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  The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
General Thelema Posted by Mordecai Shapiro on January 30, 2001 @ 09:54 PM
from the that's-another-fine-mass-you've-gotten-us-into dept.

There's no denying that the Gnostic Mass (Liber XV) possesses both literary excellence and spiritual insight. There's also no denying that it strongly reflects the attitudes, conscious and unconscious, of its author in his time and position. That fact has implications for the community which performs Crowley's mass as its central eucharistic rite. Particularly, it has been often noted that Crowley's attitudes in the area of what is now called "gender issues" are largely incongruent with the views of many of those who carry on the present-day work of Thelema. Many have introduced changes into Gnostic Mass to try to redress the imbalances they perceive in it. Others have preferred to preserve its textual integrity by letting the work of Crowley stand as it is, and instead to write a new ritual to express the mystery of the Eucharist in contemporary terms. The challenge in this latter exercise is not primarily philosophical or theoretical, it is literary and dramatic. Is the author capable of writing a produceable work that will keep people coming back, time after time, for years on end? That is what The Beast Bay aims to find out with this contest.


The official rules:

  1. All scripts must be submitted in electronic form to mass@beastbay.com no later than Vernal Equinox 2001 c.e. They will then be printed without identifying information and passed on to our panel of judges.
  2. On April 1 the five finalists will be notified, and their names (or pseudonyms) publicly announced on the Beast Bay. The five mass-makers will then have until the Summer Solstice to produce a performance of their mass. If they are unable or unwilling to present their mass live before the judges here in the San Francisco Bay area, they may submit a videotaped performance by the same deadline (preferably in VHS format).
  3. On July 4 the winners will be announced. The prize: the satisfaction of having made a valuable contribution to Thelemic culture.


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    Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
    by Walrus Montahooblian on Thursday February 01, @07:42AM
    Just to clarify:

    Only original scripts need apply, not Mass revisions?

    urk urk urk

    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Friday February 02, @12:59AM
      Yes, the idea is to encourage the development of new Thelemic eucharists, not revise already existing ones.


      • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
        by Tim Maroney on Friday February 02, @01:57PM
        Why does it have to be eucharistic? I didn't see that in the requirements....

        Tim


        • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
          by Xnoubis on Friday February 02, @02:17PM
          Well, there's the passage "write a new ritual to express the mystery of the Eucharist in contemporary terms". Are you suggesting that submissions should be included that express the mystery of the Eucharist without actually being eucharistic? That could get tricky...


          • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
            by Tim Maroney on Friday February 02, @04:51PM
            That's not a rule, but a musing on what some people are allegedly doing....

            Tim


            • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
              by Mordecai Shapiro on Friday February 02, @06:13PM
              It's not one of the "official rules", but c'mon! Continuing with "The challenge in this latter exercise [writing a new ritual to express the Eucharistic mystery] is not primarily philosophical or theoretical, it is literary and dramatic. Is the author capable of writing a produceable work that will keep people coming back, time after time, for years on end? That is what The Beast Bay aims to find out with this contest." should, I think, make it perfectly clear what the competition is calling for. If it doesn't I apologize.


              • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
                by Xnoubis on Sunday February 04, @09:28AM
                Regardless of what one might reasonably infer from the written description, there's the broader question of what is and isn't a mass. For me, mass implies not only a eucharist, but that there is no more prominent feature of the rite than the eucharist. For instance, one might characterize the partaking of the rose, flame, bread, and wine in the Golden Dawn Neophyte ritual as a kind of eucharist, but I wouldn't call that rite a mass, because the eucharist is only a part of the whole event, and not really the main point.

                On another front, what about the Mass of the Phoenix? Despite the name, its solitary nature makes it something substantially different from what I generally think of as a mass.

                Could we say that a mass in the sense of this contest is a group rite that is primarily eucharistic? Note that I'm only asking at this point, and not asserting it.


                • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
                  by Mordecai Shapiro on Sunday February 04, @01:56PM
                  This works for me.


                • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
                  by Alabaster93 on Sunday February 25, @09:10PM
                  Not necessarily. As pointed out above the Mass of the Phoenix is solitary. In the spirit of creativity and innovation, why not let people decide for themselves what sort of approach they wish to tak to this endeavor? Some may well see merit in creating a more intimate version for two people. Others may want to make it into an elaborate party. As they will ought to cover it, I think. Let the judges decide. If it's boring, can it. If it works for you, run with it.


    Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
    by Mr. Nice on Thursday February 01, @08:58AM
    I disagree that there is a real issue about gender in the mass, but rather the issue to me is why on earth the OTO would have interest is parodies of christian mass? It resulted in some of the worst poetry known to man. The whole issue is subject to ridicule.

    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Xnoubis on Thursday February 01, @09:11AM
      Interesting points. But although the Gnostic Mass is explicitly written as an OTO ritual, it's of interest to Thelemites outside the OTO as well. So I'd expand the question to, Why any Thelemites would have interest in it.


    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Tim Maroney on Thursday February 01, @09:24AM
      It was not intended as a parody of the Christian Mass rituals. Crowley believed (wrongly IMHO) that the Catholic Mass was based on an earlier Pagan formulation which embodied the Ninth Degree sex magic formula. His attempt was to restore the original intent, though obviously not the exact original text.

      However, this misunderstanding of the intent of the quasi-Christian symbolism in the Gnostic Mass is widespread and forms one of the more pressing issues with the ritual. While it is a mistake, it is a mistake that many visitors are likely to make, and on a pragmatic level, that makes it a problem.

      Tim


      • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
        by Xnoubis on Thursday February 01, @09:48AM
        > Crowley believed (wrongly IMHO) that the
        > Catholic Mass was based on an earlier Pagan
        > formulation which embodied the Ninth Degree sex
        > magic formula

        Interesting. Is that written down somewhere? I rather thought that it was intended to take the "baby-eating" allegation against the Barbelo Gnostics found in Irenaeus, and commemorate it in liturgical form -- which is a pretty fine joke, if you ask me.


        • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
          by Tim Maroney on Thursday February 01, @11:01AM
          I can find Crowley's references to the misuse of the formula in the Catholic Mass once I get home -- I'm in Austin at the moment.

          Tim


    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by El Nigma on Thursday February 01, @07:22PM
      >>It resulted in some of the worst poetry known to man.

      Sap of the world-ash, wonder tree

      (couldn't resist) ;-)
      93 23,
      El Nigma


    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Friday February 02, @01:02AM
      >The whole issue is subject to ridicule.

      What are some issues you don't think are subject to ridicule?


      • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
        by th00m on Friday February 02, @11:46AM
        All this is quite interesting. Although I'd have to agree rather tongue-in-cheek that Crowley centering genius around himself did think that he was restoring an actual old formula into the mass. But also, just by doing so this late in the game and seeing that its only outcome would be mere self-absorbing by any partaking in it, it does so seem that there is much mocking the christian churches in practicing the ritual. This of course leads me to believe that as a flow of the Beast's reputation, his main objective was in such mockery, and topping it all off by saying "I can do it better".


    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Xnoubis on Sunday February 04, @09:40AM
      > why on earth the OTO would have interest [in]
      > parodies of christian mass?

      Suppose that we grant that Liber XV is a parody of the Christian mass. Why on earth wouldn't we have interest in it? Isn't it an entertaining notion? Isn't a substantial part of Thelema about finding insight through the deliberate reversal of Christian imagery?

      In our Thelemic neighborhood, we've also had an interest in the parody of Liber XV found in the novel Jurgen by James Branch Cabell, and have performed it on many occasions, accompanied by great enjoyment and much smacking of lips.

      Yes, the whole issue is subject to ridicule -- along with every other issue, praise the gods!


      • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
        by th00m on Sunday February 04, @10:22AM
        You ask why shouldn't we find entertainment in reversal of defunct religions...

        I'd like to think that to some it would seem as a sign of weakness.


        • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
          by Xnoubis on Monday February 05, @09:24AM
          Oh. And here I was, being more interested in amusement than in appearing strong. My mistake, I guess...

          (Still, if that's the way you feel, why would you have anything to do with Thelema? Thelema isn't entirely about such reversals, but they're a big chunk of it.)


          • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
            by th00m on Tuesday February 06, @10:23AM
            That's all subjective.

            I don't find the main objective to be cluttered with a lot of reversals. Why would you think this is such a big part of Thelema?

            I thought it had to do with a Rabelais' mindset to be exact.


            • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
              by Xnoubis on Tuesday February 06, @10:47AM
              The first few things that come to mind:
              1. The Beast
              2. (The Whore of) Babalon
              3. "I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross."
              4. "Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels"
              5. The Vision and the Voice
              6. The World's Tragedy
              7. The Rite of Sol
              8. Liber XV, as already noted.
              I certainly can understand those practitioners from Chaos Magick and from Wicca, for instance, who avoid Thelema precisely because of its use of Christian ideas. But being involved with Thelema while disliking the inversion of Christian symbols seems to me like going to raves when you don't like dance music.

              It must be working for you; I'm just saying I'm surprised.


            • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
              by David R. Jones on Sunday February 11, @02:15PM
              Do what thou wilt

              Shall be the whole of the Law.

              You might consider the fact that Christianity, Islam and Gnosticism all draw heavily on Judaism, Zorasterianims and other convenient metaphysical structures. Likewise Buddhism, Jainism and the Sihks with Hindu dogmas etc.

              Love is the
              law, love under willl.

              David R. Jones aka ^333^


        • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
          by David R. Jones on Sunday February 11, @02:09PM
          Do what thou wilt

          Shall be the whole of the Law.

          Defunct? I think you might want to look this word up and then look in the churches section of your local phone book and compare the number of Thelemic and other churches with the number of Christian churches.

          Love is the
          law, love under will.

          David R. Jones aka ^333^


    Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
    by Sam Webster on Friday June 01, @12:05PM
    Is there any action on this? It has been a while.
    )O+
    sam

    • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
      by Marfiza on Saturday June 16, @01:07AM
      No kidding that. I heard rumors a couple of weeks ago that the initial cut had been made, and that scripts were going to be posted, but that's the last I heard of it. I've been assembling a team on the (possibly mistaken) assumption that my script might've made that cut, seeing as how even if it didn't I want it to be seen irrespective.

      Mo, X, what's up?

           - M


      • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
        by Xnoubis on Saturday June 16, @08:52AM
        I don't know where the idea came from that the scripts would be posted. I heard that for the first time from you. (Maybe you heard that from Mordecai? I'd be okay with it...)

        What's up is, one of the scripts got lost in transit, and hasn't been recovered because that entrant's computer went down and went down badly. I've heard that the computer has been repaired, so there's every reason to believe that we'll have progress on this issue this week. Sorry for the delay.


        • Re: The 1st Beast Bay Mass-Making Competition
          by Marfiza on Sunday June 17, @11:12AM
          Ya, it was Mo who mentioned something to me about posting the scripts.

          Glad to hear there's going to be motion shortly...

                - M



     
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