Home Forums Thelema Thelema Solar-Phallic Forelock?

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  • #111839

    ignant666
    Participant

    AC somewhere or other says that Thelemites, if male, ought to shave their heads except for a tuft in front, the “solar-phallic forelock”, and, if female, to henna their hair.

    I can’t recall any actual photo of even AC sporting this hair-style. The Engers-Kennedy portrait shows the forelock, and a shaved (or balding?) bit in front, but hair on the sides and back of the head behind the ears, and is of course not necessarily a realistic depiction. There are many pics of him with a tuftless dome, of course, but are there any with his head shaved, and an unshaved forelock?

    I am curious how many, if any, among us, or those we’ve known over the years, follow this tonsorial regime?

    I, as those with eyes can see, do shave my head, both for cultural reasons as a retired skinhead/punk, and for the very practical reason that my hair is rather thinning in the front top of the head region.

    As a high-school student around 1972-3, i, under the influence of strange drugs, shaved my head with front tuft more or less a la the Engers-Kennedy portrait, except with much longer hair in the unshaven region rear of the ears. More or less a Solar-Phallic Mullet. This may have contributed to my reputation of being a weirdo.

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  ignant666.
    • This topic was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  ignant666.
    #111842

    Shiva
    Participant

    Ig: Thelemites, if male, ought to shave their heads except for a tuft in front, the “solar-phallic forelock”, and, if female, to henna their hair.

    This counts pretty low on the Deviation List under There is no law beyond do what thou wilt.

    I am curious how many, if any, among us, or those we’ve known over the years, follow this tonsorial regime?

    I think it’s ridiculous (as a cult identifier) and it does not conform to wearing the robe of the country in which you are traveling. But that wasn’t AC’s rule, was it?

    Answer: No, not me … and nobody else I know or have known.

    #111844

    ignant666
    Participant

    I agree it is a silly hairstyle, though any big city is full of folks with silly hair these days, and also agree that mandatory Thelemic hairstyles seems a bit contradictory. On the other hand, AC in his writings demanded that Thelemites engage in all sorts of silly behaviors, from saying “Will”, to “Thelemic greetings”; the list goes on and on.

    I think the hair-edict was from the Cefalu Abbey period. In the family picture in front of the Abbey in the Confessions, we can’t tell if he has the approved ‘do, because he is wearing kilts and a Scottish bonnet (which seems warmish, all that wool, for that part of the world).

    I strongly suspect there are few if any who have complied, but was just curious.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  ignant666.
    #111851

    elitemachinery
    Participant

    Aleister Crowley’s physical appearance changed so much over the years. This seems to make it difficult for actors who portray him to choose a look that is both accurate and syncs up with how the general public remembers AC. The general public usually assumes that the Apocalypse Now shaved head portrait (Crowley in his 30s) to be what AC looks like. But in his later years he was rather thin and had hair again.

    One of my favorite pictures of Crowley is with shaved head holding a pipe. He looking to be in his later years probably aged 70.

    It will interesting to see what Angus Macfadyen does with the AC character on the second season of Strange Angel TV series.

    #111864

    mal
    Participant

    This is a standard gatekeepers who quibble over who qualifies to describe themselves as a “Thelemite” haven’t used in my experience.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  mal. Reason: clarification
    #111867

    ignant666
    Participant

    Could you clarify some more here, mal? [baffled remarks removed]

    Nevermind, i figured out what you are saying- folks don’t use this a standard to judge who is a “Thelemite”; agreed.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  ignant666.
    #111871

    Tiger
    Participant

    “Crowley with shaved head holding a pipe.”

    must be a glitch in my interference pattern
    for a sec
    i thought it was Shiva with the Atlantean Starbase Gateway Router

    #111874

    christibrany
    Participant

    I have never heard of that precept nor have I nor any other I have known, practised it.

    It sounds a bit Kim Jong Eun-like.

    #111875

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    AC somewhere or other says that Thelemites, if male, ought to shave their heads except for a tuft in front, the “solar-phallic forelock”, and, if female, to henna their hair.

    This wasn’t intended to be any sort of prescriptive instruction; AC actually wrote it somewhere in his Diary of a Drug Fiend where he was describing the appearance and modes of dress of Thelemites on the island where King Lamus had his Abbey of Thelema. I don’t have a copy to hand at the moment so can’t dig out the exact reference for you, but think maybe it was in the first part; maybe some other accommodating Lashtalian who does will do the work for us.
    To my knowledge, there wasn’t any other allusion to this anywhere else (in the canon).

    Norma N Joy Conquest

    #111876

    ignant666
    Participant

    This seems very plausible as to what i am (so poorly due to old-timer’s disease) remembering here, and i thank you for the pointer, but on a quick skim of the Telepylus section of Diary, i can’t find any mention of hairstyles. Probably belmurru, or another among us who is more erudite than i, will come up with the answer soon

    Note as to any descriptions of Thelemite hairstyles in this novel that Telepylus is “a real place. … [I]ts customs … are accurately described” [note, p. 247].

    On another topic, how often we all find ourselves saying “[W]e should all be the better for a little heroin” [“King Lamus”/AC, p. 261]. Or not.

    #111877

    Serpent 252
    Participant

    Here we go:

    “I must explain that members of the abbey bore certain distinguishing marks. The official costume for those not entitled to the special robes of the A.·.A.·. was a vestment of bright blue hanging from neck to ankle with sleeves widening from shoulder to waist so that on extending the arms horizontally from the body it suggested the letter Tau. It was lined with scarlet and provided with a hood. When desired the dress was completed by a golden girdle. In addition the male members shaved the head with the exception of a single lock in the center of the forehead. The women wore bobbed hair dyed red or yellow with henna. In these customs were symbolized certain spiritual or magical affirmations. The aureole of the women was in honour of our father the sun, and the upstanding lock of hair worn by the men a token of worship to his viceregent in the microcosm.”

    (The Spirit of Solitude (Confessions), Part Six: At the Abbey of Thelema, Chapter 91)

    (On Hermetic here, original pages 880 & 881)

    Answer: not me, as well.

    #111878

    Shiva
    Participant

    I ain’t gonna wear no dress and not a girdle too!

    #111879

    Serpent 252
    Participant

    ditto

    #111880

    ignant666
    Participant

    Thank you so much, Serpent 252, for confirming i am not entirely a dotard just yet- but whence the very Crowleyan phrase “solar-phallic forelock”?

    To perhaps stretch folks willingness to believe, i was 95% certain the girls had to “bob”, as well as henna, their hair, but only 95%, so left this out. For those not soon eligible for old-age benefits, to “bob” one’s hair is to cut it at or shorter than the chin, rather than growing it in endless coils like Rapunzel. This was very scandalous (as was henna-ing) in the period in which AC laid down these guidelines for the regulation of aspiring free-thinkers at the Abbey.

    #111883

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    Despite missing that reference I’m hopefully not entering my dotard dotage just yet but well spotted there, Serpent252!

    As for ‘the bobbed hair dyed red or yellow with henna’ “for the girls”, didn’t Jane Wolfe model that style in the shocking ’20s, or is that a false memory? Call me mad, but I can see Betty May (‘Tiger Woman’) with one as well – doing the Charleston!

    Imaginatively yours
    N Joy

    And yes, the central mystery of the “solar-phallic forelock” meanwhile still remains unattacked (I wonder, if one were to “tug” that forelock if that then may be a euphemism of some sort?!) As for feeling “better for a little heroin”, well that’s all very well, the only trouble with it being, as British comedian and ex-doctor Harry Hill put it, “that it’s all a bit moreish”…

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