Ordo Templi Orientis
Sacred River explores spirituality grounded in religious naturalism & progressive ethics that is both non-theistic and non-supernatural.
- By Aleister Crowley. Published in "The Equinox" I(3). This document © O.T.O.
AN EPISTLE OF THERION 9○=2□, A MAGUS OF A∴A∴ TO HIS SON, BEING AN INSTRUCTION IN A MATTER OF ALL IMPORTANCE, TO WIT, THE MEANS TO BE TAKEN TO EXTEND THE DOMINION OF THE LAW OF THELEMA THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
FIRSTLY, let thine attention be directed to this planet, how the Aeon of Horus is made manifest by the Universal War. This is the first great and direct result of the Equinox of the Gods, and is the preparation of the hearts of men for the reception of the Law.
Let Us remind you that this is a magical formula of cosmic scope, and that it is given in exact detail in the legend of the Golden Fleece.
Jason, who in this story represents the Beast, first fits out a ship guided by Wisdom or Athena, and this is his aspiration to the Great Work. Accompanied by many heroes, he comes to the place of the Fleece, but they can do nothing until Medea, the Scarlet Woman, puts into his hands a posset “drugged with somnolence, Sleepy with poppy and white hellebore” for the dragon. Then Jason is able to subdue the bulls, sacred to Osiris, and symbolical of his Aeon and of the Magical Formula of Self-Sacrifice. With these he plows the field of the world, and sows therein “the dreadful teeth of woe, Cadmean Stock of Thebes’ old misery,” which refers to a certain magical formula announced by The Beast that is familiar unto thee, but unsuited to the profane, and therefore not further in this place indicated. From this seed armed men sprung to life; but instead of attacking Him, “mutual madness strikes The warriors witless, and fierce wrath invades Their hearts of fury, and with arms engaged, They fell upon each other silently, And slew, and slew.” Now then, the Dragon being asleep, we may step quietly past him, and “rending the branches of that wizard Oak, With a strong grasp tear down the Fleece of Gold.”
Let us only remember not to repeat the error of Jason, and defy Ares, who is Horus in his warrior mood, that guardeth it, lest He strike us also with madness. Nay! but to the glory of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and the establishment of His perfect kingdom let all be done!
Now, O my son, thou knowest that it is Our will to establish this Work, accomplishing fully that which We are commanded in The Book of the Law, “Help me, O warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the children of men!”—and it is Thy will, manifesting as thou hast done in the Sphere of Malkuth the material world, to do this same thing in an even more immediate and practical way than would naturally appeal to one whose manifestation is in the Heaven of Jupiter. So therefore We now answer Thy filial petition that asketh good counsel of Us as to the means to be taken to extend the Law of Thelema throughout the whole world.
Direct therefore now most closely thine attention to The Book of the Law itself. In It we find an absolute rule of life, and clear instruction in every emergency that may befall. What then are Its own directions for the fructification of That Ineffable Seed? Note, pray thee, the confidence with which we may proceed. “They shall gather my children into their fold; they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.” They “shall”; there is no doubt. Therefore doubt not, but strike with all thy strength. Note also, pray thee, this word: “The Law is for all.” Do not therefore “select suitable persons” in thy worldly wisdom; preach oÿenly the Law to all men. In Our experience We have found that the most unlikely means have produced the best results; and indeed it is almost the definition of a true Magical Formula that the means should be unsuited, rationally speaking, to the end proposed. Note, pray thee, that We are bound to teach. “He must teach; but he may make severe the ordeals.” This refers, however, as is evident from the context, to the technique of the new Magick, “the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword.”
Note, pray thee, the instruction in CCXX I:41-n-44, 51, 61, 63 k.t.l. on which We have enlarged in Our tract The Law of Liberty, and in private letters to thee and to others. The open preaching of this Law, and the practice of these precepts, will arouse discussion and animosity, and thus place thee upon a rostrum whence thou mayst speak unto the people.
Note, pray thee, this mentor: “Remember ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but shadows; they pass and are done; but there is that which remains.” For this doctrine shall comfort many. Also there is this word: “They shall rejoice, our chosen; who sorroweth is not of us. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.” Indeed in all ways thou mayest expound the joy of our Law; nay, for thou shalt overflow with the joy thereof, and have no need of words. It would moreover be impertinent and tedious to call again thine attention to all those passages that thou knowest so well. Note, pray thee, that in the matter of direct instruction there is enough. Consider the passage “Choose ye an island! Fortify it! Dung it about with enginery of war! I will give you a war-engine. With it ye shall smite the peoples; and none shall stand before you. Lurk! Withdraw! Upon them! This is the Law of the Battle of Conquest: thus shall my worship be about my secret house.” The last phrase suggests that the island may be Great Britain, with its Mines and Tanks; and it is notable that a certain brother obligated to A∴A∴ is in the most secret of England’s War Councils at this hour. But it is possible that all this instruction refers to some later time when our Law, administered by some such Order as the O.T.O. which concerns itself with temporal affairs, is of weight in the councils of the world, and is challenged by the heathen, and by the followers of the fallen gods and demigods.
Note, pray thee, the practical method of overcoming opposition given in CCXX III:23-n-26. But this is not to Our immediate purpose in this epistle. Note, pray thee, the instruction in the 38th and 39th verses of the Third Chapter of The Book of the Law. It must be quoted in full.
- ”So that thy light is in me; and its red flame is as a sword in my hand to push thy order.”
That is, the God himself is aflame with the Light of The Beast, and will himself push the order, through the fire (perhaps meaning the genius) of The Beast.
- ”There is a secret door that I shall make to establish thy way in all the quarters (these are the adorations, as thou hast written) as it is said:
- The Light is mine; its rays consume
Me: I have made a secret door
Into the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra, and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, O Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-f-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!”
In the comment in Equinox I(7) this passage is virtually ignored. It is possible that this “secret door” refers to the four men and four women spoken of later in The Paris Working, or it may mean the child elsewhere predicted, or some secret preparation of the hearts of men. It is difficult to decide on such a point, but we may be sure that the Event will show that the exact wording was so shaded as to prove to us absolute foreknowledge on the part of That Most Holy Angel who uttered the Book.
Note, pray thee, further, in verse 39, how the matter proceeds:
”All this”—i.e. The Book of the Law itself.
”and a book to say how didst come hither” —i.e. some record such as that in The Temple of Solomon the King.
”And a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever” —i.e. by some mechanical process, with possibly a sample of paper similar to that employed.
”—for in it is the word secret and not only in the English—” Compare CCXX III:47, 73. The secret is still a secret to Us.
”And thy comment upon this The Book of the Law shall be printed beautifully in red ink and black upon beautiful paper made by hand;” —i.e. explain the text “lest there be folly” as it says above, CCXX I:36.
”And to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds. Do this quickly!”
From this it is evident that a volume must be prepared as signified— Part IV of Book 4 was intended to fulfil this purpose—and that this book must be distributed widely, in fact to every one with whom one comes into social relations.
We are not to add to this gift by preaching and the like. They can take it or leave it.
Note, pray thee, verse 41 of this chapter:
- ”Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house; all must be done well and with business way.”
This is very clear instruction indeed. There is to be a modern centralized business organization at the Kaaba—which, We think, does not mean Boleskine, but any convenient headquarters.
Note, pray thee, in verse 42 of this chapter the injunction: “Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch.” This is not any bar to an explanation of the Law. We may aid men to strike off their own fetters; but those who prefer slavery must be allowed to do so. “The slaves shall serve.” The excellence of the Law must be showed by its results upon those who accept it. When men see us as the hermits of Hadit described in CCXX II:24, they will determine to emulate our joy.
Note, pray thee, the whole implication of the chapter that sooner or later we are to break the power of the slaves of the slave-gods by actual fighting. Ultimately, Freedom must rely upon the sword. It is impossible to treat in this epistle of the vast problems involved in this question; and they must be decided in accordance with the Law by those in authority in the Order when the time comes. Thou wilt note that We have written unto thee more as a member of the O.T.O., than in thy capacity as of the A∴A∴, for the former organization is co-ordinate and practical, and concerns itself with material things. But remember this clearly, that the Law cometh from the A∴A∴, not from the O.T.O. This Order is but the first of the great religious bodies to accept this Law officially, and its whole Ritual has been revised and reconstituted in accordance with this decision. Now then, leaving The Book of the Law, note, pray thee, the following additional suggestions for extending the Dominion of the Law of Thelema throughout the whole world.
- All those who have accepted the Law should announce the same in daily intercourse. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” shall be the invariable form of greeting. These words, especially in the case of strangers, should be pronounced in a clear, firm, and articulate voice, with the eyes frankly fixed upon the bearer. If the other be of us, let him reply “Love is the law, love under will.” The latter sentence shall also be used as the greeting of farewell. In writing, wherever greeting is usual, it should be as above, opening “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” and closing “Love is the law, love under will.”
- Social gatherings should be held as often as is convenient, and there the Law should be read and explained.
- The special tracts written by Us, or authorized by Us, should be distributed to all persons with whom those who have accepted the Law may be in contact.
- Pending the establishment of other Universities and Schools of Thelema, scholarships and readerships and such should be provided in existing Schools and Universities, so as to secure the general study of Our writings, and those authorized by Us as pertaining to the New Aeon.
- All children and young people, although they may not be able to understand the more exalted heavens of our horoscope, may always be taught to rule their lives in accordance with the Law. No efforts should be spared to bring them to this emancipation. The misery caused to children by the operation of the law of the slave-gods was, one may say, the primum mobile of Our first aspiration to overthrow the Old Law.
- By all manner of means shall all strive constantly to increase the power and freedom of the Headquarters of the O.T.O.; for thereby will come efficiency in the promulgation of the Law. Specific instructions for the extension of the O.T.O. are given in another epistle.
Constant practice of these recommendations will develop skill in him or her that practiseth, so that new ideas and plans will be evolved continually.
Furthermore, it is right that each and every one bind himself with an Oath Magical that he may thus make Freedom perfect, even by a bond, as in Liber III it is duly written. Amen.
Now, son, note, pray thee, in what house We write these words. For it is a little cottage of red and green, by the western side of a great lake, and it is hidden in the woods. Man, therefore, is at odds with Wood and Water; and being a magician bethinketh Himself to take one of these enemies, Wood, which is both the effect and the cause of that excess of Water, and compel it to fight for Him against the other. What then maketh He? Why, He taketh unto himself Iron of Mars, an Axe and a Saw and a Wedge and a Knife, and He divideth Wood therewith against himself, hewing him into many small pieces, so that he hath no longer any strength against His will. Good; then taketh He the Fire of our Father the Sun, and setteth it directly in battle array against that Water by His army of Wood that he hath conquered and drilled, building it up into a phalanx like unto a Cone, that is the noblest of all solid figures, being the Image of the Holy Phallus Itself, and combined in himself the Right Line and the Circle. Thus, son, dealeth He; and the Fire kindleth the Wood, and the heat thereof driveth the Water afar off. Yet this Water is a cunning adversary, and He strengthened Wood against Fire by impregnating him with much of his own substance, as it were by spies in the citadel of any ally that is not wholly trusted. Now then therefore what must the Magician do? He must first expel utterly Water from Wood by an invocation of the Fire of the Sun our Father. That is to say, without the inspiration of the Most High and Holy One even We ourselves could do nothing at all. Then, son, beginneth the Magician to set His Fire to the little dry Wood, and that enkindleth the Wood of middle size, and when that blazeth brightly, at the last the great logs, through they be utterly green, are nevertheless enkindled.
Now, son, hearken unto this Our reproof, and lend the ear of thine understanding unto the parable of this Magick.
We have for the whole Beginning of Our Work, praise be eternally unto His Holy Name, the Fire of our Father the Sun. The inspiration is ours, and ours is the Law of Thelema that shall set the world ablaze. And We have many small dry sticks, that kindle quickly and burn through quickly, leaving the larger Wood unlit. And the great logs, the masses of humanity, are always with us. But our edged need is of those middle fagots that on the one hand are readily kindled by the small Wood, and on the other endure until the great logs blaze.
(Behold how sad a thing it is, quoth the Ape of Thoth, for one to be so holy that he cannot chop a tree and cook his food without preparing upon it a long and tedious Morality!)
Let this epistle be copied and circulated among all those that have accepted the Law of Thelema.
Receive now Our paternal benediction: the Benediction of the All-Begetter be upon thee.
Love is the law, love under will.
THERION 9○=2□ A∴A∴
Given under Our hand and seal this day of An XII, the Sun our Father being in 12° 42′ 2″ of the sign Leo, and the Moon in 25° 39′ 11″ of the sign Libra, from the House of the Juggler, that is by Lake Pasquaney in the State of New Hampshire.