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An Open Letter to Thelemic Men

An Open Letter to Thelemic Men

by Soror Amiana

It is not just about sexual assault.

Women’s lives are all too often a string of stories of men whom we trusted, who did not respect us.

We are judged first and foremost on our physical appearance and youth, and treated as though the most important thing we have to offer is sex. We are expected to dress to be noticed, walk around in shoes that destroy our feet, cover up every “flaw” with makeup. We’ve had dates who stalked us for saying no, boyfriends who have used guilt to get sex, who have made us feel terrible about our bodies. If we’re discouraged by this, we’re “jaded”.

When we go to school, we learn the history of men—throughout history we have been treated as property. Where we go to work, the top layers of leadership are comprised entirely of men—throughout history we couldn’t even get an important job. We’re even supposed to give up our name for a man.

We found something different in Thelema. “Every man and every woman is a star.” But digging deeper, when we read Crowley and other spiritual texts we encounter disparaging comments about our gender everywhere. These books are written with the assumption that the reader is a man, that occult knowledge shouldn’t be shared with women, that women are incapable of attainment. The prevalence of misogynistic comments in spiritual writing makes it clear that prejudice runs so deep within us that even destroying the ego and reaching the pinnacles of spiritual attainment may not completely eradicate it.

“So then a Woman advanceth never in Magick, but remaineth the same, rightly or wrongly ordered according to the Force that moveth Her. Here therefore is the Limit of Her Aspiration in Magick, to abide joyous and obedient beneath the Man that her Instinct shall divine so that by Habit becoming a Temple well-ordered, comely and consecrated, she may in her next Incarnation attract by her Fitness a Man-soul.” — A.C., Liber Aleph

For all that we understand about the power of thought, and how powerful one stray thought can be, what effect do you think reading these derogatory remarks has on women?

For what it’s worth, I wholeheartedly believe that for every sex magick or tantric practice that only a man can perform, there is an opposite and equally powerful formula that can only be performed by a woman. The basic principles of equilibrium in the universe would seem to require this.

We see no women at the top level of Thelemic leadership, and few in our history. There have been some whose names are known, but only because they are the partner of a prominent man. The Scarlet Women are not celebrated for their own attainment, but for what they did for Crowley. There are many women today who are doing amazing work in the Order, but few of their names are known, and there is most certainly still a glass ceiling. The only exception I can think of is Phyllis Seckler.

I hope that in my lifetime I will see one of our national O.T.O. bodies with a Supreme and Holy Queen—or even a female O.H.O.

I wish the O.T.O. would legitimately recognize female saints. It doesn’t need to have anything at all to do with the Mass, it just needs to exist and it would be a relatively easy thing for the leadership to do to show the community that in Thelema, women are of equal status with men. Even Catholics recognize female saints.

Since I have been active in the Thelemic community I have met many wonderful men who have appreciated me for my mind and not just my body, who do truly see women as equals and want to see us better represented. I am thankful and fortunate to know them. And I am encouraged to see the community at large discussing women’s issues. But it’s not just about sexual assault. There’s a larger issue at hand, and we need to stop hiding behind Crowley quotes and using symbolism to justify sexism.

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16 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Thelemic Men

  1. 93 Soror Amiana,

    Thank you for your article. Some other women who have been critical in the development of Thelema:

    Jane Wolfe
    Martha Küntzel
    Frieda Lady Harris
    Helen Parsons Smith
    Marjorie Cameron

    and within the Order today (at least in Germany) there a quite a few women in leadership roles. Let us hope the number grows.

    93 93/93

  2. Thank you sister. More women need to write! I have written and I’m one of the more public female voices, although none of my books has been specifically Thelemic – yet. Thanks for saying this.

  3. Great read! I fully support my sisters in the Order and wholeheartedly agree with what you have written here.

  4. I’m a Thelemic man and I just wanted to say that this article had an impact on the way that I see gender relations within and outside of Thelema. Thank you!

  5. Yeah, when Crowley says f*cked up things like “women don’t have a soul” it really stands out. Crowley’s ambivalence towards women is quite odd. To me it should be quite plain to any self-respecting Thelemite. “Every man and every woman is a star.” OK, problem solved by the Book itself. But then it seems that Crowley dashed in his personal feelings on women, derived (likely with much of his own personal bias) from the women that he knew in his life, and it creates a sickening co-mixture. Sexism and racism are very unbecoming of an Adept, and to a Master they are downright contradictory. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Wait, no it’s not, it’s not opinion at all. From the standpoint of the Supernals such derision (read: division) is fundamentally absurd and serves as an indelible taint on Crowley’s (and anyone who follows in his footsteps’) legacy. As for the O.T.O. I’ve never been so I can’t speak for them, though mob mentality can manifest and fester anywhere…

    Anyways, thank you for this article Soror Amiana. May some day we all have our eyes open to the single, irreducible truth that Every Man AND Every Woman is a star.

    93 93/93

  6. Well Spoken. Thank you for pointing out a problem so eloquently! I might add that the Eternal Feminine has been experimenting with how far she can allow the Masculine out of the Bell Jar. She has reached the Limit and as of a few years ago (200 or so), she is reeling in the leash. Women rule. If we have been Victimized, we now take Responsibility, not the Blame, and forge ahead. We can only Reboot the System if together, we acknowledge our power and complicity in this Grand Masculine/Conceptuality Experiment and get back to Urth, where we now dwell, in bodies. All Hail the 100th Monkey!

  7. So, you may like the equal but opposite tack. Fun but….in actuality the are no relevent spiritual practices that are for men and women only. Sorry but semen ovum birthing are all lowly flesh-ed fantacies. True relevent spirituality trandcends such notions as gender and sex.

  8. Nema’s introduction to Magick was when she was shown this passage, and her immediate reaction was “Oh yeah? I’ll show you, you English SOB!” Lyrus Landholder (married to Nema for 32 years)

  9. I don’t disagree with the article at all. But I wish that when people brought up these issues, they wouldn’t lump in all of Thelema with it. There are other the limit organizations were women are treated as true equals and are revered just as men are.

    OTO maybe the largest, most visible and noisiest due to the fact that most of its members are enamored with Aleister Crowley, but there are other places where that kind of neglect and absence of mind does not occur.

    There are two types of people, as far as I’m concerned. The type of person who is a builder, and the kind of person that doesn’t want to bother and just wishes to walk into something already made and designed by someone else. Some of us are doing our best to build something for everyone, with the little resources and and elbow grease that are limited membership is able to muster.

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