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Thelemic Monasticism

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.consciousness.mysticism,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
From: (nigris (333))
Subject: Re: Thelemic Monasticism
Date: 11 Apr 1997 00:43:03 -0700

[Orig-To: private email; temporary privitization of public conv.]

49970404 AA1  Hail Satan!  

#From: shri 
#Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 20:54:52 -0500

#...omission of the imminence of the coming "earth changes" and their 
#significance in the evolutionary transition from the Aeon of Osiris 
#to that of Horus, in the context of Thelemic survivalism.

that is a strictly religious timescale.  Thelemites of various sorts
might not accept it as valid.  perhaps I missed the significance of
its mention.

#It is not necessary for numerous and different "groups" to be involved, 
#since each Abbey will have its own "star" and the universal basis for all 
#is the Holy Books of Thelema.  Of course different Abbeys as well as 
#individuals will each have different orientations and pursuits in detail 
#and this is as it should be.

it occurred to me last night that you and Damien may be asking a question
different than at least I may have originally understood, and it would
behoove us to get the distinction out of the way once and for all.

I actually agree with your assertion that no groups need be involved, yet
your usage of language indicates to me that the question at least you (I
am as yet unsure about Damien as of this point) wish to consider in 
discussion is:

	'What are the essential elements of a monasticism within
	 the RELIGION of Thelema?'

I think this is an important one, as I have said before, though I have
less interest in it myself except possibly as a bystander.  perhaps I'll
just have to get into the spirit of it.  if you think I'm off-base here,
please explain.  I hope you see that I have been talking about something
different ('What are the essential elements of a ThelemIC monasticism?',
which implies a philosophic or ethical quality termed 'Thelemic' that
need not abide in any particular religious container).

with that in mind, rather than continually point this distinction out in
our conversation, let me presume it accurate and react within YOUR line
of query for a bit to show you that I can be broad-minded, perhaps
beginning to set an example whereby *both* our lines of inquiry might
bear fruit.   with that, I continue.

#...The Abbeys of Thelema are themselves "worldly."  That 
#is say they should be self-sufficient working communities in which 
#individuals will have trades and beget each subsequent generation of 
#inhabitants, thus incestuously creating--through positive eugenics--the 
#basis for a future race of Kingly men. 

a closed society?  so do you truly think that the development of "Kingly
men" is done through nature (i.e. heredity, genetics) rather than via
nurture?  or is it a combination of the above within which being closed
is an important precursor?  are you aware that such men have been fostered 
within political systems such as are implied by your Abbey (pyramidal)?

#That is to say, the genetic basis of "wyrd" will be concentrated in 
#each subsequent generation.  Genetic isolation is essential.  

this reminds me greatly of Nazi, Satanist and Herbert's Bene Gesserit
schemes to develop the various 'Supermen' of their ideals.  would you
say something about what you think these "Kingly men" would be like
should the genetic isolation be carried out over, say, 10 generations?
what qualities are you going to be steering toward?  will you engage
rigid restriction of breeding partners, etc.?

#...the Abbey's initiatory programme includes in perfect balance 
#the four elements of earth (hard physical work), air (intellectual 
#study), water (meditation), and fire (magick) in perfect fusion, 
#the union of which creates the Quintessence, Spirit (spiritual experience). 

very lovely.

#...It is time for true Thelemites to put the cavilling and quibbling 
#beneath them and strive, collectively and individually, to create the 
#foundation for the advent of the kingdom of Ra Hoor Khuit.  

I think this is very inspiring.  are you looking for particular types
of people who shall qualify in your eyes as "true Thelemites" or do
you plan to accept anyone who is willing to obey the rules, considers
themselves qualified, and joins up?

#From: shri 
#Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 21:15:41 -0500
#To: "Jake Stratton-Kent" 

Damian Bishop ( was not included in the cc of the copy
I recieved, but by your comment I suppose that he has received a copy of 
it.  I cc him here and respond to all parties involved, with the caveat 
evinced above that with JSK I continue speaking about the latter query, 
with AD(uncan) I begin to presume the former (unless informed of my error), 
and with DB(ishop) will watch for signs of his favor. ;>

[AD quotes DB, to whose excellent text I have yet to respond]
#>...the conversation which I began was specifically concerned with 
#>defining a _Thelemic_ monasticism which was in conformity with 
#>Liber AL vel Legis. 

as I have said, the Evil Book is too diffuse and self-contradictory to
be used as any sort of standard by which to compare the quality of
'Thelemicness' or 'Thelemicity'.  people do this, but on the whole I
find their arguments unconvincing and selective.  it is this reason
which provides my support of not discussing it, since it is best used
for reflective inspiration, not rational disputation of any sort.
if I mistake your meaning, please offer correction.

#>The religious aspects vs the philosophical vs the historical aspects 
#>of the term all seem to be relevant to the conversation. To me, 
#>however, for the purposes of our thread, the religious aspects seems 
#>to be the most relevant. 

then I class you with AD and respond accordingly.  as I hope you can
see, I am attempting to fit into the conversation rather than direct it
toward any specific result.  the religious inspires me less and so my
commentary may be minimal, more often in the form of inquiry, finding
out about you and your ideas.

#>...fourteen (14) Class A "Holy Books" in the Thelemic canon,
#>...Thelemic monastic conception ...based upon these writtings 
#>However, the very nature of these books does not give any clear 
#>indication of the practical nature of sustaining or even
#>creating such monastaries.

there are many books on the practical details of running communities,
monastic and non, outside the writings of Crowley.  I would think that
the particulars could form the first combined research and project of
the community itself if you or AD weren't going to set out to provide
such references as precursor.  

I've read some works on Christian (some Merton, others) and some
Buddhist (various, most often Zen) monastic life, and this included
some degree of practical description.  there are detailed analyses
of such communities, or they are around for consultation directly.

I would think that the comparison of 'householder' to 'monastic'
would, in the case of monastics in the religion of Thelema, be quite
important to make, since more often than not children and worldliness
are *excluded* from the strictly monastic community.

what I would suggest as a study instead would be any number of utopian
communities, such as the Hutterites, the Amish, the Oneidans, Shakers,
etc., etc., whose utopian intentional communities might more often begin
to resemble the kinds of limitations and activities you are describing.
if you want a reference or two on these I can provide from the Haus
Library here.

#...Many of the philosophical issues still need to be worked out, as 
#per the Areopagus of the OTO or some equivalent, as Crowley himself 
#implied.  Worked out, that is, on first principles.  These principles 
#are the Holy Books plus Crowley's own writings, comprehensively and 
#collectively considered.

I gather you are saying that before the practiks begin, the philosophic 
emphasis needs resolution so as to guide the construction along lines
conversant with the religion of Thelema.

#>...The aspect of monasticism that seems to be within _all_ conceptions 
#>of such a lifestyle is discipline. 

agreed.  dedication (to the community, to oneself and one's development),
discipline (the Binah-shaping of the Chokmah-dedication toward agreed aims)
and resources (skills, knowledge and experience, as well as fundamental
support in some form, be that undespoiled land, contributed capital, or
available workforce) seem to be the basic stuff from which to work.

#>a Thelemic abbey would be founded upon the idea that the participants
#>were seeking to pursue a religious (or philosophical) "vocation" through
#>the discipline of a monastic lifestyle. I do not believe, however, that
#>the examples (i.e., vows of silence, &c.) which we find in historical or
#>modern Christian orders are necessarily valid for a Thelemic abbey.

I'm not sure how you mean 'vocation' here.  are you saying that one would
be completely supported by this religious community?  or that one would
enter into an occupation which necessarily conformed with the philosophic
or religious ideals so as to provide one's own support?  I begin to ask
about $$$$, a real and important issue for any modern community.

#"argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch!"

I don't understand how this is a response to DB's comment except to say
that it need not be defined (which is reasonable, if so, though your
quotation does not make this clear to me).


#>look at the historical writings of Crowley as a basis of _any_
#>organization which wanted to follow his vision of structure. Since the
#>OTO was the only organization around at that time for his disposal, he
#>wrote primarily of OTO as the governing body for many of his ideas.

Crowley also wrote regarding the AA, though perhaps not as functionally
specific in its content.  as regards practical details, I am not aware
(though would not be surprised to be made aware) of any writings by the
Master which described these for the OTO or AA.  

his Confessions might include some reflections on how the Boleskine 
House or Abbey Thelema of his experiment was run (I do remember there 
being some detail), yet my understanding was that many of the important 
resource and resolvative questions go unanswered (such as 'how did he 
finance the thing?' and 'what requirements and restrictions did he have 
for employment outside the religious community?', etc.).

#>...the Holy Books given relatively little instruction in regards to 
#>structure of _any_ such facility. However, other writings of Crowley 
#>do give a conception of what _he_ thought an abbey should be like. 

which works are these, specifically?  they would appear to be very
important adjunct study aids in the discussion we are engaging.

#>However, I don't find that the Abbey of Thelema which Crowley himself 
#>instigated was all that much of a success.

then it would be very important to isolate as accurately as possible the
details of what happened, what the problems and successes of AC's 
experiment *were*, and how to go about addressing these if still necessary.

#>Therefore, attempting to pattern a new abbey around that conception
#>would be similiarly doomed to failure. 

not necessarily.  as I was getting at in my commentary elsewhere, there
is a great deal dependent upon the individuals within the experiment.
some people may fit perfectly within an 'ideal' system whereas others
would find it restrictive or insufficiently supportive.  it is possible,
for example, that the available *participants* within the Abbey were
simply not of the calibre necessary for success.  I know little about
it and so am merely speaking abstractly here.

#Crowley's Abbey was an experiment.  Liber Aeth acknowledges the 
#experimental origins of Crowley's Abbey but is not slavishly bound to it. 

if you really want to consider it an experiment, then procuring the
details of that experiment, poring over them, detailing their particular
elements, analysing their facets and evaluating what worked and what
didn't would be the scientific method in reflection of that consideration.

#>The structure of an abbey should be of such that the reflection of the
#>organization of itself is refined in the members which reside within the
#>abbey. This does not show that absoulte obedience is necessary but
#>absolute discipline.

#The Vow of Obedience is a fundamental aspect of Thelemic initiation and 
#tradition.  See Liber CLVI Portarum BABALONIS.

I didn't know to what you referred.  my Crowley-Cross-Index indicated that
Liber CLVI was _Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abeigni_, and lists no Portarum
Babalonis.  I subsequently went looking because I had some time, and
discovered it at:

if referencing one your works, or the work of another, please provide 
information (URL, etc.) on how these may be obtained/viewed.

as it happens, this URL merely provides a list of other works, and
does not in any way explain your meaning above.  it strikes me that 
the 'Vow of Obedience' is probably different than 'absolute obedience', 
but I could be wrong and would like to hear more.

#>...Duncan's rule is only fourty-four (44) statements. The Rule of St.
#>Benedict (I believe) is only ten (10) whereas the Rule of the Templars
#>was closer to one hundred seventy (170) when it was almost completed. 

#>I believe that a Rule for a Thelemic Abbey should consist of what is
#>necessary for the allowance of the "monks" to exist within the spiritual
#>retreat and contain the necessary elements of discipline which allow for
#>a "religious vocation." There should be a separate administrative rule
#>which allows for the operation of the abbey and its continued
#>sustanance. These do not necessarily conflict in nature. The allowance
#>of a Rule is for the spiritual nature of the monks and the rule is for
#>the operation of the abbey itself. 

#The Rule is the fundamental irreducible Law which binds all Abbeys, but 
#each Abbey will have additional regulations and common law, and out of 
#this a body of additional regulations will probably develop.  There are 
#several additional points described by Crowley himself which were left 
#out because they fall into this class, eg., the custom associated with an 
#inhabitants's discovering his True Will.

what I have said about the Rule I have said out of the context of
evaluating its Thelemic character as I understand it, not within that
of a monastic community dedicated to Thelemic religion.  given this
latter I do appreciate its brevity and structure.  the particulars
which DB brings up here (the authority-structure inherent to it and
the coverage of the Rule itself) are essential issues to examine.

I tend to agree with AD here, that the Rule is best considered an 
irreducible Law binding all Abbeys, and that the particulars should 
develop within each local Abbey as necessity dictates.

#>The Rule should contain such elements of:
#>	1) personal managment of the spiritual/philosophical pursuits;
#>	2) group interaction;
#>	3) outside influences and their allowance or control;
#>	4) obligations of the individual to the abbey; and
#>	5) protection of the group from the egos of the individual.
#>The rule should contain:
#>	1) practical and financial necessities of sustaning the abbey;
#>	2) admission and dismissal procedures;
#>	3) standard operational and routine structures; and
#>	4) governmental policies in regards to internal and external conflicts.

#Liber Aeth contains all this in a simple, practical form.

in my memory of Liber Aeth I do not remember:

	practical and financial descriptors (WHENCE COMES THE $?)
	dismissal of the Abbott/ess procedures (HOW DO WE EJECT TYRANTS?).

as JSK or others have said, one could vote with one's feet, but I don't
really consider this (the abandonment of the community) to be a real
resolution to the potential problem.


#>It has been said that Thelema as a religious and philosophical statement
#>can be interpreted by individuals as they will.

#> It has also been said that Thelema is bigger than Crowley.

#Crowley is the foundation, but the foundation is not the whole structure. 
# Still, the structure must be built on the foundation, and built deeply 
#it if not to collapse.

I have been informed that sources like Rabelais, Nietzsche and even
WBesant/JRice (1878) may have been precursors to Crowley.  I gathered
that at least Rabelais, for example, had an 'Abbe', and experimented
with intentional community.  does this bear any relation?

#>I would agree on both points. 

I don't see how you can agree with at least the first (as AD says, it
is an exoteric understanding, outside the religion of Thelema) and
remain consistent in your attempt to focus on the particulars of
Thelemic religion as essentials.  please explain.

#>It is, however, also necessary to realize that Thelema is the "Law" of the
#>New Aeon. If we are to progress through the Aeon of Horus and utilize
#>the New Aeonic philosophies is determining the conditions of an abbey,
#>then we must accept the Book of the Law as its basis of that

#How, since its study and discussion are forbidden.  See my "The Esoteric 
#Exposition of the Book of the Law" and "The Problem of the Comment."

it is possible to accept the Book of the Law (in religious (Evil Book) or
mystical (manifested nature) interpretations) as the basis of determining
the basis for an individual life, but as AD says, if there is no discussion
of this book (and I support both the emphasis on it and the restriction
from discussion of it, combined), I don't see how you can use it for
community endeavors.

AD, where are these essays of yours located?  I couldn't find them on
your website.

#>Comparing our conception of a Thelemic Abbey to the monastic efforts of 
#>the Christians or other Old Aeon religions keeps us from conforming to the
#>"method of religion" as well as allows for new techniques of Thelemic
#>spiritual pursuits.

as I said, it seems more valuable to me to veer from the extremes of the
Christian monastics and look more closely at things like Buddhist or
other 'householders' or the intentional communities of America or elsewhere.

#>It is difficult to achieve a Thelemic monastic lifestyle under a common
#>roof when Thelema itself is individualistic by nature.
#True individualism is not exclusive.  This is the formula of the Black 
#Brothers.  See Jung's discussion of individuation.  Hadit is grounded in 

beautifully and succinctly put, AD.  DB's language strikes me, within
this posting, as straddling the line between attempting to create a
community of the religious whose religion is Thelema (AD's enterprise)
and fabricating a Thelemic mystical community of *any* religious character.

#>when viewed in the perspective of a community of Thelemites bound
#>by common goals but not necessarily common views, 

this is what inspires me to again emphasize my unclarity about DB's
objectives.  "a community of Thelemites" could include all manner
of people and characters.  even if one were to qualify it as monastic
there is no reason one could not have a 'Thelemic Buddhist monastery',
for example.  I continue to be confused as to the parameters of this
discussion (since DB is ostensibly the one setting these).

aside from that, it seems to me that common goals would have to be
in some manner stated or implied unless they were very abstract, such
as is implied by the pyramidal Abbott/ess structure (the goal being
to abide by the the Rule and the will of the Abbott/ess, putting energy 
into the furtherance of the community and the goals set forth by that 
authority in general.

#>Using the conception of revolutionaries (as Crowley mentioned and 
#>both nigris (333) and Jake commented upon), it allows the abbey to 
#>evolve when the faults are pointed out and the effort taken to
#>overcome such faults for the betterment of the community. 

I haven't brought up Revolutionaries as regards 'Thelemic Monasticism'.
it seems to me that they might be problematic elements outside a Regency,
and that AD's cellular proliferation would allow for variant strains of
community development quite readily.  

then again, aside from the 'ultimate' authority of the Abbott/ess, I don't
see how conflict could be resolved by such a Revolutionary role.  yes,
it would allow criticism of the community authority, yet unless this
office were also given operative powers (even in the COTO this is not
the case if the Revolutionaries are ever to be employed), or allowed to
raise political pressures (thereby possibly fractionating the community
itself), this seems rather much for an 11-member org (perhaps you do not
accept this numerical delimiter).  rather, I would suggest some sort of 
council structure and consensus-arrangement (which is what we utilize in 
Haus Kaos, whose membership has never risen above 6).

#abide together as cells in one vast cooperative organism: the kingdom of 
#Ra Hoor Khuit.

would this have any overt and political relationship to the established
Orders as they now stand?  would they promote a system of justice, for
example, or be, other than the Vow of Obedience to the particular Abbott,
fairly anarchic?  would this 'kingdom' be a network-organism or would
it fit within a larger social system you have in mind?

blessed beast!

 3 3 3 nigris (

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