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Thelemites, Orthodoxy, and Organizations

To: (Thelema93-Listserv)
From:  (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: Thelemites, Orthodoxy, and Organizations
Date: Fri, 15 Nov 1996 00:02:45 -0800 (PST)

4996114 AA1  Hail Satan!


a correspondent writes: appears that more questions are being raised than are being answered.


#...two different issues going on here. 
#One is the criticism of Crowleyan dogma (such as the recent post on sex 
#and Thelema). 

at least two issues.  whether the bit on sex is dogma can be seen within
the file I mentioned.  if there is interest I'll post to this elist
(again, third time in the elist's history) demonstrating that Crowley
was a sincere feminist.

#The other is the role that Thelemic organizations should 
#take and whether or not they exist to uphold and promote a certain 
#tradition or to criticize, change, and adapt said tradition. 

here, let me quote to you from the words of the present Caliph of
the COTO, whose intent herein contained is one I admire:

	The O.T.O. is a manifold organization with a complex
	history and philosophy, rich in written, oral and
	ritual tradition.  It is also the Aleister Crowley
	Estate, responsible for preserving his writings and
	setting consistent standards for Thelemic scholarship.
	These are essentially conservative functions, yet the
	O.T.O.'s design preserves flexibility and adaptibility,
	without which "Thelemic Order" would be a contradiction
	in terms.  While it has never been necessary to join
	the O.T.O. to be a Thelemite, it is central to the
	Order's "experimental design" that being a Thelemite
	*never* becomes a bar to membership.  In this important
	sense, the O.T.O. is a crucible for the development of
	the social models necessary to a Thelemic *culture*,
	as opposed to a Thelemic *cult*.

	_The Equinox III:10_, ed. by Hymenaeus Beta, Samuel
		Weiser, 1990; p. 10.

#...I've found that I agree with those who wonder why someone who 
#significantly disagrees with the majority of said concepts [those
#of aeonics and other Crowleyanities] would join the OTO or any 
#other organization that promotes these concepts. 

initiation.  discipline.  instruction.  struggle.  because it was
the best thing around at the time.  because it is one's true will.
because it is something to do.  because one's friends are involved.
because it would be 'rad' to be able to claim to be a magician.

#Since I 
#disagree with enough of these concepts and since I do not feel that I 
#could suspend disbelief in them at the moment, I have not considered 
#joining the OTO at this time ....

the concepts are not thrust upon members.  they are not required dogma
of membership.  they are not important to understand in order to
assimilate ritual ordeals with which I am familiar.

#it seems counterproductive to me, since I'd both be divirting energy from
#studies that interest me more as well as spending money on something that
#isn't for me....

in this case it could become casting a pearl amidst the swine from the
oyster of the initiation rite.

#Perhaps this is why Tim has not found much criticism of major tenets of
#Thelemic philosophy in OTO members' writings--those who disagree so
#strongly with these tenets are not joining the OTO in the first place. 

as if they are litmus tests for membership.  if it weren't presumed to be
the case (even though it is not the case), then perhaps things would change.

when asked ...why I sought membership and I answered without hesitation 
something like "because it is my will to do so" there were snickers 
from those 'upper membership' present.  this was to me a danger sign, 
though I persisted.

#As others have mentioned in this thread, there is plenty of criticism of
#Crowley and Thelema from those in the magickal and religious traditions
#*outside* of the OTO/Thelemic community--

seldom of any sustained cogency.  usually people are responding to rumors
unless, like Tzimon or (other?) Chaotes, they have subjected themselves to
the Thelemic culture directly and absorbed its doctrines/dogmas.

#*outside* of the OTO/Thelemic community--chaotes and Neopagans, for
#instance, are two groups which are strongly influenced by Thelema/Crowley
#but also have members who strongly criticize Thelema/Crowley. 

I don't know how you can draw such distinct delineations.  it seems to
me that Chaos Magick and Satanism are in their essence Thelemic.  the
Neopagan movement is too diverse to really qualify.  'Thelema' as a
social movement itself contains strong critics of the *cult* which is
growing within it to which many Chaotes, Satanists and Neopagans
object (it is these cultists, I maintain, which many of us within this 
elist are analysing and opposing -- unlike Tim, perhaps, I do consider
myself a part of 'Thelema', though, even while I may have association
to some of its culture I refuse to get involved with its cult).

["what makes a 'Thelemite'" questions -- all very lovely -- omitted]

#Until one can determine what makes someone a Thelemite, and therefore 
#interested/eligible to join a Thelemic Order, 

here is the fallacy of the Thelemic cult: that there is necessarily 
value in joining a group of 'Thelemites' (so called), and that deciding
that one 'is a Thelemite' is a good idea before 'joining an Order'.
it may be that nothing could be further from the truth. 

organizations are by their very nature coercive of individual will.
human groups naturally develop ego-structures of administrative
domination and are therefore (eventually) destructive of the wills
of their membership, posing as OBSTACLES more often than vehicles
to the member's discovery of hir true will.

#it's rather difficult to determine what sort of role such an Order 
#should take 

if any.  too often self-described Thelemites and those outside the
movement presume that Orders have some important role in the "New
Aeon".  it may well be that the Crowned and Conquering Child King
is unfettered by the disease which is government, organization and

#and how critical that Order should be on major tenets of the 
#philosophy it promotes.

as I favor it, the Thelemic Order promotes no single philosophy
over another.  like the Madyamika Buddhists, or the Radical
Centrists, it eschews as useless such ideological attachment.

yes, it should work to preserve and support those individualist
conceptions which are being overlooked and opposed by the mob,
but it should not lord these over the rest as the New Best Way.
for then it shifts from 'culture' to 'cult' with great rapidity.


nigris (333)

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