Dear Sef, it’s a pleasure to debate with you. I’m off to Wales for an extended Easter in cyberpurdah, so I’ll reply now rather than later. [This was received before Easter; we waited to publish it in order to allow the first essay in this series to be viewed and considered. NW]
My piece on Augoides arose from a series of experimental belief exercises in my youth when I attempted to reconcile my interpretations of Crowley and Austin Spare. In those days I had become excited by the idea of a singular personal quest. However with the passage of time I concluded that I had adopted the magician identity for its own sake as a sort of underlying theme to all the very many different things I fancied doing in this life. I could see the attraction of the ‘true will’ belief system even though it didn’t seem to bring magnificent results for some of its adherents, but I wanted more than just one will. I wanted the freedom to play at entrepreneurship, capitalism, familymanship, sculpture, travel, sorcery, writing, philosophy, politics, speculative physics, and occult theory. ‘The Raising of the Whole Man to the Power of Infinity’ (or at least a step or two upwards) if you like.
I took that from Crowley, and I also took his remark that “It is pure chance that rules the universe; therefore and only therefore, life is good” (Book of Lies). From that I concluded that I had choice rather than some sort of mysteriously concealed ‘will’ awaiting discovery, although I also had the choice of believing in that if I wanted to, however because I had the choice, the facility of choice itself seemed the more fundamental.
Anyway, to your question of magical orders, I have no problem with either louche debauchery or businesslike organisation; I enjoy both in appropriate situations.
Well you can do all sorts of things within the broad remit of a ‘Magical Order’.
At the simplest level it can consist of a bunch of likeminded people and friends who like to meet up to exchange ideas and encouragement and to try out some rituals and spells. If that proves popular and it begins to expand, some sort of formal organisation and some set of conventions about activities usually become necessary. Such orders tend to exhibit high productivity and innovation, but also often rather short life-spans.
Then of course you can have Magical Orders set up to promote a specific cultish philosophy or set of beliefs. These beliefs will have to contain highly contra-intuitive elements, as with any religion; they will need to entice followers into a double bind of emotional commitment to unattainable or self-contradictory goals.
You can also set up a Magical Order to make money. However you cannot really charge people to teach them magic because all the techniques lay open to inspection in the public domain these days and the real challenge lies for individuals to make them work for themselves, you can only really offer encouragement, or pretend to have secrets that you don’t. Thus moneymaking Orders have to rely on the cultish practices outlined above.
A Magical Order may also arise because a number of magicians come together for a specific purpose such as the defence of the realm, or in the case of the KoC, for the defence of the planet.
My personal preference lies for options one and four; I have little taste for cultish practices and priestcraft.
How you present a magical Order depends on your target audience, and perhaps as much on considerations about your non-target audience. Discretion has its virtues.
So now to my second question to you Sef:
I had a ferociously committed Thelemic friend once, but he drank himself into a very early grave, all the while proclaiming Do What Thou Wilt.
How do YOU decide whether someone is doing their true will or not?
Yours in Chaos, Pete.
NB All pictures and captions in blogposts are added by The Blog of Baphomet, not the authors. NW
I’m very much enjoying the unfolding of this discussion – thank you Pete and Sef for taking the time to have it. I’m particular interested to hear Sef’s response to Pete’s question above about True Will.
Some years ago now I enquired into joining an O.T.O group. I came back from work one day and found a hand-delivered letter on my doormat. It had a beautifully hand-written address on it, and was sealed in wax. Beneath that grand facade, however, was a badly photo-copied and almost illegible A4 sheet.
Such a superficial deflation may have been a test of my resolve and intention, but it left me questioning the substance within. As a student of culture and literature, I wonder whether the True Will of one age is truly the same in another, or whether it becomes badly photocopied and increasingly irrelevant with time – ultimately in need or re-dressing and reinterpretation to reinvigorate it. True Will being thus a proximity.
Thanks again, I look forward to the continuation…
That is an incredibly important anecdote, and I know that this blog (and these current posts in particular) are read by people who have a hand in training and guiding Body Masters. You’re absolutely right that the Preliminary Pledge Form and Application for Admission (known as the Minerval Form) is the first step on the magical path to joining Ordo Templi Orientis, and should be treated with care and presented properly.
I am almost certain that this was no test of your aesthetic sensibilities and the ability to overcome them, but an inability to request original forms, or access a printer to produce more from source. There is a lot of pressure on the Body Master of an OTO group, but care towards those seeking to join the Order should be paramount. I hope you have gone on to do your Will, and that my next response proves informative, or at least entertaining!
I’d just like to clarify that we do have internet in Wales, but Pete prefers surfing our amazing beaches.
7th paragraph,2nd sentence, (these beliefs) I’ve tried and failed to understand what’s being said here but I’d like to, could you flesh it out a bit Pete?
As for all techniques being in the public domain, I’m so happy to hear that as I’ve been looking for and not finding stuff on how to manage Tropane Spirits, I have my own experience but it’s useful to have other peoples take on things, perhaps you could advise me on this.
I’d be most grateful for your elucidation on these matters and I do hope that surf was up and that you passed a pleasent moment in Cyberpurdah, by the way is that near Aberaeron?
Well Kenneth, religions invite emotional investment in ideas like eternal life and gross miracles which contradict sense and reason with belief. They also set unattainable goals like avoiding sin, guilt, AND pride and self-righteousness. Or a having a heaven with unspecified entry conditions that you probably would not want to go to anyway if you thought about it in detail.
As for tropane spirits, if that’s what I think you mean then if you meet one then try calling it again afterwards without chemognosis and use the usual procedures to assure yourself it wasn’t just a delusion.
I have a cabin at Llangennith, the surf there remains highly variable, sometimes 6 feet, often nothing much. Great long wide beach and a huge tide though.
O, those religions! I’d quite forgotten about them, I was thinking of Thelema, I must say,decades ago when I thought about it I imagined Thelema would blossom into a Cult of Cults and cults of one at that, I’ve always considered kaos to be thelemic in this sense (perhaps mistakenly) as I do TOPY and indeed my own personal trip (hermetic anahuasca love cult of one)(haha). It seems to me today tho’ that the OTO is establishing Thelema as a religion as opposed to an eclectic but at core Hermetic philosophy designed to aid the magickian actualise there Will. I only mentioned the tropane thing to illustrate my contrary view as to it being ‘all out there’. Thank you for your considerations, I’m not sure if I expected a reply which only makes it all the more pleasing,
Do I understand you correctly? Your saying that if I dive a hundred fathoms and communicate with a squid and I can’t then later call said squid to my bedsit in Mile End then the squid is not real. Checking the reality of beings whose presence is reality transforming and makes ones worldly existence seem inconsequential seems pointless and misguided. I rather doubt the nose upon my face than mine Angel.