The Commentaries of AL Chapter III
Being the core of the Equinox Vol. V no. 1
1. Abrahadabra! the reward of Ra Hoor Khut.
Observe firstly the word “reward”, which is to be compared with the words “hiding” and “manifestation” in the former chapters. To 're-ward' is to 'guard again'; this word Abrahadabra then is also to be considered as a Sentinel before the Fortress of the God.
Why is the name of Him spelt Khut? We have seen that ST is the regular honorific termination for a God. Ra is, as shown in the Old Comment, the Sun; Hoor the Warrior Mars; who is Khu? He is the Magical Ego of a Star. Without the Yod or Iota, Khu-t, we get a human conception; the insertion of that letter makes the transmutation to Godhead. When therefore Ra Hoor Khut is rewarded or re-guarded with the Magick Word of the Aeon, he becomes God. Thus in the next verse. I 'raise the spell of Ra Hoor Khuit.'
The text may also be read as follows. Abrahadabra is the Magick Formula of the Aeon, by which man may accomplish the Great Work. This Formula is then the 'reward' given by the God, the largesse granted by Him on His accession to the Lordship of the Aeon, just as the INRI-IAO-LVX formula of attainment by way of Crucifixion was given by Osiris when he came to power in the last Aeon. (See Book 4 Part III, and Equinox I, vol. 3, pp. 208-233.)
I must here say that I find myself in the greatest difficulty, again and again, in the comprehension of this chapter. It might be said roughly that at the end of the first five years of Silence (An O-IV) I understood Chapter I; at the end of the second five years (An X-XIV) I understood Chapter II.—
2. There is division hither homeward; there is a word not known. Spelling is defunct; all is not aught. Beware! Hold! Raise the spell of Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
'Division hither homeward'; a most dour phrase to interpret! Such curious concatenation is sure to imply profound meaning. Homeward must mean 'toward the House of' the Speaker. He says, then, that there is 'division', which (as I take it) prevents man from being God. This is a natural and orthodox meaning, and it goes well with 'there' (i.e. in verse 1) 'is a word not known'. That Word is Abrahadabra, which was not known, it having been concealed by the corrupt spelling “abracadabra”.
Nonsense. Abrahadabra has already been mentioned; it is the Word of the Aeon, and the very first word in the Third Chapter. 'There is a word not known': there is now a word, NOT, known. Hadit is Not. 'Not' is a key-word, as we have already seen in previous comments.
Why 'division hither homeward'? Because the word 'not' makes it impossible to “mix the planes”. The ideas of “One World”, “One Faith”, “One People” are not conducive to freedom, but to its opposite. They presuppose that all men, no matter how diverse of color, geographical situation, cultural background, or idiosyncrasies, must be subservient to some general standard, or ideal, of ethics or religion or law.
On the contrary, freedom depends on division, in the sense of each star keeping to its own orbit. 'All is one!“ —I hear beginning mystics, and Qabalistic Jews, object. All is not aught. “If ye confound the spacemarks…” says I, 52. Ra Hoor Khuit is the God that keeps each of us in his proper place, and to Him interference with another's will is the worst possible crime.
In the past, all religions tried to conquer the world, thereby causing infinite misery to mankind; nations tried to become empires, increasing said misery; men tried to rule other men, instead of ruling themselves. All this is over. The social, ethical and religious upheavals that have been shaking the planet since April 8, 9 and 10 of 1904 have as their purpose to produce this “division” of Established Churches, Empires and “gods of men” into their component elements. I am not my neighbor—meaning that, above the Abyss, I and my Neighbor are None. But if I said, “I am my neighbor”, as do imperfect mystics everywhere, I would be affirming not love—for love presupposes two— see I, 28—30—but confusion, and my neighbour had better beware of me. In practice, people who affirm that they are you end up by wanting to use your wallet as if it were their's.
This is a very important point for anybody who wishes to understand the Third Chapter.
'Spelling is defunct'; this seems to be an echo of the statement in Cap. II, v. 5: “The rituals of the old time are black.” (The word 'defunct' is decidedly curious; the implication is 'no longer able to fulfil its function'.) 'Spelling' then means 'making spells'. And this is characteristic of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, that He demands not words, but acts. (Compare 'The Paris Working'.) So then we pass naturally to verse 3. 'All is not aught' is an abrogation of all previous law, on the accession of a Monarch. He wipes out the past as with a sponge.
All' is, of course, Pan, and the Initiate is Pan—see the analysis of VIAOV in Book Four, Part III, Chapter 5. Although Ra Hoor Khuit is proclaiming a New Word, He is not really changing anything. 'All is ever as it was”. He is merely providing a clarification of existing Knowledge. His Proclamation is to the Magickal Universe as Einstein's Theory of Relativity is to Newtonian Physics. It changes nothing, but provides us with a better understanding of everything, whereby we can make a more efficient use of existing Energy towards a better control of our environment.
'All is not aught': qabalistically, Not = 31;AUGHT = 1+6+3+5+9 = 24. 24 +31 = 55. It seems, then, as if 'All' is a technical name for the Major Adept in the Thelemic Current, 55 being a number of Geburah utilizing the Positive Light, 5 x 11. See Liber VII, iv, 29 and vii, 3.
This phrase is also an excessively neat cypher or hieroglyph of the great Key to this Book. All (AL) is not aught (LA). AL is LA: that is to say, the phases of the Universe x and 0° are identical.
“Beware!” as if it were said to a soldier, “Attention.”
“Hold!” that is, “Steady!” “Listen to the Proclamation!”
“Raise the spell of Ra-Hoor-Khuit!” That is, “Here, I, the New God, utter my Word.”
3. Now let it be first understood that I am a god of War and of Vengeance. I shall deal hardly with them.
Comment seems hardly necessary. The Great War is a mere illustration of this text. (He means the First World War.) The only nations which have suffered are those whose religion was Osirian, or, as they called it, Christian. The exception is Turkey, which foolishly abandoned the principles of Islam to form an unholy alliance with the Giaour. Abdul Hamid would never have made such an ass of himself as the degenerate gang of “Liberty and Progress”; may jackals defile the pyres of their dog fathers!
Because of his early Christian upbringing, Crowley over-reacted to Christianity in his thirties and early forties. All religions are cursed by Ra-Hoor-Khuit, including Islam; and as time has proved, all nations in the world must suffer the impact of the Lord of the Aeon.
The God of Vengeance is in Greek ALEISTER. For some reason which I have not been able to trace, this God became ALASTOR, the Desert Daemon of the Rabbins, later the “Spirit of Solitude” of Shelley. The attribution is appropriate enough, the root being apparently A AOMAI, I wander. The idea of “Going” is dreadful to the bourgeois, so that a wanderer is “accursed”. But me judice, to settle down in life is to abandon the heroic attitude; it is to acquiesce in the stagnation of the brain. I do not want to be comfortable, or even to prolong life; I prefer to move constantly from galaxy to galaxy, from one incarnation to another. Such is my intimate individual Will. It seems as though this “god of War and of Vengeance” is then merely one who shall cause men to do their own Wills by Going as Gods do, instead of trying to check the irresistible course of Nature.
P.S. El Ouid, Algeria, An XX: The terror of Syria in the reign of Oman was the great soldier and administrator Melekh-Al-Astar. Possibly Jewish mothers used to scare their crying babies by threatening them with this “demon of the desert” and the Rabbins incorporated the “bogey man” in their adverse hierarchy.
4. Choose ye an island!
Verses 4-9: This is a practical instruction; and, as a 'military secret', is not in any way soever to be disclosed. I say only that the plans are complete, and that the first nation to accept the Law of Thelema shall, by My counsel, become sole Mistress of the World.
Oh, brother. Fortunately he died before any of them even realized what the Law means. He thought it would be England!. . . But 666 knew better than His instrument.
5. Fortify it!
6. Dung it about with enginery of war!
7. I will give you a war-engine.
8. With it ye shall smite the peoples; and none shall stand before you.
9. Lurk! Withdraw! Upon them! this is the Law of the Battle of Conquest: thus shall my worship be about my secret house.
“Lurk! Withdraw! Upon them!” describes the three parts of a certain magical gesture indicative of a formula which has proved very powerful in practical work.
For “Lurk!” see Liber 333, Ch. 19, and the Commentary thereon.
10. Get the stele of revealing itself; set it in thy secret temple— and that temple is already aright disposed—& it shall be your Kiblah for ever. It shall not fade, but miraculous colour shall come back to it day after day. Close it in locked glass for a proof to the world.
He not only disobeyed the above instruction, but also eventually sold Boleskine House, imagining that he would start an O.T.O. movement with the money. The Treasurer-General chosen by him promptly stole it.
Yet, “a temple there stands” invisibly. The directions are Latitude 57.14 N. Longitude 4.28 W. The house was in Loch Ness, Scotland, lair of the “sea-serpent”, 17 miles from Inverness.
“Kiblah”—the Spiritual East, not the physical East. Fire, Water, Air and Earth hold their regular attributions. It is the Element of Spirit—Akasha—that radiates from Boleskine.
11. This shall be your only proof. I forbid argument. Conquer! That is enough. I will make easy to you the abstruction from the ill-ordered house in the Victorious City. Thou shalt thyself convey it with worship, o prophet, though thou likest it not. Thou shalt have danger & trouble. Ra-Hoor-Khu is with thee. Worship me with fire & blood; worship me with swords & with spears. Let the woman be girt with a sword before me: let blood flow to my name. Trample down the Heathen; be upon them o warrior, I will give you of their flesh to eat!
The Victorious City is of course Cairo (Al-Kahira, the victorious), and the ill-ordered house is the Museum at Bulak.
Ra-Hoor-Khu; why is the name without its termination? Perhaps to indicate the essence of the force.
The Ritual of the Adoration of Ra-Hoor-Khuit is, one might expect, illustrative of His nature. It seems doubtful whether this Ritual can ever be of the type of symbolic celebration; it appears rather as if expeditions against the Heathen: i.e., Christians and other troglodytes —but most especially the parasites of man, the Jews—were to be His rite. And it is to be taken that 'the woman' is to take arms in His honour. This woman might be The Scarlet Woman, or perhaps Woman generally. Remember that in the Scarlet Woman 'is all power given'; and I expect a new Semiramis.
We have presented this note in full to give an idea of the several phases through which Aleister Crowley passed in his personal (in the sense of Personality) attempts at Commentary on the Third Chapter of AL.
It is utter folly to try to interpret these verses in terms of passing things. 'Parasites of man—the Jews', for instance, is a phrase that the Roman Catholic Church slyly encouraged throughout ten centuries of religious persecution. A much more enlightened attitude is to be found in His letter to a pupil reproduced as Chapter LXXIII of Magick Without Tears.
“Ra-Hoor-Khu”: The Name of the God varies according to his Manner of Manifestation. Accordingly. Ra-Hoor-Khut is His Manifestation as Sender of the Current that radiates from Boleskine; Ra-Hoor-Khuit is His Manifestation as Lord of the Aeon; Ra-Hoor Khu is His Manifestation in the Soul, or Khu, of the worshipper. (He is, of course, an Ipsissimus; all true Gods are.) Better understanding of these variations of His Name comes only through practice.
“I forbid argument. Conquer! That is enough”—A gain the old saw:
All the world loves a winner. Do your True Will, and nothing else. Thelemites are NOT, repeat NOT, to preach or convert. They are to mind their own business, which is enough to occupy the time of anyone. Argument is of the Ruach, and the most it can produce is a manifestation of Because. This is the danger of all forms of theology.
“Conquer”—it does not mean to go out warring and killing, so sorry, dear sadists. Conquer your circumstances! Conquer yourself! Then, and only then, is a man in condition to conquer others—if that be necessary for performance of his True Will.
“Fire & blood”—see the attributions of the Element of Fire and the Magickal attributions and qabalistic correspondences of blood. (One most significant is, Blood = Semen. See Commentary to verse 24.)
Swords = Intellect. Spears = Magickal Will. See Book Four, Part II; Parsifal of Wagner; Liber 777.
“Let the woman be girt with a sword before me.” This does not mean to pass women through the sword, so sorry, dear paederasts. The Sword is the symbol of the Mind— see Book Four, Part II, again. The woman of Thelema must develop her intellect; she must be the equal of any man in intelligence and in reasoning power. The only thing a man can do (on this plane) that a woman can't is to beget.
Incidentally, from 1904 to now the Revolution of Woman has been in full sway. It may eventually prove to have been much more important than the Industrial Revolution.
“let blood flow to my name”—Blood = semen.
“Trample down the Heathen” —the Heathen are all those who do not accept the Law of Thelema: Do what thou wilt. It does not mean “people who are not of our religion”. Thelema is NOT, repeat NOT, a religion. It is a Method of Theurgy—or of Parapsychoanalysis, if you prefer. A Jew, or a Roman Catholic, or a Buddhist, or a Marxist, is not necessarily a “Heathen.” A “Thelemite” who wants to kill them because they don't call their idea of God Ra-Hoor-Khuit, is. See Liber Oz.
“I will give you of their flesh to eat!”— He does. And sometimes, very tasty it is.
There is also a technical meaning in the expression “Trample down the Heathen”, for HEATHEN=5+ 5+1+9+5+5+50=80, one of the Holy Numbers. See AL i, 46, 57, and Liber XVI; also VII, iii, 55- 60.
12. Sacrifice cattle, little and big: after a child.
Verses 12-15. This, read in connexion with verse 43, was then fulfilled May 1, 1906 e.v. The tragedy was also part of mine initiation, as described in The Temple of Solomon the King. It is yet so bitter that I care not to write of it.
He refers to the death of two children: one by Rose, the first Scarlet Woman; the other by Leah, the second. The children simply wasted away and he could do nothing for them. Crowley was extremely fond of children, his or anybody else's. He was deeply upset when people accused him of preaching child sacrifice.
13. But not now.
14.Ye shall see that hour, o blessed Beast, and thou the Scarlet Concubine of his desire!
15. Ye shall be sad thereof.
16. Deem not too eagerly to catch the promises; fear not to undergo the curses. Ye, even ye, know not this meaning all.
The God wisely refrains from clear expression, so that the event, as it occurs, may justify His word. This progressive illumination of that word has served to keep it alive as no single revelation could have done. Every time that I have dulled to Liber Legis something has happened to rekindle it in my heart.
The word 'ye' is usually employed in the verses as a cypher for The Beast and The Scarlet Woman —Yod + He.
“know not this meaning all.”; another cypher for LA = AL.
Yes, but there is also a more literal meaning. As any fool can see, Liber AL is full of “promises “and “curses ” Initiation may change, sometimes even reverse, the meaning of such passages. The Four Great Ordeals, for instance, do so. But in no case is there a logical contradiction!
17. Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms.
The last paragraph is a singular confirmation of the view which I have taken of Our Hierarchy: compare what has been said on the subject in previous chapters.
A note on the technical meaning of this verse is necessary. First, the injunction not to fear must be taken with the utmost seriousness, since fear, in one form or another, is the main element in an ordeal. Aspirants will be put into situations of peril, will suffer threats from gods (note “gods” in miniscules; true Gods never threaten you, or even speak to you, as a rule), from rich people, from the mob, from angels, animals, or demons. The Fates themselves will seem to turn against them. Aspirants must not heed any of this. See VII, iv, 48; Liber Tzaddi, vv. 15-17; LXV, iii, 29-33; iv, 33-41.
“Your arms” —your Magickal Weapons, the Wand, the Cup, the Sword and the Disk. The God is then, of course, a form of Adonai: see LXV, v, 14-16, 65. He is this as Ra-Hoor-Khu. The Mass of the Phoenix—Liber 44—is t he fullest possible expression of how the Lord of the Aeon is the “strength, force, vigour of your arms.”
In the Classification of the Elements of the Hindus, Heru-ra-ha stands for Akasha, Hadit for the Sixth and Nuit for the Seventh.
18. Mercy let be off: damn them who pity! Kill and torture; spare not; be upon them!
What has been the net result of our fine 'Christian' phrases? In the good old days there was some sort of natural selection; brains and stamina were necessary to survival. The race , as such, consequently improved. But we thought we knew oh! so much better, and we had “Christ's law” and other slush. So the unfit crowded and contaminated the fit, until Earth herself grew nauseated with the mess. We had not only a war which killed some eight million men, in the flower of their age, picked men at that, in four years, but a pestilence which killed six million in six months. (The First World War and the epidemic that followed.)
Are we going to repeat the insanity? Should we not rather breed humanity for quality by killing off any tainted stock, as we do with other cattle? And exterminating the vermin which infect it, especially Jews and Protestant Christians? Catholic Christians are really Pagans at heart; there is usually good stuff in them, particularly in Latin countries. They only need to be instructed in the true meaning of their faith to reject the false veils.
An XXI: After some years spent in Catholic countries, I wish to modify the above. Catholics are dead alike to Spirituality and to Reason, as bad as Protestants. And the Jew is far from hopeless outside America, where the previous paragraph was written.
The above is very funny, and we could not resist inserting both the first part, written right after World War I, and the second, written 1925 e.v. Having been born in a country where Roman Catholicism predominates, we could have told him that Roman Catholics are even worse than Protestants.
Crowley evidently had several bad experiences with American Jews. He was of course closely watched by Jewish Intelligence, and several traps were set to catch him in America. He resented this.
Aspirants must understand that Orthodox Qabalistic Jewish Orders resented Crowley even more. The Jews, considering themselves the Chosen People, having succeeded, despite all persecutions, in imposing their tribal codes on Western society, could not look with favour upon a Messiah who not only committed the unpardonable crime of being Gentile, but also tried to pass himself for Irish, pooh poohed the Ten Commandments, and described the Bible as by “several anonymous authors.”
However, what neither Crowley nor the Jews realized was that this verse of AL has nothing to do with pogroms, enforced sterilization, or such other modern versions of Doing-In- The -Amalekites.
Mercy let be off': Let Chesed, Mercy, be under control of Tiphareth and Binah (OFF = 6+6+6= 18=3×6).
“damn them who pity” —Pity is, as we have already explained, unnecessary; it is also misleading, harmful and disorderly. Those who preach this diseased outlook of their fellowmen are vain, arrogant, and fundamentally selfish. The healthy man never worries about his health; the virtuous man never worries about the salvation of his soul; the true saint never has any doubts as to the ultimate welfare of the entire company of mankind.
“Kill”—dying, physically or mystically, “them who pity”experience Hadit.
“and torture” —see the description of the work of the Master of the Temple in his underground garden, in Liber 418.
“spare not” —as the acid eats into the soul, only the gold will ultimately be left. See LXV, i, 14-17.
“be upon them!” The Dance of Shiva on the body of the devotee. See LXV, i, 57-58; v, 61-63; VII, vii, 36-48.
These quotes should give an idea of how the Lord of the Aeon goes about setting back the right pegs into the right holes.
Why must Chesed be under control of Tiphareth and Binah? Because Chesed is the Last, or First, Sephira below the Abyss; and the temptation to call itself the Alpha and the Omega is great. It not only is the First Sephira on the Pillar of Mercy, it also is Mercy by name and Mercy is a quality that has been called “good” regardless of whether it is equilibrated by its opposite—Geburah——or not. Chesed is the origin of all disorder, because it is not directly connected with that Influence which should be its Governor and Ruler —Binah. Chesed is “Above”Tiphareth, and will try to give itself airs, forgetting that not only is Tiphareth perfectly equilibrated by nature, being the Central Sephira of the Tree, but also receives directly the Influence of the Highest through Gimel. Only Chokhmah and Binah besides have this privilege, and they are of the Supernals. Unless the Adept leaves everything he has and is, and jumps off Chesed into the Abyss, on the slim chance of getting to Binah, and without even knowing whether he will get there, he must resign himself to receive Her influence through Geburah and through Tiphareth, which are technically his “inferiors” in the Hierarchy.
Therefore, what Ra-Hoor-Khuit is saying is, let the Adept Exempt take the Oath of the Abyss! For, as it is written, “unbalanced force is iniquity”: Mercy untempered by Severity is but weakness that would permit abuse, and tolerate the manifestation of Evil. Again, see Liber VII, vii, 36-39.
19. That stele they shall call the Abomination of Desolation; count well its name, & it shall be to you as 718.
The reference appears to be to the old prophecies of 'Daniel' and 'John'. The first Qabalistic allusion is yet (An XIV) undiscovered.
An XVII. I think it proper to insert here the account of the true meaning of this verse. The circumstances are so striking that it is well worth the while of the lay reader to become acquainted with the nature of the reasoning which attests the praeter-human character of the Author of this Book.
It follows, in the words in which it was originally written, An XVII, June 8, 1921 e.v., with no preliminaries, in my Magical Diary, at the Abbey of Thelema in Cephaloedium of Trinacria. (He means Cefalu, Sicily.)
These verses are very subtly worded. How should I understand this allusion to the stele; how “count well its name” without knowing it?
I tried to count “Abomination of Desolation”, but that is what “they shall call” it, not its proper name.
It seemed that this name, when found, ought to add to 718, or to be identical with some other word or phrase that did so. More, this name when found must somehow express “the fall of Because”.
For many years these two verses, despite elaborate research, yielded no meaning soever. At last I chanced on a Greek word as 718; it means “Persistence,” the Greek noun corresponding to “Perdurabo”, my first magical Motto. Of course the Stele has persisted since the 26th Dynasty, but that scarcely justified naming it “Persistence”; also, there was nothing about “the fall of Because.”
Now (An XVII), I was going through the Law in order to repair any details of omission in the rituals ordained, and found these verses introduced among the instructions. They fascinated me; when I had finished the work in hand, I returned to them and worked for some hours with a Lexicon, starting from the word APXH, Cause, 709, to find some phrase equal to 718 which would deny Cause. I found AZA, 9, a word meaning “dryness”, but most specially the dirt or mould upon a disused object. APXH AZA is, therefore, a precise expression of the doctrine expounded in our Law about “Because”.
So far, so good; but this is in no sense the name of the Stele
I worked on, and found XOIZA, 718, “Yesterday”, which might be grasped as a straw if I sank the third time; but I was swimming strongly enough.
I found XAIPE A\A\, 718, “Hail to the A\A\. ”. I gracefully acknowledged the greeting to Our Holy Order, but went on with my search.
There is no such word as AXPICTA, “unchristlike things”; only blind bigotry could be satisfied with so crude an invention.
Then came XAPA H, 713, an engraved character. That was a true name for the Stele; if I suffixed AD, 5, it might read “The Mark of Hadit”. But I did not feel inwardly that thrill of ecstasy that springs in the heart, or that dawn of amazement that kindles the mind, when Truth's sheer simplicity takes form. There is a definite psychological phenomenon which accompanies any important discovery. It is like First Love, at First Sight, to the one; like the recognition of a Law of Nature, to the other. It inflames one with Love for the Universe, and it explains all its puzzles, in a flash; and it gives an interior conviction which nothing can shake, a living certainty quite beyond one's argued acquiescence in any newly acquired facts.
I lacked this; I knew that I had to seek further. The Truth uttered by Aiwaz is hidden with such exquisite art that it is always easy to wring out a more or less plausible meaning by torture. Yet all such learned and ingenious fumblings reveal their own impotence; the Right Key opens the safe in a second, so simply and smoothly as to make it ridiculous to doubt that the lock was made by a master smith to respond to that key and no other.
The reader will have noticed that all the really important correspondences in this Book are so simple that a child might understand them. There are also my own creaking and lumbering scholardredgers, not one of which is truly illuminating or even convincing. The real solutions, moreover, are almost always confirmed by other parts of the text, or by events subsequent to the Writing of the Book.
I worked on: I asked myself for the thousandth time what the stele could claim with literal strictness as “its name”. I scribbled the word CTHAH and added it up. The result is 546, when CT counts as 500, or 52, when CT is 6, a frequent usage, as in CTAYPOS, whose number is thus 777.
Idly enough, my tired pen subtracted 52 from 718. I started up like a Magician who, conjuring Satan in vain till Faith's lamp sputters, and Hope's cloak is threadbare, gropes, heavily leaning on the staff of Love, blinking and droning along—and suddenly sees Him!
I did the sum over, this time with my pen like a panther. Too good to be true! I added my figures; yes, 718 past denial. I checked my value of stele 52, and no error. Then only I let myself yield to the storm of delight and wonder that rushed up from the Hand of Him that is throned in the Abyss of my Being; and I wrote in my Magical Record the Triumph for which I have warred for over seventeen years:
No fitter name could be found, that was sure…
And then came a flash to confirm me, to chase the last cloud of criticism; the actual name of the Stele, its ordinary name, the only name it ever had until it was called the “Stele of Revealing”, in the Book of the Law itself, “its name” in the Catalogue of the Museum at Boulak, was just this: “Stele 666”.
I have described this discovery at length because I wish to emphasize its importance.
Most of the numbers and words openly mentioned in the Book of the Law which conceal Secret Matters were already at that time possessed of a certain significance for me. Some unconscious cooperation of a mind might be alleged as the determinant factor in the choice of those numbers, their subsequent inter-connexions, and so on explained by the commentators' ingenuity, and the confirmation of independent facts by coincidence.
Similarly, the hidden numbers such as 3.141593,395,31,93, may be ascribed to the commentators, and denied to the intention of the text; at least, by that class of Pharisee which strains at the Butterfly of the Soul, preferring to swallow any hippopotamus if it be slimed thickly enough with the miasmal swamp-mire of materialism.
But 718 is expressed openly; its nature is described sufficiently and unambiguously; and it meant nothing to anybody in the world, either then or for seventeen years after.
And now the meaning falls so pat, so natural, so self-justified, so evidently the unique value of the 'x' of the equation, that it is impossible to quibble.
The law of probabilities excludes all theories but one. The simple Truth is what I have always asserted.
There is a Being called Aiwaz, an intelligence discarnate, who wrote this Book of the Law, using my ears and hand. His mind is certainly superior to my own in knowledge and in power, for He has dominated me and taught me ever since.
But that apart, the proof of any discarnate intelligence, even of the lowest order, has never before been established. And lack of that proof is the flaw in all the religions of the past; man could not be certain of the existence of “God”, because though he knew many powers independent of muscle, he knew of no consciousness independent of nerve.
One asks oneself, could he really be so naive as to believe this reasoning? And that this was sufficient proof of the existence of discarnate intelligence to a truly sceptical mind? The answer is yes in both cases. It would never have occurred to him that a careful preparation on his part of all the keys in the MMSS, and a steady 'play-acting' for the rest of his life, would be just as possible.
The point of the matter is, the Book has been fulfilling itself in the life of mankind steadily, ever since the days of its dictation. This is a much more convincing proof than any that could have been presented by the scribe. Also, personal research brings evidence of the Intelligence behind the writing, and of other Intelligences who evidently “are of us.”
More: even had Crowley prepared all the keys himself, and 'play acted' the rest of his life, the extraordinary reach of the hidden meanings of the Book of the Law, its psychological depth, the almost unbelievable wealth of its insight, would be sufficient evidence of the exceptional quality of the Mind who wrote it. Were we to believe that it was the “scribe and prophet” himself the author, this would just be added justification for obeying him. For surely this would have been a man much more worthy of obedience than Jesus, Buddha, or Karl Marx.
And yet, what is the injunction given by this man to each who would obey him? “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”
Why shall that stele be called “The Abomination of Desolation”? This is an extremely important point, the basis of all the revolutions in theology that have been occurring since 1904.
20. Why? Because of the fall of Because, that he is not there again.
There is here a perception of the profound law which opposes thought to action. We act, when we act aright, upon the instructive wisdom inherited from the ages. Our ancestors survived because they were able to adapt themselves to their environment; their rivals failed to breed, and so “good” qualities are transmitted, while 'bad' are sterile. Thus the race-thought, subconscious, tells a man that he must have a son, cost what it may. Rome was founded on the rape of the Sabine women. Would a reasoner have advocated that rape? Was it 'justice' or 'mercy' or 'morality' or 'Christianity'?
There is much on the ethics of this point in Chapter II of this Book. Thomas Henry Huxley in his essay “Ethics and Evolution” pointed out the antithesis between these two ideas; and concluded that Evolution was bound to beat Ethics in the long run. He was apparently unable to see, or unwilling to admit, that his argument proved Ethics (as understood by Victorians) to be false. The Ethics of Liber Legis are those of Evolution itself. We are only fools if we interfere. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, biologically as well as in every other way.
Let us take an example. I am an anti-vaccinationist in a sense which every other anti-vaccinationist would repudiate. I admit that vaccination protects from smallpox. But I should like everybody to have smallpox. The weak would die; the strong might have pitted faces; but the race would become immune to the disease in a few generations.
On somewhat similar lines, I would advocate, with Samuel Butler, the destruction of all machinery. (I admit the practical difficulties of defining the limits of legitimate devices. The issue is this: how are we to develop human skill? The printing press is admirable in the bands of an Aldus, a Charles T. Jacobi, or even a William Morris. But the cheap mechanical printing of luetic rubbish on rotten pulp with worn types in inferior ink has destroyed the eyesight, putrefied the mind, and deluded the passions, of the multitude.) For machines are dodges for avoiding Hard Work; and Hard Work is the salvation of the race. In The Time-Machine, H. G. Wells draws an admirable picture of a dichotomized humanity, one branch etiolated and inane, the other brutalized and automatic. Machines have already nearly completed the destruction of individual craftsmanship. man is no longer a worker, but a machine-feeder. The product is standardized; the result mediocrity. Nobody can obtain What He Will; he must be content with what knavery puts on the market. Instead of every man and every woman being a star, we have an amorphous pullulation of Vermin.
Although the above is very interesting, it has nothing to do with the spiritual meaning of this verse. It should be read in connection with verses 18 and 19, because it is the explanation of them.
Why must “Mercy” “be off'? Why shall the stele be called “Abomination of Desolation”? What is “the fall of Because”?
We transcribe here a letter published in Newsweek, on February 26, 1968 e.v.:
“At the service held at Arlington National Cemetery, I recited in Hebrew the opening words of Psalm 22, “Eli, Eli, Lammah azavthani” (“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me”), not “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which is an Aramaic transliteration.
“According to (Jewish) tradition, this psalm, a cry of supreme anguish, is customarily recited when one is about to make an appeal to a Head of State. Queen Esther recited it when she entered the court of the King to appeal to him for mercy. Wherever God is present, there is mercy. Wherever there is no mercy, God is absent and we are forsaken.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City
Serious students should remember the description of the initiation of the Master of the Temple in Liber 418. They should remember the Commentaries to AL II, vv. 5, 7, 8, 21, 23, 48, 49, 59, 60.
We quote now three passages from The Case of the Drowsy Mosquito, by Mr. Erle Stanley Gardner:* [Inserted footnote: * Copyright 1943 Erle Stanley Gardner, William Morrow and Co., Inc.]
“The desert is the best mother a man ever had. You do what she wants you to and she's kind to you. She t rains you to do your thinking for yourself, too, and that's good; but just you forget about her laws, and you've got trouble on your hands—lots of trouble. A man don't make a mistake only once in the desert.”
“Lots of people hate the desert. That's because they're really afraid of it. They're afraid of being left alone with themselves. There's lots of people you could put down in the middle of the desert, go away and leave 'em for a week, and come back and find them completely crazy. I've seen it happen. Man sprained his ankle once, couldn't travel. The party he was with had to go right on, but they left him with lots of water and food, plenty of matches, lots of wood. All he had to do was to just keep quiet for three or four days until he got so he could travel. He showed up in civilization just about half crazy. His ankle was all inflamed, said he'd rather have lost the whole leg than to have stayed on in that desert for another ten minutes.”
“I think it's beautiful,” Velma Starler said.
“Sure it's beautiful,” Salty agreed. “People get scared of it because out here they're alone with their Maker. Some people can't stand that.”
“You know, folks, the desert is the kindest mother a man ever had, because she's so cruel. Cruelty makes you careful and self-reliant, and that's what the desert wants. She don't want any softies hanging around. Sometimes, when she's blistering hot and the light burns your eyes out, you see only the cruelty. But then, along this time of day, she smiles back at you and tells you her cruelty is really kindness, and you can see it from her viewpoint —and it's the right viewpoint.”
Now we quote a passage of A. C.'s Commentary to LXV, iv, 61:
“Apart from this general signification there is a personal allusion to 666 who is Alastor, the Spirit of Solitude. Foolish Rabbins have included this symbol in their list of demons. To the well-fed Pharisee as to the modern bourgeois nothing seems more frightful than solitude in which the mind is compelled to face reality. Such people fear nothing so much as the wilderness. The very legend of their tribe deals with the 'land of milk and honey', the Promised Land, the wish phantasm of the sensual.
“Observe that this is merely a matter of point of view. Cap. V, vv. 59-62: What is to the smug Jew, with his Oedipus complex, the extreme abomination, is to us a 'land beyond honey and spice and all perfection', though we call it 'Naught'. We consider them 'weary ones' and their ideal of comfort and civilisation as 'old grey land'. De gustibus non est disputandum. But there is a criterion in this case by which we can determine whether we or they have chosen the better part. For it is evident that no condition of existence can be really satisfactory if its joy is liable to be disturbed. The question is whether its nature is harmonious with that of the Universe. For stability depends thereon. We should find consequently that the ideal of the bourgeois is repose, and his conception of the Cosmos static. Now we find that this is not the case. The Universe is a constant flux. To desire repose is thus contrary to Nature herself We accept this fact and define the Black Brothers directly as those who seek to check the course of events. The bourgeois is for us therefore a clumsy ignorant amateur Black Magician. Our idea of joy is unchecked free motion, and the stability of our joy is assured by our very conception of Yesod. We find the foundation of the Universe to be continuous change. The more we change, the more fixed we are in our joy. (Refer to the 11th and 3rd Aethyrs, and several similar passages in the Holy Books.) We are guaranteed by the nature of things in themselves, whereas the bourgeois is constantly being upset by such trivial matters as the efflux of time and the rate of exchange.
“The hardships of desert life, and in particular its psychological horror, indicate this correspondence emphatically.”
We quote now another passage, from A. C.'s Commentary to LXV, iv, 59.
“The epithet 'desolate' attracts the attention immediately. The word is derived from de-solare, de having an intensive force, so that desolate means 'utterly alone'. The Hierophants have however been accustomed to communicate arcana in the presence of the profane by taking advantage of the similarity of sound between Sol and sol us, especially in such parts of the declension as soli, which is genitive singular of solus and dative singular of Sol, and Solis, genitive singular of sol and ablative plural of sol us. The word desolate may therefore be intended to indicate the attribution of the Angel both to Kether (Solus) and to Tiphereth (Sol). The de may imply a reference to his relation with the Adept through the Path of Daleth, Love, especially in view of the fact that His Word Thelema, 93, contains the idea of Agape, 93.”
The above quotations should be sufficient for serious students to begin to understand the spiritual implications of Thelemic Initiation, and particularly the Spiritual Nature of the Lord of the Aeon, whose Word this Third Chapter of AL is.
While it is true that Initiates made use of Sol and solis as long as Latin was the courtesy-language in the West, the concept of God in a lonely place much precedes it. The Jews, 'having the half', sensed this worship of God in high, lonely places. In the New Testament we find that “John the Baptist” called himself the “Voice in the Wilderness”. “Jesus” is said to have wandered in the desert. It is true that in this Aeon the Hermit is not to be found in the desert. Geographically speaking. For, “You can be lonely among men, too, “says the snake (the snake, no less!) in St. Exupery's Little Prince.
There is a practical aspect to this whole question that had better be mentioned, and it consists of the Ordeal that might be called 'Invoking Mercy'. Aspirants will occasionally try to blackmail Heru-ra-ha, or Aiwass, or 666, into 'saving them'. Such Aspirants will deliberately get themselves into dangerous situations, into desperate straits, hoping for a last minute 'rescues by “the Gods”. Such Aspirants usually die. When they do not die, they go insane. Let this be a warning. Heru-ra-ha shows no mercy. What He has to say to anybody in a desperate situation is this: “Success is your proof; courage is your armour. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”
Or, in other words: Sink or swim.
Which brings us to Mr. Heschel's very simple assertion of Jewish orthodox theology: 'Wherever God is present, there is mercy. Wherever there is no mercy, God is absent and we are forsaken.”
It strikes at once any mind that has the seed of Thelemic endeavor that God can never be absent, since God is omnipresent. If God abstains from showing 'mercy', then, God must have a reason. And God being 'good', the reason must be a good reason. Sometimes a loving father will refuse candy to a pleading child. And the mother bird pecks her adult offspring if they try to come back into the nest.
For fifteen hundred years, the Jews-the Chosen People, no less— prayed God for deliverance. For fifteen hundred years they prayed God to let them go back to Palestine. For fifteen hundred years they prayed God for the Messiah.
For fifteen hundred years the Jews were persecuted. For fifteen hundred years they were kept out of Palestine. For fifteen hundred years every nation had a Messiah of some sort but they.
Then came the Messiah of all, with a Law for all. The Chosen People at once sensed His Import, and indignantly denied His Message. Six million of them died without mercy. Then they stopped asking God for mercy and took matters in their own hands. They are back in Palestine. As “Promised Lands” go, it is no treat. But using their heads and their hands, they are raising flowers in the desert.
Still, old-line Rabbins will hardly recognise the Messiah. That is quite all right, gentlemen; we don't need you; but you need us. And the true seers, the true poets, the true thinkers among you are waking up. Thelemites are of all cultures and of all races. Your young men and young women are beginning to sing new songs. If you don't believe me, read the end of “Gideon”, that beautiful play by Paddy Chayefski.
We come at last to the motive why the stele 666 shall be called —by the outcast and the unfit-the Abomination of Desolation. “Because of the fall of Because, that he is not there again.” The “Black Brother” makes himself a false crown of the horror of the Abyss, a crown which he places in Daath; but he abides in Chesed. Chesed is the Crowned King, Jupiter, the Lord of the Gods. It is to him that the profane and low initiates apply for mercy. He is the Father Image-the most insidious of all forms of Because, because it will assume any shape you may wish to worship. The mind is protean.
Readers are here referred to our Commentaries to AL II, vv. 27,28, 32, 52, and to our comment on Joseph Smith, at the end of A.C.'s Commentary to verse 73.
Why does A.C. speak of the “smug Jew, with his Oedipus complex”? Because the story of Oedipus is symbolical of High Initiation. In order to become a Man —the riddle of the Sphinx —the boy Oedipus must kill his father (destroy the Father Image in his own psyche) and possess his mother (destroy the Mother Image in his own psyche). Readers will please notice that the whole story of Oedipus is a veil of the Mysteries of Eleusis.
Serious students are referred to LXV, v. 34-40; VII, vii, 22-24; CCCXXXIII, 26, and the Commentary thereon by A.C.
21. Setup my image in the East: thou shalt buy thee an image which I will show thee, especial, not unlike the one thou knowest. And it shall be suddenly easy for thee to do this.
Verses 2 1-30 seem to refer to the rites of public worship of Ra Hoor-Khuit. (Nothing of the sort. The rites of worship shall always remain private. See the Mass of the Phoenix, Liber XLIV.)
The word “Set” is curious—is there here a reference to Set the God?
With regard to the Old Comment, I did indeed find an image of the kind implied. But there seems no special importance in this. I am inclined to see some deeper significance in this passage. There has elsewhere been reference to the words “not”, “one”, “Thou knowest”. The word “easy” is moreover suggestive of some mystery; it is used in the same doubtfully intelligible sense in verse 40.
The verse can be taken literally in the strictest sense. It depends on the reader.
22. The other images group around me to support me: let all be worshipped, for they shall cluster to exalt me. I am the visible object of worship; the others are secret; for the Beast & his Bride are they: and for the winners of the Ordeal x.What is this? Thou shalt know.
There are to be no regular temples of Nuit and Hadit, for They are incommensurables and absolutes. Our religion therefore, for the People, is the Cult of the Sun, who is our particular star of the Body of Nuit, from whom, in the strictest scientific sense, come this earth, a chilled spark of Him, and all our Light and Life. His viceregent and representative in the animal kingdom is His cognate symbol the Phallus, representing Love and Liberty. Ra-Hoor-Khuit, like all true Gods, is therefore a Solar-Phallic deity. But we regard Him as He is in truth, eternal; the Solar-Phallic deities of the old Aeon, such as Osiris, “Christ”, Hiram, Adonis, Hercules, etc., were supposed through our ignorance of the Cosmos, to 'die' and 'rise again'. Thus we celebrated rites of 'crucifixion' and so on, which have now become meaningless. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the Crowned and Conquering Child. This is also a reference to the 'Crowned' and Conquering 'Child' in ourselves, our own personal God. Except ye become as little children, said 'Christ', ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is Malkuth, the Virgin Bride, and the Child is the Dwarf- Self, the Phallic consciousness, which is the true life of Man, beyond his 'veils' of incarnation. We have to thank Freud—and especially Jung—for stating this part of the Magical Doctrine so plainly, as also for their development of the connexion of the Will of this 'child' with the True or Unconscious Will, and so for clarifying our doctrine of the 'Silent Self' or 'Holy Guardian Angel'. They are of course totally ignorant of magical phenomena, and could hardly explain even such terms as “Augoeides”; and they are seriously to blame for not stating more openly that this True Will is not to be daunted or suppressed; but within their limits they have done excellent work.
Some technical aspects of this verse must be mentioned. First, the Ordeal x consists in the perception that 666 is the Christ, or Messiah, of this Aeon. This perception must be intuitional; it cannot be a matter of dogma or of faith. Whosoever does not have it is not qualified to officiate at Thelemic rites.
As to public rites, the extant religions will remain untouched by us. Strange as it may seem, there shall be no 'holy wars' or persecutions. Any cult is allowable, provided it does not try to frighten people into conversion with threats of 'hell' or condemnation, and provided its faithful do not try to attack, punish, or pressure those of other creeds. See Liber OZ.
'let all be worshipped, for they shall cluster to exalt me'. The Law is for all; the Lord of the Aeon is manifest in the images of all faiths. Consequently, all cults of men will gravitate towards acceptance of the Rights of Man as expressed in Liber OZ, without any need of our intervention on this plane.
As for Thelemic rites, they shall never be open. The Mass of the Phoenix is individual, to be performed at home in one's personal chapel. The Canonic Mass of the O.T.O. is to be performed only in the presence of those who intend to communicate; no others are to be present.
Our rites are not “secret”, insofar as you can find them openly published, openly explained, and openly described. But they are private. Each human being has the right to worship or not to worship, as he will or as she will. We do not preach and we do not convert. We are skeptical of the spiritual value of established churches and organized religions. We have no wish to start one more. We keep in mind the deep warning of Robert Louis Stevenson's “The House of Eld”.
Neither the word “church” nor the word “religion” occur in the Book of the Law. Let our mitres be invisible and our thrones unknown.
Serious students should consult, besides the writings mentioned above, AL I, 10-11, 15, 17, 34, 39-40, 50-51, 52-53, 61-62;AL II, 5-9, 17-23, 24-25, 2 7-45; VII, vii, 11-14, 25-33.
23. For perfume mix meal & honey & thick leavings of red wine: then oil of Abramelin and olive oil, and afterward soften & smooth down with rich fresh blood.
Meal: ordinary wheaten flour.
Leavings: the “beeswing” of port should be good.
Oil of Abramelin: take eight parts of oil of cinnamon, four of oil of Myrrh, two of oil of galangal, seven of olive oil.
24. The best blood is of the moon, monthly: then the fresh blood of a child, or dropping from the host of heaven: then of enemies; then of the priest or of the worshippers: last of some beast, no matter what.
A: menstrual blood.
B: possibly “dragon's blood”.
These two kinds of 'blood' are not to be confused. The student should be able to discover the sense of this passage by recollecting the Qabalistic statement that “The blood is the life”, consulting Book 4 Part III, and applying the knowledge which reposes in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis of the Ninth Degree of O.T.O. The 'child' is “BABALON and THE BEAST conjoined, the Secret Saviour”, that is, the Being symbolized by the Egg and Serpent hieroglyph of the Phoenician adepts. The second kind is also a form of BAPHOMET, but differs from the 'child' in that it is the Lion-Serpent in its original form.
The process of softening and smoothing down is thus in this case that of vitalizing the Eagle. It is inadvisable to word this explanation in terms too intelligible to the profane, since uninitiated attempts to make use of the formidable arcana of Magick presented in this passage could lead only to the most fulminating and irremediable disaster.
Menstrual blood is the best blood because it is completely free of karma, being a natural elimination of the organism.
The “sacrifice of children”, so commonly described in the traditions of many different religions, is to be interpreted alchemically. This is a hint for Christians and Jews.
It was the catastrophe that overtook Atlantis (where Alchemy was general practice) that, leaving only garbled legends in its many colonies, caused the cruel and superstitious corruption of the Bloody Sacrifice. (Incidentally, Atlantis was not “destroyed for its sins”. Its disappearance was due to one of the periodical upheavals of the earth's crust which occur with twenty to thirty thousand year intervals.)
25. This burn: of this make cakes & eat unto me. This hath also another use; let it be laid before me, and kept thick with perfumes of your orison: it shall become full of beetles as it were and creeping things sacred unto me.
These Beetles, which appeared with amazing suddenness in countless numbers at Boleskine during the summer of 1904 e.v., were distinguished by a long single 'horn'; the species was new to the naturalists in London to whom specimens were sent for classification.
26. These slay, naming your enemies; & they shall fall before you.
See Liber 418, First Aethyr, final paragraphs.
Serious students will understand that “they shall fall before you” does not necessarily mean that you shall slay them. Also, unserious students had better beware of trying to employ this magickal formula:
“thou hast no right but to do thy will.”
Perhaps the following apologue will be of help:
A profane slew a beetle before Ra-Hoor-Khuit, naming a person he considered his enemy; and soon after, the profane went mad.
An Initiate slew a beetle before Ra-Hoor-Khuit, naming a person he considered his enemy; and soon after, this person fell before him.
An Exempt Adept slew a beetle before Ra-Hoor-Khuit, naming the person he considered his worst enemy, that is, himself and soon after, he became a Master of the Temple.
27. Also these shall breed lust & power of lust in you at the eating thereof.
The word “lust” is not necessarily to be taken in the sense familiar to Pious Persons. It means robustness, 'merriment', as of old understood. The Germans have retained the proper force of the term in “lustig”. But even the English retain “lusty”.
The Pious Person is undoubtedly a marvel. He has even succeeded in attaching a foul connotation to a colourless word like “certain”— “In a section of the city with a certain reputation women of a certain class suffering from certain diseases are charged with performing certain acts” is a common enough item in the newspapers. It allows the fullest play to the dirtiest imaginations — which appears to be the aim of the Societies for the Suppression of Vice, and their like.
28. Also ye shall be strong in war.
'War” is not necessarily to be interpreted in the usual sense. “The struggle for lift” is also a form of War -or Love.
29. Moreover, be they long kept, it is better; for they swell with my force. All before me.
It is not altogether clear whether the beetles or the Cakes are referred to in this strange passage. The proper way to discover the truth of this is to experiment.
If it be the beetles, there is a recipe for insects very popular in the Middle East which seems to fit the conditions.
Pound the insects into a mess; dig a hole in the ground; pour the mess in; let it ferment for several days. When it is so ripe it smells, take it out and toast it dry in an oven. Then season it and fry it in olive oil and eat it.
30. My altar is of open brass work: burn thereon in silver or gold!
Silver for men, gold for women.
31. There cometh a rich man from the West who shall pour his gold upon thee.
I do not know whether this is to be taken in a practical sense.
Serious students should consult Liber VII, iv, 58.
32. From gold forge steel!
33. Be ready to fly or to smite!
It suggests itself that the foregoing verses may have been already fulfilled in some manner which my feeble understanding of the chapter has failed hitherto to identify.
One possible explanation of “From gold forge steel” would be, “From the gold of Tiphereth forge the steel of Geburah” —or, in other words, become an Adept Major.
It seems, therefore, that performance of Liber is a means to this end. See Liber VII, vii, 1-3.
But in these matters speculation is useful only if it is preparatory to experiment. Only experiment counts.
34. But your holy place shall be untouched throughout the centuries: though with fire and sword it be burnt down & shattered, yet an invisible house there standeth, and shall stand until the fall of the Great Equinox; when Hrumachis shall arise and the double-wanded one assume my throne and place. Another prophet shall arise, and bring fresh fever from the skies; another woman shall awake the lust & worship of the Snake; another soul of God and beast shall mingle in the globed priest; another sacrifice shall stain the tomb; another king shall reign; and blessing no longer be poured To the Hawk-headed mystical Lord!
Note the close connexion between Leo and Libra in the Tarot, the numbers VIII and XI of their Trumps being interchanged with XI and VIII. There is no such violent antithesis as that between Osiris and Horus; Strength will prepare the Reign of Justice. We should begin already, as I deem, to regard this Justice as the Ideal whose Way we should make ready, by virtue of our Force and Fire.
This happens without our having to worry. For is not Nemo's True Name TRUTH? (M.A.A. T.). See Liber 370, v. 7.
Taking the “holy place” to be Boleskine House, it has already been subjected to a sort of destruction. It was presented by me to the O.T.O. and sold in order to obtain funds for the publication of The Equinox Volume III. But the proceeds of the sale were mostly stolen by the then Grand Treasurer General of the Order, one George MacNie Cowie, who became obsessed by the vulgarest form of hate against the Germans, despite my warnings with reference to verse 59 of this Chapter. He became insane, and behaved with the blackest treachery, this theft being but a small portion of his infamies. The incident was necessary to my own initiation.
Equinox III, No. 1 is full of small errors which indicate that the movement Crowley intended to start with the money obtained from the sale of Boleskine would have resulted in the establishment of just a branch of Old Aeon Masonry disguised with the names of the New, and possibly of a religion to boot! Of course the Lord of the Aeon intervened.
Hrumachis is the Dawning Sun; he therefore symbolizes any new course of events. The “double-wanded one” is “Thmaist of dual form as Thmais and Thmait”, from whom the Greeks derived their Themis, goddess of Justice. The student may refer to The Equinox Vol. I, No. 2, pages 244-261. Thmaist is the Hegemon, who bears a mitre-headed sceptre, like that of Joshua in the Royal Arch Degree of Freemasonry. He is the third officer in rank in the Neophyte Ritual of the G .. D .. ,following Horus as Horus follows Osiris. He can then assume the “throne and place” of the Ruler of the Temple when the “Equinox of Horus” comes to an end.
The rimed section of this verse is singularly impressive and sublime. We may observe that the details of the ritual of changing officers are the same on every occasion. We may therefore deduce that the description applies to this “Equinox of the Gods” itself. How have the conditions been fulfilled? The introduction to Book 4, Part IV tells us. We may briefly remind the reader of the principal events, arranging them in the form of a rubric, and placing against each the corresponding magical acts of the Equinox previous to ours, as they are symbolized in the legends of Osiris, Dionysus, Jesus, Attis, Adonis, and others.
|THE RITUAL||AEON OF HORUS||AEON OF OSIRIS|
|Another prophet shall arise||The Beast 666.||Dionysus and others are namesfor(perhaps) Apollonius of Tyana. In the conditions then obtaining, several magi were required.|
|And bring fresh fever from the skies||“Force and Fire” of Horus — “Skies” of Nuit|
|Another woman shall awake||See Comment on AL I,\\|
|“Venus” of the Adonis legends. We have no clue to her name.|
|The lust & worship of the Snake||The Might and Worthiness of Hadit within men; also the cult of the Spermato- zoon||The “Holy Ghost” or “Satan” indwelling. The key to Magick in the Snake Apophis the Destroyer.|
|Another soul of God and beast||The Union of AIWAZ and The Beast in Aleister Crowley||Pan as God & goat; Mary, etc., as Mother of the Son of God, fer tilized by the Dove — or Bull, Swan, etc.|
|Shall mingle in the globed priest||The identification of\\|
|The doctrine of the re generate incorruptible body.|
|Another sacrifice shall stain the tomb||Loveis the Magical For- mula: Sex as the Key to Life. 'The tomb” — the temple of Love.||Crucifixion, etc., as the\\
Death as the Key to\\
Life. 'The tomb” — the\\
coffin or grave.
|Another king shall reign||Horus(Ra-Hoor-Khuit)\\|
the Crowned Child
|Osiris (Jesus, etc.) the dying King (See Fraser).|
|And blessing no longer be poured\\|
To the Hawk-headed mystical Lord
|Blessing — Semen||Blessing — Blood.|
It may be presumptuous to predict any details concerning the next Aeon after this.
It is, after all, still far away—and there is a lot yet to be done in the Aeon of Horus!
35. The half of the word of Heru-ra-ha, called Hoor-pa-kraat and Ra-Hoor-Khut.
Heru-ra-ha combines the ideas of Horus (cf. also 'the great angel Hru' who is set over the Book of Tahuti; see Liber LXXVIII) with those of Ra and Spirit. For HA is the Atziluthic or archetypal spelling of He, the Holy Ghost. And Ha =6, the number of the Sun. He is also Nuit, H being Her letter.
The language suggests that Heru-ra-ha is the 'true Name' of the Unity who is symbolized by the Twins Harpocrates and Horus. Note that the Twin Sign—and the Child Sign—is Gemini, whose letter is Zain, a sword.
The doctrine of the dual character of the God is very important to a proper understanding of Him. “The Sign of the Enterer is always to be followed immediately by the Sign of Silence”: such is the imperative injunction to the Neophyte. In Book 4 the necessity for this is explained fully.
36. Then said the prophet unto the God:
This passage now following appears to be a dramatic presentation of the scene shown in the Stele. The interpretation is to be that Ankh-f-n-Khonsu recorded for my benefit the details of the Magical Formula of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. To link together the centuries in this manner is nothing strange to the accomplished Magician; but in view of the true character of Time as it appears to the Adept in Mysticism, the riddle vanishes altogether.
37. I adore thee in the song—
I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsu
Whose words are truth. I invoke, I greet
Thy presence, 0 Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee:—
I, I adore thee!
Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! Let it fill me!
Stanza 3 suggests the Rosicrucian Benediction:
May thy Mind be open unto the Higher!
May thy Heart be the Centre of Light!
May thy Body be the Temple of the Rosy Cross!
38. So that thy light is in me; & its red flame is as a sword in my hand to push thy order. There is a secret door that I shall make to establish thy way in all the quarters, (these are the adorations, as thou hast written), as it is said:
The light is mine; its rays consume
Me: I have made a secret door
Into the House of Ra and Tum,
Of Khephra and of Ahathoor.
I am thy Theban, 0 Mentu,
The prophet Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
By Bes-na-Maut my Breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, 0 Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
See the translation of the Stele in the Introduction of Book 4 Part IV. Note the Four Quarters or Four Solar Stations enumerated in lines 3 and 4 of the first Stanza, and compare the ritual given in Liber Samekh. (Book 4 Part III, Appendix.)
39. All this and a book to say how thou didst come hither and a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever—for in it is the word secret & not only in the English—and thy comment upon this the Book of the Law shall be printed beautifully in red ink and black upon beautiful paper made by hand; and to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds. Do this quickly!
This account is published with this comment itself.
So had he intended; but the Commentary (not The Comment!), was written over a period of many years; parts were modified, parts were eliminated as his understanding increased. Curiously enough, The Comment, to which he paid little attention at the time of writing, was the only part in Class A, with AL itself It took forty years for him to understand its depth and sufficiency. Indeed, Hadit “made swift and secure his pen”.
A first version of the Commentary was published in The Equinox, Vol. I No. 7. It was much shorter than this, which in its major part was written in Cefalu, Sicily, several years later.
The present volume is thus the obedience to this command.
Not so; what approached most “obedience to this command” was the edition of Book Four Part IV, The Equinox of the Gods, by Frater SATURNUS, 8° = 3 A\A\ , accompanied by a boxed facsimile of the MMSS of AL.
'At them' may mean 'at their house', that is, one must give when one recognizes any one as a potential king by accepting his hospitality. An alternative meaning is “in their honour”.
The instruction above was meant for him only.
40. But the work of the comment? That is easy; and Hadit burning in thy heart shall make swift and secure thy pen.
I am less annoyed with myself than when I wrote the “Old Comment” (Published in Equinox I, 7.), but not wholly content. How is one to write a comment? For whom? One has more than the difficulties of the lexicographer. Each new Postulant presents new problems; the degrees and kinds of their ignorance are no less numerous than they. I am always finding myself, sailing along joyously for several months in the belief that my teaching is helping somebody, suddenly awakened to the fact that I have made no way whatever, owing to the object of my solicitude having omitted to learn that Julius Caesar conquered Gaul, or something of the sort, which I had assumed to be a matter of universal knowledge.
“The Comment” to which the verse refers is that signed ANKH-F N-KHONSU at the end of Liber AL. It is in Class A., as we have already explained, and perfectly clear to anyone.
Then you may ask, “What of this commentary 'by another'? Did not the Prophet forbid discussion of the contents of AL?”
This Commentary 'by another is in Class C., was written at our own risk and peril, and There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. If it profit anyone, anywhere, let our success be our proof
41. Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house: all must be done well and with business way.
It is being done now.
Aspirants to Thelemic initiation must keep in mind that an Adept is not an Adept unless he be an Adept on all planes, and that those who affect to despise “material things” are either idlers or fools. See AL II, 24; AL I, 51, 61.
42. The ordeals thou shalt oversee thyself, save only the blind ones. Refuse none, but thou shalt know & destroy the traitors. I am Ra-Hoor-Khuit; and I am powerful to protect my servant. Success is thy proof: argue not; convert not; talk not overmuch! Them that seek to entrap thee, to overthrow thee, them attack without pity or quarter; & destroy them utterly. Swift as a trodden serpent turn and strike! Be thou yet deadlier than he! Drag down their souls to awful torment: laugh at their fear: spit upon them!
“Ordeals”: refer to the Comment on Chapter I, verses 32 et seq. “Traitors”: see Liber 418. 1st Aethyr.
Also, LXV, i, 37-40, 5 7-58; ii, 27-29, 33-36, 45-47, 65; v, 3,8-13,60-63.
Also, Krishna's speech to Arjuna, in the Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita.
Readers must ponder; on the subject of death and killing, that either death is the end of consciousness, in which case it must come naturally to all men, and can have no moral significance any more than does rain, or sunshine, or the wind; or death is not the end of consciousness, in which case it still can have no moral significance except to those who believe in heaven and hell and eternal damnation. Thelemites don't.
Serious students are earnestly invited to ponder William Blake's most powerful work, “The Marriage of Heaven & Hell”, on the subject of “angels”, “devils” and “damnation”.
43. Let the Scarlet Woman beware! If pity and compassion and tenderness visit her heart; if she leave my work to toy with old sweetnesses; then shall my vengeance be known. I will slay me her child: I will alienate her heart: I will cast her out from men: as a shrinking and despised harlot shall she crawl through dusk wet streets, and die cold and an-hungered.
Although this verse is specifically directed to the Scarlet Woman, there is a sense in which it is useful to all Aspirants, and it must be taken in a very literal sense.
We have already remarked that there are no contradictions in this Book. You have been told not to pity; you have been told that compassion is the vice of kings; you must act as if you believe these assertions to be facts, if you want to become a Thelemite. See LXV, v, 52-56.
Many of your ordeals shall be of pity and compassion. You must remember that pity is vanity and compassion is confusion, or you will run the risk of wasting your dedication on the most worthless people.
“Old sweetnesses”: see AL 1, 49; AL II, 5, 52. These verses must be understood in the most literal sense, and complied with punctiliously. Let the dead bury their dead, and follow 666!
“I will alienate her heart”: I will confuse her intelligence.
“I will cast her out from men”: Even those for whom she showed pity or compassion will scorn her. In fact, they will be first to do so.
“I will slay me her child”: Remember the Sign I.R.! This is a hint for Members of a certain Grade.
Nor do you forget AL III, 16.
44. But let her raise herself in pride! Let her follow me in my way! Let her work the work of wickedness! Let her kill her heart! Let her be loud and adulterous! Let her be covered with jewels, and rich garments, and let her be shameless before all men!
“Pride” —see A. C. 's Commentary to AL II, 77.
“Work of wickedness”—it should be clear by now that what we call virtue many others call wickedness. Our own atavism rises against us in the path of Spiritual Revolution. Our 'conscience' will tell us that we are being wicked when we struggle to free ourselves or others. Face the Phantom, then. You will be called wicked. He was. Glory in it!
“Kill her heart”: this refers to the Yoga practice of 'Slaying the Cakkrams', in this case the Anahatta.
“Loud and adulterous” —see Liber Aleph, 116-118.
“Covered with jewels” —Cakkrams active.
“Rich garments” —Purple, gold and scarlet a uric colors.
“Shameless before all men”—see AL II, 52, and the Commentaries thereto. Also remember that all children are shameless. If you are ashamed of yourself, change yourself; if you are ashamed of what you do, why do it? But if you are sure of yourself and of your deeds, why shame? Again, read Emerson's essay “Self Reliance”!
45. Then will I lift her to pinnacles of power: then will I breed from her a child mightier than all the kings of the earth. Twill fill her with joy: with my force shall she see & strike at the worship of Nu: she shall achieve Hadit.
This verse can be fully understood only by the Scarlet Woman or Magisters. However:
“Pinnacles of power” —Spiritual Power. See Liber 90, v.43.
“Child mightier than all the kings of the earth”: The Crowned and Conquering Child, of course. The Babe of the Abyss.
“Joy”—10 + 70+ 10=90. See Liber Tzaddi.
“The worship of Nu”—See Liber NV. Also, Artemis Iota.
“She shall achieve Had it.” —See Liber HAD.
46. I am the warrior Lord of the Forties: the Eighties cower before me, & are abased. I will bring you to victory & joy: I will be at your arms in battle & ye shall delight to slay. Success is your proof; courage is your armour; go on, go on, in my strength; & ye shall turn not back for any!
Forty is Mem, Water, the Hanged Man; and Eighty is Pe, Mars, the Blasted Tower. These Trumps refer respectively to the “Destruction of the World by Water” and “by Fire”. The meaning of these phrases is to be studied in my Rituals of Magick, such as Book 4, Parts II & III. Its general purport is that He is master of both types of Force. I am inclined to opine that there is a simpler and deeper sense in the text than I have so far disclosed.
As we have already remarked, these Commentaries were for the most part written between the Twenties and the Thirties. “I am the warrior Lord of the Forties” may thus refer to the Second World War, that took place in the Forties. If so, it may be that another world catastrophe, much worse, and not necessarily a war, is predicted for the Eighties.
“at your arms “is a curious turn of phrase. There may be some cryptographic implication, or there may not; at least, there is this, that the use of such un-English expressions makes a clear-cut distinction between AIWAZ and the Scribe. In the inspired Books, such as Liber LXV, VII, DCCCXIII and others, written by The Beast 666 directly, not from dictation, no such awkward expressions are to be found. The style shews a well-marked difference.
“Battle” may not necessarily imply physical struggle; on the contrary. Physical struggle is the last resort of intelligent men, because it is, as a rule, inefficient. One book can be mightier than a thousand armies; one Magick Ritual may set a whole nation moving.
Nevertheless, it is occasionally necessary to recur to physical battle to achieve one's will. In the last ditch, brute force understands only the argument of intelligent force.
Peacemongers are similar to short-sighted merchants in that they fail to see the long-run profit for the immediate advantages, which may not be advantages at all. The campaigns of Alexander, Genghis Khan, Attila, Omar, Napoleon, were deplorable, no doubt; but their civilizing influence was enormous. The great bursts of economic, scientific and moral progress following the two World Wars are here for anyone to see. What the Nazis did in the matter of torture during thirty years, and for which they were universally condemned, was done for a thousand years by the Roman Catholic Church, with general approval of the learned; and was even boasted of as an achievement by the Jews of the Old Testament. Social conscience has progressed. We live in the most enlightened times of known history; the loud cries of denunciation of social injustice are denouncing things that in our times affect only minorities; two hundred years ago they affected practically everybody, and were denounced by just a handful of honest men who were persecuted, put to death, or— if they were lucky—ignored as crackpots.
47. This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all. Then this line drawn is a key: then this circle squared in its failure is a key also. And Abrahadabra. It shall be his child & that strangely. Let him not seek after this; for thereby alone can he fall from it.
I am now (An XIV) a Magus 9°= 2; and I disagree with the former comment (Published in Equinox I, 7.). He need only be a Magister Templi 8°=3 whose word is Understanding.
See MMSS for allusion to the “line drawn” and the “circle squared in its failure”.
The attribution (in the Old Comment) of the letters to those of the Book of Enoch is unsupported.
The injunction that AL be always translated along with a facsimile of the original is important, since no translation, no matter how good, can maintain all the keys, subtle double-meanings, and qabalistic puns of the original. If a student hopes to accomplish much, he will be forced to learn the English language very thoroughly. This suggests that English may in future centuries achieve the distinction of a hieratic language.
There are only two MMSS of AL extant in the writing of the Beast. The original MMSS was published in facsimile by Frater SATURNUS in The Equinox of the Gods. It accompanies this edition of the Commentaries. While in Cefalu, Crowley made the mistake of copying AL in his own hand, to give as a present to a favorite disciple. The favorite disciple promptly went mad (the quartos have madder) and ran away. Years later, having apparently recovered his wits, he sold this copy, pretending it was the true original MMSS of Liber AL. Last heard of, the buyer was announcing that he was the proud owner of the original MMSS of the “bible of hell.” Even if he were, we still don't know what physical possession of the MMSS of AL is supposed to prove. That you are an Ipsissimus, perhaps?… Would it were so easy!
48. Now this mystery of the letters is done, and I want to go on to the holier place.
49. I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men.
The evident interpretation of this is to take the word to be “Do what thou wilt”, which is a secret word, because its meaning for every man is his own inmost secret. And it is the most profound blasphemy possible against all 'gods of men', because it makes every man his own God.
We may then take it that this Solar-Phallic Ra Ha is Each Man Himself. As each independent cell in our bodies is to us, so is each of us to Heru-ra-ha. Each man's 'child'-consciousness is a Star in the Cosmos of the Sun, as the Sun is a Star in the Cosmos of Nuit.
Serious students should consult Chapter 2 of Liber 333, and the Commentary thereof “Q. V.LF. “is “Quif', an onomatopaeic rendition of the cry of a hawk in flight.
50. Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!
To “curse them” is part of the Initiatic process. You can't rise above them as long as you are psychologically in awe of them. Eventually you learn to ignore them, but until you do, you must make cursing them an actual rite. Particularly those “gods” which you were taught to worship by your parents.
Emotional habits are just as difficult to eradicate or to create as any other habits. You d rill yourself out of them or into them by rout me— dreary, long routine. The difference is—and it is the whole difference!— that you create or destroy your habits deliberately. As a rule, it takes at least three months—a station of the sun—to establish a momentum in consciousness. It may take a lifetime to get rid of it.
51. With my Hawk's head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross.
We are to consider carefully the particular attack of Heru ra ha against each of these 'gods' or prophets; for though they be, or represent, the Magi of the past, the curse of their Grade must consume them. (See Liber Magi.)
Thus, it is the eyes of 'Jesus' —his point of view—that must be destroyed; and this point of view is wrong because of his Magical Gesture of self-sacrifice.
One must not for a moment suppose that this verse supports the historicity of 'Jesus'. 'Jesus is not, and never was, a man; but he was a 'god', just as a bundle of old rags and a kerosene tin on a bush may be a 'god'. There is a man-made idea, built of ignorance, fear, and meanness, for the most part, which we call 'Jesus', and which has been tricked out from time to time with various gauds from Paganism, and Judaism.
The subject of 'Jesus' is, most unfortunately, too extensive for a note; it is treated fully in Liber 888
The main source of the 'Jesus' of the New Testament was the unnamed Master of Righteousness' of the Essenes; but it is impossible nowadays to separate what is historical and about him from what is historical but about the prophet Ionas, or the Rabbi X, or the Rabbi Y. To say nothing of the legendary and hieratic details cribbed from the hagiographies of Dionysus, Meithras, Attis, Osiris, and others.
But even if it were possible to winnow t he genuine from the spurious in the ola pod rida of the Gospels—for what? Sixteen hundred years of 'Jesus' ought to be enough for any healthy stomach.
Unhealthy stomachs may keep their Isa, for all we care. See AL I, 49, and the Commentary thereof
52. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him.
Mohammed's point of view is wrong too; but he needs no such sharp correction as 'Jesus'. It is his face—his outward semblance- that is to be covered with His wings. The tenets of Islam, correctly interpreted, are not far from our Way of Life and Light and Love and Liberty. This applies especially to the secret tenets. The external creed is mere nonsense suited to the intelligence of the peoples among whom it was promulgated; but even so, Islam is magnificent in practice. Its code is that of a man of courage and honour and self- respect; contrasting admirably with the cringing cowardice of the damnation-dodging Christians with their unmanly and dishonest acceptance of vicarious sacrifice, and their currish conception of themselves as 'born in sin', 'miserable sinners' with 'no health in us.
53. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din.
“The Indian”. The religion of Hindustan, metaphysically and mystically comprehensive enough to assure itself the possession of much truth, is in practice almost as superstitious and false as Christianity, a faith of slaves, liars and dastards. The same remarks apply roughly to Buddhism.
“Mongol”: presumably the reference is to Confucianism, whose metaphysical and ethical flawlessness has not saved its adherents from losing those ruder virtues which are proper to a Fighting Animal, and thus yielding at last a civilization coeval with history itself to the barbarous tribes of Europe.
“Din” — 'severity' or 'Judgment' may refer to the Jewish Law, rather than to the Faith (ad 'din') of Islam. Assuming this, the six religions whose flesh must be torn out cover the whole globe outside Islam and Christianity.
It should be noted that these religions are mentioned impersonally, while Christianity and Islam are mentioned in the person of their founders, or alleged founders.
Obviously, 'Din' refers to Mosaic Law; Islam has already been disposed of in the previous verse.
Why assault their flesh rather than their eyes, as in the other cases? Because the metaphysics, or point of view, is correct—I take Judaism as Qabalistic—but the practice imperfect.
Organized religion is the death of Theurgy. But at least it should not be the death of common sense. You are free to make a fool of yourself, but leave your neighbor alone. He may make a Fool of himself—who knows?
54. Bahlasti! Ompehda! I spit on your crapulous creeds.
By sound, Bahlasti suggests “hurling” or “blasting”; Ompehda is not too phantastically onomatopaeic for “an explosion”.
These two words are obviously from the Angelic Language.
55. Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: for her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you!
The name Mary is connected with Mars, Mors, etc., from the Sanskrit MR, to slay; and with Mare, the Sea, whose Water opposes the Fire of Horus. I here quote a passage from Liber XCVII which deals with this fully.
“Let me strictly meditate this hate of the mother. MR is the Sanskrit root “Kill”, hence Mara, Mors, Maria, and I suppose Meer, Mere, Mer—in short, lots of words meaning death or sea. Note Mordred as the traitor villain in Morte d'Arthur. In Liber Legis we have “Mary” who is to be “torn upon wheels”, apparently because she is 'inviolate'. Liber 418 has some explanation of this: “because she hath shut herself up”, I seem to remember is the phrase. It appears (I don't remember the Sanskrit) as if a dental T or D were inserted phallically to give us Madar, Mater, Mother (?meter = measure).
Does the accent in mere conceal a lost dental? I suppose Jung or Freud has this all worked out in detail.
I have thought this before, long ago, but can't get a satisfactory Qabalah. 240 is a doubling of the Pentagram, of course, and is a six fold of 40, the number of repressive 'sealed-up' law. By our R.O.T.A., MR is the Sea swallowing the Sun, and the insertion of a Tau would help this in a certain formula of”He lives in the Sun”. But that would only boost the Mother, which won't do, for she is the Tomb, the Eater of Flesh, and there's no getting away from it. But apparently she is all right just so far as she is open, to enter or leave at one's pleasure, the Gateway of Eternal Life.
She is Sakti, the Teh, the Magical Door between the Tao and the Manifested World. The great Obstacle then is if that Door be locked up. Therefore Our Lady must be symbolized as an Whore. (Note Daleth, the Door = Venus. The Dove; free flowing; all this is linked up in the symbol.) Clearly, at last, the Enemy is this Shutting up of things. Shutting the Door is preventing the Operation of Change, i.e., of Love. The objection to Calypso, Circe, Armida, Kundry, and Co. is that one is liable to be shut up in their Gardens. The whole of the Book of the Dead is a device for opening the closed vehicles, and enabling the Osiris to go in and out at his pleasure. On the other hand, there seems to be a Sealing Up, for a definite period, in order to allow the Change to proceed undisturbed. Thus Earth lies fallow; the womb is closed during gestation; the Osiris is plugged with talismans. But it is vital to consider this as a strictly temporary device; and to cut out the idea of Eternal Rest. This Nibbana-idea is the Coward—'Mother's Boy'— idea; one ought to take a refreshing dip in the Tao, no more. I think this must be brought forward as the Cardinal Point of Our Holy Law. Thus, though Nuit cries “To me!”, that is balanced by the Formula of Hadit: ”'Come unto me' is a foolish word; for it is I that go.”
Now, the Semen is God (the going-one, as shown by the Ankh or Sandal-strap, which He carries), because he goes in at the Door, stays there for a specified period, and comes out again, having flowered, and still bearing in him that Seed of Going. (The birth of a girl is a misfortune everywhere, because the true Going-Principle is the Lion-Serpent, or Dragon; the Egg is only the Cavern where he takes refuge on occasions.)”
Perhaps the birth of a girl is a misfortune in some countries; but this is due to the 'Sin' Syndrome of the Aeon of Os iris. In this Aeon, the sexes are complementary. It would be a much greater misfortune if no girls were born!
Liber 418 explains this succinctly; 3rd Aethyr.
“Moreover, there is Mary, a blasphemy against BABALON, for she hath shut herself up; and therefore is she the Queen of all those wicked devils that walk upon the earth, those that thou sawest even as little black specks that stained the Heaven of Urania. And all these are the excrement of Choronzon.”
It is this 'shutting up' that is hideous, the image of death. It is the opposite of Going, which is God.
Women under Christianity were kept virgin for the market as Strasbourg geese are nailed to boards till their livers putrefy. The nature of woman has been corrupted, her hope of a soul thwarted, her proper pleasure balked, and her mind poisoned, to titillate the jaded palates of senile bankers and ambassadors.
Or senile young men of twenty-two.
Why do men insist on 'innocence' in women?
1. To flatter their vanity.
2. To give themselves the best chance of (a) escaping venereal disease, (b) propagating their noble selves.
3. To maintain power over their slaves by their possession of Knowledge.
4. To keep them docile as long as possible by drawing out the debauching of their innocence. A sexually pleased woman is the best of willing helpers; one who is disappointed or disillusioned a very psychical eczema.
5. In primitive communities, to serve as a guard against surprise and treachery.
6. To cover their secret shame in the matter of sex. Hence the pretence that a woman is 'pure', modest, delicate, aesthetically beautiful and morally exalted, ethereal and unfleshly, though in fact they know her to be lascivious, shameless, coarse, ill-shapen, unscrupulous, nauseatingly bestial both physically and mentally. The advertisements of 'dress shields', perfumes, cosmetics, anti- sweat preparations, and 'Beauty Treatments' reveal woman's nature as seen by the clear eyes of those who would lose money if they misjudged her; and they are loathesomely revolting to read. Her mental and moral characteristics are those of the parrot and the monkey. Her physiology and pathology are hideously disgusting, a sickening slime of uncleanliness.
Her virgin life is a sick ape's, her sexual life a drunken sow's, her mother life all bulging filmy eyes and sagging udders. These are the facts about “innocence”; to this has man's Christian Endeavour dragged her when he should rather have made her his comrade, frank, trusty, and gay, the tenderer self of himself, his consubstantial complement even as Earth is to the Sun.
We of Thelema say that “Every man and every woman is a star”. We do not fool and flatter women; we do not despise and abuse them. To us a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self justified, exactly as a man is.
We dare not thwart Her Going, Goddess she! We arrogate no right upon Her will; we claim not to deflect Her development, to dispose of Her desires, or to determine Her destiny. She is Her own sole arbiter; we ask no more than to supply our strength to Her, whose natural weakness else were prey to the world's pressure. Nay more, it were too zealous even to guard Her in Her Going; for She were best by Her own self-reliance to win Her own way forth!
We do not want Her as a slave; we want Her free and royal, whether Her love fight death in our arms by night, or Her loyalty ride by day beside us in the Charge of the Battle of Life.
“Let the woman be girt with a sword before me!”
“In her is all power given.”
So sayeth this our Book of the Law. We respect woman in the self of Her own nature; we do not arrogate the right to criticise her. We welcome her as our ally, come to our camp as her Will, free-flashing, sword-swinging, hath told Her, Welcome, thou Woman, we hail thee, star shouting to star! Welcome to rout and to revel! Welcome to fray and to feast! Welcome to vigil and victory! Welcome to war with its wounds! Welcome to peace with its pageants! Welcome to lust and to laughter! Welcome to board and to bed! Welcome to trumpet and triumph; welcome to dirge and to death!
It is we of Thelema who truly love and respect Woman, who hold her sinless and shameless even as we are; and those who say that we despise Her are those who shrink from the flash of our falchions as we strike from Her limbs their foul fetters.
Do we call Woman Whore? Ay, Verily and Amen, She is that; the air shudders and burns as we shout it, exulting and eager.
0 ye! Was not this your sneer, your vile whisper that scorned Her and shamed Her? Was not “Whore” the truth of Her, the title of terror that you gave Her in your fear of Her, coward comforting coward with furtive glance and gesture?
But we fear Her not; we cry Whore, as Her armies approach us. We beat on our shields with our swords. Earth echoes the clamour!
Is there doubt of the victory? Your hordes of cringing slaves, afraid of themselves, afraid of their own slaves, hostile, despised and distrusted, your only tacticians the ostrich, the opossum, and the cuttle, will you not break and flee at our first onset, as with levelled lances of lust we ride at the charge, with our allies, the Whores whom we love and acclaim, free friends by our sides in the Battle of Life?
The Book of the Law is the Charter of Woman; the Word Thelema has opened the lock of Her “girdle of chastity”. Your Sphinx of stone has come to life; to know, to will, to dare and to keep silence.
Yea, I, The Beast, my Scarlet Whore bestriding me, naked and crowned, drunk on Her golden Cup of Fornication, boasting Herself my bedfellow, have trodden Her in the Marketplace, and roared this Word that every woman is a star. And with that Word is uttered Woman's Freedom; the fools and fribbles and flirts have heard my voice. The fox in woman hath heard the Lion in man; fear, fainting, flabbiness, frivolity, falsehood—these are no more the mode.
In vain will bully and brute and braggart man, priest, lawyer, or social censor knit his brows to devise him a new tamer's trick; once and for all the tradition is broken; vanished the vogue of bowstring, sack, stoning, nose-slitting, belt-buckling, cart's tail-dragging, whipping, pillory posting, walling-up, divorce court, eunuch, harem, mind-crippling, house-imprisoning, menial-work-wearying, creed stultifying, social-ostracism-marooning, Divine-wrath-scaring, and even the device of creating and encouraging prostitution to keep one class of women in the abyss under the heel of the police, and the other on its brink, at the mercy of the husband's boot at the first sign of insubordination or even of failure to please.
Man's torture-chamber had tools inexhaustibly varied; at one end murder crude and direct to subtler, more callous, starvation; at the other moral agonies, from tearing her child from her breast to threatening her with a rival when her service had blasted her beauty.
Most masterful man, yet most cunning, was not thy supreme strategem to band the woman's own sisters against her, to use their knowledge of her psychology and the cruelty of their jealousies to avenge thee on thy slave as thou thyself hadst neither wit nor spite to do?
And Woman, weak in body, and starved in mind; woman, morally fettered by Her heroic oath to save the race, no care of cost, helpless and hard, endured these things, endured from age to age. Hers was no loud spectacular sacrifice, no cross on a hilltop, with the world agaze, and monstrous miracles to echo the applause of heaven. She suffered and triumphed in most shameful silence; she had no friend, no follower, none to aid or approve. For thank she had but maudlin flatteries, and knew what cruel-cold scorn the hearts of men scarce cared to hide.
She agonized, ridiculous and obscene; gave all her beauty and strength of maidenhood to suffer sickness, weakness, danger of death, choosing to live the life of a cow— that so Mankind might sail the seas of Time.
She knew that man wanted nothing of her but service of his base appetites; in his true manhood-life she had nor part nor lot; and all her wage was his careless contempt.
She hath been trampled thus through all the ages, and she hath tamed them thus. Her silence was the token of her triumph.
But now the Word of Me the Beast is this: not only art thou Woman, sworn to a purpose not thine own; thou art thyself a star, and in thyself a purpose to thyself. Not only mother of men art thou, or whore to men; serf to their need of Life and Love, not sharing in their Light and Liberty; nay, thou art Mother and Whore for thine own pleasure; the Word I say to Man I say to thee no less: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law!
Ay, priest, ay, lawyer, ay, censor! Will ye not gather in secret once again, if in your hoard of juggler's tricks there be not one untried, or in your cunning and counsel one device new-false to save your pirate ship from sinking?
It has always been so easy up to now! What is the blasting Magick in that Word, first thesis of the Book of the Law, that “every woman is a star”?
Alas! it is I the Beast that roared that Word so loud, and wakened Beauty.
Your tricks, your drowsy drugs, your lies, your hypnotic passes- they will not serve you.
Make up your minds to be free men, fearless as I, fit mates for women no less free and fearless!
For I, The Beast, am come; an end to the evils of old, to the duping and clubbing of abject and ailing animals, degraded to that shameful state to serve that shameful pleasure.
The essence of my Word is to declare Woman to be Herself, of, to, and for Herself, and I give this one irresistible Weapon, the expression of Herself and Her will through sex, to Her on precisely the same terms as to man.
Murder is no longer to be dreaded; the economic weapon is powerless since female labour has been found industrially valuable; and the social weapon is entirely in her own hands.
The best women have always been sexually-free, like the best men; it is only necessary to remove the penalties for being found out. Let Women's labour organizations support any individual who is economically harried on sexual grounds. Let social organizations honour in public what their members practise in private.
Most domestic unhappiness will disappear automatically, for its chief cause is the sexual dissatisfaction of wives, or the anxiety (or other mental strain) engendered should they take the remedy in their own hands.
The crime of abortion will lose its motive in all but the most exceptional cases.
Blackmail will be confined to commercial and political offences, thus diminishing its frequency by two-thirds, at least, maybe much more.
Social scandals and jealousies will tend to disappear.
Sexual disease will be easier to track and to combat, when it is no longer a disgrace to admit it.
Prostitution (with its attendant crimes) will tend to disappear, as it will cease to offer exorbitant profits to those who exploit it. The preoccupation of the minds of the public with sexual questions will no longer breed moral disease and insanity, when the sex-appetite is treated as simply as hunger. Frankness of speech and writing on sexual questions will dispel the ignorance which entraps so many unfortunate people; proper precautions against actual dangers will replace unnecessary and absurd precautions against imaginary or artificial dangers; and the quacks who trade on fear will be put out of business.
All this must follow as the Light the night as soon as Woman, true to Herself, finds that She can no longer be false to any man. She must hold Hers elf and Her Will in honour; and She must compel the world to accord it.
The modern woman is not going to be dupe, slave, and victim any more; the woman who gives herself up freely to her own enjoyment, without asking recompense, will earn the respect of her brothers, and will openly despise her 'chaste' or venal sisters, as men now despise 'milksops', 'sissies', and 'tango lizards'. Love is to be divorced utterly and irrevocably from social and financial agreements, especially marriage. Love is a sport, an art, a religion, as you will; it is not an ol' do' Emporium.
'Mary inviolate' is to be 'torn upon wheels' because tearing is the only treatment for her; and RV, a wheel, is the name of the feminine principle. (See Liber D.) It is her own sisters who are to punish her for the crime of denying Her nature, not men who are to redeem her, since, as above remarked, it is man's own false sense of guilt, his selfishness, and his cowardice, which originally forced her to blaspheme against herself, and so degraded her in her own eyes, and in his. Let him attend to his own particular business, to redeem himself—he has surely his hands full! Woman will save herself if she be but left alone to do it. I see it, I, the Beast, who have seen- who see—Space splendid with stars, who have seen—who see—the Body of our Lady Nuit, all-pervading, and therein swallowed up, to have found—to find—no soul that is not wholly of Her. Woman! thou drawest us upward and onward for ever; and every woman is one among women, of Woman; one star of Her stars.
I see thee, Woman, thou standest alone, High Priestess art thou unto Love at the Altar of Life. And Man is the Victim therein.
Beneath thee, rejoicing, he lies; he exalts as he dies, burning up in the breath of thy kiss. Yea, star rushes flaming to star; the blaze bursts, splashes the skies.
There is a Cry in an unknown tongue, it resounds through the Temple of the Universe; in its one Word is Death and Ecstasy, and thy title of honour, o thou, to Thyself High Priestess, Prophetess, Empress, to Thyself the Goddess whose Name means Mother and Whore!
The above Commentary was written in the Twenties, when the Female Revolution was getting started. Woman has now gained the same rights as man; but she did not ask for the concomitant duties.
As a result we find men being conned by women, particularly in the United States of America, where marriage is, to the male, a synonym of bond age. American wives tend to speak of a husband as in the past men spoke of a good, hard-working drudge.
A free woman must respect the men she beds, otherwise why does she bed them? She must not try to dupe them, she must give as much as she receives, and she must not assume automatically that it is a man's duty to support her children, if she has them. The first condition for freedom is self control and self-sufficiency. If she wants to become pregnant, she must first make sure that the man wants to share the load of her children; and if he doesn't, she must either carry the load herself, or postpone pregnancy until she finds another man who does.
Thelemites abhore prostitution; it is sad to say, but most married women nowadays are prostitutes who stick to one customer, or worse, pretend to stick to one customer. Such 'chaste' women are to be utterly despised. A truly chaste woman is she who not only will defend her own sexual freedom tooth and nail, but also will punctiliously refrain from trying to curtail the sexual freedom of the male. See AL, I, 41.
Further on the subject of Woman will be found in Liber Aleph, 168-172, 133-134, 125, 176; Magick Without Tears, 15, 38; LXV, v, 8-10, 43-4 7, 50; VII, i, 48-49; iii, 7-16, 3 7-39; iv, 54-59; v, 43; vii, 15-16, 46-49; Liber 370 and Liber 156; and Liber NV.
Before we pass on to the next verse, there is one obsession to which female occultists are prone which ought to be mentioned: the temptation to “be better than the male”. Just as the disciple will be tempted to “dethrone” the Master, some women—and generally those of most promise!—will be tempted to replace man.
That is obviously utter folly.
Nuit is Woman, and Hadit is Man, and They are complementary. One has no meaning without the other.
Woman can never be “better” than man. There are no possible grounds for comparison.
Of course, it would be just as foolish to say that “Man is better than woman.”
By function, a woman cannot rise above the Grade of Magister Templi while manifested as a woman. She does not have the necessary anatomical instrument to function as a Magus.
This is no sign of spiritual inferiority. Every man and every woman is a star. But if we deal with a Being manifested on a plane, and operating magically on that plane, we must take on account the conditions of manifestation.
In the past, women have attempted to “say Mass”, to breed Spiritual Movements, even to rule Occult Orders. There were even those who tried to direct the course of a Mass of the Holy Ghost, using the man as “instrument”!
The result has always been unmitigated disaster for all concerned. We need only compare the record of the Theosophical Society under Helena Blavatsky, who was a Magister Templi, to that under Anne Besant, who was a “Black Brother”. Mine. Blavatsky HAD a Superior, and obeyed Him; Mrs. Besant HAD Mine. Blavatsky, but as soon, as her Superior died began disobeying all the instructions Mine. Blavatsky had given her.
We know of a recent case in which the woman assumed the Magical Motto of “Soror Chokhmah.” This is quite all right in terms of Spiritual Aspiration, or even Spiritual Achievement; but in terms of physical manifestation, it is a laugh.
The planes cannot, and must not, be mixed. We are, all of us, Male and Female in one. Our glands secrete male and female hormones. The difference between a male and female child is simply a matter of endocrine balance.
But there IS a difference. See AL 1, 16.
And it must never be forgotten.
56. Also for beauty's sake and love's!
It is obvious to the physiologist that beauty (that is, the fitness of proportion) and love (that is, the natural attraction between things whose union satisfies both) need for fulfilment absolute spontaneity and freedom from restriction. A tree grows deformed if it be crowded by other trees or by masonry; and gunpowder will not explode if its particles are separated by much sand.
If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity. Spontaneity, the most important factor in creation (because it is evidence of the magnetic intensity and propriety of the will to create), depends almost wholly on the absolute freedom of the agent. Gulliver must have no bonds of packthread. These conditions have been so rare in the past, specially with regard to love, that their occurrence has usually marked something like an epoch. Practically all men work with fear of result or lust of result, and the 'child' is a dwarf or still-born.
It is within the experience of most people that pleasure-parties and the like, if organized on the spur of the moment, are always a success, while the most elaborate entertainments, prepared with all possible care, often fall flat. Now one cannot exactly give rules for producing a 'genius' to order, a genius in this sense being one who has the Idea, and is fortified with power to enflame the enthusiasm of the crowd, with wit to know, and initiative to seize, the psychological moment.
But one can specify certain conditions, incompatible with the manifestation of this spontaneity; and the first of these is evidently absolute freedom from obstacles, internal or external, to the idea of the 'genius'.
It is clear that a woman cannot love naturally, freely, wholesomely, if she is bound to contaminate the purity of her impulse with thoughts of her social, economical, and spiritual status. When such things restrain her, Love may conquer, as often enough it does; but the Beauty engendered is usually stunted or wried, assuming a tragic or cynic mask. The history of the world is full of such stories; it is, one may almost say, the chief motive of Romance. I need only mention Tristan, Paolo, Romeo, Othello, Paris, Edward the Second, Abelard, Tannhauser, of old, and recently Mrs. Asquith, Maud Allan, Charles Stuart Parnell, Sir Charles Dilke, Lord Henry Somerset, and Oscar Wilde. Down to 'Fatty' Arbuckle!
Men and women have to face actual ruin, as well as the probability of scandal and disgust, or consent to love within limits which concern not love in the least. The chance of spontaneity is therefore a small one; and, should it occur and be seized, the lawyers hasten to hide under the bridal bed, while the Families, gluing eye to chink and keyhole, intrude their discordant yowls on the Duet.
Then, when love dies, as it must if either party have more imagination than a lump of putty, the fetters are fixed. He or she must go through the sordid farce of divorce if the chance of free choice is to be recovered; and even at that, the fetters leave an incurable ulcer; it is no good playing the game of respectability after one is divorced.
Thus we find that almost the only love-affairs which breed no annoyance, and leave no scar, are those between people who have accepted the Law of Thelema, and broken for good with the tabus of the slave-gods. The true artist, loving his art and nothing else, can enjoy a series of spontaneous liaisons, all his life long, yet never suffer himself, or cause any other to suffer.
Of such liaisons Beauty is ever the child; the wholesome attitude of the clean simple mind, free from all complications alien to Love, assures it.
Just as a woman's body is deformed and diseased by the corset demanded by Jaganath fashion, so is her soul by the compression of convention, which is a fashion as fitful, arbitrary, and senseless as that of the man-milliner, though they call him God, and his freakish Fiat pass for Everlasting Law.
The English Bible sanctions the polygamy and concubinage of Abraham, Solomon and others, the incest of Lot, the wholesale rape of captured virgins, as well as the promiscuity of the first Christians, the prostitution of temple servants, men and women, the relations of Johannes with his master, and the putting of wandering Prophets to stud, as well as the celibacy of such people as Paul. Jehovah went so far as to slay Onan because he balked at fertilizing his brother's widow, condoned the adultery, with murder of the husband, of David, and commanded Hosea to intrigue with a “wife of whoredom”. He only drew the moral line at any self-assertion on the part of a woman.
In the past man has bludgeoned Woman into gratifying the lust of her loathed tyrant, and trampled the flower of her own love into the mire; making her rape more beastly by calling her antipathy Chastity, and proving her an unclean thing on the evidence of the torn soiled blossom.
She has had no chance to Love unless she first renounced the respect of society, and found a way to drive the wolf of hunger from her door.
Her chance is come! In any Abbey of Thelema any woman is welcome; there she is free to do her will, and held in honour for the doing. The child of love is a star, even as all are stars; but such an one we specially cherish; it is a trophy of battle fought and won!
Beauty—Babalon. Love —The Beast.
The Thelemic objection to abortion is that the child's Will-to-be- Born is a True Will, not to be thwarted by any consideration of 'social disgrace' or 'economic hardship'. Such considerations are only possible in an immoral or inefficient society.
Again, involuntary conception is possible nowadays only in societies which are immoral-the young receiving false or insufficient instruction on sexual matters-or inefficient—people being too poor to be able to afford contraceptives, or distribution being too restricted for such to be easily available.
This is added objection to abortion.
There is a further, and deeper objection: conception is impossible unless at least one of the partners wants it; and if one of the partners wants it and the other does not, the partner who wants it is generally the woman. An abortion is then a double crime: against the child and against the mother. The conscious mind of the mother may deny the Will to Conceive; but the evidence is there, palpable (after three months, that is!).
An abortion will in such cases have extremely harmful effects on the mother's psychosoma.
There is, however, a certain type of woman who uses pregnancy as a trap for men. This kind of woman is worse than any prostitute. Her blackmail technique must become permanently discouraged by society. No man should be forced by law to support a child that he declares, on the evidence of a lie-detector, he did not want and did not know there was a chance to engender.
In such cases, the child should become a ward of the State. If the mother wishes to rear it, the mother should receive financial support from the State. This financial support should be for the child, not for the mother; the State should check periodically to see that it is being properly used. The mother should work to support herself
This support should extend itself until the child's adulthood.
Some “thinkers” may object that this might encourage women to become careless and promiscuous. By all means. We want women to become 'careless, and 'promiscuous' if that be their Will. Such women are a minority, but they are needed, too.
Another type of “thinker” may object t hat fatherless children would be a financial burden on the State. This statement has no meaning. A child can never be a burden to any State, it can only be an asset. Any State is composed of people, and it needs new people to keep it going. To support a child with tax money is not to waste public revenue, but to invest it.
57. Despise also all cowards; professional soldiers who dare not fight, but play; all fools despise!
The Book of the Law flings forth no theological fulminations; but we have quarrels enough on our hands. We have to fight for Freedom against oppressors, religious, social, or industrial; and we are utterly opposed to compromise. Every fight is to be a fight to the finish; each one of us for himself, to do his own will; and all of us for all, to establish the Law of Liberty.
We do not want “professional soldiers”, hired bravos sworn to have no souls of their own. They “dare not fight”; for how should a man dare to fight unless his cause be a love mightier than his love of life? Therefore they “play”; they have sold themselves; their Will is no more theirs; life is no longer a serious thing to them; therefore they wander wastrel in clubs and boudoirs and greenrooms; bridge, billiards, polo, pettie coats pullout their emptiness; scratched for the Great Race of Life, they watch the Derby instead.
Brave such may be; they may well be (in a sense) classed with the rat; but brainless and idle they must be, who have no goal beyond the grave, where, at the best, chance flings fast-withering flowers of false and garish glory. They serve to defend things vital to their country; they are the skull that keeps the brain from harm? Oh foolish brain! Wert thou not wiser to defend thyself, rather than trust to brittle bone that hinders thee from growth?
Let every man bear arms, swift to resent oppression, generous and ardent to draw sword in any cause, if justice or freedom summon him!
“All fools despise”. In this last phrase the word “fools” is evidently not to be taken in its deeper mystical sense, the context plainly bearing reference to ordinary life.
But the “fool” is still as described in the Tarot Trump. He is an epicene creature, soft and sottish, with an imbecile laugh and a pretty taste in fancy waistcoats. He lacks virility, like the ox which is the meaning of the letter Aleph which describes the Trump, and his value is Zero, its number. He is air, formless and incapable of resistance, carrier of sounds which mean nothing to it, swept up into destructive rages of senseless violence from its idleness, incalculably moved by every pressure or pull. One-fifth is the fuel of fire, the corruption of rust; the rest is inert, the soul of explosives, with a trace of that stifling and suffocating gas which is yet food for vegetable, as it is poison to animal, life.
We have here a picture of the average man, of a fool. He has no will of his own, is all things to all men, is void, a repeater of words of whose sense he knows nought, a drifter, both idle and violent, compact partly of fierce passions that burn up both himself and the other, but mostly of inert and characterless nonentity, with a little heaviness, dullness, and stupefaction for his only positive qualities.
Such are the 'fools' whom we despise. The man of Thelema is vertebrate, organized, purposeful, steady, self-controlled, virile; he uses the air as the food of his blood; so also, were he deprived of fools he could not live. We need our atmosphere, after all; it is only when the fools become violent madmen that we need our cloak of silence to wrap us, and our staff to stay us as we ascend our mountain-ridge; and it is only if we go down into the darkness of mines to dig us treasure of earth that we need fear to choke on their poisonous breath.
58. But the keen and the proud, the royal and the lofty; ye are brothers!
“The keen”: these are the men whose Will is as a sword sharp and straight, tempered and ground and polished its flawless steel; with a Wrist and an Eye behind it.
“The proud”: these are the men who know themselves to be stars, and bend the knee to none. True pride prevents a man from doing aught unworthy of himself.
“The royal”: these are the men whose nature is kingly, the men who 'can'. They know themselves born rulers, whether their halidom be Art, or Science, or aught else soever.
“The Lofty”: these are the men who, being themselves high- hearted, endure not any baseness.
59. As brothers fight ye!
Fight! Fight like gentlemen, without malice, because fighting is the best game in the world, and love the second best! Don't slander your enemy, as the newspapers would have you do; just kill him, and then bury him with honour. Don't keep crying 'Foul' like a fifth rate pugilist. Don't boast! Don't squeal! If you're down, get up and hit him again! Fights of that sort make fast friends.
There is perhaps a magical second-meaning in this verse, a reference to the Ritual of which we find hints in the legend of Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Set and Osiris, etc. The “Elder Brother” within us, the Silent Self, must slay the younger brother, the conscious self, and he must be raised again incorruptible.
60. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
There are of course lesser laws than this, details, particular cases, of the Law. But the whole of the Law is Do what thou wilt, and there is no law beyond it. This subject is treated fully in Liber Aleph, and the student should refer thereto.
Far better, let him assume this Law to be the Universal Key to every problem of Life, and then apply it to one particular case after another. As he comes by degrees to understand it, he will be astounded at the simplification of the most obscure questions which it furnishes. Thus he will assimilate the Law, and make it the norm of his conscious being; this by itself will suffice to initiate him, to dissolve his complexes, to unveil himself to himself; and so shall he attain the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel.
I have myself practiced constantly to prove the Law by many and divers modes in many and divers spheres of thought, until it has become absolutely fixed in me, so much so that it appears an “identical equation”, axiomatic indeed, and yet not a platitude, but a very sword of Truth to sunder every knot at a touch.
As the practical ethics of the Law, I have formulated in words of one syllable my declaration of the RIGHTS OF MAN in Liber OZ.
Liber OZ must not be regarded as individualism run wild. Its harmony with statecraft is demonstrated in the Chapters of Liber Aleph already quoted—see comment on AL II, v. 72.
Modern thought, even that of the shallowest, is compelled by AIWAZ to confirm His Law, without knowing what it is about. For instance: “God's wind from nowhere which is called the Will; and is man's only excuse upon this earth”, was written by so trivial a Fat Man as Gilbert Keith Chesterton in “The Flying Inn.”
61. There is an end of the word of the God enthroned in Ra's seat, lightening the girders of the soul.
Note that Heru-ra-ha is not merely a particular form of Ra, but the God enthroned in Ra's seat. (In Liber 418, He is explicitly defined as the Viceroy of the Unknown King.) That is, His Kingdom on earth is temporary, as explained in verse 34. And He is here conceived as the Hierophant, “lightening the girders of the soul”, that is, bringing man to initiation.
These “girders” imply the skeletal structure on which the soul is supported, the conditions of its incarnation. Man is the heir of ages of evolutionary experience, on certain lines, so that he is organized on formulae which have determined the type of his development. Of some such formulae we are conscious, but not of all. Thus, it is true for all men—empirically—that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points; some savages may not know this consciously, but they base their actions on that knowledge.
Now, we cannot doubt that consciousness has developed elsewhere than in man; only a blind meglomaniac or a Christian divine could suppose our infinitesimal mote of a planet the sole habitat of Mind, especially as our minds are, at best, totally incompetent to comprehend Nature. It is also unlikely that our Earth's physical conditions of temperature, atmosphere, density and so on, which some still regard as essential to Life, are found frequently; we are only one of nine planets ourselves, and it is absurd to deny that life exists on the others, or in the Sun himself, just because the conditions of our own life are absent elsewhere.
Such Life and Mind may therefore be utterly different to anything we know of; the 'girders' of their souls in other spheres may be other than ours.
The above argument is a case of a “girder”; we are bound mentally by our race-experience of the environment in which our own lives flourish. A pioneer choosing a camp must look for wood, water, perhaps shelter, perhaps game. In another planet he might not need any of these.
The “girders” which determine the “form” of our souls are therefore limitations to our thought, as well as supports. In the same way, rails help a train to run easily, but confine it to a definite direction.
The 'laws' of Nature and Thought, Mathematics, Logic, and so on, are 'girders' of this sort.
Our race-inherited conceptions of a space prevented man, until quite recent years, from conceiving a non-Euclidean geometry, or the existence of a fourth Dimension.
The initiate soon becomes aware of the untruth of many of these limiting laws of his mind; he has to identify Being with not-Being, to perceive Matter as continuous and homogeneous, and so for many another Truth, apprehended directly by pure perception, and consequently not to be refuted by syllogistic methods. The Laws of Logic are thus discovered to be superficial, and their scope only partial.
(It is significant in this connexion that such advanced thinkers as the Hon. Bertrand Russell have found themselves obliged to refer mathematical laws to Logic; it seems to have escaped them that the Laws of Logic are no more than the statement of the limitations of their own intelligence. I quote The Book of Lies, Chapter 45.)
Now then consider the man whose soul has thoroughly explored its structure, is actively conscious of its 'girders' or axioms. He must find that they confine him like prison bars, when he would gain the freedom of the initiate.
In this verse therefore doth the God “enthroned in Ra's seat” declare that his Word lightens (or removes) the oppression of these 'girders of the soul'.
The study of this chapter is accordingly a soul preparatory course for whosoever will become Initiate.
See also the six verses following this; the word increases in value as the reader advances on the Path, just as a Rembrandt is a 'pretty picture' to the peasant, a 'fine work of art' to the educated man, but to the lover of Beauty a sublime masterpiece, the greater as he grows himself in greatness.
62. To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss.
This seems to indicate the means to be used in freeing the soul from its 'girders'.
We have seen that Ra-Hoor-Khuit is in one sense the Silent Self in a man, a Name of his Khabs, not so impersonal as Hadit, but the first and least untrue formulation of the Ego. We are to revere this self in us, then, not to suppress it and subordinate it. Nor are we to evade it, but to come to it. This is done “through tribulation of ordeal”. This tribulation is that experienced in the process called Psychoanalysis, now that official science has adopted—so far as its inferior intelligence permits—the methods of the Magus. But the 'ordeal' is 'bliss'; the solution of each complex by 'tribulation'—note the etymological significance of the word!—is the spasm of joy which is the physiological and psychological accompaniment of any relief from strain and congestion.
Serious students will please notice “Me” and “me”. One pronoun refers to the Lord of the Aeon as enthroned, radiating from Boleskine. The second pronoun refers to Ra-Hoor-Khu; that is, the Lord of the Aeon manifested in the soul of the worshipper.
Aspirants should understand that to Thelemites the verb 'to worship' means 'to identify with'. It is 'love under will'.
You should not be afraid of becoming obsessed. The balance of the Universe does not permit it. Obsession always begins within, not without. Courage is your armour—and fear is the chink thereof “Be thou therefore without fear, for in the heart of the coward virtue (Ra Hoor-Khu) abideth not.”
As to the “tribulation of ordeal”, one word must be said about the Thelemic Current, and the early experiences of those who seek to identify themselves with it.
First, the Current is in its beginning. It is growing, and the past currents are all dying (since the Thelemic Current includes the spiritual substance of all of them—this should be readily understood from the curses in AL III, 49-55). But in the present moment, the inertia of the past currents is enormous. A great effort is necessary; each new Aspirant must add his energy to the Impulse. See LXV, iii, 56.
Second, the Current destroys and dissolves everything in the Personality that checks the manifestation of the True Will of the Aspirant. Consequently, in most cases, the first impression of the Aspirant who succeeds in making contact with the Current is that a “black and malignant” force is persecuting and destroying him. And he is quite right. See LXV, i, 12-17; ii, 7-15, 30-32, 62; iii, 30, 37-48; iv, 45-51; v, 8-9, 14,34-36,51, 61-63;see also Liber 156;and Liber AL, I, 32, 60; II, 14,52-54, 60, 78-79; III, 18, 42-4 6. All this applies itself not only to “enemies” but to our own personality;first of all, to our own personality! See AL I, 17; Liber HAD, v. 8; Liber NV, vv. 9-11.
Third, the Current does not offer “consolation” to the personality. It neither “directs” nor “advises” you. It merely stimulates any manifestation of the higher faculties; but in each and every case, the Aspirant must take the first step, himself by himself See LXV, iii, 3- 16, and the Commentary thereon. The “Elephant God” is the moral force-the strength of character—.of the Aspirant himself If he does not manifest it -to hell with him! See AL II, 48-49.
Why is the tribulation of ordeal “bliss”? That should need no explaining. It is hard to do something good and great; it is hard to grow up and play the man; but it is bliss, and when we look back we think: “it was worth it”. See AL, II, 9.
63. The fool readeth this Book of the Law, and its comment; & he understandeth it not.
The Fool is also the Great Fool, Bacchus Diphues, Harpocrates, the Dwarf-Self, the Holy Guardian Angel, and so forth. “He understandeth it not”, that is, he understandeth that it is NOT, LA, 31.
But the above is only the secondary or hieroglyphic magical meaning. The plain English still discusses the technique of initiation. The 'fool' is one such as described in my note on verse 57. The vain, soft, frivolous, idle, mutable sot will make nothing either of this Book, or of my comment thereon. (The 'comment' mentioned in the verse is The Comment in Class A.) But this fool is the child Harpocrates, the “Babe in the Egg”, the innocent not yet born, in silence waiting his hour to come forth into light. He is then the uninitiated man, and he has four ordeals to pass before he is made perfect. These ordeals are now to be described.
64. Let him come through the first ordeal, & it will be to him as silver.
The “Tree of Life” in the Qabalah represents ten spheres arranged in three pillars, the central one of these containing four, and the others three each. These spheres are attributed to certain numbers, planets, metals, and many other groups of things; indeed all things may be referred to one or another of them. (See Book 4 Part III and Liber 777.) The four ordeals now to be described represent the ascent of the aspirant from the tenth and lowest of these spheres, which refers to the Earth, unregenerate and confused, in which the aspirant is born. He riseth in the first ordeal to the sphere called the Foundation, numbered 9, and containing, among other ideas, those of the generative organs, Air, the Moon, and Silver. Its secret Truth is that Stability is identical with Change; of this we are reminded by the fact that any multiple of 9 has 9 for the sum of its digits.
The initiate will now perceive that the sum of the motions of his mind is zero, while, below their moon-like phases and their Air-like divagations, the sex-consciousness abides untouched, the true Foundation of the Temple of his body, the Root of the Tree of Life that grows from Earth to Heaven. This Book is now to him “as silver”. He sees it pure, white and shining, the mirror of his own being that this ordeal has purged of its complexes. To reach this sphere he has had to pass through a path of darkness where the Four Elements seem to him to be the Universe entire. For how should he know that they are no more than the last of the 22 segments of the Snake that is twined on the Tree?
Assailed by gross phantoms of matter, unreal and unintelligible, his ordeal is of terror and darkness. He may pass only by favour of his own silent God, extended and exalted within him by virtue of his conscious act in affronting the ordeal.
65. Through the second, gold.
The next sphere reached by the aspirant is named Beauty, numbered 6, and referred to the heart, to the Sun, and to Gold. Here he is called an “Adept”. The secret Truth in this place is that God is Man, symbolized by the Hexagram, in which two triangles are interlaced.
In the last sphere he learnt that his Body was the Temple of the Rosy Cross, that is, that it was given him as a place wherein to perform the Magical Work of uniting the oppositions in his Nature. Here he is taught that his Heart is the Centre of Light. It is now dark, mysterious, hollow, obscure even to himself, but his Soul is to dwell there, radiating Light on the six spheres which surround it; these represent the various powers of his mind. This Book now appears to him as Gold; it is the perfect metal, the symbol of the Sun itself. He sees God everywhere therein.
To this sphere hath the aspirant come by the Path called Temperance, shot as an arrow from a Rainbow. He hath beheld the Light, but only in division. Nor had he won to this sphere except by Temperance, under which name we mask the art of pouring freely forth the whole of our Life, to the last spilth of our blood, yet losing never the least drop thereof.
66. Through the third, stones of precious water.
Now once again the adept aspires and comes to the sphere called the Crown, numbered 1, referred to the God Ra-Hoor-Khuit himself in man, to the Beginning of Whirling-Motions, and the First Mode of Matter. (See Liber 777, the Equinox, and Book 4 for these attributions.) Its secret Truth is that Earth is Heaven as Heaven is Earth, and shows the aspirant to himself as being a star. All that seemed to him reality is not even to be deemed illusion, but all one light infusing star and star. The Many, each of them, are the One; each individual, no twain alike, yet all identical; this he knows and is, for now the Word hath lightened his Soul's girders. (The logic of the Ruach—the normal intellect—is transcended in Spiritual Experience. It is, evidently, impossible to “explain” how this can be.)
In the Number 6 he saw God interlocked with Man, two trinities made one; but here he knows that there was never but one.
Thus now this Book is “stones of precious water”; its Light is not the borrowed light of gold, but is shed through the Book itself, clear- sparkling, flashed from its facets. Each phrase is a diamond; each is diverse, yet all identical. In each the one Light laughs!
Now to this sphere came he by the Path called the High Priestess; She is his Silent Self, virgin beyond all veils, made free to teach him, by virtue of this third ordeal wherein, passing through the abyss, he has stripped from him every rag of falsehood, his last complexes, even his phantasy that he called 'I'. And so he knows at last how the soiled harlot's dress was mere disguise; naked in Moonlight shines the maiden Body!
67. Through the fourth, ultimate sparks of the intimate fire.
Beyond the One, how shall he pass on? What is this One, which is in every place the Centre of All? Indeed the logic-girders of our souls need lightening, if we would win to freedom of such Truth as this!
Now in the “stones of precious water” the Light leapt clear indeed, but they were not themselves that Light. This sphere of the One is indeed Ra-Hoor-Khuit; is not our Crowned and Conquering Child the source of Light? Nay, he is finite form of Unity, child of two married infinities; and in this last ordeal the aspirant must go beyond even his Star, finding therein the core thereof Hadit, and losing it also in the Body of Nuit.
Here is no Path that he may tread, for all is equally everywhere; nor is there any sphere to attain, for measure is now no more.
There are no words to make known the Way or the End, where the End is one with the Way; this only is said, that to him that hath passed through this fourth ordeal this Book is as “ultimate sparks”. No more do they reflect or transmit the Light; they themselves are the original, the not-to-be-analysed Light, of the “intimate fire” of Hadit! He shall see the Book as it is, as a shower of the Seed of the Stars!
68. Yet to all it shall seem beautiful. Its enemies who say not so, are mere liars.
To all; i.e., to Pan; or to AL.
The sudden degradation of the style and the subject, the petulance of the point of view; what should these things intend?
There is no petulance unless the Author Himself were lying. And He isn't.
It sounds as though the scribe had protested violently in his mind against the chapter, and was especially aggrieved at the first paragraph of this verse, which, taken at its face value, promises a phenomenon impossible in literature. (As if AL were literature! What is meant by the verse is that no matter who reads the Book shall find at least one point of affinity with it; and this point shall seem beautiful. There are also, of course, technical meanings.) The second phrase may then be a contemptuous slap at the scribe who was perhaps thinking, “Well, it seems otherwise to me, for one!”, and the hit was a bull's eye; for I was a mere liar when I thought it. I was so enraged at having engaged myself on such an adventure, so hated “the hand and the pen” which I pledged to transcribe sentiments so repugnant to mine, such a jargon of absurdities and vulgarities as seemed to me displayed in many parts of this third chapter, that I would have gone to almost any length, short of deliberate breach of my thoughtless promise to my wife to see it through, to discredit the Book. I did deface my diaries with senseless additions; I did carry out my orders in such a way as to ensure failure, I did lose the Manuscript more or less purposely. I did threaten to publish the Book 'to get rid of it'; and at this verse I was one of the “mere liars”. For its Beauty already constrained even the world-infected man, the nigh-disillusioned poet, the clinker-clogged lover, the recusant mystic. And, as I know now, the thought that all these things were myself was a lie. Yet the Liar was at pains to lie to itself! Why did it so? It knew that one day this Book would shine out and dissolve it; it feared and hated this Book and, gnashing its teeth, swore falsely, and denied the Beauty that bound it.
As for my true Self, silent abiding its hour, is not this Book to it the very incarnation of Beauty? What is Beauty but the perfect expression of one's own Truth? And is not this Book the Word of Aiwaz, and is not He mine Holy Guardian Angel, the master of my Silent Self, His virgin bride on whom His love hath wrought the mystery of Identity?
69. There is success.
My memory tells me that the word “There” was not emphasized. Read, then, “There is” as the French “Ily a”; it is a simple and apparently detached statement. It was spoken casually, carelessly, as if a quite unimportant point had been forgotten, and now mentioned as a concession to my weakness.
70. I am the Hawk-Headed Lord of Silence & of Strength; my nemyss shrouds the night-blue sky.
It is important to observe that He claims to be both Horus and Harpocrates; and his two-in-one is a Unity combining Tao and Teh, Matter & Motion, Being & Form. This is natural, for in Him must exist the Root of the Dyad.
“my nemyss” (better spelt “nemmes”) is the regular head-dress of a God. It is a close cap, but with wings behind the ears which end in lappets that fall in front of the shoulders. It is gathered at the nape of the neck into a cylindrical 'pigtail'. I think the shape is meant to suggest the Royal Uraeus serpent.
It “shrouds the night-blue sky” because the actual light shed by the God when he is invoked is of this colour. It may also mean that he conceals Nuit.
The Hawk's Head symbolizes keen sight, swift action, courage and mobility.
71. Hail! ye twin warriors about the pillars of the world! for your time is nigh at hand.
This is a clear statement as to the War which was to come, and did come, in 1914 e.v.
I now (An XIX) no longer agree with the above paragraph. I think “the pillars of the world” mean “the Pillars of Hercules”— about the Straits of Gibraltar. And I think the really big war will start there.
P.S. An XXXIII (September 8, 1937 e.v.). Can “twin warriors” imply a civil war? The Spanish troubles started in Spain and Morocco.
The verse may refer to a great seismic catastrophe, similar to that which destroyed Atlantis, to occur in the Eighties.
72. I am the Lord of the Double Wand of Power; the wand of the Force of Coph Nia— but my left hand is empty, for I have crushed an Universe; & nought remains.
“The Double Wand of Power” is a curious variant of the common “Wand of Double Power”; the general meaning is “I control alike the Forces of Active and Passive”.
“Coph Nia”: the original MS has—left incomplete as not having been properly heard. The present text was filled in later in her own hand by the first Scarlet Woman.
The Egyptian Gods are usually represented as bearing an Ankh, or sandal-strap, in the left hand, the wand being in the right. This ankh signifies the power to go, characteristic of a god.
But apparently Ra Hoor Khuit had an Universe in his left hand, and crushed it so that naught remains. I think this “Universe” is that of monistic metaphysics; in one hand is the “Double Wand”, in the other “naught”. This seems to refer to the 'None and Two' ontology outlined in previous notes.
73. Paste the sheets from right to left and from top to bottom: then behold!
This might have been done, of course, in several ways. I chose that which seemed most practical. So far I have noticed nothing remarkable.
74. There is a splendour in my name hidden and glorious, as the sun of midnight is ever the son.
I suspect some deeper and more startling arcanum than the Old Comment (Published in the Equinox I, 7.) indicates; but I have not yet discovered it.
One of the technical meanings of this verse is that Darkness is not “evil”. There are no “demons of the dark”. There is no “absolute Evil”. (Of course, there is no “Absolute Good”, either!) The Sun is not “dead” at midnight; it is shining on the other side of the world. This awareness, therefore, represents total annihilation of the theory of the “Sacrificed God”, dying and resurrecting, the “Jesus” of the Roman Alexandrines. Of course, this was already explicitly declared in verse 51.
Ra-Hoor-Khuit in Egyptian means, literally, “Sun of the Two Horizons”. This suggests that the Egyptian initiates were aware that the earth moves around the sun, spinning on its axis.
Why “the sun of midnight”, specifically? Because midnight was the Hour of Terror in the Middle Ages. It was the hour when ghosts came to haunt the living, devils climbed out of hell to tempt the faithful. Atavically, fear of the dark dates from pre-history, when the great nocturnal predators hunted our ancestors still ignorant of fire or weapons.
This fear must end. See AL III, 18-20, and the Commentaries thereon. Also LXV, i, 12-19; ii, 31-36, 63; iii, 30-33; iv, 15, 24-25; v, 6. Also Liber VII, iv, 48-49; vii, 28-40. Heru-ra-ha is, of course, the “Devil”. Also, of course, the “Child Jesus”. See Book 4, Part III, Chapter XVI, Part II, Section V, the last paragraph.
“Ever the son” —or, “the son who lives eternally”. The word “Satanas”, that so long terrified the West, is but a corruption of the Sanskrit word SANATANAS, which means “eternal, “or “everlasting”; it was applied to the Spiritual Suns of the “Trimurti”: Brahma, Siva and Vishnu.
75. The ending of the words is the Word Abrahadabra.
The Book of the Law is Written
Aum is of course the Sanskrit “Word” familiar to most students. (See Book 4 Part III.) Ha is a way of spelling the letter whose value is 5 so that it shall add to 6. This uniting the 5 and the 6 is a symbol of the Great Work.
Ha is also the Sanskrit syllable utilized in Yoga to invoke the Element of Spirit, Akasha.
“The ending of the words is the Word Abrahadabra”: or, the purpose of the Past Magi is fulfilled in the Magus of the Aeon.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading.
Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire.
Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence.
All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Love is the law, love under will.
The priest of the princes,
This is the Comment in Class A., the only Comment to Liber AL in this Class.
All other Commentaries by Aleister Crowley (here printed in common type) are in Class B.
All Commentaries 'by another' (of which this is one) are here printed in italics, and belong in Class C.
Let all our successors keep their Commentaries in Class C., except he who shall discover the meaning of the numbers & the words in AL II, 76.