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October 15th, 2012

This weekend many luminaries of the Greater Atlanta Congregational Illuminist community journeyed to our sisters and Brothers at Cave Springs in North Georgia, +Palamas & Rev Salome, for a healing mass conducted by our hosts.  Wow!  Very together and very illuminating. Tau Palamas offers this description of Chapel of the Gnosis:

For the Chapel of the Gnosis, the Gnostic path is simply defined as the search for Gnosis--a direct, experiential kind of spiritual knowledge. This simple definition is consistent with that of the North American College of Gnostic Bishops. A casual Seeker of Gnosis is often met with a barrage of information, abstruse doctrines and sometimes fragmentary Spiritual texts. All of this is certainly related to Gnosis…but it is more of a historical approach than experiential. One of the glorious aspects of Gnosis is that in all climes and times, it has been colored by the individuals that have experienced it. That is why the Seeker finds body haters, tantrics and everything in between in the soup of Gnosis. One of the many things that modern Gnostics can learn from Benedictines and Orthodox monastics is to begin to court Holy Simplicity. For instance; the Archons and Aeons…the role of the Demiurge, etc., can all be understood by developing a familiarity with Emanationism. In all aspects of the Spiritual Life, the Chapel espouses this sense of simplicity. The Chapel also hopes to promote a model for those wandering Priests and Bishops of the Gnosis (Episcopi Vagantes) who are overwhelmed by the duties of leading a full-time worshiping community while also leading a family life and a career…yet want to serve others in a capacity consistent with these duties. As a Chapel, rather than a full scale Church, we have semi-regular Mass and Initiations…while also serving as Urban Shamans of a sort, who can cater to individual needs on a one-to-one basis and by appointment. In addition to offering all of the Sacraments of the Church, the Chapel has its own spiritual Fraternity—The Order of the Three-fold Path. This is a duly Chartered, three-degree system of progressive Attainment in a contemplative framework. We are currently working under a Warrant of the Coptic Gnostic Church. The Chapel of the Gnosis is located on a beautiful ridge in Northwest Georgia. +Palamas


 
+The Elemental Healing Mass+
Chapel of the Gnosis
Small Group Working


I.  Introit   (sign each forehead with Abramelin oil, this signifies the beginning of Mass)    
Banishing & Vespers in Darkness, lighting of the altar, Censing—past East thrice with Gong at each passing and one altar light lit each time.
Lavation.  Guests taken into adjacent room and then brought in one at a time.  Upon Entering the Temple space, the guest will fully submerge the hands into ice-cold Water with Florida Water added to it.
Anointing.  Guest is anointed & receives energy transfer from Rev. Salome in the center of the Vortex.
Revealing.  The guest is shown the true Source of most Healing;
“As we prepare to move the Light within us and around us—to heal our brokenness, separateness or physical dis-ease, let us invoke the Sacred Feminine, Holy Sophia and ask her to be Mighty among us and to bring us to health and wholeness”  (ask guest to close their eyes)
+WISDOM, HAGIA SOPHIA, HOLY SOPHIA GRANT US PEACE!+
“Open your eyes to see the Source of most True Healing.  It lies within you.”
Guests are guided to a seat or place to stand

II.  Mass Proper
    Purification
+The Trisagion Prayers are chanted and followed by, “Through him, with him, in him, In the Unity of the Holy Spirit…”  While the cup is raised right over left holding paten of bread and salt.  Bow   **** (Bells ring!)
***All come into the Vortex area***
Elemental Blessing and Circumambulation. +++ “May the Powers of____ Bless and Protect those within this Sphere”  (Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit above and Spirit within)
Purification and Consecration.  All in attendance receive the water and fire.
        +“Child of Earth and of the Star-filled Heavens, Be Purified by Water”
        +“Child of Earth…, Be Consecrated by Fire”
    
Illumination

Energy Work. (Group circles around the Vortex with right hands over left, not quite touching…move the energy with a push/pull movement of hands)

“Take a moment to feel the Energy of our Circle before we begin the individual work”
    +++Individual application of the Energy with each Guest+++

****Bibliomancy.  (Optional)  Use the Psalms or the entire Bible.  (1st Degree or Higher OTP can perform this)

    Union

        Litany to Hagia Sophia
(Move Altar to center of Circle)
+++2nd Censing of the Altar+++

        +“In Peace, let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
All:  +++Holy Sophia, Grant Us Peace
+For the Peace of all present and for Elemental Equilibrium within us all let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
+For the Peace of the Whole world and for the Union of all peoples, let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
+For Bishops Sara & John Michael Greer, Charlene and John Gilbert, T Allen Greenfield, Chic & Tabatha Cicero and Bill Zenn, the Venerable Clergy and the Diaconate of the Coptic Gnostic Church and for all searchers of the Light of Gnosis, let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
+For this City wherein lies the Cave of Holy and Purifying Spring Waters, for the countryside and the Faithful that dwell therein, let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
+For our Healing, wholeness and dedication to a life of Balance, let us pray to Divine Wisdom!

            TURN TOWARDS TABLE
+For Mindfulness and Awareness as we partake of these elements and imbue them with our own energy and personal intentions…  (pause—hands over the gifts)…Let us pray to Divine Wisdom!
 +++Holy Sophia, Grant Us Peace”

(Spoken)-Gather around the table and join with me as we form a sacred link and ask for Healing for our Loved Ones.  
(Deacon or Guest reads the list while group is in “Chain of Union”)
After which all vibrate in unison the Pentagrammaton:

All:  YEHESHUVAH!  3x
           (Open the Chain with mystical break)
                       The Eucharist
 -I invite you to inhale with me the fragrance of this rose, symbol of Air.  Let its essence rise to Heaven as our virtuous acts in our daily life so ascend.
-To feel with me the Fire of this candle that our spiritual warmth may enliven the hearts and bodies of the cold.
    -Take and eat this bread and salt of the Earth and likewise let us feed and nourish those who hunger.
-Take and drink this wine, divinized symbol of Water and let none thirst for knowledge or vitality.

(With Staff, make sign of the Cross in the Four directions proclaiming…)
 +Is there Peace in the East?
    All:  +++There is Peace
+Is there Peace in the South?
+Is there Peace in the West?
+Is there Peace in the North?
+Is there Peace within Us?
“Go then in Peace, to Love and to Serve!”
    All:  +++Thanks be to God!
+++Final Censing of the Room+++
Final Vesper Chants…”Vouchsafe, O Lord…through Prayer of St. Simeon…to the Theotokos”                                                                                         

 +Finis



III.   The Labyrinth                          
           A Fire is kindled for guests to burn items that signify any form of discontent, evil or the “old self” that they wish to move past.  In the middle of the Labyrinth there will be a central fire where the guests can burn one word or phrase that sums up their current troubles or forms of bondage.  Seven candles of the 7 planets encircle the Labyrinth and symbolize psychological qualities outlined in our 1st Degree Materials.  Throughout the Labyrinth walk, a mantra will be chanted and percussion instruments played.  Each participant should treat the Labyrinth as a form of walking meditation and will see the Three-fold Path arise during the walk:
 
Purification—Purification begins with the Fire.  The beginning of the walk is often purgative.  Listening to the mantra and focusing on the movement of the body, this is a time to lay aside all earthly cares.
Illumination—As we begin to spiral towards the center and then out again and vice-versa, allow the mind to be pliable and receive what this path is telling us.  It is a spiral.  It is our very own journey.  At this stage a word or image may surface upon the calm waters of our minds.
Union – At the center of the Labyrinth, we must pause…burn away our final encumbrances and simply breathe.  The mantra continues and it may be that in this stage we join in with it!  We are at the center of our own lives and united with All—no matter how fractured and busy our lives are…we are mutually dependent upon ALL THAT IS!



Chapel of the Gnosis
 Cave Spring, Ga


We then took a journey of a primal nature....under the stars in the chill North Georgia Night.

The Use of the Labyrinth at the
 
Chapel of the Gnosis     
 Around ten years ago, I purchased Episcopal Bishop, Lauren Artress’s “Walking A Sacred Path.” It was an eye-opening text, explaining the use of the Labyrinth in history as a form of walking meditation and its use with the Templars for pilgrims who could not make the expensive journey to Jerusalem—but could arrive at the “Heavenly” Jerusalem via the meditative journey inward.  It is important to understand the distinction between a Labyrinth and a Maze…a Maze is confusing, you do not know where you are going or where it will end and there are dead ends.  A Labyrinth, however, is very clearly set before you with a route inward and the same outward.  Its weaving towards the center and back out reflects our own spiritual journey and the peak experiences we have along with the valleys.
I started looking for places to walk Labyrinths, and found that the idea was taking off both in the Psychological community as a healing form of Meditation as well as with forward thinking Churches who recognize the contemplative Tradition within Christianity.  I have walked Labyrinths in New York, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and all across Georgia ever since!  I have also found it is a joy to make my own…at the beach, in the woods and with chalk outside of our Chapel.
At the Chapel of the Gnosis, the Labyrinth follows our Elemental Healing Mass and continues the work that we do in our Sacred Vortex, yet on another arc.  Whereas in the Mass, the Healing Energies are worked with in terms of physical touch and energy work directly on the body—the Labyrinth is a solitary experience, it is the individual’s very own journey in miniature--a microcosm of one’s macrocosmic voyage in this life! Additionally, there is a fire in the center of our Labyrinth, wherein guests can burn away a sentence, word or phrase that needs to be let go of—some complex or form of bondage that he or she truly wishes to be free from.  The Labyrinth puts the responsibility back on the one walking it.  No blame, no alibis—just letting go.
Everyone walks the Labyrinth in their own way.  We tend to play percussion instruments and chant while the guest is walking, which aids meditatively and keeps the focus on the individual.  It is truly a joy to watch the variety of styles of treating the path…from Zen –like walking meditation, to Dervish-like dance and, as T Allen Greenfield expressed it recently, as for him, balancing on a precipice. 
In our Contemplative Order, The Order of the Three-fold Path, we teach candidates other uses of the Labyrinth and give detailed instructions in utilizing the three stages of Purification, Illumination and Union with the Labyrinth itself.  Additionally, one of the 3rd Degree requirements in the Order is to create a temporary, impermanent Labyrinth…in the woods, at the beach or even with chalk in a parking lot! 
To conclude, here is a brief description of one way to treat the Labyrinth that we include in our Missal:
Purification—Purification begins with the Fire.  The beginning of the walk is often purgative.  Listening to the mantra and focusing on the movement of the body, this is a time to lay aside all earthly cares.
Illumination—As we begin to spiral towards the center and then out again and vice-versa, allow the mind to be pliable and receive what this path is telling us.  It is a spiral.  It is our very own journey.  At this stage a word or image may surface upon the calm waters of our minds.
Union – At the center of the Labyrinth, we must pause…burn away our final encumbrances and simply breathe.  The mantra continues and it may be that in this stage we join in with it!  We are at the center of our own lives and united with All—no matter how fractured and busy our lives are…we are mutually dependent upon ALL THAT IS!
+Palamas & Rev Salome
Chapel of the Gnosis
Kudzu Mountain Gypsy Cave,
Cave Spring, Ga


An Account By Tau Dositheos

First Visit to Chapel of the Gnosis

Greetings Friends,

On 13 October 2012 I (along with other clergy, friends and associates of the Coptic Gnostic Church) had the pleasure of visiting Bishop +Palamas and Priestess Salome+ to celebrate an Elemental Healing Mass and participate in a Labyrinth meditation walk at Chapel of the Gnosis in Cave Spring Georgia, USA. I want to express my personal gratitude to +Palamas and Salome+ for inviting us into their home, for being such perfect hosts, for the wonderful rites we celebrated together, for the fellowship we shared and for the refreshments (you gotta try those muffins I tell ya!). The entire experience was extremely edifying. This was the first time I was able to partake in the Elemental Healing Mass. I found the Rite to be a seamless blending of a liturgical Eucharistic Mass, a Magical Healing ceremony and a Golden Dawn inspired ritual. Bishop +Palamas and Priestess Salome+ really know how to serve community with sincerity, integrity and a humble – yet potent – spirit. The Vortex, which is a power-zone in the midst of the Chapel demarcated by a permanent magical circle painted on the floor before the main altar, was already vibrating and surging with etheric energy even before the Mass began. I have been advised that this is a constant occurrence. I particularly enjoyed how each member of the congregation was led inside the Chapel – one at a time – and was given individual healing inside of the Vortex by Priestess Salome+. I also note how intuitive Priestess Salome+ is. The Divine Feminine was clearly manifest while the Priestess anointed me with healing oil. Then Bishop +Palamas began the Purification, chanting the Trisagion Prayers, circumambulating the Temple, calling the Elemental Quarters, censing the Altar, reciting the names over the sacramental Gifts of those who previously requested Healing and leading us through the Eucharistic Communion. A wonderful experience indeed. May you both be blessed for your kind service given freely and with Love.

Altar

Altar

Bishop +Palamas and I have been in correspondence – off and on – for several years now. More recently (back in April) he participated in a gathering of Free Illuminists at Mount Arabia in Lithonia, Georgia where he was duly consecrated to the Episcopate by T Allen Greenfield with myself and Tau Osania co-consecrating (having previously been ordained to the Priesthood by Archbishop John F. Gilbert of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship). Over the course of the intervening months since his consecration, Bishop +Palamas, Rev. Salome+ and I have been in regular and frequent communication. It became apparent that we share many similar views in regards to a contemporary gnostic spirituality and other esoteric interests. Noting the affinity of our Work, we decided to unite our local communities in service to the Divine and humanity. To this end, I presented two Warrants to +Palamas and Salome+ following the celebration of the Mass to formalize the ecclesiastical relationship of both the Order of the Three-Fold Path (as a contemplative and initiatic order) and the Chapel of the Gnosis (as a refuge of Healing and a Sacramental community) with my full blessing – Apostolic and Gnostic – to function under the auspices of the Coptic Gnostic Church. May the Source of All guide us and instruct us so that we may humbly serve all who seek refuge within the bosom of our emerging spiritual community.

Signing Warrant

Signing Warrant

After a short break, we were then led outside of the Chapel to participate in a meditational Labyrinth walk. I was amazed to learn later that Bishop +Palamas drew the Labyrinth completely free-hand. That must have been a meditation in itself! Each of the guests had a chance to walk the Labyrinth in his or her own time while the rest of us played drums, percussion and chanted various mantras and hymns. It was a lively little spiritual jam we had going on. And even Mocha, the wonderful and ever friendly and beloved dog, got to participate with us too. I wanted to take him home with me. He was so well behaved.

Labyrinth

Labyrinth

After we each had a chance to walk the Labyrinth, we then went back inside and were served really good coffee, homemade muffins from +Salome and a wonderful quiche brought by Tau Ishaviva. Engaging dialog ensued late into the night/early into the morning. It was hard to pull away and head back home, but I am sustained by the fond memories of the event and the knowledge that this is only the beginning of what lies ahead.

Fellowship

Fellowship

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren [and sisters] to dwell together in unity!

It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (Psalm 133)



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group pic


play the music

    


    


    
    

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