Teachings on human sexuality by the Roman Catholic Church

Teachings on human sexuality by the Roman Catholic Church

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Editor’s Note: Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) contributed greatly to the “magical
revival,”
as it has been called, during the first half of the 20th
Century. His written works have had a profound effect on the practice of
Magick. In addition, Satanism, as currently practiced by the Church of Satan and
similar groups, have relied heavily on a sensationalistic interpretation
of his writings. There are even marks of his influence in the writings
of Gerald Gardner, the individual most responsible for the recreation of Wicca circa 1950.
Unfortunately, many conservative Christian authors have associated
Crowley’s beliefs and practices with Mediaeval Satanism. The latter was
a form of Satan worship that did not exist in reality. The Christian
church invented it in order to provide the theological and legal
justification for the Witch burnings of Western Europe. Because of this
association, most of the writings by Fundamentalist and other
Evangelical Christians about the Law of Thelema and Crowley are
hopelessly inaccurate, and may be safely ignored.
The following
accurate material was provided by Alexander Duncan, B.A. (Hon.) (Dept.
of English, York University, North York, Ontario, Canada) Permission to
copy, reproduce, or distribute this material is freely granted provided
there is no charge and the name and e-mail address of the author is
included in every copy. Alexander Duncan can be contacted by email at
[email protected]

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Quotation:

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In the beginning doth the Magus speak Truth, and send forth Illusion and
Falsehood to enslave the soul. Yet therein is the Mystery of Redemption.”
(Aleister Crowley, Liber B vel Magi, sub Figura I, v. 1)

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Summary Overview:

The Law of Thelema was revealed to the world by a praeterhuman
Intelligence calling himself Aiwass in Cairo, Egypt in March and April,
1904 e.v. Aiwass appeared first to Rose Edith Kelly nee Crowley, in
an altered state of consciousness (ASC), and subsequently to the British
poet and magical adept, Aleister Crowley (born in Leamington, England on
October 12, 1875 e.v.). Aiwass proceeded to demonstrate his objective
existence independently of the psyches of both Crowley and Rose, by
leading them to the stele of Ankh-af-na-khonsu, a Theban Egyptian priest
of the 8th century B.C.E., in the Boulak Museum, where they had
never been. He then dictated a sacred text to Crowley called the Book
of the Law
. For five years thereafter Crowley resisted the Law of
Thelema and the mission of Thelemic prophet laid upon him by Aiwass,
regarding the Cairo Working, as it is called, as an “astral vision” (i.e.,
a purely imaginative – but not “imaginary” – experience). However,
Crowley’s subsequent attainment of the grade of Master of the Temple in
the Supreme College of the Great White Brotherhood resulted in his
acceptance of the Law of Thelema and of his own prophetic role as
described in the Book of the Law. Crowley proclaimed himself as the
prophet of a new eon for humanity for the first time in his long mystical
poem, Aha! (1909), which has been compared in beauty and profundity
to the Bhagavad-Gita. Thereafter he signed his correspondence and
formal instructions with the two main slogans of the Book of the Law,
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” and “Love is the law,
love under will.”


 Crowley founded a magical society, the A. ..A. ..,
took over the leadership of another, the O.T.O., and wrote a series of
formal instructions promulgating the Law of Thelema, as well as teaching
Scientific Illuminism and Magick. Many of these formal instructions were
published during his lifetime in his Equinox periodical and
elsewhere. Crowley believes that the Law of Thelema resolves all spiritual
quandaries, harmonizes science and religion, and supersedes all historical
dispensations, establishing a new cultural epoch for humanity, which he
calls the New Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child. According
to Crowley, the New Aeon will endure for at least several hundred years,
possibly for as long as two thousand years.  

During his lifetime Crowley succeeded in attracting a small following,
mainly in Germany and America, of no more than one or perhaps two hundred
souls (counting all those who adhered to Crowley at any time, for any
length of time; a much smaller number remained faithful to Crowley at the
end of his life). Crowley lost many followers due to his troublesome
personality and libertine lifestyle, especially after he came to the
attention of the British tabloid press following the First World War.
After his death, Crowley left behind him a disorganized and demoralized
O.T.O. movement which has since split up into several competing factions,
notably the American Caliphate founded by McMurtry, the Swiss O.T.O.
founded by Metzger, the English O.T.O. under the leadership of Kenneth
Grant, and a Brazilian O.T.O. founded by Marcelo Ramos Motta. A very few
members of the original A. ..A. .. also carried on
the work in a very limited way, but the A. ..A. ..
organization qua organization did not survive Crowley, at least not
openly.  

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Introduction –
History:

The Law of Thelema, also called Scientific Illuminism and Magick (spelled
with a terminal ‘k’ to distinguish the authentic science of the Magi from
sleight of hand), originated in the Cairo Working. At the time, Crowley
interpreted the Cairo Working as an astral vision. At this time, Crowley
was a Minor Adept of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden
Dawn was the most distinguished occult society of recent times, which
included such luminaries as the poet William Butler Yeats and the Buddhist bhikkhu, Allan Bennett (Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya). Thus, at the time
of the Cairo Working Crowley was an advanced experimental occultist in his
own right, although Rose, who was pregnant with their only child, had no
experience as a clairvoyant. Crowley was also a published and fairly well
known minor poet of controversial verse, yogi, world-class traveler and
mountaineer, pornographer, drug taker, and wealthy libertine.   

Crowley’s father, Edward Crowley, used the leisure that the small brewing
fortune that he inherited from his father provided him to spread the
gospel of Jesus Christ according to the fundamentalist teachings of the
Plymouth Brethren sect. Crowley reacted against this fundamentalist and
evangelical upbringing but his interest in religion, which, despite his
promiscuous lifestyle, was serious and sincere, persisted.  Because
of his wife’s and his contact with Aiwass, Aiwass dictated to Crowley a
sixty-five-page document, called the Book of the Law, in length
about equal to Lao-tse’s Tao-te ching. Crowley came to regard the Book of the Law as having nothing whatever to do with himself,
despite the similarity of style and sentiment to Crowley’s previously
published writings (despite these similarities, the Book of the Law is also very different, being far more disorganized and ecstatic than
anything Crowley produced before or after, and referring to events in
Crowley’s future that subsequently occurred). During this dictation
Crowley “saw” Aiwass, who appeared as an Assyrian or Persian aristocrat
with veiled eyes. Crowley also stated that Aiwass’ English was devoid of
any accent.  

The Book of the Law is written in a flamboyant style, punctuated by
innumerable exclamation points as well as powerful passages of real
sublimity, profundity, and beauty, addressing a host of real spiritual
problems, and prophesying various events, most notably the advent of the
Second World War in the 1940s, which was fulfilled thirty-five years
later. The Book of the Law is both a radical postmodernist critique
and an endorsement of religion, which claims to go beyond all previous
historical dispensations and reveal to humanity nothing less than the
basis of a new spiritual epoch, the New Aeon of Horus, the Crowned and
Conquering Child.  

In
Egyptian mythology, Horus is the son of Isis, the Great Mother goddess,
and Osiris, the Dying God. After Osiris is slain by his murderous brother
Set, Horus rises up against Set and assumes the throne and place of his
father, Osiris. In the Thelemic exegesis, Horus represents the
inauguration of a new spiritual way, which will be preceded by a
transitional period of unprecedented disaster and suffering (Set), in the
very beginning of which we are now (Crowley believed that this period
would last several centuries, and would ultimate in the destruction of
Judaeo-Christian civilization, which he identified with Osiris, the Dying
God).  

In
fact the Book of the Law is heavily indebted to various literary
precedents, including the Judaeo-Christian apocalyptic writings,
Gnosticism, Zoharic Cabala, magic, the Enochian writings of Dee and Kelly,
the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Hindu and Buddhist Tantra, Taoism,
and even Vodou, and, more recently, the writings of Francois Rabelais, Max
Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others. The word “Thelema” is derived
from the Greek θελημα, meaning “will,” and is believed to conceal various
symbolic allusions in the letters and their numerical values (like Hebrew
and Arabic, Greek letters are also numbers). Will is preeminently,
however, not free, but true, thus raising the Law of Thelema above simple
libertarianism.

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Schools:

Thelemites are divided into two main spiritual schools or orders, the A...A...
(Astrum Argentium, or Silver Star), and the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis,
or Order of the Temple of the Orient) (there are at least two more
Thelemic organizations authorized by Crowley, viz., the L.I.L. and
the G.B.G., and a few that appeared posthumously, but the former are the
main ones).  

The A...A... is a temporal manifestation of the
Great White Brotherhood, and not necessarily the only one, one of the
three fundamental spiritual schools of humanity, the others being the
Black School, associated mainly with Buddhism and Gnosticism, and the
Yellow School, associated mainly with Taoism. In addition to the White,
Black, and Yellow Schools, there is a fourth group called the Black
Brotherhood, not to be confused with the Black School, whose adherents
consist of high ranking adepts who, through fear and selfishness, failed
to transcend the limitations of the human personality and hence “fall back
into” or “remain in” the abyss, where they morally disintegrate. The Black
Brothers are at odds with all true spiritual schools, and seek to dominate
the human race, subjecting them for their own purposes. They are closely
associated with the exoteric systems based on priest craft and rules,
which almost completely reject the pursuit of personal spiritual
experience in favour of a rule-based ethic of obedience, conformity, and
vicarious salvation. The Black Brothers interfere with human history in
pursuit of their own agenda, precipitating wars, chaos, and social strife,
promoting authoritarianism, materialism, rationalism, industrialism,
urbanism, scientism, and collectivism, and repressing all authentic
spirituality in the pursuit of global domination and the subjection of the
human race. The White School is also involved in human history, much more
so than either the Black or Yellow Schools, which avoid worldly
involvements. Many of the greatest historical spiritual teachers, as well
as many artistic and scientific geniuses, have actually been Secret Chiefs
of the Great White Brotherhood, who have entered into incarnation in order
to help guide humanity towards the realization of the ultimate goal, the
attainment of universal enlightenment. Aleister Crowley himself claimed to
be a Secret Chief of the White School, and not a Black Brother, although
in a moment of pique he described himself as a “black magician.” 

The A...A... is divided into ten grades, plus four
intermediate grades (shown below in square brackets), divided into three
orders, which altogether comprise a complete system of spiritual
attainment, as follows (from highest to lowest): 

The Order of the Silver
Star (The S.S.)

Ipsissimus 10° = 1

Magus 9° = 2

Magister Templi 8° = 3

[The Link—Babe of the
Abyss]

The Order of the
Rose-Cross (The R.C.)

Adeptus Exemptus 7° = 4

Adeptus Major 6° = 5

Adeptus Minor
(“without” and “within”) 5° = 6

[The Link—Dominus
Liminis]

The Order of the Golden
Dawn (The G.D.)

Philosophus 4° = 7

Practicus 3° = 8

Zelator 2° = 9

Neophyte 1° = 10

[The Link—Probationer
0° = 0]

[Student]

The ten main grades correspond to the Cabalistic Tree of Life, a diagram
that represents the correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm,
reality and consciousness.

As
in the A...A..., the O.T.O. is divided into three
sets of three grades, the three main grades being (from lowest to highest)
the Man of Earth, Lover, and Hermit, based on the grades described in the Book of the Law. However, unlike the A...A...,
these grades are ritually conferred in the style of Freemasonry and
correspond to increasing degrees of intelligence not tied to actual
magical or mystical tasks or attainments.

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Continued in Part 2

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