The Commentaries of AL Chapter II
Being the core of the Equinox Vol. V no. 1
1. Nu! the hiding of Hadit.
We see again set forth the complementary character of Nuit and Hadit. Nu conceals Had because He is Everywhere in the Infinite, and She manifests Him for the same reason. (See verse 3.) Every Individual manifests the Whole; and the Whole conceals every Individual. The Soul interprets the Universe; and the Universe veils the Soul. Nature understands Herself by becoming self-conscious in Her units; and the Consciousness loses its sense of separateness by dissolution in Her.
There has been much difficulty in the orthography (in sacred languages) of these names. Nu is clearly stated to be 56, NV; but Had is only hinted obscurely. This matter is discussed later more fully; verses 15 and 16.
2. Come! all ye, and learn the secret that hath not yet been revealed. I, Hadit, am the complement of Nu, my bride. I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.
Khabs — 'a star' — is an unit of Nuit, and therefore Nuit Herself. This doctrine is enormously difficult of apprehension, even after these many years of study.
Hadit is the “core of every star”, (verse 6). He is thus the Impersonal Identity within the Individuality of “every man and every woman”.
He is “not extended”; that is, without condition of any sort in the metaphysical sense. Only in the highest trances can the nature of these truths be realized. It is indeed a suprarational experience not dissimilar to those characteristic of the “Star-Sponge” Vision previously described that can help us here. The trouble is that the truth itself is unfitted to the dualistic reason of 'normal' mankind. Hadit seems to be the principle of Motion which is everywhere, yet is not extended in any dimension except as it chances to combine with the 'Matter' which is Nuit. There can evidently be no manifestation apart from this conjunction. A “Khabs” or Star is apparently any nucleus where this conjunction has taken place. The real philosophical difficulty about this cosmogony is not concerned with any particular equation, or even with the Original Equation. We can understand x=ab, x=a,b,&c; and, also, 0°=pa qb, whether pa-qb=O or not. But we ask how the homogeneity of both Nuit and Hadit can ever lead to even the illusion of 'difference'. The answer appears to be that this difference appears naturally with the self-realization of Nuit as the totality of possibilities; each of these, singly and in combination, is satisfied or set in motion by Hadit, to compose a particular manifestation. 0° could possess no signification at all, unless there were diverse dimensions wherein it had no extension. 'Nothing' means nothing save from the point of view of 'Two', just as 'Two' is monstrous unless it is seen as a mode of 'Nothing'.
The above explanation appears somewhat disingenuous, since there is no means whatever of distinguishing any Union H x N = R from another. We must postulate a further stage.
R (Ra-Hoor-Khuit), Kether, Unity, is always itself; but we may suppose that a number of such homogeneous positive manifestations may form groups differing from each other as to size and structure so as to create the illusion of diversity.
3. In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.
This is again interesting as throwing light on the thesis: “Every man and every woman is a star.” There is no place soever that is not a Centre of Light.
This Truth is to be realized by direct perception, not merely by intellection. It is axiomatic; it cannot be demonstrated. It is to be assimilated by experience of the Vision of the “Star-Sponge”.
4. Yet she shall be known & I never.
See later, verse 13, “Thou (i.e., the Beast, who is here the Mask, or 'persona', of Hadit) wast the knower”. Hadit possesses the power to know, Nuit that of being known. Nuit is not unconnected with the idea of Nibbana, the 'Shoreless Sea' in which Knowledge is Not.
Hadit is hidden in Nuit, and knows Her, She being an object of knowledge; but He is not knowable, for He is merely that part of Her which She formulates in order that She may be known.
5. Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.
The “old time” is the Aeon of the Dying God. Some of its rituals are founded on an utterly false metaphysics and cosmogony; but others are based on Truth. We end those, and mend these.
This “Knowledge” is the initiated Wisdom of this Aeon of Horus.
See Book 4, Part III, for an account of the new principles of Magick.
Note that Knowledge is Daath, Child of Chokhmah by Binah, and crown of Microprosopus; yet he is not one of the Sephiroth, and his place is in the Abyss. By this symbolism we draw attention to the fact that Knowledge is by nature impossible; for it implies Duality, and is therefore relative. Any proposition of Knowledge may be written 'ARB': 'A has the relation R to B'. Now if A and B are identical, the proposition conveys no knowledge at all. If A is not identical with B, ARB implies 'A is identical with BC'; this assumes that not less than three distinct ideas exist. In every case, we must proceed either to the identity which means ultimately 'Nothing', or to divergent diversities which only seem to mean something so long as we refrain from pushing the analysis of any term to its logical elements. For example, 'sugar is sugar' is obviously not knowledge. But no more is this: “Sugar is a sweet crystalline carbohydrate.” For each of these four terms describes a sensory impression on ourselves; and we define our impressions only in terms of such things as sugar. Thus 'sweet' means 'the quality ascribed by our taste to honey, sugar, etc.'; 'white' is 'what champaks, zinc oxide, sugar, etc., report to our eyesight'; and so on. The proposition is ultimately an identity, for all our attempts to evade the issue by creating complications. 'Knowledge' is therefore not a 'thing-in-itself'; it is rightly denied a place upon the Tree of Life; it pertains to the Abyss.
Besides the above considerations, it may be observed that Knowledge, so far as it exists at all, even as a statement of relation, is no more than a momentary phenomenon of consciousness. It is annihilated in the instant of its creation. For no sooner do we assent to ARB than ARB is absorbed in our conception of A. After the nine- days' wonder of 'The earth revolves around the sun', we modify our former ideas of Earth. 'Earth' is intuitively classed with other solar satellites. The proposition vanishes automatically as it is assimilated. Knowledge, while it exists as such, is consequently sub judice, at the best.
What then may we understand by this verse, with its capital K for 'Knowledge'? What is it, and how shall it “go aright”? The key is in the word “go”. It cannot 'be', as we have seen above; it is the fundamental error of the 'Black Brothers' in their policy of resisting all Change, to try to maintain it as fixed and absolute. But (as the Tree of Life indicates) Knowledge is the means by which the conscious mind, Microprosopus, reaches to Understanding and to Wisdom, its mother and father, which reflect respectively Nuit and Hadit from the Ain and Kether. The process is to use each new item of knowledge to correct and increase one's comprehension of the Subject of the Proposition. Thus ARB should tell us: A is (not A, as we supposed) but A. This facilitates the discovery ARC leading to A is A2 and so on. In practice, every thing that we learn about (e.g.) 'horse' helps us to understand — to enjoy — the idea. The difference between the scholar and the schoolboy is that the former glows and exults when he is reminded of some word like 'Thalassa'. Ourselves: What a pageant of passion empurples our minds whenever we think of the number 93! Most of all, each new thing that we know about ourselves helps us to realize what we mean by our “Star”.
Now, “the rituals of the old time” are no longer valid vehicles; Knowledge cannot “go aright” until they are adapted to the Formula of the New Aeon. Their defects are due principally to two radical errors. (1): The Universe was conceived as possessing a fixed centre, or summit; an absolute standard to which all things might be referred; an Unity, or God. (Mystics were angry and bewildered, often enough, when attaining to 'union with God' they found him equally in all.) This led to making a difference between one thing and another, and so to the ideas of superiority, of sin, etc., ending in absurdities of all kinds, alike in theology, ethics, and science. (2): The absolute antithesis between the pairs of opposites. This is really a corollary of (1). There was an imaginary 'absolute evil' which made Manichaeism necessary—despite the cloaks of the Casuists—and meant 'That which leads one away from God'. But each man, while postulating an absolute 'God', defined Him unconsciously in terms of Freudian Phantasm created by his own wish-fulfilment machinery. Thus 'Good' and 'Evil' were really expressions of personal prejudice. A man who 'bowed humbly to the Authority of' the Pope, or the Bible, or the Sanhedrim, or the Oracle of Apollo, or the tribal Medicine- Man, none the less expressed truly his own Wish to abdicate responsibility. In the light of this Book, we now know that the centre is everywhere, the circumference nowhere; that “Every man and every woman is a star”, a 'Khabs' the name of the house of Hadit; that “The word of Sin is Restriction”. To us, then, 'evil' is a relative term; it is 'that which hinders one from fulfilling his true Will.' (E.g., rain is 'good' or 'bad' for the farmer according to the requirements of his crops.)
The Osirian Rituals inculcating self-sacrifice to an abstract idea, mutilation to appease an ex cathedra morality, fidelity to a priori formulae, etc., teach false and futile methods of acquiring false knowledge; they must be 'cast away' or 'purged'. The Schools of Initiation must be reformed.
This is being done despite the howling and gnashing of teeth, and will go on until the whole mess is cleaned up.
6. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.
It follows that, as Hadit can never be known, there is no death. (Except in the Initiatic sense —and very much so in this sense, dear 'Black Brethren'!) The death of the individual is his awakening to the impersonal immortality of Hadit. This applies less to physical death than to the Crossing of the Abyss; for which see Liber 418, Fourteenth Aethyr. One may attain to be aware that one is but a particular 'child' of the Play of Hadit and Nuit; one's personality is then perceived as being a disguise. It is not only not a living thing, as one had thought; but a mere symbol without substance, incapable of life. It is the conventional form of a certain cluster of thoughts, themselves the partial and hieroglyphic symbols of an 'ego'. The conscious and sensible 'man' is to his Self just what the printed letters on this page are to me who have caused them to manifest in colour and form. They are arbitrary devices for conveying my thought; I could use French or Greek just as well. Nor is this thought, here conveyed, more than one ray of my Orb; and even that whole Orb is but the garment of Me. The analogy is precise; therefore when one becomes 'the knower' it involves the 'death' of all sense of the Ego. One perceives one's personality precisely as I now do these printed letters; and they are forgotten, just as, absorbed in my thought, the trained automatism of my mind and body expresses that thought in writing, without attention on my part, still less with identification of the extremes involved in the process.
7. I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.
“It is I that go.” Liber Aleph must be consulted for a full demonstration of this truth. We may here say briefly that Hadit is Motion, that is, Change or 'Love'. The symbol of Godhead in Egypt was the Ankh, which is a sandal-strap, implying the Power to Go; and it suggests the Rosy Cross, the Fulfilment of Love, by its shape.
The Wheel and the Circle are evidently symbols of Nuit; this sentence insists upon the conception of Lingam-Yoni. But beyond the obvious relation, we observe two geometrical definitions. The axle is a cylinder set perpendicularly to the plane of the wheel; thus Hadit supplies the third dimension to Nuit. It suggests that Matter is to be conceived as Two-Dimensional; that is, perhaps, as possessed of two qualities, extension and potentiality. To these Hadit brings motion and position. The wheel moves; manifestation now is possible. Its perception implies three-dimensional space, and time. But note that the Mover is himself not moved. The 'cube in the circle' emphasizes this question of dimension. The cube is rectilinear (therefore phallic no less than the axle); its unity suggests perfection projected as a 'solid' for human perception; its square faces affirm balance, equity, and limitation; its six-sidedness sets it among the solar symbols. It is thus like the Sun in the Zodiac, which is no more than the field for His fulfilment in His going. He, by virtue of his successive relation with each degree of the circle, clothes Himself with an appearance of 'Matter in Motion', although absolute motion through space is a meaningless expression (Eddington, Space, Time and Gravitation). None the less, every point in the cube—there are 2 of them — has an unique relation with every point in the circle exactly balanced against an equal and opposite relation. We have thus Matter that both is and is not, Motion that both moves and moves not, interacting in a variety of ways which is infinite to manifest individuals, each of which is unlike any other, yet is symmetrically supported by its counterpart. Note that even at the centre of gravity of the cube no two rays are identical except in mere length. They differ as to their point of contact with the circle, their right ascension, and their relation with the other points of the cube.
Why is Nuit restricted to two dimensions? We usually think of space as a sphere. “None—and two”; extension and potentiality are Her only projections of Naught. It is strange, by the way, to find that modern mathematics says “Spherical space is not very easy to imagine” (Eddington, Op. cit., p. 158) and prefers to attribute a geometrical form whose resemblance to the Kteis is most striking. For Nuit is, philosophically speaking, the archetype of the Kteis, giving appropriate Form to all Being, and offering every possibility of fulfilment to every several point that it envelops. But Nuit cannot be symbolized as three-dimensional, in our system; each unit has position by three spatial, and one temporal, coordinates. It cannot exist, in our consciousness, with less as a reality. Each 'individual' must be a 'point-interval'; he must be the product of some part of the Matter of Nuit (with special possibilities) and of the Motion of Hadit (with special energies) determined in space by his relations with his neighbours, and in time by his relations with himself.
It is evidently “a foolish word” for Hadit to say “Come unto me”, as did Nuit naturally enough, meaning “Fulfil thy possibilities”; for who can 'come unto' Motion itself, who draw near unto that which is in very truth his innermost identity?
Some technical aspects of this verse had better be pointed out. “I am the Magician and the Exorcist”: in any 'War', He is both sides. Whichever wins, if the victor wins by True Will, (we except here such 'Wars' as are caused by two people interfering with each other, both ignorant of their True Will) wins by Universal Necessity. Hadit, therefore, does not 'know' 'the fallen' Hadit knows only 'success; meaning: the acting out of the True Law of one's being. In order for Had it to manifest Himself in the 'knower; that is, in the Ruach, it is necessary that the Ruach be attuned to the Higher Triad —in which case 'failure; 'fear' and 'sorrow' become impossible. These things exist in terms of relations, but not as 'Absolutes'
“Come unto me” is a 'foolish word'—see our Commentary to AL I, 11—is a direct condemnation of 'Black Brotherhood', that is ,Imperfect Initiation. The 'Black Brother' opens his arms to his fellow men and cries out, “Come unto me, ye who suffer, and be consoled!” He does this by the unbalance of his Ego. He has received a sufficient influx of Magick Force to 'feel good; and his spiritual pride infuses him with pity for his fellow beings, particularly his own species. He wants to console' them. In point of fact, however, he will enslave them, for he is unable to see their true nature at all. If he could see it, he would understand what Hadit means by stating categorically: “it is I that go.”
Try to remember that your neighbour does not need your pity. He may, at the most, need your respect. Because if you respect him, you stop meddling in his affairs!
8. Who worshipped Heru-pa-kraath have worshipped me; ill, for I am the worshipper.
Again Hadit (Aiwass speaking for Him, of course!) lays down the Law in no uncertain manner. He is Heru-pa-kraath, and who worships Him is doing ill, not only to himself or herself, but to mankind as a whole. “I am the worshipper”.
Harpocrates is also the Dwarf-Soul the Secret Self of every man, the Serpent with the Lion's Head. Now, Hadit knows Nuit by virtue of his 'Going' or 'Love'. It is therefore wrong to worship Hadit; one is to be Hadit, and worship Her. This is clear even from His instruction “To worship me” in verse 22 of this chapter. Confer Cap. I, verse 9. We are exhorted to offer ourselves unto Nuit, pilgrims to all her temples. It is bad Magick to admit that one is other than One's inmost self. One should plunge passionately into every possible experience; by doing so, one is purged of those personal prejudices which we took so stupidly for ourselves, though they prevented us from realizing our true Wills and from knowing our Names and Natures. The Aspirant must well understand that it is no paradox to say that the Annihilation of the Ego in the Abyss is the condition of emancipating the true Self, and exalting it to unimaginable heights. So long as one remains one's self' one is overwhelmed by the Universe; destroy the sense of self, and every event is equally an expression of one's Will, since its occurrence is the resultant of the concourse of the forces which one recognizes as one s own.
9. Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.
This verse is very thoroughly explained in Liber Aleph. “All in this kind are but shadows,” says Shakespeare, referring to actors. The Universe is a Puppet-Play for the amusement of Nuit and Hadit in their Nuptials; a very Midsummer Night's Dream. So then we laugh at the mock woes of Pyramus and Thisbe, the clumsy gambols of Bottom; for we understand the Truth of Things, how all is a Dance of Ecstasy. “Were the world understood, Ye would know it was good, A dance to a lyrical measure!” The nature of events must be 'pure joy'; for, obviously, whatever occurs is the fulfilment of the Will of its master. (This is true even when what occurs is apparently the result of a Diseased Will at work, as a 'Black Brother' . For the 'Black Brother' bows his neck to Choronzon. See Liber Aleph, Ch. 166) Sorrow thus appears as the result of any unsuccessful — therefore, ill-judged — struggle. Acquiescence in the order of Nature is the ultimate Wisdom.
One must understand the Universe perfectly, and be utterly indifferent to its pressure. These are the virtues which constitute a Master of the Temple. Yet each man must act what he will; for he is energized by his own nature. So long as he works “without lust of result” and does his duty for its own sake, he will know that “the sorrows are but shadows”. And he himself is “that which remains”; for he can no more be destroyed, or his true Will be thwarted, than Matter diminish or Energy disappear. He is a necessary Unit of the Universe, equal and opposite to the sum total of all the others; and his Will is similarly the final factor which completes the equilibrium of the dynamical equation. He cannot fail if he would; thus, his sorrows are but shadows—he could not see them if he kept his gaze fixed on his goal, the Sun.
The above is neither 'philosophy' nor 'consolation'; it is a fact; but the assimilation of this fact is the result of a Trance, or rather, a succession of Trances. See Liber Aleph, Chapters 7-3 1, 36-3 7, 46, 53, 57.
It must be stressed once more that Hadit does not “know” people who are not yet conscious of, and doing their. True Wills, and that such people are included in the category of 'shadows' The sensation of “That was a narrow escape!” that Initiates have at the moment of death comes from the Ruach's intuitive perception that “this time” it almost, just not quite, severed its connection with the Higher Triad. The danger of any incarnation is this. And perhaps one of its attractions? . .. See LXV, ii, vv. 3-6; iii, vv. 30-33; iv, vv. 18-2 1, 42- 47; v, vv. 8-10.
10. 0 prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing.
As related in Book Four, Part IV, and Equinox I, vii, I was at the time of this revelation a rationalistic Buddhist, very convinced of the First Noble Truth: “Everything is Sorrow.” I supposed this point of view to be an absolute and final truth — as if Apemantus were the only character in Shakespeare!
It is also explained in that place how I was prepared for this Work by that period of Dryness. If I had been in sympathy with it, my personality would have interfered. I should have tried to better my instructions.
See, in Liber 418, the series of visions by which I actually transcended Sorrow. But the considerations set forth in the comment on verse 9 lead to a simpler, purer, and more perfect attainment for those who can assimilate them in the subconscious mind by the process described in the comment on verse 6.
It may encourage certain types of aspirant if I emphasize my personal position. AIWAZ made no mistake when he spoke this verse — and the triumphant contempt of his tone still rings in my ear! After seventeen years of unparalleled spiritual progress, of unimaginably intense ecstasies, of beatitudes prolonged for whole months, of initiations indescribably exalted, of proof piled on proof of His power, His vigilance, His love, after being protected and energized with incredible aptness, I find myself still only too ready to grumble, nay, even to doubt. It seems as if I resented the whole business. There are times when I feel that the amoeba, the bourgeois, and the cow represent the ABC of enviable creatures. There may be a melancholy strain in me, as one might expect in a case of renal weakness such as mine.
In any event, it is surely a most overwhelming proof that AIWAZ is not myself, but my master, that He could force me to write verse 9, at a time when I was both intellectually and spiritually disgusted with, and despairing of, the Universe, as well as physically alarmed about my health.
11. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger.
This compulsion was that of true inspiration. It was the Karma of countless incarnations of struggle towards the light. There is a sharp revulsion, physical and mental, toward any initiation, like that towards death.
The above paragraph states only a part of the truth. I am not sure that it is not an attempt to explain away the verse, which humiliates me. I remember clearly enough the impulse to refuse to go on, and the fierce resentment at the refusal of my muscles to obey me. Reflect that I was being compelled to make an abject recantation of practically every article of my creed, and I had not even Cranmer's excuse. I was proud of my personal prowess as a poet, hunter, and mountaineer of admittedly dauntless virility; yet I was being treated like a hypnotized imbecile, only worse, for I was perfectly aware of what I was doing.
12. Because of me in Thee which thou knewest not.
The use of capitals “Me” and “Thee” emphasizes that Hadit was wholly manifested in The Beast. (On the contrary. As readers will notice, “Me” is not in capitals in the text, only “Thee” It is not Hadit, but Aiwass, who is speaking. He is saying that he was manifested in the Higher Triad of Crowley, and that Crowley's Ruach —the lower “I” — was not conscious of this. Aiwass, being an Ipsissimus, is manifested in any Higher Triad; also, not being a 'Black Brother; He knows that He can manifest himself in another's Higher Triad only as part of that Higher Triad's consciousness. The Centre of any Higher Triad's consciousness is Its Point-of-View — Hadit. And Hadit “is alone”. There is no God where He is. This very difficult point remains obscure without Initiatic Experience, but 666 had enough even at the time of writing this Commentary to explain the situation more clearly. That He fails to do so is proof of how much his conscious Ego —Aleister Crowley — was upset still by the experience.) It is to be remembered that The Beast had agreed to follow the instructions communicated to Him (Through his wife Rose.) only in order to show that 'nothing would happen if you broke all the rules.' Poor fool! The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.
Aiwaz here explains that his power over me depended upon the fact that Hadit is verily “the core of every star”. As is well known, there is a limit to the power of the hypnotist; he cannot overcome the resistance of the Unconscious of his patient. My own Unconscious was thus in alliance with Aiwaz; taken between two fires, my conscious self was paralyzed so long as the pressure lasted. It will be seen later—verses 61 to 69— that my consciousness was ultimately invaded by the Secret Self, and surrendered unconditionally, so that it proclaimed, loudly and gladly, from its citadel, the victory of its rightful Lord. The mystery is indeed this, that in so prosperous and joyous a city there should still be groups of malcontents whose grumblings are occasionally audible. (Such malcontents are often not part of one 's own personality, but people who may be on the other side of the world, yet who have Karmic ties with us. This is one of the manners in which the Achievements of the Initiate benefit his fellowmen.)
13. for why? Because thou wast the knower, and me.
A.C. asked mentally “why he didn't know'; and Aiwass explains that A.C. was functioning only in his personality and in Aiwass's Presence in him — Readers must not forget that Aiwass was Crowley's Holy Guardian Angel.
Hadit had to overcome the silly “knower” (Again, error. It isn't Hadit—it's Aiwass. And this was a very special case. Were it not for the fact that Hadit-Aiwass and Hadit-Beast were in close harmony, Aiwass would never have interfered in A. C. 's personality — the “scribe”. This case is analogous to cases of “rape” where there is a genuine attraction between the man and the woman, but it is masked by complexes or prejudices. Only the aftereffects of the act will prove whether it was “moral” or not. This is the 'reason' why Adepts often seem to act with complete callousness and lack of consideration for other people's feelings. Please do not confuse 'Adepts' with 'Black Brethren; though!), who thought everything was Sorrow. Cf. “Who am I?” — “Thou knowest” in Chapter I. (An altogether different case. A. C. was asking what Star was he, and the Goddess answered that he already knew — he was 666. Again the injured feelings of 666's personality cause confusion! … This is all to the good, though, since it provides us with an example of the relationship between an Adept's Higher Triad, His Instrument, and His Holy Guardian Angel!)
I am far from satisfied with either of the above interpretations of this verse. We shall see a little later, vv. 27 et seq., a general objection to “Because” and “why”. Then how is it that Hadit does not disdain to use those terms? It must be for the sake of my mind. Then, “for why” is detestably vulgar; and no straining of grammar excuses or explains the “me”.
We have two alternatives. The verse may be an insult to me. (The personality speaking!. . .) My memory tells me, however, that the tone of the voice of Aiwaz was at this point low, even, and musical. It sounded like a confidential, almost deferential, clarification of the previous verse, which had rung out with joyful crescendo.
The alternative is that the verse contains some Qabalistic proof of the authority of Aiwaz to lay down the law in so autocratic a manner. Just so, one might add weight to one's quotation from Sappho, in the English, by following it up with the original Greek.
The absence of all capital letters favours this theory. Such explanation, if discovered, will be given in the Appendix.
However, simply enough, the solution begins with the idea that the small initial of 'because' would be explained by a colon preceding it instead of a note of interrogation, which may have been due to my haste,ignorance, and carelessness. Then “for why” may be understood: “for the benefit of this Mr. Why— to satisfy your childish clamour for a reason— I will now repeat my remarks in an alternative form such that even your stupidity can scarcely fail to observe that I have sealed my psychological explanation in cipher.” We find accordingly that the arising “of Me in Thee” (he persists in the error) constitutes a state wherein “thou knewest not”. By “knewest” we may understand the function of Hadit (still he persists!), intellectually and conjugally united with Nuit. See Book 4, Part III, for GN, the root meaning both 'to know' and 'to beget'. (This is better.) And 'not' is Nuit (But Hadit is at pains to state that He is Not! Hadit and Nuit are complementary.), as in Cap. I. Now this idea explains that the arising “of me (Hadit) in Thee (the Beast)” is the fulfilment of the Magical Formula of Hadit and Nuit. (He gets more and more entangled in his own reasoning. Clearly, the writing down of this passage of Liber AL was a very humiliating experience for Aleister Crowley.) And to know Nuit is the very definition of 'joy'. The next verse confirms this: “thou (the Beast) wast the knower (Hadit) and (united with) me (Nuit, as in Cap. I, verse 51 & others).” Finally, Nuit is indicated by the two different symbols 'not' (Greek OU) and 'me' (Greek MH). Now, OU MH was my Motto in the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus; Aiwaz thus subtly reminds me that I was pledged to deny the assertions of my intellectual and moral consciousness. (This last simply proves that the “rape” by Aiwass of the mind of Aleister Crowley was the result of the formulated Aspiration of this mind to be raped … Otherwise, Aiwass would not have done it. It can never be stated too clearly that True Initiates never interfere with the True Will of the least and weakest [senseless expression from above the Abyss, but!] … human being.)
He combines in these few words (a) a correct psychological explanation of the situation (he does), (b) a correct magical explanation of that explanation (ibidem), © a personal rebuke (not so — a reminder. He interprets it as rebuke because the Ego is still resentful) to which I had no possible reply, involving a knowledge of my own mental state which was superior to my own.
These two verses are sufficient in themselves to demonstrate the praeter-human qualities of the Author of this Book. (On the contrary, they demonstrate that the Author is of our species, though one of its most highly evolved members. Obviously, He was one of the first specimens of the race to achieve consciousness. Aiwass is human — it is we who aren't.)
14. Now let there be a veiling of this shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness!
The subject changes. Hadit will give an Exordium upon Himself in the next two verses. Then He will propound an ethical doctrine so terrible and strange that men will be “devoured and eaten up with blindness” because of it.
Serious readers should consult Libri LXV and VII on this light that
“devours men and eats them up with blindness.” Particularly LXV,
4 12-19, 24; ii, 30-32; iv, 54-55, 65; and VII, iv, 8-15, 25,48-49; vi, 20-
25, 47; vii, 28-33, 3 6-44.
15. For I am perfect, being Not; and my number is nine by the fools; but with the just I am eight, and one in eight: Which is vital, for I am none indeed. The Empress and the King are not of me; for there is a further secret.
Readers should consult AL I, 45-48 and the Commentaries thereof for “perfect, being Not”; also, the analysis of the Word LAShTAL in Liber V; also, LXV, ii, 26.
For “nine by the fools,” they should consult Atu IX and Atu XI (Atu XI because Teth has the value 9 in the Qabalah). “By the fools” has, of course, a double meaning. Jesod is the Ninth Sephirah, and its symbolism and the Ordeals of the Zelator should be considered.
For “eight and one in eight with the just” they should study the meaning of Atu VII, because Cheth is 8 by the Qabalah; of Aleph, because Aleph is 1 by the Qabalah; of Atu I and of Atu VIII.
Serious students should never forget that those symbols all run into each other, and that particularly in the case of “eight, and one in eight.” It should be noted that first “eight” is considered by itself; then, with “one” in it.
“The Empress and the King are not of me”. His name could not be written HD (HaD), as Crowley thought at the time of the dictation,because He is not the “King”, that is, the Emperor. See AL I, 57, the Second Paragraph, and A. C. 's Commentary thereunto.
16. I am The Empress & the Hierophant. Thus eleven, as my bride is eleven.
Please notice that “The Empress” is written with capitals. In the previous verse the sentence starts after a period, so it is natural for the The of Empress to be in the uppercase. In this verse, there is no reason for The to be capitalized unless there is a hidden meaning. There is no other instance in the entire manuscript of the definite article being capitalized unless it starts a sentence. Hadit is emphasizing that this is a “greater Empress” that he is talking about. This is of course He, the Star, who is not the King as A. C. thought at the time. Hadit then means simply that his name can be written HV, “The Empress & the Hierophant”. The value, of course, is 11.
It should be noted that “Hu” was the oldest name that the Egyptians ascribed to the Sphinx at Gizeh. The word means Prince.
17. Hear me, ye people of sighing!
The sorrows of pain and regret
Are left to the dead and the dying,
The folk that not know me as yet.
To know Hadit only as 'not' is to be able to experience one's own starry identity only through physical death. It can never be too clearly understood that only the Initiate can infuse the Ruach with the Influence of the Supernals. Those who call themselves Initiates and yet speak of the need of “pain”, and “suffering”, and “meek resignation” in this world to gain a “better life elsewhere” are merely puppets of the tyrants of religion, finance, or politics. In this sense, undoubtedly, religion is the opium of the masses. Let us keep the lambs uninstructed, lest they perceive that their sorrows are not decreed by Divine Providence, but are merely the consequence of our oppression.
” — as yet.“ This is clearly enheartening. This folk will come to know Hadit —that is, Themselves. That's why AL was dictated, so they would emancipate themselves. And that's why all the resources of propaganda were turned against Crowley in his lifetime everywhere. The death-knell of superstition and privilege was being tolled, and the 'Black Brethren' didn't like the sound at all.
The dead and the dying, who know not Hadit, are under the illusion of Sorrow. Not being Hadit, they are shadows, puppets, and what happens to them does not matter. If you insist upon identifying yourself with Hecuba, your tears are natural enough.
There is no contradiction here, by the way, with verses 4 and 5. The words “know me” are used loosely as is natural in a stanza; or, more likely, are used (as in the English Bible) to suggest the root GN, identity in transcendental ecstasy. Possibly “not” and “me” are once more intended to apply to Nuit. With “know” itself, they may be 'Nothing under its three forms' or negativity, action, and individuality.
18. These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.
This idea is confirmed. Those who sorrow are not real people at all, not 'stars'—for the time being. The fact of their being “poor and sad” proves them to be 'shadows', who 'pass and are done'. The “lords of the earth” are those who are doing their Will. It does not necessarily mean people with coronets and automobiles; there are plenty of such people who are the most sorrowful slaves in the world. The sole test of one's lordship is to know what one's true Will is, and to do it.
It is rather difficult for the profane to understand that our material conditions are the direct consequence of our psychological structure, but such is in fact the case. It is useless to try to change the surroundings of the poor; unless they are “kings in disguise” — see verse 58 — they will immediately start modifying their improved surroundings to fit their inner state. If you put a pig to live in a palace, the pig will turn the palace into a pigsty. The simile is strong, but not exaggerated. Examples abound in the history of revolutions, from the French down to the Russian and beyond.
If you want to change a man's living conditions, you must educate the man, provided he is capable of being educated. Once educated, he will soon change his surroundings by his own powers.
The oppression of tyrants is no argument against the above truth. No tyrant will ever coerce a free man. The most he can do is kill him —before he is killed, as he undoubtedly will be if he does not leave the free man — the “star” — alone.
“We are not for the poor and sad.” The poor and sad are not conscious of the Triad Nuit-Hadit-Hoor in their intellect. See Liber V for the meaning of “not” —LA.
“The lords of the earth are our kinsfolk,” Not the “Lords of the poor and sad”! These are the 'Black Brothers'. The lords of the earth are those who have control over their surroundings, over the material site of their 'existence'. That is, the true men. The others are asleep, and being asleep are merely animals walking on two legs —the “unfeathered bipeds” of Diogenes.
19. Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.
A god living in a dog would be one who was prevented from fulfilling his function properly. The highest are those who have mastered and transcended accidental environment. They rejoice, because they do their Will; and if any man sorrow, it is clear evidence of something wrong with him. When machinery creaks and growls, the engineer knows that it is not fulfilling its function, doing its Will, with ease and joy.
Its Will, in this case, being a Bud- Will of the engineer — we hope. Readers will note that “God” and “dog” are the same value by the Qabalah, but the letters are inverted in order. In either case, the value is either 77—if we treat the 0 as an Ayin —or 13, if we treat the 0 as a Vau. 77 is the Goat, the Devil; 13 is the Atu Death, in which the central figure once again is Saturn, the Great One of the Night of Time. This is the “God No” —the God who can live in a dog. Again, there is an identification between the Qabalistic values of No and ON, for which see Liber XV and others. “No” can, of course, be written NV, 56, Nuit; but is also 50+70=120, the mystical age of the Adept Minor. The Adept Minor has crossed that Veil on one side of which is written “No separate existence'; and on the other, “No existence”.
There is, of course, one God who lives in a dog —the God Anubis, who guides the soul in the Underworld. This is a hint for members of a certain Grade. It must also be remarked that “the Dog” was one of the names ascribed to the “Devil” in the Middle Ages.
The verse has, therefore, several subtle technical meanings which will depend for usefulness on the Grade of the reader—which, by the way, is the case with any verse of Liber AL. The general meaning, however, is that ascribed by A. C., with the added value that “dog” is “God” inverted. Men and women called “dogs” are, therefore, people who are functioning with their polarity inverted —who are functioning as animals, rather than as “lords of the earth”. This, by the way, is the case with any person who worships a “God” outside himself or herself, instead of perceiving God (any God!) within. And the key is to reverse the formula. Instead of “loving” or “fearing” your “God'; BE your “God”! He, she, or it is nothing but a projection of your own consciousness, anyway. “There is no God where I am.”
Certain rather amusing little obsessions through which Aspirants may pass had better be mentioned. First, is the idea that Liber AL recommends that all dogs be killed. Second, the idea that all dogs conceal a “spy” —from which you gravitate naturally to the previous conclusion. Third, the idea that dogs should be “despised” or “mistreated” or treated as human beings. (Or rather, better than you would treat a human being, as some dog lovers do!) They should be treated like dogs, that is, like any other animals — with respect. (By respect” is not meant that the Chinese must stop eating chow!)
One of the more amusing obsessions in this connection is that concerning Sirius —the “Dog Star”. Certain “initiates” who fear 666 and Liber AL whisper to their “disciples” that “the site of the Rosy Cross Brotherhood is in Sirius.” Meaning, of course, themselves. Poor Sirius!…
Any person who has not achieved consciousness of his or her own Godhead tends to mistreat animals. Either is too cruel towards them, or too kind. A member of a certain American family who achieved great political notoriety was actually known, during the last World War (World War II, for the benefit of future readers), to demand that his dog be given a seat in the last plane to leave an island in the Pacific. The dog weighed as much as a wounded G.I., but a G.I. remained behind so the gentleman's dog could return to the bosom of the gentleman's family. The gentleman had already been elected to public office, and was elected again. It can never be too often repeated that any people always have the government they deserve.
In connection with this and other verses of this Chapter. serious students should consult LXV, i, 21; ii, 3; iii, 3 7-39; iv, 60; v, 5; and VII, iv, 8; vi, 5-6.
20. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.
As soon as one realizes one's self as Hadit, one obtains all His qualities. It is all a question of doing one's Will. A flaming harlot, with red cap and sparkling eyes, her foot on the neck of a dead king, is just as much a star as her predecessor, simpering in his arms. (Needless to say, in either case, he was not much of a king. I would like to have seen a woman trying either maneuver with Crowley, for one! More on kings later.) But one must be a flaming harlot— one must let oneself go, whether one's star be twin with that of Shelley, or of Blake, or of Titian, or of Beethoven. Beauty and strength come from doing one's Will; you have only to look at any one who is doing it to recognize the glory of it.
There is also, of course, a technical meaning. Beauty is Tiphereth, Strength is Jesod, Leaping Laughter is Hod, Delicious Languor is Netzach, Force is XI, Fire is XVL The “highest” must have conquered the Lower Triad, and be well (if you will pardon the pun) on their way to conquer Geburah and Gedulah. This organization is necessary before you can know and do your True Will with even some degree of efficiency. For although Gimel brings you the Influence of Kether, the disorder of the Mind and the grossness of the Emotions hinder your attempts to interpret and reflect it. That is why most of your fellowmen are little better than wild animals —are domestic animals — dogs.
21. We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.
Crowley was upset by this verse of the Second Chapter all his life, and some of his more egregious blunders were attempts to punish himself for having written it down. It must be understood, for it strikes at the root of slave-morals.
“We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit.” Nothing—Nuit. Outcast —Initiates who have been expelled for wrong-doing, that is, 'Black Brethren'. Unfit — those as yet incapable of being initiated, that is, the great majority of mankind. We have Nuit in common with them. To the 'Black Brethren' She manifests Herself as 333 — that Influence that will eventually destroy them, that is, force them to cross the Abyss whether they “will” or no. To common mankind She is manifested in all Nature, but particularly so in women everywhere. There is, of course, a further meaning, having to do with the Communion of the Saints of which we have already spoken.
“For they feel not.” Upon dying — whether physical or initiatic death —they become conscious of their starry nature —Had it. The Will-to-Die has to be treated with the same respect as the Will-to-Live. Who are you to trace another star's course?
“Compassion is the vice of kings.” This is not to be interpreted as meaning that kings should have no compassion. It is a straight assertion of fact: only kings have compassion! Petty souls delight in the sufferings of others. The mob shouts with glee at the sight of blood. Nor is compassion to be confused with pity. Pity is of the Ego, and involves a comparison between yourself and the object of pity —which is duality. Compassion, as the etymology indicates, involves a 'sharing with'. The equivalent Greek word is empathy. Compassion is never maudlin. On the contrary, those who experience it often feel furious with others who only show “pity”.
“Stamp down the wretched & the weak” By all means; but who are the wretched & the weak? This writer remembers turning a street corner and seeing a man in the throes of an epileptic attack. A crowd of passersby had congregated around the man and watched his antics with prim and solemn faces. The writer felt a strong wish to obliterate them from the face of the earth. He did what he could to ease the epileptic's situation, and as soon as the star started recovering control of its vehicles he went away, knowing that the star would feel embarrassed. The crowd remained behind to watch.
We must seek a clear definition of our values. Who is strong? The man who delights in the suffering of other humans, or who needlessly hurts an animal? Or, on the other hand, the man who condemns scientists who experiment on animals to learn how to cure diseases, and is always eager to intervene between his neighbor and his private grief?
Who is strong? The man who allows the existence and prosperity of others who think differently from him, who refuse to serve him or his ideals, or the man who interprets every demonstration of autonomy as an affront of his ego?
Who is weaker? The Nazi who burned a dead Jew in an oven, or any man who worships a God that he considers willing to let a living soul burn in hell forever?
Who is stronger? The man who daily scatters fish among the hungry, or the man who teaches the hungry how to fish for themselves?
Who is a king? The man who says “I am the light of the world; come unto me, ye who suffer, and be consoled,” or the man who says “Every man and every woman is a star; 'Come unto me 'is a foolish word; for it is I that go.”?
Reader, the choice is yours; the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever; the slaves shall serve. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
While we are on the subject of kings, we must touch upon that lie: “That Thou Must Die.” Verse 49 of Chapter One should be consulted in connection with this; also the Golden Bough, the New Testament of the Bible, and the Mystery of Osiris in any good textbook of Egyptology. For ten thousand years tribes all over the world sacrificed their kings. Compassion being the vice of kings, the kings were, quite often, willing to be sacrificed. This was a magickal operation to buy energy for the people, but it was based on a wrong interpretation of the Bloody Sacrifice, for which see Book Four, Part Three.
The result of these ten thousand years of killing the goose that lay the golden eggs — if Alchemists will pardon the atrocious pun — is that Aspirants may become obsessed by the idea that they must die for the benefit of the “lower brethren”; or “mankind”; or what not. They are enthusiastically encouraged in this illusion by the 'Black Brethren'; who are only too eager to get rid of Aspirants. The 'savior complex'; as Wilhelm Stekel called it, is extremely insidious because it is connected with Spiritual Pride. Actually, it is an insult to your fellowmen. Every man and every woman is a star. No soul needs to be saved by you —or could be saved by you, if you tried. The story of “Jesus Christ”; as interpreted in the Nicean Creed, is a blasphemy.
Serious students should consult Liber OZ and A. C. 's translation of the Tao Teh King; also Liber VII, vi, 22-25, 40-41, and vii, 36-39; and the following chapters of Liber Aleph: 30-35, 39,64,66,67-77,99,104, 105, 113, 116-118, 147, 148, 192-194.
There follows the Commentary to this verse by A.C.
There is a good deal of the Nietzschean standpoint in this verse. It is the evolutionary and natural view. Of what use is it to perpetuate the misery of Tuberculosis, and such diseases, as we now do? Nature's way is to weed out the weak. (Weak either in physical or intellectual strength. Darwin never spoke of survival of brute strength; he spoke of survival of the fittest. If brute strength were the aim of the Law of Evolution, dinosaurs would rule the earth, and man, physically the weakest of the great mammals, would be extinct.) This is the most merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the Lions! (Lions is in capitals.)
Our humanitarianism, which is the syphilis of the mind, acts on the basis of the lie that the King must die. The King is beyond death; it is merely a pool where he dips for refreshment. (Crowley was too modest to understand that though all men are stars, not all men are kings, and not all kings are Kings.) We must therefore go back to Spartan ideas of education; (With a generous sprinkling of Athenian, perhaps; but to go forward to Thelemic ideas of education is infinitely better. See Liber Aleph, 30-49.) and the worst enemies of humanity are those who wish, under the pretext of compassion, to continue its ills through the generations. The Christians to the Lions! (Again Lions is in capitals.)
Let weak and wry productions go back into the melting-pot, as is done with flawed steel castings. Death will purge, reincarnation make whole, these errors and abortions. (The reader may here object that he does not believe in reincarnation; but whether he does or not, this does not change the validity of the Law of Evolution. It is immaterial whether a man's soul is immortal; it is material that he have good health and a good brain.) Nature herself may be trusted to do this, if only we will leave her alone. But what of those who, physically fitted to live, are tainted with rottenness of soul, cancerous with the sin-complex? For the third time I answer: The Christians to the Lions! (Yes, but who decides whose soul is rotten? People have said that Crowley's soul is rotting in hell for years. This reasoning is entirely fallacious, much below his usual standard. He is merely trying to defend a verse that he abhors. Now, as he changes the subject, his manner improves. He never understood the meaning of this verse at all.)
Hadit calls himself the Star (Not in the least; servants of the Star & the Snake are the Adepts, serving Babalon and the Beast. One does not serve Had it; “for it is I that go.”), the Star being the Unit of the Macrocosm; and the Snake, the Snake being the symbol of Going or Love, and the Chariot of Life. He is Harpocrates, the Dwarf-Soul, the Spermatozoon of all Life, as one may phrase it. The Sun, etc., are the external manifestations or Vestures of this Soul, as a Man is the Garment of an actual Spermatozoon, the Tree sprung of that Seed, with power to multiply and to perpetuate that particular Nature, though without necessary consciousness of what is happening.
In a deeper sense, the word 'Death' is meaningless apart from the presentation of the Universe as conditioned by 'Time'. But what is the meaning of Time?
There is great confusion of thought in the use of the word 'eternal' and the phrase 'for ever'. People who want 'eternal happiness' mean by that a cycle of varying events all effective in stimulating pleasant sensations; i.e., they want time to continue exactly as it does with themselves released from the contingencies of accidents such as poverty, sickness and death. An eternal state is however a possible experience, if one interprets the term sensibly. One can kindle “flamman aeternae caritatis”, for instance; one can experience a love which is in truth eternal. Such love must have no relation with phenomena whose condition is time. Similarly, one's 'immortal soul' is a different kind of thing altogether from one's mortal vesture. This Soul is a particular Star, with its own peculiar qualities, of course; but these qualities are all 'eternal', and part of the nature of the Soul. This Soul being a monistic consciousness, it is unable to appreciate itself and its qualities, as explained in a previous entry; so it realizes itself by the device of duality, with the limitations of time, space and causality. The 'Happiness' of Wedded Love or eating Marrons Glaces is a concrete external non-eternal expression of the corresponding abstract internal eternal idea, just as any triangle is one partial and imperfect picture of the idea of a triangle. (It does not matter whether we consider 'Triangle' as an unreal thing invented for the convenience of including all actual triangles, or vice-versa. Once the idea Triangle has arisen, actual triangles are related to it as above stated.)
One does not want even a comparatively brief extension of these 'actual' states; Wedded Love, though licensed for a life-time, is usually intolerable after a month; and Marrons Glaces pall after the first five or six kilogrammes have been consumed. But the 'Happiness', eternal and formless, is not less enjoyable because these forms of it cease to give pleasure. What happens is that the Idea ceases to find its image in those particular images; it begins to notice the limitations which are not itself and indeed deny itself, as soon as its original joy in its success at having become conscious of itself wears off. It becomes aware of the external imperfection of Marrons Glaces; they no longer represent its infinitely varied nature. It therefore rejects them, and creates a new form of itself, such as Night-gowns with pale yellow ribbons or Amber Cigarettes.
In the same way a poet or painter, wishing to express Beauty, is impelled to choose a particular form; with luck, this is at first able to recompense in him what he feels; but sooner or later he finds that he has failed to include certain elements of himself, and he must needs embody these in a new poem or picture. He may know that he can never do more than present a part of the possible perfection, and that in imperfect imagery; but at least he may utter his utmost within the limits of the mental and sensory instruments of his similarly inadequate symbol of the Absolute, his vehicle of human incarnation.
These suffer from the same defects as the other forms: ultimately, 'Happiness' wearies itself in the effort to invent fresh images, and becomes disheartened and doubtful of itself. Only a few people have wit enough to proceed to generalization from the failure of a few familiar figures of itself, and recognize that all 'actual' forms are imperfect; but such people are apt to turn with disgust from the whole procedure, and to long for the 'eternal' state. This state is however incapable of realization, as we know; and the Soul, understanding this, can find no good but in “Cessation” of all things, its creations no more than its own tendencies to create. It therefore sighs for Nibbana.
But there is one other solution, as I have endeavoured to show. We may accept (what after all it is absurd to accuse and oppose) the essential character of existence. We cannot extirpate or even alter in the minutest degree either the matter or manner of any element of the Universe, here each item is equally inherent and important, each co-substantial and coherent, each aequipollent, independent, and interdependent.
We may thus acquiesce in the fact that it is apodeitically implicit in the Absolute to apprehend itself by self-expression as Positive and Negative in the first place, and to combine these primary opposites in an infinite variety of finite forms.
We may thus cease either (1) to seek the Absolute in any of its images, knowing that we must abstract every one of their qualities from every one of these equally if we would unveil it; or (2) to reject all images of the Absolute, knowing that attainment thereof would be the signal for the manifestation of that part of its nature which necessarily formulates itself in a new universe of images.
Realizing that these two courses (the materialist's and the mystic's) are equally fatuous, we may engage in either or both of two other plans of action, based on assent to actuality.
We may (1) ascertain our own particular properties as partial projections of the Absolute; we may allow every image presented to us to be of equally intrinsic and essential entity with ourselves, and its presentation to us a phenomenon necessary in Nature; and we may adjust our apprehension to the actuality that every event is an item in the account which we render to ourselves of our own estate. We dare not desire to omit any single entry, lest the balance be upset. We may react with elasticity and indifference to each occurrence, intent only on the idea that the total, intelligently appreciated, constitutes a perfect knowledge not indeed of the Absolute, but of that part thereof which is ourselves. We thus adjust one imperfection accurately to another, and remain contented in the appreciation of the righteousness of the relation.
This path, the “Way of the Tao”, is perfectly proper to all men. It does not attempt either to transcend or to tamper with Truth; it is loyal to its own laws, and therefore no less perfect than any other Truth. The Equation Five plus Six is Eleven is of the same order of perfection as Ten Million times Ten Thousand Million is One Billion. In the Universe formulated by the Absolute, every point is equally the Centre; every point is equally the focus of the forces of the whole. (In any system of three points, any two may be considered solely with reference to the third, so that even in a finite universe the sum of the properties of all points is the same, though no two properties maybe common to any two points. Thus a circle, BCD, may be described by the revolution of a line AB in a plane about the point A; but also from the point C, or indeed any other point, by the application of the proper analysis and construction. We calculate the motion of the solar system in heliocentric terms for no reason but simplicity and convenience; we could convert our tables to a geocentric basis by mere mechanical manipulation without affecting their truth, which is only the truth of the relations between a number of bodies. All are alike in motion, but we have arbitrarily chosen to consider one of them as stationary, so that we may more easily describe the movements of the others in regard to it, without complicating our calculations by introduction of the movements of the whole system as such. And for this purpose the Sun is a more convenient standard than the Earth.)
There is another Way that we may take, if we will; I say “another”, though it seems perhaps to some no more than a development of the other which happens to be proper to some people.
Even in the first Way, it is of all things necessary to begin by exploring one's own Nature, so as to discover what its peculiarities are; this is accomplished partly by introspection, but principally by Right Recollection of the whole phantasmagoria presented to it by experience; for since every event of life is a symbol of part of the structure of the Soul, the totality of experience must be the “Name” of the whole of that part of the Soul which has so far uttered itself. Now then, let us suppose that some Soul, having penetrated thus far, should discover in its “Name” that it is a Son truly Begotten by the Spirit of Being upon the Body of Form, and that it has power to understand itself and its Father, with all that such heirship implies. Suppose further that it be come to puberty, will it not be impelled to assert itself as its Father's son? Will it not shake itself free from the Form that bore and nourished and trained it, and turn from its brothers and sisters and playmates? Will it not glow and ache with the impulse to be utterly itself, and find a Form fit to impress with its image, even as did its Father aforetime?
If such a Soul be indeed its Father's son, he will not fear to show lack of filial reverence, or presumption, if he forget his family in the fervour of founding one of his own, of begetting boys not better or braver indeed than his brothers, girls not softer or sweeter indeed than his sisters, but wholly his own, with his own defects and desires evoked by enchantment of ecstasy when he dies to himself in the womb of the witch who lusts for his life, and buys it with the Coin that bears his Image and Superscription.
Such is the secret of the Soul of the Artist. He knows that he is a God, of the Sons of God; he has no fear or shame in showing himself of the seed of his Father. He is proud of that Father's most precious privilege, and he honours him no less than himself by using it. He accepts his family as of his own royal stock; every one is as princely as he is himself. But he were not his Father's son unless he found for himself a Form fit to express himself in many costumes, each emphatic of some elected elegance or excellence in himself which would otherwise elude his homage by being hidden and hushed in the harmony of his heart. This Form which shall serve him must be softness's self to his impress, with exact elasticity adapting itself to the strongest and subtlest salients, yet like steel to resist all other stress than his own and to retain and reproduce surely and sharply the image that his acid bites into its surface. There must be no flaw, no irregularity, no granulation, no warp in its substance; it must be smooth and shining, pure metal of true temper.
And he must love this chosen Form, love it with fearful fervour; it is the face of his Fate that craves his kiss, and in her eyes Enigma blazes and smoulders; she is his death, her body his coffin where he may rot and stink, or writhe in damned dreams, self-slain, or rise in incorruption self-renewed, immortal and identical, fulfilling himself wholly in and by her, splashing all space with sparkling stars his sons and daughters, each star an image of his won infinity made manifest, mood after mood, by her magick to mould him when his passion makes molten her metal.
Thus then must every Artist work. First, he must find himself. Next, he must find the form that is fitten to express himself Next, he must love that form, as a form, adoring it, understanding it, and mastering it, with most minute attention, until it (as it seems) adapts itself to him with eager elasticity, and answers accurately and aptly, with the unconscious automatism of an organ perfected by evolution, to his most subtlest suggestion, to his most giant gesture.
Next, he must give himself utterly up to that Form; he must annihilate himself absolutely in every act of love, labouring day and night to lose himself in lust for it,so that he leave no atom unconsumed in the furnace of their frenzy as did of old his Father that begat him. He must realize himself wholly in the integration of the infinite Pantheon of images; for if he fail to formulate one facet of himself, by lack thereof will he know himself falsely.
There is of course no ultimate difference between the Artist as here delineated and him who follows the “Way of the Tao,” though the latter finds perfection in his existing relation with his environment, and the former creates a private perfection of a peculiar and secondary character. We might call one the son, and the other the daughter, of the Absolute.
But the Artist, though his Work, the images of himself in the Form that he loves, is less perfect than the Work of his Father, since he can but express one particular point of view and that by means of one type of technique, is not to be thought useless on that account, any more than an Atlas is useless because it presents by means of certain crude conventions a fraction of the facts of geography.
The Artist calls our attention away from Nature, whose immensity bewilders us so that she seems incoherent, and unintelligble, to his own interpretation of himself, and his relations with various phenomena of nature expressed in a language more or less common to us all.
The smaller the Artist, the narrower his view, the more vulgar his vocabulary, the more familiar his figures, the more readily is he recognized as a guide. To be accepted and admired, he must say what we all know, but have not told each other till it is tedious, and say it in simple and clear language, a little more emphatically and eloquently than we have been accustomed to hear; and he must please and flatter us in the telling by soothing our fears and stimulating our hopes and our self-esteem.
When an Artist — whether in Astronomy, like Copernicus, Anthropology, like Ibsen, or Anatomy, like Darwin— selects a set of facts too large, too recondite, or too “regrettable” to receive instant assent from everybody; when he presents conclusions which conflict with popular credence or prejudice; when he employs a language which is not generally intelligible to all; in such cases he must be content to appeal to the few. He must wait for the world to awake to the value of his work.
The greater he is, the more individual and the less intelligible he will appear to be, although in reality he is more universal and more simple than anybody. He must be indifferent to anything but his own integrity in the realization and imagination of himself.
Such was, and is, the case of the Artist Aleister Crowley.
22. I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.
Drunkenness is a curse and a hindrance only to slaves. Shelley's couriers were 'drunk on the wind of their own speed'. Anyone who is doing his True Will is drunk with the delight of Life.
Wine and strange drugs do not harm people who are doing their will; they only poison people who are cancerous with Original Sin. Truth is so terrible to these detestable mockeries of humanity that the thought of self is a realization of hell. Therefore they fly to drink and drugs as to an anaesthetic in the surgical operation of introspection.
The craving for these things is caused by the internal misery which their use reveals to the slave-souls. If you are really free, you can take cocaine as simply as salt-water taffy. There is no better rough test of a soul than its attitude to drugs. If a man is simple, fearless, eager, he is all right; he will not become a slave. If he is afraid, he is already a slave. Let the whole world take opium, hashish, and the rest; those who are liable to abuse them are better dead.
For it is in the power of all so-called intoxicating drugs to reveal a man to himself. If this revelation declare a Star, then it shines brighter ever after. If it declare a Christian— a thing not man nor beast, but a muddle of mind — he craves the drug, no more for its analytical but for its numbing effect.
“this folly against self”: altruism is a direct assertion of duality, which is division, restriction, sin, in its vilest form. I love my neighbour because love makes him part of me; not because hate divides him from me. Our Law is so simple that it constantly approximates to truism.
“the exposure of innocence”: Exposure means 'putting out' as in a shop-window. The pretence of altruism and so-called virtue 'is a lie'; it is the hypocrisy of the Puritan, which is hideously corrupting both to the hypocrite and to his victim.
To 'lust' is to grasp continually at fresh aspects of Nuit. It is the mistake of the vulgar to expect to find satisfaction in the objects of sense. Disillusion is inevitable; when it comes, it leads only too often to an error which is in reality more fatal than the former, the denial of 'materiality' and of 'animalism'. There is a correspondence between these two attitudes and those of the 'once-born' and 'twice born' of William James (Varieties of Religious Experience). Thelemites are 'thrice-born'; we accept everything for what it is without lust of result, without insisting upon things conforming with a priori ideals, or regretting their failure to do so. We can therefore 'enjoy all things of sense and rapture' according to their true nature. For example, the average man dreads tuberculosis. The 'Christian Scientist' flees this fear by pretending that the disease is an illusion in 'mortal mind'. But the Thelemite accepts it for what it is, and finds interest in it for its own sake. For him it is a necessary part of the Universe; he makes 'no difference' between it and any other thing. The artist's position is analogous. Rubens, for instance, takes a gross pleasure in female flesh, rendering it truthfully from lack of imagination and analysis. Idealist painters like Bougereau awake to the divergence between Nature and their academic standards of Beauty, falsify the facts in order to delude themselves. The greatest, like Rembrandt, paint a gallant, a hag, and a carcass with equal passion and rapture; they love the truth as it is. They do not admit that anything can be ugly or evil; its existence justifies itself. This is because they know themselves to be part of an harmonious unity; to disdain any item of it would be to blaspheme the whole. The Thelemite is able to revel in any experience soever; in each he recognizes the tokens of ultimate Truth. It is surely obvious, even intellectually, that all phenomena are interdependent, and therefore involve each other. Suppose abc =d,a=d-b-c just as much as bd-c-a. It is senseless to pick out one equation as and another as 'nasty'. Personal predilections are evidence of imperfect vision (All this is philosophical, of course. Your imperfect vision, inpractice,justifies your personal predilections. Or, in other words, Do what thou wilt!). But it is even worse to deny reality to such facts as refuse to humour them. In the charter of spiritual sovereignty it is written that the charcoal-burner is no less a subject than the duke. The structure of the state includes all elements; it were stupid and suicidal to aim at homogeneity, or to assert it. Spiritual experience soon enables the aspirant to assimilate these ideas, and he can enjoy life to the full, finding his True Self alike in the contemplation of every element of existence.
Some technical aspects of the verse had better be touched upon. First, note that to worship Hadit one is to take 'wine and strange drugs', for which see Liber Aleph, Chapters 93-94. This is because you ARE Hadit; alcohol and such drugs temporarily release your inhibitions, your complexes and the brainwashing you have been subjected to since your birth in a slave-culture, and let your True Self come to the surface of your consciousness. If the coming is violent or 'anti-social', this is not caused by the drugs or the alcohol. They are not 'evil' or 'corrupting'. They merely liberate. Remember the Djin in the fisherman's bottle of the Thousand and One Nights. During the first thousand years of his imprisonment he vowed that he would make rich the man who freed him. In the second thousand years confinement had made him so angry that he vowed he would kill that man. Violence and 'anti-social' behavior may appear when alcohol or drugs are used. Such symptoms simply mean that your True Self has been violently repressed for too long. They do not mean that your True Self is 'evil'. They indicate a need for a complete change of environment and moral code, a search for circumstances that will make easier your self-expression. You must heed carefully the warning and, if you are not a fool, you will bless the drugs that afforded you such an insight into your state of spiritual servitude to false (false to you!) idols and ideals. See Liber Aleph, 3, 30-35, 1 04-105, 118. Also, Emerson's essay, “Self Reliance”.
The present laws against the use of drugs in all so-called 'civilized' countries were passed by people totally ignorant of the nature and effect of the drugs concerned, at the instigation of people who were only too aware of the liberating power of such drugs. For the same reason do these people disapprove of free sexual intercourse—they know that the catharsis of orgasm also liberates, even if for one moment, the True Self within. Remember, all ye, that no true God will ever condemn any act of self expression, even when exaggerated by past repression. Remember also that all false gods will.
The propaganda against drugs is fostered by 'Black Brethren' and done by religious organizations, by opportunistic politicians, and by (surprising as it may seem) the trafficants themselves. The Mafia and other outfits are certainly not interested in relaxation of anti-drug legislation. All crime syndicates would vanish within ten years if morphine, heroin, cocaine could be freely bought by any adult citizen from any licensed physician.
On the subject of drug-traffic and drug-addiction, readers are advised to consult the pertinent section in Mr. Erle Stanley Gardener's very interesting The Court of Last Resort, where some hard facts are courageously and uncompromisingly exposed.
“They shall not harm ye at all.” Your True Self is not “evil”. Of course, it is not “good”, either! It merely is. Your conscious will never be harmed by intimacy with it; on the contrary. It is said that Aleister Crowley died of drug-addiction. He died in 1947, seventy-two years old, in complete possession of his not inconsiderable mental powers. He had been taking heroin since his teens, and experimented with practically all known drugs. He was the first man to postulate their psychoanalytic powers.
“The exposure of innocence is a lie.” One of the main symptoms of infection by a diseased magical current is confusion in the vehicles. Sentimentality is thought tinged by emotion, and in such cases the thought is biased and the emotion misleading. People speak a lot about the innocence of children. Children are not innocent. They are merely ignorant. Ignorance is not innocence. Innocence consists in being true to oneself, in doing one's True Will. The ignorant cannot do this. Purity consists in keeping everything in its place, and you cannot do this if you don't know things and if you don't know their places. The place of a rigid penis is inside a lubricating vulva, and this, also, is purity. lam speaking, of course, as a heterosexual. If you prefer back sides, I will not deny you for it —provided you don't try to force your attentions on those of a different preference. And even if you try, I will be relatively lenient with you, for, as Blake said, you'll never know what is enough unless you know what is too much, and the way to Knowledge is the Way of Hard Knocks on a Thick Skull. Everybody is entitled to one mistake. To err is human. But to persevere in error is theological.
23. I am alone: there is no God where I am.
This refers to the spiritual experience of Identity. To admit God is to look up to God, and so not to be God. The curse of duality.
We refer the reader to the following verses in Chapter One, and the Commentaries thereon: 11, 21, 31, 45, 48. Also, to Chapter Three, verse 19.
24. Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my Mends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs, and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them. Ye shall see them at rule, at victorious armies, at all the joy; and there shall be in them a joy a million times greater than this. Beware lest any force another, King against King! Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in the fierce lust of your pride, in the day of your wrath.
A hermit is one who dwells isolated in the desert, exactly as a soul, a star (Not all stars, however; see Liber Aleph, 144) or an electron in the wilderness of space-time. The doctrine here put forth is that the initiate cannot be polluted by any particular environment. He accepts and enjoys everything that is proper to his nature. Thus, a man's sexual character is one form of his self-expression; he unites Hadit with Nuit sacramentally when he satisfies his instinct of physical love. Of course, this is only one partial projection; to govern, to fight, and so on, must fulfill other needs. We must not imagine that any form of activity is ipso facto incapable of supplying the elements of an Eucharist: suum cuique. Observe, however, the constant factor in this enumeration of the practices proper to 'hermits': it is ecstatic delight. Let us borrow an analogy from Chemistry. Oxygen has two hands (so to speak) to offer to other elements. But contrast the cordial clasp of hydrogen or phosphorus with the weak reluctant greeting of chlorine! Yet, hydrogen and chlorine rush passionately to embrace each other in monogamic madness! There is no 'good' or 'bad' in the matter; it is the enthusiastic energy of union, as betokened by the disengagement of heat, light, electricity, or music, and the stability of the resulting compound, that sanctifies the act. Note also that the utmost external joy in any phenomenon is surpassed a millionfold by the internal joy of the realization that self-fulfilment in the sensible world is but a symbol of the universal sublimity of the formula 'love under will'.
The last two sentences demand careful attention. There is an apparent contradiction with verses 59, 60. We must seek reconcilement in this way: Do not imagine that any King can die (v. 21) or be hurt (v.59): strife between Kings can therefore be nothing more than a friendly trial of strength. We are all inevitably allies, even identical in our variety; to 'love one another with burning hearts' is one of our essential qualities.
But who then are the 'low men', since 'Every man and every woman is a star'? The casus belli is this: there are people who are veiled from themselves so deeply that they resent the bared faces of us others. We are fighting to free them, to make them masters like ourselves. Note verse 60, “to hell with them”: that is, let us drive them to the 'hell' or secret sanctuary within their consciousness. There dwells “the worm that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched”; that is, 'the secret serpent coiled about to spring' and 'the flame that burns in every heart of man'—Hadit. In other words, we take up arms against falsehood; we cannot help it if that falsehood forces the King it has imprisoned to assent to its edicts, even to believe that his interests are those of his oppressor, and to fear Truth as once Jehovah did the Serpent.
The above is very romantic, of course; Kings are not 'fighting to make them masters like ourselves'; they fight—when they fight at all —to avoid interference with their kingdoms. Low men, not being aware of their True Wills, tend to invade the prerogatives of others with tiresome frequency. From fighting to make them masters like us' to 'fighting to save them from themselves' to 'dying for their sins' the distance is minimal.
You cannot 'make' a King — note the word in capitals. A King makes himself A King is a man who 'wears the crown; and the crown has, of course, always been the symbol of an activated Sahashara. Unless the symbol stands for reality, the man is a 'king' but in name. No church can make a King, no parliament can make a King. The King is, first of all, King of his own soul. Next he may —or may not — be ruler over other men.
The entire concept of kingship has been vitiated by two thousand years of dogma. It makes even archaeologists commit egregious mistakes. For instance, it is now known that the Pyramids of Egypt were not built by “hundreds of thousands of slaves under the cruel lash of the overseer'; as the sadomasochism characteristic of the slave spirit would have us believe: they were built by select crews of workers who elected their own foremen and cheerfully competed with each other to see which crew would work faster. They were paid from the royal treasure and fed from the royal granaries. They recorded their own jokes or incidents of the working day in stone. One such inscription has been translated by scholars as meaning that “some gangs were so pleased to work for the King that, as a later foreman said, they toiled 'without a single man getting exhausted, without a man thirsting; and at last 'came home in good spirits, sated with bread, drunk with beer, as if it were the beautiful festival of a god' ”. All this, of course, from their happiness in working for the King.
This is absolute bullshit. What the foreman actually wrote was a record of their working conditions. “Without a single man getting exhausted” means, evidently, that their working hours were short, perhaps five or six, with frequent rest periods. “Without a single man thirsting” means, evidently, that plenty of drinking water was made available to them during their working hours. And that at last they went home in good spirits, “sated with bread and drunk with beer, as if it were the beautiful festival of a god,” means, evidently, that the King saw to it that they had plenty of food and drink for lunch or midafternoon meal before they went back to their homes at night. They were happy to work for the King not because the King was King, but because the King treated them as a decent and generous man should treat those who work for him. Their working hours were shorter, and the treatment they received better, than is common in many so-called civilized communities today. They liked their King, and inscribed disrespectful jokes about him, such as “The King is royally drunk today.” Undoubtedly, they were a bit tipsy themselves.
Whenever the word King is used, there arises in the imagination of a 'low man' an image of arrogant and ruthless power. He envisions a Juggernaut ready to step all over him. This is what he wants, and this is what he usually gets, but not from a King — he gets it from a wretch like himself, and were he to wear a crown he would be a sadistic tyrant, just as now he is a masochistic slave. There follow a few technical interpretations of this verse.
“Hermits”: This refers, of course, to the Third Grade of Thelemites, for which see Chapter One, vv. 40-4 1. “Now think not to find them,” etc., means that now, that is, in this Aeon, a Hermit is not to live in seclusion. The Hermits of Thelema must live in the world without being of the world. This, by the way, is in harmony with the ancient rule of the so-called “Rosicrucians”.
It should be axiomatic that the men most fit to govern ought to be those most hesitant to do so. A king's crown is a crown of thorns —if he is a good man and an honest king. The Tao Teh King — that Handbook of Sensible Government — is at pains to make this clear.
One of the sheerest wastes of the past Aeon was that those men most fit to occupy responsible positions were so disgusted by the animalism and stupidity of their fellowmen that they withdrew into desert regions and spent their lives in silent meditation. Thus their civilizing influence was lost to the world. At the same time, they failed to advance much in the kingdom of the spirit, having made things too easy for themselves. The spiritual musculature, like the physical, can be developed beyond any static condition only by being pitted against increased opposition. You must exercise your faculties, and you will be wise to find ever tougher problems to solve. Thus, in this Aeon, the Path of the Hermit goes into the world, and not out of it.
Readers must not confuse hermits with monks, by the way. Monasteries, like nunneries, are social communities. Hermits go solitary; monks hunt in packs.
“Beasts of women”: this curious expression must not be interpreted as derogatory to womanhood. Every woman is a star. “Beasts of women” does not mean “bestial women” — see verse 70. There is a technical meaning, and it must be left to the “Right Ingenium” of the advanced Philosophus.
“Beware lest any force another” — beware of interfering with each other's True Will.
“The day of your wrath”: See Liber VII, vii, vv. 29-39.
25. Ye are against the people, 0 my chosen!
By “the people” is meant that canting, whining, servile breed of whipped dogs which refuses to admit its deity. The mob is always afraid for its bread and butter when its tyrants let it have any butter – and now and then the bread has 60% substitutes of cattle- fodder. So, being afraid, it dare not strike. And when the trouble begins, we aristocrats of Freedom, from the castle or the cottage, the tower or the tenement, shall have the slave mob against us.
Still deeper, there is a meaning in this verse applicable to the process of personal initiation. By “the people” we may understand the many-headed and mutable mob which swarms in the slums of our own minds. Most men are almost entirely at the mercy of a mass of loud and violent emotions, without discipline or even organization. They sway with the mood of the moment. They lack purpose, foresight and intelligence. They are moved by ignorant and irrational instincts, many of which affront the law of self-preservation itself with suicidal stupidity. (This is the product of atavism, those instincts having been perfectly good at another time and in another environment. But to refuse to adapt oneself to new conditions is to go the way of the dinosaur. See Liber Aleph, 124-132.) The moral idea which we call 'the people' is the natural enemy of good government. He who is 'chosen' by Hadit to Kingship must consequently be 'against the people' if he is to pursue any consistent policy. The massed maggots of 'love' devoured Mark Anthony as they did Abelard. For this reason the first task of the Aspirant is to disarm all his thoughts, to make himself impregnably above the influence of any one of them; this he may accomplish by the methods given in Liber Aleph, Liber Jugorum, Thien Tao, and elsewhere. Secondly, he must impose absolute silence upon them, as may be done by the 'Yoga' practices taught in Book 4 Part I, in Liber XVI, etc. He is then ready to analyse them, to organize them, to drill them, and so to take advantage of the properties peculiar to each one by employing its energies in the services of his imperial purpose.
A man's kingdom may be as small as a family and children, or as a hock-shop; it may be as great as an industrial corporation, or an entire nation. It matters not to the mechanics of the art of self government, which is the first step to government of others (which must—if you are a true king—always be relative to your particular positions as spiritual stars in the spiritual space of the Body of Nuit). See A. C. 's edition of the Tao Teh King.
The idea of “People'; however, by globing all individuals, no matter how diverse of nature or activity or interests, in one statistical monster with no head, is deadly misleading to freedom. You miss the tree for the forest, and you are the tree. It matters not one jot what others think or do; “every number is infinite”. Your single individual opinion on a plate of the balance weighs as much as the opinions of all other stars gathered on the other, for your orbit is “at rest'; that is, its aim is Infinity, as is theirs, which means that your orbit is a function, or resultant, of all theirs. It is this that makes it unique, therefore as important as all theirs. The “people”, therefore, if rightly understood, can never be more important than you. The plates weigh the same, for the Universe is balanced — is “at rest” Of course, you are the resultant” of the people, from the point -of view of the “people”. (But there is no “point -of view of the people'; just the points-of view of all other stars, globally considered merely for convenience of thought.) But in the very same sense, the “people” is a resultant of you. And this perspective is sound and practical and actual, while the other is merely a philosophical abstraction. Louis XIV's gardener had as much right as the king to say “L'Etat, c'est moi.” That is, if he was as good as a gardener as the king was as a king. This explains the power of revolutions, as also the universal belief in kings.
26. I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.
The magical power is universal. The Free Man directs it as He Will. Leave Him alone, or He will make you sorry you tried to interfere!
There is here a reference to the two main types of the Orgia of Magick; I have already dealt with this matter in the Comment. Observe that in the 'mystic' work, the union takes place spontaneously; in the other, venom is shot forth. This awakes the earth to rapture; not until then does union occur. For, in working on the planes of manifestation, the elements must be consecrated and made 'God' by virtue of a definite rite.
27. There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.
Intellectuals err terribly when they force proletarians to get 'education' in the sense of ability to read newspapers. Reason is rubbish; race-instinct is the true guide. Experience is the great Teacher; and each of us possesses millions of years of experience, the very quintessence of it, stored automatically in our subconscious minds. The Intellectuals are worse than the bourgeoisie themselves; a la lanterne! Give us men!
To understand is the attribute of the Master of the Temple, who has crossed the Abyss (or 'Pit') that divides the true Self from its conscious instrument. (See Liber 418, 'Aha!', and Book 4, Part III.) We must meditate the meaning of this attack upon the idea of 'Because'. The idea of 'Because' makes everything dependent on everything else, contrary to the conception of the Universe which this Book has formulated. It is true that the concatenation exists; but the chain does not fetter our limbs. The actions and reactions of illusion are only appearances; we are not affected. No series of images matters to the mirror. What then is the danger of making 'a great miss'? We are immune—that is the very essence of the doctrine. But error exists in this sense, that we may imagine it; and when a lunatic believes that Mankind is conspiring to poison him, it is no consolation that others know his delusion for what it is. Thus, we must “understand these runes”; we must become aware of our True Selves; if we abdicate our authority as absolute individuals, we are liable to submit to Law, to feel ourselves the puppets of Determinism, and to suffer the agonies of impotence which have afflicted the thinker, from Gautama to James Thompson.
Now then, “there is great danger in me” — we have seen what it is; but why should it lie in Hadit? Because the process of self-analysis involves certain risks. The profane are protected against those subtle spiritual perils which lie in ambush for the priest. A Bushman never has a nervous breakdown. (See Cap I, v.3 1.) When the Aspirant takes his first Oath, the most trivial things turn into transcendental terrors, tortures and temptations. (Parts II and III of Book 4 elaborate this thesis at length.) We are so caked with dirt that the germs of disease cannot reach us. If we decide to wash, we must do it well; or we may have awakened some sleeping dogs, and set them on defenceless areas. Initiation stirs up the mud. It creates unstable equilibrium. It exposes our elements to unfamiliar conditions. The France of Louis XVI had to pass through the Terror before Napoleon could teach it to find itself. Similarly, any error in reaching the realization of Hadit may abandon the Aspirant to the ambitions of every frenzied faction of his character, the masterless dogs of the Augean kennel of his mind.
Some technical aspects of this verse had better be mentioned. First of all, HADIT equals 29 by the Qabalah, and so does BECAUSE. HADIT=5+1+4+10+9=29. BECAUSE = 2+5+3 +1 +6+7 +5 = 29.) “Because” means, therefore, a false sense of personal identity that may be taken for the true one, Hadit, by the unwary. Since the word 'Because' is evidently connected with the process of reasoning, we may equate it with the undisciplined Ruach, or Ego. In this sense pit' may not mean the Abyss, but a trap.
It must be understood that Liber AL does not “attack” the proper use of the mental faculties. But it points out, very emphatically, that intellection is, after all, but an instrument of the True Self The intellect-the Ego—is a good servant, but a bad master. To put it in scientific language: intellection is but a faculty that our race has developed in the process of adaptation to environment. It has made possible our empery over the entire animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms for the time being and under present conditions. It is possible, however, to imagine a future change to conditions in which the intellect became a liability, rather than an asset. Some thinkers have already pointed out that we are progressing too fast in intellect and too slow emotionally. Our technology is that of the year 2000, but our morals date of 3000 to 4000 B.C. We are brought up by our parents to behave as if the social conditions of the second half of the Twentieth Century were the same that led Moses to conceive the tribal code called the Ten Commandments. Unless we put the intellect in its proper perspective (the reasoning faculties, after all, occupy only one fifth of the total capacity of our brains), and develop a moral code better adapted to our present stage of evolution, we may end by atom- bombing each other to extinction. The purpose of Liber AL is precisely to introduce a new, fully adapted, code of ethics. The Author estimates that the code he proposes will fulfil the needs of human society for at least several centuries. (See AL III, 34) And the first step to acceptance and use of such a code is to demote Reason from its false crown of king of the Self to its true function of instrument of the Libido. Freud analysed the psyche correctly; but his emotional attachment to tabus (he was, after all, a Jew and a bourgeois) led him to the hopeless attempt of trying to saddle the lithe race-horse of the Contemporary Unconscious with the heavy accoutrements of the seedy nag of Palestine.
Reason is in capitals, which suggests a Qabalistic meaning. REASON =200+5+1+ 7+70+50=333, the number of Choronzon, “Dispersion”. (See Liber 418, the Tenth Aethyr.) “Dogs of Reason” are, therefore, the “Black Brothers”. Why shall he perish with the “Black Brothers”? Because he will join their current. It manifests itself in the lower cakkrams, particularly those of the heart and the navel. The bodily Prana is deflected by it. Man's vital force should rise from the Muladhara Cakkram to the higher head centers, Visudhi, Ajna and Sahashara (See Liber V); instead, it disperses itself in a reflex, confused, indirected activity of the intermediary centers. In the trained Initiate, the lower Cakkrams function entirely under the control of the head centers. Initiates are therefore frequently considered by “mediums” and “clairvoyants”to be “cold'; or “pitiless”, or without compassion”. Imperfect seers call the Initiate's aura “black'; being unable to perceive the radiation of the higher centers (See AL I, 16-18, 21,27, 28,29, 60; II, 6, 14,23, 50-53; III, 19-20, 22, 38,44-45,49, 74, 75.) The “Black Brothers'; on the other hand seem to them to “radiate sunlight”. The Prana in them never rises to the higher centers at all, and its rate of vibration is low enough to be “seen of the unseeing”. The only radiation of their higher centers is the normal nerve circuitry of the body. The Cakkrams, if developed and functioning, are like electric transformers. They step up the vibratory rate of Prana. The faster they spin, the “fainter” and “faerier” becomes the Initiate's aura, until it becomes attuned to the Aura of the Milky Way -the “Orgone light” of Wilhelm Reich-the “kisses of the stars”. Or, if you prefer, to the Body of Nuit, which of course is omnipresent. Any lower forms of energy exist in it.)
If the Aspirant becomes attuned to “Because'; he may mistake the “Dog Syndrome” of Cakkram malfunction for the “God Syndrome” of higher Cakkram awakening. He will identify himself with the Egoic Complex of the “Black Brethren”. “Because” is the reflex, on a much lower plane, of the Consciousness of Hadit. (Hadit is, of course, perceived only by the awakened Ajna. The Winged Globe of the Egyptians displays the “two petals of the Lotus” of Hindu symbolism.) Being a simulacrum, it is very dangerous. It includes all the egregora of “God” that have been formed through the centuries. All “Visions of God” of all religions belong to “Because”. (The lower Dhyanas are all below the Abyss. They are mental phenomena —their only connection with the Element of Spirit is the Kundalini that energizes them. And Kundalini should not be wasted in the mind. It should be sent straight up to the higher centers. “There is no God where I am”. Unfortunately, in practice it is almost impossible to avoid the occurrence of Dhyana, since the Yogi is just beginning and is not familiar with the mechanics of the Sheaths of the Self. And the temptation to mistake Dhyana for Samadhi is deadly. Some wretches have spent the rest of their lives in the firm belief that they “achieved”. To such people the “Siddhi” described by Patanjali seem the Crown of Perfection!)
28. Now a curse upon Because and his kin!
This is against those Intellectuals aforesaid. There are no 'standards of Right'. Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go its own orbit. To hell with 'moral Principle'; there is no such thing; that is a herd-delusion, and makes men cattle.
Such a doctrine does not make “law and order” and “civilized behavior” impossible; on the contrary, it is the first step towards true civilization. It should be obvious that I have no right to impose, or even try to impose, my personal standards on my neighbour. “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Nor does my neighbour have the right to impose his on me. If he does not like my ways, he is free to seek associates of his own sympathies, and so am L Society, in short, is not to be a community of slaves overseen by “Black Brothers'; but a fluid, loose association of free men who act in concert only where the selfish interests of each and every one of them counsels so. The selfishness of each one is the guarantee of the freedom of all. A business deal, to put it bluntly, has been mutually satisfactory and socially sound only when each party goes away convinced that it “did the other in”. When a leader tells his followers that it is time to stop asking what their country (meaning him, of course!) can do for them, and start asking what they can do for their country, it is time for the followers to elect a new leader. The country must always be a function of the citizens, not the citizens a function of the country!
We may, moreover, consider 'Because' as involving the idea of causality, and therefore of duality. If cause and effect are really inseparable, as they must be by definition, it is mere clumsiness to regard them as separate; they are two aspects of one single idea, conceived as consecutive for the sake of (apparent) convenience, or for the general purpose previously indicated of understanding and expressing ourselves in finite terms.
Shallow indeed is the obvious objection to this passage, that the Book of the Law itself is full of phrases which imply causality. Nobody denies that causality is a category of the mind, a form of condition of thought which, if not quite a theoretical necessity, is yet inevitable in practice. The very idea of any relation between two things appears as causal. Even should we declare it to be casual, our minds would still insist that casuality itself was the effect of some cause. Our daily experience hammers home this conviction; and a man's mental excellence seems to be measurable almost entirely in terms of the strength and depth of his appreciation thereof as the soul of the structure of the Universe. It is the spine of Science which has vertebrated human Knowledge above the slimy mollusc whose principle was Faith.
We must not suppose for an instant that the Book of the Law is opposed to reason. On the contrary, its own claim to authority rests upon reason, and nothing else. It disdains the arts of the orator. It makes reason the autocrat of the mind. But that very fact emphasizes that the mind should attend to its own business. It should not transgress its limits. It should be a perfect machine, an apparatus for representing the universe accurately and impartially to its master. The Self, its Will, and its Apprehension, should be utterly beyond it. Its individual peculiarities are its imperfections. If we identify ourselves with our thoughts or our bodily instincts, we are evidently pledged to partake of their partiality. We make ourselves items of the interaction of our own illusions.
In the following verses we shall find the practical application of this theorem.
One technical aspect of this and the following verse should be mentioned. Aspirants must beware of personifying the idea of Because. For instance, the late Rudolf Steiner fabricated an “Evil Being” which he called “Lucifer” —the false Lucifer, since he correctly insisted that the Christ —666— is the true Lucifer. His description of the powers and influence of “Lucifer” is the description of the idea, or set of conditions, that Aiwass calls “Because”. But Steiner failed to realize that his idea of the “Christ” also fell into the category of Because! Steiner was a member of high grade of the Order of Illuminates. But Thelemites are not Illuminates. The word “Illuminate” implies that you have no inner light of your own, and this is the “Dog-syndrome” all over again. Every man and every woman is a star. The translation of the Latin title of Chapter 188 of Liber Aleph is “On Different Works of the Illuminators” —not Illuminates! You are referred once more to AL I 7-11, 49 and to AL II, 5-8, and the Commentaries thereon.
29. May Because be accursed for ever!
Distrust any explanation whatever. Disraeli said: Never ask any one to dinner who has to be explained. All explanations are intended to cover up lies, injustices, or shames. The Truth is radiantly simple.
30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.
There is no 'reason' why a Star should continue in its orbit. Let her rip! Every time the conscious acts, it interferes with the Subconscious, which is Hadit. It is the voice of Man, and not of a God. Any man who 'listens to reason' ceases to be a revolutionary. The newspapers are Past Masters in the Lodge of Sophistry Number 333. They can always prove to you that it is necessary, and patriotic, and all the rest of it, that you should suffer intolerable wrongs.
The Qabalists represent the mind as a complex of six elements, whereas the Will is single, the direct expression as 'The Word' of the Self. The mind must inform the Understanding, which then presents a simple idea to the Will. The Will issues its orders accordingly, for unquestioning execution. If the Will should appeal to the mind, it must confuse itself with incomplete and uncoordinated ideas. The clamour of these cries crowns Anarchy, and action becomes impossible.
31. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.
It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfil one's true Nature, one must do one's Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition. If a woman asks a man who wishes to kiss her why he wants to do so, and he tries to explain, he becomes impotent. His proper course is to choke her into compliance, which is what she wants, anyhow.
Power acts: the nature of the action depends on the information received by the Will; but once the decision is taken, reflection is out of place. Power should indeed be absolutely unconscious. Every athlete is aware that his skill, strength, and endurance depend on forbidding mind to meddle with muscle. Here is a simple experiment. Hold out a weight at arm's length. If you fix your attention firmly on other matters, you can support the strain many times longer than if you allow yourself to think of what your body is doing.
32. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.
The “factor infinite & unknown” is the subconscious Will. 'On with the revel!' “Their words”—the plausible humbug of the newspapers and the churches. Forget it! Allons! Marchons!
One can see how enthusiastic he was about the Socialist Movement The “factor infinite & unknown” is the subconscious Will, in a sense; but in another sense, it is a factor in any equation in Nature. Modern Physics no longer postulates absolute laws for phenomena; it enunciates its judgments under the form of high probabilities. For instance, there is a very high probability that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. But there is no a priori denial of the possibility that it may rise in the west, except that in all recorded history it has never been known to do so. This argument is obviously not sufficient to overrule the possibility, and we must keep an open mind on the subject. If we do, we will be prepared for the possibility of the sun rising in the west tomorrow, and will be quicker to adapt ourselves to the phenomenon than many so-called scientists. Men whose minds are fixed have been known to go insane when facts run contrary to their ideas.
“Their words” —the technical meaning, of course, is the 'word' as a formula of power. The 'words' of the 'Black Brothers' are always, of necessity, skew-wise. But now the words of past Magi are also so — see AL I, 49. They are to the Word of the Aeon of Horus as the Physics of Newton is to the Physics of Einstein. This is very important because of the natural inertia of the mind. Until Thelemic momentum be firmly established in the life of an Aspirant, his mind will continuously tend to fall back into “the pit called Because.” He must live as if “Might Be” were “Is'; and persist in this apparently absurd course of conduct until the external world adapts itself to his Will. See LXV, Chapter Five, verses 52-56. The adaptation of the external world to the Will is inevitable if the Will be the True Will, because you are a Star in the Body of Nuit. Infinite Space is a function of you. You are Hadit, and Nuit is your Complement. See AL II, verse 1. This is why “Success is thy proof” (Of course, the reverse idea is also true — you are a function of Infinite Space —See AL I, verse 1. But this merely means that the Third Kind of Magickal Link —see Book Four, Part III—is always present, and a form of the First Kind.)
It has been explained at length in a previous note that 'reason is a lie' by nature. We may here add certain confirmations suggested by the 'factor'. A and a (not-A) together make up the Universe. As a is evidently 'infinite and unknown', its equal and opposite A must be no less. Again, from any proposition S is P, reason deduces 'S is not p'; thus the apparent finitude and knowability of S is deceptive, since it is in direct relation with p.
No matter what n may be, n + ¥, the number of the inductive numbers, is unaltered by adding or subtracting it. There are just as many odd numbers as there are numbers altogether. Our knowledge is confined to statements of the relations between certain sets of our own sensory impressions: and we are convinced by our limitations that 'a factor infinite and unknown' must be concealed within the sphere of which we see but one minute part of the surface. As to reason itself, what is more certain than that its laws are only the conscious expression of the limits imposed upon us by our animal nature, and that to attribute universal validity, or even significance, to them is a logical folly, the raving of our megalomania? Reason is no more than a set of rules developed by the race; it takes no account of anything beyond sensory impressions and their reactions to various parts of our being. There is no possible escape from the vicious circle that we can register only the behaviour of our own instrument. We conclude, from the fact that it behaves at all, that there must be 'a factor infinite and unknown' at work upon it. This being the case, we may be sure that our apparatus is inherently incapable of discovering the truth about anything, even in part.
Modern science has at last grown out of the very-young-man cocksureness of the 19th century. It is now admitted that axioms themselves depend on definitions, and that Intuitive Certainty is simply one trait of homo sapiens, like the ears of the ass or the slime of the slug. That we reason as we do merely proves that we cannot reason otherwise. We cannot move the upper jaw; it does not follow that the idea of motion is ridiculous. The limitation hints rather that there may be an infinite variety of structures which the jaw cannot imagine. The metric system is not the necessary mode of measurement. It is the mark of a mind untrained, to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth. Our two eyes see an object in two aspects, and present to our consciousness a third which agrees with neither, is indeed, strictly speaking, not sensible to sight, but to touch! Our senses declare some things at rest and others in motion; our reason corrects the error, firstly by denying that anything can exist unless it is in motion, secondly by denying that absolute motion possesses any meaning at all.
At the time when this Book was written, official Science angrily scouted the 'factor infinite and unknown', and clung with pathetic faith to the idea that reason was the touchstone of truth. In a single sentence, Aiwaz anticipates the discoveries by which the greatest minds now incarnate have made the last ten years memorable.
33. Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!
In my essays 'Truth' (in Konx Om Pax), 'The Soldier and the Hunchback', 'Eleusis', and others, I have offered a detailed demonstration of the self-contradictory nature of Reason. The crux of the whole proof may be summarized by saying that any possible proposition must be equally true with its contradictory, as, if not, the universe would no longer be in equilibrium. It is no objection that to accept this is to destroy conventional Logic, for that is exactly what it is intended to do. I may also mention briefly one line of analysis.
I ask “What is (e.g.) a tree?” The dictionary defines this simple idea by means of many complex ideas; obviously one gets in deeper with every stroke one takes. The same applies to any 'Why' that may be posed. The one existing mystery disappears as a consequence of innumerable antecedents, each equally mysterious.
To ask questions is thus evidently worse than a waste of time, so far as one is looking for an answer.
There is also the point that any proposition S is P merely includes P in the connotation of 5, and is therefore not really a statement of relation between two things, but an amendment of the definition of one of them. 'Some cats are black' only means that our idea of a cat involves the liability to appear black, and that blackness is consistent with those sets of impressions which we recognize as characteristic of cats. All ratiocination may be reduced to syllogistic form; hence, the sole effect of the process is to make each term more complex. Reason does not add to our knowledge; a filing system does not increase one's correspondence directly, though by arranging it one gets a better grasp of one's business. Thus, coordination of our impressions should help us to control them; but to allow reason to rule us is as abject as to expect the exactitude of our ledgers to enable us to dispense with initiative on the one hand and actual transactions on the other.
34. But ye, o my people, rise up & awake!
We are not to calculate, to argue, to criticise; these things lead to division of will and to stagnation. They are shackles of our Going. They hamstring our Pegasus. We are to rise up — to Go — to Love— we are to be awake, alert —
“Joyous and eager, Our tresses adorning,
0 let us beleaguer the City of Morning!”
The Secret of Magick is to 'enflame oneself in praying.' This is the ready test of a Star, that it whirls flaming through the sky. You cannot mistake it for an Old Maid objecting to Everything. This Universe is a wild revel of atoms, men, and stars, each one a Soul of Light and Mirth, horsed on Eternity.
Observe that we must 'rise up' before we 'awake'. Aspiration to the Higher is a dream — a wish-fulfilment which remains a phantasm to wheedle us away from seeking reality—unless we follow it up by Action. Only then do we become fully aware of ourselves, and enter into right reaction with the world in which we live.
35. Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty!
A ritual is not a melancholy formality; it is a Sacrament, a Dance, a Commemoration of the Universe. The Universe is endless rapture, wild and unconfined, a mad passion of speed. Astronomers tell us this of the Great Republic of the Stars; physicists say the same of the Little Republic of Molecules. Shall not the Middle Republic of Men be like unto them? The polite ethicist demurs; his ideal is funereal solemnity. His horizon is bounded by death; and his spy-glass is smeared with the idea of sin. The New Aeon proclaims Man as Immortal God, eternally active to do His Will. All's Joy, all's Beauty; this Will we celebrate.
In this verse we see how the awakening leads to ordered and purposeful action. Joy and Beauty are the evidence that our functions are free and fit; when we take no pleasure, and find nothing to admire, in our work, we are doing it wrong.
36. There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.
Each element—fire, earth, air, water, and Spirit—possesses its own Nature, Will, and Magical Formula. Each one may then have its appropriate ritual. Many such in crude form are described in The Golden Bough of Dr. J. G. Frazer, the Glory of Trinity!
In particular the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals.
The difference between 'rituals' and 'feasts' is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one's superfluous force in the other. Yet, a feast implies periodical nourishment.
37. A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!
There should be a special feast on the 12th day of August in every year, since it was the marriage of The Beast which made possible the revelation of the New Law. (This is not an Apology for Marriage. Hard cases make Bad Law.)
38. A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.
This is April 8th, 9th, and 10th, the feast beginning at High Noon.
39. A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet — secret,
This particular feast is of a character suited only to initiates.
40. A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.
The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20.
The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox, in the manner known to Neophytes of the A:.A:..
41. A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death!
The feasts of fire and water indicate rejoicings to be made at the puberty of boys and girls respectively.
The feast for life is at a birth; and the feast for death at a death. It is of the utmost importance to make funerals merry, so as to train people to take the proper view of death. The fear of death is one of the great weapons of tyrants, as well as their scourge; and it distorts our whole outlook upon the Universe.
42. A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture!
To him who realizes Hadit this text needs little comment. It is wondrous, this joy of awakening every morning to the truth of one's immortal energy and rapture. (See Liber HAD.)
43. A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!
To sleep is to return, in a sense, to the Bosom of Nuit. But there is to be a particular Act of Worship of Our Lady, as ye well wot. (See Liber NV.)
44. Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.
Do not be afraid of 'going the pace'. It is better to wear out than to rust out. (One of the great tragedies of modern life is the idea of “retirement”. People stop working precisely at the age when they have gathered enough experience to work efficiently. The idea that work is an obligation and an effort is possible only in a slave society, where men and women work not at what they like, but at what they may. A person who is doing work harmonious with his or her True Will wants to work until he or she dies —because to work is fun. Hard fun, maybe —but great fun. An occasional rest is of course necessary; but if your work is congenial, you will soon find yourself missing it —and back to it you should go, whether you are twenty or eighty, whether to compose a symphony or wield a spade. It does not matter if you do it slower —your experience will make each move count, and even if it didn't, you are not a ward of society. On the contrary, society is a ward of you.) You are unconquerable, and of indefatigable energy. Great men find time for everything, shirk nothing, make reputations in half a dozen different lines, have twenty simultaneous love affairs, and live to a green old age. The milksops and valetudinarians never get anywhere; usually they die early; and even if they lived for ever, what the use?
The body is itself a restriction as well as an instrument. When death is as complete as it should be, the individual expands and fulfils himself in all directions; it is an omniform Samadhi. This is of course 'eternal ecstasy' in the sense already explained. But in the time-world Karma reconcentrates the elements, and a new incarnation occurs.
45. There is death for the dogs.
The prigs, the prudes, the followers of the dead letter of religions, die in a real sense of the word; for although even they are 'Stars', there is not enough body to them (as it were) to carry on the individuality. There is no basis for the magical memory if one's incarnation holds nothing worth remembering. Count your years by your wounds — forsitam haec climmeminesse juvabit.
Serious readers should check Liber Aleph, 192-194.
46. Dost thou fail? Art thou sorry? Is fear in thine heart?
This verse brings out what is a fact in psychology, the necessary connection between fear, sorrow, and failure. To will and to dare are closely linked Powers of the Sphinx, and they are based on—to know. If one have a right apprehension of the Universe, if he know himself free, immortal, boundless, infinite force and fire, then may he will and dare. Fear, sorrow and failure are but phantoms.
47. Where I am these are not.
Hadit is everywhere (See verse 3); fear, sorrow, and failure are only 'shadows'. It is for this reason that compassion is absurd.
It may be objected that 'shadows' exist, after all; the 'pink rats' of an alcoholic are not to be exorcised by 'Christian Science' methods. Very true — they are, in fact, necessary functions of our idea of the Universe in its dualistic 'shadow-show'. But they do not form any part of Hadit, who is beneath all conditions. And they are in a sense less real than their logical contradictories, because they are patently incompatible with the Changeless and Impersonal. They have their roots in conceptions involving change and personality. Strictly speaking, 'joy' is no less absurd than sorrow, with reference to Hadit; but from the standpoint of the individual, this is not the case. One's fear of death is removed by the knowledge that there is no such thing in reality; but one's joy in life is not affected.
48. Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I am not for them. I console not: I hate the consoled & the consoler.
It is several times shewn in this Book that 'falling' is in truth impossible. 'All is ever as it was'. To sympathize with the illusion is not only absurd, but tends to perpetuate the false idea. It is a mistake to 'spoil' a child, or humour a malade imaginaire. One must, on the contrary, chase away the shadows by lighting a fire, which fire is: Do what thou wilt!
Some technical aspects of this verse should be mentioned. “Hadit never knew them”—Hadit was never manifested in their Ruach—to them he exists only as “Not” The consciousness of Hadit is only possible to those whose Ajna has become active, even if for just one moment. “Hadit consoles not”—Hadit, of course, is the a biding Flame of Life that makes manifestation, even of the “fallen'; possible. Though they are not conscious of Him, He is in them. See LXV, iii, 36. But for the same reason, He “hates” those who console and those who let themselves be consoled. To fear death is to blaspheme against Life, and your own Spiritual Intuition—Gimel in the Qabalah—turns against you in scorn. It is for this reason that beggars hate the alms giver, and the alms giver, deep in his heart, despises the beggar. This is a psychological fact, no matter how much well-intentioned fools may deny or conceal it. Curses brace your Soul—benedictions put you to sleep. Does your brother beg your help? Cast him into the snake pit and laugh at his fear. He has nothing to fear but his fear. If he hate you, he would have hated you anyway. But he would have hated and despised, and now he will hate and respect. And from respect for one's neighbour to respect for one's own self it is a small step. A man who can stand against you is a man you can lean upon, as said William Gibson, and the author of the Bhagavad Gita before him.
It is not with these few well-chosen words that I look for praise from the United Givers Fund, the Salvation Army, and such other illustrious institutions.
49. I am unique & conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish. Be they damned & dead! Amen. (This is of the 4: there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.)
I am not very well satisfied with the old comment on this verse (Published in the Equinox I, 7.) It appears rather as if the Amen should be the beginning of a new paragraph altogether. (That is not so; see the facsimile of the MMSS.) Amen is evidently a synthesis of the four elements, and the invisible fifth is Spirit. But Harpocrates, the Babe in the Egg, is Virgo in the Zodiac indeed, but Mercury among the planets. Mercury has the Winged Helmet and Heels, and the Winged Staff about which Snakes twine, and it is He that Goeth. Now, this letter is Beth, whose numeration is 2, and AMEN is 91, which added to 2 makes 93. Amoun is of course Jupiter in his highest Form. To understand this note fully one must have studied 'The Paris Working'; also one must be an initiate of the 0. T. 0. (The italics are Crowley's, not ours.)
“I am unique & conqueror.” This is obvious from the nature of Hadit. Those who are conscious of being Hadit must be doing their True Wills, and in such a case they either will find no obstacles in their path, or they will conquer such obstacles as they may find. “All the world loves a winner”—but only a winner that wins according to Nuit's rule: “But always unto me.” Those who win foully provoke disharmony in themselves and in their surroundings. As Lincoln said, “You may deceive some of the people all the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can't deceive all of the people all of the time.” See Emerson's essay, “The Oversoul.”
“I am not of the slaves that perish.” This has already been explained, Hadit being Not.
“Be they damned”—Be they sent to hell. Hell, of course, is the Abode of Had it—t he flame that burns in every heart of man. Also, HELL = H + L + L = 65, the Number of Adonai.
”& dead”. “yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.” Those who can't “know Hadit”—which of course is the same as being known by Hadit, since you ARE Hadit — in life in manifestation, do so when the Serpent finishes eating its own tail.
'Amen.” This is the signature of the sentence, the Amen in this case being the same Amen that speaks to the “churches” in Revelations. This is, of course, one of the pseudonyms, or Magickal Mottoes, of Aiwass, who was the Hierophant in the Past Aeon. In the past Aeon only the Four Elements had been, so to speak, “published”. The Element of Spirit-—A kasha, that “vast, black brooding ocean of death'; was concealed.
50. Blue am I and gold in the light of my bride: but the red gleam is in my eyes; & my spangles are purple & green.
There is here suggested the Image of 'the Star and the Snake'.
Nothing of the sort. See Liber HAD.
51. Purple beyond purple: it is the light higher than eyesight.
There is a certain suggestion in this 'purple' as connected with 'eyesight' which should reveal a certain identity of Hadit with the Dwarf-Soul to those who possess—eyesight!
52. There is a veil: that veil is black. It is the veil of the modest woman; it is the veil of sorrow, & the pall of death: this is none of me. Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries: veil not your vices in virtuous words: these vices are my service; ye do well, & I will reward you here and hereafter.
Mohammed struck at the root of the insane superstition of tabu with his word: “Women are your field; go in unto them as ye will.” He only struck half the blow. I say: go in unto them as ye will and they will. Two-thirds of modern misery spring from Woman's sexual dissatisfaction. (Readers will please note that this was written in the early Twenties, almost forty years before the Kinsey Report on women tore down the veil of male hypocrisy in American society!) A dissatisfied woman is a curse to herself and to everybody in her neighbourhood. Women must learn to let themselves enjoy without fear or shame, and both men and women must be trained in the technique of sex. Sex-repression leads to neurosis, and is the cause of social unrest. Ignorance of sexual technique leads to disappointment, even where passion is free and unrestrained. Sex is not everything in life, any more than food is: but until people have got satisfaction of these natural hungers, it is useless to expect them to think of other things. This truth is vital to the statesman, now that women have some direct political power; they will certainly overthrow the Republic unless they obtain full sexual satisfaction. Also, women outnumber men; and one man cannot satisfy a woman unless he be skilful and diligent. The New Aeon will have a foundation of Happy Women: a Woman under Tabu is loathsome to Life, detested by her fellows, and wretched in herself.
The student should study in Liber Aleph and Liber 418 the connection between 'modesty' and the attitude of the 'Black Brothers'.
The 'Black Brothers' frequently use restricted women and pederasts as instruments. By pederasts we here mean persons who are apparently of the male sex, but are attracted only by their own sex, and try to make of themselves a parody of femininity.
The reason why the 'Black Brethren' can use such people as instruments is that restricted women do not function as women, and the 'swish' does not function as a man. Consequently, their astral bodies are unbalanced, and may easily be penetrated or infected by diseased currents.
The 'Black Brothers' hate and fear Woman. They have a partial and fixed vision of Her, and refuse to see Her in Her True Nature. This is a consequence of that mental attitude psychoanalysts call the Oedipus Complex, but which they study and interpret, of course, on a very limited plane.
The mechanism of the complex is very simple. The first woman to whose magnetism a boy is subjected is, as a rule, his mother. She is his first love, and also his first hatred, for it is she who watches him and punishes him when he wants to do something “wrong”—t hat is, when he wants to express his Self in a way that offends her prejudices. The artificial restraints that modern, antinatural living imposes, the atavic influence of the slave-gods, the sexual dissatisfaction of the great majority of women in restricted societies, all this contributes to little patience in mothers with their children. The offspring is often punished for deeds that in reality deserve reward, since they demonstrate courage, initiative and high spirits.
The child takes on this mixture of affection and resentment for the mother, and when the sexual instinct begins to surface—it surfaces much earlier than the prudish like to believe-the mother is the son's first sexual fixation. Now the factor of the incest tabu comes in. The natural tendency of an adolescent boy is towards a girl of his age; but in restricted societies, on reaching puberty he is separated from girls and associates easily only with his mother. The natural physical attraction, which takes no account of tab us, naturally impels him to the sexual object of the other sex which is available. But the atavic and “educational” inhibitions become active, and increase animosity towards the mother without satisfying the attraction he feels. (In point of fact, there is no a priori physiological objection to incest. Sexual relations between relatives do not automatically produce “monsters”. They simply tend to increment common traits. If these traits are “good”, the product will be “better” than both. If these traits are “bad'; the product will be “worse”. Animal breeders frequently couple sons with mothers, fathers with daughters, and brothers with sisters, in order to improve advantageous genetic traits in a breed.
The only valid objection to incest is psychological: there is a possibility that a boy weak in virility will become a slave to the Oedipus complex the rest of his life. But in such cases, the same risk would occur with any woman. And if the boy is healthy, the physical relationship may in many cases dissolve the complex, satisfying the attraction, cancelling the animosity, equilibrating the tension, after which naturally the boy will interest himself in other partners —and so will the mother!…)
The animic structure of a person who has any tendency to become a 'Black Brother' generally shows some serious weakness combined with an excess in some other direction. Every man and every woman is, and should be, the center of the Universe to himself or herself This is given by the Consciousness of the Self But every man and every woman animically well-balanced understands that every other human being has exactly the same right to consider himself or herself the center. If we are healthy, we understand that, although for us our neighbour is but part of our Universe, for him we are but part of his. Students are referred to Liber NV, vv. 9-11, for a better understanding of the ethical aspect of this realization. If two human beings have this perception, the relation between them will eventually become harmonious. Any friction will be accidental and ephemeral. 'As brothers fight ye!” There is no possibility of permanent friction, because each of them is occupied with the realization of his True Will, and since each of us is (no matter how many point s in common we may have) in a diverse position in some fundamental point, two True Wills CANNOT be in permanent conflict! Friction — if there is friction — is solved by “love under will” —which may, of course, include a fight. Any change is a form of Love. But the moment adjustment is produced, there will cease to be exploitation on either side, since both understand that compensated exchange is necessary to the freedom of both. And the understanding that both have of themselves and of the Universe will have been enriched by the conflict. Both will have been modified by Love.
The Black Brother has only half of this perception. He understands that he is the center of his universe; but he does not understand that he is only part of the universe of his neighbour. What is more, he does not will to understand. Students will please note that this attitude is not incompatible with shows of “kindness” or “pity”. The worst Black Brothers are “kind” and “compassive”. We say “worst” from the point of view of their slaves; “a chain of flowers is more dangerous than a chain of iron.”
You can never tell beforehand if this or that person will become a “Black Brother'; and how long he or she will remain so. There is a factor infinite and unknown. What is necessary is that you understand the motive why the “Black Brethren” do not will to understand that every man and every woman is a star. It is because they interpret this as a diminution of the importance of their own selves. They are horrified by Binah, which they sense as a hostile influence. Binah wants to destroy them. Binah is Darkness, Blindness, Annihilation, Death!
Readers will perhaps understand this better through an analogy. Remember occasions when you were very sick, hypersensitive, or near a nervous breakdown, when a loud noise, a sudden light, or a visitor wishing to make small talk irritated you or made you afraid. Physical health is extremely important to the initiatic process, for the mind is subjected to enormous strains in trances or magickal operations. If the body is not healthy, the mind may become unbalanced, and this in planes so subtle that they escape completely to perception by vulgar psychiatry. There are completely “normal” people on the intellectual and emotional planes who are nevertheless “morally” insane. And people whose development on the “moral” plane —Buddhi-Manas — Neschamah —is rudimentary, that is, the great majority of mankind, are like clay in the hands of such madmen or madwomen.
ft is necessary also that Students should understand what is the true position of the “Black Brother'; from the point of view of the Supernals. The “Black Brother'; becomes an evil force in the world. But “evil” is relative. The “Black Brother” would have no power over his fellowmen if his fellowmen had already reached that degree of self- awareness that makes us repel from us any enslaving influence. Our fellowmen, in their majority, have not reached such a level of inner freedom. Consequently, they knuckle under the influence of the “Black Brethren”—and through the harm this influence does them, they slowly purify and equilibrate the sheaths of the self, start aspiring to emancipation, and eventually become capable of facing the Horror, the Abomination of Desolation—their own Selves.
Thus, from the point of view of the Supernals, although the “Black Brother” becomes a demon, this demon bows its head to CHORONZON —333—and becomes a blind instrument of Destiny. His activity helps the work of the Masters of the Temple. He is forced to work for Mankind in spite of himself “Choronzon” is that influence that destroys the ego—which is precisely what the Aspirant to True Initiation desires. Students are advised to read Liber 156 with extreme care, and to consult Liber 418, the Tenth Aethyr, which describes the circumstances in which Choronzon manifests itself, and the attitude that forces Choronzon to obey.
BABALON is the Woman as THERION is the Man. We are all man and woman inside ourselves. The concept of Woman as an entity that shuts itself is the product of the fear that the “Black Brothers” have of the universe. Who bows to the tabu of incest, or who fears love, tends to visualize the “Mother” as “Pure,” “Virgin,” “Untouchable,” “Untouched.” This concept is partial and erroneous. There are two ways in which a substance may be kept in a “pure” condition. First, it may be enclosed, shut up, in such a manner that it will be unable to mix with others. Second, it may be a substance so strong, so indestructible, that it cannot be contaminated by any other. A diamond may fall into mud; it will go on being a diamond. Gold does not rust nor is easily attacked by acids as other metals. It is for this that both diamond and gold have been chosen by Adepts of past ages as symbols of Our True Inner Identity—Ourselves-—HADIT.
Two points of view, you understand. One is partial, limited, and leads the “Black Brother” to shut himself up and interpret every extraneous influence as an attack against his integrity. The other leads the Adept Exempt to open himself to the world, and to swear to interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing between God and his soul.
Let it be understood that the Immaculate Virgin is a necessary concept; but it must be equilibrated by the opposite concept, since no idea that is not thus balanced by its opposite can exist above the Abyss. See Liber XXV, and Liber V, and Liber XXX VI. BABALON in Greek is MAPIE, Maria. She is the Immaculate Virgin, the Woman Clothed with the Sun—Maia with the solar “R” in her womb. But she is SIMULTANEOUSLY the Great Whore, the Shameless One who gets drunk on the blood of the saints. She is Nature, whose mystery is eternally inviolate, the Veiled Isis; and she is the Diana of the Ephesians, frenetically copulating with, and giving suck to, all her creatures: Isis Unveiled, the Heavenly and Earthly Venus. Beyond them, uniting their aspects in a single Female Symbol, is Isis Urania —NUIT.
The concept of “Mary inviolate” is thus partial and unbalanced— and for this motive is qliphotic, unless it be checked by its opposite. The Greeks sensed this. Artemis was the Virgin Goddess, patroness of maidens. She had never submitted to the embrace of any god but Pan—and one of the great riddles of Eleusis was that Artemis, having surrendered herself to PAN—that is, to ALL—remained pure and virgin.
This is also what was meant by that aphorism: “Who wishes to keep his life, shall lose it. Who loses it, shall gain eternal life.”
Every woman of false chastity is subject to the influence of the “Black Brethren'; as are those homosexuals of the type that tries to resemble a woman. Such people deny expression to the opposite polarity of their nature. What attracts a man to a woman is, odd as this may seem to the profane, his own femininity, as what attracts a woman to a man is her own masculinity. The polarity of the vehicles is inverted. This subject is too complex for treatment here, but remember the Mark of Set, the Mark of Satan, the Mark of the Beast: Moon and Sun conjoined.
“Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries.” It is most necessary that false modesty be eradicated from the animic life of our race. The only way to do this is to balance it by its opposite. A nun, be it Roman Catholic, Buddhist, or of any other cult, is not a chaste woman if she automatically abstains from sexual intercourse. She is a coward, and her influence in society is always an evil influence. What use if Sisters of Charity-the least useless of such women—fight disease in the world, when the greater part of such disease is provoked precisely by the ill effect their “vows” produce in the animic life of society? It is as if a man dammed a flowing brook, then kept busily disinfecting the stagnant pools resulting from the obstruction. This kind of psychic blindness is characteristic of the mental state of the “Black Brothers.”
It is a wicked and senseless folly to believe that God can be found only out of, and beyond, our neighbor's flesh. It is fatally false to form an astral image of our Guardian Angel, instead of to perceive that He is equally manifested in all things. See LXV, iii, 25-39.
Aspirants should keep in mind that the concept of “Mary inviolate” is a telepathic projection of the inner state of the “Black Brothers”. Thelemites must fight to the utmost atavic tendencies in themselves to consider a “chaste” woman a virtuous woman. A virtuous woman is she who has the courage to meet life on all planes, who has the courage to be mistress and mother. A woman who shuts herself up, who castrates herself psychically, deserves only that scorn that we must reserve for all cowards. As long as “nuns” and “chaste” women are treated with more social consideration than “adulteresses” and “promiscuous” girls, the sex-life of mankind will remain stunted, and the factors that most contribute to the formation of enslaving traumas will continue to manifest in the psychic atmosphere of the race. The concept of woman as a thing that “shuts itself up” comes from inside the “Black Brethren”—who really have shut themselves up. Their souls shut upon themselves, refuse to become open to the influence of their fellowmen, to the influence of the Whole, Pan.
Any form of sexual intercourse is permissible. Any occasional voluntary abstention is understandable. But the laying down of rules of sexual behavior, or abstention of a healthy attraction due to prejudices of race, caste, or religion, are an abomination against Beauty and Love, BABALON and THERION, Woman and Man. Love is the law, love under will.
53. Fear not, o prophet, when these words are said, thou shalt not be sorry. Thou art emphatically my chosen; and blessed are the eyes that thou shalt look upon with gladness. But I will hide thee in a mask of sorrow: they that see thee shall fear thou art fallen: but I lift thee up.
Yes! I was frightened when the God of Things as They Ought to Be told me that They Were to Be. I was born under a German Queen, and I did not believe in the Revolution that I willed. And lo! it is upon us, ere the Fifteenth Year of the New Aeon has dawned. (This was thus written in 1918 e.v.)
Yes! I am lifted up, the Sun being in Scorpio in this Fourteenth Year of the Aeon.
Students are referred to LXV, 4 12-24 and the Commentaries thereon. Also to Liber VII, i, 14, 22-28, 52-55; ii, 11-12, 17-22; iii, 16, 21,40-44,56-60; iv, 22-25,48; v, 7,34-48; vi, 22-25,47-50; vii, 4-6, 18- 20, 28-33, 36-39, 43-44.
54. Nor shall they who cry aloud their folly that thou meanest nought avail; thou shall reveal it: thou availest: they are the slaves of because: They are not of me. The stops as thou wilt; the letters? change them not in style or value!
The second part of the text was in answer to an unspoken query as to the peculiar phrasing.
The first part is clear enough. There are a number of people of shallow wit who do not believe in Magick. This is doubtless partly due to the bad presentation of the subject by previous Masters. I have identified Magick with the Art of Life. The transcendental superstructure will not overburden those who have laid this Right Foundation.
There is an elaborate cryptographic meaning in this verse; the words 'folly','nought','it', and 'me' indicate the path of research.
The meaning should be clear from our previous notes.
55. Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto.
The attribution in Liber Trigrammaton is good theoretically; but no Qabalah of merit has arisen therefrom. (Surely it is a little early for that; a good Qabalah may take a few hundred years to unfold.) I am inclined to look further into the question of Sanskrit Roots, and into the Enochian Records, in order to put this matter in more polished shape.
I append Liber Trigrammaton with the attribution aforesaid:
sub figura XXVII
THE BOOK OF THE TRIGRAMS
MUTATIONS OF THE TAO WITH THE
YIN AND THE YANG
I Here is Nothing under its three forms. It is not, yet informeth all things.
L Now cometh the glory of the Single One, as an imperfection and stain.
C But by the Weak One the Mother was it equilibrated.
H Also the purity was divided by Strength, the force of the Demiurge.
X And the Cross was formulated in the Universe that as yet was not.
T But now the Imperfection became manifest, presiding over the fading of perfection.
Y Also the Woman arose, and veiled the Upper Heaven with her body of stars.
P Now then a giant arose, of terrible strength; and asserted the Spirit in a secret rite.
A And the Master of the Temple balancing all things arose; his stature was above the Heaven and below Earth and Hell.
J Against him the Brothers of the Left-hand Path, confusing the symbols. They concealed their horror (in this symbol); for in truth they were.
W The master flamed forth as a star and set a guard of Water in every Abyss.
O Also certain secret ones concealed the Light of Purity in themselves, protecting it from the Persecutions.
G Likewise also did certain sons and daughters of Hermes and of Aphrodite, more openly.
Z But the Enemy confused them. They pretended to conceal that Light, that they might betray it, and profane it.
B Yet certain holy nuns concealed the secret in songs upon the lyre.
F Now did the Horror of Time pervert all things, hiding the Purity with a loathsome thing, a thing unnameable.
S Yes, and there arose sensualists upon the firmament, as a foul stain of storm upon the sky.
M And the Black Brothers raised their heads; yea, they unveiled themselves without shame or fear.
N Also there rose up a soul of filth and of weakness, and it corrupted all the rule of the Tao.
E Then only was Heaven established to bear sway; for only in the lowest corruption is form manifest.
R Also did Heaven manifest in violent light. (Air or the Aethyr.)
Q And in soft light. (The Sun.)
V Then were the waters gathered together from the heaven.
K And a crust of earth concealed the core of flame.
D Around the globe gathered the wide air. (The moon.*)
[Inserted footnote: * The moon is not considered to be a light, but a cohesion of the planet's atmosphere.]
U And men began to light fires upon the earth.
Therefore was the end of it sorrow; yet in that sorrow a sixfold star of glory whereby they might see to return unto the stainless Abode; yea, unto the Stainless abode.
56. Begone! ye mockers; even though ye laugh in my honour ye shall laugh not long: then when ye are sad know that I have forsaken you.
These passages are certainly very difficult. It seems as if they were given to meet some contingency which has not yet arisen. For example, this verse might be appropriate in case of the institution of a false cultus by impostors.
The doctrine is that Hadit is the nucleolus (to borrow a term from biology) of any star-organism. To mock at Hadit is therefore evidently very much what is meant by the mysterious phrase in the 'New Testament' with regard to the Unpardonable Sin, the 'blasphemy against the Holy Ghost'. A star forsaken by Hadit would thus be in the condition of real death. It is this state which is characteristic of the 'Black Brothers', as they are described in other parts of this Comment, and elsewhere in the Holy Books of the A∴A∴
It is not necessarily Had it who is speaking; it may be Aiwass, the Magus of the Past Aeon. In which case the verse becomes perfectly clear. Aleister Crowley was mocked and is still mocked, twenty years after his death; his pretensions to Lordship of the Aeon are held laughable, his “followers” are held in scorn. Yet, what has been the history of the established churches and “occult” orders since He came? They run around in circles at this moment, trying to grasp reality, and fail at every turn. Their shrines are truly empty; the God has left them. They spat at the sun, and their spittle fell back upon their faces.
57. He that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is filthy shall be filthy still.
This, and the first part of the next verse demonstrate the inviolability of Hadit our Quintessence. Every Star has its own Nature, which is 'right' for it. We are not to be missionaries with ideal standards of dress and morals, and such hard-ideas. We are to do what we will, and leave others to do what they will. We are infinitely tolerant, save of intolerance.
It is impossible to alter the ultimate Nature of any Being, however completely we may succeed in transfiguring its external signs as displayed in any of its combinations. Thus, the sweetness, whiteness, and crystalline structure of sugar depend partly on the presence of Carbon; so do the bitterness, greenness, and resinous composition of hashish. But the Carbon is inviolably Carbon. And even when we transmute what seem to be elements, as Radium to Lead, we merely go a step further; there is still an immutable substance — or essence of Energy — which is inevitably Itself, the basis of the diversity.
This holds good even should we arrive at demonstrating Material Monism. It may well be — I have believed so ever since I was fourteen years old — that the elements are all isomers, differentiated by geometrical structure, electrical charge, or otherwise in precisely the same way as ozone from oxygen, red from yellow phosphorus, dextrose from laevulose, and a paraffin from a benzene of identical empirical formula. Indeed, every 'star' is necessarily derived from the uniform continuity of Nuit, and resolvable back into Her Body by the proper analytical methods, as the experience of mysticism testifies. But each such complex is none the less uniquely itself; for the scheme of its construction is part of its existence, so that this peculiar scheme constitutes the essence of its individuality. It is impossible to change a shilling into two sixpences, though the value and the material may be identical; for part of the essence of the shilling is the intention to have a single coin.
The above considerations must be thoroughly assimilated by any mind which wishes to gain a firm intellectual grasp of the truth which lies behind the paradox of existence.
We may now go one step further: geneticists have found that the genetic code is uniform throughout all protoplasm; only its permutations determine whet her such and such organism will become a slug rather than a man. Yet, there is a factor infinite and unknown, and the 'star' analogy must not be taken too far. Human beings are living organisms in the process of change, which is life. Individual change is called Initiation; racial initiation is called Evolution; but change there is. The point is, and this must be understood, that you must change from your present position, and not another. The acceptance of the Law of Thelema will not make a king out of a beggar. The “promises” in Liber AL of 'store of women and spices; 'rich jewels', rule; 'victorious armies; 'all the joy; are not to be interpreted as “promises to the faithful”. They are merely predictions of the future of a Thelemic society.
This is further argument against interference with another's will. Your neighbor is a vile, wicked man? Leave him to his way as long as he does not interfere with yours. A thousand years hence, his disreputable qualities, that you so disapprove now, may be vital for racial survival, while people with your qualities may be going the way of lemmings. See LXV, iv, 47.
58. Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was. Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty.
Again we learn the permanence of the Nature of a Star. We are not to judge by temporary circumstances, but to penetrate to the True Nature.
It has naturally been objected by economists that our Law, in declaring every man and every woman to be a star, reduces society to its elements, and makes hierarchy or even democracy impossible. The view is superficial. Each star has a function in its galaxy proper to its own nature. Much mischief has come from our ignorance in insisting, on the contrary, that each citizen is fit for any and every social duty. But also our Law teaches that a star often veils itself from its nature. Thus the vast bulk of humanity is obsessed by an abject fear of freedom; the principal objections hitherto urged against my Law have been those of people who cannot bear to imagine the horrors which would result if they were free to do their own wills. (Such people mistake, of course, their repressions for their Wills.) The sense of sin, shame, self-distrust, this is what makes folk cling to slavery. People believe in a medicine just in so far as it is nasty; the metaphysical root of this idea is in sexual degeneracy of the masochistic type. Now, “the Law is for all”; but such defectives will refuse it, and serve us who are free with a fidelity the more dog-like as the simplicity of our freedom denotes their abjection.
Totally wrong. Only a free man can be a true servant — if he Will to serve. Such defectives will fight us at every turn, and betray us at every step. He who is unfaithful to himself cannot help being unfaithful to you. Who fastens a chain to a slave's neck must hold the tip in his hand. The more slaves, the more chain-tips;pretty soon the master is more fettered than the slaves. This is the state of the 'Black Brothers'.
No one is better aware than I am that the Labour Problem has to be settled by practical and not ideal considerations, but in this case the ideal considerations happen to be extremely practical. The mistake has been in trying to produce a standard article to supply the labour market; it is an error from the point of view of capital and labour alike. Men should not be taught to read and write unless they exhibit capacity or inclination. Compulsory education has aided nobody. It has imposed an unwarrantable constraint on the people it was intended to benefit; it has been asinine presumption on the part of the intellectuals to consider a smattering of mental acquirements of universal benefit. It is a form of sectarian bigotry. We should recognize the fact that the vast majority of human beings have no ambition in life beyond mere ease and animal happiness. We should allow these people to fulfil their destinies without interference. We should give every opportunity to the ambitious, and thereby establish a class of morally and intellectually superior men and women. We should have no compunction in utilizing the natural qualities of the bulk of mankind. We do not insist on training sheep to hunt foxes or lecture on history; we look after their physical well being, and enjoy their wool and mutton. In this way we shall have a contented class of slaves. (Poor ass! Slaves are never satisfied;only free men are content in their places, provided they are respected as men, and their work recognized.) who will accept the conditions of existence as they really are, and enjoy life with the quiet wisdom of cattle. It is our duty to see to it that this class of people lack for nothing. The patriarchal system is better for all classes than any other; the objections to it come from the abuses of it. But bad masters have been artificially created by exactly the same blunder as was responsible for the bad servants. It is essential to teach the masters that each one must discover his own will, and do it. There is no reason in nature for cut-throat competition. All this has been explained previously in other connections; here it is only necessary to emphasize the point. It must be clearly understood that every man must find his own happiness in a purely personal way. Our troubles have been caused by the assumption that everybody wanted the same things, and thereby the supply of those things has become artificially limited; even those benefits of which there is an inexhaustible store have been cornered. For example, fresh air and beautiful scenery. In a world where everyone did his own will none would lack these things. In our present society, they have become the luxuries of wealth and leisure, yet they are still accessible to any one who possesses sufficient sense to emancipate himself from the alleged advantages of city life. We have deliberately trained people to wish for things that they do not really want.
It would be easy to elaborate this theme at great length, but I prefer to leave it to be worked out by each reader in the light of his own intelligence, but I wish to call the very particular attention of capitalists and labour leaders to the principles here set forth.
You don't catch flies with vinegar, and I doubt that labour leaders would care to have their sheep openly called such. Nor is the patriarchal system the best; if so, why not the matriarchal? The hierarchic system is best, such as Communist Russia has evolved, or armies everywhere, or the old orders of chivalry. The problem consists, in any case, in keeping class divisions sufficiently fluid. The ruling class must never become fixed; it must be always ready to admit members of the ruled classes who prove themselves fit to rule, and it must be always ready to demote from itself members of itself that prove themselves unfit to do so. Otherwise, though it may last centuries, it will go the way of all aristocracies.
Readers are invited to consult the following chapters of Liber Aleph on this subject: 31, 32, 33, 39.
There is a technical aspect to this verse that should be considered. 'Acceptance of the Law”does not put you automatically in the “ruling class”. If you are a street-sweeper, you will remain a street-sweeper, unless your True Will is to become something else. As the Alchemists rudely put it, you must have gold to make gold;you change from your present position in space and time, not from another's. Therefore, Initiation does not produce a change of social class; it merely improves the efficiency with which you handle your inherited and acquired qualities, it does not give you new qualities. You don't grow a pointed tail, or horns. You remain what you are. “I Am That I Am”—and not something else. You seem to change only to the mind, because it never knew You, or itself, for that matter. And even the mind, as soon as it calms down (it takes years, in some cases), perceives that all is ever as it was. Those who were already kings, that is, members of a ruling class—ANY ruling class—become Kings, that is, true rulers. Those who were slaves become servants—and by serving learn the way to freedom. Which brings us to the single case in which Initiation may bring an automatic change: the case of “none'; that is, “nobody'; NEMO —the Master of the Temple. He may be cast down or lifted up —he may become a “Morning or an Evening Star”. But this happens, so to speak, effortlessly, as by gravitation. It is a case apart. In practice, you remain exactly what you are, and any changes you produce in your environment, you produce by your own sweat, under the added handicap that you must fight as an honorable Knight, while slaves, Christians, Orthodox Jews, Buddhists, Mohammedans, etc. may go on fighting as the petty, insane, unclean, lecherous, treacherous, silly idiots that they are.
59. Beware therefore! Love all, lest perchance is a King concealed! Say you so? Fool! If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.
We should indeed love all — is not the Law “love under will”? By this I mean that we should make proper contact with all, for love means union; and the proper condition of union is determined by Will. Consider the right attitude to adopt in the matter of cholera. One should love it, that is, study it intimately; not otherwise can one be sure of maintaining the right relation with it, which is, not to allow it to interfere with one's will to live.
Readers will have noticed that Liber AL does not order them to “Love your neighbor as yourself'. This “Commandment” was unctuously proclaimed by some silly Rabbi in Palestine, and picked up eagerly by slaves—who want very much to beloved, since they fear that, unless they are loved, they will be eaten up by free men. Slaves do not realize that free men, as a rule, are fastidious about their diet, and don't feed on carrion. It is only “Black Brothers” who delight on it. De gustibus non est disputandum.
Liber AL makes a very careful distinction about whom you should and whom you should not consider loveworthy. See 1, 10-12, 21, 31, 40-49, 51-52, 57, 61-62; II, 17-25.
Most people, alas, must be treated by you as if they had the cholera. See Liber VII, ii, 2 7-33.
There is an aristocracy of the spirit, and those who belong to it instinctively recognize each other. When they err, it is usually on the side of the angels, so to speak. Being noble, they tend to see nobility everywhere. They are few, and yearn for their peers. They give beggars the benefit of the doubt. “Compassion is the vice of kings.”
This tendency must be strictly avoided. The only efficient way to deal with mankind at large is to treat every man or woman you meet as a potential beggar asking for alms — which means, in this technical sense, a “Bloody Sacrifice”. Those who aren't beggars will quickly make the fact known, if they will. The important point is that you should not come to harm through your own folly of believing that lie: That Thou Must Die for them. On the contrary, Thou must live. Let them die in their misery!
The social aspect of this verse has been sensed by a woman writer. Ayn Rand, and developed in two works of fiction worthy of perusal by Thelemites: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Although her reasoning is often mixed-up or naive, she grasped the main point well enough.
60. Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master!
One must never be so careless as to let oneself think that even the “style of the letter” (how much less a phrase!) in this Book is casual. The expression “to hell with them” is not merely an outburst of colloquial enthusiasm. The word “hell”, that and no other, serves the purpose of the speaker. This would naturally be suggested to us, in any case, by the reflection that our Law does not indulge in the frothings of impotent fury, like the priestly frauds of Moses, the Rishis, and Buddha, in the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth of the Galilean fishwife. Our Law knows nothing of punishment beyond that imposed by ignorance and awkwardness on their possessor. The word “hell” must therefore be explained in terms neither of virile vulgarity, or theological blackmail. See Liber Aleph, 124, 129, 130.
61. There is a light before thine eyes, o prophet, a light undesired, most desirable.
This chapter now enters upon an entirely new phase. The revelation or 'hiding' of Hadit had by now sunk into the soul of The Beast, so that He realized Himself.
See Liber HAD.
62. I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.
“Uplifted in thine heart”: compare the Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent. (Liber LXV.)
63. Thou art exhaust in the voluptuous fullness of the inspiration; the expiration is sweeter than death, more rapid and laughterful than a caress of Hell's own worm.
This verse conceals a certain Magical Formula of the loftiest initiation. It refers to a method of using the breath, in connexion with the appropriate series of ideas, which is perhaps not to be taught directly. But it may be learnt by those who have attained the necessary degree of magical technique, suggested automatically to them by Nature herself, just as newly-hatched chickens pick up corn without instruction.
See Liber HAD. “Hell's own worm” is, of course, Had it.
64. Oh! thou art overcome: we are upon thee; our delight is all over thee: hail! hail: prophet of Nu! prophet of Had! prophet of Ra-Hoor-Khu! Now rejoice! now come in our splendour & rapture! Come in our passionate peace, & write sweet words for the Kings!
The “Kings” are evidently those men who are capable of understanding Themselves. This is a consecration of The Beast to the task of putting forth the Law.
“Thou art overcome”: the conscious resisted desperately, and died in the last ditch.
65. I am the Master: thou art the Holy Chosen One.
It is curious that this verse should be numbered 65, suggesting L.V.X.(LUX) and Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel. It seems then that He is Hadit. (The Angel is Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Also everything else —Nuit, again. See LXV, iii, 31-33. Here it is Aiwass speaking.) I have never liked the term 'Higher Self'; True Self is more the idea. For each Star is the husk of Hadit, unique and conqueror, sublime in His own virtue, independent of Hierarchy. There is an external hierarchy, of course, but that is only a matter of convenience.
66. Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none.
The first part of this text appears to be a digression in the nature of a prophecy. The word “Come!” is a summons to reenter the full Trance. Its essence is declared in the last six words. Notice that the transition from one to none is instantaneous.
67. Hold! Hold! Bear up in thy rapture; fall not in swoon of the excellent kisses!
The instructions in the text of this and the next verse were actual indications as to how to behave so as to get the full effect of the Trance.
This too is a general Magical Formula, convenient even in the Work of the physical image of the Godhead. (What he means is that the formula is an excellent adjuvant to sexual intercourse.)
It is of the utmost importance to resist the temptation to let oneself be carried away into trance (or orgasm). One should summon one's reserve forces to react against the tendency to lose normal consciousness. More and more of one's being is gradually drawn into the struggle, and one only yields at the last moment. It needs practice and courage to get the best results. See LXV, i, 64 and iii, 38-48; Liber VII, i, 33.
68. Harder! Hold up thyself! Lift thine head! breathe not so deep — die!
It is remarkable that this extraordinary Experience had practically no effect upon the normal consciousness of The Beast. “Intoxicate the inmost, 0 my lover, not the outermost!” — and it was His Magical Self, 666, that was by this Ecstasy initiated. It needed years for this Light to dissolve the husks of accident that shrouded his True Seed.
69. Ah! Ah! What do I feel? Is the word exhausted?
This phrase— “the word”—is of deeper significance than at first sight may appear. The question is not merely equivalent to: “Is the dictation at an end?” For the Word is conceived as the act of possession. This is evident from the choice of the word “exhausted”. The inspiration has been like an electrical discharge. Language is in itself nothing; it is only the medium of transmitting experience to consciousness. Tahuti, Thoth, Hermes, or Mercury symbolize this relation; the character of this God is declared in very full terms in “The Paris Working”, which should be studied eagerly by those who are fortunate enough to have access to the MS.
70. There is help & hope in other spells. Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!
It is absurd to suppose that 'to indulge the passions' is necessarily a reversion or degeneration. On the contrary, all human progress has depended on such indulgence. Every art and science is intended to gratify some fundamental need of nature. What is the ultimate use of the telephone and all the other inventions on which we pride ourselves? Only to sustain life, or to protect or reproduce it; or to subserve Knowledge and other forms of pleasure.
On the other hand, the passions must be understood properly as what they are, nothing in themselves, but the diverse forms of expression employed by the Will. One must preserve discipline. A passion cannot be good or bad, too weak or too strong, etc., by an arbitrary standard. Its virtue consists solely in its conformity with the plan of the Commander-in-Chief. Its initiative and elan are limited by the requirements of his strategy. For instance, modesty may well cooperate with ambition; but also it may thwart it. This verse counsels us to train our passions to the highest degree of efficiency. Each is to acquire the utmost strength and intelligence; but all are equally to contribute their quota towards the success of the campaign.
It is nonsense to bring a verdict of 'Guilty' or 'Not Guilty' against a prisoner, without reference to the Law under which he is living. The end justifies the means: if the Jesuits do not assert this, I do. There is obviously a limit, where 'the means' in any case are such that their use blasphemes 'the end': e.g., to murder one's rich aunt affirms the right of one's poor nephew to repeat the trick, and so to go against one s own Will-to-live, which lies deeper in one's being than the mere Will-to-inherit. (There is a better consideration, which can be found in Liber Librae, v.20.) The judge in each case is not ideal morality, but inherent logic.
This then being understood, that we cannot call any given passion good or bad absolutely, any more than we can call Knight to King's Fifth a good or bad move in chess without study of the position, we may see more clearly what this verse implies. There is here a general instruction to refine Pleasure, not by excluding its gross elements, but by emphasizing all elements in equilibrated development. Thus one is to combine the joys of Messalina with those of Saint Theresa and Isolde in one single act. One's rapture is to include those of Blake, Petrarch, Shelley, and Catullus. Liber Aleph has detailed instructions on numerous points involved in these questions.
Why “eight and ninety” rules of art? I am totally unable to suggest a reason satisfactory to myself; but 90 is Tzaddi, the 'Emperor', and 8 Cheth, the 'Charioteer' or Cup-Bearer; the phrase might then conceivably mean 'with majesty'. Alternatively, 98=2 x 49: now, Two is the number of the Will, and Seven of the passive senses. 98 might then mean the full expansion of the senses (7 x 7) balanced against each other, and controlled firmly by the Will.
Without in any way deriding the above Qabalistic explanation, which should be a guide to all Thelemites in search of sensuous enjoyment, “98 rules” may refer to some aesthetic code in daily use in Ancient Egypt or Sumer or even in the modern Middle East. Aiwass gets quite provincial at times.
“Exceed by delicacy”: this does not mean, by refraining from so- called animalism. One should make every act a sacrament, full of divine ecstasy and nourishment. There is no act that true delicacy cannot consecrate. It is one thing to be like a sow, unconscious of the mire, and unable to discriminate between sweet food and sour; another to take the filth firmly and force oneself to discover the purity therein, initiating even the body to overcome its natural repulsion and partake with the soul at this Eucharist. We “believe in the Miracle of the Mass” not only because meat and drink are actually “transmuted in us daily into Spiritual Substance”, but because we can make the 'Body and Blood of God' from any materials soever by Virtue of our Royal and Pontifical Art of Magick.
Now, when Brillat-Savarin (was it not?) served to the King's table a pair of old kid gloves, and pleased the princely palate, he certainly proved himself a Master-Cook. The feat is not one to be repeated constantly, but one should achieve it at least once—that it may bear witness to oneself that the skill is there. One might even find it advisable to practice it occasionally, to retain one's confidence that one's 'right hand hath not lost its cunning'. See LXV, i, 45-46; ii, 7- 15.
We therefore train our adepts to make the Gold Philosophical from the dung of witches, and the Elixir of Life from Hippomanes; but we do not advocate ostentatious addiction to these operations. It is good to know that one is man enough to spend a month or so at a height of twenty thousand feet or more above the sea-level; but it would be unpardonably foolish to live there permanently.
This illustrates one case of a general principle. We consider the Attainment of various illuminations, incomparably glorious as that is, of chief value for its witness to our possession of the faculty which made success possible. To have climbed alone to the summit of Iztaccihuatl is great and grand; but the essence of one's joy is that one possesses the courage, knowledge, agility, endurance, and self- mastery necessary to have done it.
The Goal is ineffably worth all our pains, as we say to ourselves at first; but in a little while are aware that even that Goal is less intoxicating than the Way itself.
We find that it matters little whither we go; the Going itself is our gladness. I quote in this connection Liber LXV, ii, 17-25, one of several similar passages in Our Holy Books.
“Be strong!” We need healthy robust bodies as the mechanical instruments of our souls. Could Paganini have expressed himself on the 'fiddle for eighteen pence' that some one once bought when he was 'young and had no sense'? Each of us is Hadit, the core of our Khabs, our Star, one of the Company of Heaven; but this Khabs needs a Khu or Magical Image, in order to play its part in the Great Drama. This Khu, again, needs the proper costume, a suitable 'body of flesh', and this costume must be worthy of the Play.
We therefore employ various magical means to increase the vigour of our bodies and the energy of our minds, to fortify and to sublime them.
The result is that we of Thelema are capable of enormously more achievement than others, even in terrestrial matters, from sexual orgia to creative Art. Even if we had only this one earth-life to consider, we exceed our fellows some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, some an hundredfold.
One most important point, in conclusion. We must doubtless admit that each one of us is lacking in one capacity or another. There must always be some among the infinite possibilities of Nuit which possess no correlative points of contact in any given Khu. For example, the Khu of a male body cannot fulfil itself in the quality of motherhood. (On the material plane, of course.) Any such lacuna must be accepted as a necessary limit, without regret or vain yearnings for the impossible. (Although what is impossible now may not be impossible a hundred years hence. A time may come when the characteristics ofone's physical body may be changed at will by purely scientific means.) But we should beware lest prejudice or other personal passion exclude any type of self-realization which is properly ours. In our initiation, the tests must be thorough and exhaustive. The neglect to develop even a single power can only result in deformity. However slight this might seem, it might lead to fatal consequences; the ancient adepts taught that by the parable of the heel of Achilles. It is essential for the Aspirant to make a systematic study of every possible passion, icily aloof from all alike, and setting their armies in array beneath the banner of his Will after he had perfectly gauged the capacity of each unit, and assured himself of its loyalty, discipline, courage, and efficiency. But woe unto him who leaves a gap in his line, or one arm unprepared to do its whole duty in the position proper to its peculiar potentialities!
71. But exceed! exceed!
“The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.” “You never know what is enough until you know what is too much.” So wrote William O'Neill (Blake).
Progress, as its very etymology declares, means A Step Ahead. It is the Genius, the Eccentric, the Man Who Goes One Better than his fellows, that is the Saviour of the Race. And while it is unwise possibly (in some senses) to exceed in certain respects, we may be sure that he who exceeds in no respect is a mediocrity. The key of Evolution is Right Variation.
Excess is evidence at least of capacity in the quality at issue. The golf teacher growls tirelessly: “Put for the back of the hole! Never up, never in!” The application is universal. Far from me be it to deny that excess is too often disastrous. The athlete who dies in his early prime is the skeleton at every Boat Supper. But in such cases the excess is almost always due to the desire to excel other men, instead of referring the matter to the only competent judge, the true Will of the body. I myself used to 'go all out' on mountains; I hold more World's Records of various kinds than I can reckon—for pace, skill, daring, and endurance. But I never worried about whether other people could beat me. For this reason my excesses, instead of causing damage to health and danger to life, turned me from a delicate boy, too frail for football, doomed by my doctors to die in my teens, into a robust ruffian who throve on every kind of hardship and exposure.
On the contrary, every department of life in which, from distaste or laziness, I did not 'exceed', is constantly crippling me in one way or another—and I recognize with savage remorse that the weakness which I could have corrected so easily in my twenties is in my forties an incurably chronic complaint.
72. Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine—and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous!—death is the crown of all.
This striving is to be strenuous. We are not to set our lives at a pin's fee. “Unhand me, gentlemen! I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!” Death is the End that crowns the Work.
Evolution works by variation. When an animal develops one part of itself beyond the others, it infringes the norm of its type. At first this effort is made at the expense of other efforts, and it seems as if, the general balance being upset, the Nature were in danger. (It must obviously appear so to the casual observer—who probably reproaches and persecutes the experimenter.) But when this variation is intended to meet some new, or even foreseen, change in environment, and is paid for by some surplus part, or some part now superfluous, although once useful to meet a quality of the environment which no longer menaces the individual, the adaptation is biologically profitable.
Obviously, the whole idea of exercise, mental or bodily, is to develop the involved organs in a manner physiologically and psychologically proper.
It is deleterious to force any faculty to live by an alien law. When parents insist on a boy adopting a profession which he loathes, because they themselves fancy it; when Florence Nightingale fought to open hospital windows in India at night; then the Ideal mutilates and murders.
Every organ has 'no law beyond Do what thou wilt'. Its law is determined by the history of its development, and by its present relations with its fellow-citizens. We do not fortify our lungs and our limbs by identical methods, or aim at the same tokens of success in training the throat of the tenor and the fingers of the fiddler. But all laws are alike in this: they agree that power and tone come from persistently practising the proper exercise without overstraining. When a faculty is freely fulfilling its function, it will grow; the test is its willingness to 'strive ever to more'; it justifies itself by being 'ever joyous'. It follows that 'death is the crown of all'. For a life which has fulfilled all its possibilities ceases to have a purpose; death is its diploma, so to speak; it is ready to apply itself to the new conditions of a larger life. Just so a schoolboy who has mastered his work dies to school, reincarnates in cap & gown, triumphs in the tripos, dies to the cloisters, and is reborn to the world.
Note that the Atu 'Death' in the Tarot refers to Scorpio. This sign is threefold: the Scorpion that kills itself with its own poison, when its environment (the ring of fire) becomes intolerable; the Serpent that renews itself by shedding its skin, that is crowned and hooded, that moves by undulations like Light, and gives man Wisdom at the price of Toil, Suffering, and Mortality; and the Eagle that soars, its lidless eyes bent boldly upon the Sun. 'Death' is, to the initiate, an inn by the wayside; it marks a stage accomplished; it offers refreshment, repose, and advice as to his plans for the morrow.
But in this verse the main point is that death is the 'crown' of all. The crown is Kether, the Unity; “Love under will” having been applied to all Nuit-possibilities of all Khu-energies of any Hadit central-Star, that Star has exhausted itself perfectly, completed one stage of its course. It is therefore crowned by death; and, being wholly itself, lives again by attracting its equal and opposite Counterpart, with whom 'love under will' is the fulfilment of the Law, in a sublimer sphere.
But there are no rules until one finds them; a man leaving Ireland for the Sahara does well to discard such 'indispensable' and 'proper' things as a waterproof and a blackthorn for a turban and a dagger.
The 'moral' man is living by the no-reason of Laws, and that is stupid and inadequate even when the Laws still hold good; for he is a mere mechanism, resourceless should any danger that is not already provided for in his original design chance to arise. Respect for routine is the mark of the second-rate man.
This does not mean that routine is not proper and fitting in its place; but when routine —any routine —becomes Dogma, someone's mind has curled up and gone to sleep. “The law was made for man, not man for the law,” is the voice of commonsense.
The 'immoral' man, defying convention by shouting aloud in church, may indeed be 'brawling'; but equally he may be a sensitive who has felt the first tremor of an earthquake.
We of Thelema encourage every possible variation; we welcome every new 'sport'; its success or failure is our sole test of its value. We let the hen's queer hatching take to water, and laugh at her alarms; and we protect the 'ugly duckling', knowing that Time will tell us whether it be a cygnet.
Herbert Spencer, inexorably condemning the Unfit to the gallows, only echoed the High-Priest who protected Paul from the Pharisees. Sound biology and sound theology are for once at one!
The question of the limits of individual Liberty is fully discussed in Liber Aleph, to which we refer the student. The following four chapters will give a general idea of the main principles: 36, 37, 38, 39.
We of Thelema think it vitally right to let a man take opium. He may destroy his physical vehicle thereby (The vehicle is his, not ours!) but he may produce another “Kubla Khan”. It is his own responsibility. Also we know well that “if he be a King” it will not hurt him—in the end. We trust Nature to protect, and Wisdom to be justified of, their children. It is superficial to object that a man should be prevented from ruining and killing himself, for his own sake or for that of 'those dependent on him'. One who is unfit to survive ought to be allowed to die. We want only those who can conquer themselves and their environment. As for 'those dependent on him', it is one of our chief objects to abolish the very idea of dependence on others. Women with child, and infants, are not exceptions, as might seem. They are doing their will, the one class to reproduce, the other to live; the state should consider their welfare to be its first duty; for if they are for the moment dependent on it, it is also dependent on them. A man might as well cut out his heart because it was weak, and in need of cautious care. But he would be no less foolish if he tried to prevent the used- up elements from eliminating themselves from his body. We respect the Will-to-live; we should respect the Will-to-Die. The race is auto- intoxicated by suppressing the excretory processes of Nature.
Each case must of course be judged on its merits. His neighbours do well to assist one who is weak by accident or misfortune, if he wishes to recover. But it is a crime against the state and against the individuals in question to hinder the gambler, the drunkard, the voluptuary, the congenital defective, from drifting to death, unless they prove, by their own dogged determination to master their circumstances, that they are fit to pull their weight in the Noah's Ark of mankind.
73. Ah! Ah! Death! Death! thou shalt long for death. Death is forbidden, o man, unto thee.
There is a connection between Death, Sleep, and Our Lady Nuit. (This is worked out, on profane lines, by Dr. Sigmund Freud, and his school, especially by Jung, Psychology of the Unconscious, which the reader should consult.) The fatigue of the day's toil creates the toxins whose accumulation is the 'Will to Die'. All mystic attainment is of this type, as all Magick is of the 'Will to Live'. At times we all want Nibbana, to withdraw into the Silence, and so on. The Art of it is to dip deeply into 'Death', but to emerge immediately, a giant refreshed. This plan is also possible on the larger scale, all Life being Magick, all Death Mysticism.
Then, why is Death 'forbidden'? All things are surely lawful. But we must work 'without lust of result', taking everything as it comes without desire indeed, but with all manner of delight! Let thy Love- Madrigal to Death, thy Mother-Mistress, ripple and swell throughout the years, with all the Starry Heaven for thine Orchestra; but do not imagine that to attain Her is the sole satisfaction. It is the yearning itself that is Beatitude.
It may seem that in this verse the word 'Death' is used in a sense somewhat other than that explained in the previous note. It is forbidden, observe, to 'man'. That is, then, the formula must not be used by one who is still an imperfect being. (Nonsense. Man is a star; most human beings function not as Men, but as demons, that is to say, unbalanced minds. Most of mankind has not reached the balancing and harmonization of Tiphereth; many have not reached even the partial equilibration of Tiphereth of Malkuth! 'Man' in the verse refers to 666, who finished His Work in his early forties, but for several Magickal reasons was forced to keep his physical link with this plane for thirty years longer. Of course, being in his thirties when he wrote the above Commentary, he did not understand this.) Our definition is surely confirmed by this phrase, rather than denied, or even modified. To long for death is to aspire to the complete fulfilment of all one's potentialities. And it would evidently be an error to insist upon passing on to one's next life while there were hawsers unhitched from this one. The mere inexplicability of the various jerks would make for bewilderment, irritation, and clumsiness.
For this reason, alone, it is all-important to ascertain one's true Will, and to work out every detail of the work of doing it, as early in life as one can. One is apt (at the best) to define one's will dogmatically, and to devote one's life almost puritanically to the task, sternly suppressing all side-issues, and calling this course Concentration. This is error, and perilous. For one cannot be sure that a faculty which seems (on the surface) useless, even hostile, to one's work, may not in course of time become one of vital value. If it be atrophied — alas! Its suppression may moreover have poisoned one's whole system, as a breast debarred from its natural use is prone to cancer. At best, it may be too late to repair the mischief; the lost opportunity may be a life-long remorse.
The one way of safety lies in applying the Law of Thelema with the utmost rigour. Every impulse, however feeble, is necessary to the stability of the whole structure; the tiniest flaw may cause the cannon to burst. Every impulse, however opposite to the main motive, is part of the plan; the rifling does not thwart the purpose of the barrel. One should therefore acquiesce in every element of one's nature, and develop it as its own laws demand, with absolute impartiality. One need not fear; there is a natural limit to the growth of any species; it either finds food fail, or is choked by its neighbours, or overgrows itself, and is transformed. Nor need one fret about the harmony and proportion of one's various faculties; the fit will survive, and the perfection of the whole will be understood as soon as the parts have found themselves, and settled down after fighting the matter out in the balanced stability which represents their right reaction to each other, and to their environment. It is thus policy for an Aspirant to initiation to analyse himself with indefatigable energy, shrewd skill, and accurate subtlety; but then to content himself with observing the interplay of his instincts, instead of guiding them. Not until he is familiar with them all should he perform the practices which enable him to read the Word of his Will. And, then having assumed conscious control of himself, that he may do his Will, he should make a point of using every faculty in a detached way (just as one inspects one's pistols and fires a few rounds) without expecting ever to need them again, but on the general principle that if they were wanted, one might as well feel confident of the issue.
This theory of initiation is so important to every aspirant that I shall illustrate how my own ignorance bred error, and error injury. My Will was, I now know, to be The Beast, 666, a Magus, the Word of the Aeon, Thelema; to proclaim this new Law to mankind.
My passion for personal freedom, my superiority to sexual impulses, my resolve to master physical fear and weakness, my contempt for other people's opinions, my poetic genius: I indulged all these to the full. None of them carried me too far, ousted the other, or injured my general well-being. On the contrary, each automatically reached its natural limit, and each has been incalculably useful to me in doing my Will when I became aware of it, able to organize its armies, and to direct them intelligently against the inertia of ignorance.
But I suppressed certain impulses in myself. I abandoned my ambitions to be a diplomatist. I checked my ardour for science. I trampled upon my prudence in financial matters. I mortified my fastidiousness about caste. I masked my shyness in bravado, and tried to kill it by ostentatious eccentricity. This last mistake came from sheer panic; but all the rest were quite deliberate sacrifices on the altar of my God Magick.
They were all accepted, as it then seemed. I attained all my ambitions; yea, and more also. But I know now that I should not have forced my growth, and deformed my destiny. To nail geese to boards and stuff them makes foie gras, very true; but it does not improve the geese. It may be said that I strengthened my moral character by these sacrifices, and that I was indeed compelled to act as I did. The mad elephant Wantobemagus pulled over the team of oxen? We may put it like that, certainly; but still I feel that it might have been better had he not been mad. For, today, if I were an Ambassador, versed profoundly in Science, financially armed and socially stainless, I should be able to execute my Will by pressure upon all classes of powerful people, to make this comment carry conviction to thinkers, and to publish the Book of the Law in every part of the world. Instead, I am exiled and suspected, despised by men of science, ostracised by my class, and a beggar. If I were in my teens again! I cannot change my mind about which ridge I'll climb the mountain by, now when I see, above these ice-glazed pinnacles storm-swept, through gashes torn from whirling wreaths of arrowy sleet, the cloud-surpassing summit, not far, not very far.
I regret nothing, be sure! I may be even in error to argue that an evident distortion of nature, and its issue in disaster, are proof of imprudence. Perhaps the other road would not have taken me to Cairo, to the climax of my life, to my true Will fulfilled in Aiwaz and made Word in this Book. Perhaps it is lingering “lust of result” that whispers hideous lies to daunt me, that urges these plausible arguments to accuse me. It may be that my present extremity is the very condition required for the fulfilment of my Work.* [Inserted footnote: * An XXI. It is now evident that this was the case.] Who shall say what is power, what impotence? Who shall be bold to measure the Morrow, or declare what causes conjoin to bring forth an Effect that no man knoweth?
Was not Lao-Tze thrust forth from his city? Did not Buddha go begging in rags? Did not Mohammed flee for his life into exile? Was not Bacchus the scandal and the scorn of men? Than Joseph Smith had any man less learning? Yet each of these attained to do his Will; each cried his Word, that all the Earth yet echoes it! And each was able to accomplish this by virtue of that very circumstance which seems so cruel. Shall I, who am armed with all their weapons at once, complain that I must go into the fight unfurished?
One must hope that his success will go beyond Joseph Smith's, who was a flagrant case of “fool of men”. When reaching his first great mystical Trance — which was also his last — Smith found himself surrounded by that “thick, oppressive darkness” characteristic of Binah. He feared it; at once a “ray of white light” pierced it, and he saw “Jesus descend from heaven unto him.” Having thus fallen back from Samadhi into the lowest form of Dhyana, he conversed with “Because” under one of its innumerable shapes. “Jesus” being the one that had impressed his Kama Rupa and his Manas most from childhood, through parental and environmental conditioning. Finally he went and preached a “new” religion that had nothing of new, being, in essence, simply another form of Protestantism. As with any fool who is sufficiently firm in his own folly, a lot of other fools believed him, and Mormon ism was born. The Book of Mormon makes most interesting study for parapsychopathologists.
74. The length of thy longing shall be the strength of its glory. He that lives long & desires death much is ever the King among the Kings.
One does not need to be constantly popping in and out of Trance. One ought to do both actions with ever increasing length and strength of swing. Hence one's life-periods, where time counts, become gradually larger and more vivid, and one's death-periods, though very short, perhaps, may be unfathomably intense.
The whole question of Time has been thoroughly investigated already.* [Inserted footnote: * In previous notes. See also the Essay of 'Time': Crowley: Collected Works, Vol. II. pp. 267-282.] The present remarks refer only to the conditions of 'normal' consciousness, into which we throw ourselves at recurring intervals. The doctrine here stated should be studied in the light of previous remarks; verses 61 to 74 inclusive, form a coherent passage: notice the words 'death' in verses 63 and 66, and 'die' in verse 68. There is evidently an intention to identify the Climax of Love with that of Life. It is then not unnatural for us to ask: Can 'Death' have some deeper significance than appears? Scorpio, the Zodiacal Sign of Death, is really the Sexual or Reproductive function of Nature. It is the Earth-transcending Eagle, the self-restoring Serpent, and the self-immolating Scorpion. In alchemy it is the principle of Putrefaction, the 'Black Dragon', whose state of apparent corruption is but a prelude to the Rainbow-coloured Spring-tide of the Man in Motley. The nymph of Spring, Syrinx, the trembling hollow reed which needs but Breath to fill the world with Music, attracts Pan, the Goat-God of Ecstatic Lust, by whose Work the glory of Summer is established anew.
It is obvious that 'the length of thy longing' varies with the number of potentialities to be satisfied. In other words, the more complex the Khu of the Star, the greater the man, and the keener his sense of his own imperfections, of the scope of his work, and of his need to achieve it.
75. Aye! listen to the numbers & the words:
This passage following appears to be a Qabalistic test (on the regular pattern) of any person who may claim to be the Magical Heir of The Beast. Be ye well assured all that the solution, when it is found, will be unquestionable. It will be marked by the most sublime simplicity, and carry immediate conviction.
76. 4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L
What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it. But remember, o chosen one, to be me; to follow the love of Nu in the star-lit heaven; to look forth upon men, to tell them this glad word.
77. 0 be thou proud and mighty among men!
Pride is the quality of Sol, Tiphareth; Might of Mars, Geburah. Now, Leo —my rising sign— combines these ideas, as does Ra-Hoor Khuit. The Christian ideas of humility and weakness as 'virtues' are natural to slaves, cowards, and defectives. (Not necessarily; it depends on how they are interpreted. If slaves, cowards, and defectives knew exactly what is meant by Christian virtues, few people would claim to be Christians, and there probably would not even exist a Church of Rome — there would not be fools in sufficient number to finance it. See the Tao Teh King; also, LXV, v, 7; VII, iii, 53-60; v, 43- 48; vi, 33-35; vii, 1-6, 11-16, 50-52.)
The type of tailless simian who finds himself a mere forked radish in a universe of giants clamouring for hors d'oeuvres must take refuge from Reality in Freudian phantasies of 'God'. He winces at the touch of Truth; and shivers at his nakedness in Nature.
He therefore invents a cult of fear and shame, and makes it presumption and blasphemy to possess courage and self-respect. He burrows in the slime of 'Reverence, and godly fear' and makes himself houses of his own excrement, like the earthworm he is. He shams dead, like other vile insects, at the approach of danger; he tries to escape notice by assuming the colour and form of his surroundings, using 'protective mimicry' like certain other invertebrates.
He exudes stink or ink like the skunk or the cuttle-fish, calling the one Morality and the other Decency. He is slippery with Hypocrisy, like a slug; and, labelling the totality of his defects Perfection, defines God as Faeces so that he may flatter himself with the epithet divine. The whole manoeuvre is described as Religion.
True humility is always able to understand true Pride. The devastating description above is directed at those who criticize the Book of the Law as lacking “Christian” virtues. It reminds one of the descriptions of the Pharisees in the New Testament.
“Pharisees”; however, are truly a state of mind, and not a class of society; unless one wishes to remark on the astounding regularity with which one finds Pharisees in priestly togae as soon as any Method of Theurgy ceases being a Method and becomes an Established Dogma.
78. Lift up thyself! for there is none like unto thee among men or among Gods! Lift up thyself, o my prophet, thy stature shall surpass the stars. They shall worship thy name, foursquare, mystic, wonderful, the number of the man; and the name of thy house 418.
There are certain occult wonders concealed in the first part of this text. (See Liber CCCLXX.)
The solution of the last sentence may depend upon the number of the verse, which is that of Mezla, the Influx from the Highest, and of the Book of Thoth, or Tarot.
We may take 'thy name' as 'the Sun', for Qabalistic reasons; the verse need not imply the establishment of a new cult with myself as Demigod. (Help!) But they shall worship the group of ideas connected with the Sun, and the magical formula of the number 418, explained elsewhere.
The establishment of a “new cult” with Aleister Crowley as Demigod would be the denial of his entire Work. The problem with the world is that there are too many cults already, each clamouring to be the sole Word of Truth. Thanks to His Influence, they are growing more tolerant of each other.
It has never been intended, however, that they should become One Single Church. The guarantee of the Freedom of Man's Spirit is in his right to worship where he will, as he will, and when he will, his own Concept of “God'; which is, after all, his groping sense of his own Godhead.
79. The end of the hiding of Hadit; and blessing & worship to the prophet of the lovely Star!
So mote it be!
So mote it be!