Tag Archives: tradition

The Key to Solomon’s Key

The Key to Solomon’s Key: Secrets of Magic and Masonry by Lon Milo DuQuette, with an introduction by James Wasserman, the 2006 first edition softcover, from the Consortium of Collective Consciousness, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Lon Milo DuQuette The Key to Solomon's Key

This work has been published in a 2010 second edition with a different subtitle as The Key to Solomon’s Key: Is This the Lost Symbol of Masonry? that includes a new afterword by Hermetic Library fellow Mark Stavish.

“Controversial Secrets of Magic and Masonry

King Solomon is the central figure of both the secret rituals of Freemasonry and the forbidden rites of sorcery, The sacred traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam come together in the person of the wise magician-king of ancient Israel, and his presence in Biblical history is a key element in how these three disparate religions view themselves and each other. The story of Solomon has his magnificent Temple in Jerusalem is the keystone of the Bible that supports and connects Old Testament and New.

But is it true? Or do myth and tradition hold keys that unlock mysteries of human consciousness infinitely more astounding than history?” — back cover

“This intriguing look at intersections between Freemasonry and the Western magical traditions will be sure to evoke outrage from many quarters, but it poses curcial question that deserve close attention from Masons, magicians, and anyone else concerned with the nature of religion and reality in a post-Christian age.” — John Michael Greer, back cover

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Thirteenth Path 1

The inaugural issue of The Thirteenth Path, a new occult journal from Aeon Sophia Press, is available for pre-order in a standard and deluxe edition and pre-order for these is due to begin on October 21st, 2013.

The Thirteenth Path 1 from Aeon Sophia Press

“Book + CD with music by AKRABU and NIHILL

: revelations :

Matthew Levi Stevens — ‘At the Feet of the Goddess: Some thoughts on Kenneth Grant, David Curwen & The 13th Path’
Matthew Wightman — ‘The Nailed God — A klifotic Christology’
S.D. — ‘The Opening Of The Eye Of The Serpent’
Albert Petersen — ‘Breaks’
Robert Podgurski — ‘Inner Sorceries outwardly Seeking’
Patrick J. Larabee — ‘Three Flames from Darkness Sprung…’
Aaron Piccirillo — ‘Power, Tradition, and the Road to Postmodern Magical Practice: An Examination of Austin Osman Spare and Aleister Crowley’
Gabriel McCaughry — ‘The Apex Seeking its Axis’
Revered Arturo Royal — ‘Daemonosophy’
Gilles de Laval — ‘The Script of Lucifer’s Angels’
Bill Duvendack — ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’
Sarah Anne Lawless — ‘Breaking Tradition or, How the Death of Modern Witchcraft Is a Myth’
Michiel Eikenaar — ‘Leap into the Void’
Emma Doeve — ‘Austin Osman Spare & The Great Witch’
Sean Woodward — ‘The Cult of Ku’

: visuals :

Elly Muerte
Abby Hellasdottir
Adrian Baxter
Isab Gaborit
Nestor Avalos
Agnieszka Skatula
Anna Krajewski
Jondix
Lupe Vasconcelos
Vaenvs Obscvra
Samuel Araya
Michiel Eikenaar
Austin Osman Spare
Sean Woodward”

The Equinox & Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn

The Equinox & Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn by Pat Zalewski and Chris Zalewski, part of the Llewellyn Golden Dawn Series, the 1992 first edition softcover from Llewellyn Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Pat Zalewski Chris Zalewski The Equinox & Solstice Ceremonies of the Golden Dawn from Llewellyn Publications

“This book contains historically important material in the form of hitherto unpublished seasonal rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and A E Waite’s ‘independent and rectified rite.’

But they are of more than historical interest. They are powerful instruments toward attaining higher consciousness if placed in the right hands.

They demonstrate the threefold nature of the tradition. That is: hermetic/intellectual, as represented in the Masonic type ritual elements; mystical/aspirational, as represented by their Rosicrucian allegiance; and elemental/geomantic, through celebration of the equinoxes and solstices.

And should we seek to re-work or re-phrase them, we need to maintain this threefold balance. For instance, to try to write out the Christian from the Mysteries of Christian Rosenkreutz would rather be like trying to make an omelette without the eggs! Or if we worked them in serious doubt about the existence of the ‘secret chiefs’ we would have no source of heat beneath our frying pan! Without these elements of faith the rituals would be worked without power. Would be no more than amateur dramatic performances of portentious sounding religiosity. A ritual only exists in its effective enactment, not on the page.

Yet if power is contacted by these means (as it sometimes can be, even inadvertently), it is hardly the type than can be ‘used’ for personal ends or convenience. One might as well seek to tap the power of a tiger by pulling its tail.

So if we seek to work seriously with this material we must look to our motives and true aspirations. These rituals have hidden power, and if we seek to find it we must be prepared for nothing less than personal transformation! These rituals place the keys in our hands. We only have to turn them.” — Gareth Knight, back cover

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft in Bibliotheque Rouge edition

Scarlet Imprint has announced that Apocalyptic Witchcraft is now available in paperback edition as part of the Bibliotheque Rouge series.

Bibliotheque Rouge edition of Apocalyptic Witchcraft from Scarlet Imprint

“The spectre of witchcraft is haunting the West, the dead giving up their secrets. This is a ritual unveiling of these mysteries. It is a vision and a revelation of the mytho-poetic structure of the Art.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a bold project which does not seek to impose an orthodoxy on what is the heresy of heresies. Instead, it suggests a way forward.

Apocalyptic Witchcraft gives a compelling and profound account of the Sabbat and Wild Hunt as living experiences. These are the core of our ritual practice. Dream, lunar and, critically, menstrual magic are explored as a path to this knowledge. The wolf, the Devil, and the Goddess of witchcraft are then encountered in a landscape that ultimately reveals the witch to her or himself. These are not separate threads, but arise from a deep mythic structure and are woven together into a single unifying vision. Alternating between polemic, poetic and ecstatic prose, an harmonious course is revealed in a sequence of elegant stratagems. The book is threaded together with a cycle of hymns to Inanna, pearls on the tapestry of night. Seemingly disparate aspects are joined into a vision which is neither afraid of blessing nor curse. This is a daring undertaking, born from both urgency and need. It offers a renewed sense of purpose and meaning for a witchcraft that has seen many of its treasured ideas about itself destroyed. An apocalyptic age demands an Apocalyptic Witchcraft, and this is a book which is offered up to revolutionise the body of the craft, a way out of the dark impasse.

Tradition is not static, it flows, and this work pours forth a vision for the future. Founded in pilgrimage and ritual, encountered in dreams and gleaned from the conversations of both doves and crows, a remarkable narrative unfolds. Its wings span from pre-history, through the witch-panic and it emerges fully fledged into our present moment of crisis. It offers a witchcraft for our time. Apocalyptic Witchcraft is a controversial, luminous text. A shuddering paroxysm of eternal renewal beneath the serpent moon.

It is neither a how-to book, nor a history, rather it is a magical vision of the Art in its entirety.” [via]

My Right Foot, or the Potentially Awkward Issue of Inappropriately Adoring Body Parts

There has been a bunch of activity around the notion of a Queer Gnostic Mass lately. The notion seems to be that the Gnostic Mass is not currently LGBT friendly because of particular policies, but that it should be. There is a book, Priest/ess: In Advocacy of Queer Gnostic Mass by Michael Effertz, that has been privately published and distributed. There was a review of the book by Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus. And, there was at least one widely mentioned post attempting a rebuttal to T Polyphilus’ review.

As an aside, I have to point out there’s always something. There seems to be some kind of law of conservation of energy at work around Ordo Templi Orientis. What I mean is that I’ve observed that there seems to be a constant background noise of complaint that remains constant no matter what actual rational issues may exist. There are for every issue that comes up, and every side of those issues, a mob of people who seem determined to get attention and validation from taking particular sides in any conflict they find, and seem to have little actual interest in the issues. Around any authentic issue there seems to be a busy buzz of annoying flies that actually ends up drowning out that issue with other agendas. So, as much as possible, I explicitly refuse to entertain or validate the meaningless constant background distraction from this issue with any more notice than this notice that I take no notice of the noise. (One diabolical beauty, of many, I’ve observed of the law of complaint conservation in action is that those buzzing will take refusal to entertain them as rejection of the core issue, because, of course, it’s all about them and their agenda, and not the actual issue; pro and con doesn’t matter for or to them either. The actual issue is just the delivery mechanism for the steamy, stinky payload of their pathological need for validation around which they can happily buzz angrily biting one and all.) And with that, hopefully, I’ve sent those people off on a spiraling tizzy so the rest of us can talk like adults.

Instead, I hope to focus on considering, in solidarity, what I do hear as actual and authentic dissent on this particular issue from LGBT members of the Order and body of the EGC, and try to be an ally to them. The thing about dissent is that it is difficult to hear, but that difficulty is often in direct proportion to the need to hear it. The thing about oppression is that it so often falls to the oppressed to educate the oppressors. The place of an ally and friend is to help create understanding and raise attention for those directly affected. I think I hear something authentic from my LGBT brothers and sisters, and have heard it enough that I think there must be something important there, though it may be hard and may require some more effort to hear. That the LGBT brothers and sisters are speaking out suggests that those of us who are not should redouble our effort to listen to their story.

What I hear is that LGBT brothers and sisters are feeling they are being treated unfairly and unequally within the Order generally because they specifically do not feel they have equal opportunity to take part in roles within the celebration of the Gnostic Mass that relate to their own lives. I hear that they want to take active part in the ritual, in a way that speaks to them, but feel that they cannot and moreover that they are not being heard.

With that said, I’m really only an ally here, or at least attempting to be one. I am particularly unqualified to make any definitive statements one way or the other, and am not a direct voice on this specific issue. On the one hand, I do not identify as queer or gay, and so I am not a member of the group who might legitimately claim to be affected by the issue, except that, in solidarity and community, to harm one is to harm us all. I am also not clergy in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, though I have been active in other roles in celebration of the Gnostic Mass. Nor am I part of the government or any governing body (than my own self, of course) of Ordo Templi Orientis. I am also not privy to the Supreme Secret of the Sovereign Sanctuary (though, let’s be honest, like everyone on born on this planet, and their dog, I do have some suspicions about which I’ll hold my tongue).

But, hey, I’ve got a blog, and some thoughts … and my aunt has a barn, so maybe I’ll put on a show! But, seriously, that’s all this post is: just some thoughts, that people can take or leave, consider or not. I’m just another student of the Mysteries recording my own current thoughts at this place and time.

Basically, this is an ideal opportunity to make a misstep by which I can alienate absolutely everyone involved by sticking my foot in my mouth about the issue, or, you know, something even more entertainingly anatomically awkward. Well … yay, and tally ho, I say! Once more into the breach! YMMV. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

 

The Complaint

The issue is that, for public celebrations of the Gnostic Mass, the officers enacting the role of Priest and Priestess must be gender appropriate. The Priest must be of male gender and the Priestess must be of the female gender. For the purpose of this, a public celebration is any where non-initiates are present. For any celebration using the script of the Gnostic Mass which is gender-bent, or otherwise changed, it must not be public and moreover cannot be called a Gnostic Mass in public announcements.

The current policy prohibits certain kinds of participation. A person whose gender is male, whether queer or not, cannot enact the role of Priestess in a public celebration of the Gnostic Mass and a person whose gender is female, whether queer or not, cannot enact the role of Priest. Someone who is sexually male or female, but is gender identified as something else, however, can enact the role appropriate to their gender. The policy is about gender appropriate officers in the role of Priest and Priestess.

I think it is important to now introduce a distinction between what I’d call a “gender bent mass” and what I would understand to be an actual “Queer Gnostic Mass” but I think these two are getting as conflated as are gender and sexuality. To be clear, I will try to keep the term “gender bent mass” for a celebration of the rubric of the Gnostic Mass by officers in these roles which do not match their gender. I will also try to keep the term “Queer Gnostic Mass” for something which intends to be publicly celebrated with queer officers in roles and celebrates some, as yet unknown, mystery and symbolism of queer sexuality.

Thus, I suspect that there is already a serious confusion in the complaint as I’ve heard it because it conflates gender and sexuality, and conflates “gender bent mass” and “Queer Gnostic Mass”. But, I think there is something being talked about that reveals important things about the nature of the Gnostic Mass relevant to the discussion.

But, this specificity about gender for the roles of the Priest and Priestess means that for a public celebration of the Gnostic Mass, a queer male cannot act as Priestess and a queer Female cannot act as Priest. And, if one were not able to identify with one or the other in the gender binary, then one would not be able to be either.

The Gnostic Mass

The Gnostic Mass, which is the the central ceremony for public and private celebration of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, which E.G.C. is in turn the ecclesiastical aspect of Ordo Templi Orientis, is a eucharistic ritual written by Aleister Crowley in 1913 while in Moscow, Russia (interestingly this was on “The Ragged Ragtime Girls” music and dance theatrical tour). The ritual includes a great number of symbolic and structural influences, but it serves a bold and ambitious purpose:

“In composing Liber XV, Crowley attempted to uncover the hidden Gnostic tradition concealed within the ceremony of the Mass, to liberate it from bondage to the Scholastic theories and dogmas of Christian theology, and to demonstrate the fundamental continuity between this ancient tradition of Wisdom and the modern revelations and liberating philosophy of Thelema.” — T Apiryon [via]

Additionally, the ritual, while being esoteric in nature was also to be precisely specific to Nature:

“I resolved that my Ritual should celebrate the sublimity of the operation of universal forces without introducing disputable metaphysical theories. I would neither make nor imply any statement about nature which would not be endorsed by the most materialistic man of science. On the surface this may sound difficult; but in practice I found it perfectly simple to combine the most rigidly rational conceptions of phenomena with the most exalted and enthusiastic celebration of their sublimity.” — Aleister Crowley [via]

The Secret

There is a great deal of writing about the Gnostic Mass and various aspects of the rite, which is understandable since it has such a central place for EGC and OTO, and one can research much of that at the Hermetic Library. But, what should be clear is that the Gnostic Mass has a purpose in existing in a particular way, and in presenting certain symbols intended to reveal particular ideas. One of these ideas is the IX° secret contained in the system of the OTO:

“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.” — Fr V.I.T.R.O.L. [via]

While the secrets of the Order are contained in this ritual, they are at least veiled to some extent in the rite. The secret is enacted symbolically within the ritual, when it is celebrated properly. Theories about this IX° secret are like assholes, but that’s actually a different degree and, at any rate, the secret is above my pay grade. I’ve been privately assured by at least one person I believe to be in a position to know that, in fact, not all the material is out there in spite of how much is that has been revealed. However, I also noted the curiousity that, in his extensive biography about Aleister Crowley, Perdurabo, Richard Kaczynski points out that Crowley’s own understanding of the secret held by OTO continued to evolve as he experimented with it, even after the time when his scholarly and instructional libri about the secret were written, to the point that those libri “were obsolete even as they appeared” (Kaczynski, 275). So, anyway, who knows? Who knows and when did they know it? “And who with And how many times.

Anyhow, the point is that there is something there which is being demonstrated by the celebration of the ritual which is of central importance to the EGC and OTO, and the secret that is revealed by the initiatory system.

The EGC Manual

The EGC Manual in use by OTO makes clear in many ways the attention to detail that is given to the proper presentation of the rites so they are “rightly performed with joy & beauty” [Liber AL II 35], especially the Gnostic Mass. Specifically related to this discussion, from the EGC Manual (rev jan 20 ’97):

Section III A 2 a: “A public celebration of the Gnostic Mass is one which is open to members of the pubic; or which is noticed in any official OTO publication under the name “Gnostic Mass”, “Gnostic Catholic Mass” or “Liber XV” or equivalent names. A private celebration of the Gnostic Mass is one at which the individual participants are all initiate members of OTO of at least 0º. Private celebrations of the Gnostic Mass may be held for initiates of higher degrees as well.”

Section III A 2 k: “For public celebrations of the Gnostic Mass, the role of Priest shall be filled by a man, and the role of Priestess shall be filled by a woman.”

So, from these two, if an event is called a Gnostic Mass, even if open to 0°+ only, it would still be public. So, simply calling it a “Mass” or “Gender Mass” or something similar even if publicly announced on a calendar or newsletter would be okay. Also, if not actually announced on an official OTO publication, calling a gender switched Gnostic Mass a “Gnostic Mass” appears to be fine as well. Also, that III A 2 k specifically details gender for public mass celebrations clearly does not prohibit gender bent private celebrations.

My recollection is that there is also a comment somewhere, perhaps in a newer revision, which further clarifies the definition of “man” and “woman” to be something like “living as …” but that may have been something from my Bishop, since I don’t see it in the copy of the manual I have at hand.

The manual specifically states (at III B 1) that modification to the rubric must be approved by the Patriarch, whether for private or public celebration. But, I think, on the topic of a gender bent mass, as a potential change, the permission is implicit without further being sought.

My current reading is that for serious changes to the rubric of Liber XV, one is better off simply writing one’s own eucharistic ritual, and not using more than the structural outline of Liber XV or the text as inspiration and not source material. However, my reading is still that a gender bent private celebration does not reach the level of a “modification” of the rubric, and so, as long as the other issues around performance and how one publicly talks in official publications are followed, gender bent is not just well-contemplated by the manual but completely kosher under the circumstance mentioned.

Also, I suppose, that the Bishop(s) supervising the various participants would have some say as well, in regard to the participation of each individual they supervise. So, that might be a thing.

The Note in the Rubric

There is a note that exists in the rubric, from even the very initial publication of the Gnostic Mass when it appeared in the International, about the officers other than the Priest not taking communion during the ritual:

“The PRIESTESS and other officers never partake of the Sacrament, they being as it were part of the PRIEST himself.” [via]

I find myself coming back to this note often in my thinking about the mass. For me this note makes it absolutely clear that the ritual is a symbolic representation of the work being done within the ceremonial magician, and seems to be a dramatic demonstration of an internal process. If all the roles are part of the Priest then the person enacting the ritual is doing so from the perspective of Priest, and that the role of Priest is in fact an internal aspect of the ritualist. Each role can be seen as an aspect of a single person.

Thus the Priest represents male gender of the ritualist. The Priestess represents the female gender of the ritualist. During the rite, there is an interaction between these two internal genders that takes place. It seems self-evident that these two genders are particular and specific, exist within each person, and are necessary for the ritual to have effect; and that this necessity seems to me to be the reason for the policy around gender bent public presentations of the ceremony. In order to not confuse those attending a public celebration of the Gnostic Mass about the drama being presented, E.G.C. requires the role symbolically representing the male within the Priest is enacted by someone whose gender is male, and the role symbolic of the female within the Priest is enacted by someone whose gender is female. This necessity may also suggest some particularly specific nature to the “sublimity of the operation of universal forces without introducing disputable metaphysical theories.” It seems to me that one element of the symbolism reflects certain natural and scientific facts about the requirements for human reproduction, facts which are necessarily true no matter whether those humans are of any particular gender or sexual orientation. Without the operation of these two gender roles within the ritual and the ritualist, the ritual is not the same, and may, in fact, no longer represent the operation of the secret.

Sexual Polarity from a Male Perspective

In a note about The Saints collect of Liber XV, Helena and Tau Apiryon offer a quote from Hymenaeus Beta, current OHO of OTO:

In his address to the Women’s Conference in 1996 (see The Magical Link, Fall 1997 e.v.), the Patriarch Hymenaeus Beta described the Gnostic Mass as a ‘celebration of the sexual polarities and their cosmic and natural interplay’ from a male perspective, having been written by a man. With regard to the list of Saints, he said, ‘It is a list of the small handful of men and man-gods who, in the opinion of the author of the Mass, understood the divinity of woman. […] Someday, perhaps not soon, but who knows, a woman adept of the Sovereign Sanctuary will manifest the genius to compose a Mass in which the female takes the more active role, and the male the more passive (as with siva and sakti in Hinduism) — in which the Deacon, speaking for the Priestess, can claim communion with the women in history that have perceived the divinity of man.'”

The point here is that the Gnostic Mass is a particular ritual demonstrating particular things from a particular perspective. Other rituals are not only possible but, perhaps, even anticipated, that might offer a different perspective on that ‘cosmic and natural’ sexual polarity.

 

The Metaphor

I’m going to introduce a metaphor. It’s not perfect, but for my purpose it seems useful even so. If all the roles in the Gnostic Mass are “parts of the priest” then one might talk metaphorically about the roles as specific parts. One might talk about the Gnostic Mass as the Left Hand adoring the Right Hand. If one were left handed, one might want to use the Right Hand to adore the Left Hand, or the Right Hand to adore another Right Hand. But, the actual story of the Gnostic Mass is that the Left Hand is adoring the Right Hand. It is certainly possible to write and celebrate a ritual in which the Right Hand adores the Left, or the Right adores the Right, or even the Left adores the Left; but, that isn’t the same story. These changes change the narrative into something else, to varying degrees into a different story.

Now, it may be that in casting the roles in the story of Left Hand adores Right Hand, that the person cast does not for some reason have use of their Left Hand. For example, in the case of Christy Brown, dramatized in the movie My Left Foot, whose only controllable limb was his left foot, it might not be possible. (Gadzooks, but I can already hear the peanut gallery shouting “Are you saying gay people are disabled?!”) In less extreme cases, one might find it interesting to use one’s Right Hand in place of the Left Hand as an experiment in casting against character, or any number of other reasons one might make various modifications to the presentation of the story Left Hand adores Right Hand.

But, the important thing in telling the story Left Hand adores Right Hand is that the narrative not be modified so much that the message is lost. One might put on a performance where a Right Hand is used in the role of Left Hand, but the audience might get confused if the poster didn’t make clear that the performance was intended to be experimental, or they may assume that the story is actually Right Hand adores Right Hand instead, and misunderstand completely.

Moreover, one could write rituals where the Left Foot adores the Right Hand, and so forth, where one specifically means that the Left Foot adores Right Hand, but how does one tell the difference between the ritual Left Foot adores Right Hand from the ritual of Left Hand adores Right Hand where Left Foot is used in the place of Left Hand for some practical reason? The audience is likely to be confused, especially if they are not savvy to the original story, and, really, since the original story is a secret, that’s most people; but also for the person who wanders off the street, and has heard nothing about the ritual at all, there must be a lot of potential of confusion and then consternation at the obfuscation of the intended narrative.

Another Gnostic Mass

It seems like there should be a story about the ‘cosmic and natural’ sexual polarity from other perspectives, and I’m not sure why no one is writing it. Maybe there is, as yet, no one within the Sovereign Sanctuary able or inspired to do so. But that is, again, different than a Queer Gnostic Mass.

For a Female Gnostic Mass, one “in which the female takes the more active role, and the male the more passive […] in which the Deacon, speaking for the Priestess, can claim communion with the women in history that have perceived the divinity of man,” I have found myself idly wondering if such a thing might needs must be written by a queer female writing about the perceived divinity of man from a female perspective, just as Aleister Crowley wrote the ceremony about perceived divinity of woman from a male perspective. For a truly Queer Gnostic Mass, maybe such as thing could be written by a straight member of the Sovereign Sanctuary … or maybe I’m taking my perception of the creative formula a bit too far and strictly, but it amuses me to consider it natheless.

Perhaps there needs to be more LGBT membership in the Sovereign Sanctuary, because from my almost completely limited perspective that body, about which I know very little except for hearsay, seems to be sorely lacking in diversity beyond white hetero-normative committed couples. Does that body match the formula of the Gnostic Mass by chance or design? Is that demographic the chicken or the egg for the issue of LGBT feelings of being treated unfairly? I don’t know about this beyond idle speculation. “Shove me in the shallow waters Before I get too deep.”

I’m not sure what the magical and natural formulae are that would be represented in Queer rituals because there is a specific formula involved in the existing Gnostic Mass, which, while veiled, seems pretty clearly demonstrated. After all, perhaps quite specifically, “I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of incarnation” in the Creed. If not told well or if the ritual were modified that formula might be obscured beyond recognition. If the Gnostic Mass is a ritual that has a particular narrative built around a central secret, then changing the narrative might start with a different central secret. It seems the narrative should be informed by the source, not the other way around. So, the first thing that might happen is the central secret needs to be interrogated by someone (that knows it, who is a cunning linguist, and is also a prodigious prestidigitator) to figure out if another narrative can be told. And, if there are other related but different Queer formulae, whether different narratives can be told about those different central secrets well enough within the structure of the Order. Or, maybe some of this has been worked by those in a particular degree outside the general plan of the order, but I could only speculate on that.

“… recent researches into the mysteries of the IX° have compelled me to add an XI°, to illustrate a scientific idea which has been evolved by the results of recent experiments.” — Aleister Crowley [via]

A matrix of ritual might be possible which would offer an array of rites to satisfy anyone’s curiousity or general proclivities. But, even a drama queen like Aleister Crowley only wrote the one ritual from the male perspective on the perception of female divinity, and kept it as the single core ritual of OTO. So, it may simply be that there is only that one narrative possible within the structure of OTO and from the secret at the core of the Sovereign Sanctuary; because to change these too much would change the story into something else, or would be to make up a story that is completely fictional and not based on a real secret held by the Order.

Honestly, after so much time no one’s come up with anything, I’m not holding out a lot of hope. If Aleister Crowley didn’t, and no one that’s raised the issue has since, come up with something … but, like so many things, raising an issue and hoping that someone else will solve it is the exact opposite of the fact that raising an issue is really an opportunity to self-volunteer to write original eucharistic Queer ritual rubrics and organize public celebrations of them, and eventually why not a Queer ritual-a-thon? Even if an official Queer Gnostic Mass isn’t available, there’s plenty that could be done. It may not be possible until there is enough LGBT presence in the Sovereign Sanctuary, assuming that there isn’t already, for there to be someone able to make an actual Queer Gnostic Mass, as opposed to just a Gnostic Mass told differently, possible, so perhaps that just means that those who identify as LGBT should redouble effort to advance in the Order so they can seduce the project to fruition by building a firm foundation first.

In other words, there may be ways to celebrate the ritual of Left Hand adores Right Hand using one’s right hand in the role of the left, for practical reasons, though it may appear awkward; but maybe it just ruins the narrative to use one’s left foot and that’s not even to mention using one’s right foot in the role. Further, when the My Left Hand poster advertising the event says the ritual is one thing, to tell an entirely different story of My Right Foot seems definitely not correct, and would be right out of order.

 

[Originally posted over on John Griogair Bell’s Blog at My Right Foot, or the Potentially Awkward Issue of Inappropriately Adoring Body Parts]

The Deeper Symbolism of Freemasonry from The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Leslie Wilmshurst.

“From that source Christianity itself came into the world. From them originated the great school of Kabalism that marvellous system of secret, oral tradition of the Hebrews, a strong element of which has been introduced into our Masonic system. From them too, also issued many fraternities and orders, such for instance, as the great orders of Chivalry and of the Rosicrucians, and the school of spiritual alchemy. Lastly, from them too also issued, in the seventeen century, modern speculative Freemasonry.” [via]

The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors

You may be interested in The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, or Christianity Before Christ, recently released over at Project Gutenberg.

“The Christian bible, like other bibles, having been written in an age when science was but budding into life, and philosophy had attained but a feeble growth, should be expected to teach many things incompatible with the principles of modern science. And accordingly it is found to contain, like other bibles, numerous statements so obviously at war with present established scientific truths that almost any school-boy, at the present day, can demonstrate their falsity. Let the unbiased reader examine and compare the oriental and Christian bibles together, and he will note the following facts, viz:—

1. That the cardinal religious conceptions of all bibles are essentially the same—all running in parable grooves.

2. That every chapter of every bible is but a transcript of the mental chart of the writer.

3. That no bible, pagan or Christian, contains anything surpassing the natural, mental and moral capacity of the writer to originate. And hence no divine aid or inspiration was necessary for its production.

4. That the moral and religious teachings of no bible reach a higher altitude than the intelligence and mental development of the age and country which produced it.

5. That the Christian bible, in some respects, is superior to some of the other bibles, but only to the extent to which the age in which it was written was superior in intelligence and natural mental capacity to the era in which the older bibles were penned; and that this superiority consists not its more exalted religious conceptions, but only in the fact that, being of more modern origin, the progress of mind had worn away some of the legendary rubbish of the past. Being written in a later and more enlightened age, it is consequently a little less encrusted with mythological tradition and oriental imagery. Though not free from these elements, it possesses them in less degree. And by comparing Christ’s history with those of the oriental Gods, it will be found:—

1. That he taught no new doctrine or moral precept.

2. That he inculcated the same religion and morality, which he elaborated, as other moral teachers, to great extremes.

3. That Christ differs so little in his character, preaching, and practical life from some of the oriental Gods, that no person whose mind is not deplorably warped and biased by early training can call one divine while he considers the other human.

4. That if Christ was a God, then all were Gods.

The Author.”

The Nameless Quest in The Gate of the Sanctuary from The Temple of the Holy Ghost (Collected Works, Vol I) by Aleister Crowley.

“After a while he took the word again:
‘Go thou then moonwards; on the great salt plain;
So to a pillar. Adamant, alone,
It stands. Around it see them overthrown,
King, earl, and knight. There lie the questing slain,
A thousand years forgotten—bone by bone.
‘No more is spoken—the tradition goes:
‘There learns the seeker what he seeks or knows,’
Thence—none have passed. The desert leagues may keep
Some other secret—some profounder deep
Than this one echoed fear: the desert shows
Its ghastly triumph—silence. There they sleep.
‘There, brave and pure, there, true and strong, they stay
Bleached in the desert, till the solemn day
Of God’s revenge—none knoweth them: they rest
Unburied, unremembered, unconfessed.
What names of strength, of majesty, had they?
What suns are these gone down into the West?” [via]

Magical Stories – The Exú

You might want to check out “MAGICKAL STORIES – THE EXÚ” over at VICE, an interview by Liz Armstrong with Brian Butler that has some text and pretty pictures, and discussion about Afro-Brazilian traditions in Brazil, difficulties with terminology, and more.

“Over a weird first hangout where we sat and drank tea from chairs so deep and low to the ground we felt like children at the grownups’ table, Brian Butler and I decided to begin a collaboration where I’d come over and dig through his personal archives of obscure occult objects and texts and ask him a bunch of questions. Brian’s an artist, writer, and musician whose Crowley-style occult studies are related to his work, which is obvious from his short films Night of Pan and The Dove and the Serpent. He is also known for his collaborations with Kenneth Anger. Brian has access to all kinds of magickal stuff requiring clearance that comes through ritual. And he’s found items you can acquire only when you go searching in weird pockets of the world way off the cultural grid.”

“VICE: Who do we have here?
Brian Butler: His name is Belzebu and he’s the South American version of Baphomet. He’s what’s called an exú, or a demon, in the system called Quimbanda.”

“We were talking about magick and the occult and to simplify, people don’t understand what I’m talking about unless I say ‘demon’ or ‘devil’ or ‘Satan’ or something. If you say ‘occultism’ in general, most people don’t—well, maybe gradually it’s changing, but in general people don’t have anything but the devil to latch onto or have a reference for. Kabbalah or Western magick, people don’t know what that means.

So you just say ‘devil.’
Yeah, I mean look at him. You look at him and say, ‘Oh, that’s the devil.'”

Europe and the Spirit World or the Fascination with the Occult, 1750-1950

If you’re in Europe, anywhere near Strasbourg, you may want to rush out to see Europe and the Spirit World or the Fascination with the Occult, 1750-1950 which runs only through Dec 2nd through Dec 12, 2012.

“‘Europe and the Spirit World or the Fascination with the Occult, 1750-1950’ is a cross-disciplinary exhibition exploring the influence of the occult on artists, thinkers, writers and scholars throughout Europe, at decisive moments in the history of the modern world. The exhibition is organized into three sections:

– The creative arts: painting, drawing, sculpture, print-making and photography, the literature of the irrational and unexplained.

– The esoteric tradition revisited, with an extensive chronological survey encompassing the movement’s foundational texts and print iconography.

– The relationship between occult phenomena and the scientific world, through key scholarly figures and thinkers, and an examination of their experiments and scientific instruments.

With some 500 works of art, 150 scientific artefacts, 150 books and 100 documents from a host of European countries, Europe and the Spirit World will be presented in a dedicated 2500-m2 space at the the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Strasbourg.”