Soror Urania is a Thelemite who associates with Astarte Lodge in Berlin, Germany.
How did you hear about Thelema and what drew you to it?
I have to admit that I first heard of it from an ex-boyfriend (The old cliché). He was a Golden Dawn initiate and was interested in the O.T.O. One day in 1998, we looked it up on the internet and we found a local body very close to my house at the time, in Rio de Janeiro. I was 18. As I knew nothing about magickal orders but I was already very interested in mysticism, the secrets of the self and life, and I was studying astrology, I decided to join him with the research. When I started to read about Thelema, it was like something essential clicked in my mind. I remember thinking “Wow… There is a name for this thing that I believe and there are people who actually feel and think the same way that I do!” I was overwhelmed by it. I could not believe that the Law of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty existed and not just in my head. So, although I met the O.T.O. through an ex boyfriend, his influence on me was limited to this experience and the security I felt to go with him to my initiations, as I had no idea as what to expect. Then I started my own path.
What is Magick to you?
I understand that Magick and the Great Work are not necessarily connected. You can use Magick to help achieving the Great Work, but Magick alone can be very tricky. I understand the Great Work as someone working one or more lives into becoming a fully spiritual being. And there is a great difference between becoming a spiritual being and identifying yourself as a spiritual being, because when you identify yourself with something it’s an ego process, and a fully spiritual experience must go beyond it. If you observe and keep growing to your full extent, every aspect of life is Magick and Magick would be a vehicle to achieve the Great Work. But by itself, when you believe you have control over your life and you try to work things out using Magick without knowing your True Will, you immediately create a relation between success and failure in life with Magick, and this can cause some struggle (as in “why aren’t things happening as they are supposed to be” or “what am I doing wrong”). With time, this becomes a vicious cycle that throws you in the opposite direction of the Great Work because it shakes the ground in which you are suppose to stand with certainty. I don’t believe people should always have control over their lives, especially because it is extremely difficult to attain consciousness of your true Will. But when you want to have this control and you believe to be the ruler over all things in your life, you take control and power as your support pillars – which is very tricky, something to pay close attention to. So, basically, Magick to me would be a way into achieving the Great Work, which is spiritual work in progress, through lifetime.
Why do you think Thelema is different from other philosophies? What makes it stand out to you?
I feel hesitant to say that Thelema is different from other philosophies… I don’t think that Thelemites are better people just because. I recognize the many systems and, if you really believe in freedom and in freedom of expression, you cannot say your system is better than your neighbor’s. In this way, it doesn’t matter why someone picks a determined system of values if in the end he/she/it is working for harmony in general. Defining how Thelema is different would cast it away to a lonely corner, when we need more tolerance and dialogue in the world between people with different beliefs.
For me, Thelema was just a first essential step for my self-development because it was my first choice of belief with no family background or cultural impositions (coming from a huge Catholic country, this breakthrough in the way of becoming an individual was much needed), and therefore it was something of value.
One super positive aspect is that Thelema does bring together many important great philosophies that aim to bring humanity to a higher level in terms of self-development and spirituality, casting out the fundamentalisms and dogmas from other beliefs and leaving only their enlightening aspects, which is great. But I don’t like, for example, how permissive Thelema can be and how easy it is to misunderstand it, and the terrible conflicts that arise from its many interpretations, or the type of people that it many times attracts – power seekers, escapists, narrow minded book worms, Crowley quoters, people who always want to be right… The kind of people that perpetuate occultism as a white men’s intellectual club. I usually fight strongly against this because they represent everything that the New Aeon isn’t.
What do you love about OTO? What drew you to it? What makes you stay?
What I love about the O.T.O. is those few moments when you create a real bond with people from all over the world – you know and you feel you have a real connection, and that you are doing something together which is greater than you and goes far beyond a simple friendship; you are creating and spreading love simply by interacting. This kind of mutual acknowledgment has been unknown to me outside of the Order. Those Agape moments are incredible. They make life worth it. And you can go all around the world and find it. Actually, traveling around and meeting international brothers and sisters is extremely important for O.T.O. members and Thelemites in general, to keep themselves fresh, with an open mind and happy about their concepts and lives. It’s also a great way of understanding your personal processes better because you exchange experiences with many (experienced or not) people and you get to challenge your points of view. I love it.
What do you think are most important Magick and meditation practices?
I love the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – which most people take for granted. Practice it frequently and you will understand what I mean. It’s amazing the great things that happen within and from such a short ritual. Everyone in the O.T.O. should choose to find the most appropriate meditation method for themselves. Yoga is important because it prepares the body and the mind for meditation, but meditation – for the ones who seek spiritual development is essential. There are several different meditation techniques to suit different types of personality. I practice the Vipassana meditation, which is free of dogmas and also free of charge. 🙂
What do you think is the thing that most people misunderstand about Thelema?
What loving freely means; What “Do what thou wilt” means.
Why do you think OTO is important to Thelema?
Because it is a serious place for practicing, discussing, developing and refreshing Thelema.
What do you think are the most important aspects of Thelema?
The most positive aspect of Thelema for me is that it brings the individual to the center of its consciousness; it’s the first step to set yourself free from the restraints and chains of being and it’s a fundamenal basis for creating a society made of free individuals who think, love and communicate freely. Experiencing such a society would be amazing and with this belief in mind we keep our hopes high and work it our way there. A less violent society in which force is not imposed. Everyone has the right to be as they are; it’s really incredible. Of course I am speaking in terms of healthy, open, balanced individuals, who have already worked enough through their own issues – not psychological and emotionally damaged ones, trying to use Thelema as an escape to gain power over others, which is very common and would be the most negative aspect of Thelema (as it is in any society/ belief/ institution).
Do you have any stories from any experiences with Magick?
Yes, life. Pay attention to it. All of it. Be careful with it, all of it. Love it, all of it. No one knows everything; be humble. The spirits do not belong to anyone, they are not under anyone. Humans are not better or superior than any other kind of life form, visible or invisible.
Where do you see OTO going in the next 10 years?
I would like to see less hierarchy, less paper work, and feel more of the community work. It’s a group commitment to respect, learn, grow, exchange, etc. So, I also would like to see less ego. I would like to see the New Aeon more in charge than the Old one, and not so many “Babble-on-ians” (book worms spitting out quotes and making up rules, imposing themselves on others, demanding to be right all the time, denying emotions, etc).
How do you see the world differently as a Thelemite?
I am more open and tolerant to differences. I praise differences, I welcome them when people are working towards harmony, it doesn’t matter how.
What is your favorite part about the Gnostic Mass?
The Gnostic Mass, when celebrated correctly is a beautiful staging of the secret of life. Although only its dual elements are visible, it’s the invisible aspect that attracts me the most and the possibility of achieving this “third stage”, which is beyond male and female and all opposite polarities. The possibility of achieving the internal alchemy, the “Child stage”. It’s not about the Priest and the Priestess (although the child is only possible through their interaction). So, I care less about the roles and I focus more in what and how they are doing it. I would have to say my favorite moment is communion because it invites everyone to step up to this internal union stage.
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?
I think and hope women take a more active role and accept less patriarchy, even inside of the Order. Many successful women in the Order have accepted this “mind over heart” condition, believing it to be the right way to succeed. Well, that’s plain society’s rules and we are not for this society, we are trying to create something more genuine. And I think roles that women played in the first century of Thelema do not correspond to our reality and needs nowadays (because we already broke with so many paradigms). So a lot of upgrade is needed, defying even some of Crowley’s views. I have absolute horror to the concept of women in rituals to be simply vessels and how some men still perpetuate this idea in speech and attitudes. I am worried about the women who accept this and I hate Crowley’s personal comments about his relationships and his women’s emotions. I have also absolute horror to men who think that’s funny (and just because Crowley said, it must be ok). So, I guess women need to step up more and be loud, making their points heard and pleading it with our hearts, no only with the minds. We have already enough “mind” in the Order. We need more “heart”. It’s a whole organism that needs both aspects to function properly.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about related to Thelema, OTO, and/or Magick?
I understand that for creating a child man and woman are both necessary and, naturally, there would be no other way of doing it than putting together a male with a female reproductive cell. However, Liber XV creates a magickal child (many, even) and not actual babies. Gender issues should be included and upgraded in our central ritual, especially because both male and female magically should have both male and female inside, so… think about that. Saying that “it’s allowed if it’s unofficial” is the same as saying “it’s ok to be gay if you are gay at home”, or imposing on women to bear children just because they can instead of a more dominant role, using their own phallus power. I saw so much fuzz about the “Fill/Kill” thread and honestly, there are several other more important (and neglected) issues, like gender issues and sexual harassment (which bothers the heterosexual white male dominants). I am not even going to start on racial issues. Include, expand, change. Love is the Law, love under will.