Friday, May 14, 2010

The Lesson of Saying Will

I like saying Will before meals. It is a nice little thing and adds to the ritualization of life. It comes highly recommended by Crowley in the first few letters from "Magick Without Tears" as essential and one of the first practices to adopt along with Liber Resh, keeping a journal, and study of Liber AL vel Legis. I think the importance is overlooked by most people, even people who perform it daily.
What exactly is it we really doing and what is the lesson it teaches?

From Thelemapedia: "Saying Will is a short ritual practiced by many Thelemites before meals, serving a similar purpose as saying Grace does for many Christians."

This is blatantly untrue. Saying Grace for a Christian is a thanksgiving to God for the food that he has provided for them. There is no aspect of this found in saying Will.

It goes on further to say, "The ritual of Saying Will is intended to maintain the focus of those who practice it on The Great Work by reminding them that even so mundane an act as eating a meal is an essential part of that Work."

Now this is true, but it is a shallow understanding of the greater lesson.

First lets look at the actual text of what Saying Will involves:

Leader: (knocks 3-5-3) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

All: What is thy will?

Leader: It is my will to eat and to drink.

All: To what end?

Leader: That I may fortify my body thereby.

All: To what end?

Leader: That I may accomplish the Great Work.

All: Love is the law, love under will.

(knocks 1)

We are doing X to get Y. We want Y because we ultimately want Z. To what end is the refrain. To what end is the lesson and the question you should be asking yourself in every aspect of your life. First what is your goal? What are you working towards and trying to achieve? Do you even know? If you do know, is what you are doing right now aiding that goal, hindering that goal, or does it have nothing at all to do with it?

These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself and you should be doing it constantly with every act. What is the purpose of what you doing? If you practice meditation what is it you are hoping to attain? If you attain that thing, what then? Why do you want to attain it in the first place? Is it part of a larger goal or are you just doing it to do it?

To what end, should be our constant and never ending refrain.

I am practicing asana and pranayama.
To what end?
To still the body and the mind.
To what end?
So that I can practice Dharana without distraction.
To what end?
That I may achieve Samadhi.
To what end?
To experience first hand a non-dualistic state of consciousness.
To what end?
To test the validity of what has been written and achieve self realization.
To what end?

This can go on ad nauseum, but this is the kind of questioning you should be doing. What is your purpose for eating, for going to the bathroom, for going to work, for doing a banishing ritual? Where is all these leading to? If the answers to the questions are getting harder and harder to come up with then you are actually getting some where. If what you are doing serves no purpose then why are you doing it? If what you are doing actually hinders your goals then it should be eliminated. If you cannot come up with a purpose for the act yet still feel adamant about doing it then that should be investigated. The results will be very surprising.

Saying Will is a daily reminder to engage in this line of thinking. To have purpose in all that you do. It is a constant narrowing down of focus and purpose to your ultimate aim, your true will. If magick is causing change in conformity with will then you have to have a purpose for will to be involved. If that is missing then it is not magical and it is definitely not Thelemic.

Have the courage to ask yourself, To what end.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Outline of Liber DCCCXXXVII - The Law of Liberty

This book is a short overview of the joyous freedom the Law of Thelema brings. The text taking the form of numerous examples from Liber AL vel Legis extolling this joy.

Chapter I is of Nuit, Lady of the Starry Heaven, who is also Matter in its deepest metaphysical sense, who is the infinite in whom all we live and move and have our being.

1. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. A declaration of rejoicing and freedom as there is no law beyond Do what thou wilt!

2. Every man and every woman is a star. We are all free, all independent, all shining gloriously, each one a radiant world.

3. Come forth, o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love! I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy. Even our infinite environment seeks our joy.

4. For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union. That even sorrow only exists so that it can be overcome.

5. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all. Even death should be joyful.

6. Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where, and with whom ye will! But always unto me. Thelema is not an ideology of abstinence of material pleasure, but rather delights in them as much as spiritual pleasures as they are part and parcel of the human condition and ultimatly expressing your joys is inherently thelemic.

7. But ecstasy be thine and joy of earth: ever To me! To me! Through your expression of joy draws you ever near to Nuit.

8. Love is the law, love under will. The will is the highest precept but all is love. Realizing this the Law of your being becomes Light, Life, Love and Liberty.

9. I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice. The shackles of the slave gods are dead. The demand of faith is replaced with certainty. The hoped for reward after death is given in life. There thirst for sacrifice both of other and of self is over.

10. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me! The need to live by the rules of the Gods and prove ourselves worthy are at an end.

11. Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you! I am the blue- lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky. To me! To me! Further call to come unto the dissolution of Nuit in unending joy.

Chapter II is of Hadit, who is the complement of Nuit. He is eternal energy, the Infinite Motion of Things, the central core of all being. The manifested Universe comes from the marriage of Nuit and Hadit; without this could no thing be. This eternal, this perpetual marriage-feast is then the nature of things themselves; and therefore everything that is, is a crystallization of divine ecstasy.

1. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. Hadit is our inmost divine self and we ourselves are embraced by the eternal Nuit.

2. We are not for the poor and the sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk. Thelema is not for the slaves but for the kings. To embrace Thelema is to become a king.

3. Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us. We do not traffic in the trappings of the slaves.

4. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us. Rather we traffic in beauty, strength, and joy.

5. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Even the fear and sting of death is not for us but only delight.

6. It is a lie, this folly against self. ... Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this. Again Thelema is not about attainment through repression, but rather through expression.

7. But ye, o my people, rise up & awake! Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty! Remember that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals, must be rituals. There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times. A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride! A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law. A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet-secret, o Prophet! A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods. A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death! A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture! A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight! Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu. To accept and understand the Law of Thelema brings freedom from the foolishness of the past. All you have to do is to be yourself, to do your will, and to rejoice.

8. Dost thou fail? Art thou sorry? Is fear in thine heart? Where I am, these are not. There is no regret, fear, or failure in Hadit.

9. Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein! But exceed! exceed! Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine-and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous!-death is the crown of all. Strive ever onward to greaeter hights of love, law, and liberty.

10. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Our freedom and delight upon the earth.

11. The word of Sin is Restriction.
Again and again the repressions of the old are at a end, the only transgression is limitation.

NOTE: I find it interesting that no selections were made from the third chapter which is of Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

Is Thelema a Religion?

One of the hottest topics of debate currently going on in the Thelemic community is the definition of Thelema. Is it a religion, is it a philosophy, an ideology, or some hybrid of these concepts. The head of the O.T.O. is heavily pushing this idea as well as others, but many people disagree. The debate is further complicated by the fact that Crowley gives various answers to this question. At one point saying yes it is and still at other times saying no it is not, most notably in Magick Without Tears.

First lets define our terms.

Religion - a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Going by the definition of religion Thelema doesn't fit very well. Beliefs is a poor word choice. Thelema presents a set of ideas but you are never asked to believe them, rather test them and see if they are true or not true. "Success is thy proof." Further Thelema does not concern itself with the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, but rather the nature and purpose of the individual. Although it does contain a moral code of conduct centered upon the will.

This being said Thelema does exhibit many of the qualities we expect from a religion. There are gods or godforms. There is a central holy text. The Book of Lies could be considered a Thelemic version of The Book of Proverbs and Lber LXV and other "holy" texts similar to The Book of Psalms from the Christian and Jewish religions. There is a group ritual similar to the Catholic Mass and even prescribed daily adorations like the Muslim Salah.

The problem is with the use of words. We use them so often we forget that they are nothing more than symbols used to convey ideas. That symbols can have different meanings for different people and different contexts. This is especially true for such a loaded word as religion. It can be even more dangerous than a loaded gun.

The symbolic meaning and context has changed over time. During the Aeon of Isis "religion" was nature based. It was centered around the relationship between man and his environment; animalism, totemism, and the like. During the Aeon of Osiris this focus shifted to the relationship between man and the group; temple priests, the Church, and the congregation. Now that we have entered into the Aeon of Horus the focus is upon the relationship between man and himself.

If you use the word Religion in the context of the new aeon, then yes you could justifiably call Thelema a religion. The problem is the Aeon of Horus is so young, only a little over a 100 years, that most people's context, even most Thelemites, is still in the last aeon. With this in mind it is easy to see why Crowley said calling Thelema a religion would "cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief." Even if you are a self described Thelemite, but still have an old aeonic context, then the word religion would bring a lot of excess baggage with it that would not be helpful and most likely harmful.

To avoid the clash of symbolic contexts it is best to say that Thelema is not a religion and be done with it. If the majority sets the context then Thelema is not a religion. This will of course change as the new aeon matures but not in our lifetime. The Aeon of Horus still has another 1,900 years, give or take a few centuries, and a lot will happen before it ends. Until then I think it is best to self describe Thelema as an Ideology.

Ideology - An ideology is a set of ideas that discusses one's goals, expectations, and actions.

It seems a much better fit for Thelema concerning our current contexts.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Promote Thelema

"You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will"

In Liber CCC - Khabs am Pekht we are instructed by Crowley that every effort should be made to spread the Law of Thelema, that the Law is for all. In an earlier post I give an over view of the text and instructions. One of the suggestions made, is that tracts be written and distributed. In this light and duty bound I am attempting to do my small part. I have created a PDF file for free direct download of Thelemic Bookmarks. Each contains a short quote from Liber AL vel Legis citing chapter and verse.

The idea is simple. Download the file and print them off on simple card stock. Cut them out and visit your local library, book store, or mega book store such as Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc, then place them within various random books. People will discover them and use them as a bookmark or throw them away. Regardless the seed will be planted. The meme will spread. They show others the odd thing they found. If they are intrigued by the bookmark and what it means they will search for more information. Even a simple internet search will bring them to the Book of the Law. The meme will spread as they tell others the odd thing they found. So on and so forth.

This simple method fulfills Liber AL III:42 "Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not over much!"

To help do your part:
1. Down load the PDF File: HERE
2. Print it off on card stock.
3. Cut them out.
4. Visit your local library and book store and place within the books.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Importance of Using Metrics

It is extremely important to establish metrics in your magical practice. This is something I see a lot of people fail at. You have to have some way to measure and quantify the particular characteristics you are trying to achieve. Without it you have no idea if what you are doing is working or not. The more vague and abstract the practice, such as simple banishing or meditation, the more the establishment of certain benchmarks need to be set and tracked in a definitive manner. It is so easy to be "working" on something and waste a lot of time going in circles, perhaps even years, with very little progress. If you would only track it in a systematic way you would realize you had already succeeded or not made any real progress at all bringing you to the conclusion that you need to change your methods and approach. Without metrics you will never be able to clearly say you succeeded or in the very least made progress. By applying metrics you can compress the time till result in record time, guaranteed.

A very good example of this is my recent Fear project.

Once I have applied enough introspection to peel back my issues like an onion I was able to see the root causality.

Lack of direction ->Desire for self mastery->Discovery of Fears->Narrowing down to specific fears->Causal root of self acceptance.

Once the WHY was done I tackled the HOW. i.e. The methods and plan of attack.
The next step which is just as important, or in my opinion more important, was defining success.

I sat down and thought what would success look like? What would it feel like? How would I know if I succeeded? What characteristics would that exhibit and what would each stage towards that look like? How can I measure it definitively?

Doing so I outlined five basic stages I would need to progress through, each with their own specific benchmark, measurement, and sign of achievement, from the very easy all the way up to the ultimate success as I defined it. It has roughly been only about two weeks, yet I have already achieved every milestone I set for myself except for the final mark of success which should come shortly. This is what I mean by compressing the time till results. It allows an immediate measure of where you are, where you came from, and what you need to achieve next and what your focus should be to proceed with your agenda.

1. For every practice define success. What do you want? What is the end result you are after?
2. Come up with a system of measurement to gauge your progress towards mastery of that practice.
3. Determine the series of steps and stages from your current level to what you defined as mastery.
4. Track your progress or lack thereof, making adjustments as needed.
5. Succeed!

To Kill a Rat

I was doing some yard work yesterday and noticed in the small closet in my garage a very big pile of rodent droppings. They were very large, not the small field mice droppings, I figured we had either a very large rat or a small possum living in there. I began to pull stuff out and clean up when the rat darted out to run behind the hot water heater. His body was from my finger tips to mid wrist and tail would extend to my elbow. Big wolf rat.

This closet is only a 3 ft by 5 ft space, crammed with junk and Christmas decorations. I grabbed a machete and closed the door locking myself in a confined space with the rat. I went to battle Conan style with full primal blood lust and the exhilaration of the hunt. I was actually growling as I hacked and slashed at this thing, sparks flying off the concrete and blood spattering off grazing blows. Finally he made a dash for the space under the door and I broke both his back legs as he squeezed his body under the gap. I snatched open the door as he was dragging his body across the garage. I calmly walked up to him and brought the blade down on his neck.

The idea was to cut his head off but the blade was so dull all I did was break his neck paralyzing him. As I watched him sitting there bleeding with his ears still twitching and his eyes blinking and watching me in fear I felt a curious mix of triumph and guilt for what I did even as my hands still shook from the adrenaline.

I carried him into the back yard and dug a hole to bury him. I felt the cowardly thing to do would be to let him slowly suffocate from being buried alive, so I used the shovel to bash his head in killing him before I finally covered him with dirt. In true primate fashion I then went to my mate and reenacted the battle with gusto and props to show my alpha maleness in a modern world.

I am not passing judgment on any of the emotions I experienced during all this, but I find them very interesting from a anthropological prospective.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blog Changes

I have updated the look of the site. It really was in need of it since it has basically stayed the same for the past few years. Most noticeably I have added a new banner at the top of the blog. Let me know if you like it.

Additionally, I again had to make a change to the permissions level for posting comments. Originally I allowed full open access and anonymous comment posting. This lead to a lot of spam, strangely it was mostly for asian porn sites, so I changed it that you had to have an ID to comment. This worked for awhile but lately the asian porn spam has returned and I keep having to delete it. So I have again opened it up that anyone can comment, even anonymously, but you now have to type in the squiggle words to prove you are not a bot. We shall see if that works and if not I will change it back that people have to sign in.

I also added a feed link at the top left of the site. Already seventeen people have subscribed. Feel free to join in.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Overview of Liber CCC - Khabs am Pekht

Publication in Class E, that is a public statement on how to spread the Law of Thelema.

Liber CCC (I can't help but think of the three hundred Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, but is actually a reference to the Hebrew numeration of Khabs am Pekht, Light in Extension) was written by Crowley in the year 1919 just after the end of World War I as mentioned in the opening lines. He claims the war was a direct result of the new aeon of Horus to prepare the people of Earth to accept Thelema. To accont for this claim he uses the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece thusly: The Beast seeking the great work is guided by wisdom and assisted by the Scarlet Women to subdue the previous aeon of Osiris. Accomplishing this mankind is filled with the force and fire of Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

Next he states that it is our duty to spread the Law of Thelema as commanded in the Book of the Law, Chapter I, verse 5. His argument is very similar to the one he presents in Duty, "You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will."

The text proceeds to give numerous examples from the Book of the Law on the manner to proceed in this task.

1. BoL I.15 - Proceed with confidence and without doubt.
2. BoL I.34 - Do not be selective in the process, but instead be all inclusive. Catholic.
3. BoL I.38 - We are bound by duty to teach.
4. BoL I.37 - Teach not only the Law of Thelema, but also the techniques of magick.
5. BoL I.40-44, 51, 61, 63 - That doing so will arouse animosity, but it will provide a platform to present the Law.
6. BoL II.9 - It will provide comfort to those who receive the Law.
7. BoL II.19-20 - It will provide joy to those who receive the Law.
8. BoL III.23-26 - The practical method of overcoming opposition.
9. BoL III.38 - The new aeon itself will make itself known.
10. BoL III.39, 42 - Distribute Liber AL vel Legis to everyone you meet, but no preaching or crude attempts at conversion. They can take it or leave it.
11. BoL III.42 - Rather than relying only on speech, spread the Law by your example and success.

Further the text notes that the entire third chapter of Liber AL vel Legis points to the fact that sooner or later the Law will be spread with actual physical violence.

Additionally from the examples presented from Liber AL vel Legis, Crowley continues on by giving his own practical advice for extending the Dominion of the Law of Thelema throughout the whole world.

1. That verbal and written correspondence should announce the Law in the form of opening, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law", and closing, "Love is the law, love under will".
2. That social gatherings be held where the Law is read and explained.
3. That tracts be written and distributed.
4. That Thelemic Schools and Universities be established and Thelemic scholarships provided to currently existing institutions.
5. That especially children should be taught the Law early and often to spare them the misery of the old aeon.
6. That everyone support the O.T.O. and empower them to the best of our ability that they may spread the Law.
7. That everyone bind themselves with an oath to make Freedom perfect.

Note: There are 11 examples from Liber AL given and 7 practical examples given.
11 - extension, number of words in "Do what thy wilt..."
7 - perfection, number of words in "Love is the law..."
7x11=77 - magick perfected, Ayin Zayin Liber OZ

The text closes with a parable of building a fire with green wood. That is begin small and easy, success at this will lead to greater success with the big and difficult.


Comments on this text:

Overall I have to think this has to be uncomfortable for most people who consider themselves Thelemites, myself included. Much of it appears very similar to Christian and Muslim proselytizing techniques, which most people outside those communities tend to despise. Yet here is Crowley not only advising us to engage in it, but saying it is our will and duty to do so. Although it is tempered by the statement of "convert not". The flavor remains and is a hard pill to swallow.

Regardless of your thoughts on that, you have to accept it as fact that there is a willful rejection of the advice provided by today's Thelemites. The O.T.O. is a weak ineffectual group, there are no tracts of the kind you see with Evangelical Christians, no people on street corners distributing the Book of the Law or placing them in hotel rooms like the Gideons, no schools being built or scholarships offered, and does anyone use the recommended greeting other than to other known Thelemites?

It has been 91 years since this was published, has any of this come to pass or in the very least have plans for this to happen at some point? I do not believe so. Perhaps we all should do our part regardless of "Official" support from some sort of thelemic group. As the text explains, begin with the small dry wood...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thelemic Haiku Contest

A haiku is a poetic style of Japanese origin. The modern western method is three lines of 5-7-5 syllables.

I like writing haiku's in my spare time. They are short enough to write quickly and without any of that tiresome rhyming. Plus, by confining yourself to the short economic poetic style it is easy to sound deep and thoughtful without a lot of effort.

In a silly twist I have come up with my own sub-generia of haiku, the thelemic haiku or Thelemaku.

A Thelemaku is very simalar to a traditional haiku but follows the following style:

Three lines for Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit.
Using a 3-5-3 style for a total of 11 syllables.
Using exactly 7 words is ideal.

Traditionally Haiku's are about nature, Thelemaku's are about magick, mysticism, and Thelemic concepts.


In that vain, I am proud to announce my first blog contest. Try your hand at writing Thelemaku's and post your work on the comment section of this post. I will choose the best one and as a prize I will publish it as it's very own future post!

(I never said it would be a good prize....)

Let the creative juices flow and lets see what you got!

Eye of Horus

The Eye of Horus sees.
Leaving that.

Cauda Pavonis

A shift in consciousness. Initiation of the highest holy.
Star to the tower.
Introspection becomes destruction.

Fermentation. Step by step. Brick by brick.

Peh, the mouth shall swallow me whole, digest me, and excrete me in a form unrecognizable.
To fertilize the earth for new life.

In the name of the initiator. amen.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Response to a Comment on the post Fear

In response to a recent comment to my post on Fear

I wrote a lengthy response defending myself and my statements before finally stopping and deleting the entire thing. The person's comment was correct.

In Liber LXI vel Causae, we are told to expose our own illusions. My illusion was I thought I was one thing and after some inner digging I discovered I was not what I thought. I accepted the lie of who I pretended to be. I am not who I pretend to be. I did not like it and it hurt my pride. My pride was built upon an illusion. Like the tower it came down.

I am not a courageous person. I am not a rugged individual. I do not do whatever I want and say to hell with anyone else as I pretend outwardly to the world.

I am a fearful person. I care what others think of me. I base much of my self worth on what others think of me. If they do not like me then I will not like myself. I hide my thoughts, beliefs, and activities from others because I am afraid they will not accept me. I am afraid of what the consequences might be. I do not like hiding my thoughts, beliefs, and activities from others because I restrict myself from what I can and cannot do or say when others are present. I am more afraid of the possible consequences of exposing myself than any benefits I might obtain. I have a constant background paranoia that at any moment I may be discovered. If I share I might not be accepted and then I would not accept myself. That last statement is a little over the top, but more or less true.

Additionally, in Liber LXI vel Causae, we are told to overcome our own obstacles. My obstacle is to accept myself in isolation from anyone else.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Delineation of Fear

Fear is failure now.
See it, Analyze, Confront.
Success is thy proof.