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TMaroney: Crowley-Thelema FAQ

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: TMaroney: Crowley-Thelema FAQ
Date: 3 May 1997 03:46:23 -0700

[from Tim Maroney ]

>Do any of those who support the concept that the movement/
>philosophy/way-of-life called 'Thelema' pre-existed Crowley
>actually think that we, any of us, would be *here* today,
>on *this* list, discussing *this* topic?

I think a lot of people who think they're arguing about the same thing 
are actually arguing about quite different things.

Does there exist a movement or tradition called Thelema started by 
Aleister Crowley? Obviously.

Are we concerned with that kind of "Thelema" here? Yes.

Are we concerned with other kinds as well? Sure -- it would be strange 
not to be interested in the ancestors of a movement if one is interested 
in the movement.

Does Crowley's Thelema own the terms Thelemite and Thelema? No, they both 
predate him and his movement. He elaborated on established senses of the 
words; he did not invent them.

Do you have to agree with Crowley on everything to be a Thelemite? Of 
course not.

Do you have to agree with Crowley on certain key points of doctrine to be 
a Thelemite? No, since the term doesn't depend on Crowley and there were 
Thelemites before he formulated his system.

All right, do you have to agree with Crowley on key points of doctrine to 
be a part of Crowley's Thelema? That depends on what it means to be part 
of a movement or tradition, which is a semantic question, leading to 

Is the question about social involvement, formal membership in an 
organization, or personal concern about the movement? If so, then the 
answer is that you can be part of the movement in all those ways without 
agreeing with Crowley on key points of doctrine.

If Thelema is about having certain qualities of character, then obviously 
you can have those qualities without ever having encountered the movement.

If the question is whether you are a "real Thelemite" without doctrinal 
agreement, that is less a question than an attempt to assert social 
control and mandate uniformity, which runs counter to both the 
Rabelaisian and Crowleyan interpretations.

I would add that Crowley rarely agreed with himself on key points of 
doctrine, being rather enamored of contradiction.

Tim Maroney
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