☉︎ in 0° Aquarius : ☽︎ in 4° Virgo : Anno Vvi
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
To my Unknown Friend: Greeting and health.
There was a time when I started an examination of several fairly intense principles in search of an ascetic approach to Thelema. That ultimately softened and turned toward a more cenobitic-inclined study in the pursuit of a ‘what if’ scenario for a New Abbey of Thelema without all the nonsense of Cefalù in Sicily or the fantasy of Rabelais.
An Abbey must have a Rule for those who are predisposed to live within its confines. I’ve said as much in the past, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law is a fine summary of the Law but it is incomplete as an understanding of the fullness of the Law. Liber Oz is juvenile at best and a manifesto for extremists at worst. However, I wanted to determine something to encapsulate the Law as a Rule of Living, an ethos, as both an individual and as a community of individuals but without being a set of rigid, overreaching moral injunctions.
The quest was how to design a program of ethical virtues that uplifted and enhanced the individual life and the environment around them without actually designing a list of rules or moral edicts imposing some kind of plan of right and wrong, divine or otherwise.
I spent the longest time trying to figure out how to move two of my virtues out of a proscriptive mode (basically: “don’t steal” and “don’t fuck up your body/mind”). It finally took me five years from my last revision to rephrase those to my satisfaction. The Pillars and Precepts of the Virtues each have a purpose and an intent, and each offer an idea but do not expose how to express that idea. They only offer that one should strive to show that idea to the best of their own ability and through their own personal expression.
However, over time, even after I had my original list of eleven virtues completed, that quest mutated yet again.
As I moved away from more group studies and closer to my own individual studies again, I found that the Virtues continued to call at me. As I moved closer toward my idealized concept of the Knight-Monk of Thelema, I wondered if they might serve me well in that regard. It was at that point everything fell into place properly for me and the final revisions came to me without hesitation.
With the Virtues, I wanted to design something that moved outside of my own comfort zone and that could not be used against me in the sense of any suggestion that this list merely pandered to my own prejudices. I have succeeded in the former; only time and experience will tell if I have done so in the latter. What I can tell you is that the Virtues is a bitch. While it is harmonious with the Law of Thelema—though it would take a whole new level of study and meditation to “scripturally justify” it through the Law—it is not some kind of laissez faire approach to life. The moment you claim the Virtues, it will eat your lunch. But what worth would Virtues be if it was a mere trinket of a child and not the Pillars and Precepts of a Knight-Monk of Thelema?
For me, the virtues of the Knight-Monk require something more than merely parroting Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. The Rule of a cenobitic life demands a higher principle than those who meagerly scamper around on the Earth in search of their next satisfaction. And, yet, the calling of the Knight-Monk is very much the relief and salvation of the world in a single word—Thelema!—in word and in deed.
It is to this higher standard that the Virtues of the Stars was designed. This is a personal statement of my Thelemic values, of the discipline of a Monk and the nobility of a Knight joined together.
The Five Pillars of Nobility of Action
A. I vow to foster noble living (Decorum) — Symbol: [Crown]
Purpose: to act in a manner that is unified in character and dignity.
Intent: to provide a scaffolding of consistency of personal nature.
B. I vow to foster beautiful living (Epicuriosity) — Symbol: [Flower]
Purpose: to promote the greatest good for the individual
Intent: to provide harmony between the individual and his community.
C. I vow to foster generous living (Generosity) — Symbol: [Coins]
Purpose: to promote benevolence, humanity, and gracious living.
Intent: to engender a compassionate change in one’s environment.
D. I vow to foster responsible living (Propriety) — Symbol: [Gavel]
Purpose: to determine appropriate behavior in each circumstance.
Intent: to take ownership of one’s behavior and nature.
E. I vow to foster intentional living (Reciprocity) — Symbol: [Compass]
Purpose: to examine and explore the active life.
Intent: to be mindful of one’s actions in relation to every other point of experience.
The Six Precepts of Discipline
A. I vow to honor and respect life — Symbol: [Ankh]
Purpose: to promote harmony in interpersonal relationships.
Intent: to engage the ideals of honor in individual and social dealings.
B. I vow to advocate mindful consumption — Symbol: [Scales/Balances]
Purpose: to render awareness of purposeful existence.
Intent: to raise the act of living to an art.
C. I vow to promote sovereignty of self and personal property — Symbol: [Hand]
Purpose: to delineate a sense of personal boundaries.
Intent: to provide opportunity for social responsibility.
D. I vow to support a healthy approach to personal sexuality — Symbol: [Fire]
Purpose: to encourage self-respect.
Intent: to build resistance against fear, guilt, and shame.
E. I vow to nurture self-aware and transparent behavior — Symbol: [Web]
Purpose: to support personal accountability.
Intent: to promote personal and communal security.
F. I vow to cultivate healthy cognitive and somatic functions Symbols: [Arrows in Four Directions]
Purpose: to ensure clarity of thought and action.
Intent: to provide a foundation for healthy mental and physical growth.
After years of sitting on this, I’ve found that it continues to ring authentic for me. There are certainly aspects of it that I might alter slightly if I were to ever “fill in the blanks,” so to speak, and pontificate on each one. Ultimately, this serves me well. It’s tough. It’s unforgiving. Yet there is a subtlety to it that rises to an art.
If others find it inspiring, all the better.
Love is the law, love under will.