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Crowley's Gnostic Mass

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig on April 01, 2005
posted under Gnostic Mass

The Gnostic Mass was written by Aleister Crowley while he was in Moscow in the year 1913. He had just been appointed the head of the British section of the O.T.O. He claimed that he was influenced by the Liturgy of St. Basil of the Russian Church. He also claims that it was edited from "Ancient Documents in Assyrian and Greek." However, it is quite clear that this is a religious expression of Crowley’s Thelemic vision of spirituality.

The main group performing the Gnostic Mass is the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica or Gnostic Catholic Church, now part of the O.T.O. It hints at the sexual magick of the O.T.O., while extolling as saints virtually every person, mythical or historic, whom Crowley liked—including important figures of the O.T.O., famous mystics, writers, Friedrich Nietzsche, poets, and himself—twice.

Many of the features of the Christian Mass are found in the Gnostic Mass. However the latter should not be seen as an imitation of the former as both are assembled from earlier traditions, including consummation of the host as a physical manifestation of the Divine, a practice known as "god-eating."

Demons, fairies, and saints—together? These are not three categories we think of together. In past eras, however, perceptions of the supernatural world were much more fluid. Magicians of the Renaissance would not be averse to calling upon whatever beings were available that could teach them secrets, acquire treasure, or gain the love of... read this article
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