Celestial Chorus

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.

-Psalm 57-59

Reckoning

The Reconciliation is nigh…or so the prophets among the Chorus said. The prophesies concerning the Reconciliation involve great destruction and a great war, and whether  not you believe the last few decades really were the cataclysmic end of the 4th Age, it is easy to see why some might. The Chorus before the Storm was a Tradition that sought oneness above all else, yet remained profoundly divided. Cut off from the powers of the Great Adytum, the Tradition was forced to finally reconcile its differences. As the sun set and oneness with the One seemed imminent, the Tradition finally put aside its differences and prepared for Reconciliation. Now that the Storm has passed and Reconciliation didn’t appear (or did it?), that new found peace is threatened.  The portals to the Great Adytum have once again been reopened, and the Exarchs within now wish to assert control over a Tradition much changed in their absence.

Current Status

The Storm was something of a bitter welcome to the Celestial Chorus. Many believed it was the Reconciliation come to return everything to the One, but others cautioned that it may only be the beginning of the end and not the end itself. The Storm, the wars in the Otherworlds, and the tremendous blow of the Pogrom cut the Tradition off from both Curia and Pontifex Maximus, and forced a crisis of faith on the Tradition. Without the Great Adytum to guide them, the Tradition turned to prayer, scripture and prophecy to bring about revelation to reveal who among the Chorus’s remaining leaders should take up leadership positions.  Monist Celeste Morina was chosen as Primus and Diego Luna Bernal from the Order of St. Michael was chosen as Pontifex Maximus taking the name Innocent III. They proceeded to choose a new, far more broad and down to earth Curia that included members the Tradition’s long ignored margins (even the Alexandrians are among them). Lines of communication and transmissions were re-established, and the Tradition began to knit itself back together after the tribulations. Something of a revival is afoot, but the celebration was short lived.

Not long after the new Curia was chosen, a herald arrived from the Otherworlds with word from on high. Many of the Exarchs still lived and the old Pontifex Maximus Adeodatus I asked for tidings of Earth. There was much discussion as this news threatened to divide the Tradition once more. Unity prevailed through the grace of the new Pontifex Maximus, and word was sent back to the old Pontifex that the Tradition had kept the faith in their absence. They had to regretfully inform him that they no longer recognized the authority of  Adeodatus I, and that they asked that he gracefully step aside. Adeodatus I, of course refused, and that is when things got strange. The herald came in the form of what seemed like celestial spirit, but when spirit’s path was traced it was not to the Great Adytum, but to another Horizon Realm altogether. When asked after this the reply came that the old Pontifex Maximus had come under attack, and he and members of the Curia had escaped to the apocryphal Celestial Temple of the Sun. Thus, the Celestial Schism began with both Pontifex claiming to be the authority in the Tradition.  Adeodatus I refuses to recognize the new Tradition structure, and demands all Choiristers attend him at his palace in the Celestial Temple of the Sun. The new leadership has so far refused, and the Tradition stands behind them. The Tradition is engaging in stalling tactics under the guise of reviewing Tradition law while they determine what has happened to the Great Adytum and the nature of the mysterious Celestial Temple of the Sun.

While the Curia plays politics and the new Primus re-establishes ties to the New Horizon Council, the body of the Tradition contends with the nature of the Sphinx. The Tradition as a whole, but especially the Guardian Orders, place protecting and ministering to the Sleepers as the priority of the Tradition. How to do that in light of the Rogue Council’s Manifesto is something that Tradition now contends with in the Adytums and individually.

Orders

  • Guardian Orders
    • The Brothers of St. Christopher – All through the Storm the Brotherhood held fast to their mission protecting the innocent, and this included those on the business end of the Technocracy pogroms. Now that the Storm has ended the Brothers are concerned with preparing a sudden surge of new members seemingly awakened to their psychic potential by the Storm. What they are preparing for is a mystery, but it clearly has something to do with the return of Bartholomew which they seem to think is imminent.
      • The Knights of St. George and the Dragon – In a frenzy of pre-millennium tension, the Knights mistook the Storm as a sign, and mounted an assault on any and all known vampire targets they could find. The backlash was more than they could bear, and today, fewer than 30 known and fully knighted members remain. The survivors have largely withdrawn to train recruit so as to fight another day. Those battled scarred veterans remain a force to be sure.
    • The Order of St. Michael – The Order of St. Michael has become the dominant Guardian Order in the Tradition. While many of the other Orders grew desperate, the Order of St. Michael got organized. Their concerns were always more Earthly so their work has positioned them well to deal with the corporate leviathans and rotten governments that have lurched into the 21st century.  Where it once relied on martial strength to address its problems, the Order has matured, and now just as fiercely tangles with corporations and corrupt politicians in the arenas of courts, political campaigns, and social justice movements. As social media has grown they have found that the keyboard is just as mighty as the sword. When all else fails, however, Forces is still a very reliable option.
    • The Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon – Under the Storm and threat of their now distant cousins in the Technocracy, the Knights Templar’s chain of command was disrupted, and some grudgingly joined the Celestial Chorus in the hopes that such an alliance would see them through their tribulations. This experiment went poorly as Templar militancy quickly alienated many Choisters. While they found more sympathy with some of the other Traditions when it came to not giving up the fight, there was little love lost there either. As the Storm receded and the Technocracy Pogrom declined, the Templars began to find themselves once more in the most unlikely place: the Internet. Thus, wayward Brothers began to return to the newly reorganized Militia Christi. There was no formal break between the Chorus and the Templars, but things remain awkward at best or icy at worst between the two.  
    • The Sisters of Gabrielle -Years of demon slaying finally came home to roost for the Sisters. Shortly before the Storm, their Horizon Realms were invaded by infernal forces resulting in a protracted war with a host of demons. Sisters on Earth were cut off with few options to support their members in the Otherworlds. Under the shadow of the Storm, Earthbound Sisters redoubled their efforts to fight evil where ever it may be, but now that the Storm is passed the crisis from the Otherworlds now creeps towards Earth. To make matters worse, a number of Sisters somehow survived the Storm and have returned to Earthly chantries seeking sanctuary. They were welcomed with suspicion, and the circle of trust that once held the Sisters together has been damaged, perhaps beyond repair. A division now exists between the small minority of returning Sisters, who wish to reclaim their former Horizon Realms and the majority of those who believe there is more than enough evil to slay on Earth. To make matters worse, the returning Sisters have reported that the demons didn’t break in, they were let in from the inside. The question is why? This has filled the Sisterhood with a chilling paranoia about corruption within, and many whisper about possible collusion with the Celestial Temple of the Sun. Crisis aside, the Sisterhood’s new found relationships outside the Order have proven fruitful, and recruitment has been steady.
      • Common Guardian Order Focus:
        • Paradigms: A World of Gods and Monsters, Bring Back the Golden Age, Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, It’s All Good – Have Faith, Might Is Right, All Power Comes from God(s), Ancient Wisdom is the Key
        • Practices: Craftwork, Dominion, Faith, High Ritual Magick, Medicine Work, God-Bonding, Invigoration
        • Instruments: Armor, Weapons, Books, Scrolls, and Periodicals, Blessings or Curses, Celestial Alignments, Circles, Pentacles, and other Geometric Designs, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Cups, Chalices, Cauldrons, and Other Vessels, Fashion, Group Rites, Languages, Meditation, Music, Offerings and Sacrifices, Ordeals and Exertion, Prayers and Invocations, Sacred Iconography, Symbols, Social Domination, Voice and Vocalizations, Wands, Rods, and Staves, Writings, Inscriptions, and Runes,
    • Chevra Kedisha –  The Storm was nothing the Chevra Kedisha couldn’t handle. While it created an added level of intensity to their work they continued to minister to the restless dead as they always have.
      • Common Focus
        • Paradigms: Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, It’s All Good – Have Faith, All Power Comes from God(s), Ancient Wisdom is the Key, Ancestors Watch Over Us, Embrace the Threshold
        • Practices:  Craftwork, Dominion, High Ritual Magick, Mediumship
        • Books, Scrolls, and Periodicals, Celestial Alignments, Circles, Pentacles, and other Geometric Designs, Food and Drink, Formulae, Equations, and Sacred or Advanced Mathematics, Group Rites, Household Tools & Implements,  Languages, Meditation, Music, Offerings and Sacrifices, Prayers and Invocations, Sacred Iconography, Symbols, Voice and Vocalizations
  • Theological Orders
    • Monists – Some Choiristers saw the Storm as a punishment for the sin of hubris while others saw it as a dark night of the soul. A crisis that would allow the Tradition to hear voices that they previously ignored. For years, Monists were a marginalized minority, but their message of tolerance has finally found legitimacy in the 21st century. Many previous sectarians abandoned their faction in something of a great awakening caused by the Storm, and have joined their ranks of the Monists. Along with the Order of St. Michael, Monists now dominate the Tradition’s leadership ranks.
    • Septarians – The once majority Septarians have declined into a vocal (and loud) minority within the Tradition. As charismatic Monist practices and theology sweeps through the Tradition, the Septarians stand in the wings with critical words drawn from scripture and arguments about “tradition” on their lips. The Septarian’s narrow religious and magical views are their biggest weakness. Unable to keep pace with the 21st century they find themselves at odds with not only the Tradition at-large, but each other. They make a unified front, but when push comes to shove they have little use for their own differences. Still, they have extremely zealous Sleeper followers making them an important stakeholder in the new Ascension War.
    • Latitudinarians – Latitudinarians have arrived at an interesting position. For decades they have pressed for institutional change in the name of inclusion, and had high hopes that the rise of the Monists in the Tradition would open a path for that. The changes they had been pushing for were not forthcoming, at least a first. The landscape of faith in the 21st century is significantly different and more diverse than it was even ten years ago. This has lead the Tradition to search within itself for a theology to make sense of the new world the Tradition find itself in. Some look to the Latitudinarians for these solutions, something they are more than willing to exchange for political power. Latitudinarians can now be found not only on the outside pushing for change, but also changing from within. Their insistence on alternative ranks and titles for themselves is one step among many in reforming the Tradition.
      • Common Focus
        • Paradigms: A World of Gods and Monsters, Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Bring Back the Golden Age, Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, It’s All Good – Have Faith, Might Is Right, All Power Comes from God(s), Ancient Wisdom is the Key
        • Practices: Craftwork, Dominion, Faith, High Ritual Magick, Medicine Work, God-Bonding
        • Instruments: Books, Scrolls, and Periodicals, Blessings or Curses, Celestial Alignments, Circles, Pentacles, and other Geometric Designs, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Cups, Chalices, Cauldrons, and Other Vessels, Fashion, Group Rites, Languages, Meditation, Music, Offerings and Sacrifices, Ordeals and Exertion, Prayers and Invocations, Sacred Iconography, Symbols, Social Domination, Voice and Vocalizations, Wands, Rods, and Staves, Writings, Inscriptions, and Runes,
    • The Alexandrian Society – Techgnostic Alexandrians have seen their star rise among the Tradition. Under Monist leadership, the Alexandrian’s approach has become increasingly mainstream. Their rise within the Tradition is hampered by Septarian distrust, and frankly, ignorance about science and technology within the Tradition at-large. Its clear the Alexandrians are on to something, but the Tradition as a whole just…doesn’t get it. So while the Alexandrians have made great strides among the Sleepers using and reconciling faith and Technology, their particular techgnostic praxis has become an instrument for political gain at most or simply something to pay lip service to with little to no actual understanding. Alexandrians have begun to look outside the Tradition and form cabals with other technomantic or techgnostic sub-factions of other Traditions. Some within the order have talked about forming an entirely new Tradition in the future.
      • Common Theological Order Focus
        • Paradigms: Creation Is Innately Divine & Alive, Divine Order and Earthly Chaos, It’s All Good – Have Faith, All Power Comes from God(s), Embrace the Threshold, Turning the Keys to Reality
        • Practices: Craftwork, Dominion, Faith, High Ritual Magick, Medicine Work, Hypertech
        • Instruments: Books, Scrolls, and Periodicals, Blessings or Curses, Celestial Alignments, Circles, Pentacles, and other Geometric Designs, Crossroads and Crossing Days/Moments, Cups, Chalices, Cauldrons, and Other Vessels, Fashion, Group Rites, Languages, Meditation, Music, Offerings and Sacrifices, Ordeals and Exertion, Prayers and Invocations, Sacred Iconography, Symbols, Social Domination, Voice and Vocalizations, Wands, Rods, and Staves, Writings, Inscriptions, and Runes, Internet Activity, Weird Science
    • Anchorites – The Storm was just one of many hardships the Anchorites must endure in their rejection of the temptations of man. They remain, as always, eccentric wanderers living life apart from society.
    • Children of Albi – Most of the Children of Albi saw the Storm as an opportunity to achieve their long sought unity with the spirit world, and walked en masse into the Storm’s fiery claws. What few who did not follow their fellows now petition the aethers for the newly Ascended to impart wisdom from on high.
    • Nashimites – Nashimites remain a minority in the Chorus, but have grown somewhat under Monist leadership. They continue to  devote their time equally to their own spiritual development — so that they can discern right from wrong — and to improvement of the material world based upon these personal observations.
  • Other Orders  – Other faiths and Orders look to their own concerns, and remain largely as they always have been.

Chorus In Los Angeles

Los Angeles – City of the Angels. Christianity is the most prevalent religion in Los Angeles, and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest archdiocese in the country. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is an iconic part of the downtown skyline, and a procession and mass in honor of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, in commemoration of the founding of the City of Los Angeles in 1781, is an important public ritual. With 621,000 Jews in the metropolitan area, the region has the second-largest population of Jews in the United States. A large Protestants contingent can be found in L.A. as well.  Because of Los Angeles’s large multi-ethnic population, a wide variety of faiths are practiced, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Baháʼí, various Eastern Orthodox churches, Sufism, Shintoism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion and countless others. The first Buddhist joss house in the US was founded in the city in 1875.  Needless to say, faith plays a major role in Los Angeles, and the where there is the faith one finds the Chorus.

La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles or La Placita, as it is known locally, has housed the Virgens de Los Angelos since their inception in the early 19th century. Tradition seems to demand that it also serve as the de facto home of the Chorus in L.A. Mother Maira Alvarez, the Chorus’s house mother, can be reached by lighting a blue candle in the name of the poor at the feet of La Reina de los Ángeles. The angels ensues Mother Maria Alvarez knows that a new Singer has joined the Chorus of Los Angeles.

Angelus Temple

Aimee Semple McPherson better known as Sister Aimee was a young traveling preacher and Choirester. She settled in Los Angeles after a vision from the One to found a great temple. Sister Aimee embraced spectacle and radio broadcast bringing her national celebrity. After years of ministry and fundraising, Angelus Temple, and possibly the largest Reality Zones in Los Angeles history. Miracles considered Vulgar today were allegedly performed regularly in front of the eyes of the faithful. Some say such outlandish feats of faith healing, visitations by angels, and even the raising of the dead were possible under the silver dome of Angelus Temple. It is said that she was even able to create a Node within the Temple, but if that is true its secrets died with her.  In 1926, Sister Aimee vanished for a week, but returned claiming to have been drugged and kidnapped to Mexico. Traditions blame the Technocracy for this, but others claim it was a Nephandi cabal from the  Black Church. Her return to Los Angeles was greeted by close to 50,000 screaming faithful. Syndicate and New World Order smeared her reputation in the media, and leveled a high profile trial accusing her of faking her own death and kidnapping. While the trial was dropped in 1927, doubt had spread in the minds of the Masses. She remained nationally famous and continued her ministry, but the media which once dubbed her a “miracle worker”, now  focused on her personal troubles. She eventually lost her church to the Syndicate, developed a drug problem, and died in 1944 over an accidental drug overdose.

That’s the story the New World Order would have you believe. The Tradition admits to Sister Aimee’s hubris being the source of her downfall, but that she gave up fame for freedom. Some say that she left Los Angeles shortly before dawn in 1945, and wanders the world ministering to the Sleepers. Some say she is an Oracle or Ascended. Whatever the case may be, Sister Aimee is one of Los Angeles’s most legendary and well remembered mages. The seeds of her work can be seen within modern Los Angeles, and the Tradition continues to owe much of their success to her trailblazing.

Donde Los Angeles Temen Pisar

Known simply as the Pasos de Angels (angel’s footsteps), this began as a join-task force between House Janissary, the Sisters of Gabrielle and the Knights of Saint George in the 1940s to investigate rumors of an alleged cabal of Nephandi known as the Black Church. Secrative and unpopular, the small chantry was known to forcefully invade and toss other chantries under the auspices of routing out corruption. With the fall of House Janissary the chantry is still active, but largely discredited. They swear the Black Church is out there…somewhere, but they’ve yet to provide credible evidence. While no one wants to dismiss rumors of Nephandic corruption in L.A. the fact that these rumors started with House Janissary does little to help legitimize them. The Pasos see themselves as the line in the sand between reality and a literal hell on Earth. They have taken the Rogue Council’s Manifesto to heart, and are once again recruiting members to renew the battle against the Fallen.