Liber XV, the Gnostic Mass, is the central public and private ritual of the OTO and EGC, being itself a IX° operation. All of the secrets of the Order are contained within it, in symbol and ceremony. Yet it strikes me that a little bit of pre-production analysis would be of great benefit to everyone who has seen it. Aleister Crowley was a gifted ritualist, but the full extent of those gifts can really only be appreciated if we study and analyze the rituals that he wrote. In order to gain a fuller understanding of them we must not only observe or read about them, but we must also, of necessary, perform them. Let the phrase "Theory and Practice" be kept always uppermost in mind!
"While Liber XV is hardly a Class A publication, explaining and interpreting any of Crowley's writings is always risky business." – from The Gnostic Mass: Annotations and Commentary by Helena and Tau Apiryon, http://www.hermetic.com/sabazius/gmnotes.htm, i.e. the Invisible Basilica of Sabazius (hereafter referred to as IBS.). What is the Gnostic Mass about? Here are a few opinions:
"Harry Furlong XXIII of the Cabal of Cabbage Enthusiasts has to say of Al Crowley's Gnostic mass.. ‘well..when i wear my hermetic goggles i see a symbolic representation of the attainment of K&CofHGA and the crossing of the ABYSS. when i wear my catholic goggles i see a diabolical abomination of the mass. when i wear my liberal catholic goggles i see a devotional rite for the BVM (as long as the priestess keeps her robe on..) when i wear my THELEMA goggles i see NUIT and HADIT getting it on and AIWASS telling us all the juicy details. when i wear my magician goggles i see a rite to be used to manifest a desire. when i wear my materialist goggles i see a symbolic enactment of the sex act. when i wear my astrophysicist goggles i see the formation of a solar system. when i wear my sci-fi goggles i see our frog brothers from the star system SIRIUS calling us home. i don't know what magick IS. i don't have a fucking clue what religion IS. and i REALLY don't know what the gnostic mass IS. it seems (along with everything else in all the universes i've visited..um..remember visiting) to have the qualities of a fractal creature with a highly reflective surface. monkeys suffering from the ARISTOTLE SYNDROME tend to look at these reflective fractal creatures and mistake their monkey reflections for qualities in the creature itself.’ but Harry tends to BE full of shit so i wouldn't take him seriously." – Fr. O.G.
"Thelema is a law of nature. It does not require faith, service, devotion, worship, commitment, institutions, attitudes, practices, conformity, causes, principles, or beliefs. (See dictionary definition of religion.) Christianity requires most (if not all) of these things. … Thelema is not a religion. The confusion arises because religious praxis (i.e. practice) is often used in order to understand Thelema and to live in harmony with it. … The Mass has all these things. Thelema does not require them. The fact that the Mass has these elements does not mean that those elements must be present in order to "typify" Thelema … Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is a religion which celebrates Thelema by way of the Gnostic Mass. Thelema is not a religion." – Joe Theibes
Various purposes the Gnostic Mass may serve:
We can learn everything that we need to know about the Gnostic Mass by studying the Lovers card in the Thoth deck, and then its completion in the Art card.
The Mass is a solar-phallic rite. The Sun is seen as the (active) life-giving force for the (passive) Earth, and the phallus is seen as the life-giving force for humankind. "The PHALLUS, then, in its capacity as ‘the sole viceregent of the Sun upon Earth,’ represents the creative and life-giving Fire as it manifests itself in living beings who dwell on the surface of this planet. … In the context used in the Gnostic Mass … the name "PHALLUS" or "PHALLE" should not be confused with the word "penis …The term "Phallicism" as used by Sir Richard Payne Knight and others does not refer to penis-worship, but to the worship of the Generative Power – a Power which dwells in sexually mature individuals of both sexes. … Israel Regardie, in The Eye in the Triangle, quotes Crowley as having said, ‘When you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex instinct is God.’" – IBS
OF THE CEREMONY OF THE OPENING OF THE VEIL
OF THE OFFICE OF THE COLLECTS WHICH ARE ELEVEN IN NUMBER
OF THE CONSECRATION OF THE ELEMENTS
OF THE OFFICE OF THE ANTHEM
OF THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE AND CONSUMMATION OF THE ELEMENTS
The information used in the following step-by-step analysis of the Gnostic Mass has been derived from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to: Lon and Constance DuQuette, IBS and Red Flame No. 2, the works of Aleister Crowley, and my own experience and study as a Priest of the Gnostic Mass. It is by no means a complete analysis (if such a thing is even possible!) and is meant only as a guide to further studies. Study, analyze, observe, and perform!
The symbolism of the Mass simultaneously takes place on many levels, Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah and Atziluth, and the various interpretations reflect this. An action can be seen as having meaning and effect on all these levels, depending on what set of "glasses" you have on. My analysis will jump levels from one phrase to another, so don’t let the contradictions throw you.
Interpretations of quotations from Liber AL are mainly left to the individual. Any interpretations that I do are prefaced by the anagram C.O.P. which stands for Center Of Pestilence.
Alterations I have made to the stage directions are mainly a matter of clarification, or reflect my own preferred practice. For those who would say that it can only be Liber XV if the script is followed exactly, I respectfully submit that they study the works of Shakespeare and the performance practices involved therewith.
My comments and quotes from other
sources are in bold, Sr.
Viktoria’s comments are in <<italics>> and my stage
directions are surrounded by [square brackets]. Crowley instructions that have
been replaced or altered are
ON THE FURNISHINGS OF THE TEMPLE
The temple is setup on the Tree of Life format, with emphasis on the middle pillar. It may also be seen as a representation of the Lamen. (See end illustration.)
In the East, that is, in the direction of Boleskine, which is situated on the south-eastern shore of Loch Ness in Scotland, two miles east of Foyers, is a shrine or High Alter. It's dimensions should be 7 feet in length the 7 lower sephirah, 3 feet in breadth the 3 supernals, 44 inches in height the height of the double cube altar, also the 4 elements in the 4 worlds (44). "The Altar is sized to be of the dimensions of a typical Egyptian sarcophagus." – IBS It should be covered with a crimson altar-cloth, on which may be embroidered fleur-de-lys in gold, or a sunblaze, or other suitable emblem. Solar-Phallic symbology.
On each side of it should be a pillar or Obelisk, with countercharges in black and white. The pillars of Severity and Mercy, the light and dark pillars, Boaz and Jochim, etc.
Below it should be the dais of three steps, in black and white squares. The 3 steps may represent IAO, the 3 Triads, the 3 Triangles, the 3 Stages of Life and Initiation, Salt—Sulfur—Mercury, the 3 chapters of the Book of the Law, the aeonic progression of Isis, Osirus, Horus, etc. The Black and White squares are yin/yang, +1(-1), etc.
Above it is the super-alter, at whose top is the Stele of Revealing in reproduction, with four candles on each side of it. The Stele is raised above all other furniture and Officers, where it "presides" over the Temple. The Aeon card in the Thoth deck is based on the Stele, linking the image of the Stele with the concept of the Aeon of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Thus, its position may be seen as representing the presiding current or energy of the Aeon. This current is manifested within the matrix of space/time by the 8 candles, 4 to a side: the 4 elements in the 4 worlds. They also may be seen as the 8 paths above the Abyss. The Stele occupies the position of Kether. Below the stele is a place for The Book of the Law, with six candles on each side of it. The "Word" or "Logos" is in Chokmah, the position of V.V.V.V.V, or the Magus. See Liber B vel Magi for further information. It is held within the belt of the Zodiac as represented by the 12 candles, 6 to a side. Also, 6 and 6 could be seen as the exterior Sun and the interior Sun, the BoL being the "conduit" or communication between the two, the link between objective and subjective. Below this again is The Holy Graal, with roses on each side of it. The Ace of Cups. The Graal is Binah, Specific Water or Water on the highest octave, the feminine principle (yoni on the physical plane), the cup of Babalon into which the blood (thoughts, semen, etc.) of the Saints is poured. The roses can be linked to Geburah (red English 5 petal roses) or Netzach (the flower of Venus). There is room in front of the Cup for the Paten. The Paten is the Ace of Disks, the body itself, Malkuth, also the womb. The Hosts are Yesod, the female eggs. Together, Paten and Hosts are the qabalistic Guph. The Cup and Paten taken together are the alchemical Sun and Moon. On each side beyond the roses, are two great candles. Usually one black and one white, a recapitulation of the 2 pillars.
The Cup, roses, Paten, Hosts, and Candles together form a glyph of the Chariot card. The Altar itself is Binah, the roses symbols of Geburah. The Grail of Babalon is borne by the charioteer (paten and hosts) by the two polar animals (candles)along the path of Cheth between Binah and Geburah.
From IBS – "All 5 elements are symbolically represented … Air is represented by the roses, Water is represented by the Cup, Fire is represented by the candles, Earth is represented by the Paten and Hosts, Spirit is represented by the Stele … The arrangement of the implements on the super-altar and High Altar recapitulates the Tree of Life. In this case, the Stčle, atop the super-altar, is at Kether, the Book of the Law (as Logos) is one step below at Tiphareth, the Cup is at Yesod, and the space for the Paten in front of the Cup is at Malkuth. The Priestess completes this Tree when she places the Paten on the Altar in front of the Cup. It may also be noted that the Stčle, Book, and Cup correspond to the three principal elements of the Lamen of the O.T.O.: the Eye in the Triangle, the descending Dove, and the Holy Graal, respectively."
There are a total of 22 candles, 2 x 11, the total number of the Paths, and the rays on the Lamen.
All this is enclosed within a great Veil. The Veil of the Abyss, or on a lower octave, the Veil of Paroketh.
Forming the apex of an equilateral triangle whose base is a line drawn between the pillars, is a small black square altar, of superimposed cubes. The fire altar, Tiphereth.
Taking this altar as the middle of the base of a similar and equal triangle, at the apex of this second triangle is a small circular font. The water altar, Yesod.
Repeating, the apex of a third triangle is an upright tomb. The Malkuth altar. "Entombed in flesh."
This gives us the 3 triangles, Supernal,
Ethical, Astral, and the form of the Lamen.
OF THE OFFICERS OF THE MASS
The Priest. Sulfur, Emperor, the Beast, Chokmah, Hadit, Yod. The Black King on the Lovers card. Bears the Sacred Lance penis, the phallic force, and is clothed at first in a plain white robe a burial shroud in the Tomb, i.e. night, winter, death, etc.
The Priestess. Salt, Empress, Babalon, Binah, Nuit, Heh. The White Queen on the Lovers Card. Should be actually Virgo Intacta, or specially dedicated to the service of the Great Order. See Little Essays Towards Truth for Crowley’s take on Chastity. She is clothed in white, blue, and gold. "My colour is black to the blind, but the blue & gold are seen of the seeing." – Liber AL. White indicates purity of purpose. She bears the Sword the weapon of intellect and discernment "Let the woman be girt with a sword before me: let blood flow to my name" – Liber AL. Also a reference to sex magick, i.e. sword = penis from a red girdle the blood of life, indicates fertility, and a Paten and Hosts, or Cakes of Light. Womb and eggs.
The Priest and Priestess together = the Hermit Triad.
The Deacon. Mercury, Magician, Aiwaz, Tiphereth, Vav. The Angel on the Lovers Card. He is clothed in white and yellow. Yellow = Sun, white = purity or yellow on a higher octave, i.e. Kether He bears The Book of the Law. The bearer of the Logos. The Lovers Triad.
Two Children. Guph, Heru Ra Ha & Hoor-paar-kraat, Heh final. The Children on the Lovers card, also the spheres on the Devil Card. They are clothed in white and black. Yin/yang One the black child bears a pitcher of water water and a cellar of salt earth, and the other the white child a censer of fire fire and a casket of perfume air. They represent the Priest and Priestess of the future, or the Priest and Priestess on a lower octave. The Man of Earth Triad.
The Congregation also represents the MoE
OF THE CEREMONY OF THE INTROIT
The Deacon, opening the door of the Temple, admits the congregation, and takes his stand between the small altar and the font. In the position of Air (see Temple diagram), on the path of Samekh (There should be a doorkeeper to attend to the admission.)
The Deacon advances and bows before the open shrine where the Grail is exalted. Note that the Grail is already in place before the paten & cookies appear. This is the "pre-incarnate" state, so to speak. He kisses The Book of the Law three times, once for each grade, or for Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Kuit. In some traditions, "knocks" (here kisses) on altars and magical weapons serves to "wake them up", make them ready for use opens it so the word of the Law may "speak", and places it upon the super-alter in Chokmah, the position of the Magus, or Magician. He turns West. He stays at the top step to bring the "word" down from "on high" to the people. Think Moses and the 10 commandments.
The Deacon goes to his place between the altar of incense and the font, faces east the direction of the rising (born) sun, and gives the step and sign of a Man and a Brother. All imitate him. Theoretically this would indicate that only I° and above should be present, however, we use obsolete Masonic signs for public Masses instead. Common practice is for the congregation to omit the step and only do the sign. Indicates being born into the Mysteries.
Deacon and Congregation -
And I believe in one Earth Malkuth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten <<Malkuth/Yesod>>i.e. matter or the physical womb, and wherein they shall rest <<Binah or Shabbathai, which means "rest">> the grave, or the timeless deathless trance, or as the Mind with capital M rests during the supreme moment of orgasm, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON Binah.
And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion i.e. spermatozoon, also Leo, also Gnostic compound deity, also penis and orgasm, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET compound deity of the Templars here identified with the Lion/Serpent or Lion/Fish compound deity.
And I believe in one i.e. not two, no schisms here! Gnostic i.e. direct knowledge and Catholic i.e. comprehensive, universal, broad in sympathies, tastes or interests Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA. The EGC in the outer. Or in the inner, the "invisible college", the "inner church."
And I believe in the communion the act or instance of sharing, the sacrament, or bread and wine of Saints. As listed in the "Saints" section. Could be seen as implying that we are ourselves on the same level as the Saints, that we are ourselves Saints. <<In vodou, the "communion of the Saints" is any ritual of worship in which the Gods descend into the physical flesh of the devotees, essentially a direct and literal gnosis>>
And, for as much as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass. We are naught but spiritual substance, that is all we can truly know, i.e. the doctrine of subjectivity. Also lead to gold.
And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom fucking, whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation. Being born.
And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come. <<The Oak and Acorn chain – the idea of the present creature being the bearer of the genetic information through ALL his parents stretching back to the beginning, and also the idea of the individual (reproductive) creature being the Father or Mother of all that are ever to come of his/her "line"; the reality of physical immortality, the "DNA" continuity>>
AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN. The Thelemic Amen x3. For a full analysis of the word "aumgn" see Magick in Theory and Practice.
For more on the Creed, also see Red Flame #2 Chapter 3.
Music is now played. The [black] child enters with the ewer and the salt. The Virgin enters with the Sword and the Paten. The [white] child enters with the censer and the perfume. They face the Deacon, deploying into a line, from the space between the two altars. [i.e. between the fire altar and the Veil. They should end up with the Black Child on stage right, and the White Child on stage left, regardless of what part of the Temple they enter from.] Note that the Priestess enters from outside of the Temple, from outside of the Tree of Life, from outside of the normal phenomenal universe. She is the magickal agent that is beyond normal perception, "thou beyond speech and beyond sight," that which alone can effect change. The Priestess may be seen as the very embodiment of Magick.
—— —— —————
—— —— —————
—— —— —————
All give the Hailing sign of a Magician, the Deacon leading. Another old Masonic sign. Indicates Life and capability in the Mysteries.
The Priestess, from IBS: "The Virgin is now referred to as the Priestess. The only event that has happened is that all have greeted her with the Hailing Sign, and she has turned away from the congregation in order to ascend the steps of the High Altar. She becomes Priestess both through the recognition of the People, and through her own self-dedication to the Highest." Also she may be seen as having always been a Priestess, with Virgin being simply an alternative title. See comment above where she first enters the Temple the negative [black] child on her left, the positive [white] on her right, ascends the steps of the High Altar, they awaiting her below. [i.e. the Children do not ascend the steps, but wait at the bottom.] She places the Paten before the Grail. Having adored it, she descends, and with the children following her, the positive [white] next her, she moves in a serpentine manner involving 3 1/2 circles of the Temple. This indicates the serpents path up the Tree, the motion of Shakti, the movement of energy up the spine (the straight line of the temple as the spine.) By this action, she makes herself a Priestess, capable of wakening the "Eld" of the Priest. In the Tetragrammaton formula, it is the Princess (Heh final) that rejuvenates the dying God (Yod) and which thus makes the formula cyclic, instead of a static one-way trip. In the Thoth deck, all of the Princesses are Priestesses. From IBS: "The Kundalinî is said to be coiled 3 1/2 times around the Svayambhu Linga located in the Mulâdhâra Chakra at the base of the spine." (Deosil about altar, widdershins about font, deosil about altar and font, widdershins about altar and so to the Tomb in the West.) [The Black Child on her left and the White Child on her right.] She draws her Sword, and pulls down the Veil, therewith. Indicative of the action of discernment in the physical world, and it’s use in pulling down the veil to the "inner life." <<"dividing for the sake of union">>
She sheathes the Sword.
The Priest, issuing from the Tomb not unlike the child from the womb, or the penis from the zipper ;-), holding the Lance erect with both hands, right over left active over passive in the attitude of Ptah, against his breast, takes the first three regular steps. This indicates his status as a Master Magician. The Master Magician has experienced the cycle of Birth – Life – Death, and therefore is in a position to act with knowledge. All subsequent degrees are pendants to the mysteries of the first three. Old Masonic steps are used.
He then gives the Lance to the Priestess, and gives the three penal signs. Old Masonic signs are used.
He then kneels, and worships the Lance with both hands. The adoration of the (as of yet only potential) generative force.
Penitential music. Penitential = "of or relating to penitence or penance" "sorrow for sins or faults" – Webster’s
He takes again the Lance, and lowers it. [I like to actually tap the butt of the lance on the ground at this point.] The lance is thus put in its inactive, passive position, i.e. flaccid. He rises.
The Priestess takes from the [black] child the water and the salt, and mixes them in the font. [If there are no Children, the water and salt are already on the water altar, and the Priestess simply goes there.]
She returns to the West. + on Priest with open hand Yod means open hand doth she make, over his forehead Mind – Hod, or 3rd Eye Chakra, breast Spirit – Tiphereth or Emotions – Netzach, or Heart Chakra, and body. Body – Malkuth or Root/Genital Chakra/s. This is all done with the passive elements.
[She returns the ewer to the Black Child.] She takes the censer from the [white] child, and places it on the small altar. She puts incense therein. [If there are no Children, she simply replaces the ewer on the water altar on her way to the fire altar, where the censer and incense already are.]
She returns West and makes + with the censer before the Priest, thrice as before. As before, only with the active elements.
This concludes the full activation of the 4 elements on the Priest, the full Tetragrammaton formula. Done as a 2-fold operation.
The children resume their weapons as they are done with.)
The Deacon now takes the consecrated Robe from the High Altar and brings it to her. She robes the Priest in his Robe of scarlet and gold.
The Deacon brings the crown from the High Altar. (The crown may be of gold or platinum, or of electrum magicum; but with no other metals, save the small proportions necessary to a proper alloy. i.e. the crown of the Sun King, as in Persia and the cult of Mithras, anointed of the gods, so it needs to indicate Tiphereth and/or Kether. It may be adorned with divers jewels about it, at will. But it must have the Uraeus serpent twined about it indicative of Kundalini, and the cap of maintenance must match the scarlet of the Robe.) <<"I charge you to come before me in a single robe, and covered in a rich headdress.">>. Its texture should be velvet. Fashion statements.
Kneeling, she takes the Lance between her open hands and runs them up and down upon the shaft eleven times the number of magick, very gently. don’t want to pull that dick out by the roots! This activates the phallic energy, turning the lance to its erect, active state. It is common practice for the Priest at this point to bring the lance to some sort of upright position. This has been done by virtue of the actions of the Priestess, not the Priest.
All give the Hailing Sign.
OF THE CEREMONY OF THE OPENING OF THE VEIL
He raises the Lance. Woo-hoo! The Priest is potent and capable of producing an heir. All repeat Hailing Sign. A phrase of triumphant music.
The Priest takes the Priestess by her right hand with his left [she is still kneeling], keeping the Lance raised. The active lance is kept in the active hand, the passive hand joins the Priestesses active hand, ensuring a proper flow of energy.
He thrones the Priestess upon the altar. The Deacon and the children follow, they in rank [i.e. single file, Deacon leading], behind him.
The Priestess takes The Book of the Law [turns around and sits],
her seat and holds it open on her breast with her two hands, making a
descending triangle with thumbs and forefingers. Descending
fire triangle, the sign of Ra-Hoor-Kuit over the BoL. Also the water triangle. I
prefer that the print be facing outwards, so that the "word" or
"logos" is being focused out towards the congregation.
The Priest gives the lance to the Deacon it should be noted that the lance never touches the ground nor should it touch the altar later on to hold and takes the ewer from the [black] child and sprinkles the Priestess, making five crosses, forehead, shoulders, and thighs. [First 3 crosses standing, last 2 kneeling.] [If there are no Children, the Deacon brings the ewer to the Priest and trades it for the lance. When the Priest has finished, they trade back, and the Deacon returns the ewer to the water altar.] Note that the pattern is that of the first 5 sephira, which leaves the "Cup of Babalon" (yoni) in the Abyss. This is the consecration with the passive elements.
The thumb of the Priest is always between his index and medius <<In some Wiccan traditions, symbolic of the male and female conjoined, or of the female genitalia>> if the fingers are thought of as the four elements, and the thumb as spirit, this makes the pentagram, also creates a substitute lance whenever he is not holding the Lance. The Priest takes the censer from the [white] child and makes five crosses, as before. [If there are no Children, the Deacon brings the censer from the fire altar when he returns the ewer to the water altar and trades the censer for the lance. When the Priest has finished, they trade back, and the Deacon returns the censer to the fire altar.] This is the consecration with the active elements.
The children replace their weapons on their respective altars [and return to the main altar, the black child on the left and the white child on the right.]
[At this point the Priest could hand the lance back to the Deacon, or he could simply perform the following actions while holding the lance.] The Priest kisses The Book of the Law three times. Once for each chapter He kneels for a space in adoration with joined hands, knuckles closed, thumbs in position aforesaid. [If holding the lance, obviously the thumbs bit is irrelevant.]
He rises and draws the veil over the whole altar. Remember the bit about "I set thee upon the summit of the Earth"? It could be thought of that the first set of actions happen in the qabalistic world of Assiah (attributed to the element of earth), which is why the Veil is open. When the Veil is closed, the following speeches cause it to "rise" to the Yetziratic or Briatic world, like an elevator. Also reminiscent of pre-qabalistic Merkabah, or "Chariot" mysticism. I’m also reminded of the metamorphosis trick.
All rise and stand to order.
The Priest takes the lance from the Deacon [or already has it] and holds it as before, as Osirus or Pthah. He circumambulates the Temple three times this rises the appropriate amount of energy, everyone in the congregation should focus energy on the Priest and the lance. It’s a procession, a showing off of the phallic god, also an indication of the aeons of Isis, Osirus and Horus, followed by the Deacon and the children as before. (Those, when not using their hands, keep their arms crossed upon their breasts.) This is the sign of Osiris risen.
At the last circumambulation they leave him and go to the place between the font and the small altar where they kneel in adoration, their hands joined palm to palm and raised above their heads. [Black Child on the left, White Child on the right.]
All imitate this motion. Hands joined palm to palm indicates union of the opposites and is the Anjali mudra, which when done above the head indicates a salute to deity. <<I have heard this asana referred to as the "flame" before- raising the arms above the head in this fashion concentrates energy in the Heart area, according to practitioners of at least one branch of Kundalini Yoga>> From IBS: "In the Roman Catholic Church, genuflection is a gesture both of adoration and of humble supplication. In the Thelemic EGC, it is a gesture only of ecstatic adoration."
The Priest returns to the East and mounts the first step of the altar. Birth, I° or the MoE triad, the Astral triangle, 1st chapter, Isis.
Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat; O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous. Liber AL I:27
This speech is the Priest’s invocation to Nuit. Could be seen as invoking the Goddess into the Priestess at this point, powering the "elevator."
During this speech the Priestess must have divested herself completely of her robe. (See CCXX, I:62)
This speech is the Priestess’ declaration as Nuit. Could be seen as invoking Hadit into the Priest at this point.
The Priest mounts the second step. Life, II° or the Lovers triad, the Ethical triangle, 2nd chapter, Osirus.
I am the flame that burns in every heart of man and in the core of every star. C.O.P. – In Setian terminology, this could be likened to the "Black Flame." I am Life and the giver of Life; yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death. Liber AL II:6 C.O.P. – To live is to die. I am alone; there is no God where I am. Liber AL II:23 C.O.P. – The infinite point has no space for anything whatsoever to exist.
The Deacon and all rise to their feet with the Hailing sign.
[All sit or all remain standing.]
The Priest mounts the third step. Death, III° or the Hermit Triad, the Supernal triangle, 3rd chapter, Horus.
Invocation of Ra-Hoor-Khuit.
Make open the path of creation and of intelligence between us and our minds. The path of Kundalini
Enlighten our understanding. Encourage our hearts. Let thy light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection. Mind – Spirit – Body
A ka dua
Tuf ur biu
bi a'a chefu
Dudu nur af an nuteru.
From the Stele. Crowley’s paraphrase:
"Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before thee: –
I, I adore thee!"
The Priest parts the veil with his lance. i.e. with the phallic force. This is the first glimpse beyond the cycle of Birth – Life – Death. Birth into the "inner life." Also can be seen as opening the Veil of the Abyss. During the previous speeches the Priestess has, if necessary, as in savage countries, resumed her robe. [Priest kneels. Most of the additional kneeling I have listed is for line-of-sight reasons. This way the congregations isn’t just staring at the Priest’s back all of the time.]
The Priest is here pumping himself up even more by calling on all of these phallic forces.
The Priestess is seated with the Paten in her right hand and the cup in her left. This is the view of the Supernals from Below the Abyss. Later the Cup gets switched to the right hand, which could indicate the successful crossing into Binah.
The Priest presents the Lance, which she kisses eleven times. [the Priestess
should set the paten and cup down, paten to the left, cup to the right,
and guide the lance with both hands so she doesn’t accidentally get poked in
the eye by the Priest.] She magickally inflames
the phallic force for herself. She then holds it to her breast while the
falling at her knees, kisses [her knees] them,
his arms stretched along her thighs. Eye level
with the yoni, the Cup of Babalon, the object of adoration. He remains in
this adoration while the Deacon intones the collects. At
this point, the Priest is "traveling" across the Abyss towards Binah.
All stand to order, with the Dieu Garde, that is, feet square, hands, with
linked thumbs, held loosely. This is the universal position when standing unless
other direction is given. [Or, if already standing, all sit. Performance
OF THE OFFICE OF THE COLLECTS from IBS: "A ‘Collect’ is a short prayer uttered at a gathering of worshippers" WHICH ARE ELEVEN IN NUMBER
(at each name the Deacon signs + with thumb between index and medius as the Deacon makes the crosses he is infusing the Priest with the phallic energy of the names invoked. At ordinary mass it is only necessary to commemorate those whose names are italicized, with wording as is shown.)
From IBS: "This Collect proclaims our
historical current throughout its various phases. The italicized names
represent the main thread of the current. These men were the keepers of the
sacred flame, whether they knew it (or desired it) or not. In a personal
sense, this collect represents the acknowledgment of our own magical currents,
our own past lives, ancestors, teachers and heroes."
Laotze and Siddartha
Laotze and Siddarthaand Krishna and Tahuti, Mosheh, Dionysus, Mohammed and To Mega Therion, with these also Hermes, Pan, Priapus, Osiris and Melchizedek, Khem and Amoun and Mentu, Heracles, Orpheus and Odysseus; with Vergilius, Catullus, Martialis, Rabelais, Swinburne and many an holy bard; Apollonius Tyanaeus, Simon Magus, Manes, Pythagoras, Basilides, Valentinus, Bardessanes and Hippolytus, that transmitted the Light of the Gnosis to us their successors and their heirs; with Merlin, Arthur, Kamuret, Parzifal, and many another, prophet priest and king, that bore the Lance and Cup, the Sword and Disk, against the Heathen; and these also, Carolus Magnus and his paladins, with William of Schyren, Frederick of Hohenstaufen, Roger Bacon, Jacobus Burgundus Molensis the Martyr, Christian Rosencreutz, Ulrich von Huttun, Paracelsus, Michael Maier, Roderic Borgia Pope Alexander the Sixth, Jacob Boehme, Francis Bacon Lord Verulam, Andrea, Robertus de Fluctibus, Johannes Dee, Sir Edward Kelly, Thomas Vaughan, Elias Ashmole, Molinos, Adam Weishaupt, Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludovicus Rex Bavariae, Richard Wagner, Ludwig von Fischer, Alphonse Louis Constant, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hargrave Jennings, Carl Kellner Forlong dux, Sir Richard Payne Knight, Paul Gaugin, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Doctor Gerard Encausse, William Blake, [Salvador Dali] Doctor Theodor Reuss, and Sir Aleister Crowley
May their Essence be here present, potent, puissant and paternal to perfect this feast! P = phallus
From IBS: "This Collect may be viewed as the feminine counterpart to the masculine Saints."
(The following is not a part of Liber XV)
With love we honor them that did of old adore thee and manifest thy Victory unto the World:
Sheba, the wisdom of Solomon
With these also:
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Lady Jane Wolfe
Amelia Earhart and many an Holy Adventuress
Ouarda the Seer
Ananda Moyi Ma
Lady Frieda Harris
and all other Holy Women of Thelema, workers of the Obeah and the Wanga.
O boundless ecstasy of the Naught, who gatherest the blood of all saints into thy Cup! With all thy Daughters of the Sangraal, we honor and love Her that is above, within, and about us. May their Essence be here measureless, mystical, mysterious and maternal to manifest this feast!
(End of inserted section)
All stand, Head erect, Eyes open. [If already standing, this instruction is superfluous.] <<special attention and reverence for Death>>
All sit. [In many locations, it is common to remain seated throughout the entirety of the Collects, or to remain standing throughout the Collects. Choose what fits best.]
The Deacon and the children attend the Priest and Priestess, ready to hold
any appropriate weapon as may be necessary. [Black Child on the left, White
Child on the right. They remain outside of the veil. The Deacon will be able to
handle any necessary handoffs, and should move inside the veil, to more easily
hold items for both Priest and Priestess.]
OF THE CONSECRATION OF THE ELEMENTS
[The Priest rises and takes back the lance from the Priestess, the Priestess picks up the cup with her right hand, the paten with the left.]
The Priest makes the five crosses.
on paten and cup; The 3 supernals
+5 on cup alone; +4 on paten alone. Geburah and Chesed, Love and Will. [The Priestess can hold the paten over the cup for the first 3 crosses, then separate them back out for the last 2 crosses.]
He touches the host with the Lance.
He takes the host.
kneels, adores, rises, turns, shows Host to the People it
is at this point that the congregation infuses the energy for themselves into
the host, taking darsan, infusing the juju, turns, replaces Host and
Music. He takes Cup.
He touches the Cup with the Lance. Zap! I prefer to touch the wine, not the cup.
He takes the Cup.
kneels, adores, rises, turns, shows the Cup to the People
it is at this point that the congregation
infuses the energy for themselves into the wine, taking darsan, infusing the
juju, turns, replaces the Cup and adores [kneels]. Music.
He makes five crosses on the Priestess. [First 3 crosses standing, last 2 kneeling.] The invocation of the supernals with love under will. Makes sure the Priestess is infused with light.
The Priest [still kneeling] offers the Lance to the Priestess, who kisses it she makes sure it’s sanctified: he then touches her between the breasts and upon the body. Feels ‘er up. These are also the reproductive areas, the "body" meaning the yoni, and the breasts for feeding of the offspring. He then flings out his arms upward, as comprehending the whole shrine.
He closes his hands, [rises] kisses the Priestess between the breasts the courtship escalates and makes three great crosses over the paten, the Cup, and himself [with the lance] more infusions of light. He strikes his breast. A gesture of fellowship with the saints. All repeat this action.
He makes three crosses on Paten and Cup together more
infusions of light. [He hands the lance to the Deacon.] He
the Cup [I prefer to do away with the lid altogether, i.e. never use it
in the first place], genuflects [kneels], takes the Cup in his left hand passive
and the Host in his right active.
With the Host he makes the five crosses on the Cup. [The Priestess keeps her
right hand on the Cup, and holds the Paten beneath it with her left. The Cup
should be just above the Priest’s head so everyone can see the crosses.]
+5 +4 the invocation of the supernals with love under will.
[The Priestess releases the Cup, and supports the Paten with both hands, beneath the Cup.] He [brings the Host and Cup below line of sight, then] elevates the Host and the Cup [Host directly over the Cup, high above his head]. The Host is lifted directly above the cup, as the bird in the Lamen is above the cup moving downwards, spirit descending into matter. The Bell strikes. Here it comes! Also, a single knock is an invocation to Kether and other aspects of the number 1.
He replaces the Host and the Cup,
and adores. [He rises and
takes the lance back from the Deacon.] Suddenly,
the supreme moment is put on hold for the anthem. <<look at
Liber Capricornus Pneumatici, also AL II:67.68: "Hold! Hold! Bear up in thy
rapture; fall not in swoon of the excellent kisses! Harder! Hold up thyself!
Lift thine head! Breathe not so deep – die!">>
OF THE OFFICE OF THE ANTHEM
First Semichorus, Men -
Second Semichorus, Women -
It seems to me that this entire poem is a reference to the "Holy Spirit", or original spark of life, being in the sperm, or more broadly, the generative force, of which the sperm is a symbol. That force itself is "male-female" or of the power of both genders, it itself being "genderless" power. This is the power that allows reproduction to work, that allows the life of the race to continue through the tragedy of the death of the individual.
(These words are to form the substance of the anthem; from
IBS: "This Anthem was taken from ‘The Ship,’ a play written by Crowley
which represents, in allegorical form, the legend of the Third Degree of
Masonry." but the whole or any part thereof shall be set to music,
which may be as elaborate as art can devise. But even should other anthems be
authorized by the Father of the Church, this shall hold its place as the first
of its kind, the father of all others.)
OF THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE AND CONSUMMATION OF THE ELEMENTS
The Priest [hands the lance to Deacon] takes the Paten between the index and medius of the right hand. This replaces the thumb, and indicates that the phallic force has been successfully transferred to the paten and hosts. The Priestess clasps the Cup in her right hand. Both are in the active hand.
He makes + with Paten and kisses it. [He then hands the Paten to the Deacon,
who hands the Lance to the Priestess. She holds it with her left hand, Cup in
her right.] He
uncovers the Cup, genuflects, rises [kneels].
Music. He takes the Host and breaks it over the Cup. He replaces the right-hand
portion in the Paten [which the Deacon is holding]. He breaks off a particle of
the left-hand portion. <<particle may represent that one in
ten-thousand seeds that actually reaches the destination, the one-pointed
singular will that succeeds, where ten-thousand random thoughts do not &
re-dissolve into aethyic substance>>
He replaces the left-hand part of the Host. [The Host should always be directly above the Cup. When the Priest replaces the left-hand part, he should cross his left hand over his right, keeping the right hand part of the Host over the Cup. The Deacon should move the Paten in close so that this maneuver is easy to accomplish.] This cuts the host into 3 sections, with the Kether section being kept for use, the 3 in 1 formula. It all happens over the Cup. The Priestess extends the Lance-point with her left hand to receive the particle [the Priest holds the particle onto the end of the Lance.] The Priest clasps the Cup in his left hand [the Priestess with her right]. Together they depress the Lance-point in the Cup. Whee! From IBS: "The Particle plunged into the Wine represents the Union of Hadit and Nuit, the dissolution of the King, the ‘Baptism of Wisdom’ and the casting of the last drop of blood into the Cup of Babalon. It is both the process of incarnation and of illumination."
Priest and Priestess -
The Priest [rises] takes the Lance takes it
The Priestess covers the Cup pulls
‘er panties up [the Deacon hands the Paten to the Priestess, who takes
it in her left hand.] <<the deed is done, the united male and female
separate back into individuals now>> The Priest genuflects, rises,
bows, [hands lance to Deacon] joins hands. He strikes his breast. From
IBS: "…it symbolizes the opening of the heart to receive (or emit) the
influence of a particular force being invoked: the force of Baphomet, the Lion
and Serpent ‘that destroys the destroyer,’ the dialectic union of opposites
that conquers death."
The Priest joins hands upon the breast of the Priestess and takes back his Lance [from the Deacon]. I like to make a fire triangle on the breast of the Priestess at this point to complete the hexagram with the earlier downward pointing triangle (when the Priestess holds the BoL to her breast.) He turns to the People, lowers and raises the Lance this shows that the Priest has complete control of the Kundalini force, the phallic force and makes + upon them.
He lowers the Lance and turns East [hands lance to Deacon]. The Priestess
the Lance in her right hand, with
her left hand she offers the Paten [the cup still in the right
hand.] The Priest kneels.
He takes the Host with the right hand, makes + with it on the Paten the
nearest representative of the "active" force, the stand-in for the
Priest in some ways <<child-devouring! Baby-eating!>> and
consumes. Silence. The Priestess
takes, uncovers and offers the
Cup [with the right hand] as before.
He takes the Cup [with the left hand], makes + on the Priestess, drains it and returns it [to the Priestess]. Silence. He rises, takes the Lance [from the Deacon] and turns to the People.
The Host and the Wine have been infused with the generative energy, at this point. The "etheric field" generated by the sexual energy raised by the rite can then be stamped with the desire of the operator and transferred to the physical basis of the Host and Wine – magickal body and blood, the magickal child or homonculus – there to be ingested and refined in the alchemical furnaces of our bodies to do its work.
(Those of the People who intend to communicate, and none other should be present, having signified their intention, a whole Cake of Light and a whole goblet of wine, have been prepared for each one. The Deacon marshals them; they advance one by one to the altar. The children take the Elements and offer them. The People communicate as did the Priest, uttering the same words in a attitude of Resurrection: "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods." The exceptions to this part of the ceremony are when it is of the nature of a celebration, in which case none but the Priest communicate; or part of the ceremony of marriage, when none other, save the two to be married, partake; part of the ceremony of baptism when only the child baptized partakes; and of Confirmation at puberty when only the persons confirmed partake. The Sacrament may be reserved by the Priest, for administration to the sick in their homes.)
From IBS: "The actual mechanism by which the Miracle of the Mass is effected is declared in the Creed: ‘...and, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.’ It is the internal Alchemy of each individual communicant which ultimately effects the transmutation of the Elements they consume -- informed and inspired by that Miracle performed by the officers of the ceremony, but not entirely dependent upon it. If the communicants were to wholly rely on the Priest and Priestess to perform, vicariously, the Miracle of the Mass for them, it would be a contradiction of the very words spoken during their own communion: ‘There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.’"
Whether you turn to the congregation, or remain facing the Priestess, regardless, it seems to me important to ascend the 3 steps. Remember what the 3 steps represent, as well as what the main altar represents, and what the Priestess represents. Gnostic ideals indicate that we receive "knowledge" directly from the source, not through an intermediary. This means that we cross the abyss to Binah ourselves, not relying on second hand information, on someone else’s account. Going to the third step acknowledges this symbolism, acknowledges this factual form: only we for ourselves can grasp the Holy Grail of transcendental knowledge. It indicates our intent to stay the length of the initiatory course, to persevere to the end, to ascend those stages of life and initiation ourselves. I prefer to make the declaration from the top of the third step, from the position of Binah, i.e. from the position of Magistar Templi (not that I am claiming such a grade!) Others prefer to descend the steps before making the declaration (the position of NEMO, tending his garden.)
The Priest closes all within the veil. With the Lance he makes + on the people thrice, thus.
He goes out, the Deacon and children following, into the Tomb of the West. The cycle resets for another go, the sun sets only to rise again, spring follows winter, life proceeds from death, etc.
NOTE: The Priestess and other officers never partake of the Sacrament, they being as it were part of the Priest himself. The entire play of the elements, the consecration, the actions of all of the officers may be interpreted as the play of the male/female energies within the body of the single initiate. The ceremony itself a play of maya. In this way, the other officers are an "illusion" conjured by the Priest to enable an easier grasp of the energies involved. "For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union." – Liber AL I:29 This is a form of "dual cultivation" in Taoist alchemical practices, where the yin and yang energies may be interpreted at either a physical male and female or as the male and female energies within the individual.
NOTE: Certain secret Formulae of this Mass are taught to the Priest in his Ordination. From IBS: "Some commentators have alleged that these are the secrets of the Ninth Degree O.T.O. Obviously, this cannot be the case if the Priest being ordained is not an initiate of the Ninth Degree of O.T.O." I will say that the formula taught to me at my ordination is spelled out plainly in this analysis, and is by no means secret.
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