The Altar to the East
These pictures were taken from the Xanadu OTO webpage
Tonight, at 5:30PM, I had the opportunity to attend the Gnostic Mass as performed by the members of the New York Ordo Tempo Orientalis chapter: Tahuti Lodge
. The ritual took place at a secret location in Queens. The mass is one of the central rituals of the OTO, or more specifically the ecclesiastical arm called the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
The Gnostic Mass was composed in Moscow in 1913. While it shares a number of elements with a Roman Catholic Mass, (stating a creed, partaking of a host, and rising and kneeling of congregants), the Gnostic Mass is a celebration of the principles of Thelema.
As stated on OTO websites:
“The religion known as Thelema was founded in 1904 by the English poet and mystic Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947). Those who follow the path of Thelema are called Thelemites. Thelema emphasizes individualism and the uniqueness of each person's Will. As a result, it is very difficult to make blanket statements about its nature or (still more so) the natures of its adherents. Even the label "religion" fits Thelema awkwardly in some contexts — it is in other senses a philosophy and a way of life, while also overlapping with the set of practices and symbols commonly called ‘Magick’”.
After signing a release form, and some collective moments of meditative silence, we, the congregants totaling 10, were led into the temple. The temple was beautifully decorated with an elaborate altar to the East and an ankh-covered tomb to the west. The presence of so much incense had a semi hypnotizing effect.
The Deacon began the processions, with the priestess appearing soon after from behind the tomb, and the priest unveiled from the tomb itself. The ceremony was delivered with sincerity and reverence. The complete details of the ceremony are available here
. The ritual culminated with the consuming of the Cake of Light and a goblet of wine. After consuming these two elements, one was to declare, “There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.”
As with my Chicago OTO experience, the mass proved inspiring to be amidst a group of souls beckoning the forces of antiquity through ceremony. So many paths.
The LORD bless you.
The LORD enlighten your minds and comfort your hearts and sustain your bodies.
The LORD bring you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.
He goes out, the DEACON and children following, into the Tomb of the West.