Notifications
Clear all

Thelema/Magick's semblance to religion in general  

Page 2 / 6
  RSS

 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 8:31 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
Walterfive writes: "[Thelema ...] is a religion claiming a scientific *method*, as in "the method of science, the aim of religion."

Your misconception is

1. that Christian Science and the Church of Scientology have scientific basis; and
2. That Thelema is a religion of scientific basis. It is a religion of scientific method."

Ooops, I forgot to write "the scientific basis" of Scientolgy and Christian Science, instead of the scientific basis.

No misconseption of mine then.

My question still remains: In what way is the religion Thelema claiming "a scientific method", more justifiable then the religion Scientology and the religion Christain Science, both claiming a "scientific basis?"

Walterfive can answer your question in more detail. I don’t have such a problem with Scientology or other systems with regard to their claims to a scientific method. I certainly do not regard Thelema to be THE only way valid for the New Aeon. I am certain that if other systems are diligently and zealously pursued, it can lead to enlightenment. Pick a path, any path, and just follow it to the very end. You’ll probably see the same faces sooner or later.

For example the basic auditing technique of Scientology doesn’t seem so different from the magickal memory technique of Liber Thisbarb. Call it the recapitulation technique of the Rosecrucians, freeing the reactive mind from engrams, or undoing the causal conditioning of the mind to recover memories of previous reincarnations etc. What Crowley does not mention is that the technique of magickal memory gradually frees oneself from the past to increase the energy in the present. Why? To eventually summon the courage to cross the Abyss.

“The method of science” of the A.A. system refers to the fact that the reality of each grade is checked and verified by one’s A.A. teacher. I dislike calling Thelema a religion, but I can see why others might do so. The “aim of religion” is the aim of union with the divine via the method of science. Which doesn't really seem the same as calling it a religion. Better to just call Thelema the method of going or change.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 8:37 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
My question still remains: In what way is the religion Thelema claiming "a scientific method", more justifiable then the religion Scientology and the religion Christain Science, both claiming a "scientific basis?"

Justifiable to whom? Obviously, it seems, not to you.

Justifiable to some imagined gaseous vertebrate believed to sit in judgment of our "sins."

Is there some committee of spiritual critics to justify our work to, like Iran's committee of clerics? Any external approval or justification required denies the instruction Do what thou wilt... and thus rejects Thelema.

The obvious justification for anyone with any religion or practice is that it works for them.

You are entitled to your conjectures and opinions wellred, but you've presented nothing conclusive beyond that.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 9:04 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,

I agree with you, tai, that Crowley didn't like those systems. However, he was a master at taking what he wanted from everything he encountered, and because of this, either consciously or not, he might have used parts of them in his work. I simply offer this as a point to consider. I am not supporting any one particular view with regards to this thread.

I would like to say thank you for posting that link, as it assists in clarifying things going forward in this thread.

love is the law, love under will.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 10:40 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Michael cannot reasonably be asked to prove a negative, that Grant never wrote this or that. The burden of proof is on you to prove that he did.

Otherwise, no one is denying that there is religion or magick to be found in Thelema, for those who Will have use for it. Further, this magick and religion are different and are an improvement upon those that came before Thelema. However, these are optional and not mandatory. Only 'Do what wilt' is mandatory to Thelema.

I am not asking MichaelStaley to do the impossible, only to provide one source where Kenneth Grant identifies The Holy Guardian Angel as non external to its guarded prisoner,... I mean to its host, sorry, to the person containing it.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 10:53 pm  

I just realized something of significance from one of my earlier postings in this thread, namely the content within the parenthesis below, which is taken from the list of references (56) in the wikipedia article on Thelema: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema

(The definition of the Holy Guardian Angel as a daimon unique to each individual, is by Hymenaeus Beta (ed.) in Crowley, Aleister. The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King, p. xxi. Red Wheel, 1995. ISBN 087728847X).

Here we actually have the current leader of the biggest thelemic organisation in the world, defining the Holy Guardian Angel as something supernatural, "a daimon."


ReplyQuote
lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
25/11/2009 11:16 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
Here we actually have the current leader of the biggest thelemic organisation in the world, defining the Holy Guardian Angel as something supernatural, "a daimon."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, wellredwellbred, in view of your preference always to quote a secondary source at best, Hymenaeus Beta's actual words are more nuanced than your brief reference suggests.

And on another matter, would you care to introduce your previous LAShTAL.COM username(s) to members here in order that your contributions can be better evaluated 'in the round'?

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


ReplyQuote
spike418
(@spike418)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 213
25/11/2009 11:17 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
Walterfive writes: "[Thelema ...] is a religion claiming a scientific *method*, as in "the method of science, the aim of religion."

Your misconception is

1. that Christian Science and the Church of Scientology have scientific basis; and
2. That Thelema is a religion of scientific basis. It is a religion of scientific method."

Ooops, I forgot to write "the scientific basis" of Scientolgy and Christian Science, instead of the scientific basis.

No misconseption of mine then.

My question still remains: In what way is the religion Thelema claiming "a scientific method", more justifiable then the religion Scientology and the religion Christain Science, both claiming a "scientific basis?"

Suck it and see, stop relying on words. quite simple when you change the perspective................


ReplyQuote
spike418
(@spike418)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 213
25/11/2009 11:19 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
And on another matter, would you care to introduce your previous LAShTAL.COM username(s) to members here in order that your contributions can be better evaluated 'in the round'?

Intrigued but prob not surprised


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
25/11/2009 11:55 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
And on another matter, would you care to introduce your previous LAShTAL.COM username(s) to members here in order that your contributions can be better evaluated 'in the round'?

No can do, as previous relevant data has been deleted by me, it is one previous one I think, please inactivate it, as I can only use my current username due to mentioned deletion(s).

Present what you find if you will, it will help me go down the memory line.

I am intrigued but not surprised, as I have not asked lastahl to inactivate my former username(s), something I do now.


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
26/11/2009 12:11 am  

wellredwellbred,

"wellredwellbred" wrote:
(The definition of the Holy Guardian Angel as a daimon unique to each individual, is by Hymenaeus Beta (ed.) in Crowley, Aleister. The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King, p. xxi. Red Wheel, 1995. ISBN 087728847X).

Here we actually have the current leader of the biggest thelemic organisation in the world, defining the Holy Guardian Angel as something supernatural, "a daimon."

I'm glad this was posted by someone wanting to argue against Thelema, on the anti-scientific line (and see Egil Asprem for that, btw), because if anyone from the "Thelemic community" as such had cited HB as an authority, I would simply laugh -- not in a rude way, after all he has his own opinion, but he doesn't speak for Thelema. In fact I had a brief email correspondence with him on the subject, and yes he does take the external-to-personality view of the HGA, but was unwilling to comment on Crowley's earlier comments to the contrary (which you could find in another text search, if you weren't focusing on things that suit your argument).

The wider point about Thelema is that, going further back, Crowley himself is not regarded by most Thelemites as an authority on matters Thelemic. It is, nevertheless, inescapable that he placed himself in a position of authority as the "prophet", in an inversion of the Christian dogma, which is clearly a "religious" position. Anyone else can plead science till they're blue in the face (whether as a "method" or a "basis"), but Crowley did claim to be an authority and hence Thelemites get drawn into ridiculous debates like this about other people's words, rather than discussing from "first principles" (yes, I like Socratic dialectic, and the dogma of Thelema is a bar to that).

As regards the question of "daimon" or "subconscious", this isn't important in terms of a discussion of "Thelema" per se, but rather it's a more general philosophical issue which Thelema does not attempt to resolve. Where does the self end, and the "other" begin? But why criticise Thelema from this standpoint, when there really is plenty of dogma to focus on instead? Bearing in mind St. John's Apocalypse, it could easily (and has been, most memorably by Peter Grey) interpreted as an anti-Christian cult. Much fodder, I would think. But if you get drawn into citing "scripture", you may as well go to the Christian forums and talk with them about their own brand of insanity. And Thelema *is* insane from a rational point-of-view.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 12:16 am  

93, Ian. Good to read you here again.


ReplyQuote
lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
26/11/2009 12:41 am  

Indeed it is: welcome back, Ian.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 12:58 am  

Does this mean that Wellred was really Ian? 🙂


ReplyQuote
lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 5304
26/11/2009 12:59 am  

Um, no!

😮

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
26/11/2009 4:14 am  

Not guilty, yer honour. 😯


ReplyQuote
kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1827
26/11/2009 5:31 am  

I am not asking MichaelStaley to do the impossible, only to provide one source where Kenneth Grant identifies The Holy Guardian Angel as non external to its guarded prisoner

There is plenty in Grant's work to support this view. For example, in his interview with the Skoob Occult Review, Grant is questioned as to the possibility of survival in the face of an incoming cataclysm threatening the race. He responds with words to the effect that there will be no survival-because there are no individuals who "exist" to survive. I'm paraphrasing but the gist is that our human experience is one of undulating consciousness, itself a portion of transpersonal phenomena. The "Angel" is simply another portion of this experience, one which is burned away in the Abyss. What is described in Crowley's work is part of a process which we may instigate and realize. For this purpose, it may be convenient, if not essential, to conceive of the so-called "HGA" as an external being. The two approaches are not at odds but serve to feed each other. Neither Crowley nor Grant are making dogmatic statements but utilizing language to indicate a radically transformative possibility in human experience which is, itself, action in the "Cosmic Mind," individual and universal simultaneously.

I'm not clear on the "objection" to Thelema or the views of Crowley or Grant on this matter. Is there some proposal here that you are finding problematic in approaching the works of those cited?


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3951
26/11/2009 9:04 am  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
I am not asking MichaelStaley to do the impossible, only to provide one source where Kenneth Grant identifies The Holy Guardian Angel as non external to its guarded prisoner,... I mean to its host, sorry, to the person containing it.

This is idiotic. You make an unsubstantiated allegation about Grant's view on the Holy Guardian Angel and then, when challenged on it, assert that it's up to me to cite a source in Grant where he defines the HGA as not external.

As kidneyhawk has said, it is clear from Grant's work that he is at heart an advaitin; that all phenomena is an outcropping from a continuum of consciousness, that there are no entities, no external or internal.

In an earlier post you seemed to take my drawing a parallel between Lam and the HGA experience as some sort of support for the "external HGA" view. Hardly, because I do not regard Lam as an external entity.

🙄

Best wishes,

Michael.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 10:12 am  

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

In regards to this question of Religion and Thelema it should be important to consider that there is an article Crowley wrote that was published in the Magical Link where he discusses the futility of the dogma of Science and that a return of the Prophets was necessary for the sake of the Human Race.

I am in agreement with this.

All the founders of Religion have been Magi. So yes, there is a great semblance between the two. All the systems have commonalities that initiates understand. The texts of Religion are veiled. The true Light within can only be accessed by the initiated. We are not to blame the prophets for the sorry state of current popular religions. They transmitted to us as best they could for their time.

Which brings me to Thelema. Yes, in my opinion it is a Religion. However it is a new veiling of the same Light. Like going from the musket to the rifle. The steam engine to the turbine. We cannot allow ourselves to be cattled into outdated systems by the current priesthoods of the Earth. These are the enemies, those that cling to the dead and dieing.

Science is only a part of the whole that is Magick. This has always been the case, as Crowley rightly affirmed that Magick is always one step ahead of Science. In fact, it is the Father of Science.

Crowley is the Prophet of our age. To find one's Holy Guardian Angel is not wholly a scientific endeavor, or a product of Reason. This is why I love Crowley's choice of words when he endeavor to label this particular experience. It effectively weeds out the unprepared or foolish.

Love is the law, love under will.


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3951
26/11/2009 11:22 am  
"KCh" wrote:
To find one's Holy Guardian Angel is not wholly a scientific endeavor, or a product of Reason.

Cuts to the chase very nicely.

wellreadwellbred, you cite the opinions of this person or that person on the HGA or Thelema as if you think that these pronouncments constitute a final authority in which we all must acquiesce. They don't.

Best wishes,

Michael.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 3:20 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
This is idiotic. You make an unsubstantiated allegation about Grant's view on the Holy Guardian Angel and then, when challenged on it, assert that it's up to me to cite a source in Grant where he defines the HGA as not external.

Best wishes,

Michael.

When challenged by you, in your "Post subject: RE: Good sources for articles on Thelema. Posted: Nov 24, 2009 - 10:50 AM", to provide a source for my unsubstantiated allegation about Grant's view on the Holy Guardian Angel, I do provide one, and I admit that it is not a good source.

After this I ask you to provide only one source from Kenneth Grant, going against my allegation about the latter's viewpoint(-s) on the "Holy Guardian Angel."

Fell free and unrestricted to admit that this my request to you is not "idiotic" as you write, but only fair, and best wishes to you too MichaelStaley.


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3951
26/11/2009 4:00 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
Fell free and unrestricted to admit that this my request to you is not "idiotic" as you write, but only fair, and best wishes to you too MichaelStaley.

Of course it's idiotic to impute an opinion to someone and then, when invited to substantiate it, respond that it's up to the other party to disprove the imputation. Taking the principle further, it's like accusing me of theft and then, when asked to prove the accusation, respond by saying that it's up to me to disprove the allegation. If you can't see the idiocy of such an approach, then I'm sorry.

Your "source", which you now acknowledge as not a good one, was not even culled from Grant's work, but from someone else's.

The undercurrent running through Grant's work is that there is a continuum of consciousness, the division into entities being apparent, not real - Brahma playing all roles, but so immersed in each role that he has identified with the role and forgotten his cosmic identity. There is clearly no room here for a conception of the Holy Guardian Angel as an external entity, irrespective of whether or not I can cite passages from Grant's work that explicity state that the HGA is not external.

Having said all that, and in the interests of a break from your impression of a demented parrot, I will locate a few such passages over the next day or two and post them here.

Best wishes,

Michael.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 4:08 pm  

Thelema/Magick's semblance to religion in general

"kidneyhawk" wrote:
I'm not clear on the "objection" to Thelema or the views of Crowley or Grant on this matter.

Is there some proposal here that you are finding problematic in approaching the works of those cited?

Its the subjectmatter of this thread, "Thelema/Magick's semblance to religion in general", that I have in mind. In this context I wonder if the different/contradicting viewpoints on the "Holy Guardian Angel" and suchlike, constitue something similar to the sectarian conflicts one find in religion in general. Or if it just indicates Thelema as a religion lacking what it takes to make religion in general numerically successful, namely one agreed upon standardisation and final authority. The quote from MichaelStaley at the bottom of this posting supports the latter indication.

If this is the case, this lack of one agreed upon standardisation and final authority, is a major difference between Thelema and other established religions.

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
wellreadwellbred, you cite the opinions of this person or that person on the HGA or Thelema as if you think that these pronouncments constitute a final authority in which we all must acquiesce. They don't.

ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 5:05 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Of course it's idiotic to impute an opinion to someone and then, when invited to substantiate it, respond that it's up to the other party to disprove the imputation.

Best wishes,
Michael.

First I accepted your invitation by providing my substantiation/my source, and then aferwards I pointed out that you provided no source/substantiatiation going against my originally unbacked imputation of an opinion to kenneth Grant.

So I did not respond that it was up to you to "disprove the imputation", when you invited to me "to substantiate it". This is a version of reality made up in your own mind, over which I hope you normally exercise more self control

Do still feel free and unrestricted to admit that what I did was not the "idiotic" thing you claim i did,... but much more important, let us go on with the discussion, and your highly interesting argument that Thelema has no final authority to which all Thelemites must agree.


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
26/11/2009 5:37 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
your highly interesting argument that Thelema has no final authority to which all Thelemites must agree.

It's not "highly interesting" so much as it's obvious to anyone who's familiar with the subject.

Thelema is "Do what thou wilt." That's it. Anything else -- including believing in spooky spirits that go bump in the night -- is extra and not required (thank my lack of gods). The reason that you can't figure this out is that you don't know anything about this subject.

At this point, I'd recommend that we not to "feed the troll," as they say, any longer. Everything that needs to be said has been said already.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
26/11/2009 6:49 pm  

As the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel constitues the epitomy of one's real Will, and as every star has a unique orbit, ie a unique authentic Will, then it seems that the HGA would manifest uiniquely to each person. For some, it might seem like an external entity, to others a product of their subconscious or supra-conscious etc. To those who experience multiple levels of consciousness, multiple realities, the HGA might manifest differently at different times. Much like light which behaves like a wave when measured for wave-like characteristics, but then behaves as a particle when measured for particle attributes. I see no contradiction between Crowley describing the HGA as an external entity in some instances, while referring to it as part of our being at other times.

As to what the HGA actually is... well that depends ( to paraphrase my all-time favorite political quote) on what your definition of "is" is.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/11/2009 1:25 am  

To sum things up:

From what I gather, sectarian conflicts is something Thelema has in common with other religions, and its clear lack of both standardisation and a final authority to which all devotees have to adhere, is what differentiate it most from other religions.

In common with other religions like Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, Thelema contains scriptural prophecies/expectations about the future.

Does one agree within Thelema upon *what* that constitutes/defines this future, and is it going to be a period with many Thelemites and with "signs of the time" clear for everyone to see, similar to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, or is this New Aeon/Aeon of Horus to occur within each Thelemic indiviual, not necessarily noticeable by non Thelemites?


ReplyQuote
Nomad
(@nomad)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 85
27/11/2009 1:39 am  

the HGA might manifest differently at different times. Much like light which behaves like a wave when measured for wave-like characteristics, but then behaves as a particle when measured for particle attributes. I see no contradiction between Crowley describing the HGA as an external entity in some instances, while referring to it as part of our being at other times.

Well said, zardoz. 93!


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
27/11/2009 2:47 am  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
To sum things up:

Yes, ignoring the other stuff.

"wellredwellbred" wrote:
From what I gather, sectarian conflicts is something Thelema has in common with other religions, and its clear lack of both standardisation and a final authority to which all devotees have to adhere, is what differentiate it most from other religions.

No, essentially Thelema dictates a spiritual hierarchy through the prophet, as shown in The Book of the Law, principally verses like "thy stature shall surpass the stars", but many others. What you're seeing is that self-identified "Thelemites" vary in adherence to that creed. That is, some don't like to be pushed around by the idea of a prophet too much, whilst others worship mini-statuettes of Crowley from OTO or Arkham Studios or somewhere.

But to your other point: we may agree that where Thelema differs from other religions is -- very little. Even ideas such as that "another prophet shall arise" aren't so different from the Maitreya, or Resurrected Christ, or what-have-you. Sacraments, ideas of heaven and hell, are pretty standard fare.

"wellredwellbred" wrote:
In common with other religions like Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, Thelema contains scriptural prophecies/expectations about the future.

Does one agree within Thelema upon *what* that constitutes/defines this future, and is it going to be a period with many Thelemites and with "signs of the time" clear for everyone to see, similar to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, or is this New Aeon/Aeon of Horus to occur within each Thelemic indiviual, not necessarily noticeable by non Thelemites?

There are still efforts every now and then to materialise some of the prophecies in the book (naming no names), so it hasn't sublimated into a symbol-lecture just yet, and at the same time there have been intermittent crises within Thelema as to the apparent non-appearance of the results of said prophecies. But of course it is not millennial in the true sense, because supposedly the true end-time was in 1904, which apparently went off without a hitch and which is difficult to disprove (though it bears no relation to astronomical events, as one supposes it ought). Nonetheless there are strong elements of prophecy akin to millennialism.

Coming back to the idea of splits within the community, there was an amusing attempt to "disprove" Thelema and the Book of the Law as an invention of Crowley, based on alleged hotel receipts from Cairo -- which has to be something new in religious history. Of course, no receipts were ever produced, despite an alleged book deal, but I find the idea of a religion hanging on the strength of a receptionist's note to be particularly apropos, and ripe for satire. Not much different to the problems around "Jesus Christ" though...


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
27/11/2009 3:27 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
Not much different to the problems around "Jesus Christ" though...

Well, for Christians, whether or not Jesus existed, did the magic tricks he supposedly did, and then died for the "sins of the world" is far more important than what he taught.

For Thelema, it's precisely the opposite. The message is what counts, not the supposed source. Whether or not the reception of the Book of the Law happened exactly as reported by Crowley or whether the whole thing was an elaborate fraud makes zero difference. The Book of the Law stands or falls on its message: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

There's no need to believe in Crowley's account, believe in supernatural beings, believe in non-causal magick, believe in "prophecies," or anything else.

I'd say that makes it radically different than the major religions of the West, despite the fact that Crowley tried to doll it up with some of the trappings of those religions.


ReplyQuote
Proteus
(@proteus)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 243
27/11/2009 3:40 am  

If Thelema is a religion, the existence of a prophet is probably its only Occidental trait. The rest of it is very consistent with Eastern religions. It seems like Thelema itself reflects Crowley's own experiences in both worlds, having been raised Christian and then traveling East.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/11/2009 11:12 am  

Yet surely; the eastern Mystic; declares: 'Life is all sorrow; I deny the existance of the lower planes, even Assiah, and dissapear up...'
Denying the existence of the negative selves; which, thus validated, grow, posing the threat of disrupting the whole.
Whilst the Occidental attitude: Particularly Thelema; ( Which annexes Eastern thought, notably Tantric ) is such of
Scientific investigation: To recognise the lower elements, and train them; harness these forces to goodly purpose;
perhaps; by Alchemical art: transmuting the lower to The higher.
Libers 'NU' and 'HAD'-may be considered Thelemic Mysticism, otherwise, One sees a different picture.
Serenity---ONEALL


ReplyQuote
Walterfive
(@walterfive)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 856
27/11/2009 4:10 pm  
"ianrons" wrote:
Bearing in mind St. John's Apocalypse, it could easily (and has been, most memorably by Peter Grey) interpreted as an anti-Christian cult.

I'm sorry, title please? Can't find this author listed on Amazon...


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/11/2009 6:01 pm  
"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
Not much different to the problems around "Jesus Christ" though...

Well, for Christians, whether or not Jesus existed, did the magic tricks he supposedly did, and then died for the "sins of the world" is far more important than what he taught.

For Thelema, it's precisely the opposite. The message is what counts, not the supposed source. Whether or not the reception of the Book of the Law happened exactly as reported by Crowley or whether the whole thing was an elaborate fraud makes zero difference. The Book of the Law stands or falls on its message: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

There's no need to believe in Crowley's account, believe in supernatural beings, believe in non-causal magick, believe in "prophecies," or anything else.

I'd say that makes it radically different than the major religions of the West, despite the fact that Crowley tried to doll it up with some of the trappings of those religions.

This is quite true, imo. Although there is a wealth of precious ancillary resources in Thelema, for those few who Will have need of them, for most people it all comes down to one Law which is uniquely elastic in that it applies perfectly to each individual without any need at all for clumsy standardization: Do what thou wilt.

Now, our equivalent of the Council of Nicaea is not on the calendar of events yet, (or else I missed the memo), but, if ever one was convened, I suspect that it might come down to differing interpretations and conclusions drawn from the observation and experience of similar phenomena, as might be expected upon reflection on any mystical or magical attainment by a number of different individuals. Perhaps there might be differing opinions, for example, on prioritization, such as whether full and true mastery of individual existence (whether illusory or not) ought to precede assimilation into collective consciousness (whether illusory or not) and absorption into the infinite and eternal (whether illusory or not).

It is obvious that the above paragraph will be of absolutely no concern to vast majority of the human population for some time to come, if ever, but I just tossed it in to mess with Los, and as a nudge to the Typhonians, perhaps. 😉

Have a good weekend.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
27/11/2009 7:00 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
Bearing in mind St. John's Apocalypse, it could easily (and has been, most memorably by Peter Grey) interpreted as an anti-Christian cult.

I'm sorry, title please? Can't find this author listed on Amazon...

Our moderator has presented this one on Peter Grey:
http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/Article931.phtml

Other links found on google:

http://www.dailygrail.com/node/4940

http://scarletimprint.livejournal.com/

http://www.scarletimprint.com/redgoddess.htm and http://www.ravenoir.com/R269.htm
(The Red Goddess by Peter Grey sure is a goodlooking book)


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
27/11/2009 10:08 pm  

Walterfive,

Yes, The Red Goddess is the one I was referring to, though doubtless Peter Grey would perhaps say Thelema/Babalon is pre- and post-Christian rather than necessarily anti-Christian, but his views on Christianity are fairly clear nonetheless.

Los,

"Los" wrote:
Well, for Christians, whether or not Jesus existed, did the magic tricks he supposedly did, and then died for the "sins of the world" is far more important than what he taught.

I disagree: a lot of Christians are happy to accept the idea of an historical Jesus as something a myth, but go along with the creed on more-or-less humanistic grounds. However, the stories of his "tricks" as you call them are important nonetheless, and speak to his credibility. Crowley never did any "tricks" or miracles, except (offhand) by his own report floating in the air during meditation, helping the odd war along, etc. As such, the credibility of Thelema rests on Crowley's insights (particularly in the Holy Books -- "the message"), which are used to lend credibility to his reports of his own spiritual progress.

"Los" wrote:
For Thelema, it's precisely the opposite. The message is what counts, not the supposed source. Whether or not the reception of the Book of the Law happened exactly as reported by Crowley or whether the whole thing was an elaborate fraud makes zero difference. The Book of the Law stands or falls on its message: There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

The message is one half, but of course it makes a difference whether or not Crowley was telling fibs about the reception of The Book of the Law (amongst other things). It cuts to the heart of whether or not he was a "prophet" or just a talented writer. The fact that people like Schopenhauer and Nietszche were talking about very similar things, besides St. Augustine and Rabelais before them tends to devalue the importance and originality of his message, suggesting the latter. But if the message really is the sole issue, how can one arbitrarily disregard the apparently unfulfilled "prophetic" elements within it? It seems that there is a willingness to take a religious view of Crowley's works simply because they were framed by him in that way, when perhaps it might be more appropriate to look at them as (essentially) Class 'B' (i.e., get in line with the rest of them, Crowley!).

"Los" wrote:
There's no need to believe in Crowley's account, believe in supernatural beings, believe in non-causal magick, believe in "prophecies," or anything else.

Fine, but what you're left with is words by an inventive writer, not a religion. And by retreating to "Do what thou wilt", ignoring the rest of the canon, you even dismiss Crowley as a writer, because these aren't his words. What's left, without "magick", "prophecy", etc., would seem to be a kind of pick-and-choose variety of rationalism which doesn't even have the benefit of a sound philosophical framework. For example, Crowley's justification of "Do what thou wilt" was basically that if everyone did that (he theorised) then everyone would get along fine. Not very satisfactory, is it? Far from a "categorical imperative". But it can stand up *if* you accept the divine inspiration angle, and that *is* crucial; or else you lose not only the religion, but even the philosophical aspects fall away too. In short, Crowley was either a prophet or a second-rate philosopher.

"Los" wrote:
I'd say that makes it radically different than the major religions of the West, despite the fact that Crowley tried to doll it up with some of the trappings of those religions.

No -- there is an appeal to the absolute in Crowley's writings, just as in all religion, which therefore requires belief in the words of a teacher who speaks with authority beyond mere rationalisations from observed phenomena. Yes, individuals are taught to validate it through practical experience, and as such it has some claim to observable validity; but it also has undeniable belief-oriented underpinnings (particularly with respect to the "prophet" and so on) which are not (as you seek to do) easily and conveniently separated from the more rationalist portions such as Liber O (which was also issued "by authority").

Nor do I think it is helpful, or even possible, to separate the rationalist from religious viewpoints in order to have a kind of "half-Thelema" without Crowley as prophet and without the authority of the A.'.A.'. The central problem with that approach is that by refusing to defend Thelema on the grounds of its supposed "prophecy" you still leave open the door to the argument that prophecy is real but that Crowley wasn't a prophet, which is actually a more appealing argument for the magician than to retreat to a more rationalist, non-magickal approach (not that there is a necessary dichotomy between magick and rationalism; only an apparent one). In short, any appeal to rationalism in the face of a critique of whether Crowley was a prophet seems almost like an admission that the claim doesn't stand up to scrutiny, though I can understand the embarrassment about wanting to admit Crowley as prophet and Aiwass as the (temporary-or-otherwise) HGA of the human race, etc., because we're back in "slave religion" territory 😉


ReplyQuote
Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 2195
28/11/2009 7:13 am  

Hi Ianrons, 93,

Fine, but what you're left with is words by an inventive writer, not a religion.

Right. That's why I don't call it a religion.

It cuts to the heart of whether or not he was a "prophet" or just a talented writer.

I really don't see what difference it would make to a person following his will. It would only make a difference if you have this a priori idea that the true will is "divine" in some sense and needs to be a message delivered by a "prophet" in order for it to be important. I see no reason to think that those things exist or make other things important.

For example, Crowley's justification of "Do what thou wilt" was basically that if everyone did that (he theorised) then everyone would get along fine. Not very satisfactory, is it?

Satisfactory for what? "Do what thou wilt" -- that is, to follow one's "natural course of action" and not to be distracted by what Crowley called the "fancy pictures" of oneself generated by the mind -- seems largely common sense. Others have had the idea before -- Taoism, for example, has a lot of similarities, and we could compare ideas from a lot of different systems.

Is it true that it will lead to less conflict in the world? There's no way to tell for sure, but it makes sense that people attending to their own wills would probably result in less conflict -- people would probably be less interested in sticking their noses in other people's business, etc.

But the reason to follow the Law of Thelema -- your will -- is not that it's going to lead to some "better world" -- it's that, to paraphrase Crowley, you can't help but do it, and you had better do it well than badly.

Are you saying that the only reason to follow the Law of Thelema is that it claims a supernatural source? There are hundreds of religions and religious philosophies that claim a supernatural source. If that's the basis for choosing Thelema, then it becomes indistinguishable from other supernatural religions. [Which, ironically, is the argument that wellredwellbred was clumsily trying to make (I think)]

But if the message really is the sole issue, how can one arbitrarily disregard the apparently unfulfilled "prophetic" elements within it?

You'll have to give me an example of what you mean here. I don't interpret the Book as containing any literal prophecies. I tend to read that stuff as poetry and/or symbolism for parts of the self.

there is an appeal to the absolute in Crowley's writings, just as in all religion, which therefore requires belief in the words of a teacher who speaks with authority beyond mere rationalisations from observed phenomena.

Could you give an example of this? I'm particularly interested in something that supports your contention that it "requires belief in the words of a teacher" -- especially since Crowley is on record with the message of "don't believe me!"

The central problem with that approach is that by refusing to defend Thelema on the grounds of its supposed "prophecy" you still leave open the door to the argument that prophecy is real but that Crowley wasn't a prophet

Well, that would be a pretty weak argument since prophecy isn't real.

I'm sorry to say that I'll be gone for the rest of the weekend -- just when the conversation was getting good. Oh well. Talk to you all later.

93, 93/93


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
28/11/2009 10:16 am  

Hi Los,

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
Fine, but what you're left with is words by an inventive writer, not a religion.

Right. That's why I don't call it a religion.

Not to seek contention here, but this is a fairly direct statement that, presumably, means you don't regard yourself as a "Thelemite" in the sense implied in The Book of the Law (which obviously doesn't mean you don't "do your will", but which would imply you don't accept everything in that book)?

"Los" wrote:
I really don't see what difference it would make [whether Crowley was a "prophet" or not] to a person following his will. It would only make a difference if you have this a priori idea that the true will is "divine" in some sense and needs to be a message delivered by a "prophet" in order for it to be important. I see no reason to think that those things exist or make other things important.

There is a distinction to be made between "following one's will" and going along with everything in The Book of the Law. Obviously you don't need to have read Crowley to be familiar with the concept of "will" -- as mentioned previously it is not original with Crowley. But even so -- even if you work only according to "will" -- it cannot be irrelevant to you (as a member of LAShTAL.com, let's say) whether or not Crowley's claims are valid. If he was a prophet, and if all else follows, then it would surely make a huge difference to humanity. Therefore I don't think it's sufficient to reserve judgment, and I will press you on the matter...

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
For example, Crowley's justification of "Do what thou wilt" was basically that if everyone did that (he theorised) then everyone would get along fine. Not very satisfactory, is it?

Satisfactory for what?

I mean it's unsatisfactory in terms of explanation. I could say "If everyone ate carrots, the world would be a better place." It might be true -- in fact, if you pressed me I might be able to come up with some prima facie grounds to support it -- but even if we all followed it, and the world did improve, where would that lead us except into superstition? The point is that Crowley didn't *prove* it, whereas others I previously mentioned did go to the trouble of attempting to demonstrate it from rational grounds. Crowley basically gives up on philosophy, arguing that it leads to insanity and death, or to "real communion with those that are beyond" (i.e., supernatural beings; see Liber Os Abysmi). I have tremendous sympathy with Crowley and everything he tried to achieve, but there are questions he didn't attempt to solve which are nevertheless not worth giving up on.

"Los" wrote:
"Do what thou wilt" -- that is, to follow one's "natural course of action" and not to be distracted by what Crowley called the "fancy pictures" of oneself generated by the mind -- seems largely common sense. Others have had the idea before -- Taoism, for example, has a lot of similarities, and we could compare ideas from a lot of different systems.

I don't accept the "natural course" -- you say that to follow "will" is to follow the "natural course" -- but why is nature so helpful? Surely "nature" is a cruel mistress, the spawn of many a false creation, hence why so accursed (in part or in full) by all religions? What is an amoeba's "natural course"? or why should nature lead to the stars?

"Los" wrote:
Is it true that it will lead to less conflict in the world? There's no way to tell for sure, but it makes sense that people attending to their own wills would probably result in less conflict -- people would probably be less interested in sticking their noses in other people's business, etc.

I don't think so. The more I know my "will", the more I realise I must "take a stand" against the herd. Surely to know one's will is to be "against the people", and isn't history littered with examples of those who have done so? And there has always been opposition, since change is always tumultuous. Would you argue that the opposition to good ideas has been the result of "false will"? But then shouldn't we factor in "false will" to our equations? Einstein thought lambda was negligible...

"Los" wrote:
But the reason to follow the Law of Thelema -- your will -- is not that it's going to lead to some "better world" -- it's that, to paraphrase Crowley, you can't help but do it, and you had better do it well than badly.

That's not the "Law of Thelema", though, is it? Isn't it the "Law of Augustine/Rabelais/Schopenhauer/Nietzsche"? And why "follow" a law -- don't you want to be free? The "Law of Thelema" is a construct: one that has religious underpinnings which are totally unnecessary.

"Los" wrote:
Are you saying that the only reason to follow the Law of Thelema is that it claims a supernatural source? There are hundreds of religions and religious philosophies that claim a supernatural source. If that's the basis for choosing Thelema, then it becomes indistinguishable from other supernatural religions. [Which, ironically, is the argument that wellredwellbred was clumsily trying to make (I think)]

I'm not pushing for any of that.

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
But if the message really is the sole issue, how can one arbitrarily disregard the apparently unfulfilled "prophetic" elements within it?

You'll have to give me an example of what you mean here. I don't interpret the Book as containing any literal prophecies. I tend to read that stuff as poetry and/or symbolism for parts of the self.

Erm, I don't know... the stuff about the stele, the rich man, etc. Of course all of the unprovable stuff was claimed, spec. the "consciousness of the continuity of existence". But of course these are arguable -- and according to some of the more lurid tales, Crowley had quite an influence in politics -- but there are nevertheless problematic issues about The Book of the Law nonetheless, which I hope I don't have to provide for you chapter and verse.

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
there is an appeal to the absolute in Crowley's writings, just as in all religion, which therefore requires belief in the words of a teacher who speaks with authority beyond mere rationalisations from observed phenomena.

Could you give an example of this? I'm particularly interested in something that supports your contention that it "requires belief in the words of a teacher" -- especially since Crowley is on record with the message of "don't believe me!"

Thelema "all comes back to me". One of his later letters. But, for f***'s sake, he always goes on about his status. Show me an example where the whole A.'.A.'./prophet thing isn't in some way stated or implied...

"Los" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
The central problem with that approach is that by refusing to defend Thelema on the grounds of its supposed "prophecy" you still leave open the door to the argument that prophecy is real but that Crowley wasn't a prophet

Well, that would be a pretty weak argument since prophecy isn't real.

Well, speak for yourself... personally, I'm quite convinced that "prophecy" (in the limited sense of knowing the future) is perfectly possible; though I don't think it works well over long timescales. In terms of Qabalah, let's say, the world gradually materialises from the "mind of God", and humans can be consciously aware of events as they develop in those subtle realms.

"Los" wrote:
I'm sorry to say that I'll be gone for the rest of the weekend -- just when the conversation was getting good. Oh well. Talk to you all later.

Well, have a good weekend and I look forward to your reply in due course.

Best wishes,

Ian


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
28/11/2009 7:02 pm  

Well, the opposing points in this discussion between Ian and Los merely demonstrate, to me, the elasticity of Thelema. Ian seems, for whatever reasons of his own, to require the religious elements available within Thelema (as did Crowley, at times) while Los, for whatever reasons of his own, seems to require divorcing himself utterly from all elements of religion (as did Crowley, at times). Crowley left us both extremely secular writings and extremely religious writings, and many Thelemites embrace one category while finding a way of rationalizing away the other. Liber AL certainly does note differences of 'category' among Thelemites in several of its verses, does it not?

As for me, I've always been a 'big picture' sort of person. It seems to me essential that the Law is for all and, in order to be so, it must manifest in the minds of each of its adherents in the manor best suited to them. This is really what makes Thelema 'special,' not that is the 'Holy of Holies' alone or that it is the ultimate scientific truth alone but that it is both.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
28/11/2009 7:06 pm  

Should be written, the 'ultimate scientific truth.' Damn the absense of that beloved edit function.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
28/11/2009 7:32 pm  

As a PS to my last: I am certainly not suggesting that Thelema can be any and all things to any and all people. Far from it. For example, slaves exclude themselves from the equation automatically by their rejection of liberty and the responsibilities thereof, and their ongoing presence and status is also well accounted for by Liber AL. -Cheers.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
28/11/2009 8:45 pm  

Camlion does chain-threading. I see it: Gleich kommt der Knüppel. ;]


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
28/11/2009 9:06 pm  
"moyal" wrote:
Camlion does chain-threading. I see it: Gleich kommt der Knüppel. ;]

Schuldig. 🙁


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
29/11/2009 12:50 am  
"ianrons" wrote:
And why "follow" a law -- don't you want to be free? The "Law of Thelema" is a construct: one that has religious underpinnings which are totally unnecessary.

Ian, your comments are rather curious.

True Will is grounded in Kether/Jechidah and expressed through Chokmah/Chiah and therefore the Supernals is the realm of freedom. Initiation is an inward journey toward absolute freedom – “absolute” in the sense the distinction between inner and outer is dissolved (as one person put it, a journey from the one to the One).

If your comment the Law of Thelema is a “construct” with unnecessary religious underpinnings questions whether anyone goes anywhere on the path of initiation, similar to jnana, I see your point. If we never went anywhere and are already enlightened, True Will would be irrelevant. But this is hardly freedom since it ignores the question why a person incarnates on earth at a particular point in history – what True Will allegedly is all about discovering – and that we cannot seem to remember where we came from, that we are subject to disease, aging and death. True Will relates to the question of significance, purpose, meaning, becoming, evolutionary drive. Or for the adepts, the Path of Return..

You write – why “follow” a law – don’t you want to be free? This comment deserves clarification.

Thelema is not about slave-like obedience to some vague, possibly religious, idea of True Will, HGA, or debatable claims of the Book of the Law. Thelema is a covenant, a pact that cannot be broken, in that True Will is grounded in the Supernals. As Camlion pointed out, the Law is for All. This claim is either true or false, but it requires neither faith, nor obedience nor proselytizing – any more than the earth, the sun, the moon or stars require validation.

If true, this means it does not matter if you believe in Thelema or not, the principle applies nonetheless and affects your life whether you realize it or not. It is prophetic and claims of the future that sooner or later everyone will cross the Abyss or be destroyed by the Universe. In evolution, species evolve or die out. This implies your logic on prophecy should be reversed. Crowley’s claims are debatable in the short-term, but their prophetic accuracy, which address questions of humanity, evolution and consciousness, can only be verified over the long-term.

Our freedom lies in the assurance that True Will is grounded in the Supernals. This liberates us to fully experience and enjoy the process of awakening, both good and bad. Every magickal success and failure, the insane and awesome visions, the ordeals, the slander, the tears shed, the foolishness, the incredible experiences - all constitute the sacrament of the New Aeon, the blood poured into the Cup. There will come a day when the saints and adepts partake of the intoxicating laughter-inducing wine. Take your time, or hurry up, it doesn't matter either way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqp6SHn1Kf8


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
29/11/2009 3:33 am  

Camlion,

"Camlion" wrote:
Well, the opposing points in this discussion between Ian and Los merely demonstrate, to me, the elasticity of Thelema. Ian seems, for whatever reasons of his own, to require the religious elements available within Thelema (as did Crowley, at times) while Los, for whatever reasons of his own, seems to require divorcing himself utterly from all elements of religion (as did Crowley, at times).

Firstly, I don't think Los and I are really on opposite sides of the debate here; but as to what I said, I didn't "require" the religious aspects of Thelema, but pointed out that there are, inescapably, religious aspects to Thelema. I'll make a list:

    • A prophet (implying a spiritual hierarchy: "obey my prophet", "three grades")
    • A spiritual "law"
    • Myths/prophecies about (e.g.) political domination, founded on a notion of the spiritual superiority of the faithful
    • Notions of sin/sinners and hell (the "slaves" & "the pit of because")
    • Regulated holy days (inc. a related ritual borrowed from Islam)
    • Regulated sacraments (wine/cakes/etc.)
    • A regulated method of prayer (the Kiblah & "a ka dua")
    • A number of promises to be granted to the faithful (both living and dead)
    • A pantheon of deities (Nuit/Hadit/Ra-Hoor-Khuit/etc.) and other divine, semi-divine or "appointed" beings (Aiwass/the Scarlet Woman/etc.)

All of these are key features of (especially) Christianity, but also to a lesser extent of other religions such as Islam.

You say that religious elements are "available within Thelema", as if they were toppings on a pizza! They're not a matter of choice: they are a matter of fact, in black and white on the page of Liber AL. Now, it was said by Crowley that a Thelemite need not even be aware of The Book of the Law to be a Thelemite, which suggests that conscious belief in these elements might be "optional" to the degree (at least) that one isn't aware of them; but clearly even if you're not aware of the Book of the Law, the theory must be that Thelema is aware of you, so to speak, and that the claims in the Book of the Law are nevertheless true.

"Camlion" wrote:
Crowley left us both extremely secular writings and extremely religious writings, and many Thelemites embrace one category while finding a way of rationalizing away the other. Liber AL certainly does note differences of 'category' among Thelemites in several of its verses, does it not?

Yes, but there are "good Muslims" and "bad Muslims", etc. Some make it to heaven (or, in Thelema, a higher "grade"), whilst others don't. Not sure what you mean about Crowley's "secular writings".

"Camlion" wrote:
As for me, I've always been a 'big picture' sort of person. It seems to me essential that the Law is for all and, in order to be so, it must manifest in the minds of each of its adherents in the manor best suited to them. This is really what makes Thelema 'special,' not that is the 'Holy of Holies' alone or that it is the ultimate scientific truth alone but that it is both.

Obviously there are religions besides Thelema that allow for individualistic interpretations, including to varying degrees all of the mainstream ones, so I really don't see what's so special about Thelema in that sense. Conversely, the limits of acceptable opinion are necessarily circumscribed in religion, including Thelema.

I'm not sure what you mean in the final sentence -- you make a correction to it in a later post but I can't figure out what you mean by that correction.

"Camlion" wrote:
As a PS to my last: I am certainly not suggesting that Thelema can be any and all things to any and all people. Far from it. For example, slaves exclude themselves from the equation automatically by their rejection of liberty and the responsibilities thereof, and their ongoing presence and status is also well accounted for by Liber AL. -Cheers.

That's a key religious aspect of Thelema, very similar to the Christian notion of the sinner. The corollary is that only the followers of Thelema are marked for salvation, assuming they pass the tests or "ordeals". But instead of facing the Christian devil, Crowley's dogma is that Thelemites must face "Choronzon", which is, erm, the Christian devil.


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
29/11/2009 4:26 am  

tai,

"tai" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
And why "follow" a law -- don't you want to be free? The "Law of Thelema" is a construct: one that has religious underpinnings which are totally unnecessary.

You write – why “follow” a law – don’t you want to be free? This comment deserves clarification.

My point is that Crowley called it a "Law" and hung a load of baggage about prophets and cakes of light on it, but if he were a philosopher he would have put it in a less authoritarian manner. Essentially, I think Thelema is a very authoritarian religion which requires a certain degree of slavish adherence, and which I think a truly freedom-loving person would not accept, even if they did accept a similar philosophical concept of "will".

"tai" wrote:
If your comment the Law of Thelema is a “construct” with unnecessary religious underpinnings questions whether anyone goes anywhere on the path of initiation, similar to jnana, I see your point.

That's not what I'm saying at all.

"tai" wrote:
Thelema is not about slave-like obedience to some vague, possibly religious, idea of True Will, HGA, or debatable claims of the Book of the Law.

I dispute this. Taking each of your examples in turn:

    Obedience to True Will. "Thou hast no right but to do thy will." i.e., like a slave, one is not granted the right to use one's own body except in service to Will.
    Obedience to the H.G.A. The concept of the H.G.A. is not terribly coherent in The Book of the Law, but how about "I am the Master; thou art the Holy Chosen One". Master and slave, albeit a "holy" slave. Also see the commentary to Liber LXV, II:35-6 where Crowley is explicit in the use of the term "slave" to describe the relationship.
    Obedience to the claims of the Book of the Law. Again, "Obey my prophet", but there are a lot of other things which one is instructed to do in that book (e.g., "Come unto me in a single robe"), including of course "Do what thou wilt". Some demands require less servility than others, but like other religions, it is not a matter of the giving and receiving of advice or friendly instruction; rather, these are demands, to be ignored at one's peril (and accompanied by threats such as of child murder).
"tai" wrote:
Thelema is a covenant, a pact that cannot be broken, in that True Will is grounded in the Supernals. As Camlion pointed out, the Law is for All. This claim is either true or false, but it requires neither faith, nor obedience nor proselytizing – any more than the earth, the sun, the moon or stars require validation.

If true, this means it does not matter if you believe in Thelema or not, the principle applies nonetheless and affects your life whether you realize it or not. It is prophetic and claims of the future that sooner or later everyone will cross the Abyss or be destroyed by the Universe. In evolution, species evolve or die out. This implies your logic on prophecy should be reversed. Crowley’s claims are debatable in the short-term, but their prophetic accuracy, which address questions of humanity, evolution and consciousness, can only be verified over the long-term.

Our freedom lies in the assurance that True Will is grounded in the Supernals. This liberates us to fully experience and enjoy the process of awakening, both good and bad. Every magickal success and failure, the insane and awesome visions, the ordeals, the slander, the tears shed, the foolishness, the incredible experiences - all constitute the sacrament of the New Aeon, the blood poured into the Cup. There will come a day when the saints and adepts partake of the intoxicating laughter-inducing wine. Take your time, or hurry up, it doesn't matter either way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqp6SHn1Kf8

This is all a lot of faith-based reasoning, which if anything shows just how much of a religion Thelema is.


ReplyQuote
Proteus
(@proteus)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 243
29/11/2009 4:37 am  

93 all

...even if you're not aware of the Book of the Law, the theory must be that Thelema is aware of you, so to speak, and that the claims in the Book of the Law are nevertheless true.

Crowley is as much the 'prophet' of Thelema as Newton or Einstein were 'prophets' of Physics. They were expositors of natural laws of the Universe. "Love is the law, love under will." is a natural law, like gravity, that we can master or forever be a slave to. And 'magick' gives us a means to act on the Universe (Master) instead of merely being acted upon (Slave).

I think that Crowley's adoption of a Thelemic pantheon is "an extremely crude attempt to explain a system which reconciles all existing schools of philosophy" and shouldn't be taken literally. It's a convenient set of archetypes that serves Thelema, and us Western adherents, well. 😉

93 93/93
John


ReplyQuote
ianrons
(@ianrons)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 1126
29/11/2009 5:03 am  

Proteus,

"Proteus" wrote:
Crowley is as much the 'prophet' of Thelema as Newton or Einstein were 'prophets' of Physics. They were expositors of natural laws of the Universe.

Newton and Einstein neither demanded obedience nor failed to demonstrate their discoveries using the method of science.

"Proteus" wrote:
"Love is the law, love under will." is a natural law, like gravity

Would you care to demonstrate this? How do you intend to define, and then measure, "love" and "will"? Technically, what you have here is a hypothesis, not a theory.

"Proteus" wrote:
And 'magick' gives us a means to act on the Universe (Master) instead of merely being acted upon (Slave).

Surely the question of whether we act on the universe, or vice versa, or both, is simply a matter of perspective? We are, after all, all part of the universe. I'm not sure what distinguishes "magick", in this context, as something which Thelemites can do and no-one else can.

"Proteus" wrote:
I think that Crowley's adoption of a Thelemic pantheon is "an extremely crude attempt to explain a system which reconciles all existing schools of philosophy" and shouldn't be taken literally. It's a convenient set of archetypes that serves Thelema, and us Western adherents, well. 😉

I must confess frustratation at these absurdly unscientific statements along the lines of "this is a law" or "this reconciles all existing schools of philosophy". Patently, anyone can say anything and call it irrefutable; but Crowley makes no attempt to demonstrate either of these propositions: he simply accompanied them with a lot of bombast. They may have the force of religious conviction, but not scientific validity.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
29/11/2009 1:41 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Well, the opposing points in this discussion between Ian and Los merely demonstrate, to me, the elasticity of Thelema. Ian seems, for whatever reasons of his own, to require the religious elements available within Thelema (as did Crowley, at times) while Los, for whatever reasons of his own, seems to require divorcing himself utterly from all elements of religion (as did Crowley, at times).
"ianrons" wrote:
Firstly, I don't think Los and I are really on opposite sides of the debate here;

Quite true, but you "really were" until I butted in. I also left out the magicians and mystics of Thelema, so many of whom usually conclude that both the religious and the secular Thelemites are full of sh*t.

"ianrons" wrote:
but as to what I said, I didn't "require" the religious aspects of Thelema, but pointed out that there are, inescapably, religious aspects to Thelema.

No, really, you had to point that out, due to the nature of your own perspective, your own paradigm. We are each captives of our own.

"ianrons" wrote:
I'll mak a list:

    • A prophet (implying a spiritual hierarchy: "obey my prophet", "three grades")
    • A spiritual "law"
    • Myths/prophecies about (e.g.) political domination, founded on a notion of the spiritual superiority of the faithful
    • Notions of sin/sinners and hell (the "slaves" & "the pit of because")
    • Regulated holy days (inc. a related ritual borrowed from Islam)
    • Regulated sacraments (wine/cakes/etc.)
    • A regulated method of prayer (the Kiblah & "a ka dua")
    • A number of promises to be granted to the faithful (both living and dead)
    • A pantheon of deities (Nuit/Hadit/Ra-Hoor-Khuit/etc.) and other divine, semi-divine or "appointed" beings (Aiwass/the Scarlet Woman/etc.)

All of these are key features of (especially) Christianity, but also to a lesser extent of other religions such as Islam.

A true prophet is proven when the prophesies bear fruit, and only then. Obeying the prophet is, then, the shortest distance between 'then and now,' assuming the success of the prophecy. The 'three grades' might be the categories of Thelemite to which I referred above, perhaps? 'Hierarchy' is always in the eye of the beholder. Law is that which proves itself over any demonstrable objection. Political domination, ditto. Sin: self-denial = self-defeat. Those incapable of self-determination and self-sufficiency are slaves to external or internal interference. 'Holy Days' are largely commemorative of environmental and personal watermarks. Sacraments are largely shortcuts between one's divinity and one's underestimation of that. Regulation = 'practice makes perfect.' Promises' are granted when earned by effort. I am Hadit, not-I is Nuit, the interplay thereof is Ra-Hoor-Khuit, my existence, at present.

The difference between Thelema and Judeo-Christain-Islam is obvious. Submission to one's own Will vs that of a nonexistent god. Have I a true Will? Much more likely than an a nonexistent god having one. Done deal, best of the available alternatives.

"ianrons" wrote:
You say that religious elements are "available within Thelema", as if they were toppings on a pizza!

Provided that they are on the real menu, yes. No substitutions, though, please.

"ianrons" wrote:
They're not a matter of choice: they are a matter of fact, in black and white on the page of Liber AL.

Yep, by which freedom of choice is granted to all. Even unto liberty, even unto slavery, and points in between.

"ianrons" wrote:
Now, it was said by Crowley that a Thelemite need not even be aware of The Book of the Law to be a Thelemite, which suggests that conscious belief in these elements might be "optional" to the degree (at least) that one isn't aware of them;

Yep. The label is superfluluous to the product.

"ianrons" wrote:
but clearly even if you're not aware of the Book of the Law, the theory must be that Thelema is aware of you, so to speak, and that the claims in the Book of the Law are nevertheless true.

Huh? Oh, okay, that Liber AL has human nature pretty well nailed, yes.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
Crowley left us both extremely secular writings and extremely religious writings, and many Thelemites embrace one category while finding a way of rationalizing away the other. Liber AL certainly does note differences of 'category' among Thelemites in several of its verses, does it not?
"ianrons" wrote:
Yes, but there are "good Muslims" and "bad Muslims", etc. Some make it to heaven (or, in Thelema, a higher "grade"), whilst others don't. Not sure what you mean about Crowley's "secular writings".

Los would love to re-quote Crowley's most secular writings for you, and no doubt will. I am thinking of Liber LXXVII, beyond the quotations from Liber AL, but there are reams of others. At this point, really, Crowley's conscious intent is irrelevant. Only the final result is of importance. No?

Muslims? My goodness, Ian. Do you know what the Thelemic solution to the current, and by now ancient, middle east crisis must be? There is only one: Judeo-Christian-Islam must abandon itself and accept the Law of Thelema - Do what thou wilt. The alternative is for its internal factions to destroy one another. Either way is fine in the end, except for the collateral damage to innocent bystanders, such as ourselves.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
As for me, I've always been a 'big picture' sort of person. It seems to me essential that the Law is for all and, in order to be so, it must manifest in the minds of each of its adherents in the manor best suited to them. This is really what makes Thelema 'special,' not that is the 'Holy of Holies' alone or that it is the ultimate scientific truth alone but that it is both.
"ianrons" wrote:
Obviously there are religions besides Thelema that allow for individualistic interpretations, including to varying degrees all of the mainstream ones, so I really don't see what's so special about Thelema in that sense.

Religions such as which? Each one that I can think of requires submission to and/or faith in bullsh*t, other than oneself and one's own bullsh*t, which one is instructed in Thelema to refine as much as possible. You say now that Thelema is the same, but the existence of so many non-religious Thelemites proves you wrong.

"ianrons" wrote:
Conversely, the limits of acceptable opinion are necessarily circumscribed in religion, including Thelema.

Nonsense. Observation of the facts regarding Thelema, properly understood, and Thelemites, at present, proves you wrong. Religion is irrelevant save for those individuals for to whom it is greater than that. Such fixations are often transitional, to each his/her own way, do what thou wilt.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Camlion" wrote:
As a PS to my last: I am certainly not suggesting that Thelema can be any and all things to any and all people. Far from it. For example, slaves exclude themselves from the equation automatically by their rejection of liberty and the responsibilities thereof, and their ongoing presence and status is also well accounted for by Liber AL. -Cheers.

That's a key religious aspect of Thelema, very similar to the Christian notion of the sinner. The corollary is that only the followers of Thelema are marked for salvation, assuming they pass the tests or "ordeals." But instead of facing the Christian devil, Crowley's dogma is that Thelemites must face "Choronzon", which is, erm, the Christian devil.

Not at all. "'Do what thou wilt' or you are f*cked," is the message. You are f*cked by yourself, not some other.

"ianrons" wrote:
"tai" wrote:
"ianrons" wrote:
And why "follow" a law -- don't you want to be free? The "Law of Thelema" is a construct: one that has religious underpinnings which are totally unnecessary.

You write – why “follow” a law – don’t you want to be free? This comment deserves clarification.

My point is that Crowley called it a "Law" and hung a load of baggage about prophets and cakes of light on it, but if he were a philosopher he would have put it in a less authoritarian manner. Essentially, I think Thelema is a very authoritarian religion which requires a certain degree of slavish adherence, and which I think a truly freedom-loving person would not accept, even if they did accept a similar philosophical concept of "will".

Pardon me for budding in between you, but one cannot be free from oneself, no matter how one might try. This Law is self-enforced, that is the difference. Try to be other than thyself, and you will fail. Simple as that. If forced to be other than thyself, you will self-defeat and ultimately self-destruct, and possibly become a monster in the process, taking others with you. Simple.

"ianrons" wrote:
"tai" wrote:
If your comment the Law of Thelema is a “construct” with unnecessary religious underpinnings questions whether anyone goes anywhere on the path of initiation, similar to jnana, I see your point.

That's not what I'm saying at all.

Right. What you are saying is that "the Prophet's" personal hang-ups must be our own. That the religious motif that he most closely related to in the early 20th century, even at age 70+, must be our own. That is nonsense. The true value of Thelema will survive these trappings,and carry on in a form palatable to its adherents.

"ianrons" wrote:
"tai" wrote:
Thelema is not about slave-like obedience to some vague, possibly religious, idea of True Will, HGA, or debatable claims of the Book of the Law.

I dispute this. Taking each of your examples in turn:

    Obedience to True Will. "Thou hast no right but to do thy will." i.e., like a slave, one is not granted the right to use one's own body except in service to Will.
    Obedience to the H.G.A. The concept of the H.G.A. is not terribly coherent in The Book of the Law, but how about "I am the Master; thou art the Holy Chosen One". Master and slave, albeit a "holy" slave. Also see the commentary to Liber LXV, II:35-6 where Crowley is explicit in the use of the term "slave" to describe the relationship.
    Obedience to the claims of the Book of the Law. Again, "Obey my prophet", but there are a lot of other things which one is instructed to do in that book (e.g., "Come unto me in a single robe"), including of course "Do what thou wilt". Some demands require less servility than others, but like other religions, it is not a matter of the giving and receiving of advice or friendly instruction; rather, these are demands, to be ignored at one's peril (and accompanied by threats such as of child murder).

Yes. Slave-like obedience to one's own true innate nature is exactly what is required for success. This is not obedience to other than oneself, there is no god but man. Should one deny one's own nature, dire consequences are likely to follow. A monstrous rapist of children, perhaps. A good cautionary tale, at the very least.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Proteus" wrote:
Crowley is as much the 'prophet' of Thelema as Newton or Einstein were 'prophets' of Physics. They were expositors of natural laws of the Universe.

Newton and Einstein neither demanded obedience nor failed to demonstrate their discoveries using the method of science.

The laws of physics have yet, to date, been fully proven. Yet, one might reasonably demand obedience to them. Would one be wrong in demanding obedience to them? Not without explanation, no.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Proteus" wrote:
"Love is the law, love under will." is a natural law, like gravity

Would you care to demonstrate this? How do you intend to define, and then measure, "love" and "will"? Technically, what you have here is a hypothesis, not a theory.

What?! Polarity is neither a hypothesis nor a theory, it is a scientific fact, thus far.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Proteus" wrote:
And 'magick' gives us a means to act on the Universe (Master) instead of merely being acted upon (Slave).

Surely the question of whether we act on the universe, or vice versa, or both, is simply a matter of perspective? We are, after all, all part of the universe. I'm not sure what distinguishes "magick", in this context, as something which Thelemites can do and no-one else can.

So what?! The label 'Thelema' or 'Crowley' is not the point. The facts are either the facts or they are not. Thelema either works for human beings or it does not. Exclusive rights to the truth are not the point. Something either works or it does not, it does not really matter to the perpetuation of our species who gets credit for it.

"ianrons" wrote:
"Proteus" wrote:
I think that Crowley's adoption of a Thelemic pantheon is "an extremely crude attempt to explain a system which reconciles all existing schools of philosophy" and shouldn't be taken literally. It's a convenient set of archetypes that serves Thelema, and us Western adherents, well. 😉

I must confess frustratation at these absurdly unscientific statements along the lines of "this is a law" or "this reconciles all existing schools of philosophy". Patently, anyone can say anything and call it irrefutable; but Crowley makes no attempt to demonstrate either of these propositions: he simply accompanied them with a lot of bombast. They may have the force of religious conviction, but not scientific validity.

Thelema is.

Okay, Ian, one might tell you that fire will burn you and that fire-safety will avoid that, but you are perfectly free to experiment. No matter, I am fairly confident of the results.

Do what thou wilt.

(Again, good to see you back here!)


ReplyQuote
Aleisterion
(@aleisterion)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 319
29/11/2009 2:07 pm  

Camlion wrote: As a PS to my last: I am certainly not suggesting that Thelema can be any and all things to any and all people. Far from it. For example, slaves exclude themselves from the equation automatically by their rejection of liberty and the responsibilities thereof, and their ongoing presence and status is also well accounted for by Liber AL.

Ianrons wrote: That's a key religious aspect of Thelema, very similar to the Christian notion of the sinner. The corollary is that only the followers of Thelema are marked for salvation, assuming they pass the tests or "ordeals". But instead of facing the Christian devil, Crowley's dogma is that Thelemites must face "Choronzon", which is, erm, the Christian devil.

93 Ian,

Nice to see you here again. I don't rear my ugly head around here often -- to post that is -- but occasionally I see a remark that gets me into the conversation. I think that I differ with you on this point of supposed Thelemic superiority or exclusiveness.

First, I have to say that I agree with Camlion that Thelema is not extremely flexible -- basically anyway. But there is no damnation as you seem to suggest. Choronzon does not await the failed Exempt Adept, as if waiting to devour yet another aborted Babe of the Abyss. Rather, Choronzon is more like a portal through which every Exempt Adept passes in transcending his limited awareness. In the tenth Aethyr, after all, Crowley inhabited the triangle of evocation and served as the vessel for Choronzon.

Aside from this, the "slaves" (and to some degree or other we are all "slaves" -- even the prophet was the "slave of the beauteous one") are not damned according to the Law. "Every man and every woman is a star." The cycles of eternity allow everyone ample time for all to "Do what thou wilt".

Again, welcome back!

93 93 93


ReplyQuote
Palamedes
(@palamedes)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 450
29/11/2009 8:06 pm  
"Camlion" wrote:
Religions such as which? Each one that I can think of requires submission to and/or faith in bullsh*t, other than oneself and one's own bullsh*t, which one is instructed in Thelema to refine as much as possible. You say now that Thelema is the same, but the existence of so many non-religious Thelemites proves you wrong.

I disagree, Camlion. Buddhism does not require neither submission nor 'faith in bullsh*t, other than oneself'. Faith is a part and parcel of it, but ultimately it is up to the person to realize his or her own enlightened self (or no-self, if you want it). Many branches of Hinduism do not require submission and although the faith is there, it is still acknowledged that god is within. Atman is within. Yoga does not require submission or faith: you have to have a faith and confidence in that what you are doing is a path of truth, but faith itself is not enough. In addition, I am not sure who or what is that *I* that you suggest Thelema is based upon. Who or what is that *thou* in "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"? If you suggest that this is one's own *secular* self that is fine but it is at odds with the bulk of Crowley's writing on the subject. He makes a distinction between the ego and the true self, between Khabs and Khu and Hadit, just as he makes a distinction between 'do what you like' and 'do what you will.' And yes, one could argue that Thelema or at least Crowley as the Prophet of Thelema demand submission to one's True Will, which in itself is a metaphysical notion. I don't have a problem with that but metaphysics it is.


ReplyQuote
Page 2 / 6
Share: