Church of the Eternal Source
While the primary thrust of the modern Neo-Pagan Movement
has been the recovery of European traditions, some attempts
have been made to recover the magic and spiritual life
of ancient Egypt. Standing at the fountainhead is Aleister
Crowley (18751947), whose use of Egyptian themes date to
the first decade of the twentieth century. When in Cairo, he
found several magical items of special interest, including the
Stele of Revealing. He received a revelation contained in the
small booklet The Book of the Law, the reception of which initiated
a new era of Horus (an Egyptian deity), the Crowned and
Conquering Child. He then later integrated Egyptian themes
into all his magical work. A typical magical ritual with an Egyptian
theme was published by David Conway in his book, Magic
An Occult Primer (1972).
Although Crowley utilized Egyptian themes extensively, he
never attempted to build a modern Egyptian religion. That
task was initiated by the Church of the Eternal Source, founded
by Donald D. Harrison and Harold Moss. Both Moss and Harrison
were pioneers of modern Paganism. Harrison had first
been attracted to Greek and Roman religion, and in 1967
founded the Julian Review. The Review served as the periodical
for the Delphic Fellowship, an early Pagan group functioning
primarily within the California gay community. Meanwhile,
Moss organized a proto-Egyptian religious group after being
inspired by the movie The Egyptian. They held their first
Egyptian party as early as 1963. In 1970, Moss and Harrison
combined their efforts in the Church of the Eternal Source
built upon two emphases, authentic Egyptianism and a belief
in the plurality of the gods.
Authentic Egyptianism derives from attention to the earlier
layers of the Egyptian religion before its corruption by the entrance
of many non-Egyptian ideas. Henri Franfurts book, Ancient
Egyptian Religion, is cited as a source for gaining an overview
of the churchs perspective, and mastery of ancient
Egyptian history is an important task for individual church
members. In the churchs understanding, the gods create reality.
In their diversity and their transactions, divine vectors are
established. The human task is to achieve balance by relating
to the divine vectors.
Worship is both communal and personal. Communal gatherings
are held on the full moon in July (at the birthday of the
gods) and at the solstices and equinoxes. At the festivals, the
myth of a particular deity may be reenacted. Various magical
rituals are also used, though no particular rituals have been
prescribed. Most worship centers upon personal shrines which
members erect in their own dwellings. Members also practice
forms of divination.
The Church of the Eternal Source inspired a number of
other experiments in Egyptian Paganism through the last generation,
most short-lived. It has continued as a small group of
fewer than 100 people, most residing on the American West
Coast. Their periodical, Kephera, has also had a sporadic life.
The church may be contacted at P.O. Box 44146, Tucson, AZ
85733. The churchs website may be found at http
Conway, David. Magic An Occult Primer. New York E. P.
Frankfurt, Henri. Ancient Egyptian Religion An Interpretation.
New York Harper & Row, 1961.
Church of the Eternal Source