Spent last night visiting Anita for class night. We discussed Thelemic dieties/godforms. I've been thinking about Thelema alot as I prepare for Minerval, assist in building the Babalon Rising festival, and help to start a local camp body. I've noticed that I've got alot of animosity towards two aspects of Thelema.
Primarily, I have come to perceive my "belief system" (for lack of a better term) to be composed of three distinct parts: a "religious" system, a "magical" system, and a "philosophical" system.
Religiously I'm a Pagan. I talk to Gods, Gods talk to me. I try not to ask too many question of how this happened, and would rather dance naked with wild abandon around a bonfire than chat over coffee about Gods as archetypes, egregores, thoughtforms, or whatever. I can be snippy and defensive when it comes to the subject of my patron, and other occultists my find my beliefs to resemble schizophrenia. Oh well.
Magically I'm a Witch. I like rustic tools, herbal elixirs, black cats, strange chants, and ritual by candlelight. I think Strega is cool. I think Robert Cochrane was a genius. I love my ratty old walking staff. I am a whore for good ritual. Other occultists think I'm a little daffy, and I recognize that I'll often overlook good scholarship in favor of magical value.
Philosopically, I'm a Thelemite. I may not understand your path, but if it's working for you, good. Keep your opinions out of my way and I'll try not to step on yours. The sandbox is big enough for both of us. You're divine and so am I. Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Yup. Works for me.
So, I get my panties in a wad when I start to feel like because I'm playing in one paradigm means that I should automatically be playing in another. Life might be easier if I was a sheeple-Wiccan who bowed to the authority of every self-proclaimed Queen dripping in amber and jet. It's certainly assumed that because I'm religiously Pagan-identified and magically Witchcraft-identified that I must be philosophically Wiccan-identified. But I ain't.
And when chatting with (some) Thelemites over religion, my internal compass screams "Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Over!" as Crowley tells me from beyond the grave that these are not gods, but concepts: Nuit = Infinity, Nox = nothingness, Chaos = chaos, Pan = All-things, Babalon = the unknowable as anima... it's enough to make a Pagan's head spin. Sheesh. I've spoken with Nyx and Pan, and they think all of this conceptual stuff is hilarious. As for magic, well, Thelemites give good ritual. I'm looking forward to Minerval like a kid looks forward to Christmas, so I don't mind working the system.
A Thelemite will tell you that the Gods are what you make of them. Crowlianity says that the gods are what Crowley says they are at whatever stage of his life you may be reading from. So I guess it's the Crowleyites that I have the big grumble with. Geeze I wish these people had another prophet. Anyway.
Gripe #2: Crowley doesn't know shit about the mysteries of the cup and the paten. He at least recognizes this, and there is hope that eventually a lady with a firm grasp of ritual will come along and clean some things up. Primarily the nauseating amount of phallus worship involved in the magical system, and the recognition that women magicians, no matter how much we rock, are not automatically "beyond the veil" with ultimate understanding of the supernal triad. Crowley didn't understand women. He didn't understand them to such a ridiculous degree that he thought women would make a great magical symbol for that which is unknowable. Excuse me while I climb off of this pedestal before I fall and break my unknowable little neck.
Reposted from LiveJournal Jan. 28th, 2006