| up a level
from the "right"-under-your-gnosis dept.
They come in various flavors and sizes, but they all share a belief in the strict correctness of one particular interpretation of Thelema (guess whose?). So there is no one type of "Orthodox" Thelemite. But the most easily describable of the types has a style that derives as much as possible from the apparently plain meaning of the Book of the Law.
These practitioners of Thelema might be labeled 'Servants' because they can draw so much of their justification from the verses of the Book of the Law which include this word:
"Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known."
Almost certainly the 'Servants' are few, and certainly they are secret, or else they would be unable to achieve the sort of "Success" they desire. No one (or next to no one) knows that they are Thelemites. They do not give out with "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" like Aleister Crowley did. Instead they read this verse: "All this and a book to say how thou didst come hither and a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever -- for in it is the word secret & not only in the English -- and thy comment upon this the Book of the Law shall be printed beautifully in red ink and black upon beautiful paper made by hand; and to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds. Do this quickly!", and they take it (especially from the second person singular of the address) that the Prophet should act in this manner, but not the 'Servants'. For them, the proper instruction is the actual Comment spoken of in the verse. They know that the study of the Book being forbidden, it ought to be done secretly. They know that those who discuss its contents ought to be shunned, and they are completely uninterested in hearing anyone else's opinions of the Book, though they do study Crowley's other works as they think necessary to assist in understanding the Book for themselves.
From this it may be seen that those who think themselves the most "Orthodox" of Thelemites would not belong to any of the self-styled Thelemic organizations, nor identify themselves in any way as Thelemites except in the most secretive manner in the most private of situations. Instead of wasting their time being adherents of just another religion they are found "at rule, at victorious armies, at all the joy".
The exact nature of their private Thelemic practices will of course depend upon their personal opinions, but most likely these will generally involve the understanding that sometimes the plainest meaning is a metaphoric one. Still, it is frightening for many of us "unorthodox" Thelemites to contemplate the prospect of someone secretly practicing a totally literal interpretation of the 'bloody' passages, especially those in Chapter III.
It may seem silly to point out on this wildly public forum that the secret practice of Thelema, unlike a secret practice of most other religions (but not unlike some magical traditions), is a perfectly reasonable outcome of one particular reading of the Book of the Law. In the eyes of this sort of Thelemite we are not really Thelemites at all, we're at best a useful camouflage for the real thing, and at worst a temporarily misleading introduction to the truly "Orthodox" Thelema of the "chosen" 'Servants'.
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