A Feast for Life
Prepared for the use of E.G.C. clergy
by Helena and T. Apiryon
(The Gnostic Mass is celebrated. Afterwards, the officers gather before the veil. The following orations may be made by the Priest or the Priestess, or by a Bishop or a Deacon-Sacerdote, or the Priest and Priestess may divide them between each other or share them with the Deacon.)
THE OFFICIANT: One of the Holy Feast Days proclaimed in the Book of the Law is the Feast for Life. The Prophet has stated in his commentary that this feast is to be held to recognize the birth of a child. It is our will today to recognize the birth of (name), son/daughter of Brother N and Sister N.
This ceremony is not the same as a baptism. In our Church, baptism is taken by an individual who is of sufficient age to make the decision to do so. The Feast for Life is our ceremony of welcoming a new child into the world of manifestation, of declaring our intentions to protect, instruct and assist the child in his/her efforts to discover and accomplish his/her will, and sharing a token of our pledge in the sprinkling of water, a symbol of love.
Brother N and Sister N, there are Bonds which lead to Slavery, and Bonds which lead to Freedom. We are all bound in many Fetters by Environment, and it is for ourselves in great Part to determine whether they shall enslave us or emancipate us.
Consider the Bond of a harsh Climate, how it maketh Man a Slave; he must have Shelter and Food with fierce Toil. Yet hereby he becometh strong against the Elements, and his moral Force waxeth, so that he is Master of such Men as live in Lands where bodily Needs are satisfied without Struggle.
Consider also him that willeth to exceed in Speed or in Battle, how he denieth himself the Food he craveth, and all Pleasures natural to him, putting himself under the harsh Order of a Trainer. So by this Bondage he hath, at the last, his Will.
Now then the one by natural, and the other by voluntary, Restriction have come each to greater Liberty.
It is not the Will of any person which ultimateth in his own Ruin and that of all his Fellows; and that is not Liberty whose Exercise bringeth him to Bondage. Thou mayst therefore assume that it is always an essential Part of the Will of any Child to grow to Manhood or to Womanhood in Health, and his/her Guardians may therefore prevent him/her from ignorantly acting in Opposition thereunto, Care being always taken to remove the Cause of the Error, namely, Ignorance, as aforesaid. Thou mayst also assume that it is Part of the Child’s Will to train every Function of the Mind; and the Guardians may therefore combat the inertia which hinders its Development. Yet here is much Caution necessary, and it is better to work by exciting and satisfying any natural Curiosity than by forcing Application to set Tasks, however obvious this Necessity may appear.
It is important that thou shouldst understand as early as may be what is the true Will of the Child in the Matter of his/her Career. Be thou well aware of all Ideals and Day-dreams; for the Child is herself, and not thy Toy. Recall the comic Tragedy of Napoleon and the King of Rome; build not an House for a wild Goat, nor plant a Forest for the Domain of a Shark. But be thou vigilant for every Sign, conscious or unconscious of the Will of the Child, giving him/her then all Opportunity to pursue the Path which he/she thus indicates. Learn this, that she, being young, will weary quickly of all false Ways, however pleasant they may be to him/her at the Outset; but of the true Way he/she will not weary.
Now in this Training of the Child there is one most dear Consideration, and it is this, that since that which can be thought is not true, every Statement is in some Sense false. Even on the Sea of pure Reason, we may say that every Statement is in some Sense disputable, therefore in every Case, even the simplest, the Child should be taught not only the Thesis, but also its opposite, leaving the Decision to the Child’s own Judgment and good Sense, fortified by Experience. And this Practice will develop his/her Power of Thought, and his/her Confidence in herself, and his/her Interest in all Knowledge. But most of all beware against any Attempt to bias his/her Mind on any point that lieth without the Square of ascertained and undisputed Fact. Remember also, even when thou art most sure, that so were they sure who gave Instruction to the young Copernicus. Pay Reverence also to the Unknown unto whom thou presumeth to impart the Knowledge; for he/she may be one greater than thou.
Sister N and Brother N, is it your will that your child be brought under the wings of our spiritual community?
Parents: It is.
THE OFFICIANT: (addressing the Congregation) Brothers and Sisters! These are the responsibilities of the members of our Order towards children:
All children of brethren are to be considered as children of the whole Order to be protected and aided in every way by its members severally, as by its organization collectively. No distinction is to be made with regard to the conditions surrounding the birth of any child.
There is an especially sacred duty, which every Brother should fulfill, with regard to all children, those born without the Order included. This duty is to instruct them in the Law of Thelema, to teach them independence and freedom of thought and character, and to warn them that servility and cowardice are the most deadly diseases of the human soul.
THE OFFICIANT: Brothers and Sisters, is it your will to accept, protect and aid this child as you would your own?
Congregation: It is.
(Officers, Parents and Child go to East of Font. Congregation forms crescent to West of Font.)
THE OFFICIANT: (sprinkling) In the name of Nuit, Hadit and of Ra Hoor Khuit, I welcome thee, [name].
(All present do likewise, one by one.)
Original Publication Date: 4/26/97 e.v.
Draft Version: 4/10/2023 e.v.