Chapter LXXI: Morality (2)


By Aleister Crowley

Chapter LXXI: Morality (2)

Cara Soror,

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

The contents of your letter appalled me.  I had hoped that you had left behind forever all that quality of thinking.  It is unclean.  It is stuffy and flabby.  You write of a matter about which you cannot possibly have information, and what you say is not even a good guess; it is simply contrary to fact.  It shows also that you have failed to grasp the nature of the O.T.O.  Its main raison d'etre, apart from social and political plans, is the teaching and use of a secret method of achieving certain results.  This secret is a scientific secret; it is guarded against betrayal or abuse by a very simple automatic arrangement.  Its guardians cannot be “dying” any more than electricians as a class can be.

It is really difficult to answer your letters.  You have got things so higgledy-piggledy.  You write of the constitutions of two orders, the A∴ A∴ and the O.T.O.; yet you ignore the printed information about them which you are supposed to have read.

I have to answer each sentence of your letter separately, so incoherent have you become!

You are a “student” of A∴ A∴, and become a Probationer as soon as you take and pass the examination.  (This is intended mostly to make sure that you have some general idea of the principal branches of the subject, and know the more important correspondences,) The rest:—please read One Star in Sight again, and do for God's sake try to assimilate the information there very clearly and very fully given!

It is terrifyingly near the state of mind which we symbolize by Choronzon, this hurrying flustered dash of yours from one point of view to another: a set of statements all true after a fashion, but flung out with such apprehensive agitation that a sensitive reader like myself comes near to being upset.

You say that you must tread the Path alone: quite true, if only because anything that exists for you is necessarily part of yourself.  Yet you have to “go to others”, and you become a veritable busybody.  You quote odd opinions at random without the means of estimating their value.

Cannot I ever get you to understand the difference between an honest and dishonest teacher? I have always made it a rule never to put forward any statement of which I cannot produce proof; when I venture a personal opinion it is always Marked in Plain Figures to that effect. (I refer you to Magick p. 368: p. 375, paragraphs 1 and 2:. and p. 415, paragraphs 000 and 00.  We insist from the beginning on the individual character of the work, and upon the necessity of maintaining the objective and sceptical standpoint.  You are explicitly warned against reliance upon “authority,” even that of the Order itself.)  Consider my own assets, personal, social, educational, experiential and the rest: don't you see that all I had to do was to put out some brightly-coloured and mellifluous lie, and avoid treading on too many toes, to have had hundreds of thousands of idiots worshipping me?

Please get a Konx om Pax somehow, and read p. XII:

“It's only too easy to form a cult,
To cry a crusade with 'Deus Vult' . . . .

“A pinch of Bible, a gallon of gas,
And I, or any otherguess ass,
Could bring to our mystical Moonlight Mass
Those empty-headed Athenians.”

and so on.

But I never forget that I am working on the 2,000 year basis; my work will stand when all the pompous platitudes and pleasant pieties have withered for the iridescent soft-soap bubbles that they are.

Soap!  Yes, indeed.  I work on gold, and gold must be cleansed with acid.

I really cannot understand how you can be so inaccurate, with the very text before your eyes!  You write—”you write that in Jan. 1899 etc.“ But I don't.  Captain J. F. C. Fuller wrote it.1)  A small point; but you must learn to be careful about every tiniest detail.

Then you go on about “not only invisible chiefs2) of the A∴ A∴ . . . . . but also the Chiefs of the Golden Dawn . . .”  The Golden Dawn is merely the name for the Outer Order: see Magick pp. 230-231. You have never been taught to read carefully.  You write of Theoricus as the grade following Neophyte: it isn't.  Back to _Magick_ pp. 230-231!3)  You have never taken the trouble to go with me through the Rituals of O.T.O., or you would not ask such questions.  The O.T.O. is a training of the Masonic type; there is no “astral” work in it at all, nor any Yoga.  There is a certain amount of Qabalah, and that of great doctrinal value.  But the really vital matter is the gradual progress towards disclosure of the Secret of the Ninth Degree.  To use that secret to advantage involves mastery both of Yoga and of Magick; but neither is taught in the Order.  Now it comes to be mentioned, this is really very strange.  However, I didn't invent the system; I must suppose that those who did knew what they were about.

To me it is (a) convenient in various practical ways, (b) a machine for carrying out the orders of the Secret Chiefs of A∴ A∴, © by virtue of the Secret a magical weapon of incalculable power.

You are not “stuck.”  You can use your Astral Body well enough: too well, in one way.  But I think you need a few more journeys with me: you ought to get on to the stage where the vision results from a definite invocation.

Do please forget all these vague statements about the “clarification of one's dream-life” (meaning what?) and “shadow-thinking” (meaning what?)  These speculations are idle, and idleness is poison.  In your very next paragraph you give the whole show away!  “Artistically it appeals to me—but not spiritually.”  You have been spiritually poisoned.

What blasphemy more hideous could be penned?  What lie so base, so false, so nasty, what so devilish and deadly a doctrine?  I feel contaminated by the mere fact of being in a world where such filth is possible to conceive.  I am all but in tears to think of my beloved sister tortured by so foul a denizen of the Abyss.  Cannot you see in this the root of all your toadstool spawn of miseries, of doubts, of fears, of indecisions?

As an Artist you are a consecrated Virgin Priestess, the Oracle of the Most High.  None has the right to approach you save with the most blessed awe, with arms outstretched as to invoke your benediction.  By “spiritually” you mean no more than “according to the lower and middle-middle-class morality of the Anglo-Saxon of the period when Longfellow and Tennyson were supposed to be poets, and Royal Academicians painters.”

There is a highly popular school of “occultists” which is 99 % an escape-mechanism.  The fear of death is one of the bogeys; but far deeper is the root-fear—fear of being alone, of being oneself, of life itself.  With this there goes the sense of guilt.

The Book of the Law cuts directly at the root of all this calamitous, this infamous tissue of falsehood.

What is the meaning of Initiation?  It is the Path to the realisation of your Self as the sole, the supreme, the absolute of all Truth, Beauty, Purity, Perfection!

What is the artistic sense in you?  What but the One Channel always open to you through which this Light flows freely to enkindle you (and the world through you) with flowers of inexhaustible fervour and flame?

And you set up against That this spectre of grim fear, of shame, of qualms and doubts, of inward quakings lest — — you are too stricken with panic to see clearly what the horror is.  You say “the elemental spirits and the Archangels are watching.” (!)  My dear, dear, sister, did you invent these beings for no better purpose than to spy on you? They are there to serve you; they are parts of your being whose function is to enable you to reach further in one particular direction or another without interference from the other parts, so long as you happen to need them for some service or other in the Great Work.

Please cleanse your mind once and for all of this delusion, disastrous and most damnable, that there can be opposition between two essential parts of your nature.

I think this idea is a monstrous growth upon the tetanus-soaked soil of your fear of “the senses.”  Observe how all these mealy-mouthed prigs develop their distrust of Life until hardly an action remains that is not “dangerous” or in some way harmful.  They dare not smoke, drink, love—do anything natural to them.  They are right!!  The Self in them is Guilt, a marsh miasmal of foul pestilence.  Last, since “nature, though one expel it with a pitchfork, always returns,” they do their “sins” in secret, and pile hypocrisy upon the summit of all their other vices.

I cannot write more; it makes me too sad.  I hope there is no need. Do be your Self, the radiant Daughter of the Muse!

With that command I turn to other tasks.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours ever,


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If the reference is to one of the first four installments of The Temple of Solomon the King then her mistake was excusable since Fuller's author credit was buried away in the Index to Equinox vol. I, and given Crowley's habit of talking about himself in the third person it was not an unreasonable assumption; if it was to anything in Equinox of the Gods, she was right and Crowley was wrong since the section of that book reprinted from Equinox I (7) was written by Crowley after Fuller had broken with him – T.S.
How do you know They are “invisible?” I foresee that sooner or later you will be asking for more information about them, so I am planning a separate letter to supply this. (See Letters IX, L and LXXVII)
Her confusion probably stemmed from the fact that Crowley re-named some of the Outer Order grades when reformulating the A∴A∴; Neophyte is 1=10 A∴A∴ and 0=0 in the original G.D.; Theoricus is 2=9 G.D. where it follows 1=10 Zelator (these titles derive in the first instance from the Masonic Societas Rosicruciana who may in turn have got them from the 18th century German “Golden and Rosy Cross”) but is not an A∴A∴ title – T.S.


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