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Augustine a thelemite?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.order,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
From: (Bill Heidrick)
Subject: Re: Augustine a thelemite?
Date: 24 Nov 1995 17:02:17 GMT

Luciftias  writes:

> (nagasiva) wrote:

>>I have heard associations with all sorts of people, including Augustine
>>(in relation to DWTW especially)

>I'm not so sure Augustine can be regarded as thelemic.

Crowley (1875-1947 e.v.) and Augustine (354-430 e.v.) make an interesting
pair for comparison.  Both were raised in extremely religious Xtian
families with the mother agressively representing conventional Xtianity
during the adolescent rebellion phase.  Both went bonkers on being sent
to school away from home.  Both had children out of wedlock.  Both innovated
in monastic life-style.  Both were religious innovators in writing and
teaching.  Both became bishops in traditions claiming apostolic succession.
Both wrote books or essays titled _Confessions_ and _City of God_.  Both
were greatly impressed by wars and the decay of empire.  Given Augustine's
early life as recounted in his autobiography, both lived a life that would
easily now be considered in some sense Thelemic.  Both studied alphabet
mysticism and number mysticism, notably cited in Augustine's _Civitatis
Dei_.  The difference seems to be in proportion and in the latter part
of life.  Augustine's early life was more licentious in the sense of
not caring if not in actual deeds.  Crowley continued a Thelemic life-
style after becoming a bishop, but Augustine abandoned his care-free
days well before taking the mantle.  Finally, both essentially invented
new religions to replace the Xtianity contemporary with their youth,
incorporating major elements of that childhood religion in a novel direction.
For Augustine, that was emphasis on the Heavenly City.  For Crowley, that
was emphasis on personal relation to the divine, although Crowley's
City of the Pyramids is clearly an extension of Augustine's Heavenly
Jerusalem.  Add that Augustine accepted the theory of evolution of the body
from animals, without seeing any conflict with Biblical creation; and
Crowley used theories of social evolution in attempting to frame his
concept of a new Aeon.

   Obviously, Crowley was heavily influenced by Augustine; but he appears
to parallel Augustine's life too closely for the matter to be explained away
simply as "influence".

93 93/93
Bill Heidrick

From: (Bill Heidrick)
Newsgroups: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.order,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
Subject: Re: Augustine a thelemite?
Date: 28 Nov 1995 03:04:55 GMT
Organization: The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, Sausalito, CA
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Jess Karlin  wrote:

>Augustine grew up in an environment where the choice of religion
>was fairly wide open---almost as if he were at a religious mall. His
>father was a pagan almost all his life (only converting to Christianity
>in his last year), and his mother certainly did not practice 
>the oppressive sort of faith crafted by British and American 
>conservative protestants.

Not so.  At the time the Roman antique religion (never considered "paganism")
was greatly under attack.  Monica's behavior, by all accounts, would have
made a steriotypical Jewish mother let her boy date a shicksah in shock
at the excesses.  That was the period where strange little sects proliferated
madly and the politics were defined by the latest twist to hypotheticals of
pregnancy and the unlikely parentage of the issue.  Oddly enough, many of
those same theological-political issues raged in 1875 e.v. England.

>The analogy might work better if AC had been hit by one of those
>buzz-bombs or if London had been conquered by Nazis.

He did leave London after one hit the back yard behind 93 Jermyn St.  Had
he been home at the time, he might well have fit your first criterion.
>The time frame is wrong for this comparison. The western Romans of
>the early 5th-century AD were bracing against the inevitable
>collapse not only of their empire but of their civilization.

This they did not perceive, by contemporary accounts.  For that matter,
WWI did in fact end European civilization, at least in the sense of the
ruling houses that had stood for as many centuries as Augustine's Rome.

>The British empire of the early 20th-century did not collapse in 
>this way, its administration was merely transferred (as was admitted
>to by Winston Churchill in a famous speech about 'passing the
>torch') to the United States

To Canadians:  Please note that I didn't say this!

Also, would you be willing to indicate anything larger than a small island
of which this would be true?  US economic and military influence has had
it's mark, but it's hardly in the form of the Victorian Empire.

>this was more like the way the Romans inherited culture 
>and world power from the Greeks.

Conquest, by invitation of one party among warring groups.  This is the
sort of inheritance that involves guns instead of probate courts.  It's
also the circumstance of the sack of Rome that occasioned Augustine's
Civitatis Dei.

>However, given AC's general 
>opinion of the cultural capacities of Americans, perhaps he 
>thought the inheritors more resembled Goths and Vandals.

Given his death in 1947 e.v., I doubt very much that he thought the US would
have such a role.  The only clues he had for it were the late arrival of
the US forces in WWII and the A-bomb.  His single most significant shock
and insight into "Americans" was "they are friendly!?"

>>Given Augustine's
>>early life as recounted in his autobiography, both lived a life that would
>>easily now be considered in some sense Thelemic.  
>In what way? Debauched? Spiritually cast adrift? 

Determined to find one's own path, hang the advice of others.

>AC might well have taken this part of the 'emulation' more to heart.

AC entered OTO to the requisite level before the days at the Abbey.  Time
sequence was different for Augustine's Bishop's consecration.

>Augustine thus 'invented' where he could not reasonably rely on any
>cultural consanguinity with Biblical principles and stories.
>AC did not invent (in the sense of reinterpreting what he did not 
>'naturally' grasp or comprehend), he reacted (in revulsion?), 
>then he rejected, then he transcended---and in this way perhaps 
>it is fair to say AC finally created something out 
>of (literally) nothing.

You under value Augustine and over estimate Crowley's innovative activity.
Augustine introduced major changes in direction.  Crowley assembled elements
and added a few new ideas, not novel so much as newly advanced to a later
age.  His use of Formulas is the main contribution he made to Magical
technical method, he laid claim to opening up one path only on the Tree
of Life (using the Golden Dawn model at that) and he renewed the polemic
of Tom Payne.  Perhaps Augustine's inovations were of a like order, but
we lack the background for him that we have for the more recent Crowley.
Both Augustine and Crowley did many other things than the few mentioned,
but these will serve to illustrate my point.

>One thing I do see as similar---neither man seemed to find any real
>peace of mind or spirit from the truths they found. In AC's case 
>I think he saw that condition as a natural price of rending the 
>veil, in Augustine's perhaps it was just too much time spent looking
>over the battlements waiting for the Vandals to show up.

Augustine did live to see the distruction of Hippo, but Crowley lived to
see the end of War -- as far as he knew.  Frankly, I think the medical
profession, both doctor and dentist, got AC.

>I don't recall, is Augustine another one of AC's claimed previous 

Perhaps A.C. didn't recall either? :-)

93 93/93

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