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Aleister Crowley on the Origin of Religion in Genius

leister Crowley on the Origin of Religion in Genius

by Sibling Aleph Yod

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

What follows is a brief attempt to summarize Crowley’s theory of the origin of religions and situate his understanding of spiritual experience.

All religions, philosophies, and systems of thought have attempted to offer their followers some form of reward, such as immortality. However, with increasing doubt and skepticism, people have begun to demand proof before they believe in any system. In order to find something that all religions have in common, one must look beyond the dogma to the origin of religions. It can be argued that what is common between religions is the influence of genius, or “super-men,” like Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed. This is a true miracle that happens regularly in human history.

Across history, great religious teachers and figures have all shared one commonality – they all disappeared for a period of time before returning and beginning to preach a new law. This has been repeated by figures like Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, and Paul, as well as many other ‘great medicine men’ in legends of primitive societies. It seems to be an inexplicable phenomenon that suggests something happened to them during their disappearance that changed them.

The five great teachers–Moses, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, and St. Paul–all returned from their time away with some kind of power. History does not help us to understand what happened during their absence. The accounts given by the men themselves vary–some speaking of being visited by Angels or seeing God, others going into more detail about mastering the secret force of the world. Despite the differences, all agree that they experienced something supernatural or spiritual.

Theories have been proposed to explain the religious experiences of great leaders, such as Mohammed and Jesus. Some believe that God sent Gabriel with messages for Mohammed, while others suggest epilepsy or madness. Modern thought has rejected these miracles, which have been used to prop up religions, in favor of more scientific explanations. Buddha is the only leader who explained his system thoroughly and avoided being too dogmatic. St. Paul took a different approach and seemed to think it was best not to explain too clearly.

People recommend “virtue”, solitude, moderation in diet and prayer or meditation to control the mind. These two things (prayer and meditation) are found to be the same – restraining the mind to a single act, state, or thought. This calm and self-control is preferred to restlessness, and is seen in more highly developed animals. It is by freeing the mind from external influences that it obtains power to see the truth of things.

The world progresses through the appearance of great thinkers, Geniuses or “Christs.” Those who attain super-consciousness of the highest order do so by using known methods such as retirement and concentration. Mystics often make mistakes in their writings because they are trying to communicate truths which are beyond reason. The method of equilibrium is a way to balance the passions, reason, and senses in order to reach higher trance states. The result of this equilibrium is also a just and wise life and work that reflects the supreme guiding force of the mystic.

Genius is produced through a process that includes the stilling of the body and emotions, controlling and suppressing thought in general, and focusing on a single thought. This process involves three parts: Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, grouped together under the term Samyama.

Yoga and Ceremonial Magic are both arts of uniting the mind with a single idea, using various methods of Knowledge, Will, Love, Courage, Speech and Work. If the student fails to control their practice, they may suffer from insanity, obsession, fanaticism, paralysis or death (addiction to gossip and incurable idleness). The Student must understand these risks and practice the arts with caution, uniting them by the supreme method of Silence.

Love is the law, love under will.

Love is the law, love under will.

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