De Thaumaturgia enlarges on the ethical basis of the magical praxis for initiates-in-training, and underscores an important principle that is all too often overlooked. It first appeared in The International (New York, February 1918).--H.B.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE for the Master, o my brethren, who has fought so long with those things within Himself which have hindered Him, to expect that if toys be given to children they will not play with them. But watch may rightly be held lest they injure themselves therewith; this paper therefore, as a guard.
O, My Brethren, even as every dog is allowed one bite, so let every wonder-worker be allowed one miracle. For it is right that he should prove his new power, lest he be deceived by the wile and malice of the apes of Choronzon.
But with regard to the repetition of miracles the cause is not similar. Firstly cometh forth the general magical objection. The business of the aspirant is to climb the Middle Pillar from Malkuth to Kether; and though the other Pillars must be grasped firmly as aids to equilibrium, he should in no wise cling to them. He aspires to the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel, and all other works are deviations. He may however perform miracles when necessary in order to carry out this main work; thus. he may perform a divination to assist him to discover a suitable house for the purpose, or even evoke a planetary spirit to guard him and aid him during the time of preparation, if it be necessary. But in all such works let him be well assured in himself that his sole object is really that Knowledge and Conversation. Otherwise, he has broken concentration, and the One work alone being White Magick, all others are Black Magick.
Secondly ariseth a similar objection derived from considerations of Energy. For all miracles involve loss; as it is said “she perceived that virtue had gone out of him.” The exception is therefore as follows, that such miracles as tend to the conservation or renewal of Energy are lawful. Thus the preparation of the Elixir of Life is blameless; and the practices of the IX° of O.T.O. in general, so far as they have for object the gain of Strength, Youth, and Vitality.
It may further be considered just to perform miracles to aid others, within certain limits. One must consciously say: I deliberately sacrifice Energy and my own Great Work for this Object. Therefore the Magician must first of all calculate whether or no the object be worthy of the sacrifice. Thus, in the first year of the Path of the Master Therion, he, with V.H. Frater Volo Noscere, evoked the Spirit Buer to save the life of V.H. Frater Iehi Aour; saying in themselves: The life of this holy man is of vast importance to this Aeon; let us give up this small portion of our strength for this great end. The answer might have been made: Nay, nothing is ever lost; let him rather work out this evil Karma of ill-health, and die and incarnate anew in youth and strength. It is hard even now to say if this had been better. The holy man did indeed recover, did attain to yet greater things, did awake a great people to aspiration; no operation could ever have been more successful: Yet still there remaineth doubt as to whether the natural order of things had not conceived a finer flowering.
But this is a general objection of the sceptical sort to all miracles of whatever kind, and leadeth anon into the quagmire of arguments about Free Will. The adept will do better to rely upon The Book of the Law, which urgeth constantly to action. Even rash action is better than none, by that Light: let the magician then argue that his folly is part of that natural order which worketh all so well.
And this may be taken as a general license to perform any and every miracle according to one's will.
The argument has therefore been swung to each extreme; and like all arguments, ends in chaos.
The above concerning true miracles; but with regard to false miracles the case is altogether different.
Since it is part of the Magick of every one to cause both Nature and man to conform to the Will, man may lawfully be influenced by the performance of miracles. But true miracles should not be used for this purpose; for it is to profane the nature of the miracle, and to cast pearls before swine; further, man is so built that he will credit false miracles, and regard true miracles as false. It is also useful at times for the magician to prove to them that he is an imposter; therefore, he can easily expose his false miracles, whereas this must not be done where they are true; for to deny true miracles is to injure the power to perform them.
Similarly, none of the other objections cited above apply to false miracles; for they are not, properly speaking, magick at all, and come under the heading of common acts. Only insofar as common acts are magick do they come under consideration, and here the objection may be raised that they are, peculiarly, Error; that they simulate, and so blaspheme, the Truth. Certainly this is so, and they must only be performed for the purpose of blinding the eyes of the malicious, and that only in that peculiar spirit of mockery which delights the initiates in the Comedy of Pan.
The end of the matter then is that as in Comedy and Tragedy all things are lawful, live thou in Comedy or Tragedy eternally, never blinding thyself to think Life aught but mummery, and perform accordingly the false miracles or the true, as may be Thy Will.
Love is the law, love under will.