How, o my Son, do thou then consider deeply of these Things in thine Ordering of the World under the Law of Thelema. For every Individual in the State must be perfect in his own Function, with Contentment, respecting his own Task as necessary and holy, not envious of another’s. For so only mayst thou build up a free state, whose directing Will shall be singly directed to the Welfare of all.
Aleister Crowley, Liber א vel CXI, The Book of Wisdom or Folly, Αλ De Ordine Rerum
What the man in the street means by Atheist is the militant Atheist, Bradlaugh or Foote; and it is a singular characteristic of the Odium Theologicum that, instead of arguing soberly concerning the proposition, which those worthies put forward, they always try to drag the red herring of morality across the track. Of all the stupid lies that men have ever invented, nothing is much sillier than the lie that one who does not believe in God must be equally a disbeliever in morality. As a matter of fact, in a country which pretends so hard to appear theistic as England, it requires the most astounding moral courage, a positive galaxy of virtues, for a man to stand up and say that he does not believe in God; as Dr. Wace historically remarked, ‘it ought to be unpleasant for a man to say that he does not believe in Jesus’; and my dislike to Atheism is principally founded on the fact that so many of its exponents are always boring me about ethics. Some priceless idiot, who, I hope, will finish in the British Museum, remarked in a free-thinking paper the other day, that they need not trouble to pull down the churches, ‘because they will always be so useful for sane and serious discussion of important ethical problems.’ Personally, I would rather go back to the times when the preacher preached by the hour-glass.
Aleister Crowley, Concerning “Blasphemy” in General & the Rites of Eleusis in Particular
Men like him cannot be happy as we understand happiness, for to be happy one must delight like nature in mere profusion, in mere abundance, in making and doing things, and if one sets an image of the perfect before one it must be the image that draws her perpetually, the image of a perfect fulness of natural life, of an Earthly Paradise.
William Butler Yeats, “The Happiest of the Poets” in Ideas of Good and Evil
Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, Local Library]
The “secrets” (or arcane truths) imparted in this Degree are explained as consisting of certain peculiar marks or signs, intended to distinguish all Brethren of the elementary grade of Apprentice. Outwardly, in this and in subsequent Degrees also, they are expressed by step, sign, and word. These, of course, are not the full or real secrets, but only figurative emblems of them. It is what they signify that constitutes the secrets, and that significance is left for the Candidate to meditate upon and reduce into daily personal practice. Only so will he really learn them and come to understand why they are called “secrets” and why we insist upon their use. They can never be orally communicated, except in symbolic form, but must be learned by experimental practice.
W L Wilmshurst, The Ceremony of Initiation, Part II
After these came the Periphallia, a troop of men who carried long poles with Phalli hung at the end of them; they were crowned with violets and ivy, and they walked repeating obscene songs. These men were called Phallophori; these must not be confounded with the Ithyphalli, who, in indecent dresses and sometimes in women’s costume, with garlanded heads and hands full of flowers, and pretending to be drunk, wore at their waist-bands monstrous Phalli made of wood or leather; among the Ithyphalli also must be counted those who assumed the costume of Pan or the Satyrs. There were other persons, called Lychnophori, who had care of the mystic winnowing-fan, an emblem whose presence was held indispensable in these kinds of festivals. Hence the epithet ‘Lychnite’, given to Bacchus.
Richard Francis Burton & Leonard C Smithers, Priapeia, Introduction
And how could the Soul lend itself to any admixture? An essential is not mixed. Or of the intrusion of anything alien? If it did, it would be seeking the destruction of its own nature. Pain must be equally far from it. And Grief- how or for what could it grieve? Whatever possesses Existence is supremely free, dwelling, unchangeable, within its own peculiar nature. And can any increase bring joy, where nothing, not even anything good, can accrue? What such an Existent is, it is unchangeably.
Plotinus, The Six Enneads, The First Ennead
No one, unless they were fanatics, would think of distributing religious tracts to the poor half starved ignorant portion of a large city. The human portion of their natures must be benefitted before any great results in moral improvements can be attained. Commence at the beginning.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Bookshop, Amazon]