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

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

William Blake's Book of Thel

Poet, artist, and engraver William Blake (1757-1827) is often named as an antecedent of Thelema. As a proponent of willful “energy” and sexual liberation, in addition to being a truly unorthodox Christian who implicitly deemed himself a member of the “devil’s party” – in addition to being the author of deeply symbolic poems about the human condition that he claimed were “dictated” or inspired by spiritual beings – Blake makes an obvious choice as a literary figure who anticipated some of Crowley’s ideas. Based on an essay Crowley wrote about him, the modern EGC (a religion based around Thelema) added Blake to its list of “Gnostic Saints” in 1997 e.v. In addition, a Lodge of the OTO (an organization concerned with teaching and promulgating Thelema) adopted his name. So, at the very least, it’s fair to say that Blake is relevant to quite a number of Thelemites.
A reading of Blake’s poetry from a Thelemic perspective is enlightening and interesting, and it is the purpose of this blog post to briefly read one of his shorter poems from the early 1790s from this perspective. The post will connect the reading to the ideas expounded on this blog about skepticism and its necessity for an intelligent practice of Thelema.

Read on for more.