Abbey of Thelema

Abbey of Thelema, Abbey of Cefalù, Cefalù, Italy

“From 1920 to 1923 my abode for a season was the house called the Horsel of the Abbey of Thelema that lieth upon Santa Barbara, overlooking the town of Telepylus—see Homer and Samuel Butler II, but called later by the Romans Cephaloedium, and now Cefalù.”—Chapter XXXIX: Prophecy

“I care nothing for public opinion. I care nothing for fame or success. I am perfectly happy in my retirement. The full leisure to work, the freedom from all interruption, the absence of temptations to distraction: Cefalù realizes my idea of heaven.”—Chapter 76

“I took a villa at Cefalu in Sicily for work and play. We began the day with family prayers; we occasionally celebrated a semi-religious ceremony known as the Gnostic Mass.

Several people who were my guests at the “abbey” made imaginative copy out of their visits.

Then the Fascists came into power and some foreign newspaper correspondents were asked to leave.

And so was I.”—Aleister Crowley, Black Magic is Not a Myth

“Hirsig indeed proved herself immediately able to assist Crowley in translating his ideas into reality. In 1920 they founded the Abbey of Thelema in the town of Cefalù on the coast of Sicily, thus realizing in concrete form the dream of the French literary genius and early Thelemite François Rabelais. At the Abbey, Hirsig was instrumental in guiding Crowley, the Prophet of the New Aeon, to a deeper understanding of the Law of Thelema.”—Frater Hippokleides, Leah Hersig

“Crowley briefly operated such a project—the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily in the 1920s—and late in life he was making plans for another, to be called the Green Lion, which never came to fruition. The creative opportunity to bring such communities into existence is important to the Thelemic movement as a whole, because despite the basic emphasis on the liberty of the individual, we recognize that many of the most admirable and challenging aspects of human existence can only manifest in cooperation with others.”—T Polyphilus, The Great Beast Was Here

“Rabelais is commonly given credit for the initial formulation of the libertarian ethical maxim of thelema, being the sole rule of his fictional Abbey of Thelema: “fay çe que vouldras“, variously translated from archaic French as “do what thou wilt,” “do what you please,” “do as you wish,” etc.”—David Richard Jones, Part One: King Pausole and the Wican Rede.

  • Paul Gauguin (Paul Gauguin as Saint in Crowley's diaries, 1921, at Cefalù)
  • Anna Leah Crowley (died on October 15, 1920 at the Cefalù, Palermo, Italy)


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