Waves of Aethyr, Houses of the Sun

The Horary Consideration in the Thaumaturgy of the Gnostic Mass

T Polyphilus, Ep. Gn.

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

The creed of the Liber XV declares belief in the Miracle of the Mass, thus affirming the thaumaturgical character of the ritual. The miracle in question is identified with the transformation of meat and drink into spiritual substance, but the nature of the spiritual substance and its effect on the experience of the participants are not specified in the Creed. The effects are more explicit in the blessing of the elements at the commencement of the Mystic Marriage: health and wealth and strength and joy and peace, and that fulfillment of will and of love under will that is perpetual happiness. These consequences are intended to flow from any and every enactment of the Mass.

But there are Gnostic Masses intended to have more specific effects on the communicants. Some of these are itemized in the exceptions to the communion protocol in Liber XV: the ceremony of marriage the ceremony of baptism and of Confirmation. Besides the limitation of communion, there are other aspects or features of the Mass that might be deliberately varied for these (and other) specially miraculous intentions.

Let us return to the question of the nature of the spiritual substance produced by the miracle. In his communion, the Priest declares, In my mouth be the essence of the Life of the Sun, and In my mouth be the essence of the Joy of the Earth. The solar-terrestrial relationship is clearly a defining feature of the sacrament in the Gnostic Mass. The Priestess operates from the summit of the Earth, and the Priest offers the sacrifice of the Eucharistic elements to our Lord and Father the Sun, that travelleth over the Heavens in his name ON. As noted during the Collect of the Sun, the spatial dimension of the solar-terrestrial relationship varies in both a diurnal and annual fashion. For the purposes of this paper, discussion will be restricted to the diurnal cycle, although many of these considerations could be applied analogically to the annual one.

Traditional astrological work has determined the qualitative sense of the diurnal cycles that relate the Greeting of Earth and Heaven to one another, and has expressed them in a system of twelve houses. Given the solar emphasis in the Gnostic Mass, we can view the progression of the sun through the houses as an indicator of the auspicious times for various kinds of Gnostic Masses. Since the sequence of the twelve houses is always the same in the never-retreating passage of the sun, they may be defined by pairs of hours, so long as it is kept in mind that these are not mundane clock-hours of a regular, mechanical duration, but rather magick sky-hours, dependent on the latitude and time of year for their particular lengths. Daylight hours grow longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, with the night hours complementing their fluctuation. The hours nearest to dawn and dusk exhibit the least change in length, while those nearest to noon and midnight have the greatest.

The present article, then, proposes associating the time of day or night at which a Gnostic Mass takes place as having a direct bearing on its thaumaturgical quality, as determined by the astrological house in which the sun may be found at the time. Although it is constructed on the basis of traditional correspondences, that is no grounds for dismissing such a scheme as merely symbolic. In Chapter XX of Magick in Theory & Practice, Crowley identifies fasting as a prerequisite of Eucharistic Magick. If we presume a three-to-four-hour fast to precede communion in the Gnostic Mass, then the fast will enhance and transform the already marked effect that diurnal biological cycles are likely to have on ritualists and communicants.

Another technical issue worth considering is the point in time at which the Gnostic Mass may be said to happen. Certainly, the ceremonies of the Mass may extend over more than a single hour. In keeping with the premises discussed above, let us take the time of the Mass for thaumaturgical purposes as the time of communion by the individual communicant.

The following tabulations reference the hours of the night and day by their magical names, which are found in a corrupted form in Francis Barett's Magus, or Celestia Intelligencer (1801 e.v.), where they have often been referenced by Anglophone occultists. The names in this essay are from an early German edition (c. 1680) and a late 19th/early 20th century French facsimile reprint of Pietre d'Abano's Heptameron have been consulted, and the spelling of the names rectified from later English sources.

The first two hours of the day are when the sun is passing through the 12th house. Although the houses are now typically referenced by their numbers alone, each has a traditional Latin name, and the 12th is CARCER, which means "prison." This dawn period might be used for a Mass with the specific intention of consecrating cakes for later administration to the shut-in and sick members of the Church community.

The midmorning hours see the passage of the sun through the 11th house, or BENEFACTA. The time is very suited to a Gnostic Mass intended to affirm a spiritual order or association, and might be chosen for a Mass with attendance restricted to initiates of a particular degree.

The hours preceding noon are when the sun is in the 10th house, named REGNUM, or "kingship." These are appropriate hours to conduct a Gnostic Mass in recognition of an august visitor, or perhaps for a Gnostic Mass at a large gathering where high initiates will be presiding.

Following noon are the hours which have the sun in the 9th house, or PIETAS ("duty"). These hours are therefore especially auspicious for Gnostic Masses to celebrate the conferral of Holy Orders, whether Sacerdotal or Diaconal. This astrological house is the one most concerned with aspiration and instruction in a religious body.

The sun crosses through the 8th house during the midafternoon hours. The great luminary is then in the house of MORS, i.e. "death," and requiem Masses are the special operation of the Church most suited to this time of day.

In the last two hours of daylight, the sun passes through UXOR ("wife"), the 7th house, making these hours most conducive to wedding Masses.

The initial evening hours have the sun in VALETUDO, or "health." These 6th house hours of the sun are best for Masses in which catechumens are confirmed to full membership in the Church as servants of Ra-hoor-khuit. Crowley notes in The General Principles of Astrology that the 6th house has also a very secret and peculiar reference to the occult development of [the astrological native's] Ego, and Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta cites further writing by Crowley which ties the 6th house to personal prowess in Magick:

It is for him to link his lower to his higher Will, to set the latter to drive the former ruthlessly forward, and as soon as this resolution becomes operative the concatenation of circumstance will bring unexpected success. (p. 57)

During mid-evening, the sun travels through NATI, the 5th house. NATI means "children." These hours are the optimal time for a Baptismal Mass, when the Church turns her attention to childhood and children.

The pre-midnight hours have the sun in the 4th house. This house GENITOR relates to the home and means "father." The midnight Mass, then, is one in which we may especially affirm the origins of our Church, commemorating the Feast days of saints of old time, and honoring our Past Patriarch Baphomet, the Prophet of the Aeon.

After midnight come the hours during which the sun occupies the 3rd house. Its name FRATRES means "brothers," and signifies local community. This time is good for private masses to be enacted among those with personal, working relationships to each other, with only invitees in attendance. The third house also relates to intellect and study, in the more practical and immediate sense, and thus its hours are very suited to private Mass practice by novice clergy.

These hours fall midway between midnight and dawn, and they witness the sun's progress through LUCRUM ("money"), the 2nd house, referring to personal possessions. This inconvenient period could be the magically auspicious time to conduct a Mass with the particular intention of consecrating the sacred weapons and regalia used in the ceremony, or even an altar.

The pre-dawn hours have the sun passing through VITA or "life," the first of the astrological houses. This house is concerned strictly with the individual life, and thus tends to confine the effect of the Gnostic Mass to a contribution to the health, wealth, strength, joy, peace, and fulfillment of the individual communicant, blessing that one uniquely in his or her way towards the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The ideas presented above are not for the purpose of restricting the scheduling of Gnostic Masses, but possibly to motivate greater variety in their scheduling, and certainly to inspire conscious reflection on the significance of the times at which we conduct these sacred feasts. May those times be free and glorious, regular and enduring, as is our Father the Sun.

Love is the law, love under will.

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