The Gnostic Mass
"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 & 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 headdress. 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!
"At all my meetings
with you shall the priestess say-and her eyes shall burn with desire as she stands bare and rejoicing in my secret temple-To
me! To me! calling forth the flame of the hearts of all in her love-chant.
"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!
"The Manifestation of Nuit is at an end."
Liber al val Legis 1:61-66
The Ordo Templi Orientis performs something called the Gnostic Mass, which might be comparable to
a physical enactment of the above verses in Nuit's love poem.
Aleister Crowley, who may have created the text used in the ritual, wrote that he believed that
performance of the mass helped the members understand the necessity of Thelemites to "kill out the sense of sin, with its
false shame and its fear of nature."
Nuit's call: "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." By going boldly
under the night sky, performing a ritual of invocation and the burning of incense, we can achieve a sense of her presence.
The warning, however: "For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle
of dust shall lose all in that hour."
What is Nuit saying? Crowley believed, and I agree with him, that humans have been so skillfully
programmed by religious doctrine to recognize free sensual expression as sin that we find it almost impossible to come unto
Nuit in the way she asks without feeling a sense of guilt.
For her, "all those acts which excite the divine in man are proper to the rite of invocation," Crowley
said. This includes the sexual act, and even the consumption of intoxicating wine. "Religion, as understood by the vile Puritan,
is the very opposite of all this. He-it-seems to wishes to kill his-its-soul by forbidding every expression of it, and every
practice which might awaken it to expression."
Thus if we attempt to come before Nuit in the way that she prescribes, but sense "one particle of
dust" or guilt, then the ritual will fail.
Earlier in examination of this book we came to understand that the practice of magick under the
love of Nuit no longer requires ritual. The old religious dogmas requiring ritualistic gathering, recitation of "holy" verses,
collective prayer and declaration of commitment to the gods, are no longer necessary. Each star is part of the whole, and
our love of the creator can be expressed daily through quiet meditation, study, and spiritual growth. Such things as the Gnostic
Mass are not forbidden. Indeed, those who wish to gather and recite the mass should feel free to do so without fear of social
And there lies the problem.
The fear factor imposed and implanted in the minds of followers of false religion creeps
into law. There are few places left in the world where free expression of sexual and sensual pleasure under the stars can
be performed without fear of arrest and even imprisonment under such charges as "public drunkenness," "obscene behavior" and
Crowley wrote: "the law of Thelema definitely enjoins us, as a necessary act of religion, to 'drink
sweet wines and wines that foam.' Any free man or woman who resides in any community where this is verboten (forbidden) has
a choice between two duties: insurrection and emigration.
"The furtive disregard of restriction is not freedom. It tends to make men slaves and hypocrites,
and destroy respect for law. . . Religious ecstasy is necessary to man's soul. Where this is attained by mystical practices,
directly, as it should be, people need no substitutes."
Crowley warned that taking away the freedom of expression, and the substitutes such as alcohol or
drugs, and there is revolution. "As long as a man can get rid of his surplus energy in enjoyment, he finds life easy, and
submits. Deprive him of pleasure, of ecstasy, and his mind begins to worry about the way in which he is exploited and oppressed.
Very soon he begins furtively to throw bombs . . ."
Copyright - James Donahue