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XWMu: Where to find Thelema

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.order,alt.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: XWMu: Where to find Thelema
Date: 22 Nov 1995 08:17:52 -0800

ky951011 [way way back when I was on vacation, a few people asked questions
          about a subject which I think incredibly important, and the 
	  Spider Woman archived these for me. ;>  Here you go... ]

She who is the Spider wrote:
|1. If thelema is not Crowley and is not OTO, then what is it?

Thelema is a principle which includes and surpasses both Crowley (who
has made it popular) and the OTO (which Crowley attempted to infuse with
Thelemic current).

|2. How far back can we trace thelema?

I have heard associations with all sorts of people, including Augustine
(in relation to DWTW especially), but few that have been mentioned strike
me as dead-on connections (not that I've examined all those mentioned).

I imagine that the most individualistic and controversial philosophers
and poets could be said to at points intersect the Thelemic current,
but each individual's assessment of not only the philosopher's work but
what comprises the current itself will vary.

As I've not made a study of this (but would like to, over time, this
post being a precursor to such a study), I cannot presently answer this
query, but I think it is very very important, and I wonder if those
who are normally associated with 'Satanism' (e.g. Nietzsche) might be
important to look at.

|3. What are some of the basics of Thelema that do not require an
|acceptance of the [Book of Evil Sayings]?

That would depend on what you mean by your terms.  'Thelema' as an
energetic principle does not require the adoption of particular books
as 'scripture', nor does it center, specifically, around the Evil Book.

If by 'Thelema' you mean the popular religion which Crowley inspired,
then I imagine that most strands incorporate that book into its holy
scriptures (e.g. the OTO).  Yet even some of these are quite flexible.

If you mean by 'the Book of the Law' the manifested cosmos (which I
typically prefer), then acceptance of 'facts as they are' is a very
important aspect of Thelemic practice as I understand it.

Zachary Dubnoff ...:
|...eighteenth century.... Kabbalist named Shabbatai Svi ....
|...His second-in-command, Jakob Frank, continued teaching the doctrine 
|of permissiveness, and many of his ideas later evolved into reform Judaism.

Could you (re?)state where we might find references (esp. overviews, but
also introductory texts) to these individuals and (if it is not too much
trouble) why you think these people qualify as 'Thelemic', if you do?

|is it possible for an individual to practice Thelema within a social 
|organization at all?  

Of course it is.  The context does not limit the possibility of practice.
Whether or not that organization *itself* could or should be considered
'Thelemic', is, however, another matter entirely.

|what benefit is gained by taking one's Thelema into an organization at all?

One becomes an innoculation against the tyranny of socialized groups,
a sort of immunization-shot for the power of individualism.

Jeffrey Smith :
|Should you justify hiding your Will? 

The true will cannot be hidden, though many will overlook it.

bheidrick...Peggy and writes:
|>is it possible for an individual to
|>practice Thelema within a social organization at all?
|Would Thelema have any value if one could not practice it in a social

Yes, it has value within society generally, not necessarily an organized
aspect of it (which is far more likely to be degenerate and valueless to
the Thelemite).

|What value a star if there are no other stars?

Stars do not only occur in organized groups.  Actually they are *less*
frequently found there.

|what groups are there to choose from?  So far I know only of:
|  o OTO
|  o Unitarian Universalists (sortof)
|  o Philosophers of Nature (maybe)

You have a dilemma here in that 

	1) some groups will *claim* association with 'Thelema' or 
	   'The Law of Thelema', 

	2) some groups may be 'Thelemic' by someone's standards without 
	   the group knowing anything about the philosophy behind it, and 

	3) some will claim to be 'Thelemic' it without substance.

#1 is the easiest to discern on the face.  There are a number of these
groups and I feel it would be wise for us to catalog them at some point
in time.  OTO is of the three you mention which qualifies here.  There
are also the Thelemic Golden Dawn (Cherubim), Temple of Thelema (which
is managed by Soror Meral in Oroville -- someone please correct me if
I err), and perhaps both Motta's SOTO and Grant's TOTO.

#2 These may include your other two options, though we shall likely
never agree upon standards by which to assess such organizations.

#3 As #2, this will be determined by those who involve themselves in
nominally 'Thelemic' orgs and discover the corruption inherent.  One
more ambiguous or contentious evaluation.  

Given this, you may see why I suggest just focussing on #1, with
occasional mention of personal experience of #2.

|...make a list and rate them on a couple variables like 
|1.) How Thelemic is it?  

This will be fairly meaningless unless one also describes, along with
this, what 'Thelemic' means to the list-maker, and in very concise

|2.) How supportive of members in their pursuit of Thelema?

Now this is where list #2 above comes in very handy, though once again 
we have the differentiation of the significance of 'Thelema' to the
list-maker.  A big hurdle not easily overcome.

|Does Thelema require the posit of a True Will?

No it does not, and this is one of the few issues that has not been
apparent when concerning discussions about the 'Will'.  There are 
many variations of Thelemic philosophy, depending on source, 
perspective, etc., and the notion of 'True Will', while perhaps 
central to *Crowleyanity* and what has become associated of Thelema 
to *Aleister*, is wholly unnecessary.

|what benefit is gained by taking one's Thelema into an organization at all?

Any mechanism, corrupt or healthy, may be used as a catalyst for the
tranformation and inspiration of personal power.  Similar to 'that which
does not kill me makes me strong'.

Peggy to BillH:
|Why then, is membership in the ECG automatically part of joining the OTO?  

I'm not aware that it is, in any real sense.  I've never been baptised or
'officially' admitted into the EGC, never trained as a ritual officer,
etc., and yet I have certainly joined the OTO.

| may very well be any given person's True Will (though it isn't mine) 
|to submerge him/herself in a group and work wholly for the good of the 
|group.  If the person is happy with that situation and does not seek for 
|something more, it just could be because there is nothing
|more for that person.

Chosen intentionally, I agree.  Most cling to groups like that out of a
deep need for community, sometimes sacrificing themselves for the meeting
of that need.

|If we criticize, is it because we are superior enough to see that they are
|ignoring their will?  Or is it just that we who know all bitterness, our
|teeth sunk in the Sodom-Apple, envy them their simple happiness?

I think that we are ultimately incapable of assessing anyone's will (true
or not) but our own, and this with only deep reflection and clear vision.


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