The Religion of Thelema Folklore and History

Thelema is a complex set of mystic, supernatural and religious theories formed in the late 20th century by the most renowned occult teacher Aleister Crowley.

Thelema is a religion, complete with formal rituals, services, rites and is also universalist which can be followed by anyone at any time. Thelemites might be anything from atheists to polytheists.

It is embraced by the Ordo Templis Orientis (O.T.O.) and Argenteum Astrum (A.A.), the Order of the Silver Star, and several other famous occult groups, which practice this religion.

What is Thelema?

The word Thelema is derived from the Greek word, whose meaning is will or intention.

Established by A.Crowley in 1904, this is a religion that has several interpretations, one can either take a more formal route or can even practice this without being forced.


We can see that even though the word Thelema is derived from the Greek word, we have seen an association with the following word.

Agape Divine or Mystic love

This meaning is derived from the famous law of the religion which is do what thou wilt that means love is the law, love under will.

History and Thelemic Culture

Thelema is also named as a new religious movement that has arisen over the past hundred years or so and is now gradually becoming established worldwide.


One of the earliest mentions of Thelemic philosophy was the classics “Gargantua” and “Pantagruel” written by Francois Rabelais in 1532.

This epic adventure story tells the establishment of “Abbey of Thelema” as an institution to cultivate human virtue.

Rabelais believes that it is the opposite of the Christian properties of that time. The only rule of Monastery is: “Do what you want to do”. This has become one of the basic tenets of theology and religion today.

Despite being touched by outstanding and visionary thinkers for the next few hundred years, the cultural seeds sown by Rabelais were eventually developed by an Englishman named Aleister Crowley at the beginning of this century.

Crowley is a poet, writer, mountaineer, and magician, and is a member of a mysterious society known as “The Order of the Golden Dawn.”

In 1904, when Crowley and his wife Rose traveled in Egypt, they were inseparably involved in a series of activities, which he declared to be a new era of human evolution.

When Crowley entered the state of and wrote three chapters of 220 chapters, these books reached their climax, and these three chapters were called “Books of Law” (also known as Liber AL and Liber Legis).

The book declares, among other things: “The truth of the law is Thelema” and “The thing to be done will be the entire law.”    

Folklore and Mythology

It is believed that Crowley spent the rest of his life developing the Thelemic religious system as revealed by the Law. The result is a large number of comments and works on magic, mysticism, yoga, Kabbalah, and other mystical subjects.


All these writings were influenced by the religion, which Crowley explained and understood as a prophet of the new eternal life. One theory is that each chapter of the Book of Law is associated with a specific era of human spiritual evolution.

Chapter 1 describes Isis’s eternity as according to this view the archetype of female divinity is the most important.

Chapter 2 is about the eternal life of Osiris. At that time, the prototype of the slain god became very important, and the patriarchal religion in the world was also established.

Chapter 3 foretells the birth of a new eternal generation, the eternal generation of Horus, the children of Isis and Osiris.

What are the Beliefs in the Thelema?

The Thelemites strive to ascend to a higher state of survival, combine themselves with a higher power, and understand and embrace their true will, their ultimate purpose, and status in life.

Every man and every woman is a star

Everyone has unique talents, abilities, and potentials and should not be hindered in any way in seeking his true self.

The Law of Thelemites

Most Thelemites believe that everyone has a real will, which is the overall motivation for their survival.

The Law stipulates that everyone should follow his true will to realize the fulfillment of life and freedom not restricted by its nature.

Love is the law, love under will

This is an important corollary of the above, indicating that the essence of Thelema’s law is the essence of love.

Everyone is united with his or her “true self in love” and is empowered by it, and the whole conscious life world loves each other.

What is the meaning of “Do what thou wilt”?

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Here the phrase “Thou wilt” means living according to your true will.

Meaning of Do what thou wilt
Meaning of Do what thou wilt

Because no two real wishes will conflict (according to “every man and every woman is a star”), the law also prohibits one person from interfering with the true wishes of anyone else.

The Thelemites cherish a concept of absolute freedom that one follows his true will.

The main task of an individual on Thelema’s path is to first discover his or her true will, and it is extremely important to give self-exploration methods such as magick.

Besides, each true will is different, and since everyone has a unique perspective of the universe, no one can determine the true will for another. Everyone must find discovery in person.

What is the meaning of “Aeon of Horus”?

Meaning of Aeon of Horus is that we live in the era of Horus, the children of Isis and Osiris, who represent the previous era.

The Isis era is the matriarchal era. The Osiris era was an era of patriarchy, and religious belief focused on sacrifice. Horus’s age is an era of individualism, and Horus’ children alone attack and learn.

Who are the Thelemic Gods?

Who are the Thelemic Gods
Who are the Thelemic Gods

The three most discussed gods in Thelema are Nuit, Hadit, and Ra Hoor Khuit, which are usually equivalent to Egyptian gods Isis, Osiris, and Horus. These may be considered as literal existence, or they may be prototypes.

What is the most well-known Thelemic Group?

The most famous Thelemic group ceremony is the Gnostic Mass, a symbolic service similar to Catholic Mass but with mysterious and theological elements.

This is regularly performed by the temples of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, Thelemic founding organization Ordo Templi Orientis Church Department. (Orient of the Templars of the Orient).

What are the Practices laid in Thelemic Religion?

Thelma’s position in North America has been firmly established, and most states have Thelemic study and work groups, and dedicated students can use the traditional Thelemic initial commands.

These include the aforementioned A.A, O.T.O, and Temple. In theological orders, the women involved are usually given the title of “soror” meaning sister and “frater” meaning brothers are called to men.

Besides, members often use special magickal names. (For example, Crowley’s was Perdurabo in “The Order of the Golden Dawn.” In Argenteum Astrum, people were promoted through degrees or ranks related to Kabbalah.

What is Crowley portraying in his Book of Law?

What is Crowley portraying about Thelema in his Book of Law
What is Crowley portraying in his Book of Law

Crowley wrote in his “Message of the Master Therion”, for all the Thelemites that they must

  1. Find out what their will is.
  2. Detachment from worldly things, only then they are in harmony with things.

It is one of the most bizarre and complex activities in the New Religious Movement of the 20th century.

The metaphysical and aesthetic aspects of many faith traditions around the world have enriched the religion. It continues to be a little-known system based on the principle of autonomy, regards its unique path as holy and kind.

It regards the performance of this path as a representative of enlightenment itself.

What are the Holidays and Celebrations in the Religion of Thelema?

Celebrations in the Religion of Thelema
Celebrations in the Religion

Since this being very mystic and has its connection with the occult theories, Holidays and Celebrations in this religion is different.

  1. Elements and feast ceremonies celebrated before the vernal equinox and solstice
  2. The vernal equinox celebrates the feast of gods and the establishment of Thelema
  3. On August 12, the first-night feast of the Prophet and his bride celebrated Crowley’s first marriage with Rose Kelly, who helped his initial revelation.
  4. From April 8 to 10, the three-day feast of writing “Legal Books”
  5. On March 20, the new year, the feast of the Supreme Ceremony.

Apart from the above festivities, Thelemites also commonly celebrate a certain significant milestone in one’s life.

  1. The feast of life, the birth of a child.
  2. The feast of fire, the boy’s adult festival.
  3. The feast of water, the girl’s adulthood.
  4. The great death sacrifice held in memory of the dead.


Although Thelema is a new type of religion that can accommodate a variety of personal beliefs from atheism to polytheism.

Of course, in emphasizing inherent freedom and personality, any given Thelemite’s beliefs may be different from other beliefs.

The important thing is that everyone has the right to realize themselves through the beliefs and actions that are most suitable for them, and only they are qualified to determine what they are.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What does 93 mean in Thelema?

In informal written correspondence, one often finds the number singularly at the head of a letter, representing “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” and in the form “93 93/93” at the end, which stands for “Love is the law, love under will.”

What is a Thelemite occultist?

Within the modern system, Thelemite occultist is a complex mystical path designed to do two interrelated things: to learn one’s unique True Will and to achieve union with the All.

What did Aleister Crowley die of?

Aleister Crowley who was an occultist and developed the modern system of Thelema died of having chronic bronchitis which was his cause of death as mentioned in several texts.

How many Thelemites are there in the world?

Although there is no valid proof about the number of Thelemites but is estimated to be about 30,000. This number doesn’t seem like a bad guess nonetheless. In terms of world population, that makes roughly 1 Thelemite per 200,000.

Who is the God of Thelema?

Thelema draws its principal gods and goddesses from the Ancient Egyptian religion. The highest deity in the cosmology of Thelema is the goddess Nuit. She is the night sky arched over the Earth symbolized in the form of a naked woman.