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In the midth century, Sir Francis Dashwood inscribed the adage on a doorway of his abbey at Medmenham , [18] where it served as the motto of the Hellfire Club. Ashbee in his utopian romance The Building of Thelema There are, in Greek, two words for will, which are used, for example, in New Testament partly synonym : thelema and boule. The verb thelo appears very early Homer , early Attic inscriptions and has the meanings of "ready", "decide" and "desire" Homer, 3, , also in the sexual sense.

In Septuaginta the term is used for the will of God himself, the religious desire of the God-fearing, and the royal will of a secular ruler. It is thus used only for the representation of high ethical willingness in the faith, the exercise of authority by the authorities, or the non-human will, but not for more profane striving.

Thus, the different meaning of both concepts was lost. In the New Testament in Koine thelema is used 62 or 64 [22] times, twice in the plural thelemata [ where? In the same way the term is used in the Apostle Paul and Ignatius of Antioch. For Tolli it follows that the genuine idea of Thelema does not contradict the teachings of Jesus Tolli, Eventually he left the monastery to study medicine, and moved to the French city of Lyon in There he wrote Gargantua and Pantagruel , a connected series of books.

They tell the story of two giants—a father Gargantua and his son Pantagruel and their adventures—written in an amusing, extravagant, and satirical vein. Most critics today agree that Rabelais wrote from a Christian humanist perspective. In his first book ch. It is a classical utopia presented in order to critique and assess the state of the society of Rabelais's day, as opposed to a modern utopian text that seeks to create the scenario in practice.

Rabelais believed that men who are free, well born and bred have honour, which intrinsically leads to virtuous actions. When constrained, their noble natures turn instead to remove their servitude, because men desire what they are denied.

Some modern Thelemites consider Crowley's work to build upon Rabelais's summary of the instinctively honourable nature of the Thelemite. Rabelais has been variously credited with the creation of the philosophy [31] of Thelema, as one of the earliest people to refer to it, [32] or with being "the first Thelemite".


Ordo Templi Orientis Grand Lodge has stated:. Saint Rabelais never intended his satirical, fictional device to serve as a practical blueprint for a real human society Aleister Crowley wrote in The Antecedents of Thelema, , an incomplete work not published in his day, that Rabelais not only set forth the law of Thelema in a way similar to how Crowley understood it, but predicted and described in code Crowley's life and the holy text that he claimed to have received, The Book of the Law. Crowley said the work he had received was deeper, showing in more detail the technique people should practice, and revealing scientific mysteries.

He said that Rabelais confines himself to portraying an ideal, rather than addressing questions of political economy and similar subjects, which must be solved in order to realize the Law. Rabelais is included among the Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Sir Francis Dashwood adopted some of the ideas of Rabelais and invoked the same rule in French, when he founded a group called the Monks of Medmenham better known as the Hellfire Club.

John Wilkes , George Dodington and other politicians were members. In the opinion of Lt. Towers, the group derived more from Rabelais than the inscription over the door. He believes that they used caves as a Dionysian oracular temple, based upon Dashwood's reading of the relevant chapters of Rabelais. Daniel Willens argued that the group likely practiced Freemasonry , but also suggests Dashwood may have held secret Roman Catholic sacraments. He asks if Wilkes would have recognized a genuine Catholic Mass, even if he saw it himself and even if the underground version followed its public model precisely.

The literal definition of the term "Thelemite" is, according to Merriam-Webster , "one who does as he pleases. However, there is no standard conception of what one must believe or do, or what, if anything, one must practice in order to be considered a Thelemite.


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In the most basic sense, a Thelemite is any person who either does their will—if going by Crowley's conception, then their true or pure will, as opposed to the "mundane" will of the ego—or attempts to discover and do that will. This being the loosest conception of what makes someone a Thelemite, any individual who discovers and enacts their true will, or attempts to discover and enact it, knowingly or unknowingly, and whether or not they adhere to Crowley's system of Thelema as such, can be called a Thelemite. In a stricter sense, a Thelemite is someone who accepts the Law of Thelema.

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In an even stricter sense, it is someone who accepts or adheres to The Book of the Law which includes the aforementioned Law , however interpreted. And, in the strictest sense, it is someone who adheres to both the Book of the Law and, to some extent—greater, lesser, or complete—the remainder of Crowley's writings on Thelema. In The Book of the Law , Crowley wrote, "Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word.

As Crowley leaves the contents of The Book of the Law up to individual interpretation, the "grades" of Hermit, Lover, and man of Earth can naturally be taken to signify different things. However, Thelemic writer IAO believes them to correspond to different stages of the mystical or spiritual path, one progressing from man of Earth to Lover to Hermit, culminating in enlightenment: According to him, the man of Earth symbolizes spiritual self-discipline, the Lover experiential communion with the divine, and the Hermit the dissolution of the ego.

Thelema was founded by Aleister Crowley — , who was an English occultist and writer. In , Crowley claimed to have received The Book of the Law from an entity named Aiwass , which was to serve as the foundation of the religious and philosophical system he called Thelema. This small book contains three chapters, each of which he claimed to have written in exactly one hour, beginning at noon, on April 8, April 9, and April 10, Crowley claims that he took dictation from an entity named Aiwass , whom he later identified as his own Holy Guardian Angel.

Crowley claimed that "no forger could have prepared so complex a set of numerical and literal puzzles" and that study of the text would dispel all doubts about the method of how the book was obtained. Yeats , attributing this to "shared insight" and perhaps to the older man's knowledge of Crowley.

Crowley wrote several commentaries on The Book of the Law , the last of which he wrote in This brief statement called simply " The Comment " warns against discussing the book's contents, and states that all "questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings" and is signed Ankh-af-na-khonsu. According to Crowley, every individual has a True Will , to be distinguished from the ordinary wants and desires of the ego. The True Will is essentially one's "calling" or "purpose" in life. Some later magicians have taken this to include the goal of attaining self-realization by one's own efforts, without the aid of God or other divine authority.

This brings them close to the position that Crowley held just prior to The Thelemite is a mystic. In order for the individual to be able to follow their True Will, the everyday self's socially-instilled inhibitions may have to be overcome via deconditioning.

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Thelema draws its principal gods and goddesses from Ancient Egyptian religion. The highest deity in the cosmology of Thelema is the goddess Nuit. She is the night sky arched over the Earth symbolized in the form of a naked woman. She is conceived as the Great Mother, the ultimate source of all things. Hadit symbolizes manifestation, motion, and time. He is symbolized as a throned man with the head of a hawk who carries a wand. He is associated with the Sun and the active energies of Thelemic magick. Other deities within the cosmology of Thelema are Hoor-paar-kraat or Harpocrates , god of silence and inner strength, the brother of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, [61] Babalon , the goddess of all pleasure, known as the Virgin Whore, [61] and Therion , the beast that Babalon rides, who represents the wild animal within man, a force of nature.

Thelemites differ widely in their views of the divine, and these views are often tied to their personal paradigms, including their conceptions of what demarcates objective and subjective reality, as well as falsehood and truth: some hold unique, or otherwise very specific or complex views of the nature of divinity, that are not easily explained; many are supernaturalists, claiming that the supernatural or paranormal in some way exist, and incorporate these assumptions into their spiritual practices in some way; others are religious or spiritual naturalists , viewing the spiritual or sacred —or whatever they feel is, or may be, in reality, analogous to them, or their equivalents—as identical to the material, natural, or physical.

Naturalists, whether religious or spiritual, tend to believe that faith in, or experience of, the supernatural is grounded in falsehood or error, or can be explained by delusion or hallucination.

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The Book of the Law can be taken to imply a kind of pantheism or panentheism : the former is the belief that the divine, or ultimate reality, is coterminous with the totality of the cosmos, interpenetrating all phenomena, the sacred identical with the universe; the latter is the same but moreover holds that the divine, sacred, or ultimate reality in some way transcends the mundane. The Book of the Law states, "there is no god but man", and many Thelemites see the divine as the inner, perfected individual state—a "true self" or "higher self" often conceived of as the Holy Guardian Angel although certain Thelemites view the Angel as a separate entity —that forms the essence of every person.

Some Thelemites are polytheists or henotheists , while others are atheists , agnostics , or apatheists. Thelemites frequently hold a monistic view of the cosmos, believing that everything is ultimately derived from one initial and universal state of being, often conceived of as Nuit. Compare the Neoplatonic view of The One. The Book of the Law states that Hadit, representative, in one sense, of motion, matter, energy, and space-time—i.

The Book of the Law opens with the verse, "Had!