The Law Of Thelema

The Law Of Thelema Cover 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.

A larger number of revivals of the O.T.O., A. ..A. .., and other self-professed Thelemic groups, without any clear historical link to Crowley, with various, sometimes divergent points of view, have also come into existence since a revival of interest in Crowley's work associated with the counterculture revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Today the Law of Thelema has attracted several thousand adherents worldwide, as well as a larger following of curiosity seekers, including several prominent rock stars. The Law of Thelema has a strong presence on the Internet, and many of Crowley's writings are available online. Crowley first editions are in demand, and fetch high prices in the rare book market.

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