An Introduction to the
TEMPLE OF THELEMA
"There are four gates to one palace; the floor of that palace is of
silver and gold; lapis lazuli & jasper are there; and all rare scents;
jasmine & rose, and the emblems of death.
"...enter in turn or at once the four gates."
- Liber Legis, Cap. I, v. 51
AN OPEN LETTER
to All who seek
the Light of Gnosis
and the Pure Light of Truth
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
If you have been seeking long - and especially if you are already
familiar with the formal avenues of Initiation that have emerged in
this century - then this present short letter may tell you most of
what you need to know about the Temple of Thelema.
If you do not understand the terms and references on these first
two pages, then simply read on, in the pages that follow, where a more
careful explanation will serve as your introduction.
Temple of Thelema is an initiating Order - a modern Mystery School,
nonprofit, which focuses on regular group work and the systematic
teaching and training of its members in the spiritual disciplines of
magick and mysticism. It combines methods and traditions of both East
and West: the Ageless Wisdom of Asia's yoga and of Europe's Hermetic
qabalah. The old grade ceremonies of the Hermetic Order of the Golden
Dawn have been recrafted to conform to Thelemic symbols and
principles, but remain true to the original patterns called the
"Cipher Manuscript Formulae." Nomenclature has, in places, been
changed so as not to cause confusion with certain other terminology. A
tremendous amount of residual sexism - some overt, some exceedingly
subtle - has been weeded out of the system.
In addition to the simple "Knowledge Lecture" teachings
praemonstrated by the old Golden Dawn, we have added many additional
teachings and practices. There is especially much work added on
self-exploration and self-knowledge, from multiple perspectives. We
have discovered that there is a fairly precise methodology that
prepares people for a lucid breakthrough experience in the conscious
recognition and articulation (to themselves) of their True Will, and
empowers them to do it.
We operate on a "Three Ray" model of balanced development of
Wisdom, Love, and Power, based upon practical methods that include
intellectual training, meditation, and magical ritual at every stage
of progress. Integrating these three forms is a Unifying quality that
is the essence of self-knowledge (Self-Gnosis).
The initiation rituals and other ceremonies are frequently
described by members as having a tremendous beauty and strength. The
regular group ceremonial celebrations, and the ongoing group healing
work which we perform, are central to the training method. There are,
of course, both mystical and magical practices undertaken at home by
each individual, in addition to the work done together.
We invite you to read further, and to ask questions. By this
letter, we invite all to search themselves sincerely and decide if
they are of us.
Love is the law, love under will.
The Grand Praemonstrator
TEMPLE OF THELEMA
INITIATION, MAGICK & MYSTICISM
"In all systems of religion is to be found a system of Initiation,
which may be defined as the process by which a man comes to learn that
"Though none can communicate either the knowledge or the power to
achieve this, which we may call the Great Work, it is yet possible for
initiates to guide others.
"Every man must overcome his own obstacles, expose his own
illusions. Yet others may assist him to do both, and they may enable
him altogether to avoid many of the false paths, leading no whither,
which tempt the weary feet of the uninitiated pilgrim. They can
further insure that he is duly tried and tested...
"Now the Great Work is one, and the Initiation is one, and the
Reward is one, however diverse are the symbols wherein the Unutterable
- from Liber Causae (1907 e.v.)
THERE have existed, in all known periods of history, societies or
orders or schools which have taught magick or mysticism or
spirituality - under these names, or others. The maxim of these orders
has ever been, "Know thyself!" And the self-knowledge acquired has
been represented as "Light in extension" (or by a kindred expression).
That gnostic LIGHT has survived throughout humanity's history, being
conveyed from temple to temple by those who have received it and,
knowing its worth, have seen fit to feed it, and to bear it to new
temples where it again ignites the hearth fire of teaching. Thus have
the true Wisdom Schools propagated from generation to generation.
In recent decades, increasing numbers of people have turned (or
returned) to a renewed spirituality. They have recognized a greater
need for answers about themselves, their lives, and their world. This
awakening spirit of inquiry reflects a stage of ripeness, a readiness,
to move into a new phase of life, a stage of expanded awareness,
participation, and responsibility, valuing tolerance over intolerance,
unity over divisiveness, and inclusive acceptance over exclusive
bigotry and parochialism.
It is a fundamental teaching of the Mysteries that when the student
is ready, the teacher will appear. Each of us is led to the level of
teaching that he or she can hear. Inherent safeguards ward the inmost
sanctuaries from those not ready for them, and protect the unprepared
Seeker as well.
But for those who are prepared, there come the methods of the
Mysteries. This pamphlet, now in your hands, gives you the opportunity
to explore these pathways.
Each of history's great religions (where we have a record of their
establishment) was founded by an individual who actually experienced
what may be called illumination, or realization, or liberation, or
consciousness of the Divine, or union with God, or superconsciousness.
The exact description does not matter. From culture to culture,
religion to religion, era to era, the language employed has
necessarily varied, because spiritual experience cannot be encapsu-
lated in words, nor circumscribed by the boundaries of reason. It
Despite a diversity of details unique to each culture and era, the
messages of these liberated individuals have been wondrously alike.
Looking beyond mere surface details, we find that essentially
identical practices (or religious observances, or methods of spiritual
inquiry) were taught and employed in each case. The essential methods,
where known, are so universal that only the enormity of human
religious prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry could have kept this
similarity from being widely recognized all along.
The Mysteries of Initiation teach that the attainment of the goals
of religious aspiration - actual spiritual experience - are obtainable
in this life, on earth, now; that while the nature of the Supreme
Experience (or "Truth") is necessarily unique for each individual, it
can be universally recognized by all; and that these wonderful results
are producible by known methods that, in one or another variety, have
been employed for thousands of years.
The general populace, when sufficiently content with their
circumstances in life, may not choose to undertake this great
spiritual adventure which we call the Great Work. For the masses,
conventional religions are provided. Each such orthodoxy is suitable
to the time and place that it serves. In these orthodox religions, we
therefore find greater diversity of outer form and specific doctrine.
Yet behind each, serving each, and the source of each, are
universal and ecumenical spiritual principles. These principles are
known. They can be verified - in fact, discovered anew - by each
individual without the need of dogmatic assertion. Personal experience
will confirm or, if necessary, deny the efficacy of these methods of
meditation and of ceremony - that is, of mysticism and of ritual
magick - so that each person who undertakes these methods will know,
from practice and experimentation, what is true for him or her, and
what is false.
SILENT MASTERS OF WISDOM
FOR thousands of years, the principal methods of spiritual progress
have been confined predominantly to the Mystery Schools, or initiated
instruction, in the East and West alike.
Nearly four hundred years ago, a current was unleashed upon the
Western world with the intent of preparing the day when the full
secrets of Wisdom could be disclosed. The opening years of the 17th
Century brought one of the greatest declarations of spiritual
liberation in modern times - a message not yet for every man and
woman, but at first only for the erudite, the elite, the spiritually
privileged who would bear, thereby, the responsibility of establishing
its principles for all, by necessary political, economic, social, and
religious reforms in the centuries ahead. Europe was with child; and
the birth announcement came under the banner of a Rosy Cross.
Early in the 17th Century, two small books appeared, initially in
Germany, called the Fama Fraternitatis and the Confessio
Fraternitatis. These two pamphlets purported to be the manifestos of
the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, more popularly called the
Since 1612, more rubbish has been written about the Rosicrucians
than about any other detail of occultism. In one sense, that was the
entire point! These manifestos were written and released to draw
attention to the principles they enunciated - to stir the gifted to
write and to think and to create. Although the resulting malarkey
added much disinformation to the data pool, this, too, is of service;
for an intuitively-informed sense of discrimination has always been
one of the qualities that has sorted from the masses those who are
ready for actual initiation.
Centuries of debate have ensued as to the identity of those who
issued these manifestos. In the final analysis, it does not really
matter who they were. No matter what individuals lent their hands to
the production of these documents, the true Authorship, and the
motivation for their production, must be credited to the Secret
Masters of the Third Order. By this term, we designate those Wise Ones
of that One and Eternal Order which has existed throughout history,
silently guiding humanity's cultural and spiritual evolution. This
"true and invisible" Order is the Arcanum Arcanorum ("Mystery of
Mysteries"), and the Sanctum Sanctorum ("Holy of Holies") wherein the
Sacred Ark rests inviolate. Every legitimate magical order, mystery
school, fraternity, religion, or other agency disseminating some
portion of Wisdom or Light has been but an Outer Vehicle of this Inner
Fellowship of Light, this College of Masters. The Fama and the
Confessio were, above all, Their manifestos, announcing Themselves
anew to certain individuals who had a capacity to serve the cause of
humanity's spiritual progress.
The impact of the Fama and the Confessio on the cultural evolution
of Europe was inestimable. Furthermore, these two documents determined
the pattern, the principles, and the mythos of the Mysteries for
centuries to follow. Not until three hundred years had passed were
these two manifestos joined, and even succeeded, by a third.
THELEMA & THE BOOK OF THE LAW
IN 1904, a British poet, magician, and philosopher named Aleister
Crowley received the channeled dictation of a book called Liber Legis,
or The Book of the Law. The angelic (or, as Crowley liked to say,
"praeterhuman") intelligence dictating the Book declared its Name to
be Aiwass, and identified itself as "the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat"
- that is, the minister of the Egyptian God of Silence, virtually the
"Voice of the Silence" itself. The Book of the Law declared the
dawning of a new spiritual era for humanity, an Aeon governed by the
God Horus, Child of Isis and Osiris, rather than by the "slain god"
archetype of Osiris or Christ which had governed, in different forms,
the few thousands of years preceding.
The significance of such a world transition must not be missed.
Mystics for many decades had been promising the emergence of a New
Age. The implication is that those universal archetypes most likely to
draw human consciousness inward toward its spiritual roots, the
archetypal forces which would oversee both the intentional and the
natural evolution of humanity, had undergone a quantum shift. The
slain or sacrificed god had been replaced by the Eternally Borning
The primary message of The Book of the Law is concentrated in the
Greek words thelema, meaning "will" - referring to the True Will, or
dharma, or Divine Word inherent in each person - and in agape, "love"
(especially bhakti, or passionate love of the Divine as a basis for
authentic human love). It is in the name of Love and of Will that the
inward call is issued to this that we call the Great Work.
The Book of the Law declares that the old ritual forms and their
accouterments were abrogated, and that new formulae were to be
prepared from the ashes. It charged Crowley with certain
responsibilities in disseminating its message and in preparing the new
ways of teaching, which he did.
The Book of the Law is a new manifesto authored by the same Source
as the Fama and Confessio, addressed to men and women of a new age. No
longer is the message addressed only to an elite. No, the new law is
for all, and is open to every person in the world.
THE TEMPLE OF THELEMA
ALL of the foregoing is preparatory to understanding the nature and
purposes of the magical Order which this invitation gives you the
opportunity to explore further.
The Temple of Thelema is an international spiritual, magical
fellowship - a modern Mystery School - offering sincere and interested
individuals the opportunity for ceremonial initiation, regular group
temple work, association with like-minded companions, and a systematic
and graded training designed to lead to a profound level of
self-discovery, self-fulfillment, and service to life.
Most of our ceremonial work is performed in a private group
setting, open only to initiated members. However, a few functions are
open to the general public during the course of each year. In the
fashion of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (a British Hermetic
and Qabalistic fellowship founded in 1887, and one of our lineal
"ancestors"), our work is divided into a series of degrees, or steps,
based on a Qabalistic diagram called the Tree of Life. In each of
these degrees of training, the member is given the opportunity and
responsibility to explore himself or herself from a different point of
view, climaxing in a stage of synthesis, or integration.
This transcendent experience of self-awareness (gnosis) is known by
many names, depending on the teacher or philosophy which one follows.
It is, in any case, the fulfillment of the deepest heartfelt need of
every awakening individual. In the language of the Temple of Thelema,
each person has an inner Truth-of-Self, or True Will. This True Will
is at once the deepest personal desire, and one's own self-created
destiny. It is the key to absolute freedom, and yet - ironically - is
not consciously known by most people. Its conscious discovery explains
to a person the mysteries of his or her life, what he or she is best
suited to give to the world, and the most joyous and self-fulfilling
avenues of self-expression.
It is the task of each to discover that True Will and then to do
it, with one-pointedness, detachment, peace, and joy.
The initiated member so fortified with this clear and conscious
awareness of his or her nature, is then admitted to the magical and
mystical practices of the Inner Order which place in the initiate's
hands full control of his or her spiritual destiny.
There are marked differences between Temple of Thelema and the
original Golden Dawn order. More practical instruction has been added
in the early (Outer Order) degrees, incorporating much that has been
learned in the last century concerning self-exploration, the attaining
of self-knowledge, and the internal processes of transformation or
regeneration. Those who are charged with the formulation of the Temple
of Thelema ceremonies and teachings have worked mightily at removing
both the overt and the subtle residuals of sexism which plagued and
unbalanced our predecessors. Also - and of great importance - all of
our work has been conformed to the Thelemic principles enunciated in
The Book of the Law.
THE COLLEGE OF THELEMA
THE Temple of Thelema was established upon the principles and
methods of the College of Thelema, of which it is a part.
C.O.T. is a magical and spiritual educational program founded by
Phyllis Seckler in 1973. In addition to the formal initiatory and
training functions of the Temple, the College of Thelema offers
courses of study (combining seminars, private instruction, solitary
work, and other instructional techniques) that seek to guide students
to a deeper understanding of themselves, their role in the universe,
and the Law of Thelema which provides the necessary guidance. In many
of its locations, the College also offers ongoing or periodic classes
open to the interested public.
The College also publishes In the Continuum, a journal featuring
important (and rare) writings by Crowley, as well as other material.
In continuous publication for over 20 years, this journal is
recommended to all who are interested in any of the subject matter
discussed in this present brochure. Further information can be
obtained by writing directly to the Oroville address on the enclosed
THE Temple of Thelema is selective in seeking only those who truly
desire to grow in Love, Power, and Wisdom, and to serve humanity in
conformity with The Book of the Law. Membership is, therefore, only by
invitation. Interested parties are invited to submit a Preliminary
An investment of time and effort is expected and required from each
member. Each is expected to put the Great Work foremost in his or her
life; to dare, with courage undaunted, to perfect that Work; and ever
to apply best effort to effect Harmony within the Order, and within
the world in general.
Temple of Thelema does not urge any person to seek membership. The
decision to seek initiation must be an individual one. But the Order
does make itself and its principles known, so that those who seek
initiation may find that which they seek.
By this present letter, we invite all to search themselves
sincerely and decide if they are of us.
Preliminary Applications for an interview, or specific questions,
should be addressed to the Cancellarius of any working Temple or
Pronaos (see the appended contact list).
By your present inquiry, you have taken a step that makes clear
that your spiritual nature is seeking an avenue for its liberation and
satisfaction. That avenue may be through Temple of Thelema, or through
another path better suited to your own nature. Whatever your choice,
we wish you the best in this, the most joyous and noble of all
TEMPLE OF THELEMA
P.O. Box 415, Oroville, CA 95965. *
(Primary College of Thelema contact address, and the address for
In the Continuum orders and sales. For Temple of Thelema, only
administrative offices are at the Oroville address.)
222 North Manhattan Place, Los Angeles, CA 90004. *
(Temple of Thelema U.S.A. Grand Chiefs. College of Thelema
principal corporate office.)
680 Queens Quay, #704, Toronto, ONT M5V 2Y9.
945 Taraval Street, Ste. 216, San Francisco, CA 94116. *
P.O. Box 441474, Indianapolis, IN 46244. *
#202 Meson Suwayama, 3-31-3 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153 JAPAN.
(Address of Grand Cancellarius and Japanese coordinator. At
present there is no Tokyo temple, although one is planned.
Inquiries are welcomed.)
* College of Thelema instruction also available at these addresses.
(C) Copyright 1994, Temple of Thelema
"This shall regenerate the world, the little world my sister, my heart
& my tongue, unto whom I send this kiss."
Love is the law, love under will.
Sub Umbra Alarum Tuarum.