Cult Of Ecstasy

Overview and Paradigm

Being the tradition that has taken the seat of Time, trying to describe the Cult's history in any sensible and continuous means is understandably difficult. With this in mind, any Ecstatic asked about the history of the Cult may, quite readily, laugh at the questioner. Some may take pity and attempt to explain a thing or two. Certain events can be pointed to, but fixing their exact location on the timeline is, in many cases, not even possible.

Think of the cult's history as a stone skipping across the waters of the time stream and you've come to as close an analogy as possible to the truth of it. Given that, the following events can be pointed out.

The commonly accepted founder of the Cult itself is Sha'zar 'The Seer'. He was a Persian prophet, who predicted in 1400, the impending diminishing, and possible death of magic. To prevent the latter, he developed a doctrine of self-accountability, peace and collaboration and preached it to many powerful mages of that time, leading to formation of the Seers of Chronos Tradition and, according to some accounts, a truce between Nightshade of the Verbenae, Magister LaSalle of the Order of Hermes and Valoran of the Chorus Celeste. That truce, according to most Ecstatic accounts at least, eventually gave birth to the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions. Along with the other Masters of the new Tradition, Sha'zar was the author of the Code of Ananda, a short list of proverbs that illustrated the wisdom a Seer should have and the responsibilities he or she should live by. He also penned many of the emotion-sharing rituals for both strengthening of the Tradition and the punishment of irresponsible mages.

Sh'zar is said to exist outside the flow of Time. This perception is likely due to his reappearance in 1867, leading to the Seers of Chronos being renamed to the Cult of Ecstasy because he felt that they had strayed from their true mission. A common perception is, that since the renaming of the Cult, the old Master watches from outside of Time, seething in disappointment at his children.

The 1900's were particularly important to the Cult. The misery of World War I unleashed a frenzy of rebellion across the Western World. The roaring 1920's, with their grand excesses and revolutionary tone, set the ball in motion. World War II, with the largest body count in history before the Fall, demolished whatever conventions were left standing. Cultists rushed in, tentatively at first, then excitedly, and helped themselves to the confusion. The ashes of the two great wars, and the succession of smaller wars that followed, left the Cult a new world to work with. People were scared of dying, of technology, and of each other. A few Cultists and a host of mortals went in to take that fear in hand. It began in coffee shops, in civil rights marches, in writers colonies, and average homes. It began when soldiers came home with new ideas and scientists scrapped what was left of the old ones. It began with electric guitars, TV, radio and drugs, and it rose up to change the world. The revolution of the senses. It was a grand time for the Cult of Ecstasy.

Jim Morrison, Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Dr. Hoffman, Timothy Leary, John Lennon, Andy Warhol.. an endless list. Some were Awakened, most were not. Most had no idea what they were doing, but were doing their best anyway. Some give the Cult the credit for inventing Rock and Roll, the drug culture, and pornography, but many within the Cult claim that they simply took what already existed, and gave it a hard push. The world was waking up. Slowly for certain, but such is the way of coming out of a long, deep slumber. Then, in the 70's the Technocratic Union threw cold water in its face. The Cold War.

Pockets of resistance remained, places like Asbury Heights, Amsterdam, the Village in New York, but for the most part, the world turned against the 'Counterculture' of the Cult, and embraced the Union's paradigm out of fear from Nuclear fallout. Mutually Assured Destruction was a daily threat, and the masses felt that their eggs were best placed in the basket of those who could ensure peace through superior firepower, than in the loving arms of the terminally stoned peaceniks.

The view from outside the Cult is that life is one never-ending party. For some younger Ecstatics, this might be true, as they drunkenly lurch from one debauchery to the next, trying to find enlightenment. Most of the Ecstatics know that many things are best sampled in moderation, lest their passions become blunted and thus ruined for them - although a Cultist's idea of "moderation" might be quite different than the average person's.

If you look beneath the stereotyping, the Cult itself is filled with contradictions and controversy even among it's members. Most of whom seem to enjoy the lively and passionate debate. Even things passed down through the ages are often heatedly debated. One such is the Code of Ananda, upheld by some and outright rejected by others. These guidelines act to protect Cultists from their Passions and each other, but are not accepted by all Ecstatics. A second is a book written by Tali Eos called the Nine Sacred Passions, which is less in itself debated, but more its approach to pursing passions.

It is true, that the only constant that lies within the Cult is the constant of Change. Although there is a persisting belief that Lakashim (Synonymous with Life) is holy.

Fall and Reconciliation

The Cult had been warning the Council (and for that matter the Union) of that possibility of a collapse like this was growing more and more probable as the Union put a strangle hold on the 20th Century. Still, no one believed them. The more 'respectable' Traditions continued about their way, ignoring what they regarded as the 'drug fueled ramblings of the Ecstatics'.

Having for seen it, the Cult was better prepared than most for this eventuality. In 1999, the Tradition extended an invitation for any Council mage to retreat with them into a secure Horizon Realm known as Eden. This Realm was created by a powerful Canadian Cultist named Delilah Mitchell, who retains the keys to it's secrets to this day. Not believing the Fall possible, no one took them up on it. On New Years eve, 1999, the Cult of Ecstasy officially with drew from the Council to wait out the tribulation in Utopian peace. The Cult was largely absent from the Reconciliation War (and in their eyes blameless) for it's atrocities.

A group of Cultists did stay behind. Called The Girdle's Knots or simple The Girdle (a reference to the sacred Girdle of Aphrodite) they were devoted to keeping the Nodes that fueled Eden safe and secret as well as brokering peace whenever they could. It was their wise urgings for peace that negotiated the end of the Reconciliation War. By the end of the war, everyone was listening. At sunrise, on January 1st The Girdle put a call out to any mage who would listen. Mages who could attend met on the shores of the Aegean sea. A powerful Ecstatic seer named Alethea, delivered a final prophesy so horrifying and so undeniably true that no one could deny it. The Reconciliation War has pushed reality to the brink of annihilation. It wouldn't take much to push it over the edge.

Each Faction returned to their camp to regroup for the next leg of the Ascension War.

Current Status

After the 20 years of tribulation, Eden was opened and the Cult returned to the world beginning by reforming the Council and Christening it the Phoenix Council. Once out, the Cult began to foster peace between the warring Traditions.

Not all were pleased. The Verbena in particular resent the return of the 'Prodigals Cultists' having viewed their solution to the Reconciliation as a huge metaphysical cope out. Not to mention the fact that Delilah Mitchell seems to have gotten about half the Tradition to 'drink the Kool-Aid' as it were, giving the Tradition the pejorative 'Cult of Delilah' nickname. Utopians to an extreme, her followers go about spreading the gospel of peace. Outwardly the seem well meaning but they have gained a reputation for being manipulative and underhanded in their desire for peace.

The problem lies in the fact that they were right about the Fall right down to the all the disturbing details. It's hard to argue with the Future, especially when it's staring you in the face. Still, the Cultists love their freedom more fiercely than anyone and many have begun to chafe under Delilah's chains of Utopia.

Cultists not directly following Delilah are doing what they've always done: rebel, stir the pot, and live just this side of reality. Post-Fall Cultists are as smart, brash, innovative and talented as ever. There is no shortage of new thrills and excitement in the post-Fall world. The Cultists remain avid explorers of the ruins of the Umbra as well as the newly reborn Matrix. They design new drugs, create new music and dance crazes and generally thrive in the lawless environment of the post-Fall world.

Foci and Style

Various foci (called Kamamarga) help Cultists achieve an altered state of consciousness. The only real focus for Ecstatic magick is the self. To get around the usual barriers, however, some concentration becomes necessary. A wise Cultist alternates his Kamamarga for several reasons. One, he gains a broader perspective through experimentation. Two, overuse tends to dull both the tool, and the senses. Three, almost all Ecstatic foci are both dangerous, and/or habit-forming. Alternation beats addiction any day. The concept of manipulating some aspect of reality through a single thing strikes most Ecstatics as silly. Whatever gets you off will put you in tune if you know how to use it. Typical Cultist Kamamarga include (but are not in any way limited to): Adrenaline, Art, Body Modification/Ordeals, Dance, Drugs, Incense, Meditation, Music, Sensuality/Sexuality, and Technology.

The Code of Ananda:

  • I: Thou art miraculous; so are we all.
  • II: He who spits upon his good right hand shall find the left one fails him in need.
  • III: Each gold coin yields two like it: each stalk given creates a bundle. Yet, each coin taken turns the rest to dross, and one bundle gone creates a famine. Thus shall a Seer account his deeds.
  • IV: Some minds rest best asleep. Stir not those who would not waken otherwise.
  • V: Truths forseen are not always truths.
  • VI: If a man would rend another's Passions, let him be as one torn by wild dogs. For Passions are the seat of Self, and if they bleed, so too does the Soul.
  • VII: Let each Seer account his own deeds, and if those deeds should want for wisdom or kindness, let him be put forth to weep alone.
  • VIII: Humor cooleth blood; wrath spilleth it.
  • IX: Even trees rent by lightning may grow new fruit.
  • X: A fool feels no fear; a Sleeper remains shackled by it; a Master transcends it, yet recalls its wisdom. It is good to be afraid; it is folly to bow to terror.

The Nine Sacred Passions:
Joy(or Wonder); Love; Empathy(or Sympathy); Lust(or Ambition); Grief(or Sadness); Fear; Jealousy(or Envy); Hate; and Rage.

Stereotypes

  • The Akashic Brotherhood - Their sacrifice is noble but I still can't get into the dogma.
  • The Celestial Chorus - Get off the cross. We need the wood to rebuild.
  • Hollow Ones - How can you truly see if all you look for is hollowness.
  • Dreamspeakers - We have many lessons to learn about finding joy while suffering.
  • Euthanatos - They were the only ones who heard and understood. We respect their ways, even if we disagree.
  • Order of Hermes - Only the short sighted would point fingers at them ,but if anyone should have known it was them.
  • Etherites - Our best hope for Ascension so long as their urge for order can be tempered.
  • Verbena - They have endurance that is for sure but life with out joy is not worth living.
  • Virtual Adepts - The Fall has taught them many painful lessons that have helped them to see.