Do what thou wilt

Did anyone ever wonder where Crowley got his famous line, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”?

Well, it never occurred to me to wonder until yesterday. In my French lit class, we were reading a story called Gargantua by Rabelais, a 16th century monk/priest and doctor. This is a very silly and somtimes vulgar tale about a giant named Gargantua, but it’s also a serious critique of the church of the time. Anyway, Gargantua talks about starting a new abbey at the village of Theleme, which my text notes comes from the Greek word meaning desire or will. This new abbey will be radically different from any other: both men and women will be included, and they will not be forced to take the traditional vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Instead, the rule of this new abbey will be: FAIS CE QUE TU VOUDRAIS, or DO WHAT YOU WILL. Coincidence? I think not. But why is it I have to be in upper-division French classes in college before I finally find out where this stuff actually comes from? Why are we so cut off from our intellectual roots?