Are you interested in Thelema Beyond Crowley? Have you had some experience of the cults of ‘Crowleyanity’? Have you visited this website in the hope of finding an atlernative to egotism and madness? Then read on, before you begin your deep and prolonged enquiry.
Initiation requires faithfully following out the practical methods of the Order and the keeping of a diary Record on a strict daily basis. It also requires that there is acceptance of receiving direction in the work from the Order Guide. We work by the correspondence method. A brief account of the history of this tradition is given on the page introducing our Probationership course: VITRIOL.
There follows a list of provisos to address frequently asked questions. This is usually enough to dissuade those with a superficial interest in the mysteries, who suffer the delusion of ‘others’. The tyros are like a crowd at a theatrical event that is more interested in other persons in the audience than what is taking place on the stage. However, both the crowd and the stage are fiction, a phantasmal theatre of ego projection.
We have no involvement with Lodges, after the manner of Freemasons. We eschew social clubs, public events and Internet discussion forums. There is no ‘virtual’ Order or membership. We do not use the term ‘self-initiation’, which is an oxymoron. Although initiation is about personal work done, Thelema is not in any way personal, and cannot be personalised. While personalities are inevitable, they tend to be obstructive to the Great Work.
Magick denotes the noun. When we use the word as an adjective, it is spelled magical. A person who does magick is a magician. In the last two cases, adding the ‘k’ is superfluous.
The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for ritual magick. It is quite different from Kabbalah, which denotes traditional Jewish esotericism. We have nothing with Cabala, which denotes a kind of ‘invented’ Christian esotericism.
There needs to be an intellectual understanding of the work, and of Esoteric Thelema, for the rituals of the O∴ A∴ to become meaningful. Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality is required reading and study for our Students. It is not a practical handbook but provides the necessary intellectual and metaphysical basis. The introduction to our practical methods, the training and work of a Probationer, is given in The Enterer of the Threshold.
Two other books are required of Probationers. The first is The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, which is needed for the formulation of a fraternal name and number. Secondly, The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation, which includes the ritual of Admission to the grade of Neophyte and a detailed, illustrated commentary on this.
Interested outsiders first subscribe to our monthly Journal, The 93 Current, and become Associates. This does not require any commitment beyond studying the Journal, but it is the first step on the way. Many seek a spiritual path that is ‘made to measure’. Sooner or later they find something disagreeable in our literature or methods and we will not hear from them again. The interest was superficial, not deep and all consuming as it should be if practical work is to be taken up. The person must prove to us that they are worth our time and our commitment to their Great Work. They must demonstrate their willingness to serve the Order. We are not interested in those who are merely looking to further personal interests and ambitions. There is a short article posted on our website that explains why.
Beyond Crowley: My Prophet is a Fool
We do not regard Aleister Crowley as any kind of prophet. He awarded himself that title in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 26.
Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign?
These are Crowley’s words, a poeticised question put to the communicant Aiwass, who was conveying the oracle of Nuit (infinite space). The question is not answered directly, and Crowley later changed the wording of the reply as it did not satisfy him. Thereafter, Aiwass mocks Crowley’s presumption.
Crowley, Kenneth Grant and others have interpreted the Egyptian mysteries from the point of view of early 19th century German humanist philosophers (Schiller, for example). The Book of the Law has an ancient Egyptian basis that is at least 4000 years old and in reality is much older than that. Our aim is to return the book to its lawful custodians. To put it another way, we mean to return the book to Egypt. The Egyptian Book of the Law is a more accurate title as the book’s writing conceals the path of pure knowledge as understood by the Initiates of ancient Thebes, the place called Waset by the Egyptians. The name of Aiwass, who communicated the book via the mediumship of Rose Edith Kelly, means, ‘He who was ordained in Thebes’.
There is no Old Aeon or New Aeon in reality. The mysteries of Liber AL, as it has come to be known, are extremely ancient. Truth does not change with the fashions and fetishes of the human race. Thelema is not time-bound. It is not a new product or “New Law for Humanity” as was put forward by Crowley when he adopted the guise of the salesman and propagandist.
Beyond Crowley: Words and Spells
In our rituals we do not invoke the biblical demiurge Tetragrammaton. However, there is no ban on Hebrew or Aramaic, its antecedent and the basis for scriptural Qabalah. Aramaic was once the language spoken all over the Middle East; The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth is full of it.
Ishtar, invoked in the North in our Ritual of the Pentagram, is a Phoenician and Sumerian deity, though at one time she was celebrated in Egypt (as Ashtaroth, whom we invoke in the East) and renowned throughout the world. Isis is the ‘goddess of a thousand names’, and we invoke her in the West. Babalon, invoked in the South, is derived from Babylon, a corruption of the ancient Egyptian per-hapi-en-aunnu, goddess of the ‘Nile Temple of the nome centre Aunnu’. Together, these are the four faces of Nuit defining the magical circle of the place. The magician is Hadit, the exorcist in the midst.
Beyond Crowley: Trance of Attainment
All grades of initiation are relative to the individual and can have no meaning outside of the Order. Grades and offices are therefore a strictly private matter and are never publicly disclosed. The word ‘attainment’ owes largely to the works of Crowley. It is a vastly over-used term and tends to mislead the materially minded aspirant as to the true nature of initiation. We will here give our reasons. In Babalon Unveiled, pp. 260, ‘Thelemic Mysticism’, it is declared thus:
Materialism insists on a result as final, as product. At the end of the line is the product itself, and the consumer that purchases it through the need to self-identify (thus the ‘brand’ is all-important). Crowley, in his instructional works, spoke perhaps rather too frequently of ‘attainment’. Sages of old times were frequently more pragmatic.
‘Thelemic Mysticism’ can be read online here.
The word ‘attainment’ appears twice in The Enterer of the Threshold (Second Edition, 2019). The first reference is on pp. 2.
The second critical point is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Even while aspirants are preparing their Oath and meditating on the augoedes, the forces of anti-initiation are gathering about the soul, their prey. These work tirelessly to undo the aspirants, thwarting their purpose however sincerely expressed.
The second instance is on pp. 26.
When ascending the chakras of the Tree of Life, a descent is made simultaneously into the depths of the Tree of Knowledge or Death— the higher the branches the deeper the roots. Nonetheless, due to some quirk of human nature it helps us get on with an extremely difficult and arduous undertaking if we employ a few conventional terms along the way, such as ‘attainment’, as though we were climbing a summit—as though we were actually going somewhere. This ‘going forth’ requires accumulated energy. However, as we plunge onward there is a complete reversal of polarity. Whereas the motion of the sephiroth below Da’ath is centrifugal, which gives rise to an apparent consciousness ‘expansion’, the motion of Da’ath is centripetal. This powerful force sucks or draws the adept inexorably inward. That same force seems to threaten the annihilation of the human ego.
Those who wish to take their enquiry further than the website are welcome to apply to become an Associate, which requires subscription to our monthly ‘93’ Journal. Details of how to apply are given on the website here.
1. Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality [Ordo Astri].
2. The Enterer of the Threshold is the theoretical and practical handbook for aspirants [Ordo Astri]. The first two books noted here are required reading for our Students. The second two (below) are required for a Probationership.
3. The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, in two volumes [Ordo Astri].
4. The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation includes the rite of Admission to the grade of Neophyte [Ordo Astri].
5. The original wording of Nuit’s oracle, evident in the holograph MS, was, “Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the unfragmentary non-atomic fact of my universality.” The last five words are essential to Esoteric Thelema. Crowley later changed these words, substituting the dull theological convention, “the omnipresence of my body”.
6. In the Book of the Law, I: 48, Aiwass declares, “My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?” There are many other instances, too numerous to mention here.
7. See Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs, pp. 172 [Ordo Astri].
8. Crowley’s introduction to the book Magick is one of the worst examples of such hype, though it is closely rivalled by his absurd introduction to the 1938 OTO edition of The Book of the Law, in which he declares that the book “lays down a simple Code of Conduct”.
9. A colossal image of the goddess, likened to Isis-Hathoor, stood at one time outside the gates to Heliopolis (Aunnu) on the processional route. See pp. 86 and 263 [ibid].
10. This is fully explained in ‘Comment on the Pentagram Ritual’, The Enterer of the Threshold.
Our Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atu Hrumachis IV is explained in detail here.
© Oliver St. John 2019, 2022