Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Law of Thelema and Thelemic values stand diametrically opposed to Capitalism. Therefore, it also stands against all forces and tributaries that nourish and support Capitalism, whose deliberate fabrication, orchestration and execution saw to its inception and see to its continuation, including but not limited to: patriarchy, misogyny, militarism, nationalism, jingoism, colonialism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, industrialization, corporatism and genocide and slavery.
When fully carried out, the Law of Thelema creates an environment – within and without – wherein these forces have no purchase, and ideally are in turn, annihilated. The magician and Thelemite actively seeks to destroy any vessel wherein these are contained. For it is by, within, and through all of these factors and their interplay with one another and the whole, that the suppression and restriction of Light, Life, Love and Liberty is made possible.
Liber Oz states:
- Man has the right to live by his own law—
to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.
- Man has the right to eat what he will:|
to drink what he will:
to dwell where he will:
to move as he will on the face of the earth.
- Man has the right to think what he will:
to speak what he will:
to write what he will:
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will:
o dress as he will.
- Man has the right to love as he will:—
“take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will.” —AL. I. 51
- Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.
Capitalism in its very nature thwarts these rights. When we balance this against the verses of Liber Oz, and against the injunctions in the Class A texts, their commentaries, and the other essays and writings of Aleister Crowley – De Lege Libellum, Duty, Message of the Master Therion, et al., it is clear that this is the case.
Silvia Federici, in her book Caliban and the Witch shows that the subjugation of women by the Church, the state, municipalities and ruling class (men) was the major lever in creating the conditions out of which Capitalism arose from the Feudal system during the early Renaissance period in Europe.
Federici discusses and shows how Descartes’ philosophy, specifically that of Cartesian duality, saw to the mechanization of the human body. The idea of a separation of the mind or consciousness from the body adopted by the proletariat aided in the creation of the “Protestant work ethic” which further fueled a labor force restricted by wage slavery and fear left little room for frivolous, non-productive, and sinful activities such as games, music, dancing, art, etc.
She lays out the threads of a complex tapestry showing how Capitalism arose by way of the wage, privatization of the common resources (grazing fields, woods and water sources) through the building and maintaining of enclosures thus regulating and restricting supply of food and other supplies necessary for survival, raising of taxes, the creation of the “Protestant work ethic” by way of Descartes’ Cartesian duality, the introduction of legislation which relegated women’s bodies to be nothing more than producers of the labor force and the enforcement of the above through the monopolized force of the state, municipalities and the Church.
The interplay, implications and culmination of the components of this three-centuries long process was consummated in the witch trials, whereby an incalculable number of women were “tried”, tortured and executed by the ruling class, the Inquisition, the Church, the state, municipalities and citizenry (men) on charges of “witchcraft” and “infanticide”. Federici states that between the 16th and 17th centuries alone, upwards to at least 200,000 women are documented as having been “tried”, tortured and executed by the ruling class, the Inquisition, the Church, the state, municipalities and citizenry (men) on charges of “witchcraft” and “infanticide”. This is not counting the women that simply died in prison or from starvation, rape, domestic abuse, nor does it include the witch trials (or genocide or slavery) which transpired in the European colonies.
The fear of witches (women) in Europe and the Colonies at that time began as a fear held by the ruling class – the witch (women) possessed power over the body of women and thus the supply of Capitalism’s labor force. Witches were healers, doctors and midwives – and if a woman needed to terminate a pregnancy, Federici states that it was to a witch they would go. The witch was in essence the final bastion of independence of the body – the source of the labor force. Through circulation of state and church sponsored propaganda, the fear of witches (women) was fomented. The superstitious and fear-based ruling class and citizenry of that time consumed the “fake news” and ran with it, torturing and murdering hundreds of thousands of women along the way. It goes without saying that we are still witnessing the continued attempts of ruling class to exert control over the production of labor through control of women’s bodies.
Capitalism, whose primary elements are a) the “Protestant work ethic” – brought about through the mechanization of the body via Cartesian duality – and b) violence towards women, as a means of controlling the production of labor, leaves very little room for magic, whose superstitious trappings, practices and methods are not conducive to the seven day work week of 16th century Europe or productivity in general. It behooves the ruling class then to maintain a labor force which adheres to the tenets of the “Protestant work ethic”, and this was done in large part through the public and extended torture and murder of witches (women) in Europe and the Colonies.
Incidentally, High Magic and alchemy, Federici claims, were not feared or punished in the same way as witchcraft largely for the reasons a) High Magick and alchemy were viewed as sciences whose practice was viewed as having value to the state (consider, for example, the relationship between John Dee and Queen Elizabeth I) and b) the practices of High Magic and alchemy, although frowned upon generally, were not directly challenging or threatening the labor supply.
Capitalism is a perversion of existence. It is presupposed by and dependent upon patriarchy and violence towards women. In this sense, and every sense, it stands in opposition to the Law of Thelema and Thelemic values. It is the restriction of the Will to a false idea, and horrific waste that is productivity and profit. The state harbors and attracts the force of Capitalism, whose very existence is dependent on the perversion and restriction of Will and violence towards women, and is further fed and perpetuated through racism, nationalism, colonialism, slavery and exploitation of every kind.
Love is the law, love under will.
- Thelemic Compassion
- Life In The Stooping Starlight: On Feminisms, Grace And The Holy Whore
- Laborare Est Orare: The Prayer Of Labor
Enjoying the articles? Support the Thelemic Union and help us keep our site running, ad-free, and hacker-free by pledging $1+ on Patreon:
Thelemic Union is open to all articles that are relevant to Thelema in some way. Send your submissions to thelemic[dot]union[at]gmail[dot]com
14 thoughts on “Capitalism, Magick and the Law of Thelema”
Beautiful article. An excellent analysis.
You need to define what you are criticizing. Starting with “capitalism” and all the other -isms and -phobias no one actually agrees on what these terms mean. So you need to spell it out in order make your point anything of substance.
Capitalism: Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Agreed the writer should have briefly defined the term under criticism. As far as these other phobias, “patriarchy, misogyny, militarism, nationalism, jingoism, colonialism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, industrialization, corporatism and genocide and slavery;” a few are specific to capitalism such as nationalism, xenophobia, and corporatism. Most of the isms mentioned however can occur under any “system of power” including Monarchism, Fascism, and Communism.
article is superficial parade of thinking somewhere on the level of 15 years old hippie girl with dreams and unicorns. Shallow masturbation without vision, full of nonsense. Why do you write, with iq 60?
why thelema attracts undereducated, naive people with opinions on the world based on fantasies and emotions and why they need to publish articles? this essay is so dumb it hurts, like incoherent baby cry. I expect next article will be about your proposed new economic system, one ij which everybody sings songs, unicorns fly and woman are set free from those cages? wink wink. Go to Venesuela, they have comunism and they are all equally starving to death. And find a new hobby, this is disgrace of inteligence
I find it funny that you insult someone else’s intelligence in paragraphs composed of barely coherent English. All you’re doing is setting up a straw man. With no inkling of knowledge on the author you have called her “undereducated”, “naive”, “with iq 60” just because of your preconceived and incorrect assumptions on the nature of her political ideology. Grow the fuck up and formulate a real, solid critique of the article and the ideas presented therein, rather than just splurging verbal diarrhea all over the comment section without any original thought or intelligent analysis whatsoever.
You criticized a few legitimately terrible things but overall I think many of those who like to blame everything on “capitalism” are missing a much bigger and more pernicious evil- statism; ie the belief that the state (the government) is a legitimate authority that has the right to use violence against any of those who break its edicts or challenge its claim to power. This belief runs contrary to the message of radical sovereignty put forward in Liber Oz.
Statism has caused more death, oppression, war, famine, genocide and injustice than even the worst aspects of “capitalist greed”. In truth, there is nothing inherently inconsistent with Liber Oz in the concept of voluntary economic exchanges, so long as they don’t harm anyone or violate their natural rights. What we have now is not a truly free market, it’s a cronyism- where the government and corporations are in bed together and the corporations use their influence to lobby the government on their behalf, giving them an unfair advantage over smaller competitors.
There are certainly problems that would arise, even in a truly free market with no government “cronyist” intervention, but compared with the massive issues that socialist and communist societies seem to invariably run into, they would seem to me to be a much lesser evil. While you didn’t explicitly say that you desired a socialist/marxist/communist system to replace capitalism, in my experience, this is usually the solution those who place capitalism as the root of all worldly evils end up presenting when pressed on what an alternative system should be.
Perhaps I’m wrong and you have some other kind of system in mind- it doesn’t necessarily have to be a choice between capitalism and communism- that’s a false dialectict created by the powers that shouldn’t be to keep us firmly under their control- wether through a system of economic and corporate control or a system of state-imposed control of the means of production (which is you by the way).
I personally would not consider myself a capitalist. It’s too much of a dirty word that people have wildly differing internal definitions for.
What I am is a voluntarist- basically an anarchist. I believes that all human interactions should be voluntary. This is the spirit of Liber Oz. It’s a message of “live and let live” with the ever-important caveat that you have the inherent right to protect your freedom, even by use of deadly force if necessary.
This is why statism (the belief that some people are masters and others are essentially slaves who have a moral duty to obey the ruling classes arbitrary edicts or face violence) is incompatible with the teachings of Thelema.
This really is just regurgitated leftist ‘my-first-political-affiliation’ nonsense. Thelema transcends all of these ideas by being entirely disconnected from them. Good try, but this is just a poorly written attempt to politicise Thelema through a markedly juvenile socialist lens which it doesn’t need whatsoever.
Let me guess, taxation is theft, etc.?
I disagree. The order of society is absolutely connected with the Law of Thelema, just as all else in the Universe is. It is in the state of society in which one lives that one finds the freedom (or lack thereof) to pursue the Law and do their Will. And what about the people who may find it their Wills to get involved in politics to push for progressive change or whatever else they will? Saying Thelema transcends all these ideas is just a wolf in sheep’s clothing that reveals you personally have no interest in them and probably not a whole lot of knowledge on their all-encompassing effects on the world and human life, and so choose not to get involved yourself. Crowley even addresses these ideas in Liber Aleph in the two chapters “On the Ordering of Things” and “On the Fundamentals of the State.”
I believe that anything which can have any conceivable effect on the human experience and anyone’s ability to do their Will, especially as profound an effect as the mode of production does, is inherently connected with Thelema, and as Thelemites we should strive for a system in which all are afforded the chance to do their Wills for the greater good of the species and thus the good of themselves, and vice versa. This is absolutely not the case under a capitalist mode of production, in which the vast majority work for the greater good of the CAPITALIST who has bought their time and labor power for the production of commodities that will enrich him and ensure HIS individual liberty at the expense of ours. We cannot hold the idealist belief that the new Aeon will just magically bring about a spiritual revolution and the Law will be established and that will be that. A vast sysytematic change is necessary in which “In the words of the famous paradox of the Comte de Fenix— the absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.” Not the function of the will of Capital.
Everytime I venture to this site, I wind up running away. Articles like this are why.
Maybe you should have the courage to submit something of your own so others can read and criticize it.
How funny, my first thoughts was already written in the comments..
So here are my second thoughts.
Yes Liber OZ does not say – A single man has the right to own the whole earth planet and everything upon it.
It contrasts the french liberalist manifesto, by not even mentioning the right to ownership and property.
And this is a very important thing. For it means it is left to us to work out.
And watching kids – 2-4 years old, tells us what kind of deep seated instinct ownership is. Watch them and you will understand there will never be conditions for a civilisation abandoning property rights in full. You can get those who are inclined to be selfless to abandon them and then they will be the the prey for those who don’t abandon it. I think such a solution would be an immediate failure.
A question could be how do we nullify those hereditary agreements we are born into. Those rights the rulers have achieved over the years. Like the laws on controlled substances. These go far beyond recreational drugs, they aim to get any plant which shows medicinal qualities under their control. Which is very totalitarian.
So Liber Oz is a good start. Just to claim so, and repeat when needed.
While I agree with much of this analysis and learned some interesting new things in reading it, there are a few issues with it. Chiefly, capitalism’s primary functions are not as stated, the “Protestant work ethic” and violence toward women. These are undoubtedly byproducts of the system and its effect upon what Marx would call the Superstructure, but the primary function of capitalism itself is the accumulation of capital in the hands of those who own the means of production, the capitalists (or bourgeoisie if we want to use Marxist terminology).
I also draw issue with the fact that the article seems to try to stress sexism as the biggest issue with the capitalist mode of production, which is simply not true. It is undoubtedly a sickening byproduct and capitalism as it stands absolutely functions as primarily patriarchal in both its structure and conception of the family, but I wouldn’t say that capitalism’s greatest enemy has always been women. Capitalism’s greatest enemy is the proletariat as a whole and the progress of the species toward the next stage of economic and systemic development, socialism and eventually communism if one agrees with Marx’s theories and hypotheses, which after much careful study and contemplation I personally do.
Now, before you reactionaries come jumping on me like mad dogs, please read a little Marx too. And some Lenin. What is all too common are people decrying communism and socialism without a real solid idea of what they even are or even what capitalism and its function really are. They see or hear the words “communism” or “socialism” and that base, reactive side of the brain kicks in which adheres to its social programming and indoctrination to automatically assume that whatever is being said is bad and dangerous. Forget fear for a little while and do a little actual, concrete research into the works of the aforementioned authors. One may be surprised by what they find, and if they still disagree with it, at least they’ll have more fuel for their arguments than the parrot arguments of “Venezuela,” “Stalin,” or “100 trillion dead people,” all of which can either be debunked as arguments or explained more thoroughly than simply “socialism bad.”
Just think for a moment, is a system really coterminous with the Law that results in the oppression and robbery of billions of working people in the form of wage slavery (read about Marx’s Labor Theory of Value), turns them into nothing more than another commodity of production that makes money for the ruling and moneyed interests (Marx’s Wage-Labor and Capital), keeps them alienated by forcing 95% of them to work jobs 8-10 hours a day which they have absolutely no passion or love for just to survive? That stomps on millions of impoverished people in the third world with the iron boots of industry and imperialism, lets millions starve every year and leaves even more without homes all in the name of profit? That continues to destroy our planet day by day, our one and only home, and lobby for widespread disinformation to keep the populous blind to the cataclysmic harm that’s being done so that profits aren’t diminished? That has, in its own defense, historically overthrown several democratically elected socialist or even just left-leaning governments and supplanted them with fascist ones as in Chile, Iraq, Guatemala, etc., or instilled or aided fascist regimes when leftist revolutionary fervor was on the rise as in Italy or Germany in the early 20th century, ultimately resulting in unspeakable atrocities and the death of tens of millions or more? Just think on that.