Consecration of a High Altar
As with other instrumental sacraments of the sanctuary, ceremonial consecration of the high altar is not necessary for the Gnostic Mass or other cardinal sacraments of the Church. It is, however, desirable and gratifying, and can add to the puissance of the clergy working at the altar. Ideally, such a consecration would be performed by a bishop.
The ritual I have written for the purpose is available to bishops of the Church on direct request. It is intended to be performed in the absence of attendees or congregants other than the two ritualists. One of the ritualists should be a woman, the other a man. They may both be bishops, or one may be a bishop and the other a member of the priesthood. In the text, the male officer is designated CONSECRATOR and the female CONSECRATRIX. An altar consecrated by this ritual is considered to hold its charge unless actively desecrated.
A bishop (with or without the assistance of other clergy) might also consecrate an antimension, which is an altarcloth intended to outfit an unconsecrated surface as a holy table for sacramental purposes. An E.G.C. antimension should be about two feet by six--nearly filling a standard altartop, but not falling over the edges--of crimson fabric embroidered with gold, white, and black. Here is suitable design for the embroidery:
(image by Fr. Nur-I-Siyah)At the corners are kerbuic emblems modeled on the ones at the corners of the Hierophant card in the Crowley-Harris Thoth tarot deck. In the center is a variation of the Babalon and Beast image from the Lust trump of the Thoth tarot, in which the Scarlet Woman's raised hand is empty, but it is framed by a heptagram, which would be at the horizontal center of the antimension. That heptagram would indicate the placement of the paten following the entrance of the Virgin. On each of the four edges would be a Latin motto, which could be in a magical cipher such as the alphabet of daggers (from Liber 418):A high altar should be resolutely desecrated when removed from service. The easiest method for this purpose is the application of human excrement. Alternatively, the altar may be burned if it is entirely flammable.
- Forward/western edge: INITIUM SAPIENTIAE AMOR DOMINI--"The love of the lord is the beginning of wisdom." An O.T.O. motto which one would have to pass in any approach to the altartop from the west.
- Left/northern edge: DEUS EST HOMO--"God is man." Another O.T.O. motto.
- Right/southern edge: OFFERIMUS TIBI DONUM CORPUS DEI--"We offer [in sacrifice] the body of God." Epiphanius reported these words to be the declaration of communion made by a Gnostic sect that he wrote against. In combination with deus est homo, they help to explicate the Thelemic eucharist.
- Rear/eastern edge: QUID VOLES ILLUD FAC. "Do what thou wilt." At the extreme surface of the altar, because "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." The Latin translation is the one provided by Crowley in his commentary on Chapter 2 of The Book of Lies. It keeps the virtue of the "fourfold word," although the phrase could certainly be translated more economically.
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