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.
Crowley saw his Gnostic Mass as a symbolic rendering of his entire system of initiation, as the disclosure of the most infinite of secrets.
We feel that the modern celebration of Mass among Thelemties brings the Law of Thelema to people in ways that an initiation or private event can’t.
We enlarge the definition of the Thelemic Mass to include those Celebratory rituals of a Mass-like nature in which celebration or adoration of some unique element celebrates our own divine nature.
The Mass written by Crowley was scandalous when it was first proposed and performed, probably in the late nineteen-teens or 1920s. A rendition of it in a popular novel at the time, James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen, led to the book’s seizure in New York, and obscenity charges. It is recognizable today as an elegant articulation of the concept underlying the “symbolic great rite” of spear and cup common to dozens of traditions.
The EGH believes that as Thelema grows, the Mass and Ceremonies of any Thelemic Church must also grow. While the “Official Rituals” of EGH provide a solid foundation, Clergy are given wide latitude in defining and performing new rites and rituals.
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 general, this 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.
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.
You can find a listing under Liturgy on the Canon Page
All material listed under Liturgy on the Canon Page is freely reproducible unless otherwise specified, and can be altered or recopied as desired.
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.
means that the facts are disclosed by
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.
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.
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
A fee may be charged for attendance at Rituals.
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.
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:
We cannot specifically advise you on your status in a different organization.
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.
Under “Frequently Asked Questions,” the topic “Does TTO create a conflict with my membership in other groups? Other Thelemic groups?” has a more detailed discussion.