Chapter XV: Sex Morality

Magick Without Tears

By Aleister Crowley

Chapter XV: Sex Morality

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Thank you! I am to cover the whole question of sex in a few well-chosen words? Am I to suppose that you want to borrow money? Such fulsome flattery suggests the indirect approach.

As a matter of fact, your proposal is not so outrageous as it sounds at first; for as far as the English language goes, there is really hardly anything worth reading. 98.138 per cent of it is what Frances Ridley Ravergal used to call “fiddlesticks, blah, boloney, Bull-shit, and the bunk.”

However, quite recently I issued an Encyclical to the Faithful with the attractive title of Artemis Iota, and I propose that we read this into the record, to save trouble, and because it gives a list of practically all the classics that you ought to read. Also, it condenses information and advice to “beginners,” with due reference to the positive injunctions given in The Book of the Law.

Still, for the purpose of these letters, I should like to put the whole matter in a nutshell. The Tree of Life, as usual, affords a convenient means of classification.

  1. To the physical side of it psychological laws apply. “Don't monkey with the buzz-saw!” as John Wesley might have put it, though I doubt whether he did.
  2. The “moral” side. As in the case of the voltage of a cissoid, there isn't one. Mind your own business! is the sole sufficient rule. To drag in social, economic, religious, and such aspects is irrelevance and impurity.
  3. The Magical side. Sex is, directly or indirectly, the most powerful weapon in the armoury of the Magician; and precisely because there is no moral guide, it is indescribably dangerous. I have given a great many hints, especially in Magick, and The Book of Thoth—some of the cards are almost blatantly revealing; so I have been rapped rather severely over the knuckles for giving children matches for playthings. My excuse has been that they have already got the matches, that my explanations have been directed to add conscious precautions to the existing automatic safeguards.

The above remarks refer mainly to the technique of the business; and it is going a very long way to tell you that you ought to be able to work out the principles thereof from your general knowledge of Magick, but especially the Formula of Tetragrammaton, clearly stated and explained in Magick, Chap. III. Combine this with the heart of Chap. XII and you've got it!

But there is another point at issue. This incidentally, is where the “automatic safeguards” come in. “…thou hast no right but to do thy will.” (AL I, 42) means that to “go anwhoring after strange” purposes can only be disastrous. It is possible, in chemistry, to provoke an endothermic reaction; but that is only asking for trouble. The product bears within its own heart the seed of dissolution. Accordingly, the most important preliminary to any Magical operation is to make sure that its object is not only harmonious with, but necessary to, your Great Work.

Note also that the use of this supreme method involves the manipulation of energies ineffably secret and most delicately sensitive; it compares with the operations of ordinary Magick as the last word in artillery does with the blunderbuss!

I ought to have mentioned the sexual instinct or impulse in itself, careless of magical or any other considerations soever: the thing that picks you up by the scruff of the neck, slits your weasand with a cavalry sabre, and chucks the remains over the nearest precipice.

What is the damn thing, anyway?

That's just the trouble; for it is the first of the masks upon the face of the True Will; and that mask is the Poker-Face!

As all true Art is spontaneous, is genius, is utterly beyond all conscious knowledge or control, so also is sex. Indeed, one might class it as deeper still than Art; for Art does at least endeavour to find an intelligible means of expression. That is much nearer to sanity than the blind lust of the sex-impulse. The maddest genius does look from Chokmah not only to Binah, but to the fruit of that union in Da'ath and the Ruach; the sex-impulse has no use for Binah to understand, to interpret, to transmit. It wants no more than an instrument which will destroy it.

“Here, I say, Master, have a heart!”

Nonsense! (I continue) What I say is the plain fact, and well you know it! More, damned up, hemmed in, twisted and tortured as it has been by religion and morality and all the rest of it, it has learnt to disguise itself, to appear in a myriad forms of psychosis, neurosis, actual insanity of the most dangerous types. You don't have to look beyond Hitler!  Its power and its peril derive directly from the fatal fact that in itself it is the True Will in its purest form.

What then is the magical remedy? Obvious enough to the Qabalist. “Love is the law, love under will.” It must be fitted at its earliest manifestations with its proper Binah, so as to flow freely along the Path of Daleth, and restore the lost Balance. Attempts to suppress it are fatal, to sublime it are false and futile. But guided wisely from the start, by the time it becomes strong it has learnt how to use its virtues to the best advantage.

And what of the parallel instinct in a woman? Except in (rather rare) cases of congenital disease or deformity, the problem is never so acute.

For Binah, even while she winks a Chokmah, has the other eye wide-open, swivelled on Tiphareth. Her True Will is thus divided by Nature from the start, and her tragedy is if she fails to unite these two objects. Oh, dear me, yes, I know all about “spretæ injuria formæ” and “furens quid femina possit”; but that is only because when she misses her bite she feels doubly baffled, robbed not only of the ecstatic Present, but of the glamorous Future. If she eat independently of the Fruit of the Tree of Life when unripe, she has not only the bad taste in the mouth, but indigestion to follow. Then, living as she does so much in the world of imagination, constantly living shadow-pictures of her Desire, she is not nearly so liable to the violent insanities of sheer blind lust, as is the male. The essential difference is indicated by that of their respective orgasms, the female undulatory, the male catastrophic.

The above, taken all in all, may not be fully comprehensive, not wholly satisfying to the soul, but one thing with another, enough for a cow to chew the cud on.

Good night!

Love is the law, love under will.



In the paper edition of Magick Without Tears, the above letter was followed by Artemis Iota. As the latter document is already on this site in its entirety, it is here omitted – T.S.


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