Chapter LV: Money


By Aleister Crowley

Chapter LV: Money

Cara Soror,

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

You ask me for the initiated view about the power of money.  As the poet says: “O.k. oke; I'm yer bloke.”  F. Marion Crawford, a Victorian novelist, now (I think deservedly) obsolescent, thought I saw one of his books last week on the shelves of a tuppenny shark-library,1) wrote a tale Mr. Isaacs based on the life of one Mr. Jacobs, the Indian Rothschild of two generations ago, financing princes, little wars—everything.  One night in Bombay the burden of his wealth broke his nerve; he stood at the window of his hotel, and flung masses of money to the mob. Soon after came a stranger, and said to him, “You have insulted the fourth of the great powers that rule this world; it shall be taken from you.”  It was so; he lost all.  In the end he became, after a fashion, Sannyasi, and died (I suppose) in the usual odour.

I thought of this incident in Paris in the twenties, when I saw American tourists plaster the bonnets of their cars with 1000 franc notes, or tear them up and strew the floors of banks with them.  Grimly I prognosticated Twenty-Nine.  And it was so.

“Nice work!” you charmingly remark; but hardly what I sought to know.“ Patience, child!

Money being the fourth great power, “what are the other three?”  Come, come, you can surely do that in your head.  Four's Tetragrammaton, isn't it?

Very well, then!  The First Great Power is Yod, the Father.  Fire, the Wand, the Flame of Creative Genius.  The Second is Hç, the Mother, Water, the Cup, the Sea to which all things tend; it is the gift of pleasing, of absorbing, of drawing all things to oneself.

The Third is Vau, the Son, the Sword, the moving, penetrating element, double in nature.  For it is intellect, but also the result of Genius absorbed, interpreted, transmuted and applied through the virtue of the Cup to expand, to explain, to bring into conscious existence.

And the Fourth is the Hè final, the Daughter, Earth, the Disk, Pantacle, or Coin—the Coin on which is stamped the effigy of the Word that begat it with the aid of the other forms of Energy.  It is the Princess of the Tarot of whom it is written:  “Great indeed is her power when thus firmly established.”

It is a trite, and not quite true, saying that money can buy nothing worth having.  But it can command service, the real measure of power, and leisure; without these two advantages the most brilliant genius is practically paralysed.  It can do much to secure health, or to restore it.  The truth is that money is only troublesome when one begins to count it.

(This epigram is copyright in Basutoland, the United States of America, the Republic of San Marino, the Sanjak of Novibazar, Arabia Petraea, and the Scandinavian countries.)

Then there is travel, by which I do not mean globe-trotting; and privacy, less attainable every year as the Meddlesome Matties invade every corner of life.

But this is by the way; the text, tenor and thesis of the illuminated and illuminating discourse is the above Epigram, which is not merely one of the extravagant absurdities for which I am justly infamous.  It is the Pearl of Great Price.  Observe that, formally it is a generalization of the principle of the old injunction “to buy the egg of a perfectly black hen without haggling.”  I want you to realize the supreme importance of this.  For one thing, it goes hand-in-hand with the whole doctrine of so-called renunciation—which is nothing of the sort. You don't “renounce” five shillings if you pay that for a country house with 3000 acres of shooting, and the best salmon fishing on Deeside, do you? This is the Greater Interpretation of the Injunction, that no equation is possible: Magical Power is immeasurably more valuable than any amount of money.  But the Epigram is severely practical.  It may sound a little romantic, but—here goes!  A community which thinks in terms of wealth is rich; in terms of money, poor.  How so?  Because the former includes the imponderables.

A couple of Japanese wrestlers may be worth more than Phidias, Robert Browning, Titian and Mozart in terms of butchers' meat.  We might alter that incorrect truism “money cannot by anything worth having” to “things worth having cannot be estimated in terms of money.”  You see, no counting.  The operation to save your child's life: do you care if the surgeon wants five pounds or fifty?  Of course, you may not have the fifty, or be obliged to retrench in other ways to get it; but it makes no odds as to what you feel about it.  What is the value of a University Education? The answer is that it is a pure gamble.  The student may use his advantages to make a rich marriage, to attract the wife of a millionaire, to earn a judgeship or a post in the Cabinet, to earn £500 a year as a doctor, £150 as a schoolmaster—or he may die in the process.  So with all the spiritual values; they are, in the most literal sense, inestimable.  So—don't start to count!

Most obviously of all, when it comes to The Great Work, money does not count at all.  I do not write of any Magical work, in the restricted sense of the phrase. Shaw says: “Admirals always want more battleships” and J.F.C. Fuller: “if a lawyer, more wretches to hang.”  It applies to any one whose heart is in his job.  (Of course, in this case, money is like all other things of value; nothing counts but the Job.)  This, too, is sound Magical doctrine.

Lack of money is another matter altogether.

Isn't it about time you sent me a cheque?

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,


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No money-lender in the drunkenness of guilt plus the delirium of cocaine fortified by buckets of hashish would dare dream of getting such interest on his capital as these vampires.


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