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Use of the term Thelemite

From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: Use of the term "Thelemite" (was Re: Aspiring Thelemism)
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 11:39:12 -0700 (PDT)

49990812 IVom Crowleymas

#> 93 again Cav,
Cavalorn :
# 93 again. :)

E6 to you both!
#> My understanding has always been that a "Thelemite" refers to someone
#> who (a) accepts that "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"
#> (however s/he defines that) and (b) has a will and an aim to know and to
#> do his/her true will.  

I would amend (a) to "accepts 'do what thou wilt' as the whole of the
Law (however she defines these)".
# As consensual working definitions go, it's a well phrased one. It also
# makes me wonder if someone who _is_ doing his/her True Will can still be
# considered a Thelemite or not. Such a person would be living in a 'Do
# what thou wilt _is_ the whole of the Law' situation; and the Will being
# wholly integrated with the lower vehicles, there is no longer any need
# to posit it as an object of aspiration. 

	-ite  ... 2. ... b. Adherent or follower of: *Luddite*.

them what ID's us as adhering to our true will does no wrong.
an adherent doesn't aspire, she accomplishes. the Thelemite is
one accomplishing the adherence to the Law (do what thou wilt).
those espousing 'shall be the whole of the Law' are humble and
without the arrogance of those claiming such adherence because
we realize the limitations of certainty in the face of the
difficulties in knowing and adhering to the true will and our
individual orbit. Thelemites are not part of a culture per se
and identification *as* a Thelemite is more likely an indication
of fraud than of the reality.

# Thelema is often compared to a process of corrosion or fermentation
# (particularly in the Holy Books). Such things have a limited course to
# run. 'I shall not rest until I have devoured it all.' After one has
# achieved the objective of being a Thelemite, what then? (Carrying water
# and chopping wood. :) ) Aspiration must at some stage be replaced by
# achievement.

it is as one becomes a Thelemite that this replacement occurs.
as you have indicated, this is an intermittent process at least
rather than a single event.
# Of course, one can argue that the work is never complete, that there is
# no possible achievement of perfection. One can also argue that this is a
# greater perfection in itself, the mole on the cheek of the beautiful
# woman argument... only those are happy who have desired the unattainable
# and all... but it's too early in the evening to go thinking that way...

the Great Work is accomplished as a result of adherence to the Law.
the means of this accomplishment are detailed by the Master as being
K/C/HGA and becoming a Thelemite (obtaining a comprehension of one's
true will and orbit and adhering to this).

# Does the whole process of finding and doing the 'True Will' divide into
# a finding and a doing stage? Doubtful. I'd see it more as a steady
# process of course-correction....


# This is why I don't like the use of 'true' in that context as implying
# all on or all off.

of course, it is a comparison between tao (the will of all) and 
one's individual will. as it matches it is 'true'.

# A lot of consideration is given to the internal processes of Thelema,
# this endless tail-chasing after the true will. What doesn't seem to be
# discussed so often is the way the Law applies to the relations between
# individuals. Is the purpose of Thelema to produce more and better
# illuminated illuminates than the mystic systems of the last two thousand
# years have been able to? 

this will be a natural result of the liberty afforded by the Law.

# Is it the brand new washes whiter ordeal X? Or
# does it perhaps have as much to do with how those plugged-into-their-
# true-will human beings are supposed to govern themselves? 

yes. starting at home, the Thelemite obtains a rectification of
names and rites (the old ones being black). remaining in hir
orbit, the Thelemite conducts hirself through the Great Adventures,
obtains an experience with and a special understanding of the
mysteries, and rarefies the Philosopher's Stone. this being
concluded, she commences the Great Work.

# It's naive to
# assume that those who know and do their Wills will never have to
# negotiate or co-operate with others. 

correct. negotiation and cooperation is effortless and without
snarls to those who know their orbit and true will. whether this
results in opposition and battle (as brothers) or in clear harmony,
there is no internal dissonance to the Thelemite.
# In the real world, there are limited resources, things screw up, 
# and no plan ever survives contact with the enemy.

all of these elements are accounted for by the Thelemite. they are
accepted and integrated into a smooth, apparently 'effortless'
(wu-wei) accomplishment.

# I've always preferred Pure Will to True Will anyway.

pure will can be pureLY will but contrary to tao. being contrary
to tao results in internal conflict, sometimes external conflict, 
the corruption of orbits, and eventual failure (something toward
which you point when you speak of 'fermentation').
#> Given these elements, I would also agree it would be a misnomer to say
#> one "aspires to be" a Thelemite.  By definition, Thelema itself may be
#> considered an "aspiration", insofar as a propositional tense is used to
#> define its "Law" (do what thou wilt SHALL BE the whole of the Law)
#> pending acceptance thereof worldwide I presume, 

the Law is do what thou wilt. 'shall be' is merely an expression of
eternal confirmation. it is not itself a part of this Law.
# I doubt it. Even if the law is _for_ all, that doesn't guarantee that
# all shall accept it. 

those who do accept it (an undertaking of will itself) are Thelemites.
this acceptance requires more than mere utterance or allegiance, and
instead requires a diligent self-assessment and orientation to tao.
# ...If I
# forbid walking on the grass in a park, that again may seem like an
# imposition, but it serves to preserve the unspoilt appearance of the
# place and so serves the purpose for which it was created, which again
# would have been an expression of the will of the city's occupants.

as it be your true will so mote it be.
#> and insofar as the will
#> to determine and perform something (one's true will) is by nature
#> inclusive of the aspiration toward it.  Thus saying "I aspire to be a
#> Thelemite" is redundant, almost like saying "I aspire to aspiring." 
# Bang on the nail. thankyou.

aspiration admits of humility, the Thelemite is accomplished. else
we might as well call ourselves Thelemites and 'do no wrong'. yet
this ascription is beyond our capacity to know. the Four Powers of
the Sphinx are appropriate in describing this circumstance: to
Know the HGA is but the first step; to Dare to adhere to the true
will is the accomplishment of the Adept; to Will the Great Work is
the role of the Master; to remain Silent in the face of these
mysteries (rather than to proclaim one's achievement) is the mark
of greatest mages (else they enter into folly).
#> Although I guess if I can formulate My personal incompetencies in
#> self-government as a philosophical question ("what wills the will to
#> will what it wills?") 

the ankh symbolizes this adequately: a sandalstrap of life moving
forward, driven forward by the divine impetus. 'what causes will?'
has a built-in assumption that will *is* caused, rather than being
an integral causal element of ALL living beings.
# 'why exactly do you need to name that faculty in order to get 
# the job done?' 

some find inspiration in philosophy.
# ...diversity in
# manifestation of Will does not imply diversity of meanings allocated to
# the same term. In other words, just because you and I might both have
# each our idiosyncratic Wills, it doesn't mean that we are limited to a
# completely personal and self-referential language. 
# Some terms however should be left undefined if possible, when to attach
# definition is to ascribe a sectarian intepretation. Example: 'What is
# morality?' Answer A: it is the expression of the customs of a given
# people. Answer B: it is the emulation of God. Answer C: it is the
# avoidance of base conduct. Answer D: it is adherence to the principles
# of Christianity. Answer E: It is the hygiene of the soul.
# If by attempting to explain what 'Thelemite' MEANS we find ourselves
# laying down the law as to what 'Thelema' IS then we should avoid such
# explanations, IMHO.

agreed. we are best to say what it means to us and move on, integrating
what we have learned of the collaborative effort and considering each
alternative, choosing amongst them as our illumination inspires. it is
beneficial to the whole that those speaking most authoritatively or
expansively remain the most inclusive (thus the value of the Beast's
interpretation of 'do what thou wilt' as meaning anything, if the
perceiver be illuminated.

# BUT it seems inevitable that part of the motivation for many to identify
# themselves by the term 'Thelemite' is to 'catch the promises' directed
# toward that particular elite group; to be one of those doing the
# trampling, not one of the outcast or the unfit; to be one of the holy
# chosen ones, and so on and so forth.

this is typical in religious cults, yes, and is to be expected. we can
point this out and keep it in our consciousness whenever it appears to
be rearing itself to our attention. let those whose will it is to so
identify do so, let those of us who call it to their attention do so,
let those who choose not to so identify do so. unless there is some
compelling reason or drive to 'say nay', then we err by so doing.

# My concern is simply that it's a very, very short step from 'let's call
# ourselves Thelemites because we're all earnestly aspiring to know and do
# our Wills' to 'we've called ourselves Thelemites so therefore we're
# somehow special according to the Book of the Law'.

in identifying the Thelemite *as* special and refraining from such an
identification, there is a built-in arrogance-diffuser. this is how
humility is integrated into religion: by targetting the ideals as such
and leaving identification to those who feel a need to label and class.
where this latter activity becomes SCIENTIFIC it is valuable (by virtue
of method, natch ;>). elsewise it is mere factionalization and 
sectarian rivalry and detracts from the results overall.

#># Private agendas get grafted on to the term, and before you know
#># where you are, people will be speaking of each other as 'good
#># Thelemites' in the manner in which people spoke of 'a good Moslem' 
#># or 'a good Christian'.
#> I DO agree, however, with this dire caveat.  I believe the solution to
#> it is the use of a working definition which defies private agenda by its
#> very components, and I do believe the terms "Thelemite" and "Thelema"
#> already have this built in, despite any individual attempts to thwart it
#> by promoting said private agendas.

thelema --> will; thelemite --> adherent to will

'built-in'?  these words would appear to be rather ambiguous in the
face of such agendae.
# How... might Liber AL lend itself to the formulation of a 
# business's ethical philosophy, or an artists' collective, 
# or the running of a household? 

revealed scripture can be turned toward any purpose. the scope
of application is only limited by the imagination of the religious.

#> As for "Thelemic culture", that also varies.  I agree there is no one
#> single "Thelemic" culture beyond what any given group of Thelemites
#> shares in common with each other in terms of artistic preferences,
#> lifestyle choices, and other "cultural" components.  
# so what are the demographics of Thelema right now, do you suppose?

note that as defined by Shedona and yourself, these are definable.
the way I am using the term 'Thelemite', it would be impossible to
identify such individuals because they will fluctuate based on
orientation to tao. picture a large tree with many twinkling lights.
those which are 'on' are perfectly attuned to tao and are Thelemites.
those which have blinked 'off' merely aspire to the role. none of
these may be contained within any one social network or organization.
their spatial separation is unimportant given the transdimensional
nature of the Great Work.
#> Thelema being a self-autonomous proposition, there will naturally be a
#> wide diversity of expression in the lives of "Thelemites".  
# From such premises, one would think so: but I do not believe that this
# is the case in practice.

'Thelemic practice' is the best characterization of aspirants, since it
implies a preparation for and training in adherence to the true will.
this practice is fully engaged once the Knowledge and Conversation of
the Holy Guardian Angel is discovered/accepted.
# 93 93/93

blessed beast!
I don't read everything here; cc me if you absolutely want a response.

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