A Short Treatise The Unfolding of Thelema

Maybe it is because we look at the totality of Crowley's contribution to Thelema that we have adopted a helpless, unworthy attitude toward our own contribution to the evolution of this paradigm. Maybe it's the very vocal pseudo intellectuals who insist that everyone who disagrees with some aspect of the social Darwinist theories are stupid which drives so many Thelemites into inaction… into abandoning any positive and concerted effort to manifest something all Thelemites can be proud of in the real world. Instead, the majorities opt for a sort of decadent aestheticism by leaving the “real” work of promulgating the Law of Thelema to “greater minds.”

We appear to be collectively overlooking the awesomeness, the privilege of what it is to be a Thelemite living right now, in the formative stages of a New Aeon. Our response mustn't be purely aesthetic, unless we want to be like the billions of people around the world that participate blindly in some philosophical/religious paradigm they haven’t understood. This glorious tradition, which was born during that grand cosmic event in 1904, should call us to an ethic which will guide us toward our own place within it. That is the appropriate response. Thelema is not going to be defined by some new generation of uber-Thelemite on some not-too-distant horizon. Thelema is being defined right now by the actions of living Thelemites, and the policies of Thelemic Organizations everywhere… today… not tomorrow. The responsibility of laying a solid foundation upon where Thelema can flourish is up to you, and me. If Thelemites shrug this responsibility, then who will do it? A citizen is a person that takes moral responsibility for his or her society. If Thelema were a country, wouldn’t you want to be a citizen?

We are always (and most especially today) in a position of destroying the spirit of the paradigm, or reducing it to the point that no self-respecting student of The Mysteries will want to be associated with it. We are opting for mediocrity, rather than excellence. If we only accept Thelema aesthetically, then any meaningful social manifestation of it in our lifetime will not be likely.

People gasp at any sort of interpretation, forgetting that meaning is to be found in limits. A life without boundaries is not a life of freedom. Ethics provides those limits without the need of superstitious religion or morality. We mustn't run away from adapting a standard of values: voluntary norms and self imposed limits vs. imposed norms.

Thelema is not a club, society or organization. Its herald was an adept and a magician, and so Thelema lends itself quite naturally to the use of magick… but it isn't magick, and all of its adherents are not magicians. A friend of mine views Thelema as the Western Tao. I think I agree with him, but it is much, much more: It is a cup of ambrosia, and upon drinking it one becomes a god… but you must have courage, and drink deeply. It is the voice that says: “you are here now. Make it count.” Not only does Thelema provide more postmortem options than most other paradigms, it actually addresses the problem of living, which is to exist joyfully. Thelema teaches people how to love, because how could you discover your True Will without it?

Thelema is an illusion destroyer. When sincerely embraced it undresses us so that we can begin to understand our own terrible, naked truth. It leads us gently, and sometimes not so gently to an understanding of who and what we really are. “Know Thyself” is the most Thelemic phrase. Because Thelema is involved with the discovery of the god inside it builds in us reverence. In short, it brings out the best in us that men and women have to offer while returning our sovereignty and birthright. It teaches us to look at ourselves as individuals and others as reflections of ourselves, and this is the beginning of respect and compassion for our fellow stars. Thelema is not just about you. It is about becoming more like you and less like “them” so that in the end you will realize that there is no difference.

Thelema IS about you, everyone and everything, including children. Thelema posits that a child in Iraq is just as much a star as an American child. World politics should concern all Thelemites, because Thelema transcends the illusion of borders. If you want to see The Crowned and Conquering Child in action, don't look to the War in Iraq, but in the individuals organized against it.

Did you know that Tibetan Buddhists and American Indians don't have a word for “religion”? It isn't mentioned in the Torah, either. In fact, it isn't mentioned at all because at one time there was no difference between one's spirituality and any other aspect of life. When our attention was diverted from the spiritual: that is when we began to need a word to define the spiritual from every other aspect of making a living. Think about this: Thelema holds the seeds of a religion capable of uniting the spiritual with the mundane, thereby eliminating the need for that other kind of “religion” by returning us to a place where every part of our existence is divine.

Thelema bestows upon its adherent a terrible responsibility: mainly, that we have a good, intelligent understanding of what it is, because we are karmically responsible to all who receive this message.

Thelema is your internal compass. During these times when the individual's contribution to the world is being sublimated by a growing and increasing hostile government; when a person's worth is determined by how much labor they are able to produce while trying to feed their families, Thelema may be more important today than it was during Crowley's time, and its importance will continue to increase until tyranny and oppression have been eliminated. Thelema helps us to reinterpret and contemporize the wisdom of the old aeon principles and values, so that nothing worthwhile is thrown away. Thelema reveals itself through the study of Rabelais, Constantine, Nietzsche, Crowley and the other Saints invoked during Liber XV. Read, contemplate and learn. But use common sense.

The expression of Thelema is a little red book composed of three chapters:

Chapter 1 is a manifestation of the entire puzzle, so large and magnificent that we are unable to grasps its magnificence.

Chapter 2 shows us the individual pieces… and tells us each and every one of us is a piece of that grand puzzle.

Chapter 3 describes the inertia, force and chaos that are generated as the pieces struggle to find their own place.

There is a fourth chapter, and you must write it and comment upon it. It should illustrate how the phenomena illustrated in the other three chapters are manifesting in your life.

Thelema has as much to do with polyamory and monogamy as it does tennis. It is, however, concerned with the right to play tennis. Terms such as “human nature” have been used for way too long as an excuse to ignore responsibility and avoid change. In my mind, Thelema is a call for human virtue: Responsibility and accountability. Evolution works by trial and error: Fall down, get up, change. When you fail to get up, when you are unable or unwilling to rise up to the challenges, or settle for second best by using human nature as an excuse for mediocrity, rest assured that some part of you dies and becomes extinct… and when you do, you bring all of us down with you.

Gerald del Campo
January 2003
Portland, OR

Copyright Gerald del Campo 2003. All Rights Reserved