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IAO131, author of Naturalistic Occultism: An Introduction to Scientific Illuminism and Thelema Sutras is our guest in podcast episode 139. IAO131 is also the co-producer of Speech in the Silence podcast, the creator and editor of The Journal of Thelemic Studies, and author of many other essays on the subjects of Thelema, occultism, psychology, philosophy, mysticism and Magick.
“Naturalistic Occultism is the attempt to understand occultism without positing anything supernatural or even found outside of the mainstream social and natural sciences such as psychology and neurology. It is the attempt to cut superstitious beliefs and acts away from the practice of occultism, ceremonial magick in particular, with a critical and pragmatic eye… It is a continuation of Aleister Crowley’s motto for the A.’.A.’., “The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion.” In this sense, Naturalistic Occultism is essentially a form of – or just another name for – Scientific Illuminism. It holds that you need not look farther than psychology and neurology for naturalistic explanations of the various aspects of the occult.” – IAO131, Naturalistic Occultism, p.9
One of the major takeaways from Naturalistic Occultism and IAO131’s perspective is that the psychologization of mysticism and magickal practice is in no way denigratory, but rather celebrates the power of the human psyche.
We also spend time discussing Thelema Sutras, a wonderful book that uses the style of Eastern religious texts to expound the concepts of Thelema.
“Thelema Sutras? What kind of nonsense is this? Well, in short, it’s the kind of nonsense I enjoy writing. Sutras are Eastern texts, specifically those of Hinduism and Buddhism. They come in many forms and many styles, but they represent the various manifestations of the Light of the Gnosis as they appeared throughout the East. I personally view Thelema as more than simply being in the Western Mystery Tradition or being the next Divine Covenant after Islam. Much of Thelema involves uniting and transcending opposites, and the East-West dichotomy is one of these. It therefore occurred to me to approach the self-same Mysteries but with the style and attitude of someone from the East rather than the typical Western Hermetic-Qabalistic-Occultist approach.” – IAO131, excerpt from the Preface to Thelema Sutras
In addition, IAO131 has recently released The Parables and Lessons of Liber LXV, which was originally published as a series of essays online (starting here). Perhaps one of the most prolific modern Thelemic writers, IAO131’s work is important for his insights, level of engagement with the primary texts, and the affect on his readers. With humility and a sense of humor, IAO131 continues to produce high-quality analysis and spread the word of the Law.
In the Occult of Personality Membership Section, IAO131 discusses his psychological commentary on Liber AL vel Legis, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and more. Join us!
Naturalistic Occultism: An Introduction to Scientific Illuminism by IAO131
Thelema Sutras by IAO131
The Parables and Lessons of Liber LXV by IAO131
intro music by HipGnosis and Paul Avgerinos
outro music – “House of the Rising Sun (Instrumental)” by Psycliq
Wonderful show! I have been keeping up with IAO131’s articles for a couple of years now, so it was great to see a show with him on it. Great discussion on Liber AL vel Legis! I think I may have to pick up his books now! Keep up the Great Work.
Thank you Michael! I always appreciate your feedback and support for the show. I think your devotion to the Great Work is commendable and if Occult of Personality plays some small role in your learning process, all the work on this podcast is worth it to me, my Brother.
I’m new to Thelema, and it makes me feel good to hear such an experienced Thelemite talk about how they had a ‘this feels right’ experience, very similar to mine, when they discovered Thelema.
Rilig – Thanks for listening and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it. The experience you describe is one that I sought for years…
like the comment above, it just feels right
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Thank you to the makers of this show. Frater IAO131 is a big inspiration to me, because I recognize myself in him a lot as a twenty-something 2nd Century Thelemite, and a Thelemic blogger who’s growing a “brand” of his own. 🙂
Love is the law, love under will.
You’re most welcome, Frater Phaino. Thank you for listening and taking the time to comment. It pleases me greatly to feature a somewhat diverse range of guests and I’m grateful that others find it worthwhile.
This is the first podcast I’ve listened to on this website (IAO131’s facebook lead me here), and I have to say I enjoyed every second of it. It was very refreshing to hear and sympathize with such an approach towards Thelema and Scientific Illuminism, that for me, keeps the soil (or crop) better rotated.
Thanks Frater_Mani! I hope you return to listen to some other interviews here and hope you enjoy them as much, or almost as much, as this one.