Drink to the Dead (Samhain Ritual)

A Thelemic twist to the season
Notes: A ritual for Samhain to mark the festival of the Dead.
Primary content compiled by Fr. Fionn. Sections drawn from the ‘Concerning Death’ by Aleister Crowley, and the collect for ‘The End’ from the Gnostic Mass of the EGC. Ritual in skeletal form for groups to insert their own list of the dead. Content by Aleister Crowley (c) OTO

Characters: This is an inclusive ritual and has no audience. The script is passed around the circle and the sections starting ‘we drink to’ are read by attendants in a clockwise progression. Readers from concerning death and the collect are given full scripts and spaced out consciously at four quarters of the circle and at set points of the ritual. Pause is directed by the readers for the inserted texts. Attendants are given a glass of wine, or non-alcoholic alternative as they will, just before the ritual starts.

Costume: Street clothes. All present dressed in predominantly in black – no further guidance is needed. One figure is arranged to have a black veil with them and slips to the back space towards the end of the ritual (see script)

Temple: Room is set with a circle for audience, blacked out and dimly lit. The aim is to have a circle of people, standing or sitting. At the centre of the room is an altar to the ancestors – with pumpkin lanterns, images, offerings, significant tokens. Participants are asked to bring something for this. No circle is drawn, no banishing or other pre ritual. Unobtrusive soft music (harp?).

Battery: 3-5-3

Grove Head: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Welcome to the __________ Grove of the Irish Order of Thelema.
We are gathered to celebrate the festival of Samhain, the feast of the dead and to drink to our honoured dead. At this time of darkness, the veil between the worlds is thin. Tonight the dead may rejoin the living, as they will; may we be worthy of their blessing as we honour the memory of those who have gone before us. To the honoured dead. (raises glass)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Attendant: IT IS WRITTEN in The Book of the Law: Every man and every woman is a Star. It is Our Lady of the Stars that speaketh to thee, O thou that art a star, a member of the Body of Nuith! Listen, for thine ears become dulled to the mean noises of the earth; the infinite silence of the Stars woos thee with subtile musick. Behold her bending down above thee, a flame of blue, all-touching, all-penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, and her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers, and think that all thy grossness shall presently fall from thee as thou leapest to her embrace, caught up into her love as a dewdrop into the kisses of the sunrise. Is not the ecstasy of Nuit the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of her body? All that hath hurt thee was that thou knewest it not, and as that fadeth from thee thou shalt know as never yet how all is one. Again She saith: I give unimaginable joys upon earth, certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death. This thou hast known. Time that eateth his children hath not power on them that would not be children of Time. To them that think themselves immortal, that dwell always in eternity, conscious of Nuit, throned upon the chariot of the sun, there is no death that men call death. In all the universe darkness is only to be found in the shadow of a gross and opaque planet, as it were for a moment; the universe itself is a flood of light eternal. So also death is but through accident; thou hast hidden thyself in the shadow of thy gross body, and taking it for reality, thou hast trembled. But the orb revolveth anon; the shadow passeth away from thee. There is the dissolution, and the eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu! For inasmuch as thou hast made the Law of Freedom thine, as thou hast lived in Light and Liberty and Love, thou hast become a Free-man of the City of the Stars.[1]

Attendant: We drink to our brother Aleister Crowley, the prophet of the lovely star Mega Therion, who received the book of the law and proclaimed the law of thelema as a universal law for all.  To the honoured dead  (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Attendant: We drink to our sister Leila Waddell, musician, scarlet women, aspirant to the A.’.A.’. and a key figure in the early establishment of our work.  To the honoured dead (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

[insert similar length toasts to friends, relatives, prominent Thelemites. Invite people to prepare a toast in keeping with the spirit of this. Collect 2 days BEFORE the event and print]

Attendant: LISTEN AGAIN to thine own voice within thee. Is not Hadit the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star? Is not He Life, and the giver of Life? And is not therefore the knowledge of Him the knowledge of Death? For it hath been shown unto thee in many other places how Death and Love be twins. Now art thou the hunter, and Death rideth beside thee with his horse and spear as thou chasest thy Will through the forests of Eternity, whose trees are the hair of Nuit thy mistress! Thrill with the joy of life and death! Know, hunter mighty and swift, the quarry turns to bay! Thou hast but to make one sharp thrust, and thou hast won. The Virgin of Eternity lies supine at thy mercy, and thou art Pan! Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Hast thou not striven to the inmost in thee? Death is the crown of all. Harden! Hold up thyself! Lift thine head! breathe not so deep—die![2]

Attendant: We drink to our brother Jack Parson, the innovator Frater Belerion, rocket scientist, visionary, innovator of new streams and impulses in thelema.   To the honoured dead  (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Attendant: We drink to our brother Carl Germer, the preserver Frater Saturnus, who quietly carried the impulses of both the A.’.A.’. and the OTO, and ensured the continuation of our Work.   To the honoured dead  (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Attendant: We drink to our sister Freida Harris, benefactor, artist, aspirant to the A.’.A.’. and the key motivator behind the thoth tarot.  To the honoured dead (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Attendant: We drink to our brother Grady McMurtry, the dreamer Hyamaneus Alpha, who received and grew the seed of the OTO into a vibrant magical organization over a lifetime of work and whos legacy has influenced the popularity and plurality of the thelemic movement.   To the honoured dead  (raises glass and drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

[insert similar length toasts to friends, relatives, prominent Thelemites. Invite people to prepare a toast in keeping with the spirit of this. Collect 2 days BEFORE the event and print]

Attendant: ART THOU STILL ENTANGLED with the thorny plaits of wild briar rose that thou hast woven in thy magick dance on earth? Art not thine eyes strong enough to bear the starlight? Must thou linger yet awhile in the valley? Must thou dally with the shadows in the dusk? Then if it be Thy Will, thou hast no right but to do Thy Will! Love still these phantoms of the earth; thou hast made thyself a King; if it please thee to play with toys of matter, were they not made to serve thy pleasure? Then follow in thy mind the wondrous word of the Steele of Revealing itself. Return if thou wilt from the abode of the Stars; dwell with mortality, and feast thereon. For thou art this day Lord of Heaven and of Earth.

“The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
O thou that hast a single arm!
O thou that glitterest in the moon!
I weave thee in the spinning charm
I lure thee with the billowy tune.

The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds
Hath joined the dwellers of the light
Opening Duant, the star-abodes,
Their keys receiving.
The dead man Ankh-f-na-Khonsu
Hath made his passage into night
His pleasure on the earth to do
Among the living.”[3]

Attendant: Finally we drink to those brothers and sisters who have not been named but who have walked with us on our paths, who have aspired to the great work of incarnation, and who have left their mark on the world and in our hearts.  To the honoured dead (drinks)

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the honoured Dead!

Music peters out

Veiled figure speaks from behind the circle, preferably from a corner or an area of low light: Those who are remembered are never truly gone, for they live in memory, and story, and in the hearts of those who remember. The dead live on in the living, and live on as you drink to us. We toast our brothers and sisters who carry our memories, our legacies and our work. From the grateful dead we say: To the living

(attendants raise glasses)
Attendants: To the living!
(all drink any remaining wine)

Attendant: Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills.[4]

Grove Head:
Thus we have marked the Feast of the dead. Let us move from this turning inwards, back to the world of the living as we drink, and feast, and continue to share memories of the dead. Love is the law love under will

[breaking of somber mood/ space]

REFRENCES:
[1] From Liber CVI: Concerning Death
[2] ilbid
[3] Ilbid
[4] From the collect ‘The End’ in Liber LXV, the Gnostic Mass.