|Thelema is a philosophical matrix and a religion founded on principles studied, collected and/or created by the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. Thelema is a Greek word that means both "love" and "will". This does not mean will in the basic sense, but rather one's individual divine will. There is acknowledgement in Thelema that each individual has their own spiritual path. The tools to discovering your own path can be found in the study of Thelema and Magick.
There has been a slow maturation of the New Aeon and rise of Thelema over the past 50 years, but Thelema is by no means mainstream. The principles of Thelema come from a variety of places. The phrase "Do what thou wilt" originated with Rabelais' "Fay ce que voudras", and Thelema encompasses many different traditions and teachings. Crowley managed to combine all basic systems of attainment and practices in such a way as to make them accessible to more people. The student can create a solid foundation for their own spiritual enlightenment by obtaining a general knowledge of all basic forms of attainment just as Crowley himself did. His reception of Liber Al was singularly his most original contribution to the construct of Thelema. Magicians that came after him, like Soror Meral for one, helped to lay the foundation for modern day Thelema.
Thelema is all inclusive and sex positive. It is the perfect platform to create communities in which all beings are viewed equally regardless of race, gender, sexual preference or socioeconomic status. Thelema is often polluted by individuals who only interpret it within the context of their already biased opinions and flawed personalities instead of as a pure, independent and sophisticated worldview unto itself. Unfortunately, this is often a natural byproduct of growth, and the more mainstream Thelema becomes, the more this may occur.
Several modern organizations of various sizes follow the tenets of Thelema. The two most prominent are both organizations that Crowley headed during his lifetime: the A∴ A∴ or Astrum Argenteum; and Ordo Templi Orientis, or OTO. These groups do not hold the copyright on Thelema, nor is Thelema a brand. It belongs to all. Since his death other groups and organizations have formed to carry on the fundamentals of Thelema. Some of the largest, and more well-known are, The College of Thelema, The Temple of Thelema, The Temple of the Silver Star, The Holy Order Of RaHoorKhuit, The Typhonian Order of Kenneth Grant, The Order of Thelemic Knights, The Church of Thelema and The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn. Many other groups exist which have drawn inspiration or methods from Thelema, such as the Illuminates of Thanateros, The Temple of Set, The Fraternitas Saturni, The Thelema Society, The Hawk and Jackal, The Shrines of Babalon and the list continues.There is a growing understand among members of these groups that local Thelemic communities exist well beyond the borders of any single organization. Many Thelemites belong to more than one, or even none, of the groups listed here. Membership in any organization is not a requirement to the study and practice of Thelema. Thelema is highly individualized because each person must discover his own True Will for himself. It's true that we make it more accessible to one another by studying, practicing and living it together. Community is the key to the continued growth of Thelema, not the success or demise of any single organization.
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