Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:39 am

Chapter XLVIII: Morals of AL—Hard to Accept, and Why nevertheless we Must Concur

Cara Soror,

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

No man alive can appreciate better than myself the difficulties connected with The Book of the Law.

You ask me, if I have rightly analysed your somewhat complicated series of questions, to advise you as to your attitude towards that Book.

Naturally, if you wished for detailed explanations, I could no more than refer you to that voluminous commentary, verse by verse, which still awaits publication.1 But I think I can sum up the main business in a letter of not too exorbitant length.

To begin: the Author is quite certainly both more than human, and other than human.

His main aim seems to me to announce the Magical Formula of the Aeon of Horus, and to lay down the fundamental principles of conduct that are consistent with it.

I put this first, because your troubles belong to this part of the Book.

But let me sort out the principal parts of it.

(1) There is a system of the most sublime philosophy which stands altogether apart from any Aeon, or from any other limited condition.

(2) There is a considerable proportion of the contents which appears to refer to "The Beast" and "The Scarlet Woman" personally; but these titles may be assumed to refer to any one who happens to hold either of those offices during the whole period of the Aeon—approximately 2000 years.

(3) The sex morality of the Book is not very different from that maintained secretly by aristocrats since the world began. It is the system natural to any one who has psycho-analysed away all his complexes, repressions, fixations and phobias.

(4) As matriarchy reflected the Formula of the Aeon of Isis, and patriarchy that of Osiris, so does the rule of the "Crowned and Conquering Child" express that of Horus. The family, the clan, the state count for nothing; the Individual is the Autarch.

(5) The Book announces a new dichotomy in human society; there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the "lone wolf" and the herd.*

(Nietzsche may be regarded as one of our prophets; to a much less extent, de Gobineau.) Hitler's "Herrenvolk" is a not too dissimilar idea; but there is no volk about it; and if there were, it would certainly not be the routine-looving, uniformed-obsessed, law-abiding, refuge-seeking German; the Briton, especially the Celt, a natural anarchist, is much nearer the mark. Britons will never get together about anything unless and until each one of them feels himself directly threatened.

Now here I must tell you a story which may throw a good deal of light on much that is obscure in the political situation of '25 to date. The venerable lady (S.H. Soror I.W.E. 8° = 3°2) who, on the death of S.H. Frater 8° = 3° Otto Gebhardi, succeeded him as my representative in Germany (note that all this pertains to the A.'. A.'.; the O.T.O. is not directly concerned) attained the Grade of Hermit (AL I, 40). Watching the situation in Europe, she became constantly more convinced that Adolf Hitler was her "Magical child;" and she conceived it to be her duty to devote her life (for the Hermit "gives only of his Light unto men") to his Magical Education. Knowing that the hegemony of the world would fall to the nation that first accepted the Law of Thelema, she made haste to put the Book of the Law in the hands of her "child." Upon him it most undoubtedly made the deepest impression, especially as she swore him most solemnly to secrecy as to the source of his power. (Obviously, he would not wish to share it with other.). From time to time, when circumstances suggested it, she wrote to him, enclosing pertinent sections of my commentary, of which I had given her a copy at the time of the "Zeugnis."†

Had Hitler been a less abnormal character, no great "Mischief," or at least a very different kind of "mischief," might have come of it. I think you have read Hitler speaks—if not, do so—his private conversation abounds in what sound almost like actual quotations from the Book of the Law. But he public man's private conversation can be repeated on the platform only at the risk of his political life; and he served up to the people only such concoctions as would tickle their gross palates. Worse still, he was the slave of his prophetic frenzy; he had not undertaken the balancing regimen of the Curriculum of A.'.A.'.; and, worst of all, he was very far indeed from being a full initiate, even in the loosest sense of the term. His Weltanschauung was accordingly a mass of personal and political prejudice; he had no true cosmic comprehension, no true appreciation of First Principles; and he was tossed about in every direction by the varied conflicting forces that naturally concentrated their energies ever more strenuously upon him as his personal position became more and more the dominating factor, first in domestic and then in European politics. I warned our S.H. Soror repeatedly that she ought to correct these tendencies; but she already saw the success of her plans within her grasp, and refused to believe that this success itself would alarm the world into combining to destroy him. "But we have the Book," she confidently retorted, failing to see that the other powers in extremity would be compelled to adopt those identical principles. Of course, as you know, it has happened as I foresaw; only a remnant of piety-purefied Prelates and sloppy sentimentalists still hold out against the Book of the Law, sabotage the victory, and will turn the Peace into a shambles of surrender if we are fools enough to give ear to their caterwauling—as in the story of the highly-esteemed tomcat, when at last one of his fans obtained an interview; "all he could do was to talk about his operation."

* The "Master" roughly denotes the able, the adventurous, welcoming responsibility. The "slave:" his motto is "Safety first," with all that this implies. Race, birth, breeding etc. are important but not absolutely essential factors.

† "Zeugnis der Suchenden:" a declaration she had signed in 1925.

Has this digression seemed too long? Ah, but it isn't a digression. Rightly considered, it strikes at the heart of your "difficulties."

"The Book of the Law takes us back to primitive savagery," you say. Well, where are we?

We're at Guernica, Lidice, Oradour-sur-Glane, Rotterdam and hundreds of other crimes, to say nothing of Concentration-camp, Stalag, and a million lesser horrors and abominations, inconceivable by the most diseased and inflamed Sadistic imagination forty years ago.

You disagree with Aiwass—so do all of us. The trouble is that He can say: "But I'm not arguing; I'm telling you."

Now then let us look a little more deeply (and I hope more clearly) into his Ethics, with our minds undismayed by any human emotion.

Aiwass is of a different Order of Being from ourselves. Consider a gold-refiner. "Analysis shows 20 % of copper in this sample; I'll beat it in a current of oxygen; that will oxidize the copper. Shake it up with sulphuric acid; then we wash away the copper sulphate, and that's that." He does not consider how the copper feels about it; indeed, he doesn't believe that the copper knows about it at all.

Yes, yes, of course; I know that's an extreme case. I only bring it in to sow what could be done as a last resort, if pushed to the wall. Fortunately, we are not so ill situated. You will, I dare say, without my prompting, think of the surgeon and the schoolmaster; but I can go one better. We have in recent history a case almost precisely parallel.

How did I begin this letter? By defining the task of the Author: to announce the Magical Formula of the Aeon of Horus and so on. In other words, to train mankind to the use of a new source of power.

Page Professor Röntgen! Page the Curies!

How many "Martyrs to X-ray dermatitis?" Willing experimenters who knew the risks? Not all of them; lots of patients got burnt in utmost agony of death. How many victims were there of the "radium bomb?" (At Guy's, wasn't it?) It always has to happen, even with well tried tools, and despite utmost precautions. How many workmen's lives did the Forth Bridge cost? You know, I suppose, that a certain number of fatal accidents are always included in the calculations of any project of Public Works.

But a new Magical Formula is on a vastly bigger scale. Cast your mind for a moment back to the last occasion, when Osiris succeeded to Isis. In that great cataclysm not only Empires, but civilizations crashed one after another. Three quarters of the Aeon had elapsed before the wine of that vintage was really drinkable.

I expect as I hope that this time (communication being universally better established, the foundations better laid, and things in general moving quicker) we may be able to enjoy the harvest in very much less time. But hang it all! it's hardly reasonable to expect complete fruition after only 40 years.

What seems to me the most encouraging symptom of all is this: the Book itself, and the system of Magick based thereon, and the bankruptcy of all previous systems (as set forth in Eight Lectures on Yoga, Magick, The Book of Thoth, and other similar works) do furnish us all with a clear, concise practical Method (free from all contamination of the humbug of faith and superstition) whereby any one of us may attain to "the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel," and that the many other Beings of intelligence and power indefinitely more exalted than anything which we recognize as human—and, let us hope, capable of bestowing upon us a modicum of Wisdom adequate to get us out of the quagmire into which the crisis has temporarily plunged us all!

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,


P.S. It has seemed better to make a postscript of the most important argument of all; for it is completely separate. It is this.

The Book's meaning is "...not only in the English..." etc. (AL I, 36; I, 46; I, 54, 55; II, 76; III, 16; III, 39; III, 47; III, 63-68; and III, 73). These passages make it clear that there is a secret interpretation, which, being hidden as it is hidden, is presumably of even graver importance than the text as it stands. Such passages as I have been able to decipher confirm this view; so also does the discovery of the key number 31 by Frater Achad.3 We must also expect a genius to arise who will accomplish all this work for us. Again we know that much information of the utmost value has been given through the Hebrew, the Greek and very probably the Arabic Qabalah.

There is only one logical conclusion of these premises. We know (a) the Book means more than it appears to mean, (b) this inner meaning may modify, or even reverse, the outer meaning, (c) what we do understand convinces us that the Author of the Book is indeed what he claims to be; and, therefore, we must accept the Book as the Canon of Truth, seeking patiently for further enlightenment.

This last point is of especial virtue: see AL III, 63-68. The value to you of the Book varies directly with the degree of your own initiation.



1: Various editions published, the most complete being Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law edited by Symonds and Grant (Montreal: 93 Publishing, 1974). The only one readily available at the time of writing is The Law is for All (New Falcon), based on an abridgement made by Louis Wilkinson in the 1940s – T.S.

2: Martha Küntzel.

3: See Achad's Liber 31.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:40 am

Chapter XLIX: Thelemic Morality

Cara Soror,

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

Right glad am I to hear that thy have so astutely detected the bulk of my remarks on morals as little better than plain sophistry.

"After all," you tell me, "there is for every one of us an instinct, at least, of what is 'right' and what is wrong," And it is plain enough that you understand the validity of this sense in itself, in its own right, wholly independent of any Codes or systems whatsoever.

Of what, then, is this instinct the hieroglyph? Our destructive criticism is perfect as regards teleology; nobody knows what to do in order to act "for the best." Even the greatest Chess Master cannot be sure how his new pet variation will turn out in practice; and the chessboard is surely an admirable type of a limited "universe of discourse" and "field of action." (I must write you one day about Cause and Effect in magical practice.)

I seem to have started up this rock chimney with the wrong leg! What I am trying to write is a sort of answer to your remark about "Does the end justify the means?" and I had better tackle it straightforwardly.

Cesspools in every theologian's back garden: sewers in every legislator's garden city: there is no end to the literature of the subject. But one point is amusing; the Jesuits have always been accused of answering that question in the affirmative, apparently for no better reason than that their doctrine is unanimously adverse to admitting it. (People are like that! They say that I spent months in Yucatan—the only province in Mexico that I did not visit. They say that my home is a Tibetan monastery; and Tibet is almost the only country in East and Central Asia that my feet have never trodden. They say that I lived for years in Capri—the only town in Italy, of those that I know at all, where I spent less than 48 hours.)

The Law of Thelema helps us to deal with this question very simply and succinctly. First, it obviates the need of defining the proper "End;" for with us this becomes identical with the "True Will;" and we are bound to assume that the man himself is the sole arbiter; we postulate that his "End" is self-justified.

Then as to his "Means:" as he cannot possibly know for certain whether they are suitable or not, he can only rely on his inherited instincts, his learning, his traditions, and his experience. Of these all but the first lie wholly in the intellectual Sphere, the Ruach, and can accordingly be knocked into any desired shape at will, by dint of a little manipulation: and if Thelema has freed him morally, as it should have done, from all the nonsense of Plato, Manu, Draco, Solon, Paul (with his harpy brood), John Stuart Mill and Kant, he can make his decision with purely objective judgment. (Where would mathematics be if certain solutions were a priori inadmissible?) But then, what about that plaguy first weapon in his armoury? It must be these instincts, simply because we have eliminated all the other possibilities.

What are they?

Two are their sources: the spiritual (Neschamah) and the physiological (Nephesch). Note that both these are feminine. They pertain to H‚ and H‚ final in Tetragrammaton respectively. That implies that they are, in a sense, imposed on you from the beginning. Of course it is your own higher principles, Yechidah and Chiah, that have saddled you with them; but the "Human Consciousness," being in Tiphareth, cannot control Neschamah at all; and it has to be admirably unified, fortified, and perfected if it is to act efficiently upon Nephesch.

(How exquisitely keen is the Qabalah! How apt, how clear, how simple, how pictorially assimilable are its explanations of the facts of Nature! If you will only learn to use it, to refer your problems to it, you will soon need no Holy Guru!)

In practice, we most of us do act upon Nephesch a great deal. All learning, training, discipline, tend to modify our physiological reactions in a thousand minor manners. A complete branch of Yoga, Hatha Yoga, is occupied with nothing else. And you can have your face "lifted." Apart from this, we nearly all of us attend to matters like our waistline, our hours of sleep, our digestion, or our muscular development. Some men have even taught themselves to reduce the pulse-beat both in rate and in volume: so much so that they have sometimes been credited with the power to stop the heart altogether at will. (Wasn't it Colonel Somebody—not Blimp—who used to show off to his friends, after dinner? Did it once too often, in any case!)

Neschamah is an entirely different proposition. One of Tiphareth's prime assets is the influence, through the path of "The Lovers," from Binah. The son's milk from the Great Mother. (From his Father, Chiah, Chokmah, he inherits the infinite possibilities of Nuit, through the path of H‚, "The Star;" and from his "God," Kether, the Divine Consciousness, the direct inspiration, guidance, and ward of his Holy Guardian Angel, through the path of Gimel, the Moon, "The Priestess.")1

Neschamah, then, will not be influenced by Ruach, except in so far as it is explained or interpreted by Ruach. These "instincts" are implanted from on high, not from below; they would be imperative were one always sure of having received them pure, and interpreted them aright.

But this is a digression, though an essential one; the point is how to decide when one's equation is solved by "a + b," and one feels that "a + b" is abhorrent to one's nature.

Now do you see the point of the digression? By "wrong" we mean anything that evokes dissent or protest from either Neschamah or Nephesch, or both.

People spoke to me, people whose experience and judgment in all matters of Sacrifice to Dionysus had my very fullest assent and admiration; they told me that of all drinks, the best was Beer. So I have wanted for many years to drink it. I can't. I once tasted a few drops on the end of a teaspoon. They told me that wasn't quite the same thing!2

That's Nephesch.

I cannot bear to do any unkind action, however wise, necessary, and all the rest of it. I do it, but "it hurts me more than it hurts you" is actually true for me. (This only applies where the other party is unable to retaliate: I love hurting a stout antagonist in a fair fight.)

That's Neschamah.

What one really needs to know is whether the protest of the Instinct should override the decision of the Reason. Obviously, one must assume that both are equally "right;" that one's interpretation of one's Instinct is full and accurate, that one's solution of "how shall I act for the best?" is uniquely correct.

First of all, one is tempted to argue that, that being so, there can be no disagreement; that is, on our general Theory of the Universe. True enough! The farther one goes in initiation, the rarer will such incidents become. Even a quite uninitiated person—always provided that Thelema has freed him morally—should find that nine times in ten, the inhibiting antagonism is accidental, or at least apparently irrelevant.

(Notice, please, that our conditions of the "rightness" of both sides are rigid: the usual inhibition is a threat to vanity, or some instinct equally false, and to be weeded out.)

Wilkie Collins has an excellent episode in Armadale; his "girl-friend" or wife or somebody wants to poison him, and gives the stuff in brandy, not knowing that the mere smell of it is enough to make him violently sick. So he won't touch it. I'm not sure that I've got this quite right, but you see the idea.

Occasionally it happens that an infinity of minute and meticulous calsulation is necessary to decide between the duellists.

This is the sort of thing.

Suppose that by what is hardly fraud, but "undue influence" (as the lawyers say) I could persuade a dying person to leave me a couple of hundred thousand in his will. I shall use every penny of it for the Great Work; it sounds easy! "Of course! Damn your integrity! Damn you! The Work is all that matters."

All the same, I say NO. I should never be the same man again. I should have lost that confidence in myself which is the spine of my work. No need that the fraud should be discovered openly: it would appear in all my subsequent work, a subtle contamination.

But suppose that it were not the matter of gulling a moribund half-wit; suppose that the price was a straightforward honest-to-God Bank Robbery under arms on the highway, should I hesitate then? Here I should risk my head, and the dice are loaded against me; nor does the deed imply "moral turpitude." Stalin's associates regarded him as a martyred hero when the law of the country, less cogent that Thelema, sat heavily on his devoted head.

It would really be a little difficult; my rough-and-tumble life was the best possible training for such desperate adventures, so that Nephesch could not enter a protest. As to Neschamah, we nearly all of us (Thank God!) have a secret sympathy, with the nobler type of criminal, whence the universal appeal of Arsène Lupin, Black Star, Raffles and Stingaree. When they can make some show of justice-on-their-side, it is easier still: Scarlet Pimpernel and his tribe. We are now almost within the marches of those heroes of romance that enchanted our adolescence: Hereward the Wake, Robin Hood, Bonnie Prince Charlie. And there are, on the other hand, few of us who do not secretly gloat over the discomfiture of "Money- Bags."

My retort, however, is convincing and final. Robbery in any shape is a breach of the Law of Thelema. It is interference with the right of another to dispose of his property as he will; and if I did so myself, no matter with what tactical justification, I could hardly ask others to respect my own similar right.

(The basis of our criminal law is simple, by virtue of Thelema: to violate the right of another is to forfeit one's claim to protection in the matter involved.)

So much for my own position; but let us look at the original case with another protagonist: let us say a young Thelemite, fanatically enthusiastic and not very far advanced in the Path of Initiation. Suppose he argues: "To hell with my integrity, to hell with my spiritual development: I don't give a hoot what happens to me: all I know is that I can help the Order, and I'm jolly well going to do it."

Who is going to balance that entry in his Karmic account? Might not even his willingness to give up his prospects of advance justify his title to go forward? The curious, complex, obscure and formidable path that he has chosen may quite conceivably be his best short cut to the City of the Pyramids!

I have known strange, striking cases of similar "vows to end vows." But not by any means such macabre fabrications as those of the ghouls at Colonel Olcott's death-bed, or the patient web of falsehood spun by the astrological-Toshophical spider about the dying dupe on whom he had fastened, Leo—I've forgotten the insect's name. Well, who hasn't? No, I haven't: Alan Leo he called himself.

I need hardly say that these cases may be multiplied indefinitely; nothing is easier, and few games more amusing, than to devise dilemmas calculated to stump the Master, or to catch him bending.

In fact, the "Schoolmen" wasted several centuries on this agreeable pastime; and they enjoyed the additional pleasure of torturing and burning anybody who happened not to be quite up-to-date with his views on Utrum Virgo Maria in congressu cum Spiritu Sancto semen emiserit, or some equally critical tickler.

Don't tease your pretty little head about it! Now you know the principles upon which one must make one's decisions, you will not go very far wrong.

But—one has to take all these things into consideration.

Then—you ask—am I saying that the End does not justify the means?

Hardly that.

What I really mean is that these two terms are unconnected. One decides about the "End" in one way: about the "Means" in another. But every proposition in your sorites has got to justify itself; and, having done so, to estimate its exact weight in relation to all the other terms of your problem.

"Confusion worse confounded?" I dare say it is; it's the best I can do with such a difficult question.

But I am perfectly happy about it; the one important thing (as Descartes —and Francis Bacon—saw) is that you should acquire and assimilate the METHOD of Thelemic thinking.

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,




1: Note that in this paragraph Crowley settles an often asked question about allocation of Tarot and Hebrew Letters on the Tree of Life in his modified system. The letters stay in their traditional positions, and the Tarot Atu's of "Star" and "Emperor" switch places. Crowley identifies the influence of the HGA with the path of Gimel, and this is more remarkable in some ways than the Tarot attribution. If the K & C of the HGA comes from Neschamah, it would be expected to flow by the path of "The Lovers." Perhaps there is a distinction between unconscious influence and conscious Knowledge and Conversation. Crowley never completely resolved some questions related to Aiwass and some related to the objective existence of the HGA. Speculation on these matters is not closed, and this might be a good issue for resumption of the discussion – WEH.

2: This from the son of a Brewer! – WEH.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:41 am

Chapter L: A.C. and the "Masters"; Why they Chose him, etc.

Cara Soror,

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

"Details about Book 4?" This question lacks precision. I must pull a trigger at a venture.

The idea of 4 was due to my observation of St. Peter's in Rome; it is built with an eye unwavering from the number, as you will see when next you go there, aware of the fact. Also, 4 means, on the political plane, Temporal Power. (The Qabalistic Architect of St. Peter's knew that, and designed his talisman ad hoc.) This book was then, according to Ab-Ul-Diz,* to achieve worldly success. It is my fault if it did not; still, these are early days to judge of that.

Soror Virakam1 insisted that I should write this in such language that the charwoman and the chimney-sweeper could understand it easily. She pulled me up at the first hint of obscurity.

This went well enough for Part I: Yoga. (And, indeed, that part did sell rather well.) But when I had finished Part II, I discovered that not only was the book an exceptionally recondite treatise on obscure technical points, but was not even an exposition of Magick at all! Magick without Tears, indeed!

This was my crazed humility; I honestly thought that everyone knew all about Magick, and how it was done, and why, and so on. There was little to do but to erect a superstructure of symbolism. This, by the way, has hampered me all my life, in every way; I am so aware of my own shameful ignorance on every subject—there is no mistake about this!—that I cannot conceive of any human being who is actually more ignorant than myself. How could such an one endure to live, with the consciousness of his infamy gnawing his liver?

I know this sounds mad; but it's true. Well, then, I set myself to repair the omission with Part III; this should be a really complete treatise on the Art and Science of magick, and it should be worked out from the beginning, a logical sequence like Euclid. Hence Axiom, Postulate and Theorems. I supposed even then that I could cover the field with another volume comparable in size with the former two.

I did indeed "finish" this, even announced publication; it was just going to Press when War (also announced five years before by Bartzabel, the Spirit of Mars) came along in 1914. I toted the rod around the world with me (excuse my American!) and in a fatal hour of weakness, self-mistrust, took to shewing it to some of my students. Of course—I might have known—they all with one accord began: "Oh, but you haven't said anything about—" —all the subjects in the world. So I started to fill in the gaps. As I did so, I found any amount more to do on my own. It went on like that for 14 years! Since it came out the voices of detraction have been dumb. I really do believe that I've covered the ground at last. Of course, time shewed that Part I, although it did really give the essentials of Yoga in the simplest possible language, was hardly more than an outline. More, it did not correlate Yoga with general philosophy. Eight Lectures have, I believe, remedied this.

* The Master (or Intelligence) who directed the writing of this Book; see Letter.2

As to Part IV, The Book of the Law section, the idea was that the volume should comply with the instructions given in AL III,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!" I mistook "Comment" for "Commentary"—a word-by-word exposition of every verse (and much of it I loathed with all my heart!) including the Qabalistic interpretation, a task obviously endless.

What then about AL III, 40? (also see attached) This problem was solved only by achieving the task. In Paris,* in a mood of blank despair about it all, out came the Comment. Easy, yes; inspired, yes; it is, as printed, the exact wording required. No further cavilling and quibbling, and controversy and casuistry. All heresiarchs are smelt in advance for the rats they are; they are seen brewing (their very vile small beer) in the air (the realm of Intellect—Swords) and they are accordingly nipped in the bud. All Parliamentary requirements thus fulfilled according to the famous formula of the Irish M.P., we can get on to your other questions untroubled by doubt.

One Textus Receptus, photographically guaranteed. One High Court of Interpretation, each for himself alone. No Patristic logomachies! No disputed readings! No civil wars and persecutions. Anyone who wants to say anything, off with his head, and On with the Dance; let Joy be unconfined, You at the prow and Therion at the helm! Off we go.

* Error: It was actually in Tunis, November 1925. Editor.

"The Masters contacted you." Can you by any chance mean "The Masters made contact with you?" Assuming that such is the deplorable case, we may proceed.

Firstly, the effort on my part was precisely nil, I resented Their interference with proud bitter angry disbelief. The Equinox of the Gods describes this in detail.

But of course Their victim did not have a fair chance of escape. After all, They had had 2000 years to perfect Their plans. As for me, I had a traitor in the heart of the citadel; my Karma for God knows how many Incarnations. (The acquisition of the Magical Memory, fragmentary as that is, has thrown a great deal of light on that matter. Your letter does in fact surmise that this is so.)

You must understand that the arrival of a New Aeon knocks all the Rules sideways. I imagine that even the very strict Magical Code of Ethics looks like a cocked hat before They have done with it!

My theory is that They chose me for (a) my literary skill, knowledge and judgment; (b) my scientific training; (c) my familiarity with Eastern ways, habits of thought, and sympathetic predisposition; (d) my stern adherence to Truth; (e) my moral courage; (f) my dour persistence; and (g) my Karma as aforesaid.

They prepared me by (a) pushing me rapidly forward both in Magick and in Yoga; (b) wearying me of both of them and making me despair of them both as a solution to the problem of Life, and (c) fixing me both in Buddhistic pessimism and scientific rationalism, so that their victory over me might be as difficult and solid as achievement as possible. (I am by no means proud of myself. Either I fought them or failed them, at every turn.) Chapter V of The Equinox of the Gods might have been written with more emphasis; but there are passages elsewhere in that volume which lay great stress upon the point.

Yet, after all, AL II, 10-11 should surely be enough. "O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger."

To interrupt the dictation of a supremely important document, merely to jeer at the impotent resentment of the luckless scribe! It seemed to me downright ungenerous, the spirit of the triumphant schoolboy bully!

But Their ways are not as our ways; this question leads us on quite naturally to your next point, and the resolution of that know will unravel that querulous criticism. Just as a learned Divine might chuckle over a smoking-room story, or a heart overflowing with the honey of human kindness wish to have the housemaid "seven years a-killing," so may the greatest of the Masters—even discarnate!—have a perverted sense of humour, or a gross error in taste, (see AL I, 51) "...sweet wines and wines that foam!..."—wines, bar Chateau Yquem and very full-bodied port, that I dislike and despise—or any other eccentricity. Look at H.P.B.—hot stuff, if you like!

It is most necessary that you should understand what happens when on goes from Adeptus Exemptus 7° = 4° to Magister Templi 8° = 3°. As you see from a glance at the Tree of Life, this advance entails the Crossing of the Abyss; and there is no Path. That means that one must jump. You must get rid of "all that you have, and all that you are"—that is one way to put it.

The Vision and the Voice, Aethyrs XVI—end, gives an immense amount of detail; it must be studied intensely, with diligence, with Will, and with imagination. Not only the attainment of the grade, but the events which go with, or come after, it; all these are described as actual Experience. Even so, it is all extraordinarily difficult until you have been through it yourself.

But that part which answers your question is not really very hard to grasp; it is indeed most obvious. Ask yourself: then what happens to he discarded elements of the Adept? They cannot be left as they are, to disintegrate, or to become vehicles for obsession. This entity which was the Exempt Adept has been built up in years of unremitting toil, as worthy Workshop wherein the Great Work should be accomplished. It has moreover been sanctified and glorified by the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

So as each Master has his own appointed Work to perform in the world, he is cast down into the Sephira, suitable for that work. If his function is to be that of a warrior, he would find himself in Geburah; if that of a great poet or composer, in Tiphareth; and so on. He, the Master, inhabits this dwelling; but, having already got rid of it, he is able to allow it to carry on according to its nature without interference from the false Self (its head in Daäth) which hitherto had hampered it. ("If I were a dog, I should bark; if I were an owl, I should hoot," says Basil King Lamus in The Diary of a Drug-Fiend.) He is totally indifferent to the Event; so then he acts and reacts with perfect elasticity. This is the Way of the Tao; and that is why you cannot grasp the very idea of that Way—much less follow it!—unless you are a Master of the Temple.

Remember in any case, that not only the Adept, but anyone with the smallest capacity for Adeptship, is fundamentally an Artist; he will certainly not possess any of those bourgeois "virtues" which are just so many reactions to Blue Funk.

Of course, practically all of us in the West get our first knowledge from the pious and pretentious drivel of most writers in general circulation. So we start with prejudice.

Also, asceticism is all right when it is the proper means of attaining some special end. It is when it produces eructations of spiritual pride, and satisfied vanity, that it is poisonous. The Greek word means an athlete; and the training of an athlete is not mortification of the body. Nor is there any rule which covers all circumstances. When men go "stale" a few days before the race, they are "taken off training," and fed with champagne. But that is part of the training. Observe, too, that all men go "stale" sooner or later; training is abnormal, and must be stopped as soon as its object is attained. Even so, it too often strains vital organs, especially the heart and lungs, so that few rowing "Blues" live to be 50. But worst of all is the effect on the temper!

When it is permanent, and mistaken for a "Virtue," it poisons the very soil of the soul. The vilest weeds spring up; cruelty, narrowmindedness, arrogance—everything mean and horrible flowers in those who "Mortify the flesh." Incidentally, such ideas spawn the "Black Brother." The complete lack of humour, the egomaniac conceit, self-satisfaction, absence of all sympathy for others, the craving to pass their miseries on to more sensible people by persecuting them: these traits are symptomatic.

Well, this is a very brief synopsis, but I hope that it will answer your question at least so far as to enable you to understand more easily the account of these matters given in The Vision and the Voice.

Love is the law, love under will.



P.S. On reading this over, it has struck me that you may have meant to raise a totally different issue; that of "abstract morality." Rather an extensive battlefield; I will dispose my forces in array in my next letter of "morality, heavenly link."3



1: Mary Desti Sturges.

2: See also "The Abuldiz Working" in Equinox IV (1).

3: I am not totally clear which this is, but letters LXX and LXXI are titled "Morality" – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:45 am

Chapter LI: How to Recognise Masters, Angels, etc., and how they Work

Cara Soror,

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

I have been thinking over what I wrote in my last letter with regard to the verification of appearances in the Astral Plane.1

I did not mention a parallel question of even greater immediate practical importance: that of one's relations with Astral or discarnate intelligences or with Those whom we call "The Masters" or "The Gods": the messages of gestures which reach us through the normal physical channels. The importance is that they actually determine one's line of conduct in critical situations.

It seemed therefore a good idea to give you three examples from The Spirit of Solitude:2 and here they are!

The first extract refers to the "miraculous" discovery of the MS of Liber AL some years after I had deliberately "lost" it.

The second, to the finding of a villa suited to the Work.

The third to my rescue from a state of despair.

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,


[The following is from Vol. 4 of The Confessions, pp. 369 - 371.3]

It was part of my plan for the Equinox to prepare a final edition of the work of Dr. Dee and Sir Edward Kelly. I had a good many of the data and promised myself to complete them by studying the manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford—which, incidentally, I did in the autumn; but it struck me that it would be useful to get my large paintings of the four Elemental Watch Towers which I had made in Mexico. I thought these were probably in Boleskine. I decided to go up there for a fortnight or so. Incidentally, I had the conveniences for conferring upon Neuberg the degree of Neophyte, he having passed brilliantly through this year as a Probationer.

I consequently asked him and an Emmanuel man named Kenneth Ward, to come and stay with me. I had met Ward at Wastdale Head shortly before, having gone there to renew my ancient loves with the creeds of the gullies. It happened that Ward was very keen on skiing. I had several pairs and offered to give him some. This casual circumstance proved an essential part of the chain by which I was ultimately dragged behind the chariot of the Secret Chiefs. At least I thought it was a chain. I did not realize that steel of such exquisite temper might be beaten into a sword fit for the hand of a free man.

To my annoyance, I could not find the Elemental Watch Towers anywhere in the house. I daresay I gave up looking rather easily. I had got into a state of disgusted indifference about such things. Rose might have destroyed them in a drunken fit, just as she might have pawned them if they had possessed any commercial value. I shrugged my shoulders accordingly, and gave up the search. The skis that I had promised Ward were not to be found any more than the Watch Towers. After putting Neuburg through his initiation,* we prepared to go to London. I had let the house, and my tenant was coming in on the first of July. We had four days in which to amuse ourselves; and we let ourselves go for a thorough good time. Thus like a thunderbolt comes the incident of June 28, thus described in my diary:

Glory be to Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit in the Highest! A little before midday I was impelled mysteriously (though exhausted by playing fives, billiards, etc. till nearly six this morning) to make a final search for the Elemental Tablets. And lo! when I had at last abandoned the search, I cast mine eyes upon a hole in the loft where were ski, etc., and there, O Holy, Holy, Holy! were not only all that I sought, but the manuscript of Liber Legis.4
The ground was completely cut away from under my feet. I remained for two whole days meditating on the situation—in performing, in fact, a sort of supplementary Sammasati to that of 1905. Having the knack of it, I reached a very clear conclusion without too much difficulty. The essence of the situation was that the Secret Chiefs meant to hold me to my obligation. I understood that the disaster and misery of the last three years was due to my attempt to evade my duty. I surrendered unconditionally, as appears from the entry of July 1.

I once more solemnly renounced all that I have or am. On departing (at midnight from the topmost point of the hill which crowns my estate) instantly shone the moon, two days before her fullness, over the hills among the clouds.
This record is couched in very general terms, but it was intended to cover the practical point of my resuming the task laid upon me in Cairo exactly as I might be directed to do by my superiors.

Instantly my burden fell from my back. The long crucifixion of home life came to a crisis, immediately on my return to London. At the same time every other inhibition was automatically removed. For the first time since the spring of 1904 I felt myself free to do my Will. That, of course, was because I had at last understood what my Will was. My aspiration to be the means of emancipating humanity was perfectly fulfilled. I had merely to establish in the world the Law which had been given me to proclaim: "...thou hast no right but to do thy will." Had I bent my energies from the first to proclaiming the Law of Thelema I should doubtless have found no obstacle in my path. Those which naturally arise in the course of any work soever, would have been quietly removed by the Secret Chiefs. But I had chosen to fight against myself for five years, and "If Satan shall be divided against Satan, how shall his kingdom stand?" The more I strove, the more I encouraged an internal conflict, and stultified myself. I had been permitted to complete my initiation, for the reason that by doing so I was fitting myself for the fight; but all my other efforts had met with a derisory disaster. More, one does not wipe out a lustre of lunacy by a moment of sanity. I am suffering to this day from the effects of having wasted some of the best years of my life in the stupid and stubborn struggle to set up my conscious self against its silent sovereign, my true Soul. 'Had Zimri peace who slew his master?'

* The preparation for this was in some ways trying to the candidate. For instance, he had to sleep naked for seven nights on a litter of gorse.

[The following is from Vol. 4 of The Confessions, pp. 590 - 598.5]

A boisterous party was in progress. The dancer's lifelong friend, whom I will call by the name she afterwards adopted, Soror Virakam,6 was celebrating her birthday. This lady, a magnificent specimen of mingled Irish and Italian blood, possessed a most powerful personality and a terrific magnetism which instantly attracted my own. I forgot everything. I sat on the floor like a Chinese God, exchanging electricity with her.

After some weeks' preliminary skirmishing, we joined battle along the whole front; that is to say, I crossed to Paris, where she had a flat, and carried her off to Switzerland to spend the winter skating. Arrived at Interlaken, we found that Murren was not open, so we went on to St. Moritz, breaking the journey at Zurich. This town is so hideous and depressing that we felt that our only chance of living through the night was to get superbly drunk, which we did . . .

(Let me emphasize that this wild adventure had not the remotest connection with Magick. Virakam was utterly ignorant of the subject. She had hardly so much as a smattering of Christian Science. She had never attended a séance or played Planchette.)

... Lassati sed non Satiati7 by midnight, I expected to sleep; but was aroused by Virakam being apparently seized with a violent attack of hysteria, in which she poured forth a frantic torrent of senseless hallucination. I was irritated and tried to calm her. But she insisted that her experience was real; that she bore an important message to me from some invisible individual. Such nonsense increased my irritation. But—after about an hour of it—my jaw fell with astonishment. I became suddenly aware of a coherence in her ravings, and further that they were couched in my own language of symbols. My attention being thus awakened, I listened to what she was saying. A few minutes convinced me that she was actually in communication with some Intelligence who had a message for me.

Let me briefly explain the grounds for this belief. I have already set forth, in connection with the Cairo Working, some of the safeguards which I habitually employ. Virakam's vision contained elements perfectly familiar to me. This was clear proof that the man in her vision, whom she called Ab-ul-Diz, was acquainted with my system of hieroglyphics, literal and numerical, and also with some incidents in my Magical Career. Virakam herself certainly knew nothing of any of these. Ab-ul-Diz told us to call him a week later, when he would give further information. We arrived at St. Moritz and engaged a suite in the Palace Hotel.

My first surprise was to find that I had brought with me exactly those Magical Weapons which were suitable for the work proposed, and no others. But a yet more startling circumstance was to come. For the purpose of the Cairo Working, Ouarda8 and I had bought two abbai; one, scarlet, for me; one, blue, for her. I had brought mine to St. Moritz; the other was of course in the possession of Ouarda. Imagine my amazement when Virakam produced from her trunk a blue abbai so like Ouarda's that the only difference were minute details of the gold embroidery! The suggestion was that the Secret Chiefs, having chosen Ouarda as their messenger, could not use any one else until she had become irrevocably disqualified by insanity. Not till now could her place be taken by another; and that Virakam should possess a duplicate of her Magical Robe seemed a strong argument that she had been consecrated by Them to take the place of her unhappy predecessor.

She was very unsatisfactory as a clairvoyant; she resented these precautions. She was a quick-tempered and impulsive woman, always eager to act with reckless enthusiasm. My cold scepticism no doubt prevented her from doing her best. Ab-ul-Diz himself constantly demanded that I should show "faith," and warned me that I was wrecking my chances by my attitude. I prevailed upon him, however, to give adequate proof of his existence, and his claim to speak with authority. The main purport of his message was to instruct me to write a book on my system of Mysticism and Magick, to be called Book 4, and told me that by means of this book, I should prevail against public neglect. I saw no objection to writing such a book; on quite rational grounds, it was a proper course of action. I therefore agreed to do so. But Ab-ul-Diz was determined to dictate the conditions in which the book should be written; and this was a difficult matter. He wanted us to travel to an appropriate place. On this point I was not wholly satisfied with the result of my cross-examination. I know now that I was much to blame throughout. I was not honest either with him, myself, or Virakam. I allowed material considerations to influence me, and I clung—oh triple fool!—to my sentimental obligations towards Laylah.9

We finally decided to do what he asked, though part of my objection was founded on his refusal to give us absolutely definite instruction. However, we crossed the Passes in a sleigh to Chiavenna, whence we took the train to Milan. In this city we had a final conversation with Ab-ul-Diz. I had exhausted his patience, as he mine, and he told us that he would not visit us any more. He gave us his final instructions. We were to go to Rome, though he refused to name the exact spot. We were to take a villa and there write Book 4. I asked him how we might recognize the right Villa. I forget what answer he gave through her, but for the first time he flashed a message directly into my own consciousness. "You will recognize it beyond the possibility of doubt or error," he told me. With this a picture came into my mind of a hillside on which were a house and garden marked by two tall Persian Nuts.

The next day we went on to Rome. Owing to my own Ananias-like attempt to "keep back part of the price," my relations with Virakam had become strained. We reached Naples after two or three quarrelsome days in Rome and began house-hunting. I imagined that we should find dozens of suitable places to choose from, but we spent day after day scouring the city and suburbs in an automobile, without finding a single place to let that corresponded in the smallest degree with our ideas.

Virakam's brat—a most god-forsaken lout—was to join us for the Christmas holidays, and on the day he was due to arrive we motored out as a forlorn hope to Posilippo before meeting him at the station at 4 o'clock or thereabouts. But the previous night Virakam had a dream in which she saw the desired villa with absolute clearness. (I had been careful to say nothing to her about the Persian Nuts, so as to have a weapon against her in case she insisted that such and such a place was the one intended.)

After a fruitless search we turned our automobile towards Naples, along the crest of Posilippo. At one point there is a small side lane scarcely negotiable by motor, and indeed hardly perceptible, as it branches from the main road so as to form an acute-angled "Y" with the foot towards Naples. But Virakam sprang excitedly to her feet, and told the chauffeur to drive down it. I was astonished, she being hysterically anxious to meet the train, and our time being already almost too short. But she swore passionately that the villa was down that lane. The road became constantly rougher and narrower. After some time, it came out on the open slope; a low stone parapet of the left protecting it. Again she sprang to her feet. "There," she cried, pointing with her finger, "is the Villa I saw in my dream!" I looked. No villa was visible. I said so. She had to agree; yet stuck to her point that she saw it. I subsequently returned to that spot and found that a short section of wall, perhaps 15 feet of narrow edge of masonry, is just perceptible through a gap in the vegetation.

We drove on; we came to a tiny piazza, on one side of which was a church. "That is the square and the Church," she exclaimed, "that I saw in my dream!"

We drove on. The lane became narrower, rougher and steeper. Little more than 100 yards ahead it was completely "up," blocked with heaps of broken stone. The chauffeur protested that he would be able neither to turn the car nor to back it up to the square. Virakam, in a violent rage, insisted on proceeding. I shrugged my shoulders. I had got accustomed to these typhoons.

We drove on a few yards. Then the chauffeur made up him mind to revolt, and stopped the car. On the left was a wide open gate through which we could see a gang of workmen engaged in pretending to repair a ramshackle villa. Virakam called the foreman and asked in broken Italian if the place was to let. He told her no; it was under repair. With crazy confidence she dragged him within and forced him to show her over the house. I sat in resigned disgust, not deigning to follow. Then my eyes suddenly saw down the garden, two trees close together. I stooped. Their tops appeared. They were Persian Nuts! The stupid coincidence angered me, and yet some irresistible instinct compelled me to take out my note book and pencil and jot down the name written over the gate— Villa Caldarazzo. Idly I added up the letters.10 Their sum struck me like a bullet in my brain. It was 418, the number of the Magical Formula of the Aeon, a numerical hieroglyph of the Great Work. Ab-ul-Diz had made no mistake. My recognition of the right place was not to depend on a mere matter of trees, which might be found almost anywhere. Recognition beyond all possibility of doubt was what he promised. He had been as good as his word.

I was entirely overwhelmed. I jumped out of the car and ran up to the house. I found Virakam in the main room. The instant I entered I understood that it was entirely suited for a temple. The walls were decorated with crude frescoes which somehow suggested the exact atmosphere proper to the Work. The very shape of the room seemed somehow significant. Further, it seemed as if it were filled with a peculiar emanation. This impression must not be dismissed as sheer fancy. Few men but are sufficiently sensitive to distinguish the spiritual aura of certain buildings. It is impossible not to feel reverence in certain cathedrals and temples. The most ordinary dwelling houses often possess an atmosphere of their own; some depress, some cheer; some disgust, others strike chill to the heart.

Virakam of course was entirely certain that this was the Villa for us. Against this was the positive statement of the people in charge that it was not to be let. We refused to accept this assertion. We took the name and address of the owner, dug him out, and found him willing to give us immediate possession at a small rent. We went in on the following day, and settled down almost at once to consecrate the Temple and begin the book.

[The following is from The Confessions, Vol. 4, pp. 379 - 384.11]

I knew in myself from the first that the revelation in Cairo was the real thing. I have proved with infinite pains that this was the case; yet the proof has not strengthened my faith, and disproof would do nothing to shake it. I knew in myself that the Secret Chiefs had arranged that the manuscript of The Book of the Law should have been hidden under the Watch Towers and the Watch Towers under the ski; that they had driven me to make the key to my position the absence of the manuscript; that they had directed Kenneth Ward's actions for years that he might be the means of the discovery, and arranged every detail of the incident in such a way that I should understand it as I did.

Yes; this involves a theory of the powers of the Secret Chiefs so romantic and unreasonable that it seems hardly worth a smile of contempt. As it happens, an almost parallel phenomenon came to pass ten years later. I propose to quote it here in order to show that the most ordinary events, apparently disconnected, are in fact only intelligible by postulating some such people as the Secret Chiefs of the A.'.A.'. in possession of some such prevision and power as I ascribe to them. When I returned to England at Christmas, 1919, all my plans had gone to pieces owing to the dishonesty and treachery of a gang which was bullying into insanity my publisher in Detroit. I was pledged in honour to look after a certain person; but I was practically penniless. I could not see any possible way of carrying on my work. (It will be related in due course how this condition of things came about, and why it was necessary for me to undergo it.)

I found myself at Morêt, on the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, with nothing to do but wait. I did not throw up the sponge in passionate despair as I had done once before to my shame—I had been rapped sufficiently hard on the knuckles to cure me of that—but I said to the Gods "Observe, I have done my damnedest, and here I am at a dead centre. I am not going on muddling through: I demand a definite sign from you that I am still your chosen prophet." I therefore note in my diary, on January 12, 1920, as follows:

I am inclined to make my Silence include all forms of personal work, and this is very hard to give up, if only because I am still afraid of 'failure,' which is absurd. I ought evidently to be non-attached, even to avoiding the Woes-Attendant-Upon-Refusing-The-Curse-Of-My-Grade, if I may be pardoned the expression.

And why should I leave my efficacious Tortoise and look at people till my lower jaw hangs down? Shall I see what the Yi says? Ay. Question: Shall I abandon all magical work soever until the appearance of a manifest sign?



No symbol could be more definite and unambiguous.

I have invoked Aiwass to manipulate the Sticks; and, wishing to ask "What shall be the Sign?" got instantly the reference in CCXX to our Lady Babalon: "the omnipresence of my body." But this is not quite clear; I took it mentally as referring to the expected arrival of Our Lady, but it might mean a trance, or almost anything. So I will ask Yi, as my last magical act for the time being.


I think this means the arrival of Our Lady. I have serious doubts whether the hexagram should not have been:


Which would have certainly meant that. That I should doubt anything is absurd: I shall know the Sign, without fail. And herewith I close the Record, and await that Sign.

The next entry is dated Sunday, February 1.

Kindly read over the entry of January 12 with care exceeding. Now then: On Friday, January 30, I went to Paris, to buy pencils, Mandarin, a palette, Napoleon Brandy, canvases and other appurtenances of the artist's dismal trade. I took occasion to call upon an old mistress of mine, Jane Chéron, concerning who see Equinox Vol. I, "Three Poems." She has never had the slightest interest in occult matters, and she has never done any work in her life, even of the needlework order. I had seen her once before since my escape from America, and she said she had something to show me, but I took no particular notice, and she did not insist. My object in calling on this second occasion was multiple: I wanted to see the man with whom she is living, who has not yet returned from Russia; I wanted to make love to her; and wanted to smoke a few pipes of opium with her, she being a devotee of that great and terrible God.

Consider now: the Work whereby I am a Magus began in Cairo (1904) with the discovery of the Stælæ of Ankh-f-n-Khonsu, in which the principal object is the Body of our Lady Nuit. It is reproduced in colours in the Equinox, Vol. I, No. 7. Jane Chéron has a copy of this book. On Friday afternoon, then, I was in her apartment. I had attained none of my objectives in calling on her, and was about to depart. She detained me to show me this "something." She went and took a folded cloth from a drawer. "Shut your eyes," she said.

When I opened them they saw a cloth four feet or more in length, on which was a magnificent copy, mostly in applique silk, of the Stélé. She then told me that in February 1917, she and her young man had gone to the South of France to get cured of the opium habit. In such cases insomnia is frequent. One night, however, he had gone to sleep, and on waking in the morning found the she, wakeful, had drawn a copy of the Stélé on a great sheet of paper.

It is very remarkable that so large a sheet of paper should have been at hand; also that they should have taken that special book on such a journey; but still more that she should have chosen that picture, nay that she, who had never done anything of the sort before, should have done it at all. More yet, that she should have spent three months in making a permanent thing of it. Most of all, that she should have shown it to me at the very moment when I was awaiting an "unmistakable" sign.

For observe, how closely the Words of my Entry of January 12 describe the sign, "the omnipresence of my body." And there She was—in the last place in the world where one would have sought Her.

Note, too, the accuracy of the Yi King symbol


forImage is of course the Symbol of our Lady, and the God below Her in the Stælæ is Image the Sun.
All this is clear proof of the unspeakable power and wisdom of Those who have sent me to proclaim the Law.

I observe, after a talk with M. Jules Courtier yesterday, that all their S.P.R.* work is proof only of extra-human Forces. We knew about them all along; the universe is full of obscure and subtle manifestation of energy; we are constantly advancing in our knowledge and control of them. Telekinesis is of the same order of Nature as the Hertz Rays or the Radium emanations. But what nobody before me has done is to prove the existence of extra-human Intelligence, and my magical Record does this. I err in the interpretation, of course; but it is impossible to doubt that there is a Somebody there, a Somebody capable of combining events as a Napoleon forms his plans of campaign, and possessed of powers unthinkably vast.

If these events be indeed the result of calculation and control on the part of the Secret Chiefs, it seems at first sight as if the people involved had been prepared to play their parts from the beginning. Our previous relations, the girl's to opium, my friendship with her lover, and his interest in my work; omit any item and the whole plan fails. But this assumption is unnecessary. The actual preparation need not go back further than three years, when the Stælæ was embroidered. We may allow the Secret Chiefs considerable option, just as a chess player is not confined to one special combination for his attack. We may suppose that had these people not been available, the sign which I demanded might have been given me in some other equally striking way. We are not obliged to make extravagant assumptions in order to maintain that the evidence of purpose is irresistibly strong.

To dismiss this intricate concatenation of circumstances, culminating as they do in the showing forth of the exact sign which I had demanded, is simply to strain the theory of probabilities beyond the breaking point. Here then are two complicated episodes which do to prove that I am walking, not by faith but by sight, in my relations with the Secret Chiefs; and these are but two links in a very long chain. This account of my career will describe many others equally striking. I might, perhaps, deny my inmost instinct the right to testify were any one case of this kind in question; but when, year after year, the same sort of thing keeps on happening, and, when, furthermore, I find myself able to predict, as experience has taught me to do in the last three years, that they will happen, and even how the pieces will fit into the puzzle, I am justified in assuming a causal connection.

* Society for Psychical Research.



1: The reference is probably to Chapter XVII – T.S.

2: This was the original title of Crowley's Confessions – T.S.

3: These page references are presumably to the then unpublished typescript of vol. 4 of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. This section appears with no substantial omissions in chapter 65 of the Symonds and Grant abridgement (pp. 595-7) – T.S.

4: The original manuscript of Liber AL vel Legis was again lost, following the death of Sascha Germer, widow of Frater Saturnus. Ten years later it came home again, this time found in the basement of a non-O.T.O. member. The MS of The Book of the Law presently resides in a bank vault in the USA, under control of Ordo Templi Orientis—see The Magickal Link, July '84 e.v. – WEH.

5: Cap. 70 pp. 676-680 of Symonds and Grant edition –T.S.

6: Mary Desti Sturges.

7: Lat., "exhausted but not satiated."

8: Rose Edith Crowley née Kelly, AC's first wife. "Ourada" is the Arabic for "rose" – T.S.

9: Leilah Waddell.

10: Hebrew numeration, reading the O as Ayin: (6 + 10 + 30 + 30 + 1) + (20 + 1 + 30 + 4 + 1 + 200 + 1 + 7 + 7 + 70) = 77 + 341 = 418) – T.S.

11: Cap. 65 pp. 598-601 in the Symonds and Grant edition – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:52 am

Chapter LII: Family: Public Enemy No. 1

Cara Soror,

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

In your last letter you mention "family pressure." Horrid word, family! Its very etymology accuses it of servility and stagnation.

Latin, famulus, a servant; Oscan, Faamat, he dwells.

It almost deserves the treatment it gets in that disreputable near-Limerick:

Three was a young lady named Emily
Who was not understood by her femily,
She acted so rummily,
The head of the fummily,
Had her matched with a greyhound from Wem-b-iley.

They feared she would breed a facsimile—
Bring utter disgrace on the fimilly,
So the head of the fommily,
Read her a homily—
And the devil flew out of the Chim-b-illy!

A word ought to have more respect for itself!

Then, think what horrid images it evokes from the mind. Not only Victorian; wherever the family has been strong, it has always been an engine of tyranny. Weak members or weak neighbours: it is the mob spirit crushing genius, or overwhelming opposition by brute arithmetic. Of course, one must be of good family to do anything much that is worth doing; but what is one to say when the question of the Great Work is posed?

Bless you, the whole strength of the family is based on the fact that it cares for the family only: therefore its magical formula thus concentrated is of necessity hostile to so exclusively individual an aim as Initiation.

Its sentiments are reciprocated.

In every Magical, or similar system, it is invariably the first condition which the Aspirant must fulfill: he must once and for all and for ever put his family outside his magical circle.

Even the Gospels insist clearly and weightily on this.

Christ himself (i.e. whoever is meant by this name in this passage) callously disowns his mother and his brethren (Luke VIII, 19). And he repeatedly makes discipleship contingent on the total renunciation of all family ties. He would not even allow a man to attend his father's funeral!

Is the magical tradition less rigid?

Not on your life!

The one serious grimoire of the Middle Ages is The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. He makes no bone about it. He even condescends to point out the family as the most serious of all the obstacles to the performance of the Operation, and he gives the correct psychological reasons why this should be so. You said it yourself! "Family pressure" was your pungent and pertinent expression. Just so.

I think that "family" should include any body of persons with common interests which they expect or wish you to share. One's old school or university, the regiment, the golf club, the business, the party, the country: any of these may dislike very much your absorption in affairs alien to their own. But the family is the classic type, because its pull is so potent and persistent. It began when you gave your first yell; your personality is deliberately wrenched and distorted to the family code; and their zoology is so inadequate that they always feel sure that their Ugly Duckling is a Black Sheep. Even for their Fool they find a use: he can be invaluable in the Church of in the Army, where docile incompetence is the sure key to advancement.

Curse them! They are always in the way.

Even centuries after one of them is dead, he exercises his abominable craft; and you are only the less able to ward off the slaps of the Dead Hand, because (after all!) there is a whole lot of him in you. He appears at times as a sort of alien conscience; and, indebted as you may be to him for your physical constitution—I give him credit for not having saddled you with gout, rheumatism, T.B., or other plague—and many of your most useful virtues, you want to handle your assets yourself, without a subterranean current of criticism, or even active interference through others in your sole preoccupation in the Great Work.

I have not actually detected any ancestor of mine stealing my whiskey, as the advertisement warns us may happen: but—oh well! However you like to look at it, he is always an influence upon you; and that, good or bad, you quite rightly resent.

In the Brahmin caste, the aspirant to Yoga makes it a rule to fulfill his duties to the family and the State; once those jobs are definitely done, he cuts the painter, and becomes Sannyasi. Many a Maharajah, many a Wazir, to say nothing of less responsible people, plan their lives from their earliest days of wearing the sacred Cord as Brahmacharyi, with these ambitions carefully mapped out; and when the right moment comes for him to disappear into the jungle—the rest is Silence.

A sound scheme: that is, provided that one has full confidence in the General Theory. But we Caucasians happen not to believe in the Vedas, at least not in the dyed-in-the-wool sense which comes natural to the budding Brahmin; as to "our own"—why our own?—scriptures, no intelligent person takes them seriously any more. Some folk whittle away merrily, and fashion a Saviour in their own images; others strain the text and concoct a symbolic interpretation which is more or less satisfying—as can be done with any bunch of legends. But such devices leave us without Accepted Authority, and without that nobody is going to gamble away his life. Thus the Path for men of spiritual integrity begins with absolute scepticism. Our methods must be exclusively inductive.

"Gamble away his life," did I say? Indeed I did. If there is any truth at all in anything, or even any meaning in life, in Nature herself; then there is one thing, one thing only paramount: to find out who one is, what is one's necessary Way.

The alternative to the Great Work is the hotchpot of dispersion, of fatuity, or disconnected nonsense.

To the performance of this Work the nearest obstacle and the most obvious is the Family. Its presumption is manifest, in that it expects everybody to yield it first priority.

In the Russian troubles following the October Revolution, General Denikin, who was trying to put Humpty-Dumpty back on the wall, captured the aged parents of Leon Trotsky, in command of the enemy, and chivalrously telegraphed him to withdraw his troops to certain positions, otherwise the old people would be shot. Trotsky replied "Shoot!"

The point of this story is that I hope it will answer your next question: You are so very clear and firm about the family; then why don't you insist on all your pupils starting with a domestic holocaust?

Why? Because a lot of my early rock climbing was done on Beachy Head. Ask me something harder!

Look you now, chalk has every possible element of danger from the standpoint of the cragsman. All the more glory to him who can master it!

It is an essential part of the Rosicrucian system that the Adept should "wear the costume of the country in which he is travelling." I take this in the widest sense. By that word "country" I understand this planet and this social status "to which it has pleased God to call me." The Brethren of the Rose and Cross depreciated monastic life or hermit life: perhaps they thought such expedients cowardly, or at least as a confession of weakness.

I agree. One ought to be able to live the normal life of a member of one's class, to all external seeming; at least sufficiently so as not to appear unduly eccentric.

Perhaps "Let my servants be few & secret: ..." bears some such implication.

But the condition of allowing such apparent laxity is this: That one should be as swift and terse as Trotsky in any similar situation.

If one's family were reasonable human beings, (But they never are, she sighed) one could perhaps do wiseliest by explaining the situation. "This Work of mine—you don't understand it, no need that you should—is the only important part of my life. I mean to be scrupulously careful of your feelings, and I see no reason why my chosen career should damage our relations. There is only one thing to remember: IF I ever get the faintest suspicion that you are opposing me, or condemning my plans, or interfering in any way, even with the best intentions, THEN—with a single blow I sever our relations, and for ever." "Well, that's really very nice of you, Holy One," you might say; "but you are not the only one to be considered, what about the Masters? Do they ride us on the snaffle? Tradition says not so."

This depends wholly on you. If you are a quite ordinary Aspirant, and a few dozen incarnations one way or the other don't make such a difference, then They presumably won't bother about you at all. In the course of centuries, Karma will roll out the creases.

But—suppose you are of those specially chosen to execute some necessary operation in the course of Their plans? Quite another pair of boots to tread that Path. Don't imagine that you are not on it yet, either, just because you happen to be in a mood of humility. A pawn may be more powerful than a Rook, in some positions.

However, even if you are not on it, you can start to-day. That is one of the matters that depends exclusively on you.

If you have already taken the appropriate and adequate Oath, well and good; if not, take it now!

What Oath?

To cross the Abyss, you have to give up "all that you have and all that you are." This Oath is unconditional: see The Vision and the Voice for details.

But for the present so much is neither desirable nor possible: in fact, you cannot genuinely realize what it means.

So you may content yourself with a simple, reasonable and intelligible Oath for the present: to devote "all that you have and all that you are" to the service of the Order.

The advantage of so doing is that the Grand Auditor of the City of the Pyramids takes immediate notice. He brings your account (Karma) up to date, and starts you off with a Cash Ledger. That is, he arranges for your errors to be paid for on the spot, instead of the customary credit system that goes on for centuries. The advantage of this is that you know what you are being punished for, and learn your lesson at once.

This process is, naturally, very painful at times; for one thing, you can't dope yourself with illusions about your being a grand-souled, great-hearted, misunderstood saint, martyr, and hero.

And—this I tell you from most bitter experience—the agony is sometimes all but unendurable. The Masters (or the Lords of Karma, or whatever you like: I have to put all this in a silly romantic language, if I am to get the meaning across at all) see the position with absolute accuracy; They know at once how so-and-so, which you made rather a point of offering, is really that which you feel you can bear to surrender. Believe me, it is a very thorough winnowing, "with which he shall thoroughly purge his floor," when Vannus Iacchi whirs in the mill.

My personal attitude to all this is, it may be, unduly positive. I may be a bit of a fanatic. But I'm inclined to think that you will feel the same, because of your detestation of the "elusive." Having decided to gamble, there is no sense in fumbling with the dice. Anything that makes for closer contact, prompter action, clearer vision, is to be welcome.

The deliberate swearing of such Oaths, and the passionate adherence to them, is the surest method of approach to the Masters. You force the gate of Their temple; if not actually one of Them, you are at least in Their class.

Only one reminder: it is worse than useless to take these Oaths with any such ambition. One of the most precious privileges thus gained is the clean sweep that is made of all pretence.

This too is painful beyond words at first. Until the process starts, you have not the faintest idea of how you have wrapped yourself in layers of lies.

(The Baltis are like this, you know; they wrap the baby when it is born, and add rag after rag, never removing any, until a prosperous citizen at 40 is more like a bale of cloth than a human being!) May I add that you are going to be shocked? Ideas of the most atrocious and abominable nastiness, things literally unthinkable by your normal conscious apparatus, are discovered as the mainsprings of your character!

Those in attendance at confinements are always at first amazed and horrified by the remarks of the most virtuous and refined ladies; but that is the mere loosening of a few superficial layers, such as are accessible to anaesthetics. These revelations amount to not 1/10 of 1% of the grisly horrors that are revealed by Sammasati.

Now go ahead!

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,

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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:53 am

Chapter LIII: "Mother-Love"

Cara Soror,

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

You enthusiastically remark that the love of the mother for the off-spring is something that no man can understand: and you appear to prize it!

Well, some men have had a jolly good shot at it, notably Emile Zola. The Usher goes into the corridor, and calls that name in strident and stentorian tones. In he waddles, the squat obese bespectacled studious Jew, with the most devastating of all his thunderbolts under his arm—La Terre, and so what?

"How he will prologize, how he will perorate" about:

"The dewy musk-rose, mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves!"

He will not.

La Terre to him is indeed the mother of all men, sole source of our essential nourishment, the earth to which we are all bound in chains by our inexorable bodies, our ineluctable need of life—and death.

Sublime the thesis? What does he make of it? Theme No. 1 in the first chapter: rural love. How exquisite, how delicate, first flush of dawn upon the glowing meadows! The young man who is courting is not idle, either; he serves great nature in yet other ways. He is taking a prize cow to be "served:" on him depend our milk, cheese, butter, veal and beef. He also contributes to our Wienerschnitzel Holstein, or Filet de Boeuf à la Robespierre, our Sole au Gratin and our oeufs à la Neige.

So then, our rustic idyll! "Rocked on the bosom of our Mother Nature." Longus paints Daphnis and Chloe, Whowasit draws "Aucassin and Nicolette"—why, it's a root of literature itself all the way to Austin Dobson, Norman Gale and Thomas Hardy, Theocritus—er—hum—not so much of "Mother-love" Trinacria way!

Where Zola failed, who can hope to succeed? To distinguish between brute and brute: no, dear lady, that task I not regretfully relinquish!

But in "refined" strata? That cock won't fight, O thou Aspirant to the Sacred Wisdom! It's very often worse; for under the anaesthetic, the most delicately-minded ladies of high social position and religious repute are apt to pour forth floods of filth which would disgust the coarsest harridans of slum-land!

This is the final fact: so long as our life is bound to that of the animal and vegetable worlds, so that we are bondslaves born to their quite ineradicable habits, so long are we dragged back from every flight of fancy or imagination such as would break the chains that anchor us to mud.

The most far-seeing of our prophetically minded writers, Aldous Huxley, brands this black fact upon our foreheads.

The first condition of a "Brave New World" must be the dissociation of sexual from reproductive life.1 The word "mother" must be as nauseating to all properly human minds as it now is to every one that has contemplated the subject with clear vision.

I know there is an answer to all this; in fact, The Book of the Law enables us to take it in our stride.

But there is another aspect of "mother-love" which is urgent, practical, and in no way dependent upon ideal considerations.

What do we find in practice as the immediate consequence of this "sublime," this "holy" instinct?

Quite a few species of animals habitually devour their offspring; but women "know a trick worth two of that."

No, no, let Zola rhapsodize!

Time passes. Libitina smiles. But the conditions are not spacious; both the "happy events"—real ladies and gentlemen emphasize this euphemism with a snigger and a smirk—are expected the same night, and the only place available is the barn.

Now Zola, well into his stride, gives us full details, hopping from one corner of the barn to the other, so accurately and so judicially that the reader very soon "loses his place," and doesn't know which birth is being described in any given paragraph.

The accumulated hogwash of a billion sentimentalists dashes in vain against that cliff of ugly truth.

Next witness: Dr. Doughty, who looked after the health of Trinity College, Cambridge.

A swift routine examination: then he tilted his chair backwards, thrust his hands deep into his trousers pockets, fixed the patient with a glare of ice; then these words dropped like vitriol from his lips: "You—young—fool! You go and put the most tender part of your body where I wouldn't put my umbrella!"

It is the magical formula of a man to push outwards, of a woman to close upon from without.

This is commonly seen as the possessive instinct: it may often be masked as "protective" but its essential truth is the impulse to devour. Hence the death-like idea of "home," where she can digest her victims in security and at leisure.

Hence, as even Jung saw in his very first book, and wrote in stated terms, the first task of manhood—of the "hero"—is to escape from the mother. Now the son, with his male formula, his formula of life, his instinct to push out, to break down all that would restrain him, finds it perfectly natural to "bite the hand that fed him," as the complaint might piteously wail. But the daughter has no club to smash, no sword to cut; all she can hope to do is to pass the buck. The amoeba, born of fusion,2 nourished by wrapping its pseudopods around such drifting particles as come within its scope, is but a parasite on its own dam until the fusion is complete.

So, when a woman is "so good," "so devoted to her daughter," God help the daughter!

She is never allowed to think for herself in the minutest matters; she is bound hand and foot remorselessly to the routine of her "decent Christian home;" a wageless kitchen-slut. No hope of escape unless the mother's vampirism takes the form of selling her off to the highest bidder.

Need it be added that the "good mother" is usually quite unaware of all this, will read these simple statements of plain fact in speechless rage?

But the truth stands: the woman-formula is Death: "return to the Great Mother" is the catastrophe of the hero, whether he be Coriolanus or Peer Gynt.

It is surely unnecessary to state the rider to this theorem; so perhaps I had better:

Anyone who has not totally and for ever destroyed in himself every vestige of this instinct, extirpating every root and charring it with Fire, cannot take the first step on the Path of the Wise.

How nobly opposite is the Man-Formula! Its freight the wealth of the whole Universe, that splendid Argosy leaps free upon the glittering Ocean, to cast the very Soul of Life upon uncharted and enchanted isles!

It is not to these few but well-chosen words that I propose to look to enhance my popularity in the Woman's Clubs of the United States.

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,


P.S. "Mother-Love" is, of course, a branch of family affection about which I have already written to you in no uncertain terms. Of all its sub-sections this is the worst because it is the strongest, the most natural, that is to say, the most brutish. You have complained pathetically on more than one occasion that I do not seem to know my own mind about Nature; that I am always contradicting myself. Sometimes I tell you that everything is in Nature; that everything moves by Nature: that to oppose Nature is to provoke endothermic reaction, and then I leap headlong through the hoop of my own construction and want you to defy nature, to attack her, to overcome her. Really, dear Master, it is too bad of you!

I know it sounds bad but there is not really the opposition that on the surface there seems to be. Perhaps it is that we are talking about two kinds of Nature. In one sense it might be asserted that the final formula of Nature is Inertia; in other words, that the dyad of manifested existence is an arbitrary and artificial development of the Zero to which everything must always cancel out.

Now by saying that, we have to all intents and purposes, answered the question which it poses; all positive development must be a conflict with that Inertia. It is the opposition between the magical Path and the Mystical; we may therefore say fearlessly that all forms of progress, although they make use of the formulae of nature which have brought them to their present situation, are attempts to proceed further on the way of the True Will.

It is particularly important to understand this at the present time when the Aeon of Horus is just getting under way. For the Aeon of Isis, that of the Mother, appears to have regarded the whole of Nature as a spontaneous growth of universal scope. In the Aeon Of Osiris, the restriction of Family appears for the first time.

The world of sentient beings is separated into clusters, each family, clan, gens, or nation, acting as a unit and standing upon armed neutrality with respect to similar groups. But in the Aeon of Horus this system has broken down. That such is the case is already abundantly manifest.

Totalitarianism in any of its forms tends to break down the family structure. It considers only the Individual, and him, merely as a unit in the welter of the state.

Experience will doubtless prove that this idea simply will not work. The Individual will come to his own, but it will be impossible to reconstruct the Family System.

It will in particular be impossible to maintain the intimate relation between Mother and Child, which has been so dominant a feature of past civilizations.

The very social and economic causes which in the old time tended to cement the relationship, have become centrifugal in their effect.



1: It is by no means clear that Huxley saw the kind of society he described in Brave New World as particularly desirable; and it is odd that Crowley, given his scathing remarks on the subject of Utopias constructed on a priori grounds (vide chapter 79, "Progress" should seem to endorse such things. In the "New Comment" on AL I, 40 Crowley similarly quotes, apparently favourably (in connection with the "Three Grades") a proposal for a "Rational State" outlined by a character in an earlier Huxley novel, Crome Yellow (the scheme in question was in any case straight out of Plato's Republic); and yet in any such regulated society, "Irregularity, Eccentricity, Disorder, the Revolutionary Spirit, Experiment" are precisely those qualities which are stamped on, and hard – T.S.

2: sic, s.b. "fission" – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:54 am

Chapter LIV: "On Meanness"

Cara Soror,

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

Yes, indeed! As you surmise, the injunction to "buy the egg of a perfectly black hen without haggling" is another way of putting the Parable of the Pearl of Great Price; a much better way. For the Pearl-buyer did think of equating the values, which is precisely what one must not do. That Egg is incommensurable with money.

(Further, the saying teaches one to insist on perfection; the hen must not have one tinge of aught but black in any feather.)

However, that is neither here not there; what you want me to do is to discuss Economy in its magical aspects.

Very good: to begin, Economy does not mean thrift or cheeseparing. It means: the law of the house. In practice, one may say "management." Finances are only one branch of the science, just as truckling, blackmail, graft, treachery and double-dealing are only components of modern statesmanship.

All the same, I propose to talk in terms of money, because everyone has thought a good deal about it. Examples are abundant, ideas easy to express, and one can be concise and clear without danger of misunderstanding.

So let us call this letter Moralizing on Meanness!

Firstly (dearly beloved brethern) meanness is flat contradiction to the Teaching of The Book of the Law. For "The word of Sin is Restriction...." and meanness is plainly a most flagrant case of Restriction. Also, there is nearly always an element of Fear in meanness; at least, I would like to bet that 95% of mean people originally became so because they foresaw a friendless and penniless old age. And fear is particularly forbidden in the Book: II, 16 "...fear not to undergo the curses...." Waxing in wrath, III, 17 goes on: "...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...." Then pretty well all the positive injunctions imply reckless enthusiasm. "Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us." (AL II,20)

What's more, meanness does not even pay! I propose to tell you why this is, and how things work out.

What is money? A medium of exchange devised to facilitate the transac- tion of business. Oil in the engine. Very good, then; if instead of letting it flow as freely and smoothly as possible, you baulk its very nature; you prevent it from doing its True Will. So every restriction (that word again!) on the exchange of wealth is a direct violation of the Law of Thelema.

How stupid is this tightening of the purse-strings! Parable No. Three, "The fairy Bank Note."

One evening a man walked into an inn and asked for hospitality. In the morning, when his bill came, he found he had nothing but a £100 note. "I'm afraid I've no change till the Banks open." "Oh, stick to it— I'll be back next week—I've enough petrol to take me home."

"Handy," though Boniface, "that will just square my brewer." That reminded the brewer to pay his cornchandler, who had been worrying him to settle. He wasn't nasty about it; he really needed the money for his farmer, a worthy man who wanted to build some new outhouses, and the builder couldn't give any credit because he was being pressed by the man who supplied his materials, a man in great trouble on account of his wife's long illness, and the necessity of an immediate and very expensive operation.

So the doctor went round, very lordly, to the local estate agent, and made the first payment on the new house he had wanted for so long. "Hullo! Hullo!" laughed the agent; "here we are again. It's curious, but I paid out that note only ten days ago!"

So there were seven hampered and worried men all made happy, and the Bank note was in the hands of its original holder.

Now then for True Story No. 1. It is my own experience. When, nearly 40 years ago, I walked through Spain, accompanied only by a single chela, there was little paper money in use, at least in the rather primitive places which we favoured. The currency was confined to the silver peso, and its fractions. About 90 miles north of Madrid, we found, one fine morning, that our well-meant attempt to pay our bill at the posada threw a bombshell into the works: the people of the Inn jabbered and gesticulated among themselves for about half an hour before they produced our receipt, and bade us Hasta la vista!

Next day, the same thing, rather worse. The day after, worse still; and we saw that they were disputing about the coins that we had handed over. Finally, about 20 miles from Madrid, they wouldn't take our money at all! Instead, the pointed out that we were English gentlemen, and they would be eternally honoured and grateful if we would send the money from Madrid!

On arrival at that city, we noticed long queues of people besieging the Banks; I put my finger to my nose, and said Aha!

But, sitting down at a café, oh no! not at all! Pesos were passing without question. Well, well! So I got into conversation with a knowledgeable-looking bloke, and he told me the whole story. It seemed that the Director of Customs had a brother in Mexico D.F. who manufactured brass bedsteads. The uprights of these were packed with forged pesos of Fernando VII and one other king—I forget his name—made of the same standard silver alloy as the genuine coins, and so well executed that the only way to tell the false was that they looked newer than they should have been, in view of the date! And so (continued my informant) there was a panic, and no one would take any money at all, and the city was dying on its feet! So the Government gave orders to the Banks to change any coins soever for their equivalent in freshly-minted money—that's what those queues are—and "every one is happy again." "But," I objected, "I see you have some old coins." He laughed. "Those one-eyed mules at the Banks! All foolishness! Days ago we all agreed to take any money without question—and as long as we all do that, why, nobody's hurt!"

I am not pretending that there is anything new about any of this; the whole theory of credit implies the probability of some such happenings.

(During the Skirmish [1914-1918 e.v.] some small town in Northern Mexico got cut off by warring presidential brigands from the rest of the country, and got on perfectly well for a year or more without any money or commerce at all, on a basis of good-neighbourly feeling. Similar principles at Cefal; three years without a single quarrel about money. We used to say: "There's no harm in money until you begin to count it!") Trouble comes from Fear, and from Restriction.

When I first landed in the U.S.A. (1900) I noticed instantly that practically everybody seemed to have money to burn, defying statistics. "Oh, that's simple!" explained a banker to whom I mentioned it; "in this country we reckon that money circulates 9 times as fast as in England. One dollar does the work of nine." Then, a year later at San Francisco, everything seemed very dear." Why? In S.F. one hardly ever saw a copper coin; the nickel (2 1/2d) was the smallest in practical use. Going on to Honolulu, it was twice as bad; and there the dime (5d) was the smallest coin one ever saw. Somehow, it made for stickiness. When one hesitates to pay money out, one cannot expect other people to feel otherwise. So everything becomes increasingly constipated. I am not denying the virtues of thrift, but it's a long and tedious business; and all the big fortunes are made by shrewd gambling. Even if your policy be "small profits," it is a failure unless it ensures "quick returns." This is the deeper meaning of the proverb "time is money."

Then, isn't there a little Bonus? Isn't it worth something to have a pleasant life, and to have people like you. It leaps to the eye if one is a "tightwad;" the Saturnian constriction shows itself in a myriad ways. "The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself."

Now, then expand your thought; from he consideration of money (which we chose merely for convenience of discussion) apply these principles to the spheres of all the other planets. You will very soon heighten the enjoyment of life beyond all measure and belief!

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,

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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:54 am

Chapter LV: Money

Cara Soror,

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

You ask me for the initiated view about the power of money. As the poet says: "O.k. oke; I'm yer bloke." F. Marion Crawford, a Victorian novelist, now (I think deservedly) obsolescent, thought I saw one of his books last week on the shelves of a tuppenny shark-library,* wrote a tale Mr. Isaacs based on the life of one Mr. Jacobs, the Indian Rothschild of two generations ago, financing princes, little wars—everything. One night in Bombay the burden of his wealth broke his nerve; he stood at the window of his hotel, and flung masses of money to the mob. Soon after came a stranger, and said to him, "You have insulted the fourth of the great powers that rule this world; it shall be taken from you." It was so; he lost all. In the end he became, after a fashion, Sannyasi, and died (I suppose) in the usual odour.

I thought of this incident in Paris in the twenties, when I saw American tourists plaster the bonnets of their cars with 1000 franc notes, or tear them up and strew the floors of banks with them. Grimly I prognosticated Twenty-Nine. And it was so.

"Nice work!" you charmingly remark; but hardly what I sought to know." Patience, child!

Money being the fourth great power, "what are the other three?" Come, come, you can surely do that in your head. Four's Tetragrammaton, isn't it?

Very well, then! The First Great Power is Yod, the Father. Fire, the Wand, the Flame of Creative Genius. The Second is Hç, the Mother, Water, the Cup, the Sea to which all things tend; it is the gift of pleasing, of absorbing, of drawing all things to oneself.

The Third is Vau, the Son, the Sword, the moving, penetrating element, double in nature. For it is intellect, but also the result of Genius absorbed, interpreted, transmuted and applied through the virtue of the Cup to expand, to explain, to bring into conscious existence.

And the Fourth is the Hè final, the Daughter, Earth, the Disk, Pantacle, or Coin—the Coin on which is stamped the effigy of the Word that begat it with the aid of the other forms of Energy. It is the Princess of the Tarot of whom it is written: "Great indeed is her power when thus firmly established."

* No money-lender in the drukenness of guilt plus the delirium of cocaine fortified by buckets of hashish would dare dream of getting such interest on his capital as these vampires.

It is a trite, and not quite true, saying that money can buy nothing worth having. But it can command service, the real measure of power, and leisure; without these two advantages the most brilliant genius is practically paralysed. It can do much to secure health, or to restore it. The truth is that money is only troublesome when one begins to count it.

(This epigram is copyright in Basutoland, the United States of America, the Republic of San Marino, the Sanjak of Novibazar, Arabia Petraea, and the Scandinavian countries.)

Then there is travel, by which I do not mean globe-trotting; and privacy, less attainable every year as the Meddlesome Matties invade every corner of life.

But this is by the way; the text, tenor and thesis of the illuminated and illuminating discourse is the above Epigram, which is not merely one of the extravagant absurdities for which I am justly infamous. It is the Pearl of Great Price. Observe that, formally it is a generalization of the principle of the old injunction "to buy the egg of a perfectly black hen without haggling." I want you to realize the supreme importance of this. For one thing, it goes hand-in-hand with the whole doctrine of so-called renunciation—which is nothing of the sort. You don't "renounce" five shillings if you pay that for a country house with 3000 acres of shooting, and the best salmon fishing on Deeside, do you? This is the Greater Interpretation of the Injunction, that no equation is possible: Magical Power is immeasurably more valuable than any amount of money. But the Epigram is severely practical. It may sound a little romantic, but—here goes! A community which thinks in terms of wealth is rich; in terms of money, poor. How so? Because the former includes the imponderables.

A couple of Japanese wrestlers may be worth more than Phidias, Robert Browning, Titian and Mozart in terms of butchers' meat. We might alter that incorrect truism "money cannot by anything worth having" to "things worth having cannot be estimated in terms of money." You see, no counting. The operation to save your child's life: do you care if the surgeon wants five pounds or fifty? Of course, you may not have the fifty, or be obliged to retrench in other ways to get it; but it makes no odds as to what you feel about it. What is the value of a University Education? The answer is that it is a pure gamble. The student may use his advantages to make a rich marriage, to attract the wife of a millionaire, to earn a judgeship or a post in the Cabinet, to earn £500 a year as a doctor, £150 as a schoolmaster—or he may die in the process. So with all the spiritual values; they are, in the most literal sense, inestimable. So—don't start to count!

Most obviously of all, when it comes to The Great Work, money does not count at all. I do not write of any Magical work, in the restricted sense of the phrase. Shaw says: "Admirals always want more battleships" and J.F.C. Fuller: "if a lawyer, more wretches to hang." It applies to any one whose heart is in his job. (Of course, in this case, money is like all other things of value; nothing counts but the Job.) This, too, is sound Magical doctrine.

Lack of money is another matter altogether.

Isn't it about time you sent me a cheque?

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,

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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:55 am

Chapter LVI: Marriage—Property—War—Politics

Cara Soror,

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

Directly or indirectly, you have already all you need about marriage in its relation to Magical Training. The Hindu proverb sums it all up: "There are seven kinds of wife—like a mother, a sister, a daughter, a mistress, a friend, an enemy and a slave; of these the only good one is the last."

But from your questions I gather that what you want is advice on how to advise, how marriage as an institution is regarded by The Book of the Law. Very good.

It is not actually mentioned; but that it is contemplated is shown by the use of the word "wife"—AL I, 41. The text confirms my own thesis "There shall be no property in human flesh." So long as this is observed I see no reason why two or more people should not find it convenient to make a contract according to the laws of customs of their community.

But my above thesis is all important; note the fury of denunciation in AL I, 41-42!

As to property in general, the Book lays down no law. So far as one can see, it seems to adhere to "the good old rule, the simple plan that they should take who have the power, and they should keep who can."

I think that your best course is to work out all such problems for yourself; at least it is an admirable if arduous, mental exercise. One ought, theoretically, to be able to deduce the ideal system from the Magical Formula of the Aeon of Horus.

Now then, as to war. You need hardly have asked the question; the whole Book is alive with it; it thrills, it throbs, it tingles on almost every page. It even goes into details. Strategy: "Lurk! Withdraw! Upon them! ..." AL III, 9. Then AL III, 3 - 8. England, I suppose. Verse 6 suggests the mine-layer to any one who has seen one in action. Verse 7 might refer to the tank or the aeroplane—or to something we haven't yet got.

Notice also Verse 28, a surprising conclusion to the long magical instruction about the "Cakes of Light." Then the mysterious opening of Verse 46 demands attention and research! Can "...the Forties:..." refer to the years '39 (e.v.) onward—will this war last till '49 (e.v.)? Can the "...Eighties..." be symbolic, as the decade in which universal peace seemed to nearly everybody as assured for an indefinite period?

There are any number of other passages, equally warlike; but see II, 24. It is a warning against internecine conflict between the masters; see also III 58,59. Hitler might well quote these two reminders that the real danger is the revolt of the slave classes. They cannot rule or build; no sooner do they find themselves in a crisis than mephitic rubbish about democracy is swept into the dustbin by a Napoleon or a Stalin.

There is just one exception to the general idea of ruthlessness; some shadowy vision of a chivalrous type of warfare is granted to us in AL III, 59: Significant, perhaps, that this and a restatement of Thelema came immediately before "There is an end of the word of the God enthroned in Ra's seat, lightening the girders of the soul." (AL III, 61) And this is "As brothers fight ye!" Perhaps the Aeon may give birth to some type of warfare "under Queensbery rules" so to say. A baptism of those who assert their right to belong to the Master class. Something, in short, not wholly dissimilar from the jousts of Feudal times. But on such points I should not care to adventure any very positive opinion.

The last part of your question refers to politics. "The word politics surprises by himself," as Count Smorltork observed. Practically all those parts of the Book which deal with social matters may be considered as political in the old an proper sense of the word; of modern politics it disdains to speak.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:55 am

Chapter LVII: Beings I have Seen with my Physical Eye

Cara Soror,

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

Well do you know my lifelong rule never to make any assertion that cannot be verified, or at least supported by corroborative evidence, on any subject pertaining to Magick.

When, therefore, you express curiosity as to how much of the normally super-sensible world has been revealed to my senses, and especially that of sight, you must take my answer as "without prejudice," "e. and o.e.", "under the rose," and "in a Pickwickian sense." If you choose to call me a lunatic and/or a liar, I shall accept the verdict with mine accustomed imperturbability. Whether what I am about to tell you is "true" or not doesn't matter, as in any case it proves nothing in particular. What does matter is to accept nothing whatever from the "Astral Plane" without the most conclusive and irrefragable internal evidence.

That is enough for the caveat part of it; now I plunge direct into the autobiographical.

I begin with my childhood. There is one incident, not quite relevant in this place, but yet of such supreme significance that I dare not omit it. I must have been about 6 years old. I was capering round my father during a walk through the meadows. He pointed out a bunch of nettles in the corner of the field, close to the gate (I an see it quite clearly to-day!) and told me that if I touched them they would sting. Some word, gesture, or expression of mine caused him to add: Would you rather be told, or learn by experience? I replied, instantly: I would rather learn by experience. Suiting the action to the word, I dashed forward, plunged in the clump, and learnt.

This incident is the key to the puzzle of my character. But, as a child, what did I see? I cannot think of any one person who subsequently devoted his life to Magick who has not at least one early experience of seeing angels, or fairies, or something of the sort. But A.C.? Nary a one. I was brought up on the Bible, a literalist, fundamentalist—all that a Plymouth Brother could wish. It never occurred to me to doubt a word of what I was told. Perhaps the Wolf's Tail of an healthy scepticism gleamed pale at the age of 10, when I asked my form master how it was that Christ managed to be dead for three days and three nights between Friday night and Sunday morning. He said that he did not know, and (to a further question) that no one had ever explained it. This merely filled me with ambition to be the great exegetist who had explained it. I never thought of doubting the story.

Well, all this time, and then through puberty, despite my romantic bent, my absorption in the gramarye of Sir Walter Scott, my imaginative life as one of his heroes, and the rest of it. I never had even a moment's illusion that anything of the sort had ever happened to me. I went through all the motions; I haunted all the places where such things are reputed likely to happen, but nothing did happen.

There is one exception, and one only.

It was in 1896, at Arolla in the Pennine Alps. I took my cousin, Gregor Grant, a fine climber but with little experience beyond scrambles, and in poor physical condition, for the second (first guideless) ascent of the N.N.E. ridge of Mont Collon, a long and exacting climb of more than average difficulty. I had to help him with the rope for most of the climb. This made us late. I dashed for the quickest way down, a short but very steep ridge with one decidedly bad patch, to the great snowfield at the head of the valley. At the bottom of the last pitch a scree-strewn slope, easy going, led to the snows. We took off the rope, and I sat down to coil it and light a pipe, while he wandered down. By this time I was as tired as 14 dogs, each one more tired than all the rest put together; what I call "silly tired." I took a chance (for nightfall was near) on resting 5 or 10 minutes. Restored, I sprang to my feet, threw the coiled rope over my shoulder, and started to run down. But I was too tired to run; I slackened off.

Then, to my amazement, I saw of the slopes below me, two little fellows hopping playfully about on the scree. (A moment while I remind you that all my romance was Celtic; I had never ever read Teutonic myths and fables.) But these little men were exactly the traditional gnome of German fold-tales; the Heinzelmänner that one sees sometimes on German beer-mugs (I have never drunk beer in my life) and in friezes on the walls of a Conditorei.

I hailed them cheerfully—at first I thought they were some of the local nobility and gentry of a type I had not yet encountered; but they took no notice, just went on playing about. They were still at it when I reached my cousin, sheltering behind some boulders at the foot of the slope; and I saw no more of them.

I saw them as plainly as I ever saw anything; there was nothing ghostly or semi-transparent about them.

A curious point is that I attached no significance to this. I asked my cousin if he had seen them; he said no.

My mind accepted the incident as simply as if I had seen Chamois. Yet even to-day when I have seen lots and lots of things more wonderful, this incident stands out as the simplest and clearest of all my experiences. I give myself full marks!

"Why?" Isn't it obvious? It means that I am not the semi-hysterical type who takes wish-phantasms for facts. When I started seriously to study and practise Magick in the Autumn of '98 e.v., I wished and wished with all my might; but I never got anything out of it. With the exception above recorded, my first experiences were the direct result of intense magical effort on the traditional lines; there was no accident about it; when I evoked N to visible appearance, I got N and nobody else. But even so, there isn't much to splash!

The first definitely physical sight was due to the "evocation to visible appearance" of the Goetia demon Buer by myself and V.H. Frater "Volo Noscere."1 (Our object was to prolong the life, in imminent danger, of V.H. Frater Iehi Aour—Allan Bennett—Bhikkhu Ananda Metteya—and was successful; he lived another 20 odd years. And odd years they were!)

I was wide awake, keyed up, keenly observant at the time.

The temple was approximately 16 feet by 8, and 12 high. A small "double- cube" altar of acacia was in the centre of a circle; outside this was a triangle in which it was proposed to get the demon to appear. The room was thick with the smoke of incense, some that of Abramelin, but mostly, in a special censer in the triangle, Dittany of Crete (we decided to use this, as H.P.B. once said that its magical virtue was greater than that of any other herb).

As the ceremony proceeded, we were aware that the smoke was not uniform in thickness throughout the room, but tended to be almost opaquely dense in some parts of it, all but clear in others. This effect was much more definite than could possibly be explained by draughts, of by our own movements. Presently it gathered itself together still more completely, until it was roughly as if a column of smoke were rising from the tri- angle, leaving the rest of the room practically clear.

Finally, at the climax of the ritual—we had got as far as the "stronger and more potent conjuration"—we both saw, vaguely enough, but yet beyond doubt, parts of a quite definite figure. In particular, there was a helmet suggesting Athene (or horror! Brittania!), part of a tunic or chlamys, and very solid footgear. (I thought of "the well-greaved Greeks.") Now this was very far from satisfactory; it corres- ponded in no wise with the appearance of Buer which the Goetia had led us to expect. Worse, this was as far as it went; no doubt, seeing it at all had disturbed our concentration. (This is where training in Yoga would have helped our Magick.) From that point it was all a wash-out. We could not get back the enthusiasm necessary to persist. We called it a day, did the banishings, closed the temple, and went to bed with our tails between our legs.

(And yet, from a saner point of view, the Operation had been a shining success. "Miraculous" things began to happen; in one way and another the gates opened for Allan to migrate to less asthmatic climes; and the object of our work was amply attained.)

I give prominence to this phenomenon because what we saw, little and unsatisfactory as it was, appeared to our normal physical sight. I learned later that there is a kind of sight half-way between that and the astral. In a "regular" astral vision one sees better when the eyes are shut; with this intermediate instrument, to close them would be as completely annihilating as if the vision were an ordinary object of sight.

It seems, too, as if I had picked up something of the sort as an aftereffect of the Evocation of Buer—a Mercurial demon; for phenomena of one sort or another were simple showered on me from this moment, pari passu with my constantly improving technique in regular "astral visions." Sometimes I was quite blind, as compared with Frater V.N.; for when the circles was broken one nightùsee the whole story in my Autohagiography—he saw and identified dozens and scores of Abramelin demons as they marched widdershins around my library, while all I saw of them was a procession of "half-formed faces" moving shadowy through the dimly-lit room.

When it was a matter of the sense of touch, it was far otherwise; I got it good and hearty—but that is not the subject of this letter. I find all this excessively tedious; I resent having to write about it at all; I wonder whether I am breaking some beastly by-law; in fact, I shall ask you to be content with Buer as far as details go; I never saw anything of importance with purely physical sight with anything like the clarity of my adventure on Mont Collon.

Yes, as I think it over, that by-law is to thank. This Spring I saw very plainly, on four separate occasions, various beings of another order than ours. I was ass enough to tell one or two pupils about it...

And I've never been able to see any more. This, however, it is a positive duty to tell you. One can acquire the power of seeing, with this kind of sight that is neither wholly normal nor wholly astral, all the natural inhabitants of the various places that one reaches in one's travels; one can make intimate contact with individual "elementals" as closely as one can with human beings or animals, although the relation is rarely continuous or permanent.

The conditions of such intercourse are complex: (a) one must have the necessary degree of initiation, magical efficiency, and natural ability; (b) one must be at the time in the appropriate magical state, or mood; (c) both parties must desire to make the contact, or else one must be lawfully the superior, a master and slave relationship, (d) the magical conditions at the time must be suitable and propitious; e.g., one would not make love to a salamandrine during a sandstorm. Of course, like all operations, any such efforts must be justified by their consoance with one's True Will.

On this note I end this abortive letter.

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,




1: Lat., "I want to know." George Cecil Jones.
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