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Religious vs Secular Thelema?


Sonofthoth
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It's been bothering me a little. On one hand there is the majority of reductionist, secularists who "follow" Thelema for the basic philosophy of "Will" and espouse Liber OZ, as if they have an entirely unique and objective perspective on reality - and they shit on the other group; the minority that follow Thelema as a religion and take The Book Of The Law, more or less as a serious holy book independent of Crowley - which in itself is split into two other groups; those who see Crowley as an informative source on Thelema/Liber AL commentary and those who don't.

The thing that doesn't make sense to me, for the former - is, why Thelema? why not Taoism? or just remain atheists? Why is reductionism so prevalent in the occult nowadays? (and even religion as a whole.)
Is it that these people NEED to have (in their beliefs) artificial symbols and archetypes to feed their Libertarian worldviews?

As for the religion, I tend to fall more into this category - yet it seems to be the unpopular opinion. But then it seems popular to bastardize or sell-short Liber AL itself anyway. Crowley seemed to be very defensive and uncertain of himself (IMO), being very indecisive about Aiwass and the four primary deities in Liber AL. His own concepts of Scientific Illuminism seems to have affected his own response to the message to mankind Aiwass gave to him, Aiwass itself actually seemed to be very cynical towards Crowley.
People tend to overemphasize Rabelais as an apparent influence because of the word "Thelema" and the axiom "Do What Thou Wilt", but I believe that is because of Crowley's own choice to necessitate it (and interpret it through Taoism) as the central doctrine of Thelema - but I disagree of it's importance. Do what thou wilt is just four words too, it seems ridiculous for it to be singled out as a unique phrase - let alone attributed to any individual person (whether Rabelais, Hellfire club or Crowley)
(Crowley's own Abbey Of Thelema is another situation of his own doing, however.)
I feel/believe that Aiwass' message was legitimate but he gave it to the wrong individual through a necessity in time.

Also, it seems that individuals like Jack Parsons and Kenneth Grant seem to be the only really "serious" Thelemites in my estimation. While I don't support all of their ideas or actions, I find them to be entirely genuine about Thelema as a legitimate religion that they are part of and not a dress-up party for atheists (not to be harsh about it)

What do you think about secularism vs religion in Thelema?

(of course I know various quotes by Crowley and certain popular modern Thelemites on this matter, but this isn't about them)


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dom
 dom
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@Sonofthoth

– and they shit on the other group;

In their minds they do yeah. Whether the other group feel shat upon is another matter.

the minority that follow Thelema as a religion and take The Book Of The Law, more or less as a serious holy book independent of Crowley

Minority? You mean majority.

– which in itself is split into two other groups; those who see Crowley as an informative source on Thelema/Liber AL commentary and those who don’t

Nope there's a third group which is the most malleable. Those who view Crowley both as a cynic who had religionist moments and a religionist who had cynical moments but he never made his mind up one way or another because frankly, it's impossible to do so.

The thing that doesn’t make sense to me, for the former – is, why Thelema? why not Taoism? or just remain atheists? Why is reductionism so prevalent in the occult nowadays? (and even religion as a whole.)

Good question but first off a reductionist is not an atheist. This creates a lot of confusion between the two camps. Atheism is an alternative religion but for a reductionist he is a scientist still waiting for evidence. If that evidence ever turns up (solid proof e.g. that a Spirit is not just "a portion of the human brain") then it will allow his eager flexible mind to accept and adopt metaphysical models......right? Maybe he secretly is an atheist but plays the game of 'honestly I'm still waiting for evidence you gullible low-educated druggie religionist idiot weirdo head-cases.'

. Do what thou wilt is just four words too, it seems ridiculous for it to be singled out as a unique phrase – let alone attributed to any individual person (whether Rabelais, Hellfire club or Crowley)
(Crowley’s own Abbey Of Thelema is another situation of his own doing, however.)

Maybe Aiwass also liked Rabelais.

To add a complication or (is it a simplification?) each individual is encouraged to interpret Liber Al as they will for themselves. For example Jim Eshelman interprets the word "certainty" as being etymologically derived from the word "faith" 1:58. End of analysis?

On the other hand you have Erwin Hessle who interprets the "because" in 2:32 and 2:33 AL as being some sort of mental mechanism by which the mind or ego blindly tricks itself into accepting what it reasons out for itself and this may not be in alignment with Will. That is, the knee-jerk religionist thinks that the Gods are stating that "reason is a lie" and "because" is false because reason takes away your capacity for success in your pusuits with wizadry. I must admit this is a very clever move by Hessle. I've seen what happens when someone like Hessle comes to a Thelema forum with their demand for evidence and takes away the magic from the....or takes away the toys from the children thereby. Maybe it's only in Hessle's mind where he does this.

Eshelman nicknamed Hessle as "Hassle" and concluded that the latter's short-lived (minor) stardom is up. Pun intended as Jim is a well-respected astrologer.

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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Los
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The thing that doesn’t make sense to me, for the former – is, why Thelema? why not Taoism? or just remain atheists

There seems to be some kind of category confusion here. An atheist is just someone who doesn’t think deities exist. Nothing’s stopping an atheist from agreeing with ideas contained within Thelema. One doesn’t stop being an atheist because one agrees with, say, the notion of True Will.

Why Thelema and not Taoism? Well, I imagine people who agree with concepts in Thelema would also agree with many concepts in Taoism. All of the world’s spiritual traditions speak to the same human condition, so it’s unsurprising that one would find similarities and broad agreement across them.

Your post seems to presume that “being a Thelemite” is some essential thing that precludes agreement with lots of other ideas. That’s simply not the case.

Why is reductionism so prevalent in the occult nowadays? (and even religion as a whole.)

If by “reductionism” you mean not accepting the existence of things like spirits, I imagine it’s so prevalent because it’s the only position that is justified by the evidence.

Libertarian worldviews?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I certainly don’t consider myself a libertarian.

As for the religion, I tend to fall more into this category

What do you mean by this, and what makes you think it’s true?


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ignant666
(@ignant666)
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Well, look what the cat (or the irresistible bait (irresistible even to One with the Supreme Indifference of an 8=3? Good Golly Moses!) of someone calling Thelema a "religion"?) dragged in...

I recently commented on the novelty of young david saying something witty, noting that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

S.'. H.'. Fra. Los-Bot, 8=3, is right significantly less often than twice a day, but has, as he occasionally must (given how much he runs his mouth), actually given a fairly cogent and useful reply to Sonofthoth's somewhat confused post. I wonder how many Thelemites Sonofthoth has met to draw such sweeping conclusions?

The Hand Of A Hanged Man, 8=3, is to be commended for this bit of garden-tending, so uncharacteristically devoid of the egoistic preening that is the hallmark of the Los-Bot we know and, well, know.

Our S.'. H.'. Fra. The Phallus Of A Goat, 8=3, might want to know that there is an epic troll-battle going on in the "creeping beetles as it were" thread, a battle between the S.'. H.'. Frater's erstwhile disciple david (now, of course, trading under the name and style of "dom"), and an actual walking talking reincarnation of AC, in the corporeal form of a superannuated porn-star from The Land Of Fruits And Nuts.


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Sonofthoth
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@los

One doesn’t stop being an atheist because one agrees with, say, the notion of True Will.

But Atheists by definition disagree with the idea of a divine purpose beyond the self?

Your post seems to presume that “being a Thelemite” is some essential thing that precludes agreement with lots of other ideas. That’s simply not the case.

The Equinox series is to blame for that. "Method of anti-Science, aim of pseudo-religion"

If by “reductionism” you mean not accepting the existence of things like spirits

No, I mean the "EVERYTHING is a metaphor, nothing means anything really. It's ALL psychological" that 99% of Thelemites seem to have.

What do you mean by this, and what makes you think it’s true?

The basic tenant of accepting that Aiwass did indeed truly send a message to mankind? Also a very unfavorable view among libertarianSJWtaoists coughcough I mean Thelemites.

I just don't get it, is it just the aesthetics that Crowley (in his systems) borrowed that attracts people to Thelema?

Is Thelema just a convenient box to use for magical/lodge practice?

If you don't believe it on a theological/supernatural level, then why not convert to Taoism or Dharma - as they have concepts identical to Will and have very liberating individualistic philosophical sides, which seems to be the only other attraction to Thelema.

Why not Chaos Magick?

Why are Crowley's books and AA/OTO systems given so much importance among Thelemites, when they lead to exactly nowhere? And have no real God-focus, seeing as it's all metaphors?

I've been a Thelemite a while but it's kind of sickening, really.


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Sonofthoth
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@Dom

Minority? You mean majority.

I've never met a single Thelemite that takes it seriously, it's all "psychological metaphorical" types. And I've met a LOT of Thelemites over the years.


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Los
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The basic tenant of accepting that Aiwass did indeed truly send a message to mankind

Yeah, but what reason is there to accept that?

If you don’t believe it on a theological/supernatural level, then why not convert to Taoism or Dharma

I do borrow concepts from Taoism and lots of systems.

If you’re asking why I use the language and symbols of Thelema, the answer is that I happen to know a bunch about it and I find it convenient to use the language of that system.


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dom
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Whenever anyone on an occult orientated forum 'asks for evidence' or challenges people and question how they come to their conclusions we see some interesting developments. There's a clash due to the resistance by the occultist contingent. They may (and I've seen it happen) in their exasperation resort to name calling and may e.g. accuse the rational contingent to 'go get some DMT' or 'did you take the libation yet?' or 'why be such a sanctimonious jerk?' etc.

It's a primal ancient and ongoing clash between the Dionysian and the Apollonian. The excess of intoxication versus the restraining forces of orderliness. It exists under the surface of and goes to uphold our civilization.

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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ignant666
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Aren't you the same guy that posted about how the Great Pyramid's dimensions tell us the speed of light, and also the latitude and longitude where it is located, or something equally nutty, with zero evidence that it is true?

These oscillations between "Skeptical Thelema fan" and "New Age Fluffy Bunny-ist" are confusing.


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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@dom

the occultist contingent . . . the rational contingent

Are you suggesting that we must be one or the other? I suspect that you lump me in "the occultist contingent" but the rational isn't exactly the Great Unknown to me. For instance, before crossing the road I check beforehand that I won't get run over; I ensure that my morning drink is coffee rather than hemlock; I write my own software for processing sales data; I set myself targets for writing and publishing; etc. However, when it comes to assimilating magical and mystical experience, I place more store by intuition than reason. That's how it's been for many years now, and that's how I choose to operate.

Many of us lapse into name-calling at some time or other. I imagine that a search through past threads would throw up a plethora of examples, including posts by such luminaries of "the rational contingent" as your good self.


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Shiva
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Is Thelema just a convenient box to use for magical/lodge practice?

If you don’t believe it on a theological/supernatural level, then why not convert to Taoism or Dharma

Why not just do the practices and draw your own conclusions? Nobody needs to adopt some other system.

Los: If you’re asking why I use the language and symbols of Thelema, the answer is that I happen to know a bunch about it and I find it convenient to use the language of that system.

An excellent position to take and a proper response.


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dom
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@michaelstaley

Are you suggesting that we must be one or the other?

No Michael i'm not going to ask you personally to define what Cthulu or Lam are in some 'gotcha' ploy. All I'm saying is the fatal question 'but where is the evidence for that claim?' makes one inherently Apollonian which usually clashes with the Dionysian and this rears it's head in these debates where 'the occult contingent' may and have resorted to calling the other party 'anti-drugs' without knowing anything about the other party's drug use or views on (Dionysian)drugs/intoxication.

Both elements are within us all as a civilization. Interesting that when Woodstock and it's associated movements where raging that the Apollo space mission was underway.

Anyway don't let me get in the way of this debate.... please continue.

https://www.lashtal.com/wiki/Aleister_Crowley_Timeline


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