I have never met Sam Webster in person. I know him through the Chthonic Auranian Temple, (formerly the Chthonic Auranian Ordo Templi Orientis), of which he is one of three founding Sovereigns. Many of you will already know him from his work with the Pagan and Magical community, and of course the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn.
I am happy to report that he has now joined the blog-o-sphere as the newest voice over at Witches and Pagans. The blog is called ARCADIAN ANVIL and it promises to be something to keep an eye on closely.
All this reminded me that two years ago at the Crucible convention I was given a book that I never quite got around to reviewing properly. That book is Thelemic Tantra by Sam Webster.
Now you might think, given the fact that I have roasted Thelemic/Buddhist hybrids before, that I would hate this book, but you would be wrong. This book is a shining example of how a radical synthesis should work. It is also an excellent example of Strategic Sorcery principal 5: “Appropriate tech, not symbols.”
Whereas most other Thelemic Hybrids are nothing more than the same Thelemic Ritual Structures with some foreign imagery, philosophy, and Gods thrown in for spice, this book is SOLIDLY Thelemic and relies almost entirely on the Crowley’s symbol set and Gods such as Nuit, Hadit, and Ra Hoor Khuit. It is the ritual structure that is appropriated rather than images of Buddhas, which is good because it is the ritual structure that is more useful.
In the book Sam lays out a very sensible Mahayoga style (ie:gradual) generation of a Mandala of Ra Hoor Khuit. He covers both generation in front, and self generation. He also covers self-empowerment, or rather empowerment by Ra Hoor Khuit. In Vajrayana self-empowerment rites can be used to refresh vows and practices before retreat by those that have already received the empowerment from a Guru – but I think it is totally appropriate in the Thelemic context to do this yourself from scratch.
At the end of the book, Sam includes a Sex magic rite for use with the meditation. It is a little wordy for my taste (never been able to do Sex Magic that requires spoken dramatic lines and such) but it could easily be scaled back to taste. There is also a Ganachakra feast and instructions for a Thelemic Phowa – the Tibetan practice of ejecting seed consciousness at time of death so that you can direct your re-birth.
I should also mention the amazing cover art by Kat Lunoe. Her rendering of Ra Hoor Khuit for this work is breathtaking and penetrating. Anyone interested in following the instructions should seek to obtain a print for their meditation room.