Ace of SwordsThe religion known as Thelema was founded in 1904 by the English poet and mystic Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947), who is regarded as its prophet. Those who follow the path of Thelema are called Thelemites.

Thelema emphasizes individualism, and the uniqueness of each person’s Will. As a result, it is very difficult to make blanket statements about its nature or (still more so) the natures of its adherents. Even the label “religion” fits Thelema awkwardly in some contexts — it is in other senses a philosophy and a way of life, while also overlapping with the set of practices and symbols commonly called “Magick”.

In this section of the U.S. Grand Lodge O.T.O. site we offer what can only be a bare introduction to Thelema, covering Thelema’s founder Aleister Crowley, Thelemic theology, our calendar and customs, and a brief description of the O.T.O.’s sister Order, the A∴A∴. We strongly encourage you to use these resources as a gateway to your own explorations. “There is joy in the setting out; there is joy in the journey; there is joy in the goal.”

Permanent link to this article:

Aleister Crowley

by Hymenaeus Beta XII° Edward Alexander Crowley was born in Leamington Spa in 1875. He was educated at Malvern and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he changed his name to Aleister. He was a lyric and dramatic poet, with several dozen books to his credit, including a collaboration with Auguste Rodin. He is anthologized in The …

View page »


The following notes on Thelemic theology are based primarily on the writings of Aleister Crowley. These notes are not intended as interpretation or commentary on The Book of the Law outside the bounds of the Prophet’s writings, nor do they represent a definitive statement of Thelemic belief. The theology of Thelema postulates all manifested existence arising from …

View page »


If you are looking for the calendar of U.S. Grand Lodge events, it is here. The Thelemic calendar counts years from 1904 EV (the year Liber AL was received). Each Thelemic year starts at the instant of the northern-hemisphere Vernal Equinox, coinciding with the Thelemic holiday called the Feast for the Equinox of the Gods. The civil date of the Thelemic new …

View page »


Nearly all Thelemites keep a record of their personal practices, and their progress therein, in a “Magical Diary”. Most Thelemites also practice a particular form of prayer four times per day, which is specified in a work called Liber Resh vel Helios. This work is included in Book 4, which is available through our online bookstore. Thelemites often …

View page »


O.T.O. has long worked in close alliance with the A∴A∴, which first proclaimed the Law of Thelema to the world. The A∴A∴ is a teaching, testing, and initiatory system dedicated to the personal spiritual advancement of its individual members. Within A∴A∴ all services are rendered free of charge, and no social activities are held. O.T.O. and A∴A∴ have …

View page »