As I have delved ever deeper into the historical origins and development of Wicca, I have come to find that the influence of “ceremonial magick” has long been apparent in Traditional Wicca. The Golden Dawn has certainly had its say from the beginning, but then so has the Thelemic system of Aleister Crowley. I’ve come to understand that Gerald Gardner intended from the very beginning for Wicca to be a largely Thelemic system.
This has been a concept mainly ignored, or fought against, by the majority of Wiccans, even from the very beginning. One of the most influential figures in the development of Wicca was a woman named Doreen Valiente, who entered the history of Wicca while Gardner was still perfecting his system. Sadly, she had a bias against Crowley, and proceeded to convince Gardner to remove as much Thelemic material as she could find from the Book of Shadows. She is on record as having stated “…this [Thelemic material] was not really suitable for the Old Craft of the Wise, however beautiful the words might be, or how much one might agree with what they said…” (“The Witches Bible”, by Janet and Stewart Farrar, p.42, footnote 8). So arose “Text C” of the Book of Shadows (1), which serves as the primary basis of modern Wicca. However, it does appear that Gardner put his foot down at some point, as this essay will show.
The following excerpt can be read in context by consulting the readily available 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings at any reputable bookstore including Amazon.com and Powell’s City of Books. More suggested books here.
Atheists are of three kinds.
There is a fourth kind of atheist, not really an atheist at all. He is but a traveller in the Land of No God, and knows that it is but a stage on his journey—and a stage, moreover, not far from the goal. Daath is not on the Tree of Life; and in Daath there is no God as there is in the Sephiroth, for Daath cannot understand unity at all. If he thinks of it, it is only to hate it, as the one thing which he is most certainly not (see Liber 418, 10th Æthyr. I may remark in passing that this book is the best known to me on Advanced Qabalah, and of course it is only intelligibile to Advanced Students).
This atheist, not in-being but in-passing, is a very apt subject for initiation. He has done with the illusions of dogma. From a Knight of the Royal Mystery he has risen to understand with the members of the Sovereign Sanctuary that all is symbolic; all, if you will, the Jugglery of the Magician. He is tired of theories and systems of theology and all such toys; and being weary and anhungered and athirst seeks a seat at the Table of Adepts, and a portion of the Bread of Spiritual Experience, and a draught of the wine of Ecstasy.
Our authentic Alone-ness is expressed in our True Will and our authentic With-ness is expressed in our Love, or Agape, wherein we see the other as a “Thou” and not an “it,” an object to be possessed or used – we experience and unite the two complementary facts of existence in every instant. Only thereby can we truly undergo a radical re-orientation from a mode of want to a mode of Will.
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