Song to Iao

by Dionysos Thriambos

Presented on 10 March, IV ix
as the Discourse in a Liturgy of the Word of the Law
at Circle of Stars Sanctuary, Austin, Texas

We've done this ceremony a few times before.
This time, though, I'm taking a different approach to this discourse
I'm doing something that's new to me
Although I've seen others do it
And maybe you've seen or heard something similar
But this is the first time for me
And it's the first time for you to hear me this way
So I'm asking you to just relax and listen
Make yourself as comfortable as you can
Close your eyes if you like
Because I'm actually going to preach to you
Some people think of preaching as lecturing
Or as moralizing and pontificating
And it can be those things
But good preaching is poetry
And a way for a preacher
To share something from his spiritual experiences
With his brothers and sisters
And it can make a real magick
Among the listeners and the preacher
And give you more energy and ideas
About your own work
The goals that are unique to you
And the real secrets that are invisible
And ineffable
And unutterable

And you may already feel that magick
Starting among us now
In the noises and feelings in this room
Not just what I'm saying
But any sound or sensation
That passes through this temple
Is all a part of the magick
"Deeper, ever deeper I fall;
"Even as the whole Universe falls
"Down the Abyss of Years.
"For Eternity calls
"The Overworld calls
"The world of the Word is awaiting us."

And those last phrases
Were from a sacred book
A book that you may already know
But a book of such power
That you might feel like you had known it
For a very long time
Even the first time you read it
The book is called the Book of Lapis Lazuli
The Book of the Blue Stone
It has seven chapters
For the seven planets
And the middle chapter
In the heart of the book
The chapter numbered four
With three chapters on either side of it
That one is the Sun
Right in the middle
Vast and hot and golden
And right in the middle of that chapter
In the Heart of the Sun
In the Heart of the Heart of the Book
Are some words that I want to share with you:

"Worshipful are ye, O my lovers;
"let us forward to the dimmest hollow!
"There we will feast upon mandrake and upon moly!
"There the lovely One shall spread us His holy banquet.
"In the brown cakes of corn
"we shall taste the food of the world, and be strong.
"In the ruddy and awful cup of death
"we shall drink the blood of the world, and be drunken!
"Ohe! the song to Iao,
"the song to Iao!"

And this little passage
That I just read for you
Is addressed to "the wonderful company of the wood-gods"
The "dimmest hollow" of some mystic forest
Becomes a holy shrine
Glistening with moonlight
Where we eat the cakes and drink the wine
Where we take a communion
Like the communion of the Gnostic Mass

So let's consider the Miracle of the Mass
And the Song to IAO.
"Forasmuch as meat and drink
"Are transmuted in us daily
"Into spiritual substance
"I believe in the Miracle of the Mass."
That's the Mystery of Metabolism
When food and drink become God
Because the human is divine
Sure, there's something mysterious and wonderful
About the fact that our highest ideals
Our wildest imaginations
Our deepest feelings all are ultimately fueled
By the food on our plates
And the drink in our cups
But we do that every day
Often without even noticing the magick
Although it's always there
Maybe you take a minute to say "Will"
And pay attention to how every meal
Is an operation in your Great Work
And that can be very powerful and enriching
Why are we doing more?
What is the goal of a Mass?
Where it takes us an hour to say will?
But just a minute to eat and drink?
A holy feast of the Lovely One
A brown cake of corn for the Life of Demeter
A goblet of wine for the Death of Dionysos
What is this song to IAO?

IAO is a Greek Gnostic version
Of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton.
Now, the Hebrew has only consonants
And the Greek name has only vowels
And we can read in our occult literature
About the letters of IAO
As the Woman Isis, the Serpent Apophis, and the Man Osiris
Or as the lingam and the yoni joined in the star of the microcosm
But set that aside for now, let it go
And just listen to the word
And feel the word
It is a whole song
I - A - O
I - A - O
I - A - O

Those sounds have natural places in the human body
I'll say them again, and you can feel them
As you think about them
Or you might even try making them yourself

I - The first sound
Resonates mostly in the mouth, in the head
I -

A - The next sound
Goes all the way down to the belly,
Vibrating through the diaphragm
A -

O - The last sound
Returns to the chest
It centers there on the heart and expands
O -

And this is what happens to our food and drink
We take it in at the mouth
I -
It goes down to the belly
A -
And our hearts use it for energy
And send it to the rest or our bodies
O -

And the priest says,
Hagios, Hagios, Hagios
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy in the head
Holy in the belly
Holy in the heart
I - A - O

And we invoke the Saints
of the True Church of Old Time
in the name IAO

I -
Heirship of the saints in the head
So when we baptize someone into our Church
We put water and wine on the head
And in confirmation and ordination
We perform something called cheirotonia
Where the hands of the officer of the Church
Are placed on the head of the confirmand or ordinand
Heirship of the saints in the head

A -
Communion of the saints in the belly
Not only through our common use of food and drink
Which is always sacred
Whether we are noticing or not
But communion in the belly of the Mother
In the womb of Babalon
Wherein we were each begotten
And wherein we and all the saints shall rest
Communion of the saints in the belly

O -
Benediction of the saints in the heart
Where we balance between two abysses
The abyss of height and the abyss of depth
The heart with its muscular rhythm
So much faster than the digestive and hormonal cycles
So much slower than the neural patterns and pulses
The heart in the center of the central column
Of the seven wheels of energy in the body
With three above and three below it
That one is the Sun
Right in the middle
Vast and hot and golden
Benediction of the saints in the heart

Hagios, Hagios, Hagios
I - A - O

Deeper, ever deeper, I fall
Into the heart of the sacrament
In the heart of the heart of the heart of the book

Holy Holy Holy
I - A - O

And when we join the Church
As some of us will do next month
In baptism or confirmation
Or when we take holy orders
As clergy of the church
Like two of us did last week
These are initiations for us
And sacraments for the Church
Since we are food for the Church
She is nourished by our flesh
Drunken on our blood

When we are initiated into the Church
We find ourselves in Her head
There is new information for us
New connections and evaluations to make
Excitement to experience

But eventually we pass into the belly of the Church
We go into a dark stage
Where we think our participation is unimportant
Or we think our work is taken for granted
Our experience may seem like a burden
That we would give away if we could

With persistence, we come to the heart of the Church
We are comfortable and balanced
Knowing that we are the life of the Church
That together we animate something marvelous
That we are the truth of the Church
And we are partakers of the Magick of Membership
And we are the way of the Church
Giving out light and life, sustenance and joy
To our brothers and sisters
Without dimming or diminishing ourselves

Each of us as a sovereign star
Acquires the momentum of the whole universe
The world is our food, it strengthens us!
The world is our drink, it intoxicates us!
Holy, holy, holy
I - A - O

In the dimmest hollow
We shall feast upon magick herbs
We shall be lovers, wonderful and worshipful
We shall sing the Song to IAO.

(make + on the people)

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