This is still me, Sparrow. Had to change e-mail addys due to egroups
I wrote to Thelema Mountains Winery to ask them how they got their name and
this is the reply I got:
From: "Thelema Mountain Vineyards" <thelema@...
Subject: Re: Question about Thelema Mountain Winery
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 15:01:00 +0200
Dear Ms Jones
When the family bought the farm it was already named Thelema. I have
attached the origin of Thelema if you are interested.
Thank you for your enquiry and interest in our wines.
The Origins Of Thelema
Rabelais was one of 16th century France's most colourful writers. His
rather salty tales told of the glories of life and celebrated the
hedonistic pleasures of the body. This was strong criticism of the
puritanical Church of the time which pressed its concepts of piety and
guilt onto Europe. Rabelais' stories tickle and indulge the senses,
throwing social and religious commentary into the same pot as history,
comedy and tragedy.
The tale of Thelema comes from a collection of his stories entitled
"Gargantua and Pantagruel". In the book of Gargantua, he tells of a great
battle between Gargantua and Pichrocole, in which the former "utterly
defeated" the latter. After the battle, Gargantua divided the spoils and
finally only had to provide for one Monk. Gargantua offered him many lofty
titles, complete with bountiful lands, but the Monk refused them all. The
Monk explained that he did not wish to rule over other monks - instead
Gargantua could reward him with leave to found an Abbey after his own
"minde and fancie". This intrigued Gargantua, who thereupon offered him all
the land of Thelema by the river of Loire, till within two leagues of the
forest of Port-huant. Here, with Gargantua's blessing, grew up a unique
The Abbey of Thelema was not walled; time was not circumscribed by clocks
or sun dials; men and women were allowed to live freely with each other;
they were dressed in the finest satins and cloths. Rabelais enters into
some rather bawdy detail as to what sort of person would qualify as a
devotee of Thelema.... "Therefore it was ordained, that into this religious
order should be no women that were not faire, well featur'd and of sweet
disposition; nor men that were not comely, personable and well conditioned."
In complete contrast to the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience
taken by conventional religious men and women, the followers of Thelema
were allowed to be honourably married, become rich and live at liberty.
Rabelais' sumptuous account of the Abbey and its followers is best read in
the context of his rich writings, which whet the appetite with their lavish
descriptions of Serpentine marble, huge libraries, lush fields and
At the foot of this earthly paradise stood a gate bearing a rather stern
Admission Reserved Sign.
"HERE ENTER NOT vile bigots, hypocrites,
Externally devoted Apes, base snites...
And forerunners of baboons.
Out strouting cluster fists, contentious bulls,
fomenters of divisions and debates,
Elsewhere, not here, make sale your deceits.
One law governed the Thelemites, a simple and beautiful one,
"Do what thou wilt."
It has been greatly abused and much misunderstood, for the rule is not an
open invitation to chaos, but a call for true self examination.