Today, 27 April, is the Feast of Sir Wilfred T. Smith. Wilfred Talbot Smith was born Frank Wenham 8 June 1885, the illegitimate son of a domestic servant and her employer in Tonbridge, Kent. He moved to Canada in 1907, where he began reading about Western esotericism. In January 1915 Smith took the Minerval degree at British Columbia Lodge No. 1.
According to Introduction to the Gnostic Mass, “The first recorded public celebration of the Gnostic Mass proper was on Sunday, March 19, 1933 e.v., by Wilfred T. Smith and Regina Kahl in Hollywood, California.” In 1935, Smith founded Agape Lodge in Pasadena, California, where notables including Regina Kahl, Phyllis Seckler, and Jack Parsons were active.
California is known for its wine. Pasadena may be best known best for the Rose Parade every New Year’s Day. Roses and wine are both pertinent to the Gnostic Mass, as well, so we present this recipe in honor of Wilfred T. Smith.
Take a well glazed earthen vessel and put into it three gallons of rose-water drawn with a cold still. Put into that a sufficient quantity of rose leaves, cover it close, and set it for an hour in a kettle of hot water to take out the whole strength and tincture of the roses; and when it be cold press the rose leaves hard into the liquor, and steep fresh ones in it, repeating it till the liquor has got the full strength of the roses. To every gallon of liquor put three pounds of loaf sugar, and stir it well, that it may melt and disperse in every part. Then put it into a cask, or other convenient vessel, to ferment, and put into it a piece of bread toasted hard and covered with yeast. Let it stand about thirty days, when it will be ripe and have a fine flavor, having the whole strength and scent of the roses in it; and you may greatly improve it by adding to it wine and spices. By this method of infusion, wine of carnations, clove gilliflowers, violets, primroses, or any other flower, having a curious scent, may be made. (Recipe from Rose Recipes of Olden Times, by Eleanor Sinclair Rohde.)
Fun trivia: The second season of Carnivale features a scholar named Wilfred Talbot Smith, who identifies Brother Justin as the Usher and tells him that he must find and kill a man named Henry Scudder.
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