46 The Vision and the Voice, 30th Aethyr.

47 Adapted from The Heart of the Master.

48 The Star of Mercury, i.e. of the Redeemer; the Morning Star.

49 As seen in Atu XVII: The Star to which is attributed the sign of Aquarius.

50 That which is depicted in Atu XVIII: The Moon.

51 Adapted from Revelation 8:10.

52 From The Heart of the Master, also a reference to Revelation 8:11, “And the name of the star is called Wormwood…”

53 Revelation 8:11.

54 Liber LXV, III:55.

55 Psalm 30:5.

56 Psalm 126:5.

57 Adapted from AHA!, “Olympas: I dread this midnight of the soul. / Marsyas: Welcome the herald!”

58 The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

 

Autumn Equinox Thelemic Rituals of the Elements

The Rituals of the Elements: Autumn Equinox

Introduction

It is written in Liber AL vel Legis II:36, “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.” Crowley comments, “The entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals. The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.” This cycle of dramatic rituals are therefore invocations. They are intended to generate energy at the entrance of the Sun into the cardinal signs of elements at the four quarters of the year, i.e. the Equinoxes and Solstices.

The entire cycle of rituals simultaneously show:

  1. The macrocosmic cycle of the Sun going through the seasons
  2. The microcosmic cycle of Man going through the generations/Incarnation (birth/youth-adulthood-old age-death).
  3. The process of Attainment from 0=0 to 8=3 and back again.

The energies of each ritual correspond to each of these planes at once:

Equinox and Solstice rituals

Each ritual invokes a particular energy. Each ritual has a particular Word of Power associated therewith and it is intoned in between the scenes. The Word also appears once in each ritual within a particular Scene.

Each of the four rituals has 3 scenes for a total of 12 scenes for the entire cycle, one for each of the signs of the Zodiac. The middle scene of each ritual is the sign of the Equinox or Solstice – for example, the middle scene in Autumn is Libra. The first scene is therefore Virgo, the sign before Libra, and the last scene is Scorpio, the sign after Libra. In general, the first scene represents events leading up to the Equinox or Solstice, the middle scene represents the actual turning-point, and the last scene represents events leading to the next Equinox or Solstice.

The Basic Characters

  • (☉/♂) Priest/King – the conscious Self. The Child who grows to become King who attains and becomes a Priest and then dies and is reborn as the Child.
  • (☽/♀) Priestess/Queen the Non-Self (the unconscious self, the “higher self,” etc.). The Mother of the Child, the Queen/Beloved of the King, the High Priestess of the Priest.
  • (+ and -) 2 Children – the duality of the World. Various roles throughout the entire cycle.
  • () The People (participants) – the inhabitants of the World; they identify (at least their conscious selves) with the Priest.

 

Autumn Equinox MuchaTHE AUTUMN EQUINOX CEREMONY

Also known as “The Hour of Truth”

The Word of this ceremony is ‘THELEMA’ (Theh-lay-muh). It is intoned three times in between scenes, i.e. between Scenes 1 & 2 and between Scenes 2 & 3, by the People/Congregants. 

The Talisman of this ceremony is an ostrich plume (or a smaller representation thereof).


SCENE 1: Virgo.
The End of Summer, the Threat of Winter/Death, the possibility of Immortality.

SETTING: The Kingdom at Sunset1; it is almost the time of harvest2. The King is entering Old Age. The room is lit, but dimly; the primary light comes from the West, i.e. the setting Sun. There are fields of wheat3 surrounding everyone or up on the Throne. Leaves are scattered about that are colored by Autumn. The King is enthroned in the East, facing Westward; he is wearing a white robe under his scarlet robe; the Queen is wearing a green robe over white and her hair is filled with 12 white flowers in a crown. + holds the Sword, – holds the Balances; the Staff and Lantern are hidden behind the Throne.

+ and – stand on either side of the King and speak as if announcing news to the Kingdom.

+: “Thrust in thy sickle and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; the harvest of the earth is ripe.”4

–: “Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.”5

KING: “Let there goeth forth a sickle that shall reap every flower!”6

+ and – march to the West side of the Temple and turn to face East. The Queen paces around, looking very worried.

KING: My Queen! The fruits of our labors are ripened. It is a time for reaping and rejoicing, yet you appear discontent.

QUEEN: Harvest time is indeed upon us… yet I tremble in fear at the thought of enduring another winter storm. What if our harvest does not last until the next blooming of flowers? What if you fail of an heir and we are left in darkness?

The King looks disappointed but does not respond. + and – take a few steps forward while + says:

+: My Queen, we may know of a certain solution to your sorrows.

+ and – stop before – speaks.

–: Indeed, the legend we have heard in our youth of the potion that provides permanence.

QUEEN: Ah! Yes! Yes! The Elixir of Immortality. I know this legend; how I could I have forgotten! If you could but find and drink of it, Eternal life would be granted. Winter storm would pose no threat; fear of having no heir would be banished at last!

KING: This sounds good, too good to be true. Where might I find this Elixir and what must I do?

QUEEN: It is said there is but one soul upon the Earth who has the Wisdom7 to create this Elixir.

+ and – are becoming excited by the Queen’s tale, taking further steps towards the East while + says:

+: The Priestess Nuit!

+ and – stop before – speaks.

–: Yet she lives afar off!

QUEEN: Across the great span of the wilderness to the West, you may find her at the summit of the highest, most holy mountain. There, where the Earth meets the Heavens!8 I must warn you, though, that I have heard many have tried and all have failed, for they did not persist.

+ and – take their final steps to be right next to the King in the East while + says:

+: They were turned aside by adversity.

+ and – stop before – speaks.

–: They settled for something less than that ultimate end.

+ and – turn around simultaneously to face the West.

KING: I will seek only Nuit. I will “turn not aside for aught”9.

QUEEN: Ah! Our perpetual predicament may be resolved at last! Save your Kingdom from disrepair; save your Queen from utter despair. The wasteland awaits thee, my King! Follow the footsteps of the Camel10 that lead the way through the desert.11

KING: Let the preparations be made at once!

QUEEN: But, my King, if you are gone, who will rule in your stead?

+ steps forward and raises the Sword.

+: I will rule with the severe sword!

– steps forward and raises the Balances.

–: I will rule with the benevolent balances!

KING: Only they who have the right of God and might of Will may take the throne. [+ and – step back to the sides] My Queen, you must rule in my stead.

QUEEN: How should I be worthy to ascend to the throne and administer the royal decrees to our Brothers and Sisters?

KING: The most potent power derives from the most solemn service12. Divest yourself of all pursuit of pleasure and all sin of selfishness.

QUEEN: I see “nothing but a blank midnight in this Emptying of the Soul!”13

KING: “This is the necessary condition of Illumination.”14 Even as the Sun is swallowed in Sea [The King points to the West] you too must undergo the darkness of the Night of Pan, purged of all egoity!

The King takes the Queen by the hand and slowly leads her into the West. As they walk, drums beat slowly and softly but become louder and faster.

QUEEN: “Why do I sweat with blood and dew? Blind horror catches at my breath. The path of the abyss runs through things darker, dismaller than death! …There is no memory possible of this unfathomable hell. Even the shadows that arise are things too dreadful to recount!”15

The drums become louder and more chaotic. The King and Queen approach the West; the rhythm of their words carry them onward.

KING: “This is the end of all our pain, the dissolution of the brain! For lo! in this no mortar sticks; Down come the house – a hail of bricks!”16

The drums are loud and completely chaotic; there is no rhythm.

QUEEN: “But my soul faints, my stomach sinks. Let me pass on! [The Queen pushes away the King to make the final steps to the West alone] My being drinks the nectar-poison of the Sphinx. This is a bitter medicine! Black, black, intolerably black! Go, spectre of the ages, go!”17

The drums stop suddenly. The Queen arises solemnly and turns to the East in the attitude of Resurrection, i.e. the sign of Osiris Risen.

KING: You have passed beyond… Beloved, thy stature spans the sky.18

QUEEN: Verily; but it is not I. The ego dissolves – pale phantom form blown from the black mouth of the storm. It is another that arises! …Ay, there is no more potent spell. Through life, through death, by land and sea, most surely will I follow thee.19

KING: Follow thyself, not me!20 It is complete! The Kingdom will obey thine command! My departure is nigh at hand!

END SCENE. Congregants repeatedly intone ‘THELEMA’ in between scenes.

SCENE 2: Libra.
The Installment of the Queen as Ruler of the Kingdom.

The light from the West is slightly darker; the Sun is halfway concealed by the horizon. The King stands in front of the Throne in the East and the Queen stands before him. + and – stand on either side of the Queen, facing her. + holds the Sword, – holds the Balances.

KING: The preparations for my departure into the wilderness of the West are almost complete. My final act is to raise you to the throne as Ruler21 of this Kingdom.

The King comes down from the Throne. He takes the Queen’s hand and sets her in the Throne where she sits. The King turns to address the People.

KING: I say that ‘Every man and every woman is a star.’ I do not fool and flatter women; I do not despise and abuse them. To me a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is. I dare not thwart Her Going, [The King turns to face the Queen] Goddess thee! I arrogate no right upon your will; I claim not to deflect your development, to dispose of your desires, or to determine your destiny. You are your own sole arbiter. I do not want you as a slave; I want you free and royal, whether your love fight death in my arms by night, or your loyalty ride by day beside me in the Charge of the Battle of Life.22

+ advances and hands the Sword to the Queen who holds it between her legs.

KING: Let your rule be strong yet precise. O be thou proud and mighty among men!23

advances and hands the Balances to the Queen who holds it against the hilt of the Sword. She holds both Sword and Balances at once.24

KING: Let your rule be merciful yet fair. Bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men!25

The King takes a Crown of ostrich plumes26 and places it on the Queen’s head.

KING: May Truth stand upon your crown, eternally alert. Truth is your Path, and Truth is your Goal; [The King kneels while + and – give smaller versions of the ostrich plume to each Congregant.] Ay! there shall come to you a moment of great Light when, understanding what is Truth, you will understand your Self, for you are Truth!27

The King pauses and smiles.

KING: It is accomplished! [The King genuflects and extends his arms towards the Queen while saying:] “Unto thee is all power given.”28

The King, +, , and the People applaud.

QUEEN: “I will glorify myself and live deliciously. I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”29 I will rule firmly with severity yet justly with mercy. I will not only uphold thine power, but it shall wax in strength to cover the world. Remember, my King: Seek only Nuit! Turn not aside for aught! I entrust unto thee this staff to support you in daytime [+ takes the staff]. I impart unto thee this lantern to guide you in darkness [– takes the lantern]30. I empower thee with this most holy word of force and fire31 that thou mayst endure unto the End: THELEMA.”

The Queen kisses the King.

QUEEN: The wasteland awaits thee, my King! Follow the footsteps of the Camel that lead the way through the desert.

END SCENE. Congregants repeatedly intone ‘THELEMA’ in between scenes.

SCENE 3: Scorpio.
The Kings leaves to wander in the wilderness.

The Light from the West is even darker; the Sun is almost set on the horizon. The King is prepared to leave the Queen32 and the Kingdom to wander in the wilderness33 for 50 days34. The King faces the Queen who is enthroned in the East.

The King closes the Veil, hiding the Queen from sight. He then turns towards the West.

KING: My Kingdom is secure with Justice enthroned.35 Her eyes of equity are etched into my brain. Her Word awakens my intent. Her kiss lingers on my lips. “Now, I goeth solitary…”36 Bearing my staff as support by day [+ raises the staff] and my lantern as guide by night [– raises the lantern].

The King points to the ground in the West.

KING: Look! The footprints of a Camel! The initiation of my journey is at hand.

The King lifts his Lance, pointing it to the Western horizon.

KING: “With my burning spear, to the wilderness I wander!”37

The King then holds the Lance upright with both hands, right over left, and begins to slowly march towards the West where the Sun sets completely and darkness envelops the Kingdom. + and – hold the staff and lantern and walk on either side of the King. + and – slowly and solemnly chant the word ‘THELEMA,’ starting loudly and slowly becoming silent.

+ and : THELEMA… THELEMA… THELEMA…

END SCENE.

Notes

1In the symbolism of day and night, this ceremony corresponds to Sunset as, in the symbolism of the seasons, it corresponds to Autumn.

2Virgo is the sign just before Libra, which is the traditional time of harvest.

3Wheat and corn are attributed to Virgo.

4Adapted from Revelation 14:15.

5Adapted from Revelation 14:18.

6From The Vision and the Voice, 7th Aethyr. The reference is to the coming month of Libra that is of harvest; Saturn, whose weapon is the sickle, is exalted in Libra.

7Virgo is Atu IX: The Hermit, Mercury or Wisdom.

8The mountain is the Holy Mountain, Abiegnus of the Rosicrucians; the Summit is where the Goat-God Pan lives, i.e. Capricorn the Winter Solstice, and it is seen symbolically as the High Altar in the Gnostic Mass.

9c.f. The Vision and the Voice, 20th Aethyr.

10The Book of Lies, chapter 73. It is not realized that Death rides this Camel of Initiation.

11This refers to the Gimel that literally means “camel,” which is the path of Atu II: The High Priestess that leads from Tiphareth across the Abyss to the Supernals.

12A reference to “Liber 194: An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order” where, when speaking about governmental positions in O.T.O., Crowley writes, “with us Government is Service, and nothing else.”

13From “AHA!”

14From “AHA!”

15From “AHA!”

16From “AHA!”

17From “AHA!”

18From “AHA!”

19From “AHA!”

20From “AHA!”

21This is seen in the Gnostic Mass when the Priest upraises the Priestess and sets her upon the summit of the Earth.

22This entire speech is adapted from the New Comment on Liber AL III:55.

23Liber AL II:77.

24This is Woman as Justice, seen in Atu VIII: Adjustment, to which is attributed the sign of Libra. It also is a reference to the liberation of Women from the subservience of the Old Aeon, c.f. Liber AL III:10, “Let the woman be girt with a sword before me.”

25Liber AL I:15.

26These are the feathers of Maat, c.f. The Book of Thoth, “She is crowned with the ostrich plumes of Maat, the Egyptian goddess of Justice.”

27This speech is adapted from the chapter “Truth” in Little Essays Towards Truth.

28A reference to Liber AL I:15, “…and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given.”

29Adapted from Revelation 18:7 where it refers to Babylon.

30The lantern and staff are the weapons of the Hermit as seen in Atu IX: The Hermit. They also reflect the Pillar of Fire that guided Moses in the desert by night and the Pillar of Cloud that guided him in the desert by day.

31Liber AL II:20.

32This is seen in the Gnostic Mass when the Priest closes the veil after raising Priestess to the summit of the Earth.

33The wilderness represents spiritual austerities as when Jesus fasted in the desert and Buddha meditated under the Bodhi tree. In terms of Thelema, it represents the Abyss. Crowley associates the Yod, which is attributed to Atu IX: The Hermit, with “Parzival in the desert. Christ taking refuge in Egypt, and on the Mount tempted by the Devil. The unconscious Will, or Word” in Magick in Theory and Practice.

3450 is the number of Nun, which is attributed to Atu XIII: Death and therefore Scorpio. It is also a reference to Christ’s wandering 40 days in the wilderness and Buddha’s 49 days of meditation under the Bodhi tree before enlightenment. In both cases this period directly precedes their temptation by Satan/Mara. This period is also seen in the Gnostic Mass after the Veil is drawn (the Sunlight dwindling in Sunset/Autumn) and the Priest circumambulating 3 times; it is seen at the beginning of the Winter Solstice ceremony.

35This represents the attainment of 7=4. The next step is to cross the Abyss and attain 8=3, which is shown in the Winter Solstice ceremony.

36A reference to The Vision and the Voice, 13th Aethyr, “The hermit goeth solitary, and giveth only of his light unto men”; it is therefore also a reference to the attainment of the Grade of Hermit.

37Adapted from The Vision and the Voice, 10th Aethyr.