[Initially prepared as a talk to be delivered at the Gnostic Catholic Church Conference scheduled for August, 1998 EV, the following text was adapted as a paper and published in The Gnostic Times vol. 1 no. 1 for June, 1999 EV. Original material copyright © 1999 by Allen Greenfield. All material from the writings public and private of Aleister Crowley are copyright © Ordo Templi Orientis.]
In this paper I want to concentrate on what Aleister Crowley as Baphomet XI° OTO had to say about the Gnostic Church as it applied to the OTO specifically, and to touch on his authority to speak on the subject. I rely on three documents:
First and foremost, I reference Liber XV, The Gnostic Mass itself, written as the chief celebratory ritual, public and private, of OTO. It was composed by Aleister Crowley, of course, at about the same time he became the head of the Order in English Speaking countries.
It is my contention that, especially in the italicized portions of the Mass — ostensibly and exoterically mere "staging notes" — Crowley laid out the complete structure for the Gnostic Church in Thelemic usage. Over 30 years later, working with the Gnostic prelate W.B. Crow, he formulated a concise manifesto for the Gnostic Catholic Church that confirmed that structure in unmistakable form. This document is known, but seldom examined and little understood. I have carefully examined it, both as written by Crow and modified by Crowley, acting as Patriarch of the EGC.
Finally, I intend to touch on what Crowley himself considered the reasons he had the right and obligation to establish this structure. He appeared to write or authorize all of these documents, and generally act, as if he was in a position to act as a senior Gnostic patriarch. To illustrate this, I must resort to more controversial source information, but information that nonetheless does exist, and which I have also intently examined.
Let us first turn to the Mass itself. Crowley specified that the Gnostic Mass, Liber XV, was, rather uniquely, a ritual and a document for the OTO. The format is that of many A. A. papers, but it clearly specifies that it is for OTO as such. He invokes a rather flamboyant assertion in the 1918 version that the Mass is "edited from the Ancient Documents in Assyrian and Greek by The Master Therion".
Even most hard-core Crowleyans balk at this. However, we now know much more about ancient living Gnostic traditions, including that of the still-surviving Mandeans of Iraq. The Mandeans have for many centuries celebrated a form of memorial Gnostic Mass that is of Babylonian or Assyrian or possibly even Sumerian origin. Crowley also tells us that the Mass "represents the original and true pre-Christian Christianity". This is not a play on words for serious students of the history of religion, with an understanding of both Gnosticism and its relationship to the early Christian Church.
The Gnostic Mass, with respect to the initiatory message of the OTO, follows the venerable traditions of the Christian Mass. Amalarius of Metz, in his Opera Omnia, written circa 840 EV, said of the Mass: "Sacraments must have some resemblance to the things they symbolise. Therefore, the priest resembles Christ, as the bread and wine resemble the corpse of Christ. In the same way, the sacrifice of the priest on the altar resembles, in a certain way, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross." As we shall see presently, the Gnostic Mass performs precisely the same function for the Knowledge and Wisdom of the OTO.
With the preliminaries done, Crowley turns his attention to a precise description of what a Temple for the Gnostic Catholic Church should be when performing its chief celebratory ritual. He says:
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 Altar. Its dimensions should be 7 feet in length, 3 feet in breadth, 44 inches in height. It should be covered with a crimson altar-cloth, on which may be embroidered fleur-de-lis in gold, or a sunblaze, or other suitable emblem.
On each side of it should be a pillar or Obelisk, with countercharges in black and white.
Below it should be the dais of three steps, in black and white squares.
Above it is the super-altar, at whose top is the Stele of Revealing in reproduction, with four candles on each side of it. Below the stele is a place for The Book of the Law, with six candles on each side of it. Below this again is The Holy Graal, with roses on each side of it. There is room in front of the Cup for the Paten. On each side beyond the roses, are two great candles.
All this is enclosed within a great Veil.
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.
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.
Repeating, the apex of a third triangle is an upright tomb.
Now this, I submit, is a careful and exacting description of a Gnostic Temple, no less specific than, say, Exodus 25:9 – Exodus 27:21. Crowley, however, is more concise than Exodus, so bear with me here; I have a point to make:
According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof [...] and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
concluding with this:
In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.
Exodus was indeed wordier, but it is self-evident that both Crowley and the author of Exodus are describing a place of spiritual devotion or ceremony, in some considerable and not altogether dissimilar detail. Crowley, as has been pointed out with perhaps less vigor than is merited, learned a great deal from his Plymouth Brethren childhood, however much he came to reject its specific doctrines. He could quote the Judeo-Christian Scriptures chapter and verse as well as Liber AL, and drew upon his knowledge of them extensively throughout his life.
We should be clear that a Tabernacle in the Biblical sense is, essentially, a portable Temple, and the later Temples of Solomon and of Herod were modeled upon the portable shrine so intricately described. It has been remarked on Exod. 26:31-35 that a curtain was to divide the tabernacle into two rooms, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, with the former twice as large as the latter. The Most Holy Place probably formed a perfect cube, 15 feet by 15 feet by 15 feet. Enclosed with linen curtains embroidered with cherubim and containing only the ark of the Testimony, it represented God's throne room. The Holy Place represented his royal guest chamber where his people symbolically came before him in the bread of the Presence, the light from the lampstand, and the incense from the altar of incense. In (26:31) the CURTAIN is used to separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. It was called the "shielding curtain" (39:34; 40:21; Nu 4:5) because it shielded the ark. At the moment when Christ died, according to the Christian mythos, the curtain of Herod's temple was torn, thereby giving the believer direct access to the presence of God (see Mk 15:38; Heb 6:19-20; 10:19-22).
In Exodus the phrase "Aaron and his sons" refers to the priesthood, about which much is said in terms of dress and obligations. Crowley, not surprisingly, next turns his attention to the officers of the Mass, and, by implication, the officers of the Gnostic Church. He also speaks somewhat to their individual qualifications as well as garb, at least insofar as their vestments are concerned. He tells us concerning the Mass officers:
The PRIEST. Bears the Sacred Lance, and is clothed at first in a plain white robe.
The PRIESTESS. Should be actually Virgo Intacta or specially dedicated to the service of the Great Order. She is clothed in white, blue, and gold. She bears the Sword from a red girdle, and the Paten and Hosts, or Cakes of Light.
The DEACON. He is clothed in white and yellow. He bears The Book of the Law.
Two CHILDREN. They are clothed in white and black. One bears a pitcher of water and a cellar of salt, the other a censer of fire and a casket of perfume.
The Mass proceeds and it takes little imaginativeness to realize that the roles and responsibilities of the officers are now defined in terms of their actions. The Deacon assists and, to an extent not always appreciated, directs the Congregation. His or her primary station is at the small altar, analogous to the position of Tiphereth, the magical weapons of which are the Rose Cross and the Lamen, the OTO Lamen being itself a symbol of the True Eucharist.
The DEACON now takes the consecrated Robe from the High Altar, and brings it to the Priestess, who "robes the PRIEST in his Robe of scarlet and gold" having raised him from the dead. She then consecrates him, and gives adoration to that which she has brought to life. The Priest, in his turn, returns the adoration, adds invocation, and elevates the Virgin to the place of divinity. Having done so, the Priest and Priestess with the children assisting play out a Mystery which lies at the core of the majesty, power and purpose of the OTO itself, within its Innermost Sanctuary. The Deacon marshals the congregation present to coparticipation in this Mystery, each according to their understanding. In doing so, the Deacon calls upon, and to mind, the Great transmitters of the Light of the central mystery of myth and of the past, present and future.
What we have seen, in terms of the present consideration, is that Crowley has defined most of the officers of the Gnostic Catholic Church by title, by garb, and, at least in symbol, by their role. The Priest is depicted as a Father, a shepherd, a phallic symbol, a Crowned representative of the Solar divine image amongst men and women. The Priestess is also defined as to title, apparel, as a Mother, as the Kundalini Serpent Power incarnate, as the Goddess-Whore incarnate and female sexual power focused and focusing, directed and directing.
Even minor officers such as a Doorkeeper — a sort of Church officer analogous to a Tyler in the Masonic sense — are defined. The children, who represent completion of the male genitalia image, and the ordinary members of the Man of Earth Baptized into the Gnostic Church and serving it in various roles, sometimes seemingly minor but always essential, are characterized.
So, by the time the Priestess is enthroned upon the altar, Crowley has managed to give us much. We see a Temple, constructed to Solomonic exactness of specifications. There is a set of church officers with clearly defined roles, robes and titles. These are placed in a specific set of relationships with one another and with the adherents of the Church, represented by the Congregation.
We also begin to perceive a series of sacramental functions appropriate to the Church. The Priestess in consecrating the risen Priest with the elements is engaged in an act of Baptism.
The Priest does the same with the enthroned Priestess. As Crowley describes it in the Mass notes:
The PRIEST gives the lance to the DEACON to hold, and takes the ewer from the child, and sprinkles the PRIESTESS, making five crosses, forehead, shoulders, and thighs.
He rises, and draws the veil over the whole altar.
Appropriate acts of devotion are described, including kneeling (though only in a certain context and perhaps to the exclusion of others; one must judge this according to the level of one's own initiation). Certain magical gestures, and the use of certain symbolic tools are also employed. We then are presented with a bit of theosophical cosmology as the priest says, quoting, for example, Liber AL I:27:
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.
To which she responds with a quotation of AL I: 61, and 63 through 65:
But to love me is better than all things; if under the night-stars in the desert thou presently burnest mine incense before me, invoking me with a pure heart, and the serpent flame therein, thou shalt come a little to lie in my bosom. For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour. Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour and pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy. I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich head-dress. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me! To me! To me! Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you. I am the blue-lidded daughter of sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky. To me! To me!
I submit that this most highly erotic and evocative passage from the core Holy Book of Thelema is also a de facto, even de jure "sermon" on living a Thelemic lifestyle both for women and for men.
The thought completed, the Deacon upraises the people with a recitation of AL II:34-43:
But ye, O my people rise up and awake.
Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy and beauty.
There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.
A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride.
A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.
A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet — secret, O Prophet!
A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.
A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death.
A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture.
A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight.
I submit that Crowley has now incorporated into the Mass an instruction as to the specific Holy Days to be celebrated in the Gnostic Catholic Church of the OTO. He furthermore implies the role of Deacon, extended beyond the Mass per se, as being that of a Herald or Master of Ceremonies.
The Priestess is uncovered, "Isis unveiled" as it were, by the Priest with the Lance and the verbal proclamation of the Thelemic law by the Priestess, again quoting Liber AL. As if to again point out that living Thelema is not only theory but practice, she is exposed wholly naked. The symbolism of the nudity is not exhausted in this observation, but in keeping to our theme we immediately note Crowley's instruction:
During the previous speeches the PRIESTESS has, if necessary, as in savage countries, resumed her robe.
We have here the observation that the Thelemite should not ignore the law of equilibrium, including the law and custom of the land, nation or place in which he or she practices the tenets of Thelema.
Directly, as the Deacon pronounces the Collects, other Church sacraments are designated, and some of the Holy Ancestors, the Gnostic Saints are cataloged. Appropriate settings of worship are designated clearly for inner and outer celebration. As the Deacon puts it:
upon heaths and in woods, on mountains and in caves, openly in the marketplaces and secretly in the chambers of our houses, in temples of gold and ivory and marble as in these other temples of our bodies
are all fitting as needed.
The feast for life is clarified in the Collect:
Birth. Be the hour auspicious, and the gate of life open in peace and in well-being, so that she that beareth children may rejoice, and the babe catch life with both hands.
and is clearly a sacrament separate from Baptism.
Marriage, too, is a designated sacrament, as the Deacon expresses it
Marriage. Upon all that this day unite with love under will let fall success; may strength and skill unite to bring forth ecstasy, and beauty answer beauty.
The "Greater Feast" is also personified and clarified as a sacrament, dealing with the transition from this life.
Death. Term of all that liveth, whose name is inscrutable, be favourable unto us in thine hour.
The well-rounded philosophy of the Gnostic Church is affirmed not only in the eclectic litany of saints, but in the universality and inclusiveness of the last Collect. It is appropriately titled "The End" and probably refers not to an "Ending" (as in termination) but an "end" as in an aim or goal as in the familiar phrase, "to what end":
Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.
So we have sacraments in Birth, Baptism, Marriage, and a sort of Last Rites, and we proceed to the Eucharist. Of this sacrament, Crowley has told us much, even as it is enacted before us plainly for those with eyes to see and especially ear to hear, in the Mass. Having noted in Book 4, Part 3, "With regard to the preparation of such Sacraments, the (Roman) Catholic Church has maintained well enough the traditions of the true Gnostic Church in whose keeping the secrets are." He also observes, "It is of more importance than any other magical ceremony, because it is a complete circle." The Mass being the central celebratory ritual of the OTO, it is important to note that the Eucharist is the traditional and specific central element and sacrament of the Gnostic Mass.
The Eucharist having been prepared for consumption, a euphonious element is introduced in the form of the Anthem from Crowley's great and much-neglected play, "The Ship". So that this is not thought to be an isolated act, but, rather indeed the introduction of sacred musical elements into Gnostic Church practice, Crowley follows the anthem with this instruction:
These words are to form the substance of the anthem; 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."
In so saying, he not only makes clear that the Gnostic Church is to have a musical liturgy element, but that it is flexible. More importantly, he adds an additional note on the administrative structure of the Church; namely, that it is to be headed by a Primate or Patriarch. Having so said, we proceed to the actual Eucharistic Sacrament, called:
"THE MYSTIC MARRIAGE AND CONSUMMATION OF THE ELEMENTS"
Upon consumption of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of God, the Priest affirms himself a New Being with the words:
"There is no part of me that is not of the Gods."
There follow instructions largely taken to deal with the sharing of the sacrament with all the Congregation present. In describing this, Crowley gives us additional insights into the structure of the Gnostic Church within the OTO. He is VERY specific:
Only those who intend to communicate should be at the Mass.
"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's role as guide and guardian of the flock is reaffirmed.
"The DEACON marshals them; they advance one by one to the altar."
The Children are responsible assistants doing the specific work of sharing with the congregants.
"The children take the Elements and offer them. "
The congregation is also priestly and coparticipant.
"The PEOPLE communicate as did the PRIEST, uttering the same words in an attitude of Resurrection: 'There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.' "
There are exceptions to the general rules, including special celebratory Masses.
"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 [...]"
The Sacrament of Marriage as a Church Function is affirmed:
" [...] or part of the ceremony of marriage, when none other, save the two to be married, partake; [...] "
Baptism is affirmed as a sacrament:
" [...] part of the ceremony of baptism, when only the child baptised partakes [...] "
Confirmation is introduced also as a Gnostic Catholic sacrament, and its conditions specified:
" [...] and of Confirmation at puberty, when only the persons confirmed partake."
Healing, or Exorcism are affirmed as both a sacrament and a priestly function, and its form suggested:
"The Sacrament may be reserved by the PRIEST, for administration to the sick in their homes."
The Mass is then concluded with the Priest blessing the congregation in a manner closely reminiscent, once again of the Biblical blessing of the priesthood.
In Biblical times the hereditary Priests of Israel intoned a blessing still in use among the descendants of that priesthood. From the Book of Numbers:
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
The Priest says in the Gnostic Mass:
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. This ends the Mass, but there is one more instruction from Baphomet, more or less tacked on:
"Certain secret formulae of this Mass are taught to the Priest in his ordination."
A lot has been said about what this sentence is talking about in terms of the secret formulae, but it should not be missed that the sacrament of ordination is added to those already enumerated.
Nothing whatever is said here, for or against, the office of Bishop. In the early Roman Church, little was done to differentiate the Priest from the Bishop. As has been pointed out, at no place is the word "Bishop" used in Liber AL vel Legis either.
Yet, I believe, we have considerable evidence that Crowley was, in effect, acting as a Bishop; an Archbishop at that. In writing the Gnostic Mass and, in so doing, setting the groundwork for the structure, philosophy, liturgy, rituals, rights and obligations for the Gnostic Catholic Church within the Ordo Templi Orientis, he acted as a prelate.
He could hardly have been less; at the time the Grand Master of the Order was Theodor Reuss. Crowley had just been elevated to the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis, made the Supreme and Most Holy King of the OTO in the English Speaking World (which was much of the entire World in those days when the Sun never set upon the British Empire). Reuss was clearly the Patriarch of the Gnostic Church within OTO, something he would assert in public but a few years later. There has been much speculation on Crowley's technical position in the Gnostic Church, whether Reuss had consecrated him Bishop and the like, but the paper trail is admittedly thin.
In such cases, as I have learned in my extensive efforts to trace lineages, the trail is often thin. The mistake some make, I think, is to assume the lack of active documentation somehow means a given event never took place. This is absurd; most human events are undocumented, by definition. In the absence of such documentation, the question becomes, "what does the circumstantial evidence suggest?" Crowley was an active associate of various Gnostic Bishops — Reuss, Papus and others — they frequently met, cross consecrations were common during this period, and Crowley assumed the role of a Bishop during this same period, and claimed the office through laying on of hands. He did this openly, when others who could have challenged his position were quite alive and aware of Crowley. The significant thing here is that neither Reuss nor Papus, nor less friendly Bishops such as Bricaud and Wedgewood, saw fit to do so. It is reasonable to conclude that in organized Gnostic and "wandering bishop" circles of the period, Crowley was known to be, legitimately, one of them. The nonbiased conclusion at this remove in time is he much more likely was than wasn't.
The documented evidence is, however, not quite so sparse as many, both friend and foe, have been led in recent years to believe. I believe myself that Crowley was, in fact, consecrated a Gnostic Bishop by Reuss some years earlier. He may well also have been consecrated by Papus (Dr. Encausse), and, upon being appointed Grand Master in Britain and related countries. He was probably, one might even say routinely, also made a Primate in much the same arrangement one sees today with the Frater Superior of the Order its Absolute Grand Patriarch, and the U.S. Grand Master General also EGC Primate for the USA. Reuss certainly seems to have said as much, and Crowley himself was making this assertion from a very early date indeed following these events, at least in private letters. He almost beyond question held the Doinel esoteric succession, but likely held traditional apostolic succession as well.
In May of 1919 EV Crowley wrote to Frater Achad from New York:
About the Gnostic Church, you can't elect a priest... I am (an) ordained priest and consecrated Bishop and Archbishop by the laying on of hands. Nothing else is valid.
At the time Crowley was resident at 63 Washington Square in New York. He referred to this in his autobiography as "a splendid studio on the south side of Washington Square, a long and lofty room with three wide windows, looking out across the tree tops on the opening of Fifth Avenue." This was a magnificent time for 666, towards the end of his American period. There has been some head scratching about this obscure letter, but the comments seems to me matter-of-fact and straightforward enough. However, context here is important. Apparently during this period Frater Achad was conducting religious meetings in an "Order of Public Services" incorporating portions of the Gnostic Mass. Crowley may have been admonishing Achad on assuming pastoral functions without proper credentials.
Then, towards the end of his life, Crowley and Gerald Gardner began making plans for an OTO Lodge in London. As an encampment with Gardner as its chief, it was actually issued a charter, and almost certainly served, after Crowley's death, as the nucleus of Gardnerian Wicca, as I have detailed elsewhere. This is beyond the scope of the present paper.
What is of interest here is the relationship between Baphomet and Dr. W.B. Crow, a Liberal Catholic Priest and Gnostic Bishop with Thelemic leanings, during the last years of Crowley's life. Baphomet was very much interested in involving Crow's Gnostic group with the OTO encampment in London, and apparently designated Crow an "honorary Patriarch" in the Gnostic Church, something only a Patriarch could do, obviously. During the same period he had inducted Grady McMurtry into the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis, and, apparently in a separate ceremony, by McMurtry's account, consecrated the future Frater Superior Hymenaeus Alpha a Gnostic Bishop. This is probably a mirror of his own initiation by Reuss just before the First World War. He could have done none of this without being the Absolute Grand Patriarch of the Gnostic Church, which passed to him with the Grand Mastership at the end of Reuss' long and colorful life.
In any case, Crowley asked Dr. Crow to write a Manifesto for the Gnostic Catholic Church, which Bishop Crow did. Crowley amended it, signed and sealed it as an official OTO Document with the Lamen and as Baphomet 33° 90° 97° XI° OTO. It was published - once - in the Magical Link, but has been little discussed, let alone incorporated into EGC work. It is. nevertheless, what it is.
This is what it says, as amended by Baphomet:
GNOSTIC CATHOLIC CHURCH
The world has entered (March, 1904) the new Aeon, the Age of the Crowned and Conquering Child. The predominance of the Mother (Aeon of Isis) and of the Father (Aeon of Osiris) are of the past. Many people have not thoroughly fulfilled these formulae, and they are still valid in their limited spheres; but the Masters have decided that the time has come for the administration of the Sacraments of the Aeon of Horus to those capable of comprehension. The sexes are equal and complementary. "Every man and every woman is a star" AL.I.3. The priestess must now function as well as the priest.
The expression of the above thesis in public ritual is to begin by the establishment of the Gnostic Mass which, while adhering to the vital elements of the most ancient true tradition, fixes its attention on, and its aims most firmly in, the Future.
If you are interested and willing to help in any way please communicate with the undersigned from whom further particulars can be obtained:
[Signed by W.B. Crow, D.Sc., Ph.D. and approved by Baphomet, nothing could be clearer.]
So, what have we gleaned from this Manifesto, the private letters and The Gnostic Mass itself about Baphomet's conception of the Gnostic Church? Actually, the answer is, a great deal. If we add in a few additional pieces from the same material not covered in this paper, we have:
- A Church Communiqué — in the form of a manifesto;
- A Church Creed — in conformity with the facts of nature as known at the time written;
- A doctrine of Sainthood and a set of criteria for assessing sainthood;
- The Affiliation of the Church with the Ordo Templi Orientis;
- An order of devotion or "worship";
- A specific Temple architecture, with notes on suitable places of spiritual practice, the latter in the Mass ceremony itself;
- A Designated Clergy, with qualifications and obligations;
- Specified Vestments for the clergy in performance of the Mass;
- A complete set of holy days, based in the holy scriptures of the Church;
- A set of specific sacraments explicitly including, but
not confined to
- Eucharist; the Mass gives the exact method
- Ordination; the letters specify by "laying on of hands" as the only valid way
- Healing or Exorcism (by the reservation of the host)
We are given, in short, virtually the entire structure for a Gnostic Catholic Church centered within the Order of Oriental Templars, but anchored on universal principles familiar to all Western religious tradition, without violation of any known fact of science. These are the instructions of the Prophet of the Aeon, the Grand Master of the Order and Absolute Patriarch of its Church. The way, as has been said, lies open to us.