Ecclesia Gnostica Heterodoxa

Heterdox Gnostic Church is the Ecclesiastical arm of The Thelemic Order. The EGH ordains Clergy and performs sacraments for Thelemites.

The Clergy

Applying to be clergy is the start of a conversation, not a legal process.  Likely someone will come back to you with questions and more conversation before making any final decisions.  We want to guide everyone to the best possible choices. 

A decent chunk of the Handbook concerns the Clergy, its organization, and rules.  This section lays out a broad outline, however anyone wishing to become a novice or aspire to ordination should read the full description.
Prelates - Prelates are members of the College of Prelates, and are generally accorded the title of "Bishop" after their elevation or consecration.  As with most titles in TTO, the exact choice is somewhat at the discretion of the individual.

  • The College of Prelates makes decisions concerning the Ordination of Clergy, generally through an Ordination Committee.
  • The College of Prelates elects a Pontifex, who is the Chair and leader of the College, and serves for a term of two years.
  • The College of Prelates sets the official Canon and selects rituals and ceremonies as "official" rituals of EGH
Clergy - Clergy are official representatives of EGH.  They have initial and continuing educational requirements
  • Clergy may lead all rituals and ceremonies of TTO, administer all sacraments, saving Ordination, which is reserved to the College of Prelates, and Attainment which is not administered.
  • Unlike some other Thelemic and pagan organizations, all Ordained Clergy are, like their counterparts in most Christian Churches, eligible to be sponsored for actual legal ministerial status, and receive aid in acquiring such status, in their US State or other place of residence.  In States where TTO does not yet have a presence, TTO will work with local clergy to establish the necessary local structure to receive legal ministerial status.
  • While TTO encourages mentorship, and hopes Clergy will develop close relations with each other and Prelates, there is no formal system of apprenticeship.  Clergy Petition the College for Ordination, and may be subject to impartial examination.
  • Clergy have administrative duties including reporting administration of the sacraments, and other rituals and ceremonies through forms here at the TTO Portal.
Novice Clergy Confirmed members of the EGH may enter into Novitiate Training by submitting a Declaration of Intent to the Secretary of the College of Prelates.  In respect to the individual nature of Thelema, there are no formal requirements to submit a Petition for Ordination, however it is expected that the Novice must undertake Mastery in three Qualities:
  • Administration - the Novice must show basic competence necessary to ensure the ability to complete those functions of Clergy which involve the recording of events, and adherence to formal regulation.
  • Ritualism  - the Novice must show competence and expertise at the performance of the rituals of the Order, both by performing scripted material, and showing an appropriate ability to deal with improvisation or adversity.
  • Demeanor - the Novice must show that they are able to interact with their siblings in a way which is respectful and exemplifies love.

    Novice Clergy may, like all Clergy, develop and perform their own liturgy or variants on liturgy, provided that they have completed all relevant and current safety and consent training.

Sacraments

    • Novice Clergy may perform the sacrament of the Mass, Baptism and Unbaptism.
Other Sacraments require written authority of Fully Ordained Clergy.

Status of Novice Clergy<

    Novice Clergy, while accorded respect, are not considered to be official representatives of the EGH.
 

Like Initiators and Local Masters, Clergy are required to participate in initial training and continuing education regarding consent, safety, and leadership.

  • Novice Clergy must complete the basic checklist below, before they apply.
  • Novice and Ordained Clergy must complete new training within the expressed time frame that it is issued, or they may be put on "inactive" status.  This does not remove them as Clergy, but they are required to complete any overdue training before returning to active status.
  • Training required for Ordination must be completed before application for Ordination.

Novice Checklist (links below)

🗹 The Understandings
🗹 TTO Handbook Section "The EGH"
🗹 TTO Handbook Section "Liturgical Appendices"
🗹 TTO Handbook Section "The Canon"
🗹 TTO Draft Consent Policy
🗹 NCSF Consent Counts
Four articles below
🗹 TTO Policy on Absolute Separation of Minors and Adult Content
🗹 UCC Guidelines for Congregations and Clergy on Political Action

 

Reading Materials/Presentations

The Understandings - read entire text

TTO Handbook - read sections.

    • "The EGH"
    • "Liturgical Appendices"
    • "The Canon"

TTO Draft Consent Policy 

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) Consent Counts Program - this is a useful and temporary educational source while we bring our own materials online - read these items

TTO Policy on Absolute Separation of Minors and Adult Content

United Church of Christ Guidelines for Congregations and Clergy on Political Action - This is a useful and easy to read temporary resource while we prepare more detailed guidance.  Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."  TTO does not, as an organization, participate in, promote, or act on behalf of any candidate for elective public office.  When running official TTO events as an Officer of TTO, or producing any organizational newsletters, etc. which carry the TTO brand, you are bound by this policy.

Note that no part of the IRS guidelines requires that TTO refrain from advocacy on social issues, only from advocacy for specific candidates.

Additional Continuing Education must be completed within the timeframe allotted after the issue of Charter.

Ordination Checklist (links below)

🗹 No additional material at this time

Lay Clergy

The Lay Clergy is made up of all of those individuals who are at least Corresponding members and who hold various roles of leadership and responsibility within the EGH, but who do not currently intend to progress to ordination.  The organization and acceptance of various positions within the Lay Priesthood is under the authority of the Ordained Clergy of a Chartered Group. For example, a given Group might establish a system of Deacons, Assistant Priests, Sacristans, or any other arrangement which suits their operation.   

 

  • Lay Clergy must be Confirmed in EGH
  • The position of Lay Clergy does not convey outside the Chartering Group
  • Lay Clergy are not official representatives of TTO
  • The creation of Lay Clergy must be reported as with the creation of any other Officer of a Local Group

The College of Prelates will make available to Novice Clergy:

 

  • The Book of Common Ritual, providing "ready to run" rituals 
  • Detailed guidance and suggestions on Mastering the Qualities
  • Opportunities for individual and group mentorships.
  • Programs for Administrative Training, especially including the secure handling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Programs for Ritual Training, including hands on training 
  • Advice, counseling, and resources for the development and enrichment of Demeanor
  • A general outline of the information required in a Petition for Ordination, as well as a convenient manner for submission.

 

Additionally the College of Prelates will make available to all Clergy:

 

  • Support in obtaining Ministerial status in their jurisdiction
  • Continuing formal and informal shared resources to develop skills, leadership, and obtain quality equipment

 

Obviously the programs of the EGH are in development during 2019-24.  We expect to develop basic trainings in the 2020-2022 timeframe, and expand training and educational resources on an annual basis. 

TTO tolerates no discrimination based on gender, gender expression, sexuality or sexual expression.

 

The choice of title, roles, etc. within the various rituals of EGH is at the discretion of the individual clergy member on a fluid ritual-by-ritual basis.

 

It is expressly against the discrimination policy of TTO for any officiant, Ordained Clergy, Local Master etc., in any setting private or public to disqualify an individual from a preferred role solely on the basis of gender, gender expression, sexuality or sexual expression.  

 

Preference may not be used to mask discrimination.  Thus a phrasing such as "we would prefer a cis-gender male for this role" is coercive and constitutes discrimination as it would clearly tend to dissuade persons of any other gender from applying for the role.

 

Any individual member of the Clergy may choose at any time to withdraw from any ritual or ceremony for any reason.  That may include being placed in a situation where they would be forced into any interaction which would be uncomfortable for them for whatever reason.  The choice to withdraw is personal, a vital element of consent, and should not be questioned.  

 

Withdrawal may not be used as a public, de facto, weapon of exclusion.  The private choice to withdraw because of discomfort with a co-celebrant's gender expression is a matter of personal consent.  Expression of it in such a way as to cause strife, disharmony, humiliation, or dissuade further participation on the part of the co-celebrant is discriminatory.

 

While individual gender expression may be fluid, provided there is no special discrimination in regards to individuals of a given gender, "locking in" certain roles in a given ritual a sufficient time in advance to allow for rehearsal, advertisement, and planning, is not discriminatory. 

 

A consistent preference for working in ritual with a given partner or circle of partners is not evidence of discrimination.  At public bodies it is expected that due consideration will be given to ensuring all Clergy are able, on some reasonable cycle, to participate in ritual.  At private bodies, the prevalence of a given group of Clergy may constitute a norm.

EGH allows for the use of many different titles for Clergy.  

 

Priestx, Minister, Priest, Priestess, Deacon, Shaman, etc. are all acceptable, as would be many other choices.  Likewise for Prelates Bishop, Hierarch, Abbott, Abbess, Sophia, etc." or other choices may be used.  

 

"Clergy," or "EGH Minister" are considered to be appropriate for all use, including publications when it is not convenient to ascertain the preferred title of the individual being referred to.  

 

Roles within given rituals may of course have specific titles, whether they are "Priest, Priestess, Beast, Psyche, Child," etc.

 

"Reverend" is considered appropriate title or address for all EGH clergy, and may be used by EGH clergy in any context where some specific prefix is required.  "Very Reverend" is used for Prelates.

 

Preferred title is specified on the Declaration of Intent for Novice Clergy, and the Petition for Ordination. It may be changed by submitting a request in writing to the Secretary of the College of Prelates. 

 

The EGH may disallow titles which:

 

  • Convey an inappropriate status e.g. "Pope","Cardinal","Dalai Lama."
  • Are intentionally ridiculous, absurd or humorous, e.g. "Poopiness."  While we understand the desire to show you are laid back, this is not the best possible place to do so.  You are welcome to use your absurd title as a nickname.
  • Titles which signify a traditional role within a given culture should be taken only with full and careful consideration, and may be cause for scrutiny and discussion, especially if they are traditionally bestowed only by elders within that tradition.  

 

Individuals can have multiple titles on record, however they must designate them in order of preference so that they can be used in notices or in publications along with their public Order Name, without consulting them on every individual occasion.  

 

More detail is given in the Handbook.

  • There is an EGH event at my Group.  Who has the ultimate say-so on what can happen?  The Ordained Clergy presenting the EGH Ceremony, or the Local Group Leader?
    • If the two are not one in the same, whether the Ordained Clergy are from the same Group or not, it is best to view the situation as one in which the Local Group Leader is the host, and the Ordained Clergy the guest.
    • In terms of the site, safety, safety related issues, etc., the preferences of the Local Group Leader take precedence.  E.g. “you cannot use candles in that place” is a safety matter.
    • In terms of consent, and anything related to content which might be considered questionable or adult, the preferences of the Local Group Leader take precedence, e.g. “no you may not ask people to be nude at this ritual.”
    • In terms of what happens in the EGH ritual, in general the Ordained Clergy member who is designated Lead for the Ceremony has final say.  E.g., the Local Master, even if they are also Ordained Clergy, cannot draw lines about how Mass may be presented, who may wear what, what music or anthems are used (except in regards to high volume,) etc.  
    • Ultimately the Group Leader has final say-so over whether or not a given ritual may run in their space.  
      • In Priories, Chapters, and Sanctuaries, the private bodies, the word of the Local Master is the ultimate authority, and TTO will generally give wide allowance for any restrictions they may set on Clergy,  To some extent, what happens in a local body is a matter of local taste.
      • In Lodges and Temples, the public bodies, the Group Leader is expected to show extreme restraint and respect for any Ordained Clergy, local or guest, who have been designated to perform an EGH ritual, and to allow various local or invited Ordained Clergy to lead in Rituals. 
        • Overt interference with Ordained Clergy, or refusal to allow participation in a public body, may lead to administrative action in which the Group is reclassified as a Priory, Chapter, or Sanctuary.

Thelemic Mass and other Rituals

We consider Thelemic Mass to be any of a number of rituals that are aimed at “administering the virtues.” Conceptually it references an ideal and process rather than any specific ritual or format.  The public celebration of Mass among Thelemties brings the Law of Thelema to all, and serves as an outward symbol of inner initiation.

The intent of a Thelemic Mass is to administer the virtues to the people and establish the law of Thelema, and establish the current of the new Aeon among the people.

In keeping with our heterodox nature, we are not very obsessed with definitions and putting a box around what strictly "is" and "isn't" a mass.  We're far more interested in what people get out of the ritual.

In general, a mass will involve some physical form of communion in which food or wine is imbibed as an element of ritual, however other forms of “communion” may qualify as a mass.

There are many useful magical rituals or invocations of deity which do not strictly qualify as a Thelemic mass.  The ultimate decision as to the incorporation of a given mass as an Official Ritual of the EGH is the province of the College of Prelates.

EGH Clergy may, of course, perform other sacred rituals under their own authority, or other magical rituals under the auspices of the Order General.

On January 21st, after much consideration, the decision was made to abandon any plans to develop an “Official” Liturgy for The Thelemic Order.   The full discussion can be found here, in context. 

 

We’ll excerpt a few key elements of the discussion: 

 

“Official” makes little sense in a Heterodox context

 

 “Official” is inherently disempowering. What Cleric would feel good about their own hard work when it was merely “unofficial” liturgy.  

 

Sponsoring an "official" liturgy seemed contrary to the heterodox principle  and more appropriate to a tradition bound to the Gradulae Romanum, and Liber Usalis. Our concept of a Book of Common Ritual is intended as a guide and aid, not as the basis for some liturgical law.

 

If TTO ever does move towards and “official” liturgy it should be years down the road, once a robust College of Prelates, filled with the best minds in Thelema, can contemplate and agree on them, not random hacks more or less intended to get a functioning and ethical organization up and running.

 

Inclusion in the Book of Common Ritual, or reference on the website does not make a ritual “official” nor does exclusion make it “unofficial.” The BCP is a resource.

 

We recognize the need for ready to run material.

 

There is no change to the plan to deliver a series of rituals for convenient use and training.. The focus will be as above on providing some simpler rituals which are useful for the public, or embody specific aspects of Thelemic thought. We’ll also collect rituals from existing clergy and make those available. Each ritual will carry the authorship of the individual or team that compiled it, and none will be written by “The TTO," or constitute official and favored liturgy.

 

Otherwise, we do not tell our Clergy what rituals they should run. This may be a surprising approach but it is one which is consistent with our nonconformist and Heterodox tradition, and calculated to maximize the likelihood that each of us will find TTO to be a supportive home for us to discover and carry out our will.

 

Our commitment to the basic training of clergy is to insure that even novice clergy have the knowledge necessary regarding consent and basic safety to insure to ensure a safer and consensual environment.  

 

EGH v. Order General

  • There is no practical and universal rule of thumb for differentiating between a ritual appropriate to the EGH, and those appropriate to the Order General.  For example an invocation and adoration of Medea, a Saint of the Canon, might be appropriate to either EGH or the Order General.  
  • In general anything which Ordained Clergy deems to fall under their auspices in terms of Ritual or Celebration may.
    • However Ordained Clergy may not constrain Novice Clergy, Lay Clergy, or Members of the Order General from similar or identical Magical Celebrations. 
  • Because we consider that the only significant question is whether the ultimate responsibility of safety and consent within the ritual falls to the Ordained Clergy member or to the Local Body Master, our solution is to state that when acting as the Leader in a ritual Ordained Clergy always incur a responsibility for safety and consent.
    • The exception is any situation where it is established otherwise in writing, e.g. "A Ritual of Osiris Temple of TTO, produced by the Local Master Payton Black, and Lead by Priestx Blair Lee, EGH"

TTO Clergy may make use of any rituals which they choose, however TTO attempts to provide a basic library of freely usable and copyable, or open source material.  

The Mass and Rituals Library is the current repository.

If you are not EGH Clergy, then the rituals are not official rituals of the EGH.  You may not represent yourself as part of TTO or EGH if you are not. Otherwise, we believe in making materials freely available to Thelemites anywhere. 

 

The vast majority of material produced by or for TTO carries open source licenses.

 

We are more interested in allowing everyone to do their will than trying to get them to join our Group.  We hope that over time, you may become interested and join, but you are welcome to use any TTO published rituals, under the applicable license.

  • A Public Celebration of Ritual is open to anyone who wishes to participate, provided they are not debarred on any other grounds.
    • It is expected that Rituals which are performed as Public will be acceptable to the vast majority of attendees.  It is not in the interests of the EGH to create public rituals which dissuade attendance, and repeated performance of public rituals which are found unpalatable to multiple attendees may be considered a disciplinary issue for Clergy.
    • Highly controversial or exploratory rituals may be better addressed as work of the Order General. There is no barrier to Clergy working as members of the Order General either as ritual leaders, or as Local Group Masters.
  • A Private Celebration of Ritual is limited in whatever manner is set by Ordained Clergy.  It may be limited by invitation, by membership in some organization, or by access to a location.

  • Within the U.S., every effort should be made, particularly at public rituals to comply as completely as possible with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ch. 126 § 12101 et seq. 
    • Where accommodations are not available due to the use of private sites, etc., alternatives should be carefully thought through.  
  • Outside the US, relevant local law and international standards should be observed.
  • In addition, attention should be given to allergies in regards to burned and consumed materials. 

It is the nature of the EGH that the range of what can be used as host is wide, provided that the nature of the host is fully disclosed and subject to informed consent.  As might be expected in a heterodox Church, there is more concern with making everyone aware than with regulating any specific process.

 

Pro-Active Disclosure

means that the facts are disclosed by

  • Public announcement
  • Reasonably proximate to the ritual, e.g. within a few minutes before
  • Maximum effort is made to insure that all communicants are paying attention and present 
  • the facts are clearly and unambiguously communicated 
  • There is no concealment by euphemism 
  • There is no expectation of prior knowledge
  • A reasonable person would not feel undue social pressure to continue to participate against their preferences

Standard Consumables

  • The approved and standard host for the EGH is the "Cake of Light," made by some interpretation of the recipe for perfume in The Book of the Law (III:23-25).  
    • The presence of human biomatter, even if burned to ash, does require pro-active disclosure.
  • The approved and standard liquid is wine of 15% ABV or less, or still drinking water.
  • In the event that multiple host is used to accommodate allergies or other issues, Ordained Clergy must take particular care to insure that no cross contamination of any kind, e.g. gluten with non-gluten materials, occurs.  

Nonstandard Consumables

In the event that the following are to be included in the consumables at a public mass, an alternative must be presented or allowed e.g. water instead of wine.  Full disclosure of the nature of the contents must be made in detail before mass begins.

  • Any legal substances which are generally known to have mind or mood-altering or significant physiological effects, e.g. alcohol, caffeine.
  • Any product of the human body whether it has or has not been first reduced to ash.
  • Any product which is the subject of widely known allergies, e.g. peanuts, glutens, etc.
  • Any other ingredient which might cause an impartial lay person concern.

Even at a private mass, full disclosure is required for all of the above, though it is the nature of a private mass that those declining to communicate may be, at the discretion of the Ordained Clergy, allowed a substitution or asked not to participate.

Under no circumstances may a situation be created by which there is even slight risk that a person will be exposed to any mood or mind altering substance by accident. 

If any such substances are used, any failure to maintain complete separation may be considered a disciplinary infraction of the most severe sort.

  • For caffeine and alcohol and other widely known and recognized substances, their distribution in clearly recognizable and labeled manufacturer's containers is considered to be adequate disclosure.
  • For alcohol, description by a common name is sufficient.  E.g. "wine" and “beer” is understood to be alcoholic unless specified otherwise. "Punch" is not understood to be alcoholic.

In the event that all ingredients of a component of communion, or other consumable at a ritual are not known (e.g. it was purchased and does not have a label, or the label is illegible) that fact must be pro-actively disclosed

We encourage making the Thelemic Mass available freely, whenever possible.  However, operating sites and obtaining materials entails expenses.  Therefore a fee may be charged for attendance at Rituals, including Mass. 

  • In general the fee should represent a proportionate amount of the cost of the facilities and any refreshment.
  • Where possible, particularly with Metropolitan Groups Mass should be made available as inexpensively as possible or free. 

  • In all Official Rituals, the manner in which Communion is to be taken, if it is not specified in the ritual materials, shall be up to the will of the individual communicant, save that constraints may be placed to protect the persona space of any officiant  (e.g. how close one may approach the Priestx behind the veil may be stipulated)
  • In all Unofficial Rituals, the manner in which Communion is to be taken, or any other elements of participation (steps, signs, etc.) which are not clearly printed in a missal, shall be communicated in advance, so that anyone who does not wish to participate may be excused
    • Collects
    • Anthems
    • Recitations
    • Readings
    • Musical Elements

We cannot specifically advise you on your status in a different organization. 

 

There is no inherent problem from the TTO side with ordination, or serving as Priestx with any other organization, and there are Wiccan, Asatru, Gnostic Catholic, and other initiates active in TTO Clergy who have Ordination, or a status equivalent to Ordination, in their respective groups.

 

We encourage activity across multiple traditions.  We do not exist to compete with other traditions and groups.

 

On the part of TTO, aside from listed hate groups, there is no barrier to participation or leadership in any other organization.  TTO encourages broad participation and leadership preferring to be a nexus for thought and networking.

On the Information Page  Under "Details about TTO" the topic "Does TTO create a conflict with my membership in other groups? Other Thelemic groups?" has a more detailed discussion.

The Sacraments

Communion 

An act, most usually, though not of necessity involving the consumption of consecrated host and wine, by which the virtues are administered to the people. It is not required to be confirmed into the EGH, or declare harmony with the Understandings, in order to communicate.

 

Confirmation 

The act of accepting membership in the The EGH.  This is a personal sacrament in which the individual recognizes a spiritual bond and intellectual kinship with other members of the Communion.  It is by definition open only to those who are principally at harmony with the Understandings.

 

Unbaptism 

The renunciation of beliefs or spiritual or magical claims which may have been imposed unjustly in the past.  The ceremony of unbaptism places the authority and collective will of the church behind the act of freeing and cleansing.  Unbaptism can be applied to any ritual, initiation, or set of beliefs which were imposed unfairly, both as a child or adolescent, and as an adult through social pressure, manipulation or which were accepted through previous ignorance.  The Sacrament of Unbaptism may be bestowed on any who wish it, freely, whether or not they are Communicant within the EGH or accept the Understandings.

 

Baptism 

The celebration of the baptism of wisdom.  This may be administered at any time, by request, and be administered more than once in response to the inner experience of the individual of the light of Gnosis.   The Sacrament of Baptism may be bestowed on any who wish it, freely, whether or not they are Communicant within the EGH or accept the Understandings.  

 

Union 

The sacrament of Union, Matrimony, or Marriage is between two or more individuals.  There shall be no limitation on which individuals, on in which patterns, they may be cojoined, nor on what shall constitute an individual.  The Sacrament of Union may be bestowed on any who wish it, freely, whether or not they are Communicant within the EGH or accept the Understandings. 

 

Ordination 

The acceptance of the duty and obligation to administer the virtues within and without the community, to devote oneself to the growth of the community through hard labor and through teaching, and the obligation of living as an example. 

The Sacrament of Ordination is held to be internal and personal, however the recognition and celebration of Ordination within the Church is subject to the approval of the Prelacy, and open only to those who are principally at harmony with the Understandings.

 

Attainment of Knowledge and Conversation 

This sacrament may not be administered to another, or by another, but may only be experienced by the self.  Even the words which are used to describe this sacrament are an approximation, and while may be equated to the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, it embraces also many similar concepts, in whatever terms, or cultural paradigm they are expressed.  

Because this sacrament is personal it is not celebrated, however an individual may ask for the participation of the Clergy in arranging for Feasting, or other celebration of an individual’s experience of this sacrament as they will.

 

Consolation

The sacrament of Consolation is passed down from the ancient Gnostics, but practiced somewhat differently among Thelemites.  It is the recognition of the imminent or recent passing of life, and provides any needed support for the quick and the dead "that they may 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 labor and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else."  

While the EGH provides a liturgy for Consolation, it is by nature personal, and must be conformed to the will of the individual receiving it, or if they are departed to the will of those nearest to them.

Baptism or Confirmation of any persons under 18 years of age or the local age of majority in the US, or under the local age of majority in other jurisdictions, requires prior or contemporaneous written permission of the custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s).  

 

We do not support baptism or confirmation of individuals who are not able to comprehend the Understandings of the Order and the Law of Thelema.  The age for this is subjective and may vary on a case by case basis. As it cannot be accomplished without the permission of the custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s), we recommend a sincere three-way conversation between the minor, custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s), and Ordained Clergy, in order to determine to the satisfaction of the Ordained Clergy member that the minor is able to comprehend the Understandings and the Law. 

 

As with adults, provided the minor is able to comprehend both Understandings, and the basic nature of the Law, they are not required to be communicant with EGH, or accept the Understandings to be baptized.

 

No member of the Ordained Clergy is ever obliged to baptize a minor.

 

Presence of Minors at any activity of TTO is governed under the Policy on Absolute Separation of Minors and Adult Content.

Ordeals

Ordeals are often, though not always, things we'd rather not do, but undertake in order to in some way prove or test ourselves, or to provoke a mental or spiritual transformation.  Ordeals are one of the most ancient components of human spirituality and can be reliably traced back to the earliest human records.

 

The definition of an ordeal varies from person to person.  For one person an ordeal may be the simple act of being blindfolded, or being stripped of street clothing in preparation for being robed in front of a group, both common elements of some Masonic or post-Masonic initiations.

 

For others an Ordeal might be long isolation, or a suspension from hooks. 

 

Because of the attachments of our culture to sex, sexual activity in ritual may constitute an ordeal for some people.

 

It really depends on the individual. 

 

There is no special designation for "ordeals," though there is an attempt to provide robust education on consent and safety to empower those rituals which would be considered "ordeals" to be successful, as well as creating an awareness among Local Masters when activities should be viewed from an ordeal perspective.

 

The Initiatory Arm works together with the Deputy Secretary for Education of the Order General to promote safer procedures and consent practices for Ordeals inside and outside of TTO.  

 

At the same time we work to create an awareness of the legitimacy of Ordeal based ritual within the wider Thelemic and Magical communities.  

The Canon and Liturgy

The Canon, or sacred literature, of the EGH is in flux.  The initial Canon, including how Apocrypha is classified, will be reviewed as the College of Prelates is formed in 2019-2022, and revisions, updates, or additions may be expected.

The EGH has no “official” Liturgy, or official rites and rituals, which are mandated by the leadership.  Instead EGH attempts to make a wide variety of Liturgical material available, but Clergy are also welcome to use their own material.

I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.

 

And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.

 

And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, in His name BAPHOMET.

 

And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.

 

And I believe in the communion of Saints.

 

And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.

 

And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.

 

And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.

 

AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.

The Alternative Creed was created to eliminate the attribution of human gender constructs.  In some cases the attribution of gender to the supernal may serve to exacerbate misunderstanding or discrimination in regards to gender perceptions among Thelemites and in the world at large.  It may also create the impression that Thelema is a highly gendered and gender-focused practice.  The Alternative Creed presents a model which eliminates human gender references, while retaining the same supernal elements.

 

Alternative Gnostic Creed

 

I believe in one secret and ineffable SOVEREIGN; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Agent of Life, Mystery of Mystery, whom we name as CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes.

 

And I believe in one Earth, the Source of us all, and in one Womb wherein all are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, whom we name as BABALON.

 

And I believe in the Serpent and the Lion, Mystery of Mystery, whom we name as  BAPHOMET.

 

And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.

 

And I believe in the communion of Saints.

 

And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.

 

And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.


And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.

 

AUMGN. AUMGN. AUMGN.

We accept Liber AL vel Legis as an inspired text.  

 

The interpretation of Liber AL is personal, however it may be discussed and studied, as individual,or collective, conviction warrants.  

 

Discussion of Liber AL

 

The Tunis Comment to the Book of the Law states that "Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence."  It is noteworthy, historically that this was written by Crowley at a time when he was embroiled in disagreement over interpretation of the Liber AL with Norman Mudd over Mudd's views on Crowley's execution of his role as prophet.  Crowley regarded the comment as important.

 

In practical terms, just as we do not burn our copies, many of us do study and discuss this book.  No one is obligated to discuss Liber AL.

 

TTO does not issue any official, dogmatic interpretation of Liber AL, but rather exists to provide a place for each individual to speak their mind.  

 

Disagreements on the text of Liber AL

 

Where there is valid disagreement on the actual text (e.g. Liber AL III:37) we recommend study and scholarship,, but leave the final decision with the individual.  

 

No imposition shall be placed on the clergy or individuals  in regards to which among supportable interpretations, they shall choose, in public or in private.  In terms of ritual, the Ordained Clergy designated to lead the ritual or ceremony is the court of last resort for that occasion only.

 

Continuations of Liber AL  

 

Various writings, which claim inspiration, form potential continuations or additions to Liber AL.  

 

As Thelema is a living faith there is no mandate that Crowley be its only inspired voice or last prophet.  

 

Works which have significant gravitas, such as John Whitside Parsons Liber 49 or Book of Babalon may be, at the discretion of the College of Prelates, or as mandated by a proposal of the General Assembly included in the Apocrypha of the Canon, and may be, upon review by the College, included in the Canon of TTO and the EGH.

Liber 49 or Book of Babalon - John Whitside Parsons 

This work has endured the test of time, and is widely republished and re-read among Thelemites.  It is included, currently, in the apocrypha, however it may 

 

Other Publications of the A∴A∴

Other A∴A∴ publications of all classes are recommended as authorities for study and scholarship, and may be considered Apocrypha of the Canon.

 

Other Writings of Crowley

Al other writings of Aleister Crowley are recommended as authorities for study and scholarship, and may be considered Apocrypha of the Canon.  There are no works by Crowley which it is forbidden to study or comment on.

The Book of Common Ritual is designed as a "one stop" location for most of the rituals of TTO.  In general the BCR will be a living document, available online and updated and published in hard copy periodically.

Currently this website and its Mass and Rituals Repository forms the core archive for material which will be incorporated into the BCR.

In addition to the Masses themselves, and other Celebratory Rituals appropriate to EGH, the BCR will contain elements suitable for incorporation into the Mass including:

    • Collects
    • Anthems
    • Recitations
    • Readings
    • Musical Elements

The Canon of Saints

The Roman Catholic Church recognizes over ten thousand saints.  In attempting to conform the list of saints to a list which may be comfortably read, in extremis, during the performance of Liber XV, many worthy individuals have been admitted

It is the sad fact that the lives and lessons of the Gnostic Saints are often ignored while focus is given to how to correctly say their names.  The EGH encourages the study and discussion of the lives of the Saints, and one role of the Episcopate is to promote knowledge about and study of the saints, and the history of Gnostic and Esoteric thought.

It is not generally to be expected that the full list of Saints will not be used in a given Mass.  The College of Prelates will set up suggested rotations so that all of the various Saints of the Canon are honored, however the choice of which Saints to honor at any given ritual, if any, is the choice of the Ordained Clergy.

Which of the names, or naming variations e.g. “Apollonius of Tyana, Apollonius Tyanæus” etc. is left to the individual choice of the Ordained Clergy.  The Novice Clergy shall follow the direction of the Ordained clergy responsible for the ritual in this regard

.

Whatever the ritual or cultural basis behind the omission of the names, or existence of women within the original canon of Saints laid out by Aleister Crowley in Liber XV, there is not now, nor has there ever been, even a traditional prohibition against adding additional worthy figures to the canon, just as the Gnostic Mass, itself, was never put forward as a ritual which could not be revised.

The EGH believes that the canon must be inclusive of all individuals, whatever their expression of gender.

For purposes of clarity and study we have found it easier to create artificial divisions between various types of Saints within the EGH.  There is no “relative importance,” within the divisions, rather they are convenient groupings which suggest how any given Saint might best be approached or utilized in ritual.  

Despite the classification of “Gnostic Saints” the original Canon contains the names of many figures who had no relation to traditional Gnosticism or Gnostic thought, but whose contributions can be considered principally as patrons of magic, inspiration, or initiation.

In particular we have created the category of “Patrons” who are often and repeatedly invoked in the work of our members.  The Patrons are not merely a pro-forma catalog of figures and deities, but those which have a close relationship to the work of the Order General.

The Canon of Gnostic Saints

 

This is the canon of those people generally believed to have been born human or to represent an actual human person, either historically or fictionally.  It is their writing, teaching or actions which principally lead to their consideration as Gnostic Saints. This rough classification does not exclude them from consideration as intercessors or sources of ritual power.

 

In some cases where an individual is both a deity or is syncretic with a deity, but also has a fairly established story which provides much of the context for their actions, they are currently listed with the Canon of Gnostic Saints.

 

TTO acknowledges a debt to many individuals and public discussions in various forums which produced suggestions, in particular in regards to women, which have been included in the current canon. 

 

The Canon of Patron Saints

This is the canon of those individuals, whether historical, fictional, or legendary, whose principal consideration as Saints is their energy, legend, or intercession.  This rough classification does not exclude them from consideration as actual individuals.

Where an individual is historical, but has little relation to the Gnostic current and is mostly referenced because of their relationship to magic, or intercessory powers, they are currently listed among the Patron Saints.

As the size of the Canon is unlimited, the College of Prelates will consider all petitions to add new Saints.  

 

In general a petition should include

 

  • Name, and alternative names
  • Historical dates, if any
  • Story, biographical details, mythology.  In particular exploring all the possible mythologies or storylines concerning an individual.  E.g. for Morgan le Fay, you would consider not only her portrayal by Thomas Malory, but her divergent earlier portrayals by Chrétien de Troyes, Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Welsh Mythology.
    • This should be approximately the description you would expect to appear in canon materials, and must be original. It may include quotes but should not be primarily copyrighted material.
  • Thoughts on the significance of this figure to Thelema or the Thelemic Community and how Thelemites might celebrate them.
  • Days or dates connected with this figure which might help determine how to best include them in the liturgy.
  • Any celebratory poems, hymns, etc. which are in the public domain, or widely available.  Please note if material is copyrighted.
  • Supporters.  Who else thinks this figure is important to Thelema or Thelemites.
  • If the College rejects a petition, it is also possible to present it as a proposal through the General Assembly, however that is generally more time consuming.

In many traditional Churches which have a concept similar to "Saint," the identities of Saints are local.  Locations may adopt individual patrons without necessarily referring them to the College of Prelates for inclusion in the overall Canon, though they are encouraged to do so.