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Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, and Consent in Thelema

Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, and Consent in Thelema

by Fr. Enatheleme

Aleister Crowley did and said many things relating to his personal life and interests that are not Thelemic. His misogyny is a good example of this: in his diaries and personal reflections you can find pages and pages of hostility towards women, but the Thelemic literature is consistently clear about women being equal to men in all ways beyond physical differences.

Likewise in his Thelemic writings, Crowley was adamant about consent being paramount in sexual relations, and that consent should include a full understanding of the consequences of any sexual encounter. That precludes children and adolescents. Aleister Crowley was one of the strongest advocates for children’s rights of his time. He was against all forms of child abuse, and has said that if he were in political power, he’d have parents who bully their children arrested.

“… acts invasive of another individual’s equal rights are implicitly self-aggressions. … Such acts as rape, and the assault or seduction of infants, may therefore be justly regarded as offences against the Law of Liberty, and repressed in the interests of that Law.” — Commentary on Liber AL

“The Beast 666 ordains by His authority that every man, and every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual, shall be absolutely free to interpret and communicate Self by means of any sexual practices soever, whether direct or indirect, rational or symbolic, physiologically, legally, ethically, or religiously approved or no, provided only that all parties to any act are fully aware of all implications and responsibilities thereof, and heartily agree thereto.” — Ibid.

Whatever Crowley might have done in his private life, or whatever he might have said about his sexual interests, it is not always relevant to Thelema. Remember that Crowley was The Beast and he wrote extensively of his own failures; he was far from being a paragon of humanity and he seems to have manifested all the worst aspects of this Aeon along with the best. He was not someone to emulate. Indeed his deep flaws serve as a reminder to us not to idolize him. His writings on Thelema are of course invaluable, but his footsteps are not for us to follow.

“Let this then be of great comfort to you all, that if I be so imperfect–and for very shame I have not emphasized that imperfection–if I, the chosen one, still fail, then how easy for yourselves to surpass me! Or, should you only equal me, then even so how great attainment should be yours!

“Be of good cheer, therefore, since both my failure and my success are arguments of courage for yourselves.” — De Lege Libellum

Moreover, even if Crowley indicated somewhere that children should be involved in sex, and if he implied that this was a good idea for Thelemic reasons (I don’t know of anywhere he has done this, but should something turn up), we are free to disagree with him — and in that case we must vigorously disagree, for there is ample scientific evidence to show that this would be a violation of the child’s will.

In OTO, in most states our clergy are mandatory reporters, and thus we are required by law to report any child abuse. This is discussed at length in the Psychology Guild’s Pastoral Counseling Workshop (PCW). There is also a class on sexual harassment in PCW, and another class like it in Kaaba Colloquium, both of which deal extensively with the subject of consent. Speech in the Silence podcast episode 60 also features a segment on sexual harassment and consent in OTO.

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3 thoughts on “Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse, and Consent in Thelema

  1. That was a great article and really cheered me up, recently I had turned away from thelema for awhile to do some soul searching,and just started coming back around and finding this article was no coincidence ,thank you.

  2. I know that the author means well, but I have a problem with articles like this one. It is really easy to say that molesting children is bad and you should not do it. What is far more challenging is to recognize the dangers that sexual abuse poses to children, while also recognizing that people that are attracted to minors do not choose to be that way and that there is evidence that such attraction is “hardwired” into a person. Childhood sexual abuse can have dramatic adverse effects on a person and if we want to have a hand in preventing it then we need to give support to adults that are at risk of offending. If an honest and sincere person was struggling with their sexual desires in this regard then how would Thelema help them? If we are going to confront the challenges that the Thelemic concept of Will, and the implications that it has for sexuality, present then we need to ask some questions that are going to make us uncomfortable.

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