- What is Gnosis?
- What is Scientific Illuminism?
- What is Magick?
- What is Thelema?
- Are you a Masonic group?
- What is the significance of the number 31?
- Can you summarize the connections between these things?
- Your methods differ from those of other Gnostic groups. What gives?
What is Gnosis?
In the original Greek, it simply refers to “knowledge”. The Oxford English Dictionary defines gnosis as “A special knowledge of spiritual mysteries.”
We use the term to refer to the special knowledge required to attain self-realization and personal fulfillment. As we are all individuals, so each person’s gnosis will be unique; as we have certain common characteristics, so each person’s gnosis will have similarities to those of others.
What is Scientific Illuminism?
The English poet, mystic, and magician Aleister Crowley referred to his system of magical theory, exploration, and practice as Scientific Illuminism, expressed handily in the slogan of his publication The Equinox: “The Method of Science; The Aim of Religion”.
As Scientific Illuminists we apply the basic scientific techniques of observation and refinement of hypotheses to our goal — the attainment of gnosis for each of us — even as we acknowledge the personal, non-quantifiable nature of many of the phenomena involved.
What is Magick?
Magick was defined by Crowley as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will”. Every intentional act is a magical one; even breathing is an act of the Will to Live.
The word is usually taken to suggest a “supernatural” or “paranormal” process is involved: conjuring a demon to kill a person is magical, but using a gun is not. In Scientific Illuminism we simply view such processes as those which are not yet sufficiently understood and sufficiently reproducible, like any experimental technology in a poorly-understood field of science.
The use of the letter “-k” at the end of “magick” (but not in derivatives like “magical” or “magician”) is used to distinguish “real magick” from “stage magic”; but even there, the stage magician is using known laws and processes to entertain his audience and earn money, so his actions are still “magick” by definition.
What is Thelema?
Thelema (Θελημα) is a Greek word meaning “will”. It is here the name of the system of mental and magical practices, having a spiritual character, which originates in both the Eastern Yogic traditions and the Western Hermetic traditions, brought together by Crowley.
As a system Thelema is certainly oriented toward the attainment of spiritual goals; however, Crowley wrote against calling it a religion:
“Call it a new religion, then ... but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and ... you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.”
—Crowley, Magick Without Tears, chapter 31
The website of Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis defines Thelema as:
Thelema, n. 1. a spiritual philosophy teaching the discovery and following of one’s own unique will as a path to supreme realization. 2. the unique, individual will. 3. the faculty of will.
The process of attainment in Thelema can be summarized simply: Discover what your true will is, and then perform it to the fullest. Or as a friend of ours says: “Find out what you are, then be that.”
Are you a Masonic group?
The Masonic degree rituals contain a great deal of symbolism and moral lessons, intended to build upon and enrich the character and spiritual life of the Mason. Our Temple partakes of these rituals because of the actual (magical) power of the initiatory process to effect change in the initiate’s awareness and capabilities.
However, the Temple is not a chartered body of a Regular Masonic Jurisdiction. Affiliation and advancement within our Temple does not imply any affiliation, membership, rank, or privilege in the Masonic Fraternity. And unlike regular Masonic bodies, the Temple is open to persons of whatever gender or lack thereof.
We are not Masons, nor do we claim to be. We are students of magick, taking advantage of the rich tradition, lore, and ritual corpus of Freemasonry to help us achieve our magical goals.
What is the significance of the number 31?
The central document of Thelema is Liber AL vel Legis, also known as The Book of the Law. The book is full of mystical references, allusions, statements of morality, and communications in cipher. Crowley and his protegé Charles Stansfeld Jones (Frater Achad) discovered that the number 31 was a numerological key which revealed hidden meanings therein.
The founder of Golden Triangle Temple did numerological research in the late 1990s, building upon Crowley and Achad’s work, and formulated a system of English Qabalah based upon 31, or “EQ31” for short. The EQ31 system does not claim a monopoly on the truths of English Qabalah within Thelema; however, it does produce some remarkable correspondences and insights, and in the founder’s own life provided the prompting which led him to Work with T Allen Greenfield and to establish the Temple.
Can you summarize the connections between these things?
We believe that gnosis (knowledge leading to self-realization and personal fulfillment) may be obtained through an application of reason and observation to one’s spiritual experiences, which is known as scientific illuminism. The magician and mystic Aleister Crowley devised a spiritual philosophy called Thelema around the notion that everyone has a true Will in life, and through gnosis they can discover and perform this Will. We feel that the moral lessons and initiatory transformations caused by the Masonic rituals have a lot of promise in helping to effect self-discovery and personal growth. And finally, we have found that the system of numerological analysis called EQ31 produces interesting results for pointing people in the right direction, and several of our members find it interesting to explore.
Your methods differ from those of other Gnostic groups. What gives?
As noted above, every individual’s gnosis is different; so, too, every group’s studies and practices must be. Our sisters, brothers, and colleagues in other localities explore gnosis as they prefer. It is possible for gnostics of all flavors to compare notes and “share recipes”. And our parent bodies (The Lodge of the Sons and Daughters of Aaron, and Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis) encourage such decentralized research and organization, in full recognition of the diversity of the Gnosis.