by Aleister Crowley, 1914-1916, excerpted from “The General Principles of Astrology”
This document © O.T.O.
Helios, Apollo, Sol, or the Sun, is the centre and source of all things in our system. By him are all things, and in him all things subsist.
All the planets are children of the Sun, and in him all their qualities are harmonized and made perfect. There is nothing in them that is not in him; they are but specializations of one power, functions of one body, ministers of one king.
For the Sun is the image of God in the greater universe, as Man is His image in the lesser.
It is, then, around the Sun that the true fables of all mythologies weave their magick dance. And their legend is ever the mystery which we have learnt in Christian symbol, the threefold mystery of Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. These five are one, and this is the history of every God and every man.
Here is a great secret: if this were understood and valued, it would realize the dream of the Adepts—the Brotherhood of Man. It is by virtue of this that Freemasonry has broken down the frontiers of nations, uniting all men in a simple and sublime sacrament that recalls the deepest truths of life to those who are apt to forget them in the frivolities of business, pleasure and ambition.
The Christian Church attempted the same work, and if orthodox religion is broken it is because the Church insisted upon a literal interpretation of her mystery, confining to one time and place a tragedy as universal as the cosmos.
For each one of us is the central figure of a drama divine and human. Each one of us has clothed immortal splendour in a veil of flesh, has doomed himself to suffer and to die in order to rise again and mount the heaven with ever-increasing joy and majesty. It is hard for us to realize why this formula must be fulfilled, why the nature of things is such that the incorruptible must feed on corruption, the immortal shroud itself in the cerecloth of mortality. Only when we consciously attain to the enjoyment of life as a sacrament, only when the universe is understood as being a vast replica of our own nature, do we accept the cross, and hail death as the culmination and prize of life.
For the Sun is pre-eminently Lord of Life and Death. From his glittering eye radiates the glory of life; then from his quiver he draws an arrow tipped with gold, and feathered from the eagle; he draws the string of his ivory bow to his shoulder; it twangs, and the life pours from the veins of the victim. Swift is he and glorious in his chariot, and the horses of Eternity gallop through the galaxies; to right and left he shoots, and misses never his mark. He hath given all, and he will take all back, that it may be made perfect.
Proud is he, and a spendthrift, but his wealth has no limit; bold and free, a prodigal lover, but his heart is great enough for all. He is the heir and viceregent of the Most High and Holy One that is hidden behind his intolerable brilliance. If our eyes could pierce the fiery gates of heaven, we might behold a vaster and more awesome form. Nor should the Sun arise without our meditating upon Him whose representative in matter he is, nor reach the zenith without our thrill of ecstasy in his triumph. At sunset let us pause, and partake of the grand and gloomy mystery of his crucifixion, and even at midnight let us in our silence call upon him, that being, descended into the darkness, who is the herald of our resurrection and ascension. [For the religious practice corresponding to these remarks, see “Liber Resh vel Helios sub figura 200.”]
So also in the course of the Sun in the year, let us study the strange festivals of Egypt and of Chaldæa, of Mexico, Peru, India, Persia, Tibet, Greece, Syria, Scandinavia and Nineveh and Babylon of old. Let us trace their survival in the fasts and feasts of our own day, and thereby understanding what we do, practice them with zeal and with intelligence.
In this way, we shall not only harmonize and perfect our natures, but thrill them with the rapture of illumination. We shall lose the petty personal consciousness that is the cause of our selfishness, and so of all our miseries and fears, of all our cruelty and our injustice; we shall regain the cosmic consciousness; we shall be once more one with all things, and the universe will appear in its unsullied glory, freed from the veil of horror and darkness that our own imperfect light has seemed to cast upon its holy and adorable splendour.
Darkness is an infinitely rare phenomenon in the universe. Only on that side of a planet which is turned from its sun does even partial obscurity exist—and how that is recompensed by the aspect of the innumerable host of heaven! Only when clouds arise from the Earth is that light hidden. It is not the Sun that is darkened; the veil is tied over our own eyes. It is for us to rise toward the Sun, beyond the cloudbank, and to bask in his glory. If we cannot do that, it is still our own fault; it is the grossness of our bodies, the attraction of the Earth. “Set not your affections upon things of earth,” but “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Col. 3:2, Matt. 6:33]