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Oct 30, 09 2:33 AM
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Here, shall follow twelve brief symbolic rites, in which some of the foregoing ideas and practices find expression, expansion, and elevation. The complete cycle, moreover, may be seen ultimately to transcend all of its individual parts-- about which more will be said presently.
There are no strict requirements for the settings and circumstances surrounding these rituals, save that they be performed in a chamber providing sufficient seclusion, silence, and space for their best realization. Let such a room be as free as possible from furniture and other distracting elements, and see that there be dark hangings at the windows that can be drawn entirely. All doors to the chamber should be closed and even locked.
That which shall serve as the altar may be merely a stout table, great enough to bear all the objects necessary to the ceremony. As will be seen, a cloth of some description covers this altar on every occasion; therefore the table itself need not be of great beauty. It may, however be set upon a low platform if one should be available. Thus its importance, and the significance of what it bears, shall appear the greater. The floor before the altar should be cleared, allowing sufficient space for all celebrants to stand well back from the area where the one who leads the ritual shall be passing to and fro.
The proper time for each ceremony is indicated within its description here, and should be adhered to as closely as possible; however, if this exact time is not convenient, it may be adjusted somewhat, so long as the time substituted is appropriate to the requirements of the ritual. It should also be added that if for some reason the actual performance of these rituals is not possible, they may be read through, aloud or silently, upon the proper occasion, thus be visualized and contemplated. Their benefit shall even be so gained.
There is nothing of pure invention in these ceremonies, nothing that does not in some way grow out of the unchanging truths of the universe, the solar system, the Earth and its yearly cycle of seasons. Through even these brief rituals it may well be seen how the year and its seasons follow a pattern directly related to the life of human beings, as it may also be said that they live their life according to the great cycle of the year and this naturally, for they are no less a part of such seasonal events than is the Earth itself.
Earth's long ritual, performed in twelve phases and set in the mode of highest tragedy, is our human ritual as well, and if we follow this course, celebrating in turn each phase of Earth's great truth, we may then also strengthen knowledge of ourselves and of all our life. For out of these twelve phases or fractional truths springs the one great truth-- that immutable design of creation, destruction and rebirth which time does not alter, which continues year after year within even the very spirit of human beings, whether they perceive it or not.
For those who will recognize them, there are comfort and encouragement, as well as the inspiration, to be found within these laws. The joy of the creative phase influences even the darkest aspects of the destructive, for when the greater truth enters into its lesser parts, no part is simple or final. Thus we may see death at the center of life, yet likewise life perpetually triumphant over death; and those who live according to this vision shall become, at least, infinitely wise and eternally whole.
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