Bealtaine Celebration 2016

Do what thou wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law

The 30th of April saw The Irish Order of Thelema celebrate the annual Poets Bards & Blaggers event to bring us into Bealtaine. Community members and guests were met by tea and coffee in the reception area for a bit of mingling and chat of the day ahead while the Ritual Crew put the finishing touches to the Bealtaine Rite.

After welcoming guests to the Craobh Rua, The Belfast Grove of The Irish Order of Thelema, the opening of the temple space began with a cleansing, the Emerald Star was performed, followed by our powerful Bealtaine Ritual for the 15+ guests…

A short break, while the temple was transformed into a performance space, while our younger guests retired to the reception area for an afternoon of arts and crafts. Decorating the winter tree to bring us into summer with colourful flowers and green leaves and making festive headbands to wear during the children’s performance of the Bealtaine Maypole Dance, which finished off a full day of shared, creative energies brought in the form of songs, dance, poetry, story telling and spoken word at the Poets Bards & Blaggers section of the day…

The joyous event was wrapped up with a hearty feast for all who attended. As the temple brought to a close we had the rite of community membership and welcomed one of our honoured guests as a new community member of the Belfast Grove of The Irish Order of Thelema. All in all it was a successful celebration.

Journal of Ogam Studies Out Now

The Irish Order of Thelema is proud to announce the publication of Volume 2 of the Journal of Ogam Studies.

The Journal of Ogam 00 -josStudies is an occasional publication focusing on the ogam, its history and its innovative use in contemporary spiritual practice. Ogam (or ogham)is an ancient Irish written language. Many have also posited a more esoteric interpretation of its history and use. The field of ogam studies is equally interesting to scholars, as well to as spiritual practitioners drawing from ancient sources and finding new and exciting applications. This publication may be of special interest to druids, pagans, magical practitioners, divinators and people interested in Irish studies, and specifically the ogam.

In this issue we have:

A reevaluation of the Ogham Tree List

An Invocation of Ogma (ritual)

Ogham and Hyper Diffusionism in America

A Herb Ogham

A Bird Ogham

Ogham and Fidchell

as well as a series of tree “doodles” throughout the journal…

To celebrate the publication we are offering 15% off all publications from the Irish Order of Thelema/ Fortified Island Press including the Fortified Island Anthology. Offer lasts until the 15th of May. Check it out!

Magick In Theory and Practice Workshop

On the 17th of April we hosted a workshop on Magick In Theory in Practice in the Temple space in Belfast. Facilitated by Fionn, a long time thelemic initiate (including involvement in the Irish Order of Thelema), we had an interesting day.

Aleister Crowley is one of the best known occultists of the 20th century. We explored Croweys definition of magick and the specific methods he employed. Towards the end of his life Crowley wrote Magick in Theory and Practice, his magnum opus on magick. In MITP Crowley offers a model for ritual magick.

Included in the day was an extended discussion of what ritual is, what makes for good ritual, theatre analogies and why good theatre makes for good ritual, warm ups and body work as a preliminary for ritual, voicework, the formulas of ritual described in magick and theory in practice (batteries, banishing, purification, consecration, statement of intent etc).

With lots of practical work with body, voice, magical gesture, a good and informative day was had by all.

Three Days Celebration and AGM

On the 9th April The Irish Order of Thelema met in Belfast to mark the Three Days of the writing of Liber Al vel Legis, The Book of the Law. We held an AGM to discuss and reflect both on the year behind us and the year ahead of us and worked on strategic plans and goals.

We also had a celebratory reading of the three chapters of The Book of the Law, followed by a festive feed and merriment!

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Vernal Equinox

The Spring or Vernal Equinox is a significant time for Thelemites as the New Year in the Thelemic calendar, as well as the anniversary of the equinox of the Gods, in which the new aeon was ushered in. This year the theme of transitions was reflected in our Equinox ritual.

At Spring Equinox the National Sovereign led the grove ritual. It was a ritual of purification in which all present where involved. A group banishing, purification and invocation was performed that each person may get rid of anything they don’t need, purify what’s left and invoked what they need to accomplish their True Will in the coming year. It was a potent rite enjoyed and appreciated by all present.

On this occasion we also consecrated a new priestess for the grove, and welcomed a new member to our community.

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Workshop on Thelemic Tarot and Qabalah

Several people met on the 12th of March to look at the qabalah and tarot in a thelemic context. Starting with a discussion of the development of esoteric Judaism including Merkevah, Hassidism and the Qabalah, the day focused on the Thoth tarot as an experiential medium through which we can encounter the cards and their principles as beings. This also included a look at how the deck has changed in the new aeon. Included an introduction to Liber 231, the day also had several interactive exercises and a group skrying of the mercurial sigil of the Lamed and the Adjustment card from Liber 231. A great Day was had by all.

Imbolg

A ritual for Imbolg and a handfasting marked the season. Much joy and merriment was had.

May our Lady Brigit of the White Flame purify the minds and hearts of our Warriors and renew our weapons in her Sacred Forge. May she chant the satire that destroys the enemies of our Order and sing the praises of all who hold true to the principals of Thelema! May she heal that which needs healed. By the Power of her Sovereign Cloak may you all be protected and blessed with the beauty of the season and rejoice in growing Light.  

                                                                                                                                       93/93 Stoirm D’Atrach
National Sovereign

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Solstice Greetings

”In the cycle of the Seasons the Sun reaches its depth at the winter solstice, we approach the shortest day, and the longest night.

In the light of Thelema we realise that the sun stands and shines ‘eternal’ at the centre of our solar system, its apparent waxing and waning exist only from the point of view of our planet – and while our ancestors explained this cycle as a perpetual battle between light and darkness, which inspired and informed their myths of death and resurrection. We know that the Sun neither dies, nor is reborn and it is but the shadows and cycles of the Earth that create night and day and the greater cycle of the seasons.

To us light and darkness, life and death are neither opposite nor contrary – rather they are complimentary, twin phases of a greater cycle wherein we make speech and silence, energy and stillness twin forms of our play!

We celebrate the Sun as it is in truth.
Neither rising, nor setting
Equally radiant at midnight and at noon
‘One Star in the company of stars
of whose fire we are created,
and to which we shall return’
and a fitting symbol of the Law of Thelema
that radiates Light, Life, Love and Liberty
from the Heart of the Order.”

~ intro to the Irish Order of Thelema’s Celebration of the Winter Solstice.

Solstice Greetings to all our members and friends. We hope you have a good festive season, however you choose to celebrate it.

Winter solstice at Newgrange

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We marked the festival of the dead in fitting fashion, with food, friends, festivities and ritual.

Unto them from whose eyes the veil of life hath fallen may there be granted the accomplishment of their true Wills; whether they will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with their chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another, or in any Star, or aught else, unto them may there be granted the accomplishment of their wills; yea, the accomplishment of their wills

‘The End’ in Liber LXV, the Gnostic Mass.

Aleister Crowley and Matthew Shepard: Imagining a More Thelemic World

If you spend some time on social media today you might see that today is the birthday of Aleister Crowley, also known as the Great Beast. It is sometimes celebrated as the Lesser Feast of the prophet of the lovely star, mostly spuriously, though some contest the drive to mark it. Aleister Crowley is a name known to many, and there is a lot of sensationalism around his life and work including claims Crowley was the wickedest man in the world. What, by modern standards was his great heresy? Crowley told people to think for themselves, to be themselves, and to respect the rights of others to do the same. He was bisexual. He used drugs. He was involved in the occult. Cue the pearl clutchers.

There are many layers of obscurity laid over Aleister Crowleys law of Thelema, but at its core it is a movement of ethical individualism. Thelema is often conflated with occult practices as espoused and practiced by Crowley, but the truth is he made explicitly clear that the occult is a method that he has used, but is not in the biography or path of very many. Crowley claimed to channel a book from a supernatural entity which gives the law of thelema as Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

At the core of my path is healthy skepticism, something Crowley encouraged in his writings (see for example the Soldier and the Hunchback) and I struggle with the idea of channeled texts, and I find myself comparing the experiences of Aleister Crowley to other contemporaries who were handed revelations like Joseph Smith (of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, better known to most as Mormons). And yet for me, though I am skeptical of the claimed esoteric origins of the law of thelema, as a human being, the core message has a deep personal resonance for me. It was a deeply brave thing to challenge moral objectivity in Victorian England, with its values, and Crowley, from his drug use to his enjoyment of taboo sexual practices thoroughly challenged those values.

There are things about Aleister Crowley I do not look upon as positive things for my path, and I would not uphold him as anything more than a man, a brilliant man, but a man all the same. So why stop to remember the birthday of Aleister Crowley? I do not accept anyone other than myself as my lord and saviour, but I believe very positive ideas and ideals have arisen from the work of Aleister Crowley and his law of thelema that are still as relevant to the world we live in today, as they were over a hundred years ago. I live with his biography and his work as impetus for my own work and life and appropriately remember why I have attached myself to the work of a controversial man.

I am reminded of the relevance of the ideas of thelema, and their need in the world today also because today is another important anniversary – a more contemporary anniversary. On this day in 1998 a gay youth named Matthew Shepard died. Matthew was a vibrant young man, a college student and a gay man who was abducted in the small town of Laramie in Wyoming, USA, and was savagely beaten and left for dead. Most people believe this is because Matthew was gay. In the USA hate crime legislation, signed into law in 2009, bears his name.

In placing these two events next to each other I ask myself, what does the life of one man have to do with the other? In the light of Aleister Crowleys own bisexuality, gender fluidity and teachings around the law of thelema, I cannot help but wonder, if the law of thelema was not only universally applicable, but universally applied, would Matthew be dead? And would there be the same questions around hate crimes based on bigotry (religious and secular) today if this law lived in the world?

On this day a man was born who dreamed of a different world. Aleister Crowleys teachings have the potentially to literally create a better world if put into practice. On this day a man also died, and was abused long after his death because these values have not come to live in the world. Though Matthew Shepard is best known and portrayed as a gay martyr, the questions of ethical individualism and mutual tolerance touch everyone’s lives and it is appropriate to muse on a life cut short in a world where the law of Thelema has not been successfully implemented.

As well as sharing this day in common, Aleister Crowleys death day, the 1st of December, is the birthday of Matthew Shepard.  Both are remembered for how the world is and how the world could one day be. Let’s make that world!

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Aleister Crowley  12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947

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Matthew Shepard 1 December 1976 – 12 October 1998