Interview: Andrew Lent

Andrew Lent 2is a Thelemite who associates with Black Sun Oasis O.T.O. in the Valley of Cleveland, Ohio

How did you hear about Thelema and what
drew you to it?

I first heard of Thelema when I was in high school, reading “The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies, & Magic” by Migene Gonzålez-Wippler. The book didn’t say too much about Thelema, just a page on Crowley and how messed up he was. I paid almost no attention to it. Much later, I found myself looking at the life of Jack Parsons, and one thing led to another.

What is Magick to you?

To me, magick is the conscious act of creation. Whether it be making babies, writing ritual, or composing music. These (and many other things) are all magical acts. To be a magician is to take that creative energy and direct it toward the Self. It is through these deliberate acts that we grow and reconnect with whatever it is you want to call that higher self.

Why do you think Thelema is different from other philosophies? What makes it stand out to you?

Thelema is about individual growth, to the point of the need to remove all those things in your life that does not contribute to that growth. This includes removing your own perceptions of others, and their perceptions of you. It stands out to me because it casts out the idea of “because” and encourages people to become responsible for their actions.

What do you love about OTO? What drew you to it? What makes you stay?

I love that this organization brings together people from all different walks of life. I’ve met and have become close to folks that I know I would never have had the opportunity to meet and become close to if it weren’t for the Order. I stay because I love the opportunity to help others find joy in our Work. Once, I was asked what brought me around to the O.T.O. I immediately answered “to learn so I can serve.” I’m still learning, and by gum, I’m still happily serving!

What do you think are most important Magick and meditation practices?

I think the David Shoemaker-recommended “spiritual hygiene” daily practices of banishings and adorations are very important, as it fills your space with You and clears out all the crap that doesn’t matter. My morning meditation practices are a combination of pranayama, Qui-Gon, and Zazen meditation styles. They put me into a receptive frame of mind while at the same time energizing my brain!

What do you think is the thing that most people misunderstand about Thelema?

That we worship someone named “Thelma”. Also, this whole gibberish about being a “better Thelemite than another Thelemite” and all that trite ego-stroking. 

Why do you think OTO is important to Thelema?

O.T.O. opens a social and gnostic approach to Thelema. It works as a fraternity, a religion, and at times, a support group for those that choose this unique approach to life.

What do you think are the most important aspects of Thelema?

To me, the notions of true Will, Life, Light, Love, Liberty, and the union with the higher aspects of yourself are the most important aspects of Thelema.

Do you have any stories from any experiences with magick?

Nothing really “holy shit, I made the walls bleed!” stories. I can safely say that magick works, though.

Where do you see OTO going in the next 10 years? Where would you like to see it go?

I would say that, for the first time, O.T.O. is becoming more than just the leadership. I believe that the empowerment of the individual can help lead them to freedom, and every person, whether they are Thelemites or not, should feel empowered to find their freedoms. The O.T.O. offers tools to those people, and I can see that, with community outreach and service to all men and women, we can grow into a formidable organization. I would like to see O.T.O. focus on that outreach. Sabazius Xº recently said “Promulgation–which is a magical act–must include the active advocacy of fundamental Thelemic values and principles. In the world: the Rights of Man.” To me, this is almost a Call to Arms, a challenge to Thelemites to go out into the world and help it. Show what the system of O.T.O. does for the individual!

How do you see the world differently as a Thelemite?

I’m not sure how to answer that. I’ve lived my life a certain way since I was able to make those decisions. Later on, I found that there’s a title for that, and it’s “Thelema”..

What is your favorite part about the Gnostic Mass?

The whole damn Mass speaks to me! All my senses are enflamed at every Mass, as are every emotion! My favorite aspect is that it is as the O.T.O. is, a group of people celebrating Life, Light, Love, and Liberty!

How do you see Thelema evolving in its 2nd Century of existing (i.e. after 100 years)? How is it different or how is it going to be different? What has grown or changed?

Thelema has grown, although slowly. I see it as always being a little below the radar, as the ideas expressed in Thelema aren’t “safe” ideas. It takes a certain type of person to object to surrendering and fighting for themselves. Organizations have come and gone, and maybe the same will happen with O.T.O., but there’s a movement to get our history together, which is a very important thing for any organization to do. I’m hoping that, along with a slow growth in members, that eventually we’ll see more diversity in the upper echelons of our most Holy Order!