Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Thelema Over Tea; Jude & Adam K, Chewing the Fat

Thelema spoken over tea and crumpets

Questions to a Thelemite Friend :: An Interview with Adam K

This piece was written primarily to provide a basic amount of information to those considering Thelema as a path, and to those new to it. The intent is to provide a kinda sorta outline of matters Thelema, but even as much, to provide a highly respectable compendium of reference material, a laugh, and some insight from a couple of Thelemites verbally larking around. One of the two, Adam K, is quite knowledgeable on the presented topic, as he's been immersed in its philosophies for some time--well since he escaped that Turkish Prison, but that's another story entirely. The interview was purposely conducted in a very lighthearted way. The interviewer, though not made clear throughout the interview, was Jude (Metaphysicality Inc blog's administrator)--which contextually adds to the humor.

It should be stated up front, that if you want in depth information specific to the meat and potatoes of Thelema, watch out for future articles. This piece offers a fair bit of information, but came to pass as the result of two friends having a casual and non specific discussion. As well it should be said, that Qabalah, which is much of what this post refers to, is an issue central to Thelema; this as not only is it the crux to all that is, but as well it directly ties in with True Will, as you will soon discover.

The Interview

Hey there, Adam K, how are you? So, to familiarize readers with who you are, you're a friend of Jude Chi, right? From Facebook, if I understand correctly. I heard that you and her met when she began developing an interest in Thelema, and that you helped her find relevant resources, and pointed out concepts and ideas that she may have otherwise missed. And no doubt you've shared some interesting Thelema-relevant posts and videos on FB back and forth, given that you share a commonality. Is this an accurate synopsis? If not, please clarify.

A: Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Kinda bonded over debates about Duquette! (smiles)

Me: I see; do you mind elaborating? What was the crux of the debate?

A: Ah. It wasn't so much a debate, really. Even the most clear explanations of the Qabalah can be as clear as mud sometimes, and we were discussing the Chicken Qabalah, the clearest of mud puddles! (laughs)

Me: That thing about mud puddles--seems like it may be a Duquette quote (grins). Qabalah itself is a muddy topic, never mind books based upon it. What kind of a job would you say that LMD does, in his particular approach to the subject?

A: Well, if you are like me and really wish there was a series of books on the Qabalah, Thelema, and Magick for Dummies (trademark lol), he is the person who should be writing. The books he HAS written on the subjects, as well as the numerous YouTube videos he has appeared in, serve quite well to make very complex subject matter, far simpler to absorb.

Me: Agreed; he is a great educator and a marvelous role model for Thelemites. I have read the Chicken Qabalah, by the way (upon your insistence that I do so), and do recommend it to any Qabalah initiate. Of course that it's written from the perspective of a Thelemite is of utmost importance, as this is precisely the type of material a Thelema novice needs, rather than to be wandering without direction trying to figure it all out.

The Chicken Qabalah, L.M. Duquette
Son of Chicken Qabalah, L.M. Duquette

Me: I know you would be one to say that you are not an expert on Thelema, as you've said it before. However, it's clear to see you are knowledgeable on the topic, and thus I will put this out there. Am I right?

A: You are correct. I'm far from any kind of expert on the subject.

Me: Arguing with you would suggest otherwise. Ahem. Anyhow--now with those new to Thelema in mind, what would you say in response to someone asking "what do you find to be Thelema's drawing card?" I mean, what are the core elements of it that appeal to you above all else?

A: The thing that appeals to me is also the thing that makes it such a pain sometimes! (laughs). I guess it would be that--you really can do whatever you want, as long as you are aware that every action, "positive" or "negative," has its consequences. But even larger than that... is the notion that we all have a purpose, our True Will, that we are here to accomplish. No matter how useless, how pointless, how unnecessary you feel, you do have a reason for being. You also have the responsibility to discover, for yourself, what that purpose is.

Me: Ah yes I get the picture--a Thelemite has a big undertaking, and if they are not ready to live up to that monumental task--to seek the finding of their True Will, they aren't going to get too far with Thelema it appears. And I see that in what you have presented, we begin to examine existentialism as well.

A: Oh, and magick is awesome too! (smirks)

Me: We kinda cross posted there, lol.

A: Yes, and exactly.

Me: Yes, and hopefully we have time to touch upon magick, further in.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in A. Crowley's System of Magick, D. Shoemaker
The Magick of Aleister Crowley, L.M. Duquette

Me: Do you have any tips on how to find one's True Will? I am new to Thelema, and my own impression, but as a novice, is lol, to journey through Thelema (doh)... maybe that you are far further into your journey than I am, would lead you to offer different and more precise insight... what would you say to someone who wanted to find their True Will, in the way that people want everything nowadays--as fast as they can get it? Millenials, you know. (rolls eyeballs jokingly)

A: Well, the answer to that is likely to bring yet more questions, and those will likely be more difficult to answer clearly than this one. But, basically...

Me: Do your best, that's good enough.

A: ... every Thelemite's goal is to have knowledge and conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel, or their HGA.

A: By having that K&C of their HGA, they are then able to get the answer to the question, "why am I here?"

Me: Very clear and concise. I love that answer, thank you. And yes, though it could lead to more questions, we best keep this interview basic... or we literally could write a novel from it.

Me: Aleister Crowley, the father of Thelema, Frater Perdurabo, the Great Beast 666, Uncle Al, and so on and so forth... loved by many, and reviled by many as well. I know that he has served as an inspiration to you in ways. What would you like to be quoted on, what would you like to tell not only those new to Thelema, but the world in general, about this man?

A: Well, all you fear is true, and all you've been told is a lie, or something like that. Also--if a twenty nine year old Crowley were alive and walking the earth today, he would seem fairly normal if a bit stuffy by today's moral standard. He would still be a genius--and a bit of an arrogant ass--but that describes many of our most respected and admired thinkers today. So, I guess, people should know that each of them would have been just as vilified as he was if they were in his day, but they wouldn't as a matter of course have the advantage of his genius.

A: That's a bit much for a quote. (laughs)

Me: Windy? You think so? (laughs sarcastically)

A: I'm reflecting Arthur Edward Waite! Somebody stop me! (laughs heartily)

Me: Omg, too funny...the sheer torture of it all. (winks)

Me: If a person wanted to learn the basics of Thelema, beyond Liber AL vel Legis, also known as The Book of the Law, what other book or books, would you recommend for an entry level Thelemite to begin studying? And, which book or reference material would you recommend, to help them figure out the meaning of information presented in the Liber AL?

A: Liber AL. Not for the faint of heart. Crowley wrote a Comment, or a commentary if you will, for Liber AL called "The Law is for All." Whether we are supposed to be giving our interpretations of what we think Liber AL says or not is debatable, but it was perfectly clear that Uncle C WAS supposed to offer a commentary on it, a sort of guidebook to help us understand a very weighty book. And weighty it is, despite how very small it is.

The Book of the Law, A. Crowley
The Law is for All: The Authorized Popular Commentary to the Book of the Law, Crowley/Regardie
Abrahadabra, Rodney Orpheus
The Holy Books of Thelema, A. Crowley

A: I also recommend absolutely everything written by Lon Milo Duquette, as well as any books written by James Wasserman. Both of these people have written quite extensively on the subjects of Thelema, Magick, and the Qabalah.

A: There are of course many other authors I could recommend as well, but we would be here for three more interviews if I kept going.  lol.

Me: Thanks for the insight. By the way, do you think the average person would "get" the contents of Liber AL, or do you think that people should prepare by also acquiring a copy of The Law is for All?

Unicursal Hexagram
Unicursal hexagram

A: People will be quite confused by Liber AL if they don't have reference material to go with it. But if they can read it once (it isn't a long read) without reference material and they don't run away screaming and tearing out their own hair, if they still have a deep abiding curiosity about what the words mean, well then... These are the people I like.

Me: Alright...
Me: In which way is the Qabalah relevant to Thelema? Is it of great importance, or not?

A: It's a bit like having a card catalog in your head that's all out of whack, and the Qabalah is sort of your Dewey Decimal System for organizing it all. It can also sort of be thought of as your brain's Operating System, its OS. As far as Thelema is concerned, it is the most frequently used, and most reliable system we have, for drawing correspondences between absolutely everything to absolutely everything until we ultimately conclude, quite simply, that All is for Naught, as it were; since nothing, No Thing, exists. It's all illusion.

Me: Oh, you mean as in Mr. Duquettes "Ten CommandRants"?

A: But it helps with simpler things too, like setting up any spell work or magical workings by understanding which things symbolically correspond to the goal of your work.

Me: Oops, we cross posted again. My bad.

A: Yes, CommandRants. The first being "all is one," and the second informing us that the first is a lie, all is nothing. And of course there are eight more.

Me: You don't happen to have them memorized, do you? (laughs)

A: I wish, but no. Lol.
But the basic idea of them is up there bouncing around in my noggin.

Me: I was going to ask you what the simplest way for a Thelema novice to get their feet wet in Qabalism is. But given what you've already said, I would assume you'd say The Chicken Qabalah, by Lon Milo Duquette.

A: I recommend people find what works best for them. Not everyone can appreciate Duquette's simple, good hearted grandfatherly wit. Some people need a boot camp style, super structured approach. Others need to play it fast and loose. But The Chicken Qabalah certainly worked to help me stop bashing my head against the concrete trying to figure that damned tree out.

Me: Gotcha, and it makes good sense.

A: It does indeed.

Wisdom & Knowledge

Me: It took me a while to figure out how that works, but for those who've never touched upon Qabalah, a grossly simple reduction would be (not just concerning magick, but the big picture too), that signs from within your life, such as colors, numbers, signs you keep seeing, could tell you where you place on the tree at any given phase, as could any certain archangel, deity, or daemon, appearing to you. And when you need a symbol to enhance a specific type of magick, you look to the things attributed to the appropriate sephirah or path of the Qabalah, to help bump up the energy of your workings. Of course this is elaborating on what you already touched upon.

A: Yes, use the tree to find which symbols and objects and so forth correspond to your goals magically, especially in spell work. The attributes of each sephirah and path can also tell you where you are on your spiritual journey.

Me: Thanks for confirming and expounding, as I am still very new to Qabalah.
Me: There comes a time when  a Thelemite will be prepared to cross the Abyss. Is it true that one cannot cross without their HGA?

A: Honestly, I can't fairly answer that as easily as I would like. Once you have begun the journey up the Paths, you can take The Oath of The Abyss at any time, thus claiming the title of Babe of The Abyss as rightfully yours. But if you aren't actually prepared for the crossing of that Abyss (a thing many people won't understand without a knowledge of the Qabalah) you will be driven mad, incapable of dealing with "real life" in any reasonable fashion. Do you need your HGA? I would say most definitely. Your HGA is more than some metaphysical angelic being from beyond. In my understanding, it is also able to be called your Higher Self, and it is the you that exists beyond the pettiness of your ego and its lesser desires. I would say that if you haven't prepared yourself to be destroyed in the crucible, your Self won't come through the other side.

Me: Old whatziz name's gonna eat me up. What's his name again? Sounds like Corazon.

A: Lol. It's Choronzon. The embodiment of confusion and mental static, as it were.

Me: Well I knew it wasn't Corazon, as that means heart... lol. If a demon is going to eat me and spit me out sans ego, I don't think his name will be based upon the word heart.

A: So essentially, if you don't know your True Will, your wanton desires will drive you nuts.

A: Nope. Not the heart indeed. He has more to do with unbridled Knowledge, logic, and so on. Knowledge is useless without Understanding.

Me: Hmm, a heck of a hard thing to conceptualize, but somehow I get it--what you said about wanton desires driving one nuts.

A: I can sum up the difference of the desire known as will from other desire in a sort of analogy, if you want.

Me: Yes, please do.

A: Alright. Say you have a goal which states you wish to gain 30 pounds of muscle and lose fifteen pounds of body fat in six months. You lay out a workout regimen, you establish a nutritional plan, and you get the proper gear to move you down this road to a better you, as you see it. Following this plan and sticking with it is following your will. But then, you also have a strong desire to scarf down ho hos and ding dongs. If you follow through on that desire, then your desires are in effect defeating your will.

A: This isn't to say your will and desires are always in conflict. But if they are, you must decide which will take priority. For a Thelemite, that should always be your Will.
A: That brings me to what Thelema means--it is Greek for Will.

Me: Okay yes, but what I am missing now, is how this sits in light of the previous question, how would eating ding dongs in wild abandon drive one mad? Lol... sorry, but it needed to be asked.

A: If your goal is Union with the Oneness, and ultimately the Nothing, not letting go of your desires is indicative of not releasing your Ego, the mask you wear for the world. That part of your illusion is not You, and is ultimately not real and not "God". It will pull you down into the madness of the Abyss. Does that make sense? Probably not. Logic and rational thought are useful tools, but are sometimes a crutch and even a wall between a person and true Understanding.

Me: Okay, thanks. It has surpassed my level of comprehension of matters Qabalah, but still, I do get it on a basic level.

A: Mind you, this is all off the top of my head so I can't say its all completely sensible or accurate on all points at all times...

Me: It's your opinion, and in that sense it's fine.


It seems quite peculiar to pause this interview here, but there was no ideal place, so this is it for now.

~ Jude

That concludes Part One of our interview, and Part Two is now ready.

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