What really drew me to Thelema initially was three-fold the introduction to Magick in Theory and Practice, in which Crowley states “I had written this book to help the banker, pugilist, the biologist, the poet, the navy, the grocer, the factory girl, the mathematician, the stenographer, the golfer, the wife, the consul-an pd the rest-to fulfill them self perfectly each in his and her proper function.”
and, this by Francois Rabelais from The Abbey of Thelema:
“All their life was spent not in law statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they eat, drink, labor, sleep, when they had mind to it, and where disposed for it. None did constrain them to eat, drink, nor do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rules, and strictest tie of their order, was but this clause to be observed.”
But the most influential was The Book of the Law. When I first read The Book of the Law it was as if the Sphinx itself was handing me a multi-layered riddle to unfold, which like most holy books may prove to take a life time or two. I was drawn in by chapter two, chapter one seemed out of reach in a Utopian sort of way, chapter three just seemed like the same old shit. But in chapter two the struggle is real, and that existential crisis is right there, you don’t know if you are coming or going. It was talking to my soul.
Thelema offered me a new look at Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Christianity, which I had thrown out baby and all. I found correlations between all these religions. With access to Gnostic gospels I had not seen until my introduction to Thelema, and the studies on the Qabalah which has been instrumental on this path of mysticism and magick, I now see in Thelema true inclusion. For if one embarks on a path of discovery of one’s Will as an act of Love, one can see in earnest that the Law truly is for all.
To me Thelema is multi leveled, you have the personal magick and spiritual path that you make for self-enlightenment, improvement and growth. The holy quest for knowledge and conversation with your holy guardian angel. Then there is a philosophical aspect how we interact with one another as Thelemites and in the larger world. How does this philosophy translate in day to day behavior? I think it is still working itself out. Thelema tends to paint with just a wide enough brush to be both inclusive and elitist. We are all individuals yet very social. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law/Love is the law love under will,” may seem a simple enough decree, but unfortunately full of the same pitfalls of any spiritual path. If you emphasize Will you fall into the pit of I, and if you emphasize Love you fall into the pit of Them. With all things, somewhere in the middle you will find a soft creamy delicious center.
So Thelema is works: the alchemy of the divine with the human, “Every man and Every woman is a star” and “There is no god but man,” the words are hollow without the work that one must do to truly discover it. Like giving your heart to Jesus Christ on a whim one Sunday evening during a group conversation. You can say the words all you want; you can even attend church on every Sunday, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing. Words are cheap and we use them to fool ourselves. Thelema is examination. It’s looking at a thing and getting to the root or as close as we can with the tools that we have. Most the time that thing we are looking at is ourselves unlocking doors we shut years ago, we now open to self-examination. This is not always pleasant nor fun but has the tendency to be cathartic.
The foundation has been laid by our predecessors, the kingdom will be built by us. Humanity seems to be always on that pesky precipice of total annihilation and enlightenment. Just like all other religions Thelema can go either way, depends on which gods we feed. Are you feeding, Nuit or Ra-Hoor-Khuit? The way I am seeing things, humanity has been living a virtual loop of Chapter Three for so long, I’m not sure if we know how to live Chapter One. I would sure like to see if it could be done.
Part of our problem as humans, especially westerners, is that we have tried so hard to separate ourselves from nature and our fellow earthlings, we have become not only self-serving egotists but we indulge in species-ism. We think so highly of our individualism at the cost of everything, and most especially at the detriment of our own well being, growth, and higher consciousness. We want to conquer foreign lands and subjugate people that don’t look like us and to look inside to conquer ourselves is too much for us to handle. So, magicians: what do we want? This perpetual war of endless suffering of land, water, animals, and people in our never-ending craving for more and more stuff? Or can we find the treasures inside? Can we look up to Nuit and say, “I’m ready to serve you?” We have lost our collective minds, hence the massive increase of people being medicated for anxiety and depression.
There is always a sacrifice and that sacrifice is always you, so when you feed a God you are giving yourself. You are saying “Bon Appétit. Here, I am not rotten meat, but the finest culinary dish I have to offer, Myself.”