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Thelema is Satanic/Satanism is Thelemic

To: (ZAZAS-L Satanist Elist)
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: (Z) (LONG) Thelema is Satanic/Satanism is Thelemic (fwd)
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 13:39:10 -0800 (PST)

reposted to Zazas from Thelema93-L as I thought it might be of interest;
					apologies for any duplication.
49971023 aa2 Hail Satan!  UNday!  here to unravel the mysteries for you


Andrew Spitzer :
# Satanism is a minor aspect of A.C.'s work, and to label it, him or Thelema
# as Satanic misses the point in favor of pejorative sensationalism. 

only if "Satanism" and "Satanic" convey such sensationalism.  the problem
is that there are two main significances to the terminology: one of these
is pejorative, condemning, and derives from conservative religious sources
(mostly Christian and Muslim); while the other is complimentary, heroic,
and derives from Satanists and those of the Left Hand Path (LHP so called).

# there is a relationship between Thelema and Satanism (we've been over this
# one before, check the archives before you go off on me), but the
# relationship is not identity. 

again the terminology will get the better of you here.  if by 'Thelema'
you intend to mean some sort of social milieu, then I think it is pretty
clear that there is a social divide between self-identified 'Thelemites'
and 'Satanists', perhaps with some overlap.  these two cultures are NOT
the same and the body of literature which each takes as its focus are
NOT in any relavent way identical, though they may have some sources in
common (like Crowley and Nietzsche, despite what LaVey may say about either).

if you mean by 'Thelema' the LAW of Thelema in a Crowleyan sense, then
it seems to me that there is a direct relationship between Satanism,
which promotes many of the ideals of Crowley's Thelema, perhaps to
excess in certain areas, and this Law.  for this reason some Satanists
(notably Aquino on days when he is a Satanist rather than just a Setian 
or a follower of Setian philosophy) enjoy a relationship of succession
to Crowley (writing the Fourth Book of the Law, bringing to personal
and social consciousness the Word or Logos of the New Aeon after that
of Horus, etc.) or obviously follow out Thelemic themes (I think it is
no coincidence that Grant and Aquino have both obsessed with Lovecraft).

# There is no mention of Satan in Liber AL. Not
# even Set, in the pseudo-egyptian idiom. If Crowley was a Satanist, or if
# Thelema was Satanism, one would think that he would have spent a lot more
# ink on the subject than he did. 

it may be more appropriate, in reflection of your valuable comments
above, to say that (from the perspective of a Satanist) (the culture or
system of) 'Thelema is Satanic' or (the culture or system of) 'Satanism
is Thelemic', rather than trying to awkwardly equate the two.  if Hadit
might be associated somehow with Set, Satan, et al, then this might be
a confusing bridge.  however, if Aiwass *was* Satan, then the whole Evil
Book was the *product* of Satan and it has the Devil's Mark all over it.

# Why does not the Little Big Book say "Those who call us Satanists do 
# no wrong" . It is because those who call us Satanists would rather be 
# titlated than get the point.

that addresses those who use the term pejoratively.  however, it is quite
insufficient in the face of complementary usage.  any inquiry as to the
'why' of a revealed work (fake or legitimate) is hazardous.  in this
particular instance (AL I:40) the subject matter is the "word of the
Law" (ThELEMA), is elaborated as related to three grades and is followed
by the Thelemic Greetings 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law'.

# Think about the wide range that Crowley covered in his work. Why not call
# him Buddhist? Or Islamic? Or a host of others.

why not Buddhist: Crowley is supposed to have repudiated Buddhism on some
pretext before the end of his life, even after having been infatuated with
it for a number of years (probably in consequence of Alan Bennett, his
first esoteric instructor).  conservatively, he didn't follow the precepts
of Buddhism and so probably shouldn't be classed as such.

why not Muslim: aside from not fulfilling the literal salat, observing
Ramadan, and many of the rest of the 5 Pillars of Islam, he had some
obvious understanding of Muslim and generally Arabic culture, even
extending slightly into the realms of Sufi poets.  yet I am not aware
that he considered himself Muslim in any sense.  his iconographic and
polytheist persuasions do not support his fervency of this paradigm.

why not a host of others: the host typically has behavioral qualifications
or restrictions.  Satanism, as I understand it, is not at all consistent
in this area and the main commonalities appear to be value-based and/or
attitudinal.  Crowley probably would not qualify for the host but could
be said to qualify for Satanism.  personally I think the fact that he
didn't *call* himself a Satanist, right out, somewhat disqualifies him
for the literal title, though it is easy to describe him in other terms
('Satanic', or others as the Wizard mentioned, such a 'Luciferian').


# ...if Crowley had meant for his religion/philosophy to be Satanism, he 
# would have called it just that. He certainly had no problem with the 
# terms in other contexts.

I think that like many Satanists he probably didn't accept the literal
existence of any 'Devil' and wasn't ready for the emergence of the New
Aeon of the Adversary and its Logos of FUCK.  it took a while for that
to manifest ('96). ;>   in other words, Crowley may have been a premature

# If anything is central to Thelema, it is "Do what thou wilt". All gods have
# wills. Satanism is but one approach among many.

many Satanists would concur that 'do what thou wilt' is central to their 
path.  I mention this in comparison to your commentary, not as any proof.

# Yes, Crowley refers to Aiwass as Satan. He also refers to Satan as Adonai.
# And Adonis. And Adam.  And any other god with an open-throated "A" sound 
# in his name. So what? Think about the myths of Adonis, Adonai, Had, Adam
# etc... By this logic, a HAM SANdwich is Satanic! Idenitfying them all
# together just doesn't wash. Yes, Crowley just might have been wrong about
# this one. Egads!

I am insufficiently familiar with the range of these to comment on how well
it "washes".  could anyone oblige?  here they are from the one quote I

found in _Magick_ (Crowley, Eds. Symonds/Grant, Arkana 1989; p. 172):

	* formula of the Initiation of Horus
	* Satan or Shaitan
	* Saturn
	* Set
	* Abrasax
	* Adad
	* Adonis
	* Attis
	* Adam
	* Adonai
	* etc. [!]

what does 'equating' all of these really mean?  in this quote the
relation is to the IAO Formula, specifically the 'O' of 'FIAOF/VIAOV'
of the Aeon of Horus.  he is justifying his 777 correspondences
and 'O' is specifically related to the 26th Key ('the Devil'), as
well as Khem, Set, Pan, Vesta, Bacchus, Priapus, Erect Hermes, The 
Lord of the Gates of Matter, the Child of the Forces of Time, the 
infernal dragon, the sea monster [Leviathan?], the noisy peacock 
[Melek Taus?], the Calvary Cross of 10/Solid, the Witches' Sabbat 
and Evil Eye, the Lingam and Yoni, the Buddhist Meditation of the 
Putrid Corpse, the Eye of Hoor/Buttocks and Anus, the element of
Earth, the Eye, the Renovating Intelligence, the astrological 
sign of Capricornus, and the Qliphotic Order of Dagdagiron. 

then again, Crowley makes an interesting commentary on Satan (who
does not appear to be listed therein otherwise) in 777:

	Satan, again, who in Job is merely Attorney-General
	and prosecutes for the Crown, acquires in time all
	the obloquy attaching to that functionary in the
	eyes of the criminal classes, and becomes a slanderer.
	Does anyone really think that any angel is such a fool
	as to try to gull the Omniscient God into injustice
	to his saints?
	all from _777 and Other Qabalistic Writings of 
	 Aleister Crowley_, the last being a direct quotation
	 rather than merely a compilation from review, Ed. 
	 Regardie, Samuel Weiser, 1989, the quote from 
	 p. xiii of 777 proper. 

perhaps Crowley associated 'the Devil' with so many things 
in reflection of the fact that this title was used by so many
different people to represent so many different qualities.  if we
were to ask the Romantic poets, for example, or certain Gnostics,
they might agree strongly with the association with Adonai.  as I
am unfamiliar with the Greek names I can't say what justifies them.

# >What god form is being invoked in Liber Samech; 
# What god-form is being invoked in Liber Resh? Or the Star Saphire? Or Liber
# Israfel? Is Tahuti also Satan? I suppose if you try hard enough you can
# reduce anything to Satan, or anything else you like.

it is one thing to condemn all other gods as 'the Devil' and Satan
(from the fundamentalist perspective), but quite another to look at 
what people have associated with Satan in any academic sense, and 
then again to look at what *Satanists* so associate.  compare and 
contrast with Crowley.  this may tell us something of Crowley's 
qualification for 'de facto Satanist'.

# ...One small aspect does not define
# the whole. This is why it bothers me when people make statements like
# "Thelema is Satanic" or "Crowley was a Satanist". 

the 'Thelema is Satanic' is justifiable as I have explained above.  the
'Crowley was a Satanist' is only justifiable in terms of de facto status,
or by very loose standards which may not be useful, as I understand it.

# It is clearly not central to Thelema as expressed in Crowley's work....

again, the problem is that you are looking at 'it' here and talking
about a mythotype of 'Satan'.  when speaking about or with Satanists
this is not necessarily relevant.  some Satanists are atheists whose
use of any gods is exploitative and confined to ceremonial, not at
all restricted to Satan or Hir relatives.

# It is just one aspect among many, many, and to focus on it at
# the expense of the rest of the work is not a comprehensive view.

if the criteria is to determine the usage of godforms, then neither
Crowley nor do many Satanists conform to this standard of Satanism.

# ...if you can tell me what Cthulu has to do with Thelema, I'll be
# happy to listen.... Give me *meaning*.

Dweller, Dream-Master, a predominantly coercive and corrosive entity
whose thralls serve the forces of antinomian, alien intelligences.
how this might relate to Thelema is in application of 'chaotic' or
'wrathful' entities or energies.  some utilize these to break down
their inherent order-tendencies -- a counter-balance to the blatant
structuralization, ceremonialism and science-mindedness that will
at times obsess the Thelemic mage.


# > But this may have useful a part of a process of
# > deconditioning the adept from his or her christian values -
# > which can be very ingrained and v damaging. Have you seen
# > all the stuff recently about salvador dali and his early
# > work in which he masturbated (in the picture) over the
# > eucharist? I like the surrealist attitude of satanism as a
# > corrective to the worst excesses of the catholic church.
John Everall :
# I don't see any evidence of Satanism within the work of the Surrealists, 
# only a profoundly atheistic, anti-authoritarianism. 

hehehe, that's pretty funny.  the themes of atheism, anti-authoritarianism,
and deconditioning are important to very many Satanists, some suggesting
that this latter is the entire focus of 'Greater Black Magick'.

# The "Manifestoes" 
# are quite explicit on this point. The admission of any religious or 
# magical elements into Surrealist methodology was premised on the fact 
# that they demonstrated imagination in action, or the workings of the 
# subconscious if you like....

and Satan is?  I suggest to you that the Jungian shadow is precisely
this force coming through and catching mogg's attention.  masturbation,
an hedonistic and blasphemous expression of the repressed energies of
the socialized psyche, is one of the most Satanic of activities (just
as one's birthday is the most holy day of the year).

# Satan = adversary
# Adverserial both in "testing" faith ( Biblical ref JOB) or testing 
# legitamacy of Goverment ( biblical ref : Revelation)

also cf. the root of 'satan' (adversary) and its original usage by Jews
(a personal enemy, opponent or slanderer/diabollein).

# But the Shaitan - Aiwass , is only one aspect of Thelema,
# I'd like to discuss the Nuit-Isis-Istar-Babalon side of the equation ...
# We obtain similar images of light and shadow for the Godess as well

theology is not a determining factor of Satanism, so if one wishes to
attempt to decipher Thelema as either 'a kind of Satanism', this might 
be hard-going and it may be far easier to look at self-identification 
and how this relates to Satan and Satanism.  some Satanists adore 
and/or worship Lilitu, Kali, or Tiamat, for example, relating to Satan
in some other way than worship.


Tim Maroney :
# Crowley was a Satanist, Luciferian, Promethean, Decadent, whatever you 
# would like to call it. 

as you have said, however, he did not specifically self-identify as 
'Satanist' (I have no idea about the rest).

# References to Satan, Lucifer and the Devil are 
# common in his work and they are almost uniformly positive when he is 
# considering the religious figure (as opposed to speaking in the 
# vernacular "the Devil take him!" -- etc.). He named himelf "the Great 
# Beast" after the [servitor of the] Biblical Satan, and he reaffirmed 
# this link of the Beast to Satan in Liber Samekh. There's plenty in 
# Crowley's own work that would lead the novice aspirant or right-wing 
# Christian to Satanic conclusions.
# His followers may or may not be Satanists, because Thelemites tend to 
# pick and choose from those parts of Crowley's work that appeal to them. 
# For some this part of his work has great personal significance; for 
# others it was one of his personal mistakes and would be better forgotten.

[addendum added from subsequent post]

as others have contrastingly made plain, however, AC seemed to identify
with many different deities and personae, from the Christian to the Jewish
and what would today be described as 'Neopagan' or 'Satanist'.  if such
identifications are the criteria of classification then many syncretists
should also be considered 'Satanists'.  I doubt you mean to imply this
and suspect you are talking about 'de facto Satanism'.

Dag Luterek :
# this means that Thelema is Satanic. Chattin' up your angel is self-
# gratifying,self-empowering, well it is almost selfish! It's the devils
# work %-0 ! But it is only a means to a higher end, a preparation. If we
# now take a look at 'One Star in Sight', the Adeptus(without) is supposed
# to invoke the H.G.A. while the Adeptus(within) is initiated in 'The
# Formula of the Rosy Cross'. It is in this that I feel the difference
# between Thelema and Satanism lies. The Adeptus (Exemptus) then perfects
# this formula and chooses between 'The Left Hand Path'(Ego) or 'The Babe
# of the Abyss'(Dissolution in Gnosis, Hoor-par-Kraat), hence even the
# H.G.A. is lost in the abyss. 

this is a beautiful argument for Crowley's lack of Satanic enterprise.
subsequent revisions of this Hermetic formula incorporating journies
into the Abyss as a Left-Hand Path (egoic, transmutando) variation 
on Crowley's conservatism could be said to represent a more 'Satanic'
alternative (elaborated by Grant, Frater I Nigris, etc.).  then again,
some of Crowley's text implies he may have been aware of this 'darker'
path and for some reason revealed only the lighter course.

Shemhazai the Mediocre :
# I'd like to stop right there and say I think Crowley's linked Satan and
# Set and Hadit and the Beast with practically everything, it gets so
# carried away that practically anything becomes equated with his penis. 

but in what context?  if in regards to 'the Devil', this may be 
understandable.  cf. above.

# I regard Aiwass as a thelemic mercury, a messenger and revealer, not
# necessarily in conjunction with Set or Satan.

what is the relavence of identification as regards Crowley's HGA?  does
it matter who *we* think Aiwass was, or who Crowley thought he was?

# Satan, I view as god's prosecuting attorney....

OT: Job.

# Lucifer is a distinct personality to me, a promethean and tragic figure
# who fell through pride and bestowed light on the world, an evolutionary
# and beautiful but in the end somewhat self-limiting force.

Christianity: popular lore/literature.

# Shemhazai the Watcher (Book of Enoch where I got my nick) I regard as a
# similar idea to Lucifer except he fell through the love of this world,
# bestowed knowledge, and didn't get wholly trappped when he met the
# limits his pride and ego imposed on him, he didn't stop there but
# repented his hardened ways, transcended and became a constellation
# (every man and every woman is a star).  This passion combined with
# practicality makes him a favorite of mine.

hmm, different than I understood him.  perhaps Azazel and Semihaza have
different tales, but my understanding was that this Rebel led a revolt
from heaven and deserted it in favor of the earth plane.  Christians
described these beings as 'Fallen' thereafter, though I wasn't aware
there was a description of his eventual fate.  perhaps you are 
conflating with previous Christian pop-lore/lit.

# > Satan = Value Judgement
# > Dali was "Satanic" ..etc and the use of Labels ...
# ...I use "the Devil" for this role.  The Devil is an
# inspirational personality to which I pledge alegiance, ....

this is uncommon, as I understanding it, 'the Devil' being the agent
and source of 'evil' or malady generally.  'Satan' and 'Lucifer' were
often (e.g. Romantic poets, Shaw I think) taken as heroes.

# It is interesting and edifying to see you perceive this to be in the
# spirit of Thelema, as I do to and this side is my main interest, esp.
# Ishtar.  She's an obvious precursor to Babalon, being of course, THE
# Babylonian goddess, whose rites contributed to John's casting of Babylon
# with wantoness, through her associations of celestial power, sensuality
# and sexuality.

Crowley seemed to link sexuality strongly with the Devil Key.

# > Like Set/Shaitan there are links for Istar on both sides of the tree.
# > Also she is a thunderer or lightning maker ...
# At one time or another over 3000 years she was equated with nearly every
# goddess in the pantheon and her name was used as the generic word for
# goddess often.  She's pretty damn multifaceted.  In Mesopotamia a man's
# personal god and goddess were his "ilu" (AL) and his ishtari.  (Think I
# spelled that right...)

neato.  perhaps that makes her a shoe-in for 'Mrs. Satan'. ;>

nigris (333) -- --
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