Thelemic Thinking: “I’m Awesome!” vs. “I’m trash, but I could do better…”

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Talking on Facebook with Thelemites from across the pond, as one does (if one wants to maintain some semblance of sanity these days in the States), I managed to somehow irritate someone. You’re shocked, I’m sure.

I suggested that the things we do, whether we are initiated, baptized, confirmed, ordained, or whatever we happen to be are actually us “doing our Will,” because “Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law.”

The arguments against such thinking run along the lines of spiritual laziness, the acceptance of who we are as if we ought not to be doing better, and that such approaches would result in people not bothering to do the Work because they “don’t need to, if everything I do is my Will.”

I think that understanding seriously over-simplifies the shift in perspective I was suggesting in my original post.

The standard post-Osirian current approach to spirituality is “I’m bad, I’m bad, I’m bad, and I should be better. Only by [insert preferred eschatology here] can I hope to achieve the spiritual attainment my belief system promises, if I do the Work.” Whether it’s the original sin, or repressed sexuality, or that matter is intrinsically evil and materialism is the root of all evil, capitalism, progressive politics, or the indoctrination of our psychologically maimed parents and the society we grew up in, the fundamentalist approach is “I’m broken, and I need to be better.”

But to me, what differentiates Thelema from the “You’re broken, and we can help” approach of the Osirian aeon is that it isn’t that we’re broken, and need to be fixed with these proscribed practices and participations in our Holy Rites. Instead, we are told that every man and every woman is a star. And that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” We are told from the very beginning in the E.G.C., the O.T.O., and the A.’.A.’. that we are already free men and women. Every advancement in any of the Orders continues to reinforce this fact, because it is the core fact that defines Thelemites:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Not part of the Law, the whole of it, for the rest of the Aeon. At least as long as we live. We are free, to do what we Will.

To me, it is rational and logical to say that if the WHOLE of the Law is “Do what thou wilt,” then everything we do is Lawful. In keeping with the Law of the Aeon. We might be juveniles, inexperienced in creating reality as we see fit, sure, but that doesn’t mean that we ever stop creating reality. Children with the powers of gods, we may in truth be. Crowned and conquering children, as it were. Youthful. Inexperienced.

But potent. Puissant.

Perfect little creators of our lives and our experiences, day after day.

In my spiritual paths, I’ve found a basic series of progression:

  • 1) A NOOB is presented with the core of the philosophy/religion that expresses the ideal end-goal of the belief system.
  • 2) The NOOB is put in a place where they can compare themselves to the IDEAL, noting likenesses and differences.
  • 3) The NOOB is given practices, exercises, exorcisms, invocations, and a process to become “more holy” so they can better approach the Ideal.

So Step 2) is where you’re either considered (or consider yourself) “TRASH” in most of the Osirian approaches to spirituality. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea magna culpa.” In Thelema, I think it’s easy to slip into this pattern.

“I’m broken, and if I read the stuff and do the exercises, and work out spiritually every day with X pentagram and Y hexagram rites, and I get my degrees, and complete the Work of the Grades, I may attain to being almost able to DO MY WILL in this lifetime or the next, if I only remember to keep a daily diary.” After a couple lifetimes of failing to get in the “right” A.’.A.’. group, you might get enough of a whiff of your HGA to get original manuscript scans of Liber E and Liber O. If you work hard enough. And fix yourself enough.

But, in my opinion, that’s not what it says in the Book of the Law. It says you “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

Most people see it as “I HAVE PERMISSION to DO my WILL.” Then they tack on ” that is, if I go through all this stuff and get clean enough, then I can do my will, but if I don’t do a LOT OF WORK, it doesn’t count.”

I think it’s not that at all. I think it’s a … warning. A wake up call. A “this stuff is all you” notification published loud and large so people get it. You, the things you do, that’s your Will. You can do what you Will, but “until” then, you’re STILL DOING YOUR WILL.

So this interpretation, that even without ever hearing about the Law, Crowley, the E.G.C., the O.T.O. or whatever else, everyone on the planet is DOING their WILL whether they know it or not.

And that shifts the point of 2) above quite a bit.

It’s not “You’re broken, we can help” that comes out of comparing yourself to the Ideal.

Instead, it’s “You are AWESOME. Everything you choose, moment by moment creates your experienced reality. You are powerful, you can change the world you experience, you have infinite potential at your fingertips, I mean, just look at what you’ve created so far…

“And here’s some exercises to help you get even better at it.”

:hands them original manuscripts of Liber E and Liber O.:

I guess what I’m saying is that recognizing the power and authority that comes from being a Star is a starting point here in Thelema, or at least, the way I see it. We get to say what we want to happen, and it happens. ABRAHADABRA.

We don’t start with “How broken am I, and how do I fix it?” We start with, “How amazing am I, friggin’ no part of me that is not of the Gods!” and then, like going to the gym and enjoying it instead of going so you don’t feel guilty, you just start doing more to get better at it. Because it feels good.

Pure Joy.

It’s not for everyone, this idea that we are actually already awesome. A lot of people need to believe they are trash, and that they are overcoming that basic trashiness by the strength of their backs. And the sweat of their brows. It helps them to feel good about themselves. And that’s ok. They have score cards to compare themselves to their own goals, or whatever as a result. Science!

But …

I think that assuming we are the Stars we are declared to be in the Book of the Law results in us just shining all the brighter, all the faster. Without any of that old aeon guilt.

By accepting that the things we do daily create our lives, we will naturally begin to seek the means and methods natural to do better. It will feel good, when we do better. It’s a systemic benefit built into the Aeon, the same way endorphins released during a workout get you to work out more.

In the end, it all looks the same, whichever approach you take. If you think you’re trash, but you CAN OVERCOME THAT, then you do the stuff we do in Thelema. If you think you’re AWESOME and want to GET BETTER, then you do the stuff we do in Thelema.

I’m just suggesting that it’s ok to start with a positive self-image.

Cause we rock.


Rufus Opus


  1. Bro. Joshua Gadbois gave us another of his trademark streams of consciousness, saying he addresses further points on his quests for Thelemic Uniformity.

    It’s hard for me to find a way to address it because by now I realise we simply don’t speak the same language. Starting with “True Will”, which is such a loaded term as it implies a sort of “willed action”, while AL speaks of “Pure Will” because it’s not about some conscious decision making process.

    The bottom of the issue is that you aren’t doing “it” because of your “True Will”.

    It’s not true vs false.

    It’s about living in a moment of clarity as one with the Universe: which is incidentally why Crowley starts the whole discussion on his system of attainment (Magick) by going back to Yoga, and to Dharana first and Samadhi later specifically.

    There is no “Osirian baggage” to deal with: you practice and practice not to “get better” but to enable that moment to happen.

    Fellow musicians among us will recognise it as the moment when you are on stage, after months of preparation, and suddenly everything flows exactly as it should, and you can FEEL IT even before REALISING IT with your conscious, rational mind: that’s when the inner pure essence of the music flows freely.

    But to get there, you can’t just stumble on stage and tell the world you are the new Joe Satriani: you gotta to fucking play till your hands bleed first, and not because you are “trash”, but because you are aiming at something that’s literally beyond human, while being humanity birthright.

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