June 23, 2013 TOLS

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

When Jesus speaks in the Gospels, he often refers to ancient traditions. Matthew 5, v. 17, for example, says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” While his charismatic personality is presented as a disturbing and disruptive presence, he does not seem to have propounded any doctrine that was essentially absent from the Judaism of his times. Rather, his life, as presented in scripture, followed various prophecies. Psalm 22, famously, provides a template of his life and crucifixion. His preaching in places already well accepted as sacred sites is mentioned often.

Christianity, as it evolved, followed the Jewish practice of citing scripture, tradition and precedent, and it remains rooted in its heritage and the past. Some Christians today will cite the early history of the Christian community as embodying the perfect lifestyle, and there is a similar attitude within Islam about the time when Mohammed and his followers lived in Medina, before returning to Mecca.

There is nothing like this in Chapter Three of The Book of the Law. The text doesn’t refer backwards, looking only forward. Ra-Hoor-Khuit states what he does and will do, but apart from notifying us that he has “crushed an Universe; & naught remains,” he claims no links to the past.

I’m not sure how much people have considered the implications of this. For many Thelemites, it’s enough to reject the Christ mythos, and to see Christianity as a spiritual shipwreck. But as Thelema expands its influence, it is coming into contact with a broader community of both scholars and seekers, and there’s going to be more dialogue occurring. And more questions.

Christology, the study of the nature and person of Jesus Christ is a well-established field of enquiry for theologians, even if it’s suspect to some evangelicals. Pondering the dual nature of the Man-God Jesus Christ has a long pedigree. Now, we can’t use the term ‘Horology,’ (which refers to the study of measuring time), and for now I can’t come up with a better term than the slightly clunky ‘Heruology.’ (Suggestions welcomed). But as Thelema in general moves from being a radical fringe movement into something that has influence on broader areas of life, the ways in which Heru-Ra-Ha, the twin god of Chapter Three, can be compared to the Saviour of Christianity, is going to be a topic of debate.

We have Crowley’s own explications of The Book of the Law, and his expansion of the Horus-archetype in his other writings. Beyond that, there oughtn’t to be anyone laying down the pros and cons of the whole business. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking at it, if only to expand or to stabilise our own understanding. It just means, perhaps, that Heruology will be a crowd-sourced field of study as opposed to an academic one.

And that’s why I bring up the topic of orientation in time. Faith in Christ rests on the foundations of the past, along with a belief in a catastrophic end of time. Experience of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-Paar-Kraat is founded in appreciation of the present moment, and looks forward to an unending outpouring of manifestation.

The Christ looks backward, referring us to broken commandments which provide the rationale for the upcoming Judgement. Horus looks forward and offers nothing so definite. Thelema, as a result, will continue to be scandalous to Christians, as Christianity is a scandal to Thelemites. But students of comparative religion and the psychology of faith, as well as Thelemites themselves, could do worse than consider the immense implications of such a reorientation of perspectives on time and how its affects our spirituality. More than just a shift in cosmic ‘management’ at the birth of the new Aeon, the change to Horus is going to have an impact on how we see ourselves as individuals moving against the background of time and space.

Love is the law, love under will.

Edward Mason

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