Formula for Renouncing Slave Religion

Formula for Renouncing Slave Religion
T Polyphilus

Author’s Note: The Formula for Renouncing Slave Religion was devised and can function to provide a service to aspirants who wish to ritualize their turn from superstitious cults to scientific illuminism. However, neither this ceremony nor any ceremony in particular is necessary for the relinquishment of prior religious ties in order to productively embrace Thelema and/or scientific religion. No renunciation-of-slave-religion ceremony should be construed as a formal generic prerequisite for E.G.C. baptism, or for any other O.T.O. rite.

The Formula for Renouncing Slave Religion is not itself an authorized O.T.O. ritual, and enacting it does not confer any distinction in the Church or the Order. If it is offered in conjunction with any officially-sanctioned O.T.O. activity, it should follow rather than precede the other work. In the language of my sacramental theory: Do not mistake this remedial sacrament for — nor misrepresent it as — a cardinal sacrament! —T Polyphilus


Some aspirants to Thelema have approached Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica baptism, or even Minerval initiation in Mysteria Mystica Maxima, under the misapprehension that it would “unbaptize” them, releasing them from previous subtle (or not-so-subtle) ties to the superstitious cults in which they were raised as children, or into which they stumbled as adults. In fact, the initiatory rites of O.T.O. are not suited to such a purpose, and candidates in E.G.C. and M.M.M. should already have severed such ties, according to the Prophet. He had written regarding O.T.O. and its Secret:

You can take outsiders; but everyone who has anything to do with us at all must make a formal renunciation of ideas denounced in AL 49-56. Cap III.
AC to Karl Germer, March 14, 1942

Earlier, Crowley had given a slightly more detailed account of this mechanism:

I am inclined to propose that you should prepare a formula, to be presented at your lectures, by which any person can publicly renounce the errors of Christianity and so on, and accept the Law. Such a person should at that time burn a copy of his old ‘sacred book’, Bible, Mrs. Eddy, or what not, and be marked by you with The Mark of The Beast, to wit, the Acid on the Pulse of the Left Wrist.
AC to CS Jones, April 1, 1919

The present ceremony is a remedial sacrament to serve the purpose of breaking one’s links to the institutions and indoctrinations of the religions of the Old Aeon. It might be appended to a lecture, a ritual presentation, or another event at which the Law of Thelema has been espoused or expounded. The presenter of the earlier material then takes the role of the PROMULGATOR, while those renouncing slave-religion are designated as an ASPIRANTS. The later Tunis Comment to Liber Legis rather changes the contextual significance of the suggested biblioclasty, which presents practical difficulties in any case, so it has been dropped.

The material items required are holy oil (the stronger the better!), some pens, and paper. Clipboards may be useful, especially when multiple aspirants are involved.


PROMULGATOR: Is there anyone present who wishes to disavow their previous ties to slave-religion, with the ambition of embracing the Law of Thelema? Such persons may now step forward to celebrate the obsolescence of the powers of grace and guilt.

Any willing ASPIRANTS approach the PROMULGATOR.


PROMULGATOR: “The many religions of the world have all lost their power to guide chiefly because the development of means of transport and of international commerce have convinced the educated that any one religion is about as good or bad as another for the purposes of social discipline, and that none has any validity from the standpoint of actual fact, or historical or philosophical truth.

“The remedy is evidently to be found only in one way. There must be found a formula based upon absolute common sense, without one trammel of theological theory or dogma, a formula to which no man of intelligence can refuse assent, and which at the same time affords an absolute sanction for all laws of conduct, social and political no less than individual, so that the right or wrong of any isolated or concerted action can be determined with mathematical accuracy by any trained observer, entirely irrespective of his personal idiosyncrasies.

“This formula is: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

One or more pre-identified ASPIRANTS approach the PROMULGATOR.

PROMULGATOR: Brothers and sisters, this aspirant to the Law of Thelema has expressed his interest in making a public disavowal of his previous ties to slave-religion. (Change gender and number of aspirant to suit the occasion.) If there are any others present who wish to do so, they may come forward at this time.


PROMULGATOR: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. I proclaim the Law of light, life, love, and liberty, in the name of the Crowned and Conquering Child.

ASPIRANT(S) (optionally): Love is the law, love under will.

PROMULGATOR: I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.
Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!
With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross.
I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him.
With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din.

Are you prepared to renounce all of the moribund and superstitious cults of the Old Aeon?

ASPIRANT(S): (affirmative reply)

PROMULGATOR: From what darkness do you approach the Law of Liberty? By what name should we know the Slave-Religion by which you were fettered?

ASPIRANT: (answers ad lib, each in turn)

The PROMULGATOR produces a blank piece of paper and presents the ASPIRANT with a pen.

PROMULGATOR: Please write upon this paper, silently, and as briefly as you can, the essential falsehood or wrong conduct taught by [the slave-religion specified].

Done. Bring each to this point, if there are more than one.

PROMULGATOR: You will now stand in the posture that we call dieu garde, with your feet together at a right angle, and your thumbs linked before you.


PROMULGATOR: I now invite you to reject and denounce the religions of the aeon past, one after another. At each query, you will answer: “I renounce it!” Do you renounce the point-of-view of vulgar Christianity: with its mental cancer of original sin, cowardly doctrine of vicarious atonement, and dishonest attachment to self-sacrifice?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!

PROMULGATOR: Do you renounce the external creed of Islam: with its outward semblance of superstition and tyranny?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!

PROMULGATOR: Do you renounce Hinduism: with its false and deceiving practices?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!

PROMULGATOR: Do you renounce Buddhism: with its hatred of manifestation, and mirage of Eternal Rest?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!

PROMULGATOR: Do you renounce Confucianism: with its senescent lack of vitality?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!

PROMULGATOR: Do you renounce Judaism: with the emptiness of its customs, and the irrelevance of its laws?

ASPIRANT(S): I renounce it!





PROMULGATOR: You will now spit on the paper that you inscribed earlier.


PROMULGATOR: Now place it under your right heel.


PROMULGATOR: Your left wrist, please.

The PROMULGATOR uses Oil of Abramelin to trace the Mark of the Beast (Sol & Luna conjoined) on the inside of the ASPIRANT’S wrist.

PROMULGATOR: By the lovely star and the serpent flame, I witness and commend your renunciation of Slave-Religion.

The Mark and commendation are repeated for each ASPIRANT in turn, if there are more than one.

PROMULGATOR: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.


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