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Cug's Thelema for dummies

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posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:33 AM
The following post on Thelema is based on the writings of Aleister Crowley and is my personal interpretation of Thelema in general. While I believe I have stated correctly the basic tenants of Thelema, Due to the nature of Thelema I can not say this is the definitive interpretation.

Also nothing in this post is intended as a personal interpretation of The Book of the Law

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Aleister Crowley, The Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of Oriental Templars) or O.T.O. and to a lesser extent Jack(John) Parsons are somewhat frequent topics on ATS's Secret Societies and NWO forums and to understand them you really need to have some understanding of Thelema, a subject that I'd wager very few people have any grasp of at all. This is my attempt to help in that understanding.

This post was also inspired by DragonsDemesne's The Mormon FAQ post.

What is Thelema?

Thelema (pronounced thuh-LEE-muh or sometimes theh-LAY-muh ) Greek for Will (Θελημα) is a religion that was founded in 1904 by Aleister Crowley when he received Thelema's main holy book The Book of the Law. Crowley (rhymes with holy, not Ozzy's crawl-LEE) is thought of as the Prophet of Thelema. A person who follows Thelema is called a Thelemite, and things related to Thelema are called Thelemic.

Thelemic Holy Books

The Holy Books of Thelema are known as Class A books “Class [A] consists of books of which may be changed not so much as the style of a letter: that is, they represent the utterance of an Adept entirely beyond the criticism of even the Visible Head of the Organization.

The primary Holy Book is The Book of the Law. (It's full name is Liber AL vel Legis, sub figura CCXX, The Book of the Law, as delivered by XCIII=418 to DCLXVI) One of the unique things about the book of the Law is that it should never be published without a copy of the manuscript. One of the reasons for this is by having a copy of the actual manuscript will help prevent misstranslations because anyone can read the original source (Well if you can make out Crowley's handwriting.).

Another unique thing about the Book of the Law is the last section called The comment.

The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading.
Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire.

Pretty much nobody destroys their copy of the Book of the Law. In fact Crowley requires his students to study it. What this probably really means is if you study the book, you can expect to have your whole life and way of thinking change, something that certainly could become a bumpy ride.

Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence.
All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.

This means that other than Crowley... No one can tell you what the book of the law means, You must figure out your own meanings using Crowley's writings as a guide. In other words there is no “preaching” in Thelema.

The main thing the comment has added to Thelema is a general feeling of anti-dogma. Some Thelemites who dislike the O.T.O. do so as thy feel that any attempt at organizing Thelemic thought/beliefs is in itself anti-Thelemic.

Basic Thelemic philosophy 101

The Law of Thelema "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law – AL I:40" is the most well known phrase in Thelema. Contrary to many peoples first impressions, it does not mean do whatever you want. It means to follow your true Will. This is one of the major differences between Christianity and Thelema, A Christian follows Gods Will (Thy will be done), A Thelemite follows his or her Will. Everything about Thelema is based around this one idea, everything.

Every man and every woman is a star – Al I:3. If everybody followed their own Will, there will be no conflicts, as everyone has their own unique path to follow like the stars in the sky. If you should try and interfere with someones will you will be deviating from following your own Will. You will also be restricting their Will. The word of Sin is Restriction AL I:41.

You will find when you start deviating from your true Will, life in general will get harder and less and less enjoyable. I'm sure you have heard stories of what most people would call a very successful person, say a doctor, lawyer, moviestar, things like that, but are really quite unhappy with their lives, many resort to drugs and alcohol to make themselves feel better but off they go in a downward slide. Others quit their successful jobs and become a farmer, a baker, or a potter, a job many would think is beneath them, but they are much happier with their life. That is an example of someone following their true Will.

Now what happens if say two people happen to think that it is their Will to eat a particular apple? Well, you fight for it. As brothers fight ye! - AL III:59 but this is not fighting to the death, it is fighting like brothers, basically fighting like say a boxer with respect and honor for your opponent. If it really is your will to eat that apple you will win. This is not like Social Darwinism's idea of survival of the fittest. As even a strong man, will not be able to overcome diverting from his Will. Yep this is a bit idealistic outcome of an extreme example. (A football player will squish the average Joe in this case, but he has now diverted from his true Will and the effect on his life will be almost karmic in nature.) But say that two people both think it is their Will to hold a certain position in the company they work for. They still fight for it, but instead of a literal fight, they fight each other by working harder, being smarter, and otherwise proving they are best for the position. The persons who's true Will is to hold that job will prevail.

Thelemic Holy Days and Holidays

Equinoxes and Solstices - The Rituals of the Elements and Feasts of the Times

March 20 - The Feast for the Supreme Ritual represents the opening of the Thelemic New Year.

The Feast for the Equinox of the Gods is held on the Vernal (spring) Equinox of each year to commemorate the founding of Thelema in 1904.

April 8, 9, and 10 - The Feast for the Three days of the Writing of the Book of the Law, beginning at noon on each day.

August 12 - The Feast for the First Night of the Prophet and His Bride

Many Thelemites also observe anniversaries commemorating major events and figures in the history of Thelema, such as Crowley's birthday (Crowleymas), and Greater Feast but these are not “official” holidays.

There are three observances during the life of a Thelemite.

Birth - celebrated in a Feast for Life
Puberty - celebrated in a Feast for Fire (boys), or a Feast for Water (girls)
Death - commemorated in a Greater Feast for Death.

[edit on 7/17/2006 by Cug]


posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 01:34 AM
Thelemic Worship

The main public form of worship is the Gnostic mass. The Gnostic Mass is a public ritual that anyone can attend, but you will be a participant in the mass, there are no “spectators”. You will be expected to recite the creed, and other parts, make the appropriate gestures, and partake of the sacrament (i.e. "communion").

Many Thelemites also practice a 4 times a day prayer called Liber Resh vel Helios commonly called Resh for short. Resh is a ritual of adoration of the Sun preformed at dawn, noon, sunset, and midnight.

The Thelemic Greeting & 93

Thelemites have a particular way of greeting each other. The Thelemic Greeting is. “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law” and the response is “Love is the law, love under will”

Many times a Thelemite will use 93 as a shortcut. In Greek gematria (numerology) Thelema and Love both equal 93.

Things Thelemites do, Magick and etc..

The discovery and accomplishment of the True Will is the primary “goal” of Thelemites, what this means it to discover what your true will is, and to follow it strictly. The achievement of the "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" or connecting with your higher self is the major step in finding your true will. To accomplish this A Thelemite will use things like prayer, meditation, self-discipline, devotional ritual (such as Resh), yoga, alchemy, divination (Tarot cards, I-Ching, biblomancy, etc..) astrology, invoking/evoking gods, spirits, angels, and demons. This generally falls under the topic of Magick.

That's all for now

Well hopefully you now have a rudimentary understanding of Thelema. If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them.

Love is the law, love under will.
Frater C.U.G.

[edit on 7/17/2006 by Cug]

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 07:58 AM
Excellent post frater Cug, very much for dummyes though.

Is it the Sun in the sky one worships or is it a more personal Sun ?

The frase " And was the Pharao worried when the tip of his Pyramid was still unquarried in distant lands" means what to you ?


posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 03:26 PM

Originally posted by Osbert
Excellent post frater Cug, very much for dummyes though.

Of course it is. I had no desire to write a six volume book on the subject. It's just some basics.

Is it the Sun in the sky one worships or is it a more personal Sun ?

I'd say it's more of what the sun represents.

The frase " And was the Pharao worried when the tip of his Pyramid was still unquarried in distant lands" means what to you ?

It's a partial missquote from Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente Chapter V verse 51. one could say it has to do with the trials of the Neophyte. (see also Liber DCLXXI vel Pyramidos)

posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 06:52 PM
Cug - you called Thelema a Religion. I dis-agree. I believe that it is more of a Philosophy. Now you might say "Well that is just your Opinion". Granted - but don't just take it from me - take it from Crowley! There is a quote in one of his books in which he states that he does not see what there is to gain by treating Thelema as a Religion (in which Practitioners might fall into the same traps of Dogmatic Literalist Interpretation - like that of Fundamentalist Christians) - it is better to think of Thelema as a Philosophy - the Philosophy of the "New Aeon" as it were. I can't specifically remember the book/writing in which he says this - but I am *POSITIVE* that it exists - I can do some digging for you if you wish.


posted on Jul, 17 2006 @ 07:11 PM

Originally posted by Seraphim_Serpente
Cug - you called Thelema a Religion. I dis-agree. I believe that it is more of a Philosophy.

Please read my disclaimer again.

You have a good point, you are correct that in Chapter 31 of Magick Without Tears Crowley said

To sum up, our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with Science or Magick.

Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.

But he also stated in about 100 other places that Thelema is a religion.

But anyway the Religion vrs Philosophy debate is always an active (and heated) one when it is brought up among Thelemites. My personal opinion is that it is both, but I'm happy to just call it a religion as it's less confusing in conversation.

The method of science , the aim of religion.

::edited to add ::

(in which Practitioners might fall into the same traps of Dogmatic Literalist Interpretation - like that of Fundamentalist Christians)

Really I think the prohibition of talking about your interpretation of the Book of the Law does more in preventing a Thelemic Pat Robinson from existing than not calling Thelema a religion.

[edit on 7/17/2006 by Cug]

posted on Jul, 24 2006 @ 01:24 AM
In one of his many books A.C. analyzes the formula of the name Allah, would you know where that is?
Sorry for the banal question.

posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 02:29 AM
Thank you, Cug. This was very informative.

So the only thing a Thelemite shouldn’t discuss is the meaning of the Book of the Law?

He/she is free to discuss anything outside of this?

Is it easy to set up participating in a Gnostic Mass?

[edit on 13/8/06 by ConspiracyNut23]

[edit on 13/8/06 by ConspiracyNut23]


posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 03:59 PM

Originally posted by ConspiracyNut23

So the only thing a Thelemite shouldn’t discuss is the meaning of the Book of the Law?

Yep, but there is a loophole of sorts. You can discuss the things Crowley said about it in other writings like the commentary.

He/she is free to discuss anything outside of this?

Anything about Thelema. if they are a member of the O.T.O. for example they wont talk openly about the the initiation rituals and etc... but the O.T.O. is not Thelema it's Thelemic.

Is it easy to set up participating in a Gnostic Mass?

Pretty easy. Go to the O.T.O. local bodies page and find someplace close to you.

Lodges are the best bet in finding a mass as they normally have more regular masses, and often have the time and location posted on their websites.

Oasis, camps,and encampments are smaller bodies who do not have a psychical place for the mass. So they happen less frequently (most still try to at least do it monthly) and it's likely to be held on private property like someones home. In most cases you have to contact them to find out when and where, and they might want to get to know you a bit as no one wants well.... a nutjob in their homes.

When you arrive let someone know that it's your first mass and there will be someone (Most likely the Deacon) there to give you a rundown on what to do and how to do it. It's also the time to let them know if you don't drink alcohol.

You should also be aware of the ingredients of the cake of light, and you might wish to inquire if they make it "by the book."

Osbert, let me do some digging

posted on Aug, 13 2006 @ 09:40 PM
I was aware of this thread a while ago, and decided not to start any debates out of respect; however, I feel that something must be addressed regarding this:

Originally posted by Cug
You should also be aware of the ingredients of the cake of light, and you might wish to inquire if they make it "by the book."

Yes, you just might wish to enquire.

A quote regarding practices similiar to the A. Crowley influenced O.T.O. rituals; from the Pistis Sophia, by the Akbar of Gnostic Masters:


posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 12:40 AM

Originally posted by Tamahu
Yes, you just might wish to enquire.

It not a secret, it's blood*. much of the time in the Gnostic Mass it's menstrual blood. But when aids hit (at the time the headquarters of the O.T.O. was in the Bay area so they were aware of be pretty early) there were new instructions for making the cakes of light. You make a batch of "loaded" cakes, take one and burn it to ashes and put some of the ashes into the batch that is used for the mass. Many just don't even bother with using blood any more.

*Blood can also be sexual fluids.

posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 12:52 AM

Originally posted by Cug
It not a secret, it's blood*

*Blood can also be sexual fluids.

And thus my link to a quote from the main Gnostic Scripture: The Pistis Sophia

Of the chastisement of a foul act of sorcery:

Thomas said: “We have heard that there are some on the earth who take the male seed and the female monthly blood, and make it into a lentil porridge and eat it, saying, ‘We have faith in Esau and Jacob.’ Is this then seemly or not?”

Jesus was wroth with the world in that hour and said unto Thomas: “Amen, I say: This sin is more heinous than all sins and iniquities. Such men will straight way be taken into the outer darkness and not be cast back anew into the sphere, but they shall perish, be destroyed in the outer darkness in a region where there is neither pity nor light, but howling and grinding of teeth. And all the souls which shall be brought into the outer darkness will not be cast back anew, but will be destroyed and dissolved.”

This is something that should not be taken lightly for those who take part, or would take part in such rituals.

[edit on 14-8-2006 by Tamahu]


posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 01:45 AM
That's great. Your religious beliefs are not the same as mine. Freedom of religion is a freaking awesome thing. The Chrisian, Jew, Muslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, and what have you are not going to agree that what we practice is good, correct, proper, etc... the point of this thread is not to debate religions. It's about telling people what Thelema is and what we do and give them a chance to ask some questions that might be off topic in a thread on say the Secret Societies forum.

posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 06:21 PM
Fair enough.

I have a question though.

Does the modern O.T.O.(which claims to practice Gnostic rituals) not see The Pistis Sophia as an authentic Gnostic Gospel?


posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 08:40 PM

Originally posted by Tamahu
Fair enough.

Thank you.

Does the modern O.T.O.(which claims to practice Gnostic rituals) not see The Pistis Sophia as an authentic Gnostic Gospel?

Very good question!

Actually the Pistis Sophia is in the list of books for serious study, but to understand how it's interpreted you have to know about the Aeons. And it looks like I never mentioned it. So here we go There have been three aeons so far. The first was The Aeon Of Isis, then it was the Aeon of Osiris, and now it's the Aeon of Horus.

The Aeon of Isis was maternal in nature and the female aspect of the gods ruled, During this time the religions of the earth worshiped the goddess, mother earth, etc.. Basically it was the time of the pagan religions.

The Aeon of Osiris was paternal in nature, the Dying God ruled during this time, and man's worship moved from the mother figure to a stern father figure.. The do what your told or else judeochristian god.

The Aeon of Horus started with the reception of the Book of the Law, and it's time for the child (man) to grow up and become independent. He no longer needs mom and dad looking after him for he is his own man (God).

So to answer your question basically the Pistis Sophia (and for that matter the Bible, Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita, or what have you) is no longer the definitive source of information.

AL 2:5 Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.

Again this is just the basics but it might help folks understand a bit more.

Oh one more thing. The O.T.O. has nothing to do with this question. This also applies to the Thelemites who hate the O.T.O. with a passion. Remember the O.T.O. is just a group who believes in Thelema, they do not control it, Just like the Knights of Columbus are a Catholic group, but the Catholic faith is not the Knights of Columbus.

::Edited to add::

One more thing I want to point out. There is nothing "Bad" about the practices of the older Aeons. It's just that now we are in the beginnings of a new one and we have new practices.

[edit on 8/14/2006 by Cug]

posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 06:12 PM

Originally posted by Cug
The Aeon of Horus started with the reception of the Book of the Law, and it's time for the child (man) to grow up and become independent. He no longer needs mom and dad looking after him for he is his own man (God).


This reminds me of an excerpt from one of the writings of Samael Aun Weor(even though I'm sure he did not interpret the Aeons of Isis, Osiris and Horus in the same way as Aleister Crowley):

The Gnosis of Easter

When the Bible relates the event of Golgotha, it affirms:

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. - Luke, chapter 23: 44-46

So, when the gospel affirms that there was darkness over all of the earth in the moment in which the Lord gave up the ghost, it is simply portraying a truthful and real spiritual fact that is repeated within any Initiate that reaches the High initiation. In the moment when the human being becomes united with his Innermost, he remains submerged within the profound darkness of the infinite, thus illuminating himself with his own spiritual fuel; the light that was illuminating him within all of the cosmic planes and within the entire infinite was a borrowed light, that light that nourished him was the light of the Gods; they were his spiritual parents who nourished him with such a light. Now, he has to nourish others with his own light. The Gods were nourishing him, were taking care of him, were illuminating him and feeding him in the same way that a mother does with the fruit of her womb, while her child grows and becomes capable to work and to be a cognizant citizen. So, once he is capable of becoming self-reliant, he no longer is in need of his parents.

Therefore, the one who becomes joined to his Innermost is already an older brother capable of illuminating himself with his own spiritual fuel, extracted from the Tree of the Science of Good and Evil; thus, from within him, the Gods remove their light, with which they were nourishing him during his state of spiritual gestation within the bosom of the Blessed Mother of the World.

Thus, when the human being is born to a spiritual life, he becomes a cognizant citizen of the cosmos; then, he has to illuminate himself with his own spiritual fuel.

During the first days after the High Initiation, the Master feels that nostalgia that the adolescent feels when is abandoned for the first time from his paternal care and he feels alone within the great cities in search for a job in order to get bread. Now, there are no considerations for him; now, only strange faces where “everyone is for their own,” where everyone has to rely on himself.

So, one experiences the Golgotha of High Initiation in the body of bones and flesh. Judas is never absent in this personal event, as well as Mary Magdalene or Peter; thus, in the complete Calvary the disciple feels abandoned by his own Innermost and the world no longer grants any attraction whatsoever onto him. This is when the Initiate, filled with pain, exclaims to his Father: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

So, the Initiate has to live his own Golgotha and to repeat the life of Christ within himself, thus when his soul becomes united with his Innermost he resurrects within the internal worlds...

Originally posted by Cug
Remember the O.T.O. is just a group who believes in Thelema, they do not control it, Just like the Knights of Columbus are a Catholic group, but the Catholic faith is not the Knights of Columbus.

Of course not.

"Thelema is our motto."

- Samael Aun Weor


posted on May, 14 2007 @ 04:14 AM
Hello folks,

I was surfing Youtube and ran across some interesting clips that really help show some of the things we Thelemites do.

This clip is one of the basic magical rituals, It's a banishing ritual called The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram or LBRP for short. The LBRP is a pretty common ritual, most ceremonial magicians use it, and I have even seen Wiccan versions floating around.

The LBRP is a ritual that is used to clean things out so to speak, it removes external influences out of the area, and from the mind. It also forms what is called the magical circle that protects the magician so in other magical rituals the LBRP is used at the beginning and end of most other rituals.

Lets see what else.... Oh the chanting/singing thing he is doing is called vibrating.

The first part of the ritual is called the Qabalistic Cross.. basically this is making the sign of the cross and vibrating these Hebrew words at each point

ATEH - forehead
MALKUTH - solar plexus
VE-GEVURAH - right shoulder
VE-GEDULAH - left shoulder
LE-OLAHM - Arms outstretched
AMEN - clasp hands

Translated into English you will find it pretty familiar
thou art
(the) Kingdom
and Power
and Glory
for ever

The next part is called The Formulation of the Pentagrams.

He creates the circle and draws pentagrams in the east, south, west, north. after each pentagram he vibrates the God name, in turn, YHVH, ADNI, AHIH, and AGLA

The next part is The Evocation of the Archangels

The Archangels names he is invoking are RAPHAEL, GABRIEL, MICHAEL, and AURIEL.

Then you repeat the first part and the ritual is done.

And the last thing before I send you to the video is a comment on his performance. To me his vocal style is a bit over the top, but that is just a matter of personal style.

[edit on 5/14/2007 by Cug]

posted on Jun, 1 2007 @ 08:25 PM
thanks for this thread, I'm going to a gnostic mass on tuesday, this info helps a lot..I see what you mean about the over the top vocals, my apt walls are way too thin, if I did the ritual that loud, I'd have some rather scared neighbors


posted on Aug, 6 2007 @ 09:47 AM
I just came across another video on YouTube.

Unlike the last one I posted this one is a Thelemic ritual. Basically it does the same thing the above ritual does. This ritual uses Greek instead of the Hebrew of the last one.

First the text of the ritual

Liber XXV - The Star Ruby

Facing East, in the centre, draw deep deep deep thy breath closing thy mouth with thy right forefinger prest against thy lower lip. Then dashing down the hand with a great sweep back and out, expelling forcibly thy breath, cry APO PANTOS KAKODAIMONOS.

With the same forefinger touch thy forehead, and say SOI, thy member, and say O PHALLE, [The secret sense of these words is to be sought in the numeration thereof.], thy right shoulder, and say ISCHUROS, thy left shoulder, and say EUCHARISTOS; then clasp thine hands, locking the fingers, and cry IAÕ.

Advance to the East. Imagine strongly a Pentagram, aright, in thy forehead. Drawing the hands to the eyes, fling it forth, making the sign of Horus and roar THÉRION. Retire thine hand in the sign of Hoor-paar-Kraat.

Go round to the North and repeat; but say NUIT.

Go round to the West and repeat; but whisper BABALON.

Go round to the South and repeat; but bellow HADIT.

Completing the circle widdershins, retire to the centre and raise thy voice in the Paian, with these words IÕ PAN, with the signs of N.O.X.

Extend the arms in the form of a Tau and say low but clear:


Repeat the Cross Qabalistic, as above, and end as thou didst begin.


Apo Pantos Kakodaimonos. Greek for "Depart from me all evil spirits."

Soi - Greek for "To Thee.
O Phalle - Greek for "O Phallus."
Ischuros - Greek for "Power, Mighty."
Eucharistos - Greek for "Gratefulness"

The quarters
Therion - Greek for Beast
Nuit - Egyptian sky goddess, The first speaker in the Book of the Law.
Babalon - The Great Mother also the whore of Babalon from Revelations.
Hadit - Egyptian sky god, The Second speaker in the Book of the Law.

(An older version of the ritual the names are.. Chaos, Babalon, Eros, and Psuche)

The hand motions he makes are called the signs of N.O.X. (Night as opposed to L.U.X. Light) in order..

Sign of Puella
Sign of Puer
Sign of Vir
Sign of Mulier

PRO MOU IUNGES OPICHÕ etc... Greek for "Before me the Spells, behind me the Mysteries, on my right the Gnosis, on my left Spirit . For about me flames the Star of the Five, and in the Stone the Star of the Six is fixed."

And now the Video.

Edited to add some translations.

[edit on 8/6/2007 by Cug]

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