Jun 16, 2010

"What Is...?" Wednesday


Thelema (They-LEE-mah) is a Greek word meaning "will" or "intention". It is also the name of a spiritual philosophy which has risen over the past several hundred years and is now gradually becoming established worldwide.

The central goal of a Thelemite (as adherents refer to themselves) is to discover and perform his or her True Will, which is generally defined as the innermost Nature or proper life course of the individual. The techniques used to achieve this goal fall under the heading of Magick.

There are also strong political, ethical, aesthetic, and cultural aspects to Thelema. Although there is no strict literal doctrine concerning these matters, Aleister Crowley wrote many articles and essays regarding his ideas about the proper behavior of individual Thelemites and for an ideal Thelemic society. These ideas have continued to develop into modern times. However, the primary themes involve personal freedom, a recognition that men and women have an inherent divine nature, and that Love is the basis of the Great Work.

Thelema may not be a religion in and of itself but because of the influence of Aleister Crowley on Gerald Gardner certain Neo-pagan beliefs and practices seem similar to it, although the intent or reasoning behind why each philosophy does things a certain way is often different. Thelemites, unlike many Wiccans do not openly profess their beliefs, unless of course they are professing them online. 

Not all adherents of Thelema consider it a religion or subscribe to the philosophy of True Will as outlined in Aleister Crowley's writings. Thelemites may or may not believe in the necessity of Canon or Theology as outlined in this article. Many require nothing more than an acceptance of the message of The Book of the Law as interpreted by the individual, each for him/herself.

There are seven main divine names associated with the Current of Thelema, all but one of which is expounded upon in The Book of the Law. These are Nuit, Hadit, Therion, Babalon, Hoor-Paar-Kraat, Heru-Ra-Ha, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Thelemites hesitate to call these energies “Deities” or “Gods” or “Goddesses” in the classical way that people often refer to, say, Isis as a Goddess. 

Their philosophy is that although these divine names or “energies” can and will appear god-like in aspect at certain times in magical work, they can also appear to be energies that are manifestations of an initiatory process, or energies that are represented by various paths, magical processes and formulas, or they can become avatars embodied in human flesh much like the Hindu Deities.

*Sources for this article can be found here and here.

1 comment:

Rue said...

Really interesting!

I recognized Nut/Nuit as the woman-sky at the top of the picture you posted.