1 Capricorn C / 21 December 2004 EV
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Several themes I've been trying to get to for weeks are apparently coalescing into a sort of Solstice Encyclical. Taking the above phrase from Uncle Al's "Liber X" as our text, let's see how it goes, shall we?
First of all, master epigrammatist senryu (as so often) noted something striking last evening: "It seems the more we hear about Jesus, the less we hear from him." This is of a piece with her much earlier comment, which I recently posted elsewhere, that religion is too often a way "to make the good feel bad, and the bad feel righteous." Having of late been deeply involved in a study of Christian history for Lita's backstory in In The Nightmare Village, and simultaneously drowning in hallucinatory pseudo-Christian discussions on the cable "news," I'm struck by the vast gulf between what the Jesus of the gospels is represented as having said, and what many* of his alleged followers are wont to say, allegedly on his behalf. This should be fairly obvious to anyone who's ever actually read the gospels (as educated people should, IMO, along with a number of other seminal religious works in other traditions), but putting it briefly: Jesus went out of his way to denounce self-righteousness, legalisms, hypocrisy, and smug feelings of self-superiority...all of which makes it perfectly clear to me, anyway, how he'd feel about the "religious" right in this country. And, come to that, how they'd feel about him, were he here: a rebellious misfit who rejected (indeed deliberately blasphemed against) the strict religion of his day, consorted with sinners, insisted that decent "sinful" people would find the kingdom of heaven within them before self-righteous "holy" people** did, and was finally executed as a devil-worshipping magician (for those healings, which his detractors couldn't duplicate, were of course denounced as the work of Satan). When you think about it, all pretty clear, no?
Crowley, too, deliberately blasphemed against the religious tradition that tortured him as a child and young man, and for many so tortured there can be, IMO, a certain value in what psychologists have called "therapeutic blasphemy"; but spiritual attainment itself, I believe, lies entirely outside the standard RHP/LHP*** continuum. Thelema, that is, is as much about drawing together everything valuable in all religious traditions, as it is about firmly rejecting everything in them that is slavish, low, cruel, and insane. Without giving too much away, "Liber Tzaddi" gives the formula -- as does the short piece "Thien Tao," and (to a lesser extent) "Liber X" itself.****
As I've said here before, the experience of "the divine" is a real and valuable experience, no superstition required; indeed, when cleansed of superstition, is the richest experience imaginable, leading to a life of both holiness and practicality, love and freedom, purpose and delight. Were the standard religions of our day better acquainted with "the divine," they would necessarily be less driven to persecute others, and might even be more concerned with providing the sort of example that would make others want to find it, too.
And I am now preaching, and might as well stop. ;)
So the Best of all possible Winter Solstices to all of you. As Crowley's Gnostic Mass so memorably puts it: "The LORD bless you. The LORD enlighten your minds and comfort your hearts and sustain your bodies. The LORD bring you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness."
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in Love and Freedom, AJ
* Not, of course, all. I am honored to include on my LJ Friends list some very fine people who profess Christianity. :D
** Oh, yes: and rich folks, for that matter.
*** "Right-hand-path, left-hand-path."
**** Ditto, while we're at it, for Libri "Nu" and "Had," and the essay "The Soul of the Desert," one of the finest descriptions of mystical experience ever written. And, okay, the essay "Eleusis," too, but there I really am stopping! ;)