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September 18, 2012

While composing The Illustrated Heretic I occasionally meet a few fundamentalists


And that's the difference between a non-deliberating fundamentalist who believes everything they're told and makes no investigation on their own and a free thinker. The fundamentalist "believes" in lieu of thinking-- he accepts on faith all manner of pre-digested, regurgitated, and mass manufactured ideas, pseudo science, fictional history, myth, and xenophobic judgments based on others' pre-masticated opinions and absolutes without further inquiry. He replaces all questions and doubts with iron-clad sui generis answers. Or as Robert Oxton Bolt wrote " A belief is not an idea the mind possesses, it is an idea that possesses the mind." Yes, Crowley's reputation is just about as dark and nefarious as they come, but it was by his own implementation and design as he was a great aggregator/founder, magus, and high priest and practitioner of ancient mystery school traditions. (Related to Rosicrucians, Free Masons, Skull and Bones, and other Western and Eastern metaphysical societies.) These traditions discouraged casual curiosity seekers by cloaking themselves in names, rituals, practices, and illusionary allegories designed to repel the faint-hearted and parochial- minded because they knew a typical fundamentalist could never obtain or arise to true wisdom until they eschewed the cliché moral prejudices demanded of their faith. The truth is Aleister Crowley wrote some of the most nonpareil and inspiring devotional poems, books and pearls of philosophy, spirituality and religious truth. The quote below is one of them, but even that will elude until you're ready to cast off the shackles of belief, the hand me down mass manufactured bibliographies of group think and travel your own path. One of the most powerful observations Crowley ever made was to point out what all religions have in common-- they are each founded by men and women who had the courage to leave society and figure it out for themselves, be they Moses, on the mountain top, Jesus, in the desert, Zarathustra and Mohammed, in their respective caves, Nietzsche, in a thunderstorm, Joseph Campbell, in Woodstock, or Ayn Rand, in Manhattan. The point is not become a follower, but the high-priest of your own cathedral. Think of the noble knights of Arthur for when faced with the infinite forest before them each eschewed the path of someone else's making because it was another's path and not their own...

Or in the words of the great and terrible Master Therion:

"Oh those who set upon the path, false is the phantom you seek. All that you will find is bitterness, your teeth fixed in Sodom's apple. For it is fear and fear alone that leads you to wander.
But, those who find the middle path, no such phantoms can obstruct. You stride for the sake of striving, and fascination guides you onward. But those whose journey's end draws nigh, and the path disintegrates beneath. Faster and faster do you fall, and your weariness turns to ineffable rest. For there never was a you along the path, you have become the way."