Ante-Mass Ritual

A non-sacramental ceremony to precede the Gnostic Mass

by Dionysos Thriambos

This ceremony has several possible applications. For example, it may be used to appoint a temple that has not been previously or continuously used for work with the Mass, or it may be used to formalize a new working relationship among Mass officers. In any case, it is designed to be performed with only three ritualists: the Priest, Priestess and Deacon. The People should not be present, and the Children are not required.

The temple is arranged as specified in Liber XV, with the following exceptions and additions:

The ceremony has three segments.


The Deacon admits the Priest, who is clad only in a white robe and carries a lit candle.

The Priest gives the candle to the Deacon, who places it on the Altar of Incense.

The Priest stands in the East (before the closed veil) while the Deacon recites The Cry of the Hawk.

From behind the veil, the Priestess chants the Song of the Sphinx:

The Deacon opens the veil. (Left side, then right, crossing behind the Priest.)

The Priestess is revealed, standing on the dais. She makes the Sign of Mystery, which the Priest answers with the Hailing Sign.

Priest: "Divine prophetess, I entreat you to admit me to the Nadir of Heaven."

The Priestess descends and leads the Priest to the West.


He kisses her hand once, and she opens the tomb.

She reaches within and produces the Stele, which she shows to the Priest.

He recites AL I:14--

She says "Touto esti to kephale mou," and then gives him the Stele.

He bears the Stele widdershins to the East. He kisses it five times, once each on Nuit, Hadit, Ra-hoor-khuit, Ankh-f-n-khonsu, and the heiroglyphic text; he places it on the super-altar, and returns widdershins. (If the super-altar is too high to reach, the Priest may leave the Stele at the Shrine with the Deacon, who then takes any needed measures to complete its placement.)

She reaches within the tomb and produces the Book, which she shows to the Priest.

He recites AL II:27--

She says "Touto esti to kardia mou," and then gives him the Book.

He bears the Book widdershins to the altar of incense. He kisses it thrice, places it on the altar, and returns widdershins.

She reaches within the tomb and produces the Graal, which she shows to the Priest.

He recites AL III:34--

She says "Touto esti to kteis mou," and then gives him the Graal.

He bears the Graal widdershins to the font. He kisses it once, fills it with wine, and covers it. He gives it to the Deacon, who takes it deosil to the Shrine. The Priest returns widdershins.

He kisses the Priestess once on the mouth, and she closes him into the tomb.


The Priestess meets the Deacon at the altar of incense. She unsheathes her sword.

Priestess: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

Deacon: "Love is the law, love under will."

The Deacon drops to one knee, and the Priestess rests the flat of the sword's blade on the Deacon's right shoulder, then left.

Priestess: "Be thou bright and beautiful."

The Deacon stands.

Priestess: "Fail not. Sorrow not. Fear not." With each "not" she traces a circle with the sword over the head of the Deacon.

Deacon: "Thou hast spoken it."

The Priestess sheathes the sword.

Priestess: "AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN."

The Priestess exits to the sacristy.

The Deacon strikes the bell once.

The Deacon exits to the narthex.

The ceremony is ended, and the Mass follows.