Promulgation

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.6: Psychological Model of Failure

Psychology of Liber AL

Psychological Model of Failure

Thelema constructs a completely practical psychological system, and it is established among familiar physiological lines. In the body, if all is working harmoniously – if the body is healthy, that is – the consciousness continues to operate undisturbed by the functions of the various organs and systems of the body. It is only when there is a malady of some sort – e.g., a malfunction of an organ, the skin is pierced by a knife, stress and anxiety, et cetera – that consciousness is disturbed and made aware of the body’s functioning. In a physiological sense, the body conveniently notifies the consciousness of its trouble by issuing signals of pain. Liber AL vel Legis has applied this to the functioning of the psyche:

Dost thou fail? Art thou sorry? Is fear in thine heart? Where I am these are not.”1

Crowley comments, “This verse brings out what is a fact in psychology, the necessary connection between fear, sorrow, and failure.”2 In the same sense that the appearance of pain signals a certain failure of the harmonious functioning of the body, the appearance of sorrow and fear signal a certain failure in the harmonious functioning of the psyche. Crowley writes, “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”3 It is understood in Thelema that “existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”4 Therefore, any kind of sorrow, pain, or regret necessarily implies some kind of failure to truly understand this perspective.

In another Holy Book of Thelema it is written, “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.”5 This reaffirms the notion that the appearance of sorrow, pain, regret, weariness, anger, and discomfort are all, just as they are in the physiological sense, signs of some error in the functioning of the psyche of the organism. They are signals being sent to the psyche that “love under will” is not being performed properly, so to speak. Crowley confirms this once again when he writes, “Sorrow thus appears as the result of any unsuccessful – therefore, ill-judged – struggle. Acquiescence in the order of Nature is the ultimate Wisdom.”6

This notion of sorrow appearing as an unsuccessful assimilation of experience parallels the propositions from Carl Rogers’ client-centered therapy. In an earlier segment of this essay, it was seen how the Thelemic maxim of “love under will” is essentially the same concept as that of “psychological adjustment” from Carl Rogers’ nineteen propositions (the assumptions that underlie his client-centered therapy), i.e. assimilation of experience in accordance with one’s self. Whenever this fails, there is what Carl Rogers called “psychological maladjustment.” Rogers writes has as fifteenth and sixteenth propositions,

Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies awareness of significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.

Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self structure is organized to maintain itself.”7

This “psychological tension” is the same “sorrow” or “pain” that Crowley mentions, but it is applied specifically to the psyche (as opposed to physiological sorrow or pain). If experiences are not assimilated, they generate “psychological tension” and may also be “perceived as a threat” which causes the self-structure to become even more rigid and unadaptable; this will therefore cause further unsuccessful acts of “love under will” or “psychological adjustment.”

Essentially, sorrow, pain, regret, fear, anger, discomfort, and one other psychological phenomenon – pity – are all signals of “failure” to perform an act of “love under will” properly – that is, assimilate an experience in a harmonious way.

In regards to pity, in the second chapter of Liber AL vel Legis it is written, “Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I am not for them. I console not: I hate the consoled & the consoler”8 and also in the third chapter it is written, “Mercy let be off; damn them who pity!”9 Crowley comments on this saying:

It is several times shewn in this Book that ‘falling’ is in truth impossible. ‘All is ever as it was.’ To sympathize with the illusion is not only absurd, but tends to perpetuate the false idea. It is a mistake to ‘spoil’ a child, or humour a malade imaginaire. One must, on the contrary, chase away the shadows by lighting a fire, which fire is: Do what thou wilt!” Crowley asserts that pitying another is akin to “sympathiz[ing] with the illusion,” for it is said in Liber AL that “Existence is pure joy,” and “all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”10

One can only pity someone that is in a situation that one perceives to be “unfortunate,” but if one truly understands the dictum of “Existence is pure joy,” they know that even this pity is based on a false perception of things and therefore “sympathyz[ing] with the illusion.” It also implies “looking down” on someone, thinking oneself better rather than recognizing the unique sovereignty of each individual, each being a King or Queen in his or her own Kingdom. This echoes the sentiments that Friedrich Nietzsche expressed when discussing Christianity as a religion of pity. He writes,

Pity stands in opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and living energy–a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the cause.” 11

Nietzsche also identifies pity as the “contagious source” of even more of “that drain upon strength” than what normally is experienced from suffering or sorrow “multiplied a thousand fold.” Nietzsche continues,

Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue… Let me repeat: this depressing and contagious instinct stands against all those instincts which work for the preservation and enhancement of life: in the role of protector of the miserable, it is a prime agent in the promotion of decadence–pity persuades to extinction… Aristotle, as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional purgative: he regarded tragedy as that purgative… Nothing is more unhealthy, amid all our unhealthy modernism, than Christian pity.” 12

Pity not only causes more identification with the “shadows” of suffering, but it “preserves whatever is ripe for destruction” because it is a “contagious instinct [that] stands against all those instincts which for the preservation and enhancement of life” – something that one obviously should have to maintain physiological and psychological health. Nietzsche was especially concerned with maintaining these instincts that preserve and enhance life, and he was therefore on guard against all sentiments that would obstruct this natural process.

Aside from these appearances of sorrow, pain, regret, fear, anger, discomfort, and pity being treated as signs of maladjustment – or “love” being performed not “under will” – there are also the considerations of sin and reason that are mentioned in previous segments of this essay. The thought of oneself as sinful is a misperception in Thelema; reason must be kept in its rightful place as interpreter and helper of the Will, which must be performed with tireless energy, without regard to purpose, and unattached to any lust of result. Any diversion from this necessarily restricts the Will, and not only is “the word of Sin… Restriction,”13 but “thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.”14 We now have a more complete sense of how the Thelemite ideally views and oeprates within the world: Free of the sense of sin, free of reason’s stranglehold upon our behavior, and aware of sorrow, pain, regret, discomfort, and pity as signals of our failure to perform “love under will.”

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.” 15

>>PART 7>>

1 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:46-47.

2 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:46.

3 Crowley, Aleister. “Djeridensis Working,” II:17.

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

5 Crowley, Aleister. Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus, line 23.

6 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:9.

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

8 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:48.

9 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:18.

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

11 Nietzsche, Frierich. The Antichrist, ch.7.

12 Nietzsche, Frierich. The Antichrist, ch.7.

13 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:41.

14Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:42-43.

15Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, III:17.

>>PART 7>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.5: Individuation and the True Will

Psychology of Liber AL

Individuation and the True Will

In the previous section of this essay, it was seen how the mind inhibits the full expression of the Will. The “factor infinite & unknown” is the “Subconscious Will,” and therefore, if we can clear away the thought-complexes that prevent this Will from manifesting, we will come to know our Will. This process by which we come to know and do our Will is called in some places “the Great Work.” Crowley explains this Great Work of coming to know one’s True Will concisely when he writes,

We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or ‘God.’ Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within. The uninitiate is a ‘Dark Star,’ and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by ‘purifying’ them. This ‘purification’ is really ‘simplification’; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds makes it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become ‘evil.’”1

This process of the Great Work that “consists principally in the solution of complexes” is also coterminous with a phrase Crowley often used: Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. He asserts this identity as clearly as possible when he writes, “this Great Work is the Attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of thine Holy Guardian Angel.”2

The process by which we come to know and do our Will is the solution of complexes inhibiting the free and natural flow of the Will. The Great Work is simply a clearing away of the inhibitions of the conscious self to allow the true Self, which contains both conscious and subconscious elements, free reign to do as it Wills. The theory is that if we are only able to “cleanse the doors of perception” (as William Blake says), we will be allowed to manifest our pure Wills effectively. Crowley writes, “Our own Silent Self, helpless and witless, hidden within us, will spring forth, if we have craft to loose him to the Light, spring lustily forward with his cry of Battle, the Word of our True Wills. This is the Task of the Adept, to have the Knowledge and Conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel, to become aware of his nature and his purpose, fulfilling them.”3 Here Crowley not only makes Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel analogous to becoming aware of and fulfilling one’s nature and purpose, but he admits that all we need is the “craft to loose” this “Silent Self” and then naturally the “Word of our True Wills” will “spring lustily forward.”

The various forms of Horus found in Liber AL vel Legis (Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Hoor-paar-kraat, Heru-pa-kraath, Heru-ra-ha, etc.)4 represent a symbolic expression of the “Silent” or “True Self” and so also a symbol of the Holy Guardian Angel. Horus is therefore an archetypal expression of the Self to which all aspire to unite or identify with in “the Great Work.” This is spoken of in Liber AL when Horus, the speaker of the third chapter, says, “To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss.”5 Crowley explains:

We have seen that Ra-Hoor-Khuit is in one sense the Silent Self in a man, a Name of his Khabs, not so impersonal as Hadit, but the first and least untrue formulation of the Ego. We are to revere this self in us, then, not to suppress it and subordinate it. Nor are we to evade it, but to come to it. This is done ‘through tribulation of ordeal.’ This tribulation is that experienced in the process called Psychoanalysis, now that official science has adopted — so far as its inferior intelligence permits — the methods of the magus. But the ‘ordeal’ is ‘bliss’; the solution of each complex by ‘tribulation’ …is the spasm of joy which is the physiological and psychological accompaniment of any relief from strain and congestion.”6

Crowley identifies Horus as a symbolic expression of the Self whose Will must not be suppressed, subordinated, or evaded. The more surprising of the statements by Crowley is that he claims the “tribulation of ordeal” of the Great Work is coterminous with Psychoanalysis, a direct connection again between psychology and Thelema. With this we can see that the process of psychoanalysis is analogous to “the Great Work” and “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel”: it is a realization of the true Self.

Carl Jung deemed this same process “individuation.” He defines individuation as:

becoming an ‘in-dividual,’ and in so far as ‘individuality’ embraces our innermost, last, and incomparable uniqueness, it also implies becoming one’s own self. We could therefore translate individuation as ‘coming to selfhood’ or ‘self-realization…’ Egotists are called ‘selfish,’ but this, naturally, has nothing to do with the concept of ‘self’ as I am using it here… Individuation, therefore, can only mean a process of psychological development that fulfils the individual qualities given; in other words, it is a process by which a man becomes the definite, unique being he in fact is. In so doing he does not become ‘selfish’ in the ordinary sense of the word, but is merely fulfilling the peculiarity of his nature, and this… is vastly different from egotism or individualism.”7

Jung here asserts that individuation is a “self-realization,” but makes sure to qualify this statement by saying this does not mean a strengthening of the ego-self. This Self that is realized is beyond the normal egocentric notion of “self.” Instead, this Self contains both the conscious (where the ego resides) and the unconscious factors. Jung explains that, “conscious and unconscious are not necessarily in opposition to one another, but complement on another to form a totality, which is the self.”8 This is the Self that one comes to “through tribulation of ordeal.” Horus is a symbol of that Self in Liber AL vel Legis, and in other places the Holy Guardian Angel is mentioned as that symbol. Crowley writes, “the Angel [is] the True Self of his subconscious self, the hidden Life of his physical life” and “his Angel is the Unity which expresses the sum of the Elements of that Self,”9 an almost exact parallel of Jung’s definition of the “Self.”10

As asserted before by Crowley, this process of individuation or “The Great Work… consists principally in the solution of complexes,” and is simply the becoming aware of and fulfilling of one’s nature. Through this Great Work of individuation, one comes to identify with this Self. In Thelema, one does such under the figure of Horus.11 One comes to know that “he [or she] is Harpocrates, the Child Horus… that is, he is in Unity with his own Secret Nature.”12

One might even assert that the Great Work is a natural process of the human psyche. Carl Jung says, “the driving force [of the unconscious], so far as it is possible for us to grasp it, seems to be in essence only an urge towards self-realization.”13 In this sense, all humans are participating in the drama of the “Great Work,” each striving, consciously or unconsciously, toward that union of subconscious and conscious natures into the Self so that they may more fully accomplish their Wills.

>>PART 6>>

1 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is for All, I:8.

2 Crowley, Aleister. Liber Aleph, “De Gradibus ad Magnum Opus.”

3 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is for All, I:7.

4 It is interesting to note that Crowley says in his commentary to Liber AL, “The Fool is also the Great Fool, Bacchus Diphues, Harpocrates, the Dwarf-Self, the Holy Guardian Angel, and so forth,” essentially equating all the symbols. Further, he writes in his comment to Liber AL II:8, “Harpocrates is… the Dwarf-Soul, the Secret Self of every man, the Serpent with the Lion’s Head.” If this is true, and if according to Liber AL I:8 “Hoor-paar-kraat” (a name for Harpocrates) is taken to be the source of Liber AL vel Legis as the book itself proclaims, then Liber AL was indeed a manifestation of Crowley’s unconscious. The fact is that the unconscious contains “both knowledge and power” greater than the conscious mind, and therefore it is quite possible that Liber AL vel Legis is a manifestation thereof.

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

6 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is for All, III:62.

7 Jung, Carl. “The Function of the Unconscious” from The Collected Works of C.G. Jung vol.7, par.266-267.

8 Jung, Carl. “The Function of the Unconscious” from The Collected Works of C.G. Jung vol.7, par.274.

9 Crowley, Aleister. “Liber Samekh,” Point II, Section G.

10 From these considerations it will be seen that the Holy Guardian Angel is most certainly not an external being as some in the Thelemic community maintain. This is due most likely to one statement made by Crowley in Magick Without Tears, a treatise intended for complete beginners. One must understand that the subconscious can and does appear as autonomous to the conscious mind. Therefore, one can speak of the Angel as “outside” of oneself insofar as it seems to function autonomously from the conscious ego, but ultimately one comes to see that the Angel is in fact the summation of both the subconscious and conscious natures that make up the self.

11 In an endnote to chapter 90 of Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Symonds writes about a statement Crowley made to a disciple Frank Bennett, “’I want to explain to you fully, and in a few words, what initiation means, and what is meant when we talk of the Real Self, and what the Real Self is.’ And there and then Crowley told him that it was all a matter of getting the subconscious mind to work; and when this subconscious mind was allowed full sway, without interference from the conscious mind, then illumination could be said to have begin; for the subconscious mind was our Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley illustrated the point thus: everything is experienced in the subconscious mind, and it (the subconscious) is constantly urging its will on consciousness, and when the inner desires are restricted or suppressed, evil of all kinds is the result.” Although this directly supports our conclusions we include it only in a footnote because it is a third-hand account.

12 Crowley, Aleister. Liber Aleph, “De Gramine Sanctissimo Arabico.”

13 Jung, Carl. “The Function of the Unconscious” from The Collected Works of C.G. Jung vol.7, par.291.

>>PART 6>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.4: Curse against Reason

Psychology of Liber AL

Curse against Reason

Aside from the Will being beyond rest, purpose, attachment to results, and morality, it also transcends reason and the mind in general in an important sense. In the normal functioning of daily life, the mind and reason often play integral parts: Thelema does not deny the usefulness of the mind and reason but seeks to put it in its right place. In the West, reason has held a central position in philosophy at least since Socrates. Reason was thought to be the only way to ascertain truth, and at times reason was often equated with God himself.1 The first major check to the dominance of reason in the Western mind came from Kant when he published his Critique of Pure Reason and demonstrated its various limits. This sort of check to the dominance of reason over one’s actions is echoed in Liber AL vel Legis. Essentially, the dominance and control of the mind, especially the reason, over the individual’s Will is brought into question. Liber AL vel Legis itself says,

“There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason. Now a curse upon Because and his kin! May Because be accursed for ever! If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.”2

Once again we must emphasize that Thelema is not denying the practical necessity of reason, but it attempts to delineate reason’s boundaries for the most effective functioning of the Will. On this Crowley writes, “We must not suppose for an instant that the Book of the Law is opposed to reason. On the contrary, its own claim to authority rests upon reason, and nothing else. It disdains the arts of the orator. It makes reason the autocrat of the mind. But that very fact emphasizes that the mind should attend to its own business. It should not transgress its limits. It should be a perfect machine, an apparatus for representing the universe accurately and impartially to its master. The Self, its Will, and its Apprehension, should be utterly beyond it.”3

First, “Because,” “Reason,” and “Why,” are all attacked under the form of a cursing by the speaker of the Book. If one asks “why” one should will something or if it is because of something, it cripples the Will and makes “Power weakness.” It was seen in an earlier segment of this essay that, if Will is considered to be “perfect in every way,” it must continue going or working without regard to purpose. In this way, the Will will be “unassuaged.” Crowley writes, “There is no ‘reason’ why a Star should continue in its orbit. Let her rip!”4 and also, “It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfill one’s true Nature, one must do one’s Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition.”5 These considerations of purpose are understood now to cause the “Will to stop & do nought,” essentially making it impotent. Therefore, the very nature of our actions is not decided by conscious reason but is to be decided by the Will. “Reason is a lie” because of a “factor infinite & unknown,” which Crowley clearly states “is the subconscious Will.”6 The subconscious naturally cannot be completely understood by the conscious mind, the sphere of reason, so therefore reason’s “words are skew-wise.” It can never delineate the true Will in words because of the subconscious Will, a factor that is by definition “unknown” or below the conscious level of perception. The Will therefore can certainly not be coterminous with “will power” or “volition,” for the Will must encompass the subconscious aspect of one’s self as well as the conscious.

Crowley affirms this doctrine when he writes, “every time the conscious acts, it interferes with the Subconscious… It is the voice of Man, and not of a God. Any man who ‘listens to reason’ ceases to be a revolutionary.”7 Here Crowley makes the subconscious analogous to “the voice of… a God,” for the depths of the unconscious contents contain latent potencies that seem God-like when awakened and assimilated. Crowley explains Liber AL’s position on reason succinctly:

We now come to a challenge which is in some ways even more daring than any yet made. Before, the moral sense of men was outraged. He now turns to attack the Reason itself. He looks on reason as a soulless machine. Its proper function is to express the Will in terms of conscious thought, the will being the need of the inmost self to express itself by causing some Event.”8

This is the summary of Liber AL vel Legis’ point-of-view of the correct use of reason. Here we see that reason is “a soulless machine” in that the actual self or soul is not in reason, but the Will merely utilizes reason and the mind in general as a machine for expression. Essentially, the proper function of reason is to express the Will in terms of conscious thought but not dictate its actions, for that would cause the Will to “stop & do nought.” The idea behind this is that reason cannot fully comprehend and execute the demands of the Will because “This will (as such) is not conscious. We can only become aware of it, and thus enjoy and learn from the Event, by making an Image of it. Reason is the machine whose function it is to do this. When reason usurps the higher functions of the mind, when it presumes to dictate to the Will what its desires ought to be, it wrecks the entire structure of the star. The Self should set the Will in motion, that is, the Will should only take its orders from within and above.”9 Jung echoes this exact sentiment when he says, “The intellect does indeed do harm to the soul when it dares to possess itself of the heritage of the spirit. It is in no way fitted to do this, for spirit is something higher than intellect since it embraces the latter and includes the feelings as well.”10 The Self that Jung equates with “spirit” in this quotation includes both conscious and unconscious contents and therefore its actions should not be delineated by reason, a construct of merely the conscious aspect of his being.

The overuse of reason has caused a split in modern man’s psyche, detaching him/her from the subconscious sphere of the psyche. Carl Jung defines nervous disorders as “consist[ing] primarily in an alienation from one’s instincts, a splitting off of consciousness from certain basic facts of the psyche.” This over-extension of reason’s boundaries in our Western society has caused “a splitting off of consciousness” from the basic facts of the subconscious. Jung continues, “Rationalistic opinions come unexpectedly close to neurotic symptoms. Like these, they consist of distorted thinking, which takes the place of psychologically correct thinking. The latter kind of thinking always retains its connection with the heart, with the depths of the psyche, the tap-root.”11 Here he identifies “psychologically correct thinking” as that “kind of thinking [which] always retains its connection… with the depths of the psyche, tap-root.” This “psychologically correct thinking” is exactly the same notion that is implied in Liber AL’s curses against the intellect and reason. The thinking which takes its directives from the Will is “psychologically correct” whereas reason delineating boundaries itself will cause the Will to “fall into the pit called Because” and become impotent.

While commenting on one of Jung’s works, Stephan Hoeller writes, “Thinking, the function of reason, has many commendable uses and cannot be eliminated, but it also builds barriers between the personality and its unconscious matrix. In order to reach the necessary transformative self-knowledge, one needs to keep the thinking function subservient to the inspiration proceeding from the Self.”12 Once again the same doctrine is expounded. “The inspiration proceeding from the Self,” which contains both the conscious and unconscious, is the Will of the individual and therefore to this the thinking function must remain subservient. If it does not, it will “build barriers between the personality [conscious self] and its unconscious matrix,” to do so would create a conflict in the Will and it will “perish with the dogs of Reason.”

“If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out.”
William Blake

>>PART 5>>

1 The logos of the Gospel of John ch.1 refers to the Word of God but is sometimes translated as “Reason.”

2 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, II:27-32.

3 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:28.

4 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:30.

5 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:31.

6 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:30.

7 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:30.

8 Crowley, Aleister. “Djeridensis Working,” II:28-31.

9 Crowley, Aleister. “Djeridensis Working,” II:28-31.

10 Jung, Carl. “Psychological Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower” par.7.

11 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung, volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 808.

12 Hoeller, Stephan. The Gnostic Jung, p.76.

>>PART 5>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.3: The Notion of Sin Abolished

Psychology of Liber AL

The Notion of Sin Abolished

“The formula of this law is: Do what thou wilt. Its moral aspect is simple enough in theory. Do what thou wilt does not mean Do as you please, although it implies this degree of emancipation, 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.
—Aleister Crowley, “The Method of Thelema”

In Thelema, one is enjoined to “Do what thou wilt,” and we have seen that this Will, if it is to be considered as “pure” and “perfect,” must be performed with tireless energy, without regard to purpose, and without lusting after results. One other diversion or veil from the “pure will” is conventional morality and especially notion of “sin.”

In Judeo-Christian-Islamic terms, the world is generally viewed in terms of good and evil, with “good” actions being those that adhere to the specific laws set forth in whatever book is held holy and “evil” being the turning away from such laws. Thelema is a philosophy or a point-of-view that Nietzsche would have termed to be “beyond good and evil.” The only restriction in Thelema is to restrict or be diverted from one’s Will. In fact, the line right after the aphorism “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” is this:

The word of Sin is Restriction.”1

Crowley explains this succinctly, saying that this “is a general statement or definition of Sin or Error. Anything soever that binds the will, hinders it, or diverts it, is Sin.”2 Here is a completely new view of ethics wherein the only “evil” is to divert from oneself, or more accurately, from one’s Will.

Psychologically, when one deviates from one’s true inner promptings, a conflict arises which is generally known as “neurosis.” Carl Jung defines nervous disorders a “consist[ing] primarily in an alienation from one’s instincts, a splitting off of consciousness from certain basic facts of the psyche.”3 Generally, when a action, thought, or tendency arises within someone that is contrary to their society’s (or religion’s) current view of what is “right” (Freud’s “superego”), the psyche tends to suppress and prevent those unlikable aspects from appearing to the conscious mind. Although these thoughts (e.g. to a Christian, the thought of performing a homosexual act) may not appear consciously to the person as much, the same exact tendency still lies within the subconscious and still exerts its influence. This suppression of a natural tendency to bring it into line with societal expectations of conduct is the basis of psychological “repression.”

In Thelema, these repressions are understood for what they are: repressions of the natural inclinations of an individual. Therefore, if the sole law is to do one’s will, artificially repressing aspects of oneself leads to a disastrous split in one’s psyche, and hence, one’s Will. One is deviating from one’s Will when one is creating a fundamental split in oneself – creating ‘multiple wills’ that diverge and conflict – which is fundamentally a split of the conscious (with its many arbitrary notions of “right and wrong”) from the unconscious and instinctual. Thelema recognizes that all deviations from this unique Will, including all repressions of the natural instinct to conform to artificial notions of moral conduct, will lead to repression, which leads inevitably to neurosis. Crowley wrote, “Thelemites are ‘thrice-born;’4 we accept everything for what it is, without ‘lust of result,’ without insisting upon things conforming with a priori ideals, or regretting their failure to do so. We can therefore ‘enjoy’ all things of sense and rapture’ according to their true nature.5

One of the most evident applications of this dictum that “the word of Sin is Restriction” is in relation to sex morality. Every religion has undoubtedly had innumerable restrictions upon sexual life, especially for women. Liber AL vel Legis proclaims that, not only is “every man and every woman… a star,”6 showing their essential equality, but further, it is written to “take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!”7 This line is strangely prophetic of the Sexual Revolution that took place in the late 1960s, over half a century after the writing of Liber AL vel Legis, and also the groundbreaking research on sex by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s. There are no restrictions even as to relationships of love that may be considered to be expressions of homosexuality, masochism, or sodomy, for, from the point-of-view of the Thelemite, a thing is “wrong” only insofar as it has brought one to deviate from one’s own Will. As Crowley says, “We have no right to interfere with any type of manifestation of the sexual impulse on a priori grounds.”8

Crowley writes, “‘Love under will’ is the Law. We refuse to regard love as shameful and degrading, as a peril to body and soul. We refuse to accept it as the surrender of the divine to the animal; to us it is the means by which the animal may be made the Winged Sphinx which shall bear man aloft to the House of the Gods.”9 The sexual instinct was repressed without mercy in the religions of the past and was often decried as animalistic or sinful. Thelema turns this idea on its head by saying not only is sex not shameful or degrading, it is the natural function of a human and if it is in accordance with their own will they should express it (not in accordance with some a priori rule-set).

Crowley summarizes all these sentiments when he proclaims, “It should be abundantly clear from the foregoing remarks that each individual has an absolute and indefeasible right to use his sexual vehicle in accordance with its own proper character, and that he is responsible only to himself.”10 Psychologically, this is a healthy route to take, for “Sex-repression leads to neurosis, and is the cause of social unrest.”11 Alfred Kinsey found in his research on sexuality that “Sexual desire is a basic, biological urge, drive, or instinct which demands satisfaction… if the (male) sexual drive is denied legitimate outlets, it will find satisfaction in illegitimate ones” (i.e. rape, sexual abuse of children, etc.), “repression of sexual desire may lead to physical or mental illness, especially ‘neurosis’ in women …[and] the need for sex is as basic as the need for food.”12 In this light, it seems Thelema has given us an adequate framework to act without fear of “physical or mental illness” because of our sexual inclinations.

Essentially, by proclaiming “the word of Sin is Restriction,” Liber AL vel Legis says that all restriction or repression of the Will is the only “evil” or “sin.”13 We know that “Repression of the natural satisfaction may result in addition to secret and dangerous vices which destroy their victim because they are artificial and unnatural aberrations.”14 The idea of restriction extends obviously beyond that of sex morality, but it has clear and obvious repercussions upon it and therefore it was necessary to go into this specific aspect in detail.

Truly, the dictums of “Do what thou wilt” and “the word of Sin is Restriction” apply to all morality in general. The quotation that begins this chapter succinctly explains this in simple terms 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.” Crowley further writes that, “There are no ‘standards of Right’. Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with ‘moral principle’; there is no such thing.”15 In this sense, Thelema has shown there is no such thing as an absolute standard of right and wrong; there is only a relative standard of right and wrong in relation with each person’s unique nature and circumstance – their unique Will.

In reality, good and evil are not different from each other. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are merely conventional terms. Depending on how it is used, the same thing can be ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Take, for example, this lamplight. Because of its burning we are able to see and do various works of utility; this is one mode of using the light. Now, if you put your fingers in it, they will be burnt; that is another mode of using the same light. So it is clear that a thing becomes good or bad according to the way we use it. The same is the case with virtue and vice. Broadly speaking, the proper use of any of the faculties of our mind and body is virtue, and their improper use is vice.”
—Swami Vivekananda
16

>>PART 4>>

1 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:41.

2 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:41.

3 Jung, Carl. “The Soul and Death” from Collected Works of C.G. Jung, volume 8: The Struture and Dynamics of the Psyche, par. 808.

4 A reference to the Thelemite’s transcending of the categories of ‘once-born’ and ‘twice-born’ as elucidated by William James in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience.

5 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:22.

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

7 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:51.

8 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:51.

9 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:51.

10 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:51.

11 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:52.

12 Cablan, Pat & Caplan, Patricia. The Cultural Construction of Sexuality, p.72.

13 Though, it should be noted that in Thelema, the notion of “sin” can never nearly approach that of the Christian or Muslim’s for there is no notion of Original Sin nor of an eternal Judge of our actions.

14 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, I:51.

15 Crowley, Aleister. The Law is For All, II:28.

16 Vivekananda, Swami. Conversation: Saturday, January 23, 1898. Recorded in Bengali by Surendra Nath Sen in his private diary. Complete Works, vol.5: 337.

>>PART 4>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.2: Each person as a Star with a Will

Psychology of Liber AL

Each person as a Star with a Will

“The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.”
-Albert Einstein, Mein Weltbild (1931)

After the proclamations of Nuit and Hadit, there comes one of the most important statements to Thelema in the third line of Liber AL:

Every man and every woman is a star.”1

By this is meant that “we are all free, all independent, all shining gloriously, each one a radiant world”2 and further that “the Individual is the Autarch.”3 In the same sense that the sun, as a star, is center of the solar system in the physical macrocosm, every man and every woman is understood to be a sort of microcosmic star and center of his or her own system. “A star is an individual identity; it radiates energy, it goes, it is a point of view. Its object is to become the whole by establishing relations with other stars. Each such relation is an Event: it is an act of Love under Will”4 – Each individual is “an aggregate of such experiences, constantly changing with each fresh event, which affects him or her either consciously or subconsciously.”5

Certainly, from a psychological standpoint, it can be easily understood that we are all centers of our own universe6 and also ‘aggregates of experience’ as our own memories show. Further, stars are self-luminous implying that we derive power and strength from within ourselves and not an outside source (explained in depth later), and also stars are constantly in motion interacting with the gravitational pulls of the infinite other stars and systems.

Thelema posits that Hadit is “the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star.”7 Crowley writes “He is then your own inmost divine self; it is you, and not another, who are lost in the constant rapture of the embraces of Infinite Beauty.”8 In fact, Nuit tells us “Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!”9 showing that we are intimately interconnected with divinity, mirroring the general Eastern sentiment of the soul’s link to God and the sentiment seen in the West in mystics like Meister Eckhart and Miguel de Molinos:

“Thou art to know, that thy Soul is the Center, Habitation, and the Kingdom of God.”10

In a word, by saying “every man and every woman is a star,” we assert both the individual’s sovereignty and their divinity. Just as physical stars each have their unique course in the span of space, each individual is understood to have their own unique Will. In fact, “Thelema” itself means “Will” and this is the foundation of the entire philosophy of Thelema. It is said:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”11

There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”12

These two statements clearly establish that everything in Thelema revolves around the dictum of “do what thou wilt.” As Crowley often noted, this does not mean, “do what you like” but is a command to perform one’s “true” or “pure will” and nothing else. Liber AL proclaims, “Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.”13

Now we can see the general point-of-view of existence formulated in Thelema: each individual is considered as a “star” whose sole right or duty is to perform their Will. In the core of this star is Hadit and about the star are the infinite space & possibilities of Nuit. We have established that each individual is at the center of his or her own universe, a “secret centre, heart, & tongue”14 of the divine, each performing their unique Will amidst Nuit, Infinite Space.

Since the Will is considered absolutely paramount in Thelema, we must understand how a Thelemite is supposed to “Will” things. Liber AL asserts something distinguished as “pure will” and explains its conditions:

For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.”15

Therefore, for will to be considered “pure” and “every way perfect” by the conditions set forth in Liber AL, it must be

1) “unassuaged of purpose” and

2) “delivered from the lust of result”

The first consideration, “unassuaged of purpose,” has two meanings to be considered. The first is the more obvious, which is that will is impeded or weakened by “purpose” and it is meant to go on its way unrestricted by these notions of “purpose.” The mind and reason are generally an obstacle to the full expression of a person’s Will in many ways and this idea is treated in a later section more fully. The next consideration is simply that it means “with purpose unassuaged” or “with tireless energy.”

Secondly, to be “delivered from the lust of result” means to be unaffected by or unattached to the results of one’s actions. This doctrine is a central tenet to the Eastern system of karma yoga where it is generally called “non-attachment to the fruits of action.” It might also be said that it is known to the West under the aphorism of “Art for art’s sake.” The Bhagavad Gita succinctly describes this doctrine of being “delivered from the lust of result” when it says,

Those whose consciousness is unified abandon all attachment to the results of action and attain supreme peace. But those whose desires are fragmented, who are selfishly attached to the results of their work, are bound in everything they do. Those who renounce attachment in all their deeds live content in the ‘city of nine gates,’ the body, as its master.”16

Essentially, this line from Liber AL vel Legis means that to perform our “pure will” which “is every way perfect,” we must do our will with tireless energy, without regard to purpose, and without concern for results. Crowley wrote, “Thou must (1) Find out what is thy Will. (2) Do that Will with a) one-pointedness, (b) detachment, (c) peace. Then, and then only, art thou in harmony with the Movement of Things, thy will part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God’s will, Thou art That.”17

In Liber AL vel Legis, Nuit declares, “Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will.”18 Crowley explains that this means “while Will is the Law, the nature of that Will is Love. But this Love is as it were a by-product of that Will; it does not contradict or supersede that Will; and if apparent contradiction should arise in any crisis, it is the Will that will guide us aright.” Therefore the method or modus operandi of Thelema is “love under will,” which means the assimilation of experience in accordance with one’s Will.19

It must be recognized that “Love” in the context of Thelema and Liber AL vel Legis is understood in a very universal way. It is not what most would consider the emotion of love or kindheartedness. Crowley writes, “Lo, while in The Book of the Law is much of Love, there is no word of Sentimentality. Hate itself is almost like Love!”20 for even hate is an experience worthy of our assimilation and integration. Instead, it essentially refers to all acts whatsoever, any “Change in conformity with Will,” for all actions are lawful and necessary. Crowley explains “Every event is a uniting of some one monad with one of the experiences possible to it,”21 and further that “Each action or motion is an act of love, the uniting with one or another part of “Nuit”; each such act must be ‘under will,’ chosen so as to fulfill and not to thwart the true nature of the being concerned.”22 Therefore, while “love” may refer specifically to acts of “union” (in the sense that sex is union on the physical plane, and samadhi23 is union on the mental plane) all experiences are understood as acts of “love” in the more universal sense that “every event is a uniting of some one monad with one of the experiences possible to it,” including acts of what may be perceived to be acts of “division.”

Now we can understand that “there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt,”24 and “love under will” is essentially the assimilation of experience in accordance with the nature of the individual. The conception mirrors Carl Roger’s propositions which are the assertions underlying his system of “client-centered therapy.” He writes as his sixth proposition,

The organism has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing organism.”25

These acts of “actualiz[ing], maintain[ing] and enhanc[ing] the experiencing organism” are what Thelema terms acts of “love.” The one condition that is important from the standpoint of Liber AL vel Legis is that acts of “love” must be done “under will,” or in accordance with the nature of the particular circumstance and the individual (or the “organism” if we are to use Rogerian terminology). An act of “love under will” performed properly is what Carl Rogers would term “psychological adjustment” as opposed to “psychological maladjustment.” Rogers writes as his fourteenth and fifteenth propositions:

Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self.

Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies awareness of significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.”26

Psychological adjustment” consists in proper “assimilation” of experiences being equivalent to the “love under will” method of Thelema, whereas “psychological maladjustment” consists of the improper “assimilation” of experience, which creates “psychological tension.” Essentially, we can see that Thelema coincides with, and in a certain fashion anticipated, the Rogerian “propositions” that form the basis of his “client-centered therapy.”

“All love is expansion, all selfisihness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.” –Swami Vivekananda

>>PART 3>>

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

2 Crowley, Aleister. “Liber DCCCXXXVII: The Law of Liberty” from Equinox III(1).

3 Crowley, Aleister. Magick Without Tears, ch.48.

4 Crowley, Aleister. “The Antecedents of Thelema” from The Revival of Magick.

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

6 This also attests to the universal import of mandala-like art pieces across cultures, for they are all expressions of that central point of consciousness and the apparent unfolding and expression of the psyche & universe around it. This was a subject of study for Carl Jung.

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

8 Crowley, Aleister. “The Law of Liberty.”

9 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:6.

10 de Molinos, Miguel. Spiritual Guide of Miguel de Molinos (1685), ch.1, verse 1.

11 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:40.

12 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, III:60.

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

14 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:6.

15 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:44.

16 Bhagavad Gita (trans. By E. Easwaran), chapter 5, verse 12-13.

17 Crowley, Aleister. “Liber II: Message of the Master Therion” from Equinox III(1).

18 Crowley, Aleister. Liber AL vel Legis, I:57.

19 This harkens back to the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart who wrote, “The place where love has its being is only in the will; the person who has more will, also has more love. But no one knows about anyone else, whether one has more of it; that lies hidden in the soul, so long as God lies hidden in the soul’s ground. This love lies wholly in the will; whoever has more will, also has more love.” -Meister Eckhart, Counsels on Discernment (Counsel 10).

20 Crowley, Aleister. “The Message of the Master Therion” from Equinox III(1).

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

22 Crowley, Aleister. Introduction to Liber AL vel Legis, part III.

23 “Samadhi” is the Hindu term used n the practice of yoga for the psychological phenomenon of the disappearance (or ‘union’ or ‘cessation’) of subject and object known in various forms under different names in various cultures. This subject is too extensive to go into depth in this essay.

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

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

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

>>PART 3>>

Psychology of Liber AL – pt.1: Introduction & First Principles

Psychology of Liber AL

Introduction

Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX was a treatise that Aleister Crowley wrote (or “received”) in Egypt in 1904. This book is the foundation of the philosophical-religious system of Thelema, and this essay is intended to establish Liber AL as a valid exposition of psychology as well. Liber AL makes what appear to be many metaphysical and spiritual claims, but we will examine these in a strictly psychological light. Carl Jung wrote these carefully formulated words that characterize the attitude of this essay,

The religious point of view always expresses and formulates the essential psychological attitude and its specific prejudices.”1

and so, “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. It does not consider them to be absolutely valid or even capable of establishing a metaphysical truth.”2

Therefore, Liber AL vel Legiss many assertions are now understood as describing mental phenomena, or more accurately, things that are part of the psyche, from the conscious to the deepest recesses of the unconscious. Since Liber AL will be treated as a series of psychological assertions about mental phenomenon, it might be said to be entirely subjective. This is simply not true. Just as natural scientists rely upon the uniformity of nature, the psychologist depends on the relative uniformity of the human psyche. Jung writes:

It must be pointed out that just as the human body shows a common anatomy over and above all racial differences, so, too, the human psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious. This unconscious psyche, common to all mankind does not consist merely of contents capable of becoming conscious, but of latent predispositions towards identical reactions. The collective unconscious is simply the psychic expression of the identity of brain structure irrespective of all racial differences.”3

Thus, potentially, we may more accurately describe Liber AL vel Legis as both a product and an expression of the collective unconscious, filtered through the peculiar and unique psyche of Aleister Crowley. We may therefore find statements of universal import explained under the figure of certain symbols that were familiar to Crowley’s consciousness and therefore reproduced by the unconscious in this text. If we can understand the meaning of various terms and symbols in Liber AL vel Legis as they are used hopefully as Crowley understood them – the meaning or purpose in their appearance from the unconscious in the text can be understood. Then we can see that Thelema essentially puts forward a new psychological point-of-view of life.

First principles

These principles must first be established to form a functional framework of Thelema to work adequately within. The principles of existence in Liber AL vel Legis are proclaimed as a dichotomy (much like the Taoist concepts of yin & yang and the Western concepts of the elements water & fire) in the first line of both chapter 1 and 2.4 They are Nu/Nuit and Had/Hadit, which are understood as Infinite Space/Potential and Infinite Motion respectively. Interestingly, they are represented under the ancient symbolic figure, “In the sphere I [Hadit] am everywhere the centre, as she [Nuit], the circumference, is nowhere found,” which echoes an almost identical statement made by Empedocles5 in the 5th century B.C..

Nuit is “The infinite in whom all we live and move and have our being,”6 “Nuit is all that may be, and is shewn by means of any one that is,”7 “the total of possibilities of every kind,”8 and she proclaims of herself, “I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof.”9 Hadit is very abstract: he “hath no Nature of His own, for He is that to which all Events occur,”10 and he is “any point which has experience of these possibilities.”11 The universe is then understood to be made up of the complements similar to Matter and Motion, Space and Time, but understood under the symbolic figures of Nuit and Hadit, etc. In this way, we can see that Thelema posits a universe much like our own understandings (e.g. the space-time continuum) yet adds a symbolic and almost personal dimension to these ideas. Further, Liber AL has presented a symbol set for the subconscious to work with. Crowley deepened this symbolism when he wrote:

The manifested Universe comes from the marriage of Nuit and Hadit; without this could no thing be. This eternal, this perpetual marriage-feast is then the nature of things themselves; and therefore everything that is, is a crystallization of divine ecstasy.”12

The first fact of life for the Thelemite is then that all things are understood under the symbol figure of a coition or ‘perpetual marriage-feast’ of these two ideas of “Infinite Space” (Nuit) and that which experiences these possibilities (Hadit); therefore life itself is understood as “a crystallization of divine ecstasy.” These are the first evidences that Thelema, as expressed in Liber AL vel Legis, puts forward a new psychological point-of-view of joy, a subject that will be touched upon in greater depth in a later section.

Essentially, a sort of dichotomy has been established: the Perceiver-of-events, having no qualities in itself, is called Hadit and All-events-that-can-be-perceived, the Field of perception, is Nuit – a perfectly acceptable model for understanding the world psychologically. This echoes a similar statement made in the Hindu Bhagavad Gita:

“Whatever exists… animate or inanimate, is born through the union of the field and its Knower.”13

It also is remarkably similar to the ideas of the psychologist Carl Rogers14 who described his “client-centered therapy” in 1951, four years after Aleister Crowley’s death. Rogers delineated nineteen propositions that describe his system of therapy, and the very first proposition is:

All individiuals (organisms) exist in a continually changing world of experience (phenomenal field) of which they are the centre.”15

The individual point-of-view, Hadit, exists in a continually changing phenomenal field, Nuit, of which he/she is the centre, just as was seen above. Rogers claims in the seventh proposition, “The best vantage point for understanding behaviour is from the internal frame of reference of the individual.”16 These are the first instances of Liber AL vel Legis anticipating various psychological models.

>>PART 2>>

1

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Jung, Carl. “Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation,” extracted from Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 11, Psychology and Religion: West and East, par. 771.

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

3 Jung, Carl. “Psychological Commentary on ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’” extracted from Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 13, Alchemical Studies, par. 11.

4 “Had! The manifestation of Nuit” (Liber AL, I:1) & “Nu! The hiding of Hadit” (Liber AL, II:1).

5 Empedocles is the same person who also believed that the world was made up specifically of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.

6 Crowley, Aleister. “Liber DCCCXXXVII: The Law of Liberty.”

7 Crowley, Aleister. “Djeridensis Working,” I:1.

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

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

10 Crowley, Aleister. “Djeridensis Working,” II:2.

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

12 Crowley, Aleister. “Liber DCCCXXXVII: The Law of Liberty” from Equinox III(1).

13 Bhagavad Gita (trans. by E. Easwaran), ch.13, verse 26.

14 Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was one of the founders of the “humanistic” approach to psychology, he was one of the founders of psychotherapy research, he was the founder of the person-centered approach to therapy, and he was awarded by the American Psychological Association (of which he was the 55th president in 1947) with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in 1952 and the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Psychology in 1972.

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

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

>>PART 2>>

Feasts of the Times: A Feast for the First Night of the Prophet and his Bride

A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride

by Frater IAO131

BACKGROUND

This feast is celebrated on August 12, and its primary purpose is to celebrate the anniversary of Crowley’s marriage to Rose that made possible the reception of The Book of the Law. Crowley comments, “There should be a special feast on the 12th day of August in every year, since it was the marriage of The Beast which made possible the revelation of the New Law. (This is not an Apology for Marriage. Hard Cases make Bad Law).”

In terms of E.G.C., this ceremony represents the Collect of Marriage, which involves the union of all things, not only the legal proceedings of marriage. In terms of M.M.M., this ceremony represents II° insofar as this shows the soul “how it may best carry out its object in the eucharist of life. It partakes, so to speak, of its own godhead in every action, but especially through the typical sacrament of marriage, understood as the voluntary union of itself with each element of its environment” (Confessions, ch.72).

This feast has five scenes that follow the basic 5-act structure. Each scene refers not only to semi-historical events but also to important parts of each star’s journey in accomplishing their Wills:

  1. The first scene involves Rose, who is the hero of this story and symbolizes each aspirant, and her Father, who symbolizes the “great dragon” of tradition and authority, being a microcosm of the Old Aeon of slave religion in general. This scene symbolizes the oppression of the values of the Old Aeon, both historically as well as individually in terms of the various constraints, beliefs, habits, and values of youth that must be discarded and transcended in the process of growth.

  2. The second scene involves the arrival of the Beast, who represents Crowley historically and the Holy Guardian Angel of each individual symbolically. Rose confides in the Beast about her arranged marriage and he resolves to marry her to absolve her of her obligation. This represents, more generally, the Trance of Sorrow where the aspirant becomes dissatisfied with the world and is given the motive to start upon the Path of the Great Work.1

  3. In the third scene, Rose is then given a choice to adhere to the security of tradition and authority as symbolized by the Father on the one hand or the Liberty and Light of the path of the Great Work as symbolized by the Beast on the other hand. Rose chooses to follow her own True Will, and leaves with the Beast. This represents every aspirant’s choice to begin the journey out of the Darkness of ignorance and into the Light, out of the Old Aeon and into the New. The scenes therefore get more and more comedic as the Laughter of the Child slowly overtakes the Sorrow of the Dying Father.

  4. The fourth scene involves the marriage of the Beast and Rose. Before being married, the Beast or Holy Guardian Angel teaches that she must be balanced in herself before uniting with him. “Equilibrium is the basis of the Work.”2 The Beast tests Rose in the Four Powers of the Sphinx as a form of acquiring balance or equilibrium of the Four Elements.

  5. The fifth scene involves the marriage of the Sphinx and Pyramid, Rose and the Beast, which is the act of conception that will eventually lead to the birth of the Child of The Book of the Law. This can be seen as symbolically reflective of the task of all individuals in uniting with their Gods or Holy Guardian Angels so they may bring forth their own Word to the world.

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. 

: Rose – Dressed in red/scarlet dress. She performs the role of Rose Kelly who is symbolic of the soul of the aspirant.

: The Beast – Dressed in blue/azure. He performs the role of Aleister Crowley who is symbolic of the Holy Guardian Angel/Beast.

: The Father – Dressed in black garments or a black robe. He performs the role of the father of Rose who is symbolic of the “great dragon (c.f. Zarathustra) of authority, obligation, and the Old Aeon in general.

: The People – Dressed as they will. They participate when appropriate.

* * * * *

SCENE I: Rose & her Father

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

: Love is the law, love under will.

: Upon all that this day unite with love under will let fall success; may strength and skill unite to bring forth ecstasy, and beauty answer beauty.

: So mote it be.

: In the eucharist of life, the soul partakes of its own godhead in every action, but especially through the typical sacrament of marriage, understood as the voluntary union of itself with each element of its environment. Every mundane marriage is therefore symbolic of the union of the soul and the elements of its world, and – on a higher level – the union of the Adept with her God.

[pause, focus shifts to ♄ and ]

: We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the feast for the first night of the Prophet and his bride, which made possible the revelation of the New Law. We must therefore go back in time, 110 [change accordingly] years ago, before Rose and Aleister were married.

[A pause]

: My dear Rose, I have tended this garden with careful watch for many seasons. The weeds of temptation have been uprooted so they could not corrupt you; pure waters of the Lord’s word were gathered for you to be fed. I have labored for years so that you, my flower, could one day be plucked to be worn as boutonnière.3 My dear Rose, you are like the red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June. O my girl’s like the melody that’s sweetly played in tune.4

: Your words are kind and full of lightness, Father, yet I hear a dark and heavy drone that weighs down my soul.

: What mean thing could possibly besmirch your fair bosom with weight at such a joyous time? I have arranged for you to be married to a noble man, noble and gold-endowed! All the preparations have been made; there is no reason left for you to fret.

: It is just that, my lord. Make no mistake. To you I am bound for life and education. My life and education both taught me how to respect you: you are the lord of duty. I am hitherto your daughter.5 I wish I could profess such undying duty to my future husband.

: Do you doubt my judgment in selecting a suitor? I have called in every favor to make for the most profitable and secure arrangement for you.

: Yes, profitable and secure, indeed. With that I can agree.

: What else would could one wish for in the future father to one’s children?

: I would that my heart was as well-endowed as my purse.

: A heart requires health, and the greatest health is gained through comfort and security.

: [aside, said sarcastically about her father] Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art!6

: What is that, my dear?

: Nothing, father, you are kind in your care for me, and you know me well.

: Aye, of course I know you well, and you are a worthy daughter for honoring your father. A thought almost occurred that you might be balking at my carefully cultivated arrangements.

[The father walks off mumbling to himself]

: Nobody knows this little Rose… I might a pilgrim be.7

SCENE II: The Arrival of the Beast

: Later that night, Rose attended a gathering organized by her brother Gerald Kelly. There she met the Beast in whom she confided her secret suffering.

: …and he is arriving from America in no less than a week. Though I am indebted to my father through duty, I cannot in good faith accept the suitor arranged for me. I don’t love him; I barely know him! Oh, what a troubling song my heart-strings play!

: My fair Rose, duty that is imposed by others is naught but tyranny. A rose is rightly colored with love’s strong pulse, never by the bloody stains from traitorous refusal of your soul’s decrees. [Rose is distressed] Don’t upset yourself about such a trifle.8 Luckily for such a damsel as yourself, I am pledged through a solemn oath to battle all forms of oppression.

: Such wise benevolence and incorruptible justice9 you display! What must I do to acquire your aid?

: All you must do is marry me.10 I will absolve you of your obligations, and you will be responsible only for your own conduct.

: But my father will never accept our treacherous tryst!

: I would only that your fate were free, not for any benediction of paternity.

: Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art!11

: Ah, you speak in sweet poetry that bewitches even the Beast! Yes, we will confront your father soon, when the sun next rises! There is a budding morrow in midnight12… who knows what species of fortune may flower?

SCENE III: The Confrontation

: The next morning, Rose and the Beast went to confront her father.

[Rose enters the Father’s room]

: Good morning! What signs do your petals unfold to tell today, young Rose?13

: Father, my lord, I have come with my bridegroom.

: Here already? What great fortune! Bring him in!

[The Beast enters]

: What? Who is this ghastly beast of a man?

: Great and wild Beast to you, good sir. Although my friends may call me Little Sunshine.14 I am to wed your Rose today.

: What sins have you committed to be indebted to such a devil?

: I owe no debt but undying gratitude. I marry him of my own free will!

: How dare you! Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother!15

: Ah, Father, every scale on your serpentine skin glitters a golden “Thou shalt.” The values of ages long-since past are etched in your scales. You are the great dragon that I am no longer inclined to call Lord. “Thou shalt,” you say, and “Thou shalt not.” To that, this man lent me a portion of his lion-spirit and now I say to you, “I will.”16

: You are indebted to me for life and education, remember? I own you and you will marry as arranged!

: There is no property in human flesh.17

: I own myself and answer only to myself!

: O Rose, you are sick. The invisible worm that flies in the night in the howling storm has found out thy bed of crimson joy, and his dark secret love does your life destroy.”18

: O Rose! Who dares to name thee! I can see you no longer roseate now, nor soft, nor sweet, but pale, and hard, and dry, as stubble-wheat. Kept twenty-eight years in a drawer…

: Twenty-nine!19

: Kept twenty-nine years in a drawer, I’m not surprised your name shames thee.20

: Where is the modest woman I raised so carefully?

: The veil of the modest woman is the veil of sorrow and the pall of death! She has torn down that lying spectre of the centuries and veils not her vices in virtuous words any more!21

: I fear that my own shock and sorrow have paralyzed me. [He leans against a table or bed] Go now, Rose. Go now, you miserable Beast! I must lie down and hopefully awake from this horrible nightmare.

[Rose starts to exit]

: A Woman under Tabu is loathsome to Life, detested by her fellows, and wretched in herself.22 To me, a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is.23

:[Rose grabs the Beast] That is enough! Indignation may stir the dragon out of his cave and we will miss our chance. Let’s go!

[They exit]

SCENE IV: The Equilibration

: Having chosen liberty over obligation, Rose set upon a dangerous path. Before the marriage, the Beast described the preliminaries that would need to be undertaken.

: Through my extensive travels in the lands of mysticism and magick, I have fashioned myself four-fold as a proud Pyramid. My sides are life, love, liberty, and light, and my apex is poised to receive the kisses of the stars.24 Being that I am such a monument of man, I will have no bride but a spotless Sphinx.25

☽: Ah, I know this riddle!26

☉: This is no riddle as there is no sure solution. I speak of the four powers of the Sphinx. One must find and learn and re-learn these: to know, to will, to dare, and to keep silence.

☽: Though these ideas are new to me, I pray that you would test my present ability.

☉: Fine then, let’s jump right in! I will put four questions before you and let’s see if you sink or swim.

☽: Although I’ve been cloistered, I believe I’ve still learned my fair share. Do your worst, ‘you miserable Beast!’

☉: First, what is true knowledge?

☽: True knowledge is not known but what’s felt as innately right, the heart’s subtle understanding is one’s sole guiding light.27

☉: A bit sentimental and a bit unclear, but I’ll accept your answer and press on, my dear. Now, tell me, what is true will?

☽: When the heart’s understanding is wed to the brain’s bright wisdom, the foot walks with a solemn swiftness towards the Lord’s kingdom.28

☉: Though harmony of the soul’s faculties is the prerequisite thereof, you will one day find that the star you seek is within and not above.29 Now, pray tell, what is true daring?

☽: A will that desires demons and dangers on all sides,30 not sett’ling in security of what comfort decides.

☉: Though father Friedrich31 said living dangerously’s the secret of success,32 even Liberty’s greatest warriors require repose and recess. Your answers are satisfactory but I require a final proof; now with Pontius Pilate33 I ask most solemnly of you… What is Truth?

[Rose takes a breath with her finger in the air to give another answer, but she hesitates, looks puzzled, and puts her forefinger to her lips in deep thought]

☉: Wise you are, indeed! Wise beyond your years! Beyond my highest hopes you’ve dispelled my fears. Who knew that a lotus and not a rose sprung, from the dark mire of your education’s dung, that your roots in blackened depths produce fruit fresh and new, that your petals hide Harpocrates in his egg of blue!34

[The Beast laughs]

Ah! this lyrical exchange has quelled all my insecurities about this arrangement. Let us defy convention and pre-emptively consummate our marriage, at least until the evening star arises35 to preside over the proper legalities.

[They exit]

SCENE V: The Marriage

[☿ stands behind the Beast and Rose but not out of sight, presiding at the priest for the marriage]

: For the many years of your youth, you have beared the weight of tradition and custom as a camel. You then defied law and convention as a lion, replacing the “Thou shalt” of tradition with the “I will” of independence. Now, having created freedom for yourself, you must become as a little Child,36 and find your own way with a holy Yea unto one’s new life.

: What a heavy burden has been lifted from me! I can feel the lightness of liberty that this new life allows!

: On the contrary, my dear Rose, for freedom is the greatest restriction of all. Having extricated yourself from the web of obligations to others, one must re-affirm with equal intensity one’s duty to oneself. Though the Child of the spirit is free from all convention, he is bound with equal obligation to his own law. You must find your true destiny, the purpose on this earth for which you were fitted, and adhere solely to it. This is the apotheosis of Freedom but it is also the strictest possible bond,37 for having begun to tread the path of the Great Work, you are bound to continue walking thereupon and never swerve therefrom.

: What a strange and terrible oath I have unknowingly taken!

: Terrible, indeed, the most daunting task that one can possibly attempt. Yet it is also the path to complete peace, true wisdom, and perfect happiness.

: What is my goal upon this long and winding road of attainment?

: One must never ask or ponder about the final goal but always focus one’s energies upon taking the Next Step.38

: My love for you is undeniable and unconquerable. Lead me to take this Next Step!

: Love is indeed the right motive and fuel for this path, yet your marriage to me is but a symbol of your true goal. Even as you wed me today, you must seek the inward marriage of the soul with your God. With all the love you love me today, it must be inflamed a thousandfold towards the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Though I vow to guide you in whatever way may be of use, you must do the work and it is only you that may take the final plunge. No one can ever do that for you, nor can any man ever know the Name of another’s God. It is the most universal and unique of all goals, it is the Holy of Holies.39

: I vow to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of my Holy Guardian Angel. Nothing will deflect me from this most holy and austere obligation.

: May this ring be a seal of your solemn oath, forever reminding you of the promise you made today.

[☿ approaches to stand between the Beast and Rose]

: With your vows being made, I now proclaim you man and wife!

[The Beast whispers in ‘s ear]

: Excuse me… I now proclaim you Beast and whore! You may kiss the harlot.

: It is accomplished, the marriage is complete. What Child this union may bring we know not yet. There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.40 For our honeymoon we will travel to the land of the Sun. To Egypt, where the other Sphinx and Pyramid stand as we now do!

[The Beast and Rose exit]

: It was on this day of August 12, the first night of the Prophet and his bride, that the events were set in motion which would lead to the revelation of the New Aeon several months later with the reception of The Book of the Law. Even as Rose’s marriage to the Beast led to the birth of the Child of the New Aeon, so too must each individual come to unite with their own Gods and give their Words to the world. So mote it be.

[Applause]

THE FEAST

: But ye, o my people, rise up & awake!

[☿ motions for all to stand]

Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.41 Tonight there is a feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!42

[☿ motions for the feast to be brought out and for everyone to sit at the table or stand around the table with food]

Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.43

[☽ 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 first night of the Prophet and his Bride.

: To what end?

: That I may accomplish the Great Work.

: Love is the law, love under will.

[☽ knocks once]

: Now please direct your attention to the Beast.

: I’d like to make a toast, so everyone please get a drink.

[☿ and other appointed helpers give everyone a glass and pours drinks]

: First, as always, to Nuit, our Lady of the Stars!

: To Nuit!

: To Rose, who played an integral part in the revelation of the New Aeon!

: To Rose!

: To the prophet of the lovely star, the Beast!

: To the Beast!

: To our great Thelemic fraternity, the O.T.O.!

: To O.T.O.!

: To [insert local body name]!

: To [insert local body name]!

: And finally, to all of us!

: To all of us!

: You may now feast and rejoice!

Finis.

Notes

1 

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Crowley wrote in Little Essays Toward Truth, “The Aspiration to become a Master is rooted in the Trance of Sorrow.”

2 Liber Librae sub figura XXX.

3 A boutonnière is the flower worn by men at formal occasions in general and worn on the chest of a bridegroom in particular.

4 Adapted from Robert Burns’ poem, “A Red, Red Rose.”

5 Adapted from Shakespeare’s Othello, Act I, Scene 3, lines 182-185.

6 The first line of a sonnet by John Keats, which Crowley notes in his Confessions (chapter 46) is a line that Rose often quoted.

7 Adapted from Emily Dickinson.

8 A direct quotation of what Crowley claims he said to Rose in his Confessions, chapter 45.

9 A reference to Confessions, chapter 45, where Crowley writes, “There is something in my character which makes people confide in me. I think the bottom of it is my chastity. They instinctively understand that I have no personal axe to grind; that I shall display a wise benevolence and incorruptible justice, being detached from every form of desire.”

10 Another adapted quotation of what Crowley claims he said to Rose in his Confessions, chapter 45.

11 The first line of a sonnet by John Keats, which Crowley notes in his Confessions (chapter 46) is a line that Rose often quoted. It is here said truly, to be contrasted with its sarcastic tone when directed at Rose’s father in the previous scene.

12 From Keats’ poem, “Ode to Homer.”

13 An obscure reference to the first lines of “AHA!”, “Master, ere the ruby Dawn / Gild the dew of leaf and lawn, / Bidding the petals to unclose / Of heaven’s imperishable Rose, / Brave heralds, banners flung afar / Of the lone and secret star.”

14 Crowley tried to explain this name in court when he testified in a 1934 lawsuit. He was asked, ‘Did you take to yourself the designation of ‘the Beast 666′?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you call yourself the ‘Master Therion’?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What does ‘Therion’ mean?’ ‘Great wild beast.’ ‘Do these titles convey a fair impression of your practice and outlook on life?’ ‘It depends on what they mean.’ ‘The Great Wild Beast and the Beast 666 are out of the Apocalypse?’ ‘It only means sunlight; 666 is the number of the sun. You can call me ‘Little Sunshine.”

15 One of the Ten Commandments of the Old Aeon.

16 This entire speech is adapted from the first chapter of Thus Spake Zarathustra, “The Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit.”

17 Adapted from Crowley’s Liber Aleph where he writes, “There shall be no property in human flesh.”

18 Adapted from William Blake’s poem “The Sick Rose.”

19 Rose was 29-years-old when she married Crowley, who was 28.

20 Adapted from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “A Dead Rose.”

21 Adapted from The Book of the Law, II:52.

22 Quoted from Crowley’s New Comment to Liber AL, II:52.

23 Quoted from Crowley’s New Comment to Liber AL, III:55.

24 A reference to Liber Aleph where Crowley writes, “Now then at last art thou made ready to confront the Pyramid, if thou art established as a Sphinx. For It also hath the foursquare Base of Law, and the Four Triangles of Light, Life, Love and Liberty for its Sides, that meet in a Point of Perfection that is Hadith, poised to the Kiss of Nuith.”

25 Crowley writes in Liber Aleph, “Now then this Sphinx, being perfect in true Balance, yet taketh the Aspect of the Feminine Principle that so She may be partner of the Pyramid, that is the Phallus, pure Image of Our Father the Sun, the Unity Creative.”

26 A reference to the Riddle of the Sphinx to which Oedipus famously gave a solution with the answer, “Man.”

27 This refers to the distinction between Knowledge which is below the Abyss (Da’ath), and Understanding which is above the Abyss (Binah).

28 Qabalistically, “Wisdom” is Chokmah, “Understanding” is Binah, and “the Lord’s kingdom” is Malkuth.

29 A reference to Crowley’s poem “One Star in Sight” where the last stanza is “To man I come, the number of / A man my number, Lion of Light; / I am The Beast whose Law is Love. / Love under will, his royal right— / Behold within, and not above, / One star in sight!”

30 A reference to Thus Spake Zarathustra, chapter 7, where Nietzsche writes, “The atmosphere rare and pure, danger near and the spirit full of a joyful wickedness: thus are things well matched. I want to have goblins about me, for I am courageous. The courage which scareth away ghosts, createth for itself goblins – it wanteth to laugh.”

31 A reference to Friedrich Nietzsche who Crowley claimed was a Prophet of Thelema and who is listed as a Saint in the Gnostic Mass.

32 Adapted from Crowley’s reference to Nietzsche in Liber Aleph where he writes, “Yet this I charge thee with my Might: Live Dangerously. Was not this the Word of thine Uncle Friedrich Nietzsche?” This is itself a reference to what Nietzsche wrote in his book The Gay Science, “For believe me: the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and greatest enjoyment is — to live dangerously.”

33 Pontius Pilate asked Christ “What is Truth?” as in John 18:38.

34 Harpocrates or Hoor-paar-kraat is the god of Silence who is often depicted with his finger on his lips. He is also, in the Western Hermetic tradition, often depicted in an egg of blue or Spirit on top of a lotus.

35 The evening star is actually the planet Venus, which is the planet of Love and Union.

36 A reference to (1) Matthew 18:3 (“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”), (2) to the “Three Metamorphoses of the Spirit” in Thus Spake Zarathustra, and (3) to the fact that the New Aeon is that of the Crowned and Conquering Child of Horus.

37 A quotation from “Liber II: The Message of the Master Therion” by Aleister Crowley. This entire speech is an adaptation or paraphrase thereof.

38 The Next Step is a reference to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Crowley wrote in The Vision and the Voice that he “became aware of his True Will, of the purpose for which he had undertaken Incarnation. And this was expressed thus: to aid Mankind to take the Next Step. And at the time he understood this as meaning: to lead them to aspire to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.”

39 A paraphrase of “One Star in Sight” where Crowley writes, “It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which a man may attain to the knowledge and conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel; for that is the particular secret of each one of us; as secret not to be told or even divined by any other, whatever his grade. It is the Holy of Holies, whereof each man is his own High Priest, and none knoweth the Name of his brother’s God, or the Rite that invokes Him.”

40 A quotation from Othello, Act I, Scene 3, lines 369-370.

41 Liber AL vel Legis, II:34-36.

42 Adapted from Liber AL vel Legis, II:37.

43 Liber AL vel Legis, II:44.

Why Thelema Kicks Ass

Why Thelema Kicks Ass

Why Thelema Kicks Ass

One question that I have heard from friends and that I have often asked myself is, “Why Thelema?” Why not identify with any of the other religions or philosophies? I want to explain why I believe in the power of Thelema as a rule of life, and consequently why I believe that Thelema will continue to grow.

I. Do what thou wilt

The most fundamental point is that we have a certain Law under which everything else is subsumed: Do what thou wilt. It is the simple sublimity of this spiritual infrastructure that differentiates Thelema both from the various New Age religions (or “spiritualities”) that are characterized by the amorphous and cherrypicking nature of their beliefs as well as from the Old Aeon religions that are characterized by their rigid dogmatism and sectarianism. The Law of Liberty is so far-reaching that it has implications in all facets of life including metaphysics (as a philosophy), ethics (as a way of life), and theology (as a religion) yet it is so elegant that can be summed up in a single word, Thelema.

II. Tolerance

The fundamental Law of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt” which is a radical exhortation for each individual to explore and express their true nature, whatever that may be. Fundamentally, we as Thelemites uphold everyone’s right to be who they are. This involves a revolutionary form of tolerance or acceptance of diversity. Thelema itself is partially the result of a syncretism of many religions and philosophies. It says in The Book of the Law, “Aum! All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little.” We can also find reference to Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Egyptian, Greek, Hermetic, Buddhist, and Hindu ideas within The Book of the Law itself, let alone the other Holy Books and writings by Aleister Crowley. This speaks to Thelema’s ability to appreciate the truths that are held by the various ideologies across the globe and throughout history.

Our eclectic syncretism is not arbitrary though insofar as everything revolves around the core of “Do what thou wilt”: threads are gathered from all corners of human existence to be woven together through the harmony expressed in the word of the Law that is Thelema. The tolerant acceptance of different points-of-view is what distinguishes Thelema from virtually every other religion that has come about in human history. This can be seen very explicitly in the declaration of the rights of man in “Liber OZ,” wherein it is written, “Man has the right to live by his own law—to live in the way that he wills to do.”

We are radical in our acceptance of others as they are, however they may think, speak, or act, yet we also take up arms against dogmatism, prejudice, and superstition that impede the full expression of humanity’s liberty. This is encapsulated in a quotation where Crowley writes, “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.”

III. Scientific Religion

Thelema is wholly against superstition and dogmatism that are so obviously a part of the various religions and philosophies of the past. We do not argue about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, which color clothing generates bad karma on a certain day, how many times a mantra should be said to please a god, or what actions will be favorably judged by the Almighty Gaseous God-in-the-clouds.

This has implications in terms of action (morally) and thought (philosophically). Morally, we say, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”; this places the responsibility on the individual to find what is right for them without reference to any theological threats of the shame and guilt of sin, the eternal hellfire of damnation, an unfavorable response from a god, or even having a reincarnation in an insect. Philosophically, we do not assert anything that is blatantly contradictory to the knowledge-base of humanity, especially in terms of modern science. There are plenty of cases of people willfully denying the evidence of things as fundamental as evolution or germ theory. For example, it is not difficult to find instances in America of thinly-veiled theology being pushed in schools in the pseudo-scientific guise of “intelligent design.” Stories of people – even children – dying because their parents do not believe in medical care are not unheard of. In contrast, Thelema is a “scientific religion” that speaks to the vicissitudes of human experience that we often call “religion” or “spirituality” while remaining true to the progress of human knowledge that we often call “science.” A great article was recently written on how Aleister Crowley envisioned Thelema as a scientific religion that I recommend if you would like to know more about this particular aspect of the Law of Liberty.

Further, Thelema is a humanized religion: we place the goal of our aspiration within ourselves and we accept others for who they are. As I have written elsewhere: In the Aeon of Isis the focus was Nature, in the Aeon of Osiris the focus was God, and now in the Aeon of Horus the focus is Man, the individual. Our Goal is the fullest expression of ourselves in the True Will, our Path is towards the deepest totality of our selves, and our Community are neither in a “here-after” of Heaven nor gods or demi-gods in some plane “beyond” the world but rather the men and women here on Earth. This ideal is encapsulated in that powerful phrase, “There is no god but man.”

IV. Embracing the world while transcending materialism

Thelema embraces the world insofar as we do not believe sensual pleasures are evil or bad, and we do not believe that existence or incarnation or awareness is something to be annihilated or transcended or left behind. This attitude is encapsulated in The Book of the Law where it is written, “Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” As I have said elsewhere: The Earth is not a prison, but a Temple where the sacrament of Life may be enacted; the body is not corrupt, but a pulsing and thriving vessel for the expression of Energy; sex is not sinful, but a mysterious conduit of pleasure and power as well as an image of the ecstatic nature of all Experience.

While we embrace the world, we do not fall into the trap of petty materialism. This is seen in our distinguishing between want – our conscious desires, wishes, and whims that constantly come and go – and True Will. We embrace the world not to have more and bigger and shinier things but as an expression of our nature and a celebration of the joy of existence. This idea was treated in more depth in another recent essay, which can be read if you would like to know more about this particular subject.

V. Sexuality

In line with what was said before about tolerance and acceptance, Thelema specifically embraces all forms of sexual identity, orientation, exploration, and expression that is in line with the Will of the individual. Thelema is a way of life that very explicitly encourages people to be what they are sexually, not to live up to some standard whether dictated by religion or society. We do not view any particular gender identity or sexual orientation as more natural or as superior in any way. The best identity is the one that most clearly and fully is an expression of your nature. We see this encapsulated in The Book of the Law where it is written, “take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!”

Crowley was very far ahead of his time in this way; for example, he wrote in the beginning of the 20th century, “The Beast 666 ordains by His authority that every man, and every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual, shall be absolutely free to interpret and communicate Self by means of any sexual practices soever, whether direct or indirect, rational or symbolic, physiologically, legally, ethically, or religiously approved or no, provided only that all parties to any act are fully aware of all implications and responsibilities thereof, and heartily agree thereto.” We must remember that – as one very small example – it was more than half a century later before the American Psychological Association stopped labeling homosexuality as a form of mental illness. We as Thelemites take up the banner of acceptance of people as they are, no matter how they may choose to define and express themselves sexually.

VI. Drugs

Thelemites do not shy away from the use of alcohol and drugs based on philosophical, moral, or theological grounds. Thelema has no prohibitions against drugs (or anything, really) so long as what you are doing is in line with your Will. This requires people to take responsibility for their choices. I often think that it helps to say, “Do what thou wilt… and suffer the consequences” because saying “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt” does not somehow absolve you of the consequences of your action; the Law of Thelema did not somehow abrogate the law of cause and effect. Abusing a substance will still lead to addiction, misusing a substance can still lead to mental imbalance, and rightly using a substance can lead to immense leaps in self-exploration and self-understanding. It is up to every individual to be informed about the use of drugs and to do them responsibly with an intent of finding, exploring, and expressing their true natures.

In a time where the use of psychedelics has only really been explored for their therapeutic potential in the past 5-10 years, this is also a radical approach to drugs. We have Crowley’s own addictions, the history of excess and abuse of drugs as can stereotypically be seen in the late 1960s, and possibly experiences of our own and those around us to warn us about the abuse of drugs. Conversely, we have Crowley’s own successes, a long history of the successful experimentation with drugs, as well as the experiences of our own and those around us to remind us of the distinct potential of using drugs in harmony with our Wills. Click here to read more about Thelema’s approach to drugs.

VII. Aleister Crowley

I believe that Aleister Crowley is exactly the prophet we need in this day and age for one fundamental reason: he was a human being. He was a genius, but he was a human being (despite his attempts to be remembered as a solar myth!). Crowley pushed the boundaries in virtually every category of life and so we may admire him in this way, but we also see things that challenge us. Crowley played with virtually every taboo he could find and in this way he challenges us to confront our own demons and find our own beliefs about how we should live. Our reaction to Crowley can be seen as a microcosm of our own reaction to taboos in general. This is a valuable task in which each individual can engage: what did Crowley do that particularly offends our sentiments? What things are “too far” or “too much,” and – more importantly – examine why it is that you believe he went too far. In this way, in studying our reaction to the prophet of Thelema we can learn more about our own blind spots, limits, and boundaries.

Crowley’s sometimes outrageous behavior also reminds us that we are not supposed to imitate Crowley in any way; we are supposed to find our own Way. That is what Thelema is about. Thelemites are united in a mutual respect and reverence for Crowley, and we are united in a mutual quest to find our Selves. We are not all trying to be Crowley like Christians try to be like Christ or Buddhists like Buddha; we are all trying to be who we really are and that is what sets us apart.

VIII. Rejoice!

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131In a document that I believe every Thelemite should read for its clarity and incisiveness, Crowley wrote that one of our duties is to “Rejoice!” Thelema is a religion of joy and beauty. Humor is our armor and laughter our weapon. No longer do we look upon solemnity and self-effacement as synonymous with spirituality. Thelema is a law of Liberty that holds the keys to unlock the innate potential of every individual, to release ourselves from the burden of sorrow and fear, and to allow ourselves to be ourselves and rejoice therein. As it says in The Book of the Law, “Remember all ye that existence is pure joy.” With this knowledge, we can consciously and willfully engage in that ultimate Sacrament we know as existence. I therefore say with Crowley, “Look, brother, we are free! Rejoice with me, sister, there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt!”

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Thelemic Blog Roundup 006

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

Thelemic Blog Roundup 006

The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “The Source of Human Rights” by Sabazius X°

Sabazius writes a short examination of the source of human rights from a Thelemic point-of-view.

2. “The Master and his Promulgators (a short story)” by T Omphalos

A short story about the promulgation of the Law of Thelema, including the potential for people to try to recruit and train others in their own images rather than helping them to find their own unique Wills.

See also the essay “On the Promulgation and Establishment of the Law of Thelema” by T Omphalos which deals with similar issues in essay format.

3. “Viva a Sociedade Alternativa” by AC2012

The Aleister Crowley 2012 blog writes about Raul Seixas, a popular Brazilian musician, and his relation to Thelema.

See also AC2012’s “Guide to the Campaign Ad” which explains the references and symbolism in the popular Red State Update campaign ad for Aleister Crowley as president in 2012.

3. “The Beast against the Faith: First Article” by T Polyphilus

T Polyphilus writes regarding faith in his first installment of his comparison between Thelema and the points of Iman as defined in the Hadith of Gabriel.

4. “A Ritual of the Element of Earth” by T Omphalos

In The Book of the Law it says “Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times…” Check out this ritual for the element of Earth that was written and performed by T Omphalos.

* * * * *

Check out the past installments of the Thelemic Blog Roundup:


Love is the law, love under will.

The Manifesto of Ra-Hoor-Khuit

The Manifesto of Ra-Hoor-Khuit

There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

INTRODUCTION

This is a manifesto for every man and every woman who recognizes their own right to Divine Kingship, those who recognize themselves to be Stars.

The aim is the complete establishment of the Kingdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit upon earth. That is, the permeating and infiltration of all facets of life with the sublime Word of Thelema.

This is the establishment of Life, Liberty, Love, and Light in the hearts of all men.

Let those who wish to aid the Crowned and Conquering Child in his manifestation first write the words “Do what thou wilt” upon their heart and soul. Now in this light let them read this Manifesto and bring “fresh fever from the skies.”

“Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!”  – Liber AL vel Legis I:5

ON THE PROPER SPIRIT

Let our actions not be out of regret, pity, malice, envy, jealousy, weariness, hate, or sorrow.

The proper spirit of this revolution is an overflowing of joy and strength.

See all obstacles, all threats, all intimidations, all criticisms as chances to Grow and exert your Will.

Life is a joyous battlefield wherein We Soldiers of Horus rejoice in conflict and strife. Could the artist’s statue be created and perfected without chiseling away the dross?

“Remember all ye that existence is pure joy… Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us… 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.”  – Liber AL vel Legis II:9,20,35,42-44

ON RELATIONS WITH THE WORLD

The knight-monks – the prince-priests and the hermit-soldiers – are the body of Ra-Hoor-Khuit’s Army. They are not the cloistered and emasculated hermits of old.

Although we too attain to the truth of Mystic Solitude wherein All is One and we proclaim, “I am alone: there is no God where I am” (AL II:23), we immerse ourselves into the fecundity of the world instead of retreating therefrom.

Work your jobs, do your duties, raise your children, laugh with friends, but let all these things, from the most important to the most trivial, be to the Glory of Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

“Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my friends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs, and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them. Ye shall see them at rule, at victorious armies, at all the joy; and there shall be in them a joy a million times greater than this.”  – Liber AL vel Legis, II:24

ON MATERIAL THINGS

We are not to shun material objects, wealth, and power. They are not inherently evil nor are they “un-spiritual.”

Express your overflow of joy and beauty with fine robes, wine, headdresses, or whatever you will.

Feel no regret, guilt, or shame in your reckless expression of being Drunk with the Glory of Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

“Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will! But always unto me… Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in splendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy… Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” – Liber AL vel Legis, I:51, 61; II:22

ON THE WORK OF EACH SOLDIER

Every man, woman, and child who consciously accepts the word of the Law, “Do what thou wilt,” is certainly a warrior in the Army of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Simply by existing and enacting the Law of Thelema in every circumstance, the stars of Force & Fire (each one of you) will spread the Law by their own example.

We must see the sublime beauty in Thelema’s answers to the conundrums of ethics, reasons, and metaphysics. Therefore must we constantly study the Holy Books of Thelema, especially Liber AL vel Legis, the Book of the Law.

The most important thing is to exude your overflow of strength, beauty, force and fire in a natural way. Do what thou wilt and let all around you see the joy you have in doing so!

“The excellence of the Law must be showed by its results upon those who accept it. When men see us as the hermits of Hadit described in [Liber AL], they will determine to emulate our joy.”  – Khabs am Pekht

A DAILY REGIMEN

One must make Thelema the center of one’s life, the locus of all meaning and motion. We may remind ourselves through rituals and feasts of all sorts.

But a truly effective Warrior of Life & Light must be strong and healthy in both mind and body.

“Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture!”  – Liber AL vel Legis, II:70

Every warrior of Ra-Hoor-Khuit needs to exert themselves physically and mentally. We have no room for arm-chair dwellers who manipulate intellectual facts endlessly. Therefore every person should have a fair amount of physical exertion throughout their days.

“Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house; all must be done well and with business way.’”  – Liber AL vel Legis, III:41

Your Kaaba, your starry heart and essence of consciousness, must be established within a mind of great power and conciseness, arranged like a business with orderliness and detachment. Therefore practice meditation to make the mind a perfect instrument of the Will: perfect the skills of concentration and nonattachment.

Exercise your body and your mind with diligence but always strive unto higher goals and ideals. Never tire of competition and exceeding your own perceived limits.

“But exceed! exceed! Strive ever to more!” – Liber AL vel Legis, II:71-72

ON DEALING WITH OTHER FELLOW SOLDIERS

Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Every person must be a pyramid: flawless from base to apex, sufficient unto themselves. Yet each Star is part of the Body of Infinite Space. Therefore make friends and enemies as ye will.

Our attitude to one another must be one of great respect like the chivalry from the West or bushido from the East. Thrill with the joy of vigorous competition and conflict yet always out of overflow of Will, strength, beauty, love, and rapture.

Therefore do not cover yourself to mask your true brilliance. Let the Sun of your Will shine effulgently on all things: care not that it will inevitably nourish some and destroy others.

But also do not fear losing your supposed “freedom” by banding together with other stars. Verily, a galaxy is an inconceivably potent source of gravitational force although it is, in reality, made up of individual stars…

Therefore make camps and lodges and groups and propagate the Spirit of Freedom, enshrined in the Word of the Law: Thelema.

“But the keen and the proud, the royal and the lofty; ye are brothers! As brothers fight ye!”  – Liber AL vel Legis, III:58-59

 

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Thelemic Blog Roundup 003

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


The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “The Prophet’s Political Platform” on AC2012

A post on Aleister Crowley 2012 listing quotations on various major political issues

2. “Discourse and Thelema” by Kjetil Fjell

Some anecdotes and discussion about the importance and potential problems surrounding discourse and Thelema.

3. “Confronting Sexism” by Frater Enatheleme

This blog post enumerates the many ways the apparent sexism of Crowley and the OTO is being combated at Sekhet-Maat Lodge in Portland, OR.

4. “A Look at the Star Ruby” on Liber Deus Absconditus

One Thelemite’s idiosyncratic summary and understanding of the symbolism of the Star Ruby ritual.

5. “Review of Little Essays Toward Truth” on Thelema and Faith

A book review done by the author of the “Thelema and Faith” blog on Aleister Crowley’s book Little Essays Toward Truth

* * * * *

Check out the past installments of the Thelemic Blog Roundup:


Love is the law, love under will.

Thelemic Blog Roundup 002

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

Thelemic Blog Roundup 002

The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “Restriction in Italy” on AC2012

A post on Aleister Crowley 2012 about recent events in Italy that are against the Law of Liberty.

2. “Lodge Deputy Master’s Address: Karma Yoga” on The Story of a Letter Called P

A post given by Sekhet-Maat Lodge’s current Deputy Master on the topic of Karma Yoga, especially how it factors into work in the Lodge.

3. “Apostasy” on stevensteven

Steven posts about apostasy within Thelema. Also check out his other post “Contra Haereses” regarding heretics.

4. “Book Review: The Body of Light: History and Practical Techniques for Awakening your Subtle Body” on paradoxosalpha

A book review by T Polyphilus on Mann & Short’s 1992 volume on the body of light and astral projection.

* * * * *

Check out the past installments of the Thelemic Blog Roundup:


Love is the law, love under will.

Thelemic Blog Roundup 001

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

Thelemic Blog Roundup

The Thelemic Blog Roundup is just a way to list the most recent blogs by Thelemites or about Thelema from around the internet that I have found interesting. Feel free to leave a comment to suggest other blogs & writings. Enjoy:

1. “16,000 OZ” on Clerk-House

A post about recent developments regarding the 16,000 Liber Oz postcards that are being sent out to OTO bodies around the United States by The Island.

2. An investigation into the structure and function of the O.T.O. – A 3-part post by Kjetil Fjell

3. “The Lesson of Saying Will” on Liber Deus Absconditus

An explanation of the import of this simple practice. Also, check out the Outline of Crowley’s essay The Law of Liberty

4. “The Abbey of Thelema: the 90th Anniversary” by Aleisterion

A celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily

Love is the law, love under will.

Panopticon Podcast: Exploring Thelema with IAO131

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

IAO131 on Panopticon

“On this episode, Panopticon speaks with IAO131. IAO131 is the creator & editor of the Journal of Thelemic Studies and author of many essays on Thelema, magick, and mysticism including the short treatise Naturalistic Occultism. He has been an active Thelemite for over 6 years and is a member of the O.T.O. and A.’.A.’..

We speak about The Journal of Thelemic Studies, ways in which Thelema can inform our culture, politics, and art. We also speak about Thelemic groups, as well as the podcast that IAO131 is working on, The Speech in the Silence podcast.”

Love is the law, love under will.

Principles of Promulgation

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to boost your ego; on the contrary, experiences while promulgating are often quite a blow to the ego along with the fact that one is naturally exposing oneself to outside elements that must be integrated by “love under will.”Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131 Spreading the Law of Thelema is not done out of a desire to recruit for a particular organization, although exposing people to the teachings of an Order like the O.T.O. is certainly a valid expression of promulgation. The goal is not to get a group that is the biggest, baddest person on the block so you can revel in its power but rather the goal is for each individual, on their own terms and in their own way, to acknowledge, understand, and begin to enact the Law of Thelema in their own lives.

Love is the law, love under will.

IAO131 on Patreon

If you enjoy these writings, please consider pledging $1+ on my Patreon