Laying in bed nursing a fever and wondering what to do with my evening , and lo and behold, Facebook to the rescue. In my newsfeed I see shared quote by “The Great Beast” Aleister Crowley, an often sited quote but typically misrepresented, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Often used in a context similar to “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Or “do whatever you feel like.” This is a complete misrepresentation of Thelema and is not what Crowley was saying. The second part of that quote is also typically conveniently missing “Love is the law. Love under will.”
Thelema, the religion Crowley founded, means “Will. Or True Will.” Ones True Will is not your everday desires but is ones calling or purpose in life. The goal of Thelema is to uncover your calling or purpose through contact with your higher self or “Holy Guardian Angel.” Your calling is descerned through this contact and then Yoga with, or union with, the Absolute. Thus resulting in “Love (agape)” that can now be properly known and expressed “under will” as a result of this union. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” is not “do whatever the Hell you feel like.” In Crowley’s thought it is the constant awareness of, and contact with your higher self or Holy Gaurdian Angel (a self above and seperate from the ego) then seeking union and dissolution with the Absolute. Only then could your True Will or purpose be known and properly expressed. Whether you like Crowley or hate him. At least know a little about quotes that you take from him. That should go for any quotes from anyone ideally. Thats my fever induced rant for today.
Further to my last blog post I wrote where I mentioned the various schools of thought among the early Christians. Among them and probably the main alternative groups, were the gnostics. The earliest gnostic Christian text being the Gospel of Thomas, one of a number of gospels that were not included in the canonical gospels when the Bible was put together a few centuries later while Christianity was becoming the dominant force. Religiously, politically and militarily . Leading to the gnostics being labeled heretics and actively persecuted.
But this Gospel of Thomas is dated, at the very latest 140ce. But that is only by Christian scholars that don’t want it considered as old, and therefore as valid, as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Non religious scholars however, date it much earlier. Perhaps actually the earliest gospel, possibly written just 20 years after Jesus lived. Certainly no later than late first century and therefore at least as old as the ones picked for inclusion in the Bible. In Thomas, Jesus is depicted much less as a divine being, more as a spiritual guide. Some scholars suggesting that Jesus is depicted more as a “Living Buddha” than how he’s viewed today.
Among the various Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi, Egypt Jesus is often quoted as speaking of illusion and enlightenment, not sin and repentance. Instead of saving us from sin, he was opening the doors of spiritual understanding.
This wasn’t *the* original view. It was one view, a significant one, among many. There never was “one” view. But by the year 200A.D “Christianity” was becoming a real institution and began to define itself in terms of “orthodoxy” and the “true faith” as apposed to what it called “heresy” that it then suppressed and actively attacked. Those in and those out. This view of Jesus, as a “Living Buddha” of sorts, of course became heresy. What a different religious landscape it would be if that hadn’t happened.