Why Thelema?

January 26, 2010 by  
Filed under magick

Why Thelema?

When people hear the sort of work we are involved with in the Order of Thelemic Knights, I am often asked why we believe that something like Thelema, when many of its adherents show a disdain for compassion, respect and hard work, would have anything life enhancing to offer individuals, much less the world at large.

The greater majority of people who have heard of Thelema only know it from the Web, or from some unfortunate meeting with a Thelemite on the street who views the philosophy as something of a fad or a means to rebel against their parents. Let’s be fair. Not every Thelemite has taken Crowley’s love affair with Nietzsche to condone a disregard for one’s fellows. Not all Thelemites are adolescence teenagers who parrot his every word because they think this makes them more powerful or admirable.

There are various groups who have embraced Thelema for whatever reason, creating a pretty tasty sectarian soup with which many Thelemites of different types can enjoy fellowship with their own kind. What pits the OTK apart from other Thelemic groups is that instead of focusing our studies exclusively to the life of Aleister Crowley, or some other Thelemic prophet, we are mostly concerned with how Thelema can help humanity solve the tremendous problems that we are about to encounter. We realize that we live in a different world than our predecessors, so we must endeavor to see how Thelema is relevant in today’s world. What does it have to say to us today?

It is no big secret, nor is it unfashionable as it once was, to say that the human race faces some very challenging times ahead. It is still a subject of great controversy and debate, but ignoring the science isn’t going to delay the inevitable. As resources become more difficult to find the human race is adapting an “every man for himself” or “me first” paradigm which is manifesting in some of today’s most important social issues, such as immigration, universal health care, and same sex marriage. The loss of resources, or the fear of losing resources is at the root of these issues. And this bigotry towards others will increase with the scarcity of resources. It will get worse before it gets better.

One of the things that makes Thelema relevant to us today is the Law itself. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” That is to say, every man and woman has a True Will or purpose, and the knowledge of that purpose will lead us to understanding our place in the grand scheme of things. We feel, for example, that man’s ignorance with regard to his relationship with nature has led us to the social issues (soon to be survival issues) we are facing today. We must each act in accordance with our own true natures. To do otherwise, or to likewise force another creature (such as an animal) into behavior which is outside of its own true nature is an abomination. To restate this in another way, The Law of Thelema implies that all living things have a True Will. What we mean by True Will is a deep understanding of one’s place within the cosmos and the realization that each of us is a piece of a puzzle too majestic to grasp intellectually. Knowledge of oneself leads to knowledge of the Divine.

“Love is the law, love under will.” Anyone that has ever studied comparative religion will recognize that Love is the universal constant driving force of the cosmos. Love always has been, and probably always will be, the foundation of our existence and the secret to our salvation. It is this Love that drives us toward the knowledge of ourselves indicated above.

“There is no god but man.” This is where we begin to really see the obvious value of Thelema as a solution to the world’s problems. Our mission is to unite with individuals who have had this realization in earnest. To know oneself is to know God. It is an easy thing to say, “There is no god but man,” but we seek those who have a gnostic understanding of this phenomenon. Only by adopting this view will the human race come to the realization of the Divinity of each individual, and the awesome power that individuals posses with regard to plotting their own courses. With that epiphany comes a rude awakening. One realizes that we have been in charge all along, and that ignorance has led us down the path of destruction. We can no longer blame god for these problems because we have created them ourselves. Neither can we wait for god to come save us from ourselves, for we have the power and resolution to do it for ourselves. Once Knowledge has been tasted, Faith and the way it helps us avoid responsibility will no longer serve to quench our thirst for answers.

“Ever man and every woman is a star.” This gift belongs to everyone; as Aleister Crowley said, “The Law is for ALL.” This makes it everyone’s job. If one accepts the Law of Thelema, then one is pledging to discover one’s own True Nature. That discovery will naturally bring one to the “god awareness” mentioned above, and then one must act accordingly to reverse the damage of thousands of years of ignorance.

What humanity needs today is a way to look at the universe, and a way of life befitting those with a sense of duty. If one person can accomplish much, imagine what a group of similarly awakened individuals could do. Thelema is what the human race needs today.

So how does this translate into our activities? We recognize the value of a specific set of virtues which have remained unchanged throughout the ages. By adhering to these principles we help to temper those as of yet unevolved instincts which are based on ignorance, fear and superstition, which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the world as we know it today. It is every member’s personal duty, to bring honesty, consideration, and self-discipline into their own lives. These are essential, not only for Thelemic Knighthood, but for all persons. In other words, we do this work because it benefits us as humans beings trying to discover who we are and our relationship with The Divine. This in turn benefits others, and that is a wonderful side-effect and a coincidence of metaphysical proportions.

Since we were first formed in 1999, we have raised several thousand pounds of clothes for the Lakota Indian Tribes and homeless; hundreds of pairs of shoes for street kids; books and school supplies for needy children; raised money for battered women’s shelters; provided security for The Red Cross during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, as well as disseminating instructional pamphlets to street kids about how to avoid AIDS and hepatitis . . . all in the name of Thelema.

All of this work was done by a handful of very commuted individuals . . . Thelemites, who see themselves as being agents of change, oftentimes using their own money to getting the job accomplished. No one in our organization ever receives any payment for the work that we do. All donations, dues or other forms of monetary support goes toward the accomplishment of our charitable campaigns. There is no glory or press, and in fact this work is often thankless. Doing it, however, is its own reward. And there you have it.

©2010 by Gerald del Campo.
Edited by Sheta Kaey.

Gerald del Campo has authored three books on the subject of Thelema: A Heretic’s Guide to Thelema, New Aeon Magick: Thelema Without Tears, and New Aeon English Qabalah Revealed. He is a photographer, musician and CEO for the Order of Thelemic Knights, the first Thelemic charitable organization. You can visit his blog at http://solis93.livejournal.com and his websites at http://thelemicknights.org and http://egoandtheids.com. Gerald serves as Senior Managing Editor of Rending the Veil.

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2 Responses to “Why Thelema?”

  1. IAO131 says:


    Interesting essay but I have to point this out:

    “What pits the OTK apart from other Thelemic groups is that instead of focusing our studies exclusively to the life of Aleister Crowley, or some other Thelemic prophet, we are mostly concerned with how Thelema can help humanity solve the tremendous problems that we are about to encounter. We realize that we live in a different world than our predecessors, so we must endeavor to see how Thelema is relevant in today’s world.”

    This statement is highly disingenuous. I know of no organizations which ‘focus [their] studies exclusively to the life of Aleister Crowley.’ I’d love to know what he is referring to…

    93 93/93

  2. Grey Glamer says:

    Very nice article. As I’m the theological sort of Witch, we can agree to disagree on the value of faith. (Though my notion of Deity as the capacity for choice and interpretation encompasses the sort of personal courage and responsibility you’re proposing, so I rather suspect we’re using different language to convey roughly the same thing.)

    I’m not entirely sure I would agree with defining Nietzsche’s philosophy as shallow individualism, as your second paragraph implies. Nietzsche often proves both playful and subtle in his language, and methinks his real focus was upon being sincere in whatever one does. My admittedly surface reading of Aleister Crowley’s thought finds Crowley echoing this more enlightened version of Nietzsche, especially in his focus upon finding and following one’s True Will. With this said, there are – sadly – many out there today who miss the moral (Oh, how he would hate that characterization!) subtext of Nietzsche’s thought entirely, which is a shame.
    .-= Grey Glamer´s last blog ..Walking through Realms Unseen =-.

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