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Religion of Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.magick.order,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage,alt.thelema
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Religion of Thelema
Date: 24 Jul 1999 01:47:27 -0700

49990616 IVom


Rodney 'The Ogre' Orpheus (:>) (
#> An implication from whom? Or one that exists solely in your own mind? 
#> I think it's time we started nailing down some of these vague 
#> accusations, don't you? Please elucidate on how exactly the OTO 
#> is formulating Thelema as a religion. 

I don't think the implication was that it was a project of any
OTO admin. perhaps it is a function of ignorance on the part of
new membership what can't tell the difference between the planes?

#> In fact, while we're at it, please define a religion and show
#> how Thelema is *not* one, has not always been one, and is 
#> somehow becoming one (however that might happen).

that's a GOOD one! you're starting to sound like me! 
tough too, what with Schopenhauer and all that lack of definition
describing qualities without specifically trying to nail the tack.

my guess would be: 

	Thelema was a philosophy of aesthetic and 
	transreligious values indicated within the text 
	of Rabelais and those who liked his text. it 
	started out as an ideal (I don't actually know 
	its origins) which did not have specific 
	riteforms, required beliefs, prophets, saints, 
	priests, priestesses, etc., but did have a 
	monastic/lay air that played against traditional 
	Roman Catholic aims (Benedictine?  Franciscan? 
	hell if I know) and attempted to integrate the
	world and power rather than eschewing either.

I wish to be corrected by those who are more aware of the
history than I.

it becomes religious as it is associated with the things
mentioned above (esp. with particular personages who are
promoted as its prophet like the Beast, Ankh-n-f-Khonsu,
or Aleister Crowley or Edward Alexander Crowley or whoever)
and becomes identified with any particular faction and
sect that begins to rigidify along these lines (conceptual,
liturgical, etc.) either through the activities or 
INactivities of the sect's administration which promote it
(however innocently).

ignorance is no excuse for breaking the Law! ;>  once you're
through playing with it, you have to put it back in its box.
# Religion : An institutionalized system of religious/spiritual 
#            attitudes, beliefs and practices. 

ok, there are those within the "Thelemic" community who maintain
that the EGC or some other religious body is setting the
standards for 'the religion of Thelema', including riteforms,
conceptual truth, and the practice of religiomagical projects.
I have ascertained that the (c)OTO is NOT officially setting norms 
or requirements where BELIEF is concerned. the only PRACTICES that
I can see regulated are those associated with *official order
functions*. the attitudes aren't regulated but standards are
beginning to solidify which amount to a kind of honor code.

I think that there ARE other groups or individuals (e.g. The 
Thelema Kaaba? Zombies for Aiwass??) who have this in mind 
and may be splinters out of more conservative groups (e.g. 
the OTO isn't what they wanted it to be, so they are setting 
into motion what THEY understand to be "Baphomet's Plan"). 
identifying which of these (does the EGC do it aside from the 
(c)OTO which it controls? I have no idea) could be very 
valuable as we provide data for newcomers to the email list 
(and to the "Thelemic" community at large). we occasionally
get a fanatic through here who founds or has founded such 
a group. perhaps brother Pederson will found one someday! :>
# In my interactions with various OTO members, some confirmable, 
# some not so, it seems the OTO encourages a specific set of 
# interpretations of the various "Holy Books of Thelema" 

I have also run into this phenomenon, yet my perception thus
far is that subgroups develop these interpretations and some
are more popular than others. in my repeated and clear
inquiries of at least the (c)OTO admin, I have received
definite negation of this 'official interpretation' bit
aside from the recommendation that one start with the Beast's
commentary in attempting to make heads or tails of the Evul
Book. are there any other OTOs or other "Thelemic" orgs that
provide 'official interpretations of this (or any other text
it calls "holy" or) "scripture"'?

# and certain ritual practices, 

I agree that certain ritual practices are more popular than
others as recommended by those I've spoken with in any depth
in the (c)OTO. Goldawnian and Crowleyan ceremonialism seems
to be heavily favored, with Resh (Crowleyan/Egyptian solar 
adoration with many variations), Will (mealtime affirmation
of the true will), banishings and invocations (e.g. Star
Ruby, Star Sapphire, Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram,
Mass of the Phoenix, Cross of Light, other rites from "Liber
Abba vel IV"), disciplines (including yoga and variations on
Liber Jugorum), and 'the Abramelin Working' (per Mathers with
variation based on Crowley or someone else perhaps including
the mage doing the ordeal) being the most frequent. there is
also a favor of the Gnostic Mass of the EGC as a group ritual, 
though this is perhaps not surprising.

however, even though "Liber MCLI" was at one time a pre-
requisite and is occasionally recommended by (c)OTO admin 
(given that Frater Heidrick was instrumental in its creation,
perhaps this is not all that surprising), it is not now
required and is fairly general anyway with exceptions.
its content perhaps represents commonalities of ritual and
research interest within at least the (c)OTO "Thelemic" 
community (see the text at:
wherein a 0-III degree study guideline is given).

# while discouraging alternate interpretations, or certain 
# types of innovative Magickal Practice.  

is this discouragement taking place with respect to 'official
rituals' or even for personal workings and group rites that
involve OTO members? I've seen such discouragement myself,
but not from the admin of (c)OTO. perhaps these are the
paranoid ravings of protectionist conservatives?

# This observation is based on interactions with 50 +/- 6 
# OTO members, and 10-20 unconfirmed claimants.

I could not count the number of interactions I've had with
OTO members of various organizations in meatspace and 
cyberspace. perhaps 100 who I interviewed in any depth over 
the last 10 years and in varying administrative positions.

# In any case, "Appeal unto my writings, each for himself" 
# does not seem to apply when one is arguing with OTO members, 
# because the members I have observed KNOW that the OTO 
# interpretation is the right one.

ok, so which interpretation is this? if you're seeing a kind
of dogma arise, let's try to define it somewhat. I've been
doing that in kind of a silhouette style by arguing against
the most rabid and asking them some pointed questions. often
this gets the conservatives from other camps riled as they
see blatant extremism and can't handle it. ;> could you start
a kind of 'skeletal Thelemic religious dogma'? I'll be happy
to contribute to it too once you've got it going. maybe even
Rodney would help us!
# This was the basis of my comment concerning orthodoxy.  As 
# for religion, I should amend "Old Aeon Religion" (i.e. with 
# an established Orthodoxy, Dogma, Doctrine and Priesthood).  
# I apologize for my lack of adjective detail.

the orthodoxy does appear to be forming, along with the dogma.
I'm not sure how much the admin is responsible, and there are
those outside of (c)OTO that have the bug, so it may be icky
fallout from Crowley's writings *themselves*. the Doctrine of
the cultists doesn't really differ from the dogma (I'm not
sure how you want to distinguish these), and the Priesthood
is usually either absent or it is comprised by the EGC, whose
Official Rite (the Gnostic Mass/Liber XV) and Holy Father
(Hymenaeus Beta) are purported to be carrying the standard of
Thelema (given flesh originally by the Holy Prophet Crowley
and the book he is said to have received, "Liber Al vel Legis"
or "The Book of the Law" -- what I call the Evul Book).

oh such an analysis as this could only be inspired by the Ogre.
thank you Ogre! long may your irrascible requests and queries
drive us into specificity.


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