Thelema is an all-encompassing paradigm. One problem with any kind of system of ideas that is conveyed primarily through writings is that the concepts can often be difficult to practically apply to life. These contemplations are offered to allow both the symbolic and more practical considerations of Thelemic philosophy to be more materialized in one’s life.
Consider the night sky. Please, really do whenever you can. (In French, night is called “nuit”…) When we see this immense expanse, a couple ideas often come to mind:
The night sky is incredibly, unfathomably large. The poor ability of our eyeballs to only see a small fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum of light may very well be to keep us from being continually dazzled in wonder at the immensity of the space and power of the universe. Nietzsche characterized the world as a play of great power quite aptly when he wrote in his Will to Power,
“And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, nor end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a space that might be “empty” here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self-creating, the eternally self destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptous delight, my “beyond good and evil,” without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself–do you want a name for this world? A solution for all of its riddles? A light for you too, best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?–This world is the will to power, and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power–and nothing besides!”
Thelema places us all symbolically and philosophically into this world. In Liber AL vel Legis, the speaker of the first chapter proclaims, “I am known to ye by my name Nuit… I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof…” We have already considered the night sky, and now we must firmly realize that Nuit, the Egyptian star goddess is but a symbol of the night sky, and the night sky is a symbol of boundlessness, immense power & potential, and infinite possibilities; she is the field of space-time in which all events may potentially manifest. Essentially, Nuit is symbolically all possibilities. Every time you look at the night sky, one should be reminded of this conception Nuit with “Her” infinite potential. Within this “Infinite Space” of possibilities are “Infinite Stars,” and the third line from this same book, Liber AL vel Legis, proclaims this memorable line:
Every man and every woman is a star.
The reading of this line in Liber AL vel Legis may be memorable to some as the point when he or she put the book down and took it to be nonsense. Really consider what this is saying: Every man and every woman is a star… Last time I checked, every man and every woman is literally not a star, but human organisms – our own scientists label us homo sapiens, specifically. Let us be realistic: this statement cannot be taken literally with much benefit, but taken as a metaphor it has many rich meanings. As one conception, insofar as every man and every woman is an accretion of matter-energy, they are no different than stars… Let us take this contemplation further.
Consider the continually burning and churning energy of a star. Remember, our sun is the star closest to us. What are some other ideas related to stars?
Center, perspective, or point-of-view of its own Universe
With these conceptions of “Infinite Space and the Infinite Stars thereof,” we can imagine the Universe to symbolically be represented as the boundless night sky of possibilities filled with infinite amounts of varying energy-clusters, stars, which are each a continually moving center of self-luminous light & energy.
Now that we have considered the boundless possibilities of the night sky and the infinitely varied points of motion (force) and energy (fire), the stars, let us consider another aspect of the same line from Liber AL vel Legis: The fact that every man and every woman is a star. Consider, first, yourself.
You are the center of your universe, a point-of-view, a star among stars. You radiate your energy, transforming the world physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. We attract and repel other stars – other men and women – by laws more subtle and complex than gravity which rules the motions of the macrocosmic stars. Think of all the directions one can go in, both physically and mentally. Everyone wants to be able to fulfill their own unique & utmost potential. The famous philosopher Nietzsche called this the will-to-power. The famous psychologist Carl Rogers called this the actualizing tendency. Thelema understands this to be each person’s and every star’s Will.
Just like each object is understood physically to have both kinetic or active energy (which comes in many forms) and potential energy, every man and every woman is a storehouse of both potential and active energy. Physically we have a bit of energy but psychologically, we have an incredible store of energy waiting to be let loose. It is often said the part of our pysches that we are aware of, the consciousness, is like the tip of an iceberg with the enormous majority being submerged out of sight underwater, the unconscious. The psyche’s untapped potential latent in the unconscious is but one source of the many ways of fulfilling one’s Will more fully. Essentially, we are all big masses of energy, both active and potential energy, which is waiting to be actualized.
Now, let us consider that even as each one of us desires the freedom to fully actualize our potential, so does every other star – every man and every woman – surrounding us. Many have self-destructive, divergent, and dampening tendencies which prevent the Will from actualizing in its full potency, but each person is a star nonetheless – and each has a particular, unique, and necessary Will that is part of the whole.
Next time you see a person – when you are on a bus, driving next to people in cars on the freeway, talking to a friend – consider yourself and these other people all as stars. Each is going its own direction, actualizing its own potential. Treat them as fellow stars, as royalty would greet royalty (with great respect & admiration), as children would greet children (with great openness & energy); this is enacting the formula of the Crowned & Conquering Child on the social plane. As one human with much will-power once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This man grasped the power of love that is envigorated by and issued from the Will of each individual.