True Will

True Will

True Will is a term found within the mystical system of Thelema, adapted from the philosophy of François Rabelais in 1904 with Aleister Crowley's writing of "The Book of the Law". [Skinner, Stephen (ed). "The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923", p. 79, n. 8. Weiser, 1996. ISBN 0877288569] IAO131. [ Thelema & Buddhism] in "Journal of Thelemic Studies", Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2007, pp. 24] It is defined at times as a person's grand destiny in life and at other times as a moment to moment path of action that operates in perfect harmony with Nature. This Will does not spring from conscious intent, but from the interplay between the deepest Self and the entire Universe. Therefore, the enlightened Thelemite is one who is able to eliminate or bypass one's ego-created desires, conflicts, and habits, and tap directly into the Self/Universe nexus. Theoretically, at this point, the Thelemite acts in alignment with Nature, just as a stream flows downhill, with neither resistance nor "lust of result."


Thelema roughly means "will" in Greek. The phrase "True Will" does not appear in the Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. Nevertheless, Aleister Crowley's various commentaries on the Book routinely postulate that each individual has a unique and incommensurable True Will that determines his or her proper course in life. This invention of Crowley's appears to be an attempt to explain how some actions may be wrong (or "false") when "There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt." [Liber AL III:60] Actions that conform to True Will are thus considered to be correct, while willed actions that deviate from True Will may nevertheless be wrong.


In Crowley's essay "The Secret Conference" (written under the pseudonym of Gerald Aumont, and prefaced to "The Heart of the Master"), he suggests that a technique may (indeed, "must") be devised, by which a child's True Will may be discovered at birth, or as early as possible in life, in order to permit the correct ordering of society.

In Crowley's ethical treatise [ "Duty"] , he identifies True Will with the Nature of the individual. This capitalized "Nature" may be compared with the "Perfect Nature" of earlier Gnostic systems, which was another term for the personal daimon or augoeides, usually referenced by Crowley as the Holy Guardian Angel. (For this use of the term "Perfect Nature," see Henry Corbin's "Man of Light in Iranian Sufism".)

"The Message of the Master Therion" ( [ Liber II] ) is a seminal document that attempts to delineate the doctrine of True Will. By reference to [ "Liber Thisharb"] , Liber II suggests a theory of metempsychosis, whereby the individual True Will is the resultant of a person's prior incarnations. But here as elsewhere, Crowley stops short of asserting objective validity for memories of past lives. He recommends developing "the magical memory" as a means to an end, namely, connecting the aspirant's abilities and remembered past with some purpose. By definition, the aspirant's True Will must fit the aspirant's nature.

In "De Lege Libellum" ( [ Liber CL] ), Crowley defines True Will as the will which does not "rest content with things partial and transitory, but ... proceed [s] firmly to the End," and in the same passage he identifies that "End" as the destruction of oneself in Love.

Quotations from Aleister Crowley

*"The most common cause of failure in life is ignorance of one's own True Will, or of the means by which to fulfill that Will." (from "Magick, Book 4," p. 127)
*"A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him." (from "Magick, Book 4," p.128)
*"One cannot do one's True Will intelligently unless one knows what it is." (from "Magick, Book 4," p.174)
*"Know firmly, O my Son, that the True Will connot err; for it is thine appointed Course in Heaven, in whose Order is Perfection." (from "Liber Aleph," p. 13)
*"True Will should spring, a fountain of Light, from within, and flow unchecked, seething with Love, into the Ocean of Life." (from "Little Essays Towards Truth," p.76)

ee also

*The Great Work
*Thelemic mysticism
*Holy Guardian Angel
*Free Will



*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1998|Chapter=Duty|Title=The Revival of Magick and Other Essays|Place=Tempe, AZ|Publisher=New Falcon|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1982|Title=The Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis)|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher= Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1997|Title=Magick: Book 4|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher= Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1996|Title=Little Essays Towards Truth|Place=Tempe, AZ|Publisher=New Falcon Pub.|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1991|Title=Liber Aleph vel CXI : The Book of Wisdom or Folly|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher= Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1990|Title=De Lege Libellum|Journal=The Equinox|Volume=III|Issue=10|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher=Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1990|Title=The Message of The Master Therion|Journal=The Equinox|Volume=III|Issue=10|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher=Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1992|Title=Magick:The Heart of the Master|Place=Tempe, AZ|Publisher=New Falcon Publications|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1990|Title=The Message of The Master Therion|Journal=The Equinox|Volume=III|Issue=10|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher=Weiser|URL=
*Thelemapedia (2005). " [ True Will] ". Retrieved 5 April 2005.

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