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Crowley and Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi
From: (mordred)
Subject: Re: Crowley and Thelema
Date: 4 Mar 1995 10:00:07 -0800

[from alt.magick: Jess Karlin ] (Peter K Andersson) wrote:
> Greetings to you all...
> I just bounced into something odd the other day ! 
> A friend of mine and I were discussing litterature-history and we 
> ended up discussing the french renaissance author Francois Rabelais.
> I recalled that I read the book about big Gargantuas terrible 
> living and my friend made a comparision with Rabaelais Theleme 
> monastary Crowley's Thelema. I found this very interesting - so I 
> hurried home to look in my book. And there it was - Theleme, the 
> monastary. Well, this could be a coincidence. But in the chapter 
> where the Thelemites way of living is described we come to the 
> point: Their monastary rule were just one rule; DO WHAT THOU WILT !
> Did Crowley make a rip-off from this book (written in 1534) !
> Theleme=Thelema- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law - 
> too much for a coincidence, to me !
> / Peter K Andersson
> ( UUCP Dialup connection )

It's obviously no coincidence and is just another example of Crowley 
creatively appropriating an idea. Just to be fair though you should
note that the concept of "do what thou will" predates Rabelais as 
well. Cicero wrote in Paradoxa-"Ovid enim est libetas? Potestas 
vivendi ut velis."-What is freedom? The power to live as you will."

What's really interesting about the concept of the abbey of Theleme
is the truly restrictive requirements demanded for entry and
membership. The only reason such a very free and seemingly 
unrestrictive 'rule' was granted to these people was because they
represented near-perfect examples of human virtue and beauty.
Therefore, the liklihood of their doing evil was remote-they in fact
represented the final result of the Christianized will of man, freed 
from the burden of the Law of Moses, combined with an Hellenic view 
of beauty as truth. 

Obviously the meaning of 'do what thou will' has become much more
flexible over the centuries-incorporating all kinds of amendments
and re-interpretations. It's helpful I think to remember what
Rabelias actually said regarding the nature of the Thelemites-they
are the 'gens liberas'-born to freedom and thus the moral nobility.
They are also all physically perfect, lacking any deformities, 
physical or otherwise, and 'good natured'-which does not mean here 
easy-going but rather that Thelemites are possessed of a natural
'goodness' of character and natural virtue.

The inherent goodness comes from something called 'synderesis'- that
aspect of moral character in mankind not obliterated through the
Fall. Its function is-"mumurare contra malum et stimulare ad bonum"-
"protest against evil and urge toward the good."

Here is part of the inscription over the door to the abbey-

"Here enter not smug hypocrites or holy loons,
Bigots, sham Abrahams, imposters of the cloth
Mealy-mouthed humbugs, holier-than-thou baboons
Lip service lubbers, smell-feast picaroons.
Else we had to admit the Goth and the Ostrogoth
Precursors of the ape and others of that broth.
Hence, sneaks and mischief-makers, colpolteurs of lies,
Be off to other parts to sell your merchandise."

Obviously, if this were followed 'religiously' alt.magick, to the
degree it attracts people assuming themselves to be Thelemites,
would be an empty and silent place indeed.

r3winter (not exactly a Thelemite nor an Ostrogoth) 

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