Abbey of Thelema

Abbey of Thelema, Cefalù, Italy

“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.


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