Volume I, Number 1: The Sovereignty Issue.
This is a great and holy mystery. Although each star has its own number, each number is equal and supreme. Every man and every woman is not only a part of God, but the Ultimate God. "The Centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere." The old definition of God takes new meaning for us. Each one of us is the One God. This can only be understood by the initiate; one must acquire certain high states of consciousness to appreciate it.
--- Aleister Crowley, New Comment to Liber Al vel Legis, I:4
"The Kings" are evidently those men who are capable of understanding Themselves.
--- Aleister Crowley, New Comment to Liber AL vel Legis, II:64
We are all free, all independent, all shining gloriously, each one a radiant world. Is not that good tidings?
--Aleister Crowley, The Law of Liberty
|"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." -- AL I:40
"thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that,
"Every man and every woman is a star."-- AL I:3
|Man has the right to live by his own law--
Man has the right to eat what he will:
Man has the right to think what he will:
Man has the right to love as he will:
Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.
|"the slaves shall serve." -- AL II:58
|Each being is, exactly as you are, the sole centre of a Universe in no wise identical with, or even assimilable to, your own. The impersonal Universe of "Nature" is only an abstraction, approximately true, of the factors which it is convenient to regard as common to all. The Universe of another is therefore necessarily unknown to, and unknowable by, you; but it induces currents of energy in yours by determining in part your reactions. Use men and women, therefore, with the absolute respect due to inviolable standards of measurement; verify your own observations by comparison with similar judgments made by them; and, studying the methods which determine their failure or success, acquire for yourself the wit and skill required to cope with your own problems. […] You may regard the establishment of the Law of Thelema as an essential element of your True Will, since, whatever the ultimate nature of that Will, the evident condition of putting it into execution is freedom from external interference. [Emphasis added.]
This "freedom from external interference" is the hallmark of the amoral aristocratic sovereignty of Thelema; for so long as one is living according to their True Will, the entire momentum of the Universe is supporting you. Liber II: The Message of the Master Therion, elaborates further:
|The Key to this Message is this word--Will. The first obvious meaning of this Law is confirmed by antithesis; "The word of Sin is Restriction."
As the Priest intones in Liber XV, "O secret of secrets that art hidden in the being of all that lives, not Thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also Thou. Thou art That, and That am I."
|This is the only point to bear in mind, that every act must be a ritual, an act of worship, a sacrament. Live as the kings and princes, crowned and uncrowned, of this world, have always lived, as masters always live; but let it not be self-indulgence; make your self-indulgence your religion. -- The Law of Liberty
Writing further The Law of Liberty, Crowley enjoins us to celebrate the newfound victory of the Crowned & Conquering Child Horus that is the herald of the New Aeon:
|Lift yourselves up, my brothers and sisters of the earth! Put beneath your feet all fears, all qualms, all hesitancies! Lift yourselves up! Come forth, free and joyous, by night and day, to do your will; for "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." Lift yourselves up! Walk forth with us in Light and Life and Love and Liberty, taking our pleasure as Kings and Queens in Heaven and on Earth.
|Behold! the Kingdom of God is within you, even as the Sun standeth eternal in the heavens, equal at midnight and at noon. He riseth not: he setteth not: it is but the shadow of the earth which concealeth him, or the clouds upon her face. [...]
Unlike the religions of the past, the New Aeon brings with it the message of individual sovereignty; the divine legacy of the True Will; the glorious standard of Truth that is on our banner of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, under the regency of the One Law of Thelema: Do what thou wilt.
|Because our rulers will then have to use a lot of drugs. ... I mean that it looks as though our rulers will have to make considerable use of falsehood and deception for the benefit of those they rule. And we said that all such falsehoods are useful as a form of drug.4
The specific deception recommended in this case is for the rulers to rig a lottery determining who will breed with whom. The people will believe that they are paired up on a random basis, but the results will in fact be covertly dictated by the rulers. This example is fairly typical.5 In sum:
|This is what we must practice in peacetime, right from childhood--the exercise of authority over others and submission to them in turn. Freedom from control must be uncompromisingly eliminated from the life of all men, and of all the animals under their domination.6
It is perhaps not surprising that the application of Plato's views to the individual have been more widely embraced by succeeding generations than have his political ideas.
|Now we ought to think of the most sovereign part of our soul as god's gift to us, given to be our guiding spirit.8
This sentence from the Timaeus ties the doctrine of the logos to Plato's abundant and often fanciful references to the guardian spirit, or daimon. Although later Platonists did not make this same association, the notion of the guardian daimon has remained a source of fascination to this day.
|Often I have woken up out of the body to my self and have entered into myself, going out from all other things; I have seen a beauty wonderfully great and felt assurance that then most of all I belonged to the better part; I have actually lived the best life and come to identity with the divine; and set firm in it I have come to that supreme actuality, setting myself above all else in the realm of Intellect. Then after that rest in the divine, when I have come down from Intellect to discursive reasoning, I am puzzled how I ever came down, and how my soul has come to be in the body when it is what it has shown itself to be by itself, even when it is in the body.16
This further informs his doctrine of the soul:
|Now when the soul is without body it is in absolute control of itself and free, and outside the causation of the physical universe; but when it is brought into body it is no longer in all ways in control, as it forms part of an order with other things.17
In his treatise "On the Allotted Guardian Spirit" (Ennead III. 4), Plotinus attempted to reconcile the contradictions of Plato's teachings regarding the personal daimon. He was also concerned to make sense of an incident when an Egyptian priest attempted to conjure Plotinus' own guardian spirit to visible appearance. What appeared was not a daimon, as expected, but a god.18 Plotinus concluded that each of us has a "working principle," that is, the level of being that is dominant in our lives. Our guardian spirit is the level of being within us that is immediately above our working principle. However, if one disciplines oneself to constantly follow the dictates of that higher level, one becomes an entity of that order after death, and into the next life, continuing from life to life, until one "reaches the heights."
|There is, therefore, of each of us one peculiar presiding daemon... the invocation of him is effected through one God, who is the lord of daemons; who from the first defined to every one his peculiar daemon; and who, in sacred operations, unfolds to every one his proper daemon, according to his own proper will... Hence, when the peculiar daemon is present with each of us, he then unfolds the worship which is proper to be paid to him and his name, and likewise delivers the proper mode of invoking him.19
Theurgy then becomes, not only the means of discovering the guardian daimon, but also the way of responding to the presence of the daimon in our lives, and even of transcending it:
|We also perform such things as he suggests to our intellect, and he continues to govern us till, through sacerdotal theurgy, we obtain a God for the inspective guardian and leader of the soul. For then the daemon either yields or delivers his government to a more excellent nature, or is subjected to him, as contributing to his guardianship, or in some other way is ministrant to him as to his lord.20
Such an advanced theurgist is described as being "superior to all law."21
1. Republic IV, 434d -- 441c.
2. Republic IV, 431a -- b.
3. Alcibiades, 135b, trans. D. S. Hutchinson.
4. Republic V, 459b -- c, trans. G. M. A. Grube, rev. C. D. C. Reeve.
5. For a thorough treatment of the totalitarian thread in Plato's work, see
6. Laws, 942b, trans. Trevor J. Saunders.
7. Meno,, 82b -- 85b.
8. Timaeus, 90a, trans. Donald J. Zeyl.
9. Republic X, 617d.
10. Timaeus, 41c -- 42b.
11. Timaeus, 91a -- b.
12. Timaeus, 90a -- d.
13. Timaeus, 90d.
14. Timaeus, 42b.
15. Republic X, 617d -- 621b. The above summary could be faulted for
16. Ennead IV. 8. 1., trans. A. H. Armstrong.
17. Ennead III. 1. 8.
18. Described in Porphyry's The Life of Plotinus, chapter 10.
19. De Mysteriis, 283-284, trans. Thomas Taylor.
20. De Mysteriis, 280.
21. De Mysteriis, 231.
|O Great Sea endless in expanse, dark night
Of this soul's burden of ancient delight
All these rivers of my own thoughts so bright
In their own light drowned now beyond any sight
Their streams join course in your ocean of bliss
Down slope of time worked free of ego's blind
Distraction from your pure and present kiss
And whom is it to yourself you bind?
What gift of Grace prospers this wedding great?
Them only whose own truth burns clean of smoke
Them only are fit for their final fate
Beneath the shade of the sacred Oak
The Magus lay sore wounded with a spear
And took the Runes as Gnosis without fear
|--Nathan W. Bjorge
by Michael Sanborn
|"O Ra, who art Heru-Khuti, the divine man-child, the heir of eternity, self-begotten and self-born..."
-- The Papyrus of Nekht
"O Thou who hast formulated Thy Father and made fertile Thy Mother!"
-- Invocation of Horus According to the Divine Vision of W. the Seer
|Autopoietic systems exhibit operational closure because "their identity is specified by a network of dynamic processes whose effects do not leave that network."
|--Dr. Randall Whitaker, Encyclopedia Autopoietica2
The development of this biologically-rooted autonomy is worked out with great detail and subtlety in the writings of Maturana and Varela. They provide a system of operational definitions whereby "Do what thou wilt" is seen to be the whole of both autopoiesis and cognition.
|The nervous system, therefore, by its very architecture does not violate but enriches the operational closure that defines the autonomous nature of the living being.
|-- Maturana and Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, p. 166
And all of these modes of adaptation are knowing. Multicellular functioning is knowing. Reproduction is knowing (just as it says in the Bible). And when multicellular organisms interact over time, forming societies, a new kind of knowing emerges: communication. But it's important to note that in autopoietic theory, this knowing is not about objective properties of the "world out there." Rather, each act of knowing is an adaptation of the organism to those changing conditions it selects out of the environment.
|Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers. Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the past, and every step in his progress extends his empire. There is therefore no reason to assign theoretical limits to what he may be, or to what he may do.
|-- Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice3
|An explanation is always a proposition that reformulates or recreates the observations of a phenomenon in a system of concepts acceptable to a group of people who share a criterion of validation. Magic, for instance, is as explanatory for those who accept it as science is for those who accept it.
|-- Maturana and Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, p. 28
Here is a second area of overlap between autopoietic theory and Thelema. For Maturana and Varela, each act of knowing brings forth a world: the world we know is not a set of pre-established properties that we model with our minds, but the result of our engagement with select parts of the environment on an individual and species level. As scientists, they are then concerned with refining their research and its applicable technology. But as magicians, we see this as a reaffirmation of the foundation of magick itself. "It's our world? Let's hack it!"
|The organism restricts the individual creativity of its component unities, as these unities exist for that organism. The human social system amplifies the individual creativity of its components, as that system exists for these components [...] Organisms and human social systems, therefore, are opposite cases in the series of metasystems formed by the aggregation of cellular systems of any order.
|-- Maturana and Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, p. 199
This in turn implies a biologically rooted principle of ethics. Our unique abilities as human beings depend on the capacity to exchange linguistic differences with others. When we exhibit "certainty," we not only mistakenly attribute concreteness to our linguistic constructs, we also negate our prerogative as a languaging entity to receive the distinctions held by those who disagree with us.
|Biology also shows us that we can expand our cognitive domain. This arises through a novel experience brought forth through reasoning, through the encounter with a stranger, or, more directly, through the expression of a biological interpersonal congruence that lets us see the other person and open up for him room for existence beside us. This act is called love, or, if we prefer a milder expression, the acceptance of the other person beside us in our daily living.
|-- Maturana and Varela, The Tree of Knowledge, p. 246
|Now Love is the enkindling in ecstasy of Two that will to become One. [...] Here also is Nature monitor to them that seek Wisdom at her breast: for in the uniting of elements of opposite polarities is there a glory of heat, of light, and of electricity. Thus also in mankind do we behold the spiritual fruit of poetry and all genius [...]
|-- Aleister Crowley, De Lege Libellum4
The individual is fundamentally autonomous. The world is a magical construction. Love is the law. In these ways--and others--a leading school of contemporary scientific thought independently confirms the tenets of Thelema. May this stand as a testimony to the depth of the insight gleaned by our Prophet.
Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity, Dutton, New York, 1979.
Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life, Anchor, New York, 1996.
Maturana, Humberto and Francisco Varela. Autopoeisis and Cognition, D. Reidel,
1. Nag Hammadi Library, III 4: 97, 14; X 1: 2, 19; and the name
2. http://enolagaia.com/AT.html Citing Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela,
3. Magick: Liber ABA, Book 4, part III (York Beach ME: Samuel Weiser, 1994/1997), p. 129.
4. The Equinox III:10 (New York: Thelema Publications, 1986), p. 67.
|This previously unpublished essay by Grady L. McMurtry, Past Grand Master of O.T.O., was discovered in the editorial archives of The Magickal Link.
The paths of Initiation are many and varied. One of them is Tarot as it relates to the psychic body, i.e. to the chakras, the Tree of Life, the Buddhist Stupa, however we prefer to think about it. In 1961 I was working as an Administrative Analyst for the State of California in Sacramento. It was interesting enough, in its own way, but it could not keep me from my metaphysical turn of mind. One day, while I was sitting at my desk communing with the Great Computer which is the heart, or brain--or soul?--of such agencies, I had a psychic vision. My desk was facing east. On my left (the north) I became conscious of a dark gulf, in the midst of which blazed a single great star, in the conventionalized configuration of a Christmas star. Below this was a great black fortress, or city. It was the Vision of the City of Dreadful Night. I immediately turned to my typewriter on my right (the south) and started writing:
|Beyond the Fortress of the Night
That rules the Gulfs of Avatar
My own transfigured soul burns bright
And glorious: A Deathless Star!
|Welcome to the premiere issue of The Thelema Community Calendar. Each month, we hope to bring you a variety of essays and offerings from the members of our community, as well as our schedule of classes and events, both at Thelema Lodge and elsewhere.
Thursday, April 8, 8:00PM: The First Day of the Writing of The Book of the Law. A reading of the first chapter of The Book of the Law, in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of its reception. The reading will be followed by a pot-luck feast of champagne and and chocolate, so please bring what you can.
Friday, April 9, 8:00PM: The Second Day of the Writing of The Book of the Law. The anniversary festivities continue with a reading of the second chapter of The Book of the Law, and a pot-luck feast of cakes and fruit. Extra helpings gratefully accepted.
Saturday, April 10, 8:00PM: The Third Day of the Writing of The Book of the Law. Our centennial climax occurs with a reading of the third chapter of The Book of the Law, with the pot-luck feast on this occasion being a Mexican-style dinner. Guests are invited to bring entrees as well as drinks.
Monday, April 12, 8:00PM: Overview of the Section Two Reading List. A look back at the past ten years of the Section Two reading group, whose activities have spanned the whole of the second section of the reading list from Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice and beyond.
Wednesday, April 14, 8:00PM: Aries Birthday Party. In honor of the Rams among us. Bring your own noisemakers and streamers.
Thursday, April 15, 7:30PM: Fundamentals of Magical Practice. This month, explore Liber 777, the definitive reference work of Golden Dawn and Thelemic qabalah, with host Gregory Peters. Special emphasis will be placed on the creation of talismans.
Wednesday, April 28, 8:00PM: Thelema Dialogue. An exploration of language, communication, and thought, based on the ideas of physicist David Bohm.
The letters O.T.O. stand for ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS --the Order of Oriental Templars, or Order of the Temple of the East. The O.T.O. is dedicated to securing the Liberty of the Individual, and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power. This is accomplished through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood. The O.T.O. is in sympathy with the traditional ideals of Freemasonry, and was the first of the Old Aeon orders to accept The Book of the Law.
|OTO Initiations. Call to attend
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Full in 4:30PM
|What Is Thelema? lecture SFSU,
|1st Day of the Writing of
The Book of the Law 8:00PM
In Horus Temple
|2nd Day of the Writing of
The Book of the Law 8:00PM
In Horus Temple
|3rd Day of the Writing of
The Book of the Law 8:00PM
In Horus Temple
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
8:00 PM in the library
|Aries birthday Party 8:00PM
|Fundamentals of Magical Practice
in the library 7:30 PM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|New in 6:21AM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Thelema Dialogue in Horus Temple
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)