Since declaring my separation from Thelema, many have asked me for my reasoning. I am writing this entry for my own convenience, as a place to refer such inquirers in the future instead of having to rewrite my reasons each time. Please note that I am not putting this up here to anger anyone or dissuade anyone from Thelema. It is simply a catalog of my own reasons for moving on. 1) I am a Naturalist.
Naturalism is a philosophical orientation that does not acknowledge the existence of supernatural beings, forces, or places. It's motto is "The natural is real and the real is natural." Thelema is predicated on supernaturalism, from it's basic cosmology to its origins (i.e. the "reception" of Liber AL). As a naturalist, I do not believe in "elemental" or "planetary" forces, the soul or body of light, holy guardian angels, personal god(s), change at a distance, astral or enochian "planes", reincarnation, clairvoyance, gematria, talismans, divine "offices", or divination.
More importantly, I do not believe in True Will as a construct. This is because I do not believe that there is a divine plan or destiny for us to adhere to, nor do I believe in ascending spiritual states of clarity regarding hidden layers of reality. I have no doubt that people can experience
such things, but those experiences are subjective with no meaning outside of the individual's personal set of beliefs and expectations. In other words, such experiences do not lead to any objective or even pragmatic changes in a person, unless as a byproduct (eg. the ability to focus the mind can be useful in many circumstances).
I do understand the appeal of transcendence, and Thelema does offer techniques to create intense experiences that significantly shift one's state of awareness. But in all, the general goals of Thelema are better achieved by such things as learning practical skills, experiencing novel things in the world, becoming better educated, making strong interpersonal connections, staying physically fit, increasing one's personal integrity, and going to psychotherapy to clear up any emotional tangles. And I find the natural world to be far more awe-inspiring, beautiful, and worthy of reverence than anything described in a holy book or vision. 2) Maturity.
As I've grown as a person, I am no longer attracted to the ethics or culture of Thelema. I consider both to be essentially adolescent in nature—specifically, Thelema promotes individuation, rebellion, and experimentation, which are things that are common to the teen years. These are not necessarily bad things and can even be very valuable to a person depending on one's emotional state. I myself needed those things when I found Thelema in my early 20s, and I'm thankful for it.
But as a whole, Thelema is very limiting in this regard. As one moves through the adolescent stage one comes out at a place where the individuated self needs to reconnect with others and move priorities beyond strictly personal interests. It is a more complex arrangement, balancing personal wholeness with social interconnection and responsibility, which is something that Thelema does not address (and often rails against). For a time I was assuaged by the pro-social principles of Ordo Templi Orientis, but the growing attitude of literalistic supernaturalism, preoccupation with semi-taboo sexuality, and a chronic lack of social stability finally broke me. In the end, I had many wonderful friends, but had lost all faith in the Order as a vehicle for social transformation or my own personal fulfillment. (Edit: I fully support members of OTO who find their participation to be meaningful and fulfilling. I'm not attacking OTO so much as explaining those elements that I myself could no longer tolerate. I still adhere to many of OTO's core principles, such as fraternity, harmony, honor, and nobility. Understand, I left OTO primarily because I left Thelema, not the other way around.)
Mix adolescent morality with magical thinking, and you get my primary reason for leaving Thelema. I am not claiming that Thelema is without any virtue, but what there is eventually became swamped by what I could no longer stomach. I am now a strong proponent of Religious Naturalism and explore those ideas at my site, SacredRiver.org
Although I'm sure I've offended people, please know that that was not my intention. I simply hope that this post makes clear my reasoning for moving beyond Thelema.