The Word Thelema

A Qabalistic Examination of Thelema, the Word of the Law
Abridged from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth

0. The Word of the Law is revealed in Liber AL vel Legis, I: 39–40:

The word of the Law is Θελημα. Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The fulfilment of the spiritual and magical Law of Thelema is declared in the Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, I: 57:

Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will.

1. The Greek word Thelema, “Will”, has the Qabalistic value of 93, equal to Agape, which is spiritual or impersonal love. The word is frequently translated in scripture as “charity”, in the archaic not the modern sense of the word. Will (Thelema) and Love (Agape) are synonymous and so perfectly equal, one with the other. As the will of Thelema is not wish or want, so the love of Agape is not desire for human bonding.

2. We are instructed to “look but close into the word” Thelema, for it secretes the whole path of magical Initiation. The Greek word theletes means, “one who wills; a wizard”—a magical practitioner. The root of the word is thelu, which means, “female”. The word of the Law was transmitted in I: 39 of the Book by the ancient Egyptian cosmic Shakti, the Star Goddess Nuit, and yet the Thelemic True Will is often confused with the solar-masculine will of reason. The magical consciousness current is not concerned with the need of the human ego to make choices or decisions, to determine this or that. Thelema should not be confused with philosophical determinism—though it frequently is.

3. The first two letters ΘΕ are the root of Thea, the Goddess or divine creatrix, and Theos, God or deity. Thea also has the meaning of “a view”, the window of vision and creative imagining that is symbolised in the Tarot trump The Star XVII. The first two letters then refer to the grade of the Hermit or devotee that follows Nuit through the starry heavens.

4. The second two letters ΛΗ  form the root of lema, will, and also strength or courage. “Do what thou wilt” is not “do whatever you want”; it is to follow the course of the True Will as a star in the body of Nuit. This is a discipline that requires special courage, strength and determination. ΛΗ is also the root of Leda; in the Greek myth Zeus begat Castor and Pollux upon Leda, the polar twins of the zodiacal sign of Gemini and Tarot Atu VI The Lovers. ΛΗ thus signifies the grade of the Lover.

5. The last two letters ΜΑ are the root of magia or magick, maia, the mother of illusion, and iama, remedy. To transcend the illusions of the Terrestrial Plane, the Man of Earth must practice and learn the magick arts. The motivation to start a Great Work stems from a realisation that something is not right in the world. It is the plight of the fisher-king in the Graal mysteries that is ‘wounded in the thigh’. The thigh is a common euphamism for the sexual and generative organs, associated with Scorpio—the crux of the whole matter of life and death. The wounded king sends his knights—his desire and imagination—out on the quest for the holy Graal. When the king is ailing, so is the whole land; the king is a symbol of the human ego in Tiphereth while the land (mother earth) is Malkuth the Kingdom, “As above, so below”.

6. ΜΑ has the value of 41 and so is Qabalistically equal to latha, forgetfulness. The awakening of the Man of Earth, if it comes, is tenuous; how easy it is for him or her to fall back into the sleep of forgetfulness symbolised by the ancient Greeks as the waters of Lethe in Hades (hell or the underworld). Hades is hidden among the roots of the Tree in Malkuth. The Lover that has attained the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel has remembered, and has the task of constantly renewing this remembrance by making every act an Act of Will. Lethe is a reminder that even the Lover can succumb once more to the sleep of forgetfulness.

7. The outer level of teaching for the grade of the Man of Earth is the Law, scripture or precepts governing conduct.

8. The second or inner level of teaching for the grade of the Lover is the ability to interpret symbol and allegory in various ways that lead to deeper knowledge, for example, the use of Qabalah.

9. The third or innermost level of teaching for the grade of Hermit is the radiance of pure knowledge that is obtained when each symbol is followed back to its source with the infinite.

10. Thelema is the Tele-Ma, the talisman, telesmata or stellar transmission of the Mother Mu or Maat. It is revealed and concealed in Liber AL (or L = 30) vel Legis, the Book of the Law of Maat. The Word of the Law is Thelema.

Ordo Astri Books: Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth Volume OneUpdate: The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth Volume One was published at the winter solstice (Capricorn), Anno V-2.

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Dreaming Thelema or Almametaphysika

The Magical Art of Surreal Romanticism is about Thelema and Surrealism in the arts and the occult. It is about artistic super-automatism, its relation to Vajroli Tantra and the backwards-flowing stream of consciousness.

The book also serves as a vindication of the English writer and mystic, Thomas De Quincey, famed for Confessions of an English Opium Eater—which many persons mistakenly believe to be a book about opium addiction. The Magical Art was written in three weeks, in the condition of mind that Salvador Dali termed as paranoiac critical.

Ordo Astri Books: Dreaming Thelema of Kenneth Grant and H. P. LovecraftIn the wake of Surreal Romanticism, a new work arrived, Dreaming Thelema of Kenneth Grant and H. P. Lovecraft. We know that American writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) had no mystic pretensions on his own part, though he did say the dream that inspired the short story Nyarlathotep “might have been prophetic”. The English occultist Kenneth Grant (1924–2011) made much use of Lovecraft’s work, utilising it in reformulating the ideal of Thelema. The more deeply I became immersed in Lovecraft’s cosmic vision, the more I understood how central it is to the ideas expressed in Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies. The following quotation from H. P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu (1926) is oft used but I make no apology for repeating it here:

“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

The disquieting prophecy was written almost a century ago. The application of the sciences, “each straining in its own direction”, has by now irreparably harmed us and all other life on this planet. Humanity has opted to enter a new dark age, and cannot turn back now—indeed, “turning back” would necessitate confronting the lurking horror that haunts the works of H. P. Lovecraft, the horror of the Abyss. The fearsome apparitions arising on the face of the deep, as typified in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Grant, are merely the reflection of man’s consciousness, his image of himself as he truly is.

Dreaming Thelema

Nyarlathotep (1920) was written up from a dream, as were all of H. P. Lovecraft’s most cosmic, visionary tales. Nyarlathotep seems to bring us firmly back in the 21st century, and so the writer’s comment, that the tale might have been prophetic, was very apt:

“I recall that the people went about with pale and worried faces, and whispered warnings and prophecies which no one dared consciously repeat or acknowledge to himself that he had heard. A sense of monstrous guilt was upon the land, and out of the abysses between the stars swept chill currents that made men shiver in dark and lonely places. There was a daemoniac alteration in the sequence of the seasons—the autumn heat lingered fearsomely, and everyone felt that the world and perhaps the universe had passed from the control of known gods or forces to that of gods or forces which were unknown.”

Art of Magick

ALMAMETAPHYSIKA, which means, “a leap beyond metaphysics”, is primarily concerned with Thelema as expressed in art and magick; it is not a book about art, but a book that is a work of art in itself. That is to say, the paintings presented here are integral to the literary content, and were created in the same current of inspiration. The artist was not given a copy of a book and asked to illustrate it. Rather, the paintings were created as the book was being written, and were driven by the same essential Idea.

It is never possible to entirely separate the artist from the artist’s environment. Magical alchemy, as with the magick of Thelema, is about the transmutation of matter, extracting the subtle from the gross, recombining the newly formed elements. Fusing the disciplines of occultism and fine art was pioneered by Surrealist artist Ithell Colquhoun, as we explained in Magical Art of Surreal Romanticism. Some of the techniques used in the artwork contained in the present work were identical to Colquhoun’s super-automatism. That is to say, the forms and images are influenced by forces that are not under the artist’s conscious control. As with Surrealism, the idea is to defeat the inhibitions of the rational mind and achieve a union of natural and spiritual forces as well as a union of the disciplines of art and the occult.

ALMAMETAPHYSIKA—which now has the more descriptive title, Dreaming Thelema of Kenneth Grant and H. P. Lovecraft—will be released at the Equinox of Libra, September 22nd 2016. [View or order the book here.]

The Magical Art of Surreal Romanticism was published as of 19th July in a less costly perfect bound paperback edition. The six full colour fine art illustrations are reproduced exactly as in the hardback edition.

View or purchase the paperback edition: Magical Art of Surreal Romanticism
View or purchase the hardback edition: Magical Art of Surreal Romanticism

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Magical Theurgy Hardbound Edition

Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the Tarot is now available in a hardbound format. Books with a hard cover take longer to be delivered after despatch than usual, about nine days here in the UK. They are a little more costly to manufacture than paperbacks. Although I was expecting the results to be good, when I carefully opened the packages of Magical Theurgy and our first hardbound edition, The Law of Thelema,  I was truly delighted. The books sensibly arrive in a shrink-wrap to protect them, and when I examined the covers and content I found that more care than usual is taken over the print quality. The books have silk binding heads, laid end-papers, dark blue linen boards and a gold folio stamp on the spine. The quality is far superior to many books I have on my shelves that were produced by the big publishing companies, and they are relatively inexpensive.

Publishing: A New Era for Hardbound Books

Hardbound Edition: Magical TheurgyAs I went over the proofs of the books, it dawned on me that we have really arrived in a new era so far as book publication goes. It was always my aim to use the digital platform to produce books to rival, perhaps even exceed, the standards of traditional publishing houses. That aim has definitely been achieved. Mystic Tarot and the Trees of Eternity, and Hermetic Astrology will follow in durable, hardbound editions that are fully worthy of becoming collectibles in due course. This is, of course, a reversal of the usual procedure of getting the hardback out first and the paperback edition afterward.

It seems curious that at a time when the main focus of book publishing would appear to have shifted to eBooks, we should be travelling in the opposite direction. While researching, I found one website blog that suggested that hardbound, dust jacket books might already be regarded as going the way of cassette tape, video tape and polaroid cameras—a charming but completely obsolete historical footnote. That point of view is formed from purely commercial considerations and not aesthetic ones. There can never be a replacement for the experience of reading a well-written book that can be held in the hands, and that has also been beautifully designed, printed, and made to last for years and years.

View The Law of Thelema—Quantum Yoga (hardbound) here.
View Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the Tarot (hardbound) here.

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The Law of Thelema—Quantum Yoga

Sol in 18 Capricorn Luna in 28 Sagittarius Anno Thelema V-1

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

We are magicians, not Advaitan; we are alchemists, here to turn dross into gold. What better fulcrum than the atomic analogy can we use to lift souls out of the conceptual, atomic world itself?

Books: The Law of Thelema—Quantum Yoga

Ordo Astri Books: The Law of Thelema – Quantum YogaThis new book publication is an ‘unofficial’ commentary on Liber AL vel Legis, the Egyptian Book of the Law. We do not appeal to the “writings of the Beast” for interpretation of the Law of Thelema. Instead, we turn to the source of the transmission and examine Thelema in the light of the Hermetic tradition from which it emerged. The book, first published as The Ending of the Words—Magical Philosophy of Aleister Crowley (2007 e.v.), is in every way a received work, and needs to be treated as such by the reader. Fourteen years have passed since we completed the book’s first draft, and it is now time to disclose the Quantum Yoga treatise, or “Reification of Starlight”, that was not included in The Ending of the Words.

This work was tempered by correspondence with Kenneth Grant, who inspired the experimental magical operations that led to the book’s conception. The section entitled, Quantum Yoga, resulted from Grant’s suggestion that a commentary be written on his Liber 29 or Book of the Spider. With The Law of Thelema, we can now present “the secret teachings of the Typhonian Tradition, heretofore never revealed”. The text to The Ending of the Words has been updated to include the events of 2015 e.v. that fulfilled the prophecy encrypted in the third chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis.

Law of Thelema and the Atom

Using the atom as an analogy is an expedient means—a finger pointing at the moon. Everything in the book ultimately refers to Mind. The atom represents the root of mind formally manifesting the illusion of space-time. A Thelemic atom is an atom of consciousness, the smallest ‘unit’ thereof. Observing the atomic structure of matter is therefore a magical doorway, a mirror reflecting the secrets of the mind. The Adept of Thelema simply has to look at the atom’s structure and shed its material shell to understand himself—to understand his mind. The atomic body is thereby understood and realised as non-atomic—a realisation that the Egyptian Book of the Law calls the “Reward of Ra-Hoor Khut”:

Abrahadabra; the reward of Ra Hoor Khut.
Liber AL vel Legis, III: 1

The reader is left to play and ponder on the analogy. The Law of Thelema is one body of work; although we may be inclined to like or dislike various parts of it, it is a received totality that cannot be cut through or dismembered. Over time our understanding changes, and perhaps we develop better means for expressing the knowledge that has been passed on to us for the benefit of others. This is a natural occurrence.

The book emphasises the polymorphic, time-bound nature of form. Today, in our world system, atomic theory is a global collective delusion of the highest qliphothic order. Hence, it is a tantrik and magical means of the highest order also. We are magicians, not Advaitan; we are alchemists, here to turn dross into gold. What better fulcrum than the atomic analogy can we use to lift souls out of the conceptual, atomic world itself? Like cures like. The atomic analogy can help souls see through the atom and take the leap from matter to Mind by understanding clearly the Hermetic axiom, As Above, So Below. Void is everywhere, nothing but Mind—but Mind is spontaneously present as Form. Thus there is no seeking, everything is already there. The fact that ultimately nothing at all has any reality has sufficiently been established by countless schools. And yet, there is Magick and there is Love and there is Will! Yes, all things are empty, void, mere mental shells; but the Void creates. All it takes to emerge from the Great Darkness is to truly see that the shells are in themselves Words of Truth. That, no doubt, is very hard for reason to accept. Reason happily swaps one concept for another; reason will pretend to have passed beyond the concept of causality, while clinging to nihilism!

In conclusion, let us be sure that the meaning of our book is clear and unambiguous. The atom we speak of is non-objective—wholly beyond dualities such as existence and non-existence, delusion and enlightenment.

Oliver St. John, 2016

Love is the law, love under will.

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