Essays in the Tim Maroney Web Collection
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The Book of Dzyan
Definition of the Sacred
Descent: A Meditation
Even If I Did Believe
Facts and Phallacies
The Freedom of Doubt
Healing The Spiritual Community
Hekate and the Satanic School
Introduction to Crowley
The Included Middle
A Letter to Close
The Problems of Syncretism
Theory of Divination
Why Crowley Doesn't Suck
Why I Study Magic
This ritual has been modified from Liber XV, by Aleister Crowley, 1913. This version is not approved or authorized by O.T.O. or E.G.C. It may be performed by E.G.C. clergy so long as it is not held at the same time and place usually reserved for Gnostic Masses, and is not labeled as the Gnostic Mass. Please see the Change Notes at the end.
This is not a final draft.
Draft of Dec. 12, 2001 e.v.
IN THE EAST, that is, in the direction of Boleskine, which is situated on the South-Eastern shore of Loch Ness in Scotland, two miles east of Foyers, is a shrine or High Altar. Its dimensions should be 7 feet in length, 3 feet in breadth, 44 inches in height. It should be covered with a crimson altar-cloth, on which may be embroidered fleur-de-lys in gold, or a sunblaze, or other suitable emblem.
On each side of it should be a pillar or obelisk, with countercharges in black and white.
Below it should be the dais of three steps, in black and white squares.
Above it is the super-altar, at whose top is the Stèle of Revealing in reproduction, with four candles on each side of it. Below the stèle is a place for The Book of the Law, with six candles on each side of it. Below this again is the Holy Graal, with roses on each side of it. There is room in front of the Cup for the Paten. On each side beyond the roses are two great candles.
All this is enclosed within a great Veil.
Forming the apex of an equilateral triangle whose base is a line drawn between the pillars, is a small black square altar, of superimposed cubes.
Taking this altar as the middle of the base of a similar and equal triangle, at the apex of this second triangle is a small circular font.
Repeating, the apex of a third triangle is an upright coffin, or Tomb.
The PRIEST. Bears the Sacred Lance, and is unclothed at first, or in a plain white robe. Later dressed in the Robe of scarlet and gold, with white underneath, and crown. The crown may be of gold or platinum, or of electrum magicum, or a reasonable substitute. It may be adorned with divers jewels, at will. But it must have the Uraeus serpent twined about it, and the cap of maintenance must match the scarlet of the Robe. Its texture should be velvet. The thumb of the PRIEST is always between the index and medius, whenever the hand is not holding the Lance.
The PRIESTESS. Bears the Sword from a red girdle, and the Paten and Hosts, or Cakes of Light. Clothed at first in white, blue, and gold, with silver crown; later in a white or silver robe.
The DEACON. Bears The Book of the Law, and is clothed in white and yellow. The DEACON, when not using the hands, keeps the arms crossed upon the breast.
Two CHILDREN. They are clothed in white and black. One bears a pitcher of water and a cellar of salt, the other a censer of fire and a casket of perfume. They keep their arms crossed upon their breasts when not using their hands. The CHILDREN may be actual children or adults; if they are not adults, their lines are spoken instead by the Deacon. If the CHILDREN are sufficiently trained then they may speak their lines themselves, but only if both CHILDREN are so ready.
The PEOPLE. May be robed or in ordinary clothing, or nude as local customs permit. All must have signified their intention to communicate, save only by exception of PRIEST and PRIESTESS. A whole Cake of Light, and a whole Goblet of Wine, have been prepared for each one. Those who prefer it may have water or juice instead of wine, as available. Their characteristic position when standing is the Dieu Garde, that is, feet square, hands, with linked thumbs, held loosely.
The DOORKEEPER. There should be a doorkeeper to attend to the admission. It is also sometimes the case that he remains without the Temple to attend to late admissions and the door.
The DEACON, opening the door of the Temple, admits the PEOPLE and takes his stand between the small altar and the font.
The DEACON advances and bows before the open shrine where the Graal is exalted. He opens The Book of the Law and places it upon the super-altar, then adores the super-altar as later will the PRIEST adore, with joined hands, knuckles closed, thumb in position aforesaid. He turns West.
The DEACON: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The PEOPLE: Love is the law, love under will.
The DEACON: I proclaim the Law of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty in the name of IAW.
The DEACON goes to his place between the altar of incense and the font, faces East, and gives the step and sign of a Man and a Brother. All imitate him.
The DEACON and all the PEOPLE:
We invoke thee, O secret and ineffable Lord, the Star of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return, who sustaineth all Life upon this globe; O Father of Light, Mystery of Mystery, we invoke Thee in Thy name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth.
And we invoke thee, O infinite Lady of Space, the Womb wherein we are begotten, and wherein we shall rest, who art Earth, and Moon, and Stars; O Mother of Life, Mystery of Mystery, we invoke Thee in Thy name BABALON; all acts of Love and Pleasure are Thy rituals.
And we invoke thee, O Lion-Headed Serpent, twin Daughter and Son before whom gods and spirits tremble, whose word is Liberty; O Child of the Gods, Mystery of Mystery, we invoke Thee in Thy name BAPHOMET, who art our nourishment of Blood and Breath.
And we declare one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.
And we unite in the communion of Saints.
And, as food and drink daily transmute into spirit within our bodies, we witness the Miracle of the Mass.
And we proclaim one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.
And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.
AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.
[AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.]
Music is now played. The DAUGHTER enters with the ewer and the salt. The VIRGIN enters with the Sword and the Paten. The SON enters with the censer and the perfume. They face the DEACON, deploying into line, from the space between the two altars.
The VIRGIN: Greeting of Earth and Heaven!
All give the Hailing Sign of a Magician, the DEACON leading. Hands are held open, fingers together. The right hand is pressed on the left breast, extending the thumb perpendicularly upward to form a square. The left hand is brought up quickly, with the left arm horizontal from the shoulder to the elbow, and perpendicular from the elbow to the ends of the fingers, with the thumb and forefinger forming a square.
The PRIESTESS, the DAUGHTER on her left, the SON on her right, ascends the steps of the High Altar. They await her below. She places the Paten before the Graal. Having adored it, she descends, and with the children following her, the SON next her, she moves in a serpentine manner involving 3 and a half circles of the Temple. (Deosil about altar, widdershins about font, deosil about altar and font, widdershins about altar, and so to the Tomb in the West.) She draws her Sword and pulls down the Veil therewith.
The PRIESTESS: By the power of + Iron, I say unto thee, Arise. In the name of our Lord the + Sun, and of our Lord + ..., that thou mayst administer the virtues to the People.
She sheathes the Sword.
The PRIEST, issuing from the Tomb, is naked, or as may be, in a plain white robe. He holds the Lance erect with both hands, right over left, against his breast, and takes the first three regular steps. He then gives the Lance to the PRIESTESS, and gives the three penal signs.
He then kneels and worships the Lance with both hands.
The PRIEST: I am a man among men.
He takes again the Lance, and lowers it. He rises.
The PRIEST: How should I be worthy to administer the virtues to the People?
The PRIESTESS takes from the DAUGHTER the water and the salt, and mixes them in the font.
The PRIESTESS: Let the salt of Earth admonish the water to bear the virtue of the Great Sea. (Genuflects.) Mother, be thou adored.
She returns to the West. + on PRIEST with open hand doth she make, over his forehead, breast, and body.
Be the PRIEST pure of body and soul!
The PRIESTESS takes the censer from the SON, and places it on the small altar. She puts incense therein.
Let the Fire and the Air make sweet the world! (Genuflects.)
Father, be thou adored.
She returns West, and makes + with the censer before the PRIEST, thrice as before.
Be the PRIEST fervent of body and soul!
(The children resume their weapons as they are done with.)
The DEACON now takes the consecrated Robe from High Altar, and brings it to her. She robes the PRIEST in his Robe of scarlet and gold, with white underneath.
Be the flame of the Sun thine ambience, O thou PRIEST of the SUN!
The DEACON brings the crown from the High Altar.
Be the Serpent thy crown, O thou PRIEST of the LORD!
Kneeling, she takes the Lance, between her open hands, and runs them up and down upon the shaft eleven times, very gently.
Be the LORD present among us!
All give the Hailing Sign.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The PRIEST: Thee therefore whom we adore we also invoke. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one.
He raises the Lance. All repeat Hailing Sign.
A phrase of triumphant music.
The PRIEST takes the PRIESTESS by her right hand with his left, keeping the Lance raised.
The PRIEST. I, PRIEST and KING, take thee, Virgin pure without spot.
The PRIESTESS rises to a standing position, helped by the hand of the PRIEST.
The PRIEST. I upraise thee.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS walk together, hands held, to the East, just below the altar. The DEACON and the children follow, they in rank, behind them.
The PRIEST. I lead thee to the East.
The PRIEST gives the lance to the DEACON to hold. The PRIESTESS stands upon the first step.
The PRIEST. I set thee upon the summit of the Earth.
The PRIESTESS. And this is that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah.
The PRIEST removes the crown and robe of the PRIESTESS, handing them to the DEACON. See CCXX I:62. As needs may be for reasons of local custom, he may remove only the outer robe and leave the robe of silver or white.
The PRIEST. The priest of Isis lifted the veil of Isis, and was slain by the kisses of her mouth.
The PRIESTESS. To me! To me!
The PRIEST kisses the PRIESTESS thrice upon the mouth.
The PRIESTESS. Then was he the priest of Nuit, and drank of the milk of the stars.
He takes the ewer from the DAUGHTER, and sprinkles the PRIESTESS, making five circles, forehead, shoulders, and thighs.
The PRIEST. And this is the stone of the philosophers that is set as a seal upon the tomb of Tetragrammaton, and the elixir of life that is distilled from the blood of the saints,
The PRIEST takes the censer from the SON, and makes five circles, as before.
The PRIEST. and the red powder that is the grinding-up of the bones of Choronzon.
The PRIEST dresses her in her robe of silver or white, which is brought from the altar by the DEACON; or, if she had retained her robe, he adorns her with a silver decoration, as for example a necklace. He places upon her the silver Crown.
The PRIEST. Let her be covered with jewels, and rich garments, and let her be shameless before all men!
The PRIEST bows eleven times before the Cup.
The PRIEST. O Thou light and delight, ravish me away into the milky ocean of the stars!
The children replace their weapons on their respective altars.
The PRIESTESS mounts the steps and sits upon the altar. She holds her two hands open on her breast, making a descending triangle with thumbs and forefingers, the sign of Water.
The PRIEST kisses the PRIESTESS thrice upon the breast. He kneels for a space in adoration, with joined hands, knuckles closed, thumb in position aforesaid. He rises, and draws the veil over the whole altar. All rise and stand to order.
The PRIEST takes the lance from the DEACON, and holds it as before, as Osiris or Ptah. He circumambulates the Temple three times, followed by the DEACON and the children as before.
At the last circumambulation they leave him, and go to the place between the font and the small altar, where they kneel in adoration, their hands joined palm to palm, and raised above their heads.
The PEOPLE imitate this motion.
The PRIEST returns to the East and mounts the first step of the altar.
The PRIEST: O circle of Stars whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom Time is Ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark, not unto Thee may we attain, unless Thine image be Love. Therefore by seed and root and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke Thee.
Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat; O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!
The PRIESTESS: But to love me is better than all things; if under the night-stars in the desert thou presently burnest mine incense before me, invoking me with a pure heart, and the serpent flame therein, thou shalt come a little to lie in my bosom. For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me! To me! To me! Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you. I am the blue-lidded daughter of sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky. To me! To me!
The PRIEST mounts the second step.
The PRIEST: O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art That, and That am I.
I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life; yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death. I am alone; there is no God where I am.
The DEACON and all rise to their feet, with the Hailing Sign.
The DEACON: But ye, O my people rise up and awake!
Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy and beauty!
There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.
A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!
A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.
A feast for Tahuti and the children of the Prophet; secret, O Prophet!
A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.
A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death!
A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture!
A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!
The PRIEST: Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter.
The PRIESTESS: There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.
All stand to order, with the Dieu Garde.
The PRIEST mounts the third step.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS: Thou that art One, our Lord in the Universe, the Sun and Moon conjoined, our Lord and Lady within ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mystery, uttermost being whose radiance, enlightening the worlds, is also the breath that maketh every God, even and Death, to tremble before Thee. By the Sign of Light + appear Thou, glorious, upon the throne of the Sun.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS make the above Cross together, though the PRIESTESS is behind the veil.
Make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds. Enlighten our understanding.
Encourage our hearts. Let thy light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection.
(The above may be done in unison, or in harmony, or in an alternating form, as, PRIEST: Thou that art One, PRIESTESS: our Lord in the Universe, PRIEST: the Sun and Moon conjoined, PRIESTESS: our Lord and Lady within ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mystery, etc. Many arrangements are possible.)
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS, sung together in harmony or unison:
A ka dua
Tuf ur biu
Bi a'a chefu
Dudu nur af an nuteru!
The PRIESTESS: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
The PRIEST: Do that, and no other shall say nay.
The PRIESTESS. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.
The PRIEST. The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!
The PRIEST parts the veil with his lance. The PRIESTESS is seated with the Paten in her right hand and the cup in her left.
Omari tessala marax,
tessala dodi phornephax.
amri radara poliax
amri radara piliu son';
mari narya barbiton
madara anaphax sarpedon
The PRIEST. IW IW IW IAW SABAO KURIE ABRASAX KURIE MEIQRAS KURIE FALLE. IW PAN, IW PAN PAN. IW ISCUROS IW AQANATOS IW ABROTOS IW IAW. CAIRE FALLE CAIRE PAMFAGE CAIRE PAGGENETOR. AGIOS, AGIOS, AGIOS IAW!
[IO IO IO IAO SABAO KURIE ABRASAX KURIE MEITHRAS KURIE PHALLE. IO PAN, IO PAN PAN. IO ISCHUROS, IO ATHANATOS IO ABROTOS IO IAO. KAIRE PHALLE KAIRE PAMPHAGE KAIRE PANGENETOR. HAGIOS, HAGIOS, HAGIOS IAO!]
The PRIEST takes the Lance from the DEACON and presents it to the PRIESTESS. She kisses it eleven times. She then holds the lance to her breast, while the PRIEST, falling at her knees, kisses them, his arms stretched along her thighs.
All stand to order, with the Dieu Garde. They remain in this position while the DEACON intones the Collects.
The DEACON: Lord visible and sensible of whom this earth is but a frozen spark turning about thee with annual and diurnal motion, source of light, source of life, let thy perpetual radiance hearten us to continual labour and enjoyment; so that as we are constant partakers of thy bounty we may in our particular orbit give out light and life, sustenance and joy to them that revolve about us without diminution of substance or effulgence for ever.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Lady of night, that turning ever about us art now visible and now invisible in thy season, sister of the fruitful earth, daughter of the Company of Stars, who makest the tide to come and go, Mother of us all, without whom we would not be, be thou favourable to hunters, and lovers, and to all that toil upon the earth, and to all upon the sea.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Lord secret and most holy, source of life, source of love, source of liberty, be thou ever constant and mighty within us; force of energy, fire of motion, with diligence let us ever labour with thee, that we may remain in thine abundant joy.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: O serpent woman of the stars, giver and receiver of joy, gate of life and love, abide for ever, thou and thine handmaiden, in thine office of gladness; let rejoicing follow thee in thy nights and days, and let love pour forth from thy sacred Heart and Tongue as from the host of Heaven.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Lord and Lady of Life and Joy, that art the soul of might, that art the essence of every true goddess and god that is upon the surface of the Earth, continuing knowledge from generation unto generation, thou adored of us upon heaths and in woods, on mountains and in caves, openly in the marketplaces and secretly in the chambers of our houses, in temples of gold and ivory and marble as in these other temples of our bodies, we worthily commemorate those that did of old adore thee and manifest thy glory unto the People, and who have entered into Immortality:
At each name the DEACON signs the Rosy Cross with thumb between index and medius. The bracketed sections may be omitted. All parts but last names may be omitted where the last name is correct, complete and distinctive.
the prince-priest the Beast and the Scarlet Woman, in whom is all power given, [and Lao-Tse, Krishna, Gautama Buddha, Tahuti, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed,] with all prophets;
with Shakti and Shiva, with Odysseus and Penelope, with Isis and Osiris, with Set and Nephthys, [with Oberon and Titania,] and with many coupled by two and by two in the supernal ecstasy of the stars;
with Vergil, Sappho, Orpheus, Ovid, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Goethe, Baudelaire, [Swinburne, Burton, Wagner, Nietzsche, Gaugin,] and many an holy bard; [other names may be inserted by consent of the PRIESTESS and PRIEST, so long as it not swell overmuch]
with these also, Hekate, Hermes, Aphrodite, Hathor, Pan, Gaea, Zeus, Herakles, [Mentu, Priapus, and Bes];
Note: For shorter Masses the DEACON may read only one of the four following paragraphs. It is also acceptable with consent of PRIEST and PRIESTESS to compile another list of names of similar length to be read in place of any of these. However, they may be read all together at will.
with Merlin, Nimue, Arthur, Gweneviere, Gawain, Parzival, [Carolus Magnus and his paladins,] and many another, King and Queen, Knight and Lady, Priest and Priestess, that bore the Lance and Cup, the Sword and Disk, in the East and West;
and these also, all true Theurgists + and Gnostics + of ancient days; with those who wrought the Qabalah +, Theosophy +, Alchemy +, the Tarot +, Astrology +, the Languages + of Angels and Demons, and many another Craft + of the Wise; with [Hiram Abiff +, Jacobus Burgundus Molensis +, Mansur al-Hallaj +, Christian Rosencreutz +, Adam Weishaupt +, and] many a Rosicrucian +, Mason +, Illuminate +, Templar +, and quester after the Golden Dawn +; and with [Ignatius +, Molinos +, Hildegard +, and] all brothers and sisters in our Holy Orders +; and these too, [Circe +, Medea +, Simon Magus +, Morgaine +, and] all true sorceresses and wizards;
and with all true mystics and magicians; with these especial, Empedocles, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Apollonius Tyanaeus, Manes, Pythagoras, Basilides, Valentinus, Bardesanes and Hippolytus, that transmitted the Light of the Gnosis to us their successors and their heirs; and with these, Roger Bacon, Paracelsus, Michael Maier, Jacob Boehme, Francis Bacon, John Dee, Edward Kelly, Robert Fludd, Emanuel Swedenborg, Thomas Vaughan, Elias Ashmole, Eliphaz Levi, Paschal Beverly Randolph, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Moina and MacGregor Mathers, William Butler Yeats, Carl Jung, Dion Fortune, Gerald Gardner, and Doreen Valiente;
with those worthy who have brought us this Light +; [William of Schyren, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Ulrich von Hutten, Roderic Borgia Pope Alexander the Sixth, Ludovicus Rex Bavariae,] Hargrave Jennings, Carl Kellner, Forlong Dux, Richard Payne Knight, Gérard Encausse, Theodor Reuss, [Aleister Crowley,] Carl Germer, and Grady McMurtry; with all the Lions [read list] and the Eagles [read list].
Oh Daughters and Sons of the Lion and the Snake! With all thy saints we worthily commemorate thee, that were and are and are to come.
May thine Essence be here present, potent, puissant and parental to perfect this feast!
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Mother of fertility on whose breast lieth water, whose cheek is caressed by air, on whose face falls the sun's fire, and in whose heart is her own infernal flame, womb of all life, recurring grace of seasons, mother of a million myriads of myriads of flowers, answer favorably the prayer of labour, and to pastors and farmers be thou propitious.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Mysterious Energy, triform, mysterious Matter, in fourfold and sevenfold division, the interplay of which things weave the dance of the Veil of Life upon the Face of the Spirit, let there be Harmony and Beauty in your mystic loves, that in us may be health and wealth and strength and divine pleasure according to the Law of Liberty; let each pursue their Will in strength and rejoicing, as the course of a Star that blazeth for ever among the joyous company of Heaven.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Be the hour auspicious, and the gate of life open in peace and in well-being, so that she that beareth child may rejoice, and the babe catch life with both hands.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Upon all that this day unite with love under will let fall success; may strength and skill unite to bring forth ecstasy, and beauty answer beauty.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
All stand, Head erect, Eyes open.
The DEACON: Term of all that liveth, whose name is inscrutable, be favourable unto us in thine hour.
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
The DEACON: Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.
AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.
[AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.]
The PEOPLE: So mote it be.
All the PEOPLE sit.
The PRIESTESS comes down from her throne. They stand facing each other upon the altar, he at South facing North, she at North facing South. The PRIESTESS holds Paten and Cup as before, Paten in left hand, Cup in right.
The DEACON and the children attend the PRIEST and PRIESTESS, ready to hold any appropriate weapon as may be necessary. The DEACON goes to the Altar, the children remain at the sides of the Altar.
The PRIEST makes the Invoking Pentagram of Spirit Passive upon the Paten and Cup.
The PRIESTESS puts the Cup upon the Altar. She presents the Paten.
The PRIEST: Life of the People upon Earth, fruit of labour, sustenance of endeavour, be thou nourishment of the Spirit!
The PRIEST touches the Host with the Lance.
The PRIEST. This burn: of this make cakes & eat unto me. Also these shall breed lust & power of lust in you at the eating thereof.
He takes the Host.
The PRIEST. TOUTO ESTI TO SOMA MOU. [TOUTO ESTI TO SOMA MOU.] [This is my body.]
He kneels, adores, rises, turns shows Host to the PEOPLE, turns, replaces Host, and adores. Music.
The PRIEST takes the Cup from the Altar and presents it to the PRIESTESS.
The PRIESTESS. Vehicle of the joy of the People upon Earth, solace of labour, inspiration of endeavour, be thou ecstasy of the Spirit!
She touches the Cup with her hand. (The Wine is already touched by her weapon, the Cup.)
The PRIESTESS: I came to the house of the Beloved, and the wine was like fire that flieth with green wings through the world of waters. There is no wine like unto this wine. (Or: drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Let the foam of the grape tincture my soul with Thy light.)
She takes the Cup.
The PRIESTESS. TOUTO ESTI TO POTERION TOU AIMATOS MOU. [TOUTO ESTI TO POTERION TOU HAIMATOS MOU.] [This is the cup of my blood.]
She kneels, adores, rises, turns, shows the Cup to the PEOPLE, and turns back to the PRIEST. Music. She makes the upward Triangle upon him with the Cup, starting at the lower left point.
The PRIESTESS. Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely; whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love.
The PRIESTESS replaces the Cup upon the Altar. The PRIEST takes the Paten and makes the downward Triangle on the PRIESTESS, starting at the upper right point.
The PRIEST. O my adorable, my delicious one, all night will I pour out the libation on Thine altars; all night will I burn the sacrifice of blood; all night will I swing the thurible of my delight before Thee, and the fervour of the orisons shall intoxicate Thy nostrils.
The PRIEST replaces the Paten, then flings his arms upward, as comprehending the whole shrine.
The PRIEST. Let the pleasure and pain be mingled in one supreme offering!
The PRIESTESS. I shall not rest until I have dissolved it all.
The PRIESTESS and PRIEST close their hands upon their breasts. They kiss. Each strikes their own breast. The PEOPLE repeat this action, led by the DEACON, who strikes his breast.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS, alternating at punctuation. Hear ye all, saints of the true church of old time, now essentially present, that of ye we claim heirship, with ye we claim communion, from ye we claim benediction, (together) in the name of IAW..
The PRIESTESS takes the Paten and Cup as before. The PRIEST makes the Rose Cross on Paten and Cup together. He uncovers the Cup, genuflects, takes the Host in his right hand. With the Host he makes the Invoking Pentagram of Spirit Active on the Cup.
He elevates the Host and the Cup. The PRIESTESS makes the sign Mulier. The DEACON strikes the Bell.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS together. AGIOS, AGIOS, AGIOS, IAW! [HAGIOS, HAGIOS, HAGIOS, IAO!]
He replaces the Host and the Cup. Both PRIESTESS and PRIEST adore.
Note. First given here is the traditional anthem, arranged for both PRIEST and PRIESTESS.
The PRIEST: Thou who art I, beyond all I am,
The PRIESTESS. Who hast no nature and no name,
The PRIEST: Who art, when all but Thou are gone,
The PRIESTESS. Thou, centre and secret of the Sun,
The PRIEST: Thou, hidden spring of all things known
The PRIESTESS. And unknown, Thou aloof, alone,
Thou, the true fire within the reed
Brooding and breeding, source and seed
Of life, love, liberty, and light,
Thou beyond speech and beyond sight,
Thee I invoke, my faint fresh fire
Kindling as mine intents aspire.
Thee I invoke, abiding one,
Thee, centre and secret of the Sun,
And that most holy mystery
Of which the vehicles are we.
Appear, most awful and most mild,
As it is lawful, in thy child!
For of the Father and the Son
The Holy Spirit is the norm;
Male-female, quintessential, one,
Man-being veiled in Woman-form.
Glory and worship in the highest,
Thou Dove, mankind that deifiest,
Being that race, most royally run
To spring sunshine through winter storm.
Glory and worship be to Thee,
Sap of the world-ash, wonder-tree!
First Semichorus, MEN:
Glory to Thee from Gilded Tomb!
Second Semichorus, WOMEN:
Glory to Thee from Waiting Womb!
Glory to Thee from earth unploughed!
Glory to Thee from virgin vowed!
Glory to Thee, true Unity
Of the Eternal Trinity!
Glory to Thee, thou sire and dam
And self of I am that I am!
Glory to Thee, beyond all term,
Thy spring of sperm, thy seed and germ!
Glory to Thee, eternal Sun,
Thou One in Three, Thou Three in One!
Glory and worship be to Thee,
Sap of the world-ash, wonder-tree!
These words are to form the substance of the anthem; but the whole or any part thereof shall be set to music, which may be as elaborate as art can devise. But even should other anthems be authorized by the Father of the Church, this shall hold its place as the first of its kind, the father of all others.
Hear then! By Abrasax! The bar
Of the unshifting star
My spirit is wrapt in the wind of light;
It is whirled away on the wings of night.
Sable-plumed are the wonderful wings,
But the silver of moonlight subtly springs
Into the feathers that flash with the pace
Of our flight through the violate bounds of space.
Time is dropt like a stone from the stars:
Space is a chaos of broken bars:
Being is merged in a furious flood
That rages and hisses and foams in the blood.
See! I am dead! I am passed, I am passed
Out of the sensible world at last.
I am not. Yet I am, as I never was,
A drop in the sphere of molten glass
Whose radiance changes and shifts and drapes
The infinite soul in finite shapes.
There is light, there is life, there is love beyond sense,
Beyond speech, beyond song, beyond evidence.
There is wonder intense, a miraculous sun,
As the many are molten and mixed into one.
With the heat of its passion, the one hath invaded
The heights of its soul, and its laughter is braided
With comets whose plumes are the galaxies,
Like wind on the night's inaccessible seas.
The PRIEST takes the Paten between the index and medius of the right hand. The PRIESTESS genuflects before it and rises. Music.
The PRIESTESS clasps the Cup in her right hand.
The PRIEST: Lord most secret, bless this spiritual food unto our bodies, bestowing upon us health and wealth and strength and joy and peace, and that fulfilment of will and of love under will that is perpetual happiness.
He makes + with Paten and kisses it.
The PRIEST uncovers the Cup, genuflects, rises. Music.
The PRIESTESS. The earth is ripe for vintage; let us eat of her grapes, and be drunken thereon.
She makes O with Cup and kisses it.
The PRIEST takes the Host, and breaks it over the Cup.
He replaces the right-hand portion in the Paten.
He breaks off a particle of the left-hand portion.
The PRIEST. TOUTO ESTI TO SPERMA MOU. [TOUTO ESTI TO SPERMA MOU.] [This is my seed.]
The PRIEST. O PATER ESTIN O UIOS DIA TO PNEUMA AGION. [HO PATER ESTIN HO HUIOS DIA TO PNEUMA HAGION.] [The Father is the Son through the Holy Spirit.]
The PRIEST. AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN. [AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.]
He replaces the left-hand part of the Host.
The PRIESTESS extends the Lance-point with her left hand to receive the particle.
The PRIESTESS. TOUTO ESTI TO WION MOU. [TOUTO ESTI TO OION MOU.] [This is my egg.]
The PRIESTESS. E PARQENOS ESTIN E PORNOS DIA TES SOFIAS ARCAIAS. [HE PARTHENOS ESTIN HE PORNOS DIA TES SOPHIAS ARCHAIAS.] [The Virgin is the Harlot through the Ancient Wisdom.]
The PRIESTESS. AGAPE. [AGAPE.] [Love.]
The PRIEST clasps the Cup in his left hand.
Together they depress the Lance-point in the Cup.
The PRIEST and the PRIESTESS: HRILIU.
The DEACON takes the Lance.
The PRIESTESS covers the Cup and replaces it upon the Altar.
The PRIESTESS and PRIEST genuflect, rise, bow. Each joins their own hands, fingers intertwined. The PRIESTESS and PRIEST strike their breasts.
The PRIESTESS: O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us.
The PRIEST: O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us.
The PRIESTESS and PRIEST: O Lion and O Serpent that destroy the destroyer, be mighty among us.
The PRIEST falls to his knees, head bowed.
The PRIESTESS. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever.
The PRIESTESS falls to her knees, head bowed.
The SON comes forth and takes the Lance from the DEACON. He raises it.
Note again as aforesaid that all lines of the CHILDREN are spoken by the DEACON if the roles of the CHILDREN are not filled by adults, or by PRIESTESS and PRIEST as appropriate if only they celebrate the Mass. The DEACON may help the CHILDREN with their gestures.
The SON. There is success. I am the Hawk-Headed Lord of Silence & of Strength; my nemyss shrouds the night-blue sky.
He takes the Paten in his left hand.
The SON. Another prophet shall arise, and bring fresh fever from the skies; another woman shall awake the lust & worship of the Snake; another soul of God and beast shall mingle in the globéd priest; another sacrifice shall stain the tomb; another king shall reign; and blessing no longer be poured To the Hawk-headed Mystical Lord!
The DAUGHTER comes forth. She takes the Cup.
The SON. Who art thou that dost float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many aeons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?
The DEACON. And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan, and laughed, saying:
The DAUGHTER. Is there not joy ineffable in this aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience for who would attain to some goal?
The SON and DAUGHTER turn to the fallen PRIEST with Paten and Cup.
The DAUGHTER. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die; verily thou shalt not die, but live. [Or: Then let the end awake. Long hast thou slept, O great God Terminus! Long ages hast thou waited at the end of the city and the roads thereof. Awake Thou! wait no more!]
The SON offers the Paten.
The PRIEST. In my mouth be the essence of the life of the Sun.
He takes the Host with the right hand, makes + with it on the Paten, and consumes it.
The DAUGHTER takes, uncovers, and offers the Cup.
The PRIEST. In my mouth be the essence of the joy of the earth!
He takes the Cup, makes O on the DAUGHTER, drains it and returns
He rises, takes the Lance, and turns to the PEOPLE.
The PRIEST. There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.
The PRIESTESS arises in Silence and then takes Communion as has the PRIEST.
The SON gives the Paten to the PRIEST, and the DAUGHTER gives the Cup to the PRIESTESS. The SON takes communion, and then the DAUGHTER does the same.
The DEACON, and then the PEOPLE come forth. The children take the Paten and Cup and offer them. The DEACON, as the first of the People, communicates first, showing the style. The PEOPLE communicate as did the Officers, uttering the same words in an attitude of Resurrection: "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods." When the crowd is large, the PEOPLE should communicate more simply, as instructed by the DEACON before the ceremony. All the PEOPLE should comunicate, a whole Cake of Light, and a whole goblet of wine (or water or juice, as appropriate to individual needs or age restrictions), having been prepared for each one. The DEACON marshals them; they advance one by one to the altar.
(The Sacrament may be reserved by the PRIEST or PRIESTESS, for administration to the sick in their homes.)
When the last of the PEOPLE has taken communion, with the Lance the PRIEST makes + on the people, thus.
The PRIEST. The Lord bless you.
With the Cup the PRIESTESS makes O on the people, thus.
The PRIESTESS. The Lady enlighten your minds and comfort your hearts and sustain your bodies.
The CHILDREN together, making the Rose Cross, first SON making +, then DAUGHTER making O (or the DEACON making both). The Child bring you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS go out into the tomb of the West as the SON and DAUGHTER remain. The DEACON admits the PEOPLE to the Egress.
Begun October 28, 2000
This is a script or missal closely derived from Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass, originally written in 1913 and slightly edited in later years. It has been modified to answer concerns that some people have with the Gnostic Mass script as written, while trying to preserve the formula as much as possible within those concerns. The hope is to preserve the power and magick of the Gnostic Mass while answering those concerns, in order to facilitate ritual performances in both public and private, and ultimately to obtain ecclesiastical approval by the E.G.C. of some or all of the revisions found here.
The concerns in particular which this version attempts to address are as follows.
The phallocentricity of the Mass is often remarked by both experienced participants and first-time visitors. This is a controversial subject, but this revision has been undertaken under the assumptions, first, that Crowley was telling the truth when he said in Liber Aleph and many other places that in his view the woman contributed nothing comparable to the male in the formula, and second, that the concerns expressed in the essay Facts and Phallacies are valid and need to be addressed, both to counter the sexism of the Mass itself and to create a better public image for the Mass.
The Mass gives the erroneous impression of being more dogmatic than it actually is.
One contributor to this problem is the opening Creed or Credo, which repeats "I believe" several times. As the first part for audience participation, this can be off-putting to visitors. Some experienced participants also express concern. Thelema as usually formulated is not really about "belief." There seems no reason for this misleading presentation, when the same principles and deities can be called upon and affirmed without the verb "to believe."
Similar considerations apply to the use of the Book of the Law as devotional object in the ritual, which is overdone and sometimes awkward as well. The Book of the Law in most Freemasonic Lodges is a Protestant Bible. This "Bible cult" in the Mass is one of the chief tokens of Christian resemblance as well as one of the chief indicators of dogmatism. However, the number of verses quoted from the Book of the Law has actually been increased in the new script, while playing down showy displays of deference to the Book as totemistic object.
The Mass script contains a few distinctly raw bits which cause frequent stumbles or evoke undesired laughter during performance. Again, the subject is controversial and there is no general consensus on which parts are problematic. The changed parts have been selected both by the personal taste of the editor and by observing which parts cause complaints or concerns in online and offline discussions.
It is possible that Crowley never performed the Mass himself. If he did, it was at his Cefalu Abbey of Thelema, as reported by Jane Wolfe through Phyllis Seckler. This was an authoritarian situation in which none would have dared to disagree with the Master, much less to giggle at his writing or complain of painful postures. This cloistered environment did not lend itself to the kind of performance testing and audience feedback that would have been needed to make the rite suitable for the general public, before whom it is often performed today. There are no significant changes between the earliest extant draft and post-Cefalu drafts.
The Mass is a symbolic rendition of the O.T.O. sex magick formula in a High Church form reminiscent of Christianity. This has created two main problems in practice. First, the script as written can create the false impression that the main goal of the ritual is to parody the Christian Mass. This impression has appeared in print and also forms some part of negative visitor criticisms. It is desirable to lessen this tendency of interpretation so that more people will be likely to see the Mass as what it is, a serious and deeply layered ritual, and not a mockery.
Second, many alternative religionists have negative feelings about Christianity and find this ritual problematic for that reason. However, it would be too great a change to the Mass to purge all High Church style from it, and no attempt has been made to do so.
The approach taken to creating gender balance is to postulate a balance already lurking in the script and simply to make it more explicit. As noted in Mystery of Mystery, there are many occurrences of the YHVH formula in the Gnostic Mass. However, with due respect to Fr. Sabazius and Sr. Helena, their reading of the Deacon as Vau and the Children as final Heh differs from mine. The Deacon's role in the Mass is as mediator between the sacred and the people, and not as part of the sacred per se. There are no consecrations of the Deacon, directly or indirectly, and he barely handles the consecrated tools except as a direct functionary of the Priestess or Priest. He is not part of the central magical formula. It seems much more natural to associate the "positive child" with the Vau and the "negative child" with the final Heh.
In the revised script, these uses of the YHVH formula have been emphasized and balanced to create a more gender-mixed presentation and to focus on the hermaphroditic nature of the twin Vau-Heh pair that is produced as a result of the Priest and Priestess coming together. The Baphomet figure has been more directly and repeatedly referred to as hermaphroditic, and Priest and Priestess have been given parts spoken together which are meant to emphasize their joint contribution to this fusion. When the YHVH has been presented as a trinity this way, Y-H-VH, its order of presentation sometimes parallels that of the Book of the Law, which is to say, Mother, Father, Child. The final VH or Child is always portrayed as hermaphroditic, never as solely or primarily male.
One tool for creating gender balance has been the re-working of solo sections as dialog or unison sections. More penetrating and structural changes have been applied during sections that were originally staged in a way that suggests nearly solo Priest performance, such as when the Priestess comes down from the altar in the revised script.
Dialog and unison are of the nature of mutuality, which is more a quality of Nuit than of Hadit. The ritual has been made more mutual, while preserving powerful solo parts. Turning the script into pure interaction would have unbalanced it toward Nuit's mutuality at the expense of the Haditian solo.
To address the issue of gender imbalance, many sections formerly presented largely by the Priest have become Priestess/Priest dialogues. This has often required as little as alternating speech and gesture in ways designed to balance the energies of the powers involved. Sometimes balancing parts have been added to create a more shared invocation process.
All changes have attempted to preserve the formulae of consecration to the best understanding of the editor.
In many cases the dialog parts which have been added are formulae of self-assertion in which the Priest or Priestess employs his or her own power rather than simply blessing the other's. This mitigates the change involved in creating dialog by preserving a solo self-affirmation mode as a pillar of the ritual.
Dialog represents the Alternating or Reciprocating formula, discussed in Magick in Theory and Practice.
Some parts may be said together by the two officers where in the original they are spoken solely by the Priest. This is especially suited stylistically to chant-like parts, and thematically to parts which refer specifically to unification. Unison has served a gender balance goal by giving the Priestess more involvement and by emphasizing the hermaphroditic nature of the Child.
There is one unison part in the original script, a single word at the climactic point. This symbolizes the coming together of the Priestess and Priest in the radical transformation of sacred orgasm. In the formula of the Mass, this moment of union accomplishes the result of conceiving the sacred Child or Twins, a hermaphroditic dual entity. However, the Child in the original script is generally figured as male, under two male symbols, the Lion and the Serpent. In the YHVH formula (father-mother-son-daughter) the product is the dual VH, but the original Gnostic Mass script, like much of Crowley's thinking on the subject, is dominated by the V.
Parts spoken by the Priest and Priestess in unison have been specifically chosen to represent this hermaphroditic dual child, who is made up of but transcends what was in the Y and H, and who represents radical unification. Unison is a symbol of this unification.
Unison here should not be confused with the musical term. Parts spoken or chanted in unison may be in unison or in harmony, as befits the skill of the officers. Harmony is generally to be desired, as a deeper male voice may tend to overwhelm a higher female voice in musical unison.
Very little has been removed from the Mass script. Rather than omit a problematic section -- which may have great spiritual significance for some of the participants -- such a section has been balanced by rounding out an existing section if the problem was one of gender imbalance, or by changing the text and/or action while visibly preserving the meaning if the problem was one of misleading phrasing or awkwardness. Both the overall structure and the fine-grained structure have been preserved as much as possible, while not shying away from addressing problems.
Some particular omission concerns may be frequently raised and a special attempt has been made to meet these simply because of the frequency with which they arise. In particular, critics of gender reform often accuse reformers of wishing to omit the phallus. The phallus has not been and will not be removed. Phallus worship is preserved and even to some extent augmented. The phallus remains one of two primary symbols in the form of the Lance, which is balanced by the Cup. Additional phallic sections from source authority materials have been added, just as they have for vulvar symbolism. Nothing has been taken away from the phallus worship element of the ritual, though much has been added to the vulva worship element.
However, this does not mean that all phallic symbolism is immune to concerns about misleading communications, awkwardness, or subjugatory gender relations. Some roles that were formerly phallic almost by default, more because the Priest performed most of the actions than because they were necessarily tied to his gender, have been given to the Priestess with deliberate attention to gender roles involved, that is, in a way that respects style and theme. Some awkward phallic lines have been replaced with better phallic lines. Each of the Priest and Priestess blesses and is blessed by the energies corresponding to the polarity of the role in most sections of the ritual, and especially with respect to preparation of spiritual substances.
Because some sections are balanced by the addition of new material, while in other cases new material is substituted for existing material, the question of sources of new text and action arises. Short transformations, such as word substitutions to work around awkwardness, need not come from a recognized source. Where new material of substantial length is substituted in, it is from a source which has a pedigree in the works of Aleister Crowley as a magically potent source. Among these sources are the following:
In parts of the ritual which were original to the Gnostic Mass rather than drawn from other scriptures, such as the Collects, it has been considered acceptable to insert new text which has no source authority but which integrates well stylistically and thematically.
The Book of the Law does not in itself require any dogmatic adherence even to itself, and its uses in the Mass do not clearly derive from sanctioned ritual practices in the Book itself. However, it is plainly the primary source of the Magick of the Gnostic Mass, whether this is understood as a poetic contribution or one denoting a metaphysical authority.
It is possible to preserve and even to extend this vital source, and keep it present and visible, without engaging in an unsubtle, "indicating" mode of worship. By using the Book as the primary source of new, balancing and replacement lines, its influence over the ritual has been broadened to embrace aspects brought in by gender balance and awkwardness issues. In addition, in a few places quotes have been extended somewhat to cover a whole passage, as with the conclusion of the Deacon's speech at the Second Step and the Priestess/Priest dialog on the Third Step. In these cases the extension of the existing Book of the Law passage seemed both aesthetically and thematically appropriate, and inexpensive to the flow or length of the ritual.
All new material, substitute material, or rearranged material has been written to an "as if by Crowley" standard. That is, an attempt has been made to preserve Crowley's authorial voice, to use material that he would have used if he had set out to address these problems himself. A mixture of new Crowley-like material and excerpts from material Crowley would have thought to have source authority has been employed to this end.
In a nutshell, the script approaches criticism by addressing problems but steering away from evoking unnecessary objections among more conservative participants.
Any revision effort will create concerns and objections among those who are entirely happy with the current form of the ritual, or who believe that the existing script represents revealed wisdom that could only be harmed by any modification. Longstanding participants may feel that any and all changes to a familiar script are jarring and out of place. Complete attendance to such concerns would not allow addressing any of the above problems. Instead a set of principles has been used which attempts to mitigate possible concerns.
Sections VI to VIII of the Mass present one of the most serious challenges from a gender issues perspective. These sections encode Crowley's idea of the ultimate formula of sex magick in the O.T.O., hidden behind a veil of symbolism and secrecy, and reserved for high initiates of O.T.O. As such, they also embody Crowley's idea that the creative energy is all in the male, and that, as he states repeatedly in Liber Aleph and elsewhere, the female merely reflects the energy and images of the male, contributing nothing creative herself to the process. This is reflected in the script of the final parts of the Mass. The Priest is paramount, performing the critical points VI through VIII nearly solo while the silent, naked Priestess acts only to present this or that tool for his favor, kiss his Lance, and utter with him the word of orgasm once he is ready to shed his sacred blood.
The need for reform is as compelling here as in the all-male list of Saints, but the ability to reform is hampered by the secrecy of the formula and its restriction to an initiatic elite. That body is unlikely to undertake reforms because its membership is self-selected in a way that rewards the initiate's willingness to embrace the formula on Crowley's terms. Anyone not a member of the Sanctuary (such as myself) may be accused of dabbling in matters beyond their proper sphere. That argument may be buttressed by claims that one has displayed ignorance of some basic aspect of the formula which, however, cannot be explained due to secrecy.
These issues of degree are only of key importance in section VIII. Other sections of the Mass are preliminaries to that expression of the Supreme Secret. They embody ordinary formulae of invocation and consecration which are commonly employed by those who are not within the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis. Even from the perspective which maintains that only certain spheres are appropriate for those of certain degrees, they fall well within the proper sphere of a Master Magician.
All material is to be extensively tested in actual performances, with the opportunity after performance for audience feedback, before final draft. All criticism, if phrased appropriately during the proper time after performance, will be taken seriously and recorded. This is part of performance testing. However, no guarantee is made that any particular objection will be viewed as pressing enough to require change.
The changes in each section are discussed here.
This section has not been modified. The Tetragrammaton Mass may be celebrated in the same room with the same furnishings as the Gnostic Mass. For temples operating under E.G.C. rules, it is important to note that this Mass may not be confused with the Gnostic Mass by performance at the usual time of the Gnostic Mass, or by being labeled as the Gnostic Mass. It is hoped the scheduling restriction will be temporary, as the ritual does nothing to bring obloquy to the O.T.O., the E.G.C., or the Secret as I understand it. In fact, from a public relations perspective, it can only be helpful to reduce the appearance of sexism and of resemblance to Christianity.
This section has been modified to bring together certain directions about costume and characteristic posture which were previously inserted at awkward points within the script. Some minor notes on standard practice have been inserted into the descriptions of the Children, People and Doorkeeper, and the latter two have been promoted to effective Officers. The "Positive Child" and the "Negative Child" are now called "Son" and "Daughter" in accord with the Tetragrammaton formula and to avoid concerns about the pejorative connotations of the word "negative." The Brethren are referred to throughout as the People since they are usually of mixed gender. The terms People, Brethren and Congregation all appear in the original interchangeably, but Brethren and Congregation have both been rendered here as People for reasons of gender inclusiveness and reduced resemblance to Christianity.
In addition, the costumes have been modified somewhat for gender balance reasons. Both the Priest and Priestess appear briefly nude rather than only the Priestess appearing nude for an extended time, to answer concerns sometimes raised about the Mass as a "titty show" and to defuse concerns about a clothed partner appearing to be in a superior position over an unclothed one, a standard trope of SM erotica. Nudity has been retained for both scriptural reasons (AL I.62) and because of the effectiveness of liminal nudity as a ritual marker of transformation and separateness. Each partner dresses the other as part of their mutual consecration, which has meant some amplification of costume to allow this. The lunar aspect of the Priestess has been magnified for gender balance against the distinctly solar-phallic Priest.
The Deacon no longer kisses the Book of the Law, as part of the removal of the Bible cult. It is still placed in a position of high regard and adored, but in a mode less suggestive of dogmatism.
"Love is the law, love under will" has been placed as a direct response to "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" because this is so ingrained in Thelemic practice as to be nearly a reflex, and the ritual is not helped when people naturally interject the normal response at the wrong time.
The Creed has been reworked to address concerns about dogmatism and gender balance. The verb "to believe" has been replaced by carefully selected verbs of affirmation and invocation so as not to suggest dogmatic belief. Considerably more emphasis is placed in the original Creed on the Lord than on the Lady, and so these two passages have been equalized. The phrase "all acts of Love and Pleasure are Thy rituals" was added from Crowley's essay "The Law of Liberty". Similarly, the Baphomet section has been brought into equal measure with the Lord section, while the hermaphroditic nature of Baphomet has been emphasized and tied more directly to the Sacrament. The line "and in one air the nourisher of all that breathes" is often very weak in practice, and seems distinctly tacked on, dragging down the verse. Instead, Air has been worked into the Child verse of the Creed as part of "our nourishment of Blood and Breath," which are symbolic respectively of the female and male contributions to the Sacrament.
The awkward phrasing of "forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance", which sometimes causes minor stumbles or mealy-mouthed recitation during performance, was simplified into "as food and drink daily transmute into spirit within our bodies." "Meat" was changed to "food" since there are quite a few vegetarians in the Thelemic community.
Very little was changed in the rest of the Introit. The Priest may appear nude as discussed above, and the Brethren are now called the People. A stage direction for the Hailing Sign has been added, taken from the work of Fr. Sabazius and Sr. Helena.
The awkward "By the power of the lifted Lance!" has been replaced by the more evocative "If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one" (AL II.26).
The consecration of the Priestess has been elaborated to be more on par with the elaborate consecration of the Priest. The primary text used for this elaboration is the Fourth Aethyr from The Vision and the Voice, which has frequently been cited by Fr. Sabazius and Sr. Helena as of key importance for understanding this section of the Mass. The words of the passage they cite have a very straightforward correlation with the acts of consecration in the existing Mass script, and so they have been added to this script.
The Priestess and Priest consecration actions in the original script are highly parallel with each other, with the exception of robing and adoration of the weapon. These sections have been added to the consecration of the Priestess. In connection with the robing, this brief ritual nudity serves an initiation/consecration function as well as satisfying the scriptural requirements of AL I.62. It substitutes for the prolonged nudity of the Priestess in the original script, which is one of the most persistent sources of complaints from those concerned about sexism. The disrobing is accompanied with a brief passage from Liber LXV, cap. 5: "The priest of Isis lifted the veil of Isis, and was slain by the kisses of her mouth. Then was he the priest of Nuit, and drank of the milk of the stars." The robing is accompanied by part of AL III.44's instructions to the Scarlet Woman, "Let her be covered with jewels, and rich garments, and let her be shameless before all men!" The adoration of the Cup, added to balance the adoration of the Lance, is accompanied by a short passage from Liber LXV, cap. 3: "O Thou light and delight, ravish me away into the milky ocean of the stars!"
The female circle rather than the male cross is used to raise the Priestess; this symbolism is used again later in the Mass as the Cross-in-Circle and the Rosy Cross. The Priest makes five circles, which is to say, the male (five or Geburah) invokes the female (circle), while the Priestess made three crosses, which is to say, the female (three or Binah) invokes the male (cross).
The physically awkward opening of the Book of the Law on the breast of the Priestess is omitted. This also addresses a dogmatism concern.
The Priestess's recitation of AL I.61-65 has been slightly abbreviated. The passage had already been somewhat shortened from AL in the original Gnostic Mass script, and it has been shortened a bit more to omit "Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour and pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy. I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich head-dress." The elided passage contains a problematic propertarian view of women, "Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices". It seemed difficult to modify this without damaging the passage, especially given its class A status, and simple removal of this nonessential part seemed harmless.
In addition, the passage is simply too long compared with other recitative parts in this section of the Mass. Combined with the somewhat difficult gesture of keeping the hands overhead, this turns what should be a blissful passage into a painful one for at least some of the People. The passage is not enhanced by people wishing it would be over so they could put their arms down. This is an issue that might have been resolved had the original script been performance tested in an open environment.
This passage is sometimes cited as one of the great moments of the Priestess and as evidence that she is not subordinate to the Priest, but its length also serves a somewhat awkward gender-balancing function that is not so much required given that her part has been generally expanded. However, I do not wish to suggest that any Priestess wishing to recite the original passage should not do so.
The formal requirement of the Priestess's nudity is satisfied by the earlier disrobing, and it is not repeated here.
At the end of the second step, the quotation from the Book of the Law has been extended slightly to extend to a natural break in the text, and to include useful information on the Thelemic idea of the afterlife as it relates to the formula of the Mass,. In particular, "dissolution, and eternal ecstasy" is relevant to the culmination of the Mass. This is also an opportunity to add a bit more gender balance through the Priestess's participation in the second step invocation, by taking the closing line in which Nuit grants Hadit the fulfillment he seeks.
The third step invocation has been changed to be much more shared between the Priestess and Priest, in line with representing the Child as a product of fusion of their two natures and as hermaphroditic in itself. Again, the quotation of the Book of the Law has been extended to a natural breaking point in the text, because the previously elided material is relevant to the ritual point, and because it creates an opportunity for more Priestess participation. The previously elided material contains what is perhaps the most beautiful formulation of the Law of Thelema in AL, "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect." It concludes with a unification message that seems ideal for the invocation of the child and the removal of the veil separating Ideal from Actual.
The Priest's phallic invocation in a barbarous tongue (Greek) has been balanced by a yonic invocation in a barbarous tongue ("moon language") by the Priestess. It is from the Second Aethyr. In this, Binah, revealed by the fall of the veil of the Abyss, declares Herself. The Priest or Aspirant then answers by declaring Himself.
The Collects have been modified slightly for reasons of gender balance and removal of gender stereotypes. Where a male passage predominated over the corresponding female passage in sheer length, the two have been brought into balance. So that Sun and Lord would not predominate over Moon and Lady, their order has been changed to intermix with each other in direct pairs, rather than starting with Sun and Lord as primary. The most extensive changes are to the Saints.
The Sun: This has not been changed. In an earlier draft, "of whom this earth is but a frozen spark turning about thee with annual and diurnal motion" was removed because it insulted the Earth. The passage was edited to a compliment and moved to the Earth Collect. However, further analysis has shown that it is parallel to the earlier "circle of Stars whereof our Father is but the younger brother", and so does not participate in a simple subjugation relationship, but in a progressive scale of sizes.
The Moon: Moved up to pair directly with the Sun as noted above. Expanded slightly to match the length of the Sun passage. Added the semi-original text "sister of the fruitful earth, daughter of the Company of Stars, who makest the tide to come and go, Mother of us all, without whom we would not be." Source authority is not required, since the Collects were original. However, the new text does use conventional Thelemic phraseology. "without whom we would not be" is taken from the Gardnerian Fivefold Kiss; it refers here to the vital role of the Moon in creating life on the Earth through tidal action and stabilization of its rotation.
The Lord: Was not modified, except for being moved to directly pair with the Lady.
The Lady: Significantly extended to balance the length of the Lord passage, and edited to remove a subjugatory message: "be thou ever ready... in thine office of gladness." While both Lord and Lady are exhorted to constant power, to be "ready" is to be available to the other in a way that is not suggested by the "ever constant and mighty" of the Lord passage. To be "ready" as stated originally is to be ready to be used, not to be powerful in onself, and so this has been changed to "abide for ever in thine office of gladness," a more self-complete form of perpetual power. "O serpent woman of the stars" has been added to balance the honorific of "Lord secret and most holy". It is from Liber LXV, II.16. The other added text is original.
The Saints: This is the most heavily modified of the Collects. The original presents one of the largest problems for those concerned about gender balance, due to the complete omission of any female figures from the list of Saints. For that reason, many have been added. Less often noted is that the introductory text revolves completely around the Lord and does not mention the Lady. For this reason, the introductory passage has been changed to include both Lord and Lady. Similarly, the Cross has been changed to the Rose Cross.
Finally, the passage does not really express its meaning clearly. It is what scholars of religion call a historiola, a recitation of the names and histories of venerable figures in a tradition in order to assert their authority in the present, but the list of names that Crowley gives is so obscure that it seems almost random without a great deal of study -- and even with great study, may still appear somewhat incoherent. It serves a vital ritual role but it could serve it much more effectively.
Since it was necessary to restructure the list to include female names, both problems were addressed at once.
"the prince-priest the Beast and the Scarlet Woman, in whom is all power given," is a close paraphrase of AL I.15. The Scarlet Woman has been joined with the Beast. Other prophetic names have been viewed as less important both for reasons of space and because Crowley's combination of his role with that of these historical giants smacks of megalomania.
The several couples next listed are those which have been associated with great erotic and romantic myths. "coupled by two and by two in the supernal ecstasy of the stars" is from Liber LXV, V.34. Odysseus and Osiris are from the original list.
The bards are mostly from the original list, with the addition of Sappho, whom Crowley adored and visited astrally.
The next list is of deities important in Thelemic myth and/or having some strong erotic quality in mythology. Hermes, Pan, Zeus, Herakles, Mentu, Priapus and Bes are from the original list. Crowley frequently refers to Hekate, Aphrodite and Hathor, while Gaea is the traditional earth mother, who brings forth both gods and monsters (cf. Liber V, comment).
The Arthurian list is an expansion of that in the original, with the names of female figures added.
A conceptual historiola of magick is presented in the second alternative paragraph. Some of the names are from the original list. It is meant to make the function of the historiola clear and to call upon the powers of the named traditions.
The next alternate paragraph is made of names primarily from the original list. It is likely to be understood only by those well versed in occult and mystical history, but may be more effective for those than the paragraph preceding. A few more recent names have been added.
The final alternative paragraph especially presents the history of the O.T.O., including its legendary descent from the Templars, unknown figures, writers on sexual subjects from around the actual origin of the O.T.O., figures probably falsely conflated with the tradition by Crowley, and past heads of the Order, as well as the Orders of the Lion and the Eagle. It is particularly appropriate for official O.T.O. occasions on which a Mass might be held, as opposed to regular Mass, and is probably inappropriate for those holding Mass outside the O.T.O. and E.G.C.
The final passage under Saints has been modified to be gender-inclusive, with Daughters added to Sons and "paternal" changed to "parental."
The chief remaining flaw in this section is that it has become too long. This is meant to be compensated for by the alternative paragraphs, but even at its shortest it is still half again as long as the shortest original. Further work is probably required.
The Earth: This Collect has been expanded a bit due to the waxing importance of earth religion in modern perspectives. "in whose heart is the Sun's fire" has been changed and expanded for reasons of scientific accuracy -- the fire within the Earth is the result primarily of its own gravitational pressure and secondarily of the fission of its radioactive materials, while the Sun's fire is primarily due to fusion brought on by gravitational pressure, a rather different process. This was not known when Crowley wrote the Mass. "mother of a million myriads of myriads of flowers" is from Liber LXV, IV.44.
The Principles: "let each pursue his Will as a strong man that rejoiceth in his way" has been changed to "let each pursue their Will in strength and rejoicing" to avoid sexist language and gender stereotyping.
Birth, Marriage, Death, The End: These Collects have not been modified.
The issue of initiatory degree is more important with respect to part VIII, the Marriage and Consummation, which is a symbolic adumbration of the Secret of the Sanctuary, than to parts VI and VII. These preliminaries to the Marriage and Consummation are lesser magick which may take any number of different forms. They bear on the Secret, but are not the Secret in themselves. Therefore I have felt it acceptable to make significant changes to the Consecration.
The general formula of the Consecration is fairly straightforward. The Bread and Wine are transmuted into divine substance in line with MTP's Eucharistic formula and in a way closely derived from the Roman Mass, sections Canon through Unde et Memores. The consecration leads to an invocation of Sacrifice and Resurrection. Every attempt has been made to preserve the formulae of consecration and sacrifice of the original script, while granting the Priestess her essential dignity as a full participant, and reducing resemblance to Christianity. This has entailed significant changes in the gestures, words and actions of this section.
The first step taken is to recast this part of the ritual as a dual operation rather than using the Priestess as a mirror for the Priest's energy, by bringing her down from the altar or pedestal, and bringing her face to face with the Priest. The second step is to recast the wine as essentially female rather than essentially male, and to give the Priestess the Priest's former role in blessing the wine. The third step is to make the sacrificial theme one in which both partners sacrifice themselves together, rather than simply the Priest's sacrifice of his own sperma.
Several lines and gestures have been replaced due to awkwardness and excessive Christian resemblance. As written the Consecration is one of the most Christian-seeming passages in the entire Mass, and so it helps create the false impression that the Mass is merely a parody. The cross, which was overemployed nearly to the point of exhaustion of its efficacy, has been replaced by the pentagram, the hexagram, and the Rose Cross. These signs are more resonant for a magical audience as well as for many performers. The new signs have been arranged to have a clear meaning, since the welter of crosses in the original seems arbitrary to many, and this perceived arbitrariness often leads to awkward performance. The process of replacement of Christian symbolism here is similar to that undertaken by Crowley in the recensions of the Star Ruby and Star Sapphire.
The lines beginning "by the virtue of the rod" are declamatory rather than evocative, and frequently fall short in performance. These lines have been replaced by lines with source authority that seem potent as well as apropos. The replacement of "By the virtue of the Rod! Be this bread the Body of God!" by "This burn: of this make cakes & eat unto me. Also these shall breed lust & power of lust in you at the eating thereof." employs AL III.25-7, the scriptural basis for the Cakes of Light. The replacement of "By the virtue of the Rod! Be this wine the Blood of God!" employs "I came to the house of the Beloved, and the wine was like fire that flieth with green wings through the world of waters." -- LXV IV.30 and "There is no wine like unto this wine." -- LXV VII.63. The alternative replacement employs "drink sweet wines and wines that foam!" from AL I.51 and "Let the foam of the grape tincture my soul with Thy light." from LXV I.62.
Making the Wine a female symbol may be objected to on the grounds that it changes the interpretation of the Secret of the Sanctuary, in which both the Bread and Wine are of the Priest, who represents Christ. The change is intentional. Giving the Priestess the Cup of Blood has a scriptural basis in Revelation, in which the Scarlet Woman is figured with a cup containing the blood of the saints. In the context of the Mass the Saints are the ancestors, and the blood in the Cup represents the ancestral heritage of humanity. Blood also represents the placenta, which is shed in the form of blood when the egg is not fertilized, and in which the fertilized egg finds its natural home. There are other symbolic references to wine as female within the Thelemic canon.
The Christian-seeming "For this is the Covenant of Resurrection. Accept, O LORD, this sacrifice of life and joy, true warrants of the Covenant of Resurrection." has been replaced with Thelemic verses bearing on ecstatic death, the sacrifice of blood, and the symbolism of death and love as types of union and dissolution. The death-in-orgasm sacrifice theme has been made more overt, in line with tolerant modern sensibilities. This ties in with the earlier extension of the second step invocation to include "dissolution, and eternal ecstasy." The length of the passage has been expanded both to underscore this point and to give the Priestess more opportunity for participation. These changes have replaced a dour and grim passage with a passionate and erotic one which can no longer be mistaken for a Christian Mass, yet which preserves the Resurrection symbolism.
The hexagram which the Priestess and Priest make together is the Invoking Hexagram of Mercury. Mercury is the messenger of the gods and brings Their force down into the material world. In addition, the dual consecration by Priestess and Priest raises them both to the officers of the Hieros Gamos that is the initiated meaning of the Hexagram. He is the upward pointing triangle of Fire, she the downward pointing triangle of Water.
"Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely; whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love." -- AL II.66.
"O my adorable, my delicious one, all night will I pour out the libation on Thine altars; all night will I burn the sacrifice of blood; all night will I swing the thurible of my delight before Thee, and the fervour of the orisons shall intoxicate Thy nostrils." -- LXV V.45.
The Priestess has been given a response to the Priest's statement of sacrifice. In addition, the sacrifice is now tacitly unto Babalon, rather than to the Sun, the Sun being more that which is sacrificed than the altar or recipient. "Let the pleasure and pain be mingled in one supreme offering!" -- LXV V.47. "I shall not rest until I have dissolved it all." -- LXV I.17. The closing statement of sacrifice and union has been made into a unison piece, in line with principles explained above.
The Rose Cross substitutes for the three great crosses of the original. This gesture takes a central part in the Star Sapphire, which also expresses a ritual formula of the Supreme Secret. Crowley interpreted this symbol in accord with the French writer Ragon, who explicates the Cross as the lingam and the Rose as the yoni.
The section opened with the invoking Pentagram of Spirit Passive, which substitutes for the five crosses, and shows that the Lance and Cup are as yet not alive, though in harmony. It closes with the invoking Pentagram of Spirit Active, which again replaces the five crosses, and indicates that the equlibrium of the active, living instruments is now being accomplished.
The changes to the original and the currently approved alternate anthem employ the dialog/alternation formula to increase Priestess participation. The texts proved quite easy to render this way at natural breaking points.
Any other reasonable song or chant may be used. To my understanding the anthem represents the chant employed in Crowley's sex magick before and leading up to the climax, as described in the Paris Working and elsewhere. A repetitive chant might in many cases be more effective for the people than these songs.
It is in this section that the issue of initiatory degree becomes most important, as the Secret of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis is expressed in this part of the ritual. It would of course be folly for anyone not within that Sanctuary to seek to modify it. However, it needs to be revised, because it expresses an all-male idea of the Secret through the Christian Trinity, gives short shrift to the female contribution, and presents the child only as the Son rather than the Son-Daughter. So let mine be that folly written of in The Book of Lies -- "Against this Swan I shot an arrow; the white breast poured forth blood. Men smote me; then, perceiving that I was but a Pure Fool, they let me pass. Thus and not otherwise I came to the Temple of the Graal."
Section VIII of the original script is considerably simpler than the intricate part VI. However, by adding a ritual commemoration of the YHVH formula to the communion, it has been made more complex in this new script. The reason for this change was to complete the task of bringing the hermaphroditic final VH to a position of full participation in the rite, applying the formula of dramatic ritual from MTP to the formula of YHVH. There is also a desirable side effect -- the section appears less like a Christian Mass and more Thelemic due to the additional material from Thelemic holy books.
The initial blessing has been modified slightly to bless the Cup as much as the Paten is blessed. The Priest blesses the Paten and Host, while the Priestess blesses the Cup and Wine. "The earth is ripe for vintage; let us eat of her grapes, and be drunken thereon." -- LXV 1.50. The Circle has been used as the female blessing rather than the Cross, forming the Cross and Circle joined.
The Priestess has been allowed to bless her egg as the Priest blesses his seed. She does this at the point of presenting it to the Priest, just as he blesses his seed at the point of presenting it to the Priestess.
(Note: the Greek text here has yet to be corrected. I need to run the text by a Greek scholar for correctness since my own Greek is even worse than Crowley's.)
The word ๔ion becomes ๔on in later Greek, which form is found in the book of Luke, 11:12, "Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?" The entire Bible passage may profitably be read by those with a bent toward mischievous Thelemic reinterpretation.
The new Greek Priestess verse "HE PARTHENOS ESTIN HE PORNOS DIA TES SOPHIAS ARCHAIAS" parallels the Christian Trinitarian verse of the Priest. It means "The Virgin is the Harlot through the Ancient (or Original) Wisdom." The verse is a reference to the Gnostic scripture Thunder, Perfect Mind in which the goddess proclaims, "I am the Virgin and the Whore." "Pornos" or whore is the word used for the Scarlet Woman in Revelation, and so it has been used instead of the more dignified "hetaira" or courtesan. Sophia is a Graeco-Gnostic deity of Wisdom, sometimes equated with the Holy Spirit in a female mode. These three Gnostic Goddesses are employed to make a commentary on the union of the woman clothed with the Sun and the Scarlet Woman through initiated interpretation of the Revelation of John, as well to express the physical connection between sexual energy and motherhood, and to reiterate the importance of the transformation of Virgin to Scarlet Woman in part IV. The formula expressed is one of self-transmutation, which is also called initiation or consecration, and which according to Crowley is an inherent part of female magick. Here it is given equal footing with the male, forming the downward-pointing triangle of the Hexagram as his statement forms the upward-pointing triangle.
However, from a feminist perspective it should be noted that the "virgin-whore syndrome" is often seen as a derogatory male view of women. This passage takes the alternative interpretation, inspired by the feminism of sex workers, that the whore is a valid and important role for women to adopt. It also expresses that she is mistress of her own veil, and that it rises or falls at her will -- though she may at times use a partner to enact that will.
The Priest and Priestess share the destruction of consciousness in the aftermath of orgasm, and then, in the beginning of the new dramatic section, express this destruction by falling to their knees. The Priest goes first to show the Yod giving way to the Heh. "Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever." -- AL II.21. This continues the new emphasis placed on the Thelemic model of resurrection in this script.
At this point the VH portion of the formula begins. This is based on cap. III of MTP, "The Formula of Tetragrammaton." The V comes forth as the Son, identified here with Ra-Hoor-Khuit as the offspring of Nuit and Hadit. He utters AL III.69-70. He takes his father's place, commemorating this with the prophecy of the coming aeon from AL III.34. This asserts the continuity of the procession of the aeons with the personal life-cycle (as in the OTO Man of Earth initiations) and with the formula of the Mass.
The Son then gives way to the Daughter, the final Heh. The Daughter section is from LXV II.20-5 and suggests the visionary power of the post-orgasmic state, and the release from all tension, that is, the seeking of a goal or the fear of the future. The Daughter here may also be taken as embodying Delight of the Endless. She is going forth upon the earth to do her pleasure among the legions of the living.
The Daughter applies the Elixir of Resurrection to the Yod-Father, completing the YHVH cycle. She speaks AL II.21 or LXV 2.55 as words of Resurrection. His communion is normal. Since he is being revived, the energetic statement "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and the response "Love is the law, love under will" did not seem to fit in dramatically. They were used in the original to mark a liminal point of taboo-breaking familiar to those who have studied the inner formulae of the Mass, much as "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt" is used earlier at the point of revealing the nude Priestess. These antinomian utterances do not serve a critical function in the new script -- or, one might say, even in the old, as soon as the taboos have been broken down. The important "Do what thou wilt" and response still appear in the opening of the Mass.
The old rule that other Officers do not take the Sacrament because they are only parts of the Priest has been dropped from this version, since the Officers play a more dynamic and separate role.
The closing blessing has been made joint, in the name of Father, Mother and Child.
Minor modifications have been made to stage directions for clarity.