FOI Online Liturgy
Isis of Alchemy, Transformation through the Goddess
By: Olivia Robertson
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I. The Ruby Pylon of Mars
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS AMATERASU
INVOCATION. Holy Sun Goddess, Amaterasu No Kami, supreme ruler of our planets, Bringer of life to all living creatures, help us to use your power unselfishly, so that we may restrict our Egos to serving others.
ORACLE. This is an ambitious prayer - to leave your spiritual childhood prematurely! My friends, do not dwarf your Egos. Without your unique human souls my planetary family would be the poorer. Only by fulfilling your individuality, your eccentricities, can you develop naturally. Cosmic consciousness is the goal but not the childhood of your evolution. You inhibit your growth by frustrating your creativity. Each planet and each snowflake is different. So are you.
When I hid My Light in the cave of black space, it was the Madcap Goddess Ame No Uzume Who alone among the Deities drew Me forth to shine once more. How? By causing laughter through Her absurd dance! Endless liturgies hold no interest for Me. Repetition dulls the mind. Do not imitate others - even Gods and Goddesses, Masters of the Wisdom - sundry Spirit Guides. Adore - but do not surrender. Worship can alienate the being so adored. Do not walk even in a lover's footsteps. Love can only thrive between equals.
Now is the time in this new Aeon for each of you to co-create with the Deities. Do not be ashamed of making mistakes: these bring experience. Reveal with courage your innate powers! For My Sun-blood flows through each of you and through every being of My solar family. Its circulation unites each player in the Divine Dream of unfolding Deity.
On a scarlet-draped altar let there be lighted candles, a bowl of water, burning incense and a scarlet amulet of Mars. Alchemists wear gold headdresses, and Companions, silver head-ties: all wear vermilion robes with turquoise-green sashes. Music may be played throughout.
Priest Alchemist. Fellow Practitioners of the sacred art of Alchemy, we gather in this holy Temple to learn to control our emotions through the Alchemy of Mars.
Priestess Alchemist. (makes sign of Mars with wand) I invoke Amaterasu No Kami, Sun Goddess of Japan. Aid us to transmute hate into compassion: envy into generosity; jealousy into love. So shall the Passive and Positive Powers, Yin and Yang, be brought into harmony.
Pr. Alchemist. (makes sign of Mars with staff) I invoke Sosa No Mikoto, God of Power, Consort of Amateras. Teach us to transmute violence into peace, ambition into humility; rage into gentleness. So shall Yang and Yin be brought into balance.
1st Pr. Who is Candidate for the Initiation of Mars?
Initiate in white is brought forward by Sponsor.
1st Pr. (to Candidate) Can you face the Initiation of Mars, knowing that this ceremony is but a prelude to life's trials?
Can. I am willing. My emotions are wrecking my spiritual progress.
1st Pr. (to Sponsor) Is the candidate properly prepared?
Sponsor. I stand Sponsor for the Candidate's dedication to the Goddess, hard work and sincerity.
2nd Prs. (to Can.) Unravel the hidden truth underlying an ancient scripture of Japan.
Gong Stroke. Mime by Masked Dancers. Narrators: Priestess and Priest.
Pr. The Goddess Amaterasu and Her husband the God Mikoto were proud of their 8 children, the islands. But, alas, they had a quarrel as to which of them should have custody. His Impetuous Male Augustness, Mikoto, refused to surrender the children to His wife, the Sun Goddess. When She kept the children to Herself, He flew into a rage. He swamped the rice fields of the Japanese islands with mighty floods, and defiled all fruit and vegetables.
Prs. At first the Goddess excused Mikoto's unruly conduct, by putting it down to drunkenness. But he went too far. He broke a great hole in the roof of Heaven! Though this hole he hurled a gigantic piebald horse. In punishment, the Goddess withdrew all light and warmth from heaven and earth by hiding Herself in a cave.
Pr. Myriads of Deities, though they chanted endless liturgies, could not persuade Her to come forth.
Prs. It was then that the Madcap Goddess Uzume made the assembled Deities roar with laughter by performing a ridiculous dance! (Dance by Uzumi.) Hearing the appalling noise, Amaterasu poked her head out of the cave to find what was going on! At once Uzume confronted her with a mirror. Intrigued by Her own Light, the Goddess returned to shine upon Heaven and Earth.
Pr. Alch. Mikoto made His peace with His wife by presenting Her treasures in both of His hands, and by reciting Her a poem in Her praise.
Prs. Amaterasu was so pleased with the beauty of the poem, that She forgave Her husband, and permitted Him to return to Heaven. But She kept the custody of Their children. Divine Order was restored.
End of mime dance.
Pr. Alch. (to Can.) How do you interpret this scripture?
Can. On an earthly level, this is a representation of a total star eclipse, and a crashed meteor. The mirror is the moon, the islands, the eight sacred planets. Spiritually, we realise that only the Inner Sun can illumine the planets. Alchemy consists in balancing spiritual powers emanating both from the planets and from our own inner psychic centres, the lotuses.
Prs. Alch. You are accepted as a candidate. However, you need to blend this abstract knowledge with the daily lives of human-beings. So we present an alchemical version of "The Damask Drum", one of those mystical Japanese No Plays, inspired by Uzumi's Madcap Dance.
PLAY: THE DAMASK DRUM. AYA NO TSUMI.
Scene: Garden with a gnarled tree branch with a cloth drum hanging from it. Gong stroke. Enter Alchemist with rainbow sash and vermilion and turquoise-green robes. He holds a fan.
Alchemist. I am an alchemist who has travelled across the Great Western Ocean to the islands of the Rising Sun. Behold my magical fan with which I control the five elements with my sovereign will. (waves wand) Let me transport you within the Palace of Kinomara in the land of Chikozen. There dwells here a Princess who is pure as a white lotus and as cool as its pool. What matters to the Princess and her courtiers that clan warfare is defiling the island with the bodies of dead Samurai and raped women? Those who, as it is said "dwell above the clouds" in a palace, spend the hours reciting poems, gossiping, gambling and admiring exquisite gardens. Even now we can hear the giggling of the Ladies who attend upon the Princess.
Laughter. Enter Princess and ladies in embroidered robes, holding fans.
1st Lady. I assure your Highness that every word of it is true!
Princess. (angry) What impertinence. You say this ugly old gardener presumes to love Me? I would have him executed - but feel ashamed to tell my father, the Emperor, of the offence.
2nd Lady. (giggling) We love to hide in the garden and listen to his ravings. He is a madman.
3rd Lady. Are not old men ever thus, fondling young men and women in senile fantasies which they are not able to enact?
1st Lady. Your Highness, all he is capable of is to sweep the leaves as withered as himself, from beneath the laurel tree in your moon garden.
2nd Lady. As he sweeps he talks to himself, as old men do. We've heard him cry that his passion for you torments him by day.
3rd Lady. And by night.
Alchemist. Laughter is a two-edged sword. The mockery of her ladies injured the Princess' pride and provoked her to cruelty.
Princess. This insolence shall be punished! (To 1st Lady.) You know the Damask Drum that hangs on the Moon Tree by the pool? Go to this gardener and as he sweeps its leaves, repeat to him my message: "When you beat the drum, and I hear it in my palace, I will come to you. You will behold my face." Go.
Ladies are frightened and shrink away.
1st Lady. I obey.
Alchemist. (waves fan) I conjure for you the Moon pool beneath the laurel tree on which hangs the Damask Drum. (indicates bough.)
Enter Gardener, bent over broom.
Gardener. I am old; I shun daylight; I am gaunt as an aged crane. Suddenly torment is heaped upon me, the torment of impossible love.
Enter 1st Lady. (who speaks with false sweetness): Old man, "Love's realm knows no division." The August Princess has heard of your devotion. She gives you this message: "When you beat on the drum that hangs on the moon tree and I hear it in my palace, I will come to you. You shall behold my face." (Exit.)
Gardener. With trembling hands I take down the drum. (Does so and beats it.) May this beating be so mighty that it binds my bursting heart ... But what has happened? It is the curse of old age suddenly come upon me. I hear no sound. I am deaf.
Alchemist. Still believing that the drum-beats could be heard in the palace, the deluded gardener in a frenzy continued his beating of the silent drum hour upon hour. As madness increased in him he continued to beat by day and by night, as dead leaves mounted about his feet.
Gardener. (wildly beating drum as he circles round and round.) Hope dies as dusk follows dusk. Yet I wake not from the winter of love. Slow as dewdrops on autumn leaves, tears gather in my eyes. See their stains on my coarse-woven garment.
Alchemist. Still he beats the soundless drum in frantic rhythm. Day follows day, but she for whom he longs comes not.
Gardner. I would beat the sorrow from my heart. (His beating becomes weaker and slower) The Other World draws near. She has not come. How can I endure such torment?
Throws down the drum and rushes out.
Alchemist. And deep in the cold waters of the Moon Pool the gardener drowned himself. When the courtiers observed the heaped-up leaves of the neglected pool, they discovered the gardener’s body in the water. They told the Princess of the suicide. For the first time she felt pity, which turned to guilt. To the terror of her ladies, she became haunted by the gardener's enraged spirit.
Enter Princess, her hair hanging about her, her garment torn. She is followed by the gardener, now wearing a Demon Mask, and brandishing a Demon Mallet.
Princess. I am demented - I have sown the evil seed of madness!
Gardener. I was driftwood in the moon pool. But the waves of hatred have washed me back to shore. Anger clings to my soul. (to Princess) Why did you so cruelly spend my heart in vain? I gave my life for one glimpse of the moon seen through the boughs of a wintry tree.
Alchemist. And the gardener-turned-demon gave the Princess the drum and forced her to beat it with his demon mallet.
Princess. (demented) This angry soul calls on me to repent. I cannot summon help with this silent drum. Aborasetsu, Chief of the Demons, seeks to drag me to his hideous hell. In a wheel of fire he seeks to sear my sinful flesh and shatter my bones to dust.
Gardener. Oh hateful lady, hateful, I sink into the whirlpool of desire. (Exit dragging Princess with him.)
Gong. End of Play.
Pr. Alch. The play ends here, without resolving the spiritual problems of the victims. Resolve this for us.
Candidate. The Gardener and the Princess are made for each other! Each supplies what the other lacks. The drum represents the still heart whose beat is only heard by the Spirit. It is "the sound of the clap of one hand." The Princess has repented of her cruelty, and her honourable nature will see that she saves the gardeners lost soul. Despite the tumult of his selfish passion, the gardener adores the Princess. So he will rescue her from the flames of hell. Love brings about the reconciliation of opposites. Yin-Yang balance will be restored with their embrace.
Prs. Alch. You have attained the Initiation of Mars. (Presents Mars amulet.)
Pr. Alch. Remember that as an Initiate you are at the beginning. Companions, let us meditate upon the Alchemy of Mars.
Meditation. Reports are shared and thanks are given to the Deities.
End of Rite.
Sources: “The No Plays of Japan". Author of "The Damask Drum", Seami. trans. Arthur Waley. Grove Press, New York. "Nihongi", 720 A.D. trans. Aston, Allen and Unwin. Paragon Reprint Corp, New York. "Kojiki", 720 A.D. trans. Philippi, University of Tokyo. "The Goddesses of India, Tibet, China and Japan". Durdin-Robertson, Cesara, from Clonegal Castle.
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