Witchcraft, Thelema and Christianity

there’s been a lot of ink spilled about this already. i don’t know that i’ll bring anything new to this, but maybe. i think I’ve had some interesting thoughts and this is a way to get those saved and shared. sharing is the beginning of wisdom, as the man says.

<strong>”Do you wanna touch me? Where? There! Yeah!”</strong>

Oh, you! I see some of you are already cringing. Well, just you wait!

Oh, I know it’s not a good idea to go here. But, this has been brewing for a while, and I keep coming back to it. Sometimes these things, they happen.

The masonic guideline of not talking about politics or religion has always seemed a good one. But, then again, I have always been one to look for the liminality where the rules break down and find meaning there.

I’m not touching you. Am I bugging you?

<strong>”Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony”</strong>

I read an essay which in a sensationalistic way loudly and boldly accused witchcraft of being christian because the wiccan rede dares try to clarify a key phrase with a dependent clause. <em>Quelle horreur!</em> Admittedly this might be an interpretation of a phrase in the book of the law, but it isn’t a modification of the book of the law itself. Rather, as an interpretation it’s admittedly what the book’s comment would itself calls pestilential; but, for me that injunction, to engage in a clusterfuck of pestilence, isn’t about avoiding the case where people stray from the one true interpretation, but rather quite the opposite to stop people from forcing their one true interpretation on others.

That essay then went on to, after stirring the shit, claim that witchcraft was a religion of the slave gods. I’ll get to that, but first, the question of modifications to the Book of the Law.

1) modification of 93

the first part of the claim is that anything which modifies 93 is a slave religion. because the wiccan rede conditions 93 by restating it in another way, the claim is that this is the single sufficient defining indicator of slave religion status. The claim is that by modifying 93, one is weakening the liberty the phrase offers by conditioning it.

Only, here’s the thing: Crowley himself conditioned 93 with modification when explaining it to people and in the same way as the Rede does.

a. 93 is.

For those that aren’t familiar with what I mean when I say 93, this is a number that in Gematria represents Thelema and Agapé. Therefore “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” is sometimes represented by a 93 for Thelema. Further, some instead of saying “Love is the law, love under will” say 93/93 or 93s for Agapé over Thelema (or, Agapé/Thelema).

(Of course, as you see those flinging accusations are the same that freak out when on says “Do what thou wilt” instead of the whole phrase; when Crowley himself also used only those four words on occasion instead of the whole phrase and further that even “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” is itself a partial quote out of context from the entire verse. And, saying 93 is also itself a modification of the phrase, <em>a fortiori</em>. In other words, those making accusations are ignorant hypocrites who excuse some modification and ignore some modifications while complaining bitterly about still other modifications.)

b. the rede is.

the rede is intentionally archaic, using “an” to mean “if” (see shakespeare’d R&J for an example of this elsewhere). so it should understood to be, and could be re-phrased as “If it harm none, do what you will”.

c. not all witches hold to the rede, essentially Gardnerian. not Feri, for example. so, the claim about the rede only applies to those that hold to the rede, not all of the phenomenon of witchcraft as a whole.

the difference is.

2. well, if that’s true, then thelema is a slave religion. there are numerous examples of crowley modifying 93 when explaining it or putting it into action, for example .

eq 1 4 “_Do what you like_; but in the name of your own Higher Self willfully _do no injury to your own body or mind_ by over indulgence or under indulgence.” p192

revival of magick, sexuality at cefalu essay: approved, allowed

There, then, are several examples of how even Crowley himself found it necessary to clarify and condition 93. In otherwords, it was necessary from the beginning, even within the orthodox notion of Thelema, to modify 93 in order to make it clear.

you can find others if you simply pay attention and look for them.

So, if even Crowley himself found it necessary to many times to explain 93, then is it any wonder that Gardner would feel the need to state 93 in a way that communicated his understanding of it, no doubt as he learned it from Crowley himself, either in person or through his works? No, it makes perfectly good sense.

the syllogism is weak.

the syllogism is:

a. Witchcraft modifies 93 b. modification of 93 is to be a slave religion c. therefore, witchcraft is christianity

however, not all witchcraft holds to the rede, so a. fails. however, modification of 93 cannot be sufficient to be a slave religion, or else thelema itself is also a slave religion, so b. fails. however, c. requires the identity of slave religion with christianity, however not all save religions are christianity, so c. fails.

in other words, this attempt at a logical argument is completely flawed. really it says more about the person making it than anything else because it reveals serious failures of clear thinking on the part of the person making it.

a. is an appeal to orthodoxy. no changes are permitted at all. and, yet, examples of this abound within thelema itself, made by crowley himself. a. says a lot about the person making that argument. b. shows a kind of desperate need for certainty, a kind of fanatic fundamentalism, which seems to me really quite contrary to the actual teachings of thelema.

b. it is not to be a slave religion, rather to be a skeptic as in a scientist. b. reveals that the person making the argument is grounded in the _faith_ of science, not science itself. this person is using the trappings of science and logic, poorly to be sure, to prove they are right. however, science is not about proving one’s preconceptions, but about learning the truth in spite of them.

c. to even make the claim that being a slave religion is to be christian shows that there’s some particular bugaboo for the person making that argument about christianity. the lady doth protest too much.

You’ve now seen the argument that witchcraft is christianity completely demolished, and no reasonable person could continue to claim such. Also, any person making that argument can be analyzed to have certain character flaws. To go any further would really just be beating a dead horse, but I think beating this particular dead horse may offer some interesting things.

So, I’m going to use this as a springboard for more. Now that I’ve clarified that witchcraft is not what was being claimed, I’m going to talk about what witchcraft actually is by defining some terms and talking about history.

http://solascendans.com/2010/04/17/magick-wicca-witchcraft-christianity/

PART 2

in the previous part, i demolished a, frankly lame, attempt to claim that witchcraft is christianity. witchcraft is not christianity. but, what is it then? so, what is wicca as opposed to witchcraft and thelema and so on.

1. history

Witchcraft is also a phenomenon of the promethean current of the New Aeon

wicca, witchcraft, the craft, freemasonry masonry - see stevenson, scotland’s first century wicca - see hutton, triumph

witchcraft, as we’ve come to know it, as part of the modern western tradition, in spite of what many would like to believe, was formulated around the same time as, and from quite a lot of the same materials as, another new religious movement called Thelema. to separate those origins is a bit parsimonious and ignorant of the current research.

2. definitions

first off some terms. wicca, witchcraft, craft, thelema

okay, so that’s the framework for talking about witchcraft. now, lets talk about heresy, in part 3

okay, so the claim that witchcraft is christianity failed completely, but let’s take a moment to examine thelema. thelema’s got a crusader riding around looking for someone to impugn, but that turns out to be a pretty brash bit of misdirection.

now it’s time to turn the tables.

-

“thelema is more christian than christianity” paradoxalpha

eckhart’s sanctuary on the clouds was re-written by crowley, and in that he simply replaced “jesus” with “v.v.v.v.v.”. so, it’s not the structure that’s different, it’s the interpretation and paradigm.

in fact the terminology is all there. god, saints, sin, angels

the language is all there. hebrew, latin

the structure is all there. very roman catholic.

the culture is all there. affinity to many christian heretics, like molinos and so on, in the gnostic saints list.

thelema is a christian heresy, but still firmly within the framework of christian tradition. even if one were to claim thelema is post-christian or anti-christian, to be post-christian or anti-christian is still to be within the ying-yang whole of the christian tradition. this is because an identity as post-christian or anti-christian both require the christian tradition to exist and in which language to speak. can’t have post-christian or anti-christian without christians.

-

in fact, its my observations that thelema appears to appeal to lapsed orthodox christians in the same way that reclaiming appeals to lapsed jews. and herein is a very interesting observation.

just as the christians and the jews are intertwined traditions, so are thelema and witchcraft. as one to the other, they are sects of the same structural whole. and, the vehement hate spewed by one against the other is really an example of overboard sibling rivalry.

the example of the modification of 93 is such a minor issue of doctrinal purity that it boggles the mind how it can be such a major sticking point. but, there’s precedent in other sectarian conflicts where a minor item becomes a major issue. take the sunni and shite conflict. take the issue of transubstantiation. and so on.

there’s something about the nastiness of sectarian hatred in the way that thelemites and witches get on with each other.

-

this is where the pagans do a spit-take at the sheer neocon-like audacity of a thelemite accusing the pagan of having the thelemite’s major weakness. after all, it’s the thelemite that uses the language, imagery, story, metaphor, symbols and apparatus of christianity, not the least of which is the crusader’s need to conquer the heathen and the inquisition’s intolerance for heresy.

the wiccan on the street might look over the thelemite’s shoulder and see the frequent inclusion of direct biblical quotes and metaphors, the use of the highly christian modalities from the western ceremonial tradition, the frequent use of the cross and tetragrammaton, frequent celebration of a mass, a cultish and messianic preoccupation with an invariably male Prophet whose message seems more often misunderstood by His followers than by others, and so on … and simply boggle at being accused of being Christian, saying in response, “WTF?! Spent so much polishing your vessel you’ve gone blind? Have you looked in the mirror lately, Frater Oblivious?” I mean, really, that’s more insipid than the whole row over transubstantiation, for St William Blake’s sake. might as well be shouting on the street corner, “Tastes Great!” might as well just stand on the street corner insulting people’s choice in shoes, just to be a jackass. in other words, similar shallow and mistaken analysis lead people to say that Crowley was a evil satanist and that thelema is merely a movement of satanism, which is to say, bringing it full circle, merely a form of diabolism, a devil-focused christianity. so, in other words both ends of that stick can be used to beat dead horses.

this must be some kind of Godwin’s law where eventually every new religious movement conflict is reduced to yelling accusations of “Satanism” or “Christianity” at each other. To be so hung up on Christianity is to still be defined by it, and is a measure of how much one’s thinking is still stuck in an old paradigm, rather than free from it. The amount of attention paid to Satan by some Christians makes one wonder if they are in fact worshiping Satan since they’ve clearly got nothing else on their minds. Could it be that the Thelemite that spends so much time seeing Christianity everywhere maybe also dost protest too much? (I think they’ve revealed that they are in fact secretly still Christians thereby.)

This isn’t the way to have a constructive conversation. It’s the way to bring useful discussion to a complete end and move on to meaningless blather and bloviation which ultimately has no purpose but to perpetuate balkanization of groups that should be allies. it’s not new, really, this self-defeating conflict; it’s been going on in movements since probably the dawn of time. it’s <em>so</em> last aeon, amirite? the longevity of this must mean it’s systemic in nature, and so the answer to breaking out of that self-defeating cycle is going to be on the systemic level.

That’s not to even mention so far the injunction in vel magi against religious pride. or the commenting in liber librae about how blasphemy against one means willingness to blaspheme against another.

Hey, you two over there, don’t look so smug! yeah, i’m talking to you Lady Silverrump and Merlin Stubblestump, or whatever your craft names are this hour! You aren’t making this any easier, you know? your lack of self-awareness about how embarrassing you make it to be pagan is enough reason to drive me away; but, the fact that your delusions of historicity are at least a decade behind current academia, your fanatic attempt to actualize your fandom into religion is kind of praiseworthy as post-modern art but lamentably a neo-romantic, escapist addiction to spectacle that is running further into illusion rather than towards self. your allergy to the very mention of Crowley to whom you really owe and from whom you could learn a whole lot, and your complete ignorance of the overall Western tradition which you desperately pretend to be better than, different than and disconnected from - all this is inexcusably retarded. you two are the drunk aunt and uncle that everyone hopes are too trashed to make it to the family gathering. where’s your solidarity with another group that’s being reviled and called nasty names?

luckily, not Frater Oblivious, nor Lady Silverrump, and not even Merlin Stubblestump are all there is for either thelema or the craft, whether wiccan or not.

both of these examples are people who, i think, don’t actually get it. one is someone stuck in a kind of chapel perilous constructed of religious pride, more intent than not on simply stirring up some shit, causing conflict, doing more harm than good, and perhaps even intentionally building a disingenuous strawman in order to be rhetorically cute. (Hey, why are you looking at me like that?) the other is an example of mistaking the cosplay for the the tree-worship, fandom for , and .

— dysfunction junction what’s your function? —

a recent essay on promulgating the law makes the argument that it’s nothing to do with the trappings of initiation, mass, or anything other than the work of bringing the law of liberty, of thelema to the world. if you accept that argument from the essay then, therefore it follows that any movement that does bring liberty, whether it has the various trappings of OTO or not, is doing the work of promulgating the law. even if not doing so using the those terms. if you accept this extension, then the money shot from the essay rolls off the tongue like pearls before swine, “”. it’s not the trappings, but the t…; it’s not the accidents, but the purpose.

and the shared purpose isn’t called in both “the great work” for giggles. well, at least not just for that reason, anyway. here’s the thing: if it’s not the accidental trappings that matter, but the promulgation of liberty; i propose the radical notion that wicca and thelema are expressions of the same overall promethean current.

i don’t currently believe this current suddenly sprung up in 1904, but i do think that it’s part of the zeitgeist. i don’t think it’s new, but i think it’s more pronounced in this current age. i think it’s one loop in an historic, and maybe even prehistoric, cultural system. i think that this entire cultural system is re-expressed cyclically with a variety of particulars more or less emphasized in every age. but that’s another essay altogether …

wicca is an orgy. thelema is a daisy chain. sure one’s maybe a little more structured than the other, but why get so hung up on the way participants have organized themselves? are you really going to stomp around at an orgy and demand that people line up in a more orderly fashion screaming that they aren’t doing it right? are you really going to throw a tantrum when the daisy chain just seems too damned symmetrically arranged on the floor talking about how improper euclidian arrangements are for a “real” alternative scene? either way, there’s a whole lot of sex going on, so why be bitter one way or the other when everyone’s getting lucky except you because you’re too uptight to get down with the action? Looking for one, and stumbling upon the other; are you really going look a gift … er, um … in the … well, you know? just politely ask someone close-by, “to what end?” and dive in. as long as the turtles are properly tortured all the way down, and no one gets an eye poked out; enjoy the scene. (just, you know, either way: be safe, right?) however, if instead you walk away frustrated, for whatever reason, it’s your own damned fault not theirs; clearly a lot of people were putting a lot of effort into it and getting something in return they liked even if you weren’t one of them.

– Un elefante se balanceaba sobre la tela de una araña

The elephant in the room here is gender politics.

gender divisions in the work, ceremonial vs witchcraft

much misogyny and misandry flung across the fence

that’s one reason why Andromeda Klein is so awesome, she’s a young woman doing magick.

the discussion by plutopsyche. there’s women of the golden dawn, but what about the actual work of women. especially recent work. there’s the jane wolfe journals. there’s dion fortune. there’s the recent anthology. but, even where there’s examples, these seem to be the exception.

there’s the injunction against revealing the names of women in the order. on the level of security culture that makes some sense, but it’s also an example of gender disparity being ensconced in an institutional rule. i know there were some women speakers at MMM and NOTOCON who strongly rejected this, and used their own names, but it’s still the norm in the order.

as well, the work of men in the tradition of witchcraft is often ignored. there’s quite a few reclaiming folk that don’t know anything much about gardner and less about anderson.

to some extent this is a larger cultural issue, but the presence of this issue clearly indicates that neither the thelemic nor witchcraft subcultures have managed to address it.

what happened? someone set us up the bong! main screed turn on! all your wicca are belong to us!

– im in ur wicca, scarin’ ur noobs shirt –

much has been said about the sources for Gardner’s book of shadows, and how much of it appears to come directly from published sources in Crowley’s Equinox.

much has been said about Gardner’s taking of OTO and A&therefore;A&therefore; materials, but he was chartered by Crowley to initiate into the Minerval degree. at this time the Minerval degree was still (was it?) based more closely on the original Freemasonic sources, in the Emulation Lodge; so the divergence from the modern OTO rituals is to be expected, and the similarity to the Emulation lodge is also to be expected.

Gardner was recognized as an initiate of the ?? degree. one of the tasks of the magister templi is to form his own system of magic. Gardner did exactly what he was supposed to do: created a system of magic based on his understanding and learning. this was not a rogue event, but behaviour quite within the expected curriculum of an initiate of his degree.

One Star in Sight:

“Members of the Order are each entitled to found Orders dependent on themselves on the lines of the R. C. and G. D. orders, to cover types of emancipation and illumination not contemplated by the original (or main) system. All such orders must, however, be constituted in harmony with the A?A? as regards the essential principles.”

tho G wasn’t an initiate of AA, that I’ve heard; but, the notion of creating a system is inherent in several initiatory paths. the equivalent statement for the original GD was XXX.

It seems possible that Gardner didn’t steal material, rather he consciously built on that material. that he, and his adjutants, were not willing to recognize and even willfully obfuscated the sources for the material is unfortunate and probably in general wrong; but success is his proof, perhaps, that there was reason and rhyme to this experiment in religion.

if every woman is a star, then no one has the right to determine on their behalf that the path they are drawn to take is not the correct one for them. to do otherwise is internally inconsistent with the notions of the new aeon.

(on rede also: http://www.hermetic.com/heidrick/salutes.html)

an it harm none, do what thou wilt

there’s plenty of instances where clarity has been necessary in documents more directly thelemic, to make clear that do what thou wilt is not to do what one wishes to do. further there’s examples of clarifying that interfering with others is not to be considered an example of one’s true will; there’s also the example of harm to others and to the self, specifically outlined as part of implementing Thelemic principles at Cefalu. one might say that this is merely an example of a specific person practice, but it was not for a single individual rather an explanation of a practice for the community, therefore it was an implementation not of a practice without basis but a practice founded in the work of Thelema. the notion of not doing harm to the self or others was, and is, part of Thelema, as is demonstrated by this. to say otherwise is simply to be selective in one’s attention and disingenuous. the origin of the word ‘harm’ has a connotation of sorrow. this is to say not that a pinprick of another is to be avoided, but that interference with others is to be avoided.

maybe the attempt was not successful, but it was certainly an experiment. and isn’t this about scientific illuminism anyway? experiments are to be celebrated, and failures tell the scientist much.

to say that one’s experience of witchcraft shows that the whole is worthless and meaningless is to forget to add, “in my own limited experience” and is to assume that all people are the same as the self. this is not liberty, but rather a tyranny of the individual over everyone else.

the question is not where did they go wrong, but where did they go right. it’s popular for a reason. it meets their needs in some fashion.

to say otherwise, frankly, just sounds like sour grapes from people who think their new aeon is better than someone else’s, as if there were one among many, as if it were possible to be in another than the one new aeon. either it’s the new aeon or its not.

— claims of continuity

anyone who’s ever claimed to be part of a tradition that comes from the great white brotherhood needs to just shut the hell up when criticizing wild claims of continuity in any other tradition.

rhetorically thelema both claims and disclaims continuity with the gnostics, the great white brotherhood, the true church, the knights templar, the heretical thinkers, and so on … it’s be beautiful dodge because of how easy it is to slip away from critical evaluation.

my personal experience of witchcraft as a path is one of learning about action before theory.

anyone that’s been to an OTO event and experienced the phenomena of the set time for the “ecstatic dance” can be forgiven for having come to mind the words of the character Dieter saying, “Now’s the time on Sprockets when we dance.” anyone who’s been from a more intuitive and ecstatic tradition will immediate see there’s something amiss here.

it’s also embarrassingly like junior prom, where essentially the only people dancing are women with a few men; but a whole hell of a lot of people sitting at the sidelines seemingly worried about being noticed or worse making a fool of themselves.

it’s a symptom, it seems to me, of being in the head, instead of the body.

a human should be both, in their body and their mind. be a whole person, and use the technology that gets you to that place. in my experience, that means being open to more than just one modality of engaging in the world, and in one’s overall practice.

to refuse to recognize, to refuse to search for the value and meaning in another’s practice is a form of myopia, a form of restriction. instead of making fundamentalist demands for other to change their hard won experiences into something they are not, why not recognize the essential humanity of the other, that they are a star, and the center of their own universe? why not ask, instead of making demands for restrictive conformity to one’s one experience, about the experience of the other? there’s value there, and there’s value in learning about the other, and there’s value in growing, even if only a little, toward being more fully human through engagement with another that amounts to more than infantile demands for another to do what you want, instead of giving them the freedom, the liberty to do as they will; to do what they were meant to do, and to find what they were meant to do in their own way.

too much energy is being spent demanding purely self-indulgent conformity from others.

this is the difference between theory and action at some level.

for myself, i see this as an example of building a lightning path, if you will, or more generically, a process of dialectic, or dialogic, transcendence. one might also call it an overall promethean process.

one need look no further than Hesse’s Narcissus und Goldmund for a fit allegory of this. however, i’ve come to think of this as the story of to people who determine to build a boat.

the question then for me is not about who’s more purely this or that, but what can each learn from the other.

sam webster points out that one of the things that buddhism can learn from paganism is to have a sense of humor. i think one of the things that thelema can learn from witchcraft is to work inuitively with energy. conversely, one of the things that witchcraft can learn from thelema is

another thing that witchcraft can learn from thelema is a unifying, underlying philosophy of liberty for all, not just from gender-politics or to only swap the gender of the overseers, but for all distinctions.

how can a witch, consciously reclaiming the word witch from all the power-political connotations, turn around and not wonder why someone like Crowley is so vilified and hated?

but at the same time, supporters of Crowley should ask themselves why they so strongly and vehemently object to what could potentially be close allies in the movement toward liberty. Crowley was not, by any means, the only person of his era to be working through his upbringing and his culture. in fact, i strongly believe that many of Crowley’s contemporaries where doing similar and at least as valuable work in breaking down those barriers, and, yes, like Crowley, they were also products of their times, imperfectly working through their shit, just as Crowley was too; just, maybe, you know, not always quite so literally.

reading about the women of the golden dawn, without whom i’m convinced the golden dawn would neither have existed at all nor had survived even as long as it did, it seems clear to me these strong and amazing women were perhaps even more important than the men. the modern western tradition owes all of these women, and the women who came after them , a huge debt of gratitude. they should not be ignored.

neither should all the women be vilified who are so desperately trying to find themselves, in a culture that still is essentially and consistently hostile to them, both openly and secretly. they are working to step into their power, their selves, their divine selves. they are working to create their own culture where they are valued and supported. they are working to be strong individuals within a community of practice that is, whether they want to believe it or not, is a new one; inspired perhaps, infused perhaps with ancient traditions; but, also very fundamentally connected to the overall cultural shift toward the liberty of the individual, while exploring what it means to be powerful individuals within a community of other powerful individuals.

in fact, just as M∴M∴M∴ is a branch among branches of the OTO, i suggest that the gardnerian tradition is in fact another branch that could be understood within the overall context of OTO. though, i can already hear the screams from both sides of the aisle, condemning this notion … there’s merit to it.

– mysteria magica pagana

i propose that witchcraft and thelema are sects of the same overall new religious movement, and i think that puts all the internecine vitriol in an interesting and lamentable perspective. After all, and I’ll try to say this with a straight face, sectarian conflict and hatred is <em>so</em> last Aeon.

to be sure there’s strong divisions over particulars between the two, but I have to point out that there’s also strong divisions over particulars within each already. of course, there’s always the defenders of the faith riding out against those that dare to question orthodoxy in both. but, there should also be, and I think more importantly, a desire to unite in the common cause of freedom and liberation from the tyranny of the crusader and the terrorism of the inquisition, in the inner and the outer, within and without, betwixt and between.

instead of being bitchy about our differences, let’s embrace the similarities; and, get on with the work of liberation over liberal amounts of libation! (er, except for those Reclaiming folk … we’ll be sure to have some cranapple juice for them.)

where do we go from here?

witchdom of the true

allies not enemies. if we cannot make friends, at least make allies.

to join what one is not with love. it seems to me that both witchcraft and thelema have a lot to learn about and from each other. further, both witchcraft and thelema are trying to liberate people, so infighting is just to get lost in old aeon sectarian violence and hate. finding a way to participate together in the promethean mission is the greater mystery.

reclaiming and feri as mercy and severity, but also witchcraft and thelema as mercy and severity. let’s remember that there’s not only a lightning path, but also a pillar of beauty between. and all three lead to the same union above the abyss.

the new-to-you crusade

I think the true unease felt by pagans toward Thelema is, however, one very significant issue. modern pagans, for the most part, are reacting to remove themselves from influence and continuation of pervasive conditioning within largely judeo-christian social and cultural structures. the often unacknowledged place of Thelema as a radical reformation of Christianity means that no matter what other benefits there may be from the system and philosophy, it is essentially what is being rejected already; and any request or pressure from followers of Thelema to adopt or accept is easily felt as a recidivism and counter to the very project of modern paganism itself. Here is the key to the essential incompatibility between the two, and I also think the key to why modern paganism is far more popular and widespread in what is becoming truly a post-Christian culture.

further, any vituperative and viciousness by followers of Thelema toward Christianity or paganism is seen largely and invariably within the context of the history of Christianity and Christian conversion movements, which have a rather bloody history.

here’s the real rub: by being a polar opposite, a radical reformation of Christianity; Thelema both strengthens and requires the continued existence of Christianity. until and unless Thelema gets over the need to self-define as oppositional, it will never succeed in a true victory; Thelema as a movement needs to grow up, claiming for itself the real work of others making cultural and social advances.

therefore Thelema as a movement is demonized as satanism by its oppositional, but paradigmatic, partner within the overall framework of Abrahamic systems; and members of the Thelemic movement are seen to demonize modern paganism, much as is expected from a movement within the Abrahamic paradigm. Thelema makes itself an outsider by rejecting it’s origin and it’s potential allies.


Contact John Griogair Bell, the Librarian via librarian@hermetic.com
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