By Beth Kimbell
“Sex is the sacred song of the soul; sex is the sanctuary of Self.”– Aleister Crowley, “On Sexual Freedom”
I was raised by an agnostic liberal Yankee and a God-fearing conservative Midwesterner in a Southern Fundamentalist Baptist world. Taught to love people for who they were and how they treated others, I was in the extreme minority in the Deep South. I grew up believing in the inherent goodness of humans, and that religion was the crutch they used to to get through life without accepting true responsibility for their actions.
I have loved both men and women as far back as I can remember. My first explorations were with my father’s girlfriend’s daughter, and my second with a man I met roller-skating. I never felt the need to choose, but I could never be completely open in the restrictive, old-fashioned Christian world I inhabited.
When I came of age, I began a migration that would take me through Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado and New York, until I finally settled in Boston. Throughout this time, I loved as I wished and in some places even found communities where I could express this fully. I even discovered a kinky side.
Through it all, I felt the absence of something…a spiritual side. I lived and loved well, but I lacked something deeper within. I knew that anything I chose to fill this void would have to take me as I was. I would not repent being exactly who I had become. It took years to learn to be myself and I would not give it up.
Armed with this decision, I considered my beliefs about the world and the place of humans in it and found Thelema, which is Greek for will. On this path, we pursue our true purpose, our will, and attempt to do that above all things. After many years, I became a Priestess in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, or Gnostic Catholic Church.
Last year the Gay-Straight Alliance at Salem State College brought me to speak during their GBLT Week at an event called “Rainbow Spirituality.” There, religious leaders from various faiths were invited to speak on the place (or lack thereof) of homosexuality in their respective faiths. I had it easy in comparison to the evangelical who at best could say that she and her Savior loved homosexuals but that they were sinners and must repent or suffer in the life hereafter. In Thelema, “Thou hast no right but to do thy will, do that and no other shall say nay.” What this means is that if it is your will, if you know in your being that you love both men and women, that this is not a phase of exploration but who you are, then not only do we support your being that you, we require it. To pretend to be someone else, to restrict yourself from the natural expression of your love is true sin to us.
Our forefather, Aleister Crowley wrote that we “have the right to live by our own law.” This is not a call to anarchy, but to openly and shamelessly be whom we are, to demand the freedom to be this person, and to defend the rights of others to be their true selves. Here he also says that we “have the right to love whom we will, when, where, and how we will,” quoting from our Holy Book, The Book of the Law. What truer statement of individual freedom and spiritual expression can there be, when through the act of love we connect with the divine?
Love is the law, love under will.
Beth is an advocate for sexual freedom, a bisexual, a sado-masochist, and an esotericist serving on the NELA Board of Directors and the Electoral College of O.T.O. U.S.A. She recently spoke at Thelemic Symposium X and Transcending Boundaries Conference ‘10, likes things ‘Just-So’, and idolizes Benjamin Franklin. She can be found online at hermetic.com/kimbell.