Principles of Promulgation

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

“You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the ultimate nature of that Will, the evident condition of putting it into execution is freedom from external interference.” -Aleister Crowley, “Duty”

* * *

Some people have qualms about promulgation of the Law of Thelema, often from a misperception of the motives of those who promulgate.

i) “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.” -Liber AL vel Legis III:60

Our highest and most central law as Thelemites is “Do what thou wilt,” and all of our actions are an expression of this idea. While there are many Mysteries to be approached and Secrets to be studied, all aims are subsumed under the prime directive of accomplishment of one’s will. This means, in terms of promulgation, that all efforts to spread ideas not directly connected with spreading the Law of Thelema – the use of magick & yoga, fraternity, the Secret of IXº O.T.O., philosophy, etc. – are done as expressions of that same Law. That is, when we teach magick it is done under the understanding that it will help us understand and do our wills more fully, teachings about fraternity are done in the context of the Law, and efforts to teach other topics are so that the individual may come to a more comprehensive understanding of the Law.Promulgation of the Law of Thelema

ii) “The Law is for all.” -Liber AL vel Legis I:34

The Law of Thelema applies to all planes. Thelema is not simply a Law for the elite of mankind, although it makes room for them and allows for their full development as Hermits. While some may strive to become an Ipsissimus of the A.’.A.’. or IXº of the O.T.O., it is valid for some to be Men of Earth or Lovers. There are many “resting places” in these Orders that are natural for some to remain at. As promulgators of the Law of Thelema, it is our duty to make this Law known to any and everyone, not that we may know the true Will of the recipient of promulgation materials, but so that each may read the source material and integrate the Law on their own terms.

Further, the establishment of the Law of Thelema in the world is inherently tied up with the accomplishment of one’s own will. As the quotation at the top of this essay says, “You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the ultimate nature of that Will, the evident condition of putting it into execution is freedom from external interference.” That is, in establishing the Law of Liberty in the outer, it allows the accomplishment of the Will free from “external interference,” including from the hounding busybodies left over from the Old Aeons. In this way we move closer to the ideal of humanity moving as it wills without hindrance or inhibition from the chafing of its parts, even as the stars move in the night sky.

iii) “Argue not; convert not…” -Liber AL vel Legis III:42

While our duty may be to make the Law known to the public, it is NOT our duty to:

  • convert people to our point-of-view
  • convince people that we are correct
  • threaten people who do not accept the Law or our views
  • argue about philosophical or theological points

While this is all true, The Book of the Law also says, “…and to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds. Do this quickly!” (III:39) This is a fundamental point to understand about the difference between promulgation by Thelemites and traditional conversion attempts by people like Christians. We do not threaten people with tales of sin, paeans of our guiltiness, and after-worldly judgment nor is the whole complex of “saving one’s soul” present in promulgating the Law of Thelema to others. We give the Law to all without argumentation or hopes of conversion, and they can “abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds” to us.

iv) “We shall bring you to Absolute Truth, Absolute Light, Absolute Bliss.” -Liber Porta Lucis, line 17

While these are all theoretical justifications of promulgation, there is also a more intimate sense that Thelemites who experience the beauty, truth, and wisdom of the Law of Thelema will inherently want to share this bliss with others. In experiencing the freedom from tyranny & superstition and the liberty of the spirit inherent in the doctrine of Thelema, it is only natural to want to share the keys that helped break one’s own bondage.

Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to boost your ego; on the contrary, experiences while promulgating are often quite a blow to the ego along with the fact that one is naturally exposing oneself to outside elements that must be integrated by “love under will.” Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to recruit for a particular organization, although exposing people to the teachings of an Order like the O.T.O. is certainly a valid expression of promulgation. The goal is not to get a group that is the biggest, baddest person on the block so you can revel in its power but rather the goal is for each individual, on their own terms and in their own way, to acknowledge, understand, and begin to enact the Law of Thelema in their own lives.

Love is the law, love under will.

11 comments

  1. 93,
    this is a learning process, the interpretation of the book of the law is different for each individual Initiate.

    93 93/93

  2. Great post!

    The value I see in promulgation is that it gets us to read and study the material. Too often people have a vague understanding of a specific concept because discussions in the community are very limited and basic. Promulgation can serve as a helpful way to improve the way we communicate the first principles of Thelema and most importantly, how we can apply it in our daily lives. There is a lot of fearful projections about promulgation which is usually a reflection of an individual’s prejudices, not their desire to expand the Law of Liberty throughout the world.

    1. 93 Angel – I agree: promulgation often serves to help people – even more ‘experienced’ Thelemites – examine the core materials of Thelema and integrate them into our lives. I tried to show that promulgation is not only an extension of the Law of Thelema but can, in a feedback loop, help us understand how the Law of Thelema works in a practical way in our lives through the things we learn & ideas/people we encounter in promulgating. The fact is that, right now, virtually no one has heard of Thelema, so we have a long way to go in simply making the materials available to people to allow them to be aware of the fact that the Law of Thelema exists. Thanks for the comment. 93 93/93

  3. 93,

    Excellent post! I think you did especially well in demonstrating the difference between promulgation and proselytization. I think it’s difficult for some Thelemites to know where exactly to draw that line. Etiher because they experienced being proselytized towards by an agent from another faith or because they don’t want to come off like just another ‘religious nut’ trying to enforce their beliefs on others. My personal governor with regards to promulgating the Law has always been III:39 as well as I:44.

    1. 93 Mike R – Thanks! Very good lines to base one’s promulgation on… I think a lot of people really do just have a knee-jerk reaction to promulgation because of the prevalence of Christian proselytization. At the same time, look at how successful they were in their work, at how widespread Christianity is, to the point where it is the background of all thinking for many people, even unconsciously. The difference is obviously that we do not convert through fear and oppression – and that is quite a big difference. 93 93/93

  4. There should be also a filter to whom are we going to share all of these. There are paths who are not friendly with those who are not like them, like Christians.
    Expression it is a need, it is awesome when you can share similar point of views, one person can create an idea, but if we join we can create the change, but then, what happen when other people attack our point of view just because it is different? without giving some opportunity to think and just judge before knowing.
    We have to be carefully with all those who will be unrespectfull with us, because we deserve respect as we respect the others.
    Thank you for the post, I really appreciatte it.
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

  5. If the goal is simply “freedom from external interference”, and not “making Thelema the biggest religion”, I believe it makes it a lot easier to spread the core values without worrying about proselytizing. Separate the fundamental principles of Thelema from the practices, rites, and even nomenclature. Can you simply inspire your peers to cherish their own personal liberties and/or be mindful about how their actions may restrict others?

  6. Reblogged this on Frater ΦΑΙΝΩ and commented:
    “Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to boost your ego; on the contrary, experiences while promulgating are often quite a blow to the ego along with the fact that one is naturally exposing oneself to outside elements that must be integrated by “love under will.” Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to recruit for a particular organization, although exposing people to the teachings of an Order like the O.T.O. is certainly a valid expression of promulgation. The goal is not to get a group that is the biggest, baddest person on the block so you can revel in its power but rather the goal is for each individual, on their own terms and in their own way, to acknowledge, understand, and begin to enact the Law of Thelema in their own lives.”

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