The Scarlet Letter
This initiation happened for me largely because it was based in the body; it was not an intellectual accomplishment although my occult studies had certainly prepared me for it. I danced for hours, I stretched my limits, I became physically intoxicated when I should have dropped from exhaustion. I pushed myself over the abyss—bodily. Bodily imprints are important. Lessons learned from initiatory epiphanies will stick when given a bodily imprint, but may be transient when a physical imprint does not occur. Dr. Ida Rolf was correct in surmising that our muscles hold memories. Indeed, I believe that every cell in our body holds memories. Pop your chakras, spin till you drop, pierce your genitalia, hyperventilate, draw blood from the thin blade of an obsidian knife, have sex until you are unconscious, make each asana an antenna of divine communication. All of these things “loosen the girders of the soul” that the spirit may indwell the body. All of these techniques I have used successfully to burst the rusty hinges of the doors of perception and transform myself.
Another reason this self-initiation occurred was simply because I was ready for it. My skin had become too tight and I was striving to slough it off. I had been persistently willing it to happen for months even though I did not know when or how it would happen. For me this type of persistent willing is one of my primary magical tools. I actually feel a strong energetic push in my solar plexus like I am about to give birth there, and I know that I am pushing on the astral plane and causing change to occur in conformity with my will.
The genesis of the priestess that I had become on the day that the sun danced with the moon was based in a bodily knowledge whose reach extended through the upper planes. Years later when I became a lay priestess of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, I carried this physical intuition and knowledge with me. While a few generous sisters gave me guidance in the technology of the Gnostic Mass, there was no manual that explained what was supposed to happen energetically or what I was supposed to do on the higher planes as a priestess. I had to figure it out for myself. And this is my preferred mode of learning.
After four years of service as a lay priestess of the E.G.C., I received my Ecclesiastical Orders. The first mass that I performed as an ordained priestess really worked. The congregation was jubilant and frolicking afterwards. One communicant was so enthralled by his communication, that when he turned around, he forgot to say “There is no part of me that is not of the gods” until he was halfway to his seat. As he returned hastily to the dais to proclaim his divinity, it was apparent to all that he was “there.” But what does it mean to be “there” or to say that the mass “worked?” Is it possible to communicate these ethereal states with words? Probably not. But words can serve as pointers. For example, when I say that the mass “worked” I mean that as a priestess:
When I am the goddess throned upon the high altar, I am that I am, and that is enough. I do not seek to guide the energy that manifests or to do conscious magick on any of the communicants. The communication process is very different for each person. I never talk although I cannot help smiling. This is what comes most naturally to me. My heart chakra is on fire and I radiate delight and wonder. I see in each person the child, the unwalled, beautiful being that revels in its own freedom of the moment. Who could not smile at such a vision? I think for people who are blocked, I reflect to them a vision of being unfettered. For people who hate themselves, I reflect a vision of self-love. For people who are sick, I reflect to them a vision of a strong and robust body. This reflection is all done unconsciously, intuitively. The moon does not have to think about reflecting the sun, it just does. I rarely know what communicants seek when they come before me. Sometimes even they do not know. It doesn’t matter. We meet, we flow, we know each other as gods. And then they go as only gods can go.
In this sense my work is a very lunar process, approximating the energies of the High Priestess tarot trump. It requires the cultivation of a double-consciousness. I become consciously unconscious so that the spirit of the divine can move through me without being impeded or filtered by my outer ego or intellect. In my opinion, trying to consciously force energies or magick on communicants is a misapplication of the energy generated by the mass. I generally keep my hands in a palm-open, receptive mudra during communication, reverting to a lotus mudra while in-between communicants. The open palms remind me that I am a humble receiver, a conduit of forces much greater than myself.
The energy of being a priestess also partakes of solar energy. The dynamic, solar energy of the priest has been laid upon my altar, it has consumed me and I have consumed it. In this alchemical process I internalize the priest’s solar energy and hence become lunar-solar like the divine androgyne. I not only reflect like the moon, I radiate like the sun. My ears get hot, my palms get sweaty, energy flushes rush through my body, my nipples are hard, and I tremble. I feel that all of my movements are derived from an assumption of power of this amazing lunar-solar current. And so the dedication of my 26-year old self as priestess on that fateful day when the sun made love to the moon has found it’s natural completion in my work as a Priestess of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica.
Note: This essay reflects the highly personal experiences of the author. It is not intended as formal instruction for other priestesses. Experiment!