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Part of the Thelema & Religion series
The official holy days of Thelema are set forth in The Book of the Law, Chapter II, v. 36-41.
- There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.
A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!
A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.
A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet—secret, O Prophet!
A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.
A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death!
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1 Thelemic New Year
Explanations of the Liber Legis Holidays
- The Rituals of the Elements are observed at the Equinoxes and Solstices.
- The Feasts of the Times are observed as follows:
- The Feast for the First Night of the Prophet and His Bride is observed on August 12.
- The Feast for the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law is observed on April 8, 9 and 10, beginning at noon on each day.
- The Feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet. This particular feast is of a character suited only to initiates.
- The Feast for the Supreme Ritual (the Invocation of Horus) is observed on March 20.
- The Feast for the Equinox of the Gods is held on the Vernal Equinox of each year to commemorate the founding of Thelema in 1904 EV, and represents the opening of the Thelemic New Year.
- The Feast for Life or Lesser Feast is celebrated at the birth of an individual.
- The Feast for Water is celebrated at puberty for a girl.
- The Feast for Fire is celebrated at puberty of a boy.
- The Feast for Death or Greater Feast is celebrated at the death of an individual.
Thelemic New Year
According to Aleister Crowley (777, The Law is for All), each Thelemic year starts on the Aries equinox, coinciding with the Thelemic Holiday called the Feast for the Equinox of the Gods. There are, however, several different modes of observance among Thelemites today. These include:
- Strict Observance: The Thelemic New Year is celebrated on the Aries equinox.
- The Feast for the Supreme Ritual: This holiday is explicitly different trom the Feast for the Equinox of the Gods, and Crowley states that the holiday is March 20 (The Law is for All). Since the Equinox of the Gods typically will be March 19, 20, or 21, this can be confusing. Quite often, in fact, the two holidays occur on the same day. Because of this, the two are sometimes conflated and the Thelemic New Year said to be March 20.
- Thelemic High Holy Season: This holiday is recognized as the period of twenty-two days falling between the common dates of March 20 (The Feast for the Supreme Ritual) and April 10 (the Third Day of the Writing of the Book of the Law). Thelemites observing this Season variously attribute the Thelemic New Year to the Aries equinox, March 20, or the First or Third day of the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law. Some have treated this Season as existing outside any "year," in the conventional sense, or as one long, twenty-two day Thelemic New Year. Some celebrate the Thelemic High Holy Season by conducting a 22-day Pathworking.
- Convenience: Due to the fact that Thelemites today live in a worldwide culture which does not use the Thelemic Calendar, the Holidays are often translated to a date on the common calendar. When the Feast for the Equinox of the Gods is translated in this way, it is typically ascribed to March 20 as a matter of convenience. As another matter of convenience, Thelemic New Year is at times observed on the weekend, when the accepted date occurs on a weekday.
Many Thelemites combine two or more of the above approaches, and possibly others, sometimes varying from year to year.
Various other events in the career of Aleister Crowley are sometimes recognized with holidays. His birth on October 12 is "Crowleymas," an occasion often celebrated with comical rites. 18 November was the date of his first initiation, and is therefore "Perdurabo Day." His "Annihilation" or attainment to Mastery of the Temple was on December 3. The general feast in honor of To Mega Therion should be on the anniversary of his death, December 1.
The memories of historical individuals among the Gnostic Saints may be celebrated on the anniversaries of their deaths. Some legendary saints, such as Priapus and Tahuti, have traditional festival dates (March 24 and August 6, respectively, for these examples).
Some Thelemites celebrate the midpoints between the equinoxes and solstices as seasonal festivals, replacing the old pagan and Christian denominations for those dates. February 2 (formerly Imbolc and Candlemas) is the Feast of the Stars, with the sun in Aquarius. May 1 (former Beltane and Roodmas) is the Feast of Cattle, with the sun in Taurus. August 1 (formerly Lugnasadh and Lammas) is the Feast of the Lion-Serpent, with the sun in Leo. And October 31 (formerly Samhain and Hallowmas) is the Feast of the Dragon, with the sun in Scorpio.
- "The supreme ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20. The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the beginning of a new aeon, or a new magical formula. It should be celebrated at every equinox, in the manner known to Neophytes of the A.'.A.'." -- Aleister Crowley, The Law is for All (1996)
- "Aries is scarlet, being the House of Mars and the sign of the Spring Equinox, where occurs the fiery outburst of the new year." -- Aleister Crowley, 777 Revised (1993)
- Crowley, Aleister. (1993). 777: And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley Including Gematria & Sepher Sephiroth. P. 67 in 777 Revised, ed. Israel Regardie. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1996). The Law is for All. Tempe, AZ : New Falcon Publications.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). Magick: Book Four. Edited, annotated, and introduced by Hymenaeus Beta. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Grand Lodge News: Historic Bylaws Meeting (http://www.billheidrick.com/tlc1987/tlc0487.htm) (1987). Thelema Lodge Calendar. April, 1987 e.v. Retrieved October 6, 2004 e.v.
- Thriambos, Dionysos. Feasts of the Cross Quarters (http://hermetic.com/dionysos/xquart.htm) The Exposed Adytum.