“Prayer for the Great Family” Being Tested As Alternate “Anthem” in Gnostic Mass

The “Prayer for the Great Family” composed by Gerald Shapiro is marvelous contemporary music with an earthy feel to it. EGC Bishop Tau Asteria has been given approval test it for use as an alternate “Anthem” in the Gnostic Mass. This is a complex piece of music to be performed by trained musicians (SATB quartet with recorded parts). Want to try it but don’t have choral musicians in your OTO Body? A text version (unsung) is available for testing by congregations. Please contact the blog for access to the text arrangement. If you try it out it, please send your comments!

You’ll find a score and MP3s to Shapiro’s music here:


Prayer for the Great Family — (after a Mohawk Prayer) 

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day–
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep–he who wakes us–

in our minds so be it.


Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars–and goes yet beyond that–
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us–
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife

so be it.


-Translated by Gary Snyder

Shapiro’s site gives his background:

Gerald M. Shapiro was born in Philadelphia in 1942 and attended public schools there. He received the Bachelor of Music degree with distinction from the Eastman School of Music in 1964 and continued with graduate work at the University of California at Davis, the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique in Paris, and Mills College, where he received an M.A. in 1967. His principal teachers of composition during this period were Darius Milhaud, Mort Subotnick, Karlheinze Stockhausen, and Nadia Boulanger. In 1967 he accepted a position at Brown University where he remains, currently as professor of Music. Shapiro’s compositions are regularly performed at concerts in the United States and around the world. Representative works include Phoenix andPrayer for the Great Family written for the British vocal ensemble, Electric Phoenix; Mount Hope in Autumn premiered by the R.I. Philharmonic Orchestra; Piano Trio #1 commissioned by the N.E.A. for the Yuval Trio of Israel ; In Times Shadow for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra; String Quartet #2 for the Mondriaan Quartet, The Netherlands; Four Love Songs for the Wesleyan University Chorus, Trio for Saxophones and Piano for the Trio Saxiana, Paris; From the Log of the Alice, for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra; Toccata for the Iceland Philharmonic Orchestra; andChange and End for Ensemble Zellig, Paris. Performances of these and many other works have been included in programs at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the New York Summer Festival at Lincoln Center, the Grand Teton Festival in Wyoming, the Montanea Festival in Leukerbad, Switzerland, the Adolph Sax and Saxophones en Fete festivals in Paris, France, the De Stem Festival in Amsterdam, Holland, and the Monday Evening Concerts at the Los Angeles County Museum. In addition to professional performances, Shapiro’s music is often programmed by University and conservatory ensembles. Recent performances have taken place at Brown University, Wesleyan University, Rice University, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Illinois. His music is published by Editions Billaudot in Paris, and available on the Naxos and Neuma Record labels.

Gerald Shapiro

thanks to Soror Hypatia for the tip!

Frater Lux Ad Mundi


  1. 93! I hail from the Valley of Cleveland, Ohio at Black Sun Lodge. I am interested in the text arrangement and would be happy to share any observations and thoughts on testing it out. Thanks in advance!
    93 93/93…

    • Dear Sister
      You should contact Tau Asteria about this. I believe she’s a regular visitor to your fair Valley. But I’ll also drop her a line to let her know.
      Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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