Sophia - Rite 11. Capricorn and Terra

Sophia, Cosmic Consciousness of the Goddess

Fellowship of Isis Liturgy by Olivia Robertson

Mystical Awakening of Capricorn and Terra

Ritual no. 11

Priestess: (Invocation) Holy Mother of us all, we dwell by Thy sufferance upon the wide earth: all creatures that fly and run and swim are under Thy sway. The sacred elements of earth form Thy Body and Thy mighty aura encompasses us as a protective veil. But now we dread the destruction we wreak upon Thy Being. Aid us to change the hearts of those who destroy Thy children and Thy life.

Oracle: Fear not for Me! For if, through immature folly, My destructive sons break My crust irretrievably, causing My inner fires to erupt, for Me this would be a glorious rebirth into a greater orbit! I should encircle the sun in splendour as a far flying comet. In truth, it is not for Me - Whom you have trodden underfoot with neglect - for whom you fear, but for yourselves and your works. For what can the students do when they have destroyed their classroom? Yet that which is threatened is suddenly appreciated! So many of you return to My Nature and seek My initiation. Know that heaven and the stars are without, but they are also within Me and within Yourselves! My Inner Sun shines radiantly as My heart's love, and in the depths My Holy Centres glow with myriad ever-changing colours. These are guarded by the two-coiled fiery Dragon-Goddess Tiamat. The first quest to be undertaken by the seeker is not without but within My Being. For within are all your lost treasures, the records of your past lives. The pilgrim soul may through Me live again through each stage of evolving consciousness, as does a child within the womb.

Descend into the Abyss, but only with My Vocation. Without My unmistakeable call you will surely perish from fear! Bring with you the Lamp of Truth, and in your hearts love for even those of My children who appear to you as terrible of aspect. You will face and pass through molten sulphurous green lakes, rivers of fire and finally, face all-revealing Light. Know that in My womb rests the lost paradise you seek, and within it is the Tree. The time comes to each of you when the forbidden fruit is freely given to you. And the gifts thereof give you knowledge of past epochs and the rise and fall of planets and the realization of your own latent divinity. Yet even knowledge is not enough. For wisdom to be won you must taste of the ever renewing Tree of creative Love. Come to Me without fear, but only when I call you Home.

On black and russet brown draped altar let there be 6 white candles, incense, unlighted charcoal in a large earthenware bowl, seeds in a brown bag, a vessel of salt water and a map of Capricorn. 3 Priestesses wear silver circlets with one star, 3 Priests wear black and silver headdresses, 10 Companions have similar headgear and all have heads covered in long black veils and wear black robes. 4 Companions stand at cardinal points marked by 4 white candles.

1st Priest: Companions on the quest for the Gate of the Deities, know that the Platonic Adepti taught that souls ascend to Heaven through the 'Altera Solis Porta', the Stars of Capricorn. This zodiacal sign is millennia old, revered when the summer solstice was in this constellation. In Chaldea, China, Babylon, it has been symbolised by an animal-fish. The goat-nymph Amalthea of Capricorn fed Jupiter with her milk, and it was her lost horn that became the 'Cornu Amaltheae', the Cornucopia flowing with the food of the Deities, nectar and ambrosia. Some of our forebears saw this sign as that of Bephomet, or the Goat of Mendes, the Sun God and Scapegoat born from Her Baint which is the Womb of Isis. It was from a Ray of Capricorn that the Titan Saturn was born, who gave both his saturnine intellect and the cheerful Saturnalia to this starry influence.

1st Priestess: It is also the Sign of birth as well as of the intellect and rejoicing. The Goddesses gave birth to their Sons in Capricorn: Horus Son of Isis, Mithra and Helios the Sun Gods, Dionysus son of Semele, Aeon, and Og, born of Sul His Mother, who awaited His Birth in a mighty Sky Ship at mid-winter. In the heavens Sirius, Star of Ishtar and Isis, has its anti-heliac rising in Capricorn. It is the time of the fertilization of crops, celebrated in the festival of 'Sementivae Feriae' Let us follow this ancient custom and invoke the Earth, Mother of us all, Terra, Gaea.

2nd Priestess: (North, arms upraised) I invoke the earth Goddess Gaea! I will sing of well founded Earth, Mother of all, Eldest of all beings. She feedeth all creatures that are in the world, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of Her store. Through Thee, O Queen, men and women are blessed in their children and are blest in their harvest: and to Thee it belongs to give means of life to mortals and to take it away.

2nd Priest: Happy is the man whom Thou doth delight to honour! He has all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and wealth follow them: their sons exult with ever fresh delight, and their daughters in flower laden bands play and dance merrily over the soft flowers of the field. Thus is it with those whom Thou doth honour, O Holy Goddess, bountiful Spirit. Hail, Mother of the Gods, freely bestow upon us substance that cheers the heart'

1st Priest: (North, arms upraised) I invoke the Great God Pan! Dear Son of Maia and Hermes, with His goats' feet and two horns, is a lover of merry music! Through wooded glades He wanders with dancing nymphs who foot it on some sheer cliff's edge, calling upon Pan, the Shepherd God, long-haired, unkempt! He hath every snowy crest and the mountain peaks and rocky crests for His domain; hither and thither He goeth through the close thickets, now lured by soft streams and now He presseth on amongst crags overlooking the flocks.

2nd Priest: At evening He sounds His note, playing sweet and low on His pipes of reed. At that hour the clear-voiced nymphs are with Him and move with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark water, while Echo waileth about the mountain top. And the God sidles into their midst, plying nimbly with His feet. He delighteth in high-pitched songs in soft meadows where crocuses and sweet-smelling hyacyinths bloom at random in the grass. The nymphs sing of the Blessed Deities of High Olympus, and how They called the Horned God with Goat's legs Pan, because He delighted all Their hearts!

1st Priestess: (Southeast) I invoke the Goddess Proserpina! Divine Proseprina, Daughter of the grain Goddess Ceres, Who brought from the depths of the earth the pomegranate seeds of life, be with us in the depths and in the heights! Thou are Queen of the Underworld yet ascendeth also to Heaven to Thy Mother. In Thy twining caverns of darkness are hoarded the seeds of new life and the ghosts of long dead forests. On thy rocky walls are imprinted the skeletons of those who once roamed the earth. When we explore Thy realm may we return as did Psyche with our box of dreams! Save us from doing as she did, opening the box from folly - for she was overcome with fantasies and fell into a deathlike sleep, only awakened by a kiss from Eros. Keep our consciousness awake through the spheres!

3rd Priestess: (Southwest, arms upraised) I invoke the Goddess Vesta! Goddess of the hearth and of the fire within the earth, Virgin of the Flame, to Thee is consecrated Mid-Winter and the Constellation of Capricorn. Vesta, Hestia, in the high dwellings of all, both deathless Gods and Goddesses and men and women who walk on earth, Thou hast among all gained an everlasting abode and highest honour: glorious in Thy portion and Thy due. For without Thee mortals hold no banquet - where one does not duly pour sweet wine in offering to Hestia first and last. Hestia, worshipful and dear, dwell in our hearts in friendship. Thou Who doth bless the Holy House of the Lord Apollo, with soft oil dripping ever from Thy locks, come now into our House, come, having one mind with Zeus the All-wise - draw near, and withal bestow Thy Grace upon us!

3rd Priest: (Southwest, arms upraised) I invoke the God Vulcan! Hephaestus, Dark Lord of the sparking anvil, Hammerer at the forge, Thy skill maketh and breaketh. Thou art God of warriors and of Husbandmen, for through Thy skills great cities rise and fall. Beat our swords into ploughshares. Thou art lame of leg through our misuse of Thy great and terrible gifts. Help us to use them with wisdom and compassion.

1st Priest: (Southeast, arms upraised) I invoke the God Pluto. Thou Who art God of the Underworld, dark Hades, Divine Consort of Proserpina, Son of Rhea, Thou doth inspire holy awe. Bestow on us the riches of wisdom and strength, knowledge and skill, that lie within Thy Guardianship in the depths and in ourselves. Aid us to seek the treasures intended for us, and to leave concealed that which should be hidden.

2nd Priest: Let the Guardians of Capricornus be honoured.

1st Companion: (North) I hail the Guardians of Prima and Secunda Giedi, the Horn of the Goat. May strength be won!

2nd Companion: (East) I hail the Guardians of Dahib Major and Dahib Minor, the Head of the Goat. May intelligence be gained through experience.

3rd Companion: (South) I hail the Guardians of Al Sa'adal Nashirah, the Fortunate One, Bringer of Good Tidings. May we make our own Good Fortunes!

4th Companion: (West) I hail the Guardians of Debeb Algedi, the fish-tail of the Goat, known as the Heavenly Walled Castle. May we protect our work.

Music. Pastoral.

1st Priestess: (blesses the seeds in her hands) Propitious Terra and Ceres, Mothers of the Corn, bless these seeds which are to be committed to the black earth. For Thou, Ceres, lendest to the corn its vital force, and Thou, Terra, lendest it room. O grant Onto Thy tender seeds unbroken increase. When we sow, let the sky be cloudless and the winds blow fair: but when the seed is buried, then sprinkle it with water from the sky. May the farms yield, with manifold interest, crops of wheat and barley.

2nd Priestess: Long time did wars engage mankind; the sword was handier than the share; the plough ox was ousted by the charger; hoes were idle; mattocks were turned into javelins and a helmet was made out of a heavy rake. Commit the seed to the ploughed earth. For Pax is the Nurse of Ceres, and so Ceres is the fosterchild of Peace. (She hands round seeds to all with these words:) May the seeds of life grow within thy soul, protected in the dark earth by Proserpina!

Music. "Peer Gynt," by Grieg, is suitable.

1st Priest: Hear of the journey of the soul, as told by Charles Kingsley. Tom the chimney sweep longs to reach the heavenly place where the girl Ellie lives. He seeks for Mother Carey at the World's End to help him. "Where is the White Gate," asked Tom. "There is no Gate," a sea creature told him. "Dive under the ice, if you are brave enough". So Tom dived under the Great White Gate which never opened yet, and went on in black darkness, at the bottom of the sea, for seven days and seven nights. And at last he saw the light. He asked the way to Mother Carey. "There she sits in the middle", said a whale. Tom could see nothing except one peaked iceberg. "That's Mother Carey", said the whale. "There she sits making old beasts into new, all the year round".

2nd Priest: And when Tom came near, he saw it was not an iceberg at all, but the grandest old lady he had ever seen, sitting on a throne. And from the foot of the throne there swam away, out into the sea, millions of new-born children, whom she makes out of the sea-water all day long.

3rd Priest: Tom expected her to be very busy, but she sat quite still, with her chin upon her hand, looking down into the sea. Tom told her his errand, and asked the way to the Other-End-of-Nowhere. "Look at me", said Mother Carey. And as Tom looked into her eyes he knew the way perfectly. "Thank you, Ma'am", said Tom. "Then I won't trouble your Ladyship any more. I hear you are very busy".

3rd Priestess: "So people fancy", said Mother Carey. "But I never trouble myself to make things. I sit here and make them make themselves".

1st Priestess: Know that She who turns fishes into beasts and into Men, Mother Carey, is the Norse Goddess of the Sea, Goda, from Whom comes the Name of God. She rides naked upon a goat and holds a fish net in one hand and an apple in the other. She is accompanied by a Hare and a Raven. The Saxons called Her Gode, and Godiva.

1st Priestess: (Holds hands over salt water in blessing. She hands it round anointing each brow with these words:) Draw creativity from the Abyss, in the Name of Proserpina and Goda.

2nd Priest: Harken to the words of the Bard of Eire, Aeon: "Memory is an attribute of all living creatures and of earth also, the greatest living creature we know and she carries with her all her long history, cities far gone behind time, empires which are dust, buried continents beneath waters. The beauty for which men perished is still shining. No ancient lore has perished. Earth retains for herself and her children what her children might in passion have destroyed, and it is still in the realm of the Ever Living to be seen by the mystic adventurer. These memories gild the desert air where once the proud and golden races have been and had passed away, and they haunt the rocks and mountains where the Druids evoke their skiey and subterrene cities."

1st Priest: If our Will is powerful enough and if by concentration and aspiration we have made the gloom in the brain to glow, we can evoke out of the memory of earth images of whatsoever we desire. Once a magical book appeared before me, a symbol in every page. On one of these the outline of a human body appeared, and there was a shining of forces and a flashing of fires, rose, gold, azure and silver along the spinal column and these flowed up into the brain where they struck upon a little ball that was like white sunfire for brilliancy, and they flashed out of that again in a pulsation as of wings on each side of the head.

Music. Scriabin, Mahler, Bax, Stravinsky are relevant.

1st Priestess: (Lights charcoal, when flames appear she calls:) Behold the eternal flame of Vesta!

Omnes throw off their veils.

2nd Priestess: (Sprinkles incense upon the flames and carries smoking bowl to each Companion with these words:) May your winged soul ascend through the Starry Gateway, inspired by the ever-living Vestal Flame!

Spiral Dance. White light may be seen and silvery power felt in head and through spine. Spiritual elation can be experienced.

1st Priestess: (holds aloft star map of Capricorn) Companions, let us contemplate the Constellation of Capricorn! Behold, it emerges from the Sea of Heaven, the primordial abyss from which all life is drawn. Within it swim Pisces Australis and Aquarius and above flips the eagle Aquila. Beyond ascends the starry Northern Swan Cygnus, spreading wide its wings. Nearby are the twin souls, fair Vega, maiden of the Lyre, and Altair, the youth of Aquila, separated by the Milky Way. As is told in the Orient, the Weaver Maid and the Shepherd, may only meet-once a year, over a bridge of magpies. So do our souls long for completion, the union of darkness and light, dreams and-activity, the past and future, in eternal reality. In silence let us contemplate the Mystery of Capricorn and Terra.


Spiritual rays are sent forth. Reports of experiences.

1st Priest: Companions, let us give thanks to Terra and Pan, Proserpina and Pluto, Vesta and Vulcan.


Sources: "The Homeric Hymns", Heinemann, Harvard. "The Water Babies", Charles Kingsley, Macmillan. "The Candle of Vision", AE (George Russell), Macmillan. "The Greek Myths", Graves.

Note: "Star Names, Their Lore and Meaning," Richard Hinckley Allen, Dover Publications, New York, first pub. 1899. "Juno Covella, Perpetual Calendar of the Fellowship of Isis", Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, Cesara Publications, and Philips’ Planisphere were used for each Rite.


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