Chapter LXXXII: Epistola Penultima: The Two Ways to Reality

Magick Without Tears

By Aleister Crowley

Chapter LXXXII: Epistola Penultima: The Two Ways to Reality

Cara Soror,

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

How very sensible of you, though I admit somewhat exacting!

You write—Will you tell me exactly why I should devote so much of my valuable time to subjects like Magick and Yoga.

That is all very well.  But you ask me to put it in syllogistic form.  I have no doubt this can be done, though the task seems somewhat complicated.  I think I will leave it to you to construct your series of syllogisms yourself from the arguments of this letter.

In your main question the operative word is “valuable.   Why, I ask, in my turn, should you consider your time valuable?  It certainly is not valuable unless the universe has a meaning, and what is more, unless you know what that meaning is—at least roughly—it is millions to one that you will find yourself barking up the wrong tree.

First of all let us consider this question of the meaning of the universe. It is its own evidence to design, and that design intelligent design. There is no question of any moral significance—”one man's meat is another man's poison“ and so on.  But there can be no possible doubt about the existence of some kind of intelligence, and that kind is far superior to anything of which we know as human.

How then are we to explore, and finally to interpret this intelligence?

It seems to me that there are two ways and only two.  Imagine for a moment that you are an orphan in charge of a guardian, inconceivably learned from your point of view.  Suppose therefore that you are puzzled by some problem suitable to your childish nature, your obvious and most simple way is to approach your guardian and ask him to enlighten you.  It is clearly part of his function as guardian to do his best to help you.  Very good, that is the first method, and close parallel with what we understand by the word Magick.  We are bothered by some difficulty about one of the elements—say Fire—it is therefore natural to evoke a Salamander to instruct you on the difficult point.  But you must remember that your Holy Guardian Angel is not only far more fully instructed than yourself on every point that you can conceive, but you may go so far as to say that it is definitely his work, or part of his work; remembering always that he inhabits a sphere or plane which is entirely different from anything of which you are normally aware.

To attain to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is consequently without doubt by far the simplest way by which you can yourself approach that higher order of being.

That, then, is a clearly intelligible method of procedure.  We call it Magick.

It is of course possible to strengthen the link between him and yourself so that in course of time you became capable of moving and, generally speaking, operating on that plane which is his natural habitat.

There is however one other way, and one only, as far as I can see, of reaching this state.  It is at least theoretically possible to exalt the whole of your own consciousness until it becomes as free to move on that exalted plane as it is for him.  You should note, by the way, that in this case the postulation of another being is not necessary.  There is no way of refuting the solipsism if you feel like that.  Personally I cannot accede to its axiom. The evidence for an external universe appears to me perfectly adequate.

Still there is no extra charge for thinking on those lines if you so wish.

I have paid a great deal of attention in the course of my life to the method of exalting the human consciousness in this way; and it is really quite legitimate to identify my teaching with that of the Yogis.

I must however point out that in the course of my instruction I have given continual warnings as to the dangers of this line of research.  For one thing there is no means of checking your results in the ordinary scientific sense.  It is always perfectly easy to find a subjective explanation of any phenomenon; and when one considers that the greatest of all the dangers in any line of research arise from egocentric vanity, I do not think I have exceeded my duty in anything that I have said to deter students from undertaking so dangerous a course as Yoga.

It is, of course, much safer if you are in a position to pursue in the Indian Jungles, provided that your health will stand the climate and also, I must say, unless you have a really sound teacher on whom you can safely rely.  But then, if we once introduce a teacher, why not go to the Fountain-head and press towards the Knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel?

In any case your Indian teacher will ultimately direct you to seek guidance from that source, so it seems to me that you have gone to a great deal of extra trouble and incurred a great deal of unnecessary danger by not leaving yourself in the first place in the hands of the Holy Guardian Angel.

In any case there are the two methods which stand as alternatives.  I do not know of any third one which can be of any use whatever.  Logically, since you have asked me to be logical, there is certainly no third way; there is the external way of Magick, and the internal way of Yoga: there you have your alternatives, and there they cease.

Love is the law, love under will.



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