Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
The Thelemic Way of Life
As someone who did not grow up with a religious structure and has quite a negative reaction to such a thing, I often muse over the fact that I could be considered part of an organized religion. There is a well known saying around our Temple, “There is religion in Thelema for those that require it. There is also freedom from religion in Thelema, for those that require it.” Whether or not one considers Thelema to be a religion or philosophy, at this point doesn’t matter much to me.
To me, Thelema is a way of life. I don’t seem to get carried away with what rituals to do when or how many Qabalistic correspondences I’ve memorized; although I love knowledge and facts as most Thelemites are prone to. While larger rituals are important I believe it is the smaller rituals we partake in everyday, such as how we care for ourselves, that are of significance to me.
Magick of Daily Life
We all get our experiential taste of Thelema and our True Wills in various ways, as it should be. For some it may be performing a ritual and for others it may be being out in nature. I feel that Magick and Opportunity are present in every moment. Our Wills can be found in any given moment, as it is something we can align ourselves with…it is not stagnant. It is present among us, not something fixed in our future. The Will is not a concrete idea or goal that one can simply “have,” but rather a fluid concept that we strive to be in line with. To me this means that my daily actions, thoughts, beliefs, and intentions are the Magick.
Every moment and every choice I make could potentially shape what I understand as my future and my True Will. A piece of wisdom I’ll never forget is when I heard a Bishop say that it is essential to always be asking yourself, “to what end?” Thelema nor your Will will take a break. It is constant work to be ever striving towards your Will. Regardless of what you are choosing to do, make it an active choice and take responsibility for your actions. These are the first steps of navigating Magick, Thelema, and your Will. As I have stated in a previous essay, I believe that Thelema does not need to be restricted to ceremonial ritualists. On my Thelemic path, I found that memorizing rituals are not usually of use to me unless of course I find pure intention and purpose in them which make them meaningful to me.
Many Practices for Many Paths
The beauty of Thelema is that we understand we will all find our True Wills in various ways. Meaning that some will find great importance in ceremonial rituals, daily rituals, meditation, Gnostic Mass, a combination of those, or something completely different. For myself, likely emphasized because of my psychological training, I find that meditation and time for introspection is essential. Being present and aware of my moment to moment actions and intuition has gotten me farther in my Magical process than any of the rituals I have performed. Although, another crucial element for me have been the M∴M∴M∴ rituals I have progressed through in O.T.O.. The lessons and studies I have gained through this journey have been invaluable to me thus far. I of course can’t elaborate too much on that … but I thought it was worth mentioning 🙂
As I stated at the beginning, Thelema to me is a way of life. It is a philosophy. It is a philosophy that emphasizes Light, Life, Love, and Liberty. It encourages the expression of the True Self in the face of a corrupt world. It enlivens the mind and body to realize its connection with the All or the None. It demands that we oppose prejudice and oppression.
I understand Thelema, and the O.T.O. in particular, to be composed of soldiers fighting for the cause of freedom. It’s our duty to uphold “Every man and every woman is a star.”
This is not to say that we each must be activists. I believe that in our own daily lives there are what seem like minuscule ways to enable and encourage those around us to do their Will. If there is one thing I have learned in my training as a psychologist, it is that acknowledgement of another person as a unique and worthy human being is incredibly powerful. To me, this is the way I enjoy working my Magick.
Love is the law, love under will