Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friday, July 4, 2014

The "Last Generation" Argument

Originally published June 7, 2010
Written just before the Hijra began.

Now the Christians and their Old Aeon mimickers are asking the obvious and vital question. They are even making it mainstream to discuss it. Their ultimate expression of vanity, to imagine their presence or absence matters a whit to the Way.

Look there goes another rubber-tree...plant.

But I see a certain revealing I have been seeing more and more this year. Unfortunately, part of becoming a Thelemic saint is losing everything. How else to shrink to the necessary point?

But the thing is, I now see a path to Thelemic hegemony that does not involve having to overthrow the dominant regimes. They, guided as they shall be, by the Old Aeon common human sentiments, which mass produce and deliver something like McDecency's, will do the decent thing---and commit suicide.

It is thus the virtuous Work of Thelemites to do one thing for now and for the time of this change. Survive.

Inheritance is a lot easier than conquering or convincing.

(jk)30—AKA Jess Karlin, Adjustment avatar for Glenn F. Wright

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thelemic Jihad

Originally published April 15, 2010

"Now this age is pre-eminently a 'time of war', most of all now, when it is our Work to overthrow the slave-gods."—OR—"So you killed them not, but it was Allah Who killed them...that He might overthrow the disbelievers. " The first is Thelema. The second Islam.

At some point, all Thelemites know this, there will be a call from without and within the Thelemic current of divine destiny, and Thelemites will go to war. The enemy will be easy to locate, for he shall be anyone who is not a Thelemite; specifically he shall be anyone defending the faiths, powers, and practices of the Old Aeon.

If this war were declared today, it would not last long. Indeed, it likely would not amount to much of a war at all, as the vast majority of Thelemites are cute little hippies who wouldn't die for much of anything except more drugs and sprout-burgers. Their leaders, on the other hand, are pasty neg-heads, who couldn't command or plan an insurgency if their lives depended upon it, which they assuredly do not.

At most, the OTO might be able to stage a newage festival, and hope some SCA types would show up so at least an ornamental threat might be engaged against the tanks and planes and highly-trained killers of the combined militaries of the Old Aeon. Imagine Lon Milo DuQuette attempting to wipe out brigades of enemy warriors with his singing—well, OK, that MIGHT have the intended effect, but a chorus of lousy singers and magicians on the Thelemic side would not win a military battle, much less the war.

How then shall this war ever come about, and when shall it be declared, and even more importantly WON by the Thelemic side?
"It’s only too easy to form a cult,
To cry a crusade with “Deus Vult”—
But you won’t get much of a good result
from empty-headed Athenians."
Well, we get some idea about this by looking at Crowley's vision of that other religion which came close to being Thelema centuries before Thelema—and that is the martial faith of Islam. Of course we have listened to endless American meatheads tell us "Islam is a religion of Peace!", while trying to wipe enough blood and gore off the Koran to find those peaceful verses. But, the fundamental truth about Islam is that it was born, and spread, and flourished in greatness by the sword. An Islamic theological argument was the edge of a sword on the neck of an infidel. These days, the blade is used only ceremonially, to make horrific decap-vids for the Jihadist web. Generally, Muslim faithful prefer to blow motherfuckers the hell up (or down) using IEDs or suicide bombers.

Now, let me interject here that this sort of discussion is likely to make the Thelemic managers extremely uncomfortable, as it raises serious questions about their commitment to real versus carny Thelema; the real sort being that which engages in a serious manner Liber AL (LAL), and its many provocative verses; the carny brand being what OTO operates as an Old Aeon business. The latter necessarily kowtows to the laws and traditions of whatever state in which it resides, sets up the Abomination of Desolation and gladly worships it, and of course collects a living for the managers out of the blood of the ignorant members.

It is a comfortable, pestilent, pond of saturnine aspic (see Eight of Cups). But it is no training ground for Thelemic warriors, or Thelemites of any sort at all.

For anyone truly obeying "Do what thou wilt", but also truly acknowledging and accepting "I am a god of War and of Vengeance" AND "Kill and torture; spare not", understands that before Thelema can flower upon the Earth, it first must conquer and destroy the gardens of the enemy—and of course the gardeners and worshippers of those dying beds.

As we said, it is to Islam that we might apply ourselves to see what Crowley particularly valued about it, to such an extent that he even used the Islamic term "Caliphate" to describe the global goal of Thelema—world hegemony.

Many people may be surprised to learn that, at least in the view of Aleister Crowley, Mohammed was in the same holy order as himself, and was in fact, a founder of one of the "originating constituent assemblies" of the OTO.

More than this, Crowley speculated that Mohammed may have been a forerunner of the Equinox of Horus,* i.e. a kind of bridge between the Aeon of Osiris and that of Horus. Mohammed was based in the cultures and the theology of the dying gods, while looking forward in style and vigor of faith to the Aeon of war and vengeance of Horus. Thus, Crowley suggested there were aspects of Islamic faith that Thelemites should admire and aspire to copy.
*—See Old Comment to AL III, 34

One virtue of Islam, or its believers, as Crowley noted, was their willingness to "fight and die for their ideas".* Crowley constantly reminded Thelemites that a life lived in fear and compromise of one's liberty is no life at all. This is certainly not a new message of course, as most of us have heard the notion of "Liberty or Death"—which sounds great when you're young, male, drunk and not looking at much of a future anyway. To most people, that famous exhortation to fight for ideas is like a nostalgic bit of advertising, approximately the same in real force and depth of meaning as "Merry Christmas", or in these secular days maybe "20% off all housewares". It's just something some crazy guy said a long time ago that doesn't mean much of anything to anybody.
*—Crowley, Collected Works

For one thing, most of us know quite well that our choices are infinitely greater than liberty or death. If in fact that were not the case, maybe that binary would be more urgent in its appeal. But we can do many more things than be free, or completely free as we would have it, and many of those alternatives are infinitely more appealing to us than being dead. Now, of course the premise of the charge—to fight for the idea of Liberty—is that having the freedom, for example to decide what freedom even means, is a better thing than being a slave. That is the easiest way to understand it. Would you fight to the death to keep from being chained to—what exactly? A plow? A job? A set of expectations others have for you? A life that is as alien to you, though you live it every day, as a Martian meatloaf? The Devil?

And what does fighting to the death really mean? We can mostly agree I imagine that what we would prefer to do, if fighting is required, is to fight to the other fellow's death, not our own. Indeed, to have much chance to work on any future Work, we had better survive the battle to be available for it. Thus, either discretion or valor had better come to our aid, and some hard and effective training in combat wouldn't be bad either. Nobody is going to lease us a warrior's body, mind, or spirit, although we may be able to purchase mercenaries, which is to say people whose principal ideas are symbolized by little dead pieces of clinkage, to fight for us. This is what Americans have decided to do. And it has only enabled repression of liberty, because the citizens no longer demonstrate the ideals of the nation, such as those can even be agreed to, are worth fighting for.

Crowley, in that infamous exhortation to the violent defense of liberty, Liber OZ (Devil Book), said: "Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights." It is in fact the role and purpose of the Devil that calls us to liberty, and to the defense of liberty, because it is the force which pulls the Sun north (towards Life), and a Martian (individual) expression. Its counterpart, which pulls the Sun down to the darkness of Bliss, is called appropriately Death. Yet Death paradoxically yields Netzach-Victory, the apprehension of Beauty through individual valor and devotion. It is all about fighting for the Love of God, and for Love as God. And here Crowley placed Mohammed and his faith. On the opposite side he placed Buddha, and the heartless rationale of Indolence. In the synthetic position, in 6-Tiphareth, he placed himself, and Thelema,* and one can see many borrowings from the antecedents. But chiefly from Islam, is its heart and passion to express and defend the faith with complete prejudice favoring the Will and Work of God.
*—See Liber Tisharb, 10, for the basis for this discussion.

Now, you may reasonably ask what I am saying here, respecting practical action on the part of Thelemites and their organizations. Am I saying that the only truly Thelemic life must be martial in nature, and aimed at, for the time being surreptitiously, preparation for Armageddon?

Yeah, that is what I am saying.

What I am not saying is exactly when this battle shall be fought. It might happen only in the aftermath of a cataclysmic exchange of military destructive force between the OA powers. But if that happens, if that is the opening that allows the Thelemic rats to conquer the OA dinosaurs, it may be centuries before civilization can right itself into anything Thelemites, or anybody else, would wish to rule.

This may be inevitable. Human beings, faced with utter annihilation if they refuse to deny their gods and their most cherished beliefs, often choose death for everyone and everything. So it may be for the OA ministers and armies. So it may be for many or most Thelemites too.

Of course, there is another way—there usually is. And that would involve an appropriation of the OA means of command, an infiltration of its command structures, and an indoctrination of key command figures allowing for the subversion and overthrow of the various OA regimes. This is essentially the Christian method, used successfully to overthrow the pagans of the Roman Empire. That could take a very long time, and certainly would put Thelema into the position of being labeled by the old regimes as a "terrorist" movement. No doubt many Thelemites would be thrown to the lions before emperors would start declaring Thelema to be the state religion.

Finally, and I will talk more about this soon, but there is always the possibility that Crowley's writings about war and about the martial nature of Thelema were just literary exercises, or attempts to satirize religious extremism. That seems unlikely to me, since to take seriously that notion, one has to think Crowley the most devoted satirist in the history of the world. Of course, a satire taken to a globally transformative level of seriousness might have been the cosmic joke Crowley (or Aiwass) intended all along.

jk(30)—(AKA Jess Karlin), Adjustment avatar for Glenn F. Wright

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Against The Cant Of The Christo-Thelemite Mob And Their Metaphors

Arguing, unbelievably stupidly, as so many grazing Christo-Thelemites do, that Liber AL is just a book of self-transformational tips, ignores what Crowley believed about the book, and what he fought for concerning it. Liber AL is a book of Aeonic Law. And by Law is meant the irresistible conforming of human collective will to the higher Will of the Aeon, a process enabled and administered on Earth by the monarch-bishops born to rule (by right of battle): the Thelemites.
There is an argument, implicit in some of the critiques made against what I write about Thelema, that because I have misunderstood an allegedly basic notion—that Liber AL must only be viewed as metaphors for an interior spiritual exercise—my observations about any external implications of the Law, these critics assert, are superficial and indicative of someone who has suffered from a lack of proper initiation. When I rejected the assumption the "basic notion" was correct, and argued instead for what Crowley had argued for, that the external and surface meanings of Liber AL also have relevance, the criticism devolved pretty quickly into a defense of petty tribal beliefs and loyalties.

Here are a few examples of this offered lately on Facebook:

“Glenn Wright—I have a question for you Baby Boom: Why are you even here? If you think you're original in what you're doing you're not. Have been down this road numerous times already... some Baby Boomer asshole writing articles or books full of ignorant shit, which you proceed to flaunt all over, and when challenged everyone but you is the idiot. Especially the way you're challenging every single word anyone says.”—Written by Matthew Kobler*
*—Kobler’s Complaint (as we shall now always call it) about “challenging every single word” comes from the anxiety generated in younglings and other ignoramuses, when the old people, such as myself, who actually know and employ tools of online debate, use inline quotations to facilitate relevant discussion. Kobler Kiddies, being head-burstingly self-obsessed and dumb as stones, assume if you are quoting them—with their own words they wrote and everything—that is a form of abuse. They are stupid to the point of insanity. 

“Listen Glenn Wright I have tried to politely give you some feedback [example: “Your article is blinkered. Come back in 5 years when you've delved deeper!”], feedback which you sought by writing and promoting your article. Your article is childish as is your understanding. I'm sorry I can't spoon feed you the information you lack. The personal attacks in the article too speak volumes. Rather than seeking to find facts to fit your own ‘blinkered view’, you'd do well to have an open mind. But first of all grow up!”*—Written by James Gosling
*—I replied to James on the question of “growing up”, which obviously meant growing into a form resembling James: “You may find this hard to believe, but I do not count turning into a bloated moth as growing up, even though I suppose it involves some kind of maturation. Did you need some help getting back to the shadows?”

“No, Glenn, we will not read your troll article. You lost the last shred of respect when you thought body shaming was a valid form of magical criticism. [I asked how someone could know this if they had not read the article.] You are scum. Go away. [This was followed up by…] You are the worst kind of egotist—the kind that tries to become bigger by trying to put others down. Were it not for your insignificance, you would be toxic. Maybe you hope that by being rude to famous people you’ll somehow become famous, but no. This is the last warning.* Peddle your badly written narcissistic bullshit elsewhere.”—Written by Saddie LaMort
*—“Being rude to famous people”?? Yep, that was Saddie’s groupie-form complaint. People who threaten “last warning” are asking for assistance in working up the courage to throw you out. So I generously provided it to simpleton Saddie: “Go fuck yourself, you disgusting little maggot.” That was in fact offered mainly as dating advice.

None of this hysterical, perfunctory H8-M8ing (we used to call it “jk worship” on alt.tarot) on the part of these critics (or bleaters) follows from any objective criticism of the text of Liber AL, or any argument about what Crowley himself had to say, but is a vomiting forth of emotional sentiment, in part reacting to my saying something these individuals did not like, and in part because I had the nerve to criticize an extraordinarily minor "famous person", Lon Milo DuQuette.

One exception to the fact few critics have had any substantive, text-based, criticism of what I was saying, was the repetition, rather like slogan defenses or talking points put up by zombies of various political viewpoints, that I had missed one obvious verse that should have cleared up everything. The defenders of the mature, unblinkered, kindly Thelema complained Crowley's or Aiwass's verse about the “best blood” being of the Moon, clearly showed no child sacrifice could have been intended. Of course, I had talked about that verse in the Lon article, pointing out precisely what the critics were chanting I had stupidly missed. And that is another sign or symptom of the vain and lethargic emptiness in the heads of these critics—they didn’t even read what they were whining about so piously.

In spite of all of this nonsense, which is a typical reaction to facts being discussed in the occult, there is a worthwhile question raised about whether Crowley meant that the severity of Liber AL is to be applied only in the sense of people being hard on themselves (obviously not too hard—somebody might get cranky), or hard on the world of defective, deficient slaves (a notion many Christians posing as Thelemites find naturally abhorrent).

Let us focus on one verse and commentary from Liber AL to see if we can find any clues about how to interpret all the verses.
AL II,25: "Ye are against the people, O my chosen!"
Now, Crowley fully understands that verse is sufficiently vague that the Koblers, Goslings and LaMorts of the world might twist it into meaning: against the bad people, i.e. who have not equated initiation with being stuffed full of hallmark-card-brand love and light.

But that isn't what Crowley means.

Crowley’s Old Comment on the verse says:
"The cant of democracy condemned. It is useless to pretend that men are equal; facts are against it. And we [Thelemites] are not going to stay, dull and contented as oxen, in the ruck of humanity."
I doubt most people reading that will bother to look up the word “ruck”. Seriously, why put yourself out to gain a better understanding—through stupid old knowledge of the meanings of words—when you can just make up shit and call it wisdom?

For the other two of you, poor blinkered souls caring about denotations, “ruck” means “the mass of ordinary people and things”. In other words, “ruck” is the very opposite of "Thelemite".

In The New Comment, Crowley goes into this in much more interesting detail:
“By 'the people' is meant that canting, whining, servile breed of whipped dogs which refuses to admit its deity. The mob is always afraid for its bread and butter—when its tyrants let it have any butter…. And when the trouble begins, we aristocrats of Freedom, from the castle or the cottage, the tower or the tenement, shall have the slave mob against us.”
“Aristocrats of Freedom”?

In other words, those made noble by their natural condition of being, instead of by inheritance of a title. And so, regardless of whether or not the Thelemites wish to dominate the “slave mob”, it is natural and inevitable that they will do so.

This is the social and political analysis of AL II:25.

But then Crowley tells us:
“Still deeper, there is a meaning in this verse applicable to the process of personal initiation. By "the people" we may understand the many-headed and mutable mob which swarms in the slums of our own minds.”
So, Crowley tells us the social and political ideas can also act as metaphors for—something deeper. A process? A technique? An initiation?

It is a mirroring, in one’s mind, of the natural, Thelemic condition of the world, and society—that the few and free will dominate the many and the enslaved. And so, in one’s mind, the natural chaos of thoughts can be dominated by the few, directed, focused dictators of True Will.

What we should understand from this is two-fold:

1. Crowley very definitely saw in the verses of Liber AL external meanings and implications, and internal ones. The tendency of the New Aeon to push its agenda happens from without as well as from within. Thus to claim Liber AL is just a book of self-transformational tips, ignores what Crowley believed about the book, and what he fought for concerning it. By the latter I mean Crowley clearly understood and expected that society itself would undergo a kind of HGA-led revolution, which would bring about a Thelemic restructuring that would raise up the new nobility, and would eliminate the inefficient, and divisive, democratic demon that is the natural enemy of Thelemites.

2. And, more than this, the deeper, internal, meanings, relevant for “personal initiation”, were, in Crowley’s view, properly understood as metaphors reflecting the external, social and political, development of the Thelemic Aeon. So, it is not a sign of superficial reading or impaired initiation to see the often violent and bloody establishment of the new cosmic governance of the world directly mirrored in the internal spiritual conflict of an individual trying to beat down and enslave his mob of false selves. And it is definitely not Crowley’s idea that Liber AL is just a little red book of somewhat crazy and mean-sounding meditations. It is an action plan for the New Aeon’s world as well.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What if Thelema Were True?

Originally posted February 27, 2010

What if Thelema Were True?

What would that mean?

I don’t mean: what would it mean for Bill Breeze?

I mean: what would it mean for you?

That you can feel good about wilting your do?

"Satan Smiting Job With The Plague Of Boils", by William Blake. The key issue in Thelema is understanding the individual will as a product of and an instrument of the Divine Will. So long as one is ruled by the false veils of selves, produced in the factory of temporal culture, one experiences the calling of the True Self and the True Will as being tortured by a terrible demon, such as Satan. However, when this experience is properly understood, Satan transmutes to Lucifer, the bringer of Light.
The thing is, Christianity makes no distinction between the pope and the pauper, not spiritually. And it is easy for the pauper to understand this, because he knows that all he has to do to be saved is to express his faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He might live like a rat in his human time, but this is merely a sign to others of the essential rathood underlying any presumption of righteous value in even the most virtuous or materially prosperous human existence. In the end, all the rats are redeemed in the Body of Christ, where they will once again be individually extinct, but fully alive in the Unity of Divine Light.

The Thelemite, on the other hand, does not have an easy time of things. First off, he is told that faith is a corpse, and that he had better rely upon something more tangible, like himself, to get saved.

And the best way to do that?

“Do what thou wilt”.

But, nobody can say, with authority or certainty, what that means exactly. Or what it means to anybody generally, since it could mean one thing to a person at one stage of his life and something else entirely to that person at another stage of his life. And then there is the question of whether doing what “thou” wilt means doing what YOU want, or something else? And why is there really a difference? We are told there is this “higher” self that wants to be in charge of directing traffic, but it requires the lower self to submit in order to have any power and authority.

What a strange way to get any Great Work done in the world!

Of course, people make careers, such as they are, addressing these questions, but the point is that Thelema introduces a whole list of quandaries for any believers, or knowers, and these are not intended to be easy to understand or to follow consistently. The ethics of Thelema, the moral guidelines that would shape behavior are in fact extremely problematic. Unlike the fictional Thelemites, whose nobility both qualified them to belong to the exclusive Abbey of Thelema, and disinclined them from vice, Crowleyan or Aiwazan Thelema is supposed, somehow, to be the natural law affecting everybody. Yet, Thelema argues, just as does Christianity, for a hierarchical social arrangement, with the vast majority of people doing their Will by being the slaves of the Thelemites.

The very essence of a Thelemic community and government is demonstrated in OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis), which is a dictatorship of an elite (not necessarily enlightened) handful of people over the mass of its (presumably unenlightened, and certainly uninformed) members. The argument is made that if people allow themselves to be dictated to, or to be treated as slaves, that is what they deserve. In essence, it is their Will and their destiny to be ordered around by their Thelemic masters.

And you might, reasonably, ask, and many have asked this—so what exactly is the difference between the Thelemic dictatorship and any other brand? Supposedly, the Thelemic dictatorship is largely free of any bigotry in its treatment of others. It is, in other words, an equal opportunity dictator. If one who is born to poor economic circumstances rises up on his own mettle, he shall not be prevented from doing so merely because of his impoverished origin, his skin color or ethnicity, or any other irrelevant consideration. Of course that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since by definition only the Thelemically deserving would “rise up” or be allowed to rule in the system. The ones who are defeated in their Will to rule, by bigotry or whatever obstacle, were simply too weak to obtain the goal.

As with bugs, Nature or the Way or Nuit makes plenty of copies of a type, and most may in fact fail to achieve their personal attempt at the portion of the Great Work assigned to them.

But again, what is the difference between that and what we see here and now, in the collapsing edifices of the Old Aeon? One might say the difference cannot be apparent to current or any near-future generation.

For, if Thelema is true, and true in the sense Crowley believed, then for many centuries to come the strains of a crumbling world and the struggles of the rising world will make the Earth a bubbling cauldron of war, destruction, and all the other good, old-fashioned, human values. These latter expressions are not subject to extinction merely because some Aeon or the other has passed away or taken up residence and control. And even if that were the case, no cauldron of war and destruction is likely to pass away, but instead will be lifted up, as the main temple of the gods in the administration of Horus and Mars.

When warriors have conquered—everything—they are left to ponder rule and order and even the dreaded notion, peace. Crowley felt a kind of decay would inevitably set in at that point, as the challenges become more complex, political, and “victory” fades into a discursive ambiguity. But again, that is a problem for Thelemites a long time from now to confront, and no doubt a big part of the answer they will seek at that time will be an exploration of the need that will still exist for an inner conquest. If and when Thelema has been transformed into the dominant doctrine, the point of the establishment of that new regime would be to engender and to encourage a society of introspective extroverts—meaning those whose Work is directed first to the rectification of self, to the honing and tempering of self as a weapon of will, then to the exploitation of time and place (i.e., one’s circumstances) to complete the Great Work of the rectified self.

One again can challenge this achievement and opportunity, to ask what is particularly unique about this desirable outcome? What sets its aside, as a peculiar expression of Thelemic Law, contrasted to the usual occult challenge to seekers to reform within and without?

The main difference I think is one of mode of conduct, and the nature of the energy, which is going to be martial in its essence, and ruthless in its application. If Thelema does take hold, and does inspire a movement of political and social revolution, it is likely to be something which even current, enlightened, adherents, will find extremely troubling, and alien to their nature.

But this, again, is what we should expect, given the prediction for the scheme of development of the Aeon.

I asked this question—What if Thelema were true?—because I see so much idle debate about “defining” Thelema, as if Thelemites themselves had some collective responsibility or power to define the current. If Thelema is true, that notion (of the need for definition) is an absurdity, as if a planet or a star requires a human name or permission to keep moving upon its natural course. The thing is, if Thelema is true, no Thelemites are required to make it so. But, if Thelema is true, all humans who move in accord with the current of the Way of the Aeon of Horus, are Thelemites.

What needs to be defined is one’s understanding and personal conviction.

Fewer words need to flow at this time. Much more mindful action.

What wilt thou do?

jk—Adjustment Avatar of Glenn F. Wright

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Satanism, Dead Babies, & Lon Milo DuQuette

2014 Preface

In the past, I think it is fair to say I had a good deal of antipathy towards Lon Milo DuQuette. Although it wasn't really for Lon as a person, but rather for what he stands for, a kind of pathetic, special-pleading & peddling devilry meant to mislead the always eagerly misled poor saps who huddle around the entrance at the outermost gates of the occult temple.

Many people have objected to me that they know Lon, and he is a very nice person. I know Lon almost entirely through his works, and those are sufficiently troubling to me, in the sense of their being inadequate on technical points, and buffoonish on most points, that getting to know Lon well enough to afford him any sentimental benefit of acquaintance, seems a most ill-advised move.

Nevertheless, as you shall see below, I have in the past sought to develop an online dialog with Lon, hoping by this to obtain more details from him on where precisely he is coming from—other than a circus tent. This has proved fruitless, as Lon perhaps has gotten the correct impression that my own agenda is unlikely to offer him any solace or salvation.

Originally published December 24, 2009

Lon Milo DuQuette just wants everyone to know that Satan DOES NOT EXIST! Of course he is talking about the South Park Satan, not the Thelemic one.
I dislike listening to or reading Lon Milo DuQuette. That was my first reaction to him, many years ago when I watched him lecturing about (and peddling of course) his own Tarot cards, the "Yes We Put In Every Demon And The Kitchen Sink Too" deck, one of the ugliest things ever foisted on Tarot.

At that time, I complained to Bill Heidrick that I thought something weird was going on, because Lon seemed more like a used-car salesman, rather than a magician or occultist. Of course that is the thing most people find appealing about Lon. He says a lot of silly, stupid, things, and they laugh, and the occult feels warmer and fuzzier that way. As I have said, Lon is the Art Fern of Magick. Heidrick replied to me, disparaging an entire regional culture to make excuses for his Order brother: "He's from Southern California." Heidrick noted that people from the northern part of the state, where he was from, didn't naturally act like fools.*
*—2014 note: Perhaps his implication was that Northern Californians have to spend many years in fine schools training to achieve the same end.

When DuQuette's book on the Thoth deck came out, many people were very excited, and I was curious to see what a long-term student of the occult, and a high-ranking member of the OTO, might say to elucidate Crowley's Tarot. I was one of the very few people who gave Lon's book a bad review, and in fact I considered it such a bad book, I decided the OTO must have an organizational objective to thwart people's understanding of Crowley and his Tarot.

I had one email exchange with DuQuette, where I asked him if he was such a great magician, why couldn't he lose some weight.* Maybe that sounds mean, but we're talking about a man whose motto is "I can change only one thing with Magick—myself." OK, so at the least you might change to being a little less roly-poly. Just to show it wasn't all snark and no heart, I also told Lon that I had a couple of magick words—DIET and EXERCISE—that I happily dispensed to him as a professional courtesy. He thanked me, and said he was already attempting to employ those words, and had lost some weight. I told him I would offer him any assistance he might need to help him sveltecize. He never asked for my help.
*—2014 note: Lon's weight loss program seems to have succeeded, to the point where he now appears frail and old, instead of jolly. But, I credit him with coming to agree with me that a lot less Lon is a positive development.

From time to time on forums, I will ask Lon topical questions, and he will refuse to answer.

I sent a Facebook "friend" request once or twice to him, but he declined the honor.

I suspect he will not love me more for this review:

Satan's Nuts

Recently, Lon Milo DuQuette was interviewed on Blogtalk Radio, on the Beyond Worlds show, an alleged fusion of Tarot and Angel beliefs and practices, where they claim to help the "naturally intuitive" listeners tap into their own "inner knowing". In the 90-minute interview, we were told that Lon would be "debunking the Myths about Aleister Crowley", and also talking about Thoth Tarot.

As it turned out, and this is certainly no fault of Lon's, or maybe it was in an ironic way (given the co-hosts of the show felt they were obliged to find DuQuette's every snort and whinny hilarious), but so distracted and goofy were the two women interviewers, who talked over Lon, finished his halting responses, drowned him out with their inane cackling, and generally sounded perfectly idiotic, they only managed to get to a few topics. As Lon pointed out at the end, that is often a problem with him anyway, as he tends to drone on peripatetically, averse to getting to any destination—or shutting up.

One of the topics they did get to was the question of Satanism, a recurring issue and theme for any Thelemite to address, as Crowley of course had no problem admitting he worshiped the Devil or Satan, and that he was in fact a Satanist. Certainly, many people, who have written about Crowley, mention that he was a Satanist, and that his religion is a form of Satanism. And, needless to say, the representatives of the OTO are pretty sensitive about this, as they naturally would be about many things having to do with Aleister Crowley, and Lon sought to correct people's alleged misapprehensions.

The problem is, Lon sought to do this by saying things that were both unfounded, and disparaging of the beliefs of millions of people who do happen to believe in a power or entity called Satan. In Lon's myth of Crowley and Satanism, Crowley just liked to say things to filter out the unworthy, things like "I worship Satan."

Well, Crowley repeatedly admitted that he worshipped Satan, and for that matter pointed out that Thelemites, given that they worshipped the Sun, were worshipping Satan too. In Liber Samekh, for example, Crowley speaks explicitly of:
"the Devil our Lord...Lord of the Sabbath of the Adepts, [who] is Satan, therefore also the Sun, whose number of Magick is 666, the seal of His servant the Beast."
And Crowley implies that the Beast (i.e., Crowley) was not only Satan's servant, but since, according to Wynn Wescott, who Crowley quoted on this matter in the Equinox, the Beast is the child of Samael (Satan) and his wife, the harlot Isheth Zanunim, that means Aleister Crowley, at least in his Thelemic office and role as Beast 666, was also the son of Satan.

So, Satan is not just a fringe notion in Thelema. Satan and Satanic thinking, whatever that may be determined to be by study of Liber AL and its antecedent sources, are central themes in Thelema. It is not unfair to then suggest that Thelema has at least something to do with Satanism, and that Thelemites can fairly be called Satanists.

But, Lon Milo DuQuette dismissed that notion entirely, alleging that only "nutty people" would believe in Satan, or call themselves Satanists, and that in fact these "nutty people" were really Christians, not Thelemites. The fact is, these are not wholly baseless statements, given that Satanism would seem to be largely a Christian heresy, but the "nutty people" would also seem to include Thelemites.

At one point, one of the hosts put a simple, straightforward question to DuQuette: "Lon, can you define for us what Satanism is?"

There was a big beat of utter, desperate silence, followed by Lon's stumbling reply:
"Oh...well...the...I...the...uhm...more easily I can define what it is not. It is not an organized group of people...ah...ah...who are in touch with the anti-Christian god. The Satanism that I was afraid of was a figment of my imagination, because the Satan that I thought people worshipped doesn’t exist...and...and...anybody who you can’t convince that to, I’m sorry the discussion ends. I’m through arguing with you.”
Now, Lon could of course have imagined all kinds of Satans I suppose. Maybe in Lon's head, Satan looked a lot like Santa Claus...and of course Lon looks a lot like...well, you know. So, yes, it is always possible that Lon Milo DuQuette had imagined an absurd idea for Satan, and that idea, being nonsense, does not really exist. But the problem is, he implies that a lot of other people have the same idea about this notion of Satan. And to those people he shows not understanding, but contempt.

Let's be very clear about what Christians actually believe, because I think it often confuses people that Christians call the Devil by the name of Satan, or that they think it applies somehow to the Edenic Serpent. How did they get that idea? Well, my dears, they got that idea from their Bible, and from the very important book in the Bible that is so influential to Thelema—the Apocalypse of St. John, or Revelation.

See if this little verse, one of two in Revelation that use this language, can clear it up for you:
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”—Revelation 20: 1-2

So, no matter the name, it is the same Satanic station, the same host—the eternal enemy of humanity—the one who opposes, prosecutes, and leads to destruction God’s creation. But Satan accomplishes this in a peculiar way, by seeming to lift up humanity to the position of gods themselves. His only purpose in this is to demonstrate the arrogance and impiety of humans, so that God, according to his own rules, has to destroy humanity. And Satan does this because it is his job. Also his pleasure.

At some point, we are told, it becomes such a pleasure, such a demented mission of Satan’s, that he decided maybe God was kind of a weakling for not following his own rules and permanently eradicating humanity from the face of the Earth. And a lot of the angels agreed with Satan, presumably the lot standing on the side of Severity. These launched a heavenly rebellion, leading to a war that is ongoing. The Severe-team angels, Captained by Satan, were outnumbered, 2-1, and also of course they were opposed by God, who you figure has to count for a whole number himself—at least, so maybe 3-1 or hey, 4-1. The odds against Satan were not so good, and either because he was cast out of Heaven or chose to strategically retreat, the host of “evil” angels came or fell to Earth, established themselves as demonic forces of the most assuredly disloyal opposition, and began to work assiduously for the destruction of humanity.

The inevitable failing of humanity, in listening to the almost irresistible temptation of Satan, makes God regret ever having created such a defective, irredeemably arrogant bunch of losers. God says at one point his choices are few—destruction of humanity on the basis of its defective nature OR remaking of humanity in a manner that will eliminate the possibility of disobedience. This remaking is essentially what Christianity is all about, being reborn in the spirit, to create a Christ-driven life, which is impervious to the destructive temptations of Satan, just as the perfect man, Jesus Christ, was able to resist Satan in the wilderness.

In addition, via the enormous and complete sacrifice of Jesus Christ, humanity is saved from Judgment and destruction, and thus Satan’s power is neutralized at its heart. However, humanity can still choose whether to accept the Light, and salvation, or to listen to the question of the Shadows—what do you want? Because Satan will most definitely appear to provide just that. In fact, he will be willing to meet you at a crossroads, and sign a contract to give you exactly what you claim to want, in return for the ownership and destruction of your soul.

Now, THAT’S the story as Christians actually understand it, and as millions of them believe to be the truth.

When a Thelemite laughs about Satan, and acts like it’s just a silly myth nobody could reasonably believe in, he is acting in accord with Satanic impulses to con people into thinking Satan is a joke, a myth, a metaphor. But, why would Aleister Crowley spend so much time talking about the centrality of a joke to his belief system? True, he was given to distancing himself from his own piety to Satan often enough. If you think about it, impiety is actually a Satanic virtue, but Crowley ended up destroying his own life (or emptying it into Satan’s butt if you prefer), and maiming the lives of many people he touched with his Thelemic sensibilities.

If Aleister Crowley did not worship Satan, certainly from a Christian perspective he acted like he did. And it is that perspective that the Thelemic managers, such as Lon Milo DuQuette, most fear, because on the one hand, all Thelemites are commanded by Aiwaz to “throw the Christians to the lions”, which I suppose could be interpreted metaphorically, but given Crowley’s hatred of Christianity, especially certain expressions of it, that seems questionable. On the other hand, the Old Aeon hierarchy, while certainly under pressure and threat of diminishment, is still largely in control, and far more influential than the fledgling Thelemic organizations.

At any moment, if the Christian, or other Old Aeon, powers, decide Thelema is a threat, it will be “the Thelemites to Gitmo”, or whatever will be employed during the Ordeal XI of Thelema.

Dead Babies and Best Blood

Sacrificed Male Child, XII-Hanged Man, from Crowley's Thoth Tarot, perhaps the only Tarot card suggesting a felonious act.
One of the other myths Lon attempted to correct in the Beyond Worlds show, was the idea that Crowley promoted or in fact committed human sacrifice, specifically child sacrifice. That is of course a recurrent charge against Crowley and against Thelema.

Lon went to tediously long length to make a simple point—Crowley was just talking about sacrificing his sperm, in the bodily fluid he called "blood", and which most people call "semen". And Lon claims Crowley wrote about it using the child sacrifice symbolism because at the time (1920's), one couldn't write openly of sex-magickal practices without getting into some kind of trouble, but you could allege you were a mass-murderer of children, as a way of veiling your sex-magick secrets, and nobody would mind in the least.

Lon misstated the facts to enable this dubious explanation, by alleging that the myth of Crowley murdering children originates solely from the "Bloody Sacrifice" chapter in Magick in Theory and Practice. This is the infamous chapter, where Crowley plainly tells us that blood sacrifice is the most important and effective magickal technique available to the magician, and "[a] male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim." In a footnote to this text, Crowley appears to confess to having murdered 2400 children: "FRATER PERDURABO...made this particular sacrifice on an average about 150 times every year between 1912 e.v. and 1928 e.v."

Now, it is often alleged that this is the main reason child sacrifice is ever associated with Crowley or Thelema, and, as Lon said, this is based on a misunderstanding of Crowley's veiled language. However, this argument is factually incorrect, and quite misleading.

Thelema is associated with child sacrifice in a fundamental way mainly because child sacrifice is commanded in the Thelemic holy book, Liber AL:
AL III,12: "Sacrifice cattle, little and big: after a child."
As with many Liber AL verses, the language here is at least a bit vague. It after all explicitly says to sacrifice cattle, but is somewhat unclear about whether "a child" is also sacrificed, as one had done with the "little cow", or if it has some other function "after". As always, in any occult verses, one could argue that none of the words should be read flat or literally to obtain the intended or essential meaning.

But, we have the evidence of Crowley's commentary here, which fixes that commandment to a particular and real child sacrifice, one Crowley and Rose certainly did commit, or suffer, through gross neglect, especially on Crowley's part, as he abandoned his wife and baby in Southeast Asia to run off by himself to America. Ultimately, Crowley blamed Rose for what happened, saying her drinking and poor hygiene led to the typhoid infection afflicting their baby girl, Lilith, who died in Rangoon on or about May 1, 1906.

Further, Liber AL had included a warning (AL III, 43) to the Scarlet Woman, i.e. Rose Crowley, saying that failure to continue her "work" for the Thelemic gods would result in the sacrifice of her child to Ra-Hoor-Khuit, who speaks of taking his vengeance against Rose (and Crowley too presumably) by "slaying" her child. What are the chief sins Rose might exhibit to suffer this terrible penalty: pity, compassion, tenderness—basic faults of character in Thelema.

Now, in spite of this, true believers and defenders of Thelema (the fluffy-fake brand of it anyway) might complain that this is no smoking gun. After all, Liber AL does not have any explicit verse that says something like use the blood of a child to do some magick or something.

Except of course it certainly does:
AL III, 24: "The best blood is of the moon, monthly: then the fresh blood of a child, or dropping from the host of heaven: then of enemies; then of the priest or of the worshippers: last of some beast, no matter what."
We should note that here, "beast blood" is the least blood, while "blood of a child" gets the silver medal. And so, one way of reading AL III, 12 could be to note it is advising two levels or brands of efficacy concerning sacrifice, noting the easier beast blood of cattle would be the primary choice, but only AFTER one had sought out the better grade blood of a child.

Now, "the fresh blood of a child" in AL III, 24, according to Crowley's commentary, means "BABALON and THE BEAST conjoined, the Secret Saviour", so it refers to the mingled sex fluids of the magical partners. Crowley says he chooses to use language that, without commentary, could easily be taken to say he is promoting the magical use of the blood of actual children, because he is concerned that plain talk about the magical principles involved in the verse "could lead only to the most fulminating and irredeemable disaster."

In that respect, it seems his reasoning in the choice of language is not so different from what DuQuette alleged on the Beyond Worlds show.

Yet, veiled talk in the form of plain statements about sacrificing children could lead to some pretty irredeemable disasters too, but maybe that is also part of Crowley's plan, to inspire the profane to commit terrible acts in accord with an uninitiated reading.

Certainly, Crowley did not care much about the welfare of children, and had parental tips such as:
"The Beast 666 adviseth that all children shall be accustomed from infancy to witness every type of sexual act".—New Comment to AL I:51
Regarding the proper levels of initiation in readings of Crowley's writings, it is useful to point out that Lon Milo DuQuette dismissed any possibility that the "Bloody Sacrifice" comments by Crowley should in any way be taken to suggest he advocated real child sacrifice, even though Crowley plainly believed he and the Scarlet Woman had, perhaps inadvertently, sacrificed their first child to Satan.

DuQuette says Crowley was clear in his rejection of a literal taking of his "Bloody Sacrifice" comments, that Crowley was meaning (in Lon's version):
"I’m saying something here behind what I am saying. What you think I’m saying, I’m not really saying. And then in a huge, long footnote, he says I’m not saying what I’m saying, I’m saying something else."
However, the "huge footnote", which Crowley called an "initiated interpretation", is blamed on Soror I.W.E. (Martha Kuntzel), whose name Crowley is known to have used on at least one other occasion (in The Book of Thoth) as a pseudonym to express his own satiric or misleading commentary. Whether or not Kuntzel actually wrote the "initiated interpretation", Crowley later called it "nonsense" and "dust in the eyes of the profane" in notes to Emblems and Mode of Use.

But for DuQuette to raise that complication would of course run the risk of perhaps clarifying something for the profane, and everybody else. That is not to say Crowley actually sacrificed 2400 children. But it is to say that while he may have intended a sex-magick metaphor in mentioning his prolific sacrifices of sperm, Crowley never intended blood sacrifice and its magickal efficacy, or the grade of children's blood as a sacrificial agent, to be taken only as metaphors.

We know this for the reasons I have mentioned above, plus there is the case of the speaking of the initiatory Word of the Aeon, which is associated with an immense and real bloody sacrifice. You know that sacrifice by its historical appellation—World War One—which Crowley understood to be part of the global bloodbath required by the change of Aeon to announce and anoint the rulership of Horus the Avenger.

Crowley plainly says:
"This Bloody Sacrifice is the critical point of the World-Ceremony of the Proclamation of Horus, the Crowned and conquering Child, as Lord of the Aeon."—Chapter XII, "The Bloody Sacrifice", Magick
What one should really take from the whole "Bloody Sacrifice" chapter, and its footnote, and its controversy, is that Crowley often used rash and questionable judgment in his veils and blinds, delighting in saying things which while "technically" correct as far as occultism was concerned, are potentially quite dangerous insofar as his ideas are made available for a wider, uninitiated, audience.* And they are dangerous not merely because someone might take Crowley at his word, and miss the subtextual and perhaps truer meaning, but also because a lot of the subtextual or technical meanings of his writing do not necessarily negate the surface meaning.
*—A lot of the reason Damien Echols ended up on death row is because of his ignorant understanding of Crowley's child sacrifice comments. Naturally, the Echols' defense team didn't know enough to counter the incredibly stupid and bigoted prosecution team's use of Echols' study of Crowley either.

Occultism does not offer a hierarchy of increasingly truer understandings of its symbolism, each one erasing the meaning of the previous insights. What one actually encounters is an increasingly complex understanding of the ways in which "truth" is a relative feature of life, except in certain deep and high grasps of it. This is to say that the surface reading and meaning of an occult verse or idea is one level of truth, one way of understanding something, which has a material implication. That way of understanding is appropriate for a certain level of initiation. As one progresses, he will understand more of the meaning, and what was once the whole meaning, will be understood to be just one part, and perhaps not the better part any longer for the point at which the aspirant now finds himself.

Crowley well understood this, and wrote in accord with it. The problem is that, unlike the vast majority of occultists, Crowley was contemptuous of the idea that the innocent or unready should be protected from the dangers of premature exposure to the secrets. While he would not explicitly reveal to them the protected ideas, he would point to these in language that plainly articulated the dangerous power he alleged was inherent in them.

Fundamentally, Thelema is not a jolly, harmless, belief system. Given the predictions for the New Dark Ages, it is difficult to see how it is in fact a very hopeful religion in any way for the vast majority of humanity, certainly not a for a long time.

When public spokespeople for what is alleged to be "official" Thelema present themselves and the religion with buffoonery, and inane attempts to make something terrible (in its meaning and its power to incite baleful deeds) seem safe for children or anybody else, they dangerously misrepresent Thelemic ideas. And of course, one can complain very much in the same way about Christianity, that its verses can be distorted to lead people to commit heinous acts in the name of "love" and "peace". The problem for Thelema, which is one reason the Thelemic managers do like their comforting clowns, is that heinous acts and policy are the Law in Thelema, not the corruption of a beneficent dogma.

(jk)—Adjustment Avatar of Glenn F. Wright

Friday, June 6, 2014

Suspending Disbelief in Thelema

What is behind the curtain of the Thelemic creation myth? Only lies and liars? And which curtain? The curtain in front which reveals, or the curtain in the shadows which conceals? The answers depend on how seriously the questioner takes himself, which is to say that some hopeless dullards value themselves so highly they cannot tolerate anything other than the literal, dead, truth being spoon-fed to them. Any complexity, any illusion, anyone operating behind a curtain, creating spells of myth and power, is plain evil to these dark stars. On the other hand, to the audience which is open to a good show, and to the power of that show to transform our understanding at the most profound level, the Wizards of OZ are not a problem, but are earnest and entertaining guides to the solution.
2014 Preface

This involves a premise and a contemplation I had been working on since the 1990s, when we would frequently debate, on the old Usenet group, alt.tarot, the meaning of life, and Thelema. Particularly, as the debates sometimes went, the question was whether you had to believe in all that seeming nonsense Aleister Crowley claimed about the Thelemic creation myth—was Aiwass really there or was he a projection of Crowley's imagination manifesting a higher part of himself?—to do or get Thelema? Was faith required in other words, and how would it manifest exactly?

Frequently, because of my rather skeptical approach to all our topics, especially the creation myths of Tarot—which helped to inform Crowley's own ideas and approach—I was often asked what I believed. This question was often posed to me as a way of suggesting that no honest answer could be forthcoming except "nothing", and this would have its own damning implications for me. But it was in fact one of the possible, true, answers. Nevertheless, I had a scheme in mind for how I would process the nothing, and the seeming lies and liars that are our founders and makers of occultism. Basically, it involved my applying my experience of cinema to my experience of Tarot and the occult.

The following was originally published December 1, 2009

2009 Preface

Six years ago, [i.e., in 2003] I explained my view of religion, and how that informed my approach to Thelema. I would say that explanation still applies for me, with perhaps the addition of a new insight: it is not always possible or worthwhile I would say to know, deeply and well compartmentalized, that something for which you have cinematic faith is being run by a man behind the curtain. After all, if you did pull back that curtain, put your hands on the man, and turned him about to look him in the face, you would be seeing your own reflection.

Increasingly, I realize that this is not a world that can stand or nurture much bleak truth, and truth for short-lived, fragile mortals is so often very bleak. Yet, to evade it, to flee it, hoping that the Holy Distraction Angel will save you from pain one more day, is an unsatisfying option for many of us. And also, we appreciate and seek the sweetness of irony. By this I mean it is very satisfying to contemplate that what goes up, inevitably comes down. It is also the case, though this part of the Wheel is often ignored, but what is down will in some form inevitably rise. Thus, an appreciation of truth should involve an insight about the complexity, inadequacy and self-negation of every Break—which is every incomplete truth, which is of course ALL of them.

Example, thinking of certain aspects of my personal truth:

I am an atheist, who nevertheless reads and acts in accord with religious principles (not all of them congruent either). Certainly, I am also a reader and contemplator of philosophy, and I reject the necessity of religious experience and explanations, but this mode of exploration has its limitations, which are not less useful or valid because they are sometimes frustrating—or bleak.

And lastly, while I very much appreciate the vision and gifts of science, even more than philosophy it operates within a narrow scope of concerns and knowledge. Within the lifetime of our species, and certainly any of us individually, we may come to know many things from science, but we shall never know any deep and penetrating singular Truth of the cosmos. Human science cannot see that far, and it never shall. In fact, ironically, the longer we go, the less we will likely know, as the Cosmos expands increasingly out of our reach and knowledge.

Anyway, having now written an introduction longer than the explanation, here it is (from a June, 27, 2003 Usenet posting called "Thelema, Religion, and Dishonesty"):

Finding value in religions, in the ideas of them for example, while keeping a distance from faith in their claims about absolute things (such as the nature of God) is not so difficult really. But, at some point, as you would do at a movie, you must suspend your disbelief to get the most out of it.

In other words, accept what people say as if it were true. In that way, for example, you can read Crowley's writings, understand he's playing a complex psychological game by constantly dancing around the Thelemic Maypole of fiction, and yet still appreciate it when he says something interesting. And that doesn't require you to imagine yourself a "philosopher" instead of a believer. It just requires you to be an interested and attentive reader.

On the other hand, it's helpful to recall at some point that it's just an entertainment of the lights, not necessarily the truth. And when the facts don't fit, and the true believers throw one when you ask a simple question, just recall you're not employed by their mania (no matter how many little dolls they poke pins into).