Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Opening Remarks of 2016 OTO Symposium "Women and the Feminine in Thelema"

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Sweet sisters and brothers,

I’m Harper Feist, the Deputy Master of Leaping Laughter Lodge here in the Twin Cities and I am hugely honored to be the on-site Chair of this 2016 OTO Womens’ Symposium.  Thank you all for coming!

I have a short statement prepared for this august event and I have three pieces of business to address.  First, there is the matter of THANKS. Then there will be a couple of moments focused on pragmatics.  After that, I want to address the symposium logo and my infatuation with the Statue of Liberty.  The flames on the logo are the hearth fires of the OTO, maintained by the women, ignited by Liberty.

I had a teacher once who said, “If you only practice gratitude, it is enough.” In that vein, I offer thanks in what I hope is chronological order (please raise your hand as I acknowledge you):

Ixel Balamke, the master of LLL, for suggesting this crazy thing in the first place.

Rufus Opus, my partner in all the crimes and the AV dude for the conference.  Also the bourbon expert.  Good guy to know.

Nessa Cohorn, my wonder twin and US Conference Guru, for emails without count, jokes without tasteful boundaries, and that little ritual to make sure everything worked out just right. It probably resulted in someone thinking he was having a hot flash.  You and I have work to do together, you know.

To Magenta, of LLL, who knows the Twin Cities better than anyone else, and who helped my craft the FAQ email.

To our ritual team, Elizabeth, Rufus, Ixel, Hunahpu, Joni and Fr. Barabbas. You will all see later why thanks should profuse and tasty.  Standing with you, we will all be gods.

To Kat, our graceful muse and introducer par excellence.  Thanks for taking an important job, recognized at the last moment.

To Joni, my fellow moderator at the panel discussion.  Thanks for helping me swing that microphone!

To Kelly, our event photographer.  She normally shoots footage of athletic events, so I hope you do not disappoint her.

To Sam, our sound engineer and DJ. He’s seriously doing it.

To Hunahpu:  the chocolate and roses were just right.

To Josh, Kirstine and Andrew, who are ready to do anything.  Over the course of the next couple of years, you’ll know exactly what you signed up for.

To Martin, my runner.  Only time will tell how much exercise you’ll get this weekend!

To the staff of Hotel Minneapolis, who’ve been wonderful to work with and who will be showing us the best time the Twin Cities has to offer this weekend

Thanks to you all!

A brief break into the pragmatic:

The schedule is on-line only, but we’ll have a hard copy of it posted near the door.  If you need help, look for the folks with LLL on the corner of their name tag.  They all have my cell phone number and will run to ground any issue you have.

The presentation room is called Equity and is downstairs.  We’ll be having the ceremony there on Sunday afternoon after lunch.

As I mentioned, the hotel staff is here to make you visit more pleasant than you thought possible, if you need anything, they will gladly direct you at the front desk.  If we LLL folks can help further, please let us know!

So, who among you have a relationship with the Statue of Liberty?

I have loved her since I was a little Thelemite, knee-high to a groundhog….no, I mean a gopher.  This IS Minnesota, after all.  I was five when I decided that the spikes sticking out of her head were much better than a halo, and I was right.

The statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France, and was entitled, LIBERTY ENLIGHTING THE WORLD.  She was forged in copper and transported in pieces to New York City.  The build was final and the statue dedicated in 1886. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

The American poet, Emma Lazarus, wrote a poem during the construction of the base to raise money for the erection of the statue, and it was this poem that firstly brought my attention back to the statue during my preliminary efforts at organization.  I’d like to read it to you:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

My sisters and brothers, gaze into one another’s fierce and gorgeous eyes.  We are that lightning; we are that flame, we are the chains, broken beneath our feet.

Welcome to the 2016 OTO Women’s Symposium, “Women and the Feminine in the Thelema!”

Love is the law, love under will!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Women's Symposium Original Ritual: The Courtship of Babalon and Chaos

The Courtship of Babalon and Chaos
Closing Ritual for the OTO Women’s Symposium, August 2016

By Harper Feist

(With thanks for word wrangling by Rufus Opus, the first Chaos, and blocking help from the original team, Elizabeth Miner, Ixel Balamke and Hunahpu, Joni Watling and Frater Barrabas.)

4 and 7 is 11.

  •  LED candles suspended from ceiling (about 30 needed) 
  • Bright light over the place where B will stand 
  • Black veil in the east, perhaps on the dais with a throne behind 
  • Double-cube altar in the center 
  • Personae dramatis: A priest who plays Chaos, a priestess who plays Babalon, a deacon who plays a deacon, four attendants in black, one soldier at the door. 

Female Attendants: sing the Babalon chant as people gather before the door. 
Deacon Speech 


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law! 

Welcome to Leaping Laughter Lodge’s presentation of the original ritual entitled “The Courtship of Babalon and Chaos.”  This Eucharistic rite was inspired by an essay written by Soror Helena and Frater Sabazius regarding the Creed of the Gnostic Catholic Mass.  In it, the Babalon/Chaos couple was equated to other creation Goddess/God pairs, including those that are the topic of the world’s first written story, Inanna and Dumuzi.  We borrow some of the original Sumerian words from this story, both the translated and transliterated texts, for the actual courtship portion of the rite. 

At the heart of the rite, there is the adoration of Babalon, though, so there must be a blood sacrifice (ham this up).  This will be accomplished figuratively with a small portion of wine that you will be given when you enter the temple.  There will be a part in the ritual where you take the tube of wine – now your blood – and pour it into the cup brought to you by an attendant. 

There will come a time in the ritual when I (Deacon) perform a brief adoration to Babalon.  Please join me in any way that you desire. 

Shortly after this section, you and I will share a call and response piece.  I will turn outward toward the congregation to make this clear.  When the call and response portion is complete, I will turn back to the action in the ritual and address myself to the Priestess and Priest. 

This is the secret of the Holy Graal, that is the sacred vessel of our Lady the Scarlet Woman, Babalon the Mother of Abominations, the bride of Chaos, that rideth upon our Lord the Beast. 
Thou shalt drain out thy blood that is thy life into the golden cup. 
Thou shalt mingle thy life with the universal life. Thou shalt keep not back one drop. 
Love is the law, love under will. 

The people process into the temple.  The female attendants give out the tubes of wine. 

The Opening Scenario 

Chaos sits in the east, behind a veil (on a throne on dais steps). 

People gather in a vesica piscis shape. The chairs will be rearranged to that they can sit. Once all the people are in and calm, the attendants should take up their positions around the altar.  They are to be living pillars in the temple. 

Deacon waits for congregation to settle, then acknowledges continuous presence of chaos (talking to the curtain): 

D: Blackness, blackness intolerable, before the beginning of the light. Beginning ineffable, darkness unbroken, creation awaiting in potential, energy pausing for the arrival of matter. Holy art thou, Chaos, Chaos, ever and never present, you are the rushing, the leaping, the swirling, unpredictability, the delicious strange attractor. 

D: You are the snake that devoureth the spirit of man with the lust of light. You are the sightless storm in the night that wrappeth the world about with desolation. Chaos is your name, and you are the blessed thick power and potence. You pour yourself into the material world, the creation of experience. The God we feel in the quickening pulse, the god we feel in the quickening womb. 

D: Seemingly, you move without plan, without art, but all was established in the beginning, your Genesis is the butterfly’s wing. 

D: Are you the dark or the light? All the double phenomena are only two ways of looking at a single phenomenon; and the single phenomenon is Peace. 

C: Aye, this present Cosmos is the War of the Rose and the Cross, but I was the singular blackness, a blackness intolerable. Before “In the beginning,” it was written, “Holy art thou, Chaos, Chaos, Eternity, all contradictions in terms! 

C: Yet Cosmos must come, and in this Cosmos must the balance be set up where there was no need of balance, because there was no injustice, but only truth. But when the balances are equal, scale matched with scale, then will Chaos return. 

C: Beneath my feet is the kingdom, and upon my head the crown. I AM is spirit and matter; I AM is peace and power; in me is Chaos and Night and Pan, and thus also upon Babalon my concubine, that hath made me drunk upon the blood of the saints that she hath gathered in her golden cup. And this is that which is written: Malkuth shall be uplifted and set upon the throne of Binah. 

Deacon indicates that people should stand. 

Babalon walks from west side of room to center on west side of altar. She is dressed in red under white wrapping, covering her entirely. She should look a lot like a mummy. She says nothing and stands under the one bright light. 

Gong begins…. 

ATTENDANTS: Wine Collection - Each beginning at a cardinal direction, and moving clockwise. Female Attendants in North and West, Male Attendants in East and South. 

Each will collect about 15 tubes of wine. It will likely take 7-10 minutes. The attendants should make this portion of the event impactful and heavy, by being slow, deliberate and somber. People can keep their test tubes.  

DEACON: Pours out all the peoples wine into the chalice, delivers to Babalon. 

BABALON: Drinks Wine from Chalice.  

Gong playing peaks when she is drinking the wine. When wine is gone, silence.  

ATTENDANTS: Four attendants remove white wrapping, revealing red garments, women on the north side of the temple, men on the south.  After the unveiling, the wrapping should be left on the floor, draped as artfully as possible in a second or two. 

Attendants resume their places. 

DEACON: Adoration of BABALON. 

CALL AND RESPONSE: Call and response with congregants, this should be practiced with shills before the actual ritual. 

DEACON: “Please repeat after me…. 

D: I love thee, O Lady of Holy Lust 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: I pour myself into your divine and holy Cup 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: Thou who gavest us flesh to clothe our naked spirits 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: thou who art the loveliness of the Great Sea 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: the wet and fertile smell of soil 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: the howl of the newly born 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: the gasp of the newly dying 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: you who art the womb of woman 
[Congregation Repeats]
D: and womb of Earth 
[Congregation Repeats] 

DEACON: Makes the sign of Harpocrates and turns her back to the congregation.  She may fall to her knees before Babalon if she desires. 
 And thou who art called by man 
Mother of Abominations
the divine mystery of whose adulteries
is that thou 
yieldest thyself to all things 
Beautiful art thou, O 
Babalon, and desirable 
and in thy weakness hath subdued the strength of all
therefore art thou called Understanding, O 
I love thee, blessed Lady of the Night!
I beg thee, Rider of the Beast,
cremate all the dross within me
make me new again and simple
I beg thee to remove from me
that which I am no longer
Leave only the perfect structure of Now
Ignite the fuse that leads to god and God
so that I, like you, may burn in the innocent violence
of sacred incineration
And when the abyssal hole appears
I beg thee be reaching to me from the other side
as I continually pour myself into your divine and holy Cup

BABALON: Llifts Deacon to her feet, and kisses her.  Then she responds: 

B: There is nothing that I have not trampled beneath my feet. There is nothing that I have not set a garland on my brow. I have wound all things about my waist as a girdle. I have hidden all things in the cave of my heart. I have slain all things because I am Innocence. I have lain with all things because I am Untouched Virginity. I have given birth to all things because I am Death. Stainless are my lips, for they are redder than the purple of the vine, and of the blood wherewith I am intoxicated.  

B: Stainless is my forehead, for it is whiter than the wind and the dew that cooleth it. I am light, and I am night, and I am that which is beyond them. I am speech, and I am silence, and I am that which is beyond them. I am life, and I am death, and I am that which is beyond them. I am war and I am peace, and I am that which is beyond them. I am weakness, and I am strength, and I am that which is beyond them. Yet by none of these can man reach up to me. Yet by each of them must man reach up to me. Thou shalt laugh at the folly of the fool. Thou shalt learn the wisdom of the Wise. And thou shalt be initiate in holy things. And thou shalt be learned in the things of love, in the many things of love, and all the myriad things of love.] 

B: I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all. Dissolution. I am ready to dissolve and to be dissolved, to disappear into oneness…. 

C: So many stories are our story, beloved one  Once I was a young god strolling near the Euphrates and I said, “I sing your name BABALON, O BABALON, As I walk, as I walk, as I pass along the banks of the august river, as I roam along the banks of the Euphrates, as I pass along the gaudy streets: O my beautiful One, may you be as a seed planted in the dark and fertile soil; may you be the root; may you be the stem; may you be the bud, and the leaf, and the flower; may you be the fruit, a beautiful ripened fruit. May you be the one who beautifies, may you be the nursing mother of the womb, may you be your own mother's womb and all wombs, the root of all, a fertile vine, oh beloved. 

MALE ATTENDANTS: The male attendants open the curtain and bring forth Chaos. The shall lead him to Babalon’s side.  After they do this, they should return to their positions. 

B: In the style of the first story, his consort answers, “May "There is enough, there is enough" be your blessing and a splendid utterance, and may "There is none" be your abomination. May you be the owner of a house where there is enough, with a beautiful sister, beautiful children! A beautiful storehouse. May you be the male in all men. May you be the son of your god, may you be handsome, may you be praised! 
 May you be one who pleases his city's god, may you be a son who delights his mother, may you be the life-force of your city, may you be an honourable man, good offspring, may you be prosperous! May you own silver there, may you own grain there! Owning silver, may you delight in silver; owning grain, may you delight in grain! May you be valiant and joyous, may you never be blighted! May you be a soother of hearts, who never wearies of words! 

C: “As I said unto the Queen of Heaven, Babalon I would go with you to our garden, yea, I would go with you to our orchard; I would go with you even unto our apple tree. There I would plant the sweet honey covered seed. There I would enter into thy garden, into thy beautiful temple. There, with you, I would weave the Veil of Life upon the Face of the Spirit. 

FEMALE ATTENDANTS: The female attendants come to either side of the pair, and join their hands, then push them gently together at the right moment.  They should stand with the pair until the Sumarian portion is finished and then resume their position. 

B: Let them erect for me my flowered bed. Let them spread it for me with herbs like translucent lapis lazuli. For me let them bring in the man of my heart. Let them bring in to me my beautiful love. Let them put his hand in my hand, let them put his heart by my heart. As hand is put to head, the sleep is so pleasant. As heart is pressed to heart, the pleasure is so sweet. 

44.šu-ni šu-ĝu-ta de-ĝa!-da-ma-ma-ne 
ĝu-ta de-ĝa-da-ma-ma-ne 
46.šu /
ĝ\-še /ma\-al-la-na u ku-bi ze-ba an-ga 
ša-ba tab-ba-na 
i-li-bi ku-ku-da an-ga  

CHAOS and BABALON together: As hand is put to head, the sleep is so pleasant. As heart is pressed to heart, the pleasure is so sweet. 

ATTENDANTS: All go behind the curtain and bring out the elements.  The women bring the cakes to the north side of the Deacon, the men bring the wine to the south. 

DEACON:  consecrates the elements:

D: “This is the Kingship (cakes),  
D: “This is the Queenship (wine). 

Deacon hands C and B cookies, they eat as at a wedding cake cutting 
Deacon hands C and B wines, same here 

DEACON, CHAOS and BABALON together: “To love!” 

FEMALE ATTENDANTS: raise cakes  
C and B both kiss the tray. 
MALE ATTENDANTS: raise wine 
C and B both kiss the tray.  

DEACON: Remind people to hold onto their Eucharist so that can all can commune together. 

ATTENDANTS: Distribute Eucharist. Men should start in the same places they began to pick up the wine, and move 180 degrees around the circle, clockwise.  Women same, even though these do not overlap.  

ATTENDANTS:  Return any leftovers behind the curtain and resume their positions, each with a cup and cake. 

ALL: Raise wine and cake, eat, and drink at once. 

ALL: “To love!” 

The Blessing 

D: Behold the faces of your God, the beginning of comfort, whose eyes are the brightness of the heavens which provided you for the government of the earth, and her unspeakable variety, furnishing you with a power of understanding, that ye might dispose all things according to the foresight of Them that sitteth on the Holy Throne, and rose up in the beginning, saying, The earth, let her be governed by her parts, and let there be division in her, that her glory may be always ecstasy. 

B:  Behold the faces of your sisters, behold the faces of your brothers. So many keen minds, united in purpose, keen eyes; insightful and bold.  Power and glory are yours in the now and the ever.  Know that I am the seven-fold star that contains the mysteries of the Universe.  Seek me in the darkness of night, in the darkness of fertile soil, in the depths of your soul.  You are the many and the one. In your dissolution, there will be ecstasy. 

ALL: “So mote it be!” 

Overhead light extinguished to signal end of ritual. All Exit, leaving Chaos and Babalon in Darkness. 

Source Material:
Inspiration –
The Creed of the Gnostic Catholic Church: an Examination, by Helena and Tau Apiryon (Frater Sabazius) -

Transliteration of Sumerian text:
Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literatures:*#

Ritual context:
Enheduanna, (2000). Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart. Austin TX, University of Texas Press, translated by Meador, Betty De Shong. ISBN 10-292-75242-3

Ritual context:
Wolkstein, D. and S.N. Kramer, (1983). Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth. New York, NY, Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-06-014713-X

Thelemic descriptions of both Babalon and Chaos:
Crowley, A.C., V.B. Neuburg and M. Desti, (1998). The Vision and the Voice, with Commentary and Other Papers. Boston MA, Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. ISBN 0-87728-906-9

Much of the Deacon’s adoration of Babalon:
Feist, H. “Orison to Babalon,” unpublished.