Law of Thelema
The Law of Thelema is;
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." (AL I:40)
which is to be considered to be complimented by;
"Love is the Law, love under will" (AL I:57)
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- The Word of the Law is θελημα (http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Word_of_the_Law) (AL I:39)
θελημα (http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/93), Thelema means will.
The word of the Law is Thelema or will. It is essential to understand that in Thelema, the concept of will is used in a much more specified sense than how the word is normally used in general society. In Thelema, the word Will (often capitalized) pertains to what one may think of as the "higher will". In Thelema, the Will is not a series of desires, wishes and whims, but rather something singular and pure. It is what unites the self with the universe. Though the phrase does not appear in the Book of the Law itself, in many other Thelemic books, the phrase True Will is used to keep this in mind.
The alternate phrase "Pure Will" is used in the Book of the Law and is referred to as being "in every way perfect." (AL I:44)
Reinforcing the idea that this Pure Will unites the self with the not self, the following line of the Book says;
"The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two" (AL I:45)
θελημα is one of a number of Greek words that translates into English as the word "will". This exact Greek word (to the exclusion of the other candidates in Greek) seems to have intentionally been given as the Word of the Law in Book of the Law because only this word in Greek numerology or Isopsephy yields a value of 93 which seems highly significant when one considers that Αγαπη - agape, the Greek word for a transcendent love (as opposed to eros, a sexual love) shares the same numeric value. In Isopsephy and indeed in Thelema this indicates that the two ideas θελημα, Thelema and Αγαπη, agape share the same essence or nature.
Will, Not Whim
- thou hast no right but to do thy will. (AL I:42)
Though it is a common accusation leveled at Thelema and Crowley that the Law Do what thou wilt means "do whatever you want" and is therefore a license for unrestrained behavior, which, it is assumed, must result in a breakdown of all ethical behavior and social order(as if this would be the inevitable reaction to the lack of moral authority and divine enforcement in the age where Nietzsche tells us that God is dead), both within The Book of the Law and in other Thelemic texts it is made abundantly clear that the Law of Thelema is by no means an advocacy for doing whatever you want.
Adherence to the Law of Thelema - "Do what thou wilt" - actually requires a commitment to strict personal integrity, effort and discipline, that of finding and living one's True Will. This can be understood deeper by consulting the sections on True Will, Pure Will, Transcendent Will, and by consideration of the quotes below.
- From these considerations it should be clear that “Do what thou wilt” does not mean “Do what you like.” It is the apotheosis of Freedom; but it is also the strictest possible bond. Do what thou wilt—then do nothing else. Let nothing deflect thee from that austere and holy task. Liberty is absolute to do thy will, but seek to do any other thing whatever, and instantly obstacles must arise. Every act that is not in definite course of that one orbit is erratic, an hindrance. Will must not be two, but one. - Liber II : The Message of the Master Therion.
- It does not mean surrendering to every whim, but the reverse. It involves finding out Who you are, and why you came into this world, and never swaying a hair's breadth from that Will. - ΘΕΛΗΜΑ - In the Equinox vol III no 10.
- Here then let me make open confession, and say thus; though I pledged myself almost in boyhood... ...though habit itself now constraineth me in the right direction, yet I have not fulfilled my Will: I turn aside daily from the appointed task. I waver. I falter. I lag... ...Search yourselves cunningly, I pray you, analyzing your inmost thoughts. And first you shall discard all those gross obvious hindrances to your Will: idleness, foolishness friendships, wate employments or enjoyments, I will not enumerate the conspirators against the welfare of your state.
- Next, find the minimum of daily time which is in good sooth necessary to your natural life. The rest you shall devote to the True Means of your Attainment... ...It shall not be very long before you come to understand that such a life is the true Liberty. You will feel distractions from your Will as being what they are. They will no longer appear pleasant and attractive, but as bonds, as shames. And when you have attained this point, know that you have passed the middle gate of this Path. For you will have unified your Will... ...Persevere. You have never yet known Liberty. When the temptations are overcome, the voice of Reason silenced, then will your soul bound forward unhampered upon its chosen course, and for the first time will you experience the extreme delight of being master of Yourself, and therefore the universe.
- When this is fully attained, when you sit securely in the saddle, then you may enjoy all those distractions which first pleased you and then angered you. Now (they) will do neither any more: for they are your slaves and toys.
- Until you have reached this point, you are not wholly free. You must kill out desire, and kill out fear. The end of all this is the power to live according to your own nature, without danger that one part may develop to the detriment of the whole, or concern lest that the danger should arise.
- Nerve thyself, then, to seek it and to do it. Naught can satisfy thee but the fulfillment of thy transcendent Will, that is hidden within thee. For this, then, up to arms! Win thine own Freedom for thyself! - The Law of Liberty Liber CL לענ De Lege Libellum
The Word of the Law
"The Word of the Law is θελημα" (AL I:39)
θελημα is one of a number of Greek words that translates into English as the word "will". This exact Greek word (to the exclusion of the other candidates in Greek) seems to have intentionally been given as the Word of the Law in Book of the Law because only this word in Greek numerology or Isopsephy yields a value of 93 which seems highly significant when one considers that Αγαπη - agape, the Greek word for a transcendent love (as opposed to eros, a sexual love) shares the same numeric value. In Isopsephy and indeed in Thelema this indicates that the two ideas θελημα, Thelema and Αγαπη, agape share the same essence or nature. Just as with the True Will, with Agape we see the theme of uniting.
The Nature of the Law
- Herein is an Arcanum concealed, for in the Greek language Αγαπη, love, is of the same numerical value as θελημα, Will. By this we understand that the Universal Will is of the nature of Love. Liber CL De Lege Libellum (http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib150.html)
Also, consider that in Thelema, a magus utters the word of his aeon and as the Logos of the Aeon is the word; in the case of the Master Therion (Aleister Crowley as a Magus) that word is θελημα, Will. (see Liber II : The Message of the Master Therion (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib2.htm) )
Consider Chapter 61 : On the Magi of the A.'.A.'. in Whom the Word Takes Flesh in Liber Aleph vel CXI : The Book of Wisdom or Folly
- He then is called the Logos, or Logos Aionos, that is to say, the Word of the AEon or Age, because He is verily That Word.
I conjunction, consider Liber I : The Book of the Magus (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib1.htm) where the Master Therion utters,
- And the Magus is Love.
It follows that if the Magus is Thelema (Will) and the Magus is Agape (Love) then in essence the nature of the Law is Love.
Once the above is understood, the Law of Thelema can be more simply restated;
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law (AL I:40)
means that one does their True Will and all other issues theoretically fail to arise. Hence,
- Do that, and no other shall say nay. (AL I:43)
Fulfilling the Law
To live the Law of Thelema;
- Thou must (1) Find out what is thy Will. (2) Do that Will with a) one-pointedness, (b) detachment, (c) peace.
- Then, and then only, art thou in harmony with the Movement of Things, thy will part of, and therefore equal to, the Will of God. And since the will is but the dynamic aspect of the self, and since two different selves could not possess identical wills; then, if thy will be God's will, Thou art That. Liber II : The Message of the Master Therion (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib2.htm)
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). The Book of the Law Liber AL vel Legis. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1919). The Law of Liberty Liber CL לענ De Lege Libellum in (1991) The Equinox vol III no 10. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. Liber I : The Book of the Magus (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib1.htm)
- Crowley, Aleister. Liber II : The Message of the Mater Therion (http://www.sacred-texts.com/oto/lib2.htm)