The Commentaries of AL Chapter I
Being the core of the Equinox Vol. V no. 1
As all those interested in the A∴ A∴ must know, the Order alternates Five Years of Speech with Five Years of Silence. The last published Number of THE EQUINOX was Vol. III, No. vi. Lay bibliophiles must not waste time seeking for Vol. IV, which was a Volume of Silence.
Readers must not, under any circumstances, take this present publication of the Commentaries too seriously. The Publication is in Classes A, B and C, which means, “in whiter words”:
Class A: These are Utterances from above the Abyss, from Initiates of the Collegium Summum, of which must not be changed even the style of a letter. Only the original text of AL and The Comment, signed Ankh-f-n-khonsu, are in this Class here. (Exceptions, such as quotes from other Holy Books, are duly noted.)
Such texts are in bold type.
(The weak in intellect, the automatic rebel, and even some earnest seeker may ask: “Why must one not change even the style of a letter of such texts?” The answer is simply that even the style of a letter has meaning in them. It is not a matter of Respect for Authority. It is a matter of keeping the records straight, lest the Utterance of a Master become smeared by the Confusion of a Follower, or several Followers, a thing which, unless we mistake, has happened all too often in the past.)
Class B: These are utterances of High Initiates of the A∴ A∴, or of people recognized as High Initiates by the A∴ A∴, considered of sufficient value to be published under the aegis of the Order.
Publications in Class B are recommended for serious study by Brethren and Aspirants. Only the Commentaries by Aleister Crowley himself are here in this Class. They are in standard type.
(Readers may well ask why even the Utterances of past Magi are, when published under the Imprimatur of the A∴ A∴, classified only up to B. Is it because the A∴ A∴ considers all past Initiates, or Initiates of other Orders, inferior to those who underwent Its Discipline? Certainly not. Such terms as “inferior” or “superior” have little or no meaning above the Abyss. The Utterance of Helena Blavatsky, for instance, although she was Master of the Temple, cannot be put in Class A, because it was printed by Theosophists, who cannot be trusted to reproduce straight that which may offend their prejudices. The Utterance of Dionysus is hopelessly mingled with the ravings, the cries of fear, the sectarian condemnations of unbalanced mystics or all too-balanced politicians who wrote under the collective pseudonyms of John, Mark, Luke, Matthew, Paul, Peter, etc. The Utterance of Mohammed can never be had in its purity because, as any scholar knows, he wrote nothing. What we have was written by his followers, purporting to have been dictated by him. The same is true of Gautama and others. The Utterances of Our Brethren who were above the Abyss, when published under the Imprimatur, can be trusted as being reproduced exactly as they were produced. That is why they are in Class A. The Utterances of other and friendly Stars which did not come to us in their pristine purity, these we publish with our warmest commendation, but warning the reader that they may not be what those Stars intended. That is why they are in Class B.)
Class C: These are writings that the Order considers of sufficient interest to be included in Its Curriculum, but which are not by High Initiates, or even, sometimes, by Initiates. The Commentaries “by another” are here in this Class. They are in italics.
Readers may well ask what are “High Initiates”. According to the System of the A∴ A∴, High Initiates are Brethren of the A∴ A∴ belonging at least to the Collegium Internum, or members of other Orders who the A∴ A∴ consider have reached an equivalent level of insight. As a rule, writings by such are always in Class B. Writings in Class C may not always be for study; sometimes they are for recreation, as well. In any case, the fact that they are in Class C means that the Order warns readers that, although It considers such writings useful, they must be suspected of confusion, prejudice and error to a much greater degree than writings in Class B.
Writings in Class A are not subject to confusion, prejudice or error at all. Whenever they seem to produce confusion, prejudice or error, the fault is the reader's. Such Writings are like mirrors in which each one sees his or her face, and no other. If thou dislikest what is seen, change thyself.
Marcelo Ramos Motta, 1975 e.v.
as delivered by
XCIII = 418
In the first edition, this Book was called L. L is the sacred letter in the Holy Twelvefold Table which forms the triangle that stabilizes the Universe. See Liber 418. L is the letter of Libra, Balance, and 'Justice' in the Taro. This title should probably be AL, “El”, as the 'L' was heard of the Voice of Aiwaz, not seen. AL is the true name of the Book, for these letters, and their number 31, form the Master Key to its Mysteries.
With regard to the above note by A.C., serious students should consult Liber V vel Reguli, the Ritual of the Mark of the Beast, for a more thorough analysis of the Word AL.
THE FIRST CHAPTER
1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
The theogony of our Law is entirely scientific: Nuit is Matter, Hadit is Motion, in their full physical sense. They are the Tao and Teh of Chinese Philosophy; or, to put it very simply, the Noun and Verb in grammar. Our central Truth–beyond other philosophies–is that these two infinities cannot exist apart. This extensive subject must be studied in our other writings, notably Berashith, my own Magical Diaries, especially those of 1919, 1920 and 1921, and Liber Aleph, the Book of Wisdom or Folly. See also “The Soldier and the Hunchback”. Further information concerning Nuit and Hadit is given in the course of this Book; but I must here mention that the Brother quoted in connection with the “Wizard Amalantrah”, etc. (Samuel bar Aiwaz) identifies them with ANU and ADAD, the supreme Mother and Father deities of the Sumerians. Taken in connection with the AIWAZ identifications, this is very striking indeed. (This last sentence was added because A.C. was convinced that Aiwass was the Being worshipped under this name by the ancient Sumerians.)
2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.
This verse is to be taken with the next. The 'company of heaven' is Mankind, and its 'unveiling' is the assertion of the independent godhead of every man and every woman!
Further, as Khabs (see verse 8) is “Star”, there is a further meaning: this Book is to reveal the Secret Self of a man, i.e., to initiate him. (Or of a woman, and initiate her. As to the meaning of the verses, there are at least four Great Meanings, one for each of the Four Ordeals mentioned in the Chapter Three, vv. 64-67. Besides these, there are subsidiary meanings which depend on the Grade of the Commentator, or the Grade of the reader. This is one of the reasons why this matter of commentaries is so difficult, and why any commentary must not be taken too seriously. The Four Great Meanings, of course, are beyond any danger of being confused, since they are experienced in Trance, and independent of Reason. They cannot be communicated through the intellect. Even the most accurate attempt to do so misleads.)
3. Every man and every woman is a star.
4. Every number is infinite; there is no difference.
This is a great and holy mystery. Although each star has its own number, each number is equal and supreme. Every man and every woman is not only a part of God, but the Ultimate God. “The Centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.” The old definition of God takes new meaning for us. Each one of us is the One God. This can only be understood by the initiate; one must acquire certain high states of consciousness to appreciate it. Each 'Star' is connected directly with every other star, and the Space being Without Limit (Ain Soph), the Body of Nuit, any one star is as much the Centre as any other. Each man instinctively feels that he is the Centre of the Cosmos, and philosophers have jeered at his presumption. But it is right. Each simple elemental Self is supreme,Very God of Very God. Aye, in this Book is Truth almost insufferably splendid, for Man has veiled himself too long from his own glory: he fears the abyss, the ageless Absolute. But Truth shall make him free!
The reader will assimilate this more easily, on the intellectual plane, by considering the Theory of Relativity. From the point of view of Initiation, the difference between a Magister Templi and a 'Black Brother' is that the Magister knows that He is the Center of the Universe for himself, but understands that the same is simultaneously true of any other human being. The 'Black Brother' knows that he is the center of the universe, but does not understand that the same is true of others. Of all others. What is more, he does not want to understand. He interprets any manifestation of autonomy as an attempt against his authority. The reader must not think that a 'Black Brother' is necessarily a 'mean' person. On the contrary, his intentions are usually of the best. He wants your happiness. But since his definition of your happiness is based on what he thinks you should be happy with, he may cause you much harm by trying to help you. A Magister, as a rule, will not try to help you at all. The Magister is selfish. He minds His own business, and no other.
Frederick Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth had a very amusing tale of a man who approached two 'Black Brethren' and challenged them. “What does he say?” the second 'Black Brother who was somewhat hard of hearing, asked the first. “He says we are not God,” the first explained. At once, the second snapped: “Atheist!” The utter lack of sense of humor is a characteristic of 'Black Brotherhood'. A Magister might have said the same thing – but with a twinkle.
There are certain analogies between 'Black Brotherhood' and paranoia, but while paranoia is a mental disorder, 'Black Brotherhood' is of Dadth, and much more dangerous. Religious persecutions, throughout history, were always the result of a man reaching the threshold of the Abyss through the discipline of a particular faith, and then fearing to jump. His disease would then affect, telepathically and magically, those of his faith, with results such as Holy Inquisitions, Crusades, and others.
5. Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!
Here Nuit appeals, simply and directly, recognizing the separate function of each Star of her Body. In addressing me as warrior lord of Thebes, it appears as if She perceived a certain continuity or identity of myself with Ankh-f-n-khonsu, whose Stele is the Link with Antiquity of this Revelation.
The unveiling is the Proclamation of the Truth previously explained, that the Body of Nuit occupies Infinite Space, so that every Star thereof is Whole in itself, an independent and absolute Unit. They differ, as Carbon and Calcium differ, but each is a simple, “immortal” Substance, or at least a form of some simpler Substance. Each soul is thus absolute, and 'good' or 'evil' are merely terms descriptive of relation between destructible combinations. Thus, Quinine is 'good' for a malarial patient, but 'evil' for the germ of the disease. Heat is 'bad' for ice-cream and 'good' for coffee. The indivisible essence of things, their 'souls', are indifferent to all conditions soever, for none can in any way affect them.
Although this last sentence is grammatically wrong, we left it as written as proof of how hard it is to discuss certain Truths on the plane of the intellect. Aleister Crowley was a Master of the English Language;yet, in trying to express something that transcends Reason, he committed an error of syntax that any modern secretary would avoid! The problem was that he was caught in the quandary that the “indivisible essence” is simultaneously One and Many! Hence the 'error'
Lay readers should understand that when A.C. writes “here Nuit appeals “what he actually means is “Here Aiwass, speaking as Nuit, appeals,” etc. Aiwass, being an lpsissimus, can of course speak in name of Infinite Space.
The fact that Children is with C capital indicates a hidden technical meaning in the verse. Those Children are rather big Children! They are Giants, Titans, Gargantuas or Pantagruels of legend–in short, they are Babes of the Abyss. This is the “Grade”, or rather, the “Going” in which the Veil is Rent and the mind receives the first impact of the Infinite. In this sense, therefore, Nuit is appealing to 666 to become the Hierophant of the Greater Mysteries–that is to say, the Magus of the Aeon, the Initiator of the Masters of the Temple. Obviously, He must be in Chokhmah.
6. Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!
Aleister Crowley is being 'chosen and the choice is specifically declared: He is to be Hadit, that is, simultaneously Kether (the centre), Chokhmah (the tongue) and Binah (the ancient Egyptians believed that the heart was the seat of intelligence).
In short, in order to do the job for which he was chosen–Nuit's Helpmeet–he must reach the highest Initiations possible to man. Which, of course, he did.
7. Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar kraat.
Aiwass is the name given by Ouarda the Seer as that of the Intelligence communicating. See note to Title. Why is Aiwass spelt thus, when Aiwaz is the natural transliteration of איואס? Perhaps because He was not content with identifying Himself with Thelema, Agape, etc. through the number 93, but wished to express His nature by six letters (Six being the number of the Sun, the God- Man, etc.) whose value in Greek should be A = 1, I = 10, F = 6, A = 1, S = 200, S = 200: total 418, the number of Abrahadabra, the Magical Formula of the new Aeon! Note that I and V are the letters of the Father and the Son, also of the Virgin and the Bull (see Liber 418), protected on either side by the letter of Air, and followed by the letter of Fire twice over.
He declares Himself, in this verse 7, the “minister of Hoor-paar kraat.” Hoor-paar-kraat, or Harpocrates, the “Babe in the Egg of Blue”, is not merely the God of Silence in the conventional sense. He represents the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel. The connection is with the symbolism of the Dwarf in Mythology. He contains everything in Himself, but is unmanifested. See Chapter Two, verse 8.
He is the First Letter of the Alphabet, Aleph, whose number is One, and his card in the Tarot is The Fool, numbered Zero. Aleph is attributed to the “Element” (in the old classification of things) of Air.
Now, as One, or Aleph, he represents the Male Principle, the First Cause, and the free breath of Life, the sound of the vowel A being made with the open throat and mouth.
As Zero, he represents the Female Principle, the Fertile Mother.
(An old name for the card is Mat, from the Italian 'Matto', fool, but earlier also from Maut, the Egyptian Vulture-Mother-Goddess.) Fertile because the 'Egg of Blue' is the Uterus, and in the Macrocosm the Body of Nuit, and it contains the Unborn Babe, helpless, yet protected and nourished against the crocodiles and tigers shown on the card, just as the womb is sealed during gestation. He sits on a lotus, the yoni, which floats on the 'Nile', the amniotic fluid.
In his absolute innocence and ignorance he is “The Fool”; he is the 'Saviour', being the Son who shall trample on the crocodiles and tigers, and avenge his father Osiris. Thus we see him as the “Great Fool” of Celtic legend, and “Pure Fool” of Act I of Parsifal, and, generally speaking, the insane person whose words have always been taken for oracles.
But to be 'Saviour' he must be born and grow to manhood; thus Parsifal acquires the Sacred Lance, emblem of virility. He usually wears the 'Coat of many colours' like Joseph the 'dreamer'; so he is also now the Green Man of spring festivals. But his 'folly' is now not innocence but inspiration of wine: he drinks from the Graal, offered to him by the Priestess.
So we see him fully armed as Bacchus Diphues, male and female in one, bearing the Thyrsus-rod, and a cluster of grapes or a wineskin, while a tiger leaps up by his side. This form is suggested in the Taro card, where 'The Fool' is shown with a long wand and carrying a sack; his coat is motley. Tigers and crocodiles follow him, thus linking this image with that of Harpocrates.
Almost identical symbols are those of the secret God of the Templars, the bi-sexual Baphomet, and of Zeus Arrhenothelus, equally bi-sexual, the Father-Mother of All in One Person. (He is shown in this full form in the Tarot Trump XV, “The Devil”.) Now, Zeus being lord of Air, we are reminded that Aleph is the letter of Air.
As Air, we find the “Wandering Fool” pure wanton Breath, yet creative. Wind was supposed of old to impregnate the Vulture, which therefore was chosen to symbolize the Mother-Goddess.
He is the Wandering Knight of Fairy Tales who marries the Kings Daughter. This legend is derived from certain customs among exogamic tribes, for which see The Golden Bough.
Thus, once Europa, Semele and others claimed that Zeus–Air* [Inserted footnote: * Zeus obtained Air for his kingdom in the partition with Hades, who took Fire, and Poseidon, who took Water. Shu is the Egyptian God of the Firmament. There is a great difficulty here, etymologically. Zeus is connected with IAO, Abrasax, and the Dental Sibilant Gods of the Great Mysteries, with the South and Hadit, Adad, Set, Saturn, Adonai, Attis, Adonis; he is even the “Jesus”, slain with the Lance, whose blood is collected in a Cup. Yet he is also to be identified with the opposite party of the North and Nuit, with the “John” slain with the Sword, whose flesh is placed upon a Disk, in the Lesser Mysteries, baptizing with Water as “Jesus” with Fire, with On, Qannes, Noah, and the like.
It seems as if this great division, which has wrought such appalling havoc upon Earth, was originally no more than a distinction adopted for convenience. It is indeed the task of this Book to reduce Theology to the interplay of the Dyad Nuit and Hadit, these being themselves conceived as complementary, as Two equivalent to Naught, “divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.”]- had enjoyed them in the form of a beast, bird, or what not; while later Mary attributed her condition to the agency of a Spirit–Spiritus, breath, or air–in the shape of a dove. (Simple-minded readers must not think for one moment that A. C. is here “admitting the historical existence of the Virgin Mary”; on the contrary, he is obviously putting her on the same footing with Europa, Semele and others. The Virgin Birth, like the Dying God, is a much older myth than Christianity; and the Virgin was usually seeded by a God under the form of a Beast. Far from being original, Christian Theology is a pot-pourri of stolen goods.)
But the “Small Person” of Hindu mysticism, the Dwarf insane, yet crafty, of many legends in many lands,is also this same “Holy Ghost”, or Silent Self of a man, or his Holy Guardian Angel.
He is almost the “Unconscious” of Freud, unknown unaccountable, the silent Spirit, blowing “whither it listeth, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth”. It commands with absolute authority when it appears at all, despite conscious reason and judgment.
Aiwass is then the “minister” of this Hoor-paar-kraat, that is, of the Saviour of the World in the larger sense, and of mine own “Silent Self' in the lesser. A “minister” is one who performs a service, in this case evidently that of revealing: Aiwass was the intelligible medium between the Babe God–the New Aeon about to be born–and myself. This Book of the Law is the Voice of the God's Mother, His Father, and Himself. But on appearing, the God assumes the active form twin to Harpocrates, that of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The Concealed Child becomes the Conquering Child, the armed Horus avenging his father Osiris. So, also, our own Silent Self, helpless and witless, hidden within us, will spring forth, if we have craft to loose him to the Light, spring lustily forward with his Cry of Battle, the Word of our True Wills.
This is the Task of the Adept, to have the Knowledge and Conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel, to become aware of his nature (the Adept's) and his purpose (the Adept's), fulfilling them. (The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel produce this result. It is not “the Angel's nature” or “the Angel's purpose” that are to be done by the Adept! For instance, Aiwass was the Holy Guardian Angel of A.C.; but Aiwass goes on doing His job, that of being minister of Hoor-paar-kraat, while A. C.–now 666–does His. Suum cuique.)
8. The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
Khabs, 'star', or 'Inmost Light', is the original individual, eternal essence in us. The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a 'form' for this Being Beyond Form, by use of which it can gain experience through self-consciousness, as explained in the note to verses 2 and 3. The Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star.
Why are we told that the Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs? Did we then suppose the converse? I think we are warned against the idea of a Pleroma, a flame of which we are Sparks, and to which we return when we 'attain'. That would indeed make the whole curse of separate existence ridiculous, a senseless and inexcusable folly. It would throw us back on the dilemma of
Manicheism. The idea of incarnations “perfecting” a thing originally perfect by definition is imbecile. The only sane solution is as given previously, to suppose that the Perfect enjoys experience of (apparent) Imperfection. (There are deeper resolutions of this problem appropriate to the highest grades of initiation; but the above should suffice the average intelligence.)
We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or “God”. Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within. The uninitiate is a “Dark Star ”, and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by 'purifying' them. This 'purification' is really 'simplification'; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds makes it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become 'evil'. This Doctrine is evidently of supreme importance, from its position as the first 'revelation' of Aiwass.
When A.C. says, above, second paragraph, “Did we then suppose the converse?” he is speaking with his tongue in his cheek. He knows perfectly well that all religions, without one single solitary exception, suppose the converse. He, himself, had once supposed the converse.
This central mystery revealed by Aiwass was the darkest secret of most Initiatic Schools. All religions start as Methods of Theurgy; as Met hod degenerates into Routine, Blind Faith becomes more virtuous than Experience, and Dogma is born. Then God is put on a pedestal, where He, or She, or It, is less uncomfortably present when you indulge your basest appetites such as Preaching and Saving Souls.
The formidable nature of the Book of the Law becomes apparent when we see that this “Dark Mystery” is the first and simplest of its revelations. No wonder organized religions everywhere fought it! No wonder “Initiatic Orders” which had only this “Awful Truth”– “Osiris is a Black God”–to mask their financial and political maneuvers clamored that Aleister Crowley was a very wicked man.
9. Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
We are to pay attention to this Inmost Light; then comes the answering Light of Infinite Space. Note that the Light of Space is what men call Darkness; its nature is utterly incomprehensible to our uninitiated minds. It is the 'veils' mentioned previously in this comment that obstruct the relation between Nuit and Hadit.
We are not to worship the Khu, to fall in love with our Magical Image. To do this–we have all done it–is to forget our Truth. If we adore Form, it becomes opaque to Being, and may soon prove false to itself. The Khu in each of us includes the Cosmos as he knows it. To me, even another Khabs is only part of my Khu. Your own Khabs is your one sole Truth.
10. Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.
“My servants”; not those of the Lord of the Aeon. “the Law is for all”; there can be no secrecy about that. The verse refers to specially chosen 'servants'; perhaps those who, worshipping the Khabs, have beheld Her light shed over them. Such persons indeed consummate the marriage of Nuit and Hadit in themselves; in that case they are aware of certain Ways to Power.
There is also a mystical sense in this verse. We are to organize our minds thoroughly, appointing few and secret chiefs, serving Nuit, to discipline the varied departments of the conscious thought.
11. These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.
This verse establishes uncompromisingly that all Gods–G capital, that is to say, 'true Gods'–and all men deified by legend or deceit – that is to say, 'false gods'–are fools. How come? It is a key. Distinction is clearly made between the two types: one are Gods; the other is men. The key is that both types are adored, which, as verses 7-9 established, is wrong. Wrong for Aspirants, of course.
The 'Gods 'are fools–that is, they reached the Plane of Consciousness of the Fool of the Tarot. The 'men' are also fools–the common, abundant variety.
Technically, an Initiate can be called a God only after crossing the Abyss. However, Masters of the Temple do not become known, therefore cannot be adored. It is Those of the Grade following, the Magi, who become known. It is the Curse of Their Grade that They must speak Truth–so that the Falsehood contained in that Truth may enslave the souls of men. See Liber I vel Magi. Their Sphere of Consciousness, Chokhmah, receives the Influx from the Crown through the Path of Aleph, The Fool.
The 'men', in order to become adored, must be sufficiently powerful, magically speaking, to impress the consciousness of a sufficient number of weaker fools. No hard task for a Magician, but one that only a “Black Brother” would undertake. Now, although both cases result in enslavement, there is a difference in motivation and in effect. The Magus must speak, though He like it not; the 'Black Brother' ought to shut up (in order to become a Magister Templi), but he will not. The Magus fulfils the Law; the 'Black Brother' rebels against it. The enslavement produced by the Magus is in harmony with the Racial True Will; it is the kind of 'bondage that leads to freedom' (See Liber Aleph, Chapters 36-39). The enslavement produced by the 'Black Brother' invariably leads to stagnation and death. If a 'Black Brother' should ever become sufficiently powerful to 'supersede' the Magus of the Aeon in which he lives (which fortunately is absurd, although they are always trying), mankind might very well go the way of the dinosaur and other extinct species. Which is not about to happen, by any means. We are at War, certainly, and under atomic threat, certainly. Better this than the Stagnation that certain well intentioned fools would call 'Peace'!
From the point of view of the Aspirant, what is the fundamental difference between the formula of the fools and that of the Gods? The Gods crossed the Abyss; they are Perfect. See verse 45: “The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!” That is, they are the “Fool of God”–Zero.
With a true God you achieve Samadhi, Union; with a false god, one of the “fools” a 'Black Brother' you are enticed or ordered or coerced to pactuate. There is no Union involved, no Spiritual Experience. The pact functions only on the emotional and intellectual levels, and you give without receiving, since the 'Black Brother' is, deep down, afraid of you. He–or she–will cheat you, and play with you, and brag to you about it–and yet, all the time, you will sense his or her fear. With a God, fear is all on your side. With a 'Black Brother'; the fear is mutual–and usually his–or hers–is much bigger than yours, since he–or she–knows much better than you do what it is that he or she fears. Therefore, it is written: “all fools despise!” A true God needs no adoration, and will not be affected by your scorn. A 'Black Brother' will shrivel without one, and foam when faced with the other. (Exceptions to this rule pertain neither to the Grade for which this commentary is being written, nor to this verse. See Chapter Two, verse 79. See, also, Liber CLXXV.)
Aspirants must be on guard, constantly, because the 'Black Brethren' imitate the Magi, and may be mistaken for them by sloppy thinkers. Because of the confusion of their vehicles, and their spiritual pride, on reaching Samadhi with a spiritual current the 'Black Brethren' think that they are re-incarnations of the Magus who originated that particular current. They set out to do another man's job, instead of discovering their own Will, and doing it. As a result, all their words are skew-wise”. But the unwary may spend centuries following a false master–as the Roman Church, for instance, has proved.
12. Come forth,o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love!
The whole doctrine of “love” is discussed in Liber Aleph and should be studied therein. But note further how this Verse agrees with the comment above, how every Star is to come forth from its veils, that it may revel with the whole World of Stars. This is again a call to unite, or 'love', thus formulating the Equation (+1) + (-1) = 0, which is the general magical formula in our Cosmos. (The Hon. Bertrand Russell might prefer to write this: 1 (-1) = 0. For Initiates of the IX° of the O.T.O., it could be expressed as: ΦΚ - Τ = 0, where Φ - Κ = 0, and Φ and Κ are both positive integers.)
“Come forth” –from what are you hiding? –“under the stars”, that is, openly. Also, let love be 'under' or 'unto' the Body of Nuit. But, above all, be open! What is this shame? Is Love hideous, that men should cover him with lies? Is Love so sacred that others must not intrude? Nay, 'under the stars', at night, what eye but theirs may see? Or, if one see, should not your worship wake the cloisters of his soul to echo sanctity for that so lovely a deed and gracious you have done?
The above paragraph will sound a little naive to most readers born after the Forties. You must not forget that the Commentaries were written in the Twenties. At that time, if a pair of lovers were merely to embrace and kiss at a street corner, this would be cause for scandal.
Nor should you think that Crowley is necessarily advising you to copulate at midnight in the middle of Main Street. If you do, in most communities you are likely to interrupt or disturb traffic, thereby interfering with the will of others. Certain Operations are possible, at least at present, only 'under laboratory conditions'. But to make love under a starry sky on a grassy lawn in a public park is not only possible but, at least in this writer's experience, delicious.
To watch others 'doing it of course, is not as much fun, but it can be enormously instructive if the others have better technique than you do. If you can swallow your pride and fear and watch attentively, you may become a finer man–or woman–by it.
There is, of course, a technical sense in this verse, which varies according to the Grade of the reader. For instance, the numeration of 'love' is 111, which is Aleph, The Fool, and which is also a number of Binah, since its sum is 3. And 'fill' is 76, which sums 13, which is Unity, among other things (ACHD), but also Death in the Tarot. And so forth. Such sub-meanings may mislead, and their perusal or pursuit is better left 'to the right Ingenium of the Practicus'–if to investigate them be his Will.
13. I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.
The link between Nuit and us human beings, insofar as we are incarnated stars, is in the Sahashara Cakkram. See Liber V.
14. Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The winged globe, the starry blue,
Are mine, 0 Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
Exoterically, this is a straightforward description of the relative positions of Nuit and Hadit in the stele. The esoteric meaning had better remain secret.
15. Now ye shall know that the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast; and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.
The authority of the Beast rests upon this verse; but it is to be taken in conjunction with certain later verses which I shall leave to the research of students to interpret.
16. For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.
A. C. “was inclined to believe” that “the Beast” and “the Scarlet Woman” are titles of office rather than persons. Whether this is true or not, speculation as to the secret meaning of this verse may lead to disaster. It is obvious that it is a temptation for an Aspirant's vanity to fancy himself as “the next Beast' or herself as “the Scarlet Woman”.
There has been, in the last 65 years, a painful abundance of self- deluded disciples who fancied themselves as such.
It must be stated here that either office is neither easy nor pleasing to anyone's Ego, and that those who seriously aspire to become “Beast” or “Scarlet Woman” are more to be laughed at than envied. Robert Heinlein has an amusing story about how the Devil finally managed to dethrone God, and then, upon perceiving the responsibilities of Ruler of the Universe, cried in panic, “But I don't want your job!” “So sorry, old boy, now you're stuck with it,” God replied gleefully, and presumably went vacationing on the Riviera.
17. But ye are not so chosen.
Those who are chosen for those Offices 'are not'; that is, they passed through the annihilation; they crossed the Abyss. Nor could they perform, unless they crossed. See Liber 156; also, verses 11 and 45 of this Chapter.
18. Burn upon their brows, o splendrous serpent!
In them, Kundalini must have reached the Ajna.
19.0 azure-lidded woman, bend upon them!
The Eternal Sakhti (Nuit) must activate the Sahashara in them, attracted by the awakening of the Ajna.
20. The key of the rituals is in the secret word which I have given unto him.
This word is communicated directly to any serious Aspirant when needed.
21. With the God & the Adorer I am nothing: they do not see me. They are as upon the earth; I am Heaven, and there is no other God than me, and my lord Hadit.
Samadhi with any God is not the Ultimate Trance. The Ultimate Trance is the Union of Nuit and Hadit. That is why over the head of Ra-Hoor-Khuit in the stele, Kundalini has reached the Sahashara, and is radiating into Emptiness. See Liber VII, i, 36-40, Liber HHH, Section SSS, and Liber LXV, iii, 3 1-36.
22. Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.
In A. C. 's case, this secret name of Nuit was BABALON. See Liber 333, Chapter 49, and the Commentary thereof.
However, to each Aspirant to Her love She gives a secret name when at last he knows her. See Liber NV, and verse 60 of this chapter.
Nevertheless, the name given to 666 is of generic importance to all Thelemites, because of His office as Prophet. That name is, therefore, the Seal of the A and Restriction to Choronzon. See Liber 156, and Liber 418, the Tenth Aethyr.
23. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!
Naturally, all Aspirants fancy themselves candidates to this 'exalted office' as well. Let them ponder that the 'chief must not care whether he is 'chief, or remains so, or, even, if he is 'obeyed' He must not care even if he is a she! Only venal or naive people hanker for public office.
24. I am Nuit, and my word is six and fifty.
See Liber NV for this. But obviously, N = 50, V = 6.
25. Divide, add, multiply, and understand.
See Liber NV.
26. Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one:
Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bending down, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.
We are, all of us who aspire to Her, bound slaves of Immortal Beauty; it is a pity that our mortal mistresses, not understanding Whom we worship in them, so often think that they rule us! Then, when the abuse of their egos finally forces us to seek a new priestess, they accuse us of being cold and unfeeling, forgetting that the temple must keep itself clean and comely, and worthy of the Presence of the Goddess. The ego is a good servant, but a bad master.
That sign, Nuit gives to all those who seek Her, upon their reaching a certain Grade. It is exactly as described.
Of course, A.C. 'knew' who he was, since he called himself, and had been first called so by his own mother(!), 666 from childhood. See Liber IV. Part IV.
27. Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: 0 Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!
There are several secret meanings, all of a technical nature, in this passage; it is unnecessary to dwell on them, since they become clear to earnest seekers during training.
One thing, however, is better said here, and has to do with the Vampire. At some time during his career, the Aspirant will meet a woman who will either insinuate to him, or he will by his own vanity be led to believe, is Nuit incarnate. Now, the key to the ordeal, and its difficulty, is that all women are, in a sense, incarnations of Nuit. But NO woman is, or can ever be, Nuit in a finite sense. The drop of sea water is of the nature of the ocean, but it is not the ocean. Nevertheless, one can certainly study some of the characteristics of the ocean in a drop of sea water.
Further, as the verse itself states in no uncertain manner, the Heavenly Isis–Nuit–cannot be regarded as an individual Monad! Nuit above the Abyss does not become One: She is None. The Ordeal being a crucial one, it is better that Aspirants be forewarned. Many ships sank against this rock, some of them vessels of great promise. Also, BABALON being merely one of the names of Nuit, what is true of Nuit is true of BABALON.
28. None, breathed the light, faint & faery, of the stars, and two.
29. For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.
30. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.
See the analysis of the Word LAShTAL in Liber V, and the following chapters of Liber Aleph: 119, 121-123, 145-147, 191, 194, 198, 199, 203, for some of the meanings of verses 28-30.
31. For these fools of men and their woes care not thou at all! They feel little; what is, is balanced by weak joys; but ye are my chosen ones.
Again we find the expression 'fools of men'. Since not all men are fools, and since we, also, are men, the term obviously has a technical meaning. 'Fools of men' are imperfect initiates, not necessarily 'Black Brothers; but certainly including these. It is true that the Trance that most often leads Aspirants to the Path is the Trance of Sorrow; but it is necessary to be very hypocritical, or a Buddhist, or both, not to admit that what we seek in the Path is not 'salvation' for 'others; but our own salvation, meaning, in this case, Sorrow's Ceasing! The following Commentary by A. C. is illuminating:
All this talk about 'suffering humanity' is principally drivel based on the error of transferring one's own psychology to one's neighbor. It is necessary that we stop, once for all, this ignorant meddling with other people's business. Each individual must be left free to follow his own path! America is peculiarly insane on these points. Her people are desperately anxious to make the Cingalese wear furs, and the Tibetans vote, and the whole world chew gum, utterly dense to the fact that other nations, specially the French and British, regard 'American institutions' as the lowest savagery, and forgetful or ignorant of the circumstance that the original brand of American freedom–which really was Freedom–contained the precept to leave other people severely alone, and thus assured the possibility of expansion on his own lines to every man.
32. Obey my prophet! follow out the ordeals of my knowledge! seek me only! Then the joys of my love will redeem ye from all pain. This is so: I swear it by the vault of my body; by my sacred heart and tongue; by all I can give, by all I desire of ye all.
It is proper to obey The Beast, because His Law is pure Freedom, and He will give no command which is other than a Right Interpretation of this Freedom. But it is necessary, for the development of Freedom itself, to have an organization; and every organization must have a highly-centralized control. This is specially necessary in time of war, as even the so-called 'democratic' nations have been taught by Experience, since they would not learn from Germany. Now, this age is pre-eminently a 'time of war', most of all now, when it is our Work to overthrow the slave-gods.
The above reference to Germany is to the Germany of the First World War.
As for the 'organization' referred to, there is the inherent difficulty that Thelemites abhor blind obedience just as much as they abhor automatic insubordination. Consequently, a Thelemic organization cannot be said to exist. The 0. T. 0., after several false starts, is dormant; the Order of Thelema at present has one single member; the A∴ A∴ , by the very nature of its Method, cannot be said to be an 'organization' in the usual sense of the word. Nevertheless, it is the most efficient of the three!
For an 'organization' to appear, it would be necessary that a sufficient number of highly intelligent, wilful and resourceful individuals resolved, spontaneously and simultaneously, to obey. Only the A .A .. has been successful in this up to now. Organizations below the Abyss have in themselves the seed of their own destruction, and up to now this Will-to-Die has prevailed. That is as it should be: “who am I, that I should save this People?”
The injunction “seek me only” is emphasized with an oath, and a special promise is made in connection with it. By seeking lesser ideals one makes distinctions, thereby affirming implicitly the very duality from which one is seeking to escape. Note also that “me” may imply the Greek MH ,”not”. The word 'only' may be taken as ONLV, Ayin, Nun, Lamed, Vau, with the number of 156, that of the Secret Name BABALON of Nuit. There are presumably further hidden meanings in the key-word 'all'.
The reader is here referred to our previous warning on the matter of the Vampire of this Ordeal (Commentary in italics to verse 27). If you seek Her only, you cannot confuse any one of Her manifestations with Her. On the other hand, as long as a particular priestess shows Her to you, concentrate! See Liber Artemis Iota and Liber A'ash for further information on this very difficult point.
Nor should Aspirants fall into the mistake of believing that it is their duty to aspire to Her. Their duty is to do their Will, and nothing else. If it is thy Will to seek Her, do so. If it isn't, do thy will. The Grades are Three, and 'they also serve who stand and wait'.
Besides, She is everywhere!…
33. Then the priest fell into a deep trance or swoon, & said unto the Queen of Heaven; Write unto us the ordeals; write unto us the rituals; write unto us the law!
Law, in the common sense of the word, should be a formulation of the customs of a people, as Euclid's propositions are the formulation of geometrical facts. But modern knavery conceived the idea of artificial law, as if one should try to square the circle by tyranny. Legislators try to force the people to change their customs so that the “business men” whose greed they are bribed to serve may increase their profits.
A.C. is being unduly harsh in his judgment of the motivations of lawmakers in capitalistic countries; but at the time of writing, Russia had embarked on the road to revolution, and the sublime optimist had hopes of seeing a Thelemic society emerge. In point office, Russia was to become even more bourgeois than the bourgeoisie, which happens every time people who consider themselves inferior have an opportunity to emulate those whom they consider, openly or secretly, their betters.
The main enemy of the commonweal, in any type of society, is neither personal greed nor personal ambition, but general stupidity and inertia. Evolution of the human animal has just started; the 'beastie' is less than a few hundred thousand years old, and has barely learned to use one fifth of its new toy, the brain. You must expect error and inefficiency at every corner, and the attitude of the Adept towards his –fellows?–must be that of a patient, wary and humorous keeper in an asylum. If he loses his patience, he will kill the inmates; if he stops watching, they will kill him; and if he loses his sense of humor, that is to say, his sense of perspective, he will go insane himself.
Whenever you grow fed up with the whole setup, as you no doubt will, it may help you to consider that Humanity does, after all, progress. The Promulgation of the Law of Thelema, and Its conscious or unconscious adoption by the leading minds of the planet, would have been impossible at any other known historical period. Men have whispered 'Do what thou wilt' in the past at other men's ear; but they either chose carefully to whom they whispered, or pretended they spoke in jest.
'Law' in Greek is NOMOC, from NEM, and means strictly “anything assigned, that which one has in use or possession”; hence “custom, usage”, and also “a musical strain”. The literal equivalence of NEM and the Latin NEMO is suggestive (Let etymologists keep their temper; this is a hint directed not at them, but at Babes of the Abyss.) In Hebrew, 'Law' is THORA, and equivalent (that is, qabalistically) to words meaning “The Gate of the Kingdom” and “The Book of Wisdom”. (Heed well, O Children!)
34. But she said: the ordeals I write not: the rituals shall be half known and half concealed: the Law is for all.
The Ordeals are at present carried out unknown to the Candidate by the secret Magick Power of The Beast. Those who are accepted by Him for initiation testify that these Ordeals are frequently independent of His conscious care. They are not, like the traditional ordeals, formal, or identical for all; the Candidate finds himself in circumstances which afford a real test of conduct, and compel him to discover his own nature, to become aware of himself by bringing his secret motives to the surface.
Some of the Rituals have been made accessible, that is, the Magical Formulae have been published. See “The Rites of Eleusis,” “Energized Enthusiasm,” Book 4, Part III, etc.
Note the reference to 'not' and 'all'. Also, the word 'known' contains the root GN, 'to beget' and 'to know'; while 'concealed' indicates the other half of the Human Mystery.
The 'other half of the Human Mystery is, of course, Woman.
Aspirants must not fret because the rituals are 'half concealed'. Those who practice seriously attract the Attention of the Hierophant and the High Priestess, and what is concealed springs forth within them at the time it is needed. Also, this 'hidden half may vary according to individual idiosyncrasy. If any rituals had been 'completely' and 'openly' given, we would have Dogma, and no doubt a 'Church of Thelema complete with pope or popess or whatnot, by now. This ain't at all what the doctor ordered, chillun.
35. This that thou writest is the threefold book of Law.
Readers will please note that it is threefold; therefore, if statements in any one chapter seem to contradict statements in another chapter (or even within the same chapter), contradiction is apparent, and there is a hidden key. Unless this continuity of the Law within the chapters, and from a chapter to another chapter, is kept in mind, Aspirants will fall into a quantity of pitfalls that have been provided by the Author–Aiwass–to winnow out the chaff
36. My scribe Ankh-af-na-khonsu, the priest of the princes, shall not in one letter change this book; but lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon by the wisdom of Ra-Hoor Khu-it.
Readers will please note that this Comment referred to is The Comment signed ANKH-F-N-KHONSU at the end of the Book. The Comment is short and to the point, and is in Class A. It must under no circumstances be confused with the Commentaries by A. C., which are printed in common type and are in Class B., or with the Commentaries 'by another of which this is one, which are printed in italics and are in Class C.
37. Also the mantras and spells; the obeali and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.
Each star is unique, and each orbit apart; indeed, that is the corner-stone of my teaching, to have no standard goals or standard ways, no orthodoxies and no codes. The stars are not herded and penned and shorn and made into mutton like so many voters! I decline to be bell-weather, who am born a Lion! I will not be collie, who am quicker to bite than to bark. I refuse the office of shepherd, who bear not a crook but a club.
Wise in your generation, ye sheep, are ye to scamper away bleating when your ears catch my roar on the wind! Are ye not tended and fed and protected–until word come from the stock-yard?
The lion's life for me! Let me live free, and die fighting!
This is again directed at the capitalistic system of the so-called democracies, and an outburst of enthusiasm unseemly in one who (see verse 15) was commanded to gather my children into their fold'. One must remember, however, that he was then very young.
As to the 'Socialist' states from which he hoped so much, they have proved just as skilful in mutton-making as all the rest, if not more.
Now one more point about the obeah and the wanga, the deed and the word of Magick.
Magick is the art of causing change in Existing phenomena. This definition includes raising the dead, bewitching cattle, making rain, acquiring goods, fascinating judges, and all the rest of the programme. Good: but it also includes every act soever? Yes; I meant it to do so. It is not possible to utter word or do deed without producing the exact effect proper and necessary thereto. Thus Magick is the Art of Life itself.
Magick is the management of all we say and do, so that the effect is to change that part of our environment which dissatisfies us, until it does so no longer. We “remould it nearer to the heart's desire”.
Magick ceremonies proper are merely organized and concentrated attempts to impose our Will on certain parts of the Cosmos. They are only particular cases of the general law.
But all we say and do, however casually, adds up to more, far more, than our most strenuous Operations. “Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves.” Your daily drippings fill a bigger bucket than your geysers of magical effort. The “ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold” have no organized will at all; and their character, built of their words and deeds, is only a garbage-heap.
Remember, also, that, unless you know what your true will is, you may be devoting the most laudable energies to destroying yourself. Remember that every word and deed is a witness to thought, that therefore your mind must be perfectly organized, its sole duty to interpret circumstances in terms of the Will so that speech and action may be rightly directed to express the Will appropriately to the occasion. Remember that every word and deed which is not a definite expression of your Will counts against it, indifference worse than hostility. Your enemy is at least interested in you: you may make him your friend as you never can do with a neutral. Remember that Magick is the Art of Life, therefore of causing change in accordance with Will; therefore its law is “love under will”, and its every movement is an act of love.
Remember that every act of “love under will” is lawful as such; but that when any act is not directed unto Nuit, who is here the inevitable result of the whole Work, that act is waste, and breeds conflict within you, so that “the kingdom of God which is within you” is torn by civil war. To the beginner I would offer this programme:
1. Furnish your mind as completely as possible with the knowledge of how to inspect and to control it.
2. Train your body to obey your mind, and not to distract its attention.
3. Control your mind to devote itself wholly to discover your true Will.
4. Explore the course of that Will till you reach its source, your Silent Self.
5. Unite the conscious will with the true Will, and the conscious Ego with the Silent Self. You must be utterly ruthless in discarding any atom of consciousness which is hostile or neutral.
6. Let this work freely from within, but heed not your environment, lest you make difference between one thing and another. Whatever it be, it is to be made one with you by Love. (For Love in this sense, see Liber Aleph, Chapters 20-23, 88, 111, 157, 180-182, 186,200-203.)
38. He must teach; but he may make severe the ordeals.
He does. Boy, he does!
Thelema is, of course, the Greek for Will. See Rabelais's Abbey of Thelema, in Gargantua.
40. Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The man of Earth, the Lover and the Hermit are the three types of Thelemites. The man of Earth is “the adherent”; the Lover 'gives his life unto the Work among men'; the Hermit 'goes solitary, and gives only of his light unto men'. (See Liber 418.)
The enumeration of the Three Grades, followed by the injunction Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, means that no discrimination of “superiority” or “inferiority” is to be made between the Three Grades. It is a matter of the Will, and nothing else, that decides to which Grade a Thelemite is to belong. In a sense, the man of Earth 'is the adherent', that is, he is loyal to Thelema, adheres to it. In another sense, he adheres to the material world. He is the husbandman, the householder, the man attached to temporal things. To despise such a man is stupid. He is a Karma Yogi by definition, and who are you to trace another star's orbit?
The Lover is a Bhakhti Yogi. He abandons temporal interests and dedicates his life to service of the Order. He will kill himself, if need be, that the Order may live. Such men organize Thelemic movements, thereby incurring the risk of persecution on the part of Old Aeon organizations and the 'Black Lodge'–a better name for such organizations, and particularly for the 'Black Lodge; is 'the die hards.'
The Hermit is a Gnani or Raja Yogi. He gives only of his light unto men. Those who understand what this means are either Hermits or on their way to become Hermits. Those who do not understand what it means are better off without further information. Should they seek it, however, let them study Libri 156, 370 and 418.
41. The word of Sin is Restriction. 0 man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! 0 lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell.
The first paragraph is a general statement or definition of Sin or Error. Anything soever that binds the will, hinders it, or diverts it, is Sin. That is, Sin is the appearance of the Dyad. Sin is impurity.* [Inserted footnote: * One cannot say that it was “Sin” for Naught to restrict itself within the form of Two; on the contrary. But sin is to resist the operation of the reversion to Naught. 'The wages of Sin is Death”; for Life is a continual harmonious and natural Change. See Liber 418 and Liber Aleph.
Sin (see Skeat's Etymological Dictionary) is connected with root “es”, to be. This throws a new light on the passage. Sin is restriction, that is, it is 'being' as opposed to 'becoming'. The fundamental idea of wrong is the static as opposed to the dynamic conception of the Universe. This explanation is not only in harmony with the general teaching of the Book of the Law, but shows how profoundly the author understands Himself.]
The remainder of the paragraph takes a particular case as an example. There shall be no property in human flesh. The sex- instinct is one of the most deeply-seated expressions of the will; and it must not be restricted, either negatively by preventing its free function, or positively by insisting on its false function.
What is more brutal than to stunt natural growth or to deform it?
What is more absurd than to seek to interpret this holy instinct as a gross animal act, to separate it from the spiritual enthusiasm without which it is so stupid as not even to be satisfactory to the persons concerned?
The sexual act is a sacrament of Will. To profane it is the great offence. All true expression of it is lawful; all suppression or distortion is contrary to the Law of Liberty. To use legal or financial constraint to compel either abstention or submission, is entirely horrible, unnatural and absurd. Physical constraint, up to a certain point, is not seriously wrong; for it has its roots in the original sex- conflict which we see in animals, and has often the effect of exciting Love in his highest and noblest shape. Some of the most passionate and permanent attachments have begun with rape. Rome was actually founded thereon. Similarly, murder of a faithless partner is ethically excusable, in a certain sense; for there may be some stars whose Nature is extreme violence. The collision of galaxies is a magnificent spectacle, after all. But there is nothing inspiring in a visit to one's lawyer. Of course, this is merely my personal view; a star who happened to be a lawyer might see things otherwise! Yet, Nature's unspeakable variety, though it admits cruelty and selfishness, offers us no example of the puritan and the prig!
However, to the mind of Law there is an Order of Going; and a machine is more beautiful, save to the Small Boy, when it works than when it smashes. Now, the Machine of Matter-Motion is an explosive machine, with pyrotechnic effects; but these are only incidentals.
Laws against adultery are based upon the idea that woman is a chattel, so that to make love to a married woman is to deprive the husband of her services. It is the frankest and most crass statement of a slave-situation. To us, every woman is a star. She has therefore an absolute right to travel in her own orbit. There is no reason why she should not be the ideal hausfrau, if that chance to be her will. But society has no right to insist upon that standard. It was, for practical reasons, almost necessary to set up such taboos in small communities, savage tribes, where the wife was nothing but a general servant, where the safety of the people depended upon a high birth-rate. But to-day woman is economically independent, becomes more so every year. The result is that she instantly asserts her right to have as many or as few men or babies as she wants or can get; and she defies the world to interfere with her. More power to her–elbow!
The War (He means the First World War. Readers must not forget that this amazingly modern Commentary was written in the Twenties.) has seen this emancipation flower in four years. Primitive people, the Australian troups for example, are saying that they will not marry English girls, because English girls like a dozen men a week. Well, who wants them to marry? Russia has already formally abrogated marriage. Germany and France have tried to 'save their faces' in a thoroughly Chinese manner, by marrying pregnant spinsters to dead soldiers!
England has been too deeply hypocritical, of course, to do more than “hush things up”; and is pretending 'business as usual', though every pulpit is aquake with the clamour of bat-eyed bishops, squeaking of the awful immorality of everybody but themselves and their choristers. English women over 30 have the vote; when the young'uns get it, good-bye to the old marriage system.
America has made marriage a farce by the multiplication and confusion of the Divorce Laws. A friend of mine who had divorced her husband was actually, three years later, sued by him for divorce!!!
But America never waits for laws; her people go ahead. The emancipated, self-supporting, American woman already acts exactly like the 'bachelor-boy'. Sometimes she loses her head, and stumbles into marriage, and stubs her toe. She will soon get tired of the folly. She will perceive how imbecile it is to ham-string herself in order to please her parents, or to legitimatize her children, or to silence her neighbours.
She will take the men she wants as simply as she buys a newspaper; and if she doesn't like the Editorials, or the Comic Supplement, it's only two cents gone, and she can get another.
Blind asses! who pretend that women are naturally chaste! The Easterns know better; all the restrictions of the harem, of public opinion, and so on, are based upon the recognition of the fact that woman is only chaste when there is nobody around. She will snatch the babe from its cradle, or drag the dog from its kennel, to prove the old saying: Natura abhorrent a vacuum. For she is the Image of the Soul of Nature, the Great Mother, the Great Whore.
It is to be well-noted that the Great Women of History have exercised unbounded freedom in Love, Sappho, Semiramis, Messalina, Cleopatra, Ta Chhi, Pasiphae, Clytaemnaestra, Helen of Troy, and in more recent times Joan of Arc (by Shakespeare's account), Catherine II of Russia, Queen Elizabeth of England (He means, of course, the Great Elizabeth–the First.), George Sand. Against these we can put only Emily Bronte, whose sex-suppression was due to her environment, and so burst out in the incredible violence of her art, and the regular religious mystics, Saint Catherine, Saint Teresa, and so on, the facts of whose sex-life have been carefully camouflaged in the interests of the slave-gods. But, even on that showing, the sex-life was intense, for the writings of such women are overloaded with sexual expression passionate and perverted, even to morbidity and actual hallucination.
Sex is the main expression of the Nature of a person; great Natures are sexually strong; and the health of any person will depend upon the freedom of that function.
See Liber CI, “De Lege Libellum”, Cap. IV, in Equinox III, 1.
Also, the following Chapters of Liber Aleph: 3-6, 17, 18,20,22,24- 34, 44-46, 57-65, 85, 88, 95-98, 104, 105, 111, 112, 140, 142-144.
There is a technical aspect to the above verse which may be of importance to a certain type of Aspirant of either sex. In one sense, Sin is but the Babylonian Moon-God, who is represented on seal- cylinders as an old man with flowing beard. The crescent moon was his symbol. This conception is totally hostile to ours. To us, the Moon is a feminine symbol. Further, our Hermit of the Tarot is solar, not lunar. ' Sin' is essentially homosexual. His word is Restriction because his nature is twisted.
Perhaps because of Hebrew enslavement by the Babylonians, Jehovah acquired several of the markedly homosexual characteristics of Sin. The God of the Jews is a homosexual's concept of maleness:
Harsh, violent, revengeful, merciless. There are no equilibrating qualities. It is Geburah at its worst. It must come as a surprise to those who do not know their Qabalah that this image of the Male is incomplete. As a matter of fact, Geburah is Female. It is Chesed–Mercy–which is Male. The qualities that homosexuals attribute to masculinity are nothing but psychological transference. Women, who are much more qualified to judge, like men to be gentle and considerate. They want men to be strong, and hard, and even harsh, of course-but they want to feel an underlying basis of qualities which homosexuals are inclined to attribute to the female.
In Jewish Theology there is no Woman Concept. The Creator is 'all boy; and one must surmise that He produced the Universe through some astounding feat of male parthenogenesis. These homosexual tendencies reflect themselves in the harsh intolerance of Mosaic law towards women. Wives ARE chattels. Women are not admitted to worship. Adulteresses are stoned to death.
These 'super-male' (Sin is nothing of the sort, of course; he is an 'under-male') traits are not exclusive to Judaism. One finds them in all religions that associate the concept of spiritual purity with sexual abstinence. Sexual abstinence is 'good 'only in the athletic sense. And some biological types experience no good effects from it. Some athletes copulate more during and after an athletic event than normally, and perform just as well or better for it. This is a matter to be decided strictly by personal judgment. To establish sexual abstinence as a religious rule for all, indiscriminately, is insensate. “Yet there are those who have dared and achieved thereby” (see Liber 175). Certainly: but others have achieved without it, and anyway, once you achieve, why not outgrow the old toys and go on to other things?
We take Judaism as an example only because the sexual morality preached in the West is essentially Old Testament stuff It is useless that Christians should pretend they are Christians when they persist in interpreting their 'Jesus' in the same terms that orthodox Jews ascribe to a 'good 'Rabbi! Were we to believe for one moment that the Gospels are the biography of an actual, historical, person, we would have to remember that 'Jesus' was hated by the Jewish priesthood, and was tortured to death through the efforts of the High Priest. 'Jesus' was described as a drunkard, a friend of sinners and a Roman sympathizer. He kept none of the Mosaic regulations. Indeed, he went so far as to suggest that Mosaic law had been created for man, and not otherwise! That he seems to have appreciated whores–and vice-versa–is repeatedly pointed out. Historical or not, the intention was obviously to introduce a more humane–we shall go further, and say human–note in Jewish mores. It is deplorable that the attempt took fifteen hundred years to succeed, and did so thanks not to priests and theologians, but to freethinkers and scientists. Or perhaps it is not deplorable at all.
To men educated in societies influenced by Sin morals, a wife is a piece of property. 'Adultery' can be punished by murder of the 'unfaithful' spouse. One must remark that this cuts both ways. Women of such societies are jealous and petty and unforgiving. What is more, the dichotomy of their mores necessarily is reflected in their personalities. They are often shockingly promiscuous behind their husband's backs, but they condemn themselves for it. At the same time, they hate and fear women who are openly independent. They are whores that stick–or pretend to stick–to one customer. Sexually, they delight in dirty affinities. At the same time, they are prim and prude. Frankness shocks them–they equate it with grossness. Yet, you can get them to perform in the grossest manner in sex. Such women like to be humiliated. They despise themselves and hunger for debasement. Men who service them to their satisfaction are usually latent homosexuals who fear the opposite sex, and want to strike out against what they fear. Such women are usually indifferent housekeepers and never rise far in the professions, being lazy by temperament, stupid or indisciplined in the intellect, and in conflict with their own true wills.
Paradoxical though it may seem, Sin mores disapprove violently of sexual deviations. Sin men hate homosexuals and feel compelled to beat them or insult them. This excessive reaction of hostility is a defense mechanism. They feel attracted, therefore they fear. A society that is sexually equilibrated will tolerate exceptions. A society that is sexually unhealthy will not, because its balance is unstable, and it is easily upset by deviations.
One must add that the above remarks are just as true of societies where the concept of the Female exists without the Male.
While it is true that everybody has absolute right to interpret the external–or the internal–Universe as they please, an interpretation that is too partial or twisted leads inevitably to interference with the will of others. Thelemites will find themselves hampered at every turn by people whose concept of God is homosexual. They will try to restrict your personal freedom to serve their perverted moral values. You will find that the idea that sex can be a form of spiritual expression repels them strongly. Sin societies admit and tolerate the most debasing debauch, but they do not tolerate phallicism. They understand a sexual orgy, but not a sexual Mass. Sex, for them, is connected with the concept of Original Sin, and this is what necessitates–for them–the existence of a Sacrament of Marriage. The purpose of the Sacrament is to impart holiness to something that is holy in itself This is because the sex act shakes the very roots of the tree of the Ego, and the Ego that does not have its roots deep and firm in the dark ground of the Racial Stream fears the shaking. It is true that an unstable personality can go temporarily insane as a result of the sex act, particularly if the sex act is of a type that it subconsciously desires but consciously fears. But such insanity is the “Change that is the Rottenness of Choronzon” (See Liber Aleph, Chapter 105), and eventually the Personality reorganizes itself along lines more healthily adjusted to Life and Nature, provided no fool (of men!) interferes with the process.
The injunctions '0 man!' and '0 lover', etc., refer technically to certain ordeals proper to the Grades of man of Earth and Lover, besides the general meaning given in A. C. 's Commentary.
42. Let it be that state of manyhood bound and loathing. So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will.
“Manyhood bound and loathing”. An organized state is a free association for the common weal. My personal Will to cross the Atlantic, for example, is made effective by cooperation with others on agreed terms. But the forced association of slaves is another thing.
A man who is not doing his will is like a man with cancer, an independent growth in him, yet one from which he cannot get free. The idea of self-sacrifice is a moral cancer in exactly this sense.
Similarly, one may say that not to do one's will is evidence of mental or moral insanity. When “duty points one way, and inclination the other”, it is proof that you are not one, but two. You have not centralized your control. This dichotomy is the beginning of conflict, which may result in a Jekyll-Hyde effect. Stevenson suggests that man may be discovered to be a “mere polity” of many individuals. The sages knew it long since. But the name of this polity is Choronzon, mob rule, unless every individual is absolutely disciplined to serve his own, and the common, purpose without friction.
It is of course better to expel or destroy an irreconcilable. “If thine eye offend thee, cut it out”. The error in the interpretation of this doctrine has been that it has not been taken exactly as it stands. It has been read thus: “If thine eye offend some standard of right or wrong imposed on society in general, or on you, by another, cut thine eye out.” The curse of society has been Procrustean morality, the ethics of the herd-men. One would have thought that a mere glance at Nature would have sufficed to disclose Her scheme of Individuality made possible by Order. (That most living things live from other living things is no objection. See Liber 418 for the Curse that turns into a Blessing, the Call of the Aethyrs.)
A subsidiary meaning of the verse is that you should not attack directly or indiscriminately social states that are unhealthily organized. You should do your will, and tackle only obstacles that present themselves in the path of your will.
But others are suffering under bondage!–I hear a fool say. If so, the freedom that you granted them would be just another kind of bondage. The slaves shall serve, no matter what the social system may be. Only those who gain freedom for themselves are free, because freedom must be a spiritual state INSIDE you before its effects begin to manifest in your environment. Russia made a revolution to free herself from the control of a minority. It is still under control of a minority–the spiritual descendants of the minority who made the revolution: the Communist Party. The mass of the people are still slaves, like the mass of the people in any other country. The general standard of living has improved, but it is debatable whether it would not have improved faster, with less sacrifice, through social evolution rather than revolution, the way it happened in America and Britain.
We Thelemites are neither revolutionaries nor proselytisers. We do not aim to change the world, we aim to change ourselves. That is how we leaven our environment. It is by learning to know our True Will, and doing it, that we bring fresh fire into the world. No man can do his fellows greater benefit than to offer them an example of personal freedom.
43. Do that, and no other shall say nay.
The general meaning of this verse is that so great is the power of asserting one's right that it will not long be disputed. For by doing so one appeals to the Law. In practice, it is found that people who are ready to fight for their rights are respected, and let alone. The slave-spirit invites oppression.
The above comment by A.C. is generally true, but there are particulars. There are Stars and stars. Each has its path; that path may go strange ways. Those whose Will is difficult, or likely to affect their fellow men more than others, may expect hardship in proportion to the Weight and Scope of their purpose in life. Witness His own life!
44. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.
The best commentary to this verse is to be found in Liber II, The Message of the Master Therion.
This verse is best interpreted by defining 'pure will' as the true expression of the Nature, the proper or inherent motion of the matter, concerned. It is unnatural to aim at any goal. The student is referred to Liber LXV, ii, 24, and to the Tao Teh King. This becomes particularly important in high grades. One is not to do Yoga, etc., in order to get Samadhi, like a school-boy or a shopkeeper; but for its own sake, like an artist.
“Unassuaged” means “its edge taken off by” or “dulled by”. The pure student does not think of the result of the examination.
45. The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!
Serious students are referred to our note to verse 11. The Perfect is Zero, and no matter how many times you add Zero to Zero, you always get Zero.
There is a technical meaning to this verse which is of the utmost importance to Zelators. The Grade of Zelator reflects that of Magister Templi in the Lower Triad–see Liber 418 on Jesod–and the Zelator becomes acquainted with that influence which we call Choronzon–333.
Without speculating on the nature of this “mighty Devil” which has power to persecute any member of the A∴ A∴ as long “as thou art thou”?see Liber 418, the Tenth Aethyr–we may say simply that the Aspirant will be approached by all kinds of people who will talk as if inspired, or talk as if they are Masters, and who will attempt to advise or to warn him, or just to make contact with him and be acknowledged as Gods speaking.
Pay no attention to them. They are simply Choronzon, one and all.
True “Gods” are Perfect, and will not speak to you. They and you have different True Wills. They do not consider themselves competent to advise a fellow Star. Only your Holy Guardian Angel can do it. And the Angel speaks within you. He is not you–and He never pretends to be! But He speaks within you.
All “messages” from Choronzon have as their sole purpose to test your understanding of the Law of Thelema, and fidelity thereunto.
This is a very difficult note to understand, unless you have some Initiatic Experience. You must be at least a Neophyte to get something from it. For the Central Experience of the Grade is the Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that Vision, although it is not to be confused with the Knowledge and Conversation obtaining in Tiphereth of Tiphereth, imparts your first inkling of Spiritual Perspective.
Although this is not to the point, we might as well add a further warning: Neophytes must guard themselves against the tendency to confuse the Vision with the Knowledge and Conversation, that is, to think themselves Adepts Within, and Zelators must keep in mind that they are not Masters of the Temple!
If they were Masters of the Temple, Choronzon would no longer speak to them. For He who is a Magister Templi is no longer he. See Liber Aleph, Chapters 1 64-1 65.
There is a 'Siddha' in Yoga, described by Patanjali, which consists of the ability to penetrate another's mind, “and assume control thereof'. This 'power' is often employed by 'Black Brothers', specially if the other mind belongs to one of the sick currents started by themselves. In such a case, the cakkrams of the owner of that mind are attuned to the influence of the 'Black Brother and his or her astral is 'in sympathy' with the 'Black Brother' influence.
This unworthy 'power' is never used by true Gods. The Perfect crossed the Abyss: He is defined as being at least a Master of the Temple. True Initiates NEVER interfere with another human's will. However, They are in communion with ALL human wills in a manner incomprehensible by, and inexplicable to, the profane. Even the highest types of Samadhi give only a pale idea of this communion. It is the true and genuine Communion of the Saints, and the Grail, the Cup in the hand of our Lady BABALON, is its symbol. Readers are referred to Liber LXV, Chapter i, vv. 3, 18, 63; Chapter ii, vv. 4-6, 26, 28-29, 43; Chapter iii, vv. 17-20, 4 7-48, 61, 65; Chapter iv, vv. 47,51, 60; Chapter v, vv. 1, 15-18, 22-24, 59-64. See also Liber VII, Chapter vii, vv. 41-52; Liber I, and Liber 156.
46. Nothing is a secret key of this law. Sixty-one the Jews call it; I call it eight, eighty, four hundred & eighteen.
The Jews call it AIN, 61, Not. They are aware of the Key, but their awareness is unbalanced. They arrive to it only through mysticism or Qabalistic metaphysics, and their Spiritual Experience is insufficient. It leads them to consider themselves the “Chosen People”, with the result that Hebrew initiates often behave like spoiled children, interfering with the work of Initiates higher than themselves. Then, just like children, having cast breezes, they complain when they harvest storms.
Aiwass calls the key eight, eighty, four-hundred and eighteen. These three numbers give a balanced process of Training which includes both Magick and Mysticism. As a result, the Initiate acquires sufficient Spiritual Experience not to make the same blunders as do “asses in lion skin”.
47. But they have the half: unite by thine art so that all disappear.
They have half of the key. HALF=5+1+30+ 6=42. 4+2=6, the Sun. The Jews have, in common with Thelemites, awareness of the Sun Current. This they acquired through the Egyptian Initiate they called Moses and “adopted” as a Jew. It is with motive that they have been called “Children of Satan”. Truly, the “Eye that watches over Israel never sleeps”. But that Eye watches over everybody!
unite by thine art so that all disappear'. This phrase sent certain debased elements within Jewish Occultism hunting for Aleister Crowley as long as he lived. Thelemites have been pointed (by these same so-called occultists) as the originators of the Nazi party. The fact that the Nazis destroyed all copies of the Book of the Law in Germany, and seized all translations of A. C.'s works, and put the Outer Head of the O. T. O. (who, incidentally, was married to a Jewess) in a concentration camp is not mentioned. Equally, these people seem not to realize that the Nazis treated them exactly as the Jews treated the “heathen” in the Old Testament. Hitler was a personification of all of Jehovah's attributes–only, this time, turned against “His People” … Even the concept of the superiority of the 'Aryan race' and the inferiority of the 'Semites' mirrors the ineffable presumption of the People Elect and its attitude towards its fellowmen.
All Karma has to be paid, and the Jews paid theirs. As compensation, through two thousand years of persecution they had to sharpen their wits until today they compose one of the most intelligent and efficient cultural groups on the surface of the planet. If the Nazis had been half as intelligent, they would have married Jewish women and sterilized only the men. Germany might have won the war, then. But the Nazis were stupid. They were as stupid as Old Testament Jews.
When a book is the only book that by chance is preserved and by design transmitted throughout fifteen centuries, it may well become The Book. The Bible is one of the most brutish, most cruel, most fanatic cultural records extant. Its religious fables are either naive or fatuous. It has neither the loftiness of the Pyramid Texts nor the human compassion of the Sumerian. ft has neither the subtlety of the Chinese classics nor the psychological depth of the Hindu. But it was the only book the West knew for centuries–and look at the record of the West during those centuries!
Indeed, “unite by thine art so that all disappear”. Unite–not destroy. Unite together under the banner of an enlightened humanity, free of all the ignorant idiocy of national, cultural or religious prejudice; free to experience the grandeur of our true identity as radiant Stars within the Body of Our Lady Nuit. Any self-concept that falls short of this is utterly fallacious.
48. My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?
Crowley, who knew the attributions of AIN, and its mystical meaning, had become troubled since the dictation of verse 45. “But are not the Perfect, all of them, just One–” he kept asking mentally as dictation went on. Finally Aiwass incorporates his doubt in the Text, answering it out loud, and speaking for the Goddess.
The key is, of course, that Monotheism is a lie. Belief in the Oneness of Man is a great comfort to the Ego. “I am the One!” cries every 'Black Brother'. The Master of the Temple answers not, for He is Not.
The Ox–Aleph is the Ox, of course, 1 by the Qabalah and Zero by the Book of Thoth, the Taro. Also, Aleph in full–ALP–is 111, “one, one, one”. It is also indicative that the two letters of OX in English suggest the Cross and the Circle.
49. Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods; and let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the Sufferer; Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating.
This verse declares that the old formula of Magick–the Osiris-Adonis-Jesus-Marsyas-Dionysus- Attis-Etc. formula of the Dying God–is no longer efficacious. (It never was efficacious; it was merely the least deficient formula possible in the Aeon of Pisces just past.) It rested on the ignorant belief that the Sun died every day, and every year, and that its resurrection was a miracle.
The Formula of the New Aeon recognizes Horus, the Child crowned and conquering, as God. We are all members of the Body of God, the Sun; and about our System is the Ocean of Space. This formula is then to be based upon these facts. Our “Evil”, “Error”, “Darkness”, “Illusion”, whatever one chooses to call it, is simply a phenomenon of accidental and temporary separateness. If you are “walking in darkness”, do not try to make the sun rise by self-sacrifice, but wait in confidence for the dawn, and enjoy the pleasures of the night meanwhile.
The general allusion is to the Equinox Ritual of the G∴ D∴, where the officer of the previous six months, representing Horus, took the place of the retiring Hierophant, who had represented Osiris.
The “general allusion” is nothing of the sort. This verse is a categorical statement, to be taken in the most objective way by any Aspirant to Initiation. All the rituals, words and signs of past Initiatic Orders are abrogate. You must not 1 et yourself be conned by any of them. See “The Ship”.
Asar and Isa are one, that is, they are different forms of the same formula, the Central Formula of the Minor Mysteries. The difference between their rites is simply a matter of psychological convenience. See Liber 175, verse 2, for this important point.
“Let Asar be the adorant”. In our System, the Candidate presents himself before Horus, to invoke Him, under the paraphernalia of Asar. If the Candidate is wise, he will make sure that he possesses the magical and mystical powers of which the paraphernalia are merely the symbols. For Ra-Hoor-Khuit demands that you bind the Words and the Deeds.
“Isa the sufferer”. This expression needs no explanation if you have any acquaintance with the sado-masochistic nature of Christian mysticism, specially where Roman Catholicism predominates. Some people are happy only when they suffer. Let them be. See LXV, v, verses 7-10, 19-22, 47-51. Who are you to chart another star's course?
“But they are not of me.” In one sense, this means that those who identify themselves with either Asar or Isa can become “stars of Her body” only by death–be this death Initiatic or physical. In another sense, it means that they are of Her all the time, since in truth they are not. But as long as your Sahashara is not active, for you She does “not” exist.
Isa is the legendary “Jesus”, for which Canidian concoction the prescription is to be found in my book bearing that Title, Liber DCCCLXXXVIII.
A.C. is unduly harsh with “Jesus”. This is because at the time of writing the Commentaries his personality was still reacting against the brainwashing of his early upbringing. Christian worship is not really more repugnant than its parent, Attys worship. It is more a matter of clinical interest for psychiatrists today than a matter for condemnation by Thelemites. In His late years, having worked many changes by His Magick, He no longer paid attention to it. But He never thought it funny. Pathological methods of mysticism are funny only to pathological minds.
50. There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task. Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!
These ordeals are general: all Aspirants to Thelemic Initiation must pass through them. The conditions and circumstances always vary according to the individual case.
Don't think, either, that the ordeals get easier as you progress. They get harder. The late ordeals would disintegrate your vehicles in the early stages of Initiation.
51. There are four gates to one palace; the floor of that palace is of silver and gold; lapis lazuli & jasper are there; and all rare scents; jasmine & rose, and the emblems of death. Let him enter in turn or at once the four gates; let him stand on the floor of the palace. Will he not sink? Amn. Ho! warrior, if thy servant sink? But there are means and means. Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will! But always unto me.
The palace is Malkuth; the four gates are the four elements. Students must remember that common mankind does not dwell in Malkuth, but in the Qliphoth. The Probationer of the A∴ A∴ must pass through his first Initiation before he is permitted a glimpse of the palace. For it is the Palace of the King's Daughter, which only the Ipsissimus can reach, and live in.
The first section of this verse is connected with the second only by the word 'therefore'. It appears to describe an initiation, or perhaps The Initiation, in general terms. I would suggest that the palace is the 'Holy House' or Universe of the Initiate of the New Law. The four gates are perhaps Light, Life, Love, Liberty–see “De Lege Libellum”. Lapis Lazuli is a symbol of Nuit, Jasper of Hadit. The rare scents are possibly various ecstasies or Samadhis. Jasmine and Rose are Hieroglyphs of the two main Sacraments, while the emblems of death may refer to certain secrets of a well known exoteric school of initiation whose members, with the rarest exceptions, do not know what it is all about. (He refers to Masonry.)
The question then arises as to whether the initiate is able to stand firmly in this Place of Exaltation. It seems to me as if this refers to the ascetic life, commonly considered as an essential condition of participation in these mysteries. The answer is that “there are means and means,” implying that no one rule is essential. This is in harmony with our general interpretation of the law; it has as many rules as there are individuals.
This word 'therefore' is easy to understand. We are to enjoy life thoroughly in an absolutely normal way, exactly as all the free and great have always done. The only point to remember is that one is a 'Member of the Body of God', a Star in the Body of Nuit. This being sure, we are urged to the fullest expansion of our several Natures, with special attention to those pleasures which not only express the soul, but aid it to reach the higher developments of that expression.
The act of Love is to the bourgeois (as the 'Christian' is called now-a-days) a gross animal gesture which shames his boasted humanity. The appetite drags him at its hoofs; it tires him, disgusts him, diseases him, makes him ridiculous even in his own eyes. It is the source of nearly all his neuroses.
Against this monster he has devised two protections. Firstly, he pretends that it is a Fairy Prince disguised, and hangs it with the rags and tinsel of romance, sentiment, and religion. He calls it Love, denies its strength and truth, and worships this wax figure of him with all sorts of amiable lyrics and leers.
Second, he is so certain, despite all his theatrical-wardrobe- work, that it is a devouring monster, that he resents with insane ferocity the existence of people who laugh at his fears, and tell him the monster he fears is in reality not a fire-breathing worm, but a spirited horse, well trained to the task of the bridle. They tell him not to be a gibbering coward, but to learn to ride. Knowing well how abject he is, the kindly manhood of the advice is, to him, the bitterest insult he can imagine, and he calls on the mob to stone the blasphemer. He is therefore particularly anxious to keep intact the bogey he so dreads; the demonstration that Love is a general passion, pure in itself, and the redeemer of all them that put their trust in Him, is to tear open the raw ulcer of his soul.
We of Thelema are not the slaves of Love. “Love under will” is the law. We refuse to regard love as shameful and degrading, as a peril to body and soul. We refuse to accept it as the surrender of the divine to the animal; to us it is the means by which the animal may be made the Winged Sphinx which shall bear man aloft to the House of the Gods.
We are then particularly careful to deny that the object of love is the gross physiological object which happens to be Nature's excuse for it. Generation is a sacrament of the physical Rite, by which we create ourselves anew in our own image, weave in a new flesh- tapestry the Romance of our own Soul's History. But also Love is a sacrament or transubstantiation whereby we initiate our own souls; it is the Wine of Intoxication as well as the Bread of Nourishment. “Nor is he for priest designed Who partakes only in one kind.”
We therefore heartily cherish those forms of Love in which no question of generation arises; we use the stimulating effects of physical enthusiasm to inspire us morally and spiritually. Experience teaches that passions thus employed do serve to refine and to exalt the whole being of man or woman. Nuit indicates the sole condition:
“But always unto me”.
The epicure is not a monster of gluttony, nor the amateur of Beethoven a 'degenerate' from the 'normal' man whose only music is the tom-tom. So also the poisons which shook the bourgeois are not indulgences, but purifications; the brute whose furtive lust demands that he be drunk and in darkness that he may surrender to his shame, and that he lie about it with idiot mumblings ever after, is hardly the best judge even of Phryne. How much less should he venture to criticize such men and women whose imaginations are so free from grossness that the element of attraction which serves to electrify their magnetic coil is independent of physical form? To us the essence of Love is that it is a sacrament unto Nuit, a gate of grace and a road of righteousness to Her High Palace, the abode of peerless purity whose lamps are the Stars.
“As ye will.” It should be abundantly clear from the foregoing remarks that each individual has an absolute and indefeasible right to use his sexual vehicle in accordance with its own proper character, and that he is responsible only to himself. But he should not injure himself and his right aforesaid; acts invasive of another individual's equal rights are implicitly self-aggressions. A thief can hardly complain on theoretical grounds if he is himself robbed. Such acts as rape, and the assault or seduction of infants, may therefore be justly regarded as offences against the Law of Liberty, and repressed in the interests of that Law.
It is also excluded from “as ye will” to compromise the liberty of another person indirectly, as by taking advantage of the ignorance or good faith of another person to expose that person to the constraint of sickness, poverty, social detriment, or child-bearing, unless with the well-informed and uninfluenced free will of that person.
One must moreover avoid doing another person injury by deforming his or her nature; for instance, to flog children at or near puberty may distort the sensitive nascent sexual character, and impress it with the stamp of masochism. Again, homosexual practices between boys may in certain cases actually rob them of their virility, psychically or even physically.
Trying to frighten adolescents about sex by the bogeys of Hell, Disease, and Insanity, may warp the moral nature permanently, and produce hypochondria or other mental maladies, with perversions of the enervated and thwarted instinct.
Repression of the natural satisfaction may result in addiction to secret and dangerous vices which destroy their victim because they are artificial and unnatural aberrations. Such moral cripples resemble those manufactured by beggars by compressing one part of the body so that it is compensated by a monstrous exaggeration in another part.
But on the other hand we have no right to interfere with any type of manifestation of the sexual impulse on a priori grounds. We must recognize that the Lesbian leanings of idle and voluptuous women whose refinement finds the grossness of the average male repugnant, are as inexpunguably entrenched in Righteousness as the parallel pleasures of the English Aristocracy and Clergy whose aesthetics find women disgusting, and whose self-respect demands that love should transcend animal impulse, excite intellectual intimacy, and inspire spirituality by directing it towards an object whose attainment cannot inflict the degradation of domesticity, and the bestiality of gestation.
Every one should discover, by experience of every kind, the extent and intention of his own sexual Universe. He must be taught that all roads are equally royal, and that the only question for him is “Which road is mine?” All details are equally likely to be of the essence of his personal plan, all equally 'right' in themselves, his own choice of the one as correct as, and independent of, his neighbour's preference for the other.
He must not be ashamed or afraid of being homosexual if he happens to be so at heart; he must not attempt to violate his own true nature because public opinion, or mediaeval morality, or religious prejudice would wish he were otherwise. The oyster stays shut in his shell for all Darwin may say about his “low stage of evolution”, or Puritans about his priapistic character, or idealists about his unfitness for civic government.
The advocates of homosexuality–primus inter pares, John Addington Symonds! –hammer away like Hercules at the spiritual, social, moral, and intellectual advantages of cultivating the caresses of a comrade who combines Apollo with Achilles and Antinous at the expense of escaping from a Chimaera with Circe's head, Cleopatra's body, and Cressida's character.
Why can't they let one alone? I agree to agree; I only stipulate to be allowed to be inconsistent. I will confess their creed, so long as I may play the part of Peter until the cock crow thrice.
They urge more strenuously still the claims of homosexuality to heal the hurts and horrors of humanity, almost the 'complete cohort'. On this point I concur that they argue indisputably, with sober sense to support and stress of suffering to spur them. They prove with Euler's exactness and Hinton's passion that heterosexuality entrains an infinity of ills; jealousy, abortions, diseases, infanticides, frauds, intrigues, quarrels, poverty, prostitution, persecution, idleness, self- indulgence, social stress, over-population, sex-antagonism. They show with Poincares's precision that Jesus and Paul struck at the heart of hell when they proclaimed marriage a scourge, and offered the testimony of John and Timothy to support the plea of Plato on behalf of paederastic passion. Out of the Court there slunk Mark Anthony, his toga to his face, one of the legion of lost souls that woman had withered; behind him groped blind Sampson, disinherited Adam, feeling his way along the table where they had piled countless papyri writ with woes of kings and sages woman-wrecked, and many a map of towns and temples torn and trampled beneath the feet of Love, their ashes smouldering still, and smoky with song to witness how Astarte's breath had kindled and consumed them. Extinguished empires owned that their doom was the device of Venus, her vengeance on virility.
By Paul sat Buddha smiling, Ananda's arm about his neck, while Mohammed paced the floor impatiently between two warrior comrades, his belt bearing an iron key, a whip, and a sword, wherewith to limit women's liberty, their love, their life, lest to his loss they lure him.
The Beast is there also, aloof, attentive. He will not weigh the evidence in the balances of any particular kind of advantage. He will not admit any standard as adequate to assess the absolute. To him, the pettiest personal whimsy outweighs all wisdom, all philosophy, all private profit and all public prudence. The sexual obol of the meanest is stamped with the signature of his own sovereign soul, lawful and current coin no less than the gold talent of his neighbour. The derelict moon has the same right to drift round Earth as Regulus to blaze in the heart of the Lion.
Collision is the only crime in the cosmos.
The Beast refuses therefore to assent to any argument as to the propriety of any fashion of formulating the soul in symbols of sex. A canon is no less deadly in love than in art or literature; its acceptance stifles style, and its enforcement extinguishes sincerity.
It is better for a person of heterosexual nature to suffer every possible calamity as the indirect environment-evoked result of his doing his true will in that respect than to enjoy health, wealth and happiness by means either of suppressing sex altogether, or debauching it to the service of Sodom or Gomorrah.
Equally it is better for the androgyne, the urning, or their feminine counterparts to endure blackmailers private and public, the terrors of police persecution, the disgust, contempt and loathing of the vulgar, and the self-torture of suspecting the peculiarity to be a symptom of a degenerate nature, than to wrong the soul by damning it to the hell of abstinence, or by defiling it with the abhorred embraces of antipathetic arms.
Every star must calculate its own orbit. All is Will, and yet all is Necessity. To swerve is ultimately impossible; to seek to swerve is to suffer.
The Beast 666 ordains by His authority that every man, and every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual, shall be absolutely free to interpret and communicate Self by means of any sexual practices soever, whether direct or indirect, rational or symbolic, physiologically, legally, ethically, or religiously approved or no, provided only that all parties to any act are fully aware of all the implications and responsibilities thereof, and heartily agree thereto.
Moreover, the Beast 666 adviseth that all children shall be accustomed from infancy to witness every type of sexual act, as also the process of birth, lest falsehood fog, and mystery stupefy, their minds, whose error else might thwart and misdirect the growth of their subconscious system of soul-symbolism.
“When, where and with whom ye will.” The phrase “with whom” has been practically covered by the comment on “as ye will.” One need no more than distinguish that the earlier phrase permits all manner of acts, the latter all possible partners. There would have been no Furies for Oedipus, no disaster for Othello, Romeo, Pericles of Tyre, Laon and Cythna, if it were only agreed to let sleeping dogs lie, and mind one's own business. In real life, we have seen in our own times Oscar Wilde, Sir Charles Dilke, Parnell, Canon Aitken and countless others, many of them engaged in first-rate work for the world, all wasted, because the mob must make believe to be “moral”. This phrase abolishes the Eleventh Commandment, Not to be Found Out, by authorizing Incest, Adultery, and Paederasty, which every one now practices with humiliating precautions, which perpetuate the schoolboy's enjoyment of an escapade, and make shame, slyness, cowardice and hypocrisy the conditions of success in life.
It is also a fact that the tendency of any individual to sexual irregularity is emphasized by the preoccupation with the subject which follows its factitious importance in modem society.
It is to be observed that Politeness has forbidden any direct reference to the subject of sex to secure no happier result than to allow Sigmund Freud and others to prove that our every other thought, speech, and gesture, conscious or unconscious, is an indirect reference!
Unless one wants to wreck the neighbourhood, it is best to explode one's gunpowder in an unconfined space.
There are very few cases of “perverted hunger-instinct” in moderately healthy communities. War restrictions on food created dishonest devices to procure dainties, and artificial attempts to appease the ache of appetite by chemical counterfeits.
The South-Sea Islanders, pagan, amoral and naked, are temperate lovers, free from hysterical “crimes of passion”, sex obsessions, and puritan persecution-mania; perversion is practically unknown, and monogamy is the general custom.
Even the civilized psychopaths of cities, forced into every kind of excess by the omnipresence of erotic suggestions and the contact of crazed crowds seething with suppressed sexuality, are not wholly past physic. They are no sooner released from the persistent pressure by escaping to some place where the inhabitants treat the reproductive and the respiratory organs as equally innocent than they begin insensibly to forget their 'fixed idea' forced on them by the fog-horn of Morality, so that their perversions perish,just as a coiled spring straightens itself when the external compulsion is removed. They revert to their natural sex-characters, which only in rare cases are other than simple, pure, and refined. More, sex itself ceases to play Principal Boy in the Pantomime of Life. Other interests resume their proper proportions.
We may now inquire why the Book is at pains to admit as to love “when” and “where” we will. Few people, surely, have been seriously worried by restrictions of time and place. One can only think of lovers who live with fearsome families or in inhospitable lodgings, on a rainy night, buffeted from one police-bullied hotel to another.
Perhaps this permission is intended to indicate the propriety of performing the sexual act without shame or fear, not waiting for darkness or seeking secrecy, but by daylight in public places, as serenely as if it were a natural incident in a morning stroll. (If that be your will, of course.)
Custom would soon surfeit curiosity, and copulation attract less attention than a new fashion in frocks. For the existing interest in sexual matters is chiefly because, common as the act is, it is closely concealed. Nobody is excited by seeing others eat. A “naughty” book is as dull as a volume of sermons; only genius can vitalize either.
Further, once love is taken for granted, the morbid fascination of its mystery will vanish.
The pander, the prostitute, the parasite will find their occupation gone.
Disease will go straight to the doctor instead of to the quack, as it does (Please remember this was written in the Twenties; the Magick of the Beast has already operated many changes.); the altars of Mrs. Grundy run red with the blood of her faithful!
The ignorance or carelessness of a raw youth will no longer hound him to hell. A blighted career or a ruined constitution will no more be the penalty of a moment's exuberance.
Above all, the world will begin to appreciate the true nature of the sexual process, its physical insignificance as one among many parts of the body, its transcendent importance as the vehicle of the True Will and the first of the sheaths of the Self.
Hitherto our sexual tabus have kept far ahead of Gilbert and Sullivan. We have made love the lackey to property, as who should pay his rent by sneezing. We have swaddled it in politeness, as who should warn God off the grass.
We have muddled it up with morality, as who should frown at the Himalayas on the one hand, and, on the other, regulate his behaviour by that of an ant-heap.
The Law of Thelema is here!
52. If this be not aright; if ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual he not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit!
It is not true to say either that we are separate Stars, or One Star. Each Star is individual, yet each is bound to the others by Law. (There is also a technical meaning to this, already explained in other notes 'by another'.) This Freedom under Law is one of the most difficult yet important doctrines of this Book. So too the ritual–our lives–must be unto Nuit; for She is the Ultimate to which we tend, the asymptote of our curve. Failure in this one-pointedness sets up the illusion of duality, which leads to excision and destruction.
“Direful”; because Ra-Hoor-Khuit is a “God of war and of vengeance”; see Chapter III.
The doctrine of the previous verses, which appears not merely to allow sexual liberty in the ordinary sense, but even to advocate it in a sense which is calculated to shock the most abandoned libertine, can do no less than startle and alarm the magician, and that only the more so as he is familiar with the theory and practice of his art. “What is this, in the name of Adonai?” I hear him exclaim. “Is it not the immemorial and unchallenged tradition that the exorcist who would apply himself to the most elementary operations of our Art is bound to prepare himself by a course of chastity? Is it not notorious that virginity is by its own virtue one of the most powerful means, and one of the most essential conditions, of all Magical works? This is no question of technical formulae such as may, with propriety, be modulated in the event of an Equinox of the Gods. It is one of those eternal truths of Nature which persist, no matter what the environment, in respect of place or period.”
To these remarks I can but smile my most genial assent. The only objection that I can take to them is to point out that the connotation of the word 'chastity' may have been misunderstood from a scientific point of view, just as modern science has modified our conception of the relations of the earth and the sun without presuming to alter one jot or tittle of the observed facts of Nature. So we may assert that modern discoveries in Physiology have rendered obsolete the Osirian conceptions of the sexual process which interpreted chastity as physical abstinence, small regard being paid to the mental and moral concomitants of the refusal to act, still less to the physical indications. The root of the error lies in the dogma of original sin, as a result of which pollution was actually excused as being in the nature of involuntary offence, just as if one were to assert that a sleep-walker who has fallen over a precipice were any less dead than Empedocles or Sappho.
The doctrine of Thelema resolves the whole question in conformity with the facts observed by science and the proprieties prescribed by Magick. It must be obvious to the most embryonic tyro in alchemy that if there be any material substance soever endowed with Magical properties, one must class, primus inter pares, that vehicle of essential humanity which is the first matter of that Great Work wherein our race shares the divine prerogative of creating man in its own image, male and female. (Let us not forget, lest we turn pious, that all species share this divine prerogative, from viruses down or up, in one way or another. And that even crystals share it too.)
It is evidently of minor importance whether the will to create be consciously formulated. Lot in his drunkenness served the turn of his two daughters, no less than Jupiter, who prolonged the night to forty-eight hours in order to give himself time to beget Hercules.
Man is in actual possession of this supreme talisman. It is his “pearl of great price,” in comparison with which all other jewels are but gewgaws. It is his prime duty to preserve the integrity of this substance. He must not allow its quality to be impaired either by malnutrition or by disease. He must not destroy it like Origen and Klingsor. He must not waste it like Onan.
But physiology informs us that we are bound to waste it, no matter what be our continence, so long as we are liable to sleep; and Nature, whether by precaution or by prodigality, provides us with so great an excess of the substance that the reproduction of the human race need not slacken, though the proportion of men to women were no more than 3 to the 1000. The problem of efficiency consequently appears practically insoluble.
We are now struck with the fact that Nuit commands us to exercise the utmost freedom in our choice of the method of utilizing the services of this our first, our finest and our fieriest talisman; the license appears at first sight unconditioned in the most express and explicit terms that it is possible to employ. The caveat, “But always unto me”, sounds like an afterthought. We are almost shocked when, in the following verse, we discover a menace, none the less dread because of the obscurity of its terms.
Our first consideration only adds to our sense of surprised repugnance. It becomes evident that one type of act is forbidden, with the penalty of falling altogether from the law of liberty to the code of crime; and our amazement and horror only increase as we recognize that this single gesture which is held damnable is the natural exercise of the most fatidical function of nature, the innocent indulgence of irresistible impulse. We glance back to the previous verse–we examine our charter. We are permitted to take our fill and will of love as we will, when, where and with whom we will, but there is nothing said about why we will. On the contrary, despite the infinite variety of lawful means, there is one end held lawful, and no more than one. The act has only one legitimate object: it must be performed unto Nuit. Further reflection reassures us to some extent, not directly, in the manner of the jurist, but indirectly, by calling our attention to the facts of Nature which underlie the ethics of the question. Nuit is that from which we have come, that to which we must return. Evasion of the issue is no more possible than was alternation of the antecedent. From Nuit we received this talisman, which conveys our physical identity through the ages of time. To Nuit, therefore, we owe it; and to defile any portion of that purest and divinest quintessence of ourselves is evidently the supreme blasphemy. Nothing in nature can be misapplied. It is our first duty to ourselves to preserve the treasure entrusted to us: “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
The nature of man is individual. No two faces are identical, still less are two individuals. Unspeakable is the variety of form and immeasurable the diversity of beauty, but in all is the seal of unity, inasmuch as all cometh from the womb of Nuit–to it returneth all. The apprehension of this sublimity is the mark of divinity. Knowing this, all is liberty; ignorant of this, all is bondage. As no two individuals are identical, so also there can be no identity between the quintessential expressions of the will of any two persons; and the expression of each person, in the first instance, as his purely physical prerogative, is his sexual gesture.
One cannot say that any significance of that gesture is forbidden, for “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.” But this may and shall be said, that a significance which indicates ignorance or forgetfulness of the central truth of the Universe is an acquiescence in that opacity caused by the confusion of the veils which conceal the soul from the consciousness, and thus create the illusion which the aspirant calls Sorrow, and the uninitiate, Evil.
The sexual act, even to the grossest of mankind, is the agent which dissipates the fog of self for one ecstatic moment. It is the instinctive feeling that the physical spasm is symbolic of that miracle of the Mass, by which the material wafer, composed of the passive elements, earth and water, is transmuted into the substance of the Body of God, that makes the wise man dread lest so sublime a sacrament suffer profanation. It is this that has caused him, in half-instinctive, half intellectual half-comprehension of the nature of the truth, that has driven him to fence the act about with taboos. But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. His fear has created phantoms, and his malobservation suggested precautions scarce worthy to be called empirical. We see him combat analogous difficulties in a precisely similar manner. History shows us the physician defending mankind against plague, with exorcisms on the one hand and useless herbs on the other. A charred stake is driven through the heart of a vampire, and his victim is protected with garlic. The strength of God, who can doubt? The strength of taste and smell are known facts. So they measured strength against strength without considering whether the one was appropriate to the other, any more than as if one were to ward off the strength of steel swords by the strength of the colour of one's armour. Modern science, by correct classification, has expounded the doctrine of the magical link. We no longer confuse the planes. We manipulate physical phenomena by physical means; mental by mental. We trace things to their true causes, and no longer seek to cut the Gordian knot of our ignorance by the sword of a postulated Pantheon.
Physiology leaves us in no doubt as to the power of our inherited talisman. And modern discoveries in psychology have made it clear enough that the sexual peculiarities of people are hieroglyphs, obscure yet not unintelligible, revealing their histories in the first place, in the second, their relations with environment in the present, and in the third, their possibilities with regard to the modification of the future.
In these supremely important verses of the Book of the Law, it becomes clear that Nuit (He means Aiwass, of course. Readers must never make the mistake of anthropomorphizing Nuit! Remember verse 27!) is aware of all these facts (It is silly to state that Nuit is “aware of all these facts”; Nuit IS all these facts! But “He must speak”.), and that she regards them as no less than the combination of the lock of the strong room of the future. “This (doctrine) shall regenerate the world, the little world, my sister”. The misunderstanding of sex, the ignorant fear like a fog, the ignorant lust like a miasma, these things have done more to keep back humanity from realization of itself, and from intelligent cooperation with its destiny, than any other dozen things put together. The vileness and falseness of religion itself have been monsters aborted from the dark womb of its infernal mystery.
There is nothing unclean or degrading in any manifestation soever of the sexual instinct, because, without exception, every act is an impulsively projected image of the Will of the individual who, whether man or woman, is a star; the Pennsylvanian with his pig no less than the Spirit with Mary; Sappho with Athis and Apollo with Hyacinth as perfect as Daphnis with Chloe or as Galahad vowed to the Graal. The one thing needful, the all-perfect means of purification, consecration, and sanctification, is independent of the physical and moral accidents circumstantial of the particular incident: is the realization of love as a sacrament. The use of the physical means as a Magical Operation, whose formula is that by uniting two opposites, by dissolving both, annihilating both, we create a third thing which transcends that opposition (that phase of duality which constitutes the consciousness of imperfection) and is perceived as the absolute negative whose apprehension is identical with that duality (of opposites that unite)–this is the accomplishment of the Great Work. (Not necessarily so; but always a step towards that accomplishment.)
The anacephalepsis of these considerations is this:
1. The accidents of any act of love, such as its protagonists and their peculiarities of expression on whatever plane, are totally immaterial to the magical import of the act. (He means that spiritual results independ of material codes of behaviour to which individuals of variant natures should be supposed to conform. A queer or a Lesbian, to put it bluntly, may arrive to spiritual perception through a homosexual act of love just as a heterosexual might, or just as might a man or woman in intercourse with an animal, or praying in church, provided they “inflame themselves” enough. Obviously, they would not inflame themselves through a mod us operandi unsympathetic to their natures. The rest of the paragraph clarifies this very difficult and vitally important point.) Each person is responsible to himself, being a star, to travel in his own orbit, composed of his own elements, to shine with his own light, with the colour proper to his own nature, to revolve and to rush with his own inherent motion, and to maintain his own relation with his own galaxy in its own place in the Universe. His existence is his sole and sufficient justification for his own matter and manner.
2. His only possible error is to withdraw himself from this consciousness of himself as both unique in himself and necessary to the norm of nature. (Please note that most people, being unaware of their true wills, shall constantly try to make him conform with their twisted and confused vision of things. This sad situation is changing gradually, thanks to the Magick of the Beast.)
To bring down this doctrine to a practical rule for every man or woman by which they may enjoy in perfection their sexual life and make it what it rightly is, the holiest part of the religious life, I say 'holiest' because it redeems even physical grossness to partake with spiritual saintship, the intention of the Book of the Law is perfectly simple. Whatever your sexual predilections maybe, you are free, by the Law of Thelema, to be the star you are, to go your own way rejoicing. It is not indicated here in the text, though it is elsewhere implied, that only one symptom warns you that you have mistaken your True Will, and that is, if you should imagine that in pursuing your way you interfere with that of another star. It may, therefore, be considered improper, as a general rule, for your sexual gratification to destroy, deform, or displease any other star. (By 'displease another star' is not meant to offend the prejudices of its personality! He or she who is doing his or her True Will knows when he or she really displeases another. As to destroy or deform: the influence of the 'Black Brothers' is towards this, they being insane, and their egos hostile to other Beings. You must learn to detect it. Also, you must not mistake the destruction of a person who is interfering with your True Will– such as a 'Black Brother'!–with the attempt to destroy–it can never be more than an attempt–or deform that person's Starry Nature. See Liber NV, verses 9-11. The key is that the influence of the 'Black Brothers' is turned against any personality that is expressing, or trying to express, its Starry Nature. Their diseased egos feel this, rightly, as an attack on their integrity. They fear love, because love will destroy–that is, change–them.) Mutual consent to the act is the condition thereof. It must, of course, be understood that such consent is not always explicit. There are cases when seduction or rape may be emancipation or initiation to another. Such acts can only be judged by their results. (If you have the least inner qualm against interfering when you see a man forcing his attentions on a woman, for instance–do not interfere.)
The most important condition of the act, humanly speaking, is that the attraction should be spontaneous and irresistable; a leaping up of the will to create with lyrical frenzy. This first condition once recognized, it should be surrounded with every circumstance of worship. Study and experience should furnish a technique of love. All science, all art, every elaboration should emphasize and adorn the expression of the enthusiasm. All strength and all skill should be summoned to fulfill the frenzy. And life itself should be flung with a spendthrift gesture on the counter of the Merchant of Madness. On the steel of your helmet let there be gold inlaid with the motto “Excess
The above indications are taken from a subsequent passage of the third chapter of this Book.
The supreme and absolute injunction, the crux of your knightly oath, is that you lay your lance in rest to the glory of your Lady, the Queen of the Stars, Nuit. Your knighthood depends upon your refusal to fight in any lesser cause. That is what distinguishes you from the brigand and the bully. You give your life on Her Altar. You make yourself worthy of Her by your readiness to fight at any time, in anyplace, with any weapon, and at any odds. For Her, from Whom you come, of Whom you are, to Whom you go, your life is no more and no less than one continuous sacrament. You have no word but Her praise, no thought but love of Her. You have only one cry, of inarticulate ecstasy, the intense spasm, possession of Her, and Death, to Her. You have no act but the priest's gesture that makes your body Hers. The wafer is the disk of the Sun, the star in Her body. Your blood is spilt from your heart with every beat of your pulse into her cup. It is the wine of Her life crushed from the grape of your sunripened vine. On this wine you are drunk. It washes your corpse that is as the fragment of the Host, broken by you, the Priest, into Her golden chalice. You, Knight and Priest of the Order of the Temple, saying Her mass, become God in Her, by love and death. This act of love, though in its form it be with a horse like Caligula, with a mob like Messalina, with a giant like Heliogabalus, with a pollard like Nero, with a monster like Baudelaire, though with de Sade it gloat on blood, with Sacher-Masoch crave for whips and furs, with Yvette Guilbert crave the glove, or dote on babes like E. T. Reed of “Punch”; whether one love oneself, disdaining every other like Narcissus, offer oneself loveless to every love like Catherine, or find the body so vain as to enclose one's lust in the soul and make one lifelong spinthria unassuaged in the imagination like Aubrey Beardsley, the means matter no whit. Bach takes one way, Keats one, Goya one. The end is everything: that by the act, whatever it is, one worships, loves, possesses, and becomes Nuit.
The act of love can no more “trammel up his consequence” than any other act. As long as you possess the talisman, it must be used from time to time, whether you will or no. If you injure the quality, or diminish the quantity, of that quintessence, you blaspheme yourself, and betray the trust reposed in you when you accepted the obligation of that austerely chivalrous Order called Manhood. The powers of the talisman are irresistible like every other natural force. Every time they are used, a child must be begotten. This child must be in your own image, a symbol of your nature, an expression of your true subconscious Will.
It is, of course, only once in many times that the conditions allow of the production of a human child. What happens when (either by chance or by design) that obvious effect is prevented? The materialist may imagine that with the destruction of the complex it becomes harmless, its potentialities aborted, just as the violence of sulphuric acid comes to naught if it be neutralized by caustic soda. But he is a very poor materialist if he says so. The full possibilities of the acid must be accounted for in one way or another. If it does not dissolve a metal, it may carbonize a sugar, generate a gas, give off heat, or in one way or another fulfill absolutely every possibility which it inherited from the forces that went to make it. It is manifestly a contradiction of the laws of the Conservation of matter and energy, that a substance should lose by being transformed. It is contrary to Nature that a man, with potentialities which can transform the face of the earth, should become nothing but inert carrion when he happens to die. Everything that he was must inevitably persist; and if the manifestation be not to one set of senses, why then, to another! The idea of creation from nothing of something and the destruction of something to nothing, exploded with the theory of Phlogiston.
It stands plain, even to sceptical reason–indeed, most of all to the sceptic–that our talisman, one microscopic serpent of which can build for itself such a house as to rule men's bodies for a generation like Alexander, or their minds for an epoch like Plato, cannot be destroyed or diminished by any conceivable force.
When this talisman comes forth from its fortress, its action begins. The ancient Jewish Rabbins knew this, and taught that before Eve was given to Adam the demon Lilith conceived by the spilth of his dreams, so that the hybrid race of satyrs, elves and the like began to populate the secret places of the earth which are not sensible by the organs of the normal man.
I take it as certain that every offering of this talisman infallibly begets children on one plane or another of this our cosmos, whose matter is so varied in kind. Such a child must partake of its father's nature; and its character will be determined, partly by the environment in which it is bred to manifestation, lives, and ultimately changes in what we call death, and partly by the inmost will of the father, perhaps modified to some extent by his conscious will at the time of his slipping the leash.
This being so, it becomes tremendously important to a man that he should become conscious of his true inmost Will, of his essential nature. This is the Great Work whose attainment constitutes adeptship, provided that the consciousness recognizes that its own dependence on circumstance makes it no more than a troubled image in foul water of the sun which is that Silent Self. If such a man wants to develop his powers, he must use this tremendous talisman to create in his own image.
Although this talisman has such miraculous might, it is also intensely sensitive. Put in an unsuitable environment, it may produce grotesque or malignant perversions of its father's Word. We are all aware that fine children are born of healthy mothers who are true and worthy mates of their husbands. The children of hate, of debauch, of sickness, nearly always bear witness in body and mind to the abuse of the talisman. (Readers must not interpret 'debauch' in terms of standards of 'morality'. The term is used in the Initiatic sense. Some seemingly casual couplings are holy; some lifelong 'marriages' are debauch of body and soul. Love must be under will.) Not only the sins of the father but those of the mother, yes, more, those of their social surroundings, are visited on the children to the third and fourth generation. Nay, more, the mischief can never be mended. A man can destroy in a minute his kingdom, inherited from unnumbered dynasties of biological prudence.
It will also be admitted, without reference to Magick, that the abuse of the talisman leads to moral, mental and spiritual misfortune. Crime and insanity, as well as disease and debility, are constantly seen as the direct result of mismanaging the sexual life, either tactically, strategically, or both.
The Book of the Law emphasizes the importance of these considerations. The act of love must be spontaneous, in absolute freedom. The man must be true to himself. Romeo must not be thrust on Rosaline for family, social, or financial reasons. Desdemona must not be barred from Othello for reasons of race or religion. The homosexual must not blaspheme his nature and commit spiritual suicide by suppressing love or attempting to pervert it, as ignorance and fear, shame and weakness, so often induce him to do. Whatever the act which expresses the soul, that act and no other is right.
But, on the other hand, whatever the act may be it is always a sacrament; and, however profaned, it is always efficient. To profane it is only to turn food into poison. The act must be pure and passionate. It must be held as the union with God in the heart of the Holy of Holies. One must never forget that a child will be born of that deed. One must choose the environment appropriate to the particular child which one wills to create. One must make sure that the conscious will is written, on the pure waters of a mind unstirred, in letters of fire, by the Sun of the Soul. One must not create confusion in the talisman, which belongs to the Silent Self, by letting the speaking self deny the purpose which produced it. If one's true Will, the reason of one's incarnation, be to bring peace on earth, one must not perform an act of love with motives of jealousy or emulation.
One must fortify one's body to the utmost, and protect it from every disaster, so that the substance of the talisman may be as perfect as possible. One must calm the mind, increasing its knowledge, organizing its powers, resolving its tangles, so that it may truly apprehend the Silent Self, judge partial pleas and unbalanced opinions, while supporting the concentration of the Will by its fortified frontiers, and, with unanimous enthusiasm, acclaiming the Lordship of the thought which expresses the act. The Will must seal itself upon the substance of the talisman. It must be, in alchemical language, the Sulphur which fixes the Mercury which determines the nature of the Salt. The whole man, from his inmost Godhead to the tip of his tiniest eyelash, must be one engine, cumbered with nothing useless, nothing inharmonious; a thunderbolt from the hand of Jove. It must give its elf utterly in the one act of love. It must cease to know itself as anything but the Will. It must not have the will; it must transform itself completely to be the Will.
Last of all, the act must be supreme. It must do and it must die. From that death it must rise again, purged of that Will, having accomplished it so perfectly that nothing is left thereof in its elements. It must have emptied itself into the vehicle. So shall the child be whole of spirit.
But this is not enough. The ground in which the seed is cast must be suitable for its reception. The climate must be favorable, the soil must be prepared, and the enemies of the young child that seek its life must be driven beyond range of malice. These points are obvious enough, if applied to the ordinary affair of breeding children. One needs the right woman, and the right conditions for her. It applies even more closely to other acts, for woman is protected by generations of biological adaptation, whereas spiritual children are more easily diseased and deformed, being of subtler and more sensitive matter. So infinitely varied are the possibilities of creation that each adept must work out each problem for himself as best he can. There are magical methods of making a link between the force generated and the matter on which it is desired to act; but these are, for the most part, best communicated by private instruction and developed by personal practice. The crude description is a bare framework, and (even so) more often misleads than not.
But the general rule is to arrange all the conditions beforehand with intent to facilitate the manifestation of the thing willed, and to prevent the dangers of abortion by eliminating discordant elements.
For instance: a man seeking to regain health should assist his Magical Will by taking all possible hygienic and medical measures proper to amend his malady. A man wishing to develop his genius as a sculptor will devote himself to study and training, will surround himself with beautiful forms, and, if possible, live in a place where nature herself testifies to the touch of the thumb of the Great Architect.
He will choose the object of his passion at the nod of his Silent Self. He will not allow the prejudice, either of sense, emotion, or rational judgement, to obscure the Sun of his Soul. In the first place, mutual magnetism, despite the masks of mind, should be unmistakable. Unless it exists, a puissant purity of passion, there is no Magical basis for the Sacrament. Yet, such magnetism is only the first condition. Where two people become intimate, each crisis of satisfaction between the terminals leaves them in a proximity which demands mutual observation; and the intense clarity of the mind which results from the discharge of the electric force makes such observation abnormally critical. The higher the type of mind, the more certain this is, and the greater the danger of finding some antipathetic trifle which experience tells us will one day be the one thing left to observe; just as a wart on the nose is remembered when the rest of the face is forgotten.
The object of Love must therefore be one with the lover in something more than the Will to unite magnetically; it must be in passionate partnership with the Will of which the Will-to-love is only the Magical symbol. Perhaps no two wills can be identical, but at least they can be so sympathetic that the manifestations are not likely to clash. It is not enough to have a partner of the passive type who bleats “Thy will be done”–that ends in contempt, boredom and distrust. One wants a passion that can blend with one's own. Where this is the case, it does not matter so much whether the mental expression is syndromic; it is, indeed, better when two entirely different worlds of thought and experience have led to sister conclusions. But it is essential that the habit of mind should be sympathetic, that the machinery should be constructed on similar principles. The psychology of the one should be intelligible to the other.
Social position and physical appearance and habits are of far less importance, specially in a society which has accepted the Law of Thelema. Tolerance itself produces suavity, and suavity soon relieves the strain on tolerance. In any case, most people, especially women, adapt themselves adroitly enough to their environment. I say “Especially women,” for women are nearly always conscious of an important part of their true Will; the bearing of children. To them nothing else is serious in comparison, and they dismiss questions which do not bear on this as trifles, adopting the habits required of them in the interest of the domestic harmony which they recognize as a condition favourable to reproduction.
I have outlined ideal conditions. Rarely indeed can we realize even a third of our possibilities. Our Magical engine is mighty indeed when its efficiency reaches 50% of its theoretical horsepower. But the enormous majority of mankind have no idea whatever of taking Love as a sacred and serious thing, of using the eye of the microscopist, or the heart and brain of the artist. Their ignorance and their shame have made Love a carcass of pestilence; and Love has avenged the outrage by crushing their lives when they pull down the temple upon them.
The chance of finding a suitable object of Love has been reduced well nigh to zero by substituting for the actual conditions, as stated in the above paragraphs, a totally artificial and irrelevant series; the restrictions on the act itself, marriage, opinion, the conspiracy of silence, criminal laws,financial fetters, selections limited by questions of race, nationality, caste, religion, social and political cliqueishness, even family exclusiveness. Out of the millions of humanity the average person is lucky if he can take his pick of a couple of score of partners.
I will here add one further pillar to my temple. It happens only too often that two people, absolutely fitted in every way to love each other, are totally debarred from expressing themselves by sheer ignorance of the technique of the act. What Nature declares as the climax of the Mass, the manifestation of God in the flesh, when the flesh is begotten, is so gross, clumsy and brutal that it disappoints and disgusts. They are horribly conscious that something is wrong. They do not know how to amend it. They are ashamed to discuss it. They have neither the experience to guide nor the imagination to experiment. Countless thousands of delicate-minded lovers turn against Love and blaspheme Him. Countless millions, not quite so fixed in refinement, accept the fact, acquiesce in the foulness, till Love is degraded to guilty grovelling. They are dragged in the dirt of the nightcart which ought to have been their “chariot of fire and the horses thereof'.
This whole trouble comes from humanity's horror of Love. For the last hundred years, every first-rate writer on morals has sent forth his lightning and thunders, hailstones and coals of fire, to burn up Gomorrah and Sodom where Love is either shameful and secret, or daubed with dung of sentiment in order that the swinish citizens may recognize their ideal therein. We do not tell the artist that his art is so sacred, so disgusting, so splendid and so disgraceful that he must not on any account learn the use of the tools of his trade, and study in school how to see with the eye, and record what he sees with his hand. We do not tell the man who would heal disease that he must not know his subject, from Anatomy to Pathology; or bid him undertake to remove an appendix from a valued Archbishop the first time he takes his scalpel in hand.
But love is an art no less than Rembrandt's, a science no less than Lister's. The mind must make the heart articulate, and the body the temple of the soul. The animal instinct in man is the twin of the ape's or the bull's. Yet this is the one thing lawful in the code of the bourgeois. He is right to consider the act, as he knows it, degrading. It is, indeed for him, an act ridiculous, obscene, gross, beastly; a wallowing unworthy either of the dignity of man or of the majesty of the God within him. So is the guzzling and the swilling of the savage as he crams his enemy's raw liver into his mouth, or tilts the bottle of trade gin, and gulps. Because his meal is loathly, must we insist that any methods but his are criminal? How did we come to Laperouse and Nighol from the cannibal's cauldron unless by critical care and vigorous research?
The act of Love, to the bourgeois, is a physical relief like defaecation, and a moral relief from the strain of the drill of decency; a joyous relapse into the brute he has to pretend he despises. It is a drunkenness which drugs his shame of himself, yet leaves him deeper in disgust. It is an unclean gesture, hideous and grotesque. It is not his own act, but forced on him by a giant who holds him helpless; he is half madman, half automaton when he performs it. It is a gawky stumbling across a black foul bog, oozing a thousand dangers. It threatens him with death, disease, disasterin all manner of forms. He pays the coward's price of fear and loathing when pedlar Sex holds out his Rat-Poison in the lead-paper wrapping he takes for silver; he pays again with vomiting and with colic when he has gulped it in his greed.
All this he knows, only too well; he is right, by his own lights, to loathe and fear the act, to hide it from his eyes, to swear he knows it not. With tawdry rags of sentiment, sacksful of greasy clouts, he swathes the corpse of Love, and, smirking, sputters that Love had never a naked limb; then, as the brute in him stirs sleepily, he plasters Love with mire, and leering grunts that Love was never a God in the Temple Man, but a toothsome lump of carrion in the corner of his own stye.
But we of Thelema, like the artist, the true lover of Love, shameless and fearless, seeing God face to face alike in our own souls and in all Nature without, though we use, as the bourgeois does, the word Love, we hold not the word “too often profaned for us to profane it”; it burns inviolate in its sanctuary, being reborn immaculate with every breath of life. But by 'Love' we mean a thing which the eye of the bourgeois has not seen, nor his ear heard; neither hath his heart conceived it. We have accepted Love as the meaning of Change, Change being the Life of all Matter soever in the Universe. And we have accepted Love as the mode of Motion of the Will to Change. To us every act, as implying Change, is an act of Love. Life is a dance of delight, its rhythm an infinite rapture that never can weary or stale. Our personal pleasure in it is derived not only from our own part in it, but from our conscious apprehension of its total perfections. We study its structure, we expand ourselves as we lose ourselves in understanding it, and so becoming one with it. With the Egyptian initiate we exclaim “There is no part of us that is not of the Gods”; and add the antistrophe: “There is no part of the Gods that is not also of us.”
Therefore, the Love that is Law is no less Love in the petty personal sense; for Love that makes two One is the engine whereby even the final Two, Self and Not-Self, may become One, in the mystic marriage of the Bride, the Soul, with him appointed from eternity to espouse her; yes, even the Most High, God All-in-All, the Truth.
Therefore we hold Love holy, our heart's religion, our mind's science. Shall He not have His ordered Rite, His priests and poets, His makers of beauty in colour and form to adorn Him, His makers of music to praise Him? Shall not His theologians, divining His nature, declare Him? Shall not even those who but sweep the courts of His temple, partake thereby of His person? And shall not our science lay hands on Him, measure Him, discover the depths, calculate the heights, and decipher the laws of His nature?
Also: to us of Thelema, thus having trained our hearts and minds to be expert engineers of the sky-cleaver Love, the ship to soar to the Sun, to us the act of Love is the consecration of the body to Love. We burn the body on the altar of Love, that even the brute may serve the Will of the Soul. We must then study the art of Bodily Love. We must not balk or bungle. We must be cool and competent as surgeons; brain, eye and hand the perfectly trained instruments of Will.
We must study the subject openly and impersonally, we must read text-books, listen to lectures, watch demonstrations, earn our diplomas ere we enter practice.
We do not mean what the bourgeois means when we say “The act of love.” To us it is not the gross gesture of a man in a seizure, a snorting struggle, a senseless spasm, and a sudden revulsion of shame, as it is to him.
We have an art of expression; we are trained to interpret the soul and the spirit in terms of the body. We do not deny the existence of the body, or despise it; but we refuse to regard it in any other light than this: it is the organ of the Self. It must nevertheless be ordered according to its own laws; those of the mental or moral Self do not apply to it. We love; that is, we will to unite: then the one must study the other, divine every butterfly thought as it flits, and offer the flower it most fancies. The vocabulary of Love is small, and its terms are hackneyed; to seek new words and phrases is to be affected, stilted. It chills.
But the language of the body is never exhausted; one may talk for an hour by means of an eye-lash. There are intimate, delicate things, shadows of the leaves of the Tree of the Soul that dance in the breeze of Love, so subtle that neither Keats nor Heine in words, neither Brahms nor Debussy in music, could give them body. It is the agony of every artist, the greater he the more fierce his despair, that he cannot compass expression. And what they cannot do, not once in a life of ardour, is done in all fulness by the body that, loving, hath learnt the lesson of how to love.
Addendum: More generally, any act soever may be used to attain any end soever by the magician who knows how to make the necessary links.
53. This shall regenerate the world, the little world my sister, my heart & my tongue, unto whom I send this kiss. Also, o scribe and prophet, though thou be of the princes, it shall not assuage thee nor