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Basics of Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.magick.order,alt.thelema,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc,alt.pagan.magick
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Basics of Thelema (was 'Who's a Thelemite?')
Date: 23 Mar 1997 12:44:57 -0800

49970224 AA1  Hail Satan!  (waited long enough before addressing this)


Bill Thom asks some basic questions that are seldom addressed within
the Thelemic community and constitute 'philosophical underpinnings'
to a wide variety of perspectives contained therein.  as I am rather
outspoken on this subject, especially within this forum, I wanted to
refrain initially and allow others to run with the ball.  having done
this, I now offer my reflections on these important queries and welcome
review, query and comparatives from others who post here.

Bill Thom :
#...who is a Thelemite?...  

'Thelemite' is an ideal, an auspicious individual who upholds and
embodies the Law of Thelema as understood by the great sages of its
propagation (to be determined, though this appears to include such
people as Rabelais, Crowley, Grant, possibly Achad, perhaps others).
compare this directly with 'Sage' as elaborated by _Tao Teh Ching_,
the Confucian _Analects_, or other Eastern sources.

#Is there a particular definition of a Thelemite that applies universally?

there are many definitions of 'Thelemite', and I gave above only the
one which I have tend to prefer.  many of these *could* be applied
universally, though as with all vibrant philosophical and religious
communities, there is a diversity of opinion as regards preferences
from the conservative and restrictive to the liberal and catholic.

the most inclusive definition I can think of is not particular:

	'Thelemite' means whatever the thinker thinks it means.

#Are there standards that must be met?  If so, who set(s) them?

these standards are designated by any particular authority involved.
that is, for an individual, that individual sets the standards.  for
an organization, the organization sets its own standards.  in this
way we can see plainly that there are a variety of meanings and 
criteria brought to bear in evaluation.  

often people within the 'Thelemic community' will apply this title
to themselves, justifiably and egotistically so.  much like the
adoption of grandiose Masonic or Rosicrucian officenames, that of
'Thelemite' indicates a (gradually dissolving) significance as an

#Must one accept, understand, or even have any knowledge of the existence
#Liber AL?

by some standards this is all that is required in the ascertainment of
'Thelemicity'.  identified with the Cult of Thelema (does anyone know
if this is the *same* thing as the 'Cult of the Star and Snake' and
from where this latter phrase originates?), resident within Crowleyanity,
what is regarded by some as a 'religion' (it is not so to us all) takes
on the qualities of many other 'religions of the book' (an echo of both
Judeochristian and Masonic influences).

however, there are other standards which make plain the disassociation
of any particular text and what is called the 'Law of Thelema'.  many
consider Crowley's _Liber Al vel Legis_ (the Evil Book) to be a 
'Thelemic expression' and nothing more.  some not even this.

#Does one need to consciously have knowledge of one's Will? 

here we begin to enter into Thelemic philosophy as it is known to
many who engage its discussion, adopting and adapting the terms
'will' and 'love' from a variety of (largely European, often
Christian) sources to liberative ends.

'knowledge of one's true will (Will)' usually amounts to a kind
of self-perception and awareness of one's place in the cosmos,
abilities as regards causing change, and where this leaves off 
into the proper domains of other individuals (their 'orbits').

cultists typically only require a vocal (if not slavish) adherence
to _The Book of the Law_ (whatever this means).  sometimes this
enlarges to include the consideration of Crowley as the Prophet of
the Horusian Aeon, or other metaphysics.  in this way it takes on
the appearance of Western religious creed-membership.

some Thelemic religious believe that a kind of 'initiation' (whether 
overt and socially-provided or personally-derived) into the Law of 
Thelema is needed in order to qualify.  it may be that this is the 
first glimpse of one's true will.

the most philosophic and stringent would probably claim that only
those whose exploits consist of finding and carrying out their true
will in the world are 'real Thelemites'.

#Must one engage in particular daily activities?

this is the common quality of the religion of Thelema, often integrating
such rites as Resh, Will, or some other minor communal or disciplining
activity which consolidates social and personal energies toward desired

less often individuals consider particular attitudes, exemplified by
daily expression ("promulgating the Law of Thelema") as sufficient
engagement and definition to qualify.

#Is membership or non-membership in any orginization required?

by some, of course.  typically this is not the case.  perhaps only
the most extreme cultists (usually associating the Evil Book and
the Beastmaster in there too).

#Is agreement with any other living being required?

as a rule it is not, and the matter of where one's true will stops
and another's starts is often a matter of controversy within the
Thelemic community as a whole.  often the issue of legality and
morality, exemplifying the cultist-philosopher divide, comes to
the fore: the former usually requiring some sort of moral or 
doctrinal standard, the latter sometimes disclaiming any agreement
save between an individual's actions and hir true will (this last
being an ambiguous parameter).

#Then there's some related questions:
#Is doing more important than knowing or vice versa?

usually acting within the parameters of the true will is considered
more important than whether this is a conscious choice on the part
of the individual; whether that person knows intellectually where
those boundaries ought lie.  in fact there is quite a bit of debate
within the Thelemic community itself as to how best and whether
indeed it is *possible* to come to know one's true will.

#Can a King remain a King, regardless of personal behavior? Or are true
#Kings identifiable through the wisdom of their actions?

again this enters slightly further into particular Thelemic 
philosophical constructs (that of the 'King' as contrasted with 
the 'Slave'), at least as related within certain popular texts.

answering for myself, I would say that a Regent is a Regent due to 
having attained to a certain level of consciousness, awareness, and 
that the actions or behavior undertaken by said Regent will reflect 
this.  it is, I think, possible, for a person to avoid, obscure, deny 
or disregard what they know to be a 'wise choice', and in this manner 
'abdicate their Regency'.  for this reason I would be hesitant to
offer unlimited latitude on the behavior of said Regents as 
exemplifying their depth of virtue.

#If I acknowledge certain rights for myself must I acknowledge those same
#rights to others?

this brings to mind a comparative text (to that of the Evil Tome):
Crowley's _Liber Oz_, one of the few documents of which I am aware 
that speaks directly to the concept of 'rights' within the popular
Thelemic textual body.  

typically a stratified list of rights in which some individuals are
afforded these where others are not is unpopular amongst those who
study and practice what they understand to be the Thelemic Law.

however, there is sometimes a division between "Kings" (my 'Regents') 
and "Slaves".  the 'rights' designated to each can in some descriptions
differ markedly.  "the slaves shall serve", while we are left to
presume that the Regents will be the ones so served. ;>  

whether and when 'rights' become involved between these two is of 
both historical (unthelemic? :>) and theoretical dispute.  within 
historical monarchy the regent was often given some greater degree 
of latitude in behavior and power than hir subjects.  as a Thelemic
model, this is rarely discussed, and comes to controversy when 
discussing the notion of a 'Thelemic Order', directed or overseen by 
such a regent (or merely by someone assuming such a title as 'King').

#1. There are a significant number of people who, having no knowledge of
#Thelema, Liber Al, or the Equinox of the Gods, appear to truly be
#practicing some form of the Law.

I would ask you to elaborate, since you mention it, on what precisely
you mean by "some form of the Law" and what qualities you can describe
which indicate to you that it is so "practiced".

#2. There are a significant number of people who have read Liber AL,
#probably have read The Holy Books, belong to any number of Magickal
#Orders, proclaim themselves to be Thelemites, and don't seem to have a
#clue what the Law is, means, or care to DO much of anything.

pretend your audience is of this category.  how would you go about 
informing us of what this "Law" consists?  what have we missed which 
was ostensibly contained within the various sources or bodies you 

it seems you presume there is one "Law" to *be* understood, as if,
through examination, we will find a commonality amongst those who are
'in the know' or 'correctly aware' of the curriculum the latter have
somehow overlooked.  how have you arrived at this presumption?  how 
have you determined that you are not among those of us who 'missed' 
it?  what qualities do you see in this "significant number of people" 
which discloses to you that we "don't have a clue" what this "Law" 

 3 3 3 
nigris (333) -- --

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