College of ThelemaTemple of Thelema
The College and Temple of Thelema are two intimately intertwined
organizations that have grown out of the teachings
of magician Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) dating to the 1970s.
The Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), the major organization
headed by Crowley, fell on hard times following his death. His
successor as Outer Head of the Order, Karl Johannes Germer
(1885–1962), did little to build the work, and by the 1960s it
had become largely moribund, especially in the United States.
Several attempts to revive the work were launched in the years
following Germer’s death.
Phyliss Seckler (Soror Meral) had been an early member of
the OTO in America. In 1973 she opened the College of Thelema
as a education program in Western esotericism, with a special
emphasis upon the system of thelemic magic as developed
by Crowley. As it developed, the college’s program included
four consecutive courses in psychology, the philosophy of
thelema, qabalah, astrology, and magic. The entire course
takes approximately two years to complete. In 1976, Seckler
also began issuing In The Continuum, one of the more substantive
thelemic journals. It continued for 20 years, its last issue
coming out in 1996.
The Temple of Thelema, an initiatory magical order, was
established upon the teaching delivered through the college.
The temple offers a more systematic course of training for students
who wish to begin the practice of magic and learn the disciplines
and mystical realities that are integral to thelemic
magic. Seckler adapted to the older grading system of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn to conform to thelemic principles.
Also, contemporary findings from psychology, especially
transpersonal psychology, has been integrated into the
curriculum, and an attempt to remove the sexist bias, a basic
assumption of most Western magical teachings, has been made.
The student follows a program of intellectual accomplishment,
meditation, and magical ritual. Students are also involved in
the healing work of the temple and participate in various initiation
ceremonies as they progress.
The exact content of the program of the college and temple
are held confidential for participants only, though it is in line
with the teachings of Crowley that are available in his many
writings. Crowley claimed that in 1904 he received, through a
process similar to what is now called channeling, The Book of the
Law, from a praeternatural intelligence named Aiwass. The
book announced a new era for humankind, the Aeon of Horus,
the Crowned and Conquering Child (of Isis and Osiris). The
revelation called upon people to follow their True Will (Thelema),
and to allow their passions to be conformed to their Will.
Magic is the instrument for finding one’s true Will and the
magical life; living in conformation to that True Will (destiny)
The temple and college may be contacted at P.O. Box 415,
Oroville, CA 95965. In 1998 there were seven centers in the
United States and one in Vancouver, British Columbia. In
1997, a periodical, the Black Pearl, has succeeded In the Continuum.
It has a website at
Crowley, Aleister. Magick Book Four, Parts I–IV. York Beach,
Maine Samuel Weiser, 1994. [Includes The Book of the Law, a
brief text that has been reprinted numerous times.]
———. Magick in Theory and Practice. New York Dover Publications,
In the Continuum (bi-annual) (1976–1996).s