Home > Uncategorized > The Beast 666 on St. Augustine’s “Love, and do what thou wilt”

The Beast 666 on St. Augustine’s “Love, and do what thou wilt”

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

Here are two quotations, straight from the Beast’s mouth (or pen, specifically), regarding the similarity of the Law of Thelema to a statement made by St. Augustine.

The first quotation is taken from a letter written by The Beast 666 (Aleister Crowley) to Karl Germer in March 1942 (available in the  ‘Downloads’ section of LAShTAL.com):

“St. Augustine’s ‘Ama, et fac quod vis’ [roughly ‘Love, and do what thou wilt’] puts the cart before the horse, begs the question, and is moreover liable to the most serious misunderstandings. As if the fact of ‘loving’ were sufficient excuse for all and sundry acts, or lines of conduct.

Safer, ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ with ‘love’ relegated to its scientifically correct position as the means of carrying out all plans soever: Hungry man ‘loves’ food and drink, i.e. unites chemically therewith, assimilates it to his own nature, and so becomes man refreshed i.e. capable of continuing to pursue his true will. Hence, ‘Love is the law, love under will.’

It will not help him to ‘love’ anything but food and drink on such occasions; and it must be the food suited to his nature and his powers of digestion. Hay will not restore or nourish him; and food too gross, or too plentiful, drink too cold or too intoxicating, may disturb the perfection of the process.

Of course you [Karl Germer] know all this well enough; but I thought that you might find it useful to quote St. August to the common blatant guffaw of the omnipresent blackguard ‘Do wot yer loike, eh? What ho!'”

This second quotation comes from an unfinished essay by To Mega Therion 666 called “Antecedents of Thelema“:

“It has been remarked by some critics of the Law of Thelema that the words “Do what thou wilt” are not original with the Master Therion: or, rather, with Aiwass, who uttered to the scribe Ankh-f-n-khonsu, the priest of the princes, The Book of the Law.

This is true enough, in its own way: we have, firstly, the word of St. Augustine: “Love, and do what thou wilt.”

This is however, as the context shows, by no means what is meant by The Book of the Law. St. Augustine’s thesis is that if the heart be full of Love, one cannot go wrong. It is, so to say, a rider upon the theorem of St. Paul’s thirteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians…

Far more important is the Word of Rabelais, Fais ce que veulx [Fr. “Do what thou wilt”]. The sublime Doctor does indeed intend, so far as he goes, to set forth in essence the Law of Thelema, very much as it is understood by the Master Therion himself… Superb as is this adumbration of the Law of Thelema by Rabelais with his Word Fais ce que veulxThe Book of the Law gives us more—it gives us “all in the clear light…”

Love is the law, love under will.

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  1. January 6, 2010 at 1:35 am

    I believe Augustine, in focusing on love, was thinking of the words of Jesus who said in summing up the law, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In that context Augustine didn’t have it backwards, for if love is built on that foundation then all actions coming out of it will be characterized by such a quality of love. Unfortunately we see very little of it today, even among professing Christians.

  2. January 6, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Well, it response to your “Christianity is dead” comment on my blog, I would say it is in the circles you’re in. It scares me to consider worshipping nature or things insteas of a Creator who loves me so much He died so that I may have eternal life. It seems you have found a religion that pretty much throws morality out of the window and tells you to do whatever you want. That has no place in the Kingdom of God and His love is exceedingly more important to me than any desire I can seek to fulfill. Furthermore, friend, I am praying that your heart would not be hardened completely to the fact that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and anyone who believes in Him shall have eternal life.” John 3:16 Jesus still loves you and died for you despite your actions and heart right now and has offered the gift of forgiveness. Will you receive it is the remaining question. Praying for you sincerely. May you some day come to know the beautiful Savior I call Friend.

    • kalimama93
      March 15, 2010 at 6:37 am

      Peanut :
      It scares me to consider worshipping nature or things insteas of a Creator who loves me so much He died so that I may have eternal life. It seems you have found a religion that pretty much throws morality out of the window and tells you to do whatever you want.

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

      You misunderstand us; Thelema isn’t a nature-worshiping religion. Perhaps you have us confused with the Wiccans? There are pagans and occultists of many stripes, and one “denomination” may vary a great deal from another.

      That said though, anyone can be a Thelemite–no one needs to revere Crowley or join a secret society to live by Thelemic principles. I’ve known Thelemites that had no idea what the word means. I’ve known Thelemic atheists, Buddhists, Wiccans, Catholics, Shamans, Satanists, and yes, even Thelemic Christians.

      I spent the first eight years of my schooling in a private Nazarene academy, where I memorized every Bible verse handed to me, went to chapel every Friday, and performed in the school play as one of the Christmas Magi (you know, the three wise men? They were magi–magicians.) On the weekends I went to not one but two churches (Pentecostal and Assemblies of God), and during the summer I went to Baptist summer camp. I could outplay anyone at Bible trivia, and had memorized the story of Samson by the time I was 4.

      In other words, I know a thing or two about Christianity. And I have loved Christ since I was a tiny girl–we’re just not monogamous. As I grew up and discovered a church-going culture that fails to question itself on even the most basic ideals, I decided to talk to God myself and see what I had to say.

      Thelema isn’t at all about doing whatever you want, though there have been plenty of shallow thinkers who have interpreted it that way (often to the harm of themselves and others.) But, just as jihadists who blow themselves up aren’t representative of the majority of Muslims, and right-wing psychos who kill abortion doctors and vote for Palin aren’t representative of the majority of Christians, and teenage critter-killin’ devil worshipers aren’t representative of the majority of Satanists and Luciferians, so these people aren’t representative of the majority of Thelemites.

      Think of it this way: We believe that “every man and woman is a star.” Every star in the universe must maintain its orbit to avoid collision with another, thereby impacting the universe around it. There is a great responsibility inherent in our beliefs; we must always ask ourselves whether our actions will impact the “orbit” of another “star.” In other words, we’re responsible for managing the forces we exert on the people around us; we don’t have the right to interfere with another’s True Will.

      I don’t speak for all Thelemites here; that’s an impossible task. Crowley didn’t even speak for all Thelemites (and he wasn’t even a very good one himself at times, in my opinion and his own, if you read his letters.) However, I feel pretty safe in saying that most of the Thelemites I know would agree.

      Love is the law, love under will.

  3. societyvs
    January 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I have to admit, this all starting to make no sense whatsoever…the summations of the points being made seem to be not about explaining anything as they are about sounding ‘superior’. I mean, I ask everyone – read the language and the way things get defined after a quote…it’s really quite sublime, lacking any real backbone for us to debate, and is meant to sound ‘smart’.

    I mean if this stuff is as good as CID says – then start explaining in terms that any person with a grade 12 could read and follow – instead of dancing around in terms that make one sound more educated. Heck, I can do this with my Christian view of the world and pretend to sound more educated – or that my faith is only for the ‘smart’…but it reveals more folly in me than in the reader.

    • January 6, 2010 at 6:30 pm

      93 societyvs – I’m sorry you don’t like the language but its not meant simply to ‘sound superior.’ It’s unfortunate you don’t get past the very style of the words to understand their content. We aren’t even using scholarly or academic terms at all, and we certainly could if that were the topic, so I am not sure how anything mentioned is intended to ‘make one sound more educated.’ Let me know if you have a comment on the actual content of this blog – Thanks.

  4. Alex Mou
    January 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Peanut: very touching post
    societyvs: what are you talking about? I can understand why many would disagree with the posts here, but the content seems pretty straightforward to me. He sounds just as educated as the educated Christians commenting on his posts, and is just as clear.

    The only “technical” terms I can see here that might be mistaken are “will”/”true will” and “love”. From reading CID’s posts, Will is meant to refer not to desire but to a “true” or divine will which goes beyond what you want in the short term. You might desire to eat a lot of fatty foods, but if your true will involves losing weight, not eating those foods is the “law” for you. Love seems to be used in the Greek sense of “agape” which is a divine/unconditional love.

    I’m not sure how I feel about CID’s atheistic viewpoint, coming from a Christian background myself. . .but (no offence) you’d have to be much younger than a 12th grader to not be able to grasp these terms. I’m only in 10th grade myself.

    Look closely, the explanations are definitely there.

  5. societyvs
    January 7, 2010 at 4:09 am

    You know what – I am going to take up this challenge and look deeply at ‘Thelema’ and Aleister Crowley’s life – to see what is taught and at the heart of this philosophical pursuit…which one might call religion?

    I am just pointing out that Thelema is not being pointed out very clearly on this site – as much as anyone is trying – and makes it very hard to follow for someone not familiar with the content of thelema.

    So I will read page after page about this religion and see what is at the core of the ideas being taught…just so I can actually blog and participate in a real and honest way…I have to admit – this is a first for me on the ideas of Thelema – but not on Crowley. But I am game for the discussion…you found the right person to inform when you visited me.

  1. January 7, 2010 at 6:42 am

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