A Wedding Ceremony
Prepared for the use of E.G.C. clergy
by Helena and T. Apiryon
The ceremony of marriage is mentioned in the final paragraphs of Liber XV. In the case of Apostolic Christianity, holy matrimony expressed the redemption of an otherwise sinful and unclean act through the blessing of the priest, and the dedication of the act to the service of God by bringing new children into the Church in accordance with scripturally acceptable procedures. In Thelema, the Mystery of Marriage is a magical expression of the divine process which continually creates the Universe, the formula of which is “love under will.” The marriage ceremony thus affirms the inherent sacramental nature of sex. It represents the devotion of the most powerful energies of human organic life to the service of the Beloved: the revealer of the True Will.
(The Congregation is admitted and seated for the Gnostic Mass. The GROOM, who carries a wooden wand, and his Best Man, who is armed with a ceremonial sword and carries the BRIDE’S ring, are seated to the North of the Tomb in the West.
(Music. All rise as the BRIDE, carrying a bouquet of yellow roses, enters with her Bridesmaid, who is armed with a ceremonial sword and carries the GROOM’S ring. The BRIDE and Bridesmaid take their seats to the South of the Tomb in the West. All resume their seats.
(The Gnostic Mass begins, and proceeds according to Liber XV until the two to be married have partaken of communion and have returned. None but the two to be married communicate, the Children attending them to hold the wand and roses as necessary. For the Collects, The DEACON strikes a bell at the beginning of Number IX, “Marriage.
(The Negative Child descends to stand with the GROOM, the Positive Child descends to stand with the BRIDE. The DEACON stands near the High Altar. The PRIEST advances and stands before the Shrine in the East, facing the Congregation.)
The PRIEST: Brothers and Sisters, family and friends, Brother N. and Sister N. have declared to me their intention to unite, with love under will, in the Mystery of Marriage. Is it your will to witness their vows?
The PEOPLE (rising): It is.
The PRIEST (to the BRIDE and GROOM): Please come forward.
The PRIESTESS elevates the Cup.
The BRIDE, followed by the Positive Child and the Bridesmaid; and the GROOM, followed by the Negative Child and the Best Man, slowly advance up the sides of the Temple, stopping with the Altar of Incense between them.
The PEOPLE sit.
The PRIEST: The Queen of Heaven hath said, “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.”
The PRIESTESS lowers the Cup.
The PRIEST (turning to face the GROOM): Brother N., do you affirm that it is your will to unite with Sister N., with love under will, in the Mystery of Marriage?
The GROOM: I do.
The PRIEST (turning to face the BRIDE): Sister N., do you affirm that it is your will to unite with Brother N., with love under will, in the Mystery of Marriage?
The BRIDE: I do.
The PRIEST: “So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.”
The PRIEST makes the five crosses:
on BRIDE and GROOM; ☩ 4 on GROOM alone; ☩ 5 on the BRIDE alone.
The PRIEST (turning to face the GROOM): Repeat after me, …(He reads the vow as written by the GROOM.)
The GROOM turns to face the BRIDE and repeats the vow.
The PRIEST: So mote it be.
The DEACON and the PEOPLE repeat: So mote it be.
The PRIEST (turning to face the BRIDE): Repeat after me, … (He reads the vow as written by the BRIDE.)
The BRIDE, facing the GROOM, repeats the vow.
The PRIEST: So mote it be.
The DEACON and the PEOPLE repeat: So mote it be.
The PRIEST turns and ascends the first step.
The GROOM gives the wand to the Negative Child,
the BRIDE gives the roses to the Positive Child.
The Children change places with each other.
The BRIDE and GROOM advance just forward of the Altar of Incense.
The PRIEST descends again, gives the Lance to the DEACON to hold, and receives the rings from the Best Man and the Bridesmaid. He takes the rings to the Font and dips them in the water. He takes them to the Altar of Incense and passes them through the incense smoke. He ascends to the High Altar and presents the rings to the PRIESTESS, who kisses them. He takes the rings and descends. He gives the BRIDE’S ring to the GROOM, and the GROOM’s ring to the bride. He takes again his Lance, ascends the first step, and turns to face the BRIDE and GROOM.
The GROOM (faces the BRIDE): Let this ring be a token of the love that seals my pledge.
The GROOM places the ring on the BRIDE’S finger.
The BRIDE (facing the GROOM): Let this ring be a token of the love that seals my pledge.
The BRIDE places the ring on the GROOM’S finger.
The PRIEST: “There is no bond that can unite the divided but love.”
The PRIEST gives the GROOM his Lance to hold in his left hand.
The PRIEST: In thou be the essence of the Life of the Sun.
The PRIEST receives the Cup from the PRIESTESS, and gives it to the BRIDE to hold in her left hand.
The PRIEST: In thou be the essence of the Joy of the Earth.
The BRIDE and GROOM hold the weapons as in ATU VI, with their left hands.
The PRIEST joins the right hands of the BRIDE and GROOM, held up at breast height.
The PRIEST: “For he is ever a sun and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.”
The PRIESTESS raises her arms in invocation.
The Best Man and Bridesmaid draw their swords, and form an arch of steel above the BRIDE, GROOM and PRIEST.
Simultaneously, the Positive Child reaches across to touch the base of the Cup, lowering the roses, and the Negative Child reaches across to touch the Lance, lowering the wand.
The PRIEST (Makes · with thumb): In the name of the Father. (Makes circle with open hand) In the name of the Mother. (Makes ☩ with thumb between index and medius.) In the name of the Serpent and the Lion. (He makes the Sign of the Enterer. Pause. He makes the Sign of Silence.)
The PRIESTESS lowers her arms.
The PRIEST raises his arms, as comprehending the couple.
The PRIEST: And by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of _____ and Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, I proclaim you Husband and Wife.
The Best Man and Bridesmaid sheathe their swords.
The BRIDE and GROOM return the Lance and Cup to the PRIEST. They descend between the Altar of Incense and the Font.
The PRIEST returns the Cup to the PRIESTESS.
The PRIEST and PRIESTESS face the couple and raise their weapons in salute.
The BRIDE (to the GROOM): “I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.”
The GROOM (to the BRIDE): “Come! Lift up thine heart and rejoice! We are one, we are none.”
The BRIDE and GROOM kiss.
They turn to face the Shrine.
The PRIEST: Omnia in Duos: Duo in Unum: Unus in Nihil: Haec nec Quatuor nec Omnia nec Duo nec Unus nec Nihil sunt. Gloria Patri et Matri et Filio et Filiae et Spiritui Sancto Externo et Spiritui Sancto Interno, ut erat est erit in saecula saeculorum.
The All within this couple. This couple within the One. The One within the Void. These are neither four, nor all, nor two, nor one, nor naught.
Glory to the Father, and to the Mother, and to the Son, and to the Daughter, and to the Holy Spirit Without, and to the Holy Spirit Within, which was, and is, and ever shall be, world without end.
The PRIEST ascends the three steps and closes the veil. With the Lance he makes ☩ on the BRIDE and GROOM thrice, thus:
The PRIEST: ☩ The LORD bless you.
☩ The LORD enlighten your minds and comfort your hearts and sustain your bodies.
☩ The LORD bring you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.
He goes out, the DEACON and the Children following, into the tomb of the West.
The BRIDE and GROOM remain briefly with the PEOPLE to accept their felicitations, then depart.
Original Publication Date: 10/23/95 e.v.