Abbey of Thelema

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The first mention of the Abbey of Thelema was in Gargantua and Pantagruel written by Francois Rabelais in 1532. Aleister Crowley founded his Abbey of Thelema in 1920 in Cefalu, Sicily as an experiment in spiritual monasticism in part to prove that The Law of Thelema when applied to a group of people works.

The students who studied under Crowley trained in magick, yoga, and self-analysis. They were encouraged to break free from society’s inhibitions in order to find their true wills.

After a student, Raoul Lovejoy, died of enteric fever from drinking from a stream, the Italian and British press went on attack about the “evil Black Magican in Cefalu” in the end the ruckus the press raised forced Mussolini to expel Crowley from Italy ending the experiment at the abbey. Crowley later wrote

The explanation of why I left is quite simple and unsensational.... Several people who were my guests at the "abbey" made imaginative copy out of their visits. Then the Fascists came into power and some foreign newspaper correspondents were asked to leave. And so was I. There was no rough turning-out. I was treated with the greatest courtsey.


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  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.