by Aleister Crowley, excerpted from “The Law is for All”
This document © O.T.O.
We of Thelema say that “Every man and every woman is a star”. We do not fool and flatter women; we do not despise and abuse them. To us a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self justified, exactly as a man is.
We dare not thwart Her Going, Goddess she! We arrogate no right upon Her will; we claim not to deflect Her development, to dispose of Her desires, or to determine Her destiny. She is Her own sole arbiter; we ask no more than to supply our strength to Her, whose natural weakness else were prey to the world’s pressure. Nay more, it were too zealous even to guard Her in Her Going; for She were best by Her own self-reliance to win Her own way forth!
We do not want Her as a slave; we want Her free and royal, whether Her love fight death in our arms by night, or Her loyalty ride by day beside us in the Charge of the Battle of Life.
”Let the woman be girt with a sword before me!”
”In her is all power given.”
So sayeth this our Book of the Law. We respect woman in the self of Her own nature; we do not arrogate the right to criticise her. We welcome her as our ally, come to our camp as her Will, free-flashing, sword-swinging, hath told Her, Welcome, thou Woman, we hail thee, star shouting to star! Welcome to rout and to revel! Welcome to fray and to feast! Welcome to vigil and victory! Welcome to war with its wounds! Welcome to peace with its pageants! Welcome to lust and to laughter! Welcome to board and to bed! Welcome to trumpet and triumph; welcome to dirge and to death!
It is we of Thelema who truly love and respect Woman, who hold her sinless and shameless even as we are; and those who say that we despise Her are those who shrink from the flash of our falchions as we strike from Her limbs their foul fetters.
Do we call Woman Whore? Ay, Verily and Amen, She is that; the air shudders and burns as we shout it, exulting and eager.
O ye! Was not this your sneer, your vile whisper that scorned Her and shamed Her? Was not “Whore” the truth of Her, the title of terror that you gave Her in your fear of Her, coward comforting coward with furtive glance and gesture?
But we fear Her not; we cry Whore, as Her armies approach us. We beat on our shields with our swords. Earth echoes the clamour!
Is there doubt of the victory? Your hordes of cringing slaves, afraid of themselves, afraid of their own slaves, hostile, despised and distrusted, your only tacticians the ostrich, the opossum, and the cuttle, will you not break and flee at our first onset, as with leveled lances of lust we ride at the charge, with our allies, the Whores whom we love and acclaim, free friends by our sides in the Battle of Life?
The Book of the Law is the Charter of Woman; the Word Thelema has opened the lock of Her “girdle of chastity”. Your Sphinx of stone has come to life; to know, to will, to dare and to keep silence.
Yea, I, The Beast, my Scarlet Whore bestriding me, naked and crowned, drunk on Her golden Cup of Fornication, boasting Herself my bedfellow, have trodden Her in the Marketplace, and roared this Word that every woman is a star. And with that Word is uttered Woman’s Freedom; the fools and fribbles and flirts have heard my voice. The fox in woman hath heard the Lion in man; fear, fainting, flabbiness, frivolity, falsehood—these are no more the mode.
In vain will bully and brute and braggart man, priest, lawyer, or social censor knit his brows to devise him a new tamer’s trick; once and for all the tradition is broken; vanished the vogue of bowstring, sack, stoning, nose-slitting, belt-buckling, cart’s tail-dragging, whipping, pillory posting, walling-up, divorce court, eunuch, harem, mind-crippling, house-imprisoning, menial-work-wearying, creed stultifying, social-ostracism-marooning, Divine-wrath-scaring, and even the device of creating and encouraging prostitution to keep one class of women in the abyss under the heel of the police, and the other on its brink, at the mercy of the husband’s boot at the first sign of insubordination or even of failure to please.
Man’s torture-chamber had tools inexhaustibly varied; at one end murder crude and direct to subtler, more callous, starvation; at the other moral agonies, from tearing her child from her breast to threatening her with a rival when her service had blasted her beauty.
Most masterful man, yet most cunning, was not thy supreme strategem to band the woman’s own sisters against her, to use their knowledge of her psychology and the cruelty of their jealousies to avenge thee on thy slave as thou thyself hadst neither wit nor spite to do?
And Woman, weak in body, and starved in mind; woman, morally fettered by Her heroic oath to save the race, no care of cost, helpless and hard, endured these things, endured from age to age. Hers was no loud spectacular sacrifice, no cross on a hilltop, with the world agaze, and monstrous miracles to echo the applause of heaven. She suffered and triumphed in most shameful silence; she had no friend, no follower, none to aid or approve. For thank she had but maudlin flatteries, and knew what cruel-cold scorn the hearts of men scarce cared to hide.
She agonized, ridiculous and obscene; gave all her beauty and strength of maidenhood to suffer sickness, weakness, danger of death, choosing to live the life of a cow— that so Mankind might sail the seas of Time.
She knew that man wanted nothing of her but service of his base appetites; in his true manhood-life she had nor part nor lot; and all her wage was his careless contempt.
She hath been trampled thus through all the ages, and she hath tamed them thus. Her silence was the token of her triumph.
But now the Word of Me the Beast is this: not only art thou Woman, sworn to a purpose not thine own; thou art thyself a star, and in thyself a purpose to thyself. Not only mother of men art thou, or whore to men; serf to their need of Life and Love, not sharing in their Light and Liberty; nay, thou art Mother and Whore for thine own pleasure; the Word I say to Man I say to thee no less: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!
Ay, priest, ay, lawyer, ay, censor! Will ye not gather in secret once again, if in your hoard of juggler’s tricks there be not one untried, or in your cunning and counsel one device new-false to save your pirate ship from sinking?
It has always been so easy up to now! What is the blasting Magick in that Word, first thesis of The Book of the Law, that “every woman is a star”?
Alas! it is I the Beast that roared that Word so loud, and wakened Beauty.
Your tricks, your drowsy drugs, your lies, your hypnotic passes—they will not serve you.
Make up your minds to be free men, fearless as I, fit mates for women no less free and fearless!
For I, The Beast, am come; an end to the evils of old, to the duping and clubbing of abject and ailing animals, degraded to that shameful state to serve that shameful pleasure.
The essence of my Word is to declare Woman to be Herself, of, to, and for Herself, and I give this one irresistible Weapon, the expression of Herself and Her will through sex, to Her on precisely the same terms as to man.
Murder is no longer to be dreaded; the economic weapon is powerless since female labour has been found industrially valuable; and the social weapon is entirely in her own hands.
The best women have always been sexually free, like the best men; it is only necessary to remove the penalties for being found out. Let Women’s labour organizations support any individual who is economically harried on sexual grounds. Let social organizations honour in public what their members practise in private.
Most domestic unhappiness will disappear automatically, for its chief cause is the sexual dissatisfaction of wives, or the anxiety (or other mental strain) engendered should they take the remedy in their own hands.
The crime of abortion will lose its motive in all but the most exceptional cases.
Blackmail will be confined to commercial and political offences, thus diminishing its frequency by two-thirds, at least, maybe much more.
Social scandals and jealousies will tend to disappear.
Sexual disease will be easier to track and to combat, when it is no longer a disgrace to admit it.
Prostitution (with its attendant crimes) will tend to disappear, as it will cease to offer exorbitant profits to those who exploit it. The preoccupation of the minds of the public with sexual questions will no longer breed moral disease and insanity, when the sex-appetite is treated as simply as hunger. Frankness of speech and writing on sexual questions will dispel the ignorance which entraps so many unfortunate people; proper precautions against actual dangers will replace unnecessary and absurd precautions against imaginary or artificial dangers; and the quacks who trade on fear will be put out of business.
All this must follow as the Light the night as soon as Woman, true to Herself, finds that She can no longer be false to any man. She must hold Hers elf and Her Will in honour; and She must compel the world to accord it.
The modern woman is not going to be dupe, slave, and victim any more; the woman who gives herself up freely to her own enjoyment, without asking recompense, will earn the respect of her brothers, and will openly despise her “chaste” or venal sisters, as men now despise “milksops”, “sissies”, and “tango lizards”. Love is to be divorced utterly and irrevocably from social and financial agreements, especially marriage. Love is a sport, an art, a religion, as you will; it is not an ol’ clo’ Emporium.
”Mary inviolate” is to be “torn upon wheels” because tearing is the only treatment for her; and RV, a wheel, is the name of the feminine principle. [See Liber D.] It is her own sisters who are to punish her for the crime of denying Her nature, not men who are to redeem her, since, as above remarked, it is man’s own false sense of guilt, his selfishness, and his cowardice, which originally forced her to blaspheme against herself, and so degraded her in her own eyes, and in his. Let him attend to his own particular business, to redeem himself—he has surely his hands full! Woman will save herself if she be but left alone to do it. I see it, I, the Beast, who have seen—who see—Space splendid with stars, who have seen—who see—the Body of our Lady Nuit, all-pervading, and therein swallowed up, to have found—to find—no soul that is not wholly of Her. Woman! thou drawest us upward and onward for ever; and every woman is one among women, of Woman; one star of Her stars.
I see thee, Woman, thou standest alone, High Priestess art thou unto Love at the Altar of Life. And Man is the Victim therein.
Beneath thee, rejoicing, he lies; he exalts as he dies, burning up in the breath of thy kiss. Yea, star rushes flaming to star; the blaze bursts, splashes the skies.
There is a Cry in an unknown tongue, it resounds through the Temple of the Universe; in its one Word is Death and Ecstasy, and thy title of honour, o thou, to Thyself High Priestess, Prophetess, Empress, to Thyself the Goddess whose Name means Mother and Whore!