Thelema and the Dark Doctrines

A short comparative study of their symbols and philosophy
Thelemite Comrade, O.T.O. & S.R.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law"


This article was written so that the student of the Dark doctrines can more appreciate the philosophy of Thelema as a valuable branch of the Dark Tradition. It is assumed that the reader has already a sufficient amount of knowledge on the subjects discussed. Links to more extensive material will be made available.

Aleister Crowley

Aleister (Alexander Edward) Crowley was born on the 12th of October 1875 in Leamington Spa, England. During his 72 years, he managed to imprint himself on the Western Magickal Tradition, indeed, to many he is the Western Magickal Tradition. Crowley founded the Occult Order A.'.A.'. and became the head and reformer of the O.T.O. Crowley was a Poet, Author, Magickian, Yogi, Philosopher, and Mountain Climber. (For more information on the life of Crowley: Visit the Aleister Crowley Foundation)

The Ordo Templi Orientis

(Above: Aleister Crowley and Reuss in Masonic dress)

These degrees are contained within the high degrees of the O.T.O. of which Crowley and Reuss were both Heads. 10th degree O.T.O.
More information on the structure and history of the O.T.O. click here.

The Philosophy of Thelema and the Book of the Law

Babalon, TAN and Nuit

Babalon is the scarlet whore. The archetype of all experiences possible to man through desire and lust on all levels; of the mind and body as well. She always gives and never takes away from all things. To become one with her is a form of Self –Love.

TAN is the cosmic aspect of Becoming and all that is able to become and is also all that can be experienced.

Nuit is the archetype of all the universe and space, the arch Goddess over the sky. She represents ALL experiences and events possible, all realms of possibility. She is a higher level of Babalon and Archetype of the TAN principle.

The Beast, SAT and Hadit

The Beast is the Core of the mind, the source of Desire and wanting for experience. The essence of consciousness on a Human level, the black flame within man.

SAT is the cosmic aspect of BEING and all that is able to BE, the essence of life without any interaction of experience, the force of consciousness itself.

Hadit is the atomic point, the winged globe. Hadit is the Archetype of the Sun, a star in space, symbolic of BEING, the SAT principle and a higher level of the Beast. The cosmic principle for all desires and wanting of experiences for all forces or centers of Being.

AL II,6: I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.

The Black Flame

I;8. The Khabs (Light or logos) is in the Khu (body), not the Khu in the Khabs.

I;9. Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!

SR: you are the Black Flame, the flame burning in Darkness from whence it came.

Aleister Crowleys commentary on the above verses from the Book of the Law.

"We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or "God". Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within. The uninitiate is a "Dark Star", and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by 'purifying' them. (SR: gaining clarity). This 'purification' is really 'simplification'; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds makes it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become 'evil'. The Doctrine is evidently of supreme importance, from its position as the first 'revelation' of Aiwass. This 'star' or 'Inmost Light' is the original, individual, eternal essence. The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a 'form' for its Being Beyond Form, by use of which it can gain experience through self-consciousness. This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star. Why are we told that the Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs? Did we then suppose the converse? I think that we are warned against the idea of a Pleroma, a flame of which we are Sparks, and to which we return when we 'attain'. That would indeed be to make the whole curse of separate existence ridiculous, a senseless and inexcusable folly. It would throw us back on the dilemma of Manichaeism. The idea of incarnations "perfecting" a thing originally perfect by definition is imbecile. The only sane solution is as given previously, to suppose that the Perfect enjoys experience of (apparent) Imperfection. (There are deeper resolutions of this problem appropriate to the highest grades of initiation; but the above should suffice the average intelligence.)"

The Law of Thelema

The law of Thelema is "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and "Love is the law, love under will" the first law is not a call to do whatever one wants to do, it is a command to do what that person is meant to do, what they are inspired to do. The second law adds to this by saying the actions of the first law must be done in love. The idea of the muses and the inspiration that comes from the Vajra and the boundless Darkness are a similar expression of this True Will.

"Black Brothers of the Left Hand Path" : Crowley's klippoth and the system of the A.'.A.'.

The A.'.A.'. (Order of the Silver Star) is a magickal Occult School founded by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones. The A.'.A.'. Degrees correspond to the 10 spheres of the Cabalistic tree of life. As the student ascends up the tree he or she learns practices of Meditation (Yoga) and Ceremonial Magick for the expansion and evolution of consciousness. When the initiate reaches Chesed just below the abyss he must do one of two things, cross the abyss and let your consciousness touch the supernal triad or stay at the base of the abyss and wall yourself up in daath thus cutting off the supernal triad and creating for yourself a false crown. Crowley calls this type of initiate (one who has blocked the flow and refuses to open up to the Supernals) a Black Brother of the Left Hand Path. In the Dark Tradition this type of person is known as a Klippoth, a person who has no vajra flowing in them from the supernal triad. When the non-klippothic Adept Reaches into the Supernals he becomes the Magister Templi (Master of the Temple) in Binah. A M.T. is a master of meditation and Yoga and can reach SAMADHI at will (he continually contemplates and feels the boundless Darkness of Kether. When the M.T. moves his consciousness into Chokmah he becomes the Magus, a master of Magick. the Magus can actively manipulate the energy from kether at will through the magickal Will and inner Logos. Crowley in his use of the label "Left Hand Path" eather used it as a blind or was just using it in the context of his time. Crowley's magickal name for the grade of the Magus (9 = 2) was TO MEGA THERION 666, The Great Beast is Leo the Lion, The Gnostic Lion headed Serpent. 666 is the total on the magickal table of the sun found in numerous hermetic texts. Thus the Great Beast 666 symbolizes the first out pouring of light from the boundless darkness which is Chokmah.

From Magick in Theory and Practice

"The Devil" is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ --- the solar-phallic-hermetic "Lucifer" is His own Holy Guardian Angel, and "The Devil" SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the Starry Universe. This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade "Know Thyself!" and taught Initiation. He is "the Devil" of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection. The number of His Atu is XV, which is Yod He, the Monogram of the Eternal, the Father one with the Mother, the Virgin Seed one with all-containing Space. He is therefore Life, and Love. But moreover his letter is Ayin, the Eye; he is Light, and his Zodiacal image is Capricornus, that leaping goat whose attribute is Liberty. (Note that the "Jehovah" of the Hebrews is etymologically connected with these. The classical example of such antinomy, one which has led to such disastrous misunderstandings, is that between NU and HAD, North and South, Jesus and John.

The Averse Pentagram (Two Point up Star)

The 5 of Cups Tarot Card

The 5 of Swords Tarot Card

Baphomet of the Order A.'.A.'.

The Gate of the Adeptus Minor (5* = 6) degree

The use of the Star in ritual (Liber V)

The 5 of Disks Tarot Card

The Hierophant Tarot Card


All O.T.O. and Crowley Images are copyrights of the Ordo Templi Orienties

The Crowleyan Method

By Thelemite Comrade

    1. Western Occultism . The secret "illuminated" teachings out of 19th century Rosicrucianism, possibly going back through Renaissance magick societies, medieval witchcraft, the knights Templar, European Sufis, etc., to Gnosticism, and thence back possibly to the Eleusinian Mysteries and Egyptian cults. using Ritual to bring the mind to higher states of awareness.

    2. Eastern Yoga, including meditation plus physical exercises to make meditation easier and more natural. Another System of methods to bring the mind to higher states of awareness.

   3. Modern scientific method. Crowley taught total skepticism about all results obtained, keeping of careful objective records of each "experiment," and detached philosophical analysis after each stage of increased awareness.

Of God's, spirits, Angels and Demons.

 These "Beings" are portions of the Human Brain.

Their symbols therefore represent methods of stimulating or regulating those particular spots of the mind.

The names of these beings are vibrations calculated to establish:

(a) General control of the mind.

(b) Control over the Brain in detail.

(c) Control of one special portion of the mind.



by Aleister Crowley

"The law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world." AL. II. 2

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." --AL. I. 40

"Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay." --AL. I. 42-3

"Every man and every woman is a star." --AL. I. 3

There is no god but man.

1. Man has the right to live by his own law--

to live in the way that he wills to do:
to work as he will:
to play as he will:
to rest as he will:
to die when and how he will.

2. Man has the right to eat what he will:

to drink what he will:
to dwell where he will:
to move as he will on the face of the earth.

3. Man has the right to think what he will:

to speak what he will:
to write what he will:
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will:
to dress as he will.

4. Man has the right to love as he will:--

"take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will." --AL. I. 51

5. Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.

"the slaves shall serve." --AL. II. 58

"Love is the law, love under will." --AL. I. 57

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