a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Thelema and Cult

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.thelema,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.magick.order
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Thelema and Cult (4)
Date: 23 Jul 1999 22:26:56 -0700

49990516 III

do what you please

#> I suppose this covers Crowleyites. but why should we care what
#> "One Star in Sight" says?  what does Crowley have to do with
#> Thelema except being someone who tried to co-opt this important
#> philosophy of individualism into a religious cult after him for
#> the purposes of his self-aggrandizement?

a correspondent wrote: 
# I personally would have to disagree with this contention.
# ...Liber AL ("the Evul Book" ) offers several very succinct 
# and useful summations of pertinent points of this philosophy.  

problem: Crowley adopted this Evul Book as a holy scripture which
he (conveniently) claimed to pen. also, few 'points' are made in
any clarity within the Evul Book as it is not so much a book of
philosophic elucidation as fragments hinting at numerous and
differing perspectives.

# "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and "every 
# man and every woman is a star" are two that come immediately 
# to mind.

neither of these statements is at all clear on their face.
neither is the fruition-point of 'shall be' determined nor
is it clear what was meant by "Law" in the first instance,
nor does the folly of presuming that "stars" have "orbits"
translate into an intuitive or aesthetically elegant poetic
metaphysic or ethic without extensive (and disputed!) 

# I would never contend that Crowley is solely responsible for the
# creation of the individualistic philosophy called Thelema, but I don't
# think it is unreasonable to recognize the contribution he has made to
# it.

recognizing that he 'contributed' to its corruption by virtue of
attempting to turn into a personality cult surrounding his memory 
through the vehicles of the OTO and AA is, on the contrary, very
important. we should consider the weakness of the man, the likely
immaturity of his psyche and spirituality, and the effect he may
have had upon a potentially liberative philosophic current. there
may still be time to cure Crowleyites, but it will take one heck
of a (universal?) medicine.

# In that light, Crowley exhibits himself in his writings to be very much
# cognizant of his follies and foibles and flaws as a human being, and
# eager as well for the reader to recognize those elements.  

it is one thing to categorize one's possible failings, quite another
to check a self-aggrandizement quality in oneself for the purpose of
saving one's fellows and the cult in one's wake from the wasted and
potentially hazardous repercussion of making more of one than is
truly deserved. 

this is the nature of religion, however, and I think that Crowley
was having a good laugh at the expense of all Crowleyites by
leaving his peculiar cult to be worked out for decades and
perhaps centuries before the ideas he favored might take root.

# I perceive
# that he was also keenly aware of his own mortality as well as his
# obnoxious humanity (as it were), and that his long-term goals for the
# formulation of a workable spiritual system encompassing and implementing
# Thelema went far beyond some mere agenda of self-aggrandizement.  

but what prevents 'the Thelemic community' (so called) from stultifying
in its own hero-worship of the Father of the Book of Lies, from choking
on its own propensity, as have all religious movements, to glorify
the man and lose sight of the more important philosophic principles?

# ...Surely [Crowley] would have discerned that
# even in the most stagnant of waters or rotted of woods, life can and
# will flourish.  

that life flourishes in the midst of stagnation says nothing for the
quality of the work which results in delusion and stagnation to the
detriment of the liberation of the individual. this is why Crowley
co-opted the term 'yoga' after all, to fit into his new system of
'mysticism' (so as to make use of the willful achievement of the
Indian 'moksha' for Western purposes and fulfill the Theosophical
dream of 'discovering' the unity of all religions and the key to
the scientific analysis of mystical and magical processes by virtue
of fabricating it).

# Either way, I perceive that he had in mind a vision to revolutionize the
# way religion and spirituality are perceived and approached; to
# unreservedly place the power and guardianship of such affairs squarely
# where they belong -- in the hands of each individual....

by restructuring hierarchic organizations he termed 'Thelemic'?
by promoting his own prophethood to his students and through
his writings his own speciality to the cosmos and its development?
this rather constructs several hurdles instead of a clear ladder.

I would say that Crowley instead idolized some cosmological elite
he called 'the Secret Chiefs', and portrayed their machinations
as central to the 'destiny' of human development. his ideas about
'true will' (muddled and inconsistent) contribute to these kinds
of predestination notions, and fit resolutely into his Protestant
outlook on the universe.

# -- and encourage
# immunity against usurpers who would dictate and impose upon the
# individual conscience and perception.  

for whom are you claiming that this 'immunity' is working? isn't
it the first folly of the deluded that they consider themselves
to be clear-sighted? wouldn't those who were most decidedly
misled by the Beast into believing in his special role claim to
be immune from his lies and fabrications while all the while
swallowing them whole?

# ...At any rate, I think insufficient time has passed to objectively
# evaluate the ultimate success or failure of such a long-reaching
# experiment.  I think at the very least, though, Crowley knew that
# "Edward Alexander" would expire long before the final results came in to
# be seen (and potentially, revelled in), and therefore I cannot concede
# to the notion that he sought to foster a "cult" merely for his own
# personal ego gratification.  I cannot and will not deny that his egoic
# impulses and desires from time to time manifested or even took advantage
# of these long-term goals.  However, I do not think this equates the one
# to the other.  That would be like saying one nasty and occasional side
# effect from a medicine is the sole reason or even the most important
# reason it was formulated and manufactured.

it remains to be seen whether the viral serum promoted by the Beast
constitutes an intoxicant resulting in fanatic oddities whose qualities
do not sufficiently conform to social norms so as to integrate into
the modern world or a medicine contributing to a recovery from fates
we cannot imagine.

# I'm not ignoring your post requesting some detail in my experience, by
# the way.  You may consider this response to your other post a beginning
# in that dialogue (in terms of sharing how I think & what I see, etc. as
# pertains to Crowley, anyway), and I shall tend to the rest tomorrow
# after I have slept.  *-)

thanks, I haven't seen that response yet. pls cc me if you
have already sent it.  

love is the law

emailed replies may be posted; cc replies if response desired

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races