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lashtal
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Why does LAShTAL.com repeatedly describe Thelema as a "religion", much to the chagrin of some of those new-fangled Chaos and Typhonian types?!

This Forum post is necessary because I still receive at least an email a week from visitors objecting that Thelema "definitely isn't a religion". Of course, the number of things that Thelema "definitely is", is roughly equal to the number of emails received...


Since I first started to study Crowley seriously around 1976, I have always felt instinctively that Thelema is primarily a religion. When I say "primarily" I mean that although some aspects of it are artistic, others magical, some philosophical, the raison d'etre of Thelema is essentially religious.

I get a couple of emails each week from visitors telling me that I'm wrong; that Thelema "is not" a religion - indeed, that Thelema makes all religions defunct.

I'm pleased to say that I've now located a brief article by Bill Heidrick - one of the most knowledgeable and courteous Thelemites you're likely to find - that provides what is perhaps a definitive answer...

From Thelema Lodge Calendar (November 1992) by Bill Heidrick... (Reproduced with kind permission - all rights reserved)

Does the following citation show that Crowley held Thelema not be a Religion:

Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.
The word does not occur in The Book of the Law.
-- Magick Without Tears, Letter #31

I see two things to our point in this citation:

1) ... Crowley's correspondent for the letters in Magick Without Tears, is allowed by Crowley to call it (Thelema) a new religion, but he fails to see the advantage for her doing so.

2) The word "religion" does not occur in The Book of the Law.

Taking the simpler first, it is true that the word "religion" does not occur in Liber AL, but that doesn't stop Crowley from using it in his commentaries on Liber AL in several instances, as I will show below. On the first point: calling Thelema a "new religion" is not the same thing as simply calling it a "religion". A question thrown against the merits of calling a thing "new" does not stick of necessity to the thing apart from newness.

In the context of the greater part of this MWT letter Crowley discusses the definition of "religion", issuing a trial definition of: "A religion then, is a more or less coherent and consistent set of beliefs, with precepts and prohibitions therefrom deducible." Crowley goes on to say that he often ( not always) uses the word "religion" in the sense of Frazer in opposition to "science" or "Magic." Crowley then develops for a bit the idea of influenceable deities or similar beasties in contrast to his ideas of "Laws of Nature" both for Science and Magick. He concludes this preamble with the paragraph just before our citation:

To sum up, our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with Science or Magick.

I fail to see that this can in any way be held to be a denial of the qualifier "religion" to "Thelema".

Now, this is not enough to decide what Crowley thought of the matter one way or another. More of a body and weight of evidence is necessary. Even in the face of a direct denial of the qualifier "religion" to "Thelema", which denial is not here, the weight of other references by Crowley would have to be taken into account. Following are selected citations from Crowley's Opus on the point. It will be seen that Crowley uses different implied definitions of "religion" at different times, but the body of the text leads to a common conclusion that Crowley freely considered Thelema to be a religion in general; A A and O.T.O. to be particular religions in practice. Here are a few of Crowley's expressed views, among very many to the point:

COMMENTARIES TO LIBER AL-major points:

To AL I,63:
I wish here to emphasise that the Law of Thelema definitely enjoins us, as a necessary act of religion, to "drink sweet wines and wines that foam". Any free man or woman who resides in any community where this is verboten has a choice between two duties: insurrection and emigration.

To AL III,19:
But that apart, the proof of any discarnate intelligence, even of the lowest order, has never before been established. And lack of that proof is the flaw in all the religions of the past; man could not be certain of the existence of "God", because though he knew many powers independent of muscle, he knew of no consciousness independent of nerve.

To AL III,22:
Our religion therefore, for the People, is the Cult of the Sun, who is our particular star of the Body of Nuit, from whom, in the strictest scientific sense, come this earth, a chilled spark of Him, and all our Light and Life.

COMMENTARIES TO LIBER AL-minor points:

To AL I,52:
Therefore, the Love that is Law is no less Love in the petty personal sense; for Love that makes two One is the engine whereby even the final Two, Self and Not-Self, may become One, in the mystic marriage of the Bride, the Soul, with Him appointed from eternity to espouse her; yea, even the Most High, God All-in-All, the Truth.

Therefore we hold Love holy, our heart's religion, our mind's science.

To AL I,56:
All religions have some truth.

We possess all intellectual truth, and some, not all, mystic truth.

To AL I,63:
All those acts which excite the divine in man are proper to the Rite of Invocation.

Religion, as understood by the vile Puritan, is the very opposite of all this. He - it - seems to wish to kill his - its - soul by forbidding every expression of it, and every practice which might awaken it to expression. To hell with this Verbotenism!

FROM CONFESSIONS:
It is possible to base a religion, not on theory and results, but on practice and methods.

Chapter 49 of Confessions deals with "The Claim of 'The Book of the Law' in Respect of Religion".

...

The history of mankind teems with religious teachers. These may be divided into three classes.

1. Such men as Moses and Mohammed state simply that they have received a direct communication from God. They buttress their authority by divers methods, chiefly threats and promises guaranteed by thaumaturgy; they resent the criticism of reason.

2. Such men as Blake and Boehme claimed to have entered into direct communication with discarnate intelligence which may be considered as personal, creative, omnipotent, unique, identical with themselves or otherwise. Its authority depends on "the interior certainty" of the seer.

3. Such teachers as Lao-Tzu, the Buddha and the highest Gnana-yogis announce that they have attained to superior wisdom, understanding, knowledge and power, but make no pretence of imposing their views on mankind. They remain essentially sceptics. They base their precepts on their own personal experience, saying, in effect, that they have found that the performance of certain acts and the abstention from others created conditions favourable to the attainment of the state which has emancipated them. The wiser they are, the less dogmatic. Such men indeed formulate their transcendental conception of the cosmos more or less clearly; they may explain evil as illusion, etc., but the heart of their theory is that the problem of sorrow has been wrongly stated, owing to the superficial or incomplete data presented by normal human experience through the senses, and that it is possible for men, by virtue of some special training (from Asana to Ceremonial Magick), to develop in themselves a faculty superior to reason and immune from intellectual criticism, by the exercise of which the original problem of suffering is satisfactorily solved.

"The Book of the Law" claims to comply with the conditions necessary to satisfy all three types of inquirer.

Firstly, it claims to be a document not only verbally, but literally inspired. "Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. ... This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all."

The author claims to be a messenger of the Lord of the Universe and therefore to speak with absolute authority.

Secondly, it claims to be the statement of transcendental truth, and to have overcome the difficulty of expressing such truth in human language by what really amounts to the invention of a new method of communicating thought, not merely a new language, but a new type of language; a literal and numerical cipher involving the Greek and Hebrew Cabbalas, the highest mathematics etc. It also claims to be the utterance of an illuminated mind co-extensive with the ultimate ideas of which the universe is composed.

Thirdly, it claims to offer a method by which men may arrive independently at the direct consciousness of the truth of the contents of the Book; enter into communication directly on their own initiative and responsibility with the type of intelligence which informs it, and solve all their personal religious problems.

Generally, "The Book of the Law" claims to answer all possible religious problems. One is struck by the fact that so many of them are stated and settled separately in so short a space.

...

The existence of true religion presupposes that of some discarnate intelligence, whether we call him God or anything else. And this is exactly what no religion had ever proved scientifically. And this is what "The Book of the Law" does prove by internal evidence, altogether independent of any statement of mine.

Continuing on the issue of Freemasonry as concealed Religion:

There is, therefore, no reason for refraining from the plain statement that, to anyone who understands the rudiments of symbolism, the Master's degree is identical with the Mass. This is in fact the real reason for papal anathema; for freemasonry asserts that every man is himself the living, slain and re-arisen Christ in his own person.
It is true that not one mason in ten thousand in England is aware of this fact; but he has only to remember his "raising" to realize the fundamental truth of the statement.

More to the point of Thelema:

I claim for my system that it satisfies all possible requirements of true freemasonry. It offers a rational basis for universal brotherhood and for universal religion.

FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ORDER OF THELEMITES (1920s)
12. The Order of Thelemites is categorically opposed to:
(a) All superstitious religions, as obstacles to the establishment of scientific religion; ...

FROM BOOK 4:
What is the curse upon religion that its tenets must always be associated with every kind of extravagance and falsehood?

There is one exception; it is the AA, whose members are extremely careful to make no statement at all that cannot be verified in the usual manner; or where this is not easy, at least avoid anything like a dogmatic statement.

FROM THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. BERNARD SHAW:
... I agree with practically every word reported of the Yogi Jesus, and nearly every word of the Essene. True, I reject Salvationism, and the Jewish element of prophecies fulfilled, and the praise of the Law of Moses; but trust humbly that any deficiency in these respects may be more than made up by superfluity in another. For not only do I hold the cult of John Barleycorn to be the only true religion, but have established his worship anew; in the last three years branches of my organisation have sprung up all over the world to celebrate the ancient rite. So mote it be.

FROM THE EQUINOX, VOL.I, No.1, p. 146:
In the West religion alone has never issued from chaos; and the hour, late though it be, has struck when without fear or trembling adepts have arisen to do for Faith what Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton did for what is vulgarly known as "Science."

FROM MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, Ch.4:
Professor William James, in his "Varieties of Religious Experience," has well classified religion as the "once-born" and the "twice-born"; but the religion now proclaimed in Liber Legis harmonizes these by transcending them.

No more room here, but many more citations are available.

-oOo-

If Crowley felt that "Religion" did not always adequately apply to Liber AL and Thelema, it appears to me from the above that the only reason for such hesitancy would be the abuse and limitation of the word "religion" by others. He clearly thought that Thelema was a perfection of "Religion" or, at least, more of the same gone farther in the same direction.
Since the question of Thelema as religion can also be addressed from witnesses contemporary to Crowley, I quote a letter from Frieda Harris during Crowley's last years of life. This letter is mostly filled with Frieda going on about Crowley's asinine behavior, but she does state on page 2: "I have no quarrel with him. I don't much care if he wants the copyright (to the Thoth Tarot) but I do care if it gets into the hands of the religious body he mis-conducts in California, & that is what he imagines is his duty to do. They are a collection of exotic idiots..." That is of course Agape Lodge. Speaking as a late-comer to the collection aforesaid, I do submit that Crowley thought of OTO as a religion, and so did at least one of his Executors.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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lashtal
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My attention has been directed to what is probably Crowley's definitive statement on the "Thelema as religion" question...

It's the Editorial from The Equinox III(1) (Detroit, 1919), pp. 9-10.

EDITORIAL

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

THE WORLD NEEDS RELIGION. Religion must represent Truth, and celebrate it. This truth is of two orders: one, concerning Nature external to Man; two, concerning Nature internal to Man. Existing religions, especially Christianity, are based on primitive ignorance of the facts, particularly of external Nature.

Celebrations must conform to the custom and nature of the people. Christianity has destroyed the joyful celebrations, characterised by music, dancing, feasting and making love, and has kept only the melancholy.

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

The Law of Thelema is given in the Book of the Law [Equinox I, VII and X].

The Equinox has been founded to promulgate and demonstrate this Law.

The AA, or Great White Brotherhood, through Whom this Law was obtained, is a Body of the highest Initiates, pledged to aid mankind. It offers instruction in the Way of Spiritual Progress and Illumination to individual seekers. The work of the AA is called Scientific Illuminism. This may be briefly expressed by quoting Its motto: "The method of Science: the aim of Religion."

Each seeker is taught how to realise Truth for himself, by means accurate and well-tested.

The O.T.O. is the first of the great religious Societies to accept the Law. It trains groups by way of progressive initiation.

The Equinox publishes all instructions and pronouncements of the AA and O.T.O. It also publishes such poetry, drama, fiction, and essays, as are sympathetic to this programme, so far as space permits.

The Equinox is so called, firstly because it is the comment upon the Word of the New Æon, THELEMA, which was given at the Equinox of the Gods, when the Crowned and Conquering Child, Horus, took the place of the Dying God, Osiris. (The Equinox marks a period of a fresh influx of Force from our Father the SUN.) Secondly, in accordance with this, publication takes place at the Equinoxes of Spring and Autumn of each year. The rule of the AA is to alternate 5 years of silence with 5 years of speech. Hence publication has been from 1909-1914, An V-IX; and now from 1919-1924,
An XV-XIX.

Love is the law, love under will.

[Reproduced here with kind permission of the copyright holder - all rights reserved.]

Paul
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 Anonymous
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Interesting topic, and one sure to generate debate. I enjoyed Bill's argument, even if I didn't agree with all of it. Crowley's problem was essentially "how do you sell something that supercedes and replaces all existing religions without calling it a 'new religion'.?" After all, if you say it is NOT a religion, then it won't appeal to the religiously-minded!
And, at the end of the day, it's really the same territory; the enabling of human kind to traffic with discarnate intelligences. The difference is that most organized religions put a mediator (a priest) in between people and their gods, and say that we can ONLY talk to the gods through this mediator. Most pagan or 'heretical' "religions" have always insisted on the right for people to traffic with their gods directly. This to me is the difference between Thelema and religion in general. By the word "religion", Crowley often seems to mean 'religion in general', be it Christianity, Buddhism, Islam or whatever.

One must never forget that Crowley was writing 50-100 years ago: times have changed, and much of his writing is blatantly out-of-date; his derogatory remarks on women were intended to describe the women of his day, for example, and only a fool would presume that these remarks still applied to the women of today, or even that were he still alive, he would still say the same things. So it is with his comments on religion in general: they applied to how religion (principally the religion of his audience, Christianity) was practiced and thought of by the people of his time, and can't really be usefully applied to the way religion is practiced or perceived in the 21st Century.

This, I think, is Bill's error; to keep going back to what Crowley said, as if Crowley's words were the ultimate truth, rather like Catholics rely on the Pope's pronouncements to decide questions of doctrine. That's fine, IF your source is completely infallible, but it's a big IF... I prefer to use my own brain and my own experience to decide these things, rather than someone elses. Which, incidentally, is pretty much what Crowley tells us to do:-)

Personally, I see Thelema not as a religion, but as a state of mind, a goal to aim for. How I get there is up to me, and I reject any attempt towards standardizing any practices or rituals, or the perpetuation of dogma. This seems to me to be the complete opposite of what the Law stands for. A Thelemite is someone who is living their True Will, no more no less. Until we have each discovered our True Will, and are living it, we are not really Thelemites, no matter what we may wish to call ourselves. There are many people living their True Will, who have never heard of the term, or of Thelema. Some call it the Tao, for example, and there are countless ways to achieve it. Crowley's methods were fine for him, and for the people of his day, but they're not perfect, and there are other ways of getting to the same state of mind, of developing the same aptitude. Thelema is the destination, not the way of getting there.


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 Anonymous
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"Now there is an avenue of pylons (not one alone), steep after steep, carved from the solid rock of the mountain; and that rock is a substance harder than diamond, and brighter than light, and heavier than lead. In each pylon is seated a god. There seems an endless series of these pylons. And all the gods of all the nations of the earth are shown, for there are many avenues, all leading to the top of the mountain.
Now I come to the top of the mountain, and the last pylon opens into a circular hall, with other pylons leading out of it, each of which is the last pylon of a great avenue; there seem to be nine such pylons. And in the centre is a shrine, a circular table, supported by marble figures of men and women, alternate white and black; they face inwards, and their buttocks are almost worn away by the kisses of those who have come to worship that supreme God, who is the single end of all these diverse religions. But the shrine itself is higher than a man may reach." The Vision and the Voice, Fifth Aethyr.

"And now I hear the Angel: Every particle of matter that forms the smoke of my breath is a religion that hath flourished among the inhabitants of the worlds. Thus are they all whirled forth in my breath.
Now he is giving a demonstration of this Operation. And he says: Know thou that all the religions of all the worlds end herein, but they are only the smoke of my breath, and I am only the head of the Great Dragon that eateth up the Universe; without whom the Fifth Aethyr would be perfect, even as the first. Yet unless he pass by me, can no man come unto the perfections." The Vision and the Voice, Fifth Aethyr.

I know that the group that Mr. Heidrick represents is not fond of quoting some passages from Liber 418 so I don't suppose that I should be surprised that he's missed possibly the most authoritative use of the word: three times in the fifth aethyr. There it does seem fairly clear that "religion" is recognised as all below that point. One might still propose that philosophies and whatnot, as opposed to religions, exist alongside those religions and are some of the many avenues described - but the Angel of the Aethyr seems to have not seen the need to make that distinction.

One might then mount the argument that the "true" Thelema is that which exists within the shrine (i.e. the inner five aethyrs; the "perfections" referred to being the inner three) and that it is therefore beyond that outer religion but that would then exclude the bulk of adherants, I should imagine, and again not be relevant to the point of whether the word Thelema, as generally used and understood, should be called a religion. I don't have any problem with it, personally. It, and the prophet, are called much worse things (and I note in passing the use of "Crawley" three times on those idiot mountaineers' supposed correction page).

Also of interest in that passage is the reference to "worlds", plural. The news today was of the discovery of a planet of only thirty times the mass of this one and it probably wont be too many years before planets of similar size to this one shall be found. Of course, "worlds" there might be read as something other than planets but I tend to read it that way.

CSM


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 Anonymous
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Thelema as religion?

Thelema as a philosophy, and the prophecy of the new Aeon were not contrived by Crowley, nor did they begin in 1904. The skrying of the the 30 Aethyrs in 1909 was the completion of the work of the Elizibethan Magicians Dee and Kelly, circa 1650. It was in the skrying of these Aethyrs that Crowley was charged as a Magister Templi, and chosen to expound upon the prophecy of the new Aeon which was "hidden for three hundred years, because it was wrested untimely from the Tree of Life by the hand of a desperate magician" (418, 6th Aethyr). This magician being Kelly, of course.

To understand the work of Crowley it must be realized that he was called to establish Thelema by a charge beyond himself. The sixth Aethyr describes the institutionalized religions as the black brothers, Protestants as being worse than Catholics. Liber L., The Holy Books, and Liber 418, all assert that Thelema is the restructuring of the corrupted Religions. They prophecy the fragmentation of the religious political institutions as governments assume their role as the social mediator and spiritual consciousness negates institutionalized dogmatic compulsions.

Crowley asserted that he was the latest in a long line of world teachers called by the Gods to guide humanity. In listing those of whom he was aware he wrote: Fu-hsi, Lao-tze, Gautama, Zerdusht, Pythagoras, Dionysus, Osiris (Dionysus is the prototype of Jesus, Crowley wrote, "These were sent forth at the same time - and Dionysus under several diverse forms - to enlighten Six Great Civilizations, about to be drawn together by the opening up of communications over the planet by the expansion of the Roman Power" The Heart of the Master.) Apollon, Plotinus, Molensis, Mohammed, Sir Edward Kelly, and finally, Christian Rosencreutz. Following Apollon he writes, "Then came a blackness over the whole map, for at one time the Brotherhood had been nigh utterly destroyed by a Great Sorcery of the Black Lodge, and the darkening of all Counsel, and the confusion of all Truth" (The Heart of the Master). He is referring to the Church in this passage, and he claims that the darkness lasted until the Knights Templar prepared the way for the Renaissance by fusing the mysteries of the East and West. One such mystery, concluded in modern research is the truth of the life of Christ, which was the heresy that destroyed the Templars in mass persecution in 1307.

The Gods are real. Through intermediaries, they guide mankind. I will be brief with what follows, but it may be referenced in any published study on the subject, many secret history researches, the bible, and it is the thesis of Eliphas Levi's, "The History of Magic".

Religious expression has not changed since the first civilization 6,000 years ago, Ancient Sumer. The components of this orthodoxy are the trinity, death and resurrection, redemption, and rebirth, divine hierarchies, human intermediaries, etc. Levi traces the continuation of this orthodoxy, which is contained in the symbol of the Qabalah, from Sumer through Abraham, into Egypt by Joseph, out of Egypt by Moses, concealed in the Bible by its writers, communicated to St. John by Jesus and revealed in the Apocalypse. "and the symbols are congnate; and the Feasts of one and the other have been celebrated throughout all recorded time by the initiates of all faiths. And the vulgar, ignorant of this, have mingled the two worships, appointing the times of one and the season of the other, the observances of the second and the ordinances of the first in the same ritual; wherefore have minds been darkened and understandings confounded" (Liber Agape, A. Crowley).

To summarize my thesis, I assert that Thelema is a religion. It is Christianity before the church. It is Roman Paganism before Constantine. It is Greek Paganism before Aristotle. It is the first religion of the first man. As Jack Parsons wrote, "It is the first cradle song." "For this is the arcanum of the Hierophants of old, that in this cult of the Sun in Heaven and of the Phallus on Earth all men can unite, for that these mysteries are reasonable and true, and no man can deny them. This is that which is written 'Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men!'" (Liber Agape, A. Crowley).


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Anonymous
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I agree that Thelema isnt a religion in the sense that Islam and Christianity is . The law of thelema and its books do not claim it so. I'm sure that Crowley wouldn't object to his works as being referred to as a religion but he did not set up his teachings to strictly be what so many make of it. But , its open to use and interpretaion the way i see it. Just funny it is to see some ' thelemites' take everything so seriously as to replace the religions that people supposedly tried to force on them . . .parents, schools, friends, Jimmy Swaggart etc. Personally, it is all possible uses to get to an end. For me. Like Liber OZ says . . worship as thou wilt 🙂


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the_real_simon_iff
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93!

Definitive answer that Thelema IS a religion:

Letter from AC to W.B.Crow: "Any "new religion'' must have 1) a Sacred Book, 2) a slogan, 3) a definite, intelligible & practicable programme.

Rethinking, 1) and 2) are okay, 3) could be a matter of further discussion.

So, this posting is not a real help, just see it as a nice quote from AC concerning "new religions".

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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"lashtal" wrote:
Why does LAShTAL.com repeatedly describe Thelema as a "religion", much to the chagrin of some of those new-fangled Chaos and Typhonian types?! (et al)

Not an easy one eh?

Might there be a difference between 'Religion' and 'religion'?

Mmm, I find this an interesting question. Is the observation, relevant to the question posed? Possibly. Please let me knoe what you think

Bill


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 Anonymous
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A religion has three things; a prophet , a holy book and god/s. Thelema has Crowley, the Book of the Law and Nuit,Hadit and Ra -Hoor-Khuit. It sounds like a religion to me.


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lashtal
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93,

"rabrazier" wrote:
A religion has three things; a prophet, a holy book and god/s. Thelema has Crowley, the Book of the Law and Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. It sounds like a religion to me.

Nicely put!

93 93/93
Paul

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ianrons
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93,

For myself, I prefer to regard Thelema as neither a religion nor a social movement -- because of the connotations -- and I think neither are necessary or anyway implied in The Book of the Law.

However, I suppose it's important to understand the meaning of the word "religion", and whilst one may interpret it according to the various common attributes (books, prophets, gods -- as mentioned), the actual meaning of the word (by its etymology) has never been established. On the one hand, it could be derived from relegare, "to read over again" (Cicero) or alternatively from religare, "to bind". Skeat gives ample evidence for the former (notably from Curtius, suggesting the word is "allied to religens"), and Klein tends to agree. Skipping the details, the general sense that I have is of the idea of devotion to an exalted ideal. There is no suggestion of the mass religion or organized "piety" which would naturally rile the people mentioned in Paul's first post on this topic.

However, what we mean when we say "Thelema is a religion" is arguably, according to the etymological premiss, equivalent to saying "the Will is to devote oneself to an ideal", which is clearly a mistake since the Will is merely a "going" -- there is no object, unless it be Nuit (=No Limit). It furthermore implies that the Will is not free, but [self]-determined. I believe that Gautama had the same idea for his "not-religion" when he said anatman; and it translates easily into the Qabalistic mode of thinking with Chokmah and Kether. (There is an interesting passage in the Zohar about Chokmah proceeding directly from Ain Soph, but the point is less clear -- 'scuse the pun.)

Yet again, there are clearly religious elements in Thelema -- blessing, worship and so on -- that are definitely stated in The Book of the Law; but the end of the Thelemic "religion" is also prefigured, when blessing shall "no longer be poured To the Hawk-headed mystical Lord". So for myself, I think that to call Thelema a religion is to constrain a much wider philosophy and practice, and to limit it to a fixed idea -- or ideal. I honestly can't see the use of it, and I find myself in general agreement with the quote from MWT where Crowley states:

Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.

93 93/93

Ian


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 Anonymous
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I have been grappling with this subject for the last week while writing a short essay about it. One thing that is certain is Thelema needs to be classified as a religion in order to be protected under the religious laws of numerous countries, including the USA.

A gematria correspondence generated with the Threefold Key supports the idea of Thelema being a religion:

Thelemic religion = 1958 = the threefold book of law.

Further correspondences support the negative reaction to the gods of religion exhibited by Ra-Hoor-Khut in chapter III of TBOTL, thus revealing Thelema as the anti-religion religion:

God = 715 = anti-Thelema.
Hoor = 222 = anti-Hinduism.
Ra-Hoor-Khuit = 466 = anti-Moslem.
Ra-Hoor-Khut = 458 = anti-Christian.
Secret Chiefs = 1380 = anti-religious.
The Book of the Law = 1364 = anti-religion.

http://www.hakela.com

Prophet of L


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 Anonymous
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Thelema must be a religion in law? Most of the new religious laws seem to be a response to 9/11.As I understand it a religion will be ok provided it does not offend other religions and cause civil unrest. Would you recite Liber Al chapter 3 in front of a Muslim? and what about the Bagh -i -Muatter? As long as Mr Bin Laden and his followers are around plus the Christian backlash in the USA . This is going to need careful handling.
Best Wishes


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lashtal
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Proposed UK legislation in respect of "Incitement to religious hatred" - which is what I assume rabrazier is concerned about when referring to Liber AL cap 3, is detailed here: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/comrace/faith/crime/faq.html

Note that this "new offence" will not cover "Publishing or reading from religious texts", and that the term "religion" is not to be defined in statute but is to be considered in its widest sense; for example, "Atheists".

Of more immediate interest in the UK are The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations that came into force on 2 December 2003. There are three grounds of action: direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation of someone who has made a complaint or helped another person to do so. Religion or belief is defined as being any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief. The belief must be similar to a religious belief and some unusual cases may need to be decided in court. (See http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/faith/)

Perhaps other members could describe similar legislation in non-UK countries?

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 Anonymous
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"rabrazier" wrote:
A religion has three things; a prophet , a holy book and god/s. Thelema has Crowley, the Book of the Law and Nuit,Hadit and Ra -Hoor-Khuit. It sounds like a religion to me.

Great stuff, but does the quote refer to "Religion" or "religion"? Is there a difference?

Was Crowley refering to Religion or religion? The references seem to imply "religion"! Why is this, Is it different from if he used the word "Religion" instead. Those interested in Qabbalah or Numerology may recognise that there may be a difference between the words.

regards

Argentum Star


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 Anonymous
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"lashtal" wrote:
93,

"rabrazier" wrote:
A religion has three things; a prophet, a holy book and god/s. Thelema has Crowley, the Book of the Law and Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. It sounds like a religion to me.

Nicely put!

93 93/93
Paul

Was "Crowley" actually the prophet of Thelema, or is it more correct to suggest that this was the Work of another "manifestation"?

Was it by both, or by a whole collection of manifestations?

An Honest question, one which often puzzles me.

Argentum Star


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 Anonymous
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"rabrazier" wrote:
A religion has three things; a prophet , a holy book and god/s. Thelema has Crowley, the Book of the Law and Nuit,Hadit and Ra -Hoor-Khuit. It sounds like a religion to me.

"religion"

re = to do something again and again

Ligare = to bind, tie up or restrict

My personal view is that I have no wish to be bound, tied up or restricted.

I therefore seek to be not religious

Please note the numbers: 93 93/93

The only "restriction" here, is to Love under Will.

Argentum Star


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 Anonymous
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My take on religion (my academic background) is in line with how Jung viewed it. I offer this little exploration for discussion which is on the religious attitude:

Religious attitude.

Psychologically, an attitude informed by the careful observation of, and respect for, invisible forces and personal experience.

We might say . . . that the term "religion" designates the attitude peculiar to a consciousness which has been changed by experience of the numinosum.["Psychology and Religion," CW 11, par. 9.]

Religion . . . is an instinctive attitude peculiar to man, and its manifestations can be followed all through human history. ["The Undiscovered Self," CW 10, par. 512.]

The religious attitude is quite different from faith associated with a specific creed. The latter, as a codified and dogmatized form of an original religious experience, simply gives expression to a particular collective belief. True religion involves a subjective relationship to certain metaphysical, extramundane factors.

A creed is a confession of faith intended chiefly for the world at large and is thus an intramundane affair, while the meaning and purpose of religion lie in the relationship of the individual to God (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) or to the path of salvation and liberation (Buddhism). [Ibid., par. 507.]

Jung believed that a neurosis in the second half of life is seldom cured without the development of a religious attitude, prompted by a spontaneous revelation of the spirit.

This spirit is an autonomous psychic happening, a hush that follows the storm, a reconciling light in the darkness of man's mind, secretly bringing order into the chaos of his soul. ["A Psychological Approach to the Trinity," CW 11, par. 260.]

Perhaps we should ask if Thelema fosters or supports a religous attitude...I for one would say that it does indeed.


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 Anonymous
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Thanks for clearing up the position on UK law. The last time I checked the Home Office site they were thinking of making the reading of any text in public that would offend someone of another religion a crime. If they have become more liberal on this , thats good although I had hoped this would be a human rights for pagans law when it was first announced.
93 best wishes Robert.


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 Anonymous
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An etymology for religion I've heard and use:

To bind together as one
= To yoke, as in yoga.

This does not imply any restriction, loss or reduction of individuality.

Seems cognate with:

Unity uttermost showed
I adore the might of Thy breath
Supreme and terrible God
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee
I, I adore Thee

- Stele of Revealing


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Anonymous
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I dont know about all of you . . . But i dont think religion and exclusion is what any of us thelemites need !

😉 Ryan


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 Anonymous
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Thelemites mainly stem from the teachings of the AA. Therefore Thelemites are technically ‘Illuminated Scientists’ or 'concerned with the method of Science, the aim of Religion and the Spiritual Advancement of the Human Race.'

The Aim of religion; A Philosophy on which to base ones beliefs and conduct, which answer the two basic questions; ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘Where are we going?’

The method of science; To do well documented experiments, thereby proving one’s hypothesis.

However, ‘where the rubber meets the road’, we pan out just East of Wicca, just West of Eastern Mysticism, just North of Satanism and just South of Heaven. (Think about it. I’m dead on with that one.)

We practice Yoga, read Tarot, write and perform spells and rituals. We do so with specific results in mind, perform rites of adoration to God in his/her many forms, do talismanic Magick etc. etc. and of course our main goal The Conversation with our Holy Guardian Angel.

The Book of the Law tells us, “Success is your proof.” Nothing proves this more thoroughly than performing Magick.
Every successful spell, every successful talisman, every successful Tarot reading proves what we believe in and is Gloriful to Ra Hoor Kuit.

It proves God intends for us to Willfully pilot our own vehicles through life.
No faith is required in our belief system because our God does not ask it of us. Our God asks us only to prove him to the world in a Gloriful fashion.


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 Anonymous
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Very good posting Pitsblueman. I was with you up until the bit about belief.Isn't it impossible to will something unless you believe in it first?


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 Anonymous
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We use the word "religion" everyday to convey a variety of meanings, all closely related but different nonetheless. Whether Thelema is a religion has more to do with what exactly the questioner is asking, what he or she can gain by making such a classification, than any details of Thelema itself.


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 Anonymous
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"rabrazier" wrote:
Very good posting Pitsblueman. I was with you up until the bit about belief.Isn't it impossible to will something unless you believe in it first?

I always thought the very essence of magick was the ability to Will something even without belief.

-R.Pike-


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 Anonymous
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Even in magic you need a symbol,sigil,talisman,image etc to symbolize what you believe/belief wil be the outcome of the operation. You wouldn't try to evoke uh or duh . The name you call is the spirit you hope to get. If you do a divination its because you believe it will work. All magic has a goal (your choice) and the goal has a name. Names signify belief.


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 Anonymous
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That's true. What I said previously was related to the luck of coincidence, and the happy accidents that a lot of magickal practice may bring. The magus needs a focal point. This focus is important, yes, but it doesn't have to be concentrated upon, as I think there is a difference between the two. It may be implied, and taken for granted, given the degree of power a magus has.
-R.Pike-


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 Anonymous
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I agree completely. But how many people do you know who have reached the grade of Magus?


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 Anonymous
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I meant 'magus' in a general sense, not regarding the actual grade of Magus.
-R.Pike-


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 Anonymous
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"rabrazier" wrote:
Even in magic you need a symbol,sigil,talisman,image etc to symbolize what you believe/belief wil be the outcome of the operation. You wouldn't try to evoke uh or duh . The name you call is the spirit you hope to get. If you do a divination its because you believe it will work. All magic has a goal (your choice) and the goal has a name. Names signify belief.

This viewpoint seems to me to contradict the 'method of science' implied above by 'success is your proof'.

It's my experience that you do not need believe in magick to cause change in conformity with will. That goes for divination as much as talismanic magic.

When I began taking magick seriously I didn't believe in it at all, in fact one part of me was high sceptical. I was doing a BSc and very indoctrinated with the scientific method and disbelief in the irrational. I started with divination and found to my suprise that it worked. I had no belief in it - I experimented and got results.

That to me is the crux of Crowleys criticism againts superstition - there is no need for belief. Do the experiment and observe the results. Don't believe what you are told, try it for yourself.

I'm interested though, why do you say a name signifies belief? Isn't a name at simplest just a lable of identification?


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 Anonymous
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Yes its an identification of belief. When you logged on you expected to reach Lashtal not the Mormon tabernacle choir sings Eric Clapton homepage.A word signifys a belief.


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 Anonymous
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Sorry rabrazier that just sounds like philosophical word games to me.

Expectation is not belief.

Putting forward the philosophy that all identification is belief is not really what's being debated here is it? To me thats a pretty obtuse viewpoint even in the thin air of extreme philosophy.

Belief as in believing in a non-testable faith is not the same as scientific method that involves naming something so you can work with it.

It's my experience that, practically speaking, the idea that 'word signifies belief' is wrong. I wish to explore that nature of something I have observed. I name this object so I can work with it. That naming is not a belief, it's giving it an identifier so I, and any other, knows what I am referring to.

It requires no belief.

The important point that is being brought forward here is that magick is quite able to be performed without belief (in the common every day sense of the word). Further, it is posited magick is best performed without belief - by the experimental method of science.


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 Anonymous
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In the every day sense of the word your right.Thats right. But in magic your dealing with something that is not recognized as existing by science.
Lets start again ok?
I became interested in the occult at a young age because I had some experiences that made me believe there was a God or an altered state of consciousness which is sometimes called god.
The church would only offer me dogma-faith without proof; magic said that if I did certain things I could have living fact not dead dogma. For example is the future preordained? I could test that with divination and so on. I believe that there is something either in man or outside him which is greater and more intelligent than him.
The problem is that I cannot let you share my experiences, and so people will always end up not quite understanding each other.
Now can we stop talking about the word belief and get back to Is Thelema a religion?


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 Anonymous
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Particularly often we find that saying the prime law of Thelema to someone usually incites within them a sense of Chaos. Or, even Anarchy. They automatically pick up the sense of disorder as the law throws upon them the ultimate responsibility of discovering and experiencing for themselves who they are and where they are going.

However, this is due to the restrictive nature of our current morality. Even the slightest bit of release from those shackles feels like the apocalypse to most people. I can't help but agree with Crowley's analogy he described when one becomes a probationer as that of stirring up a hornet's nest.

Yet, I can find nothing more binding and restricting itself than Thelema. In fact, I'll even go so far as to call it the ultimate restriction. The difference then between Thelema and other Religions, and something far far more beautiful about it, is the fact that it 'allows' one to 'choose' that restriction. And that restriction is one's True Will. A Pure Will. For even though we may bind ourselves to it, it is a binding of Love. It is simoultaneously our greatest shackle and our greatest liberation. The liberation of being given the opportunity to discover what it is that we really Will to shackle ourselves to.

And, this shackling occurs because we have no choice in the matter. We cannot escape being shackled in some manner to the Will we choose to manifest. And to all the consequences it will bring to the surface.

So, all this talk of not wanting to be restricted goes over my head really. For to Will to be not restricted is a restriction to not wanting to be restricted. If that makes any sense. We will always be what we are throughout all our adventures. Yet, we learn so much about our properties along the way.

The prime religious thought that needs to be given over to humanity at this time is not that we must die in order to live, but that we are incapable of dieing in the first place and our life is but a series of experiences we were meant to play out in its entirety. In a sense, all the Universe has already occured and Is what it Is. But, as with ourselves we learn so much about the properties of the Universe through all its adventures.

So, what will you bind yourself to? Calling Thelema Thelema, or calling Thelema Religion, or a host of other interpretations and empty words? Or will you show the Universe what Thelema is by being Thelema?

With Sword in Hand, Strike hard and swift at the Heart of thy Master.


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 Anonymous
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93

I would say, much like Crowley, why would you even want to do such a thing? Call Thelema a religion? What does it actually achieve?
The word of Sin is Restriction the Book says. So why go limiting the whole purpose of Thelema (which id say is illuminating or telling the world the truth about things, like religion) by calling it or making it a religion.
Religion is just another "Word", even words is restriction for pure feeling or energy or Love (Agape/Thelema)

"KCh" wrote:
So, what will you bind yourself to? Calling Thelema Thelema, or calling Thelema Religion, or a host of other interpretations and empty words? Or will you show the Universe what Thelema is by being Thelema?

Just what i was trying to say more or less 😀

Live Life!
Cave Canem!

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
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"Ninyah" wrote:
I would say, much like Crowley, why would you even want to do such a thing? Call Thelema a religion? What does it actually achieve?

Tax benefits....!!

bazelek


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lashtal
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Legal protection for adherents...

But let's not start the old "Is Thelema a religion?" discussion. It's been done to death here several times...

Paul
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thiebes
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If a 23rd century e.v. archaeologist comes back to our time to investigate OTO, and he goes to a mass an an initiation, do you think he will say it is not a religion, but that he will say the zen buddhist sitting and begging is?

Give me a break! (with all due respect to all!)

There are twenty quotes of Crowley referring to Thelema as religion, for every one (oh yeah there is only one) where he says doing so is a bad idea.


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lashtal
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"thiebes" wrote:
There are twenty quotes of Crowley referring to Thelema as religion, for every one (oh yeah there is only one) where he says doing so is a bad idea.

My position, exactly...

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 Anonymous
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So, can we say then that Thelema IS a religion, period? Just wanted to be completely certain for all reading this thread.

bazelek


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kidneyhawk
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This makes me think of Buddhism being considered a religion...or Taoism! There are nice fluffy attitudes like "All religions are one, they all pretty much teach the same stuff-be good-be nice-the Great Teachers: Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed etc" but when you get down to it, Buddhism doesn't even reject God, it just doesn't have any real place for the concept-and yes, there are dogmatic fundementalistic strains, but Buddhism becomes much more of a way, a technique, a style of moving with that Way of Being...just saying even though it's a "religion" it departs radically from what the average Westerner would consider "religion" to be.

Methinks Thelema falls into that same category. Call it a religion but it's a WAY...

What do you think?


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thiebes
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Semantics.

Buddhism and Taoism are both religions according to current usage and definition of the word.


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kidneyhawk
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Right-and so Thelema would absolutely fall into that category: a scripture, a prophet, ritual observances, its own symbolic language to represent verities etc. If Thelema can benefit from such a categorizing (semantics or no), great. But ultimately, it becomes intensely personal and as Mike Staley pointed out, highly universal-and from the vantage point of that actual experience of life, it seems that Thelema becomes synonymous with Life Itself (It's Nothingness and Everythingness). Language is so interesting-it has definite limits when approaching these staes of Being-which is why I highly appreciate where the evolution of consciousness expresses itself in poetry and art. Poetry especially can bend and utilize language to convey the Magickal as opposed to straight narrative or dissertation. Does that make sense? The Book Of The Law is a POEM-and as such it can be accessed on multi-levels (and sometimes multi-levels simultaneously). Very different from (for example) me saying "Buddhism is a religion." If there's any doubt what I mean, you could ask for clarity. What exactly do I mean by the term Buddhism? AM I referring to a Hinayana or Mahayana school? Which one? How do I define the term "religion" and so on. Hopefully, I could clarify the terms if there was any confusion and we could have something resembling communication.

With Liber AL, it is also useful for one to ask "Who is this Tahuti?" "What the hell are Khabs and Khus?" etc. But after that info has been obtained and some sense can be garnished from the verses, Liber AL starts to unfold...it is somehow ALIVE. Reading the insights of Achad, Crowley, Grant and others can strike one with the "hidden meanings" implicit in the text but (and here's where the Book ignites) where it begins to unfold equally important truths to US as individuals, one has that direct experience, that Gnosis, and sees beyond three dimensional space/time...one needn't bicker or debate at this point-hell, there's not much to DISCUSS-you're IN the Gnosis-and having tasted of it, you can begin differentiating between your own ego-trips and the slamming revelations. Thus it was that Crowley staed right at the onset of Magick Without Tears that studying and interpreting the Book Of The Law was the Key Work for the Thelemite and his own works are merely to help with this process. To discuss your insights is to become a Centre of Pestilence. WHY? Because what AL as a living thing imparts to you is not what it imparts to others-if Chapter 2 Verse 16 illumines the Universe for you in such a way that you can never be the same and you truly experience an evolution of consciousness from that one moment when AL speaks, it IS for you...Blake said: "One Law for the Lion and Ox is oppression." (he wasn't speaking of THE Law.."for All"). But you get the idea...

Going back to Mike Staley's comments on seeing AL on a cosmic level...what you actually ARE radiates out into the entire Universe...hence, the emphasis isn't so much on your own revelation as it is on what it makes you (or, Buddhistically, how it strips away your Onion Peelings and REVEALS you...)

This, I think, is the connection point between the individualism and the univserality of Thelema. I'm finding new and deeper levels of depth in the Star Ruby all the time-and one such thing is how the Nothing and ALL (Nuit and Hadit) dance together as they manifest in the Beast and Whore...this is Thelemic Tetragrammaton-but just as Mother and Child (Set and Horus) complete the Signs of the NOX, so does the Magician in the center of the Circle complete the four quadrants of the Pentagrams...evoking Pentagrammaton.

How the fuck I got here from your single sentence post, I don't know...I guess the debate, discussion, dialogue on Thelema as religion, as to WHO Crowley was and is etc etc becomes a bit Choronzonic (or you so aptly said: "Semantics."

We could all run this wheel around FOREVER and EVER...and is it our WILL, is it TRUE WILL to do so?

All of our hearts contain such riveting intuitions regarding the Universe and our Path through it...I think the question in a previous post ("How has Thelema changed your life?") is really a good one (as-to quote the Bible-"As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another."

I really believe that all the shit in our world can readily be traced back to a bunch of humans who don't have any personal concept of True Will. Preaching "True Will" won't impact a brain enshrouded in darkness...it's the heart, the GUTS that need to awake and blaze...when does this happen? How does it occur? How does (as Crowley put it) Magick make "Genius at Will?"

It's US. It's NOW. Balls out. Leaping laughter. Love under Will.

And when this kicks in our hearts manifest. Hoor Paar Krat (the Silent One-whose energies burn in the background) infuses Ra Hoor Khuit (who carries that impetus into manifest ACTION).

I remember from my Chirstian Days how a popular and well-attended deal was the Atheist coming to our college to debate with the Christian Theologian. He'd always lose, of course, the majority of the audience being Christian and the Christian being much cleverer and having more audience sway. But it seemed to me that the debate was so silly. The cleverest man won-be it with audience sympathy or better logic...but a dumb-ass christian would fall before the educated athiest and vice versa-and people make relgious (and lifestyle) decisions based on what they're willing to accept of be persuaded by in such an argument.

Yes, there's room a plenty for us to "fight as Brothers" but there's also a time to kick Because in the crotch and prove Nuit by the Sign of her/our Ecstacy.

Blah, blah...

My words are a waste.

After all, words are numbers and all numbers are infinite. There is no difference.

I'd really like to hear more from EVERYONE as to how Thelema has really impacted and changed your life.

I think that would make a wonderful BOOK.

Kidneyhawk


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lashtal
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EDITORIAL

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

THE WORLD NEEDS RELIGION. Religion must represent Truth, and celebrate it. This truth is of two orders: one, concerning Nature external to Man; two, concerning Nature internal to Man. Existing religions, especially Christianity, are based on primitive ignorance of the facts, particularly of external Nature.

Celebrations must conform to the custom and nature of the people. Christianity has destroyed the joyful celebrations, characterised by music, dancing, feasting and making love, and has kept only the melancholy.

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

The Law of Thelema is given in the Book of the Law
[Equinox I, VII and X].

The Equinox has been founded to promulgate and demonstrate this Law.

The A∴A∴, or Great White Brotherhood, through Whom this Law was obtained, is a Body of the highest Initiates, pledged to aid mankind. It offers instruction in the Way of Spiritual Progress and Illumination to individual seekers. The work of the A∴A∴ is called Scientific Illuminism. This may be briefly expressed by quoting Its motto:

"The method of Science: the aim of Religion."

Each seeker is taught how to realise Truth for himself, by means accurate and well-tested.

The O.T.O. is the first of the great religious Societies to accept the Law. It trains groups by way of progressive initiation.

The Equinox publishes all instructions and pronouncements of the A∴A∴ and O.T.O. It also publishes such poetry, drama, fiction, and essays, as are sympathetic to this programme, so far as space permits.

The Equinox is so called, firstly because it is the comment upon the Word of the New Æon, [Thelema], which was given at the Equinox of the Gods, when the Crowned and Conquering Child, Horus, took the place of the Dying God, Osiris. (The Equinox marks a period of a fresh influx of Force from our Father the SUN.) Secondly, in accordance with this, publication takes place at the Equinoxes of Spring and
Autumn of each year. The rule of the A∴A∴ is to alternate 5 years of silence with 5 years of speech. Hence publication has been from 1909-1914, An V-IX; and now from 1919-1924, An XV-XIX.

Love is the law, love under will.

Equinox III(1) (Detroit, 1919), pp. 9-10
Reproduced with kind permission of the copyright holder

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 Anonymous
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Is Thelema a religion? That depends on the definition, for instance, if we define religion as "set of beliefs that guide the individual to reconect with the dive", then we have several issues here, some of which cause the controversy:
1.- Set of beliefs: Thelema has no beliefs, unless of course one thelemite decides to believe in extraterrestrial entities, gods, spirits, "astral dwellers", and so on. Thelema is based on that which is the most obvious and needs no proof, a god? No, not that, some metaphysical dimension or realm? Nope, it's based on the Will, which is the closest ability of the individual.

2.- To reconect with the divine: Religion comes from the latin "religare", to re conect, o re-unite ("ligar" means bound or unite), in that sense Thelema, since it reconects the individual with his own True Will, then in that sense it is a religion.

Thelema is, in conclusion, a religion, a philosophy, and art (yes, I said art, please read my article about it at "submissions"), but it is not one separate thing, meaning, it's not just a religion that has an interesting philosophy (like christianity and christian philosophy), it's not just a philosophy, since it's practical, and it's not only art. It is the synthesis of all those three things.

Is it obvious now how Thelema is way better than any other religion, or faith? It's 93/93, and that's it.


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joe93
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Didn't Kenneth Grant say (in Hidden God, I think) that one could be a fully functioning Thelemite without even having heard of Crowley? Thelema is about (at first, at least) finding one's own Genius/True Will obviously; and Crowley's writings are a guide, not a dogma. There have been quite a few Geniuses in the last 102 years who have never read AL or MTP, and probably the same number who have, have never got past collecting and rehearsal. Go back and read MTP again - it's got more in commmon with Maslow's theory of self actualisation & the synergic society than strict codes & rules.
I got interested in Crowley through the likes of Genesis P Orridge & Kenneth Anger, who I would argue, performed some of the most successful Magick of recent times. I think Thelema is a culture not a cult. And certainly not a religion. But as Voltaire said...


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 Anonymous
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"joe93" wrote:
Go back and read MTP again - it's got more in commmon with Maslow's theory of self actualisation & the synergic society than strict codes & rules. I think Thelema is a culture not a cult. And certainly not a religion. But as Voltaire said...

Superb comparison with Maslow. You are right that there are plenty of individuals living their True Will without ever having heard of AC - as there have been for centuries. That AC sought to make a formal system for enabling you to "live your True Will" (as Paul demonstrated above) suggests Spare's great criticism of him in The Book of Pleasure: his tendency to make a ceremony out of something unaffected.

Perhaps we should be asking why so many Thelemites have a difficulty with the idea of Thelema being a religion? It seems a contentious topic...

bazelek


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1993
 

Can I toss this question out?

I agree fully with the idea that Thelema is a FORCE that is rolling throughout the Universe and expands in human lives to bring about what we can describe in Crowleyan terms as a Star rushing along its true course and the results that go along with it...

BUT-!

What do you think about those who encounter Liber AL (the Aeonic Transmission), give Crowley some consideration and then say: "This is bunk-the guy's a weirdo and this Liber Al thing is a bunch of rubbish...?" and then keep rushing along their starry course...?

Is such a person a Thelemite per se? Or do we (being involved with the whole Culture) take it upon ourselves to "honor" such a person with the label we happen to like?

And if this is the case, is the word itself replacable?

Can it be anyone's True Will (again, "our" term) to reject Liber Al, to abhor the word Thelema and to majestically fulfill their wonderful creative human life?

If the answer is no, then we really are taking a "religious" stance in a sectarian sense.

But if the answer is a strange "yes," then the whole AL culture functions as an AMPLIFIER-IF one happens to encounter it and IF one's "Will" is to embrace it...

AND-if the answer is "yes," then this Thelema "culture" or "religion" is something of a "living case study" amongst many-of value to the one who alchemically works with it...just as another alchemist works with something totally different and still performs the great work...

Maybe the "problem" amongst Thelemites with considering Thelema as religion is coming from this kicking impulse of the Aeon-the strong resistance against restriction...

Maybe this is a clue as to the short comment Crowley wrote after AL-the whole "burn this book" thing...

Realities are VOID-as in the Heart Sutra. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

Does the smiling limp-lidded Buddha fix his perfect gaze on Liber AL and see the emptiness beyond the form?

But then Form resurges from the emptiness and this is what we grapple with...(the weapons of the Magus).

So-! Amongst those here at Lashtal, what do you think?

Curious....

Kyle


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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Just to chip in my ten cents worth.
Most people behave as if materialism was true. The mind is a rather dull beast that dislikes change and seeks for novelty, a new car a new tv and so on. Variety is the spice of life and so on.
This seems like a perfectly valid way of seeing life if you observe other people.
Of course it doesn't work for everyone. Byron had Manfred on the mountain shaking his fist at God and going off to find the new god of the age-woman.
Romanticism would have worked if woman had been willing to stay on a pedestal and not developed a ditsressing tendency to think for herself.Worse she could up and leave you, at least God was always around to be talked to.

So, time for a new school of thought. All we need to is realise that the mind can be fine tuned . Why have a Skoda when you can have jet engine. Life is not dull we are. The problem is that no one seems to have come up with a way of upgrading the mind that everyone agrees on.
If you're poor its Marx, sexually frustrated,Freud and so on. Abraham Maslow sorted this all out with his hierarchy of needs.

Then again some people believe we have a higher self- Jung for one- get in touch with the archetypes, study your dreams and find the higher self.
Again some people think the higher self is in you as the Atman or outside yourself a guardian angel. Or have both follow the Tao and you will walk the Tao untill you are one with Tao.

If thats not for you imagine a very high mountain. Half way up up the mountain is a platform on which are several large bowls containing something or other. If you are at the bottom of the mountan you can only see the platform, half way up and you can see the bowls, at the top and you can see whats in them. Its all about phenomenology- we are all flatlanders looking at the pencil.
All of these philosophys have truth in them but non seems to contain ALL truth.
Perhaps we need to start again and find a new system or use all of them as they seem usefull to us.
I don't think Liber Al answers all these questions or that the idea of the true will solves all of them. Unless someone has come up with a brilliant theory, the kind of theory that doesn't fall apart when tested against reality. If you have such a theory do tell me.
zbest Wishes Robert.


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kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1993
 

Robert-

William Blake stated "I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man's."

I love that quote.

Every burning innovator/creator has done this-even if its with a given system at his disposal. For example, Blake single handed created a mythology but he well metamorphosed the Bible into it-Kenneth Grant's works pull UFOlogy and Lovecraftian Horror into the Crowley set-up and have created a unique kind of "Typhonian" Thelema...I personally have found the jaw-dropping magicks occur as all of the elements within me find their points of connection and mate therein-spawning new metamorphic forms...you're so right. We ARE the Flatlanders-and I believe our Magicks are meant to grow us some dimension...as radical as Thelema may be, it can crystalize into a "defendable" doctrine and spawn more arguing than creative interchange...I'm not saying I see that all the time and am hence criticizing our Thelemic culture-but really, if no one prescribed path of action can contain ALL truth, mayhap its because all these Paths and Books and Symbols and Experiences are meant to be the ingredients that we ingest-and if we do our personal alchemy right and digest it well, we extract and combine the truth-elements while excreting that which our body/mind deems needless.

Again, the Adept lives in his OWN truth. Creates his own system. Does that mean my practice of, say, a Crowleyan ritual means I'm a blind little lamb? No-but it is alchemized into this particular field of experience. If I alter it-does that mean I'm trying to get an upper hand on Crowley and prove myself by proving him "wrong?" Not necessarily-if its my own Daemon that guides the work...

There is a radical self-reliance to be found in this path (now call it whatever-your LIFE). But I do believe that if we give our hearts to it and honor that same presence in all we meet as they endeavor to the same, our stars won't crash and collide and tow different perspectives and life-walks can join and enhance each other synergistically instead of repelling each other.

Is that a "theory?"

Who cares?

Life, Light, Love, Laughter from the Abyss

Kyle


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