27 Aug Gordan Djurdjevic
To present the Universe to Thee in the Form of thy Plan
“To present the Universe to Thee in the Form of thy Plan”: On Predestination and Experience as the Purpose of Life in Aleister Crowley’s Views on Will and Reincarnation
Contrary to what may appear to be the case, Aleister Crowley was not a proponent of free will. While The Book of the Law, which declares him as the prophet of Thelema, specifically mentions “pure will,” Crowley for the most part, in his numerous writings, used the expression “true will.” In simplified terms, his consistent position was that one needs to readjust one’s life in order to move away from the pursuit of whims, wishes, or wants, and align it with one’s true purpose, one’s will. It further follows, that the ultimate purpose of pure will is, in the final analysis, experience: in the vocabulary of Thelema, this could be expressed as the enactment of the eternal love-play between Hadit (one’s innermost self) and Nuit (the infinite field of manifestations and possibilities). Another inference, which Crowley actually explicitly mentions in several places, is that one’s current life was originally (or, previously) willed by “oneself” – or, rather, by one’s true self (Hadit). One’s life, in the context of a series of reincarnations, is thus self-predestined, and one’s task in life may be conceptualized (in Crowley’s words) as: “Treat time and all conditions of Events as Servants of thy Will, appointed to present the Universe to thee in the form of thy Plan” My talk explores these ideas and their ramifications with pertinent references to Crowley’s writings.
Gordan Djurdjevic, independent scholar, is a contributor to the anthologies Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism (Oxford University Press, 2012) and A Rose Veiled in Black: Art and Arcana of Our Lady Babalon (Three Hands Press, 2015). He is co-editor, with Henrik Bogdan, of the collection of essays Occultism in a Global Perspective (Acumen, 2013; Routledge, 2015), and the author of Masters of Magical Powers: The Nath Yogis in the Light of Esoteric Notions (VDM, 2008); India and the Occult: The Influence of South Asian Spirituality on Modern Western Occultism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014); and, with Shukdev Singh, Sayings of Gorakhnath: Selected Translations from the Gorakh Bani (Oxford University Press, 2019).