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  "Orthodox" Thelemites?
General Thelema Posted by Al Noor on October 04, 2000 @ 02:33 AM
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."

"Amn. Ho! warrior, if thy servant sink? But there are means and means. Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your will and fill of love as ye will, when, where, and with whom ye will! But always unto me."

"We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake."

"Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was. Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty."

"I am Ra-Hoor-Khuit; and I am powerful to protect my servant. Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch! Them that seek to entrap thee, to overthrow thee, them attack without pity or quarter; & destroy them utterly. Swift as a trodden serpent turn and strike! Be thou yet deadlier than he! Drag down their souls to awful torment: laugh at their fear: spit upon them!"

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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    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by Xnoubis on Friday October 06, @05:06PM
    It's taken me a while to come to an appreciation of this subtle and arch essay. But now I do find it interesting to contemplate the Servants' point of view: a defensible approach.

    I've used the word "Orthodox" to describe certain kinds of Thelemites, though never to their faces, and of course what I mean is quite different from what is described here. More usually, it is for me the view that Crowley transmitted a complete vision for the future of humanity, and that the more we forward that vision, the better a Thelemite we are.

    One doesn't see that in Crowley's writing, exactly, and so isn't orthodox at all, in a sense. But it is a surprisingly wide-spread view, and needs to have some label. "Thelemic Fundamentalism," perhaps?

    • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
      by Al Noor on Saturday October 07, @12:45AM
      >I've used the word "Orthodox" to describe certain kinds of
      >Thelemites, though never to their faces, and of course what
      >I mean is quite different from what is described here. More
      >usually, it is for me the view that Crowley transmitted
      >a complete vision for the future of humanity, and that the
      >more we forward that vision, the better a Thelemite we are.
      >One doesn't see that in Crowley's writing, exactly, and so
      >isn't orthodox at all, in a sense. But it is a surprisingly
      >wide-spread view, and needs to have some label.
      >"Thelemic Fundamentalism," perhaps?

      If I read you correctly, that is what I would call Orthodox Crowleyanity, not Thelema. The question is whether or not Crowleyanity is Thelemic. I have come to believe that it is possible to be both a Crowleyan and a Thelemite, but I don't think that being one makes being the other any more likely.


      • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
        by Craig on Saturday October 07, @02:30PM
        back in the ancient days of the Grand Lodge at
        Grady's place, i read a lot of stuff in the files
        from all over the world...i was amazed to see how many people (Thelemites!?) who wrote letters, to
        OTO headquarters that seemed to think they where the next Crowley or the next beast or 666 or drivitive
        thereof...i was fasinated, i realized that i had
        already passed through that phaze although; when
        people said stuff to me about Crowleyanity and how
        that is (not) what they were, i always found that sort of funny because one of the people that told me that, was a total Crowley Shmoly phony as far as i was concerned since he told my wife that if she did not have sex with him, he would block her advancement in the Order...she was not interested,
        and it was not her will to be ordered to have sex with anyone...i can think of other episodes when
        people apposed Crowleyanity to Thelemetic but it
        always seemed like so much talk to me...my guess is that it is a big diversion...although i find
        the above remarks and article quite relevant...


        • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
          by Mordecai Shapiro on Sunday October 08, @12:37AM
          >i can think of other episodes when people apposed Crowleyanity to Thelemetic but it
          >always seemed like so much talk to me...my guess is that it is a big diversion...

          It is that, but in two different ways. It can be a diversion in the sense I think you mean it, that is, a semantic excuse (i.e., bullshit) to justify selfish behavior like that you describe. Or it can be a diversion in the sense of an amusement, entertainment, way of passing time. Certainly, no semantic game is essential to Thelema, but being able to play fairly in them certainly seems Thelemic to me.

          I am currently working on an article for the BeastBay on this very topic of "Crowleyans" vs. Thelemites, but I must agree with Craig that such theorizing is just that, and no excuse for any one person to coerce, cajole, or condescend to any other person.


    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by MAOZIM (ne Cybele) on Tuesday October 10, @02:10PM
    I choose to respond to the word "Thelemite," rather than "orthodox."

    "Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong . . ."

    I favor a detached veiw of the Law, every phrase/word/sentance, taken in meaning only relative to itself, as well as any other statement.

    Thus I define the word "Thelemite" as "us", and any us-es are Thelemites. Any group in which I belong, by my very prescence and perception, is Thelemic. The Great Work is about interaction, there must be more than one of us.

    So what is an orthodox Thelemite? Anyone whom unto who this kiss falls . . . An unorthodox Thelemite? Anyone who doth it return.

    • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Wednesday October 11, @02:25AM
      >I favor a detached veiw of the Law, every phrase/word/sentance, taken in
      >meaning only relative to itself, as well as any other statement.

      Could you elaborate on this? What do you mean by "taken in meaning only relative to itself"? I can't understand this sentence at all.


    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by Tim Maroney on Wednesday October 11, @12:50PM
    Is the secret meaning of this essay that the orthodox should shut (themselves) up and exercise the fifth power to go (away)?

    • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
      by Al Noor on Wednesday October 11, @07:46PM
      There is no "secret meaning" in this essay. It's quite plain -- all openly self-styled Thelemites are unorthodox no matter true to Crowley they claim to be. A Rational Mystic like yourself should be the first to understand this.


    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by solidsurfer on Thursday October 12, @08:04AM
    I am a bit confused, but that's nothing new.
    Crowleyites and Thelemites, both are doing their
    thing as best they can, so what gives?

    In the comment to the Book of the Law are the practices that are most conducive to power and play. What more does the average Thelemite need?

    The point (the bloody point!!): only by doing those same practices will you be able to analyse
    the layers of meaning behind that text.

    Which might very will be (or become) a problem to some.
    For ppl who enter into this without sufficient strength and courage can easily get blown away into some kind of pathological state of mind.
    Can failure contaminate? Maybe.

    I am not a practitioner of thelemics myself cos I find that lifestyle way too demanding. I even think it can be dangerously unsettling.

    Why would i think so? From personal experience.
    Have had two frightening experiences, one with the use of mantra trying to awake kundalini and the other with a kabbalistic exercise that set my mind off racing with associations.
    Lack of training, nadis not purified, whatever.
    It fucked me up and screwed me over and i had to assert control after the fact and 'leave it be'
    afert that, lacking proper guidance.

    Does that mean I do not do the magics I mean to do? Nah. I follow the method of sigils and blackout as set forth by Austin Osman Spare.
    And I find myself quite comfortable with it.
    (but for the fact that his writings are hard to find, goddammit!! *Grrr*)

    Greetinx form Holland, ze solidsurfer

    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by Pawel Wasilewski on Saturday October 14, @12:25PM
    The sad thing is that Thelema (and here I'm refering to the organizational side of the Current) seems to repeat all the errors and sins of so-called "organized" religions, taking delight in fiery schizms, internal fights and, excuse me, mere simony (financial or otherwise). Moreover, I think the modern 93 is much like Christianity with all its denominations etc. : there are Thelemic Catholics ("Caliphate" OTO), Thelemic "Heresy" ("Typhonian" and related bodies), a kind of Thelemic Orthodoxy (sometimes much like Russian Orthodox Church in their Bizantine appearance) and Thelemic Prostestants (various autocephalic European OTO lodges). But hey, where's a Thelemic equivalent to Jevoha Witness ???

    PAW

    • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
      by Xnoubis on Saturday October 14, @03:46PM
      That would have been The Process. Not Thelemic exactly, but the influence is unmistakable. Didn't work out so well.


      • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
        by Mordecai Shapiro on Saturday October 14, @08:34PM
        I can certainly see the similarities between the Witlesses and the Process, but as you point out they aren't Thelemites. Can you think of any Thelemitish group that goes door-to-door? I can't.


        • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
          by Pawel Wasilewski on Sunday October 15, @04:18AM
          Oh, that question about a 93 equivalent to Jehowa Witness was just a joke. Of course either I can't imagine a "Thelemitish" door-to-door group - AL clearly states "Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch" (III:42). See also III:39.

          greetings from Poland

          PAW


          • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
            by Malgwyn on Sunday October 15, @02:54PM
            DING DONG!

            "Hello"?

            "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law! We come as messengers of the Great Beast 666, and would like to talk to you, may we come in?"

            "Ugh, I guess."

            "Thank you for inviting us into your abode. First, let us present to you a copy of 'The Book of the Law', at no charge to you. Please burn it immediately after reading it. We will wait."

            (10 minutes or so pass)

            "That is some pretty weird..."

            "Sir, please do not discuss the contents of the Book, as it is expressly forbidden! To do so is to be regarded as a Center of Pestilence!"

            "Yes, but.."

            "Do you accept the LAW OF THELEMA, and invite the Beast to stand in as your personal saviour, until such time as your own HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL, and discovery of your TRUE WILL provides you with better guidance?"

            "Ugh, sure."

            "PRAISE THE LORD!. Join with us in saluting the SUN. HAIL UNTO THEE...


            • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
              by Pawel Wasilewski on Sunday October 15, @03:34PM
              Haha, great job. We can but hope that 93 Witless will remain only in such Monty Pythonesque sketches. All the best, dear Malgwyn !

              PAW


            • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
              by Mordecai Shapiro on Sunday October 15, @06:51PM
              It can't be too long before this becomes an unconsciously self-parodying reality. Perhaps we should suggest it to Horus Kings. It reminds me much more of the Morons than the Witlesses :-)


              • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
                by Pawel Wasilewski on Monday October 16, @07:47AM
                Excuse my ignorance - Horus Kings ? Is there really anything close to our 93 Witless nightmare ?

                PAW


                • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
                  by Mordecai Shapiro on Monday October 16, @11:34AM
                  Horus Kings was a webpage dedicated to a weird conflation of Thelema and Mormonism (or "Esoteric Christianity"). When I went looking to find the URL for you I found it had morphed into something called "Thelema Eros: The Neochristianity Index", which seems to be a primarily cannabis-based movement.


                • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
                  by Nexist on Monday October 16, @12:22PM
                  Horus Kings is an interesting site, and has been from its inception. It blends various elements, mostly Christianity (especially mormonism) & Thelema. One of the first links is indeed a "Pot made me God" kind of essay, but near the bottom of the index page is a collection of essays, some quite fascinating.


          • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
            by Martin Hetland on Tuesday February 27, @02:26PM
            The Church of Scientology is the closest equivalent to Jehowa Witness that I can come up with, because Hubbard(the founder of the Scientology church)was inspired by thelema.

            Regards:

            Martin Hetland.


    • Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
      by Rafael Kitover on Wednesday October 18, @11:33AM
      A Jehova's Witness, or whatever, once stopped by our house. I gave him a copy of TBOTL, he didn't come back.


    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by Luka on Saturday December 30, @07:23AM
    TWTWSBTWOTL!

    MY humble belief:
    Being a true Thelemite is doing thy Will, and thy Will only. This is an extreme situation, complete awareness of every action. This is being thy true Godhead, thy true Self. And only someone(All) like this is truely a Thelemite. All of us who haven't attained this grade/level are more or less wannabe thelemites, future true/extreme Thelemites, refered to in the Book. And that's all to it.

    If there would be a being with a true Will to literally handle the BOTL and that were he's Path then it is clear wheather he's doing the right thing or not.

    Please, do not take this commentary as an ofence. Didn't want to hurt your thelemic identification.

    LITL,LUW.

    Re: "Orthodox" Thelemites?
    by Jeffrey Sommer on Tuesday February 26, @02:34AM
    Actually, I think of myself as adhering to the teaching and traditions of the O.T.O. as taught me by Grady and my various initiations. While I certainly respect the style of other folks, I do tend to cringe when I hear thoroughly non-Thelemic individuals being tossed like croutons into the Saints List(Vladimir Lenin was a favorite cringe-producer). I don't think that makes me a "Fundamentalist"
    You would be surprised at the intense criticism that I got from one person because I sent a letter to Promethea Comics(which I very highly recommend, by the way)which started "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." You would have thought that shame and disgrace would fall on me like a 16-ton weight for being so "out"! Interestingly, I never mentioned the O.T.O. What did I do wrong?!? I'm just not hiding, terrified that someone will discover that I'm not, say, a Protestant Christian. Oh, horrors!

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