The Abbey of Thelema is an independent initiatory magical group patterned after the Argenteum Astrum (AA, Order of the Silver Star) and following the magical practices developed by its founder, Aleister Crowley. The leader of the abbey is Gregory von Seewald (b. 1955), who serves as Praemonstrator of the AA and Outer Head of the Order for its inner circle, which is called the Sovereign Penetralia of the Gnosis. He was initiated into the magical work in 1975, and after nine years established the abbey. Von Seewald established links in 1991 to an AA group through a lineage that ran from Crowley to Karl Germer to M. Motta to R. Eales to himself. He states, “This link has been mutually acknowledged, and is not the result of regular nomenclature, but constitutes the cooperation of my branch with another.”
The Abbey of Thelema is also a subdivision of the Order of Thelema, and works closely and in cooperation with the Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit and in association with the Holy Gnostic Catholic Church. It has also established the Headland Press as conceived by Crowley in 1919 (though never carried out by him), in order to publish Thelemic and related works.
The once secret practices of the magical order Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) revolved around sex magic, which was taught in stages as the students attained the eighth and ninth degrees of the eleven-degree system. However, in the system taught by the Abbey, a student who has reached the Zelator grade is invited to participate in these practices, which constitute the essence of the next ring within the Abbey, known as the Sovereign Penetralia of the Gnosis. Zelators are also invited to join the Order of Thelemites.
Because the Abbey is a secret order, much of its teachings and practices are not revealed to nonmembers. The Abbey has about a hundred members, scattered throughout the United States, Canada, Greece, England, and Australia.
- Crowley, Aleister
- Magic and Magical Groups
- Melton, J. Gordon. c. 5th ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1996.
Satanism Today: An Encyclopedia of Religion, Folklore and Popular Culture – Written by James R.Lewis – Copyright 2001 by James R. Lewis