Mary MacGregor-Reid (Soror Ashlar)
“Hear ye all, saints of the true church of old time now essentially present, that of ye we claim heirship, with ye we claim communion, from ye we claim benediction in the name of IAO”
The last few years have been a time of great upheaval both on a global scale and, for many of us, on a personal level too. I’ve found myself feeling unmoored and cast adrift at times, which has lead me to thinking about the place of tradition and heritage as important anchors both to the past and future. As an immigrant I am living on the opposite side of the world to the land of my ancestors, and when I say ‘ancestors’ I’m not talking about the distant past but only a generation or two back to people who were firmly ensconced in deep-rooted heritage. While researching one branch of my family I had my DNA tested, expecting a hodge-podge of European ethnicities. But it turns out I am almost entirely celtic and from very limited geographic areas, suggesting that my predecessors have not left the highlands of Scotland or the villages of Ireland for generations. And yet here I am in Aotearoa.
Lately I was listening to a historian talk and gained some insight into the value of having tradition and a legacy you can leave. Unfortunately I don’t have physical progeny to be part of this genetic train of heritance, but I don’t believe this matters as the knowledge of traditions don’t have to be passed genetically. Through our Order we have a line of magickal legacy that extends far into the past and, hopefully, into the future.
“Lord of Life and Joy, that art the might of man, that art the essence of every true god that is upon the surface of the Earth, continuing knowledge from generation unto generation, thou adored of us upon heaths and in woods, on mountains and in caves, openly in the marketplaces and secretly in the chambers of our houses, in temples of gold and ivory and marble as in these other temples of our bodies, we worthily commemorate them worthy that did of old adore thee and manifest thy glory unto men…”
In Liber XV the Gnostic Mass the Deacon intones a list of saints that range from the mythological to the historical, a great gathering of men who “transmitted the light of the Gnosis to us their successors and their heirs”. Gods, heroes, mystics, mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, artists, poets – the Sons of the Lion and the Snake. If you have only heard this part of the collects section during Mass I recommend reading a copy as the written list of Saints is far more extensive than those read aloud. They are, of course, all male which is an important and deliberate feature of the experience of Mass through the person of the Priest. A great deal is made in some circles about ‘lineage’ and pieces of paper being passed from one person to another to give a tradition credence. I suppose that has some vague value, but truthfully most of our Saints were not initiates of the OTO - how could they be? What they do represent is the continuation of knowledge and ideas and it’s our task and our privilege to continue these traditions to our successors and heirs, to be part of the ongoing legacy.
“Oh Sons of the Lion and the Snake! with all thy saints we worthily commemorate them worthy that were and are and are to come.”