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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:10 am

Sorry for not being more engaged, Benjamin Stein. I'm very interested in following along and sharing what I can, but I can only do so much...

Anyway, all this talk about Crowley has gotten me thinking about a new poll question... Razz

Maybe we can forward on a link to this thread to other Thelemically-minded people/fora?
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Post  Khephra on Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:38 pm

ankh_f_n_khonsu wrote:Sorry for not being more engaged, Benjamin Stein. I'm very interested in following along and sharing what I can, but I can only do so much...

Ditto. I've got far too much on my plate already, but I'm very keen on hearing about this class!

Surely, with all the registered users we've got there should be plenty of other Thelemically-minded folks... maybe they're shy?

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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:34 pm

93
I apologize if I came across pejoratively, that certainly wasn't what I meant when I wished for more interaction. It seems to me that this a rare opportunity to witness magico-mystical thought in an established academic setting, with an opportunity for practical occultists to individually participate in the discussion; even if only peripherally.

I spoke with the instructors tonight and they (as would I) are happy to see this thread linked to other forums to expand the discussion.

Anyway, this week's assignment is, "What is a religion that parallels Thelema, and why; or if there is none, why or why not?"

If I may offer this thought:
"To you who yet wander in the Court of the Profane we cannot reveal all; but you will easily understand that the religions of the world are but symbols and veils of the Absolute Truth. So also are the philosophies. To the adept, seeing all these things from above, there seems nothing to choose between Buddha and Mohammed, between Atheism and Theism." (Liber Porta Lucis sub figura X, 19).

I hope everyone has a nice week, and I'm looking forward to this discussion. (Incidentally, I only wrote my name in full to distinguish myself from the popular figure Ben Stein. Not that I assumed that would really be a problem, but I prefer "Ben.")

93/93
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Post  frater_entheos on Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:09 pm

After teaching class tonight I've found myself in a particularly thoughtful mood. Furthermore, in searching for some points of interest for next week's lecture, I thought I'd ask a more detailed version of the same study question we're asking our students for next week.

Keeping in mind that my relationship to Thelema still remains as a primarily academic endeavor, I was wondering what thoughts people had about Thelema and its relationship to (other) world religions. Clearly Crowley's flirtation with Buddhism comes to mind, but more specifically, since religious symbolism and resonances with things as diverse as Hinduism, Greek mythology, Christianity, Judaism, Egyptian mythology, etc., abound in Crowley's canon, in what sense is Thelema a belief system unto itself and in what sense is it merely a meta-system with which to navigate through various aspects of what could be called "the religious experience" (gnosis, sahmadhi, union with godhead, etc.)? That is, do you think that Thelema re-postulates concepts from these religions as some kind of a novel synthesis, or rather, is Thelema simply a lens in which to understand, interpret, and compare & contrast these religions?

What comes to mind for me as perhaps significant in answering this question is the advent of the new Aeon and the reception of Liber AL. However, I can't help but view Crowley as a sort of proto-Joseph Campbell, in the sense that he seems to be foremost an extremely worldly scholar (especially for his time) when it comes to religion.

Thoughts...?

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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:49 am

Benjamin Stein wrote:It seems to me that this a rare opportunity to witness magico-mystical thought in an established academic setting, with an opportunity for practical occultists to individually participate in the discussion; even if only peripherally.
Agreed.

I spoke with the instructors tonight and they (as would I) are happy to see this thread linked to other forums to expand the discussion.
I've sprinkled links in a few places, and I'll try to send out a few more links when I get the opportunity. Smile


"What is a religion that parallels Thelema, and why; or if there is none, why or why not?"
Well, I think Thelema's emphasis on doing the "will" of the "HGA" might align nicely with Iamblichus's Augoeides and the Hindu Atman. The Hindus also had a similar idea of "world ages", but neither Iamblichus nor the Hindu were quite as Martian as Crowley's "New Æon", so that might be a notable divergence... or not... Wink
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:07 am

frater_entheos wrote:That is, do you think that Thelema re-postulates concepts from these religions as some kind of a novel synthesis, or rather, is Thelema simply a lens in which to understand, interpret, and compare & contrast these religions?
IMO, Crowley was definitely a "worldly scholar", and I bet he and Campbell would've agreed on many points. Both of them fell into racism and bigotry, but both of them generated syntheses that changed the global idea-scape irrevocably.

I think Crowley's work was primarily syncretic. I don't think Thelema helps us to really understand Buddhism, Egyptian mythology, etc. I think if we get our understanding of these systems through Thelema, we have skewered interpretations.

"I wish particularly to warn against the oft-attempted imitation of Indian practices and sentiments. As a rule nothing comes of it except an artificial stultification of our Western intelligence. Of course, if anyone should succeed in giving up Europe from every point of view, and could actually be nothing but a yogi and sit in the lotus position with all the practical and ethical consequences that this entails, evaporating on a gazelle-skin under a dusty banyan tree and ending his days in nameless non-being, then I should have to admit that such a person understood yoga in the Indian manner. But anyone who cannot do this should not behave as if he did. He cannot and should not give up his Western understanding; on the contrary, he should apply it honestly without imitation or sentimentality, to understand as much as is possible for the Western mind." - C.G. Jung, Collected Works vol. 11, Psychology and Religion: West & East
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Post  antares93 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:36 pm

frater_entheos wrote:I was wondering what thoughts people had about Thelema and its relationship to (other) world religions.

I don't think there's a one-size fits all answer to this question. Rather, I hope there are as many answers to this question as there are Thelemites, for each must find what works for themselves and that includes an individuals relationship with Thelema and with other religions. Here's a quote that I believe applies equally well to Thelema:

"It has become all too easy to use these abstractions to affirm one, and only one, form of life as superior--in the context of, say, living as a Christian or being a Hindu. The implication is that there is a preferred way--the way--of expressing commitment to a religious or cultural tradition, and it lurks in such monolithic questions as "What is the Hindu understanding of the social role of women?," or "What is the Christian view of homosexuality?," or "What is the Muslim view of a just society?" --as if there is only one in each case. This approach fails to take note of the inherent plurality of religious and cultural forms of life, which thrive on adaptation, the inventive response to life's challenges, contextuality, and multiple forms of transmission and interpretation of tradition. To stress uniformity here at the expense of creative expression is to seek to endorse the status quo and the vested interests of its authority structures. It is also to discriminate against or marginalize those who may be seeking legitimate change or reform."

from "The Hindu World" edited by Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby, pg. 22
ISBN 10: 0-415-77227-3
ISBN 13: 978-0-415-77227-3

frater_entheos wrote:Clearly Crowley's flirtation with Buddhism comes to mind...

What worked for Crowley does not necessarily work for all Thelemites. It may or may not, depending upon the individual. We're simply not monolithic. That's my 93 cents worth for the day! Smile

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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:58 am

”There are to be no regular temples of Nuit and Hadit… Our religion therefore, for the People, is the Cult of the Sun, who is our particular star of the Body of Nuit, from whom, in the strictest scientific sense, come this earth, a chilled spark of Him, and all our Light and Life.” – Crowley, New Comment, AL III,22

“The existence of true religion presupposes that of some discarnate intelligence…” – Crowley, Confessions, cap. 49

”Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.

”The word does not occur in The Book of the Law.” – Crowley, Magick Without Tears, Letter #31

It seems to me that, while Thelema fulfills the requirements of a religion (“a system of faith in and worship of a deity” Webster’s), Crowley stops short of declaring it one, while he would not restrict another from doing so. Crowley seems to flirt with the idea of Thelema as a new world religion, but eventually comes to the conclusion that the individual needs to develop their own religious expression based upon the discovery of their Will and their individual god (or daemon, Holy Guardian Angel, et al.).

I think that in the same way that Crowley exhorts his students in The Soldier and the Hunchback to strive for the higher fulcrum of the pendulum rather than the normal ebb and flow of life, that to declare Thelema a "religion" debases it to a mere mundane organization.
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:11 pm

Benjamin Stein wrote:I think that in the same way that Crowley exhorts his students in The Soldier and the Hunchback to strive for the higher fulcrum of the pendulum rather than the normal ebb and flow of life, that to declare Thelema a "religion" debases it to a mere mundane organization.
Oooh... Some time ago I came across a nifty article that grew out of "The Soldier and the Hunchback"... It had something to do with general semantics, if I'm not mistaken... anyway, I'll see if I can't drag it up and share it.

It seems to me that Crowley may have said he didn't want to create a new religion, but I wonder if he might've been insincere. He certainly did love the attention...
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:14 pm

93
I know a similar article to The Soldier and the Hunchback that Crowley had both Jane Wolfe and Grady McMurtry (according to Grady) find and read was Arthur Koestler's The Yogi and the Commissar parts 1 & 2.
93/93
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:49 pm

Found it! Very Happy


Via Tosk:

The Thinker, The Prover, The Hunchback and The Solider (A Happy Foursome?)


So last night I was poking through notes from a number of different classes and discussions. It dawned on me, that perhaps there is some correlation between the illustrations that follow:

The Thinker and The Prover:

The mind might be described as two distinct and seperate parts(note: this doesn't mean that the Mind IS ...), with two distinct and seperate jobs. These, Robert Anton Wilson calls "The Thinker" and "The Prover", what the Thinker thinks, the Prover proves. If the Thinker thinks that the Sun goes around the Earth, the Prover sorts the evidence to prove that the Sun goes round the earth. If the Thinker thinks that the Earth goes around the Sun, the Prover arranges the information that's available to support the notion. If the Thinker thinks that Faith can heal, the Prover excites the mind so that, at least temporarily, the proof supports the Thought (same if the Thinker thinks he can stick a needle in his face without pain etc). If the Thinker thinks that someone has weapons of mass destruction, the Prover sorts through the evidence and proves that the WMD's do exist.

An Interesting idea, I think.

I'd like to compare this to Aleister Crowley's illustration from the beginning of the Book of Lies:

Page One of the Book of Lies simply has a huge "?"
Page Two has a huge "!"

We call these the Hunchback and the Soldier. Does the Hunchback (the question) relate to The Thinker? Does the Soldier (the Discovered Answer) relate to the Prover?

If this is the case, if we can say that it appears that people question, find a belief, then prove that belief... how much 'proof' can we really accept as True? Which would be more healthy in this illustration?

"?""!"
or
"?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!""?""!"....

Should the Thinker ever fully accept information from The Prover, or should the Thinker constantly question the Prover and force the Prover to reconsider the evidence? How many of us do that? How many of us can do that? How many of us can do that all the time, in every part of their life? Is it wise or foolish?

Can the Soldier exist without the Hunchback? Could the Hunchback exist without the Soldier?
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:12 pm

93
From Mr. Karras, personal email 1 Nov. '09 ev:
The homework assignment for this upcoming week (which I intend to post shortly on the digimob page, but no worries if you beat me to it) is basically the same as last week except to compare Thelema with one or more philosophers who espouse comparable ideas - and explain how/why their ideas are similar to Thelemic ideas. Travis has mentioned that a lot of William James (the American Pragmatist) has elements in common with Thelema, and I'll tell you that I intend to focus next lecture particularly on the ideas of Plato (as well as Plotonius and the neo-Platonists), Kierkegaard, Spinoza, Nietzsche, existentialism (but specifically Heidegger and Sartre, Camus less so), Hume, and maybe even some Kant as well as some more modern Philosophy-of-Mind interpretations of consciousness, etc.
Here is a link to Koestler's The Yogi and the Commissar if anyone is interested.
http://cornelius93.com/Grady-YogiandCommissar.html
93/93
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Post  frater_entheos on Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:52 pm

Well, Ben beat me to it as I took a break for dinner... To expand a bit on my intentions for this upcoming week's lecture, I wanted to offer the following to spell out my thoughts a little more clearly. I'd love to hear what you all have to say in terms of maybe some notable philosophers I've missed and/or missing comparisons with the philosophers I have mentioned. Feel free to discuss "philosophers" who lack heavy-weight status - I received an email just yesterday from one of our students regarding philosophical comparisons between Thelema and ethnobotanist/psychedelic guru Terrence McKenna (I'm still ecstatic! - some of these kids are really sharp). Well, here it is:

Descartes - evil bastard, re: dualism (I don't claim any lack of bias)
Spinoza - solution to dualism, intelligible view of determinism, Judaic influence (a la "modes of god" =[?] sephiroth)
Plato - primacy of personal intellectual experience -> gnosis (allegory of the cave), maybe also his anti-democratic political views ("the slaves shall serve")
Kierkegaard - a method for understanding the religious experience and making it personal/authentic (Abraham and Isaac)
Nietzsche - too many to list, but I will certainly be mentioning his contempt for "herd morality" and compassion, importance of will, eternal recurrence, the so-called "death of god" (not only as a religious metaphor, but his oft-overlooked extension of god as a metaphor for the telos of multiple different modes of understanding, including his critique of rationality/science/positivism), creation of gods as concepts of self-praise, and an embrace of the Bacchic/Dionysian in contrast to later Greeks' ascetic rationalism
Hume - limits of rationality, skepticism, foundation of modern scientific rigor
Philosophy of mind - ways around dualism that preserve free will (i.e., Searle's "biological naturalism"), the "problem of other minds", methodological problems in the study of the subjective/qualia
Existentialism - "throwness", Being-in-the-world, authenticity, Being-towards-death (focus on Heidegger, less on Sarte since he is a stupid Humanist in disguise)
(and I forgot to mention earlier) Epicurus(-eanism) - calculated hedonism

I'd love if someone could give me some ideas about what to say in regards to Kant since my knowledge of him is limited. If I understand correctly, his "Prologomena" is required reading for the A.A.

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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:25 am

Wow! That sounds like a meaty discussion topic! You could probably structure an entire course around evaluating and comparing philosophies with Thelema... I sure would've enjoyed that a whole lot better than most of my undergrad work. Wink

Anyway, one that wasn't listed but that I hold a special fondness for is Jean Baudrillard. His "post-structural semiotics" examined the "reality" of symbols (i.e., simulacra). He suggested culture is moving steadily further away from "the Real", and that we are in a stage in which shadows were mistaken as authenticity:

The transition from signs which dissimulate something to signs which dissimulate that there is nothing, marks the decisive turning point. The first implies a theology of truth and secrecy (to which the notion of ideology still belongs). The second inaugurates an age of simulacra and simulation, in which there is no longer any God to recognize his own, nor any last judgement to separate truth from false, the real from its artificial resurrection, since everything is already dead and risen in advance. - (Simulacra & Simulation)
Insofar as Thelema addresses the cultivation of the "true self" from within a house of mirrors, it coincides with Baudrillard's philosophy.
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:29 am

Every time I stop by this thread, this pops into my mind:

Thelema: A.C.'s Psycho-Spiritual Philosophy for a New Aeon @ UCB - Page 2 Stubborn20mule
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.


We've got hundreds of registered users, but IMO the participation is rather sad... No
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:34 pm

93
I would agree with the above comment, but, oh well. It would be nice to have a larger diversity of views. Maybe it will develop. I found the link to Jean Baudrillard to be interesting.
I meant to post earlier, but the internet ate my homework.

frater_entheos
If I understand correctly, his "Prologomena" is required reading for the A.A.

The expanded reading list in Magick in Theory and Practice, pp. 209-228 significantly differs from the original 13 volume reading list in The Equinox vol. 1, no. 7. Included are works of Eastern thought, as well as Western philosophers including Erdmann, Hermes Trismegistus, Cicero, Berkeley, Hume, Spencer, Huxley, and Kant. About these Crowley writes:
“The object of this course of reading is to familiarize the student with all that has been said by the Great Masters in every time and country. He should make a critical examination of them; not so much with the idea of discovering where truth lies, for he cannot do this except by virtue of his own spiritual experience, but rather to discover the essential harmony in those varied works. He should be on his guard against partisanship with a favourite author. He should familiarize himself thoroughly with the method of mental equilibrium, endeavouring to contradict any statement soever, although it may be apparently axiomatic.” (Magick in Theory and Practice, p. 211)
While it would appear that Crowley favours the period of the Enlightenment to his contemporaries in Western philosophy from the above, this is misleading. It should be remembered that Crowley was a wealthy Victorian with a Cambridge education in the classics of philosophy. Before that he grew up in an extremely devout fundamentalist Christian household (Plymouth Brethren, Darby’s dispensationalist sect). Crowley claimed that the only book he was allowed to read as a child was the Bible, and could quote extensively from memory. Crowley’s writings seem to assume a working knowledge of all these influences by the reader.

Regarding philosophy and magick Crowley writes:
“What is true for every School is equally true for every individual. Success in life, on the basis of the Law of Thelema, implies severe self-discipline. Each being must progress, as biology teaches, by strict adaptation to the conditions of the organism… What is necessary is not to seek after some fantastic ideal, utterly unsuited to our real needs, but to discover the true nature of those needs, to fulfil (sic) them, and rejoice therein. This process is what is really meant by initiation; that is to say, the going into oneself, and making one’s peace, so to speak, with all the forces that one finds there.” (Magick Without Tears, pp. 88-89)
It would appear that Crowley’s approach to both philosophy and religion are of a practical syncretistic focus from within a larger, self-determined viewpoint he calls the "Law of Thelema," “Scientific Religion,” or “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” One might even say it has analogues in the modern understanding of Gnosticism, or Jungian Analytical Psychology.
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:11 pm

93
I just got back from class. Tonight the topic was "Thelema and Western Philosophy." I must say that this was an informative and fun lecture. A highlight for me was the quote by Mr. Karras, "Magick is the phenomenology of religious experience."

The assignment for this week is:
"What is a symbol that is significant/interesting to you, why; and what is, or is there, validity to symbols?"

93/93
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Post  Khephra on Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:41 am

"What is a symbol that is significant/interesting to you, why; and what is, or is there, validity to symbols?"

Like many, I'd align my formal introduction to this topic with Jung's Man and His Symbols, but it wasn't until I started tepidly delving into semiotics (by way of Umberto Eco) that things really started to get complex. Semiotics added a whole bunch of ambiguity into the mix for me, and it seriously impacted my dreamscapes.

I have affinity for different symbols at different times - according to context - but one of my current "favourites" is the archetypal 'burning heart'. I think it likely that this partly arises from my dabbling in the Sufi Way, where the heart is recognized as the only legitimate path to "the Beloved".

Like Jung, I think the "validity" of symbols lies is something inchoate... they're pre-Logos. For me, there's great value in escaping word-driven identity.

This sounds like another great topic for a discussion! Thanks for sharing! Very Happy

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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:42 am

I view symbols as having their own intelligence, and they often seem to have an agenda quite separate from my own. When I was younger I used to combine a good bit of my "shamanic wanderings" with sigils, and I found great benefit in engaging these sigils in altered states.

For me, the validity in the power of symbols comes in their capacity to convey meaning and provoke change. But that's probably not always the case, because plenty of symbols have no relationship with change whatsoever...

These days I often try to push my meditations and workings past symbols, but it's not always very pleasant...


Thanks, Ben Stein, for sharing this experience with us!
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:08 pm

93
Personally, I find the Magen David (Star of David, interlocking triangles) particularly significant within both philosophical and familial contexts.

“symbol…an object standing for or representing something else…” (Webster’s).

“…what we want is Truth; we want an even closer approach to Reality; and we want to discover and discuss the proper means of achieving this object.” (Crowley, Magick Without Tears, cap. 3)

“For in each Man his Inmost Light is the Core of his Star. That is, Hadit; and his Work is the Identification of himself with that Light.” (Crowley, Liber Aleph, cap. 1).

“Do thou study most constantly, my Son, in the Art of the Holy Qabalah… because thou wilt lay bare the very Structure of thy Mind… Not until the Universe is laid naked before thee canst thou truly anatomize it. The Tendencies of thy Mind lie deeper far than any Thought… This Way is most sure; most sacred… It is for the Great Souls to enter on this Rigour and Austerity.” (Crowley, Liber Aleph, cap. 2).

“Truth is our Path, and Truth is our Goal…” (Crowley, Little Essays Toward Truth, cap. 16).
Crowley agrees with Spencer that the very act of perception (“the Point-Event”), filtered through our senses and interpreted by our minds, creates an exterior reality that is inherently illusory as it cannot be objectively explored. This leaves the individual’s reality or consciousness as Hadit, the microcosm.

According to Qabalah and traditional western Hermetic philosophy there is a law of correspondence between the individual (real - microcosm) and the symbolic (ideal - macrocosm). This is particularly significant as a means of communication (language itself being necessarily symbolic). Even in the psychodynamic schools of psychology, symbols are the expression of the unconscious (Freud) and/or archetypal mind (Jung). In both cases the symbol becomes an expression of the “Not-I,” or Nuit, the macrocosm.

The systematic examination of one’s internal world, “initiation,” eventually brings one to a rational understanding of Self. This together with the study of the symbolic system of the Qabalah and the development of the “Body of Light” (a vehicle that allows the individual to explore the more subtle realms outside of one’s consciousness), can bring the individual to a supra-rational understanding of Self and Truth. This union of the inner and outer is the goal of all mystico-religious systems.
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:38 pm

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"...if you were left scratching your head and wondering about whether Travis and I would ever get around to sending out a study question, wonder no longer! Rather than doing a traditional reading-response question, we've decided to have you all fill out something akin to a course evaluation form. Please answer the following questions as thoroughly and honestly as possible, keeping in mind that your constructive criticism will help make the class better if (or more optimistically, when) the Thelema DeCal is taught in the future. The questions are as follows:

What were your favorite and least favorite lecture topics?
Were there any topics (either from the reading, Thelema/Crowleyanity, or simply occultism in general) you wish would have been treated more in-depth?
What were your favorite and least favorite readings in the reader?
Was the lecture and small group discussions format conducive to learning?
What would you change about the course?
Did the course fulfill your expectations as per the course description on the DeCal website?
Would you recommend this course to a friend? To any friend in particular?
Any other general comments/criticisms/suggestions?" (Karras, class email, 17 Nov. '09 e.v.)

What were your favorite and least favorite lecture topics?
I have enjoyed the classes that I’ve attended so far.

Were there any topics (either from the reading, Thelema/Crowleyanity, or simply occultism in general) you wish would have been treated more in-depth?
I would suggest more practical work, meaning something that was more than one weeks worth.

What were your favorite and least favorite readings in the reader?
Like Espinoza, I think it is more valuable to read source material rather than another’s interpretation of a writer.

Was the lecture and small group discussions format conducive to learning?
I thought the classes themselves seemed to progress well, but maybe a little less reliance on a strict adherence to the lecture outlines might allow more interaction from the students.

What would you change about the course?
I would add more information on Crowley’s upbringing, especially his religious and philosophical education before the reception of Liber AL.

Did the course fulfill your expectations as per the course description on the DeCal website?
Yes.

Would you recommend this course to a friend? To any friend in particular?
Yes, as an academic discussion of a magico-mystical system.

Any other general comments/criticisms/suggestions?
My only complaint was that Wednesday evenings are a bad choice for me. Of course that is irrelevant to anyone else.
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Post  Khephra on Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:59 pm

Were there any topics (either from the reading, Thelema/Crowleyanity, or simply occultism in general) you wish would have been treated more in-depth?
I would suggest more practical work, meaning something that was more than one weeks worth.

Any suggestions? How could such "practical work" be assessed? (::in full disclosure, I'm a "professional" educator::)

What were your favorite and least favorite readings in the reader?
Like Espinoza, I think it is more valuable to read source material rather than another’s interpretation of a writer.

I agree, but do you think it's a matter of sequence rather than relevance? Once the primary source material has been explored, interpretations have more meaning, right?

Was the lecture and small group discussions format conducive to learning?
I thought the classes themselves seemed to progress well, but maybe a little less reliance on a strict adherence to the lecture outlines might allow more interaction from the students.

OUCH! Lectures?!? pale Why oh why would they use lectures?

What would you change about the course?
I would add more information on Crowley’s upbringing, especially his religious and philosophical education before the reception of Liber AL.

From the syllabus, this doesn't look under-represented, it seems outright excluded... Maybe that was covered in lecture?

Thank you, again, Ben, for sharing this wonderful experience with us!

_________________
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 18, 2009 2:44 pm

Khephra,
93
When I wrote "practical work" I wasn't entirely pleased with it. Specifically what I had in mind was to present some practices or exercises that would begin on the second week and end with the eighth week ("Week 8: Practices of Thelema, Magick"). Maybe even assign a specific practice; and then discuss any individual changes or progress over a greater time period than the one week that was the actual assignment. I don't think this is something that could actually be "assessed" in any sense, nor do I think that it would need to be, but merely experienced to provide a practical point of reference to Crowley's perspective and the potential manipulation of an individual's point of view either towards or away from the same by Crowley's methods.

As far as source versus interpretational writings I must concur with you, though I didn't when I answered the question. That is because the two types of material were not presented together in the Course Reader. I'm glad you pointed that out before I went to class tonight.

As far as the structure of the syllabus and readings assigned, I know the class facilitators are working from a curricula that was established by another person. All in all I have enjoyed the class. It almost seems as though the lectures and, especially, the Reader as they stand seem somewhat confining. I would think there are more interpretations than the three, at the most, presented on any single topic (and those largely being in agreement). I'll be interested to hear the other student's views, and will post an overview here.
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Post  ankh_f_n_khonsu on Wed Nov 18, 2009 5:31 pm

Benjamin Stein wrote:Specifically what I had in mind was to present some practices or exercises that would begin on the second week and end with the eighth week ("Week 8: Practices of Thelema, Magick"). Maybe even assign a specific practice; and then discuss any individual changes or progress over a greater time period than the one week that was the actual assignment.

Hrm... Was keeping a journal part of the course? How about solar adorations a la Liber Resh vel Helios? ... maybe a little too basic?
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Post  Benjamin Stein on Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:47 pm

ankh_f_n_khonsu,
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You know, I like the idea of students keeping a journal throughout the course; if I read you correctly. What I was referring to above was the assignment for Week 8 (briefly, any practice from Crowley's curriculum, performed daily for five minutes, and a diary entry recording the practice). My thought was that one week may not be enough time to really accurately judge the value, if any, of most of the exercises. It might be useful to give the assignment a longer duration to duplicate for the individual student a more accurate sense of what Crowley himself went through and what was expected of his students.

Tonight Dr. David Shoemaker (Chancellor, College of Thelema NorCal; Prolocutor, Temple of the Silver Star; Master, 418 Lodge, O.T.O.) presented a powerpoint lecture on the process of initiation within living Thelemic orders today and a brief history of those orders. I found him to be informed and personable.

No assignment has been given yet. Nor was any discussion given to the class "evaluation."
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