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Thread: Scarlet Women

  1. #1
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    Scarlet Women

    What are everyone's thoughts on the place of women within Ceremonial Magic and Thelema?

    The Golden Dawn had many prominent female members, but there seems to be a complete lack of women involved in Thelema, other than a handful of Scarlet Women who get little recognition for doing anything other than sleep with the "more important" male magicians (Crowley, Parsons, et al).

    Much of the rituals and literature is heavily phallocentric, as well.

    What barriers do you see keeping women away from CM and/or Thelema? How do you think we should overcome them?
    ~Morgan

    "Witchcraft does not need to apologize for involving sex magic. It is other religions which need to apologize for the miseries of puritanical repression they have inflicted on humanity." - Doreen Valiente, Witchcraft For Tomorrow (197



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    With what I know of CM and Thelema, which is not a great deal, frankly, it does seem to have a more fraternal air about it than other forms of paganism than I have encountered-more of a brotherhood with the empasis on "brother". I've tried to read more about CM and Thelema, but what materials I've encountered have been overly "heavy", if that makes sense. I also found it to be repetitive and contradictory, which I found to be frustrating in trying to learn more about it. It interests me, yet I did'nt find anything that really strikes a chord.

    What I did find fascinating and have added to my magical "repertoire", if you will, are the various sigils and their contruction-Pentacles of the various planets, Sun, and Moon.

    I don't know if my lack of connection with CM and Thelema have anything to do with me being a woman and the fraternal nature of the path ( as it strikes me) or if just me and my lack of the understanding of its mechanisms.

    Can you suggest any reading that might interest a woman, or anyone of a differeing path in general?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoon13 View Post
    Can you suggest any reading that might interest a woman, or anyone of a differeing path in general?
    Crowley lays out some interesting thoughts on the place of women in Thelema in The Law is For All, ultimately coming to the conclusion that Thelema is all about freeing women from the oppression, chastity, and degradation that the monotheistic faiths have imposed on them.

    Another good book that I find helps someone from a more Neo-Pagan context understand CM and Thelema, though indirectly, is Ellen Cannon Reed's The Witches' Qabala. In it, she stresses that the Qabalah isn't as phallocentric as it is commonly understood. Since the Qabalah is at the root of nearly every part of the Western Magickal Tradition (ie, CM, Thelema, et al.), it helps open up your understanding of the foundation of CM. And, of course, Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig is a very basic, classic CM text.

    Unfortunately, there's very little material aimed at women and/or written by women in regards to CM and Thelema. Only a handful of female authors on the subject exist, most notably Dion Fortune (The Mystical Qabalah, Psychic Self-Defence, et al.) and Nema (Maat Magick).
    ~Morgan

    "Witchcraft does not need to apologize for involving sex magic. It is other religions which need to apologize for the miseries of puritanical repression they have inflicted on humanity." - Doreen Valiente, Witchcraft For Tomorrow (197



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    I usually sum up the gender problems in Thelema to Crowley's misogyny rather than having any real basis in fact. The Law is, after all, for All. I see no reason that a woman couldn't be a great Thelemite, especially if you get past Crowley's sense of gender roles and different energies being specific to gender. Given the amount of emphasis AC gave to balance of energy between masculine and feminine, and that energy can be worked by anyone regardless of gender (judging from personal experience), I'd say that achieving the proper balance of masculine/feminine is achievable by either gender.

    Besides, Babalon turns away no one.
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    Here I am bringing up a very old thread... XD

    I have definitely found that CM is very phallocentric.

    I've had an interest in CM for some time, but I always seemed to wander away from it. Now that I'm wandering towards it again, I'm trying to work through some of the phallocentricity to make CM work for me.

    I do think though, that different genders do have different energies to work with. Most start off leaning to one side, and the effort is to balance that out. So while the goal is the same, the paths differ. The best example I can think of, and it is something I know little of, is crossing the Abyss. Babalon waits in the City of Pyramids for the magickian to mingle his seed in her cup.... The trouble here being that I have no seed, but a cup of my own.
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    well considering our local O.T.O. chapter is apparently run by a woman, I think in the current scheme of things they are seen as pretty much equal, and that most of the older works generally reflected the attitude of the time in which they where written.

    EDIT: and wow old thread, oh well, this forum doesn't much activity anyways.
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    Seriously. We don't post much here.

    Actually, I'm reading The Red Goddess right now, which reappraises the traditional phallocentric view of CM. And, anyway, modern technology can create sperm and eggs from haploid cells, so...anyone can put their seed in anything.

    Besides, IMHO, the crossing of the Abyss was about union, not fertilization. I find it a slam against my lesbian sorors that they aren't "really" achieving union in their lovemaking.

    Again, AC's hopeless clinging to what he understood. As our understanding evolves, so should our practice.
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    Consider the times when the Golden Dawn was created and most succesful. In the society where Golden Dawn had any influence, the role of women was to bear and raise children, and to cater to their husbands at their every whim. A woman was considered property. Later, when women strived to gain the power to vote, men were discussing whether or not women were actually human, and whether they had souls.

    Crowley claiming that his Law applies to women too, might be nothing more than yet another attempt to foil his wealthy acolytes, and clearly contradicts his using women as a vessel to reach magical heights.
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    Oh, that's most definitely a huge part of the issue. I'd have to hunt down the quote (it's either in the foreword to Liber AL or imbedded in Liber Aleph), but AC mentions how despite prophesying the New Aeon, he was hopelessly a child of the old one.

    I think of it as part of Crowley's bizarre sense of humor to make a passing admission of that and then to spend much time talking about how women may be used as tools and should hope for a "man soul" when reborn. Like putting a single footnote in of "Everything I say could be really, really wrong."
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by morganxpage View Post
    What are everyone's thoughts on the place of women within Ceremonial Magic and Thelema?

    The Golden Dawn had many prominent female members, but there seems to be a complete lack of women involved in Thelema, other than a handful of Scarlet Women who get little recognition for doing anything other than sleep with the "more important" male magicians (Crowley, Parsons, et al).

    Much of the rituals and literature is heavily phallocentric, as well.

    What barriers do you see keeping women away from CM and/or Thelema? How do you think we should overcome them?
    This has not been my experience at all, The O.T.O and Thelema have a large female presence, much more so than the Golden Dawn which I would characterize as much more confined to being just of men. There's no shortage of Scarlet women either. now historically speaking, no, you don't see strong female characters around Crowley. Also, remember that the O.T.O at the time was a quasi-masonic order, and not the same beast it is today.

    Sounds like you need to be hanging around actual scarlet women, try Babalon Rising,

    Much of the rituals and literature is sex-centered, phallus and all.

    I'm not seeing women staying away from Thelema and so my advice there is to look at your local Thelemic community and.or lodge and go from there as your mileage is going to very greater.
    How does your local thelemic community treat women? How are they welcomed? Many prominent members and organizers here are sorors.

    As for women staying out of ceremonial magick, that's a stereotype perpetuated by the notion of "a womans place" in society at large.
    Men have been more privileged in their exposure to such arts and the exposure of themselves to their communities.
    I'd argue here that there have always been women who have stumbled across and been interested, even practiced-
    however this isn't talked about it because of this silly notion that your girl can't be more or just as philosophical and adept as you are.
    How many men in the populace at large would date a female magician? a women practicing her own true will?
    The thing with CM, in the sense of the Hermetic lodge tradition, is it being considered the cornerstone of the civilized man and therefore
    civility and civilization. In that regard while you have fraternities that in many ways were ahead of their times, they were also very much
    rooted in their times. CM isn't just of men however it is the men who are remembered and taken seriously by the men who don't date the women
    whom are their equal, or to help her up if she hasn't been so privileged.

    What is a womans place in Thelema, and CM?
    the place she finds herself in, at the crossroads of her LBRP
    within the lodge of her experience.
    just as a man's place.
    There is a difference though.
    A man is told very much so where his station is, how to be man.
    A women to is told these things, but not so directly though words
    she is motioned aside and left to observe his reactions, his preferences.
    He'll never see her that way, just the illusion of her. what he wants her to be.
    Her mere presence molds him, and until he learns that how he sees and treats her is his own trauma regarding the world,
    He'll never get there, to that card, until he can grasp some glimpse of what it is like to be her.

    Woman, no matter what form they are veiled in, are a crucial, a necessary requirement of the work.
    If you have that side of yourself awakened in you, you may not need a partner but know they are still there, with you.
    if not, and you find a woman, whom to look at is to look at your own anima, to bring those qualities out within you,
    who presence alone brings you into a better state of who you really are, feeling as those needs need not be hid from the world.
    Hold onto to her, don't go a day without letting her know how important she is to you.

    This is also so for the anima and true will of Thelema and for ceremonial magick.
    women, and their health is so important to the health of it.
    how you treat them is the paradigm you create.
    if you say, "a man can't be that way", 'can't have those qualities"
    I'll show you a lousy magician.
    if he mistreats her, tells her she can never be as he is...
    He isn't as far along as he thinks he is,
    and he's creating a world he's frustrated with,
    asking why people are so inept,
    yet denying the sacredness of nurture,
    judging by nature, yet taking no responsibility of how their work influences the world.

    Sometimes it's like women aren't allowed to even have an ego.
    They still do, though it is often abused and broken, bruised.
    An implosion of the ego and of self-worth.
    at the risk of sounding sexist, because there are differences.
    women tend to place their sense of worth in how others see them
    whereas a mans self image tends to be about carving a mark in the tree of world.
    he is still influenced by how others see him, but is more concerned with upholding an image
    than worrying about if it is a likeable image. He doesn't have the luxury he tells himself.
    some men suffer from this more-so than others.
    Women cater, despite being sensitive here, trying to figure out what is expected of them,
    they do not always do self care well, don't always accept themselves first.

    A lot of this is cultural, because for as much as things may be hard-wired to a degree we live in a society that does not honor these differences.
    Instead, it manipulates these differences, uses them to promote one sex over the other. these subtle but important differences are drawn out and emphasized so
    much as to support artificial barriers which really do not serve us well.

    How does this apply to magick? how does paradigm apply to magick? the boundaries, sometimes needed, that we place in what you are doing?
    if your magick is based anything on the notion of "know thyself" there has to be female practitioners in your world, because if you are a man, there's a woman inside you, your fetch-spouse on the other side of the veil, and if she is oppressed you won't get far in your magick.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMoon13 View Post
    With what I know of CM and Thelema, which is not a great deal, frankly, it does seem to have a more fraternal air about it than other forms of paganism than I have encountered-more of a brotherhood with the empasis on "brother". I've tried to read more about CM and Thelema, but what materials I've encountered have been overly "heavy", if that makes sense. I also found it to be repetitive and contradictory, which I found to be frustrating in trying to learn more about it. It interests me, yet I did'nt find anything that really strikes a chord.

    What I did find fascinating and have added to my magical "repertoire", if you will, are the various sigils and their contruction-Pentacles of the various planets, Sun, and Moon.

    I don't know if my lack of connection with CM and Thelema have anything to do with me being a woman and the fraternal nature of the path ( as it strikes me) or if just me and my lack of the understanding of its mechanisms.

    Can you suggest any reading that might interest a woman, or anyone of a differeing path in general?
    Well keep in mind that the O.T.O does come out of a quasi-masonic background. despite how it has evolved over the years it is going to retain some of that influence.
    CM i wouldn't characterize as Fraternal in and of itself, though many CM practitioners belong to a group such as the O.T.O or elsewise that follows that 'Greek system' even if
    they aren't gender-segregated. Outside of this i would say that most CM practitioners are solitary, working from various grimoires.

    As for these contrary elements i can mostly likely add some clarification on those things if you tell me what they are. It really helps to know where various materials have come from, in their way of finding themselves into a order.

    And see that isn't something peculiar to Thelema, if your talking something along the planetary Seals of Solomon, or the Kamea of Agrippan stylings.

    it is probably a bit of both. Ceremonial magick can be very intimidating and it does not help that women are often treated as too "emotional" or incapable of performing it.
    so not only can it be intimidating for anyone, it can often come across as unwelcoming for women especially if they have an arm-chair asshole magician for a boyfriend.
    Despite orders like the O.T.O. being open to and supportive of women, there's still that mentality up there.
    it puts a very bad view upon CM.
    Even in that world you have to find good peeps.

    Quote Originally Posted by PantherBaebe View Post
    Here I am bringing up a very old thread... XD

    I have definitely found that CM is very phallocentric.

    I've had an interest in CM for some time, but I always seemed to wander away from it. Now that I'm wandering towards it again, I'm trying to work through some of the phallocentricity to make CM work for me.

    I do think though, that different genders do have different energies to work with. Most start off leaning to one side, and the effort is to balance that out. So while the goal is the same, the paths differ. The best example I can think of, and it is something I know little of, is crossing the Abyss. Babalon waits in the City of Pyramids for the magickian to mingle his seed in her cup.... The trouble here being that I have no seed, but a cup of my own.
    What CM are you reading, first of all. it's a very very broad field. A lot of classic occultism in the CM style isn't sexual or gender-focused at all in and of itself.
    Many grimoires talk about abstaining, of chastity and celibacy during the preparation, working and aftermath of an operation. This isn't in itself any slight on sexuality, but rather to cultivate a certain state of mind for the duration of the operation. However, clergymen practicing these things have always interpreted this with a bias and those who weren't of the church often wrote as if they were to avoid trouble. it sometimes takes "reading with a filter" to appreciate older CM.

    Sex his no stranger to ceremonies of the past, however Ceremonial magick in modern times talks much more sex than it did during the classical grimoire age.
    our society is much more open about sex and the magickal community is no exception here.

    it was still there, the Hieros Gamos, the scared achemical union of the masculine and the feminine is by no means new.
    it was just talks about in a way suitable to polite company.
    Though in other ways, they were less prudish.
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