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Thelema, Religion, and Dishonesty

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.thelema,talk.religion.misc,alt.magick,alt.tarot
From: "Fr. A.o.C." 
Subject: Re: Thelema, Religion, and Dishonesty
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 01:46:32 GMT

jk wrote:

> "Fr. A.o.C."  wrote in message news:<>...
> > > (jk):
> > > # My point is that Thelema is falsely promoted.
> > > by some, agreed. religions generally are. they are promoted by
> > > the deluded, securing the delusion of others for support of a
> > > social hierarchy and/or set of scriptures/doctrines.
> > My thought exactly---
> Really? OK, then tell us what you think he meant. 

It seemed fairly well put. It meant what it says. If you don't
understand it, I leave it for 333 to elaborate further, since he wrote it.

> And what is the point of it?

Well, I don't want to put words on 333's screen, but it seems to imply
that religions (at least organized ones) in general conform to the
behavior described above.

Is there some deep hidden meaning in these seemingly simple statements
I'm missing?
> > , if we are speaking of "religion" as defined as "that
> > which is subscribed to by *faith*.
> Certainly that is what Crowley was speaking about with respect to
> Thelema and its creation myth.

Which is his opinion, and not necessarily any better opinion than yours
or mine. Actually, he seemed to equivocate and vacillate on the matter
throughout his life, sometimes stating that Aiwass was a separate,
self-aware intelligence, and at other times regarding Aiwass as his
personal H.G.A.. 
But you seem to misunderstand my point. So you can understand my where
I'm coming from, I'll give you some examples. 

I've had success doing magickal Work with a variety of spiritual and
religious paradigms, some mutually contradictory. I've personally done
magickal work using the "fictional" Lovecraftian deities as invocatory
godforms. In doing so I've obtained results in keeping with the results
I've obtained working other magickal forms based on "historical"
symbolism, such as Olympian Planetary, Egyptian and Enochian. 

While of course H.P. himself denied any "true" esoteric connections to
his works, there are a lot of people who disagree with that (viz. 
Kenneth Grant, Michael Bertiaux, Peter J. Carroll, Anton LaVey and
Michael Aquino). Some believe he tapped into a magickal reality in spite
of himself (and his denials.)

Grant's take on it all seemed questionable -- or at least unverifiable
-- to me, so instead I applied Phil Hine's theory (described in "The
Pseudonomicon") that it ultimately doesn't matter where the symbolic
framework originates. (See: )
This theory actually goes all the way back to Iamblichus of Syria (c.
300ce), who reconciled Neo-platonism with the beliefs of pagan
religions. His Theurgy taught the ritual conjuration of cosmic forces
under the various guises of personified god-forms. But the god-forms
were not "real", just symbols of the cosmic forces being invoked.

Here's another example: I'm presently working with a Golden Dawn lodge.
There is hardly a GD practitioner alive that buys into the origin
mythology of the Order (the supposed existence of a secret German lodge
that wrote the Cipher Manuscripts, and the personal sanction of the
Lodge of Westcott and Mathers by one of their Adepts.) Most believe
either Westcott forged the Ciphers himself, or they came from his
immediate esoteric Mason connections.

And who cares? The value and validity -- the "truth" -- of the Golden
Dawn system (or any system) is shown in its performance, and deriving
predictable results from it. There is no other "proof" that has any
meaning. The attachment of a specious mythology to its origins was
perhaps in poor taste and somewhat disingenuous, but that doesn't effect
the validity of its teachings one way or the other. They stand or fall
on their own merits, regardless of "creation myths".

I don't care if the Tarot deck was invented by US Games in 1953, and a
massive conspiracy successfully undertook to falsify it's historical
record, fooling both you and me. I use it, it works for me in the way I
expect it to, I derive value from working with it, so all other
considerations are moot.

> > > # If the agents of Thelema think dishonesty is a proper means
> > > # to promote their religion, that indicates something [fundamental]
> > > # about the nature of Thelema, or of its effects upon the people
> > > # who claim to follow it.
> > > well said.
> > Indeed, if one simply substitutes the general term "religion" for
> > "Thelema".
> Or the general term "politics" for Thelema, or the general term
> "culture" for Thelema. But I wasn't talking about general terms, but
> very specific ones, and very specific acts and claims. And if one does
> not substitute the general for the specific, the specific meaning of
> what I wrote is not conveniently evaded.

Is the specific meaning that you indict Thelemic religionists for the
same offenses and on the same grounds as all other religionists, but
consider the Thelemic religionists the only ones deserving of your

> > There are other proponents of Thelema as a philosophy---
> I'm sure there are proponents of Christianity as a philosophy. And
> certainly one can derive philosophical elements from many (and perhaps
> all) religions. But when one strips away the religious aspect of the
> ideas promoted in a religion, one loses his connection to and his
> understanding of the core values and assumptions that support the
> supposed philosophy. 

Why? Christianity is a bad example, since it builds a circular logic
into accepting its historicity as a fundamental element. Buddhism or
Taoism is a better comparison. In those cases, much "religion" has been
both added on to and stripped away by different cultures and sects, but
the basic fundamentals remain intact. For the Chinese peasant, Taoism
was merged with the pagan folklore and produced a polytheistic
"religion". However, among the great philosophers and teachers, such
"myths" could be transcended. 

> For example, a fundamental idea in Christianity
> is the equality of all human beings in the eyes of God, and therefore
> the equal opportunity of all humans to receive salvation through faith
> in Jesus Christ. 

Not being a Christian yourself, you may not appreciate the source of
this belief in "equality". To wit, we are all equally profane. We are a
debased race, tainted by original sin, who "all have sinned and fallen
short of the glory of God." Our souls are all equally damned.

> The philosophical idea of equality can be stripped
> away from the religious context, to the point where one can simply say
> we are all equal in the eyes of God (regardless of his intention or
> need to save us), 

Which underscores the point -- we "need" to be "saved". And why? Because
we're all equally disgusting and evil compared to God. We are equal in
the debased nature of our SOULS, not our external circumstance.

> or we could drop God from the equation altogether
> and simply say: All humans are created equal. 

Our SOULS are created equal, not our circumstances or our capabilities
or our fitness to survive. Just the souls. Dropping Yahweh from the
equation doesn't eliminate the existence of a soul (or Body of Light, or
Khabs, or Kia or what-have-you.)

> But by removing God from
> the equation, one encounters an essential problem---the affirmation
> loses its value and even its truth. 

How so? One can maintain the equality of all our souls as a
philosophical tenet without needing Yahweh & Son to justify it.

In logical discourse, what you're doing is called "complexing the
question"; two otherwise unrelated points are conjoined and treated as a
single proposition. In this case, believing in "equality" (in the case
of Christian religion, that means equality of souls) and believing in
the existence of Yahweh as the sole god and creator of the universe
(along with his slain-and-risen Son) are unbreakably cojoined. Buddhism
teaches the same thing (though in a more positive manner; someday all
souls will attain equal Buddhahood or Nirvana), so your premise is insupportable.

> For, one thing we can be quite
> sure about, humans are not created equal in the eyes of humans. 

Now you're mixing the planes. You're saying appearance and behavior
disparity (for what else can we really know about another person except
from appearance and behavior), or comparative circumstances of life, are
the same thing, religiously speaking, as "souls."

> Our
> skills of discrimination are developed quite early in that respect,
> and certainly Thelema takes that into consideration. The point being,
> as we remove the philosophy from its religious context, one changes
> the meaning of it to such an extent that it risks becoming only a
> highly questionable (and equally faith-based) set of affirmations.

Why is it a "risk"? What's being risked? What have I got to lose?

What's so much more "highly questionable" about it than it wasn't
before? One can believe in souls (with or without evidence), and the
soul's either "innate" or "god-given" equality regardless of belief in
the Christian tenets of salvation from sin. Either position seems
equally "questionable", as are all religious beliefs.
> > that can evolve
> > the meaning of it from it's first principles. For such persons, it
> > doesn't matter at all if the Egyptology is "correct"---
> As I've said repeatedly in this thread, and in many threads over the
> years that devolve into defensive last stands by various tribes, the
> only people for whom such questions as these will matter are those
> still interested in learning the truth. Since philosophy should be a
> quest to discover that elusive creature, then Thelemites who claim to
> be mainly philosophers ought to be interested in the facts and the
> falsehoods of the Thelemic creation myth.

But my position is that the mythology is irrelevant, so it's a moot
point. I'll gladly concede to you that the "Thelemic creation myth" is
factually flawed. Stipulated. So what? It doesn't change a thing
regarding the application of Thelemic principles to my life or my
magickal work.
> > or it was "received" from a supernatural intelligence, or if it was
> > found scrawled on a bathroom wall written in Pig Latin. It's a
> > maxim of logic that the truth of a proposition has nothing to
> > do with its source.
> That begs the question of whether there is any truth in Thelema,

I think what you mean here is "raises the question". "Begging the
question" is defined as the "fallacy of founding a conclusion on a basis
that as much needs to be proved as the conclusion itself." [viz. Fowler]
Examples include paraphrasing of the statement to be proved ("Telepathy
cannot exist because direct transfer of thought between individuals is
impossible"), and arguing in a circle ("The Bible must be true, because
God wouldn't lie to us; we know God is trustworthy, because it says so
in the Bible").

Don't feel too bad, it's a common misuse of the expression. But anyway...

> especially any that can survive a divorce from the religious aspects
> of it.

Why not? Taoism, which shares a lot of attributes with Thelema, can
survive quite well without appeal to a transcendental "god" to validate
it. Its teachings were laid out by a quite mortal man, Lao Tsu, and the
story of how he came to write the Tao Te Ching is almost certainly a
"mere myth." So I suppose if Lao Tsu never really stopped at a guard
house on the border of China and got persuaded by the sentry there to
write down his teachings -- meaning the myth surrounding the Tao Te
Ching's origin is a lie --then all of Taoism is worthless, since it's
origin myth is not of provable historicity?

Why pick on Thelema? Is it something personal?

> > Just because the biggest fool in the world says it's raining,
> > that by itself does not prove the sun is shining.
> It does however strongly recommend a skeptical consideration
> of the fool's claim.  In other words, the fact we know the person is
> unreliable DOES influence our readiness to accept his reports as true.
> That doesn't mean he's incapable of telling the truth, just that he is
> not likely to be a reliable source for getting any truths told.

So the way to determine validity is to test it for yourself. This is the
Work of Magick. Religion requires faith. Magick seeks direct gnosis. Do
the Work. Nothing else matters, all else follows.

(Your ridiculous comparison of Crowley and some of his followers fudging
on a creation myth, with the sexual molestation scandals of the Catholic
priesthood, is [SNIPPED] due to it's sheer hyperbolic absurdity. In the
end, sir, have you no shame?)
> > This is why some very useful and valid ideas about life can be derived
> > from the works of fiction---
> What works of fiction written by the biggest fool in the world offers
> this benefit?

You're confusing the issue. The overall point here is that validity of a
magickal philosophy is found in its application, not its origins. The
Golden Dawn's validity is found in it's application, whether Westcott
made up its mythology or not. Wicca's validity is found in it's
application, whether Gardener made up its mythology or not. "The proof
is in the pudding." And if you don't like a particular flavor of
pudding, you're not obligated to eat it. So I don't understand what
you're complaining about.

> > , and real, living persons can be inspired by
> > them.
> Real living persons can be inspired by many things toward many things.
> Inspiration is not in itself a virtue.
> > My daughter is a big Harry Potter fan (as am I *grin*) and there
> > are useful and valid teachings on the meaning of life, the universe and
> > everything to be found in Rowlings's stories.
> Perhaps, but she is not promoting her books as religious scripture,
> nor is she claiming to have channeled the words from a preternatural
> entity.
> > It doesn't matter in any way whatsoever if Dumbledore was a
> > real person and Hogwarts a real place or not.
> It would matter if she falsely claimed these things were true. And
> especially it would matter if she started collecting student tuitions
> for the school, with the promise that one might meet or be taught by
> Dumbledore.

I wasn't aware that any Thelemic group was promising people they might
meet or be taught by Crowley. 
> > The same can be said of Lord of the Rings, Discworld, Zen and
> > the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Foucault's Pendulum --
> Yes, in all those examples, should the authors have committed fraud,
> that would be something worth considering when reading their supposed
> truths.

Why? The validity of their teachings could be tested by experiment and
confirmed by experience.  
> > and Stranger in a Strange Land, around which a group of
> > people spawned a religious organization, knowing full well
> > they were basing their beliefs on a fictional work.
> "knowing full well" is the key distinction.
> Thelemites for the most part have not known full well
> about much to do with the claims of their leader or his
> secret club.

Using the example of the Golden Dawn again, my Order (which incorporates
a whole lot of Thelemic symbolism and philosophy into our Work, by the
way) knows full well that Westcott's origin mythology of the GD is
almost certainly false, and we inform our Aspirants of this in no
uncertain terms. (See: ) So by doing this,
have we "restored" the validity of the system? Or was it's validity so
"severely called into question" by Westcott's slight-of-hand that it is
therefore forever tainted? Are you saying that EVEN IF the Cipher
Manuscript contained truly useful and valid teachings (including their
promulgation of the Tarot -- if it weren't for the Golden Dawn nobody
would be interested in buying your books today), by making up a story
about how he found it Westcott DESTROYED its usefulness and validity forever?

I see no other conclusion to your premise, if I understand it correctly.
We have to apply it fairly to other manifestations of the Western
Mystery Tradition, right? So by your strict rules of "if you tell lies
about your sources, your entire philosophy is invalid", then we must
toss the Golden Dawn and everything it taught (including the Tarot) in
the trash heap. It's "based on a lie" (it didn't come from "Secret
Chiefs" of an ancient occult order like Westcott claimed), so therefore
it's all entirely useless.

That DOES seem to be what you're saying.

> > The same could be said of the Old and New Testaments of
> > the Bible---
> Those books were not promoted as fiction, nor did people
> (in any numbers) think of them in that way until fairly recently.
> > , for there is very little objective proof of the historical
> > accuracy of ANYTHING in these writings.
> That's not true. There is certainly cause to doubt the
> supernatural origins for many reported events in the
> Bible. That doesn't mean the events didn't occur.
> > So what? Would Jessie indict Judaism and
> > Christianity on the same grounds as s/he is indicting Thelema?
> jk is an equal opportunity indicter.

No you are not, unless you've also posted lengthy screeds denouncing the
Golden Dawn and Taoism. Have you?
> > If not, s/he is merely being dishonest and bigoted---
> Fortunately I am not being those things.

On the contrary, your prejudice is plainly obvious.
> > , because the inconsistencies of the Bible with the
> > historical record are rife.
> I'm not a Christian or a Jew either.
> > So while there may be something to an indictment of the PEOPLE who
> > resort to promoting "fiction" as "truth"---
> What is the something there is to that?
> Be specific.

OK -- people who promote false mythologies are not very nice.
> > , it has nothing whatsoever to do with the value of what
> > philosophy they have derived from that
> > fiction.
> Again, you're begging a big question 

Again, you're misusing the expression "begging the question".


> concerning the presence, 

I don't understand your use here of the word "presence", as in "the
state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place" [Webster's
Unabridged]. It seems like you're saying "it calls into question the
fact of Thelema being present", but I can't figure out what you mean by that.

> much less the value, of the supposed
> philosophy derived from the Thelemic fiction.
> > Let's just assume it's ALL fiction. So what?
> Then it should be moved to a different section of the library.

And what would be the practical result of this, outside of the library?

> > Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
> What wilt thou do shall be the hole in the Law.

Do what keeps thou from wilting shall be the loophole in the law!

> > Love is the law, love under Will.
> What does that mean?

There's more than enough discussion of this topic available, so there's
little need to go into it here. But for a good exposition, see:

> > Every man and every woman is a Star.
> As Crowley noted, most people, including the
> ones attracted to Thelema, seem to be mere
> penlights.

As previously noted, your snide prejudice and bigoted attitude is
clearly obvious.

> > The validity and applicability of these maxims---
> What is the validity and applicability of these maxims?

Rather than enter into an argument of Thelemic principles that is sure
to go nowhere, I'll stipulate "The validity and applicability of these

> And upon what are these characteristics based?

Experience. There is no other valid proof but results.
> > are utterly independent of whether or not Crowley
> > accurately translated the Stele of Revealing.
> Crowley didn't translate the Stele of Revealing.
> He couldn't read ancient Egyptian.

Picky, picky. Allow me to clarify: The validity and applicability of
these maxims, OR THEIR LACK THEREOF, is utterly independent of whether
Revealing. So, can you address the point now?
> Crowley nevertheless attributed to a supposedly
> superior being the same misunderstandings of
> ancient Egyptian he himself possessed.
> What philosophical value should be derived from
> this fact?

It's all very simple, really. 

Let's assume for the moment that the "superior being" actually existed
in some way or another. If this being undertook to speak to Crowley in
the language of ancient Khemet, Crowley wouldn't understand it. If that
being used forms of Egyptian idiom unknown to the scholars Crowley had
access to at the time, Crowley would also not understand it. "Aiwass"
wasn't delivering an Egyptology lecture. "Aiwass" was delivering a
philosophical and religious treatise to Crowley in "words and images"
that Crowley, with his particular background and limited access to
knowledge, would understand and interpret as it was intended. This is
demonstrated by the fact that Liber AL is undeniably composed using
symbology based on the teachings of the Golden Dawn, from which Crowley
obtained his esoteric training. That's why the GD symbology was used to
communicate to Liber AL to him -- he spoke the lingo. 

It's as if I were sending a message to you, and I used the phrase "begs
the question" to mean "calls into question". Since you think both
phrases mean the same thing (even though I can show expert documentation
that they don't), I can use "begs the question" and YOU understand what
I mean, even if it's not TECHNICALLY correct by the strict rules of
English usage. If I used the much more accurate Latin form, "petitio
principii" (postulation of the beginning) and you don't understand
Latin, it would communicate nothing to you. What matters is getting the
message across accurately TO YOU, with your flawed knowledge of the
English language, not to an English or Latin scholar. Since I am a
superior being (or a facet of your own "higher genius", it doesn't
matter), I have access to your mind and it's vocabulary, so can
determine what words and images to use that will get the message across
to you, so you will understand they way I wish you to understand. 

> > > # Because it goes to the heart and mind of the essential dishonesty
> > > # at work and play in Thelema since the very start of the religion.
> > > is it Thelema-as-religion per se that leads to this dishonesty?
> > > or are ignorance, impressionability, and generally deceptive
> > > practices prevalent throughout religion?
> > Exactly. The logical fallacy being promoted here is: if it can
> > be proved that Crowley's Egyptology is inconsistent, then it
> > renders all of the the philosophical tenets of Thelema
> > worthless.
> Crowley wasn't an Egyptologist, so he didn't
> possess any Egyptology whatsoever. He did possess
> an understanding of the Egyptomaniacal tradition of
> occultism and he certainly made heavy use of that
> in Cairo in 1904. 

Basically, he understood the "Egyptomaniacal tradition of occultism" he
learned from the Golden Dawn (who learned it in turn from E. Wallis
Budge, so it's not entirely their fault.) So Aiwass used that vocabulary
to communicate to him -- a language Crowley already understood. 

It really isn't that hard a concept to grasp. If Aiwass wanted to
communicate with a Beat poet, then he'd use an idiom like an Alan
Ginsberg poem. If it was a rapper from east Oakland, he would use

> That fixed a certain mode of expression
> for his successors, which weirdly they've maintained
> far past the point where propriety (or even sanity) might
> have suggested they should have simply boxed away their
> toys and gone to knitting.

Your prejudiced attitude shows through clearly again. 

But I'm sorry, the historic or archeological accuracy of the translation
is utterly beside the point. It only shows that Aiwass (assuming Aiwass
existed) used Crowley's inculcated vocabulary of words and images to
communicate to him, rather than imposing some "correct" idiom that
Crowley would possibly misunderstand or misinterpret. Aiwass spoke to
Crowley in Crowley's native idiom, flawed though that idiom may be.

> > Apply this logic to any religion, and they're ALL worthless.
> That premise isn't altogether unreasonable.
> If people blather they have the big TRUTH and it turns out they
> instead have the big LIE, then the value they're claiming is
> soured by their exaggeration.

You still haven't explained how a misuse of an Egyptian idiom
extrapolates to the invalidation of everything that was expounded using
that idiom. Or would that be begging the question?
> I would definitely say that all religions, taken for what they
> claim to be, are worthless (as least to me). That doesn't
> mean I don't find it entertaining to read their texts, as I
> often do. I have to say though that Crowley's scriptures are
> some the dullest religious scribble I've encountered. There
> is much better stuff in the world, including in other portions
> of his own pile of scribbles.
> > > what alternatives are there to Thelema-as-religion, if any?
> > To separate the "religion" from the useful philosophies by separating
> > "faith" from "observation".
> How does that work exactly?

See the previous message. The part you snipped in this reply explained
it in detail.
> > I've always resisted joining such groups as the OTO---
> Perhaps the OTO has also resisted you.

You don't know me or them very well. *grin*
> > , even though I self-identify as a Thelemite---
> Would a real Thelemite need to do such a thing?
> I don't think so.

You don't appear to me to be qualified to draw any objective conclusions
on the subject, given your blatant prejudices.
> > , because certain tenets must be accepted on
> > "faith". One must "accept the Book of the Law", which is generally
> > defined as investing faith in the story of it's source -- the
> > "preternatural intelligence" of Aiwass. Having never observed Aiwass,
> > such a belief would for me be an act of faith. I have no faith in faith,
> Now you're just lying.

Prove it.
> You're addicted to faith and you damned well know
> it (or feel it anyway).

Ah, so you read minds? Well, I say again, prove it.
> > be it damned for a dog. I "believe" in Thelema because---
> Then you don't get it.

I don't accept you as an authority on the subject, given your clear lack
of understanding demonstrated here.
> Go knit.

Should I make a scarf, or mittens?
> > Jessie ties the validity of Thelema to faith in it's origin stories.
> So did Crowley.
> > I do not.
> So you're not interested in what Crowley said.

I'm interested (so are you, judging by your obsession), but I don't
elevate Uncle Al to godhood, or proclaim his writings infallible.
Crowley's primary contribution to Thelema was that he wrote it down
first. That's about it, IMHO. 

As my friend Tim Maroney puts it (and I agree): 

"[Crowley] was psychologically naive; his history and politics were
uneducated and facile; he failed to make any real contribution to
philosophy or even to grasp it at a baccalaureate level; it would have
been a nightmare if he had achieved secular power. To consider only MTP,
it leads off with an absurd philosophical claim to have reconciled
nihilism, monism and dualism by simply attributing each to one to the
Thelemic trinity of gods. MTP is riddled with megalomaniacal passages
and specious philosophical observations. Yet when Crowley simply
explains how he thinks rituals work, what feelings he associates with
particular points of ritual, styles appropriate to particular points,
and how the parts integrate into the whole, he presents a comfort with
and knowledge of Western occult modes that would be difficult to find
anywhere else.

"Crowley was a poet, perhaps only of second or lower rank, but a poet by
nature nonetheless, and the grace and beauty of the poetic sentiment
infuses all his rituals and meditations, in contrast with the awkward,
didactic, stentorian or pompous style of many occult rituals. While one
could find much to criticize in his overall corpus - poems choked with
purple, two-dimensional fictional characters, megalomaniacal essays
proposing ultimate answers to questions he did not understand - there is
none of this in his ritual instructions. Their style is beautifully
sparse, like watermarks on rice paper, with just a gentle touch of
purple and a hint of that which cannot quite be put into words. The
flaccid prose of the Golden Dawn has been put aside. The result is a
genuineness and sincerity of aspiration and experience which is not only
beautiful to read but compelling to perform... concerns about
originality, anti-Christianity and gender aside, the power and majesty
of the Gnostic Mass and OTO initiation rituals when 'rightly performed
with joy & beauty' can hardly be denied."

These were the particular gifts that Crowley possessed that made him the
perfect person to write Thelema down first. And if he hadn't, someone
else would have. It was an "idea whose time had come."
> > But it's a sad fact that many people MUST have comfortable myths---
> Then the discomfort these revelations seem to be causing
> must be seen as an evil to oppose, huh?
> > in order to invest belief in anything. Perhaps someday we'll all evolve
> > beyond that.
> Why not today?

Some have, some still are working toward it. Instantaneous mass
revelation is rather rare.

> > Jessie appears to be an expert on the Tarot.
> What does being an expert on the Tarot mean?

Writing books on the subject, charging money for them, with a lot of
heavy self-promotion? Composing a Tarot FAQ? To take those duties on
oneself implies one feels "expert" enough to do so. You certainly don't
suffer from false modesty (or any other kind.)
> > Does s/he rail against those Tarot practitioners who tout
> > stories of it's being based on bookplates destroyed in the
> > burning of Alexandria?
> You literally have no idea how amusing that question is.

But I notice you didn't answer it.
> > Does the fact that many people who believe in the Tarot
> > and its teachings---
> What does it mean to believe in Tarot and its teachings?
> Be specific.

I was using an idiom I thought you'd understand. It wasn't the important
part of the statement, but I'll re-state for you: "Does a the fact that
many people who use the Tarot for purposes of divination and esoteric
knowledge, and derive value from this use..."
> > also believe in the easily disprovable legends of its origins render the
> > Tarot itself invalid?
> How is Tarot rendered valid?

Do you always respond to questions with other questions when you can't
think of an answer? You go first this time.

> > Here's a hypothetical question to consider: if it were suddenly proven,
> > with unassailable evidence, that the Tarot as we know it was invented by
> > a charlatan "fortune teller" in the 1700's to flim-flam money out of
> > rich royal patrons---
> Here, stop guessing:

I wasn't guessing, I was (as I clearly stated) posing a hypothetical question.


I see you DO think very highly of yourself.
> > , would that instantly invalidate the Tarot as a
> > system of contemplation and divination?
> Now you're begging questions about that.

*sigh* never mind... so you don't have an answer. You should just say so.
> > Or does the Tarot stand or fall on its own merits---
> What are those merits and how does one determine
> them?

The specifics are beside the point. Pick any merits you like. Then try
answering the question.
> > , regardless of how the "truth" of its origins might
> > contradict what people who use it tend to believe about its origins?
> If these beliefs are falsely based, then perhaps the truth and
> the validity are as well. 

And perhaps not. Try the pudding and find out. And if you don't like it,
you can't have any.

- Fr. A.o.C.

"When the speaker and he to whom he is speaks do not understand, that is
metaphysics." -- Voltaire

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Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
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Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
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