Chapter 58

Part Four



November 18th, 1905 was my seventh birthday in the Order, I wrote: “About now I may count my Speculative Criticism of the Reason as not only proved and understood, but realized.” And on the nineteenth: “The misery of this is simply sickening — I can write no more.”

I must explain. All these seven years, especially when in the East, I had discussed religion and philosophy with all sorts and conditions of men. Further, I had studied the sacred books of all religions of antiquity. My experiences all tended to the uniform conclusion that one could go all round the circle in any argument. Christian philosophers have seized on this fact to urge that our only hope of arriving at truth is through faith; but it is the bankruptcy of faith that originally drove us to test it by reason. I saw that the true solution was, on the contrary, that of the mystic. In Cabbalistic and scientific language, we possess a faculty of apprehension independent of reason, which informs us directly of the truth.

I wrote in my Magical Diary on November 19th, 1905:

I realize in myself the perfect impossibility of reason; suffering great misery. I am as one who should have plumed himself for years upon the speed and strength of a favourite horse, only to find not only that its the speed and strength were illusory, but that it was not a real horse at all, but a clothes-horse. There being no way — no conceivable way — out of this awful trouble gives that hideous despair which is only tolerable because in the past it has ever been the Darkness of the Threshold. But this is far worse than ever before; I wish to go from A to B; and I am not only a cripple, but there is no such thing as space. I have to keep an appointment at midnight; and not only is my watch stopped, but there is no such thing as time … But surely I am not a dead man at thirty!

From this date till the first week in February, I was intellectually insane. The actual ordeal is described with intense simplicity and passion in “Aha!” I call it “the Order of the Veil, the Second Veil” and the “Veil of the Abyss”. The complete destruction of reason left me without other means of apprehension than Neschamah.

I have already explained briefly what are meant by Neschamah, Ruach and Nephesch. I must now go a little more deeply into the doctrines of the Cabbala. The human consciousness is represented as the centre of a hexagon {509} whose points are the various faculties of the mind; but the uppermost point, which should link the human consciousness with the divine, is missing. Its name is Daäth, Knowledge. The Babylonian legend of the “fall” is a parable of the shutting out of man from Paradise by the destruction of this Daäth and the establishment of this Abyss. Regeneration, redemption, atonement and similar terms mean alike the reunion of the human with the divine consciousness. Arrived at the highest possible point of human attainment by regular steps, one finds oneself on the brink of the Abyss, and to cross this one must abandon utterly and for ever all that one has and is. (In unscientific mysticism the act is represented sentimentally as the complete surrender of the self to God.) In unsectarian English, the act implies first of all the silencing of the human intellect so that one may hear the voice of the Neschamah.

We may now consider further what is meant by Neschamah. It is the human faculty corresponding to the idea Binah. Understanding; which is that aspect of the divine consciousness which corresponds to the Female Idea. It receives, formulates and transmits the pure divine consciousness, which is represented by a triangle (for the Trinity) whose apex is the essence of the true self (corresponding to Brahman, Atman, Allah etc. — not to Jehovah, who is the Demiurge) and whose other angle is Chiah, the Masculine aspect of the self, which creates. (Chiah corresponds to Chokmah: Wisdom, the Word.) This divine consciousness is triune. In its essence it is absolute and therefore contains all things in itself, but has no means of discriminating between them. It apprehends itself by formulating itself through the postulation of itself as male and female, active and passive, positive and negative, etc.

The idea of separateness, of imperfection, of sorrow, is realized by it as an illusion created by itself for the purpose of self-expression. The method is precisely that of the painter who plays off one colour against another in order to represent some particular idea of himself which pleases him. He knows perfectly well that each colour is in itself imperfect, a partial presentation of the general idea of light.

The “Attainment of Unity” would be, theoretically, to mix up all the paints and produce a surface without colour, form or meaning; yet those philosophers who insist on symbolizing God by Unity reduce Him to a nonentity. The more logical of these, indeed, carry their thesis a little further and describe the Deity as “without quantity or quality”. Even the Prayer Book describes Him as “without body, parts or passion”, though it continues cheerfully by describing His parts and His passions in detail. The Hindus actually realize that their Parabrahman thus defined, by negating all propositions soever about him, is not a being at all in any intelligible sense of the word. Their aspiration to be absorbed in his essence depends on the thesis that “Everything is Sorrow.” {510}

The Buddha took the last logical step, rejected Brahman as a mere metaphysical figment and replaced the idea of union with him by that of absorption in Nibbana, a state of cessation pure and simple. This is certainly a step forward; but it still throws no light on the subject of how things came to be such that only cessation can relieve their intolerable sorrow; though it is clear enough that the nature of any separate existence must be imperfection. The Buddha impudently postulates “Mara” as the maker of the whole illusion, without attempting to assign a motive for his malice or a means by which he could gratify it. Incidentally, his “existence in itself” is the whole of the evil Mara, which is just as impertinent a postulate as any of the uncreated creators and uncaused causes of other religions. Buddhism does not destroy the philosophical dilemma. Buddha's statement that the fundamental error is ignorance is as arbitrary, after all, as Milton's that it was pride. Either quality implies a host of others, all equally inconceivable as arising in a homogeneous state either of bliss or nonentity.

In eighty days I went round the world of thought and, like Phineas Fogg and Omar Khayyam, came out by the same door as in I went. The solution must be practical, not theoretical; real not rational. Tyndall says somewhere that it is evidently possible for men to acquire at any moment the use of a new faculty which would reveal a new universe, as completely as the development of sight has done, or as the invention of the spectroscope, the electroscope, etc., has done, and shown us unsuspected material universes. It is to be carefully observed that we unhesitatingly class as “material” all sorts of ideas which are not directly appreciable by any of our senses. I was in no way apostasizing from my agnosticism in looking for a universe of beings endowed with such qualities that earlier observers, with few facts and fewer methods of investigation and criticism at their disposal, called “gods”, “archangels”, “spirits” and he like.

I began to remember that I was myself an initiate, that the Great Order had given me the Cabbala as my working hypothesis. I now found that this doctrine satisfied perfectly my science, my scepticism and my soul. It made no pretence to lay down the law about the universe. On the contrary, it declared positively the agnostic conclusion of Huxley. It declared reason incompetent to create a science from nothing and restricted it to its evident function of criticizing facts, so far as those facts were comprehensible by it.

But the Cabbala did not leave me in despair; it asserted the existence of a faculty such as that suggested by Tyndall, by the use of which I could appreciate truth directly. I may here refer to the historic claim of mystics that their truth is incomprehensible to human reason and inexpressible in human language. The arrogance of the proposition was less repugnant to me than its confession of incompetence and its denial of the continuity of {511} nature. I have devoted countless days and nights to forcing myself to formulate the intuitions of trance in intelligible ideas, and conveying those ideas by means of well defined symbols and terms. At the period I am describing, such an effort would have been bricks without straw. My truly mystical experiences were extremely few. I have subsequently developed a complete system, based on the Cabbala, by which any expression may be rendered cognizable through the language of intellect, exactly as mathematicians have done: exactly, too, as they have been obliged to recognize the existence of a new logic. I found it necessary to create a new code of the laws of thought.

One example pertinent to this period will illustrate the strangeness of the world revealed by the development of Neschamah. The human consciousness is primarily distinguishable from the divine by the fact of its dependence on duality. The divine consciousness distinguishes a peach from a pear, but is aware all the time that the difference is being made for its own convenience. The human accepts the difference as real. It also fails to accept the fact that it knows nothing of the object as it is in itself. It is confined to an awareness that its consciousness has been modified by its tendency to perceive its sensations, which it refers to its existence. One must be expert in Pratyahara to apprehend intuitively the data of Berkeleyian idealism. In other words, the condition of human consciousness is the sense of separateness; that is, of imperfection; that is, of sorrow.

Now then for our illustration. I aspire to the good, the beautiful and the true. I define my Holy Guardian Angel as a being possessing these qualities in perfection and aspire to His Knowledge and Conversation. I propose therefore to perform the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage. But what is my first postulate! That there exists a real difference between those qualities and their opposites, between Him and myself. It is true that I aim at the identification of myself with Him, but I have already defined Him as imperfect, maugre my gaudy phraseology, by admitting that He is separate from me. I define truth as imperfect by distinguishing it from untruth. (When one has crossed the Abyss, these considerations — fantastic to the point of comicality as they appear on the surface — become the most formidable foes in practical life. For example, one has to resolve the antithesis between action and inaction, and one removes one's motive with deft surgery by destroying the dividuality of joy and sorrow.) My aspiration in itself affirms the very idea which it is its sole object to deny.

Thus, then, all Magick is based on the illusion inherent in the reason itself. Since all things soever are separate; since their separateness is the essential element of their existence; and since all are equally illusions, why aspire to the Holy Guardian Angel? — why not to the Dweller on the Threshold? To the man who has not passed entirely through the Abyss thoughts of this kind are positively frightful. There is no rational answer possible, from the nature of {512} the case; and I was tormented indescribably by these thoughts, thousands after thousands, each a terrific thunderbolt blasting its way through my brain during these frightful months. Of course The Book of the Law makes mincemeat of all such dragons, but I am convinced that the gods deliberately kept me away from seeking the solution in its pages, though I was their chosen confidant. They were determined that I should drain the last dregs of the vitriol. (Visita Interiora Terrae, Rectificado Invenies Occultum Lapidem.)

It was essential that I should learn the technique of crossing the Abyss with absolute thoroughness for they had it in mind to entrust me with the task of teaching others exactly how to do it. Thus, though I crossed the Abyss at this period, underwent one particular phase of the ordeal, I was restricted to that particular experience which sufficed for their immediate purpose in regard to me. I had to work out its problems in many other ways on many other occasions, as will appear from the sequel. The Book of the Law was to my hand, but the gods themselves had hardened my heart against it. I had hardened my own heart; I had tried to go round the Boyg. They answered, “Thou hast said.”

I know now from the experience of others that The Book of the Law is veritably a Golden bough. It is the only thing that one is allowed to take with one through Hades and it is an absolute passport. In fact, one cannot go through Hades at all; there is no “one” to go. But the Law itself bridges the Abyss, for “Love is the law, love under will.” One's will-to-cross is to disintegrate all things soever into soulless dust, love is the one force which can bind them together into a coherent causeway. There, where torn thoughts sank through the starless space, aching and impotent, into what was not even nothingness, each alive for ever because reduced to its ultimate atoms so that there was no possibility of change, no hope of any alleviation of its anguish, each exquisitely mindful that its captain had slain himself in despair; there may men pass today in peace. What with The Book of the Law to guide them, and my experience to warn them, they can prepare themselves for the passage; and it is their own fault if the process of self-annihilation involves suffering.

I cannot even say that I crossed the Abyss deliberately. I was hurled into it by the momentum of the forces which I had called up. For three years, save for spasmodic and half-hearted incidents, and the great moment in Cairo which took place in direct opposition to the united efforts of my scepticism, my cynicism, my disgust with everything, my idleness and my prejudices, I had been fighting against my destiny. I had been building up a great dam. My occasional return to Magick had been more in the nature of occasional sprees than anything else, as a man consumed by an over-mastering passion for a woman and determined to trample her under foot, might seek relief in occasional flirtations. {513}

A magical oath is the most irresistible of all moral forces. It is an affirmation of the true will; that is to say, it is a link between the conscious human and the unconscious divine nature of the man who takes it. A magical oath which does not express the true will sets these forces in opposition and therefore weakens the man the more gravely as the oath is more seriously meant and taken. But given that the oath is a true expression of the true will, its effect is to affirm that very union between the insignificant force of the conscious being and the irresistible might of that which is “one, eternal and individual”, that which is inexpugnably immune to all forces soever; which when accomplished constitutes it supreme.

My position was this. In 1897 I had unconsciously discovered my true will and devoted myself to find the means of carrying it out. In 1898 I found the means and had had concentrated all my resources of any kind on had swept aside every making the most of it. I obstacle, internal and years; the dam, my external. The reaction of 1902 had lasted just three carnal mind, had begun to leak; a moment later, it was swept away by the avenging tides; they swept away the last remnant of my reason.

There is a feeble rattle of the rifles of the rearguard, some ineffectual foppishness about discipline between November the nineteenth and twenty-fifth, then absolute silence till the eighth of February, when I write, “About this full moon consciousness began to break through Ruach into Neschamah. Intend to stick to Augoeides.”

I found myself in a truly surprising state.

As I trod the trackless way
Through sunless gorges of Cathay,
I became a little child,
By nameless rivers, swirling through
Chasms, a fantastic blue,
Month by month, on barren hills,
In burning heat, in bitter chills,
Tropic forest, Tartar snow,
Smaragdine archipelago,
See me — led by some wise hand
That I did not understand.
Morn and noon and eve and night
I, the forlorn eremite,
Called on Him with mild devotion,
As the dewdrop woos the ocean.

I had all the innocence and helplessness if a child at the period when it gropes instinctively for someone to love it, someone whom it knows and trusts, who is infinitely strong, infinitely wise and infinitely kind. {514}

I am not quite sure why I chose the word “Augoeides” to represent my thought. It may well be because it was not spoilt for me by any personal association with the past. I have been carried away by the necessity of simplifying (to the utmost of my ability) the story of my passage through the Abyss. I must now explain why I issued from it with this particular idea of Augoeides rather than another, for every idea in my mind had been shattered in fragments and brayed in a mortar, reduced to impalpable dust and scattered to the four winds of heaven. Sir Isaac Newton to the rescue! His first law of motion is sufficient to make the point clear.

A body either keeps its course (or else remains at rest)
Unless by some external force its motion is impressed.

The effect of my ordeal had been to remove all forces soever which had impinged on my normal direction. My star had been diverted from its proper orbit by, had been held back by, the attraction of other heavenly bodies. Their influence had been removed. For the first time in my life I was really free. I had no personality left. To take a concrete case: I found myself in the middle of China with a wife and child. I was no longer influenced by love for them, no longer interested in protecting them as I had been; but there was a man, Aleister Crowley, husband and father, of a certain caste, of certain experience, of travel in remote parts of the world; and it was his business to give them his undivided love, care and protection. He could do this very much more efficiently than before when I was aware of what he was doing, and consequently inclined to overplay the part.

But with regard to my magical future — why did I “intend to stick to Augoeides”? The reason becomes clear if we consider the nature of the meditation — Sammasati — which had constituted the essence of my success in passing through the ordeal.

I determined on this at Allan's suggestion and one of my main objects in going to stay with him at the choung was to do it. I thought it could be done in three days! There must be a lot of silly young asses knocking about the world, but I think I can give most of them a couple of strokes a hole.

The method of the meditation is described (1911) in Liber Thisharb, and I have outlined it in an earlier chapter. I quote from The Temple of Solomon the King (The Equinox, vol. I, No. VIIi).

… he found his old comrade, I.A, now a member of the Buddhist Sangha, under the name of Bhikku Ananda Metteya.

It was from him that he received the instructions which were to help him to reach the great and terrible pinnacle of the mind whence the adept must plunge into the Abyss, to emerge naked, a babe — the Babe of the Abyss. {515}

“Explore the River of the Soul,” said Ananda Metteya, “Whence and in what order you have come.”

For three days — the longest period allowed by the Buddhist law — he remained in the choung, meditating on this matter; but nothing seems to have come of it. He set his teeth and settled down doggedly to this consideration of the eternal why. Here is a being in Rangoon. Why? Because he wanted to see Bhikku A. M. Why? Because — and so on to the half-forgotten past, dark seas that phosphoresced as the clean keel of his thought divided them.

I had eliminated a vast number of possible replies to the question of Zoroaster above quoted by Allan. I might even have discovered my true will, as indeed the meditation should enable me to do, had it not been interfered with by the larger question with its smashing academic scepticism. The question posed by the meditation assumes a casual connection between events and even to some extent a purposeful connection. Now in the Abyss these are the very two ideas which are torn from under the bridge of continuity which they should support.

The practical point was that I had no proof whatever that there was any purpose in my past life or could be in my future. I again quote from “The Temple of Solomon the King”:

Baffled again and again, the fall with his horse supplied the one factor missing in his calculations. He had repeatedly escaped death in matters almost miraculous. “Then I am some use after all!” was his conclusion. “I am indeed SENT to do something.” For whom? For the universe; no partial good could possibly satisfy his equation. I am, then, the “Chosen Priest and Apostle of Infinite Space”. Very good: and what is the message? What shall I teach men? And like lightning from heaven fell upon him these words: “THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONVERSATION OF THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL.”

So again we read (in the diary) on February 11th: “Made many resolutions of a G. R. (Great Retirement). In dream flew to me an angel, bearing an ankh, to comfort me.”

We may now transcribe the diary. We find the great mind, the complex man, purged through and through of thought, stripped of all things human and divine, centred upon one single aspiration, as simple as the love of a child for its father.

Like lightning from heaven? Not lest swift flashed back the obvious question of the practical man, how? The answer was immediate: “INVOKING OFTEN”. I need not have asked. They were the words of Zoroaster indeed, but they were also my own. I had used them in my paraphrase of {516} Zoroaster in Tannhäuser's song. And after all, there is nothing specially magical about them except that they are in the plain common sense of psychology. Huxley said that science was organized common sense, and Frazer that science was successful Magick. The syllogism presents no difficulties.

Only one point remained for consideration. I had said how almost insanely anxious I had always been about economizing time. My mind is, perhaps, the most infernally active on the globe. I cannot bear to eat a meal except as a deliberate debauch. I like to play a game of chess and read a book “while fortifying my body thereby” and engaging in conversation with the other guests. I was constantly devising dodges for making the most of every moment. I hate to shut a door behind me, on the ground that I might have to open it again. I detest changing my clothes. I keep my head shaved if there is any risk of being called upon to brush my hair. On the other hand, I like shaving myself because, as many men know, the operation tends to produce fertility of ideas.

Having decided to invoke the Augoeides, how was I to do it without unnecessary delay? I had everything ready at Boleskine, but Chen Nan Chan is sixty li from Pa Shih Pai, and it was as many days from England, home and beauty, going L for leather. The operation should begin at Easter. It could not be done that year by ordinary means. But my Sammasati came to the rescue. I knew that every event in my life had been arranged by the gods to be of use to me in the accomplishment of the Great Work. I did not need an aeroplane: I had a magical carpet. I could travel in my astral body to my temple and perform the Operation, perhaps even more conveniently than in the flesh. Per contra, I could construct my own temple about me and perform the Operation in my physical body. For various reasons, I preferred the latter method.

I was still entirely “off” The Book of the Law. I had with me my unique vellum copy of The Goetia and I proposed to use the Preliminary Invocation. I was to begin by performing this twice daily to work up a current, to acquire concentration, to invoke often.

On February 11th I had spent the fifty li of the journey, P'u P'eng to Ying Wa Kuan, in making resolutions to undertake the Great Magical Retirement. That night I had a dream, in which an angel flew to me “to comfort me”. He was bearing an ankh in his hand. If I had known then, as I do now, that the ankh is not fundamentally a crux ansata but a sandal strap, the symbol of the power to go, I should have understood that I ought to make the Retirement on the journey. It is obviously weakness to rely upon one's material surroundings, and I was already sufficiently in the habit of performing meditations in the most unsatisfactory conditions to have had no hesitation. I had chosen to set up my first temple at one of the busiest corners of London, with the deliberate object of training myself not to be put off by noise. {517}

The plan was not a bad one. I am quite inaccessible to disturbance except of one kind. The neighbourhood of anyone on whom I have bestowed the right to speak to me is a cause of distraction. In practice I train such people carefully not to address me when I am working — aye! at any time — without special justification. I made a further experiment in October 1908 (see “John St. John”) of carrying out a complete Magical Operation of the most important kind while leading the life of the normal man-about-town in the Montparnasse quarter. I did this to demonstrate to the people who complained that they had not the time or convenience for Magick, that they could do it without giving up their ordinary business or social life.

Though I did not fully understand the implication of the dream, I managed to act as if I had done so. I must have had some suspicions that my old friends the Abra-Melin demons would go on the war path; at least I acted accordingly from the fourteenth. Finding myself with the glands of my throat badly swollen, and my mind distracted by worrying about them, I asked the Augoeides to remove my fear. This is dangerously like prayer, on the surface; but at least I did not ask to be cured. The request was immediately granted. I was ill for several days, but able to continue my invocations.

My plan was to transport the astral form of my temple at Boleskine to where I was, so as to perform the invocation in it. It was not necessary for me to stay in one place during the ceremony; I frequently carried it out while riding or walking. As the work became familiar to me it became easier. I was able to withdraw my attention from the actual words and gestures, and concentrate on the intention. On the theory of Sammasati, every faculty must be used in the Great Work. On the surface, there seems little relation between Magick and chess, but my ability to play three games simultaneously blindfold was now very useful. I had no difficulty in visualizing the astral temple by an effort of will, and of course I was perfectly able to watch the results of the invocations with my astral eyes. During these weeks I developed the technique though not to the full extent described in Liber Samekh. A description of the method, as far as I had taken it at this time, is given in The Equinox, vol. I, No. VIII.

The preamble: he makes a general concentration of all his magical forces and a declaration of his will.

The Ar Thiao section. He travels to the infinite East among the hosts of angels summoned by the words. A sort of “Rising on the Planes”, but in a horizontal direction.

The same remarks apply to the next three sections in the other quarters.

At the great invocation following he extends the Shivalingam to infinite height, each letter of each word representing an exaltation of it by {518}

geometrical progression. Having seen this satisfactorily, he prostrates himself in adoration.

When consciousness begins to return, he uses the final formula to raise that consciousness in the Shivalingam, springing to his feet at the moment of uniting himself with it, and lastly uttering that supreme song of the initiate beginning: “I am He, the Bornless Spirit, having sight in the feet; strong and the Immortal Fire!”

(Thus performed, the invocation means about half an hour of the most intense magical work imaginable — a minute of it would represent the equivalent of about twelve hours of Asana.)

Despite the distracting influence of the varied adventures described in the last chapter, I stuck steadily to my practice. On leaving Hong Kong, however, being once again a lonely Wanderer of the Waste, I did feel freer to analyze myself. I thought the necessity of defining the words that I used more closely. There is an indication of this in my entry of April 4th:

I foolishly and wickedly put off A∴; work all day; now it is one a.m. of the fifth. By foolish, I mean contrary to my interest and hope in A∴.

By wicked I mean contrary to my will.

A∴ goodish; lengthy and reverie-like. Yet my heart is well. I spake it audibly.

Before this time I had been haunted by the first of the two terrible doubts which I subsequently described in sections 36 and 38 of //Sir Palamedes//, but during the abominable “wind draught” of the first week of March I had made a partial image of this doubt in the “King-Ghost”. I did not understand the essence of the doubt and it is hard to explain it in prose, even now. It seems at first sight to be a reflection of the all-embracing doubt of the Abyss. It concentrated itself into the entirely practical question: is there an Augoeides after all? Is there a Path of the Wise? Am I simply fooling myself? And in the “King-Ghost” my only answer is to appeal to the very power whose existence is in dispute. The extreme beauty of the lines, their magic melancholy and their appropriateness to the circumstances of my journey encourage me to quote the poem, which I do:

The King-Ghost is abroad. His spectre legions
….Sweep from their icy lakes and bleak ravines
Unto these weary and untrodden regions
….Where man lies penned among his Might-have-beens.
……..Keep us in safety, Lord,
……..What time the King-Ghost is abroad! {519}

The King-Ghost from his grey malefic slumbers
….Awakes the malice of his bloodless brain.
He marshals the innumerable numbers
….Of shrieking shapes on the sepulchral plain.
……..Keep us, for Jesu's sake,
……..What time the King-Ghost is awake!

The King-Ghost wears a crown of hopes forgotten:
….Dead loves are woven in his ghastly robe;
Bewildered wills and faiths grown old and rotten
….And deeds undared his sceptre, sword and globe.
……..Keep us, O Mary maid,
……..What time the King-Ghost goes arrayed!

The Hell-Wind whistles through his plumeless pinions;
….Clanks all that melancholy host of bones;
Fate's principalities and Death's dominions
….Echo the drear discord, the tuneless tones.
……..Keep us, dear God, from ill,
……..What time the Hell-Wind whistles shrill.

The King-Ghost hath no music but their rattling;
….No scent but death's grown faint and fugitive;
No fight but this their leprous pallor battling
….Weakly with night. Lord, shall these dry bones live?
……..O keep us in the hour
……..Wherein the King-Ghost hath his power!

The King-Ghost girds me with his gibbering creatures,
….My dreams of old that never saw the sun.
He shows me, in a mocking glass, their features,
….The twin fiends “Might-have-been” and “Should-have-done”.
……..Keep us, by Jesu's ruth,
……..What time the King-Ghost grins the truth!

The King-Ghost boasts eternal usurpature;
….For in this pool of tears his fingers fret
I had imagined, by enduring nature,
….The twin gods “Thus-will-I” and “May-be-yet”.
……..God, keep us most from ill,
……..What time the King-Ghost grips the will!

Silver and rose and gold what flame resurges?
….What living light pours forth in emerald waves?
What inmost Music drowns the clamorous dirges? {520}

Shrieking they fly, the King-Ghost and his slaves.
Lord, let Thy Ghost indwell,
And keep us from the power of Hell!


The triumphant answer is simply the mystic's affirmation of interior certainty. No doubt this expresses my attitude at the time: I was still a little child. But as I grew, so did the doubt. I saw that the answer given in the “King-Ghost” was insufficient. I realized subconsciously what is the hardest thing of all for any of us to realize; that we are each “one, eternal and individual”, that there is no one on whom we should rely, that such doubts should be destroyed, neither by the rational method of refuting them nor by taking refuge with external power — one must perform an arbitrary act of manhood.

Nay! I deliberate deep and long,
Yet find no answer fit to make
To thee. The weak beats down the strong.

I had been in fairly regular astral communication with Soror F., but I wanted to see her in the flesh and therefore called on her in Shanghai. On the sixth and seventh of April I explained the position to her, and went to stay with her on the ninth. The next twelve days we were constantly working together. The results of this work are so important that I must enter into them rather fully. It is significant of my eternal subconscious reaction against The Book of the Law that even when editing my diaries for Captain J. F. C. Fuller for “The Temple of Solomon the King”, I deliberately omitted to pay any attention to them. The reference is meagre and vainglorious, and the promise to deal with them elsewhere has never been kept. It is evidently a dodge for avoiding the responsibility.

A∴ in the presence of my Soror F.

(The results of this and the next invocation were most brilliant and important. They revealed the Brother of A∴ A∴ who communicated in Egypt as the Controller of all this work.)

The first result of my work with Soror F. was that immediately I told her of the work in Cairo, she said boldly and finally that she believed in the genuineness of the communication. I was infuriated. I believe my main object in going to see her had been to get encouragement in my revolt. I had carefully avoided telling her anything about it in the whole course of our astral interviews; but she insisted that we should study Liber Legis together. I had my copy with me. (It is very remarkable that the gods managed to look after me so that I am never in lack of anything that I {521} need for the performance of any particular work. My deliberate carelessness, my attempts to destroy things, are always quite useless. The gods always perform the necessary miracle to enable me to have at hand anything that may be necessary at the moment.)

So my diary reads on April 18th:

Studying Liber Legis. Decide to ask F. to invoke Aiwass and converse with Him when invoked, and thereby to decide on the quality of that Magick.

On the twentieth, therefore, we went into her temple:

Aiwass invoked appears, of brilliant blue as when she saw him as guardian of my sleep. He has followed me ever, wishing me to follow his cult. When P. took wand, he grows brilliant and breaks up into a formless light; yet she feels him as an enemy. He seems entangled in a mesh of light and to be trying to escape. I warn him that if he goes away, he cannot return. (F. in herself is hostile) “Return to Egypt, with different surroundings. (This misheard: he said same.) There I will give thee signs. Go with the S. W. (Ouarda), this is essential: thus you shall get real power, that of God, the only one worth having. Illumination shall come by means of power, pari passu. (Evidently my own transcript of her words.) Live in Egypt as you did before. Do not do a G. R. Go at once to Egypt; money troubles will be settled more easily than you think now. I will give you no guarantee of my truth.” He then turned blue-black. “I am loath to part from you. Do not take F. I do not like the relations between you; break them off! If not you must follow other gods. Yet I would wish you to love physically, to make perfect the circle of your union. F. will not do so, therefore, she is useless. If she did, she would become useful. You have erred in showing her the true relation between you on spiritual planes. Having burst that, she will remain by her sense of power over you. (This might mean that her enjoyment of her power over me would induce her to continue working.) She is spiritually stronger than you. You should have dominated her by your superior strength on other planes. She will give you much trouble, though eventually she may become a great aid. But your shorter path lies by Egypt and S. W. (Ouarda) though she is not spiritually your equal. S. W. has been your enemy; but you have conquered, she is bound to aid you as your will. She has been your enemy and that of F. but you returned her hatred, hence her seeming power over you in the present. (Qy. this hearing.) (Qy. was F. hearing correctly) I will give you a sign when alone and away from present medium. You must recognize the sign by your own intuition. Do not part from S. W. Use her! (Here S. W. appears, with an evil look. She glitters, like a jewelled serpent.) Strange bands of light scintillate between her and Aiwass. A. now takes wand again; still feels enmity on spiritual planes. Aiwass banished; S. W. has disappeared.

A. now tries to speak to A∴. He wants G. R.; does not mind whether S. W. is with me or not; but I should use Brahmacharya (? if with her, or anyhow), I shall be guided as things turn up, as to the truth or falsehood of Aiwass, who is not to be altogether distrusted. (I think the opposition is Aiwass's limitation as a servant.) A∴ will give us a sign: F's freedom. (I reply that if this comes about in a miraculous manner, well and good.) (Note: Her husband died quite unexpectedly not long after this time.)

April 21st. Sol enters Taurus.

Open T∴ with A∴ I∴.. (Possibly …1) spoilt it all) asking for special aid in — what follows. F. finds the Nuit ring good; hence probably her hostility yesterday was due to lower self.

I∴ of R. H. K. gives glorious material flashes of light, akasic (i.e. ultra-violet) and lilac. The god, beheld, will not speak. Asked for a messenger, Aiwass appears. F., suspecting him, puts a pentagram on him; he blurs and becomes dirty and discrowned. F. takes wand; but this dissipates him. His real name she says is 270 = INRI. F. uses pentagram and shrivels him up to a black charred mass. I ask her to invoke something genuine; a white figure without face and with little shape mounts throne. It has a glittering rayed corona. Says: (to here F. uses normal tone; hence tone of oracle) “I am the God of Vengeance. I am thy Guardian Angel. I would have thee seek thine own soul in silence and alone. Take no aid with thee; take no mortal soul but retire and depart from mankind.” Pentagram makes him brighter: he grows firmer. Repeated, form vanishes and only brightness remains. Asked for a sign of his name … is written on throne. “I will give no other sign: you must learn to trust your own intuition.”

F's intuition tells her that he is genuine. As to our relations, he wishes us to work together (A contradiction v. supra:) “I do not wish you to go too far in work with S. W. She will dazzle you and be apt to lead you astray. You must always remain as armed when you work with her, as a man in full armour. I would wish you to strengthen the link between you and F. on all planes. You are very needful to each other and can only accomplish G. W. together.” (This clearly utter rubbish.) I take wand and curse him by Him who he hath blasphemed. Invoking, however A∴ the light becomes more brilliant. Voice continues: “You must go {523} and do a G. R. after which you will get a sign.” (Clearly due to F. knowing my wish; but he is clumsy. Will anything now convince F.? I was trying, as my custom is, to “bowl out” my clairvoyant.) I take serious measures to banish all but A∴. Voice silenced: and she doubts whether voice is from brilliance. F. feels me absolutely necessary for her. I not. (Voice is from her so cannot be banished and it goes on:) “There shall be a short period of work (?not?) done in actual unison; after which your powers join irrevocably together. There is no escape from that; you are bound to work together; and the fitting time and hour for this shall come simultaneously to you both. There will then be no doubt in either of your minds: there will then be no obstacle to this union … You must look towards this time and towards a beacon light. Never lose sight of that! You Elaine (F's earth-name) will meet with subtle temptation from this object — promises of great power and illumination; but heed them not. Aleister is your true helper from whom you have right to look and demand help. You must never cease to demand this aid and by your demand strengthen and aid your comrade. I, your Guardian Angel, tell you this.” (The falsity of all this patent more at the time than now — I foresaw what follows.) I ask proof that he is G. A. It is clear that voice and brilliance are distinct (i.e. from two separate sources.) F. however feels that this rigmarole is true. Hence we discuss our relations and the Great Invocation degenerates. We began to make love to each other. This, however, is checked by my will and her own feeling that we have done enough for honour. I am not exhausted after all this, as I was yesterday. Is this a proof that all is Right Magick, or that little force was expended? Where am I, in fact? O Holy Exalted One, do Thou illuminate my mind!


Previous | The Confessions of Aleister Crowley | Next

I omit reference to a certain private matter.


If you have found this material useful or enlightening, you may also be interested in


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.