Last Saturday was gnostic mass. I was priest. I started the ritual "playing the part of priest", which is not the same as 'being priest". After entering the tomb and having needed preparations take place, I closed my eyes as one who is dead. Then I was alone for a brief instance in the temple, and I opened my eyes. Through the cloth covering the tomb I could see the candles on the fire altar, great altar and super-altar. 23 candles in all: 22 beyond the great veil and one in Tiphareth. It was gorgeous.
The ritual went well, but it was "Andy acting the role of priest", tracking the script, registering the next line or action, wondering how to perform each step for best effect for the congregation. Then it happened. A few lines into the Anthem I was wondering: Is it too fast? Too slow? Too loud? Do this? Do that? And something in my head told me: Andy - Forget about the congregation and sing the Anthem only for yourself and for your Priestess. And I did. And in that moment I became Priest. For the rest of the ritual there was no tracking, no thinking, no worrying. Lines and actions just happened, in proper sequence, all on their own. The magick was there. It was just plain freaking great.
But I have to be careful. Coming out of the ritual feeling like the king of the world, there is a temptation to interact with the world as if you are king of the world. This can be good and bad. Being willing to do my Will, with much less fretting about the world, is refreshing. But there is a danger of running roughshod over the unwashed masses - of becoming a jerk. Care must be taken to hold onto the good and manage the bad. Which leads to the next item...
Matthew Murray, Liber OZ and finding balance.
A little over a week ago, young Mr. Murray grabbed his guns and sauntered off into the headlines. The only good thing that can be said about this is that a young woman with the proper training and the proper tools put an end to his rampage after only four lives had been taken. (Only..."only" four stars snuffed out, "only" three families devastated, "only" two congregations jolted into shock, "only" a nation once again appalled and moving closer to being jaded.) About a year ago he found the O.T.O. and was accepted as a Welcomed Guest of the Ad Astra Oasis. But he was not accepted for full membership. In one of his postings, Mr. Murray mentioned meditating on Liber Oz. Great. Wonderful.
Liber Oz has been on my mind lately. Then this happens and really pushes it to the forefront of my psyche. So what about Liber Oz?
On first reading, the common reaction is to assume the rights of man apply to me. Me, me, me. And I get to get gothic on anyone who gets in my way. But then you realize...
- It might just apply to other people too. This means the I have no right to abridge the Will of the other, under penalty of death.
- It says "Man has the right..." When the word "man" is used in this way, it refers to humanity as a whole. In this light, the document becomes a polemic against abridgment of rights by church, by state, or by foreign powers. Can you say, "American Revolution"?
- "Will" is not the same as "want". (Not to be explained here.)
- "thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that and no other shall say nay." Look at this one closely. What is says is this: If it is your "will" (not want, but will in the largest sense), then you have every right to do it. But - it is the only thing that you have this sort of right to. "Want" has no place in this document, or in the true rights of man. I know I explain it poorly. But it makes sense to me, and that is all that matters.
- "Man has the right to kill..." Ouch. This is what raises hackles and makes murderers of people who JUST DON'T GET IT. Having a right doesn't oblige you to exercise it. Having a right does not allow you to abridge the rights of others. And - most important - THINKING that you have a right does not make it so. Pity the fool who is so short on imagination and resource that he feels the need to resort to violence. Pity the fool who is so short on understanding that he dismisses the rights of others. When, and only when, the rights being abridged prevent the Great Work - When, and only when, all other options have been exhausted - then is the Mage allowed to consider the option of violence. And even then, wisdom often says "no" and the universe opens another way.
End of rant.