For those who wish to avoid the opprobrium of being, literally, an “arm chair magician” without indulging in the sports of the profane, we offer the pastime of the “Game of Thelema.” The rules of play were originally outlined by Peter Pendragon, the protagonist of Aleister Crowley’s novel Diary of a Drug Fiend, written at the Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu in Sicily.
“Thelema is so called because of the variety of strokes. It is sort of Fives played with an association football, but there are no side walls , only a low wall at the back over which, if the ball goes, it is out of pay, as also if it strikes outside the vertical lines painted on the wall or below a ledge about a foot from the ground. The ball may be struck with any part of the body so along as it is struck clean, and the game is bewilderingly fast to watch…the score was kept somewhat as in tennis, but each piont had a monosyllabi name to economise time. It also had a certain startling implication – with the object of familiarising the mind with ideas which normally excited.”
So next time your in the mood for some physical exertion, break out the “association football,” chalk out the field, lay out a few 2 x 4’s at the back and HAVE AT IT!