Promulgation

A Thelemic Response To Christian Proselytization

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

Check out my new article on the Thelemic Union website:

http://www.thelemicunion.com/thelemic-response-christian-proselytization/

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Love is the law, love under will.

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Thelemic Political Manifesto

A Thelemic Political Manifesto

Thelemic Political Manifesto

NOTE: This manifesto speaks for no organization. It gives a voice to these principles and those who hold them, so feel free to share as you will. 

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

“Above us today hangs a danger never yet paralleled in history. We suppress the individual in more and more ways. We think in terms of the herd. War no longer kills soldiers; it kills all indiscriminately… The dictators suppress all art, literature, theater, music, news, that does not meet their requirements; yet the world only moves by the light of genius. The herd will be destroyed in mass. The establishment of the Law of Thelema is the only way to preserve individual liberty and to assure the future of the human race.” —Aleister Crowley

1. We believe the time has come for us to unify, and to fight for the Liberty of all under the Law of Thelema.

We believe that Thelemites, those who adhere to the Law of Thelema which is “Do what thou wilt”, should come together in order to fight for our shared values and causes.

We have the power to cause Change in conformity with our ideals, and to manifest greater Liberty in very tangible, material ways. This requires us to unify in thought and deed in order to accomplish the task of fighting for liberty.

“Observe: the business before the meetings is this: How shall we put into effect the Law of Thelema… Our sole business should be to use the Law to reconstruct the world from the chaos into which it is already half tumbled. That formula is a simple one, and requires no specialised training.” —Aleister Crowley

2. We believe that the entire purpose of each individual, and their sole right and duty in life, is to “Do what thou wilt”; to find and do their True Will.

All of our goals, purposes, projects, and endeavors are toward this end of ourselves achieving our True Wills and aiding others in achieving theirs.

In a social sense, this means each individual has the absolute right to fulfill their own Nature and to live in the way that they will to do, provided that it does not impede on the equal rights of all other individuals to fulfill their own Nature. We each ideally allow others the freedom to be who they are, and to live in they will to do, while they accord us the same liberty.

In a political sense, this means we must as groups (and as states and as nations), strive toward the ideal of preserving the liberty of the individual. The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.

In other words, on the political scale, Thelema is about figuring out the best way to organize a society to lead to the most people being able to do their True Wills with the greatest freedom. The real arguments between Thelemites comes about by differing opinions on how to bring about this freedom.

3. We must focus on the issues themselves, and not get caught up in pedantic arguments.

Arguing vs DoingWe believe that ownership over one’s own body is foundational: we are utterly opposed to any form of slavery or human ownership.

We believe that freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression in general are of paramount importance.

We believe the freedom to love as one wills — “when, where, and with whom ye will” (AL I:51) — is an inalienable right.

None of this is controversial, and yet there is a strong tendency to quibble with pedantic points or overblown details.

“When people begin to argue about things instead of doing them, they become absolutely impossible.” —Aleister Crowley

Rather than focusing on determining whether a particular policy can be labeled as this or that –ism or is “Thelemic” enough, consider the concrete, tangible effects of implementing that policy and whether they aid or inhibit individuals in accomplishing their Wills more fully  and freely. Rather than labeling something “socialism” or “fascism” or “liberalism” or whatever else, consider if the proposed actions will lead to our proposed end of helping individuals to fulfill their True Wills. Our causes are not Left or Right; in many cases they may encompass both or neither of these. The important point is whether the policy upholds our freedoms or whether it diminishes them. 

These arguments go on endlessly unto eternity and no one is any better off: words are worthless unless they lead to action. There are plenty of powerful people and powerful organizations out there who are continuing to work against us and virtually everything we stand for. They are happy to let us sit around arguing with one another about non-essentials. 

4. We stand united on many fronts, and we should act on these fronts to the best of our abilities.

We stand united in support of free speech and the ability to think freely and express one’s ideas freely.

We stand united in support of women’s rights, and the general treatment of women with dignity and respect. 

We stand united in support of sexual freedom and the ability of adults to engage consensually and responsibly as they will and with whom they will. 

We stand united in support of sexual education which gives adults the information they need to make informed choices as responsible adults.

We stand united in support of LGBTQ individuals, and believe that each individual has the right to self-identify and to express themselves as they will. 

We stand united in support of people of color and cultural and ethnic minorities, and that every individual regardless of age, color, creed, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, gender identity deserves fair, just, and respectful treatment.

We stand united in support of science and scientific literacy, acknowledging that climate change is the real and our environment needs active steps to preserve.

We stand united against the oppressive drug war that restricts and punishes individuals for their personal choices. 

We stand united in support of having the right to die as one wills, and generally to combat the fear of death in our culture. 

…And this is not an exhaustive list of what we agree upon. The point is that, even if we could only agree upon one of these things, we would have an inherent obligation to act to bring about that ideal to the best of our abilities. There are many fronts upon which to wage our battle for freedom, and little to prevent many from acting toward manifesting these goals. To not take action is to admit either you do not hold these ideals, or you are too ambivalent with intellectualizations to be decisive enough to act.

Of course, those who are afraid will brand you as naive, or say you are watering down the message if you simply speak in your own voice. They will bark, mock, and holler from the sidelines while the real effort is done to move our world forward, little by little, through actual service and  work. 

None of this means we should ignore our areas of disagreement nor should we attempt to blur distinctions between our different viewpoints. Nonetheless: We can endlessly categorize and pick apart various stances and arguments forever, and it will impress no one nor change anything. We can only cause Change in conformity with our collective Wills if we actually work and act together.

5. Political “magick” is causing change in society by mobilizing resources.

This means we absolutely must commit to generating real, tangible resources. The two primary “resources” we have are people themselves and money. These aren’t the only resources, of course. Time, energy, creativity, and endurance go a long way as well. However, in the end, success is our proof. That success will come from concrete, material resources and whether or not we use these resources intelligently. 

Uniting gives us the ability to generate greater amounts of resources than if we are simply a bunch of disconnected, individual stars. We need to unite into a veritable galaxy, a conglomerate of stars that has immense gravitational power. It is not only logical, it is urgently necessary.

We are committed to the twofold goal of (1) spreading the philosophy of Thelema as enshrined in the three phrases “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”, “Love is the law, love under will”, and “Every man and every woman is a star”, and (2) supporting all those causes, organizations, and individuals who are in harmony with our aims. These things should be basically self-evident to virtually every Thelemite (and to most everyone if they were to glimpse an understanding of Thelema). 

Thelemic organizations can and should turn their attention toward these aims where appropriate. Many organizations are arguably already doing this Work in many ways, such as Ordo Templi Orientis. There are many historical, recent, ongoing, and future projects toward spreading the Law as well as supporting many sympathetic organizations.

This work requires the cooperation of thousands of individuals of all types, from all different walks of life and points-of-view. This “Greater Great Work”, as Karl Germer called it, of spreading the Law of Thelema is the ongoing fight to establish Justice.

This Justice will only be established through our sweat and tears, our “fire & blood” (AL III:11). It is only through our Strength, not just our words and our best intentions, but through our toil and service that we will truly establish the Law of Thelema on Earth and begin to pave the way for an age of Truth and Justice. 

“Strength will prepare the Reign of Justice. We should begin already, as I deem, to regard this Justice as the Ideal whose Way we should make ready, by virtue of our Force and Fire.” -Aleister Crowley

Thelemic Union

Love is the law, love under will.

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Top 5 Mistakes of Newcomers about OTO

Top 5 Mistakes Newcomers make about OTO

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

What are some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that newcomers have about OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis)?

1) Thinking that OTO is an occult society that teaches occultism.

SOLUTION: Realize that it’s not. OTO is a fraternal order that teaches how to live in accordance with the Law of Thelema, with a strong ecclesiastical arm to administer sacraments in accordance with the New Aeon’s Law of Liberty. We are here to establish the Law of Thelema in the world, and to spread its message, not to yell mispronounced Hebrew at the walls.

2) Expecting that all OTO members are High Adepts that conform with your distorted notion of ‘how an Adept should act’.

SOLUTION: Realize that OTO is made up of human beings who are living, thriving, shitting, fucking, and making mistakes like the rest of us. We are just doing it together, to try to build something. Care to help serve?

3) Thinking that taking an OTO degree somehow makes you a better person than someone of a lower degree or someone not in OTO.

SOLUTION: Realize that the Work is your own and the initiations are guidance, and that your smarminess actually, if anything, makes you a worse person. If you actually learned the lessons you wouldn’t be wasting your time comparing your dick length to others and you’d be trying to go and do your Will.

4) Expecting that joining the OTO means you get free access to sex orgies, or free access to touch anyone without their consent.

SOLUTION: Grow up and be an adult, and realize that both Thelema and general adult human society agrees that you need consent before engaging in such things.

5) Expecting OTO to hand you all the Real Secrets™ on a platter so you can do absolutely no work.

SOLUTION: Realize that you get out of OTO what you put into it, and that the real Karma Yoga of OTO is service to the Order.

Love is the law, love under will.

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‘The Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass’ is now available

The Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic MassThe Journal of Thelemic Studies: The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass

2015 e.v. ••• 8.5″ x 11″ Perfect-bound Paperback, Full color ••• 112 pp. ••• $44.93

Description: ‘The Journal of Thelemic Studies: Volume III, Number 1 – The Mysteries of the Gnostic Mass’ is a special issue devoted exclusively to the central public and private rite of Ordo Templi Orientis, Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass. This issue has over 15 articles from a diverse group of Thelemites writing on a wide variety of topics from the Creed, to magical energy in the Mass, to preparation of Cakes of Light, to music in the Mass, and more.

Click here to order a print version: [Print version]

Click here for a free PDF version: [PDF Download]

Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

A Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

Feast for the Supreme Ritual & the Equinox of the Gods

NOTE: This ritual is not “official” in any way: It is not traditional in any form nor is it the official ritual of any organization whatsoever. It is simply a way that one might celebrate these Feasts of the Times. 

BACKGROUND

This dramatic ritual combines two feasts, the feast for the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods. The Equinox of the Gods is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox and – since the Supreme Ritual is celebrated on March 20 – they will virtually never fall more than 2 days apart from one another. Since they fall close together on the calendar, since they share a single line in The Book of the Law, and since they are both related to the shift from the Old Aeon to the New, I have combined them into a single ritual and feast.

The Supreme Ritual celebrates the invocation of Horus that was performed on March 20, 1904 and the Equinox of the Gods celebrates the changing of the Aeons from Old, where Osiris ruled, to the New, where Horus now rules. Crowley comments, “The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20. The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox…”1

This combined feast has five parts. The first four parts or scenes show important semi-historical events that are relevant to the revelation of the New Aeon, and the last scene involves audience participation in a renunciation of the slave-ideals of the Old Aeon:

  1. The first scene goes back approximately 2,600 years to the time when the Stele of Revealing was created as a funerary stele for Ankh-af-na-khonsu. Since this Stele is an important symbol for Thelema, this scene involves a reading of the content of the Stele of Revealing. There is then a list of the seven Magi that have come to Earth and give their Words since that time. This scene therefore serves to educate the People about the Stele of Revealing and the Magi of the past.

  2. The second scene jumps forward to March of 1904 when Crowley tried to invoke the sylphs, the elementals of Air, through the preliminary invocation of the Goetia (also known as the “Bornless Ritual”), which put Rose into a trance who has vague messages that foreshadow the coming of the New Aeon. Crowley then questions Rose to ascertain the accuracy of her message. He then leads Rose through the Boulaq Museum in Cairo where she points to Stele #666, the Stele of Revealing.

  3. In the third scene, Crowley performs the Invocation of Horus, which “brought about the Opening of the New Aeon.”2

  4. The fourth scene dramatically re-enacts the Equinox of the Gods itself. Osiris’s seat in the East is taken by Ra-Hoor-Khuit and the New Aeon is established.

  5. The fifth scene involves the renunciation of the slave-gods by everyone present who wills to do such. Crowley wrote in a letter to Karl Germer, “You can take outsiders; but everyone who has anything to do with us at all must make a formal renunciation of ideas denounced in AL 49-56. Cap III.”3 He also wrote to Frater Achad, “I am inclined to propose that you should prepare a formula, to be presented at your lectures, by which any person can publicly renounce the errors of Christianity and so on, and accept the Law. Such a person should at that time burn a copy of his old ‘sacred book’, Bible, Mrs. Eddy, or what not, and be marked by you with The Mark of The Beast, to wit, the Acid on the Pulse of the Left Wrist.”4 The renunciation is based on rituals developed by T Polyphilus and T Omphalos.

PERSONS

: Master of Ceremonies

Dressed in white robe with yellow stole, i.e. as a Deacon. He performs the role of narrator and conductor of the People.

A: Ankh-af-na-khonsu

Dressed in Egyptian garb, or a plain white robe.

: The Magi

Dressed in white robes or in garments proper to the culture of the Saints.

: The Beast

Dressed in blue/azure. He performs the role of Aleister Crowley.

: Rose

Dressed in red/scarlet dress. She performs the role of Rose Crowley.

: Osiris/ Jesus

Dressed as Osiris, as Jesus, or in a black robe, representing the Aeon of Osiris.

: Horus

Dressed as Ra-Hoor-Khuit, or in scarlet and gold.

d : Ma’at

Dressed as Ma’at, representing the Aeon of Ma’at/Thmaist in the future.

c : Isis

Dressed as Isis, representing the Aeon of Isis of the past.

: The People

Dressed as they will. They participate when appropriate.

PART I: Ankh-af-na-khonsu in Egypt & the Seven Magi

[☿ stands in the East]

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

: Love is the law, love under will.

: We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the feast for the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods. Crowley wrote, “The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20. The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox.” To understand the Supreme Ritual and the Equinox of the Gods, we must go back in time over two and a half millenia.

[He says the following while moving to the West where A stands in Osiris Risen in front of the Tomb]

: Over 2,500 years before the reception of The Book of the Law , Ankh-af-na-khonsu, a high priest of Mentu, lived in the Egyptian city known as Thebes. As was customary, a funerary stele was prepared for Ankh-af-na-khonsu.

[☿ moves behind A and holds up the front of the Stele over A ‘s head]

On the front it said:

A:

Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The winged globe, the starry blue,
Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!

I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsu
Whose words are truth. I invoke,
I greet Thy presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee:
– I, I adore thee!
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it fill me!

The light is mine; its rays consume Me:
I have made a secret door
Into the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

[☿ then holds the back of the Stele up] 

: …And on the back it said:

A:

Saith of Mentu the truth-telling brother
Who was master of Thebes from his birth:
O heart of me, heart of my mother!
O heart which I had upon earth!
Stand not thou up against me a witness!
Oppose me not, judge, in my quest!
Accuse me not now of unfitness
Before the Great God, the dread Lord of the West!
For I fastened the one to the other
With a spell for their mystical girth,
The earth and the wonderful West,
When I flourished, o earth, on thy breast!

The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Saith with his voice of truth and calm:
O thou that hast a single arm!
O thou that glitterest in the moon!
I weave thee in the spinning charm;
I lure thee with the billowy tune.
The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Hath parted from the darkling crowds,
Hath joined the dwellers of the light,
Opening Duaut, the star-abodes,
Their keys receiving. The dead man Ankh-f-n-khonsu
Hath made his passage into night,
His pleasure on the earth to do Among the living.

[☿ then steps away, gives the Stele to A , and A backs into the Tomb, which is then covered]

: There was then great darkness as the Aeon of Osiris took hold upon the earth. Throughout these times of darkness, the Secret Chiefs send forth certain men to bring Light to the world know as Magi. There are many magical teachers but in recorded history we have scarcely had a dozen Magi in the technical sense of the word. They may be recognized by the fact that their message may be formulated as a single word, which word must be such that it overturns all existing beliefs and codes.5 The essential characteristic of the Grade is that its possessor utters a Creative Magical Word, which transforms the planet.6 He then is called the Logos, or Logos Aionos, that is to say, he Word of the Aeon or Age, because he is verily that Word.7

[Pause]

First, there was Lao-Tzu, whose word was TAO.

[Lao-Tzu comes out with a candle and a copy of the Tao Teh Ching. He places the Tao Teh King on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

This Tao is the true Nature of Things, being itself a Way or Going, that is, a kinetic and not a static Conception. Also He taught this Way of Harmony in Will… So then this Tao is Truth, and the Way of Truth, and therefore was He Logos of His Aeon, and His true Name or Word was Tao.8

(Lao-Tzu): The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao The name that can be named is not the eternal name The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth The named is the mother of myriad things Thus, constantly without desire, one observes its essence Constantly with desire, one observes its manifestations These two emerge together but differ in name The unity is said to be the mystery Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders.9

[Lao-Tzu turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: Next came he whom Men call Gotama, or Siddartha, or the Buddha, and His Word was ANATTA. [Siddhartha comes out with a candle and either a statue of Buddha,a copy of sutras, or a copy of the Dhammapada. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

The Root of His whole Doctrine was that there is no Atman, or Soul, as Men ill translate it, meaning a Substance incapable of Change. Thus, He, like Lao-Tze, based all upon a Movement, instead of a fixed Point. And His Way of Truth was Analysis, made possible by great Intention of the Mind toward itself, and that well fortified by certain tempered Rigour of Life. And He most thoroughly explored and Mapped out the Fastnesses of the Mind, and gave the Keys of its Fortresses into the Hand of Man. But of all this the Quintessence is in this one Word ANATTA, because this is not only the foundation and the Result of his whole Doctrine, but the Way of its Work.10

(Siddhartha): There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.11

[Siddhartha turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: Next there was Krishna who has Names and Forms innumerable, and we know not His true Human Birth, for His Formula is of the Major Antiquity.

[Krishna comes out with a candle and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. He places the Bhagavad Gita on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

The true Word of Krishna was AUM, importing a Statement of the Truth of Nature.12 The word AUM is the sacred Hindu mantra which was the supreme hieroglyph of Truth, a compendium of the Sacred Knowledge. It represents the complete course of sound. Symbolically, this announces the course of Nature as proceeding from free and formless creation through controlled and formed preservation to the silence of destruction. The three sounds are harmonized into one; and thus the word represents the Hindu Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; and the operations in the Universe of their triune energy.13

(Krishna): The Supreme Self is eternal, and the visible world including the physical body is transitory. The reality of these two is indeed certainly seen by the seers of truth. The Supreme Self by which all this universe is pervaded is indestructible. No one can destroy the imperishable Self. One who thinks that the Self is a slayer, and the one who thinks Self is slain, are both ignorant. Because Self neither slays nor is slain. (2.19) The Supreme Self is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being, or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval.14

[Krishna turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: There was also Tahuti, or Thoth, whose word was AMOUN.

[Tahuti comes out with a candle and a papyrus or a statue of himself. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

Amoun was “the concealed one” from whom the Hebrews borrowed their holy word “Amen.”15 The true Word of Tahuti, AMOUN, therefore made Men to understand their secret Nature, that is, their Unity with their true Selves, or, as they then phrased it, with God.16

(Tahuti): True, without Deceit, certain and most true. As Above, so Below, and as Below, so Above, in the Accomplishment of the Miracle of the One Thing. And just as all things have come from One, through the Mediation of One, so all things follow from this One Thing in the same Way. Its Father was the Sun, the Moon its Mother. It was carried in the Womb of Air, and the Earth was its Nurse. It is the Father of every Willed Thing in the whole World. Its Power is perfected if it becomes as Earth. Separate the Earth from Fire: the Fine from the Gross, gently and with great skill.17

[Tahuti turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

: There was then a follower of Tahuti was an Egyptian whose Name is lost; but the Jews called Him Mosheh, or Moses, and their Fabulists made Him the Leader of their Legendary Exodus. Yet they preserved His Word, and it is IHVH [Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh].

[Tahuti comes out with a candle and the Old Testament or Tanakh. He places the Old Testament on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

This Word is itself a Plan of the Fabrick of the Universe, and upon it hath been elaborated the Holy Qabalah, whereby we have Knowledge of the Nature of all Things soever upon every Plane of By-coming, and of their Forces and Tendencies and Operations, with the Keys to their Portals.18

(Mosheh):  And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.19

[Mosheh turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

There was also Dionysus.

[Dionysus comes out with a candle and statue of himself or a papyrus. He places the object on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

His Word hath spread into many Lands, and we know it today as INRI with the secret IAO concealed therein. And the Meaning of this Word is the Working of Nature in Her Changes; that is, it is the Formula of Magick whereby all Things reproduce and recreate themselves.20 This formula is the principal and most characteristic formula of Osiris, of the Redemption of Mankind. I is Isis, Nature, ruined by A, Apophis the Destroyer, and restored to life by the Redeemer Osiris.21

(Dionysus): I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus, primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord, wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped. Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, You take raw flesh, you have feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters. Resourceful Eubouleus, immortal god sired by Zeus When he mated with Persephone in unspeakable union. Hearken to my voice, O blessed one, and with your fair-girdled nymphs breathe on me in a spirit of perfect agape.22

[Dionysus turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

Then, Mohammed, who followed, is darkened and confused by His Nearness to our own Time, so that we say not save with diffidence that His Word ALLH may mean this or that.

[Mohammed comes out with a candle and a copy of the Qur’an. He places the Qur’an on the High Altar and turns to face the People while holding the candle.]

But we are bold concerning His Doctrine of the Unity of God, for God is Man, and he said therefore: Man is One.

(Mohammed): There is no god but Allah.23 Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.24

[Dionysus turns to place his candle on the High Altar, which he then kneels and adores]

(led by ☿): So mote it be.

[Pause]

: All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little.25

[The veil is drawn to encompass the Magi and the candles]

It was not for over a millenium that another Magus arose…

PART II: The Discovery of the Stele

: For over 2,500 years, the Stele of Revealing laid undisturbed until it was discovered by a French archaeologist and placed in the Boulaq Museum in Cairo, Egypt under the inventory number 666. In March of the year 1904 era vulgaris, Rose and the Beast were on their honeymoon in Cairo, Egypt when the Beast decided to try to show Rose the elementals of Air known as the “sylphs.”

: Thee I invoke, the Bornless one. Thee, that didst create the Earth and the Heavens: Thee, that didst create the Night and the day. Thee, that didst create the darkness and the Light. Thou art Osorronophris: Whom no man hath seen at any time. Thou art Iabos: Thou art Iapos: Thou hast distinguished between the just and the Unjust. Thou didst make the female and the Male. Thou didst produce the Seed and the Fruit. Thou didst form Men to love one another, and to hate one another. I am Ankh-af-na-Khonsu Thy Prophet, unto Whom Thou didst commit Thy Mysteries, the Ceremonies of Khem: Thou didst produce the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all created Life. Hear Thou Me, for I am the Angel of Apophrasz Osorronophris: this is Thy True Name, handed down to the Prophets of Khem.26

[A brief pause]

: Hmmm… no sylphs in sight at all…

[☽ sways as if in a trance]

: They are waiting for you.

: What’s that?

: They are waiting for you.

: Who is waiting for me?

: It’s all about the child.27

: What nonsense is this?

: You have neglected and offended him. You must invoke him!

: I make a sport of exposing people who claim clairvoyance, my dear. You should beware.

: He is waiting for you.

: Well, then, let’s prove the identity of this waiter and your authenticity as his messenger. What are his moral qualities?

: Force and fire.

: Describe the conditions caused by him.

: Deep blue light.

: Who is his enemy?

: Forces of the waters – the Nile.

: What is his lineal figure?

: A triangle pointing downwards.

: Its color?

: Red.

: What is his planetary nature?

: Mars.

: What is his weapon?

: The double wand of power.

: What is his place in the temple?

: The West, but it will soon change.

: Out of this list of names, which one is he?

: Horus.

: [aside] Here is a novice to magick, a woman who should never have been allowed outside a ballroom, but she is now speaking with the authority of God, and proving her clairvoyance by unhesitating correctness. [To Rose] Come with me to the Boulaq Museum, and you will pick out his image.

: They traveled to the Boulaq Museum in Cairo so that Rose could pick out the image of the god she saw. She passed by several images of Horus and the Beast smiled with glee at thinking he had disproved Rose’s message. They went upstairs, and a glass case stood in the distance, too far off for its contents to be recognized, but Rose instantly recognized it.

: There! There he is!

: The Beast approached the case and saw that it was marked as Stele #666. At that moment he could not debate the authenticity of Rose’s message, and he resolved to immediately rectify his previous scorn of Horus through an invocation.

PART III: The Invocation of Horus

: Unprepared and uninvoking Thee, I, Perdurabo, Brother of Rosæ Rubeæ et Aureæ Crucis, am here in Thy Presence – for Thou art Everywhere, O Lord Horus! – to confess humbly before Thee my neglect and scorn of Thee.28

How shall I humble myself enough before Thee? Thou art the mighty and unconquered Lord of the Universe: I am a spark of Thine unutterable Radiance.

How should I approach Thee? but Thou art Everywhere. But Thou hast graciously deigned to call me unto Thee, to this Exorcism of Art, that I may be Thy Servant, Thine Adept, O Bright One, O Sun of Glory!

Thou hast called me – should I not then hasten to Thy Presence? With unwashen hands therefore I come unto Thee, and I lament my wandering from Thee –but Thou knowest!

Yea, I have evil! If one blasphemed Thee, why should I therefore forsake Thee? But Thou art the Avenger; all is with Thee. I bow my neck before Thee; and as once Thy sword was upon it, so am I in Thy hands. Strike if Thou wilt: spare if Thou wilt: but accept me as I am. My trust is in Thee: shall I be confounded?

This Ritual of Art; this Forty and Fourfold Invocation; this Sacrifice of Blood – these I do not comprehend. It is enough if I obey Thy decree; did Thy fiat go forth for my eternal misery, were it not my joy to execute Thy Sentence on myself? For why? For that All is in Thee and of Thee; it is enough if I burn up in the intolerable glory of Thy presence.

Enough! I turn toward Thy Promise. Doubtful are the Words: Dark are the Ways: but in Thy Words and Ways is Light. Thus then now as ever, I enter the Path of Darkness, if haply so I may attain the Light. Hail!

[Drums begin a slow war-like beat or some other war-like music is played]

[People are prompted to ‘sing along’ for the occurences of ‘Thee, Thee I invoke!’ ‘I invoke Thee!’ and ‘ABRAHADABRA’]

Strike, strike the master chord! Draw, draw the Flaming Sword! Crowned Child and Conquering Lord, Horus, avenger!

O Thou of the Head of the Hawk! Thee, Thee, I invoke! [At every ‘Thee I invoke,’ throughout whole ritual, give the sign of Apophis; Rose can also put incense on the censer]
Thou only-begotten-child of Osiris Thy Father, and Isis Thy Mother. He that was slain; She that bore Thee in Her womb flying from the Terror of the Water. Thee, Thee I invoke!
O Thou whose Apron is of flashing white, whiter than the Forehead of the Morning! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou who hast formulated Thy Father and made fertile Thy Mother! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou whose garment is of golden glory with the azure bars of sky! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou, who didst avenge the Horror of Death; Thou the slayer of Typhon! Thou who didst lift Thine arms, and the Dragons of Death were as dust: Thou who didst raise Thine Head, and the Crocodile of Nile was abased before Thee! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou whose Nemyss hideth the Universe with night, the impermeable Blue! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou who travellest in the Boat of Ra, abiding at the Helm of the Aftet boat and of the Sektet boat! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou who bearest the Wand of Double Power ! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Thou about whose presence is shed the darkness of Blue Light, the unfathomable glory of the outmost Ether, the untravelled, the unthinkable immensity of Space. Thou who concentrest all the Thirty Ethers in one darkling sphere of Fire! Thee, Thee, I invoke!
O Thou who bearest the Rose and Cross of Life and Light! Thee, Thee, I invoke! The Voice of the Five. The Voice of the Six. Eleven are the Voices. ABRAHADABRA!

Strike, strike the master chord! Draw, draw the Flaming Sword! Crowned Child and Conquering Lord, Horus, avenger!
By thy name of Ra, Hawk of the Sun, the glorious one, I invoke Thee! [At every ‘I invoke Thee,’ throughout whole ritual, give the sign of Apophis; Rose can also put incense on the censer]
By thy name Harmachis, youth of the Brilliant Morning, I invoke Thee!
By thy name, Mau, Lion of the Midday Sun, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Tum, Hawk of the Even, crimson splendour of the Sunset, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Khep-Ra, O Beetle of the hidden Mastery of Midnight, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Heru-pa-Kraat, Lord of Silence, Beautiful Child that standest on the Dragons of the Deep, I invoke Thee!
By thy name Apollo, O man of Strength and splendour, O poet, O father, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Phoebus, that drivest thy chariot through the Heaven of Zeus, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Odin, O warrior of the North, O Renown of the Sagas, I invoke Thee!
By thy name of Jeheshua, O child of the Flaming Star, I invoke Thee!
By Thine own, Thy secret name Hoori, Thee I invoke!
The Names are Five. The Names are Six. Eleven are the Names! ABRAHADABRA!

Behold! I stand in the midst. Mine is the symbol of Osiris; to Thee are mine eyes ever turned. Unto the splendour of Geburah, the Magnificence of Chesed, the mystery of Daath, thither I lift up mine eyes. This have I sought, and I have sought the Unity: hear Thou me!

In my hand is thy Sword of Revenge; let it strike at Thy Bidding! By the Sword I invoke Thee! The Voice of the Five. The Voice of the Six. Eleven are the Voices. ABRAHADABRA!

Mine is the Head of the Hawk! Abrahadabra!

[Give Sign of Apophis at each ‘Abrahadabra’]

I am the only-begotten-child of Osiris and Isis! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the Apron of flashing white! Abrahadabra!
I have formulated my Father and made fertile my Mother! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the garment of golden glory with the azure bars of the sky! Abrahadabra!
I have avenged the Horror of Death, I raised mine Head and the Crocodile of the Nile was abased before me! Abrahadabra!
Mine Nemyss hideth the Universe with night! Abrahadabra!
I travellest in the Boat of Ra, abiding at the helm! Abrahadabra!
I bearest the Wand of Double Power! Abrahadabra!
About me is shed the darkness of Blue Light! Abrahadabra!
I concentratest all the Thirty Ethers in one darkling sphere of Fire! Abrahadabra!
Mine is the Rose and Cross of Life and Light! Abrahadabra!

[Remain in the sign until the conclusion of the invocation; drums/music ceases]

Therefore I say unto thee: Come forth and dwell in me; so that every my Spirit, whether of the Firmament, or of the Ether, or of the Earth or under the Earth; on dry land or in the Water, or Whirling Air or of Rushing Fire; and every spell and scourge of God the Vast One may be THOU. ABRAHADABRA!

[Sounds of storms: rain, lightning, thunder, etc]

PART IV: The Equinox of the Gods

[♄ as Osiris/Jesus is in the East on a Throne that is within the opened veil of the High Altar; d as Ma’at is in the North; c as Isis is in the South; ♂ as Horus/Ra-Hoor-Khuit is in the West. The Holy Bible with Old & New Testament is on the superaltar in the East. The sounds of the storm continue.]

: The Voice of the Lord upon the Waters: the Terror of God upon Mankind. The voice of the Lord maketh the Skies to tremble: the Stars are troubled: the Aires fall. Cursed, cursed be the Earth, for her iniquity is great. Oh Lord! Let Thy Mercy be lost in the great Deep! Open thine eyes of Flame and Light, O God, upon the wicked! Lighten thine Eyes! The Clamour of Thy Voice, let it smite down the Mountains! Let us not see it! Cover we our eyes, lest we see the End of Man. Close we our ears, lest we hear the cry of Woman. Let none speak of it: let none write it!29 No!

d : No!

c : No!

: All is changed!

d : All is confounded!

c : Naught is ordered!

: The white is stained with blood!

d : The black is kissed of the Christ!

c : Return!

: Return!30 Tremble ye, O Pillars of the Universe, for Eternity is in travail of a Terrible Child; she shall bring forth an universe of Darkness, whence shall leap forth a spark that shall put his father to flight.

d : The Obelisks are broken!

c : The stars have rushed together!

d : T he Light hath plunged into the Abyss:

c : The Heavens are mixed with Hell!

: My Father shall not hear their Noise: His ears are closed: His eyes are covered with the clouds of Night.

d : The End!

c : The End!

: The End! For the Eye of Shiva He hath opened: the Universe is naked before Him: for the Aeon of Saturn leaneth toward the Bosom of Death!31

: It is a new chaos that thou findest here: chaos for thee: for us it is the skeleton of a New Truth!32 I have opened mine eye, and the universe is dissolved before me, for force is mine upper eye-lid and matter is my lower eye- lid. I gaze into the seven spaces, and there is naught.33

[♂ chases ♄ out of his Throne to the West and then to the South and then to the North where he sits]

: I have gone forth to war, and I have slain him that sat upon the sea, crowned with the winds. I put forth my power and he was broken. I withdrew my power and he was ground into fine dust. Rejoice with me, O ye Sons of the Morning; stand with me upon the Throne of Lotus; gather yourselves up unto me, and we shall play together in the fields of light. I have passed into the Kingdom of the West after my Father. Behold! where are now the darkness and the terror and the lamentation? For ye are born into the new Aeon; ye shall not suffer death. Bind up your girdles of gold! Wreathe yourselves with garlands of my unfading flowers! In the nights we will dance together, and in the morning we will go forth to war; for, as my Father liveth that was dead, so do I live and shall never die!34

[♂ takes the different books and objects from the High Altar that were set thereupon by the Magi and with each, ♂ holds them up and says:]

Curse them!35

[After all have been thrown down, ♂ says:]

Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds.36

[♂ spits on them and tramples them underfoot; d takes the Stele of Revealing and places it on the superaltar and then sits in the West; c takes The Book of the Law, places it below the Stele on the superaltar, and then she sits in the South; ♂ sits in the throne in the East]

: Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs!

d : Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods!

c : And let Asar be with Isa, who also are one!

: But they are not of me!

d : Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer!

c : Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating!37

[A pause. ♂ gets up and stands before his throne]

: The word of the law is Θελημα .38

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Every man and every woman is a star.39

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.40

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: The word of Sin is Restriction.41

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.42

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: Love is the law, love under will.43

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.44

[ ♂ takes his seat in the throne]

cd ☿: A ka dua / Tuf ur biu / Bi a’a chefu / Dudu nur af an nuteru!

PART V: The Renunciation of the Slave-Ideals of the Old Aeon

[☿ passes out slips of paper and pens, and generally acts as the facilitator of the People]

: If it is your Will to renounce the slave-ideals of the Old Aeon, Please write upon this paper, silently, and as briefly as you can, the name of the religion that you grew up with and the essential falsehood or wrong conduct taught by that religion.

[Pause for ~1 minute]

: Is there anyone present who wishes to disavow their previous ties to slave-ideals of Old Aeon religion with the ambition of embracing the Law of Thelema? Please rise.

: Hoor hath a secret fourfold name; it is Do What Thou Wilt. Four words: Naught—One—Many—All… Thou—Child! Thy Name is holy. Thy Kingdom is come. Thy Will is done. Here is the Bread. / Here is the Blood. / Bring us through Temptation! Deliver us from Good and Evil! That Mine as Thine be the Crown of the Kingdom, even now. ABRAHADABRA.

[brief pause]

: Brothers and sisters, is it your will to renounce the superstitious oppression of the Old Aeon?

: It is.

: We have to fight for Freedom against oppressors, religious, social, or industrial; and we are utterly opposed to compromise. Every fight is to be a fight to the finish; each one of us for himself, to do his own will; and all of us for all, to establish the Law of Liberty. Let every man bear arms, swift to resent oppression, generous and ardent to draw sword in any cause, if justice or freedom summon him! [Pause] Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

: Love is the law, love under will.

: I am come against sorrow, against weariness, against them that seek to enslave you. I pour you lustral wine, that giveth you delight both at the sunset and the dawn. Come with me, and I will give you all that is desirable upon the earth. Because I give you that of which Earth and its joys are but as shadows. They flee away, but my joy abideth even unto the end. Only those who fear shall fail. Those who have bent their backs to the yoke of slavery until they can no longer stand upright; them will I despise. But you who have defied the law; you who have conquered by subtlety or force; you will I take unto me, even I will take you unto me. Only if ye are sorrowful, or weary, or angry, or discomforted; then ye may know that ye have lost the golden thread, the thread wherewith I guide you to the heart of the groves of Eleusis. My disciples are proud and beautiful; they are strong and swift; they rule their way like mighty conquerors. The weak, the timid, the imperfect, the cowardly, the poor, the tearful – these are mine enemies, and I am come to destroy them. This also is compassion: an end to the sickness of earth. A rooting-out of the weeds: a watering of the flowers. O my children, ye are more beautiful than the flowers: ye must not fade in your season.45

: Please come forward and place your slip of paper in the fire. [☿ aids the People in accomplishing this, while ♂ says: ]

: I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men. Curse them! Curse them! Curse them! With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din. Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds. Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: for her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you! Also for beauty’s sake and love’s!46 There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.47

: You will now stand in the posture that we call dieu garde, with your feet together at a right angle, and your thumbs linked before you. [ ☿ demonstrates]

: It is in this position that we break the bonds of slavery and forge those that lead to Freedom. You will now renounce the slave-ideals of the religions of the Old Aeon and their superstitions. At each query, make the loud declaration, “I renounce it!”

[Pause]

♂ Do you renounce the superstition of the Old Aeon?

: [lead by ☿] I renounce it.

Do you renounce the tyranny of the Old Aeon?

: I renounce it.

♂ Do you renounce the oppression of the Old Aeon?

: I renounce it.

♂ : Repeat after me… BAHLASTI!

: BAHLASTI!

♂ : OMPEHDA!

: OMPEHDA!

♂ : The word of the law is Θελημα. Every man and every woman is a star. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. The word of Sin is Restriction. Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect. Love is the law, love under will.

[Pause and hold up Mark of the Beast stamp]

: By the Sign of the Mark of the Beast, I applaud your renunciation of the slave-ideals and celebrate that you have broken the bonds of the slave-gods of the Old Aeon.

[♂ puts the Mark of the Beast on the inner left wrist of each individual with ☿ attending him if needed. After marking an individual, ♂ says to each:]

: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

[When finished with the last person, ♂ goes up to the throne in the East]

: Conquer! That is enough. Thou shalt have danger & trouble. Ra-Hoor-Khu is with thee. Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms. Refuse none, but thou shalt know & destroy the traitors. I am Ra-Hoor-Khuit; and I am powerful to protect my servant. Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not over much! Them that seek to entrap thee, to overthrow thee, them attack without pity or quarter; & destroy them utterly. Swift as a trodden serpent turn and strike! Be thou yet deadlier than he! Drag down their souls to awful torment: laugh at their fear: spit upon them! I am the God enthroned in Ra’s seat, lightening the girders of the soul. To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss. There is success.48

[The veil is drawn]

: I witness and commend your renunciation of slave-ideals of the Old Aeon. A feast has been prepared to celebrate the Supreme Ritual that invoked Horus and the Equinox of the Gods, when the world entered a New Aeon of the Law of Liberty, ruled by the Crowned and Conquering Child.

[☉ or ☽ stands at the head of the table and knocks 3-5-3]

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

: What is thy Will?

: It is my Will to eat and to drink.

: To what end?

: That I may fortify my body thereby.

: To what end?

: That I may celebrate the feast of the Supreme Ritual and the feast for the Equinox of the Gods.

: To what end?

: That I may accomplish the Great Work.

: Love is the law, love under will.

[☉ knocks once, makes toasts if (s)he wills]

References

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1 New Comment to Liber AL, II:40.

2 New Comment to Liber AL, II:40.

3 Letter from Aleister Crowley to Karl Germer, March 14, 1942.

4 Letter from Aleister Crowley to Charles Stansfield Jones, a.k.a., Frater Achad, April 1, 1919.

5 Confessions, chapter 49.

6 From Crowley’s “One Star in Sight.”

7 Liber Aleph, “De Magis Ordinis A∴A∴ Quibus Caro Fit Verbum.”

8 Liber Aleph, “De Magis Tempori Antiqui: Imprimis, De Lao-Tze.”

9 Chapter 1 from Tao Teh Ching.

10 Liber Aleph, “De Gautama.”

11 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, translated by Thanissaro Bhikku.

12 Liber Aleph, “De Sri Krishna et de Dionyso.”

13 Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 7.

14 An adaptation of chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.

15 Liber ABA, part II.

16 Liber Aleph, “De Tahuti.”

17 Adapted from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

18 Liber Aleph, “De Quodam Mago Aegyptiorum, Quem Appelunt Judaei Mosheh.”

19 Exodus 20:1-6, King James Version

20 Liber Aleph, “De Sri Krishna et de Dionyso.”

21 Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 7.

22 Adapted from the “Invocation of Dionysus” from Orphic hymns.

23 The first part of the “shahada” of Islam.

24 Sura 112 of the Qur’an.

25 Liber AL vel Legis, II:56.

26 From the “Preliminary Invocation of the Goetia,” which is more likely similar to what Crowley actually performed rather than Liber Samekh, which has changes that obviously occurred after the revelation of the New Aeon.

27 These are both things that Rose reportedly said to Crowley after the Bornless Invocation.

28 This entire invocation is adapted from the one used by Crowley as reported in The Equinox of the Gods, chapter 6.

29 The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

30 This entire exchange also comes from The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

31 This exchange comes from The Vision and the Voice, 30th Aethyr.

32 The Vision and the Voice, 29th Aethyr.

33 The Vision and the Voice, 22nd Aethyr.

34 The Vision and the Voice, 22nd Aethyr.

35 Liber AL vel Legis, III:50.

36 Liber AL vel Legis, III:54.

37 Liber AL vel Legis, I:49.

38 Liber AL vel Legis, I:39.

39 Liber AL vel Legis, I:3.

40 Liber AL vel Legis, I:40.

41 Liber AL vel Legis, I:41.

42 Liber AL vel Legis, I:42-44.

43 Liber AL vel Legis, I:57.

44 Liber AL vel Legis, III:60.

45 Liber Tzaddi, lines 10-14, 18-19, 23-27

46 Liber AL vel Legis, III:49-56, as stated in the letter from Crowley.

47 Liber AL vel Legis, III:60.

48 Liber AL vel Legis, III:11, 17, 42, 61-62, 69.

 

 

On Contributing to the Greater Community in Thelema

IAO131 - On Serving the Greater Community in Thelema

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

Prologue

Before even beginning to discuss the extent that contributing to the greater community is part of Thelema, it should be acknowledged that the “alpha and omega” of Thelema is Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. There is no law beyond doing your Will and you have no right but to do It. The answer to any question that takes the form “Is X or Y part of Thelema” is always “if it is your Will, then yes; if it is not your Will, then no.” I am not saying anyone “should” or “should not” do anything, but I am presenting an argument why contributing to the greater community is justified within the philosophy of Thelema. With that in mind, we can take a look at what Thelema implies and Crowley said about contributing to the greater community.

A maturing view of True Will

I would argue that, at a less mature level, Thelema is understood to be an entirely selfish doctrine. (By “less mature,” I simply mean “not fully developed,” and no pejorative implication is meant by it). When first learning about Thelema, individuals often understand “Do what thou wilt” to essentially mean “I have the right to find my Will and do it, so my personal needs trump everyone else’s.” From a certain standpoint, this is true. Your needs certainly deserve to be fulfilled. The problem is that many people simply do not know yet what their true “personal needs” and desires are in the first place – hence the necessity to engage in the process to know one’s Will. Further, one in this mindset maintains a very dichotomous (i.e. dualistic, black-and-white) view of the “self” as distinct from “others.” 

Many people move to the next level of maturity when they join an organization or start applying Thelema at a broader scale. That is, one matures to realize that everyone else has the right to do their own Will just as much as oneself. It is the realization that, just as you are the center of your own universe, everyone around you is the center of their own universes. Not only this, but many come to realize that becoming aware of others’ needs and even helping to fulfill them actually makes one’s own Will much easier to accomplish. The dichotomous view of “my Will versus the world” begins to break down and we see that we are a Star in the company of Stars. We see that disagreement does not preclude a greater harmony or cooperation, and often we find that we can accomplish greater things if we work together with others. We may even begin see that the distinction between “self” and “other” is much more tenuous, fluid, and dynamic than previously supposed, perhaps gaining a glimmer of the meaning of “the union of opposites” being the Great Work. 

This all may sound very obvious to some, but this is where things generally start to “break down.” Thelemites may see the rationale to serve their own needs and the needs of their Brothers and Sisters, but many do not see a rationale for contributing to the greater community. By “the greater community” I simply mean “people who are not part of OTO” or even “people who are not self-identified Thelemites.” Why might this be?

Why should we contribute to the greater community?

I am defining contributing as “giving resources, including but not limited to time, energy, and money.” We should certainly make sure to dedicate our resources to ourselves, making sure that our needs are met so that we may accomplish our Wills. Many Thelemites naturally and intuitively understand that contributing to an organization like OTO – i.e. by giving their time, energy, and money – is a great way to not only aid others in accomplishing their Wills but to learn more about one’s own Will in the process. The struggle for freedom – and the freedom that one has won for oneself – is naturally desired to be shared with others, so we band together into communities in order to preserve and promulgate the Law of Life, Light, Love, and Liberty. Why should we stop at our local community of Thelemites? Is not the Law for all? Do we not acknowledge that every man and every woman is a star? Do we not want all individuals to have the freedom to do their Wills? 

The image that precedes this essay is a well surrounded by four palm trees. This comes from Crowley’s essay “Liber CXXIV: Of Eden and the Sacred Oak” with the subtitle “And of the Greater and Lesser Hospitality of the O.T.O.” The subject of the essay is about “Profess Houses” in OTO, but I believe many of the principles apply on a greater, more general scale. As it is said, “For, in True Things, all are but images one of another; man is but a map of the universe, and Society is but the same on a larger scale.” The import of the image is that the Thelemic community – represented by the Profess House, but it could be any group of Thelemites of any or no formal organization – is a source of nourishment and hospitality to everything around it. Crowley writes:

“The symbol of the Profess-House is therefore a great Oak from which flow streams of water to every quarter fertilising indeed the ground about the hill and fortifying with moisture the roots of the oak itself, but not eddying about it and sapping its foundations. And in the spread of this Eden shall many men rejoice, taking shelter beneath overspreading branches, and refreshing their weary limbs in the fresh waters of the fount celestial pure. Alternatively, the symbol may be that of a well in the desert, sheltered by four great palms.”

Although the idea of the paradise of Eden with 4 rivers is a bit utopian and hyperbolic, it is nonetheless an important symbol.IAO131 - On Serving the Greater Community in Thelema The idea is that the community (represented by the oak or the well) nourishes things around it (the four streams of water or the four palms); further, in the community’s nourishing of others, it also fortifies itself without losing its own foundations. I think this is a beautiful image: every Thelemic community is a beacon of Light to those who stumble in darkness, a well of Life for those who struggle to subsist. 

Crowley himself says clearly, “thou must by Law assure to every Man a Means of satisfying his bodily and his mental Needs, leaving him free to develop any Super-Structure in Accordance with his Will, and protecting him from any that may seek to deprive him of these vertebral Rights.” This is essentially the idea of Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” about 4 decades before the idea was described by Maslow: every individual needs the foundation of their basic needs – their “bodily and mental needs” – before the capstone of any kind of “Super-Structure” can be developed. Crowley reinforces this idea when he wrote to Lady Frieda Harris, “The whole world as I see it is at present lost in constipations of this kind; the real needs of humanity are what they have always been: food, shelter, love and freedom. That, roughly speaking, is the general true will of the species, and all devices, which are not subservient to this will, are errors.” If we have the means to, for example, satisfy the bodily needs of those who spend most of their energy concerned about food and shelter, does it not make sense to contribute to them if we are capable? That is, if we have the resources – the time, money, and/or energy – to aid others in by helping to satisfy their basic needs, are we not simply – in some some small way – allowing more and more individuals to do their Wills more fully? 

Crowley writes in Duty, “Pity, sympathy and like emotions are fundamentally insults to the Godhead of the person exciting them, and therefore also to your own. The distress of another may be relieved; but always with the positive and noble idea of making manifest the perfection of the Universe. Pity is the source of every mean, ignoble, cowardly vice; and the essential blasphemy against Truth.” Here we have a very good lesson from Crowley: if we are to help people, it is to manifest the perfection of every man and every woman being able to do their True Wills. It is to work towards the order and harmony of all the stars on Earth being as perfect as the order and harmony of all the stars in the Heavens. It is not done out of pity for distress or suffering, nor is it really done out of any emotion at all. This relief – this service of others – is done out of the desire to fulfill the Law of Liberty, to bring about a world where everyone has the capability and freedom to accomplish their True Wills. Perhaps this is one way that we can fulfill what is hoped for in OTO US Grand Lodge’s Vision Statement, “We will foster harmonious and constructive relationships with the academic, business, civil, and greater social communities within which we operate.”

We therefore have a very powerful but very simple view of contribution to the greater community: Contributing is done to help satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter which are common across all humanity that they may be able to more fully accomplish their True Wills. We do not impose any “Super-Structure” upon others but allow them to develop as they Will and make their own choices, and we do not contribute aid out of pity. This is done to “make manifest the perfection of the Universe.”

So why aren’t we doing this already?

Contributing to others is too Christian! The most obvious answer to why many Thelemites do not see contributing to the greater community as justified is that helping other people sounds like “charity,” a word that is inevitably tied up in many people’s minds with Christianity. Aside from the various arguments around charity itself, I think  we can acknowledge that rejecting an idea or behavior simply because it resembles some other belief system is not a good reason for rejecting it. Most Thelemites would think twice before rejecting Liber Resh as “too Muslim,” rejecting the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram as “too Jewish,” rejecting the Gnostic Mass as “too Christian,” or rejecting the use of a mantra as “too Hindu.” The reason to reject all these things should be determined by whether or not it is fulfilling or thwarting your individual Will, and that is always the only determining factor for everything. Perhaps some do not realize that “charity” comes from “caritas,” the Latin word used in the New Testament to translate the Greek word “agape which some Thelemites may be familiar with. With this, I would also add things like the argument that contributing to others is too “liberal,” “socialist,” “communist,” or whatever label associate with the general idea.

Contributing to others is too Humanitarian! Yes, Crowley said “An end to the humanitarian mawkishness which is destroying the human race by the deliberate artificial protection of the unfit.” He also lived off of a family inheritance and the generous donations of his friends and disciples. There is no need to even argue what “unfit” means in this context. I personally believe that we should concern ourselves with what is “fit” and “unfit” within ourselves to accomplish our own True Wills, and we acknowledge that every man and every woman is a star with an indefeasible right to accomplish their Wills as we do ours. Further, we have all benefited from others’ resources, from amniotic fluids to stimulating conversations to job promotions. While it is obvious that our own choices determine our destiny to a large extent, it would be a vain and short-sighted thing to believe we are entirely “self-made” in any way. As Liber Librae says, “A man is what he maketh himself within the limits fixed by his inherited destiny; he is a part of mankind; his actions affect not only what he calleth himself, but also the whole universe.” Aside from the fact that this means your acts (such as contributing to others) affect all of those around you, it  also means every single other individual’s actions affect your universe as well. A humble acknowledgment of this fact makes the idea of contributing to others seem quite natural.

We need to focus on our own! Yes, we do need to focus on “our own.” Our concern should begin with ourselves and emanate outward farther and farther. If, for example, an OTO body is struggling to even pay the rent, it would not make sense to devote money toward contributing to the general community. As Liber Librae says, “If thou thyself hast not a sure foundation, whereon wilt thou stand to direct the forces of Nature?” Of course you need a sure foundation, both individually and organizationally. That still doesn’t preclude the possibility of extending influence and resources beyond oneself once that sure foundation is secured.

Summary

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. If it is your Will to contribute to the greater community, then that is fine; if it is not your Will, then that is fine as well. Nonetheless, there is a good rationale for engaging in contributing to the greater community. If we appreciate the freedom to know and do our Wills, we will naturally appreciate aiding others to achieve this freedom, even if it is in a small way. Crowley insisted that we are to assure the satisfaction of basic needs such as food and shelter so that individuals may have the capacity and freedom to develop their own unique proclivities. He also reminded us that this should be done out of making manifest the perfection of the Universe on Earth, of wanting every man and every woman to be able to accomplish their Wills, not out of pity or distress. If we have the resources to help others satisfy their basic needs so they may more fully know and do their Wills, why wouldn’t we contribute to the greater community?

Love is the law, love under will.

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Yama & Niyama of Thelema: What is the “ideal Thelemite”?

The Yama and Niyama of Thelema

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

What is the “ideal Thelemite”? In short: There is no such thing as an “ideal Thelemite.” The Law of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt,” which means that every individual is sovereign. Every man and every woman has their own individual Law, their own unique Will. As William Blake said, “One Law for the Lion and the Ox is Oppression.”

The fact that “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt” (Liber AL, III:60) is precisely why there are no standard or universal ideals. Each individual has their own Will, and each Law must have its own, unique “ideal.” Regarding the fact that there are no standards or universal ideals, Crowley writes: 

“What is necessary is not to seek after some fantastic ideal, utterly unsuited to our real needs, but to discover the true nature of those needs, to fulfill them, and rejoice therein.” —Magick Without Tears, chapter 8

“Know then, o my Son, that all Laws, all Systems, all Customs, all Ideals and Standards which tend to produce Uniformity, being in direct Opposition to Nature’s Will to change and to develop through Variety, are accursèd.”  —Liber Aleph, chapter 31: ‘De Lege Motus’

“Each child must develop its own Individuality, and Will, disregarding alien Ideals. … Let children educate themselves to be themselves. Those who train them to standards cripple and deform them. Alien ideals impose parasitic perversions. … Standards of education, ideals of Right-and-Wrong, conventions, creeds, codes, stagnate Mankind.” —On the Education of Children

One might argue that Thelema is itself a “universal ideal.” Thelema is a universal Law insofar as “Do what thou wilt” states that each individual must find their own unique Will, their own particular Law. The universal ideal is therefore that there are no universal ideals: each must “discover the true nature of [one’s real] needs, to fulfill them, and rejoice therein.” The only absolute is that there are no absolutes; the only constant is change. 

In a way, then, we can say that the “ideal Thelemite” is one who does their own Will and lets others do their Wills. This “ideal Thelemite” follows their own Law and others follow their own, different Laws; there are no universal ideals of “what is best” or “what is absolutely Right and Wrong” beyond this. This is what is sometimes called the “Yama and Niyama of Thelema.”

We borrow the terms “Yama” and “Niyama” from the Hindu system of raja yoga as explained, among other places, in Patanjali’s classic treatise called the Yogasutras. Yama and Niyama are words that mean opposite things, similar to “Thou shalt not” (Yama) and “Thou shalt” (Niyama). Unfortunately, translating them  into English is not easy, but their real meaning in the context of Thelema becomes clear with just a little explication.

The Yama of Thelema is to have the self-discipline to find one’s own Will and to do that Will. As it is said, “Thou hast no right but to do thy will” (Liber AL, I:42). The Niyama of Thelema is to mind your own business or, in other words, to allow others to find and do their Wills. The Niyama is to extend the same absolute liberty to do your own Will that you rightfully claim to all other individuals. In short:

  • The Yama of Thelema: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Thou hast no right but to do thy will.
  • The Niyama of Thelema: Mind your own business.

Yama: Crowley mentions that Yama means something similar to “control” or “the  word ‘inhibition’ as used by biologists.” Basically, Yama means the self-discipline to remain on the “track” or “path” of one’s True Will and not swerving from it. “Thou hast no right but to do thy will,” (Liber AL, I:42) which shows that you are by definition outside of your sole right when you deviate from your Path. This requires the self-discipline to remain true to one’s own Law. As Crowley writes, “What is true for every School is equally true for every individual. Success in life, on the basis of the Law of Thelema, implies severe self-discipline.” Crowley gives a succinct summary of the Yama of Thelema when he writes:

“I wish to thunder forth once more that no questions of right or wrong enter into our problems. But in the stratosphere it is ‘right’ for a man to be shut up in a pressure-resisting suit electrically heated, with an oxygen supply, whereas it would be ‘wrong’ for him to wear it if he were running the three miles in the summer sports in the Tanezrouft. This is the pit into which all the great religious teachers have hitherto fallen, and I am sure you are all looking hungrily at me in the hope of seeing me do likewise. But no! There is one principle which carries us through all conflicts concerning conduct, because it is perfectly rigid and perfectly elastic: — ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’ That is Yama.” —Eight Lectures on Yoga, “Yama”

Niyama: There is no “opposite term” of Yama, or self-discipline, to adequately translate “Niyama.” We might say that the complementary term of “self-discipline” is, in this case, something like “other-discipline.” If Yama is the discipline we have toward ourselves in remaining true to our own Law, Niyama is the discipline we have toward others in allowing them to remain true to their own Laws. This “other-discipline” can be summarized as “Mind your own business.” Crowley says as much in several places:

“Mind your own business! is the sole sufficient rule.” —Magick Without Tears, chapter 15

“I will have thee to know, moreover, my dear Son, the right Art of Conduct with them whom I shall give thee for Initiation. And the Rule thereof is one Rule: Do that thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. See thou constantly to it that this be not broken; especially in the Section thereof (if I dare say so) which readeth Mind thine own Business. This is of Application equally to all, and the most dangerous Man (or Woman, as has occurred, or I err) is the Busy-body. Oh how ashamed are we, and moved to Indignation, seeing the Sins and Follies of our Neighbours!” —Liber Aleph, chapter 96: ‘De Discipulis Regendis’

“Every Star has its own Nature, which is ‘Right’ for it. We are not to be missionaries, with ideal standards of dress and morals, and such hard-ideas. We are to do what we will, and leave others to do what they will. We are infinitely tolerant, save of intolerance”. —New Comment to Liber AL, II:57

“It is necessary that we stop, once for all, this ignorant meddling with other people’s business. Each individual must be left free to follow his own path.” —New Comment to Liber AL, I:31

The name Crowley gives for someone who fails to uphold the Niyama of Thelema is a “busy-body.” A busy-body is someone who is concerned about what other people are doing, how other people are doing things, and why other people are doing things. A busy-body is concerned about someone else’s True Will rather than being concerned with their own. They are indignant about the “sins and follies” of their neighbors rather than focusing on themselves, and generally meddle in others’ affairs. A busy-body, in short, does not mind their own business.

We are all busy-bodies to some degree or another whenever we impose our standards, expectations, or ideals on others, whenever we think that “we know best” for anyone other than ourselves. This can be anything from the most mundane and concrete such as criticizing another’s choice in clothing to the more subtle such as expecting others to perform the same spiritual practices as oneself or insisting that people who believe something different from oneself must be “corrected.” 

When put into practice, we quickly see that the Niyama of Thelema – that of minding one’s own business and allowing others to do their Wills – is not simply a limp passivity. It is not “grinning and bearing it,” which implies that – deep down – you actually don’t want them to do their Wills (let alone that you obviously aren’t rejoicing in it!). The Niyama of Thelema is an active, positive thing: we actively affirm the right of each individual to know and do their True Will. When we greet one another, we look fearlessly into each others’ eyes and say, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” This is to say to everyone you meet, as Crowley writes, “Look, brother, we are free! Rejoice with me, sister, there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt!” 

Some might say that it takes strength to control everything, but it is a much greater strength to not need to control everything and everyone. It is a symptom of being unsure and anxious to feel the need to control people by insisting that it’s your way or the highway. That is: Being a busy-body is a symptom of weakness and fear, although it will inevitably mask itself in the “virtue” that essentially comes down to “knowing what is best” for someone else (let alone “all other Thelemites”!). That is where “compassion” and “altruism” and even “teaching” teeters into the realm of folly.

We will all inevitably hear (or probably have already heard) some self-avowed Thelemite question why others are not doing this or that, insisting they are complaining about others because they “really care” about Thelema. Many of us have fallen prey to this ourselves (“Oh no! Definitely not me!” … Yes, you especially!). This “care” – this “noble cause” of ours – is nothing but the demands of a busy-body cloaking itself in guise of “virtue.” We all should remember to “veil not your vices in virtuous words” (Liber AL, II:52). This “care” basically comes down to insisting that everyone else must have the same values as yourself, which is exactly opposite to affirming “Do what thou wilt.” If you ever find yourself asking, or hear someone else asking, something that amounts to “Why doesn’t this other person/these other people think that this is important?” The answer is most likely “Because it isn’t important to them, nor does it need to be”… or, more pointedly, “Mind your own business.” This is why there is no “ideal Thelemite.” This is why “One Law for the Lion and the Ox is Oppression.” Any insistence otherwise will quickly fall into the same trap that characterized the Old Aeon, the tyranny of a single standard or ideal for all people, rather than a multiplicity of Laws, each uniquely suited to the individual. 

Again: The Niyama of Thelema is not a limp, passive, “grin and bear it” quality. On the contrary: It takes an active, almost virile quality to say to every individual, “I don’t know what your Will is, I don’t know what your ‘good’ or ‘bad’ are, I don’t even know how your Will may interact with and effect mine, but I grant you the absolute right to do your Will and I claim the equally absolute right to do my Will.”  This is far from a passive “letting things happen”; the Niyama of Thelema is an active affirmation, an enthusiastic encouragement, a joyous battle-cry for each and every man and woman to discover their real needs, to fulfill them, and to rejoice therein. To believe otherwise is the essence of tyranny; to act otherwise is the essence of oppression. This requires the strength to stand in the midst of uncertainty and ambiguity, of accepting variety and difference of style and opinion, of not knowing “how everything should be” for everyone or anyone else. Any concern arising about others “not doing it the right way” should be a reminder to us all to re-focus on our own Will: this should be a reminder of the Yama of staying true to our own Path and the Niyama of affirming the right of others to be true to their Paths.

 This is the simplicity and the beauty of the Law of Thelema: There are no absolute standards or universal ideals. Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Every man and every woman has the indefeasible right and duty to know and do his or her True Will. Each has their own standard, their own Law. Any occurrence of someone imposing their Law on another, or anyone accepting a Law imposed on them by another, is a distortion and deforming of a star’s true nature. It is our Yama to adhere to this Law of our own True Will, and it is our Niyama to affirm the right of every other individual to adhere to the Law of his or her own True Will. This is real Freedom, the perfect order on Earth as the stars move seamlessly in the perfect order in the Heavens; this why our Law of “Do what thou wilt” is the Law of Liberty itself.

Love is the law, love under will.

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Is Thelema a Religion or not?

Is Thelema Religion or Not?

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

One of the ever-present questions in the discourse about Thelema is whether or not it is a religion. I think this question is most poetically answered by someone – I believe the credit goes to Jake Stratton-Kent – who said:

“There is religion in Thelema for those that require it. There is also freedom from religion in Thelema, for those that require it.”

In short: Yes… and no. All I can attempt to do is elaborate on this position to make it a bit more clear.

Before going too far in depth, it should be said that – according to anthropologists, sociologists, theologists, and the like – Thelema would most definitely be classified as a “religion.” It has a “Bible” (Liber AL vel Legis), a moral code (Do what thou wilt), a Prophet (To Mega Therion), a set of practices (Magick), and even a “pantheon” (Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Hoor-paar-kraat, et cetera). Whether or not this is entirely an accurate designation is another question.

We might first look at why people wouldn’t want to call Thelema a “religion.” The answer is fairly obvious: “religion” in the 21st Century has become synonymous with superstition, tyranny, and oppression. There is no doubt about this: organized religion has, for millenia, been a force for all of these horrible things that stand against the spirit of Liberty. Many people who are most vocal about Thelema not being a religion are those who experienced this superstition, tyranny, and oppression first-hand in their childhood, and I personally do not find their reaction to be hard to understand. 

In this light, we can see that Crowley himself was wary of the use of the term “religion” to describe Thelema. In a letter found in Magick Without Tears, he writes:

“To sum up, our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with Science or Magick. Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.

We should note, firstly, that Crowley begins this quotation by saying that – according to a certain definition of religion as “an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines” – Thelema is, in fact, a religion. He then says that calling Thelema a “religion” may cause misunderstanding and mischief. He does not explain exactly why it would cause misunderstanding and mischief but we can guess that it is most likely for the aforementioned reasons: it associates it with the Old Aeon religions that are gleaming beacons of superstition, tyranny, and oppression, i.e. those exact things we are set to destroy with our Law of Liberty. People may also assume that we believe things that other religions do, especially the Judeo-Christian-Islamic type, such as the belief in a gaseous vertebrate breed of God, which is most certainly false. 

In short, we may refrain from calling Thelema a religion because it associates it with superstition, tyranny, and oppression which Thelema is firmly against in every way, being the Law of Liberty. Our Law is simultaneously more simple and more nuanced than a belief in a Judeo-Christian-Islamic Daddy-in-the-sky God. Keep in mind, though, that this implies that calling Thelema a religion may cause misunderstanding and mischief, but it does not imply that the designation is inaccurate in some fundamental way. 

Now we may turn to the reasons why Thelema is a religion. First of all, Crowley calls Thelema a religion repeatedly.

In his commentary on Liber AL, III:22, Crowley writes:

Our religion therefore, for the People, is the Cult of the Sun, who is our particular star of the Body of Nuit, from whom, in the strictest scientific sense, come this earth, a chilled spark of Him, and all our Light and Life.”

In this line, he very clearly calls Thelema a religion, although there is a caveat that it is “for the People,” by which we may assume he means “the masses” and not necessarily for the “Hermits” or “initiates” or “Adepts”  (although this is, admittedly, an assumption).

In The Constitution of the Order of Thelemites, Crowley writes this Order is against “All superstitious religion, as obstacles to the establishment of scientific religion.” Here he clearly calls Thelema a religion, but he opposes “superstitious religion” (those of the Old Aeon and many of those that have cropped up in the New Aeon as well) to “scientific religion.” We get a further clarification that Thelema, insofar as it is a religion, is not opposed to science. 

In the “Editorial” prefacing The Equinox III:1 (also known as The Blue Equinox), Crowley writes an important passage:

The world needs religion. Religion must represent Truth, and celebrate it. This truth is of two orders: one, concerning Nature external to Man; two, concerning Nature internal to Man.

Existing religions, especially Christianity, are based on primitive ignorance of the facts, particularly of external Nature. Celebrations must conform to the custom and nature of the people. Christianity has destroyed the joyful celebrations, characterized by music, dancing, feasting, and making love; and has kept only the melancholy.

The Law of Thelema offers a religion which fulfils all necessary conditions. The philosophy and metaphysics of Thelema are sound, and offer a solution of the deepest problems of humanity. The science of Thelema is orthodox; it has no false theories of Nature, no false fables of the origin of things. The psychology and ethics of Thelema are perfect. It has destroyed the damnable delusion of Original Sin, making every one unique, independent, supreme, and sufficient. The Law of Thelema is given in the Book of the Law.”

Here we have another instance of Crowley explicitly calling Thelema a religion. He insists again that it must “represent Truth, and celebrate it,” concurring with the aforementioned quotation that insists Thelema is a “scientific religion.”

From these quotations, it seems fairly clear that Crowley did – with the caveat that it represents and celebrates Truth and is “scientific” – consider Thelema a religion. There is a further point that, in my opinion, clarifies the entire matter: Thelema is a religion but it is more than just a religion. I have said several times that Thelema is an all-encompassing paradigm, and this is meant to imply that Thelema is a religion… and much more.

We have already seen inklings of this idea in the previous quotation where Crowley calls Thelema a religion while also mentioning the philosophy, metaphysics, science, psychology, and ethics of Thelema. In his Confessions, Crowley conveys this idea that Thelema is more than just a religion with great clarity when he writes:

Thelema implies not merely a new religion, but a new cosmology, a new philosophy, a new ethics. It co-ordinates the disconnected discoveries of science, from physics to psychology, into a coherent and consistent system. Its scope is so vast that it is impossible even to hint at the universality of its application.”

He says “Thelema implies not merely a new religion.” It also implies a new cosmology, philosophy, and ethics. Thelema is not limited to the small sphere of theology. This perspective is reflected in the fact that we, following Crowley, call Thelema a “Law.” This Law is given in The Book of the Law. Crowley also calls Thelema a “formula.” For example, in the essay “The Beginning of the New World” (which can be found in the recently-published The Revival of Magick), Crowley writes:

“The many religions of the world have all lost their power to guide chiefly because the development of means of transport and of international commerce have convinced the educated that any one religion is about as good or bad as another for the purposes of social discipline, and that none has any validity from the standpoint of actual fact, or historical or philosophical truth.

The remedy is evidently to be found only in one way. There must be found a formula based upon absolute common sense, without one trammel of theological theory or dogma, a formula to which no man of intelligence can refuse assent, and which at the same time affords an absolute sanction for all laws of conduct, social and political no less than individual, so that the right or wrong of any isolated or concerted action can be determined with mathematical accuracy by any trained observer, entirely irrespective of his personal idiosyncrasies. This formula is: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

When we consider Thelema as a “Law” or a “formula,” we are – first of all – using language that is in common with science (e.g. “the law of gravity” or “the formula for calculating velocity”). More importantly, we are using language that is universal insofar as this Law or formula applies to all aspects of life. 

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131I believe the idea that Thelema is not just a religion but a new paradigm of cosmology, metaphysics, ethics, and psychology is the most accurate perspective on whether or not Thelema is a religion. Insofar as Thelema is a religion, it is a religion that is explicitly opposed to superstition, to “theological theory or dogma” (ideally!), and oppression. In the end, what’s in a name? Thelema’s Law is “Do what thou wilt” and people are free to call it a religion or not. Whether you choose to call it a religion or not is your own choice, and whether or not someone else chooses to call Thelema a religion is none of our business. The real question, the one that really matters, is: Are you living the Law of Thelema? Have you written “Do what thou wilt” in your heart and in your brain? Have you used the simplicity of the Key of the Law to unlock the complexities of philosophy, psychology, theology, and daily life? In short: are you doing your True Will or not? In light of this central consideration all other things, including what names and titles we give to things, are – at best – totally irrelevant and are – at worst – leading us to mischief and futility. As always: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

Love is the law, love under will.

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Promulgation of Thelema on the Internet

Promulgation of Thelema on the Internet

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

There are a few individuals who have qualms about promulgation of the Law of Thelema on the Internet, specifically through social media outlets such as Facebook. The basic argument against doing this is that promulgating on Facebook “dumbs down” the Law by just using a single quotation or image.

I understand this concern, and I agree to some extent. It would be better for people to read the source texts of Crowley’s writings rather than simply to click “Like” on an image on Facebook. That is a fairly unarguable point in itself, yet – within the context of the Internet – there are many reasons why this argument misses the point.

First of all, here are some relevant quotations from Crowley himself on promulgation:

  • Crowley wrote to Frater Achad in June of 1916: “Observe: the business before the meetings is this: How shall we put into effect the Law of Thelema. We have the Law already; I don’t see that we need any more knowledge; but we need very badly the power to administer it. I think I’ve been making a fool of myself, thinking and talking and writing. What I need is efficiency in promulgation.”
  • Crowley also wrote on August 28, 1936: “One thing I will say: that I do not expect anything to come of qabalistic speculations. I think that they may even be extremely mischievous in times like the present. Our sole business should be to use the Law to reconstruct the world from the chaos into which it is already half tumbled. That formula is a simple one, and requires no specialised training. The work requires the cooperation of tens of thousands of people who have never heard of the Qabalah, and they have to be addressed in language which they can understand.”
  • Crowley also wrote to Grady McMurtry (Hymenaeus Alpha) in August of 1945:It is necessary to broaden the scope of presentation of the Law of Thelema so that people of all types may be able to appreciate that particular part which they can understand. In this manner the thought processes of the majority will be so directed that all those who can Understand the Law will be given the opportunity to do so while at the same time providing a guide for those whose Understanding is incomplete.”

Sabazius X° has also written in Agape X:4, “While we have no duty to ‘convert,’ we do have a duty to disseminate the Law as widely as possible throughout human society, not just within specific sub-cultures, classes, and social groups.”

From these quotations, we can see that Crowley was interested in several things regarding promulgation of the Law:

  • Crowley wanted more power and efficiency in spreading the Law.
  • Crowley wanted the cooperation of tens of thousands of people who do not need to understand specialized things such as the Qabalah.
  • Crowley wanted the Law to be presented in a way that people of all types can appreciate the parts of the Law that they can understand.

Therefore, good promulgation requires (1) a powerful medium (or diverse media) to spread the Law, (2) the ability to reach thousands of people, and (3) presentation in a simple and straightforward way.

I personally believe that the Internet is a perfect medium to fulfill all 3 of these requisites for good promulgation. Facebook in particular is currently a medium that allows many people to not only see bits and pieces of the Law through quotations and images, but it also allows individuals to easily share these things to further promulgation. For example, the image that heads this essay was seen by over 10,000 different individuals in a single posting. It (1) used a powerful medium of Facebook that (2) reached over 10,000 people and (3) was a quotation that most people, even without any knowledge of Thelema or more technical subjects such as Magick or Qabalah, could appreciate. 

The potential reach of Facebook is actually fairly astonishing. To give an example, the “Aleister Crowley” Facebook page currently has an average weekly reach of around 45,000 individuals. That means that, in any given week, some post (whether text, link, video, or image) is seen on the News Feed of around 45,000 unique users. What other promulgation effort can reach 45,000 people every week? To continue with this example, any time that someone clicks “Like,” comments, or shares a post on the “Aleister Crowley” Facebook page, it can be seen by any of that person’s Facebook Friends. How many Friends of people who are “Fans” of this Facebook page are there? Over 24 million. Friends of these Fans can then click “Like,” comment, or share so the number of possible viewers is actually higher than 24 million. This is only a single Facebook Page (let alone all the others and people’s individual Facebook Profiles), and the numbers should, in my opinion, speak for themselves. Does it not say in The Book of the Law, “Success is your proof”? It is possible that this is, in fact, the largest and most widespread promulgation effort that Thelema has seen in its entire history. 

What do these efforts do that are beneficial toward the end of promulgating the Law?

  • Thousands of people will see content, whether a link to a full text or a quotation or whatever else, that they otherwise would not have seen or thought about.
  • Thousands of people who have never heard about Thelema or Aleister Crowley are given a chance to see a small bit of what the Law is about.
  • Thousands of people are given an opportunity to promulgate the Law themselves (who would often not do so otherwise) by spreading the content.
  • Everyone can choose whether to follow these Facebook pages, and they can choose to comment or share on them. It is, in a way, the pinnacle of promulgation as opposed to proselytization. No one is being forced to do or see or listen to anything.

Is this a replacement for people reading the source materials, engaging in their local communities, doing the practices of Yoga and Magick, and generally integrating the Law into their lives? Of course not. But neither is any other form of outreach, including the most beautifully bound and articulately written book. It is just as likely for someone to read an entire book on Magick and never perform a ritual as it is for someone to share a quotation on Facebook and not really integrate it into their lives.

We have no power to force Thelema on anyone: it is the Work of each individual to study, understand, and integrate it into their lives and no amount of work by other people can ever replace that. It never has and it never will. These Internet promulgation efforts simply give more and more opportunities for individuals to spread the Law to “people of all types” as Crowley wanted. It is, in a way, even more powerful than books because it is free, efficient, allows people to perpetuate the ideas with little to no effort, and can reach many individuals who would not otherwise have even heard of Crowley or the Law of Liberty. Also – although it may come as a shock or an insult to many Thelemites – not everyone is an intellectual who has time to read long, obtuse essays or books. Whether from lack of education, interest, or proclivity, there are many people – in fact, I would say most people – who are not bibliophile eggheads like myself (and many current Thelemites). “The Law is for all,” and that does not mean only bibliophile eggheads. 

Some people are concerned whether these Internet promulgation efforts have led to increased initiates at the local OTO body or even more Thelemites. At the core of this is a concern as to how much people are really integrating these ideas and putting them into practice. As I just said: it is the Work of each individual to study, understand, and integrate it into their lives and no amount of work by other people can ever replace that. More importantly, there is absolutely no way to ever know for sure. Aside from the fact that we don’t systematically ask every single new face at an event what specific things led to them showing up, there is also the fact that many people are not exactly sure, cannot remember, or do not even want to say (perhaps in part because of the chance of being met with sanctimoniousness!) There is also no way to know how these promulgation efforts affect existing members of organizations like OTO. I personally think that if some Facebook post got someone to think a little bit about Thelema that day, even if it is only for a few moments, then that is better than them not thinking about it. Perhaps they have never even encountered that particular link or quotation before. Further: Aside from organizations like OTO, there is absolutely no way to determine how this affects Thelemites (and non-Thelemites) who are not associated with any particular organization. 

In short, as I’ve already said, there is absolutely no way to ever know sure. What we do know is the incredible extent to which these Internet promulgation efforts have reached people in some way or another, Thelemite and non-Thelemite alike. It is a certain fact that “tens of thousands of people” (just as Crowley wanted) are seeing this content when they otherwise would not have seen it. The Book of the Law 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.” Really, should we be concerned about whether or not other people are truly engaging with the material anyhow? Are we not affording individuals a “chance to abide in this bliss or no” and, whether or not they do anything at all with it, “it is no odds”? Isn’t the insistence that individuals do a certain thing or act in a particular way a fundamental breach of acknowledging “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”? 

The Book of the Law says, “Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!” Let’s engage in a little thought experiment: Consider the difference between (a) an individual who, for example, creates an image with a quotation about the Law and spreads it on Facebook versus (b) an individual who criticizes this effort. Person A is creating an opportunity or chance for someone to hear about the Law, think about the Law, and share the Law without any attempt to convert anyone (“Success is thy proof”). Person B is, first of all, reactive – they are setting the causal principle of their actions outside of themselves by re-acting instead of acting. Person B is arguing rather than spreading the Law (“argue not”), trying to enforce and impose their standard of how to behave as “a real Thelemite” on others (“convert not”), and are spending time and energy chastising others (“talk not overmuch”) instead creating their own material that would, obviously, be so much better. If 10,000 people see something about Thelema because of the posting of an image, how many people are really being reached through criticizing it? 

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131While constructive criticism is always beneficial to honing the efficiency of an approach, there is a lot of criticism that is simply emotional and reactive (i.e. not constructive). There seem to be some people who, whether consciously or not, want to keep Thelema as a cloistered, elitist, and tiny clique. That is their prerogative – Do what thou wilt, of course – but I believe that I, along with tens of thousands of other people, are doing a lot of substantial work to spread the Law of Thelema to the rest of the world in accordance with the attitude of the Prophet (as seen in the quotations above). “The Law is for all” after all, and I say: If we truly believe that Thelema is the Law of Liberty – the Key to our evolution as individuals and a species – we should give as many people as possible the “chance to abide in this bliss or no.”

Love is the law, love under will.

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11 Principles of Thelemites

11 Principles of Thelemites

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

In an ideal state, without jargon, without theology, what defines a Thelemite’s perspective? Is it possible to describe the essential characteristics of living as a Thelemite without the use of any technical terms or implying any kind of metaphysical system? Can it be described in a way that a 10-year-old could easily understand?

Here is one attempt, written from the perspective of someone asserting principles or truths about themselves as Thelemites. 

11 PRINCIPLES of THELEMITES
with no technical jargon

1. I know that exploring and expressing myself is my right and my purpose.

2. I know that every single other being also has the same right & purpose to explore and express their natures.

3. I accept all people no matter what they look like or believe, and I accept all moments no matter if they are good or bad.

4. I am always growing, always searching & striving ever to more in all things.

5. I look at the difficult things in life as my teachers that help me grow, and I embrace them.

6. I never forget that being alive and being aware is a mysterious blessing that always deserves gratitude and joy.

7. I enjoy the beauty in everyone and everything else, and I help to bring more beauty to the world.

8. I seek truth: I think for myself, I am honest with myself and others, and I question myself and others.

9. I explore and develop my creativity in all aspects of life, and I help others to do the same.

10. I am connected with everything in the universe, so I live in harmony with other people, animals, plants, and all other things on the earth and in the whole cosmos.

11. I laugh: I enjoy all parts of the world, and I do not take myself too seriously.

11 Principles of Thelemites

Supporting Quotations

All quotations are from Aleister Crowley.

1. I know that exploring and expressing myself is my right and my purpose.
2. I know that every single other being also has the same right & purpose to explore and express their natures.

  • “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” (AL, I:40)
  • “So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.” (AL, I:42-43)
  • “Explore the Nature and Powers of your own Being… Contemplate your own Nature… Do not repress or restrict any true instinct of your Nature; but devote all in perfection to the sole service of your one True Will. (“Duty”)
  • “We are to do what we will, and leave others to do what they will.” (Commentary to AL, II:57)

3. I accept all people no matter what they look like or believe, and I accept all moments no matter if they are good or bad.

  • “Every man and every woman is a star.” (AL, I:3)
  • “Each human being is an Element of the Cosmos, self-determined and supreme, co-equal with all other Gods.” (Commentary to AL, I:3)
  • “Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.” (AL, I:22)
  • “[Nuit] is also All Points of the View no less than All Vistas seen therefrom. Bind nothing, for all things alike pertain to her, and her Nature is to compose All in One and Naught. One thing is in the end like all the rest; the seeming not alike comes as a dream from choosing images after one’s own heart to worship them; thus each, though true as one of the All, is false if thought of as one apart from the rest.” (“Djeridensis Comment” on AL, I:22)
  • “All is a never ending Play of Love wherein our Lady Nuit and her Lord Hadit rejoice; and every Part of the Play is Play. All pain is but sharp Sauce to the Dish of Pleasure; for it is the Nature of the Universe that hath devised this everlasting Banquet of Joy.” (Liber Aleph, ch.59 “De Comedia Universa, Quae Dictur Man”)
  • “All events [become] equally indifferent, exquisite phrases in an eternal symphony. (Imagine listening to Beethoven with the prepossession that C is a good note and F a bad one; yet this is exactly the stand point from which all uninitiates contemplate the universe. Obviously, they miss the music.)” (Confessions, ch.86)
  • “You must accept everything exactly as it is in itself, as one of the factors which go to make up your True Self.” (“Duty”)

4. I am always growing, always searching & striving ever to more in all things.

  • “But exceed! exceed! Strive ever to more!” (AL, I:71-72)
  • “Her [Nuit’s] worship involves neither life nor death; it is a Growth in all ways, the primal mode of Being.” (“Djeridensis Comment” on AL, I:59)
  • “The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.” (Confessions, ch.65)
  • “The Universe is Change; every Change is the effect of an Act of Love; all Acts of Love contain Pure Joy.” (The Heart of the Master)

5. I look at the difficult things in life as my teachers that help me grow, and I embrace them.

  • “Thou then, who hast trials and troubles, rejoice because of them, for in them is Strength, and by their means is a pathway opened unto that Light. How should it be otherwise, O man, whose life is but a day in Eternity, a drop in the Ocean of time; how, were thy trials not many, couldst thou purge thy soul from the dross of earth? Is it but now that the Higher Life is beset with dangers and difficulties; hath it not ever been so with the Sages and Hierophants of the past? They have been persecuted and reviled, they have been tormented of men; yet through this also has their Glory increased. Rejoice therefore, O Initiate, for the greater thy trial the greater thy Triumph.” (Liber Librae)
  • “Sorrow, pain, regret, are symptoms of diseased thought; those only who have ceased to be able to adjust themselves rightly and gladly to all Change, and to grow thereby, or those who still react, but only feebly and vainly, take Sorrow, pain, and regret to be Real. Those (also) who do not yet know Hadit (that is, know their True Selves to be Hadit) are likewise deceived.” (“Djeridensis Comment” to AL, II:17)
  • “To bring out saliently the differences between two points-of-view is useful to both in measuring the position of each in the whole. Combat stimulates the virile or creative energy; and, like love, of which it is one form, excites the mind to an orgasm which enables it to transcend its rational dullness.” (“Duty”)

6. I never forget that being alive and being aware is a mysterious blessing that always deserves gratitude and joy.

7. I enjoy the beauty in everyone and everything else, and I help to bring more beauty to the world.

  • “The greatest, like Rembrandt, paint a gallant, a hag, and a carcass with equal passion and rapture; they love the truth as it is. They do not admit that anything can be ugly or evil; its existence justifies itself. This is because they know themselves to be part of an harmonious unity; to disdain any item of it would be to blaspheme the whole. The Thelemite is able to revel in any experience soever; in each he recognizes the tokens of ultimate Truth..” (New Comment to AL, II:22)

8. I seek truth: I think for myself, I am honest with myself and others, and I question myself and others.

9. I explore and develop my creativity in all aspects of life, and I help others to do the same.

10. I am connected with everything in the universe, so I live in harmony with other people, animals, plants, and all other things on the earth and in the whole cosmos.

  • “Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!” (AL, I:22-23)
  • “We cannot extirpate or even alter in the minutest degree either the matter or manner of any element of the Universe, here each item is equally inherent and important, each aequipollent, independent, and interdependent.” (New Comment to AL, II:21)
  • “The greatest… know themselves to be part of an harmonious unity; to disdain any item of it would be to blaspheme the whole… It is surely obvious, even intellectually, that all phenomena are interdependent, and therefore involve each other.” (New Comment to AL, II:22)
  • “We cannot extirpate or even alter in the minutest degree either the matter or manner of any element of the Universe, here each item is equally inherent and important, each aequipollent, independent, and interdependent.” (New Comment to AL, II:21)

 

11. I laugh: I enjoy all parts of the world, and I do not take myself too seriously.

  • “They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.” (AL, II:19-20)
  • “The common defect of all mystical systems previous to that of the Aeon whose Law is Thelema is that there has been no place for Laughter. But the sadness of the mournful Mother and the melancholy of the dying Man are swept in the limbo of the past by the confident smile of the immortal Child.” (Little Essays Toward Truth, “Laughter”)
  • “Also I was in the spirit vision and beheld a parricidal pomp of atheists, coupled by two and by two in the supernal ecstasy of the stars. They did laugh and rejoice exceedingly, being clad in purple robes and drunken with purple wine, and their whole soul was one purple flower-flame of holiness.” (LXV, V:35)
  • “Lord Nose-in-the-Air stumbled over his own door-stop.” (Commentary to LXV, V:49)
  • “If it must be that one’s most sacred shrine be profaned, let it be the clean assault of laughter rather than the slimy smear of sanctimoniousness!” (Magick Without Tears, ch.44)

Love is the law, love under will.

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Psychology of Liber AL

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.10: Archetypes of the Star – or Spark – and the Night-Sky

Psychology of Liber AL

Postscript: Archetypes of the Star – or Spark – and the Night-Sky

Two specific archetypes that Carl Jung gives attention to are of especial importance to this discussion. The first of these archetypes – or more accurately, archetypal manifestations – is that of the spark, the astrum, the star, or the scintilla, which is essentially a manifestation of the archetype of the “self.” The second of these archetypes is that of the night-sky, which is essentially a symbolic conception of the entirety of all archetypes, or the entirety of the unconscious.

In Liber AL vel Legis there are prominent occurrences of both of these archetypes. In the third line of the book it is proclaimed,

Every man and every woman is a star.”1

Almost immediately we have an identification of the self of each human individual with the symbolic figure of a star. In his work On the Nature of the Psyche, Jung is explaining how alchemical symbolism is an important source for symbolic expressions of unconscious contents of the psyche. He writes:

“From [alchemy] I take, first and foremost, the idea of the scintillae – sparks – which appear as visual illusions in the ‘arcane substance…’ If we may compare the sparks to the archetypes, it is evident that Khunrath [a 16th century alchemist] lays particular stress on one of them. This One is also described as the Monad and the Sun, and they both indicate the Deity… Psychologically, the One Scintilla or Monad is to be regarded as symbol of the Self.”2

Therefore, this assertion of every man and woman being a star is using a common archetypal symbol of the complete “self” and thereby identifying each person with “the One Scintilla,” “the Monad and the Son, [which] both indicate the Deity.”Jung continues:

This light is the lumen naturae which illuminates consciousness, and the scintillae are germinal luminosities shining forth from the darkness of the unconscious. Dorn, like Khunrath, owes much to Paracelsus with whom he concurs when he supposes an ‘invisibilem solem plurimis incognitum’ in man (an invisible sun unknown to many). [Also], ‘Sol est invisibilis in hominibus, in terra vero visibilis, tamen ex uno et eodem sole sunt ambo’ (The sun is invisible in men, but visible in the world, yet both are of one and the same sun)… Thus the one archetype emphasized by Khunrath is known also to Dorn as the sol invisibilis or imago Dei. In Paracelsus the lumen naturae comes primarily from the ‘astrum’ or ‘sydus,’ the ‘star’ in man… Indeed, man himself is an ‘Astrum:’ ‘not by himself alone, but for ever and ever with all apostles and saints; each and every one is an astrum, the heaven a star… therefore saith also the Scripture: ye are lights of the world [Matthew 5:14].”3

Liber AL reveals plainly this “invisible sun unknown to many,” this sol invisibilis which is also the imago Dei that is in the heart of every man and woman. It is every man and every woman that are “the lights of the world.” Jung also asserts nearly the same doctrine as Liber AL by saying that “man himself is an ‘Astrum’” and then quoting another who essentially says man is not alone as a star but “with all apostles and saint; each and every one is an astrum…” In this sense, one may say that symbolically all stars are united together in the night-sky. Nuit herself proclaims this when she says in Liber AL,

“…I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof…”4

On this note, we turn again to Jung who writes further about the archetypes alchemical vision which corresponds to the Thelemic symbology, “It strikes me as significant… that the characteristic alchemical vision of sparks scintillating in the blackness of the arcane substance should, for Paracelsus, change into the spectacle of the ‘interior firmament’ and its stars. He beholds the darksome psyche as a star-stewn night sky, whose planets and fixed constellations represent the archetypes in all their luminosity and numinosity.5 The starry vault of heaven is in truth the open book of cosmic projection, in which are reflected the mythologems, i.e., the archetypes. In this vision astrology and alchemy, the two classical functionaries of the psychology of the collective unconscious, join hands.”6

Nuit is considered as the totality of “the darksome psyche” with each star being an archetype therein. Nuit then becomes a sort of “double symbol” of both macrocosmic and microcosmic implications. On the macrocosmic scale, each individual is a star and are united together in “the body of the night sky,” which represents the totality of all possibilities (see “The First Principles” segment of this essay for further explanation of Nuit in this sense). On the microcosmic scale, Nuit represents the totality of the psyche and the plethora of stars represents reflections of the many archetypes of the unconscious. Within this “star-strewn night sky” of the psyche, there is that “One Scintilla,” “the Monad and the Sun,” which is that archetypal symbol of the “whole” or integrated self.

This postscript is added to show that not only do the symbols of Liber AL vel Legis represent manifestations of common archetypes, but they also have a historical precedent in various alchemical texts. Jung’s work On the Nature of the Psyche appeared many decades after the writing of Liber AL vel Legis in 1904. It is unfortunate that Jung was not aware of (or simply did not investigate) this modern occurrence of the same archetypal patterns he studied. Once again, Liber AL vel Legis may be viewed as both a product and an expression of the collective unconscious, filtered through the peculiar and unique psyche of Aleister Crowley. Earlier it was said that “we may therefore find statements of universal import explained under the figure of certain symbols that were familiar to Crowley’s consciousness,” but now we see that, although this is most likely true for certain cases (i.e. the appearance of the Egyptian deities like Hoor-paar-kraat, Heru-ra-ha, and Nuit, the cases of Islamic terminology like “Isa,” “Kiblah,” and “Kaaba,” the cases of Western Hermetic and occult symbology, etc.), Liber AL vel Legis contains symbols which are also somewhat universal. Not only is there a historical precedent in alchemical texts, but every human being on Earth has the experience of seeing the sun, the night sky, and the seemingly infinite amount of stars therein.

Love is the law, love under will.

1 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:3.

2 Jung, Carl. “The Significance of the Unconscious in Psychology” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung Volume 8: On the Nature of the Psyche, par.388.

3 Jung, Carl. “The Significance of the Unconscious in Psychology” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung Volume 8: On the Nature of the Psyche, par.389-390.

4 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:22.

5 At this point Jung’s text there is a footnote which reads thus, “In the Hieroglyphica of Horapollo the starry sky signifies God as ultimate Fate, symbolized by a ‘5,’ presumably a quincunx.” This is especially significant in that Nuit is identified with Fate – or in other words, the necessary workings & motions of the universe – and also the symbolic figure of ‘5.’ In Liber AL vel Legis, I:60, Nuit proclaims, “My number is 11, as all their numbers who are of us. The Five Pointed Star, with a Circle in the Middle, & the circle is Red.” Here Nuit herself identifies herself with The Five Pointed Star,’ the pentagram. Interestingly, this is the one section of Liber AL vel Legis which was not penned by Crowley but filled in later by Rose Crowley, his wife at the time.

6 Jung, Carl. “The Significance of the Unconscious in Psychology” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung Volume 8: On the Nature of the Psyche, par.392.

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.9: Conclusions

Psychology of Liber AL

Conclusions

It was established in the introduction that this work would look at Thelema and its central text of Liber AL vel Legis strictly from the perspective of psychology, interpreting metaphysical claims as mental phenomena. From this standpoint, a framework must be established within the confines of Liber AL vel Legis that can comply with current psychological understandings of the self and its place in the world. Thelema presents this framework in symbolic format, utilizing pseudo-Egyptian gods to explain how the Thelemite perceives the work: Each person is a star, and at the core of this star is “Hadit;” about this star are the infinite possibilities of Nuit, the starry night-sky. This conception of each person being at the center of a field of phenomena and possible experiences is analogous to one of Carl Rogers’ propositions describing his client-centered therapy that, “All individuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience (phenomenal field) of which they are the centre.”1 Each person being a star, they are self-luminous, have their own natural motion, and also have an effect (like gravitational pull) on other stars. This self-luminous nature attests to mankind’s inherent divinity and the natural motion is the star’s particular Will.

The Will is central in Thelema, for it is proclaimed, “Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.”2 Each star has a unique Will to carry out, and the way in which this is carried out is by the method – or modus operandi – of “love under will.” This means that all actions must be Love, which is essentially the “uniting of some one monad with one of the experiences possible to it,”3 or simply, the assimilation of experience. This Love must be “under will,” and therefore each act is done to fulfill and express the true nature of the individual involved rather than thwart it. This method of “love under will” was seen to be analogous to Carl Rogers’ propositions. A successful expression of “love under will,” where experience is harmoniously assimilated in accordance with the nature of the individual, is what Rogers calls “psychological adjustment,” whereas “psychological maladjustment” means that experience is not assimilated harmoniously and from which “psychological tension” (suffering in the mental sphere) will naturally arise. In addition, the Will itself was seen to be analogous to Carl Rogers’ notion of the “self-actualizing tendency” inherent in all people.

Further considerations on this Will showed that for it to be considered “pure” and “every way perfect,”4 it must be done with tireless energy, without regard for purpose, and with no “lust of result” or desire for the fruits of one’s work. Next, morality and sin were considered and found to be nothing but impediments to the free flow of the Will; it was established that in Thelema, “that it is no longer possible to say a priori that a given action is ‘wrong.’ Each man has the right – and an absolute right – to accomplish his True Will.”5 It was seen that these sets of moralities naturally repress and inhibit the Will, especially those notions which dictate our sexual morality. Thelema’s move beyond moral injunctions against sexual behavior is consistent with the findings of Alfred Kinsey’s innovative research in mid-20th century.

Aside from morality inhibiting the free and natural flow of the Will, it was seen that the mind, especially its faculty of reason, also prevents the true Will from manifesting. Reason is not discarded as useless in Thelema, but instead it is put into its most effective sphere of operation: in service to the Self and its Will. If the mind usurps the “throne” of the Self and dictates its actions through Reason, it renders the Will impotent because, “If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.”6 More importantly, it is understood that “there is a factor infinite & unknown,”7 the subconscious Will, which is, by definition, not able to be fully understood and interpreted by the conscious mind. Therefore, the mind can only inhibit the flow of the subconscious Will when it dictates the Will’s actions. It is this unknown factor of the subconscious Will that makes “reason… a lie” in that it is unable to dictate the Will of the individual in accordance with their true Selves (which must necessarily account for both conscious and subconscious natures). Carl Jung recognized that the mind cannot accurately dictate the whims of the Will. He said that rationalistic opinions come close to neurotic symptoms in that they split the awareness away from the subconscious promptings. For this reason, Jung deems these opinions “distorted thinking,” and those thoughts that proceed from the “tap-root” of the Self and its Will are deemed “psychologically correct thinking:” yet another psychological assumption that Liber AL anticipated in a way.

Next, the process of coming to know and express one’s Will is understood to be analogous not only to Crowley’s notions of “the Great Work” and “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel,” but also Carl Jung’s process of “individuation.” All of these are united by the fact that they all attempt to penetrate to the deepest or true nature of the individual and attempt to assimilate and manifest it. In Jung’s process of “individuation,” one comes to identify with the archetype of the “Self,” which is the totality of the psyche, including both conscious and unconscious natures. Thelema uses the Egyptian god of Horus as its specific archetypal expression of the “Self,” and each person’s “Great Work” is to come to “revere” and identify with this Self and thereby manifest the Will more fully. Crowley specifically mentions that the “tribulations” of this ordeal are exactly the same as the modern processes of psychoanalysis, equating the pseudo-mystical process of “the Great Work” or “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” with the more modern notions of “individuation.” It was further asserted that the unconscious’s natural function is towards individuation and therefore every single person takes part in the “the Great Work,” whether they are conscious of it or not.

In Liber AL vel Legis, it was seen that a psychological model of “failure” (to assimilate experience) is constructed along familiar physiological lines. In the body, the appearance of pain signifies a malfunction of some sort, and also in the psyche, the appearance of “psychological tension” (as Carl Rogers terms it) signifies a failure of the harmonious functioning of the psyche. In the psyche, sorrow, pain, regret, fear, and pity are all seen to be disharmonious to the functioning of the Will. Next, a specific line in Liber AL is analyzed to show that Hadit, that symbol of the imperishable perceiver-of-events, can either lift his head to Nuit or droop down his head to the earth. These two possible actions were then equated with the life and death instincts of Freud and also the concepts of “MATER COELISTIS” and “PHALLOS” from Jung’s Septem Sermones ad Mortuos – most importantly it is asserted that no matter what “choice” Hadit makes, there is joy and rapture to be found in either option.

Finally, the inevitable topic of death is treated within a Thelemic context. First, death is understood as a joyous occasion, a time for a greater feast than even for birth. Death is also to be considered as the “seal” or symbolic fulfillment of life. In both of these ways Thelema attempts to overcome the morbidity associated with death and the common aversion thereto. The idea of a part or essence of the self surviving death is also entertained but because this is a psychological treatise, we can only make the statement that “the psyche’s attachment to the brain, i.e. its space-time limitation, is no longer as self-evident and incontrovertible as we have hitherto been led to believe,”8 while no conclusive metaphysical assertions may be made.

Essentially, Thelema cannot only be clearly interpreted through the lens of psychology but our understanding of Liber AL is greatly enriched thereby. This work is merely a brief overview of the way the field of psychology potentially enables us to better understand Thelema. Appended after this conclusion is a short discussion about the archetypal symbols of the star and the night sky, but this is merely the tip of the iceberg of the possible syntheses between Thelema and psychology. The conclusions of such eminent psychologists as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, and Alfred Kinsey are emphasized in this work but there are many other branches of psychological inquiry that have an important bearing on Thelema. Since psychology is the study of that psyche which is inherent in every man and every woman, it is certainly of interest to all Thelemites who seek to better understand themselves. The injunction of the Greeks to “know thyself” still holds true, and to do this we must delve into our darkest places and face our deepest fears – the “tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss.”9 For Thelema is a tradition of joy where one treats all events, even if they are ordeals, as equally valid experiences for growth. It is a tradition of joy whether we consider it as a psychological framework, a philosophy, a religion, a spiritual map, or whatever suits our particular nature.

Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains… They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us… Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us… But ye, o my people, rise up & awake! Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! …A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture! A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight! Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu… Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age long love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice!”10

>>PART 10>>

1 Rogers, Carl. Client-Centred Therapy, ch.11.

2 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:42-43.

3 Crowley, Aleister. Introduction to Liber AL vel Legis, part II.

4 A reference to Liber AL vel Legis, I:44.

5 Crowley, Aleister. “The Method of Thelema.” Printed in The Revival of Magick.

6 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:30.

7 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:32.

8 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 813.

9 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, III:62.

10 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:9,19,20,34,35,42-44,66.

>>PART 10>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.8: A New Perspective of Death

Psychology of Liber AL

A New Perspective of Death

A full psychological perspective must  take into account the many facets of life, and it must also take into account the universal fact that all things are impermanent and eventually die. Thelema asserts a new perspective on this issue in that death is understood as climax to and fulfillment of life. Also, although currently psychologically and scientifically unverifiable, it is asserted that there is an indestructible element of the Self that survives death and views death merely as another accretion of experience.

It has been explored earlier how fear is a sign of the failure of the harmonious functioning of the psyche. Death is possibly the most universally feared idea, and in this sense, it is necessary to dispel our misperceptions about it. In Thelema, it is understood that “Existence is pure joy,”1 but not only is life joyous, death is as well. It is written in Liber AL vel Legis:

A feast for life and a greater feast for death!”2

Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age long love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice!”3

Here we have a statement that says we should not only have a feast for death, but one greater than the one for life. We are then told to thrill with the joy of both life and death. Death is considered as a “seal of the promise of our age long love” and so one is bidden to “lift up thine heart & rejoice!” Death being a seal implies that death is a sort of fulfillment of life. Jung writes about this, “We are so convinced that death is simply the end of a process that it does not ordinarily occur to us to conceive of death as a goal and a fulfillment as we do without hesitation the aims and purposes of youthful life in its ascendance.”4 Liber AL vel Legis is obviously one exception as it does indeed assert the need to not only view death as a fulfillment, but as a time for rejoicing just as a new life is. Thelema affirms not only life but death also, and Thelemites approach death without fear. We are told “Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything,”5 and in this way, a Thelemite accepts all facts of life, including the inevitability of death, with the same “love under will” and rejoicing.

Liber AL vel Legis itself says “death is the crown of all,”6 and Crowley comments, “Death is the End that crowns the Work.”7 Truly, a Thelemite is ready to accept death, for they are performing their Will with tireless energy, without regard to purpose, and most importantly, unattached from the lust of result. Death will come at its proper moment while one is doing one’s will with one-pointedness, peace, and detachment.8 Death is not something be fearful about, but instead, one must embrace both one’s life and one’s death. Jung writes:

Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul. Anyone who fails to go along with life remains suspended, stiff and rigid in midair. That is why so many people get wooden in old age; they look back and cling to the past wit ha secret fear of death in their hearts. They withdraw from the life-process, at least psychologically, and consequently remain fixed like nostalgic pillars of salt, with vivid recollections of youth but no living relation to the present. From the middle of life onward, only he remains vitally alive who is ready to die with life. For in the secret hour of life’s midday the parabola is reversed, death is born. The second half of life does not signify ascent, unfolding, increase, exuberance, but death, since the end is its goal. The negation of life’s fulfillment is synonymous with the refusal to accept its ending.”9

Thelema is certainly not a system that refuses to accept life’s ending, it is understood to be a time of great joy in that it signifies life’s fulfillment. As mentioned earlier, Liber AL vel Legis asserts that there is a part of oneself that is immortal. This “immortality” is better understood as an identity that is removed from or beyond the conditions of space and time rather than an entity that lives forever throughout all time. It is not the ego or personality that transcends death, it is the element of Impersonal Life within us all and with which we may identify. With this consideration, Jung noted that, “the psyche’s attachment to the brain, i.e. its space-time limitation, is no longer as self-evident and incontrovertible as we have hitherto been led to believe.”10 It may be possible that there is an element of the psyche that may “attain to,” or more perhaps “belong to,” a state that transcends this “space-time limitation.” On this Jung writes:

The fact that we are totally unable to imagine a form of existence without space and time by no means proves that such an existence is in itself impossible. And therefore, just as we cannot draw, from an appearance of space-timelessness, any absolute conclusion about a space-timeless form of existence, so we are not entitled to conclude from the apparent space-time quality of our perception that there is no form of existence without space and time. It is not only permissible to doubt the absolute validity of space-time perception; it is, in view of the available facts, even imperative to do so. The hypothetical possibility that the psyche touches on a form of existence outside space and time presents a scientific question-mark that merits serious consideration for a long time to come.” 11

With this in mind, we now turn to what Liber AL says itself in this regard:

Yea! Deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other… There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was.” 12

In this sense, there is an indestructible element of the Self that cannot be “cast down or lifted up.” This is what we call Hadit, that which perceives and endures all events but is ultimately unaffected by them. It is said in Liber AL that “all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”13 That part which remains is this “Crowned and Conquering Child” within us all, which perceives that “every event, including death, is only one more accretion to our experience.”14 Crowley writes on these verses of Liber AL that they “demonstrate the inviolability of Hadit our Quintessence. Every Star has its own Nature, which is ‘Right’ for it… It is impossible to alter the ultimate Nature of any Being, however completely we may succeed in transfiguring its external signs as displayed in any of its combinations.”15 This starry or “Kingly” nature cannot be “cast down or lifted up,” and in fact it is said in Liber AL that “If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.”16 By virtue of the fact that this “element” is beyond space and time by definition, it does not suffer death nor is it ever truly “born,” so it cannot possibly suffer “hurt.”

Essentially, Thelema asserts an aspect or “essence” of the self that one cannot hurt – an essence that accepts experiences of both life and death as acts of “love under will.” The idea of an immortal essence of man – or of his “soul” – is a common element to many religious traditions. Although scientifically and psychologically unverifiable, as mentioned earlier, the possibility of consciousness or identity not based on our normal ideas of space and time is not as far-fetched as it once seemed. In another sense, if one looks at any process, they are all aspects of a continuum. On this Jung writes,

Beginning and end are unavoidable aspects of all processes. Yet on closer examination it is extremely difficult to see where on process ends and another begins, since events and processes, beginnings and endings, merge into each other and form, strictly speaking, an indivisible continuum. We divide the processes from one another for the sake of discrimination and understanding, knowing full well that at bottom every division is arbitrary and conventional. This procedure in no way infringes the continuum of the world processes, for ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ are primarily necessities of conscious cognition. We may establish with reasonable certainty that an individual consciousness as it relates to ourselves has come to an end. But whether this means that the continuity of the psychic process is also interrupted remains doubtful, since the psyche’s attachment to the brain can be affirmed with far less certitude today than it could fifty years ago.” 17

On this note, we may assert that it is indeed possible that there is an essence or element of the self that survives what we perceive to be our physical death. In fact, it does not even suffer the “hurt” of existence while alive. Even so, the mere belief in such a notion would naturally give one the disposition of, as Jung writes, being ready to “die with life.” That is, truly understanding this will bring a tendency toward living life to its fullest potential, living without fear or attachment, striving towards the full expression of the Self that will end in death, recognized as the seal of life’s fulfillment.

“Great is Life, real and mystical, wherever and whoever;
Great is Death—sure as life holds all parts together, Death holds all parts together.
Has Life much purport?—Ah, Death has the greatest purport.”
—Walt Whitman

>>PART 9>>

1 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:9.

2 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:41.

3 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:66.

4 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 797.

5 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:17.

6 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:72.

7 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:72.

8 As endorsed by Crowley in his epistle “Liber II Message of the Master Therion.”

9 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 800.

10 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 813.

11 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 797.

12 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:58.

13 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:9.

14 Crowley, Aleister. Introduction to Liber AL vel Legis, part IV.

15 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:57.

16 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:59.

17 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 812.

>>PART 9>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.7: Life and Death Instincts

Psychology of Liber AL

Life and Death Instincts

I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.” –Liber AL vel Legis II:26

In this verse from Liber AL, we find Hadit comparing “himself” to “the secret Serpent coiled about to spring.” This symbol is obviously showing the vast potential stored within the Self, like that contained within a coiled serpent, analogous to the unknowable power hidden in the recesses of each person’s unconscious.1 From this position of coiling, Hadit either lifts up his head or droops down. These two actions are related to becoming one with Nuit and becoming one with the earth, respectively. Crowley writes in his commentary to this line, “The mystic Union is to be practised both with Spirit and with Matter,” which are “two main types of the Orgia of Magick [causing Change in conformity with Will].” This shows that there are two fundamental actions to be taken or courses of the Will: (1) return to the spirit, and (2) immersion in matter.

Crowley says elsewhere that “Magick = the Will to Live” and “Mysticism = the Will to Die.”2 This brings to mind the theories of the life drive (termed eros) and death drive (termed thanatos) expounded by Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist. Freud’s definition of the death drive being “an urge inherent in all organic life to restore an earlier state of things”3 may be likened to the “union with Nuit” in which one’s consciousness “becomes one,” and his life instinct of eros may be seen to be analogous to the “rapture of the earth.”

Jung also posits two similar ideas in his pseudo-mystical treatise “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos.” He writes:

The world of the gods is made manifest in spirituality and in sexuality. The celestial ones appear in spirituality, the earthly in sexuality. Spirituality conceiveth and embraceth. It is womanlike and therefore we call it MATER COELESTIS, the celestial mother. Sexuality engendereth and createth. It is manlike, and therefore we call it PHALLOS, the earthly father. The sexuality of man is more of the earth, the sexuality of woman is more of the spirit.”4

Here are two seemingly autonomous psychic functions in relation to the individual identified as “the celestial mother” – very much like lifting up of Hadit’s head to union with Nuit (who is often pictured as a star goddess) – and “the earthly father” which is analogous to Hadit drooping his head to the earth. In Jungian psychology, it is understood that the individual’s psyche is bi-gendered in that it contains both masculine and feminine aspects, and in this case it should be understood that these two things – “celestial mother” and “earthly father” – relate to “every man and every woman.” Jung continues:

Man shall distinguish himself both from spirituality and sexuality. He shall call spirituality Mother, and set her between heaven and earth. He shall call sexuality Phallos, and set him between himself and earth. For the Mother and the Phallos are super-human daemons which reveal the world of the gods.”5

Here we have almost the same language being used as in Liber AL vel Legis. Once again we must remember that “Psychology accordingly treats all metaphysical claims and assertions as mental phenomena, and regards them as statements about the mind and its structure that derive ultimately from certain unconscious dispositions.”6 We can now understand that this line in Liber AL vel Legis that started this chapter refers to the two fundamental drives or two aspects of the Will.

Two potential courses of the Will

Liber AL II:26

Aleister Crowley

Sigmund Freud

Carl Jung

Hadit is “coiled,” prepared to Will a certain course of actions, either (1) return to spirit or (2) immersion in matter

1: “return to spirit”

I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one.”

Mysticism = the Will to Death;” “Union… with Spirit”

Thanatos: the death drive

MATER COELESTIS, the celestial mother;” “spirituality”

2: “immersion in matter”

If I droop down mine head… I and the earth are one.”

Magick = the Will to Life;” “Union… with Matter”

Eros: the life drive

PHALLOS, the earthly father;” “sexuality”

[Figure 1. The two courses of Will once Hadit is “coiled about to spring”]

I referred to these two “drives” or “psychological contents” as seemingly autonomous psychic functions above, and Jung writes that “man shall distinguish himself” from both of them, for they are most practically understood as autonomous functions. He then proclaims these words:

Spirituality and sexuality are not your qualities, not things ye possess and contain. But they possess and contain you; for they are powerful daemons, manifestations of the gods, and are, therefore, things which reach beyond you, existing in themselves. No man hath a spirituality unto himself, or a sexuality unto himself. But he standeth under the law of spirituality and of sexuality. No man, therefore, escapeth these daemons.”7

This is a fundamentally important point. These actions or drives are not our qualities in the normal sense that we would normally think of something as part of ourselves, part of our personalities or mental structure. Rather, they are understood as forces influencing our psyches. Our normal, conscious sense of self is the ego, which is informed by these two influencing drives, these two aspects of the Will, and – as we explored earlier – the Will of the individual is the guiding Law of life (“There is no law beyond” doing it)8

It should be remarked that no matter what Hadit “does” – if there is coiling, lifting of the head, drooping of the head – there is joy and rapture. Once again it is shown that, in all aspects, “Existence is pure joy.”9

>>PART 8>>

1 The connections between this symbol and the Hindu kundalini are also plainly apparent, but elaboration on this point not appropriate for this essay.

2 Crowley, Aleister. “The Antecedents of Thelema.” Printed in The Revival of Magick.

3 Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle.

4 Jung, Carl. “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos,” Sermo V.

5 Jung, Carl. “Septem Sermones ad Mortuos,” Sermo V.

6 Jung, Carl. “Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation,” par. 760.

7 Jung, Carl. “Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation,” par. 760.

8 A reference to Liber AL, III:60, “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”

9 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:9.

>>PART 8>>