Ethics and Thelema

The other day my Qabalah teacher was unable to make it to our monthly discussion session since he just recently opened a new yoga and reiki studio in El Paso and had some classes to attend to. He called me up a few hours before the meeting and asked if I could take over; I was surprised AND happy to have been offered the opportunity.

Once I got off the phone with him, I started brainstorming ideas as to what I wanted to discuss that day. Our group had recently started the process for Minerval Initiations with Scarlet Woman Lodge over from Austin, TX, so I figured that maybe discussing some beginner literature would be the best fit.

I decided on using Aleister Crowley’s ‘Duty’ essay to illustrate the topic of Ethics of Thelema (Download Link). In a nutshell, the Ethics of Thelema are as follows:

  1. Duty to Yourself
  2. Duty to Other Individual Men and Women
  3. Duty to Mankind
  4. Duty to All Other Beings and Things

It’s a fairly universalistic and simple concept with many explanations and interpretations. That’s where the rest of our two hour conversation went.

Where things got particularly interesting is when one of the members wanted to discuss his Catholic upbringing and Thelema. He mentioned that he first began to doubt his faith when he started contemplating the origins of Catholicism in Mexico; how the Spaniards pillaged the lands, converted the Pagan populace to Catholicism.

He explained that he enjoyed praying, even though he is slowly trying to break away from the Catholic mentality. He wanted to know if there were any prayers he could recite as a Thelemite, because whenever he got to praying, it seemed as if all he could muster up was an ‘Our Father’.

It is important to note that Thelema isn’t a ‘religion’ persay, but a philosophy of life. I explained this to him and mentioned that he could keep his Catholic customs if he liked but that he should take the time to educate himself on the full scope of Catholicism. To date, there are 23 different types of Catholicism, not including Gnosticism. If he should choose to do this, he could take the information he acquired and create his own ‘Tree of Life‘ with the corresponding prayers, saints etc.

After this speech, we took a natural segway into how to work The Tree of Life. Because Thelema is such an involved practice, I explained that there are two methods that we all need to be aware of: Literal Qabala and Pathworking.

Literal Qabalah is just as it sounds: studying, reading, and understanding the meanings behind each path and sephira. Pathworking is completely spiritual and takes far more time to work through…meditation, visualization, self-discovery.

It was a very informative session to say the least. If you live in El Paso, you can join our discussion panels by heading over to Meetup and joining our El Paso Qabalah and Raja Yoga Group. 

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