“…take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will!”
–Liber Legis, 1:51.
There are those who take Liber L vel Legis, The Book of the Law, as the Holy Canon to which to adhere in this New Era of Light, Life, Love & Liberty, and there are others who take what they will therefrom, choosing the parts they like over parts that they favor not. It is not for any one to judge any other as to the way of his or her Will; but in my experience, most of the problems that arise do so not out of an inability of the Law of Thelema to harmonize with the Will of one who dislikes this or that portion of the Holy Law, but rather, from an inability of one to fully comprehend — much less to successfully apply — this or that portion of the Law in question to his or her life. In this article, we take a look at one of the thornier of these misunderstood roses of Thelemic practice: the proper attitude of the Thelemite in all matters of love and lust.
What we in the West — particularly those of us in the U.S. (or in other such Puritanical places) — must first realize, is that we are weighed down from the get-go with the cumbersome, outworn and unnatural sexual ideals of Christian chastity. It underscores nearly all relationship tendencies that most of us are initially burdened with; and its cancerous source is, of course, rooted in the notion that the beloved is something that one earns and therefore possesses, e.g. as a knight in olden times won his virginal maiden.
This archaic, misguided view corrupts our attitudes towards sex and relationships nearly as much today as it did way back then, even in totally liberal, non-Christian families, instilling these seeds of monogamistic tendencies in the fertile soil of our childhood minds, influencing us with predilections that, outmoded as they are, do not fit at all well into — much less contribute to the betterment of — contemporary relationships. Naturally, as we are predisposed to favor and feverishly defend such notions as are so deeply rooted in the bedrock of our subconscious minds, rather than recognize and re-synthesize these unnatural tendencies into completely new, healthier ones, we tend to prefer to avoid the change such would require of us and cling instead to harmful traditions. Hence the very high rate of separation in modern society.
Those who choose to do so are, of course, inclined to defend their position by claiming that it is — as it is with certain other animals — simply their Will to be monogamous. Again, far be it for me or anyone else to dispute this claim; but it is highly suspect. On the other hand, as one who himself also once felt this way, unaware (and unwilling to be aware) of the underlying germ of monogamistic ill will that poisoned his relationships with all varieties of dysfunctional proclivities, I can safely say that it is possible if not altogether likely that such attitudes are mired in ignorance and delusion as this tendency to monogamy rears its ugly head in the affairs of others.
We primates are, in reality, much happier when freed of the grip of monogamistic tendencies and allowed to appreciate polyamorous affairs. Not to say that remaining devoted to a given individual (or individuals) for an extended period of time is necessarily a hindrance to one’s True Will: it can be so — or not — depending of course on a number of factors, the main ones being compatibility and maturity across all involved parties. But there is a vital caveat: all such parties must be perfectly free of the slightest germ of jealousy; and this can only be satisfactorily achieved (a) with time and experience, and (b) with the acquisition of certainty in the solidity of the relationship, unwaveringly confident that no such affair can ever compromise the integrity of the foundational relationship(s).
True, many relationships may well be destroyed by the initial experimentation, but again that is to be expected when two or more parties are so chock full of unresolved fears and uncertainties. Besides, most individuals are incompatible in the first place, and are merely deluded into thinking otherwise on the basis of convenient familiarity. Also, laziness plays a factor at times, i.e. it is far easier to convince oneself that one is compatible with someone with whom one already shares so much history than it is to search out someone new and start all over from scratch. If one is to be truly happy in one’s love life, then one has to lift away the blinders and be fully willing to see all facets of one’s relationship as they are in fact, brutally honest with oneself and with one’s partner(s) in all respects.
First, however, in order for this to work, one must confine oneself to affairs with individuals who are already unhampered with the baggage of Old Age ideologies. While this may seem ideologically xenophobic, it is in reality the only way to avoid hurtful and damaging problems that will inevitably corrode the closest and happiest of relationships into monstrosities of discord and sorrow. For ideologies that are cemented solidly in the errors of primitive thinking cannot gel with those that are liberated therefrom.
The central obstacle to clear in this polygamous approach to love with a main partner (or two or three, as the case may be), though, is the tendency to be jealous, as aforesaid. Fear, as always, is the underlying culprit: fear of being outdone by another lover, and fear that such will lead to one’s beloved leaving one for that other. To address the former: one simply has to be realistic, i.e., one can never be all things in love and in lust to any one person, no matter how perfect one thinks one is. And if one truly loves someone, then one should find complete satisfaction and — if one is completely liberated not only from every element of fear but of possessiveness — even perfect arousal in the satisfaction and arousal of that partner in the concordant embrace of another.
As for the fear that one’s mate having exceptional sex with someone who might be possessed of attributes or abilities of which one might oneself be in some measure deficient, or that he or she might enjoy this aspect or that of an encounter to some degree or other more than he or she does with oneself, well, that again is a fear based on folly. If, that is, one’s relationship is well-grounded in compatibility and maturity and genuine love — and if it isn’t, then it isn’t worth having in the first place!
The really important thing is to develop in yourself something of the perspective of your loved one, which should be easy enough to do if you truly love that person as much as you love yourself. Feel ecstasy in his or her ecstasy, no matter from whence or from whom it derives: lose yourself in his or her joy and do not instead restrict your partner to your own insecurities. It will at first be very hard, as breaking up these deep-seated tendencies will seem like trying to smash concrete with just your hands; but determination, patience, understanding and most of all communication are the keys to making it work over the long haul.
The inclination to possess another is — no matter what — always very wrong, and will result only in the misery of unnatural conformation and limiting restriction. How can one fully grow if one cannot explore every hidden part of one’s infinite sexual being, by uniting with those for whom one feels deep attraction that fully reciprocate the same feeling and who are willing to act thereupon? There are many men, for instance, who would gladly share their beds with multiple women, yet when it comes to their women having other men, they object. True love delights in any and all joys, however crude and base, that one’s beloved is able to find in the blissful embrace of others. To chain your loved one to your bed alone — unless it is but a kinky respite — is never love but instead the backward urge to enslave and control.
Finally, there is from the Thelemic perspective no such thing as heterosexual primacy. Gay and lesbian relationships, as also bisexual ones, stand equally beside heterosexual liaisons: there is not one more natural than, or superior to, another. This is an advantage of Thelemic religion, that it regards all forms of love and lust as equally sacred, and looks down on no expression thereof unless it forces another against his or her (or its) consent. Animals and children, of course, cannot consent, being as they are of a mind unable to fairly judge, so naturally they are off-limits.
Finally, it is always worth bearing in mind verse 41 of chapter 1 of The Book of the Law, which reads:
“The word of Sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse.”
Love should always be a blessing and never a curse.
In closing, let’s remember the words of St.John on his deathbed: “Little children, love one another”.
With his blessing, then, let the orgies begin!