Statement of Thelemic Beliefs
The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria is the religious arm of The Order of Thelemic Knights, and it is a true gnostic Church welcoming students of any religious, philosophical path or religious background.
The Church posits that all holy books contain profound insight into human nature but only when they are studied as poetry or myth, and that all religions possess the potential of bringing out the worst in mankind when interpreted literally. Prophetic texts receive special attention when corresponding to current events, and emphasize the importance of knowing what to take literally and what to take metaphorically as the most important part of any religious life. Our teachings reject the idea that Thelema originated in a vacuum, and suggest that by studying the religious doctrines which the Prophet scrutinized the individual will be lead to a greater understanding of Thelema and its esoteric purpose.
By Gnosticism, we do not mean the Christian revival which has become so popular today, but a true gnostic interpretation of one’s spiritual nature as informed by the tenets of Thelema. We posit that all sacred texts yield profound insights, and that much of the messages in these texts are lost when distorted by institutionalized religions. Our interpretation of religion is quite simple:
1. The social/ritualistic approach to transcendence.
2. A social celebration of one’s religious philosophy
3. A way to show reverence toward one’s internal deity and the deity of his or her comrades
4. Spiritual community made up of individuals that share the same beliefs
The concept of God as one supreme deity who rules over the universe is viewed by us as an open ended question. We pay very little attention to the “afterlife.” It isn’t that we don’t believe that the possibility exists; it is that we view the entire concept as irrelevant to Our Mission of causing change in THIS world. The Church’s emphasis is on helping its members get the most out of their lives, each according to their own True Will while causing positive social changes – while living right now because this is where we are. The dying part is something that will inevitably take care of itself in its own time.
Although The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria respects the individual choice of religious belief, and often quotes from the various Judaic, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu and other Holy Books, different religious persuasions are not permitted to practice their religion or evangelize their particular belief systems at Our Sanctuaries. Special dispensation may be made for purely scholastic reasons and research. However, these instances are rare.
There are various stations or positions of service within the Church.
The most important ones in terms of running the Church’s activities are the Holy Orders: Bishops, Priests and Deacons, which serve under the direction of the Patriarch. The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria considers these Orders as sacraments.
Ordination of Women
The old aeon churches were largely based on the concept of the phallicism indicative of the Aeon of Osiris. With regards to the Sacrament of the Mass, Leadbeater rightfully wrote that “…this particular type of magic is not adapted to work through the feminine organism… the ecclesiastical power is meant to flow through male channels… the particular power of the Christian religion is intended to flow along masculine channels.…” In a letter known as “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,” Pope John Paul II wrote that the Catholic Church had no authority to ordain women, and therefore female priests are something of an oxymoron. All other philosophical differences aside, we believe that those two statements are solidly founded on the metaphysical concepts of the patriarchal period in which they were written.
The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria, however, is a New Aeon Church and has a unique understanding of the metaphysical implications dictated by the Aeon of The Child. In accordance with that understanding, not only does Our Church offer women Holy Orders, but we encourage women to seek this type of service. We do not recognize the title “priestess” however – all members of Our Priesthood are known simply as Priests. Female Bishops, however, go by the title “Sophia.”
Our Position On:
The Church teaches to identify fundamentalism and confront it when it leads to cultish behavior, mind control, manipulation, psychological coercion, torture and unethical influence wherever such behavior is encountered. It may be said that one of Church’s missions is to protect the individual’s freedom, which includes freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freewill – which we hold to be the elemental right of all humans. Without the right to observe and consider the world objectively, think rationally, or to formulate beliefs based on ones observations there can never be freedom.
Our Church views Marriage as a sacred institution and a religious matter to be interpreted by the Churches – not the State, and uses this social problem to illustrate that if a separation of Church and State truly existed this issue wouldn’t be receiving the attention it is today. We hold the opinion that Churches that would allow Gay Marriages should, and those that felt same-sex marriage conflicted with their dogma could refuse them. But for the Our Church the issue of same-sex marriage extends far outside of any religious or dogmatic considerations, since at least in the United States, married individuals enjoy some very significant benefits not available to unmarried partners of ANY sexual preference. This makes it an issue of equality, fairness and justice and this is why we oppose any sectarian legislation banning it.
We believe that an adult person’s sexuality is a matter of their own business. We don’t pass judgment of individuals based on their sexual behavior provided it is not destructive to the Church or its members, nor do we hold any sexual conditions on Our Clergy. We also respect those that choose celibacy as a path to enlightenment. In fact, we believe that the practice of withholding from sex in order to attain some spiritual goal is a legitimate, but almost always misunderstood Hindu practice. The same practice is seen being used for the same ends in Chinese magical and alchemical manuscripts.
The Battle for Freedom and War
The subject of war is a difficult one during these difficult times. It often seems as though the entire world is engaged in it. One can interpret the Battle for Freedom in many ways. For practical purposes we see it to fit into three categories: Individual Ability, Joint Fraternal Struggle, and the reality of war as physical violence… which must ultimately be the last resort to resolving any conflict.
A perfect example of Individual Ability is the Battle for Freedom as might be interpreted by a person who possesses knowledge of secular law. Their battle could well be a War on Injustice. For a teacher, it might be a War on Ignorance; for a Doctor, a War on Disease; for a rich person, a War on Poverty. All individuals are specifically designed to take up some cause, each and every one of us according to our true nature and will as manifest in our physical lives. When these causes are taken up by groups of individuals, such as OTK and/or The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria, they become Joint Fraternal Struggles. These are the battles which concern Us today.
In most industrialized countries, physical war is the realm of politicians who are usually members of multinational corporations rich enough to not have to fight them. War is real for the poor, who usually serve through military service because this provides them with some opportunity at an education and/or career. Mostly it is the middle class or poor that dies for the benefit of these corporations.
War is what occurs when diplomacy and reason have failed to justify some hostile aggression against another nation. Situations are created to benefit others. Often times these actions lead to murder, poverty and oppression, and when the oppressed rightly fights back the oppressing government never fails to point out the animal nature of those that oppose them while conveniently leaving out the history which led to the aggression in the first place. During WWII, Hitler’s forces referred to the French Resistance as “terrorists.”
Aries, the god of war has four companions: Deimos, which means Fear; Phobos (Fright); Eris (Strife); and Enyo, who was the destroyer of cities. Aries didn’t care about whose side he was on – he didn’t care about the right or wrong of war – he simply liked bloodshed. Most pro-war propaganda is designed to make us think like Aries.
It is inevitable that one day Thelemites will have to face Thelemites in the battlefield. This did indeed occur in recent memory in the Bosnian/Croatia conflict. Like all good Thelemites, they went to Crowley’s writings to see what he had to say about this in MWT. His reply was appalling to some because he seemed to condone Thelemites killing other Thelemites. He wrote that when it comes to physical war Brothers should fight fiercely against one another in the battlefield, but in Lodge they should love one another. On the surface this doesn’t seem to be much of an answer, but what he was really getting at is similar to “give on to Cesar that which is Cesar’s.” He seemed to indicate that each person had a duty to defend his country, even if that meant going against a Brother.