The Scarlet Letter
Volume II, Number 3 | Feburary 1995
Column: Heretics For Tea & Crumpets
Sorting Out the Mass
Original draft by Dionysus Soter, Deacon E.G.C.
Sanctioned by Sr. Continuity, Priestess, E.G.C.
Fr. Sharash, Priest, E.G.C., & Tau Apiryon, Bishop, E.G.C.
The Gnostic Mass as documented in Liber XV, is the central ritual, both
public and private, of the O.T.O., and E.G.C. It is being performed by Scarlet
Woman Camp with increasing frequency. As we grow and change, we are obliged
to keep the following goals:
Those wishing to perform in the role of an officer in the Liber XV Gnostic Mass for the Camp should fulfill the following prerequisites:
Memorization of the Ritual
Priests and Priestesses are expected to have all of their speeches and actions memorized. Deacons should memorize their material as well, although they are not required to memorize The Collects.
Consultation with Ordained Clergy
Members of E.G.C. first beginning work in a particular office whould avail themselves of the opportunity to confer with and learn from a brother or sister who has been ordained in that office. [Update: it is now Order policy that all novitiates must be under supervsion of an E.G.C. Bishop].
Gnostic Mass is performed at least twice each month at Scarlet Woman Camp. There is always a public Gnostic Mass on the third Sunday of each month. Masses are customarily held in the temple space of the Bodhi Yoga Center, and thus are subject to the Centers scheduling requirements as well.
Novice clergy wishing to schedule a Mass should attend the business meeting in a previous month to do so. In order to be placed on the schedule, both Priest and Priestess must be identified and commit to following through on the scheduled ritual. Deacons and Children may be recruited after the initial scheduling. Masses may be scheduled as much as two months in advance. Questions about the existing schedule may be directed to the Camp Secretary.
Public vs. Private Mass
All Third Sunday Masses are open to the public and are in full conformity with Liber XV. The first Sunday of the month is reserved for a private Mass. Attendance may be restricted to Camp members, initiates of a given O.T.O. degree, baptized members of the Church, officer invitees, or any combination of the above, as specified by the presenting officers. Because any other Mass during the month is considered public by default, it is essential to declare the Mass private, if desired, when it is first scheduled.
Variations From Liber XV
All novice clergy are expected to learn and present the Mass as described in Liber XV for their first Mass. As stated previously, all Third Sunday Masses must be in conformity with Liber XV. Otherwise, there is room for an infinite variety of experimentation with the ritual. Camp history has set precedents for alterations in the following aspects of the ritual: (1) Dress of officers; (2) Musical arrangement; (3) Addition of Saints to The Collects; (4) Alternative anthem.
Planned variants from Liber XV must be committed to paper and given to the Deacon in order that an accurate preamble may be given before the Mass. The Camp Secretary should be informed to he put in records of our Masses; (and for a planned insert to go into the missal for each Mass).
More substantial and unprecedented adjustments to the cononical ritual are possible. If these are made, then the ritual should he listed as completely irrelated to the Mass and identified accordingly. Such "Masses" should be considered experimental rituals. They are to be held to be in a different temple than the Gnostic Mass to avoid any confusion [the word temple is used here to describe a magical environment, and not necessarily a different physical geographical location]. It is also strongly suggested that these rituals (as are most experimental rituals) are held privately and not for the benefit of the public.
As of 11 February 1995 ev, Circle of Stars Sanctuary includes the following members who have been ordained in their offices:
There are several levels of participation in the E.G.C. which consist of varying types of training and level of service:
This ceremony represents being horn into the spiritual community as a member of the E.G.C. The baptised person answers the call of "Do what thou wilt shall he the whole of the Law," in pursuit of the Great Work and symbolically leaves the profane world behind. While it is not required, those whose will it is to eventually Confirm are encouraged to participate in the Mass as a child. Baptism requires sponsorship of two Confirmed members of the E.G.C.
By passing through this ceremony, the confirmand pledges themselves as active
member of the Church and fufills this role by participation in the Gnostic
Mass as a child or officer. Because the performance of Mass by a member of
the E.G.C. implies an aspiration to ordination. It is at this stage that
the individual begins training for Deacon ordination.
The ordinand of this ritual indicates that it is their True Will to serve
the spiritual community in the capacity of Deacon. This level of ordination
is not only very important to the effective performance of the Gnostic Mass,
but also to administering the services of this office to the local E.G.C.
community. Therefore, thorough training and discipline for this level of
ordination is required:
Priest or Priestess Ordination
The ordinand of this ritual indicates that it is their True Will to serve the spiritual community in this capacity. This level of ordination is not only extremely important to the effective performance of the Gnostic Mass, but also to administering this offices services to the local E.G.C. community. Therefore, thorough training and discipline for this level of ordination is required:
Baptism, Confirmation, Deacon ordination and Initiation to at
least K.E.W., O.T.O. are prerequisite to be considered for this ritual;
This office may only be conferred by a recognized and Consecrated E.G.C. Bishop.
Other E.G.C. Rituals
Ordained E.G.C. clergy, including Deacons, may perform as part of their Service, certain sacraments and sacramentals inherant in their offices, i.e., marriage, feasts, exorcism, etc., respectively.
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