A Greater Feast for Death
Prepared for the use of E.G.C. clergy by T. Apiryon
This ceremony may be performed with the lines divided between the Priest, Priestess, and Deacon, as shown below; or with all lines given by a Bishop or Deacon-Sacerdote.
(The Temple is arranged for the Gnostic Mass. The guests are admitted and seated. One chair is left empty. A photograph, favorite posession, or other memento of the Deceased may be placed at the foot of the Stele.
A Requiem Gnostic Mass is celebrated. The name of the Deceased is spoken by the Deacon at the beginning of the Deacon’s intoning of Collect XI, The End: “Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen, in particular our Brother/Sister ___, …“
The Officers re-enter the Temple and gather before the Veil. The empty chair is placed within the Tomb.)
The PRIEST: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The People: Love is the law, love under will.
The PRIEST: Today we celebrate a Greater Feast for Death, in honor of our Brother/Sister [Name], who has followed his/her Will into Realms beyond our Knowledge. We invite his/her Essence to tarry with us a moment longer, that we may offer him/her our tribute. [Name], be with us.
(Each person present who so wills is now given an opportunity to speak. The officers speak last. When all have spoken who will, Liber 106 is read, as follows.
The PRIESTESS: IT IS WRITTEN in The Book of the Law: Every man and every woman is a Star. It is Our Lady of the Stars that speaketh to thee, O thou that art a star, a member of the Body of Nuith! Listen, for thine ears become dulled to the mean noises of the earth; the infinite silence of the Stars woos thee with subtile musick. Behold her bending down above thee, a flame of blue, all-touching, all-penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, and her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers, and think that all thy grossness shall presently fall from thee as thou leapest to her embrace, caught up into her love as a dewdrop into the kisses of the sunrise. Is not the ecstasy of Nuit the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of her body? All that hath hurt thee was that thou knewest it not, and as that fadeth from thee thou shalt know as never yet how all is one. Again She saith: “I give unimaginable joys upon earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death. This thou hast known. Time that eateth his children hath not power on them that would not be children of Time. To them that [know] themselves immortal, that dwell alway in eternity, conscious of Nuit, throned upon the chariot of the sun, there is no death that men call death. In all the universe darkness is only to be found in the shadow of a gross and opaque planet, as it were for a moment; the universe itself is a flood of light eternal. So also death is but through accident; thou hast hidden thyself in the shadow of thy gross body, and taking it for reality, thou hast trembled. But the orb revolveth anon; the shadow passeth away from thee. There is the dissolution, and the eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu! For inasmuch as thou hast made the Law of Freedom thine, as thou hast lived in Light and Liberty and Love, thou hast become a Free-man of the City of the Stars.
The PRIEST: LISTEN AGAIN to thine own voice within thee. Is not Hadit the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star? Is not He Life, and the giver of Life? And is not therefore the knowledge of Him the knowledge of Death? For it hath been shown unto thee in many other places how Death and Love be twins. Now art thou the hunter, and Death rideth beside thee with his horse and spear as thou chasest thy Will through the forests of Eternity, whose trees are the hair of Nuit thy mistress! Thrill with the joy of life and death! Know, hunter mighty and swift, the quarry turns to bay! Thou hast but to make one sharp thrust, and thou hast won. The Virgin of Eternity lies supine at thy mercy, and thou art Pan! Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Hast thou not striven to the inmost in thee? Death is the crown of all. Harden! Hold up thyself! Lift thine head! breathe not so deep–die!
The DEACON: OR ART THOU STILL ENTANGLED with the thorny plaits of wild briar rose that thou hast woven in thy magick dance on earth? Art not thine eyes strong enough to bear the starlight? Must thou linger yet awhile in the valley? Must thou dally with the shadows in the dusk? Then if it be Thy Will, thou hast no right but to do Thy Will! Love still these phantoms of the earth; thou hast made thyself a King; if it please thee to play with toys of matter, were they not made to serve thy pleasure? Then follow in thy mind the wondrous word of the Stele of Revealing itself. Return if thou wilt from the abode of the Stars; dwell with mortality, and feast thereon. For thou art this day Lord of Heaven and of Earth.
“The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
O thou that hast a single arm!
O thou that glitterest in the moon!
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.
The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Opening Duant, the star-abodes,
Their keys receiving.
The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Among the living.”
Love is the law, love under will.
The PRIEST: The Benediction of the All-Begetter, All-Devourer be upon thee.
The PRIESTESS: [Name], rejoice with us this day in our feast, and abide with us always in our memory!
(All proceed to the banquet, where Will is said, and a toast is offered to the abiding memory of the Deceased.)
Original Publication Date: 10/1/95 e.v.
Draft Version: 4/10/2023 e.v.