As many of you know, I consider the “religion” of Thelema to be more accurately described as a religious philosophy. Gnosticism, and its subset, Thelema, is really the search for God and how one should go about it. It doesn’t define God for you, so many Thelemites also belong to religions – which do define God for them.
In January, I started attending a local Reform Jewish temple. I had discovered, seemingly by chance, that the way I interpreted Thelema, as well as other thoughts I had developed during my search, were aligned with Judaism. In short, over the last 20 years of my spiritual path, I had grown into Judaism. I thought as a Jew.
Judaism allows me to add form to my soul’s yearning for God. The Torah, Talmud and other Jewish writings add depth and meaning to my search. I have slowly been adding Jewish culture and practices to my life. I feel they endue my daily life with sacredness. I have not, for years, incorporated “Thelemic” practices in my daily life. They just didn’t provide for me what Judaism does. Of course, Thelema is not about what practices you perform. It is a philosophy. It is about accepting the Book of the Law as you personally interpret it.
Whereas before, my Jewish influence was mainly Hermetic Gnosticism’s presentation of the Kabbalah, it is now much more in depth and encompassing in my life. I don’t feel like my life was not spiritual or anything of the sort before. But, I feel my acceptance of Judaism is enhancing my life now. With that in mind, a month ago I approached the Rabbi and began the conversion process to Judaism.
Now, if you’re expecting me to say “I found Judaism! You should too!” then you’re going to be sorely disappointed. My path and yours are different. What works for me may utterly fail for you. I do not have THE answers. I’m just finding MY answers.
Now, this does not mean that I am walking away from everything. I am enhancing what I am…adding depth to it. I am enriching my life and adding to my experience. As I’ve thought this way for years, there is nothing to walk away from… there are no about-faces to be made. There is simply growth and development along the same lines I have been following for a very long time.
The Western Mystery Tradition stands upon the shoulders of Judaism. Freemasonry, Thelema, and a multitude of other aspects of that tradition have their roots within Judaism. As far as my thoughts on Thelema, as one Jewish friend remarked, “You’ve always sounded more like a Jew than some Jews!” It is impossible for me to turn my back on Thelema when, as I’ve interpreted it, it resembles Jewish philosophy as much as much of what many Jews put out. To me, the two are inextricably linked. (To me, there is a reason why the symbol for Thelema is the Jewish “Star of David” written with a singular motion.)
Now, that is not to say that Thelemic PRACTICES, or how EVERYONE interprets Thelema aligns with Judaism. Some people interpret Thelema in ways that don’t even line up with Thelema, in my opinion! However, my own personal interpretation of Thelema, the way I fit it into my outlook and mindset… it is Jewish inspired philosophy. So, I will continue as I always have – giving my own interpretations of Thelema… illuminating things as I see them… and inviting you to do it for yourself, even if you find yourself in disagreement with me.