Thelema is a spiritual philosophy (referred to by some as a religion) that was developed by the early 20th century British writer and ceremonial magician, Aleister Crowley. He came to believe himself to be the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a spiritual experience that he and his wife, Rose Edith, had in Egypt in 1904.
By his account, a possibly non-corporeal or “praeterhuman” being that called itself Aiwass contacted him and dictated a text known as The Book of the Law or Liber AL vel Legis, which outlined the principles of Thelema.
The Thelemic pantheon includes a number of deities, focusing primarily on a trinity of deities adapted from ancient Egyptian religion, who are the three speakers of The Book of the Law: Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The religion is founded upon the idea that the 20th century marked the beginning of the Aeon of Horus, in which a new ethical code would be followed; “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. This statement indicates that adherents, who are known as Thelemites, should seek out and follow their own true path in life, known as their True Will rather than their egoic desires.
The philosophy also emphasizes the ritual practice of Magick.
The word “Thelema” itself is the English transliteration of the Koine Greek noun θέλημα: “will”, from the verb θέλω: to will, wish, purpose. In the New Testament as well as the works of Plato, Thelema includes the ideas of will, choice, inclination, desire, including sexual desire, and pleasure. As Crowley developed the religion he wrote widely on the topic, producing what are collectively termed the Holy Books of Thelema. He also included ideas from occultism, Yoga and both Eastern and Western mysticism, especially the Qabalah.
Last updated: March 20, 2015 at 16:59 pm
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