An Astral Account of the Gnostic Mass
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The following document describes some of my personal hallucinations as a priest and a congregant in the course of working the Gnostic Mass. These hallucinations are in the main creative, and some reflect aesthetic inspiration, while others result from rational calculation. The ability and willingness to hallucinate as a ritual officer in magical work is of great importance, and the crosses drawn in the Mass should be just as vividly perceptible as the pentagrams in a banishing ceremony. The details in this paper are in no sense authoritative; they reflect my individual perspective and preferences. In discussions with fellow clergy, I have sometimes encountered the opinion that it is imprudent to publish my individual perceptions in this regard, because of the danger that others will take them for a standard. My hope in offering these details is, quite to the contrary, to inspire others to look and reflect for themselves, and discover the differences in their own magick. Every magician's sensory apparatus is in some measure unique, and a certain measure of variation in approach to these sorts of imaginal phenomena is necessary for individual success. Understanding the following descriptions will require some familiarity with E.G.C. liturgical jargon and the terminology of the sat chakras.
Love is the law, love under will.
OF THE CEREMONY OF THE INTROIT
As the Deacon places the Book upon the super-altar, a column of cold pale blue radiance descends from the Stele to the Book. Before turning to the West, the Deacon assumes the god-form described in the Apocalypse X:1 and Atu XV of the Tarot, i.e. a “mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow…upon his head, and his face…as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.” The Deacon maintains this form while addressing the congregation. He speaks while standing on the black and white squares of the dais, as it were “his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth.” (Apocalypse X:2) As the Deacon greets the congregation with the Law (“Do what thou wilt…”), golden radiance emanates from the Book to the Deacon's anahata chakra. Then, as the Deacon proclaims the Law (“I proclaim the Law…”), radiance fans West from the Deacon's anahata to the People's ajna chakras. As the People respond, golden radiance returns in a wave from West to East from the People's anahatas.
During the Creed, a North-South woof of silver energy is interwoven with the East-West warp of golden radiance already established in the exchange of the Law. The silver radiance emanates from the People's vishuddha chakras to and across the temple median.
During the triple pranava, the temple climbs above the golden and silver grid, i.e. the grid sinks to the floor:
- On the first AUMGN, the temple rises so that the grid is at the Deacon's manipura chakra.
- On the second AUMGN, it rises further so that the grid is at the Deacon's muladhara.
- On the third AUMGN, it rises further so that the grid is even with the floor.
The grid remains stationary, but the pranavas cause the congregation–along with their entire perceptual environment (i.e. the temple)–to rise.
On her entrance, the Virgin assumes the god-form described in the Apocalypse XII:1, i.e. “a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The acolytes take the form of winged angels.
As the People give the Hailing Sign, sparkling blue energy passes from the People's anahata chakras to their right hands; it then passes to their left hands, from which it extends to Priestess' anahata. (This delineation presumes the EGC form of the sign, the pattern varies slightly for the MMM form.)
When the Priestess sets the Paten before the Graal, a path of black energy rayed with blue rises from the Paten to the Graal. A further column of dark vivid blue energy rises from the Graal to the Book. The cold pale blue column persists between the Book and the Stele, and emerald radiance now plays about the Stele.
During the Priestess' serpentine travel, lines of blue energy from the People's salute trail behind the Priestess on her travels. A blue ellipsoid forms with the altar of incense and the font at its foci. It swells to enclose the entire temple, from the Stele to the Tomb. The Priestess' cross for “the Power of Iron” is red. It enters the Priest at the anahata, and expands throughout his form. The cross for “our Lord the Sun” is golden, and the cross for “our Lord…” is brilliant white. The second and third crosses are impressed into the Priest as before.
In giving the three penal signs, the Priest establishes a tenuous column in his sushumna nadi, through his vishuddha (silver), anahata (gold), and svadhistthana (sapphirine) chakras. As the Priest worships the Lance, the Lance takes on a faint luster. With the words, “I am a man among men,” the People's sushumnas are each energized, according to their degree of perception and initiation.
On the Priestess' consecration of them, the font and water are infused with a black radiance. Black in this case is Binah (the Mother) in the Queen scale, but see also the Second Aethyr of The Vision and the Voice, as well as Liber LXV, I:18-19. The crosses that the Priestess makes with the water are also black.
On the Priestess' consecration of them, a grey numinosity surrounds the altar and censer. The three crosses on the Priest with the censer are also grey.
As the Priest is robed, the lower portion of his sushumna (between the middle and lower crosses) glows brilliant white. As he is crowned, the glow extends to the upper portion of the Priest's sushumna (between the middle and upper crosses). As the Priestess strokes the Lance, it acquires the brilliance of the Priest's sushumna.
After the Priestess' invocation (“Be the LORD…”), the People's anahata chakras are energized with their response and the Hailing Sign.
OF THE CEREMONY OF THE OPENING OF THE VEIL
Radiance emanates from the Lance when it is raised, the People's (EGC) Hailing Signs “catch” it in their left hands, and transfer it to their anahatas with their right.
As the Priest and other officers advance to the Altar, they create a red corridor along the major axis of the blue ellipsoid.
When the book is placed on the Priestess' breast, it pulls forward a “shadow” of the energy pendant from the Stele to coincide with the Priestess' sushumna. This column is silver, rayed sky blue throughout.
The Priest's crosses with the water are crimson. His crosses with the censer are pure soft blue. When he kisses the Book, it glows with a clear pink rose light. As the Priest circumambulates, the red corridor running from West to East becomes concentrated into a line of force. It extends West into the Tomb, but only as far East as the foot of the steps.
Once the Deacon and Children kneel in the center of the Temple, the blue ellipsoid encasing the temple has lines crossing all three axes of the ellipsoid. In addition to the East-West red line, there is a gold line extending vertically through the sushumna of the Deacon, and a bright green line passing North-South through the line of the Deacon and acolytes. The Priest at the steps takes his position at the eastern termination of the red line of force, stepping onto the dais with his left foot forward.
As the Priest begins his invocation on the first step, a circle of light appears above his head. Then a charge of pneuma runs down the Priest's sushumna from his crown (“seed”), to his third eye (“root”), throat (“stem”), heart (“bud”), solar plexus (“leaf”), genitals (“flower”) and perineum (“fruit”). The charge rises back to the heart, with the quote from the Law, i.e. “Then the priest answered & said….”
As the naked Priestess recites from the Law, a silver sphere encloses the shrine and fills the east end of the ellipsoid. During her speech and the previous one of the Priest, the People individually form about themselves citrine spheres flecked with deep blue. It cases of proximity, these spheres may tend to interpenetrate with one another.
The red line of force advances with the Priest as he mounts the second and third steps. During his speech on the second step, he formulates the cross-paths of the sigil of the Grand Heirophant (see Liber V). On “secret of secrets,” Love crosses his lips between the ajna and vishuddha. On “the flame that burns,” Lust re-crosses his body between the anahata and manipura. On “the knowledge of death,” War crosses his body between the svaddhisthana and muladhara. During that speech, the People's spheres contract to amber points at their hearts.
As the People and Deacon rise to their feet with the Hailing Sign, the Deacon establishes a resonance with them at the anahata chakra. During the following speech, that connection is strengthened, and the People are united in a collective intention, which is expressed in a thickening and brightening of the central red line.
During his speech on the third step, the Priest takes on the form of Ankh-f-n-khonsu, as pictured on the Stele of Revealing. With the words “the Sign of Light,” he describes a great cross with the Lance (holding it vertically throughout), and then holds his arms out in the form of a cross (Osiris slain) until the word “Resurrection,” when he crosses them over his breast (Osiris risen). Then, as he recites the Holiest of All Mantras (“a ka dua…”), the silver sphere begins to iridesce.
With the Priestess' words “Do what thou wilt,” the sphere opens, calyx-like, into a great parabolic surface with its vertex coincident with the eastern extreme of the ellipsoid. As the Priest parts the veil, the red line plunges into the opened sphere. The line then collapses into the Shrine, where its energies play about the altar, and the silver paraboloid fades into imperceptibility.
On each repetition of the word “IO,” the Priest sends impulses upwards through his sushumna. On each “IAO,” waves of energy rush back down it. On the final “AGIOS AGIOS AGIOS IAO” the Lance held overhead serves as a “lightning rod” for the force of the last “IAO.”
The Priest's brow bears the word BLASFEMIAS (“BLASPHEMY”) in golden letters, perhaps in the play of light upon the face of the crown. The Priestess' brow bears the word MUSTERION (“MYSTERY”) in purple. Purple and scarlet radiance plays about her entire form.
OF THE ELEVEN COLLECTS
During the Collects, the Priest remains entirely focused on his adoration at the knees of the Priestess. His attention is so devoted that he is aware of nothing other than the contact between his lips and her knees, and that binary kissing/not-kissing alternation becomes his sole perception and expression. In this mystical ecstasy, he becomes a magick engine providing power to the Collects, which are directed by the Deacon, and assisted by the Priestess and the People.
Each of the Collects is tripartite in its composition, including an address, a petition, and a response. The address typically provokes the imaginal appearance of a particular power or universal influence, and is directed towards that power or its representation in the temple. The petition provokes an energetic change in the temple that draws on the influence being addressed. With the response of the People (“So mote it be”), the change is established as a feature of the temple or the congregation.
The first Collect is addressed to the actual Sun as a physical entity central to the existence of Earth and its life. It is addressed towards the actual direction of the Sun (e.g. Northwest a few hours after sunset), although the Deacon does not necessarily turn in that direction when intoning the Collect. Following the petition (“let thy perpetual radiance…”), a chnoubis or lion-serpent arises from the altar of incense.
In the address of the Lord Collect, the lingam is revered. The Collect is directed towards the Priest. Following the petition (“with diligence let us ever labour…”), a sparkling luminescence climbs up the priest's form.
The Moon collect is addressed to the actual Moon. It is addressed towards the physical direction of the Moon (e.g. opposite the Sun on the date of the full Moon), although the Deacon does not necessarily turn in that direction when intoning the Collect. Following the petition (“be thou favourable…”), a white, dove-like form descends upon the font.
In the address of the Lady Collect, the yoni is revered. The Collect is directed towards the Priestess. Following the petition (“with diligence let us ever labour…”), the sparkling luminescence climbs up the form of the Priestess.
In the Saints Collect, the crosses are made towards the Shrine and the Cup, which contains the blood of the Saints (c.f. Liber CLVI v. 3, and Apocalypse XVII:6), and/or the Paten, which is “the disk or platter” associated with the martyrdom of John in the Lesser Mysteries. As the Saints are individually invoked, their images appear in a rank at the Western end of the temple, beyond the Tomb. Following the petition (“May their essence be here…”), all of the images of the Saints cross their arms over their breasts in a sign of resurrection.
The Earth Collect is directed towards the Earth as a whole, which may be represented by the dais and High Altar (“summit of the Earth”). Following the petition (“answer favorably the prayer…”), the roses on the High Altar emanate “ripples” through the atmosphere of the shrine. The Principles Collect is addressed towards the Midnight Sun (i.e. North in the Northern Hemisphere). During the petition (“let there be harmony…”) the ajna and muladhara chakras of all present are energized.
The Birth Collect is directed to the Rising Sun (i.e. East). During the petition (“so that she that beareth children…”) the vishuddhi chakras of all present are energized.
The Marriage Collect is directed to the Noon Sun (i.e. South in the Northern Hemisphere). During the petition (“may strength and skill…”) the anahata chakras of all present are energized.
The Death Collect is directed to the Setting Sun (i.e. West). During the petition (“may strength and skill…”) the svaddhisthana chakras of all present are energized.
The End Collect is addressed towards the Stele. During the petition (“may there be granted…”) the manipura chakras of all present are energized. During the triple pranava after the petition, their sahasrara chakras are energized.
OF THE CONSECRATION OF THE ELEMENTS
The first three crosses (on the Paten and Cup together) are olive, the fourth (on the Paten) is citrine, and the fifth (on the Cup) is russet.
When the Priest touches the Lance to each of the eucharistic elements, there is a distinct passage of blessing from the Lance to the element in question.
The five crosses on the Priestess during the consecration are blue.
As the Priestess kisses the Lance, lavender energy passes from it to her. It descends through her sushumna from vishuddhi to anahata (between the breasts) and svadhisthana (upon the body). It rebounds from her muladhara chakra, and a sphere of rosy pink radiance expands from her manipura chakra to fill the entire shrine. The Priest's gestures keep pace with all of this activity.
On the word “Aethyr,” energies within the Priest begin to converge from the extremities of head, hands, and feet, towards his sushumna. On the word ON, a rush of energy travels up the Priest's sushumna and out his sahasrara chakra. It is absorbed by the rosy pink sphere, setting it into motion, so that it turns from East to West, rotating on a North-South axis–the top of the sphere rolls towards the West, the bottom towards the East.
The three great crosses (made with the Lance) are yellow. This set of gestures-beginning with kissing the Priestess between the breasts-traces the passage of lavender energy from the anahata of the Priestess to that of the Priest, completing the circuit first begun with her kiss of the Lance. When he strikes his breast, a golden radiance passes out in all directions from his anahata chakra to the pink sphere.
As the congregants strike their breasts, each momentarily has an individual pink sphere extending about an arm's length from the anahata. With the invocation of the saints, the Priest's vishuddha (“heirship”), manipura (“communion”), and anahata (“benediction”) chakras are energized with yellowish green, green-blue, and orange charges, respectively. As before, the word IAO provokes descending rushes of energy in the Priest's sushumna.
The three crosses on Paten and Cup together are red. The five crosses with the Host on the Cup are white.
With each AGIOS, radiance is emitted from the Host and Cup together, which brightens and strengthens the roseate sphere around the Shrine. As during the “barbarous” incantation of the Ceremony of the Opening of the Veil, rushes of energy descend through the Priest on the word IAO. In fact, the elevation of the Host at this Trishagion closely parallels and complements the elevation of the Lance at that one.
OF THE OFFICE OF THE ANTHEM
Ideally, the Shrine is so configured that the winged disk at the top of the Stele is visible to the Priest over the Priestess' head, and it is to that point that the first words of the anthem are addressed.
The “fire within the reed” descends through the sushumna of the Priestess, it then arises once more, “brooding” (muladhara), “breeding, source and seed” (svadhisthana), “of life” (manipura), “love” (anahata), “liberty” (vishuddhi), “and light” (ajna). “Thou beyond” returns to the Stele (sahasrara).
The Priest and Priestess make eye contact on the final couplet, as the invocation requests that they serve one another as the epiphany of the mystery adored in the Anthem. (“Appear…to Thy child!”) Throughout this incantation by the Priest, the pink sphere both brightens and lightens in tint, so that it approaches whiteness.
As with the responses to the Collects, the Chorus of the Anthem serves to confirm and establish the changes worked in the Priest's invocation: specifically, a mutual energizing of the Priest and Priestess, along with an intensification of the sphere surrounding the Shrine. Note that the trinitarian formul of the semichoruses presage the Priest's later declaration over the particula, and therefore affirm the dedication of the Host.
OF THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE AND CONSUMMATION OF THE ELEMENTS
The invocation of the “Lord most secret” is addressed physically to the winged disk on the Stele, as a representation of the principle invoked. Note that these words specifically define the objective of the Sacrament, and of the Mass as a whole. Inasmuch as the Gnostic Mass can be said to have a goal of “building a spiritual temple” as other congregational rituals are said to, it is in fact “these other temples of our bodies” that are vivified through the magick operation. (C.f. the seventh article of the Creed.) The various lines, spheres, and other forms that subtly manifest during the Mass are merely instruments and byproducts of the changes wrought within each officer and congregant. (Compare and contrast the thesis of C.W. Leadbeater in his Science of the Sacraments.)
The cross made with the Paten is white.
During the uncovering of the Cup, the fractio, and the prayer over the particula, the Shrine-sphere (now gleaming white) contracts slowly. By the end of the pranavas, the sphere has become concentrated into a tiny point, coincident with the particula.
As the particula is suspended on the Lance-point above the cup, the energies of the Priest and Priestess resonate at the vishuddha chakra, the anahata, the svadhisthana, and then the manipura. With the word HRILIU, they each release energies into their crown chakras.
As the particula enters the Cup, the Shrine sphere explodes, releasing itself into a great hyperbolic surface. Its vertex coincides with that of the (invisible) parabolic surface at the East of the Shrine. It too passes into imperceptibility as it unfolds.
The epiklesis (“O lion and O serpent…”) is addressed to the contents of the covered Cup, which emanates strong waves throughout the temple.
When the Priest turns to the west, the Lance is lowered in order to raise it dramatically. With this gesture, the Priest affirms the accomplishment of the Mystic Marriage. The cross is golden.
The cross made with the Host on the face of the circular Paten is red. This gesture unites the cross and circle as time and space.
The cross made with the circular cup on the Priestess is green. This gesture unites the cross and circle as motion and matter.
The declaration “There is no part…” is delivered in the Sign of Osiris Risen. When it is made, the Host and the wine are symbolically joining within the vessel of the Priest, and in so doing, they give off a burst of vitality, radiating from all his centers in all directions. This burst is itself only the inauguration of a longer metabolic process by which “meat and drink are transmuted…into spiritual substance.”
Each communicant will also undergo some energetic effects. The officers (particularly the Priestess) serve the communicant by defining a space in which those effects can be experienced.
It is neither effective nor appropriate for the officers to attempt to impose imaginal forms on the communicant in the Shrine without an express invitation from the latter.
As the veil is closed, the parabolic and hyperbolic surfaces in the east flatten out into a vertical plane, which then dissolves. The blue ellipsoid contracts into a sphere, drawn up into the shrine around the Priestess.
The crosses during the closing benediction are light blue in color.
— fileinfo: path: '../hermetic.com/dionysos/astralxv.htm' created: 2016-03-15 modified: 2016-03-15 …