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cartweel
August 29th, 2004, 02:41 AM
So I took the "Which Pagan Path Do You Follow?" Quiz from another thread expecting to get an answer like "Wiccan", "Eclectic Witch", "Druid", etc.. When I took the test, however, it said that my #1 Pagan Path was: Thelema.

My first reaction was "Hmm... that looks Greek."

My second reaction was "Wait a minute... What in hell is Thelema?"

Needless to say, I immediately hit the internet. It turns out that Thelema ((I was right, it's Greek! My teacher would be so proud)) means "will". It is a philosophy/religion that views every person as having a "True Will" which they should follow in order to attain Truth. Every person is seen as having a separate "True Will" that they are expected to follow as long as it does not obstruct another Thelemite from achieving their own will. Their basic tenates are: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", "Every man and every woman is a star", and "Love is the law, Love under Will." The teachings of Thelema were supposedly revealed to Aleister Crowley by a "shadowy voice over his shoulder" after a certain carving was mystically pointed out to him in a museum by his wife. He wrote "The Book of the Law", which contains all Thelemite teachings/philosophy, along with a commentary on that work. He is seen as the "Prophet" of Thelema. Crowley also founded several hermetic organizations dedicated to furthering these philosophies.

Well, back to my point: Disreguarding all the "shadowy voice" and "prophet" mumbo-jumbo, I realized that this philosophy was stating EXACTLY what I had been trying to word for so long, even while I attended Church! The problem is that there is no reliable sourses on the net that give a detailed description of its beliefs and/or an overview of its traditions. Crowley's organizations still exist but still shun neophytes and are hard to access. The description I gave above is about the extent of what I can find on the internet besides a copy of "The Book of the Law" which is, quite frankly, incomprehensible.

Could anyone who knows anything about Thelema please contact me through this thread or PM with information concerning Thelema? I'm dying to learn everything I can about it. Any input at all would be wonderful. I think I might have hit the jackpot with this one, fellas!

WickedBttrfly
August 29th, 2004, 02:43 AM
Congratulations!! I'm happy you found what you were looking for.

SilverClaw
August 29th, 2004, 03:46 AM
Actually this is a path I just started looking into about a week ago, and I beleive that there is some people here who follow that philosphy and I am sure they will stop in if they see this post.

As for me I am still a novice so I am not sure I would be much help. :)

Seren_
August 29th, 2004, 06:44 AM
Try any books by Lon Milo DuQuette. The sexual subtext of some of Crowley's rituals are hilarious...Try looking for Duquette's The Magick of Thelema, which I think might have been republished as "The Works of Aleister Crowley", or something like that.

On the net, your best bet would probably be to look up Thelema along with the Ordo Templi Orientis - here's one: http://oto-usa.org/news.html

You will also need to look into the Qabalah to understand even 1% of what the hell Crowley's talking about (sorry if I'm stating the obvious by now)...It might also help looking into other kinds of Ceremonical magic like the Golden Dawn, because some of Crowley's Thelemic rituals are based on those, or a reworking of them.

Your True Will is usually defined as being that which is aligned with God's, as well as what you've already said..."Do what thou Wilt" (the capital is important, because it signifies True Will, if you get me) is therefore an instruction to strive to achieve this alignment of your own will with the Will of God, you could say. In Thelema, this is done through ceremonial magic, which is generally Qabalistic in nature.

Links:
Religious Tolerance's look at Thelema (http://www.religioustolerance.org/thelema1.htm)
History of the OTO (http://www.hermetic.com/heidrick/oto_history.html)
Thelemic Salutations (http://www.hermetic.com/heidrick/salutes.html) - Bill Heidrick is a very good source
Crowley's works (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/index.htm)
Thelemic Resource list and more links (http://members.cox.net/thelema/resource.html)
Occult Forums (http://www.occultforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=74) - the best place to go for expert advice, I think.

Hope that helps.

semi
August 29th, 2004, 01:27 PM
What Seren said.

Also, when Crowley created the religion he stated that the only tenet was to follow you're own will, be true to yourself. He said that everyone has to figure out what this means for themselves and anyone elses interpretation of it would be wrong. That's why there aren't many instructional texts. All the rituals related to Thelema that you may read about are just samples of ways to learn more about yourself and existence, ways to help you discover and follow your true will. It's a very individualized path to spiritual transformation. I follow an African/Native American path but I also use Thelemic methods because the philosophy of Thelema is adaptable to any path or no path at all.

And, if you read Crowley, don't worry about being confused for awhile. It'll make sense eventually.

PM me if you want. Good luck.

Erebus
August 29th, 2004, 01:36 PM
The problem is that there is no reliable sourses on the net that give a detailed description of its beliefs and/or an overview of its traditions.

There's no such thing as an "overview". You either have to wade through pages and pages of Crowlian drug-induced rambling and somehow glean enlightenment from it, or piss off. That's pretty much the attitude I've met when talking to Thelemites about it.

SilverClaw
August 29th, 2004, 01:45 PM
Thanks for those links and as for the occult forum that is a very interesting place to go. I was there earlier this year.

Ladyvi
August 29th, 2004, 02:42 PM
i met a couple of thelemites. one fairly decent high priest. dont ask me about their degrees as though i seen the affects upon its ranks. they wouldnt elaborate when i mentioned certain things. i shrugged. they know im a guardian and we are still friends. been asked to go to one of their ceremonies but its too far for me at the moment. they firmly believe in family and include them in some of the ceremonies. i havnt spent too much time in study of them but if you get the book by donald kraig. it has a lot of leg work for thelemite application. its called ' modern magick' good read as well. this high priest i mentioned has met donald kraig. wish i could.

the belief and doctrin stem from the one premise ' love is the law, love under will'

Seren_
August 29th, 2004, 04:23 PM
it has a lot of leg work for thelemite application. its called ' modern magick' good read as well. this high priest i mentioned has met donald kraig. wish i could.


To be fair the rituals and the system laid out in there are ceremonial, not Thelemic. But it is a good read if you're into that kind of thing.

grnpuffer
August 29th, 2004, 05:03 PM
As with any system, there are good and bad parts and each must work out what that means for themselves.

I was deeply involved with thelema for ~ 5 yrs a long time ago, and I have no idea if my experience was typical of most folks who call themselves thelmites. But I'm thankful for what I learned from that period of my development and I can honestly say it had an important impact on my path....
*the idea of deep personal responsiblity and a stuborn committment to not be sloppy or inattentive with one's spiritual development.
*the idea that consciousness of the human family has evolved over time and that spiritual systems have risen and fallen in support of that development. Likewise, spiritual systems rise and fall in relevance for the individual.
*recognizing the power and the dangers of accepting dogma uncritically (including the dogma of thelema)
*exposure to forms of ritual magic that were pretty radical
*integral development

I ultimately left thelema and moved onto other things... mostly because it seemed that the folks I was associated with were more into the legend of crowley and the scarlet woman than genuine work. Folks seem to get stuck in some form of strange fundamentalism. They seemed to be stuck- aggressively defending little quotations from various writings of crowley, rather than striving to achieve the levels of consciousness those sayings represent. I was originally attracted to the idea that thelema was about a new synthesis that embraced pluralism and creativity. It turned out to be anything but that.

Best wishes on your journey.

Ladyvi
August 29th, 2004, 05:49 PM
what i meant is that donald kraig's work is a good basis if your getting into ceremonial magick. i found it rather solid. in my path workings.

cartweel
August 31st, 2004, 12:28 AM
Try any books by Lon Milo DuQuette. The sexual subtext of some of Crowley's rituals are hilarious...Try looking for Duquette's The Magick of Thelema, which I think might have been republished as "The Works of Aleister Crowley", or something like that.

On the net, your best bet would probably be to look up Thelema along with the Ordo Templi Orientis - here's one: http://oto-usa.org/news.html

Your True Will is usually defined as being that which is aligned with God's, as well as what you've already said..."Do what thou Wilt" (the capital is important, because it signifies True Will, if you get me) is therefore an instruction to strive to achieve this alignment of your own will with the Will of God, you could say. In Thelema, this is done through ceremonial magic, which is generally Qabalistic in nature.

Links:
Religious Tolerance's look at Thelema (http://www.religioustolerance.org/thelema1.htm)
History of the OTO (http://www.hermetic.com/heidrick/oto_history.html)
Thelemic Salutations (http://www.hermetic.com/heidrick/salutes.html) - Bill Heidrick is a very good source
Crowley's works (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/index.htm)
Thelemic Resource list and more links (http://members.cox.net/thelema/resource.html)
Occult Forums (http://www.occultforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=74) - the best place to go for expert advice, I think.

Ooh thank you! Those are so much help!

Also, thanks to all of you for posting. I've collected alot of good information from ya'll.

SilverClaw
September 10th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Hey cartwheel I was just wondering how your journy on this path is coming along? Have you any thoughts about htose links that were posted? Look forward to hearing your responses.

Alkhemia
September 11th, 2004, 02:44 AM
That's why there aren't many instructional texts.

Hey, not to mention the fact that in his commentary to Liber AL, Crowley says that the study of the book is forbidden and he advises us to destroy it after reading it. I guess Cenobites manifest if you don't destroy it. :holycow: (Lest someone take me seriously, I am just kidding about the Cenobites. :rotfl: )

Lon DuQuette is a really great source. In all honesty, he is as cool in real life as he seems in his books and I have tons of respect for him. Another good text to check out if you are new to Thelema is; Abrahadabra: A Beginners Guide to Thelemic Magick by Rodney Orpheus. Rodney is another terrific guy and although his book is currently OOP, he is going to be reprinting it later this year.

Alkhemia

cartweel
September 11th, 2004, 07:21 PM
Hey cartwheel I was just wondering how your journy on this path is coming along? Have you any thoughts about htose links that were posted? Look forward to hearing your responses.

Slowly- Very, very slowly... :zzzzZZZ:

My problem is that I don't have enough background knowledge- I don't know enough about Crowley, about hermetic orders, about ceremonial magic, etc.. So, in order to get anything out of the writings concerning Thelema (which usually assume that the reader is familiar with those topics), I'm having to start small and work my way through it all. Now that school has started back up agan and I have more work to do It's been tough, but I'm continuing my research.

All I can say is that I'm chipping away at a boulder. Eventually I'll see past the rock and behold the sculpture within.

Thanks for asking, Bran!

SilverClaw
November 21st, 2005, 10:25 PM
Holy I forgot to check back on this thread way back when. Seeing your other posts and such recently cartweel any further then before?

Apprentice666
November 30th, 2005, 10:21 AM
I find myself in your position as well, Cartweel, especially with me in my Junior year of highschool. I hope all goes well with you, and thank you for starting this topic.

Apprentice666
November 30th, 2005, 05:28 PM
Here, I found this, I'm not sure if it was previously mentioned or not, but here it is, Thelemapedia (http://www.thelemapedia.org)

Paracelsus
December 2nd, 2005, 01:02 PM
And, if you read Crowley, don't worry about being confused for awhile. It'll make sense eventually.

Lucky you, I've been reading Crowley for over 20 years, and I'm still confused...

sidhe
December 18th, 2005, 04:29 PM
I'll second the recommendation of Duquette. He rules, and clarifies a lot of what Crowley said.

I'm a Thelemite, myself, though I'm only slowly getting into the deeper parts of it. I had a bit of an advantage, though, as I started off with an interest in ceremonial magick. Still very complex.

The O.T.O is a good resource, if you have one in your area. Every O.T.O member I've met was very very friendly. Plus, you might get the chance to go to the Gnostic Mass, which is the most awesome spiritual experience I've ever had.

Also remember, when reading Crowley, that while he may have introduced Thelema to the outside world, he wasn't always it's best example. The Age of Horus is supposed to emphasize the equality of the masculine and feminine, which doesn't jibe with Crowley's low-grade misogyny. Doesn't change that he really knew his shite, just that sometimes you have to pick out Crowley speaking as Thelemic Representative and Crowley speaking as Crowley.

There are other Thelemic organizations outside of the O.T.O, such as the Thelemic Golden Dawn, and the Ecclesia Catholicae Gnostica...or something similar. I probably just butchered the spelling on that.

PM me if you have any questions.