FOI Online Liturgy
Nuit of the Milky Way,
Alchemical Journeys of the Questing Twins
By: Olivia Robertson
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1. Realm of Aries: the Undying Lamb
Wisdom is Won Through Self Knowledge
THE TEMPLE OF ALCHEMY
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST (TO TWIN APPRENTICES): For this your first quest, to learn wisdom from experience, receive the Oracle of the Goddess of Wisdom, Pallas Athena Who presides over Aries, uniting darkness and light!
ORACLE OF THE GODDESS ATHENA
PRIESTESS ALCHEMIST: Pallas Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, come to me now that I may be inspired by Thy Divine Spirit! Endow us with Thy Wisdom and Thy Might that Thy ancient glories may once more shine before the world!
ORACLE: It has been written that the Iron Age should prevail o'er the earth bringing with it suffering, toil and evil, through neglect of the Deities. Its darkness is not the holy night of the Owl of Wisdom, but the limitation of ignorance. Its light is the transient glow that comes from superficial knowledge gained from curious probing rather than the spiritual illumination that emanates from the Deities. It was not necessary for the world of men to choose the Age of Iron; but Destiny that the choice be offered. For what goodness is there in worshipping the Gods and Goddesses when They reveal Themselves easily to all? It is simple to satisfy curiosity, but the labour of years of experience to gain wisdom! Sentiment is pleasant but passing: the warmth of love is ever-renewing.
Understand the meaning of what I am, and you will gain comprehension of your own lives and destiny. I am not divided against Myself. Bright Pallas with her Spear of Light does not war with the Dark Owl of Night. Nor do the terrible flames of the Inner Sun that are Veiled upon My shield attack Athena, the Teacher of philosophy and the arts. I am Holy. Be ye Holy. Be at peace within yourselves and cease from your philosophical warring! In verity the catastrophes of the Iron Age are due to deep division between mortals and the Deities: between mankind and nature: and between differing ideas which are but the quivering reflections of absolute truth.
The veil upon My Shield is beginning to wear thin, and the glory of the Rays of Medusa become apparent to earthly gaze! The inner power of the atom has been violently exposed, and reduces the physical body to the shadow which in verity it is. My Spear of Light brings Divine Inspiration to the mind, while My owl carries messages of warning from the dark Rulers of the universe, which will be known to be what it is: whole and perfect. On your troubled earth mortals struggle and learn through harsh experience to put on Immortality: which in truth is latent in each creature. A bird knows more of Elysium than doth mankind! Do not reject any aspect of the universe, but recognise it as part of a glorious pleroma in which even suffering and evil are transformed through wisdom into good. Listen for My Voice. I speak in the silence.
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST (TO TWINS): Enter into trance. You find yourselves in the mystical Temple of the Zodiac, set upon a high hill.
TWINS ENTER TRANCE.
PRIEST/ESS ALCHEMIST (TO AIDEN AFTER TRANCE HAS ENDED):Let your fellow students of the divine alchemy of Isis hear of your quest and what befell you.
AIDEN: It was far more real than I had expected – sometimes real – or more real – than here. The Guide came to me as an old man with a white beard, and he told me he was Taliesin of the shining brow of Wales, and that he had been Virgil, Guide of souls in Rome, and he came from the Land of the Southern Stars. He told me that what men dread most is cowardice. Women are forced to show their courage through childbirth and the agony thereof. But we must face violence or be despised. Now you know – because of my track record in Martial Arts, that I am not a physical coward. But what really terrifies me is the supernatural! I see some of you smiling! But that is exactly why I am here, doing this course. I wish to face the unknown. I enjoy science fiction movies because I do not believe a word – that helps me to face unknown powers with less fear, because I have seen them enacted on television – hence they cannot be real! After all, I work in a scientific discipline. So the occult offers me a way of rationalizing the inexplicable – and explaining it with the mind!
I am trying to talk away what happened. I visualised the Temple of the Zodiac, as instructed, adding a few architectural improvements of my own. And there was the perpetual flame and the four cherubim guarding it – all archetypes, not to be feared. So I approached the door of Aries with interest – no apprehension. I observed that the usual ram had given place to a harmless looking lamb – no threat.
However, when I passed through the portal I began to slip into another state of mind. Taliesin stood behind me, so I faced darkness. I have always disliked the dark – I wish to throw light upon any situation. And I found myself entering the darkness, going downwards. I tried to be flippant, and said to Taliesin something about the statutory “near death” experience so popular with New Agers. I was expecting the Light at the end of the tunnel at any moment.
I found it rather chilling when Taliesin replied coolly, that I could expect quite the reverse. So on I went and began to find it harder and harder to breathe. The air seemed thick. At last I reached the end – and found myself in a vast dark hall, lighted by a few flaming torches. Again I made a joke about the usual television presentation of Secret Rites. I tried to laugh – but no sound came forth. Taliesin said there would be no rite. That I must look before me.
What I saw was the mighty form of a woman robed in black, a heavy black veil over her face. She, Taliesin said, was Medusa. If she lifted her veil I would see the Gorgon, a woman with live cobras for hair.
I felt anger, fear, revulsion. Childhood terrors came flooding in. I found myself screaming. In a panic I rushed towards the figure to unmask the joker – and found myself staring into my own distorted face.
That is my report. I jerked back to my body, trembling in every limb.
MEDITATION ON REPORT. IF THE APPRENTICE IS CREDITED WITH DIVINE AWARENESS, HAVING LEARNED SOMETHING OF HIS SECRET SELF, THE DEGREE IS GIVEN.
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