Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Aleister Crowley developed ceremonial forms to include sermons for use in the promulgation of the Law of Thelema. The ritual of Liber LXIV which was at first called “Liber Anubis” (in its original form which was developed principally by Allan Bennett) was renamed Liber Israfel, an allusion to the Islamic angel of the trumpet, the being who was supposed to announce the Final Judgment and turn of the age. While commonly summarized as an invocation of Tahuti (a god of the Word), Liber Israfel includes three further elements after the initial invocation of the god:

  • Points 1-14 invoke the deity
  • Points 15-17 prepare the hearers and the speaker for inspiration
  • Points 18-19 consist of a “Lection” (a reading, recitation or speech), prefaced by a version of the General Exordium of the Golden Dawn Neophyte Grade
  • Points 20-21 are a dismissal and closing

These four sections correspond to the formula of Tetragrammaton, just as the first section alone embraces the entire formula (points 1-5, 6-7, 8-11, 12-14; see Magick in Theory & Practice Chapter II). Alternatively, they may be understood in terms of the gods Thoth, Asi and Hoor-Apep, with the final section corresponding to the magician/aspirant (see “Liber Pyramidos sub figura DCLXXI”). Liber Israfel continues to be a viable and engaging ceremonial context for Thelemic sermonizing, although it is rarely applied in this manner.

Crowley later wrote another such ceremony, which he labeled the Ritual Ordained for Public Service. The centerpiece of that operation was the Mass of the Phoenix, an official ritual of A\A\ consisting of a solo eucharist. In the Ritual Ordained for Public Service, the magician enacting the Mass of the Phoenix was given the title of priest, and assisted by a priestess and an acolyte. After consuming the sacrament (it was not given to the other ritualists or the attendees), the priest was bound to a cross in the east of the temple, in which position he would preach to those present. Crowley seems to have performed this ritual a few times circa 1912, with Leila Waddell as his priestess. He discontinued its use after composing the Gnostic Mass, and it is officially regarded as obsolete in EGC. (See The Equinox IV:2, p. 370 n. for Crowley's original rubric.) In fact, bodies within OTO are currently discouraged from sponsoring public presentations of the Mass of the Phoenix.

The Gnostic Mass includes no opportunity for any of the ritualists to offer a lecture or sermon; it is entirely dedicated to exhibiting and administering eucharistic magick to a congregation. In 1996 e.v., I developed a ceremony to complement the Gnostic Mass in this regard, whether held in conjunction with a Mass or distinct from the sacraments of EGC. Since then, this ceremony of the Liturgy of the Word of the Law (a.k.a. Liturgy 93) has been enacted dozens of times for a wide variety of educational, commemorative and celebratory purposes.

Within the ritual of the Gnostic Mass is a Creed that is brief, but which supports reflection and exploration at great length. Most of the following discourses were developed from classes on the individual articles of the creed presented to Circle of Stars Sanctuary. Highlights of the classes were condensed into these sermons, which were subsequently aired on other occasions.

Sources and references for these discourses on the Creed of Liber XV.

The Cult of the Gnostic Ass has its roots in the murkiest reaches of antiquity, but its contemporary manifestation was inaugurated by Dionysos Sparagmos at the Io Pan Jam festival organized by Horus of Two Horizons in 2001 e.v. In addition to these sermons, those interested in the cult may wish to review The Ass Festival.

Love is the law, love under will.

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