Today is the anniversary of the death of Phyllis Seckler (aka Soror Meral), one of the luminaries of Thelema. A true pioneer.
One of her students, and one who continues to carry the bright torch of Thelema, Marlene Cornelius, shared the following article by Phyllis Seckler. It is as relevant today as it was last century, and it feels like she is observing what is happening in the world today and shinning a light for our hearts.
Also, here is a picture of a sample of Phyllis Seckler’s esoteric art. This was a gift from my dear friends: Marlene, Vicky, and Elton. It is proudly and gratefully in display in the heart of our home.
PROJECTION AND THE SHADOW (by Phyllis Seckler)
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Everyone has contents in the unconscious mind which are usually not allowed to surface. There is a build up of ideas of who one is and how one behaves and what one believes that has been going on for years. The environment and parents and other influences have been strict about not allowing negative or primitive passions to surface. Thus everyone develops a censor which prevents the shadow self of the unconscious from appearing in daily life.
However, certain events may trigger an outburst of the shadow self in all its ugliness and ferocity. Then the usual reaction is to blame someone else or several others for one’s own unconscious self. It would be otherwise too painful to admit that one could be so demonic, cruel and hateful, plus many another reaction which has previously been forbidden. This blaming of others is called projection.
Some of the events which could cause an appearance of the shadow are related to strong emotional reactions to any event in the life. Anger and fear can be explosive, as well as other strong emotions. Also stress of various sorts can bring on an appearance of the unconscious shadow self. A long term hatred bred by centuries of non-acceptance of other life styles or religions has been evident in human history for centuries.
Some individuals have a type of character that they are able to infect others so that they take on the same attitudes, of intolerance, falsification of facts, outright lies, emotional disturbances, hatreds and persecution. Those who also harbor an uneasy and bothersome shadow in their characters are only too happy to follow the leader and to take on a cause which suits their inclinations. They also blame someone else or a whole group of persons for the troubles which they cause for themselves.
As a few examples: we have the persecution of witches in Europe and America. In more recent times we have a great many dictators able to sway the emotions of the masses. There was Hitler in Germany, and Stalin in Russia, and many another right up to the present day. In America we have had the Ku Klux Klan, and Senator McCarthy hunting down Communists and helping to give rise to a fear of Communism. A great many innocent persons have suffered from the cruelties and the persecutions. All this is very reminiscent of a pack of dogs hunting down an innocuous small creature.
There are also some single individuals who seek relief from an eruption of a bothersome shadow by finding a victim which they can then blame for anything and can harass and persecute for as long as they can get away with this behaviour before being caught. But when the perpetrator of these cruelties is caught he takes on a self righteous attitude. He pretends to be a hero or a martyr or he may run away or he might show cowardice of various kinds, he sticks to his lies and other opinions. But rarely or never does he ever admit to the projection of his own shadow self upon someone else. He still goes on blaming his victim for every shadow trait in his own character.
The universe is evenly balanced. We live in a world of cause and effect. What a person gives out to his world is exactly reflected in the behavior of the world around him. Each person needs to ask himself when something important happens to him: “What did I do to cause all this phenomena?” Actually, everyone is responsible for what happens around him and in which he is involved. It is of no use to blame someone else for events and happenings. That is the way of the coward.
In Thelema we say “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” This means that one should be paying attention to one’s own business without poking one’s nose into the business of others. It also means that one should leave other persons strictly alone to find their own way towards the True Will. Of course the relaxation of this rule could happen only if one is asked to help out in certain circumstances.
Sadly, we see that many persons can mouth the above sentence and instruction from the Book of the Law, and then begin to interfere with others in various ways such as telling others what to do, by indulging in gossip which almost never comes close to the truth, by playing various games of power grabs, and by the projection of the shadow self onto anyone that is disliked. There are hundreds of different ways in which various persons interfere with others. Are these Thelemites?
Then we end our greeting with “Love is the law, love under will.” But is it love to indulge in actions that harm someone else? There are many instructions about love in the Book of the Law. One which affects all who have joined some sort of Thelemic community is this from Chapter II, verse 24. “Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in the fierce lust of your pride, in the day of your wrath.”
One can show wrath to those who have interfered with others as this is one low way to behave. Also certain mean actions such as cruelty, vindictiveness, persecutions of any sort. In short, there is quite a list of behaviours which are Reprehensible and far from the behavior of a King. We are asked to become aristocratic: that is, to adhere to the highest code of conduct which we can devise for ourselves. Everyone is guided by our Holy Book and then one also devises an honorable code for him or herself. Each person is different, and this is why honor and love of each person will be expressed in a different way from anyone else.
Let us try harder then to live up to what we have accepted as the Law of our lives!
Love is the law, love under will.”