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Theosophical Thelema

Discussion in 'Occultism DIR' started by February-Saturday, Jul 8, 2020.

  1. February-Saturday

    February-Saturday Devil Worshiper

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    Crowley wrote favorably of Helena Blavatsky, but was rather put-out at the average theosophist's lack of practice and experience. Could you theoretically be a theosophist and practice Thelema, essentially bridging the two largest movements in modern occultism?

    Do you think there would be a point in doing this?

    What issues do you think might arise?

    If you get to this post in like 20 years and the site is still up, feel free to reply to this thread still. I won't mind.
     
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  2. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretical, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    Very interesting subject and I have contemplated this myself before as well.

    I will get back to you on this shortly, but what instantly comes to mind is the work of Paul Joseph Rovelli (who runs the Gnostic Church of LVX), who has written on this subject in some interesting ways (though he still hasn't gone far enough IMHO).

    A lot of Thelema is like a continuation of Theosophy (and remember that Crowley tried to champion Thelema with the Theosophical society at one point but it was around a later post-Blavatsky period where people had other ideas). Theosophy though is definitely one of the streams or currents that Thelema flows from.

    Both have some of the essential metaphysical views of reality (with Ain Soph at the top, as the Will and Nuit etc). Crowley did criticize Blavatsky in some regard though as well, for what seems to be more armchair reasons (seeing that Theosophy is more philosophy and Thelema is ceremonial magic, though neither exclusively).
     
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  3. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretical, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    One of the very obvious things is that they both draw on a lot of the same esoteric traditions; whether it be western occultism (usually Christian and Jewish, though Crowley drew on Islam a bit whereas Blavatsky only vaguely mentioned it in passing), Rosicrucianism, Hermeticism, Freemasonry, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism.

    One instant difference is that Blavatsky has a far more elaborate cosmology/metaphysical ontology than Crowley. Crowley's consists on the intersection between the symbols known as Nuit, Hadit and Ra-hoor-khuit, being 0=2, being Love under Will (Will being transcendent nothingness incarnate through duality).
    Blavatsky does relate to some of those ideas, though a read of the Secret Doctrine will quickly show both systems in their cosmology to be quite different.
     
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  4. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretical, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    Another is Blavatsky tended to be more favorable towards Buddhism than Crowley ended up.
    Crowley liked aspects of Buddhism, especially in it's practice but felt it fell under the same repressive poisons as Christianity, within it's philosophy and worldview.
    Blavatsky also tended to emphasize Hinduism in a more direct way than Crowley, even though Crowley did make quite a lot of references to it (and had the Upanishads and Yoga as fundamental aspects of the A.A. order).

    The influence of Rosicrucianism on both Thelema and Theosophy also can't be understated (it also influenced Gurdjieff a lot, and everyone's favorite Rudolf Steiner). Secret Chiefs, Mahatmas and all. At the same time Crowley also wrote several very amusing satires on Rosicrucianism, as a form of critique of things he found more ridiculous about it.
     
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  5. February-Saturday

    February-Saturday Devil Worshiper

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    Does this technically make Thelema and Theosophy parallel ideologies, like Pantheism and Humanism?

    I will admit that I am fairly under read when it comes to Theosophy, but from what I can gather about The Secret Doctrine it seems to me like its concepts of spiritually-guided evolution are at least superficially similar to Will.

    I think you're right about cosmology. Crowley himself seems to be rather coy about his metaphysical ontology, if not outright dismissive of the discipline, which seems to the bulk of what Theosophy focuses on. I feel like some of the self-identifying Thelemites I've spoken to have been influenced by Theosophical ideas without realizing it. I'll admit that I may have been one of said Thelemites.

    I'm not sure, however, whether there are any outright contradictory teachings between the two. Due to their radically different focuses, I do sort of doubt that such contradictions exist outside of maybe an exoteric understanding of correspondences.

    A somewhat related question is, can Theosophic cosmology run in tandem with Thelemic practice? In that sense, we would be playing to the strengths of both disciplines and allowing ourselves a bit more wiggle room with some of the potential conflicts. Would such a practice damage your integrity as either a Theosophist or a Thelemite?

    I find it hard to believe that organizations of either sentiment would be too opposed to the mixing, as they tend to be rather open-minded and, again, I find plenty of Thelemites flirting with Theosophy as it is. I think any real answer to this new question would be a rather subjective one, but I am interested in opinion.
     
  6. VoidoftheSun

    VoidoftheSun Necessary Heretical, Fundamentally Orthodox

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    Well things can definitely get blurry in places.

    For Blavatsky we have more of a closer connection to the traditional Dharmic cyclical view of time, where things go back and forth between ages of a certain manner - yet we have the three Thelemic aeons which have a more progressive view of humanity transmutating through quite distinct and intensely contrasting phases of consciousness. (Ma'at presumably after Horus).

    We've also got the quasi-supernatural (but definitely metaphysical) concepts of Mahatmas (comparable to Bodhisattvas intentionally), and Crowley with Secret Chiefs and later the HGA (Holy Guardian Angel).
    Remembering also that in chapter 30 of Magick without Tears Crowley writes in the postscript:
    "My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know; and that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings."

    These things do have seblence but not identical.

    What you say about the Will is very interesting because in Thelema as explicated by Crowley himself (maybe not necessarily the run-of-the-mill person that calls themselves a "Thelemite" though) and most eloquently in the Book of Lies - that The Will, the divine Will, the Thelema, is the course and drive of all things, the microcosm and the macrocosm. We are ourselves literally incarnations of that Will. Our purpose in life is to connect our consciousness to that Will through spiritual practices to attain alignment with the center of our being.
    Theosophy doesn't have anything quite as direct but still bases it's views upon quite Qabbalistic framework like Crowley, both of which going through Kether down to Malkhut (regarding the emanationist side of metaphysics).


    As far as both be fused together? yes definitely I think so. On some level, Kenneth Grant already started doing that with his Typhonian tradition (though that also heavily focused on other aspects but payed very due homage to Blavatsky's importance).
    As you already say, many people would already be fusing Theosophical ideas with Thelema already, and in my experience in various occult communities, I've already come across people that are devoted to both in one form or another.


    I've still yet to really explicate exactly what I want to say on the matter (which can be quite vast), which I will do as soon as I bump into that headspace, though I've written many notes on this stuff over the years that I should revisit.
     
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