The Scarlet Letter
Volume III, Number 2 | December 1995
By Sr. Lillith
For most Scarlet Woman members, the month of November WAS the Rites of Eleusis. I do not recall doing much else that month and my children slept in an anteroom at the theater cum temple space as often as at home. November blurs together with a busy and stressful October because rehearsals were numerous, frequent, and cast members overlapped productions; we saw a lot of each other.
As each successive Rite was performed, time freed up, and cast members were released from the planetary energy bonds they had assumed in the course of rehearsal and performance. Then we found time to enjoy and reflect on the magnificent project the Oasis undertook and accomplished. The "Crowned and Conquering Child Awards" recognizing various individual and production achievements, were announced at a cast party in December. There was some typecasting of familiar Fraters and Sorors and some surprise talents debuted.
The seven Rites were performed once each, in series, at an interval of five days, so that each one fell on its corresponding weekday. Each Rite was directed by a different Thelemite who conceived their own vision of a planetary mystery play originally written by Aleister Crowley. Some rites were adapted more than others, we often did not know exactly what to expect and the surprises and personal visions were fascinating. I had the pleasure of either attending or appearing in every one of the seven Rites.
If you just gotta see them for yourself, we videotaped them all. Some of the tapes are a little dark because the magick and atmosphere was more important than accomodating the video taping. They are all amateur video work (I taped most of them myself) but I think they do manage to capture and convey the essence of the events. I am very glad we have the visual and sound record.
Who knows, we might need a reference point of our mistakes and triumphs before we do it again next year. Are we nuts? I don't know. Our collective lives have grown very intense in both wonderful and awful ways since we did all the invocations in that cycle. I guess that is the best proof of the success of the project overall. "Be careful what you ask for, for you shall surely get it"... it isn't in The Book of the Law, but it does seem to work that way. I'll probably put my name in the fishbowl to get an opportunity to direct another one if the chance comes up.
Initiations & Church Events
Welcome to our new Minerval guests, Fr. Happenstance, Sr. Ananda, Sr. Estrella Relumbriente, and Sr. Nephthys. Congratulations to new first degree siblings, Fr. Will I Am, and Fr. Jack Parsons. Minervals and second degree initiations are both scheduled at the Oasis in the upcoming month of February.
Our two new Gnostic church members who were baptized this quarter are Sr. Estrella Relumbriente and Sr. Cor Scorpianis. Newly confirmed members are Fr. Titvs, Sr. Zuleica, and Sr. Bastien Borealis. Most recently Fr. Xephyr was ordained as a new Deacon. Gnostic Masses have been performed almost every Sunday with just one night skipped around New Year's.
Our new shrine situated in the East corner of the temple is both beautiful and functional. A new dais is being built by Fr. Kestrel and Fr. Omega Baphomet to accommodate the new altar and veil configuration even as I write. Additional temple equipment maintenance and improvements are planned for upcoming weeks. Now the Priestess not only sits "upon the summit of the earth," but in a very comfortable and attractive shrine as well.
Social Events & Personal News
This was a season for matrimonial planning. At one particular business meeting no less than three plans to wed were announced amongst our thelemic brethren.
On January 20th Fr. Erebus and Sr. Bastien Borealis married in a ceremony they wrote. Various Oasis members bestowed blessings as they represented planetary energies. Congratulations and best wishes to them together and also for Sr. Bastien Borealis who is involved in a writing project and is looking for a new day job. Love, prosperity and success to both new couples! Come late April Fr. Sar Shalom and Sr. Ananda plan to join in a ceremony to take place at the CMA Beltane camping event.
The Thanksgiving Holiday brought our thelemic family together for "Thanksgiving in Baghdad" over much food (three turkeys! wow!), some drink, and middle eastern fixin's (some not so turkey day traditional, but delicious!). Mostly we sat together and ate until our eyes bugged out, but the conversation was certainly more interesting than what many would find at their more traditional family holiday table. "Please pass the potatoes" and "Aunt Edna had an attack of rheumatism" just can't hold a candle to our lively discussions of qabalah, alternative relationship structures, and stories recounted about the events of days following (resulting from?) the various Rites.
Sr. Continuity was cast and performed in a Cybernetic Opera called The Black Blood which was performed at The Planet Theater here in Austin. The first set of performances was in December and the opera is about to begin a second round of shows in February. I was not able to attend a performance in December but I hope to catch one of the February shows. I heard from other folks who did get to see it that Sr. Continuity was very good and that the opera was interesting to watch and challenging to perform.
Happy Lesser Feasts to Frater Kestrel who joined the ranks of those of us who have suffered through our Saturn returns and survived (we celebrated with a 'wash Saturn from off thy back' party replete with balloons and toys), and Frater Sharash who turned a 'significant Thelemic age' this January.
Magickal Practices & Projects
The "Playing Cards" experimental group is active again after an Eleusian hiatus. We have planned a night of nominally scientific experimentation on psychic communication using our personal decks of cards (which are still under construction) for late next month. We plan to submit a report on our findings to The Scarlet Letter so you should be able to read more about this project in upcoming issues.
The "Smoking Dogs" launched a new series of rituals exploring the technology of hyperventilation in a ritual setting. Fr. PNESOMAUMA created this project and seven other Oasis members signed on for a three month commitment to preparation, attendance, participation and record keeping. Two teams of Damned Dogs and Dead Dogs alternate responsibility for the ritual portion of the evening while the other team hyperventilates and records their experiences. There is a lot more to it than this but I am confident that this project will be covered more completely in separate articles here in The Scarlet Letter in future issues. Hope I have piqued your interest with this bit of info.
The Feast of the Stars Thelemic Retreat will be the first weekend in February. There are 35 people registered for it and I have several papers in hand which discuss various aspects of the broad topic "Thelema as a Social Experiment." These papers will be presented at the colloquium and may also be available for purchase in a published form after the event. Negotiations and plans are still underway for this follow-up project. Other activities scheduled for the Retreat are a Gnostic Mass, a Feast of the Stars ritual, and an elaborate traveling evening meal. We will fill three townhouses with drums, incense, laughter and talk. Wish you could be there but I'll tell you all about it next issue.