“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”
There is a great deal to be said on the matter of the work done by the Ecclesia: on its methods as well as its aims, not only with regard to its clergy but also in connection with its worldly mission and objectives. As always, we look to our holiest and most important of holy books, Liber L vel Legis, The Book of the Law, for the girders upon which we build our plan.
The Holy Thelemic Church is, of course, nothing like most other religious institutions, in that its focus is not on any propitiatory service to an external god with a pie-in-the-sky reward for the faithful, but on bringing out the full hidden potential of the Genius of man instead. In ages past, cults have formed around superstition based on fear. The founders of religions have almost always been inspired by an Epiphany that led them to exalted realms of realization; and it has been their aim to guide others to such heights of Supernal Awareness — yet, understanding as they always did only a little, never apprehending the true origin of this Enlightenment as being the root of their own Greater Self, i.e. their very own Genius, their methodology has in some measure been rooted in error. Objectifying their own inherent divine Consciousness, or that Superior Genius which they always deemed beyond themselves, has resulted in a religious approach that leads away from the natural growth of the consciousness of man from mundane animal awareness to the more exalted Vision of the Supernal Mind of man.
The successors of these visionary prophets and oracles of Supernal Genius, lacking their Epiphany, sought ways in which to fleece their flocks through superstitious cults. Sacrifices were called for, in order to appease the gods and make righteous the unrighteous; but naturally, these sacrifices went not to the idols devoid of life, but to the priests who got fat and rich on the goods given. In return, these priests performed the rites that were supposed to be of benefit to the people, by paying homage to deities who would, in return (so it was foolishly presumed), pour every blessing upon the land and upon the faithful therein.
Nothing really changed much over time. In some cases, sacrifices were not given to the priests, but were actually destroyed, with the idea that they were somehow pleasing to the gods. The real purpose of this was so that the worshipper, symbolically divesting himself of his “inferior” material nature by proxy, via the sacrifice, could in some subtle manner loose the chains of the mundane and so attain union with the Empyreal Being to which he aspired. It was, in other words, supposed to lead to his redemption from the cycles of mundane existence. Yet the dogma itself is cemented in falsehood. For it is founded upon the idea that existential being is separate from the divine Genius, which, being inherent in man and not apart from him as his faulty perception leads him to conclude, is ultimately (if not initially, in the mundane view) his very own.
This means that the nature of man is not inferior at all, and that his own natural tendencies are actually sacraments of his own Most High Self! Of course, he is — in his initial state of confusion and disorientation, locked in the mundane ego of so many conflicting petty wants (often at odds with his own better interest) — at first quite imperfect. But this should never lead him to assume that he is, therefore, unworthy and in need of redemption by the grace of some imagined superior being — a father or mother figure, but on a loftier scale. Such is not the case at all. In ancient times, primitives looked more often to a goddess/mother-figure, and looked at the earth itself as her manifestation, so they followed out various forms of superstitious magic whereby they aimed to appease her and benefit from her favor. Later, many looked to a father-figure deity of one kind or another, and sought to avoid his wrath through their faithfulness to his representatives on earth, the priests. Over time, of course, men grew to despise the earth and her creatures, believing in the superior nature of God and the wretchedness of material bondage.
In less distant times, the cults grew into vast empires. Redemption was for sale in the form of indulgences paid by those deemed “sinful”, as rectification on earth for their own natural joys. Such outrageous abuses were stopped over the course of time, only to resurface again much later, in the Protestant era, when evangelists enriched themselves on the guilt-trips they set upon their flocks. Nothing ever really changes: for error is error no matter what form it takes, and religious tyrants will always arise to enslave others through such error, if it is allowed to persist unchallenged.
Ours, on the other hand, is a religion dedicated not to the fear-based satisfaction of any divine tyrant, who supposedly finds our nature to be gross and in need of purgation through suffering, but rather, to the uplifting of the consciousness of man to the full realization of, and ultimate union with, his own Genius. Yet ours are not fixed rails upon which all men and women are to be confined in their approach thereof, but only loose guidelines and general counsel on the best ways to skirt unnecessary difficulties on the way to Gnosis of the impersonal divinity in all beings. There is, in our Church, no one way to Higher Realization. It may, in fact, be fully achieved without the performance of so much as a single ritual. To each his own; all that is required is a complete knowledge and understanding of the doctrine upon which the Church is founded, as well as Enlightened knowledge of the Self that indwells and subtly informs the mundane being of profane man.
Liber L vel Legis, The Book of the Law, was given as an overarching rule of Law to which all religious approaches may be applied for best advantage in this, the Great Work of our time, which is: the Attainment of the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness of man, not of an external god of judgment and contempt. Yet it must be well understood, if it is to be efficacious, as the Genius that dictated its message made perfectly clear. For if it is taken at all points literally, and misunderstood, then it shall only lead to yet another form of enslavement, and become yet another vehicle of misery and suffering through extremist hate and persecution. It is up to us to take the right way, to let go the shackles of servitude and folly in the madness of spiritualism and the worship of hollow idols, and to embrace instead the Self of Limitless Beauty that is found, ultimately, within oneself as it is everywhere without.
We are now in a privileged position. We can be the pioneers of the New Frontier of the Genius of God in man. We can lay a new foundation of Self-Love for the Greater Will to Self-Supremacy, Self-Glory, and Self-Worship, for the benefit of ourselves and all posterity, or else we can wallow in the mud of enslavement through asceticism, sacrifice, and the misery thereof. It is up to us to take the first steps in the Religious Revolution, and win over all humanity not by the the sword, nor by extortion of superstition, but with beauty and the expression of our millionfold joy, not to enslave men but to liberate them in the glad word of Do what thou wilt.
It is left to us to decide.
“Love is the law, love under will.”