Before everything shut down, I got a chance to see Tool live in concert. One of the things that surprised me was that Maynard really wasn’t the star of the show — true to habit, Maynard was actually the only musician hiding from the spotlight. If anyone really deserved the spotlight most, it was undoubtedly drummer Danny Carey.
After doing a bit of research, I discovered that it was Carey — and not Maynard — who seems to have been the one who brought the Thelemite star into the band’s performances.
In addition to its prominent and central display in concert, this image can be seen clearly on Danny Carey’s drum pads, on his drum-cam performance of “Pneuma:”
Given Maynard’s own generally negative feelings towards religion, I wonder if perhaps the band’s inclination towards positive occultism may be coming not from behind the mic, but from behind the drums.
Carey also wrote the forward to an entire book about Aleister Crowley, the founder of Thelema. His personal library also features many books by and about Crowley.
As an aside, I think that Thelema has gotten a bad rap. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” is what most people know of it, and they interpret this as “do whatever you want.” But for those who have bothered to investigate these kinds of paths, it is clear that your “will” is not whimsical, and actually accomplishing one’s will takes immense focus, dedication, and discipline. Indeed, it takes effort just to figure out your will, what it was that you are truly called to do (a subject Johnny Mannaz addresses better than I can). In short, “do what thou wilst” means almost the precise opposite of “do whatever you want.”
This may explain why Carey is both one of the most accomplished drummers in the world, and why he is also a morally good, humble, and fun family-man: