The Paris Working, as a piece of literature, is perhaps the most entertaining of all Crowley's magical records.
There is the outre nature of the working (even in these tolerant times, homosexual sex-magick still retains an air of scandal), there are the high-flown passages of esoteric revelation, the laughable attempts at material results which inevitably go wrong in all sorts of unforeseen ways, and, above all, the petty and amusing squabbles between Crowley and Neuberg.
But beyond these elements of titillation, there are real and valuable things going on in the Paris working. The very depth and vividness of the visions apparently obtained should, if nothing else, convince us to take a second look.
For one thing, most occult appropriations of classical antiquity involve a very late and atypical sort of Greco-Egyptian Alexandrian syncretism; the gods appear as pallid and austere shadows of some greater astrological or Neoplatonic scheme. The gods of the Paris Working, however, are Roman to the core; they are not shadowy archetypes, but beautiful and terrible beings with their own appetites and personaliies. They are invoked not primarily with zodiacal or planetary correspondences, but with pornographic verse. The rubric for the working,the Holy Hymns to the Great Gods of Heaven, contain formulae for gods who don't figure anywhere in astrology (e.g. Priapus, Vesta, Iacchus, etc.)
The working also makes use of techniques that are seldom found in the Hermetic magician's arsenal. And I don't mean the sex. I mean banqueting. Here is no meager eucharist of bread, salt, wine, a rose, and a lamp; rather, there are kingly spreads of rich food or "fish and yellow wine".
The Paris Working, then, contains within it a powerful and innovative formulae of magickal operation. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), however, the technique has been little copied.
Whereas Crowley's experiments with scrying the aethyrs and Solomonic evocation have helped to establish a lasting popularity for Goetic and Enochian magick, the Paris working has not led to a permanent tradition of invoking, say, Vesta or Iuppiter Ammon.
I believe this is a shame. And I would therefore like to rememdy at least two of the obstacles to the wider practice of this powerful technique:
1. The rubric for such workings, the Grimorium Sanctissimum, does not give the clearest instructions, and what it does give is in Latin.
2. To my knowledge, there has not yet been an explicit adaptation of this formula for individual use.
Thus in this essay, I will analyze the Grimorium Sanctissimum, the Paris Working, and the Cephaloedium Working, which was done according to the same formula. I will also outline a technique for working this method without a partner (beyond the obvious way!), and explain how rituals might be devised on this model.
In essence, the Grimorium Sanctissimum is simplicity itself.
The temple is set arranged with a bed in the east, a tablet of the god to be invoked in the South, the priest in the North, the fire and thurible in the South, and in the center, a cubic stone with an image of the Supreme Vast Unspeakable Ineffable Most Holy God, the dagger, bell, oil, a "maiden", and a holy book.
[NB: the grimoire "contains that which is not yet to be revealed to the X* members of the OTO" (Continet Nondum Revelandum ipsis Regibus supremis O.T.O.) That is to say, it is a working of XI* or homosexual magick, and thus the "maiden" is to be taken as the passive partner in a homosexual coupling.]
An opening ceremony is then performed, together with purification by water and the vesting of the priest (Ceremonium Principii). The maiden then "inflames both the fire in the thurible and the priest" (Ceremonium Thuribulii). Next, worship is offered to the image of the Supreme Vast etc. God (i.e. the phallus) with the hymn Tu qui es (Ceremonium Dedicationis).
Thereafter, the priest "enters the sanctuary" (i.e. commences intercourse) while both participants chant one of the holy versicles. Finally, the "dew of the Mass" (i.e. the resultant fluids) are offered up with the hymn Quia patris (Benedictio Benedicti) and a ceremony of closing and eucharist is performed (Ceremonium Finis).
Those are the basics; it should take no imaginiation whatsoever to adapt them for any purpose whatsoever, or to whatever intercoursal permutation is desired: couple, group, or solo.
As we shall see, however, things are not so simple as they immediately appear.
THE OPENING AND CLOSING
According to the Grimorium, the opening and closing are to be performed "as in Liber 671" - that is, Liber 671 vel TROA. Unfortunately for us, Liber TROA is not generally available. We may, however, reconstruct its key features based on the following evidence:
1. Crowley's description of it in "John St. John"
2. Liber 671 vel Pyramidos, an adaptation of TROA for solo work.
3. Hints and allusions in the Paris and Cephaloedium records.
Let us first deal with the account in John St. John:
"The first operation of Ritual DCLXXI is the preparation of the Place.
There are two forces; that of Death and that of Natural Life.
Death begins the Operation by a knock, to which Life answers.
Then Death, banishing all forces external to the operation, declares the Speech in the Silence.
Both officers go from their thrones and form the base of a triangle whose apex is the East. They invoke the Divine Word, and then Death slays with the knife, and embalms with the oil, his sister Life.
Life, thus prepared, invokes, at the summons of Death, the forces necessary to the Operation. The Word takes its station in the East and the officers salute it both by speech and silence in their signs; and they pronounce the secret Word of power that riseth from the Silence and returneth thereunto.
All this they affirm; and in affirming the triangular base of the Pyramid, find that they have mysteriously affirmed the Apex thereof whose name is Ecstasy.
This also is sealed by that secret word; for that Word containeth All."
The elegance and originality of this scheme - the triangle as a place for magical working - cannot be over-emphasized.
In geometry, a two-dimensional surface must be described, at a minimum, by three points. Three equidistant points can be described most expansively by a circle (the normal model for magick) or most constrictedly by a triangle. Thus while the circle provides a perfect model for the expansion of the manifest to the immanifest (as, for example, in opening by Watchtower or Liber Samekh), the triangle provides a perfect model for the condensation of the immanifest as manifest. (The adepts of the Old Aeon who promulgated the Goetia understood this principle in part, but they did not exploit it fully.)
Since the stated reason behind the Paris Working was that the old Gods "wish to regain Their dominion upon earth, these Initiated Brethren being as Fiery Arrows shot by Them in Their war against the slave-gods", the triangle is therefore the most suitable geometry; and it furthermore has the virtue of expressing the formula 0 (the apex/the Word) = 2 (the base/life and death) = infinity (the pinnacle of the pyramid which is ecstasy).
The space is furthermore referred to in John St. John as the "Double Kingdom" - that is, the Hall of Dual Manifestation presided over by the goddess Maat - thus affirming its suitability for bringing the divine into manifestation on our plane. Moreover, the initiate in TROA is admitted after his trials as "as the apex of a descending triangle...Thus is he a member of the visible triad that is crossed with the invisible --- behold the hexagram of Solomon the King". Thus the pyramid is a three-dimensional glyph of the blue triangle of the Holy Hexagram, the "ascending tongue of prayer" into which the red "tongue of grace" descends (hence the name of this web site).
Before we continue in these a priori raptures, however, it should be noted that the Paris and Cephaloedium workings, at least in their written records, place little or no emphasis upon the pyramid-principle. The Cephaloedium working especially departs from it:
"The Formula of this Magick is this
(5) Make Oath.
(6) Invoke, by song, dance, &c.
(7) Make Iacchaion God, by Ether.
(8) Sacrifice him to the Beast, who thus becomes God. Use here the accendat & the right Mantram, the Tu quies & the Quia Patris.
(9) Sacrifice The Beast to the Scarlet Woman, using Her mantras F---- S---- etc. Ether at pleasure.
(10) Consume the Elements, as by Amalantrah the Wizard we are taught, the Pantacle being of "Earth". (In parts 7 to 10 weapons & robes may be laid on the throne of Aiwaz.)
(11) Perform any scrying or utter any prophecies, as may be given. & at leisure & pleasure resume vestments & insignia. & close Temple. So far of these matters."
And moreover: "`The Paris Working', the first model for our present Orgia, is not to be followed pedantically."
Since the Cephaloedium working was not notably successful, I will not consider it further. But let the reader keep this all in mind.
In the Paris Working, there is no specific mention of the Liber 671 opening. This may simply be an omission of "secret" matters; however, there is mention of some of the invocations used, including Liber Israfel ("invoking also Thoth by the Egyptian formulae"), an invocation of Juppiter Ammon, and in at least one instance, an invoking ritual of the hexagram.
So it may be that the opening "according to Liber 671" simply refers to the banishing by one of the participants ("Death"), his wounding of the other ("Life") and anointing of the wounds with Abramelin oil (quite a painful prospect!), and "Life's" invocation using any suitable formula. And indeed, given the emphasis on sacralized violence in the transmissions received in the Paris Working, this is a distinct possibility.
In constructing rituals for individual use, I have hedged my bets a bit. The shorter version (the "Low Mass
") includes only a short affirmation of the triangle of Life/Asi/Demeter - Death/Hoor-Apep/Hades - Word/Tahuti/Mercury. The longer version (the "High Mass
") follows Liber Pyramidos - the solo version of 671 - quite closely, including the use of chain, dagger, scourge, and oil; the floorwork has been modified by me, and can be ignored without detriment (here
is a more authentic version of the floorwork).
THE GRIMORIUM FOR SOLO WORK
The first issue in constructing Grimorium Sanctissimum-based rituals for individual work is what sort of opening to use. Happily, we are provided with Liber Pyramidos, a solo version of TROA.
A couple of issues remain, however. First, the imagery of Pyramidos, unlike that of TROA, is heavily Egyptian, whereas the deities of the Holy Hymns are emphatically Roman. Secondly, the focus of Pyramidos is very much Mercurial. While this is fine for invocations of Hermes, might it prove an obstacle for rites of Iacchus, or Venus, etc.?
In my personal experience so far, the Egyptian symbolism does not significantly conflict with the effect; indeed, the Paris Working itself records at least one invocation "by the Egyptian formulae". Furthermore, one of the transmissions of the third working asserted that "all of the other gods [i.e. besides Mars] are merely aspects of Juppiter formulated by Hermes." Thus the Mercurial procedure would seem to be rather widely applicable. (It also isn't entirely clear whether the invocations by Liber Israfel and other methods were part of the opening or came afterwards).
In any case, the formulae are there for all to see, and can be modified as necessary. Let experience be thy guide.
The second problem is how to perform the sacrifice and obtain the "dew of the Mass". Well, it isn't that much of a problem. There is of course an obvious way, known to every seventh-grader (a particularly egregious case of "every schoolboy knows...").
But this method does want a certain delicatezza, and it can be rather one-sided. In my own workings, I have developed a method based on Liber HHH, chapter III, where the spinal column is figured as the lingam and the brain as the yoni; and by a raising of kundalini, a kind of coitus within is effected. As for the dew of the Mass, in Taoist internal alchemy the arousal of sexual forces within oneself is held to produce an overflowing of especially clear and pure saliva when the tongue is held to the roof of the mouth. To this 'elixir' all manner of miraculous powers are attributed, and it makes a more than adequate eucharistic element.
This method, therefore, is what I have used in my own
Grimorium Sanctissimum-based rituals
There is also, of course, the method of the Mass of the Phoenix: to "make the proper mark" upon one's chest with the words "behold this bleeding breast of mine" etc. This would probably work better with the Low Mass, as its employment in the High Mass would necessitate rather more chest-gashing than might be advisable.