Ceremonial Magic & Historical Organisations
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The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Aleister Crowley and Thelema
Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.)
Last Updated: 18 December 2016
I have recently reintroduced this page to the Detoxorcist web site. Despite being heavily based on the respective Wikipedia pages, I think it does add a little value above and beyond this, providing a reasonable summary and framework for those new to the subject.
Hermetic Qabalah, a.k.a. Qabalah, is a variant of the Hebrew Kabbalah. Although the Hebrew Kabbalah is Judaic in origin, it can be viewed by some as being gnostic, albeit a positive gnostic interpretation of the divine. Above is an image of the Sephirotic Tree, or Qabalistic Tree of Life, common to both Kabbalah and Qabalah. The image on the right shows the Sephirotic placement of the tarot trumps on the paths.
'Hermetic Qabalah ( from the Hebrew 'reception'), is a Western esoteric and mystical tradition. It is the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn, Thelemic orders [c/f Aleister Crowley], mystical societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the [Rosicrucian] Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements. Hermetic Qabalah draws on a great many influences, most notably: Jewish Kabbalah, Western astrology, tarot, alchemy, pagan religions (especially Egyptian and Greco-Roman), Neoplatonism, Gnosticism, the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee and Edward Kelly, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and Tantra.'
The Roman mythology is explained at the links below.
'It [Qabalah] differs from the Jewish form in being a more admittedly syncretic system, however it shares many concepts with Jewish Kabbalah. It is most often transliterated with a 'Q' rather than a 'K' or a 'C', distinguishing it from Jewish Kabbalah (and Christian Cabbalah). Hermetic Qabalah reached its peak in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th century organization that was arguably the pinnacle of ceremonial magic. Within the Golden Dawn the syncretic fusing of Qabalistic principles such as the ten Sephiroth with Greek and Egyptian deities was made more cohesive and was extended to encompass other systems such as the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee and certain Eastern (particularly Hindu and Buddhist) concepts, all within the structure of a Masonic- or Rosicrucian-style esoteric order.'
Another prolific writer and lecturer on Hermeticism and Qabbalah was the Canadian-born Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990). He was the author of the book 'The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabblistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy' (1928) and the founder of the Philosophical Research Society (PRS).
Qlippoth, (a.k.a. Qlipphoth) represents the evil forces in the mystical teachings of Judaic Kabbalah. They are the shells around the Sephirot. Writers such as the (arguably Satanic) Luciferian Michael W. Ford tend to focus on the Qlippoth, perhaps basing his work on Crowley and Regardie's, using the Qlippoth as a means of self-actualisation to explore the psyche and the shadow.
A commentator Teth has noted the Qabalah whilst making use of Hebrew script and language to a certain extent, is far more than a Judaic mystic phenomenon. The Platonic, Neo-Platonic and Gnostic influences are the most striking. He goes on to state that the Sephirah and Qlippoth (Negative Veil) are not duotheistic or dualistic per se unless one wants to embrace a dualistic world-view when applying it. Qabalah is Optimist Gnostic in nature where all things are reflections of the divine.
The hexagram is a very similar symbol to the Star of David, or Seal of Solomon, used by Judaism. The Hexagram is however a symbol used in Hermetic Qabalah - it is said to represent The Tree of Life - and also in Hermetic Magic Rites.
'The astro-kabbalistic form of the hexagram shown above is particularly powerful because of esoteric resonance. Each point shows not only a Kabbalistic sefira and its relationship to the other sefirot, but also the astrological planet that has the same sphere of influence. For example, the red point of the hexagram corresponds to the aggressive, judgmental sefira Geburah ("Severity"), and also to the violent, willful planet, Mars.'
A web site entitled 'The Hermetic Library' can be found at the link below. It contains links to external web sites and also texts of the Hermetic magickal tradition, mainly Thelema and Enochian inspired from the 19th and 20th Centuries.
A number of Esoteric books and Grimoires can be found on Twilit Grotto's web site below.
The Alchemy Web Site contains a number of 16 to 18th Century books on Alchemy (i.e. Hermetic religion and philosophy).
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Enochian magic is a type of ceremonial magic based on the control of spirits (angels), or elemental energies or archetypes. The spirits of Enochian magic consist broadly of Watchtower Deities (Air, Water, Earth and Fire), Angel Kings, Ruling Governors and Governors, and Sigillum Dei Deities (7 Great Names of God, Angles, Elemental Kings, etc.) It is based on a purported angelic language and script, channelled by John Dee, and includes the use of magic ritual as well as tarot and divination. Linguists criticise the structure of Enochian language as not fully representative of natural language and showing inconsistencies. The power of the Enochian words is reputed by some to come from the primal nature of the sounds. Enochian magic seems to scare off many people partly because of its complexity and partly because of its perhaps unfounded reputation as requiring strict supervision to perform safely. Enochian magic is a part of modern Rosicrucianism and the Golden Dawn system. Whilst a separate system to Qabalah, Enochian is used to some degree within Qabalistic rituals. Paul Foster Case, founder of the Golden Dawn 'offshoot' BOTA, however disliked Enochian magic because he felt it was a corrupted form of an earlier Qabalistic magic, and excluded it from the BOTA's rituals and curriculum. Enochian magic also influenced Anton LaVey's Satanic Rituals. The Sigillum Dei Heptagram is shown above.
Enochian magical rituals and associated deities are described at the link below.
Quoted from the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon's web site:
"Enochian" is yet another one of those terms which seems to mean whatever the user wants it to mean. The Enochian literature of early Judaism has no relevence to Freemasonry. The Enochian magick of John Dee has nothing to do with either the Enochian literature or Freemasonry. The Pillars of Enoch, which have nothing to do with the Enochian literature or Enochian Magick, are only of historical interest to freemasons due to their confusion with the pillars at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple.
Enochian Magick has its roots in Elizabethan England with the work of astronomer and English court advisor Dr. John Dee (1527-1608) and his associate Sir Edward Kelley. Dee wanted to recover the wisdom he believed to be in the lost books of earlier times, including the then-fabled Book of Enoch, which he believed described a system of magic. During the years from 1581 to 1585, Dee, and later Kelley, performed "magical operations" involving fervent prayers to God and the archangels, and the use of a scrying stone. Kelly described what appeared on the stone while Dee made extensive notes.
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Above is a impressionist drawing of the Temple of the Rosy Cross, by Teophilus Schweighardt Constantiens, 1618.
The Rosicrucian Order is an Gnostic Christian order practising Hermetic magic (including alchemy and astrology, etc.), of which a number of Rosicrucian masonic orders remain today. It uses the concept of reincarnation and rebirth, in that souls gradually climb up the 'evolutionary' tree groups from mineral to insects, animals, humans etc. and eventually break the cycle of birth and death to become higher beings which may help those in the levels below.
A group of heretical German Lutherans published two anonymous manifestos, between 1607 and 1616, first in Germany and later throughout Europe. These were Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis (The Fame of the Brotherhood of Rosy Cross) and Confessio Fraternitatis (The Confession of the Brotherhood of Rosy Cross). The influence of these documents, presenting a "most laudable Order" of mystic-philosopher-doctors and promoting a "Universal Reformation of Mankind", gave rise to an enthusiasm called by its historian Dame Frances Yates the "Rosicrucian Enlightenment". The term 'Rosicrucianism' or 'Rosi-Cruci-anism' literally means 'Rosy Cross'-ism'.
According to Jean-Pierre Bayard, two Rosicrucian-inspired Masonic rites emerged from the end of 18th century. One was the Rectified Scottish Rite, which was widespread in Central Europe where there was a strong presence of the "Golden and Rosy Cross". The other was the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, first practiced in France, in which the 18th degree is called Knight of the Rose Croix. Modern groups that associate themselves with Rosicrucianism are Esoteric Christian Rosicrucian groups, which profess Christ (as well as the aforementioned Hermetic magical practices), Masonic Groups, and Initiatic Groups (e.g. Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn), which may or may not be related to Christianity.
'The Rosicrucian Order consisted of a graded system (similar to The Order of Freemasons) in which members moved up in rank and gained access to more knowledge, for which there was no fee. Once a member was deemed able to understand the knowledge, they moved on to the next grade. There were three steps to their spiritual path: philosophy, qabbalah, and divine magic. In turn, there were three goals to the order: 1) the abolition of monarchy and the institution of rule by a philosophical elect, 2) reformation of science, philosophy, and ethics, and 3) discovery of the Panacea.'
Was the goal of instituting rule by a philosophical elect of the Rosicrucian Order similar to the revolutionary goal of the Bavarian Illuminati?
Christopher McIntosh's book The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology and Rituals of an Esoteric Order, can be read on google for free by clicking here.
The most common symbols of Rosicrucianism can be found below. These include the Rose and Cross (sometimes as the Rosy Cross or Rose Cross), the Circle/Triangle/Square, and the Pentagram.
The Rosicrucian Fellowship's Mount Ecclesia's Healing Temple (1920) facade, depicting the All-Seeing Eye facing east, is shown in the picture below. The Rosicrucian Fellowship is a school founded by Max Heindel, author of The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Whilst the All Seeing-Eye is sometimes associated with Luciferianism, in this context it is a subtly different meaning for 'God', being the Gnostic one true God in the Hermetic magical tradition, arguably quite similar in some respects to the Gnostic Lucifer.
Rosicrucianism holds that the Great Architect of the Universe, the creator, is the same as the Supreme Being. This is perhaps in slight opposition to the Gnostic concept of the 'evil' or 'ignorant' Demiurge, the creator. However some forms of Gnosticism hold that Demiurge was 'benevolent' but perhaps a little 'ignorant'. Rosicrucianism is however loosely Gnostic, but regards God as the Supreme God and creator of the Universe. There is no Gnostic concept of an evil creator God, although there are Gnostic concepts of attaining Gnosis and Rebirth.
Jesus is not viewed in the same way as in Christianity. Salvation is a personal salvation (attained through rebirth (a form of reincarnation) and ascension) and is not granted through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and simple faith in Jesus (i.e. the simple formulaic salvation of much of Christianity). When humanity has reached perfection, there will come a time when they will not be tied to the wheel of births and deaths, but will remain in the invisible worlds to work thence for the upliftment of other beings (a similar concept to Gnosticism).
Jesus is not considered to be Jesus Christ or God, but the most highly spiritually evolved of human beings, the highest initiate of the Sun Period. God is not considered to be a Person, of the Trinity, but a form of Supreme Intelligence, or an energy. Rosicrucianism has its roots in Ancient Egyptian Alchemy and has appropriated some concepts from Christianity and reinterpreted them (in a slightly different way to Gnostic Christianity has).
The Rosicrucian Cross is a Sun symbol, of the male element, and not a representation of the Crufixion of Jesus. The four branches of the cross correspond to the four elements of fire, air water and earth.
The symbol of Rosicrucians is a Christian cross with a rose in the center, but it is a symbol of alchemy and is not a representation of the Crufixion of Jesus. One may say 'so what'! The symbol of the cross predates Christianity, and is likely one of many icons or concepts appropriated by Christianity in its first few hundred years.
- The "Cross", is the symbol of the sun, the tree of life, the generator force, the male element.
- The "Rose", is the female element, symbol of beauty and delicacy. Marriage, as the union of male and female, is regarded as a metaphor of the alchemic elemental fusion that the soul undergoes in its ascent to spiritual illumination.
The "cross" represents "the body of man", with the "rose" symbolizing "man's soul unfolding and evolving". The fundamental elements of the two spheres of Rosicrucianism, earthly and heavenly, are not only visible but are thereby fused in the symbols of the rose superimposed on the cross.
"Number 7" is the perfect one: At birth, or on the initiation, a human being possesses a "dense body"; at age 7, he attains a "vital body"; at 14, the "desire body"; and at 21, "mind" is formed.
A critical view of Rosicrucianism from a Christian perspective can be found at the links below.
Rosicrucianism is believed by some to have direct links with the Knights Templars (who themselves unknowingly much later had an arguably token influence on LaVey Satanism).
Some Rosicrucian groups contain Theistic Satanists or adherents of other Left Hand Path philosophies. The syncretic nature of many of these philosophies and people's varied magical interests mean that individuals may often float in and out of other fringe religious/occult groups and fraternities. However, for the large part, it is more associated with Christian mysticism and esoteric Christianity, more so than say the Golden Dawn movements that have more of a focus of Hermetic magic devoid of the Christian context (in general).
Examples of modern Rosicrucian orders are listed below.
The Rose Cross Order's web site is listed below.
The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC)' web site is shown below.
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Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn:
Above is the 'Rosy Cross' or Rose Cross symbol of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is described below. The quotes in speech marks are taken from Wikipedia.
"The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (or, more commonly, the Golden Dawn) was a magical order of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, practicing a form of theurgy and spiritual development. It was possibly the single greatest influence on twentieth century western occultism. Concepts of magic and ritual that became core elements of many other traditions, including Wicca [a modern version of European paganism], Thelema and other forms of magical spirituality popular today, are drawn from the Golden Dawn tradition."
The Golden Dawn is also a major influence on modern Theistic Satanism and LaVey Satanism. In LaVey's Satanic Bible (see below) there are twelve calls or "keys" that are known as "The Enochian Keys". LaVey says that the Enochian calls are "the Satanic paens of faith" and that his source for the "keys" was the Golden Dawn.
"The three founders, Dr. William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers were Freemasons and members of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.), an appendant body to Freemasonry. Westcott, also a member of the Theosophical Society, appears to have been the initial driving force behind the establishment of the Golden Dawn."
"The Golden Dawn system is based on an initiated hierarchal order similar to that of a Masonic Lodge, however women were admitted on an equal basis with men. The "Golden Dawn" is properly only the first or "outer" of three Orders, although all three are often collectively described as the "Golden Dawn". The First Order taught esoteric philosophy based on the Hermetic Qabalah and personal development through study and awareness of the four Classical Elements. They also taught the basics of astrology, tarot and geomancy. The Second or "Inner" Order, the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (the Ruby Rose and Cross of Gold), taught magic proper, including scrying, astral travel and Alchemy. The fabled Third Order was that of the "Secret Chiefs", who were said to be great adepts no longer in incarnate form, but who directed the activities of the lower two orders by spirit communication with the Chiefs of the Second Order."
"Influences on Golden Dawn concepts and work include: Christian mysticism, Qabalah, Hermeticism, the religion of Ancient Egypt, Theurgy, Freemasonry, Alchemy, Theosophy [based on Neo-Platonism], Eliphas Levi, Papus, Enochian magic, and Renaissance grimoires."
Ancient Eyptian mythology is explained at the links below.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was as stated above closely tied to Rosicrucianism and Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical Society. It used principles of Hermeticism and Rosicrucian Hermetic magic, and incorporated them into other occult practices. The Golden Dawn was perhaps more progressive than most similar masonic groups in that it admitted both men and women.
The Golden Dawn was formerly dissolved in 1903, although changing its name to Stella Matutina.
Following a rebellion of Adepts in London and an ensuing public scandal brought upon the order by imposters using their the name of the Temple, which had brought the name of the Golden Dawn into disrepute, the Golden Dawn split into 2 branches, Hermetic Society of Morgenrothe, and the (Rosicrucian Order of) Alpha et Omega (or simply A.O.). This occurred in 1906. The Hermetic Society of the Morgenrothe was shortlived before it schismed into two groups, one more interested in Christian mysticism (lead by A.E. Waite) taking over the remnants of Isis-Urania and formed the Independent and Rectified Rite of the Golden Dawn and later the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. Those from the HS of Morgenrothe more interested in occultism, lead by Dr Robert Felkin, formed the group 'Stella Matutina'.
The A.O. Temples subsequently opened in the UK and US were loyal to Mathers. Israel Regardie went on to document the A.O. and Stella Matutina rituals and majority of manuscripts in a series of volumes entitled 'Golden Dawn', in 1934, believing it to be every person's birthright to see these documents. This had the effect of inspiring those A.O. to cease to exist, their secrets becoming public knowledge. SM fragmented and dissolved many years later.
Israel Regardie, the occult author, is regarded by many as of the of the last original proponents of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He joined the Hermes Temple in Bristol in 1933 (which remained open until 1970). He left the main Stella Matutina 'Amoun Temple' in 1934. He wrote a number of books describing the magic ritual of the Golden Dawn and was a keen follower of the books of Aleister Crowley, although he claimed not to be a Thelemist.
A number of explicitly Golden Dawn masonic temples exist today. None of these have a direct lineage to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and are recreationist groups and organisations, using what remains today of the original Golden Dawn and later A.O. and S.M. teachings and practices.
'The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn' is now the official trademark of a Florida-based non-profit corporation since 1988. It was founded in 1977 in Columbus, Georgia. It is led by Chic and S. Tabatha Cicero.
The Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn is headed up by Robert Zink. It's main areas of study and practice are the Christian mysteries (i.e. Gnosticism), Kabalah, Tarot, Egyptian Mysteries, Enochian Magic, Alchemy (Hermeticism) and the 4 elements of western magical tradition.
'Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - Outer order of the Rosicrucian order of A.O.' is the name of the order founded by David Griffin in 1999. It lost a legal battle with Cicero's HOGD for exclusive use of the GD name. Griffin's organisation is alleged by some in the GD community to be steep with institutional racism, sexism and even sexual harrassment. Perhaps in the spirit of some of the original racism of the colonialist members of the original GD!
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Unlike the Rosicrucian tradition of the Golden Dawn, the Ogdoadic Tradition, traces its mystical teachings through Byzantium and the Near and Middle East, including the Knights Templar. It is has historically been a much less popular tradition than that of the Golden Dawn. It draws on Neoplatonism, Hermetic magic(k) and the Kabbalah.
Aurum Solis, Gold of the Sun, is a magical order founded in England in 1897 by George Stanton and Charles Kingold which claims descent from the Ogdoadic Tradition of the Western Mystery Tradition. This is the main (claimed) proponent of the Ogdoadic Tradition today. It claims to be an Initiatic society that transmits the Theurgic heritage of hermeticism. I am not aware of any links to Freemasonry, but it is likely - it was worth mentioning as a parallel contemporary Western Mystery Tradition to the Golden Dawn.
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Thelema and Aleister Crowley:
The symbol of Thelema, the unicursal hexagram, is shown above. This symbol is examined at the link below.
Thelema is a philosophy of life based on the rule or law, "Do what thou wilt." The ideal of "Do what thou wilt" and its association with the word Theleme goes back to François Rabelais, the 16th Century French Renaissance writer and ex-monk. He wrote a connected series of five fictional novels, known as The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel. The Abbey of Theleme particularly promoted this concept, e.g. the idea of getting up when you wanted, and doing exactly what you wanted.
Sir Francis Dashwood adopted some of the ideas of Rabelais, in particular the central concept of Do What Thou Wilt, i.e. Theleme, and inscribed the word on the doorway of his Medmenham Abbey. Dashwood founded a group called the Monks of Medmenham, or better known as The Hellfire Club, which existed from 1746 to 1760. It was an exclusive English club, demanding 4% per annum of members' salaries. Many Hellfire Club members have been linked to Freemasonry, for example, the Duke of Wharton, who after disbanding the Club became the Grandmaster of England. Benjamin Franklin, Master Mason, inventor, and key figure in the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, also occasioned the club during 1758 as a non-member. Another member was the policitian John Wilkes, politician, journalist, prankster and radical (fighting for the rights of the individual and open democracy). Wilkes' pranks are reputed to have hastened the club's demise.
'According to Horace Walpole, the members' "practice was rigorously pagan: Bacchus and Venus were the deities to whom they almost publicly sacrificed; and the nymphs and the hogsheads that were laid in against the festivals of this new church, sufficiently informed the neighborhood of the complexion of those hermits." Dashwood's garden at West Wycombe contained numerous statues and shrines to different gods; Daphne and Flora, Priapus and the previously mentioned Venus and Dionysus.'
One could assume the involvement of Freemasons, experienced in Egyptian Mysteries, might possibly have practised some form of sex magic at some of these meetings.
A number of other clubs were associated with being the 'Hellfire Club' during the 18th and 19th Centuries. The first of these clubs, which preceded Dashwood's club, was founded by Philip, the Duke of Wharton in 1719 and ran until 1721.
Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947), an English occultist, Freemason, author and playwright was a famous advocate of the modern Thelema philosophy, also referred to as Thelema religion. He was also a chess fan, a keen mountaineer, a drug addict (a victim of contemporary medicine), inconsistently racist and bisexual (nothing wrong with that), although none of these have any real influence on his writings on Thelema. Critics say that he left someone on the mountain to die, but this does happen on occasion in mountaineering, especially given the poor equipment of the late 19th century. He has even been accused of being a 'secret agent' of the British government to help fight Nazi Germany although this I am fairly sure if pure fantasy. A photograph of Aleister Crowley can be seen below.
The Rites of Eleusis in 1910. Source: Unknown.
In 1904, Crowley claimed to have received Liber AL vel Legis, the Book of the Law from an entity named Aiwass, which was to serve as the foundation of the religious and philosophical system he called Thelema. He believed Aiwass to be his own Holy Guardian Angel.
According to Crowley, every individual has a True Will, to be distinguished from the ordinary wants and desires of the ego (allegedly). The True Will is essentially one's "calling" or "purpose" in life. Crowley's concept assumes that this includes the goal of attaining self-realization by one's own efforts, without the aid of God or other divine authority. Crowley was more specific about the True Will of women which he regarded as bearing children. Crowley believed that to discover the True Will, one had to free the desires of the subconscious mind from the control of the conscious mind, especially the restrictions placed on sexual expression, which he associated with the power of divine creation. "Love is the law, love under will" - love was used in the sense of sexual love, and sex magic was an important part of achieving 'enlightenment'. The True Will of each individual was identified with the Holy Guardian Angel, a 'daimon' unique to each individual (an idea taken from Greek mythology).
Ancient Greek mythology is explained at the links below.
Critics might argue that by trying to connect with one's daimon using spiritualism, in order to connect with one's True Will in the unconscious mind, then one has to also accept the consequences of this type of activity, both good and bad (in spiritual terms), as applicable; and indeed knowing that who one is trying to connect with is in fact one's 'daimon' and not just another spirit. However, this is clearly a matter of interpretation and subjective perception. In addition, if you know yourself on a deep level, you don't necessarily need a 'spirit guide' or Holy Guardian Angel to tell you what is in your subconscious or who you are and what your will is. It just comes naturally. Is the Holy Guardian Angel then a literal daimon, or just a metaphor for the True Will or the Subconscious Mind, or indeed the psychological mechanism for connecting with certain parts/aspects of the subconscious mind? Is it just another way of describing yourself?
Thelema philosophy taught the sceptical examination of the results of one's practice of meditation or 'magick'. He believed that marijuana is an aid to meditation. My contemporaries and I once compared meditation exercises performed whilst 'straight' and whilst 'stoned', based on the teachings of Crowley. We did not take Crowley's ideas very seriously in this respect as they sounded arrogant and ridiculous, but wanted to try it in any case. The results of meditation were always found to be far superior when 'straight'!
Thelema draws its principle gods and goddesses from Ancient Egyptian religion. The highest deity is the goddess, Nuit, the night sky arched over the Earth symbolized in the form of a naked woman. She is conceived as the Great Mother, the ultimate source of all things (similar to certain Wiccan ideas of Mother Earth). The 2nd main god is Hadit. Hadit symbolizes manifestation, motion, and time, the 'flame that burns inside the heart of every man'. The third deity is Ra-Hoor-Khuit, a manifestation of Horus. He is symbolized as a throned man with the head of a hawk who carries a wand, and is associated with the sun and the active energies of Thelemic magick. Other deities within the cosmology of Thelema include Hoor-paar-kraat (or Harpocrates), god of silence and inner strength, the brother of Ra-Hoor-Khuit; Babalon, the goddess of pleasure, the Virgin Whore; and Therion, the beast that Babalon rides, representing the wild animal within man, a force of nature. Crowley incorporated the 19th Century image of the deity Baphomet into Thelema, who he personally associated with the Greek deity Harpocrates (based on the Egyptian deity Horus). It appears he made up the deities as he went along to a large extent, picking whatever he felt like at the time, without necessarily any historical congruity. Clearly not all, if any, of all this was revelation from 'Aiwass' but merely regurgitation and amalgamation of other philosophies, influences (i.e. Theleme and the Golden Dawn), even stealing the name 'Theleme'.
Some Theistic Satanists regard Thelema as a "secondary theistic Satanism," that is, a religion or spirituality in which Satan is part of the pantheon and is worshipped, revered, or at least propitiated in some way and to some extent, but is not the primary object of worship, veneration, reverence or emulation. However, other LHP practitioners regard Thelema as a having many LHP attributes and practices but is ultimately RHP in its focus and overall goal. Aleister Crowley did include Satan in his personal pantheon and in some of his rituals, e.g. Liber Samekh, but only as one of many gods. Crowley was a major influence in the occult world, and particularly influenced LaVey Satanism, (Poly)Theistic Satanism and other Left-Hand Paths, as well as a large part of modern Ceremonial Magic. Aleister Crowley popularized the term 'Left-Hand Path', referring to a "Brother of the Left-Hand Path," or a "Black Brother," meaning one who failed to attain the grade of Magister Templi with the AA (through fear and/or not letting go of the ego).
The purpose of magic (spelt 'magick' to differentiate it from stage magic at the time) within Thelema is to find and manifest one's True Will, but also involving certain celebratory rituals as well. The Thelema philosophy was based on ancient Egyptian and Greek pagan religion, and incorporates elements of the Golden Dawn, Gnosticism, Buddhism. Crowley did not recognise a universal God, in opposition with the official criteria for Freemasonry. Aleister Crowley was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn for some years, and restructured its system for Thelema, documenting many of its rituals in his books. Thelema from the Koine Greek literally means 'will', 'wish' or 'purpose'. Practices include yoga, sex magic (hetero-, homo- and masturbatory), Golden Dawn banishing and invocation rituals (using Pentagram), and invoking one's Holy Guardian Angel, etc.
The concept of Will is unique to each person so there is no moral or ethical framework as such. However, there a number of duties described in the Book of Law, which seem somewhat syncretic in nature. These include:
1) Your Duty to Self (the self as the center of the universe, with a call to learn about one's inner nature. Admonishes to develop every faculty in a balanced way, establish one's autonomy, and to devote to the service of one's own True Will.)
2) Your Duty to Others: admonishes to eliminate the illusion of separateness between oneself and all others, to fight when necessary, to avoid interfering with the Wills of others, to enlighten others when needed, and to worship the divine nature of all other beings.
3) Your Duty to Mankind: admonishes that the Law of Thelema should be the sole basis of conduct. That the laws of the land should have the aim of securing the greatest liberty for all individuals. Crime is described as being a violation of one's True Will.
4) Your Duty to All Other Beings and Things: admonishes the application of the Law of Thelema to all problems and states that "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" and "The Law of Thelema is to be applied unflinchingly to decide every question of conduct."
The core concept of Thelema is to do thy 'Will'. Thus, contemporary Thelemites may well practice more than one religion, besides Thelema and its Ancient Egyptian and Greek pagan deities, including Discordianism, Wicca, Gnosticism, Satanism, Setianism, and Luciferianism. Many adherents of Thelema, none more so than Crowley, recognize correlations between Thelemic and other systems of spiritual thought - indeed Thelema being a mixture of religions and philosophies in the first place; most borrow freely from the methods and practices of other traditions, including alchemy, astrology, qabalah, tantra, tarot, and yoga. For example, Nu and Had are thought to correspond with the Tao and Teh of Taoism, Shakti and Shiva of the Hindu Tantras, Shunyata and Bodhicitta of Buddhism, Ain Soph and Kether in the Hermetic Qabalah. Thelema, the focus being on Will, is thus argued to not necessarily contradict the teachings of Jesus or a belief in Christianity, although the syncretic combination of Greek and Egyptian deities within a non-Gnostic framework of Christianity might be a little difficult. A Gnostic view of Jesus, e.g. Gnostic Luciferianism, might be more compatible.
Thelema is clearly based on 'Theleme', but was more fully developed and proselytized by Aleister Crowley, who founded the 'religion' named Thelema based on this ideal. An analysis by Dan Evans has shown similarities not only with Rabelais, but also to The Beloved of Hathor and Shrine of the Golden Hawk, a play by Florence Farr. Farr was initiated into the Isis-Urania Temple of the Order of the Golden Dawn in London by Yeats in July 1890.
Did Crowley receive his ideas entirely from an 'entity' or did he just get inspiration from Rabelais? Or did the 'entity' expand on the ideas of Rabelais? A big claim to make, although arguably many debate whether 'entities' are really just aspects of the unconscious, and as such if Crowley's mind had ingested the ideas of Theleme and evolved them unconsciously, and then realised this information in some context, then one could argue that in a metaphoric sense it was an entity communicating this to him.
Early Christian writings use the word to refer to the will of God, the human will, and even the will of the Devil. However, in the Lord's Prayer it refers to the Will of God (Our Father Who Art in Heaven): "Thy Will (Thelema) Be Done..." However, some might argue that one's 'will' is not necessarily the same as the 'will' of God, and that in Christianity one does not discover one's true 'will' through the practice of Hermetic magic of the Golden Dawn, through spiritualism, homosexual magical acts and the veneration of ancient Egyptian pagan deities; and neither are these things part of the Lord's prayer!
Crowley joined the London Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898 but was unpopular, probably because of his libertine lifestyle and bisexuality, and was refused admittance into the Second Order. He was admitted in Paris by Mathers, and this resulted in a schism between Mathers and the London GB, resulting in a law suit regarding control of the Vault of Rosenkreutz in London. Crowley reduced his involvement with the GD from 1899 onwards and in 1900 spent several years travelling. Whilst in Egypt in 1904 he received the inspiration for the Book of Law, the first text on Thelema.
Aleister Crowley and Samuel Mathers of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn translated The Lesser Key of Solomon in 1904, released as 'The Goeta: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis Regis)'. It is a manual that purports to provide instructions for summoning 72 different spirits. An image of the circle and triangle, used in the evocation of the seventy-two spirits of the Goetia, is shown above. The magician would stand within the circle and the spirit was believed to appear within the triangle. The Goeta can can be read on line at the link below.
'The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Salomonis (the Clavis Salomonis, or Key of Solomon is an earlier book on the subject), is an anonymous 17th century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology. It has also long been widely known as the Lemegeton.'
'The book claims that it was originally written by King Solomon, although this is certainly incorrect. The titles of nobility assigned to the demons were unknown in his time, as were the prayers to Jesus and the Christian Trinity included in the text.'
Crowley was married twice, and both his wives went insane. Five of his mistresses committed suicide.
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In 1907, Crowley went on to form the magical order 'AA' together with his former Golden Dawn mentor, George Cecil Jones. The AA had the following possible meanings. Latin: Argenteum Astrum or Greek: Astron Argon, both meaning "Silver star"; or alternately, Latin: Arcanum Arcanorum, meaning "secret of secrets," or Hebrew: Arikh Anpin, "vast countenance" or Kether. It was/is Thelemic magical fraternity, the goals of which are the pursuit of light and knowledge, again following The Book of Law. Its motto was: "The method of science, the aim of religion." Various lineages of the AA survive today that can be traced back to the founders Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones. The nature of the secrecy or the order makes it difficult to establish a direct link to the original society.
The Thelemic orders of the AA and O.T.O. can be viewed as somewhere in the middle of his early Hermetic Theurgy ('white magic') based disciplines of his early esoteric career, his interest in sex magick, and his later focus/fixation with goetia (demonology).
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Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.):
The Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), aka the Order of the Temple of the East, or the Order of Oriental Templars was an independent international fraternal and religious organisation modelled on Freemasonry. It was founded by Austrian industrialist Karl Kellner in 1895 and was developed in its early stages together with Theodor Reuss. Crowley was admitted by Reuss in around 1910. Crowley was appointed head of the British OTO Section (MMM) in 1912 and had advanced to 10th degree by that time. While Crowley's own AA was not part of OTO, the OTO did consider the AA to be a close ally. Crowley wrote the Gnostic Mass in 1913 which was incorporated into the OTO's rituals, known as Liber XV, which became the organisation's central rite and is open to the public. Crowley moved to the USA in 1914 and began to rewrite the rites of the OTO by incorporating Thelema, and started an OTO branch there, which was heavily influenced by Royal Arch Masonic rituals - which were subsequently rewritten after pressure from the Scottish Rite. Reuss and Crowley were at odds during Reuss' latter years, and in 1923 Reuss died without naming a successor, at which point Crowley appointed himself head of the Outer Order. The Book of Law became the OTO's central religious and organizational principle, expressed as Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law", and "Love is the law, love under will". The OTO was recognised by Crowley as the first organisation to accept and embrace Thelema. O.T.O. also includes the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (EGC) or Gnostic Catholic Church, which is the ecclesiastical arm of the Order. The O.T.O. today has over 3000 members in 58 countries, approximately 50% of these are in the United States.
The Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis is the unofficial name of the O.T.O. in the UK. It is a 'breakaway' O.T.O. organisation. Crowley bequeathed command of OTO in the UK to Kenneth Grant. In 1951, Grant declared, "I am authorized to operate the O.T.O. in England", assuming the X for Ireland, Iona, and All the Britains, a title previously held by Crowley. Grant wrote a new manifesto for O.T.O. and had 5000 copies printed. Grant was also friends and associates with Austin Osman Spare, the inventor of a particular kind of Sigil Magic. TOTO membership is limited to a few hundred and there are adherents in the UK, USA and Brazil. The TOTO consider themselves to be more Left-Hand Path, focussing more on extra-terrestrial deities, although LHP practitioners may still regard the TOTO was being somewhat RHP in its ultimate focus. A modern day organisation formed by an ex-TOTO member is the Ordo Astri, which further incorporates Kemetism (Egyptian traditions) into Thelema.
'While the group still promotes the Law of Thelema, it appears to focus more on exploration of foreign intelligence such as extraterrestrial life and demons, and on the darker aspects of occult existence. The organisation has shifted from a formal hierarchy to a loose hierarchical framework.'
Perhaps 'foreign intelligence' and 'extraterrestrial life and demons' is a reference to the fictional Lovecraft Cthulu mythos, which many Satanists seem to be obsessed with. The group claims to work with Typhonian concepts as well as the Law of Thelema. In Greek mythology, Typhon is the last son of Gaia and together with Tartarus is the God of Wind. Typhon was described as the largest and most grotesque of all creatures that have ever lived, having a hundred serpent heads.
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