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  The White Lighter Heresy

General Thelema Posted by <Xnoubis> on February 16, 2002 @ 09:26 AM
from the albumen-potential dept.

There is a widespread idea – popularized largely by Theosophy, I believe – that all religious and mystical ways lead to the same underlying truth. When I was introduced to Thelema, I was told that this was known as the error of the “White Lighter,” and in fundamental conflict with Thelemic doctrine.

Is that what you understand by the term “White Lighter”? And is the notion of “many paths, one truth” genuinely alien to Thelema?

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**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by Padre Gal McLoud on Monday February 18, @12:51PM

Greetings Xnoubis:

I view religion much the same way as music. There are only so many chords or notes (truths), and the number of way that these can be arranged in to make a song which will appeal to the human ear not infinite.

So to answer your question, I see “divine truth” as a tree, and all of the religions as branches of the tree.

I do a fair share of study into religions. Our Thelema is nothing original, I assure you, but appears to me to be a compilation of various tenets of various old aeon religions. Get ready for it: it is infused with Christianity. (gasp)

Crowley tought to restore religion to its rightful place. His teachings, and his initiations, can be more fully appreciated if the candidate has a solid grounding in religion: Christianity, in particular. He didn't throw the baby out with the bath water, as many of today's Thelemites are so willing to do.

In my dictionary a “white lighter” is a person that recognizes the divine is all things good and fluffy, but not in the things that he or she finds unpleasant or unappealing.


**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by <Mordecai> on Monday February 18, @03:08PM

There are many paths. There is only one truth. But none of the paths lead to it. The truth is not achieved, it's just experienced. There was an argument among the early Ch'an Buddhists in China, is enlightenment sudden or gradual? Two schools grew up, the Sudden Enlightenment school and the Gradual Enlightenment school. They're both wrong, but the Sudden school is perhaps less wrong.

A “White Lighter” occasionally comes in a package with other colored lighters. I just use them like the others.

**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by <nexist> on Tuesday February 19, @12:02PM

Is that what you understand by the term “White Lighter”?

No. I associate “White Lighter” with inanity – New Age feel good fluff bunny claptrap.

And is the notion of “many paths, one truth” genuinely alien to Thelema?

No. However the problem is that most seem to take the “some are more equal than others” path – “Many (lesser) paths, one truth (mine)”.

**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by <Razunil> on Tuesday February 19, @07:24PM

See Liber LXV, v.2:
'For the colours are many, but the light is one.'

There are as many paths as there are Wills. A path does not necessarily 'lead' anywhere - it can be (and often is !) circular….

Love under Will.

  • |Re: The White Lighter Heresy\\
    by adrian dobbie on Friday February 22, @06:44AM

    Any system built on a Qabalistic foundation has 'white light' as part of it's teaching. The notion of white limitless light emanating from the 'divine' is therefore as central to Thelema as any other system of Magick or mysticism. I tend to view this as white light streaming from Keter, through various 'filters' on the Tree of Life. In ceremonial Magick, we have the formula of LUX, the Middle Pillar Ritual & the LBRP in which white light is brought down from 'above' and circulated through the Magickian. So white light is definitely a part of Thelemic doctrine.\\
    Thelema, I suppose, differs from other magickoreligious systems in that the Thelemite knows the light is there, but doesn't necessarily have to see it as a 'goal'.\\
    And lets also not forget that light pours from the first emanating principle - but beyond that is no-thing.\\
    93 93/93\\

  • |Re: The White Lighter Heresy\\
    by <Nekial> on Friday March 01, @08:02PM\\|

    Thank you Razunil!\\

**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by Fra THA;M on Saturday February 23, @03:04PM

In one of his discourses on the AA, Crowley states that it is just one path of many.

He also relates that one specific individual whom he is sure is a 'master' and member has never never even heard of Thelema or TBOL.

**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by <HeruRaHa> on Saturday March 09, @08:41PM

I think the real issue is whether or not all these paths (because no one seems to be debating that there are not myriad paths) lead to the same truth, or lead to anything at all, or if there even is a truth!?

I'm personally of the opinion that there are a few absolutes in the universe, but I won't even begin to claim to know what any of them may be.

I've always maintained an attitude similar to “all ways lead to the same underlying truth”, but with a slight twist. I don't really believe anything…. not that I'm nihilistic or wishy-washy, I do have certain principles upon which I conduct my life and my magick, but just because they work (for me, at that time) hardly makes them true or absolute.

I once told a Christian fellow whom I was studying the bible with that I'm the biggest hypocrite in the world, because I don't really believe any of the things I believe. Everything is just a theory, a postulate, useful only until a better one comes along….

Do what thou wilt…
….and do it fast!

**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by Ataniell Rising on Sunday March 17, @07:38PM

I think that it's kind of silly to say that all religions have a single underlying truth.

Most religions do teach certain of the same behaviors. Not murdering, not lying, not stealing, and not committing rape, for example. But when you think about that, those are pretty basic building blocks of civil society. Groups in which this kind of activity is tolerated won't last very long.

So, most religions do address these issues and have some kind of commandment that boils down to “Be Excellent to each other”.

However, when you get down to it, most religions have very different ULTIMATE goals.

Christianity teaches that the ultimate good is for the soul to be saved and become one with God through obedience to his teachings and acknowledgement of Christ's sacrifice.

Pagan religions teach that we are evolving, like nature, and that we improve as we live, and that the goal of life is learning, through various incarnations and experiences.

Other religions teach other things. Buddhists want to get off the wheel entirely; Gnostics want to go back wherever it is that they think they came from.

Thelema teaches the perfection of the Will.

These are all pretty different from each other. I really don't want to stop incarnating and live some other place without sex. I don't want to be obedient to some other power; I am a Star thankyouverymuch. If I could figure out how to make this body immortal I would.

Saying that religions are all alike at the core because they promote behavior that makes it easier for people to live together is like saying that all cuisines are alike because they all have protein, fat and carbs.


**Re: The White Lighter Heresy**
by <starphoenix> on Monday April 01, @02:55PM

The idea that there are many paths leading to the one is a type of 'spiritual correctness' that aims at including all, offending none.

The truth is, most of the laid back exponents of this 'white lighter' philosophy are usually the type of naval gazing narcissists its impossible to avoid in new age book stores. It's a soft philosophy - the sort of incence laden thinking that flows easily amongst the 'feel good' enthusiasts.

I would agree that many paths do lead to the one end - but that outcome isn't what any self-respecting Thelemite will settle for. We are Thelemic precisely because we 'go against' this flow. We oppose it because to be truly Thelemic is to be unnatural. Acting according to higher will is not a natural state of affairs. It has to be earned the hard way, through discipline and sacrifice. It means going against the current.

Even a semi-serious reading of Crowley's 'Magick in Theory and Practice', demonstrates very clearly that this way isn't for the many. When undertaken with serious intent it is rigorous and demanding in the extreme. In this sense Thelema in action is a different animal from the hosts of 'comfort spiritualities' whose primary aim seems to be the distribution of communal reassurances.

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