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The Origins of Aleister Crowley's Thelema, and the possibility that its an elaborate hoax.

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posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:12 AM
Exposing the origins of Thelema.

It all started when I decided to do some research in to the Stele of Revealing, a supposed Egyptian artifact which is an integral part of Aliester Crowley's movement/philosophy/religion, Thelema.

Here's a quote from Thelema 101 website that describes the Stele's importance :

The Stele of Revealing is especially sacred to Thelemites because it is through this artifact that the Law of Thelema was revealed to Aleister Crowley in 1904 e.v., inaugurating the New Aeon of Horus. Soon after discovering the Stele in a museum in Cairo, Crowley received the mystical communication known as The Book of the Law. Much of what Crowley discovered in the Stele of Revealing "set the stage" or formed the basis for these channeled verses.

Interested in the stele and its key role in Crowley's reception of the Book of the Law which is the primary doctrine of Thelema, I became curious to know its history and assertain its provenance (it's recognised and reputably agreed and documented history)

I wondered if there was anything that could be discovered about its history that might make Aleister Crowley (who was a known trickster and hoaxe)r be revealed as a false prophet. Surely if he made the whole thing up, and only 100 years ago, there could be some re-traceable evidence? And where better to start than with the Stele?

For information on Crowley's involvement with Hoaxing watch this interview with Robert Anton wilson:

So my search for possible signs of forgery began. I instantly came across the Stele by searching for it on google, and came across it by a different name: the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu

Now this is very interesting and revealing in of itself. Why? I'll explain...

In Thelemic orders such as the A.'.A.'., the O.T.O and Eclisiastica Gnostica, The book of the Law is followed as the primary doctrine, and as such initiates of the order study it, understand it, live by it. 93's.

Now, if you actually take the time to read the book of the law, and find out what it's all about you discover that there are a number of characters in its pages.

Firstly you have Aiwass who is the representative of the second character Horus, who in the book of the law is refered to as Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

Then you have Nuit and Hadit that represent two other deities that make up the trinity in Thelema.

Finally you also get two other characters in the book of the law and these are the Scarlet Woman (Crowleys wife) and Ankh-Af-Na Khonsu which is Crowley.

You see in the book of the Law Aiwass talks directly to Crowley by the name Ankh-Af-Na-Khonsu.

Now we can see why the Steles real name ( Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu) has significance. The Stele it would appear is named almost letter for letter by the name that is given to Crowley by Aiwass. The 'being' that appeared to him, from behind his left shoulder for 3 days in succession, in a Cairo Hotel room. To dictate the book of the law.

On the wikipedia page I found some more interesting information:
Wiki for the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu

Originally located in the former Bulaq Museum under inventory number 666, the stele was moved around 1902 to the newly opened Egyptian Museum of Cairo (inventory number A 9422; Temporary Register Number 25/12/24/11), where it remains today.

Huh? The Stele was moved to Cairo in 1902 where Crowley would see it only a couple of years later.
That interested me! So I delved deeper.
I wondered if there could be any evidence to point to the Stele being a forgery made by Crowley or one of his comrades and planted there on location in 1904, somehow made a exhibit in the museum by some covert method?

At this point I also started to realise that if I was right then his wife Rose must also have been in on the whole hoax, if it indeed was a hoax, so i decided to research her a little more closely and in the wiki page for Aleister Crowley this is what I found:

In 1903 Crowley wed Rose Edith Kelly, the sister of his friend, the painter Gerald Festus Kelly, in a "marriage of convenience". However, soon after their marriage, Crowley actually fell in love with her and set about to successfully prove his affections.

Now I started thinking that it was possible that perhaps Crowley had suddenly decided that he loved this woman and being a great hoaxer decided to make a new religion and make her an important part of it. A romantic gesture?
An inspired notion born out of a deep seated desire to have his own quasi-religious order, and a need to impress a girl?

Lets look at Rose's part in the reception of the book of the law:

In 1904, Crowley and his new wife Rose travelled to Egypt using the pseudonym of Prince and Princess Chioa Khan, titles which Crowley claimed had been bestowed upon him by an eastern potentate.[64] According to Crowley's own account, Rose, who was pregnant, began to experience visions while in the country, regularly informing him that "they are waiting for you", but not providing him with any further information as to who "they" were. It was on 18 March, after Crowley sought the aid of the Egyptian god Thoth in a magical rite, that she actually revealed who "they" were – the ancient Egyptian god Horus and his alleged messenger.She then led him to a nearby museum in Cairo where she showed him a seventh century BCE mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (it later came to be revered in Thelema as the "Stele of Revealing"); Crowley was astounded for the exhibit's number was 666, the number of the beast in Christian belief.

It is well know that Crowley had views about Christianity and its role in sexual repression. No sex before marriage seemed a terrible sin to Crowley. It is known that on his visit to America Crowley felt that Americans where prudes and needed to be sexually liberated. It is also well know that Aleister commonly referred to himself as the beast and '666'

When one reads the book of the law it becomes clear that its Crowley's views and not those of Horus that are expressed, views that he had been cultivating

In the book of the Law the word of sin is restriction, and there is much talk of being sexually liberated. at one point it says that women should be free to express themselves sexually, and that a man should devote effort to making the woman happy in her sexual desires.

And then I discovered something else about the book of the law that made me wonder... from the Aleister Crowley wiki:

In 1900, Crowley travelled to Mexico via the United States on a whim, taking a local woman as his mistress, and with his good friend Oscar Eckenstein (1859–1921) proceeded to climb several mountains, including Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl and even Colima, the latter of which they had to abandon owing to a volcanic eruption.[57] During this period, Eckenstein revealed mystical leanings of his own and told Crowley that he needed to improve the control of his mind, recommending the Indian practice of raja yoga in order to do so. Crowley had continued his magical experimentation on his own after leaving Mathers and the Golden Dawn, and his writings suggest that he developed the magical word Abrahadabra during this time

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:13 AM
So if Crowley already started formulating and talking about the word Abrahadbara in 9001-3, how is it the very last word dictated to him by Aiwass in 1904? From the book of the Law:

74. There is a splendour in my name hidden and glorious, as the sun of midnight is ever the son.
75. The ending of the words is the Word Abrahadabra.
The Book of the Law is Written and Concealed.

At this point I decided to look at the Egyptian written on the stele of Revealing itself, and this also brought me to some interesting conclusions.

If you look at the first character on the top left of the Stele it looks very much like a smiley face, one of Crowley's little jokes?

Furthermore, what of the Egyptian inscription? I soon found a translation, and what I found shocked me more:

C1] Words spoken by the Osiris (i.e., the deceased), God's Servant of Montu, Lord of Waset, Ankh-ef-en- [C2] Khonsu, True of Voice: "(O) my heart of my mother [2 times], (O) my heart while I existed [C3] upon earth, do not stand against me as a witness, do not oppose me in [C4] in the tribunal, do not be hostile against me in the presence of the Great God, Lord of the West. [C5] Although I have united (myself) to the land to the great western side of Heaven, may I flourish upon earth!" [C6] Words spoken by the Osiris, the Stolist[8] of Waset, Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu, True of Voice: O (you who are) Unique [C7] of Arm, who shines like the moon, the Osiris, Ankh-ef- [C8] en-Khonsu, goes forth from your multitudes, [C9] (O) deliverer of those who are within the sun-light, open for him [C10] the Netherworld, indeed, the Osiris, Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu who goes forth in [C11] day in order to do everything all that pleased him upon earth among the living-ones."

To me it sounds like its talking about Crowley!

It speaks of standing up against the god of the west (Christianity!) It keeps referring to Ankh-ef-en-khonsu (Ankh-af-na-Kohnsu in the book of the law is Crowley don't forget) as 'True of Voice'
It says he has attached himself to the West... He had just been to America and he was British.
Finally it says that Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu who goes forth in] day in order to do everything all that pleased him upon earth among the living-ones. And this is also very true of Crowley, who spent his entire life seeking to do his will, spending his entire life in a overtly Hedonist state.

So I wondered who had made these translations? Even If the Stele was a real Egyptian piece, is it possible that its the translations themselves that are wrong? Could they have been rigged by Crowley in some way to propagate his new religion?
Heres what I found:

Crowley states that he dined with the Egyptologist Émile Charles Albert Brugsch bey, Curator of the Bulaq Museum to discuss the stele in his charge and to arrange for a facsimile to be made. According to Crowley, Brugsch's French assistant curator translated the hieroglyphic text on the stele.[11] In 1912 a second translation was later made for Crowley by Alan Gardiner and Battiscombe Gunn.

I couldnt find much information on the Curator who did the initial translation but when I looked in to Baddicombe Gunn who did the second translation for Crowley, the web of deceit seemed to grow larger.
Check it out for yourself, he had a lot of interest in the occult was a member of the London Theosophical Society, known to be anti-Christian, and had strong involvement with the same mystery schools which Crowley intended to become the new prophet of with the book of the Law. Seems a bit too close for comfort? wouldnt you say?
Baddiscombe Gunn

I hope this post has demonstrated some insights in to the possible Origins of Aliester Crowleys Thelema.
I could go on further but unfortunately I have to go to work now.
I will however be back to continue with further information should anybody show any interest in the post.
Thanks for reading.
Rice and Peace.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:15 AM
reply to post by Lagrimas

I fail to see the difference between Crowley's prophetic vision and any other prophetic vision. Believers will believe anything.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:47 AM
I tried to read the OP and just gave up half way through due to the jargon.

I have no idea about who or what Crowley was and this OP is not helping that.

You might want to try simplifying it a bit if you want to generate interest in the thread. Especially for those of us who dont know the history of who he was.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:49 AM
your research is impressive! i have many books by crowley,and i hate to say it but the man was brilliant,even though he went insane at the end. now this business about thelema is an actual working magickal force,as is christianity,judaism,hinduism and so forth.the book of the law is actually a beatifull piece of literature. yes this man crowley was a trickster,and wanted attention.but he was also well versed in many beliefs.
i think the golden dawn was a flop because of mathers,but isreal regarde tried to bring it back,and he did ok .now its just a boys club for rich guys to think they know more than you about the secrets of the universe!
i'm not sure if crowley tried to make a new religion just for a joke,i wouldn't put it past him! but the man knew his stuff! hiss book 777 is packed full of info on magical workings.his book the book of thoth is full of insight on the have to give him that! and the stele he seen in the cairo museum is a little shady because of its number 666 which he refered to himself as the 'beast'. but you have to acknowlege the fact that the man knew his stuff!
gee, i thought i was the only one here that digs this stuff!
what is your thoughts on eliphas levi,jon dee,or even the key of solomon the king?

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:50 AM
reply to post by DJW001

Thelema's only comandment, Do what thou wilt shal be the whole of the law, is the main ethos behind the all seeing eye, Pyramid movement that the illuminati are said to follow. If you aren't familiar with the Jay Z, Lady gaagaa, rhianna etc promotion of this symbolism and the book of the law, then you fail to understand that many people involved with 'secret society's' these days follow Crowleyism.

I simply wanted to bring information to the forum about its possible origins, for anybody that may be interested.
Thanks for your input.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:54 AM
reply to post by TiM3LoRd

Understanding thelema is not easy. I'm sorry you felt it was a difficult read, there is no jargon really.
Thanks for trying.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 07:55 AM
Be prepared for a wave of attacks, will read later

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 08:07 AM
reply to post by Lagrimas

For those of you that are not aware of who Alister Crowley was, here is a brief explanation:
He was at the turn of the last century considered the most evil man alive due to his beliefs in antichristianity ,devil worship, and free sex.
Alot of devil worshipping cults got started after studying his beliefs and practices.Animal sacrifice, sex orgies etc were the norm with his group.
You can wiki him for any further info if your interested.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 08:20 AM
reply to post by Lagrimas

Now wait just a darn minute....oh, OK, never mind.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 08:31 AM
Great work. I've never been too interested in Crowley, but I am always interested in uncovering truth. This is some interesting stuff. I think you are on to something and look forward to reading more.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 08:42 AM
I only have a minute due to being at work, but I would like to add a comment to this thread, and I'll try to come back to finish it later.

I've done rather alot of research on Crowley, his works, and Thelema. The hardest part about understanding Crowley is finding out what is legit information, and what was bs. While he did base much of his work on earlier known information, he was known to alter much of his systems to match his personal beliefs. With that being said, he also corrected many previous errors.

Crowley had alot of potential, but was too concerned with personal pleasures to find the meaning in his own work. On the surface, nothing is as it appear when you are dealing with most of the subjects he wrote about, and it takes a deeper understanding to grasp the hidden meaning. Crowley liked to bend the rules to be what he wanted, and never fully realized what he was dealing with.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 09:48 AM

Originally posted by Lagrimas
reply to post by DJW001

Thelema's only comandment, Do what thou wilt shal be the whole of the law,


I simply wanted to bring information to the forum about its possible origins, for anybody that may be interested.
Thanks for your input.

Your thorough analysis just lack any mention of one of the most probable inspiration, and no less mundane as utterly... comic.

J'ai nommé :

Alcofribas Nasier, aka François Rabelais (c. 1490-1553), who wrote the fives books commonly known as Gargantua and Pantagruel .

Pantagruel (1532)
La vie très horrifique du grand Gargantua, usually called Gargantua (1534)
Le tiers livre ("The third book", 1546)
Le quart livre ("The fourth book", 1552)
Le quint livre (A fifth book, whose attribution to Rabelais is debated)

The real titles are far more complex and crazy, but... back on topic.

François Rabelais was a Franciscan and later a Benedictine monk of the 16th century. Eventually he left the monastery to study medicine, and moved to the French city of Lyon in 1532. It was there that he wrote Gargantua and Pantagruel, a connected series of books. They tell the story of two giants—a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures—written in an amusing, extravagant, and satirical vein.

But before creating what would become the biggest masterpiece of the very early French literature (albeit highly satirical, but is this of any contradiction ?), sort of Cervantes' Quixote as for Spain, Rabelais used to be into medicine, and yet again before that he happened to be a monk. Then in the shadow of the monastery did he stumbled upon (who knows how ?) the not so famous nowadays Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499), or Poliphilo's Strife of Love in a Dream, sort of philosophically allegorical romance written (most probably, but at the time anonymously) by another monk by the name of Francesco Colonna.

In the Renaissance, a character named "Thelemia" represents will or desire in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili of the Dominican monk Francesco Colonna. The protagonist, Poliphilo has two allegorical guides, Logistica (reason) and Thelemia (will or desire). When forced to choose, he chooses fulfillment of his sexual will over logic.[14]

(The source quoted above speaks of sexual will, but the book is more about love, albeit somewhat sexually driven in its rather apotheotic ending. Anyway...)

Colonna's work was a great influence on the Franciscan monk François Rabelais, who in the 16th century, used Thélème, the French form of the word, as the name of a fictional Abbey in his novels, Gargantua and Pantagruel.

(I for one would not have said "great influence", but let it be... off topic...)

So here we got to the first point, which is rather lightweight as the name Thelemia is a greek word for 'Will' used rarely but nevertheless used in some pillars of the classical tradition, - like the Christian Gospel to just name one.

Anyway here comes the juicy meat coated in big warm frenchie cheese :

The only rule of this Abbey was "fay çe que vouldras" ("Fais ce que tu veux," or, "Do what thou wilt") .

There it is. Abbey of Thelemia, filled with monks whose motto is...
......................... " DO WHAT THOU WILT " ...........................





Epilog for the yummies !

In the mid-18th century, Sir Francis Dashwood inscribed the adage on a doorway of his abbey at Medmenham,[16] where it served as the motto of The Hellfire Club.[16] Rabelais' Abbey of Thelema has been referred to by later writers Sir Walter Besant and James Rice, in their novel The Monks of Thelema (1878), and C.R. Ashbee in his utopian romance The Building of Thelema (1910).

There you have it : the (not so) missing link between France and Britain, that explains how a thirty-something english guy somwhat fascinated with the raging occultesque trend that was plaguing western Europe and East-Coast at times find a way to later fulfill is taste for fame, power, big bad boy naughty beasts, and, last but not least, (not so) wild early XXth c. lil' hotties...
... Oh ! Did I mention the guy named Adolf Hitler that Mister Aleister Crowley felt good to welcom as his very personal Magick Child ?...

edit on 16-4-2012 by Flother because: magick ckolors tacks tricks !

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 09:52 AM
As for the source used there above : magick klick !

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 09:54 AM
I have to disagree with the comment that Crowley "went insane in the end". In fact, his last book, "The Book of Thoth", is in my opinion his best. He lived out his last days in a charming villa in the English countryside, where he continued to write poetry, philosophical essays, musings, etc. He was not insane in the least.

As he states in "Magick Without Tears", he himself did not consider Thelema to be a "religion", but rather a philosophical outlook on the nature of occultism. He himself did not understand the Book of the Law in its entirety, and readily admitted to such.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 10:08 AM

Originally posted by Masonic Light
As he states in "Magick Without Tears", he himself did not consider Thelema to be a "religion", but rather a philosophical outlook on the nature of occultism. He himself did not understand the Book of the Law in its entirety, and readily admitted to such.

The big, huge, enormous, infinite, ethereally eternal as much as eternally ethereal of the gigantic Gargantua hath to perfectly, wholeheartedly and very-lulzilly agree.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 11:20 AM
reply to post by reficul

Thanks for the reply, certainly you are not the only one with an interest in thelema on ATS.
I am somewhat obsessed with everything Crowley and I agree that he brought forth many insights and litterary delights. 777, lies, thoth, the law, theory and practice. All formidable to my mind.

I am also deeply interested in discovering truths. If the stele is a forgery, and the book of the law a hoax (meaning completely penned by the imagination of Crowley) then I feel this is something worth researching.

Certainly it is well known that the 93 of Thelema was not original. It's origins are French.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 11:37 AM
reply to post by Masonic Light

I would agree that Crowley has been portrayed as a mad man, but in fact was not. Opinionated yes, perhaps wrongly so at time, a sociopath quite possibly, but he did not become senile and was not considered 'mad' he was never institutionalised, and never went to prison.

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by Flother

Brilliant thanks for adding the Francois Rebelais bit.
I had hoped someone would bring forth this angle of the hoax.
Rice and peace

posted on Apr, 16 2012 @ 12:05 PM

Originally posted by Dimithae
reply to post by Lagrimas

For those of you that are not aware of who Alister Crowley was, here is a brief explanation:
He was at the turn of the last century considered the most evil man alive due to his beliefs in antichristianity ,devil worship, and free sex.
Alot of devil worshipping cults got started after studying his beliefs and practices.Animal sacrifice, sex orgies etc were the norm with his group.
You can wiki him for any further info if your interested.

That is a very inaccurate summary of the man. Sadly, it mimics the most common one given by people who blindly follow church rumors. Most "devil worshiping" cults have their origins in Christianity, not Thelema.

"Do what though wilt" does not mean to do whatever you want. It is not hedonism. "Do what though wilt" is a commandment to find what your true will is. Basically, it is a quest to find the meaning of your life, your destiny. That is at the core of Thelema, that and love. I've found that if you follow love, it will lead you to your will, thus accomplishing both.

It could be argued that Thelema follows Jesus more closely than modern church dogma.

edit on 16-4-2012 by Cuervo because: Only on my second cup of coffee...

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