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Mass of the Phoenix

From Thelemapedia

Part of the Magick in Theory & Practice series.

The Mass of the Phoenix (technically called Liber XLIV or 44) is a eucharistic ritual written by Aleister Crowley, which first appeared in The Book of Lies, Chapter 44, in 1913. The Mass of the Phoenix is an official ritual of the A.'.A.'.

Table of contents

The ritual

From Magick, Book 4:

The Magician, his breast bare, stands before an altar on which are his Burin, Bell, Thurible, and two of the Cakes of Light. In the Sign of the Enterer he reaches West across the Altar, and cries:
Hail Ra, that goest in thy bark
Into the caverns of the Dark!
He gives the sign of Silence, and takes the Bell, and Fire, in his hands.
East of the Altar see me stand
With light and musick in my hand!
He strikes Eleven times upon the Bell 333 – 55555 – 333 and places the Fire in the Thurible.
I strike the Bell: I light the Flame;
I utter the mysterious Name.
He strikes eleven times upon the Bell.
Now I begin to pray: Thou Child,
Holy Thy name and undefiled!
Thy reign is come; Thy will is done.
Here is the Bread; here is the Blood.
Bring me through midnight to the Sun!
Save me from Evil and from Good!
That Thy one crown of all the Ten
Even now and here be mine. AMEN.
He puts the first Cake on the Fire of the Thurible.
I burn the Incense-cake, proclaim
These adorations of Thy name.
He makes them as in Liber Legis, and strikes again Eleven times upon the Bell. With the Burin he then makes upon his breast the proper sign.
Behold this bleeding breast of mine
Gashed with the sacramental sign!
He puts the second Cake to the wound.
I stanch the Blood; the wafer soaks
It up, and the high priest invokes!
He eats the second Cake.
This Bread I eat. This Oath I swear
As I enflame myself with prayer:
"There is no grace: there is no guilt:
This is the Law: DO WHAT THOU WILT!"
He strikes Eleven times upon the Bell, and cries
I entered in with woe; with mirth
I now go forth, and with thanksgiving,
To do my pleasure on the earth
Among the legions of the living.
He goeth forth.


From The Book of Lies:"

[44] is the special number of Horus; it is the Hebrew blood, and the multiplication of the 4 by the 11, the number of Magick, explains 4 in its finest sense. But see in particular the accounts in Equinox I, vii of the circumstances of the Equinox of the Gods.
The word "Phoenix" may be taken as including the idea of "Pelican", the bird, which is fabled to feeds its young from the blood of its own breast. Yet the two ideas, though cognate, are not identical, and "Phoenix" is the more accurate symbol.
This chapter is explained in Chapter 62.

Chapter 62 from The Book of Lies:

        The Phoenix hath a Bell for Sound; Fire for Sight; a
              Knife for Touch; two cakes, one for taste, the other
              for smell.
        He standeth before the Altar of the Universe at
              Sunset, when Earth-life fades.
        He summons the Universe, and crowns it with
              MAGICK Light to replace the sun of natural light.
        He prays unto, and give homage to, Ra-Hoor-Khuit;
              to Him he then sacrifices.
        The first cake, burnt, illustrates the profit drawn
              from the scheme of incarnation.
        The second, mixt with his life's blood and eaten,
              illustrates the use of the lower life to feed the
              higher life.
        He then takes the Oath and becomes free—un
              conditioned—the Absolute.
        Burning up the Flame of his Prayer, and born
              again—the Phoenix!

Crowley's comment:

Twig? = dost thou understand? Also the Phoenix takes twigs to kindle the fire in which it burns itself.

In Magick, Book 4,, Crowley comments that The Mass of the Phoenix "should be performed daily at sunset by every magician."

The "proper sign"


The text does not explain what the "proper" or "sacramental" sign is. Two possibilities are a circle and cross or the "Mark of the Beast".

On the "gash"

DuQuette (1993) notes that:

"It is obvious from the text that the Magician is to actually draw blood in order to consecrate the Cake of Light before consuming it. But nowhere is it indicated that pain, scarring, or injury is a required element of the ceremony. It is a Eucharist, not a ritual of self-mutilation."

He advises using a sterilized instrument, such as machinist's scribe, to lightly scratch the mark into the skin. At one point, a slight increase in pressure will be enough to produce a small drop of blood for the Cake.

See also

External links


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