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Religion and Thelema

To: thelema93-l now
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: Religion and Thelema (was Organizations and Thelema...)

50000226 IVom 

> > the Eucharist is not an essential symbolic ritual to the
> > discovery of and adherence to the true will. while its magical
> > effects can have an emboldening effect and its ideals and
> > purpose are surely of mystical value, its essentially
> > consumptive character marks it as of limited and particular
> > usage. 

a correspondent wrote:
> Couldn't this be said of any ritual? Would you please elaborate on why
> the "consumptive character" of the mass limits its usage, and in what
> way?

I don't think just "any ritual" would necessarily include the elements
of the Eucharist, no. for example, one might perform a ritual that
was intended to make another person love the spell-caster, or to
recover a lost item, or to summon a spirit to discover treasure or
knowledge, etc. none of these examples need have a mystical value.

by 'the consumptive character' I meant that one ingests some special
substance supposed to yield rennovative effects, whether it is
considered to be a symbolic ingestion or the veritable 'flesh and
blood of the gods'. that is, the ritual act has the aspirant finding
their 'salvation' dispensed from OUTSIDE THEMSELVES, rather than,
as in the alternatives I suggested below, developing it on their
own through experimental and individual means.
> > the Thelemite will find more consistent and pertinent
> > symbolism in initiation ordeals wherein the aspirant faces
> > organizational adversaries and must discover some means of
> > surviving the group will with hir will intact or uses
> > masturbatory sex magick to inflame hir in prayer.
> Hmm this is an interesting take. I agree that initiations are more
> consistent. But more pertinent? 

yes, on account of the individual's typical relationship with
society as regards spiritual development and awakening.

> Certainly if the Thelemite's aim
> consists solely of individuation. However, IMO Bhaktiyoga shares
> importance in the accomplishment of Will. Likewise, I don't see why you
> think that masturbatory sex magick is useful to the Thelemite but (by
> omission) partnered sex magick is not.

sovereignty is assured. I don't think that the Thelemite is per 
se served by such a mystical path on account of its potentially
enslaving character. the religious routes are hazardous, fraught
with a dependence upon the sincerety and Thelemic character of the
person to whom one is beholden for dispensing the Elixir. this is
to a lesser extent true of initiation rites, whose oaths can
prove severely detrimental to the unwary aspirant if improperly
> > the term 'Herd' is only pejorative from the perspective of the
> > egotist (understandably). 
> Oh, I don't know. Maybe that's true given the meaning you intend to
> impart by using it, but in any case it seems to imply that something
> significantly less than bhaktiyoga is happening. It rather sounds like a
> reference to animals -- cows, actually. How about "Group," "Crowd," or 
> even "Mob," which are the terms more apt in application to humans?

from the perspective of the egotist, 'Herd' is appropriate because it
focusses an adequate measure of disdain for conformity and unthinking
adherence to the status quo. while conformity in and of itself is not
problematic (when intentional), the willful abandonment of choice as
a function of desire to fit in is foolhardy and wreckless. Thelemites
tend to learn about the will alone and in CONTRAST to society, not
at the feet of their master. of course AGAPIC principles are a very
important part of Eucharistic ceremony. society imprints these types
of events upon most individuals from a young age in order to
indoctrinate and "train" us to find our proper role (serving elders,
parents, avoiding upsetting the Herd, etc.). it is important to me 
that you do not think I am absolutely pitting Thelema AGAINST Agape 
here. I am not. I am only describing what values each have for the 
individual and the tools or events which I feel are advantageous for 
each. Eucharistic (indeed most religious) activities serve Agapic 
rather than specifically Thelemic ends. cf. "Moonchild" and the 
contrast between Cyril Grey (will, magic) and Simon Iff (love, mystic).
> > the Herd is a very important aspect
> > of human social dynamics, its polar opposite being the
> > individual genius (symbolized by or related to
> > Prometheus/Satan/Lucifer) which mystical philosophies like
> > Thelema are intended to inspire.
> Certainly Thelema *seems* to encourage the individual genius, in the
> context of a society which is rife with mob psychology. But within
> another climate which is radically on the other end of the spectrum,
> couldn't it be said that Thelema encourages respect for others and union
> with Other.

that depends entirely on what you think "Thelema" is. as a society I
don't think I can agree that it succeeds at both ends of the spectrum
you have described. instead I think that, like most societies, it
emphasizes Agapic principles (respect, unity, etc.) to the detriment
of Thelemic, especially as it becomes more accepted in the society
into which it is fitting. this is why I say "so called" and put
"Thelemic" in quotes when describing it. I'm trying to point out
that there is a big difference between the ideal and the reality. 

as a living principle, Thelema is contrary to "duty" and "respect",
especially in its raw energetic splendour. pairing will and love,
one may arrive at an equilibrium that will serve one well in the
culture one chooses. so-called 'Thelemites' may not wish to agree
that this is so, because they are bitten with utopianism and have
forgotten to refrain from interfering in the affairs of others.
> > > And why is that necessarily a confusion of magick?
> > 
> > religious rites confuse magically on account of their
> > congregational nature. one easily loses one's ability
> > to perceive one's individual will amidst the beauteous
> > experience of throng-bond.
> It seems just as easy to lose one's ability to perceive one's 
> individual will amidst the beauteous experience of narcissism.

I think we've covered this ground before. my experience is that
human groups NATURALLY oppose egotism (and rightfully so) and
narcissism such that attempting to maintain this within an
utopian culture of equality will be an uphill battle. sure,
one may lose one's own perception of one's limitations in a
narcissistic reverie, but this will be destroyed by the attempt
to communicate and cooperate with others of comparable will.
contrast this with the throng-bond, which is actively SUPPORTED
in social groups to the detriment of the individual.

> > look at flocks of birds. the
> > word 'herd' that I (and my betters before me) use derives
> > from animal groups and the apparent temporary loss of
> > their individual volition. it becomes submerged in the
> > joyful exhuberance of group movement and behaviour. 
> Interaction with groups seems no less risky than isolation. 
> Each has its appropriate use and each has its traps.

we've had this conversation before. suffice it to say that 
we may merely have different backgrounds and so see this
relative danger between group/solitary configuration in 
different ways. there is less hype about going solo, there
are more people touting or arguing over the authority and
legitimacy of organizations. in short, organizations get
a heck of a lot more attention, and therefore are more
likely to appear to be The Answer to the newbie. it is
for this reason, and that some of us feel we've had very
good experiences along a relatively solitary path, that 
we will argue for what appears to us to be a clearer view.
> > here is another argument in favour of religion: the ecstasy
> > that is possible when participating in group cult rites.
> So... what were you saying about religion confusing magick? 

I'm linking religion and love and magick and will here. I hope
you see the logic now.

> > (just another reason, amongst those I have offered below,
> > why religion is valuable to the Thelemite; religion adds
> > to the AGAPIC skills of the magician).
> Right, so what's the problem? Why is religion potentially more
> debilitating than egotism?

I think I've addressed this above. religion has group-momentum
behind it, whereas egotism must run up against any culture with
which it interacts. this doesn't make egotism less dangerous,
but merely contrary to social rhythms without a cult following
that will support it. this is a kind of viral quagmire we're
talking about, where personalities develop a gravity or
weight and impact the will of everyone in the sphere. groups
more often foster this in individuals as a function of
hierarchic relationships, leading those who are not designated 
for these social roles to be vampirized on behalf of the 
heavyweight 'authorities'.
> > > This makes sense, but again I question the terminology of "official" vs
> > > "unofficial." It carries the implication that the latter is against the
> > > rules.
> > 
> > I can see your point. how about "OTO Sponsored" or "OTO Gnostic Mass"
> > as compared to others which do not strictly associate with "OTO"?
> I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. I'm asking: why not let
> any permutation of the mass be associated with OTO or EGC while simply
> making a distinction as to which ones are "traditional" and which
> "experimental?"

because part of the identity of the organization is wrapped up in its
traditional rite. as this identity solidifies and stengthens, the
likelihood that elements of it will shift or change will decrease to 0.
> suggest anything, it would be "EGC Experimental Mass," pending your
> thoughts on the subject.

good luck. ;> I don't like that the (C)OTO is so infiltrated by the
EGC at all, so my patience wears thin with these kinds of discussions.
I contend that what you are facing is a NATURAL DEVELOPMENT OF
ORGANIZATIONS, and you are simultaneously complaining about while
contending that orgs are not any more abrasive to the individual
than solitary studies. whatever floats your boat. :> I think you're
providing substance to my arguments while contending with me. that
I am broad-minded enough to see the VALUE of orgs and religions
allows me to take the other side of the issue in discussion to the
extent I am, though I find it more difficult when speaking of
"Thelemic" organizations to keep from identifying hypocrisy.
> > > Which is exactly why it is useful to experiment. How else can we
> > > determine what works and what does not?
> > 
> > it will never be determined, I'm sorry to say, as long as it is a
> > part of religion. religion CEMENTS rites, it does not perfect them.
> > this is the reason that there is a difference made between 'the
> > method of religion' and 'the method of science'. the only way that
> > you're going to get change is by experimenting outside the context
> > of the religious and then routinizing an alternative 'fix' to the
> > currently supported rite. when popular support switches to the new
> > rite, then in order to stick with the herd the officials will shift
> > to the new form of ritual. until then, expect dogmatic adherence.
> This is a very interesting paragraph. So are you suggesting that a
> Priest or Priestess who wants female saints (for example) to be
> incorporated in the Mass should simply write them in and start
> performing it as such? 

ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. fuck the support or organization, do you own thing.
find the Proper Formula and then perform this with a New Name (e.g.
"New Improved Gnostic Mass With Feminism"!). then make this ritual
well-known to the world of those who are performing the old version.
if you hit on the right structure then there will be a movement to 
replace what you've created for the old sexist drudge.

> It seems that this kind of thing would be much
> more likely to happen if the EGC declared such masses "experimental"
> rather than "unofficial," and made official statements of support for
> the individual clergy member's right to apply the method of science.

I say stop worrying about "the EGC" does and doesn't do. don't bother
considering its authority except to control its 'official' events.
if you find its rite offensive, unbalanced or repulsive, say so and
create a better alternative. if you don't want to do this latter,
then ignore it and it will ignore you.
> > is valuable
> > that the order has not FORBIDDEN the experimentation with rites.
> My impression was that it may have indeed forbidden such experimentation
> by clergy members. It was hearsay to be sure, but this is the kind of
> thing that could be avoided quite easily by calling experimental masses
> just that, rather than "unofficial."

getting firm statements from organizational officials to repeat to the
various clergy will clear this up rather quickly. it is a boring internal
affair, as far as I'm concerned. if the priests and priestesses are
making inferences that cement the rite and org more quickly than even
the officials are setting about, what does this tell you about the
nefarious impact orgs may have on individuals ostensibly dedicated to
supporting every person in the discovery and adherence to their true will?
> > one of the more important ideas emphasized by Crowley is that of
> > rigidity, structure, stability, especially as it pertains to an
> > initiation or pioneering of the Current. 
> Can you tell me where Crowley discusses this subject?

not offhand, but I'll look in "Magick Without Tears" and "Liber "
for evidence of it.
> > as I was saying above
> > about a skeleton, it provides an ability to endure resistance,
> > house malleable organs (in the case of an exoskeleton), and, when
> > used as a metaphor, PRESERVE TRADITION. religion is a tool of
> > cultural preservation, and its importance to individuals is as a
> > reservoir of psychotechnical and sociological lore, quite aside
> > from the experiential value it may hold for any participant.
> Yes, I agree. However, IMO tradition *can* be preserved while still
> maintaining a supportive attitude toward experimentation.

not when the first skeleton has only begun to harden. sometimes the
tides take a turn toward the harsh while the org learns to stand on
its own two feet.

blessed beast!

nigris (333)

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