Thelema Part 2
The book “The Holy Books of Thelema,” includes most of the books which Thelemites consider to be Crowley’s “inspired” texts, and which form the canon of Thelemic Holy Scripture. The chief of these is “Liber AL vel Legis, sub figure CCXX,” commonly called “The Book of the Law.” The contents of this book are rather cryptic, and Crowley has prepared a number of commentaries thereto for clarification. Thelemites are expected to interpret the book for themselves, based on Crowley’s commentaries and other writings, but are enjoined from promoting their personal interpretations to others. Another book which forms an important part of the Thelemic canon, but which is not included in The Holy Books of Thelema for technical reasons, is “Liber XXX rum vel Saeculi, sub figure CDXVIII,” commonly called “The Vision and the Voice.” The “I Ching” and the “Tarot” (considered as a book of mystic illustrations rather than as a fortune-telling device), though of Pre-Thelemic origin, are also considered to be part of the informal Thelemic canon.PractitionersOTO includes a specifically liturgical arm which is called Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (EGC), the Gnostic Catholic Church, which was originally brought into relations with OTO by Dr. Gerald Encausse (Papus) in 1908. The principal ritual of EGC is called the Gnostic Mass. Membership, in EGC is available through baptism and confirmation. Members of OTO in good standing are eligible for clerical ordination in EGC Members of the Second Degree and higher (or even the First Degree, in some situations) are eligible for ordination as Deacon, and those who have reached KEW, are eligible for ordination as Priest and Priestess. EGC also celebrates seasonal festivals and offers baptism, confirmation, weddings, last rites and other religious services to its members. Many OTO local bodies celebrate the Gnostic Mass one a regular basis, and in most locations, no formal affiliation is required to attend the Mass.OTO has long worked in close alliance with A.’.A.’. (Sometimes called the Argentum Astrum, or the Order of the Silver Star), which first proclaimed the Law of Thelema to the world. The A.’.A.’. is a teaching and initiatory structure dedicated to the personal spiritual advancement of its individual members. Within A.’.A.’. all services are rendered free of charge, and no social activities are held. OTO and A.’.A.’. have jointly issued the journal “The Equinox” since 1912 e.v., now entering its fourth volume. Although they are distinctly separate organizations, OTO has historically assisted A.’.A.’. with practical matters that lie outside its primary, mission, which is purely spiritual in nature.Other Items/Requirements(A note on the chief rules of practical conduct to be observed by those who accept the Law of Thelema. Excerpted from “DUTY” by Aleister Crowley)
Your Duty To Yourself
- Find yourself to be the centre of your own universe.
- Explore the nature and powers of your own being. This includes everything which is, or can be, for you; and you must accept everything exactly as it is in itself, as one of the factors which go to make up your True Self. This True Self thus ultimately includes all things soever; its discovery is Initiation (the travelling inwards) and as its nature is to move continually, it must be understood not as static, but as dynamic, not as a noun but as a verb.
- Develop in due harmony and proportion every faculty which you possess.
Contemplate your own Nature
- Consider every element thereof both separately and in relation to all the rest so as to judge accurately the true purpose of the totality of your being.
- Find the formula of this purpose, or “True Will,” in an expression as simple as possible.
- Learn to understand clearly how best to manipulate the energies which you control to obtain the results most favorable to it from its relations with the part of the universe which you do not yet control.
- Extend the dominion of your consciousness, and its control of all forces alien to it, to the utmost. Do this by the ever stronger and more skillful application of your faculties to the finer, clearer, fuller, and more accurate perception, the better understanding, and the more wisely ordered government, of that external universe.
- Never permit the thought or will of any other being to interfere with your own. Be constantly vigilant to resent, and on the alert to resist, with unvanquishable ardor and vehemence of passion unquenchable, every attempt of any other being to influence you otherwise by contributing new facts to your experience of the universe, or by assisting you to reach a higher synthesis of truth by the mode of passionate fusion.
- Do not repress or restrict any true instinct of your nature, but devote all in perfection to the sole service of your one True Will.
Your Duty To Other Individual Men And Women
- Unite yourself passionately with every other form of consciousness, thus destroying the sense of separateness from the whole, and creating a new baseline in the Universe from which to measure it.
- Abstain from all interference with other wills.
- The love and war in the previous injunctions are of the nature of sport, where one respects, and learns from the opponent, but never interferes with him, outside the actual game. To seek to dominate or influence another is to seek to deform or destroy him; and he is a necessary part of one’s own Universe, that is, of one’s self.
- Seek, if you so will, to enlighten another when need arises.
- This may be done, always with the strict respect for the attitude of the good sportsman, when he is in distress through failure to understand himself clearly, especially when he specifically demands help; for his darkness may hinder one’s perception of his perfection. (Yet also his darkness may serve as a warning, or excite one’s interest.)
- It is also lawful when his ignorance has led him to interfere with one’s will. All interference is in any case dangerous, and demands the exercise of extreme skill and good judgment, fortified by experience. To influence another is to leave one’s citadel unguarded; and the attempt commonly ends in losing one’s own self-supremacy.
- Each being is, exactly as you are, the sole centre of a Universe in no wise identical with, or even assimilable to, your own. The impersonal Universe of “Nature” is only an abstraction, approximately true, of the factors which it is convenient to regard as common to all. The Universe of another is therefore necessarily unknown to, and unknowable by, you; but it induces currents of energy in yours by determining in part your reactions. Use men and women, therefore, with the absolute respect due to inviolable standards of measurement; verify your own observations by comparison with similar judgments made by them; and, studying the methods which determine their failure or success, acquire for yourself the wit and skill required to cope with your own problems.
- Pity, sympathy and like emotions are fundamentally insults to the Godhead of the person exciting them, and therefore also to your own. The distress of another may be relieved; but always with the positive and noble idea of making manifest the perfection of the Universe. Pity is the source of every mean, ignoble, cowardly vice; and the essential blasphemy against Truth.
Your Duty To MankindEstablish the Law of Thelema as the sole basis of conduct. Crime being a direct spiritual violation of the Law of Thelema, it should not be tolerated in the community. Those who possess the instinct should be segregated in a settlement to build up a state of their own, so to learn the necessity of themselves imposing and maintaining rules of justice. All artificial crimes should be abolished. When fantastic restrictions disappear, the greater freedom of the individual will itself teach him to avoid acts which really restrict natural rights. Thus real crime will diminish automatically.
The administration of the Law should be simplified by training men of uprightness and discretion whose will is to fulfill this function in the community to decide all complaints by the abstract principle of the Law of Thelema, and to award judgment on the basis of the actual restriction caused by the offense. The ultimate aim is thus to reintegrate conscience, on true scientific principles, as the warden of conduct, the monitor of the people, and guarantee of their governors. The essence of crime is that it restricts the freedom of the individual outraged. (Thus, murder restricts his right to live; robber his right to enjoy the fruits of his labour; coining his right to the guarantee of the state that he shall barter in security, etc.) It is then the common duty to prevent crime by segregating the criminal, and by the threat of reprisals; also, to teach the criminal that his acts, being analyzed, are contrary to his own True Will. (This may often be accomplished by taking from him the right which he has denied to others; as by outlawing the thief, so that he feels constant anxiety for the safety of his own possessions, removed from the ward of the State.) The rule is quite simple. He who violated any right declares magically that it does not exist; therefore it no longer does so, for him.
- Your Duty To All Other Beings And Things
Apply the Law of Thelema to all problems of fitness, use and development.
It is a violation of the Law of Thelema to abuse the natural qualities of any animal or object by diverting it from its proper function, as determined by consideration of its history and structure. Thus, to train children to perform mental operations, or to practice tasks, for which they are unfitted, is a crime against nature. Similarly, to build houses of rotten material, to adulterate food, to destroy forests, etc., etc., is to offend. The Law of Thelema is to be applied unflinchingly to decide every question of conduct. The inherent fitness of any thing for any proposed use should be the sole criterion. Apparent, and sometimes even real, conflict between interests will frequently arise. Such cases are to be decided by the general value of the contending parties in the scale of nature. Thus, a tree has a right to its life; but a man being more than a tree, he may cut it. The general welfare of the race being necessary in many respects to your own, that well-being, like your own, principally a function of the intelligent and wise observance of the Law of Thelema, it is of the very first importance to you that every individual should accept frankly, that Law, and strictly govern himself in full accordance therewith. You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the ultimate nature of that will, the evident condition of putting it into execution is freedom from external interference. Governments too often exhibit the most deplorable stupidity, however enlightened may be the men who compose and constitute them, or the people whose destinies they direct. It is therefore incumbent on every man and woman to take the proper steps to cause the revisions of all existing statutes on the basis of the Law of Thelema. This Law being a Law of Liberty, the aim of the legislature must be to secure the amplest freedom for each individual in the state, eschewing the presumptuous assumption that any given positive ideal is worthy to be obtained. Observe that the violation of the Law of Thelema produces cumulative ills. The drain of the agricultural population to big cities, due chiefly to persuading them to abandon their natural ideals, has not only made the country less tolerable to the peasant, but debauched the town. And the error tends to increase in geometrical progression, until a remedy has become almost inconceivable and the whole structure of society is threatened with ruin. The wise application based on observation and experience of the Law of Thelema is to work in conscious harmony with Evolution. Experiments in creation, involving variation from existing types, are lawful and necessary. Their value is to be judged by their fertility as bearing witness to their harmony with the course of nature towards perfection.
The Religion of Thelema encourages its practitioners to perform Ritual. Many of these workings are offered within the literature of Thelema. These may include gestures, words, and movements. They may be performed at set times, according to the position of the Sun, Moon, Planets and Signs of the Zodiac. These practices are to be decided upon by the practitioner, as are all practices in Thelema. The following items are an important part of the Religion of Thelema. While all of these items are not necessarily an essential requirement based on religious canon or law, they are all items widely used by the followers of Thelema both privately and in their community Temples. To practice the Religion of Thelema effectively, certain items are needed. These items are called the Magical Weapons. This terminology is symbolic, and one need only consider the Masonic “Tools of the Craft” to understand the similarity. These Magical Weapons are listed below. These items are often kept atop the practitioner’s Altar/Shrine or the Altar(s) used in the Gnostic Mass, community gatherings, study groups, etc. The Holy Books of Thelema – The inspired writings that were transmitted to Aleister Crowley, the foundation of the Religion of Thelema.
- The Book of Thoth and the Thoth Tarot Pack
- The pictorial representation of The Book of the Law designed by Aleister Crowley as aids for meditation and concentration
- The Yi Ching
- A bundle of 50 yarrow sticks and the Book, Yi Ching, from the ancient Taoist School for use as aids in meditation
- The Altar/Shrine – This may vary in design from member to member. Items may be arranged atop the desks within the member’s authorized living area.
- The Magical Weapons: the Stele of Revealing, the Wand, the Cup, the Dagger, the Pentacle, etc. – The Stele of Revealing will be a copy or a picture of the Funeral Stele of the Egyptian Priest, Ankh-af-na-Khonsu. These may vary in design and construction from member to member.
- Sigils, Talismans, Symbols, pouches similar to the Native American Medicine Bag and other like Religious aids – This may include yet not necessarily be limited to feathers, designs, herbs, etc., and may vary greatly from member to member. These may be designed by the Congregation members and used as aids in meditation and concentration exercises.
- The OTO Lamen or the Unicursal Hexagram
- Abramelin Oil
- Special incense oil made from oil of olive, cinnamon, and cedar
- Prayer beads – The number of beads may vary from member to member.
- Various other Thelemic literature.
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