A Discourse on the First Article

T Polyphilus

I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD;
> and in one Star in the Company of Stars
> of whose fire we are created,
> and to which we shall return;
> and in one Father of Life,
> Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS,
> the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth;
> and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.

Tonight I’d like to share with you
Some thoughts about the Creed
Of our Gnostic Catholic Church.
The Creed is something we have in common
Something we say together
Whenever we enter upon the miracle of the Mass
We all share the same words
So that we affirm ourselves to be
“Bound by the same oaths, and
“Filled with the same aspirations.”
We all share the same words
But not the same thoughts
Because these words concern Mysteries;
They hold within them
A set of indicible arcana:
Secrets that cannot be revealed
Only approached in the innermost sanctuary
Of your own heart and conscience
The sacred solitude in which you commune
With the presence of THAT
Which you know to be Most High
Which if any man behold he shall surely die

And we put the words of these Mysteries
After the clause I believe
Which is not to assert some pallid “faith”
Not merely to believe that you know –
But to know that you believe
To understand the creative authority
Of your own mind
Consciously and unconsciously
Forming the realities of your thought

The words of the creed are a Mystery of Mystery
And my words here
Are not a revelation of that Mystery
They are only embroidery on the veil
I cannot open the veil for you
But we can look at it together;
For you to grasp the Mystery
You must pass within for yourself
You must take the step and make the sign
And know your own knowing
As you say

I believe in one secret and ineffable Lord.

That Lord is ineffable,
So I’m not going to eff him for you,
But there is a Lord who is a “secret center”
Who is a “winged secret flame”
And a “secret serpent coiled about to spring.”
The worshipper of Heru-pa-kraath
Who is the god of silence and secrecy
Worships this ineffable Lord
But the worship is unclear
For the Lord is the secret center
Of the very worshipper who believes

In one star in the company of stars

The stars of the “company of heaven”
Revealed in the vision
Of “Infinite Space and the Infinite Stars thereof”
This heavenly host
This starry vault
“Bends in ecstasy to kiss
“The secret ardors” of the ineffable Lord.

And there above the altar
Rests the sacred book
That unveils the company of stars
In the omnipresent body of Nuit
And places the ineffable Hadit
In the heart of every man
But we do not speak their names in our creed
As the Prophet has written:

“There are to be no regular temples

“Of Nuit and Hadit

“For they are incommensurables

“And absolutes.”

Which is to say
Ours is not a special ritual unto Nuit
All rituals are unto Nuit
Who is everything known.
Hadit is not especially in our worship
Every worshipper is Hadit
Who is the one thing that knows.
As long as you live
As long as you are an individual
You cannot possess heaven
You cannot lack a point of view

The Prophet continues,

“Our religion therefore, for the People,

“Is the Cult of the Sun,”
The one star … of whose fire we are created
> And to which we shall return

The force and fire of Ra-Hoor-Khuit:
The Crowned and Conquering Child

Now let us run back in time
Before the writing of the sacred book
One hundred and twenty years
Before the initiation of the Prophet
A college professor in Paris
Has been reading ancient Latin
The Saturnalia of Macrobius
And he is on fire with an idea
Macrobius explained that
The essence of every god is solar
And the essence of every goddess is lunar
“For he is ever a sun, and she a moon.”
So this college professor
Whose name is Charles Francois Dupuis
Becomes convinced of the same idea

He writes an essay in which
He traces the origins of the Zodiac
To agricultural astronomy in Egypt
Fifteen thousand years ago
Dupuis continues with this idea
And after seventeen years of work and worry
He issues a treatise in eight volumes
On The Origin of All Religions
His books inaugurate
The modern solar theory of religion
Dupuis argues that solar myth
Is the basis for the old pagan religions
And that priestcraft was invented in Egypt
As a means of social control
Dupuis is a rationalist
Who sees modern religion as imposture and bigotry
It is even worse than ancient paganism
Since its original meanings have been lost
Dupuis writes of Jesus Christ,

“The people make him both god and man;

“The philosophers of today, merely a man,

“We will make him neither a god,

“Much less a man;

“For the sun is as far from the human

“As it is from the divine nature.”

For Dupuis, Jesus is the sun,
The twelve apostles are the Zodiac

The first champion of the solar theory
In the English language
Was Sir William Drummond
Whose book Oedipus Judaicus
Explains many enigmatic passages
From the Hebrew scriptures
As astronomical allegories

Dupuis and Drummond were Deists
Opposed to the churches of their day
Their theories of solar origins
Were intended to deflate official cults
To show religion to be only a degradation of science
But we can wonder why
Dupuis claims that Nature is Truth but thinks that
“The Sun is far from the divine nature.”
Doesn’t our natural world depend on the Sun?
Indeed, if the historical gods are shown to be the Sun
Then doesn’t it make sense to honor the Sun as a god?
To revere the creative and destructive power
At the heart of the great system
“In which we live and move and have our being.”
And to look to that “Lord visible and sensible”
For the “perpetual radiance”
That sustains and encourages us
From day to day And from year to year
To make that heart of the sky
A model for our own hearts
That we may illuminate and energize
Those who are in our own orbits
I know I believe in that!

And in one Father of Life …
> The sole vice-regent of the Sun upon the Earth

The Prophet writes of the Sun,

“His vice-regent and representative

“In the animal kingdom

“Is his cognate symbol the Phallus,

“Representing Love and Liberty.”

Now if we return to the time
That Dupuis was puzzling out the Zodiac
We can find an Englishman
Recently returned from Sicily:
This gentleman Richard Payne Knight
Was a collector of antiquities
And a student of ancient Greek
With an interest in pagan religion
Developing ideas that he encountered
In his travels and his reading
Knight came to write his own book
On the nature of religious origins
Called A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus
And its Connection with the Mystic Theology of the Ancients

Although it was privately printed
(Like Drummond’s Oedipus Judaeicus)
It was an object of great scandal
Knight wrote that the ancients
Shared an emanationist idea of deity
With a supreme principle
That was both male and female
And they would revere this principle of generation
Through artistic representations
Of the generative organs
And the act of sexual congress

So Knight offered a phallic theory
Of the origins of religion
And he did not confine it
To ancient pagans alone
He included a letter from his friend
Sir William Hamilton
Describing the survival of phallic worship
Among Neapolitan Christians
Who celebrate a great feast
For the Saints Cosmo and Damiano
With wax figures of phalluses
That the girls kiss and pray over
And Knight mentions his opinion
That the sign of the cross
Was derived from a phallic emblem

Like Dupuis he was a skeptical Deist
But while Dupuis scorned solar religion
Knight viewed phallicism
As a fairly wholesome and reasonable
Expression of the human condition
Knight is named as a saint in the Gnostic Mass
Though he never took that extra step
As Crowley put it:

“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.”

And it is the sex instinct
“Ever constant and mighty within us”
That presents to us
The divine power
Of origin and continuity
“Force of energy, fire of motion”
From generation to generation
I know I believe in that!

The solar and the phallic theorists often found common cause
In the esotericism of the nineteenth century
The two ideas were combined
In the work of writers like Hargrave Jennings
Who called his solar-phallism the “Rosicrucian Mysteries”
And who is also now a saint of our church.

Mystery of Mystery,

This Father of Life,
This force and fire within us,
Has a proper name
and it is CHAOS
The Unknown All-Father
Crowley had a vision of CHAOS in Biskra, Algeria

“Chaos is Peace,” declares Crowley’s vision

“Blackness, blackness intolerable

“Before the beginning of the light

“Holy art thou, Chaos

“Chaos, Eternity, all contradictions in terms!”

A year or two before writing the Gnostic Mass
Crowley revised the ritual of the Pentagram
And he replaced Tetragrammaton
The Hebrew name of four letters
With CHAOS, a four-letter Greek name
Now the four letters of Tetragrammaton
Are yod, heh, vau, heh
Father, mother, son and daughter
While the four letters of CHAOS
Are chi, alpha, omicron, sigma
Woman, man, egg, and sperm
And in his commentary on that ritual
Crowley remarks that the Greek words
Give a “secret sense” in their numeration
Chi, alpha, omicron, sigma
Is six hundred plus one plus seventy plus two hundred
That’s eight hundred and seventy one
Which is a value shared by several other Greek words
Achos, meaning “pain” or “sorrow”
Pharos, the great lighthouse of Alexandria
One of the seven wonders of the ancient world
Agnizo, meaning “to purify”
And Aphros, the white froth of the sea

And each of us brings together
These mysterious ideas of the All-father
To know that we believe

In one air, the nourisher of all that breathes.

“The unsullied, ever-flowing air”
A mysterious and invisible support of life
Air is the substance of our breath
And in nearly all the old languages we know
There is a word for breath
That comes to mean “life” or “soul”
Like the Latin spiritus that gives us “spirit”
Or the Hebrew ruach which is consciousness
Or the Greek pneuma
Or the Sanskrit prana
Or the Arabic nafs
And when we recite the Creed together
Our breathing synchronizes
The words pace our breath
Which is the spirit of the Creed

“For in the brain is the shrine,

“And there is no Image therein;

“And the breath of man

“Is the incense and the libation.”

In the name of CHAOS, Amen.

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