Office of Readings for the High Holy Days

This Office is based on the sequence of readings suggested by Jim Eshelman ("The Thelemic Tephilah"). The readings are in a pattern of three sets of six -- there should be a 7-day candle or other large pillar candle on the altar (or otherwise set up prominently) for each set: for the first (20-25 March), a black; for the second (26-31 March), a white; and for the third (1-6 April), a red. During the first six days, light the black; during the second six days, both the black and the white; during the third six, all three.

On the day before the Feast of the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law, all three should be lit, along with a gold pillar candle, and all four should be lit for the Feast.

The Office may be performed by a person alone, or by a Reader (or pair of Readers) for a congregation. In any case, the Reader begins with the invitatory (responding hirself if s/he is alone).


O my Lord, my beloved! How shall I indite songs, when even the memory of the shadow of thy glory is a thing beyond all music of speech or of silence?
--- Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!

(The antiphon is recited and then repeated)

Ant. Mine heart is uplifted in me, and the serpent flame therein; I shall get me to the House of the Beloved.

I have wandered in desolate places;
I have dwelt long apart from delight.

(Antiphon repeated)

In the midst of the market's booths, I was alone;
only Thy voice murmured to me, "Come away!"

(Antiphon repeated)

Whither shall I go, if not to Thee?
How shall I enter, if not by the four gates?
I shall stand on the floor of Thy palace --
even upon the paving of silver and gold I shall stand.

(Antiphon repeated)

Sweet unto me are Thy words, O my Beautiful!
my ear desireth them as the fire craveth kindling.
As the falcon enchained perisheth for want of flight,
even so my soul for want of Thee.

(Antiphon repeated)

The rose turneth her face unto the Sun;
I shall raise my countenance to the stars,
Yea, even to the dome of stars wherewith Thou hast roofed Thine house,
that house wherein I shall dwell with Thee forever.

(Antiphon repeated)

That House, my refuge, and the table Thou hast laid for me --
O food to nourish the deepest, O wine to intoxicate the inmost!

(Antiphon repeated)

Thou hast spread the banquet, and I shall feast thereupon
until the shadows flee away, in Thine everlasting Glory.

(Antiphon repeated)


At this point, a hymn is sung. In the first set of six days, the hymn is the one which follows this rubric (#1); in the second, #2 (Appendix A); in the third, #3 (ditto); and on the eve of the Feast of the Three Days (and thereafter, during the Feast), #4 (ditto).

Now is the barren darkness of the winter
Become the darkness of a womb most fertile
Wherein a new seed, sown in secret passion
Rests in its promise.

See where the cold blue-grey of early morning
Unto the gentle rose now makes surrender
And the once-captive fire of life unending
Slips from its prison.

Even as night is by the light transfigured,
Even so may we be, who gaze above us,
And that night of our souls shot through with golden
Veins of elation.

O blessèd night, with diamond flames bespangled,
Bend upon us in comfort as a mother,
That we may feel the winter in our own hearts
Vanquished in earnest.


The following verse is said before the readings, to mark the transition.

The Speech in the Silence.
The Words against the Son of Night.
The Voice of Tahuti in the Universe in the Presence of the Eternal.
The Formulas of Knowledge.
The Wisdom of Breath.
The Root of Vibration.
The Shaking of the Invisible.
The Rolling Asunder of the Darkness.
The Becoming Visible of Matter.
The Piercing of the Scales of the Crocodile.
The Breaking Forth of the Light!


There are two readings. The first is the appropriate Holy Book reading, as outlined in Appendix B, with its responsory, and announced of the Reader by its title.

The second reading is from some other writing of St. Aleister, or a writing from one of our EGC Saints, or of some other gnostic Saint, or of our Patriarchs or Primates, as set out in the Appendix C, announced likewise. The appropriate responsory follows the second reading.

The first day's first readings are set out here, by way of example. (The first day of the season is the only one on which there are two Offices, one in the morning and one in the evening; on the remaining days, the Office may occur at any solar angularity.)


From Liber Cordis Cincti Serpenti: Chapter I.

(Here follows the lection.)


Thou wast long seeking Me; thou didst run forward so fast that I was unable to come up with thee.
--- To await Thee is the end, not the beginning.
"Come unto me" is a foolish word, for it is I that go.
--- To await Thee...


From The Spiritual Guide of San Miguel de Molinos.

(Here follows the lection.)


Know that the straightest, most perfect and secure way of proficients is the way of darkness.
--- He made darkness his secret place.
Proceed, persevere, pray, and hold thy peace, for thereby thou mayest enter into thine own nothingness.
--- He made darkness...


Let glory, honor, worship, praise,
And greatest thankfulness
Be giv'n unto the Holy One,
Whose Crown do we confess,
Who hath revealed unto His Saints
The mysteries ineffable,
That we may show them forth in turn,
Refulgent, wonderful.
Lord of the Æon of the Child,
Who hast Thy people freed
Forever from bond-servitude,
To Thee be praise indeed.
O Holy Flame that burns't within
Each star as in each human breast,
We praise Thee, who inspirest us
Our Wills to manifest.
O Circle of Supernal Stars
That bendest us upon,
Our refuge and our cynosure,
Praise Thee, Thou Two and None!
O Lion-Serpent, praise to Thee,
Who art Restriction's vanquisher!
O Mighty Mother Babalon,
Praise Thee, Calicifer!
As e'er we lust for Liberty
And thirst for Love and Light,
Fulfill us of eternal Life,
Health, wealth, joy, peace & might.
O Holy Quinary, bring us,
As Ye are strong Your Church to bless,
The Summum Bonum, true wisdom,
And perfect happiness.


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.

The following declaration is made, whether the Office is communal or not.

There is an end of the speech; let the Silence of darkness be broken;
--- Let it return into the silence of light.