Gnostic Mass

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

The Gnostic Mass is the central rite, public and private, of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and its ecclesiastical arm, Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.).

Horus Oasis celebrates The Gnostic Mass monthly. This is open to the public. If you wish to attend, visit our public events page for locations details, times and dates.

The Gnostic Mass is a magical and ecclesiastical ceremony that celebrates the mysteries of Thelema. It exemplifies the union of each individual person with the divine. The ritual calls for five officers: a Priest, a Priestess, a Deacon, and two acolytes, called Children (though current practice is that the part is usually performed by adults). The end of the ritual culminates in the consummation of the eucharist, consisting of a goblet of wine and a Cake of Light, after which the congregant proclaims “There is no part of me that is not of the gods!”

Aleister Crowley wrote The Gnostic Mass in 1913 in Moscow, Russia, the year after his appointment by Theodor Reuss as the X° Head of the British Section of O.T.O. According to W. B. Crow in “A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism” (Aquarian Press, London 1968), Crowley wrote it “under the influence of the Liturgy of St. Basil of the Russian Church.”

Crowley explains why he wrote the Gnostic Mass in his Confessions:

“While dealing with this subject I may as well outline its scope completely. Human nature demands (in the case of most people) the satisfaction of the religious instinct, and, to very many, this may best be done by ceremonial means. I wished therefore to construct a ritual through which people might enter into ecstasy as they have always done under the influence of appropriate ritual. In recent years, there has been an increasing failure to attain this object, because the established cults shock their intellectual convictions and outrage their common sense. Thus their minds criticize their enthusiasm; they are unable to consummate the union of their individual souls with the universal soul as a bridegroom would be to consummate his marriage if his love were constantly reminded that its assumptions were intellectually absurd.

I resolved that my Ritual should celebrate the sublimity of the operation of universal forces without introducing disputable metaphysical theories. I would neither make nor imply any statement about nature which would not be endorsed by the most materialistic man of science. On the surface this may sound difficult; but in practice I found it perfectly simple to combine the most rigidly rational conceptions of phenomena with the most exalted and enthusiastic celebration of their sublimity.”

He later adds:

“During this period (the summer of 1913) the full interpretation of the central mystery of freemasonry became clear in consciousness, and I expressed it in dramatic form in `The Ship’. The lyrical climax is in some respects my supreme achievement in invocation; in fact, the chorus beginning:

“Thou who art I beyond all I am…”  

seemed to me worthy to be introduced as the anthem into the Ritual of the Gnostic Catholic Church, which, later in the year, I prepared for the use of the O.T.O., the central ceremony of its public and private celebration, corresponding to the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

The Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.), or the Gnostic Catholic Church, is the ecclesiastical arm of Ordo Templi Orientis. The E.G.C. is a Thelemic religious environment, dedicated to the advancement of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty through alignment with the Law of Thelema.

The central activity of the E.G.C. is the celebration of The Gnostic Mass.

While Horus Oasis hosts The Gnostic Mass, the ritual itself is performed by clergy and novitiates under the authority and auspicies of E.G.C.

Becoming a member of our Church

Membership in the E.G.C. is separate from membership in O.T.O.

Lay Membership in E.G.C. is conferred by the ceremony of confirmation, which must be preceded by baptism. Baptism is open to any person at least 11 years old, and Confirmation is open to any person who has been baptized and who has attained the age of puberty. Baptism or confirmation for any person younger than 18 years of age requires the prior written consent of the custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

Contact the Body Master regarding any inquiries about E.G.C. membership, Baptisms, and Confirmations at Horus Oasis.

Audio

The anthem of the Mass as an MP3 file.

Full text of The Gnostic Mass

Liber XV (The Gnostic Mass)
Liber XV with Commentary by Tau Apiryon