In contemplating the last post, Suspending Disbelief in Thelema, I went back to Liber AL, looking for comments about an idea I had, or thought that I had—now it seems like an idea I recalled—that God is an Atheist.
And sure enough, we read in Liber AL II (Hadit), 23:
"I am alone: there is no God where I am."
Crowley's main point in commenting on this:
"The Atheism of God."
And what this means, he says, is "the God-idea must go with other relics of the Fear born of Ignorance into the limbo of savagery."
In other words, the looking up to the great power someplace other than where you exist is pointless—precisely that in fact, because the verse is an expression of the divine point, the divine star-core inside you and every point of view, which is the essence of Hadit. And Hadit, via his perfect and "impenetrable aloofness", has "no room for any other conception."
And this suggests that what Thelema is really about is a kind of pure atheism—which squeezes out an external divinity to the point it does not exist (thus the great external GOD does not exist), save that the squeezings have anointed every point in the Cosmos.
It is "pure atheism" because the self—Hadit—excludes all other possibilities in its point of view—it cannot believe in any external divinity—but Thelema is still a Religion because in its shared quality of NUITness, being in the BODY of NUIT, expressing a tiny bit of her nature, it is a worshipful component—raising its apparently unique and individual voice, only vaguely aware sometimes that it does this in a great cosmic chorus of worship of the quality of SELF divinity.
This seems paradoxical, but the point is this—
God, or the general power or WAY, moving, is indistinguishable in any way from itself. Nothing is accomplished if God moves within Himself, or Nuit contemplates her vast emptiness of completion. When components are however distinguished, as Hadit, each star-core is enabled to do the Work of its positional and relational domain (the Hermit gangs), and something then is possible to accomplish, something relatively distinguished from the whole, while necessarily the same in respect to each point of view being the mode of divine self-expression of the Cosmos.
Thus, Hadit is the IDEA of SELF divinity, but this is a collective notion, of trillions upon trillions of points of view or star-cores. It is the active, loving, parallel and negation to the great, unified divine force that is NOTHING, because it is not distinguishably anything except utterly unto itself—save that it sacrifices or experiences the annihilation of its own divinity to power up the infinite expressions of Hadit.
I decided to seek some antecedents to this idea, and found a remarkably similar expression regarding the allegedly true Christian dogma of divinity in the writing of Paul Carus, who notes in a book, Whence and Whither, published only a year prior to Liber AL, that true Christian divinity had been changed by Christ to a form of divine atheism:
"That God reigns no longer above us, looks like outspoken atheism, but it is the atheism of Christ who said, 'I and the Father are one.' It is an expression of that moral endeavor which renders man divine, and gives rise to the ideal of the God-man."
Another writer, Ian E. Black, in restating Carus's idea (in 1941), noted it really meant "the dominating conception of an externally real God, is dead." Black also describes the reality that is left as the "divine atheism of Christ."
Carus noted in his book that the "same spirit" was expressed in poem by Friedrich Schiller, Words of Faith, part of which I provide here and which I think could be well taken to express the fundamental view of the Divine in Thelema:
For LIBERTY man is created; he's free,
Though fetters around him be clinking.
Let the cry of the mob never terrify thee,
Nor the scorn of the dullard unthinking!
Beware of the slave when he breaks from his chain.
But fear not the free who their freedom maintain.
And VIRTUE is more than an empty sound,
In life you render it real.
Man often may stumble before it is found,
Still can he obtain this ideal.
And that which the learn'd in their learning ne'er knew,
Can be done by the mind that is childlike and true.
And a GOD, too, there is, a purpose sublime,
Though frail may be human endeavor.
High over the regions of space and of time
One idea supreme rules forever.
While all things shifting are tempest pressed,
Yet the spirit pervading the change is at rest.
Earlier, Carus had quoted from Schiller's Ideals and Life lines which he said express the same "ethics both of modesty and of moral endeavor", in that the "ideal ceases to appear as an implacable condemnation of our shortcomings as soon as it dominates our entire being, or as he translates Schiller to say: "If the Godhead animates thy willing, It no longer sits upon its throne, Servile minds alone will feel its sway".
Crowley, in his commentary to Liber AL II, 23, says precisely this same thing, albeit in more Thelemic language, in talking of escaping the repressive and defunct image of God: "I speak of the Idea of God as generally understood, God being 'something 'not ourselves' that makes for righteousness,' as Matthew Arnold victorianatically phrased his definition. The whiskered wowser! Why this ingrained conviction that self is unrighteous? It is the heritage of the whip, the brand of the born slave."
Later, in a section entitled "Man as an Incarnation of the Logos", Carus writes: "The highest and most important forms that constitute man's spirituality have been begotten by rational speech, which in the Fourth Gospel is called the Logos,—a term which for good reasons has acquired a religious meaning, as denoting the mould in which man's soul has been cast." Finally, "the ideal man is an incarnation of the Logos."
Kenneth Grant: "A man must think of himself as a Logos, as going, not as a fixed idea. 'Do what thou wilt' is thus neccessarily his formula. He only becomes himself when he attains the loss of Egoity, of the sense of separateness. He becomes All, Pan, when he becomes Zero."
Crowley of course identified himself as the Logos of the current Aeon.
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