The Sabian Procedures
Some Details of Ritual
Any substitution or rearrangement of ritualistic detail is the privilege of each local group, but the invisible fellowship is strengthened when the Sabian forms are employed for activities concerned primarily with materials and procedures of the Sabian vision. All its rituals were developed at the specific request of the sponsors constituting the invisible council, to the end that the project as far as possible might have a creative originality of its own making. In this fashion its experimental or laboratory nature is preserved, and its laya center is protected from unsuspected orientation to alien potentiality. On the other side of the coin, however, the Sabian Assembly invites a free and unlimited use of its ritualistic forms by all who may care to employ them. The flow of their inspiration and revivifying power is to be outward and in broad dedication to the occult tradition at large.
Music may be used as an integral part of any Sabian activity, either with actual performers or by means of recordings. The type employed should be determined by its general acceptability to those who are asked to listen, and its place in the program at any particular meeting should be left to individual initiative and group taste. Refreshments may be served at any point in any gathering of Sabian aspirants as well as in the acolyte study where they are required, and they may be of any nature suited to the taste and temperament of those participating. When there is such a breaking of bread it may be preceded by the Grace to the Elements of the private devotions.
Neither the use of subdued lights nor the burning of incense at Sabian meetings is encouraged in a modern generation that generally is oversensitized to psychological impressions, unless in some particular case the group of students happens to be thoroughly familiar with spiritualistic phenomena or drilled in proper safeguards for heightened self-integration under psychic conditions. Smoking is not permitted during any ritual or at healing and restricted sessions where the objection would be the same as to incense.
By contrast the burning of candles, as made a necessary or recommended part of some ceremonies, may be helpful at other classes and meetings whenever it can be done with aesthetic results and without affront to participants of marked anti-Catholic inclination. The lighting of them should be formal, immediately following the opening invocation, and all so lighted should be extinguished normally in the course of the closing dismissal. If food is served after a meeting they may be permitted to burn until the first of those who have broken bread is ready to leave, and extinguished then during a moment of silent appreciation of the fellowship.
Rituals may be read, but when possible they should be memorized and recited. During any of them those present when not standing should sit erect without knees crossed or fingers contracted. In outdoor ceremonies there is an advantage of bare feet on the ground, and bodily surface relatively free for contact with the air and sun, since such added and primitive rapport with nature facilitates the dimensional outspread of a civilized man handicapped to some extent by his cultural inhibitions. Care must be used to avoid procedures that might outrage the sensibilities of any given community, but in general and otherwise the aspirant serves his own spiritual progress through every physical or bodily satisfaction of a healthy sort. Sports and competitive exercise of muscular skills on the one hand, and the fullest possible participation in the creative arts on the other, can be a particularly valuable adjunct to self-fulfillment under the Solar Mysteries.
While the lily-and-snake symbol may be employed for imprint on Sabian materials, and adapted for decorative purposes, no strictly Sabian altar, sculpture, picture, painting, inscription or anything even remotely ecclesiastical in suggestiveness is to be permitted. Every effort is to be made to avoid diversion of attention from the Sabian group as essentially a project-in-action and not in or of itself intended to become a separate tradition within the general arcane framework. In its vision it is anything but an organized establishment for the promulgation of ideas codified for once and all. As a further help in discouraging crystallization the members of the Assembly should avoid the use of the word Sabian as a noun, that is and for example, the reference should be to a Sabian aspirant and never to a Sabian.