LIBER ALEPH VEL CXI
The Book of Wisdom or Folly
In the form of an epistle of
666 The great wild beast
To his son 777
I have begotten thee, o my Son, and that strangely, as thou knowest, upon the Scarlet Woman called Hilarion, as it was mysteriously foretold unto me in The Book of the Law. Now therefore that thou art come to the Age of Understanding, do thou give ear unto my Wisdom, for that therein lieth a simple and direct Way for every Man that he may attain to the End.
Firstly, then, I would have thee to know that Spiritual Experience and Perfection have no necessary connection with Advancement in our Holy Order. But for each Man is a Path: there is a Constant, and there is a Variable. Seek ever therefore in thy Work of the Promulgation of the Law to discover in each Man his own true Nature.
For in each Man his Inmost Light is the Core of his Star. That is, Hadit; and his Work is the Identification of himself with that Light.
It is not every Man who is called to the sublime Task of the A∴A∴, wherein he must master thoroughly every Detail of the Great Work, so that he may in due Season accomplish it not only for himself, but for all who are bound unto him. There are very many for whom in their present Incarnations this Great Work may be impossible; since their appointed Work may be in Satisfaction of some Magical Debt, or in Adjustment of some Balance, or in Fulfilment of some Defect. As is written: Suum Cuique
Now because thou art the Child of my Bowels, I yearn greatly towards thee, o my Son, and I strive strongly with my Spirit that by my Wisdom I may make plain thy Way before thee; and thus in many Chapters will I write for thee those things that may profit thee. Sis benedictus.
DE ARTE KABBALISTICA
Do thou study most constantly, my Son, in the Art of the Holy Qabalah. Know that herein the Relations between Numbers, though they be mighty in Power and prodigal of Knowledge, are but lesser Things. For the Work is to reduce all other conceptions to these of Number, because thus thou wilt lay bare the very Structure of thy Mind, whose rule is Necessity rather than Prejudice. Not until the Universe is thus laid naked before thee canst thou truly anatomize it. The Tendencies of thy Mind lie deeper far than any Thought, for they are the Conditions and the Laws of Thought; and it is these that thou must bring to Nought.
This Way is most sure; most sacred; and the Enemies thereof most awful, most sublime. It is for the Great Souls to enter on this Rigour and Austerity. To them the Gods themselves do Homage; for it is the Way of Utmost Purity.
DE VITA CORRIGENDA
Know, son, that the true Principle of Self-Control is Liberty. For we are born into a World which is in Bondage to Ideals; to them we are perforce fitted, even as the Enemies to the Bed of Procrustes. Each of us, as he grows, learns Repression of himself and his true Will. “It is a lie, this folly against self”: these Words are written in The Book of the Law. So therefore these Passions in ourselves which we understand to be Hindrances are not part of our True Will, but diseased Appetites, manifest in us through false early Training. Thus the Tabus of savage Tribes in such matter as Love constrain that True Love which is born in us; and by this Constraint come ills of Body and Mind. Either the Force of Repression carries it, and creates Neuroses and Insanities; or the Revolt against that Force, breaking forth with Violence, involves Excesses and Extravagances. All these Things are Disorders, and against Nature. Now then learn of me the testimony of History and literature as a great Scroll of Learning. But the Vellum of the Scroll is of Man's Skin, and its Ink of his Heart's Blood.
LEGENDA DE AMORE
The Fault, that is Fatality, in Love, as in every other Form of Will, is Impurity. It is not the Spontaneity there-of which worketh Woe, but some Repression in the Environment.
In the Fable of Adam and Eve is this great Lesson taught by the Masters of the Holy Qabalah. For Love were to them the eternal Eden, save for the Repression signified by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Thus their Nature of Love was perfect; it was their Fall from that Innocence which drove them from the Garden.
In the Love of Romeo and Juliet was no Flaw; but family Feud, which imported nothing to that Love, was its Bane; and the Rashness and Violence of their Revolt against that Repression, slew them.
In the pure Outrush of Love in Desdemona for Othello was no Flaw; but his Love was marred by his consciousness of his Age and his Race, of the Prejudices of his Fellows and of his own Experience of Woman-frailty.
GESTA DE AMORE
Now as Literature overfloweth with the Murders of Love, so also doeth History, and the Lesson is ever the same. Thus the Loves of Abelard and of Heloise were destroyed by the System of Repression in which they chanced to move. Thus Beatrice was robbed of Dante by social Artificialities; and Paolo slain on account of Things external to his Love of Francesca. Then, per contra, Martin Luther, being a Giant of Will, and also the Eighth Henry of England, as a mighty King, bent them to overturn the whole World that they might have satisfaction of their Loves.
And who shall follow them? For even now we find great Churchmen, Statesmen, Princes, Dramamakers, and many lesser Men, overwhelmed utterly and ruined by the conflict between their Passions and the Society about them. Wherein which Party errs is no matter of Moment for our Thought; but the Existence of the War is Evidence of Wrong done to Nature.
ULTIMA THESIS DE AMORE
Therefore, o my Son, be thou wary, not bowing before the false Idols and ideals, yet not flaming forth in Fury against them, unless that be thy Will.
But in this Matter be prudent and be silent, discerning subtly and with acumen the nature of the Will within thee; so that thou mistake not Fear for Chastity, or Anger for Courage. And since the fetters are old and heavy, and thy Limbs withered and distorted by reason of their Compulsion, do thou, having broken them, walk gently for a little while, until the ancient Elasticity return, so that thou mayst walk, run, and leap naturally and with Rejoicing.
Also, since these Fetters are as a Bond almost universal, be instant to declare the Law of Liberty, and the full Knowledge of all Truth that appertaineth to this Matter; for if in this only thou overcome, then shall all Earth be free, taking its Pleasure in Sunlight without Fear or Phrenzy. Amen.
DE NATURA SUA PERCIPIENDA
Understand, o my Son, in thy Youth, these Words which some wise One, now nameless, spake of old; except ye become as little Children ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. This is to say that thou must first comprehend thine original Nature in every Point, before thou wast forced to bow before the Gods of Wood and Stone that Men have made, not comprehending the Law of Change, and of Evolution Through Variation, and the independent Value of every living Soul.
Learn this also, that even the Will to the Great Work may be misunderstood of Men; for this Work must proceed naturally and without Overstress, as all true Works. Right also is that Word that the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth Violence, and the violent take it by Force. But except thou be violent by Virtue of thy true Nature, how shalt thou take it? Be not as the Ass in the Lion's Skin; but if thou be born Ass, bear patiently thy Burdens, and enjoy thy Thistles; for an Ass also, as in the Fables of Apuleius and Matthaiss, may come to Glory in the Path of his own Virtue.
ALTERA DE VIA NATURAE
Sayest thou (methinks) that here is a great Riddle, since by Reason of much Repression thou hast lost the Knowledge of thine original Nature?
My son, this is not so; for by a peculiar Ordinance of Heaven, and a Disposition occult within his Mine, is every Man protected from this Loss of his own Soul, until and unless be be by Choronzon disintegrated and dispersed beyond power of Will to repair; as when the Conflict within him, rending and burning, hath made his Mind utterly desert, and his Soul Madness.
Give Ear, give Ear attentively; the Will is not lost; though it be buried beneath a life-old Midden of Repressions, for it persisteth vital within thee (is it not the true Motion of thine inmost Being?) and for all thy conscious Striving cometh forth by Night and by Stealth in Dream and Phantasy. Now is it naked and brilliant, now clothed in rich Robes of Symbol and Hieroglyph; but always travelleth it with thee upon thy Path, ready to acquaint thee with thy true Nature, if thou attend unto its Word, its Gesture, or its Show of Imagery.
QUO MODO NATURA SUA EST LEGENDA
Therefore deem not that thy lightest Fancy is insignificant. Thy most unconscious Acts are Keys to the Treasure-Chamber of thine own Palace, which is the House of the Holy Ghost. Consider well thy conscious Thoughts and Acts, for they are under the Dominion of thy Will, and moved in Accord with the Operation of thy Reason; this indeed is a necessary work, enabling to comprehend in what manner thou mayst adjust thyself to thine Environment. Yet is this Adaptation but Defence for the most Part, or at the best Subterfuge and Stratagem in the Tactics of thy Life, with but an accidental and subordinate Relation to thy true Will, whereof by Consciousness and by Reason thou mayst be ignorant, unless by Fortune great and rare thou be already harmonized in thyself, the Outer with the Inner, which Grace is not common among Men, and is the Reward of previous Attainment.
Neglect not simple Introspections, therefore; but give yet greater Heed unto those Dreams and Phantasies, those Gestures and Manners unconscious, and of undiscovered Cause, which betoken thee.
α CAUSA PER ACCIDENS
As all diseases have two conjunct causes, one immediate, external and exciting, the other constitutional, internal, and predisposing, so it is with Dreams, which are Dis-Eases, or unbalanced States of Consciousness, Disturbers of Sleep as Thoughts are of Life.
This exciting Cause is commonly of two kinds: videlicet, imprimis, the physical Condition of the Sleeper, as a Dream of Water caused by a shower without, or a Dream of Strangulation caused by a Dyspnœa, or a Dream of Lust caused by the seminal Congestions of an unclean Life, or a Dream of falling or flying caused by some unstable Equilibrium of Body.
Secundo, the psychic condition of the Sleeper, the Dream being determined by recent Events in his Life, usually those of the Day previous, and especially such Events as have caused Excitement of Anxiety, the more so if they be unfinished or unfulfilled.
But this exciting Cause is of a superficial Nature, as it were a Cloke or a Mask; and thus it but lendeth Aspect to the other Cause, which lieth in the Nature of the Sleeper himself.
β CAUSA PER NATURAM
The deep, constitutional, or predisposing Cause of Dreams lieth within the Jurisdiction of the Will itself. For that Will, being alway present, albeit (it may be) latent, discovereth himself when no longer inhibited by that conscious Control which is determined by Environment, and therefore oft times contrary to himself. This being so, the Will declareth himself, as it were in a Pageant, and showeth himself thus apparelled, unto the Sleeper, for a Warning or Admonition. Every Dream, or Pageant of Fancy, is therefore a Shew of Will; and Will being no more prevented by Environment or by Consciousness, cometh as a Conqueror. Yet even so he must come for the most Part throned upon the Chariot of the exciting Cause of the Dream, and therefore is his Appearance symbolic, like a Writing in Cipher, or like a Fable, or like a Riddle in Pictures. But alway does he triumph and fulfil himself therein, for the Dream is a natural Compensation in the inner World for any Failure of Achievement in the outer.
γ VESTIMENTA HORRORIS
Now then if in a Dream the Will be always triumphant, how cometh it that a Man may be ridden of the Nightmare? And of this the true Explanation is that in such a case the Will is in Danger, having been attacked and wounded or corrupted by the Violence of some Repression. Thus the Consciousness of the Will is directed to the sore Spot, as in Pain, and seeketh comfort in an Externalization, or shew, of that Antagonism. And because the Will is sacred, such dreams excite an Ecstasy or Phrenzy of Horror, Fear or Disgust. Thus the true Will of Œdipus was toward the bed of Jocasta, but the Tabu, strong both by Inheritance and by Environment, was so attached to that Will that his Dream concerning his Destiny was a Dream of Fear and of Abhorrence, his Fulfilment thereof (even in Ignorance) a spell to stir up all the subconscious Forces of all the People about him, and his Realization of the Act a madness potent to drive him to self-inflicted Blindness and fury-haunted Exile.
Know firmly, o my son, that the true Will cannot err; for this is thine appointed course in Heaven, in whose order is Perfection.
A Dream of Horror is therefore the most serious of all Warnings; for it signifieth that thy Will, which is Thy Self in respect of its Motion, is in Affliction and Danger. Thus thou must instantly seek out the Cause of that subconscious Conflict, and destroy thine Enemy utterly by bringing thy conscious Vigour as an Ally to that true Will. If then there be a Traitor in the Consciousness, how much the more is it necessary for thee to arise and extirpate him before he wholly infect thee with the divided Purpose which is the first Breach in that Fortress of the Soul whose Fall should bring it to the shapeless Ruin whose Name is Choronzon!
The Dream delightful is then a Pageant of the Fulfilment of the true Will, and the Nightmare a symbolic Battle between it and its Assailants in thyself. But there can be only one true Will, even as there can be only one proper Motion in any Body, no matter of how many Forces that Motion be the Resultant. Seek therefore this Will, and conjoin with it thy conscious Self; for this is that which is written; “Thou hast no right but to do thy Will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.” Thou seest, o my Son, that all conscious Opposition to thy Will, whether in Ignorance, or by Obstinacy, or through Fear of others, may in the end endanger even thy true Self, and bring thy Star into Disaster.
And this is the true Key to Dreams; see that thou be diligent in its Use, and unlock therewith the secret Chambers of thine Heart.
DE VIA PER EMPYRAEUM
Concerning they Travellings in thy Body of Light, or Astral journeys and Visions so-called, do thou lay this Wisdom to thy Heart, o my Son, that in this Practice, whether Things Seen and Heard be Truth and Reality, or whether they be Phantoms in the Mind, abideth this Supreme Magical Value, namely: Whereas the Direction of such Journeys is consciously willed, and determined by Reason, and also unconsciously willed, by the true Self, since without It no Invocation were possible, we have here a Cooperation of Alliance between the Inner and the Outer Self, and thus an Accomplishment, at least partial, of the Great Work.
And therefore is Confusion or Terror in any such Practice an Error fearful indeed, bringing about Obsession, which is a temporary or even it may be a permanent Division of the Personality, or Insanity, and therefore a defeat most fatal and pernicious, a Surrender of the Soul to Choronzon.
Now, o my Son, that thou mayst be well guarded against thy ghostly Enemies, do thou work constantly by the Means prescribed in our Holy Books.
Neglect never the fourfold Adorations of the Sun in his four Stations, for thereby thou doest affirm thy Place in Nature and her Harmonies.
Neglect not the Performance of the Ritual of the Pentagram, and of the Assumption of the Form of Hoor-pa-Kraat.
Neglect not the daily Miracle of the Mass, either by the Rite of the Gnostic Catholic Church, or that of the Phœnix.
Neglect not the Performance of the Mass of the Holy Ghost, as Nature herself prompteth thee.
Travel also much in the Empyrean in the Body of Light, seeking ever Abodes more fiery and lucid.
Finally, exercise constantly the Eight Limbs of Yoga. And so shalt thou come to the End.
DE CLAVICULA SOMNIORUM
And now concerning Meditation let me disclose unto thee more fully the Mystery of the Key of Dreams and Phantasies.
Learn first that as the Thought of the Mind standeth before the Soul and hindereth its Manifestation in consciousness, so also the gross physical Will is the Creator of the Dreams of common Men, and as in Meditation thou doest destroy every Thought by mating it with its Opposite, so must thou cleanse thyself by a full and perfect Satisfaction of that bodily will in the Way of Chastity and Holiness which has been revealed unto thee in thy Initiation.
This inner Silence of the Body being attained, it may be that the true Will may speak in True Dreams; for it is written that He giveth unto His Beloved in Sleep. Prepare thyself therefore in this Way, as a good Knight should do.
ϙ DE SOMNO LUCIDO
Now know this also that at the End of that secret Way lieth a Garden wherein is a Rest House prepared for thee. For to him whose physical Needs of whatever Kind are not truly satisfied cometh a Lunar or physical Sleep appointed to refresh and recreate by Cleansing and Repose; but on him that is bodily pure the Lord bestoweth a Solar or Lucid Sleep, wherein move Images of pure Light fashioned by the True Will. And this is called by the Qabalists the Sleep of Shiloam, and of this doeth also Porphyry make mention mention, and Cicero, with many other Wise Men of Old Time.
Compare, o my Son, with this Doctrine that which was taught thee in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis concerning the Death of the Righteous; and learn moreover that these are but particular Cases of an Universal Formula.
My Son, if thou fast awhile, there shall come unto thee a second State of physiological Being, in which is a delight passive and equable, without Will, a contentment of Weakness, with a Feeling of Lightness and of Purity. And this is because the Blood hath absorbed, in its Need of Nutriment, all foreign Elements. Such also is the Case with the Mind which hath not fed itself on Thought. Consider the placid and ruminent Existence of such Persons as read little, are removed from worldy Struggle by some sufficient Property of small and unexciting Value, stably invested, and by Age and Environment are free from Passion. They live, according to their own Nature, without Desire, and they oppose no Resistance to the Operations of Time. Such are called Happy, and in their Way of Vegetable Life it is so; for they are free of any Poison.
DE MOTU VITAE
Learn then, o my Son, that all Phenomena are the effect of Conflict, even as the Universe itself is a Nothing expressed as the Difference of two Equalities, or, an thou wilt, as the Divorce of Nuit and Hadit. So therefore every Marriage dissolveth a more material, and createth a less material Complex; and this is our Way of Live, rising ever from Ecstasy to Ecstasy. So then all high Violence, that is to say, all Consciousness, is the spiritual Orgasm of a Passion between two lower and grosser Opposites. Thus Light and Heat result from the Marriage of Hydrogen and Oxygen; Love from that of Man and Woman, Dhyana or Ecstasy from that of the Ego and the non-Ego.
But be thou well grounded in this Thesis corollary, that one or two such Marriages do but destroy for a Time the Exacerbation of any Complex; to deracinate such is a Work of long Habit and deep Search in Darkness for the Germ thereof. But this once accomplished, that particular Complex is destroyed, or sublimated for ever.
DE MORBIS SANGUINIS
Now then understand that all Opposition to the Way of Nature createth Violence. If thine excretory System do its Function not at its fullest, there come Poisons in the Blood, and the Consciousness is modified by the conflicts or Marriages between the elements heterogeneous. Thus if the Liver be not efficient, we have Melancholy; if the Kidneys, Coma; if the Testes or Ovaries, loss of Personality itself. Also, an we poison the Blood directly with Belladonna, we have Delirium vehement and furious; with Hashish, Visions phantastic and enormous; with Anhiolonium, Ecstasy of colour and what not; with diverse Germs of Disease, Disturbances of Consciousness varying with the Nature of the Germ. Also with Ether, we gain the Power of analysing the Consciousness into its Planes; and so for many others.
But all these are, in our mystical Sense, Poisons; that is, we take two Things diverse and opposite, binding them together so that they are compelled to unite; and the Orgasm of each Marriage is an Ecstasy, the Lower dissolving in the Higher.
DE CURSU AMORIS
I continue then, o my son, and reiterate that this Formula is general to all Nature. And thou wilt note that by repeated Marriage cometh Toleration, so the Ecstasy appeareth no more. Thus his half grain of Morphia, which first opened his Gates of Heaven, is nothing worth to the Self-poisoner after a Year of daily Practice. So too the Lover findeth no more Joy in Union with his Mistress, so soon as the original Attraction between them is satisfied by repeated Conjunctions. For this Attraction is an Antagonism; and the greater this Antinomy, the more fierce the Puissance of the Magnetism, and the Quality of Energy disengaged by the Coition. Thus in the Union of Similars, as of Halogens with each other, is no strong Passion of explosive Force, and the Love between two Persons of the like Character and Taste is placid and without Transmutation to higher Planes.
DE NUPTIIS MYSTICIS
O my Son, how wonderful is the Wisdom of this Law of Love! How vast are the Oceans of uncharted Joy that lie before the Keel of thy Ship! Yet know this, that every Opposition is in its Nature named Sorrow, and the Joy lieth in the Destruction of the Dyad. Therefore, must thou seek ever those Things which are to thee poisonous, and that in the highest Degree, and make them thine by Love. That which repels, that which disgusts, must thou assimilate in this Way of Wholeness. Yet rest not in the Joy of the Destruction of each complex in thy Nature, but press on to that ultimate Marriage with the Universe whose Consummation shall destroy thee utterly, leaving only that Nothingness which was before the Beginning.
So then the Life of Non-Action is not for thee; the Withdrawal from Activity is not the Way of the Tao; but rather the Intensification and making universal every Unit of thine Energy on every Plane.
DE VOLUPTATE POENARUM
Go forth, o my Son, o Son of the Sun, rejoicing in thy Strength, as a Warrior, as a Bridegroom, to take thy Pleasure upon the Earth, and in every Palace of the Mind, moving ever from the crass to the subtle, from the coarse to the fine. Conquer every Repulsion in thy self, subdue every Aversion. Assimilate all Poison, for therein only is there Profit. Seek constantly therefore to know what is painful and to cleave thereunto, for by Pain cometh true Pleasure. Those who avoid Pain physical or mental remain little Men, and there is no Virtue in them. Yet be thou ware lest thou fall into the Heresy which maketh Pain, and Self-sacrifice as it were Bribes to corrupt God, to secure some future Pleasure in an imagined After-life. Nay, also of the other Part, fear not to destroy thy Complexes, thinking dreadfully thereby to lose the Power of creating Joy by their Distinction. Yet in each Marriage be thou bold to affirm the spiritual Ardour of the Orgasm, fixing it in some Talisman, whether it be Art, or Magick, or Theurgy.
DE VOLUNTATE ULTIMA
Say not then that this Way is contrary to Nature, and that in Simplicity of Satisfaction of thy Needs is perfection of thy Path. For to thee, who hast aspired, it is thy Nature to perform the Great Work, and this is the final Dissolution of the Cosmos. For though a Stone seem to lie still on a Mountain Top, and have no care, yet hath it an hidden Nature, a Task Ineffable and Stupendous; namely, to force its Way to the Centre of Gravity of the Universe, and also to burn up its Elements into the final Homogeneity of Matter. Therefore the Way of Quiet is but an Illusion of Ignorance. Whoever thou mayst be now, thy Destiny is that which I have declared unto thee; and thou art most fixed in the true Way when, accepting this consciously as thy Will, thou gathereth up thy Powers to move thy Self mightily within it.
DE DIFFERENTIA RERUM
But, o my Son, although thine ultimate Nature be Universal, thine immediate Nature is Particular. Thy Way to the Centre is not oriented as that of any other Being, and thine elements are no kin, but alien, to his. For Shame! Is it not the most transcendent of all the Wisdoms of this Cosmos, that no two Beings are alike? Lo! This is the Secret of all Beauty, and maketh Love not only possible, but necessary, between every Thing and every other Thing. So then, lest thou in thine Ignorance take the false Way, and divigate, must thou learn thine own particular and peculiar Nature in its Relation to all others. For though it be Illusion, it is by the true Analysis of Falsehoods that we are able to destroy them, just as the Physician must understand the Disease of his Patient if he is to choose the fitting Remedy. Now therefore will I make yet more clear unto thee the Value of thy Dreams and Phantasies and Gestures of thine unconscious Body and Mind, as Symptoms of thy particular Will, and show thee how thy mayst come to their Interpretation.
DE VOLUNTATE TACITA
All Disturbances, o my Son, are Variations from Equilibrium; and just as thy conscious Thoughts, Words, and Acts are Effects of the Displacement of the conscious Will, so is it in the Unconscious. For the most Part, therefore, all Dreams, Phantasies, and Gestures represent that Will subliminal; and if the physical Part of that Will be unsatisfied, its Utterance will predominate in all these automatic Expressions. Do thou then note what Modifications thereof follow such Changes in the conscious Foundation of that Part of thy Will as thou mayst make in thy Experiments therewith, and thus separate, as sayeth Trismegistus, the fine from the coarse, Fire from Earth, or, as we may say, assign each Effect to its true Cause. Seek then to perfect a conscious Satisfaction of every Part of that Will, so that the unconscious Disturbances be at last brought to Silence. Then will the Residuum be as an Elixir clarified and perfected, a true Symbol of that other hidden Will which is the Vector of thy Magical Self.
DE FORMULA SUMMA
Learn moreover that thy Self includeth the whole Universe of thy Knowledge, so that every increase upon every Plane is an Aggrandizement of that Self. Yet the greater Part of this Universe is common Knowledge, so that thy Self is interwoven with other Selves, save for that Part peculiar to thy Self. And as thou growest, so also this peculiar Part is ever of less Proportion to the Whole, until when thou becomest infinite, it is a Quantity infinitesimal and to be neglected. Lo! When the All is absorbed within the I, it is as if the I were absorbed within the All; for if two Things become wholly and indissolubly One Thing, there is no more Reason for Names, since Names are given to mark off one Thing from another. And this is that which is written in The Book of the Law: “Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!”
DE VIA INERTIAE
Of the Way of the Tao I have already written to thee, o my Son, but I further instruct thee in this Doctrine of doing everything by doing nothing. I will first have thee to understand that the Universe being as above said an Expression of Zero under the Figure of the Dyad, its Tendency is continually to release itself from that strain by the Marriage of Opposites whenever they are brought into Contact. Thus thy true Nature is a Will to Zero, or an Inertia, or Doing Nothing; and the Way of Doing Nothing is to oppose no Obstacle to the free Function of that true Nature. Consider the Electrical Charge of a Cloud, whose Will is to discharge itself in Earth, and so release the Strain of its Potential. Do this by free conduction, there is Silence and Darkness; oppose it, there is Heat and Light, and the Rending asunder of that which will not permit free Passage to the Current.
DE VIA LIBERTATIS
Do not think then that by Non-Action thou doest follow the Way of the Tao, for thy Nature is Action, and by hindering the Discharge of thy Potential thou doest perpetuate and aggravate the Stress. If thou ease not Nature, she will being thee to Dis-Ease. Free thereof every Function of thy Body and of every other Part of thee according to its true Will. This also is most necessary, that thou discover that true Will in every Case, for thou art born into Dis-Ease; where are many false and perverted Wills, monstrous Growths, Parasites, Vermin are they, adherent to thee by Vice of Heredity, or of Environment or of evil Training. And of all these Things the subtlest and most terrible, Enemies without Pity, destructive to thy will, and a Menace and Tyranny even to thy elf, are the Ideals and Standards of the Slave-gods, false Religion, false Ethics, even false Science.
DE LEGE MOTUS
Consider, o my Son, that Word in the Call or Key of the Thirty Æthyrs: Behold the Face of your God, the Beginning of comfort, whose Eyes are the Brightness of the heavens, which provided you for the Government of the Earth, and her Unspeakable Variety! And again: Let there be no Creature upon her or within her the same. All here Members let them differ in their Qualities, and let there be no Creature equal with another. Here also is the Voice of true Science, crying aloud: Variation is the Key of Evolution. Thereunto Art cometh the third, perceiving Beauty in the Harmony of the Diverse. Know then, o my Son, that all Laws, all Systems, all Customs, all Ideals and Standards which tend to produce Uniformity, being in direct Opposition to Nature's Will to change and to develop through Variety, are accursèd. Do thou with all thy Might of Manhood strive against these Forces, for they resist Change, which is Life; and thus they are of Death.
DE LEGIBUS CONTRA MOTUM
Say not, in thine Haste, that such Stagnations are Unity even as the last Victory of thy Will is Unity. For thy Will moveth through free Function, according to its particular Nature, to that End of Dissolution of all Complexities, and the Ideals and Standards are Attempts to halt thee on that Way. Although for thee some certain Ideal be upon thy Path; yet for thy Neighbour it may not be so. Set all Men a-horseback: thou speedest the Foot-soldier on his Way, indeed: but what hast thou done to the Bird-Man? Thou must have simple Laws and Customs to express the general Will, and so prevent the Tyranny of Violence of a few; but multiply them not! Now then herewith I will declare unto thee the Limits of the Civil Law upon the rock of the Law of Thelema.
DE NECESSITATE COMMUNI
Understand first that the Disturbers of the Peace of Mankind do so by Reason of their Ignorance of their own true Wills. Therefore as this Wisdom of mine increaseth among Mankind, the false Will to Crime must become constantly more rare. Also, the Exercise of our Freedom will cause Men to be born with less and ever less Affliction from that Dis-Ease of Spirit, which breedeth these false Wills. But, in the while of waiting for this Perfection, thou must by Law assure to every Man a Means of satisfying his bodily and his mental Needs, leaving him free to develop any Super-Structure in Accordance with his Will, and protecting him from any that may seek to deprive him of these vertebral Rights. There shall be therefore a Standard of Satisfaction, though it must vary in Detail with Race, Climate, and other such Conditions. And this Standard shall be based upon a large Interpretation of Facts biological, physiological, and the like.
DE LIBERTATE CORPORIS
There shall be no Property in Human Flesh. Every Man and every Woman hath Right Indefeasable to give the Body for the Enjoyment of any other. The Exercise of this Right shall not be punished either by Law or by Custom; there shall be no Penalty either by Loss or Curtailment of Liberty, of Rights, of Wealth, or of Social Esteem; but this Freedom shall be respected of all, seeing that it is the Right of the Bodily Will. For this same Reason thou shalt cause full Restriction and Punishment of any who may seek to limit that Freedom for the sake of his own Profit, or Desire, or Ideal. Every Man and every Woman has full right either to grant or to deny the Body, as the Will speaketh within. This being made Custom, the Evils of Love, which are many, extending to the Disturbance not only of Body but of Mind, and that in obscure Paths, shall little by little disappear from the Face of His unspeakable Glory.
DE LIBERTATE MENTIS
There shall be no Property in Human Thought. Let each think as he will concerning the Universe; but let none seek to impose that Thought upon another by any Threat of Penalty in this World or any other World. Look now, though I enkindle thee to Effort in thy Way, yet it is the Way of thy Will, and I say not even that thou dost well to hasten therein, for the whole Matter lieth in thy Will, and to force thyself against thy Nature would be an Obstacle to thy Passage. But if I urge thee to run well this Race as an Athlete, it is because I have perceived in thy Nature that fierce Lust and mighty Concentration in that Will, and I write this Letter unto thee, knowing well that thou wilt rejoice exceedingly therein, since it is an Expression of thine own Will, and it may be a Discovery thereof, which Thing thou vehemently seekest. I charge thee therefore that thou permit none to tyrannize any other in Thought, or to threaten, or in any other Wise to blaspheme the great Liberty of our Father the Sun in the Great Cosmos, or of His Viceregent in the Little.
DE LIBERATATE IUVENUM
O thou that art the Child of mine own Bowels, how shall I write to thee concerning Children? For herein is the Gordian Knot in our whole Rope of Wisdom, and it may not be severed by Sword, no, not of a Greater than Alexander the Two-Horned. And it is a Balance like that of the Egg, and the Violence of a Columbus will but crack the tender Shell which we must first of all preserve.
Now Sentinel to this Fortress standeth a certain Paradox of general Application, and in this large Order I will declare it, so that its particular Sense may enlighten thee hereafter. And this is the Paradox, that there are Bonds which lead to Slavery, and Bonds which lead to Freedom. All we are bound in many Fetters by Environment, and it is for ourselves in great Part to determine whether they shall enslave us or emancipate us. And I will make clear this Thesis to thee by the Way of Illustration.
DE VI PER DISCIPLINAM COLENDA
Consider the Bond of a cold Climate, how it maketh Man a Slave; he must have Shelter and Food with fierce Toil. Yet hereby he becometh strong against the Elements, and his moral Force waxeth, so that he is Master of such Men as live in Lands of Sun where bodily Needs are satisfied without Struggle.
Consider also him that willeth to exceed in Speed or in Battle, how he denieth himself the Food he craveth, and all Pleasures natural to him, putting himself under the harsh Order of a Trainer. So by this Bondage he hath, at the last, his Will.
Now then the one by natural, and the other by voluntary, Restriction have come each to greater Liberty. This is also a general Law of Biology, for all Development is Structuralization; that is, a Limitation and Specialization of an originally indeterminate Protoplasm, which latter may therefore be called free, in the Definition of a Pedant.
DE ORDINE RERUM
In the Body every Cell is subordinated to the general physiological Control, and we who will that Control do not ask whether each individual Unit of that Structure be consciously happy. But we do care that each fulfil its Function, and the Failure of even a few Cells, or their Revolt, may involve the Death of the whole Organism. Yet even here the Complaint of a few, which we call Pain, is a Warning of general Danger. Many Cells fulfil their Destiny by swift Death, and this being their Function, they in no wise resent it. Should Hæmoglobin resist the Attack of Oxygen, the Body would perish, and the Hæmoglobin would not even save itself. How, o my Son, do thou then consider deeply of these Things in thine Ordering of the World under the Law of Thelema. For every Individual in the State must be perfect in his own Function, with Contentment, respecting his own Task as necessary and holy, not envious of another's. For so only mayst thou build up a Free State, whose directing Will shall be singly directed to the Welfare of all.
DE FUNDAMENTIS CIVITATIS
Say not, o my Son, that in this Argument I have set Limits to individual Freedom. For each Man in this State which I purpose is fulfilling his own true Will by his eager Acquiescence in the Order necessary to the Welfare of all, and therefore of himself also. But see thou well to it that thou set high the Standard of Satisfaction, and that to everyone there be a surplus of Leisure and of Energy, so that, his Will of Self-Preservation being fulfilled by the Performance of his Function in the State, he may devote the remainder of his Powers to the Satisfaction of the other Parts of his Will. And because the People are oft times unlearned, not understanding Pleasure, let them be instructed in the Art of Life; to prepare Food palatable and wholesome, each to this own Taste, to make Clothes according to Fancy, with Variety of Individuality and to practise the manifold Crafts of Love. There Things being first secured, thou mayst afterward lead them into the Heavens of Poesy and Tale, of Music, Painting, and Sculpture, and into the Lore of the Mind itself, with its insatiable Joy of all knowledge. Thence let them soar!
DE VOLUNTATE IUVENUM
Long, o my Son, hath been this Digression from the plain Path of my Word concerning Children; but it was most needful that thou shouldst understand the Limits of true Liberty. For that is not the Will of any Man which ultimateth in his own Ruin and that of all his Fellows; and that is not Liberty whose Exercise bringeth him to Bondage. Thou mayst therefore assume that it is always an essential Part of the Will of any Child to grow to Manhood or to Womanhood in Health, and his Guardians may therefore prevent him from ignorantly acting in Opposition thereunto, Care being always taken to remove the Cause of the Error, namely, Ignorance, as aforesaid. Thou mayst also assume that it is Part of the Child's Will to train every Function of the Mind; and the Guardians may therefore combat the inertia which hinders its Development. Yet here is much Caution necessary, and it is better to work by exciting and satisfying any natural Curiosity than by forcing Application to set Tasks, however obvious this Necessity may appear.
DE MODO DISPUTANDI
Now in this Training of the Child there is one most dear Consideration, that I shall impress upon thee as in Conformity with our Holy ?Experience in the Way of Truth. And it is this, that since that which can be thought is not true, every Statement is in some Sense false. Even on the Sea of pure Reason, we may say that every Statement is in some Sense disputable, there fore in every Case, even the simplest, the Child should be taught not only the Thesis, but also its opposite, leaving the Decision to the Child's own Judgment and good Sense, fortified by Experience. And this Practice will develop its Power of Thought, and its Confidence in itself, and its Interest in all Knowledge. But most of all beware against any Attempt to bias its Mind on any point that lieth without the Square of ascertained and undisputed Fact. Remember also, even when thou art most sure, that so were they sure who gave instruction to the young Copernicus. Pay Reverence also to the Unknown unto whom thou presumeth to impart the Knowledge; for he may be one greater than thou.
DE VOLUNTATE IUVENIS COGNOSCENDA
It is important that thou shouldst understand as early as may be what is the true Will of the Child in the Matter of his Career. Be thou well ware of all Ideals and Day-dreams; for the Child is himself, and not thy Toy. Recall the comic Tragedy of Napoleon and the King of Rome; build not an House for a wild Goat, nor plant a Forest for the Domain of a Shark. But be thou vigilant for every Sign, conscious or unconscious of the Will of the Child, giving him then all Opportunity to pursue the Path which he thus indicates. Learn this, that he, being young, will weary quickly of all false Ways, however pleasant they may be to him at the Outset; but of the true Way he will not weary. This being in this Manner discovered, thou mayst prepare it for him perfectly; for no Man can keep open all Roads for ever. And to him making his Choice explain how one may not travel far on any Road without a general Knowledge of Things apparently irrelevant. And with that he will understand, and bend him wisely to his Work.
DE AURO RUBEO
I would have thee to consider, o my son, that Word of Publius Vergilius Maro, that was the greatest of all the Magicians of his time: in medio tutissimus ibis. Which Thing has also been said by many wise Men in other Lands; and the Holy Qabalah confirmeth the same, placing Tipheret, which is the Man, and the Beauty and Harmony of Things, and Gold in the Kingdom of the Metals, and the Sun among the Planets, in the Midst of the Tree of Life. For the Centre is the Point of Balance of all Vectors. So then if thy wilt live wisely, learn that thou must establish this Relation of Balance with every Thing soever, not omitting one. For there is nothing so alien from thy Nature that it may not be brought into harmonious Relation therewith; and thy Stature of Manhood waxeth great even as thou comest to the Perfection of this Art. And there is nothing so close Kin to thee it may not be hurtful to thee if this Balance is not truly adjusted. Thou hast need of the whole Force of the Universe to work with thy Will; but this Force must be disposed about the Shaft of that Will so that there is no Tendency to Hindrance or to Deflection. And in my Love of thee I will adorn this Thesis with Example following.
DE SAPIENTIA IN RE SEXUALI
Consider Love. Here is a Force destructive and corrupting where by many Men have been lost. Yet without Love Man were not Man. Therefore thine Uncle Richard Wagner made of our Doctrine a musical Fable, wherein we see Amfortas, who yielded himself to Seduction, wounded beyond Healing; Klingsor, who withdraw himself from a like Danger, cast out for ever from the Mountain of Salvation; and Parsifal, who yielded not, able to exercise the true Power of Live, and thereby to perform the Miracle of Redemption. Of this also have I myself written in my Poema called Adonis. It is the same with Food and Drink, with Exercise, with Learning itself, the Problem is ever to bring the Appetite into right Relation with the Will. Thus thou mayst fast or feast; there is no Rule than that of Balance. And this Doctrine is of general Acceptation among the better Sort of Men; therefore on thee will I rather impress more carefully the other Part of my Wisdom, namely, the Necessity of extending constantly thy Nature to new Mates upon every Plane of Being, so that thou mayst become the perfect Microcosm, an Image without Flaw of all that is.
DE GRADIBUS AEQUIS SCIENTIAE
I say in sooth, my son, that this Extension of thy Nature is not in Violation thereof; for it is the Nature of thy Nature to grow continually. Now there is no Part of Knowledge which is foreign to thee; yet Knowledge itself is of no avail unless it be assimilated and co-ordinated into Understanding. Grow therefore, easily and spontaneously, developing all Parts equally, lest thou become a Monster. And if one Thing tempt thee overmuch, correct it by Devotion to its Opposite until Equilibrium be re-established. But seek not to grow by sudden Determination toward Things that be far from thee; only, if such a Thing come into thy Thought, construct a Bridge thereunto, and take firmly the first Step upon the Bridge. I shall explain this. Dost thou speculate upon the Motives of the Stars, and on their Elements, their Size and Weight? Then thou must first gain Knowledge of Doctrine mathematical, of Laws physical and chemical. So then first, that thou mayst understand clearly the Nature of thine whole Work, map out thy Mind, and extend its Powers from the essential outwards, from the near to the far, always with Firmness and great Thoroughness, making every Link in thy Chain equal and perfect.
DE VIRTUTE AUDENDI
Yet this I charge thee with my Might: Live Dangerously. Was not this the Word of thine Uncle Friedrich Nietzsche? Thy meanest Foe is the Inertia of the Mind. Men do hate most those things which touch them closely, and they fear Light, and persecute the Torchbearers. Do thou therefore analyse most fully all those Ideas which Men avoid; for the Truth shall dissolve Fear. Rightly indeed Men say that the Unknown is terrible; but wrongly do they fear lest it become the Known. Moreover, do thou all Acts of which the common Sort beware, save where thou hast already full knowledge, that thou mayest learn Use and Control, not falling into Abuse and Slavery. For the Coward and the Foolhardy shall not live out their Days. Every Thing has its right Use; and thou art great as thou hast Use of Things. This is the Mystery of all Art Magick, and thine Hold upon the Universe. Yet if thou must err, being human, err by excess of courage rather than of Caution, for it is the Foundation of the Honour of Man that he dareth greatly. What sayth Quintus Horatius Flaccus in the third Ode of his First Book? Die thou standing!
DE ARTE MENTIS COLENDI
Now concerning the first Foundation of thy Mind I will say somewhat. Thou shalt study with Diligence in the mathematics, because thereby shall be revealed unto thee the Laws of thine own Reason and the Limitations thereof. This Science manifesteth unto thee thy true Nature in respect of the Machinery whereby it worketh; and showeth in pure Nakedness, without Clothing of Personality or Desire, the Anatomy of thy conscious Self. Furthermore, by this thou mayst understand the Essence between the Relation of all Things, and the Nature of Necessity, and come to the Knowledge of Form. For this Mathematics is as it were the last Veil before the Image of Truth, so that there is no Way better than our Holy Qabalah, which analyseth all Things soever, and reduceth them to pure Number; and thus their Natures being no longer coloured and confused, they may be regulated and formulated in Simplicity by the Operation of Pure Reason, to thy great Comfort in the Work of our Transcendental Art, whereby the Many become One.
My son, neglect not in any wise the Study of the Writings of Antiquity, and that in the original Language. For by this thou shalt discover the History of the Structure of thy Mind, that is, its Nature regarded as the last term in a Sequence of Causes and Effects. For thy Mind hath been built up of these Elements, so that in these Books thou mayst bring into the Light thine own subconscious Memories. And thy Memory is as it were the Mortar in the House of thy Mind, without which is no Cohesion or Individuality possible, so that the Lack thereof is called Dementia. And these Books have lived long and become famous because they are the Fruits of ancient Trees whereof thou art directly the Heir, wherefrom (say I) they are more truly german to thine own Nature than Books of Collateral Offshoots, though such were in themselves better and wiser. Yes, o my Son, in these Writings thou mayst study to come to the true Comprehension of thine own Nature, and that of the whole Universe, in the Dimension of Time, even as the Mathematic declareth it in that of Space: That is, of Extension. Moreover, by this Study shall the Child comprehend the Foundation of Manners: the which, as sayeth one of the Sons of Wisdom, maketh Man.
Since Time and Space are the Conditions of Mind, these two Studies are fundamental. Yet there remaineth Causality, which is the Root of the Actions and Reactions of Nature. This also shalt thou seek ardently, that thou mayst comprehend the Variety of the Universe, its Harmony and its Beauty, with the Knowledge of that which compelleth it. Yet this is not equal to the former two in Power to reveal thee to thy Self; and its first Use is to instruct thee in the true Method of Advancement in Knowledge, which is fundamentally, the Observation of the Like and the Unlike. Also, it shall arouse in thee the Ecstasy of Wonder; and it shall bring thee to a proper Understanding of Art Magick. For our Magick is but one of the powers that lie within us undeveloped and unanalysed; and it is by the Method of Science that it must be made clear, and available to the Use of Man. Is not this a Gift beyond Price, the Fruit of a Tree not only of knowledge by to Life? For there is that in Man which is God, and there is that also which is Dust; and by our Magick we shall make these twain one Flesh, to the Obtaining of the Empery of the Universe.
DE MODO QUO OPERET LEX MAGICA
Give Ear attentively, o my Son, while I expound unto thee the true Doctrine of Magick. Every force acteth, in due Proportion, on all Things with which it is connected. Thus a burning Forest causes chemical Change by Combustion, and giveth Heat and Motion to the Air about it by the Operation of physical Laws, and exciteth thought and Emotion in the Man whom it reacheth through his Organs of Perception. Consider (even though it were but Legend) the Fall of the Apple of Isaac Newton, its Effect upon the Spiritual Destinies of Man! Consider also that no Force cometh ever to the end of its work! The Air that is moved by my Breath is a Disturbance or Change of Equilibrium that cannot be fully compensated and brought to naught, though the Æons be endless. Who then shall deny the Possibility of Magick? Well said Frazer, the most learned Doctor of the College of the Holy Trinity in the University of Cambridge, that Science was but the Name of any Magick which failed not of its intended Effect.
DE MACHINA MAGICA
Lo! I put forth my Will, and my Pen moveth upon the Paper, by Cause that my will mysteriously hath Power upon the Muscle of my Arm, and these do Work at a mechanical Advantage against the Inertia of the Pen. I cannot break down the Wall opposite me by Cause that I cannot come into mechanical Relation with it; or the Wall at my Side, by Cause that I am not strong enough to overcome its Inertia. To win that Battle I must call Time and Pick-axe to mine aid. But how could I retard the Motion of the Earth in Space? I am myself Party of its Momentum. Yet every Stroke of my Pen affecteth that Motion by changing the Equilibrium thereof. The Problem of every Act of Magick is then this: to exert a Will sufficiently powerful to cause the required Effect, through a Menstruum or Medium of Communication. By the common Understanding of the Word Magick, we however exclude such Media as are generally known and understood. Now then, o my Son, will I declare unto thee first the Nature of the Power, and afterward that of the Medium.
DE HARMONIA ANIMAE CUM CORPORE
All Things are interwoven. The most spiritual Thought in thy Soul (I speak as a Fool) is also a most material Change in Blood or Brain. Anger maketh the Blood acid; Hate poisoneth Mother's milk; even as I showed formerly in reverse, how Disturbance of physical Function altereth the States of Consciousness. Now no Man doubteth the Power of the Will of Man, whether it be his love that begetteth Children or causes wars wherein many Men be slain, whether it be his Eloquence that moveth a Mob or his Vanity that destroyeth a People. Only in all such Cases we understand how Nature worketh, though known Laws physical or psychical. That is, there is a State of unstable Equilibrium, so that one Machine setteth another in Motion as soon as the first Disturbance ariseth. Therefore, it is not proper to regard all Consequence of a Will as its Effect. Without the Revolution there could have been no great Effect of the Will of Napoleon; and moreover his Will was broken in the End, to the present Misfortune (as it seemeth to many besides myself) of Mankind. This Magick therefore, dependeth greatly on the Art to set many other Wills in sympathetic Motion; and the greatest Magus may not be the most successful in a mean conception of a Limit of Time. He may need to strike many Blows before he breaketh down his Wall, if that be strong, while a Child may push over one that is ready to crumble.
DE MYSTERIO PRUDENTIAE
Behold now nature, how prodigal is She of her Forces! The evident Will of every Acorn is to become an Oak; yet night all fail of that Will. Therefore one Secret of Magick is Œconomy of thy Force; to do no Act unless secure of its Effect. And if every Act has an Effect on every Plane, how canst thou do this unless thou be connected with all Planes? For this Reason must thou know thoroughly not only thy Body and thy Mind, but thy Body of Light and all its subtler Principles soever. But I will have thee consider most especially what powers thou hast within thee which are certainly capable of great Effects, yet which are constantly wasted. Think then whether, if these Powers, frustrate of their End upon one Plane, might not be turned to high Purpose and assured Success upon another. For an hundred Acorns, rightly set in Conditions fit for their true Growth, will become an hundred Oaks, while otherwise they make but one Meal for one Hog, and their subtle Nature is wholly lost to them. Learn then, o my Son, this Mystery of Œconomy, and apply it faithfully and with Diligence in thy Work.
DE ARTE ALCHEMICA
Here then I must write concerning Talismans for thine Instruction. Know first that there are certain Vehicles proper for the Incarnation of the Will. I instance Paper, whereon by thine Art thou writest a symbolic Representation of thy Will, so that when thou next seest it, thou are reminded of that Will, or it may be that another, seeing it, will obey that Will. Here then is a case of Incarnation and Assumption, which, before it was understood, was rightly considered Gramarye or Magick. Again, thy Will to live causeth thee to plant Corn, which in due Season being eaten is again transmuted into Will. Thus thou mayst in many Ways impress any particular Will upon the proper Substance, so that by due Use thou comest at last to its Accomplishment. So general is this Formula, in Truth, that all conscious Actions may be included within its scope. There is also the Converse, as when external Objects create Appetite, whose Satisfaction again reacteth upon the physical Plane. Praise thou the wonder of the Mystery of Nature, rising and falling with every Breath, so that there is no Part which is not mystically Partaker of the Whole.
DE ARCANO SUBTILISSIMO
O my Son, there is that within thee of marvellous Puissance which is by its own Nature the Incarnation of thy Will, most ready to receive the Seal thereof. Therein lie hidden all Powers, all Memories, more than thou hast teen thousand fold! Learn then to draw from that great Treasure-House the Jewel of which thou art in any present Need. For all things that are possible to thy Nature are already hidden within thee; and thou hast but to name them, and to bring them back into the Light of thy Consciousness. Then squander not this Gold of thine, but put it to most fruitful Usury. Now then of the Art and Craft of this most Holy Mystery I write not, for a Reason that thou already knowest. Moreover, in this Matter, thou shalt best learn by thine own Experience, and thine Observation in true Science shall guide thee. For this Secret is still of Magick, and Occult, so that I know not certainly if thy Will lieth with my Way or no.
Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., and the O.T.O. Lamen design are registered trademarks of Ordo Templi Orientis.
All copyrights on Aleister Crowley material are held by Ordo Templi Orientis. This site is not an official O.T.O. website, and is neither sponsored by nor controlled by Ordo Templi Orientis.
The text of this Aleister Crowley material is made available here only for personal and non-commercial use. This material is provided here in a convenient searchable form as a study resource for those seekers looking for it in their research. For any commercial use, please contact Ordo Templi Orientis.