HYMNS OF THE GNOSIS
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
("On Song," from Aleister Crowley's Liber Aleph vel CXI)
So then, o my Son, here is my Wisdom, that the Voice of the Soul in its true Nature Eternal and Unchangeable, comprehending All, is Silence; and the Voice of the Soul, dynamic, in the Way of its Will, is Song. Nor is there any Form of utterance that is not, as Song is, the Music proper to that Motion, according to the Law. Thus, as thy Cousin Arthur Machen hath rejoiced to make plain unto Men in his Book called Hieroglyphics, the first Quality of Art is its Ecstacy. So, to nigh all Men at one Time or other, cometh Joy of Creation, with the Belief that their Utterance is holy and beautiful, glorious with Banners. This would indeed be the Case, an we could discern their Thought from their Words; but because they have no technical Skill to express themselves, they do not enable others to reproduce or recreate the original Passion which inspired them, or even any Memory thereof. Understand then what is the Agony of the Great Soul who hath every Key of Paradise at his Girdle, when he would open the Gate of Holiness, or of Beauty, or any Virtue soever, to the Men of his Age!
The following songs are all constructed on lyrics by Aleister Crowley, suited for liturgical use.
"The Magician" is Crowley's translation of a poem by Eliphas Levi.
The following songs are by T Polyphilus:
Unknown Rivers was an eleven-voice choir singing Thelemic sacred music. The choir was in operation for seven years as a project of Scarlet Woman Lodge in the Valley of Austin, Texas, uniting our breaths and voices to give beautiful musical form to our acceptance of the Law of Thelema. The work of the choir was founded on hermetic and Thelemic philosophies. I was privileged to serve as the choregus of the group. I had had no previous experience at choral direction, but I had sung in choirs for many years. There was no way for me to predict if I could organize a choir that would be worthy of public performance, but my initial goal was merely to have a group with whom I could sing some songs that I felt needed singing. Happily, the effort prospered.
We performed a cappella, from a repetoire that included nearly all of the hymns above, plus many more. Our eventual performance venues included church ceremonies, camping festivals, coffee shops, regional O.T.O. events, and command performances for visiting dignitaries. The photo at left shows the original members of the choir following our first performance, on the Feast of the Stars (February 2, 1996). A repeated vernal ceremony of the choir consisted of musically chanting the 169 Cries of the Adoration of God from Liber Qesaurou Eidwlwn, drawn in random sequence.
Unknown Rivers contributed to the Lodge's productions of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis, in which the Lodge transacted seven different pieces of ritual theater for the public over a period of thirty-one days, every autumn for seven years. The choir presented a chamber opera of the Rite of Saturn (1997) as a cabal of vampires, the Rite of Venus (1999) in a straightforward "classical" manner, and the Rite of Mars (2001) with ancient Egyptian grandeur. We also provided choral support to the Rite of Jupiter (1996) and the Rite of Luna (1998).
Unknown Rivers encouraged other choral projects within O.T.O., such as Horus Chorus of Salt Lake City. We also recorded training materials for O.T.O. ritualists. The audio files on this page feature the voices of Unknown Rivers.
Love is the law, love under will.