The lack of Thelemic Unity, Fraternal Safety, Bullying, Buying Initiations and other no-no’s.
Si Vales, Valeo
You wish to know why Thelemic groups are so divided and seem to be so against the idea of working together. You are right. We are deeply divided.
I am being kind when I say that many people are drawn to Thelema for all the wrong reasons. A magical-fraternal organization should be a sort of colander which allows those people to filter themselves out. In fact, that is a big part of what the initiation system does. With respect to the social aspects, those that do belong in the group will, on some unconscious level, exercise a sort of peer pressure.
The idea is not to allow scoundrels, cheats, liars and opportunists to benefit at the expense of others. On many occasions, to create fraternal opportunities, Brothers and Sisters are often invited into our own homes. If you have children, the quality of the individuals you invite into your home must be of some concern, for example. I mean, you wouldn’t want to invite a murderer, a rapist, or a bank robber into your house where your family is thinking they are a Brother.
Many organizations, and I am not speaking for Thelemic ones specifically, but from all sects and religious foundations, have learned to view each member as a dollar amount. It isn’t done out of a lack of consideration for the overall mission of the organization, but in this world, it is difficult to get anything accomplished without money. However, the mission and safety of members should be the main preoccupation of the people that run these organizations.
Leaders must be very careful not to act in a way contrary to the organization’s egregore for a few bucks. The Masons have a term for what occurs when the egregore is betrayed: “The Temple has gone dark.” The “spirit” bringing them together to do the Great Work is no longer present in that building.
All of this to say that the effect of trying to balance a disruptive member’s dues payments over the safety of other members is shoddy work for an organization that is supposed to be fostering Harmony. This should be a great big red light that goes off in your head. That is your Spidey senses telling you to get the hell out and save your money.
Likewise, if you hear about a person skipping a bunch of degrees because they have made some sort of gift, like a painting or a book or in cash to the Order. A true Western Mystery Tradition School will not under any circumstances sell degrees. It cheapens them, and the experience for those members who are working hard, often against things like financial hardship, just to advance to the next degree.
Despite popular belief from our detractors, Thelema is not a movement for narcissist types looking for an excuse to do something that would otherwise be unacceptable elsewhere. Teach that in your Lodges.
Another moral killer is when a person is advanced because they have taken credit and glory for work they did not perform. In other words, from some other member’s labor. This hurts everyone, including the organization itself. For the person stealing the spotlight, this can only eventually lead to an empty hole devoid of any real accomplishment. For the person whose credit has been taken, well… I am sure you know what that feels like. It happens to everyone of us “out there,” in the world outside of the Lodge. Which brings me to the next point.
We shouldn’t have to pay dues to be treated like dirt, to have our legitimate concerns of fraternal violations blown off over some mistaken idea of what harmony might be. Our Lodges should be a place of refuge. A place where we can be with our chosen families, share our ideas and experiences with them and celebrate our mysteries. Why would anyone pay to be abused in a so-called “fraternity” when you can be abused in the “real world” gratis?
Let’s stop behaving as though any man or woman can be a god without doing “god things.” I think those Thelemites have already missed the bus. But there is another one coming.
We are also going to have to dump the mistaken idea that every man or woman is an island unto oneself. That the real world changing events embodied and predicted in our Holy Books are going to come by way of individual effort. First, I don’t see much individual effort, but then I have been called an ass for pointing that out. Second, so long as people only pay the Holy Books lip service to justify their misfit lifestyle, we won’t see Thelemites or, by extension, Thelema doing much.
Probably, one of the most quoted lines from the Book of the Law is “The slaves shall serve.” This is usually used when a person shows concern, love, or some sort of reverence toward something that the majority disagrees with. Having compassion for the poor as an example.
Likewise, there is that line out of Will, that we repeat before meals to consecrate the food. Everyone’s chest gets all puffy, and their voice deepens when they get to the “that I may do the Great Work.” Or even more spectacular is to watch Thelemites puff up like the greater sage-grouse if they should use the “to fight in the battle for Freedom in accordance with the Book of the Law.”
It is time to reconcile the idea of service to Thelema, with the concept of slavery, which is so clearly misunderstood by us.
Thank you for your profound questions. Please write back as you will.