THE COMMENT CALLED "D" – CHAPTER 2
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Oasis of Nefta, al-Djérid, Tunisia. Hotel du Djérid.
An. Xix Sol in 24° Scorpio, Luna conjunct Uranus in 14° Pisces
1. Nu conceals Hadit, for she gives Form to That which is, shewing forth Its nature in all Ways that may be.
2. He summons all to learn the other half of the Secret Truth of Nature. She is one extreme without limit, he is the other. He hath no Nature of His own, for He is that to which all Events occur. His House, that is, the sphere of his action, is called Khabs, a Star. This is the Light which He conceals about Him through His Deeds of Love for Her, so that there may appear in glory the Record of those Works which pertain to any Point in Space.
3. Hadit is any Point that may be chosen; He is thus in all places alike; while She, being all that may be, hath no limit, and cannot be numbered.
4. She is known, as He goeth on His Way, and doth His Will; each Event adds to His Knowledge of Her Nature. He cannot be known, for He hath no parts whereby to define Him.
5. I, the Beast 666, am then bidden to purge the ancient Modes of Magick, they being no longer valid in this new `time' or Aeon of Horus. I am to reject those that have become false, either through the lapse of time, or the folly or malice of men; but to retain and make pure such as are Of All Truth, beyond Time to corrupt. By so doing shall the Truth now revealed to me go forth among men to make them free, without error.
6. Hadit resumes His account of His Nature. That Nature being what it is, it must be set forth in many symbols. He is the Fire-life behind the motion of living, and the Point about which every Star is centred. He is thus Any Point-of-View, any Centre to which all Events may be measured. He is life itself in its Essence, and He causes Life to appear to itself. For this reason is the knowledge of Him the knowledge of Death, since the meaning of Life implies death. Hadit saith "the knowledge of me": this is not against His former word that He shall be known never. It means only that death is one of the Events that must needs be known as soon as the nature of Life is known.
7. Hadit is the Magician: that is, one who causes phantoms to arise: for all His Works with Nuit are but emblems chosen to show forth His Nature as it takes this Form or that, at its pleasure. He is the Exorcist: His Oath hath this Virtue, to drive away those phantoms as soon as their work is done, lest they be taken for things real. For all events are but tokens of His Being, as it appears in union with one or other form of Nuit, and in themselves but symbols. Hadit is that about whom all Events move. He is the Real, straight, square, and solid, in the midst of Perfection, which is none the less curved (that is, of female nature) equal at all points from Him, and real to thought, not to sense. He, being moved by each Event, goeth ever, and saith not `Come unto me,' that Word of his Bride Nuit/
8. Those who hold Silence worthy, and seek it, do err if they think to find therein the Truth of their Selves; for Hadit holdeth worthy, and seeketh, Nuit: and though He be Silence, is not be sought. The True Self is Silence, and seeketh Truth in all Ways of Event.
9. Hadit now sayeth to all that they should be mindful of the Nature of that which exists; it is pure joy, since all Events are Acts of Love under Will. The Shadow called Sorrow is caused by the error of thinking of any two Events as opposed or even distinct; which fault was in the first chapter of this Book thus condemned: "for thereby cometh hurt." (Hurt, in French, heurter, to jostle.) Sorrows, being thus errors of vision, not real in themselves, pass and are done as soon as the mind ceases to dwell on them; yet, being false thoughts about True Events, the Event endures, and the Point-of-View endures; so that Hadit hath attained His Will no less than in all other cases. 10-12. Mine Angel, Aiwass, watching me as I wrote down His words, saw with what rage I withstood His Spirit. For in my deepest conscious mind I held most firm the First Noble Truth proclaimed by Gautama Buddha "Everything is Sorrow"; and on this thought I had built up all my spirit and mind for many days. This Word of Aiwass therefore struck to the heart of my most earnest thought; and I hated the hand and the pen which wrote against my will, in service to His. For He was of force to subdue me, to make me obey Him, that His Word might be written and go forth unto men to utter the New Law.
13. Aiwass then spake a Riddle, by quaint grammar and trick of style and form proving to me in after Years when I attained to be a Master of the Temple, that my True Will was one with His, and my fierce and bitter revolt the folly and falsehood of my conscious Will, enthralled by fear and shame and the sense of sin.
14. He prepared me to receive a doctrine of such fearful import, so hateful at every point to every part of my spirit and soul (such as they seemed to me in my blindness and bondage) that He deemed it prudent to test me through and through, to warn me, and to give me time to brace myself to meet the fury of the tempest of His Word.
15-16. Also, to distract and amuse my mind, to make me curious enough to be willing to proceed, He proposed a Riddle of the Nature of Hadit, so that I might know most surely beyond doubt that He was skilled in Knowledge of all secret marvels of letter and number in sacred tongues and scripts, lest I persuade myself that I myself had written this Book of my own motion. Therefore He shewed me Wisdom and Cunning beyond my wit to conceive, and marvels never yet known to any man that was of woman born. This Riddle, with its fellows, will I expound elsewhere, so that all men may know of a surety that not I, nor any man, but a Great Angel in very sooth, spake in mine ear the Words of His Book.
17. The Riddle proposed, Aiwass begins to utter the doctrine as He had warned me. Still further to abate my fear and loathing, He craftily opened His discourse with a verse so weak and stupid, that I, being a great poet, should abate my wrath and smile with serene contempt upon the Angel's feeble efforts to use rhythm and rhyme. The trick served its purpose: I went on writing, cheerful and easy in my mind, thinking that now I had a weapon to defend myself against Aiwass, and that the more he spoke the surer I should be to reject His Word, even as all writings alleged to come from sources other than human, which I had always found beneath contempt both as to essence and form.
From the wretched rime Aiwass works cunningly up through off-hand sneering statements of His doctrine to austere and sublime phrases; alive with passion and power, superb in style, sternly succinct, and flaming with dread force. Quick, eager, righteous, not to be beaten off, He smote me, stroke on stroke, and spared not.
This which now follows is the essence of His doctrine. That "existence is pure joy" is His first direct challenge to the whole body of the best and deepest thought of the best and wisest men of this Earth, from the dawn of man's Records even unto this hour of His speaking. It cuts clean across the whole trend of men's minds with sheer sweep of steel; no truce, nor quarter.
Now the Second Challenge: a Bugle Call shriller and clearer than the First. Sorrow, pain, regret, are symptoms of diseased thought; those only who have ceased to be able to adjust themselves rightly and gladly to all Change, and to grow thereby, or those who still react, but only feebly and vainly, take Sorrow, pain, and regret to be Real. Those (also) who do not yet know Hadit (that is, know their True Selves to be Hadit) are likewise deceived.
18. Such folk "feel not", even though they suppose themselves to feel more keenly than those who enjoy life and death--those whom they call callous. But the truth is that since Events compose Life, and each Event is an act of Love under Will, all feelings except those of joy, conquest, triumph and rapture are not Events at all and so do not belong to Life.
The poor and sad are not of Hadit; for to know that one is He confers full wealth and complete joy: it is the title to Lordship of the Earth. All leaders of men are active, finding pleasure even in toil, hardship, and defeat: they accept every Event as proper to their chosen course of action, and conquer even when they are beaten down for the moment. They die at the crisis of the battle, with failure certain; yet they rejoice, having lived and loved and fought and done their will; those for whose cause they fought will reap at last where they have sowed.
19. A God cannot live in a dog; the token of Godship is to be free to act, to dwell in an abode, and work with tools, suited to the nature of their Will. The Highest only are of Hadit; all failure to attain the perfect marks some lack of knowledge of one's nature as a Symbol of Him in one or other Form. Aiwass repeats his doctrine about joy and sorrow in more solemn terms, thus leading up to the full Force of His thought.
20. Beauty and strength, the sense of the fitness of the object perceived as a symbol of the success of one's will, and the power of that will itself; leaping laughter and delicious languor, the rapture of joyous uprush in full freedom of spirit and the delight that follows the success of one's efforts, luring the victor to enjoy the pleasure of knowing himself worthy; force and fire, the ardour of motion, achieving one's will, and the light and heat evolved by the love under will of the Self and its desires: these are the marks of those who know their True Self to be Hadit. (Note that all these statements are hidden in the basic complex of thought which defines Hadit.)
21. The outcast: these are passive; they do not seek and conquer all that may be but are the sport of Events not of their own making, which hustle against them and thrust them from the path. The unfit: these fail to adjust themselves to what is about them; they cannot love (which implies a fitness of the one to the other) under will (which implies fitness of the agent to the patient).
They had better "die in their misery"; that is, cease once and for all to react so feebly and wrongly as they do: for such a Point-of-View as they shew forth is not to be endured. It is not truly Hadit at all; not any one Point, but a shifting fulcrum: let it be no more counted among True Things. Again Aiwass repeats that "they feel not."
Compassion, the noblest virtue of the Buddhist, is damned outright by Aiwass. To "suffer with" some other being is clearly to cease to be oneself, to wander from one's Way. It always implies error, no Point-of-View being the same as any other: and in Kings--leaders and rulers of men--such error is a vice. For it leads straight to the most foolish Rule ever laid down, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you." True men know their own needs and find ways to supply them. To judge the sick by the healthy is pregnant with error. The wretched and the weak are simply not real beings; they cannot be helped or mended. They must be expunged as falsehoods likely to infect the truth. This is the law of Nature, and it is the Law of the Lords of the Aeon. Put into force it will fill the world with joy. The root of all such error is the belief of Kings that they are mortal. This is confuse their essence with that basis of a certain class of events which refers to the kind of life which includes death. Aiwass insists that if the body dissolve its King remains in timeless rapture. For his events have ceased; and he stands in a single state of joy as made one with Nuit. Should he wish further knowledge of himself, he must choose some other means by which to measure it, by which to set in motion a fresh series of events.
So intense was the joy of the Angel in proclaiming this good news that he broke off into a cry of rapture calling upon the Lords of the three chapters of this book. He then went on, and exclaimed that the sun, source of all light and life on earth, strength to do and sight to perceive, as also light, the simplest form of play between twin forces, are the guerdon of those who know themselves as they are. He calls Hadit the Star and the Snake. The star has been explained above. By the snake is meant the essence of what is kingly in constant vibrant motion, yet also able to perfect itself in the form of a ring. It is a symbol of wisdom, the power to slay and also to shed its skin and renew its pristine beauty in its season. It is also the healer and the goer.
22. Hadit is now described as the snake whose virtue is to give knowledge, for all knowledge consists in the art to perceive events as each new marriage with a new part of Nuit takes place. He gives delight which is a function of such knowledge. He also gives bright glory, that is, he causes men to send forth rays of light. Man is in fact, as it were, a prism. In his dual machine the formless light is split into many colours which mingle in this way and that as the nature of each event requires. Hadit is the flame in every heart of man, and when he stirs that heart is shaken. We call this being inspired, or, in its most sacred sense, being drunken. Aiwass now flings his third great challenge at the world. He denies flatly the truth of all the teaching of the past. He tells us that to worship Hadit, that is, to cause him to stir, we should make ourselves drunk by the use of wine and certain strange drugs. So much is common knowledge. But he adds the startling statement "They shall not harm ye at all." One can but gasp; to argue in support of his statement would be beyond the power of any man. The proof must lie with time. Lest there be folly, let me say that this passage does not license reckless debauch. The use of drugs and drink is to be strictly an act of Magick. Compare what is said in the First Chapter with regard to the use of the functions of sex.
Headlong, after one challenge, Aiwass hurls forth the next. He does not even break up his phrases by the use of paragraphs. He takes it all in his stride. What is to us a huge and dreadful doctrine is to him the simple well-known truth. He tells us now that "this folly against self" "is a lie". By this he means that we must not be ashamed of our own point of view, of pretend that we ought to respect and be tender towards some other. Every true point is well able to take care of itself; if only let alone as it ought to be. Every time we try to put ourselves in the place of some other person we give up truth for fancy. We do not, and we never can, see the world except with our own eyes. The world of one's neighbour is not even the same world as one's own--even if we could assume his point of view. It is a deadly mischief to practise this form of falsehood; and to acclaim it as a virtue in the Christian fashion, both a crime and a blunder. Another lie is the "exposure of innocence." Most people pretend earnestly to be harmless. This not only blasphemes the God-head of the self but attempts to create falsehood. Deceit is always danger. The kindest, as the noblest, course is to nail one's colours to the mast, so that others can shelter beneath them or avoid the conflict, as their judgement counsels them. The social and moral code of shallow sham is the tactics of the pirate.
A further challenge now rings out. Aiwass insists that we shall use all our functions as fully as we can. We are to enjoy all things, to make them serve our Will and thrill us with rapture. We must dismiss that bogey of those who wish to treat mankind as children without spirit or wit, to frighten us into slavish service to codes of conduct which suit their own servile nature, allay their fears, or procure easy preys for their greed by the threat of some God who will make trouble for those who dare to be themselves and do their own True Wills. 23. Aiwass now takes the trumpet from his lips and returns for a moment to the nature of Hadit. It seems that the word God brought back into his mind one point not yet set forth. Hadit is said to be alone; there is no God where he is. This of course follows from the nature of Hadit as explained above. He is himself the centre of the Cosmos. There cannot be any other being to whom he should bow.
24. Aiwass returns to the charge. He describes the hermits of Thelema. We must define a Hermit as one who goes alone. Observe the word "alone" with regard to Hadit, just above. But these Hermits are to be found taking their pleasure with women and in all other ways, acting like the Masters of Rome in the days of the Empire and of the Renaissance. Great kings and queens of Thebes and Babylon. We are to learn from this to enjoy all things without losing control of ourselves or ceasing to suffice for ourselves or becoming the slaves of our desire or losing our sense of selfhood. Aiwass then warns us to respect the equal kingship of others. We are to love our brother kings with eager passion and combine to trample down the "low men", in the sense explained in the second challenge.
25. Aiwass repeats this thought in even simpler, stronger, clearer words. We are against "the people". Any unit, any true star, is kingly but the people as a multitude--even though each unit be noble--are not themselves, they are a confused mass of chance atoms. They must not be allowed to act as if they possessed a point of view. They are not stars, they have no way of their own. They are dragged helpless in the wake of any force that happens to attract them. To permit them to control events at all is to give up all design, all Will, all clear sight.
26. Once again, we return to Hadit. He is the Secret spring of Magick (Compare the Hindu Kundalini). He takes joy when he withdraws into himself which he does in order to prepare a new Event. These Events are of two kinds. One is the act of worship of Nuit, the other is the putting forth of his spirit into matter. We may call one the Mystic, the other the Magical Path.
27. Aiwass admits the danger of these doctrines: to go astray as to their meaning is to risk making "a great miss". One risks falling form the world of Will ("freed from the lust of result") to that of Reason.
28-31 We now come to a challenge which is in some ways even more daring than any yet made. Before, the moral sense of men was outraged. He now turns to attack the Reason itself. He looks on reason as a soulless machine. Its proper function is to express the Will in terms of conscious thought, the will being the need of the inmost self to express itself by causing some Event. This will (as such) is not conscious. We can only become aware of it, and thus enjoy and learn from the Event, by making an Image of it. Reason is the machine whose function it is to do this. When reason usurps the higher functions of the mind, when it presumes to dictate to the Will what its desires ought to be, it wrecks the entire structure of the star. The Self should set the Will in motion, that is, the Will should only take its orders from within and above. It should not be conscious at all. But even worse may come to it. Once it is conscious, it becomes able to doubt; and, having no means of getting rid of this by appeal to the Self, it seeks a reason for its action. The reason, knowing nothing of the matter, promptly replies, basing its judgement, not on the needs of the self, but on facts outside and alien to the star. It is, in fact, guided by strangers of whose very language it knows little and that mostly wrong. The Will having stopped in doubt, goes on again in error. The Will must never ask why. It ought to be as sure of itself as the Law of Gravity.
32. Aiwass now leaps to the supreme stroke. Reason itself is a lie. He explains that this must be the case in the nature of things. The Reason may be in perfect order and never make a mistake, that is, within the limits of its powers. But it can never be certain of being right unless its knowledge is complete, which of course can never happen. In fact, being bound by its own laws, it has no means of finding out whether in any one case there may not be some factor vital to the problem of whose very nature it has no knowledge at all. Its axioms themselves merely state its limits. It is as if a bishop on a chess board were to assert that it could never move except in an oblique straight line, which is only true in respect of the laws of the game, and takes no account of the laws of motion as such. Aiwass asserts that some such factor always lurks in every problem which may be put to reason. He calls it "a factor infinite and unknown"--unknown since no mind can ever contain the whole of the facts of nature which may apply. It must therefore be content to work within narrow limits and state its results under the reserve that they are only correct if we assume that its data suffices. The factor is also infinite in the same way as an atom in the world of solid bodies is greater than the greatest surface. More, the plane is not real at all to the solid; it is no more than a way which the real being has chosen to express one item of his knowledge of nature. The reason of man should never allow itself to forget that it is only real in the hardly likely case of the world ending with itself. It is wiser to keep in mind that all Events, however true and real they seem (and are, as measured by the laws of the game) are after all signs of a code which Hadit has designed in order to express his nature in terms of its acts of love under will with one or other part of Nuit.
The Angel concludes by saying that the statements of the reason are "skew-wise." The fact that the reason employs a set of symbols to work with distorts the whole work. It is as when a painter obtains the effect of solid form on a plane surface by adroit use of the laws of optics. No matter, therefore, how truly the reason works, and how well it brings back to the mind the events it describes, its thoughts are never the same as the things thought of. It follows from this that we should be fools to trust reason to guide us to answer Because.
33. The attack ends with the scornful curse "Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!" In this book, even the style of a letter is full of import. The word "dog" has occurred before this. Firstly, the dog is used as a symbol of a form which would restrict a God who indwelt it. Again "There is death for the dogs", that is, to restrict free action ends in stopping it once and for all. Further "the dogs of Reason." The thought of the mind born of and nourished by the senses tends to restrict the self, to impose the will of the world upon it, whereas the use of the world is to provide it with objects of love through which it can fulfil itself and know itself. To become passive towards the thoughts and the senses is to accept the fetters of a slave. Now then Because is called a dog, that is, a thought that tends to restrict and hamper the Will. The True Will is uncaused, being simply the measure of the motion of the self in respect of any given object. It is an abuse of the term `cause' to apply it to this case. Men have said that the will is never free, because it is the effect of two causes conjoined between the nature of the Self and that of the moment. This is to put the cart before the horse. The symbol Dog is well chosen. It is God spelt backwards or denied. The nature of the dog is servile; dogs cannot depend on themselves, they never look at the world through their own eyes, they must needs accept some code imposed upon them from above. Further, the Magi of old took the Dog as a symbol of those base desires and fears which hunt and spring upon and pull down the soul of such men as know not how to master them.
34-44. With abrupt vigour the subject swings over to the triumph of the Masters. Aiwass bids us rise up and awake. He prescribes ways of worship. We are to invoke with joy and beauty. He begins by making a list of rituals and feasts; and in the course of this he works himself up into a state of rapture so that these rites at first clearly defined in order, gather force, wave upon wave, quicker and quicker, until at last he proclaims all times and places as proper for feasts. At the end he exclaims once more that all such pleasures are free from any taint of hidden poison. We are to make the present perfect, without the least fear that we are making trouble for ourselves in the future. True, our bodies are dissolved; but this brings us into full timeless rapture. We enjoy all that may be, as we could not even at the best while forced to measure our Magick in terms of the body and mind. It may be that events cease to occur, that they become one single event, a constant state of joy.
45. We must not confuse such passing beyond earthly life with death; death is for the dogs. They restrict themselves more and more; fears, greeds, falsehoods gather like vultures to feast on their flesh; until at least they find no way to turn which is not barred by one or another of their sins, their self-made bars to free action. They can no longer cause any event beyond the narrow routine into which they have been forced by their failures, to grapple with Nature, to love, to woo, and to master the beauty of Nuit. Little by little the machine fails to carry on. Its prudence, more than aught else, has helped to destroy its power to meet fresh facts. The least surprises may upset it; and, sooner or later, it either meets some problem which breaks it up, or wears itself out and runs down. It is dead.
46-47. The Angel goes on to challenge me point blank as to my own soul. Failure, sorrow, and fear simply cannot exist in the presence of Hadit. His nature is to succeed, to rejoice, and to dare to cause event after event, sure of itself in any and every case.
48. We now return to those who are not Hadit. We are not to pity the fallen. The first fact about a `point-of-view' is that it keeps its place. It goes, true, but never can fall. To fall is to yield to a strain outside oneself; and that is to cease to maintain the "point-of-view" which is of the essence of Hadit. Hadit never knew the fallen. A real point-of-view cannot be shaken. Should we console such wretches? Useless. He is no better for one extra lie; and who tells that lie is false to his own Godhead.
49. Hadit is "unique". Every point that exists is Hadit. Each one is without limit, and thus all are in the end alike in every respect. At the same time no two are in any way alike, if compared at any given point-moment. This is one of the statements of this book which involves a new view of nature--a view far beyond any yet set forth and one with the virtue to resolve every problem which the cosmos presents to our minds. I may explain the matter simply in this way. No two points on a line are the same. Their distance from all other points differs. Each line, AB, AC, etc., is unique, even though AB=A'B', they differ in respect of C'. AC' cannot be equal to A'C'. Lines drawn in two ways from a point are equal only in length; each point in each differs only in respect of any other point. At the same time, the line being supposed endless, the sum of what can be said about all points is the same. No point can claim that it is an unique distance from some other point.
Hadit is "conqueror." It is his function to make himself master of all that may be and every event that he causes is a victory. He denies kinship with "slaves that perish." These are wholly foreign to his nature. Unless one is active, one is damned and dead: and this is the curse on all slaves, on all those who yield to what they meet, that they are condemned to suffer the constraint of their Wills. The world becomes a prison for the self instead of a playground; and in a little the prison gates become the seal of the tomb.
It must be born in mind that all such beings are not real in any proper sense of the word. They are not stars at all. So far as they think of themselves as "I" they may be said to possess a point-of-view, but unless this is strong enough to persist through all Events, it is not truly a self but a phantom of Self thrown on a screen by the light of the events about it. The slave souls are in fact details of our device for looking at nature. They help us observe how a given set of events affects this or that conscious mind. They save our time by telling us what they feel and think. We may learn from them how to guide our own course.
This great curse is sealed with a solemn Amen; but the use of the word reminds Aiwass that this book must prove over and over again the wisdom and cunning, the knowledge and power of its author as of a degree beyond any yet possessed by any man. He therefore propounds a riddle about the word Amen. He suggests a secret way of spelling it which, when found, will give new life and life of a higher order to the Soul of the word. I expound this riddle elsewhere.
50-51. We must note the strange way in which Aiwass swings forward and backward from startling doctrines of ethics and other mental and moral problems to attempt to declare the Nature of Hadit in divers symbols. He now leaves the question of "slaves" to tell us of the nature of the light proper to Hadit. He is "Blue ... and gold in the light of" Nuit; that is to say, the star-strewn sky which is her image reveals him. It is clear that he, having no form, save by virtue of her, cannot be known or seen. To seek him is merely to seek out one of the things that may be; that is, of course, as Nuit herself. His nature only appears by the "red gleam" in his eyes. His fiery light which desires to unite with her in all her forms may been seen in those organs by which he himself perceives. For so soon as we think of the eyes of Hadit, which express his Will and his wit, we ourselves begin to partake of our kinship with him, and we think at once of the fiery lust of the spirit to consume all things.
In the image of him as a snake, we thing of his outer form as "spangles". Wherever he comes into contact with anything to which he can react, there is a blaze of light and this light is purple and green. Aiwass explains that by purple is meant the light beyond the violet of the spectrum, and perhaps also that which is beyond the red. For the word is clearly meant to express the active extremes of that order of double motion which we call life, in which green is the centre of the portion which we are able to perceive. Green is the most passive of the colours. We connect it with the nature of Venus. It suggests love, peace, and the growth of plants and trees; whereas the light which we connect with Jupiter is violet and makes us think of the highest godhead reaching beyond our vision to pure motion of the spirit. Red is the colour of Mars--of the lowest form of energy, tending to heat rather than light, and reaching beyond light to some form of the action of spirit which seems to tend towards the death of energy itself. The purple of Hadit combines these extremes. He transforms the one to the other at will. In Him they are one.
This is the final secret of Physics. Guided by the Book of the Law, men of science will soon learn that the lowest depth is one with the highest height. Energy degrades till it reaches a point when it becomes once more the root of the highest form. I have shewn elsewhere the mode of this change. The main point is (in this place) to point out that the Book of the Law asserts that energy neither begins nor ends, but moves through a cycle of change. We chance to perceive only that arc of the curve in which every event is followed by seeming waste of the substance of energy by the birth of heat and light; and all energy seems to exhaust itself in its acts of "love under will", losing its higher purpose and slipping even lower down the scale. Were this partial view the truth, there would be no answer to the question "what started that highest form of energy?" The Book of the Law states clearly the truth, in order that, when men succeed in finding the truth, they may know something of the nature of Aiwass, and admit his right to make a law for mankind. When the problem is solved, if not before, the details of the truth will be found expressed in cipher in the text of the Book.
52. From light we turn to the absence of light. Yet this is not real. It is a veil. This veil is not in the order of nature. It has been made by shame and fear, by trying to shut off all that is true and real from the soul. To resist change and to defy nature, this is the key of the evil Magic of the Black Brotherhood, whose idol is the modest woman. Her veil is sorrow and death. We of Thelema worship Nuit: "all that may be" adored by "all that is." Her forms are without number; and in each she bestows herself freely upon any and every soul that desires Her. Thus Her priestess on earth is the Scarlet Woman, the Whore of the Beast who gives all she can to all that will. Her every act invokes change which is life. On the other hand, the "modest woman" conceals herself and denies herself. She is afraid and ashamed of herself--afraid and ashamed of all men. She dreams that something may happen to her, and thus lies stiff and stark in death even at the height of her youth. This verse of the Book of the Law is the final challenge to the past. The Angel strikes his spear with the sharp end upon the craven shield of the coward and slave who lurks behind the mask of a Master, of a phantom, a scarecrow, set up by him to frighten the winged songsters of freedom from the fertile fields which are their own by right. Until this verse, it might perhaps have been within the power of some subtle sophist to explain away the verses of this book. Here Aiwass leaves no shadow of doubt. He says with utmost clearness "Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries: veil not your vices in virtuous words: these vices are my service; ye do well, & I will reward you here and hereafter."
The Angel does not even deign to show that what pious people call vices are in fact virtues: that is, tokens of manhood; or that vices means "flaws." He uses these two words in their vulgar sense. To dare the world to a duel to the death. He does not merely tempt mankind to do what Christians call evil, he says that these vices are of the priesthood of Hadit, means to invoke Him, ways of coming to truth, ladders to climb to Godhead. We shall not be punished for doing wrong, as they call it. Both here and hereafter our reward is sure.
Yet more. The veil is vile. We must not, as the master class of men do now, enjoy ourselves in every way, and pretend with utmost care that we do nothing of the sort. We must take pride in our pleasure. We must be shameless and frank. Since all that is, is God, the only error is to hinder God from being himself or doing his will, or unveiling his truth.
53. No wonder if I trembled as I wrote these words. Aiwass makes haste to comfort me. He tells me that at the end of the journey stands the Inn of Joy. I was foolish enough in these days to balk at what seemed strange or hateful before always complete in my mind, and I had come to perceive the inmost meaning. Mine Angel went beyond this simple fear-not. He insists that I am `chosen' and grants me my heart's highest wish, assures me that my will shall be fulfilled, that those on whom I look with gladness shall receive all blessing; they shall behold all things in wisdom, joy and beauty. That I might have this power to free mankind, to heal their hurts, to open their eyes to beauty and their ears to music, I had renounced my own career, given myself without reserve to the Great Work, staked life and reason again and again in daring all those deeds which even the most dauntless men dread most--and shrink away.
Yet, for the secret purpose of the Gods, it might not be that I should come into my kingdom at once in the sight of all men. Their design required that I should be hidden in a mask of sorrow. Note the word "mask" not "veil." There is no falsehood in the matter, only a comedy that must be staged. It was therefore arranged that those who knew me should think me fallen. Indeed, so life-like was the mask that I myself, looking upon the mirror, might have been tempted to fear that I had fallen. He, aware of my weakness assured me on the spot: "but I life thee up."
54. My spirit was heavy, also, because of those who mocked my speech, and swore that it was empty of sense. Aiwass assured me that their folly should not avail, that I should succeed in my Work of showing forth truth, that I should avail. My critics are hag-ridden by reason; they are not themselves. They are the slaves of their mental machines. This question of my meaning refers first of all to this Book; for Aiwass goes on straight away to repeat his warning not to change the letters of the text. I was allowed to insert stops as I might choose.
55. Next, he set me a fresh task. I was to assign values to English letters of some such order as obtains in Hebrew. I deal fully with this matter elsewhere.
56. Another sudden change. He pours scorn on those who mock this work
57-58. "People who shift their point of view," the Angel repeats, "are not truly themselves." Though each event is change, these changes form a closed curve so that their sum is zero. I have dealt with this subject fully in other writings. The essence of the doctrine is that things are stable only by virtue of their constant change, which is life. To cease to change is to die, which is the one real change that can occur. When it occurs, it proves that true life was never there.
This doctrine is at once applied to the question of the Kings and the slaves. The Angel explains that there are two types of men--the slave can never rise, the king can never fall. Should such things seem to take place, it is a sign of some disguise; the essence of the man, if he be in truth a man, is always the same. It is a point of view which never alters really, though each fresh fact brings it more fully into light. I am told of one case which must not deceive me. I must not assume that a man who seems a beggar is one. He may be a King whose pleasure is to disguise himself. He can, of course, resume his crown and sceptre when he tires of his sport, whereas a beggar has not the means to pretend to be a king. The point of this is that I may find it needful to judge the claims of such men as I may meet; and Aiwass here assures me that I shall find it easy to detect sham kings; but warns me against scorning those who do not flaunt their virtue.
59-60. Must I therefore be careful how I strike out, lest, thinking to slay a knave, I kill one of my peers? There is no danger of this. One of the tests of kingship is that he should be able to defend himself against the world. I am therefore bidden to strike hard with all my might, and strike to kill.
61-68. The scent of battle in my nostrils avails at least to awake my manhood, to arouse my Godhead within me. Throughout this chapter I had rebelled again and again against my Master; but now the darkness broke and fled. My True Self flamed up in me. I become one with Hadit; I entered into trance at once. A sudden light blazed in my eyes. Hadit arose within my heart; and on the instant I was thrilled with the love of Nuit. She came to me more swiftly than the light itself. My body was smitten by the kisses of the stars. When I breathed in, my flesh fell from me like rotten rags. I breathed out and felt a kiss swifter, more laughterful than death itself. Utter relief from all the deceits with which my brain had been blinded.
I need not enter into detail of this trance. The text describes the facts better in every way than could be done in any other manner.
69-70. After a time my mortal part failed to endure the stress of the rapture. I came to myself, or rather wandered from myself, wondering who I was, and what had happened, and whether the word was at an end. Aiwass then taught me how to prepare myself for such supreme events. I should mention that this trance fulfilled the promise which I had asked of the Secret Chiefs when I agreed to accept the task they wished to lay upon me. "If I am to fill my office as I should, I must have first attained to that clear sight of truth without which every act of mine would certainly be an error." I had worked hard for a long time to attain some such trance and had never come near success. Yet now, without a word of warning I was caught up into it. The secret was this: the breaking down of my false Will by those dread words of mine Angel freed my True Self from all its bonds, so that I could enjoy at once the rapture of knowing myself to be who I am. To prepare oneself for such work one should strengthen oneself in every way, so as to be able to "bear more joy." This does not imply brute vigour. The nature of rapture is such that the finer it is, the stronger it is. Thus, in making oneself drunk to worship Hadit, one should observe the "eight and ninety rules of art" (I explain elsewhere the meaning of these figure). Likewise, in love, excess is not to be attained by violent lust. The artist is the model. One must learn to enjoy every least detail; yet blend them all into one single sublime concept. The same tactics apply to all joyous deeds. The key to success is subtlety.
71. Aiwass hastens to warn me that I must not take these words to mean that we should dilute our pleasures. We should not be genteel and dainty. Never forget that all the tricks of art are worse than worthless, unless they spring from strength and passion. The essence of success is the intense desire to beat one's own record as well as the world's in every thing one does. The most fatal fault is to become tired of the task, through having chosen one in which one may become perfect, and sigh for more worlds to conquer.
72. It is implied that the course of life itself should be made a work of Art, that one should aim at death as the one fit climax. One should die in harness.
73-74. A final challenge rings out sharp. There is a doctrine with regard to death, stranger perhaps than all the others. It is a mark of success in Magick to get one's work done fully in one's prime, so that life has nothing left to offer, and one begins to long for the great journey into the unknown--the Call of the Old Long Trail. It is not lawful to hasten the start. The measure of the splendour of death is the strength and courage needed while waiting for it. The longer one lives and the more one wills to die, the more royal is one's nature.
75-76. With this the Angel changes His theme yet again with brusque swiftness, and propounds a final riddle. The object of this cipher is to furnish proof that the man destined to succeed me is my rightful heir. The test is that he is able to make clear the meaning of these "the numbers & the words."
This brief passage stops as it began--on a sudden, and Aiwass goes on at once to issue a last command to myself. I am to keep in constant mind that I am Hadit, that I am ever to aspire to make myself one with all things that may be, yet also to keep watch over mankind, for whose sake I first started on the path of Magick. My mission is "to tell them this glad word."
77-78. Well knowing how men always act towards any prophet of Truth, mine Angel bids me to be "proud and mighty among men"--not to be humbled by the scorn or weakened by the blows of my fellows. In the middle of the Charter it was said "I lift thee up". Now there is no more need of that. He cries "Lift up thyself!" He reminds me of my unique place in the ranks of men and Gods. "Lift up thyself," he repeats; and tells me "thy stature shall surpass the stars." My name shall be held worthy of worship, as also that of my house. There is again a secret meaning to this verse: it will be explained elsewhere.
79. Now there is no more "hiding of Hadit". He hath come forth in blinding light. Only one thing remains to say, "blessing & worship to the prophet of the lovely Star" who by the "love under will" of his Holy Guardian Angel attained to break down his false self and cast it from him; thus become the Voice by which the light of truth could shine upon the night of the Slave-gods, and herald the dawn of the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child.
Djeridensis Comment: Chapter I | Chapter II | Chapter III