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From: Cavalorn 

...I opened the Thelemic Symposium with this piece about 7 years
ago, while I was a COTO member. A lot of water's passed under 
the bridge since then, but the same kind of sentiment remains...

In 1904, if we are to believe the records, something occurred which
fundamentally changed the relationship of the human race with the rest
of the universe. The exact nature of this change was, and is, shrouded
in mystery. However, the results that were to follow were predicted in
no uncertain terms. Those that took it upon themselves to discover their
own true nature and position, and affirm this with all their power,
would prosper, enjoying all the rich bounty of the Earth. Their reward
would be here and now, not in some fantastic afterlife. All experience
would become a source of pleasure. The joy of the victorious Thelemites
would be an incentive for others who had been slaves to determine to
find their own true Wills and do them.
The person who caused this change was only able to do so by undergoing a
series of initiations which placed him as it were at the fulcrum point,
where it is said one can upset the Universe with no more force than that
of a feather. It seems from his personal record that these initiations
were disparate, bewildering and terrifying, yet he was aware he could
not get the job done without them, and so persevered.
So far so good. We have our Magus: we have our New Aeon. The link
between Man and the Gods is renewed. One would think that it was now a
simple matter of bringing the message gradually home to the people of
Earth, so that the world would gradually awake to the truth of its new
freedom. But no!
The fact that Crowley had to use Magick in order to get the machinery of
the Aeon going has apparently established the idea that Magick is the
sole (or best) method of discovering one's True Will. As a consequence,
we do not have a healthy structure developing in which lavatory cleaners
who rejoice that they are lavatory cleaners salute with respect
accountants who joy in being accountants. Instead, we have Dark
Doorways, Quabalistic Conundrums, Nightside Scryings, Multiple Aeons ad
Pardon me, but that is not what Thelema is about. Not to my mind. I
entitled this lecture 'The spectre of Crowley' not with reference to the
blackguard that so shocked the English bourgeoisie for many years, but
rather referring to the problem of finding one's own genuine Will with
so terribly compelling a precedent.
Crowley was a Magus; as he abashedly records in his own Magickal Diary,
there was nothing else for him to do. His successors and heirs, the new
generation of Thelemites, have far greater freedom of choice. For the
sake of progress, let's let the old sod die! No more tattered remnants
of his thought dredged up from the Warburg Institute! No more marginalia
or obscuranta or 'Rare A.C.' produced by smug journals! No more endless
debates about what he really must have meant by this or that phrase!
Crowley is dead. Long live Thelema!

Thelemic Magick seems to me to be about either initiation or achieving
ends. The invocation of one's HGA would be an example of the first case,
a Goetic evocation to destroy an enemy an example of the second. In the
first case, the _point_ of Initiation is to gain power or insight to
help one do one's Will. In the second, those are put to use. But in
neither case is Magick the _end_. It is the _means_. 
Certainly, Magick is a fascinating subject for study, but there is an
awful danger of becoming either an occultist or a new Magus. The
occultist gathers techniques, methods, information, Crowleyana by the
trunkload, yet never puts these to a coherent purpose. The New Magus is
so intoxicated by the very idea of Magick that he determines to go
straight to the top of the Tree - just like Crowley did - and makes his
life a mimickry of Crowley's own. We often find in such people a
maddening need to 'fill in the blanks' in Crowley's own magickal career.
AL II 76 is amassing solutions at a frightening rate. There are at least
five different versions of the English Quabalah knocking about.
This is where I get on to the credibility of Thelema. Allow me to quote
verbatim from a letter by Rodney Orpheus. (I won't try to do the voice.)
"'Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in
beds of purple, caressed my magnificent beasts of women with large
limbs... Ye shall see them at rule, at victorious armies, at all the
joy... Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in
the fierce lust of your pride..." Now let's think for a moment. How many
Thelemites do _you_ know who even remotely begin to live up to that
description? More like:
"... but in bedsits of black, caressed by mangy beasts of dogs with
large fleas... ye shall see them at closing time, at the Victoria Arms,
at all the misery of running out of roll-ups... Argue with one another
with burning books, and settle out of court for an undisclosed sum..."
Well, personally I _do_ know some Thelemites who answer that
description. And it has to be said that one cannot appreciate another's
success in putting their money where their mouth is by external
semblances alone. You all know the bit about beggars and kings.
But if we do give a damn what the rest of the world thinks about Thelema
- and I for one believe that we can't afford not to care - then we must
diversify. Thelema must shine into fields of human experience and
creativity that haven't even been touched on yet. Magicians alone will
not suffice to propel the New Aeon forward. This is a Symposium of
Thelemic Magick; can you imagine a Symposium of Thelemic Drama? Thelemic
Psychiatry? Thelemic Education? Thelemic Social Planning?
As Thelemic Magicians, we can access energy sources that many people
can't. That's all very fine and interesting, but without the worldly
expressions of Thelema, we might as well be building engines without
cars to put them in.

There are two principal problems in broadcasting Thelema to the outside
world. The first is the difficulty of finding the proper language, the
second is the lack of a precedent for many of the positive changes it is
supposed to bring about. In the first instance, the obstacle we
frequently encounter is the use of such terms as 'Magick' which in a
Thelemic context means - or should mean -  the business of managing
one's life, but is more often associated with robes and rituals. It is a
bitter irony that we find, in the one place where the term 'Magick' is
supposed to include ALL willed acts, namely among Thelemites, that it
seems to concern itself far more with expanding on the conventional
robes-and-rituals Magick that Crowley pioneered! AC was optimistic in
the extreme, believing that an enlightened Bank Manager who had come to
realise that managing a bank was his raison d'etre would consent to be
called a Magician. He throws too much weight upon the term. Likewise, so
long as Thelemic life-management is confusedly called Thelemic Magick,
it will repel ninety-nine per cent of the people who most stand to gain
from it. It is often observed in my experience that the most
Thelemically in-tune people I meet have either never heard of Crowley or
Magick, or disdain both! In neither case would they call themselves
Magicians. Crowley wanted to rehabilitate the term 'Magick' - instead,
he expanded it beyond all limited meaning.
The other problem, that of precedent, is a particularly keen one when
one considers the number of walking disasters that resulted from
Crowley's personal training of disciples. For every Frank Bennett there
were half a dozen Norman Mudds. And how many Thelemic success stories
have there been since that time? Who can honestly ascribe greater
personal freedom to acceptance of the Thelemic Law?
We have a glut of self-appointed Magi, a tidal wave of Quabalistic
theses in which the Book of the Law is reduced to raw, dead data,
schisms, doctrinal arguments, personality clashes, pedantic squabbles,
and all because nobody wants to get their hands dirty realising the
ideal. Nobody wants to be left out of the _magickal_ clique that seems
to constitute the present day Thelemic community. Maybe someone will be
able to answer this question by the end of today; Why are there no
Thelemic non-magicians?
Having spoken in negative terms so far, I'm now going to turn on my heel
and explain what I think needs to be done to remedy the situation. As it
is written, success is your proof. If Thelema has, magickally or
otherwise, helped you to get more satisfaction out of life, then say so.
If doing your Will _does_ fill you with joy and beauty, then express it.
The picture is too bloody dark for my liking at the moment. Isn't it
time to grow out of the oh-so-sinister and knowledgeable image that
Thelemites are reputed to have? In all frankness, the joy and beauty
that one expects to find in anybody who really is living as a Thelemite
are either not there or not being expressed. Incidentally, why is it
that so many attempts to celebrate the True Will, which is obviously a
personal thing, merely rehash the traditional magickal images, in
particular those of the Book of the Law? Thelemic poetry, Thelemic
artwork - it all seems to me to be much of a muchness. Get to what those
icons represent. Start to celebrate particular cases, real-life
demonstrations of the truth of the Law, not the general principles.
Any members of the audience who are not actually Thelemites, please
excuse the next phrase; it does not apply to you.
As Thelemites, we are impotent to prove our Law by argument or force. WE
HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE. Success is our proof. And we have to do it as
Thelemites, as a recognised kind of human being. Yes, I am advocating
the use of a label, and unpopular thing to do, but there it is. Of
course, it is sometimes necessary to keep one's affiliation secret, but
bear in mind that by cloistering away the source of one's strength, one
prevents it from radiating out and awakening others.
Sometimes I wonder if people are not ashamed to be called Thelemites.
There are so many aspects of it that are awkward and embarassing, after
all: Crowley's naivite; the laughablility of assuming a purpose exists
in the chaotic carousel of matter; the terribly old hat concept of
spiritual revolution.
If Thelema is being laughed at, it is because self-important
intellectuals have turned it into a tea-party. If the spectre of Crowley
is being mocked, so be it. As I said before, let the old sod die. The
legacy of the Beast is there in the sacred writings, and if those are
mocked, well... shit won't stick to diamonds and gold.

93 93/93

'If I can't have my evenings off with cocoa and animal crackers, I
 don't want to be your Bitch Goddess.'  (Pat Califia)


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