History of Thelema

Thelema was established in 1904 when a man named Aleister Crowley wrote The Book of the Law in Cairo, Egypt. Aleister Crowley was an initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and was well-versed in religion and esoteric philosophy. Before 1904, Crowley had traveled India studying Hindu mystcism, spending much of his time at the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Burma practicing Raja Yoga. Between March 18th to April 10th of 1904, Crowley and Rose Kelley, his wife, had a series of spiritual experiences leading to the reception of the Book of the Law. This book bears a stunning degree of beauty and sophistication which has led to its lifelong study by thousands of people across the globe.

Thelema & Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley developed Thelema's philosophy further in countless texts. These writings followed his reception of the Book of the Law at age 29. He continued to write into his old age, traveling the world to learn about other religions, such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Islam. Crowley remained a Buddhist monk for Thelema's historical antecedents provide the benefit of inhereting an eclectic and many-faceted spiritual tradition.

Although a prophet of Thelema, Aleister Crowley is not worshipped by Thelemites. Aspects of his life can be inspirational, yet no human is perfect, and Crowley certainly was not. Aleister Crowley was known for kicking up controvery in Victorian Era England. His openness about his bisexuality and public performances of "satanic" rituals resulted in him being dubbed "The Wickedest Man in the World" by a local tabloid.

Thelema Today

Thelema did not end with Crowley. Much has been written about Thelema after his death. Some of these writers were his students, but others were not.

The most recent addition to Thelema's "Class B" canon was published in 2014.

Further Reading