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 5:56 am

Chapter LVIII: "Do Angels Ever Cut Themselves Shaving?"

Cara Soror,

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

A very witty way to put it! "Do angels ever cut themselves shaving?" Rem acu tetigisti,1 again. (English: you big tease?)

What sort of existence, what type or degree of reality, do we attribute to them? (By angel, of course, you mean any celestial—or infernal—being such as are listed in the Hierarchy, from Metatron and Ratziel to Lilith and Nahema.) We read of them, for the most part, as if they were persons—although of another order of being; as individual, almost, as ourselves. The principal difference is that they are not, as we are, microcosmic. The Angels of Jupiter contain all the Jupiter there is, within these limits, that their rank is not as high as their Archangel, nor as low as their Intelligence or their Spirit. But their Jupiter is pure Jupiter; no other planet enters into their composition.

We see and hear them, usually (in my own experience) as the result of specific invocation. Less frequently we know them through the sense of touch as well; sometimes their presence is associated with a particular perfume. (This, by the way, is very striking, since it has to overcome that of the incense.) I must very strongly insist, at this point, on the difference between "gods" and "angels." Gods are macrocosmic, as we microcosmic: an incarnated (materialised) God is just as much a person, an individual animal, as we are; as such, he appeals to all our senses exactly as if he were "material."

But everything sensible is matter in some state or other; how then are we to regard an Angel, complete with robes, weapons, and other impedimenta? (I have never known a god thus encumbered, when he has been "materialised" at all. Of course, the mere apparition of a God is subject to laws similar to those governing the visions of angels.)

For one thing, all the laws that we find in operation on various parts of the "Astral Plane" are valid. Two things can occupy the same place at the same time. They are "swift without feet, and flying without wings."2 They change size, shape, appearance, appurtenances of all sorts, at will. Anything that is required for the purpose of the vision is there at will. They bring their own background with them. They are able to transfer a portion of their energy to the seer by spontaneous action without appreciable means.

But here is where you question arises—what is their "life" like? In the visions, they never do anything but "go through the motions" appropriate to their nature and to the character of the vision.

Are we to conclude that the whole set of impressions is no more than symbolic? Is it all a part of oneself, like a daydream, but a daydream intensified and made "real" because its crucial incidents turn out to be true, as must always occur during the testing of the genuineness of the vision?

Shall we infringe Sir William Hamilton's Law of Parsimony if we extend our conception of our own powers, and conclude that the vision is but a manifestation of our Unconscious, presented in a symbolic form convenient for our understanding?

I'm sorry, but I can't let it go at that! Some of my own experiences have been so confoundedly objective that it just won't work. So there we are back to your original question about shaving and I fear me sorely that "Occam's razor" will help us no whit.

It seems to me much simpler to say that these Angels are "real" individuals, although living in a world of whose laws we have no conception; and that, in order to communicate with us, they make use of the symbolic forms appropriate; employ, in short, the language of the Astral Plane.

After all, it's only fair; for that is precisely what we do to them when we invoke them.

Ha! Ha! Ha! I suppose you think you've caught me out in an evasion there! Not so, dear child, not so: this state of affairs is nothing strange.

Ask yourself: "What do I know of Therion's mode of life?" Whenever I see him, he's always on his best behaviour." I've hardly ever seen him eat; perhaps he does so only when I am there, so as not to embarrass me by a display of his holiness." His universe touches mine at only a very few points." The mere fact of his being a man, and I a woman, makes sympathetic understanding over a vast range of experience almost impossible, certainly imperfect." Then all his reading and his travels touch mine at very few points." And his ignorance of music makes it an almost grotesque extension of magnanimity for me to admit his claim to belong to the human species . . . U.S.W.3" Then: "How do we manage to communicate at all? There is bound to be an impassable gulf between us at the best, when one considers that his connotation of the commonest words like 'mountain', 'girl', 'school', 'Hindu', 'oasis', is so vastly different from mine. But to do it at all! What actually have we done?"

Think it out!

We have made a set of queerly-shapen marks on a sheet of paper, given them names, attached a particular sound to each, made up (God knows how and why!) combinations of these, given names and sounds to them too, and attached a meaning—hardly ever the same for you as for me—to them, made combinations of these too according to a set of quite arbitrary rules, agreed—so far as agreement is possible, or even thinkable—to label a thought with some such arrangement: and there we are! You have in this fantastically artificial way succeeded in conveying your thought to my mind.

Now, turn back to Magick; read there how we work to establish intelligible intercourse between ourselves and the "angels."

If you can find any difference between that method and this, it is more than I can.

Finally, please remember as a general rule that all magical experience is perfectly paralleled by the simplest and commonest phenomena of our daily life!

People who tell you that it is "all quite different beyond the Veil" or what not, are blithering incompetents totally ignorant of the nature of things.

Incidentally, Bertrand Russell has given us a superb mathematical proof of this theorem; but I won't afflict you with it at this time of asking.

On the contrary, I will tell you more about "communication."

There is a method of using Ethyl Oxide which enables one (a) to analyse one's thoughts with a most exquisite subtlety and accuracy, (b) to find out—in the French phrase—"what is at the bottom of the bottle." By this they mean the final result of any project or investigation; and this, surprisingly often, is not at all what it is possible to discover by any ordinary means.

For instance, one might ask oneself "Do I believe in God?" and, after a vast number of affirmative answers of constantly increasing depth and subtlety, discover with a shock that "at the bottom of the bottle" one believed nothing of the sort! Or vice versa.

On one occasion the following experiment was carried out. A certain Adept was to make use of the Sacred Vapour, and when the time seemed ripe, to answer such questions as should be put to him by his Scribe. Presently, after about an hour's silence, the Scribe asked: "Is communication possible?"
But this he meant merely to enquire whether it would now be in order for him to begin to ask his prepared list of questions.

But the Adept thought that this was Question No. 1: meaning "Is there any valid means of making contact between two minds?"

He remained intensely silent—intensely, as opposed to his previous rather fidgety abstention from talking—for a very long time, and then broke slowly into a long seductive ripple of hushed laughter, suggestive of the possession of some ineffably delicious secret, of a moonlight revel of Pan with his retinue of Satyrs, nymphs and fauns.

I shall say no more, save to express the hope that you have understood this story, and the Truth and Beauty of this answer.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,,




1: Lat. "You've hit the nail on the head" (lit. "you've touched the matter with a needle."

2: Swinburne, Atalanta in Calydon.

3: U.S.W is German for "etc." – W.E.H.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:57 am

Chapter LIX: Geomancy

Cara Soror,

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

Your last letter has really put me up a gum tree. I do not see how I can write you an account of Geomancy. At first sight it looks as if all I could do was to refer you to the official text book of that sublime and difficult art. You will find in the Equinox, Volume I, No. 2. (or am I mistaken and its is No. 4?) I cannot bother to refer to it, and the books are not under my hand.1

There is, of course, a short account in Magick and I do not think that it is a very satisfactory one, certainly not in view of what you have asked me. No, it certainly won't do at all.

The main point of your letter appears to be a question as to whether I think it worth your while to devote a great amount of time to it; whether its usefulness repays the pains required to master it.

Now here we come to a question of personality. The first thing to remember about Geomancy is that although the various intelligences are attributed to the twelve signs of the Zodiac they all appertain to the element of earth. Anyone therefore who has got in his nativity an earthy sign rising, or the sun in an earthly sign, or a good proportion of planets in an earthy sign, is much more likely to find Geomancy attractive than anyone the principal features of whose horoscope are devoted to other elements, especially air, which of course is the enemy of earth.

Now these remarks apply of course very much to the type of question that is likely to be within the grasp of the Geomantic Intelligences, that must certainly be considered as well as the natural faculty of the practitioner to master the art.

I ought of course to emphasize that I am just the worst person in the habitable globe that you could have asked about this matter, as my rising sign and my planets are all in fire, air, or water, except Neptune, which as Astrology teaches, refers not so much to the Native as to the period of life.

It has accordingly been exceptionally difficult for me to be of much use to people who have come to me with enquiries similar to yours, still more when they have planted themselves down solidly at my feet and insisted on my teaching them. There is, however, a certain meagre harvest to be gained from my experience. I should like to tell you what happened to such a man.2

A resident of Johannesburg and singularly gifted with the power of getting physical results to take place as a result of Magical experiments. This man was as strongly attracted to Geomancy as I was repelled, and I do not know that it would be fair for me to claim that I had been of any special use to him, though he was always kind enough to say so.

When I pointed out that the answers to Geomantic questions were so vague and indeterminate he had already devised a method whereby this difficulty (which he admitted as existing) could be overcome.

It is of course of the very first importance in Geomancy to frame your questions accurately; for the Intelligences serving the Art delight in tricksome gambols. If there is a possibility of assigning a double meaning to the question you can bank on their finding it, and deceiving you.

Of all this my disciple was well aware; and he had become extremely artful in allowing no ambiguity to spoil any of his questions.

But as to the further difficulty about their vagueness, what he did was to arrange a series of questions narrowing the issue step by step until he had succeeded in obtaining a precise instruction which would resolve his original difficulty.

I do think, as a matter of fact, that I was able to help to some extent on the purely theoretical side of the Art, and he went back to South Africa feeling himself fully equipped to deal with any problem that might arise.

At that time we were particularly anxious to wind up the first volume of the Equinox with a No. 10, which should be a really massive contribution to Magical thought. That meant a very considerable increase in the cost of production. All this my Disciple, of course, knew, and on arriving in Johannesburg he said to himself "Well, here I am in a part of the world where the earth teams with gold and diamonds. I will procure the necessary funds for the Equinox and various other financial necessities of the Work by Geomantic divination.

Now, then, he thought, in and about Johannesburg we have both gold and diamonds; that is exactly the chance for these tricky earth spirits to take advantage of the ambiguity. I will therefore frame the question so as to cover both sources of riches. I will not specify gold or diamonds. I will say simply "mineral wealth."

The answers to his series of questions indicated that he was to go out of the city where he would find a deposit.

The next questions in his series were directed to finding the direction in which he should start his exploration. That was easy.

The next question was the distance involved, and he could think of no way of framing questions which would inform him on that very important point. He got at it indirectly, however, by asking as to his means of transport, and as to that the answer was quite clear and unmistakable.

He was to use a horse.

Well, he had a Boer pony, and next morning he set forth with provisions for a day's journey.

On and on he went and found no geological indication of any mineral wealth. Presently he began to get tired and thought it was a little late. He could see in every direction across the Veldt and there was nothing at all. A mile or so in front of him, however, was a row of small kopjes. He said, I may as well go on and get a view from the top.

This he did; and there was still no geological pointer. It struck him, however, that he was getting short of water; and just below on the far side of the kopje were a number of apparently shallow pools.

"I will fill my skin and give my horse a drink and get home feeling like a fool."

But, when he got to the water, his horse turned sharply aside and refused to drink. At that he dismounted and put his finger in the water to test it. He had struck one of the most important deposits of alkali in South Africa. Mineral wealth indeed!

He went home rejoicing and took the necessary steps to protect his find. In the course of the formalities he found it necessary to come to London, which he did, and told me the whole story.

Unfortunately we end with an anti-climax. The negotiations went wrong; and the property was stolen from under his nose by one of the big alkali firms. However, it was a good mark for Geomancy.

I am afraid that all this is a digression. As I indicated above, what you want to know is to be found in the official instruction on the subject in the Equinox.

Now far be it from me to cast any doubt on any official instruction, but I cannot help saying that in this particular instance it does not give very full details, and I think you would be well advised to investigate the whole subject afresh, basing you enquiry on the general principles of the science.

You will presumably have noticed that the Geomantic figures are derived from taking the permutations of two things, four at a time, just as the trigrams of Fu-Hsi are two things taken three at a time, and the Hexagrams of the Yi are two things taken six at a time.

The system is consequently based upon 16 figures and no more. Of course all systems of divinations which have any claim to be reasonable are based upon a map of the universe, or at least the Solar system, and 16 is really rather a limited number of units to manipulate.

However, if you are the type of person who has a natural bent towards this particular Art you will be able to develop it on your own lines, guided by your own experience.

I do not think there is anything further to add to these scattered remarks except that so far as I know none of the treatises on the subject (with the single exception of the official instruction) are any use at all.

I feel rather acutely how unsatisfactory these remarks must sound to you, but it is the best that I can do for you. You must regard it either as an excuse, or a confession of incompetence, that I have always had this instinctive distaste for the subject.

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,




1: The item on "Geomancy" is in Equinox, Vol I, No. 2. The method provided there is the French adaptation of an African method like the Ifa Oracle of the Yoruba people at Great Zimbabwe. This technique has superficial similarities to the Yi King, and four-line Geomancy was known in Europe from late Medieval times. The Geomancy mentioned in The Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin and in a few stories of the Arabian Nights is usually based on recognition of shapes, including Arabic letters, in randomly disturbed sand. This French method uses a count of odd or even in a series of random strikes against a sand or earth surface to determine the figure – WEH.

The instruction in the Equinox is taken almost verbatim from a Golden Dawn paper, itself adapted from the treatise on Geomancy attributed to Agrippa which was published in the 16th century (see Agrippa, Opera, vol. I). Certain crucial omissions were made and the method was delinated very unclearly; the version in Regardie (ed.) The Golden Dawn is more intelligible although it omits some of the tables which appear in the Equinox publication – T.S.

2: According to the version of this story in Confessions, this was James Windram, Frater Semper Paratus, who later became head of the South African section of the O.T.O. under Crowley – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:57 am

Chapter LX: Knack

Cara Soror,

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

I am very glad that it has not been necessary in all this long correspondence with you, to discuss the question of Knack. You seem to be specially gifted; you were able to get the results directly from following out the instructions, and I am glad that it is through you, on behalf of other people, to whom you have communicated these instructions, that this letter has become necessary.

When Otto Morningstar was trying (with indifferent success) to teach me how to play French Billiards in Mexico City I found one particular difficulty, and that was how to play the massé shot. He kept on explaining and explaining and demonstrating and demonstrating, and none of it seemed any good. I understood intellectually, well enough; but somehow or other it never came off. Presently he said that he guessed he knew what was the matter. Although I had the whole thing perfect in my mind I had not made the link between my mind, my eye and my hand, and what I must do was not to go to him for teaching, of which I had had already enough and more than enough. He told me if I went on trying it would happen quite suddenly and unexpectedly one day that I found I could do it. This was particularly decent of him because it was in direct contradiction with his financial interest. But he was an all-round good man.

So I cut him out so far as the massé shot was concerned and redoubled my practice of it. What he said came out right; one day I found that I had acquired the knack of it.

Now with these semi-pupils of yours the same thing probably applies.

The point you raise in particular as baffling them is the getting on to the astral plane. It is not much good explaining why the failure occurs, or at what point it occurs; the only thing that is any use is for the pupil to go on and on and on eternally. He must find out for himself where the snag is, and he must continue his experiment until he acquires the knack.

All this should be perfectly obvious; the same sort of thing applies to every kind of game which you know. There is a particular knack for instance in putting. It is not that your calculations are wrong, it is not that your stance is wrong, it is not that your grip is wrong, it is that for some reason or other you fail to co-ordinate all these various factors in the problem; and sooner or later the moment comes when it appears to you quite natural to succeed in getting out of the body, or in opening the eyes on the astral plane, or in getting hold of the particular form of elemental energy which has until that moment escaped you.

I have mentioned the question of astral journeys because that is one which in your experience, as indeed it has been in mine, is the one that most frequently occurs.

I do not know why it is that people should get so easily discouraged as they do. I can only suggest that it is because they are touching so sensitive a spot in their spiritual and magical organisation that it upsets them; they feel as if they were completely hopeless in a much more serious way than if it was a matter of learning some trick in some such game as chess or billiards.

Of course, the worst of it is that failure in these early stages is liable to destroy their confidence in the teacher, and I think it would be a very wise plan on your part to warn them about that.

I ought incidentally to mention that this sudden illumination—that is not quite the right word but I cannot think of a better one—is quite different to the sudden confidence which takes hold of one in the Yoga practices, the more I think of it the more I feel that the question of sensitiveness is of the greatest importance.

In Yoga practices one does not, at least as far as my experience goes, come against the delicacy that one does in all magical and astral practices. The reason for what is, I think, quite obvious. All the Yoga practices are ultimately of the protective type, whereas with magical and astral practices one is exposing oneself to the contact of exterior (or apparently exterior) forces. In neither case however is there any sort of reason at all for discouragement; and as I said above the cure in all cases is apparently the same.

In one way or another the veil is rent, the pupil becomes the master, and the reason for that is really rather beyond my analysis so far as that has gone at present. I do not know whether it is some kind of awakening of some faculty of the magical self, though that seems to me the simplest and most probable explanation; but in any case there is no doubt about the nature of the experience, and there can be no difficulty about the recognition of it when it occurs.

Now, dear Sister, I hope that this letter may be of real use to you in dealing with those difficult semi-pupils. In particular I hope that you will make a point of insisting on how encouraging this doctrine is. Your pupils must not calculate; that indeed is one point where the magical record is rather a hindrance than otherwise.

It reminds me of the story of the Psychologist who wanted to judge the difference in temperament between an Englishman, as Scotsman and an Irishman, in judging the amount of Whisky in a bottle in the next room. They had to go in, report, and come back, and tell him what they thought about it. He filled it 50% with great accuracy.

The Irishman came back fairly cheerful; he rubbed his hands; "Well, there's half a bottle left, your honour."

When the Scotsman came back his face was full of gloom: "I'm afraid," he says, "that half a bottle has gone."

Then the Englishman had his turn. He came in all over smiles, rubbing his hands, and said: "There's not a drop left, so that's that."

Moral—Be English!

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 5:57 am

Chapter LXI: Power and Authority

Cara Soror,

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

Thanks very much for your last letter. I expected no less. As soon as anybody gets into a position of authority, even on a very small scale, their troubles begin on a very large one.

Imagine, if you can, what I have been through in the last quarter of a century or more. My subordinates are always asking me for advancement in the Order; they think that if they were only members of the 266th degree everything in the garden would be lovely. They think that if they only possessed the secrets of the 148th degree they would be able to perform all those miracles which at present escape them.

These poor fish! They do not understand the difference between Power and Authority. They do not understand that there are two kinds of degrees, altogether different.

For instance, in the theory of the Church of Rome a bishop is a person on whom has been conferred the magical power to ordain priests. He may choose a totally unworthy person for such ordination, it makes no difference; and the priest, however unworthy he may be, has only to go through the correct formulæ which perform the miracle of the Mass, for that miracle to be performed. This is because in the Church we are dealing with a religious as opposed to a magical or scientific qualification. If the Royal Society elected a cobbler, as it could, it would not empower the New Fellow to perform a boiling-point determination, or read a Vernier.

In our own case, though Our authority is at least as absolute as that of the Pope and the Church of Rome, it does not confer upon me any power transferable to others by any act of Our will. Our own authority came to Us because it was earned, and when We confer grades upon other people Our gift is entirely nugatory unless the beneficiary has won his spurs.

To put it in a slightly different form of words: Any given degree is, as it were, a seal upon a precise attainment; and although it may please Us to explain the secret or secrets of any given degree or degrees to any particular person or persons, it is not of the slightest effect un- less he prove in his own person the ability to perform those functions which all We have done is to give him the right to perform and the Knowledge how to perform.

The further you advance in the Order the more will you find yourself pestered by people who have simply failed to understand this point of Magical theory.

Another thing is that the business of teaching itself is a very tricky one; even such simple matters as travelling on the astral plane are not to be attained by any amount of teaching unless the pupil has both the capacity and the energy as well as the theoretical and intellectual ability to carry out successfully the practices. (I have already said a good deal about this in my letter on Knack.)

I have thought it most important that you should impress upon everybody these points. It is absolutely pitiful to watch the vain struggle of the incompetent; they are so earnest, so sincere, so worthy in every way of every possible reward and yet they seem unable to advance a single step.

There is another side to this matter which is really approximating to the criminal. There are any number of teachers and masters and bishops and goodness knows what else running around doing what is little better than peddling grades and degrees and secrets. Such practices are of course no better than common fraud.

Please fix it firmly in you mind that with Us any degree, any position of authority, any kind of rank, is utterly worthless except when it is merely a seal upon the actual attainment or achievement.

It must seem to you that I am beating a dead dog, that it is little better than waste of time for me to keep on insisting, as I am now doing, upon what any ordinary person would think was patent to the meanest intelligence; but as a matter of plain fact the further you advance in the Order, and the more people you get to know, the more you find this attitude, sometimes absurd and sometimes abominable, getting up and kicking you in the face.

This is one of the reasons why the older I grow and the more experience I have of human nature, the more am I convinced of the wisdom of the Chiefs of the A.'. A.'., where association with any other person except your immediate superior or the one of whom you are yourself in charge is discouraged in every possible way.

There are of course exceptions. It is necessary, though regrettably so, for personal instruction in the practices to be given or received. For all that, I wish I could show you 200 or 300 letters that I have received in the last twenty years or so: they tell me without a shadow of doubt that anything like fraternization leads only to mischief. When you wish instruction from your superior, it should be for definite points and nothing else. Any breach of this convention is almost certain to lead to one kind of trouble or another. It may in fact be regarded as a defect of concentration if communication between any two members of the Order should take place, except in cases of necessity.

I know that it must seem hard to the weaker brethren of the Order that we should make so little appearance of success in the Great Work to which we are all pledged. It is so universal a convention that success should be measured by members. People like to feel that they have hundreds of Lodges from whom they can obtain assistance in moments of discouragement.

But a far truer and deeper satisfaction is found when the student has contentedly gone on with his work all by his own efforts. Surely you have had sufficient example in these letters, where in moments of despair one suddenly awakes to the fact the despite all appearances one has been watched and guarded from a higher plane. I might say, in fact, that one such experience of the secret guardianship of the Chiefs of the Order is worth a thousand apparently sufficient witnesses to the facts.

I would have you lay this closely to your heart, dear Sister, and moreover always to keep in mind what I have written in this letter so that you may be able to recognise when the occasion arises how much better evidence of the power and intelligence of the Order is this to being constantly cheered up along the difficult way by incidents such as it is possible to explain by what might be considered normal circumstances.

Finally, let me insist that it is a definite symptom of Magical ill-health when the craving for manifestation of that power and intelligence come between the worker and his work.

Love is the law, love under will.


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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 5:58 am

Chapter LXII: The Elastic Mind

Cara Soror,

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

You ask me what I mean by an "elastic mind"—from our telephone conversation on Friday.

It is hard to define; but let me give you an example of the bad kind: an old riddle. "Why is a story like a ghost?" Because

"A story's a tale
a tail's a brush
a brush is a broom
a brougham is is a carriage
a carriage is a gig
a gig's a trap
a trap is a snare
a snare's a gin
gin is a spirit
and a spirit's a ghost."

You will have noticed a logical blunder—usually non distributio medii or Hobson Jobson—at every step in the sorites. It is your instinctive, or instructed, objection to commit these that prevents your mind from actually moving on such lines.

But these "correspondences," such as they are, ought to present themselves, be judged as false or true, and rejected or accepted accordingly.

The inelastic mind, on the other hand, is tied by training to a rigid sequence, so that it never gets a chance to think for itself.

To develop a mind properly it needs (a) "Lehrjahre" (a first-clas public school and university education, or the equivalent) when it learns all sides of a question, and is left free to judge for itself and (b) "Wanderjahre," when it sees the world for itself, not by any pre-arranged course (Cooks', Lunns', University Extension, Baedeker) but built up on the results of the Lehrjhre, foot or horseback, and avoid beaten tracks.

It is the Rosicrucian injunction to "wear the costume of the country in which your are travelling;" this is only another way of saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." The object of this is not merely to avoid interference or annoyance, but to teach the mind to think down to the roots of the local customs. You learn also the great lesson of Thelema, that nothing is right or wrong in itself: as we say "Circumstances alter cases." One trains oneself to adapt one's life to the impinging facts: to "cut one's coat according to one's cloth." It leads one to the understanding of that great Principle of Compromise which has kept England's head above water through the tempests of a chiliad.

But always behind all these must be Will, the restraining and controlling purposefulness which prevents one getting flabby, as worn rubber does. (This is why no one is surprised to hear an ultra-Socialist minister deliver a speech that might have come from Pitt.) There must be a perfect readiness of the mind to consider all the possible reactions to any given situation, to judge exactly how far one should yield, and in what direction, and to act accordingly; but always on keen guard against the risk of snapping.

Remember that the slightest sign of inelasticity means that the rubber has already "perished;" and that the test of perfection is that one can "Snap back" to the original condition, with no trace of the stress to which it has been subjected.

Beyond all, be armed against the "doctrinaire" type of mind, in yourself or in another. One very soon falls into the habit of repeating ones pet ideas; as the French say. "C'est enfoncer une porte ouverte;" and, probably before you know it yourself, you have become that most obscene, abhorred and incurable of human monsters, a BORE.

I perceive a slight danger of this kind in the letter: moral, SHUT UP!

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 5:59 am

Chapter LXIII: Fear, a Bad Astral Vision

Cara Soror,

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

Your letter of yesterday: so happy that my last was useful: but the vision! I must have failed to make myself clear. We shall come to that later in this letter.

It is reassuring to learn that you are two-thirds human! Greed, anger and sloth are the three Buddhist bed-rock badnesses; and you have certainly given the last a miss in baulk. It is my own darkest and deadliest foe, and oh how mighty! With me he never relaxes. Sounds a paradox! but so it is.

Now as to fear. In the Neophyte ceremony of G.'. D.'. when the bandage is first removed from the eyes of the Aspirant, Horus, who was in that Aeon "the Lord in the West," tells him: "Fear is failure, and the forerunner of failure: be thou therefore without fear for in the heart of the coward virtue abideth not."

Listen, my child! I, even I, moi qui vous parle, need no information about fear. When I was twelve years old, it was discovered that I had defective kidneys; the opinion, nomine contradicente, of the Medical Profession was that I could certainly never live to be twenty-one. (Some people think that they were right!) But after a couple of years with tutors in the wildest parts of the country, I was found well enough to go to a Public School. They soon found me out! This kidney weakness causes depression and physical cowardice, and the other boys were not sympathetic about kidneys, regarding them mostly as satisfactory parts of the body to punch.

Imagine my misery! The most powerful of all my passions—bar slothùis Pride; and here was I, the object of universal contempt. So, when I was able to determine my own way of life, I observed mildly "Pike's Peak or bust!" and chose for my sports the two, mountain climbing and big-game shooting, reputed the most dangerous. It was a desperate remedy, but it worked. No half measures, either! I used to wander into the jungle alone, looking for tigers, and trusting to my sense of direction to take me back to camp. All my mountain climbing was guideless, and a very great deal of it solitary.

Well, this is not an example for you to copy, is it? But it gives an idea of the principle "Take the bull by the horns." A practice easier to imitate was this following. In most great cities, always in Eastern cities, are black slums. Here one may find blind alleys, dark doorways open to unlighted houses. One may explore such places, looking for adventure—and it was rather a point of honour to accept the challenge in whatever form it took. Again, one may walk with deliberate carelessness into the traffic1; this practice does not in my considerable experience, conduce to one's personal popularity. Another idea was to hasten to cholera-stricken cities, to places where Yellow Jack, plague, typhoid and typhus, dysentery (et hæc turba malorum) were endemic; and (of course) big-game hunting takes one to the certainty of malarial fever, with no doctors (or worse, Bengali doctors!) within many a league.

The general principle seems to be "This boat carries Caesar and his Fortunes!" and no doubt Pride in its most Satanic degree is one's greatest asset. But the essence of the practice, as a practice, is to seek out and to face what one fears. Do not forget that courage implies fear—what else should fear be useful for?

Of course, fears differ greatly both in quality and in degree; and one must distinguish between rational fear, ignorance of which implies stupidity, brutishness, imbecility, or what have you, and the pathological fear which springs from mental or moral disorder. There are in fact many types of fear which may be uprooted by some form of psycho-analysis. Generally speaking, it is up to you to invent a practice to meet each specific case.

One moment, though, about the fear of death. The radical cure is the gaining of the magical memory. (See also AL I, 58) The more previous incarnations one can remember, the less important appears the moment when the curve of life dips below the horizon. (One very curious point: when one looks back at the moment of one of one's deaths, one exclaims: "By Jove! that was a narrow escape, and no mistake!" Escape from what? Me no savvy; but such is the fact.) How to acquire that Memory? The development of the Magical Record is by far the most important of one's weapons. How to use the Record is not easy to explain; but there is a sort of knack which comes to one suddenly. And there are certain types of Samadhi during the exercise of which these memories appear spontaneously, without warning of any kind.

There is comfort in the thought that the persistent practice of seeking out one's fears, analysing them and their causes, then deliberately evoking them to "come out, you cad, and fight!" (W.S. Gilbert), presently sets up a habit of mind which is a strong fortress against all fear's modes of assault; one springs automatically to action when a patrol sneaks up within range of one's guns.

Particularly useful against the fear of death is the punctual and vigorous performance of Liber Resh. Meditate on the sun in each station: his continuous and even way: the endless circle. That formula in the Tarot book is most valuable.

One excellent practice, the general idea of which can easily be adapted to a host of particular cases, is the use of the imagination.

Let me tell you how it worked in those early Air Raids on London. First, I looked at the question sensibly, taking the view that shelters and gas masks were soothing syrup with an element of booby-trap in it.

(J. B. S. Haldane in Spain, running to escape a bomb, found himself racing towards the exact spot where it fell.)

Let me tell you a fable from the East. It is one of those incomparably sublime blossoms of the Spirit of Islam, infinite depth of wisdom adorned with the most exquisite and delicate wit.

Contrast it with the poor thin propagandist stuff which passes for a parable in the Gospels! There is hardly one to be found worth remembering.

Isaak ben Hiddekel was a Jew of Baghdad. Though not in his first or even second youth, he was in such health, enjoyed such prosperity, and commanded such universal respect and devotion that every moment of his life was dear to him. Among his pleasures one of the chief was the friendship of the aged Mohammed ibn Mahmed of Bassorah, reputed a sage of no common stature, for (it was said) his piety had been rewarded with such gifts as the power to communicate with Archangels, angels, the Jinn, and even with Gabriel himself. However this may have been, he held Isaak in very great esteem and affection.

It was shortly after leaving his friend's house after a short visit to Baghdad that he met Death. "Good morning," said the saint. "I do hope you're not going to Isaak's, he is a very dear friend of mine." "No!" said Death, "not just now; but since you mention it, I shall be with him at moonrise on the thirteenth of next month. Sorry he's a friend of yours; but no one knows better than you do that these things can't be helped."

Mohammed set off sadly for Bassorah. Indeed, as the days passed, the incident preyed upon his mind, until at last he resolved to risk the breach of professional confidence and warn his friend. He sent accordingly a letter of condolence and farewell.

But Isaak was a man of action. Prompt and stealthy, on the day appointed he saddled his best horse and so passed through the silent streets of the city in search of a refuge.

That evening Mohammed was returning from prayer "Nowit asali fardh salat al maghrab Allahu akbar" slowly and mournfully, when hardly halfway from the mosque to his house who should he meet but Death!

"Peace be with thee!" says Death. "And peace with thee," replied the sage. "But I did not expect to see thee here to-night; I thought you were to meet my friend Isaak, and he's in Baghdad." "It wants an hour yet of the time," says Death briskly; "and he's galloping hither as fast as he can."

At least, don't let the Gods have the laugh on you! Hello! Here's the Book of Lies again! What fun. Now I ring up POL 5410 and borrow the book and get the chapter we need copied and—oh! With luck we shall get this space filled in a month or two!

The Smoking Dog

Each act of man is the twist and double of an hare.

Love and Death are the greyhounds that course him.

God bred the hounds and taketh His pleasure in the sport.

This is the Comedy of Pan, that man should think he hunteth, while those hounds hunt him.

This is the Tragedy of Man, when facing Love and Death he turns to bay.

He is no more hare, but boar.

There are no other comedies or tragedies.

Cease then to be the mockery of God; in savagery of love and death live thou and die!

Thus shall His laughter be thrilled through with Ecstasy.

Very good! Now where were we? in the "blitz?" Oh, yes! No sense in scuffling or slinking or skulking; so one decides to take no notice so far as practical action is concerned.

So, the noise making work rather difficult, one lies down in Shavasana (the "Corpse-Position"—flat on the back, arms by sides, everything relaxed) or the Templar (Sleep of Siloam2) position, which is that of the Hanged Man in the Tarot. One then imagines a bomb dropping first in one place, then in another; one imagines the damage, and what one then has to do to counteract the new dangers—perhaps a wall of your house has gone, and you must get clear before the roof falls in. And so on—close the practice by a block-buster hitting you accurately on the tip of the nose.3 This must be done realistically enough to make you actually afraid. But presently the fear wears off, and you get interested in your various adventures after each explosion: ambulance taking you to hospital, getting tools and digging out other people and so as far as your imagination takes you. After that comes yet another stage; your interest declines; you find yourself indifferent to the entire proceedings. After a few nights you can no longer distinguish between the real thing and your own private and peculiar Brock's Benefit. The fear will have vanished; familiarity breeds contempt. Finally, one is no longer even aware that the boys are out again on a lark.

Incidentally, one may draw a quite close parallel between these four stages and those accompanying Samadhi (probably listed in Mrs. Rhys David's book on Buddhist Psychology, or in Warren's bran-tub of translations from the Tripitaka, or Three baskets of the Dhamma. I haven't seen either book for forty years or more, don't remember the exact titles; scholars would help us to dig them out, but it isn't worth while. I recall the quintessence accurately enough.

Stage 1 is Ananda, usually translated "Bliss". This is an intensity of enjoyment altogether indescribable. This is due to the temporary destruction of the pain-bearing Ahamkara, or Ego-making faculty.

Stage 2. Ananda wears off sufficiently to allow one to observe the state itself: intense interest (objective) of a kind that suggests approach to the Trance of Wonder. (See Little Essays toward Truth, pp. 24-28).

Stage 3. Interest exhausted, one just doesn't care. (once more "Indifference" Op. cit. pp. 39-44. How simple, how serene, how innocent a pleasure to write Op. cit.! It does make one feel good!)

Stage 4. "Neither indifference nor not-indifference." One hardly knows what to make of this translation of the technical Buddhist term: probably no meaning is really illuminating to one who has not experienced that state of mind. To me it seems a kind of non-awareness which is somehow different from mere ignorance. Rather like one's feeling about the automatic functions of physiology, perhaps: and acceptance so complete that, although the mind contains the idea, it is not stirred thereby into consciousness. These speculations are, perhaps, idle, and so distracting, for you in your present path. Was it worth while to make this analogy? I think so, vague and unscientific as it must have seemed to you, as reminding you of the way in which unlike ideas acquire close kinship as one advance on the path.

Enough of all this! I could not bear to hear you exclaim:

"Di magni! Salaputtium disertum!" as Catullus would certainly have done, had I inflicted all these dry-as-dust dromedary-dropping upon him!

Let us get on to your white rages!

Well I do know them though I call them black—no, I shall not quarrel about the colour.

To me they come almost every day. When I see the maid dust my mantelpiece—which I pay her to do—I want not merely to slay her in the extremity of torment; I want to abolish her, to annihilate her—and the mantelpiece too and everything on it! I can hardly keep from roaring at her to get out and never darken my door again. This is not because she is doing it badly; doing it at all is a token of the unspeakable horror of existence. The actual feeling is that she is somewhat disturbing my aura, which I had got so nice and clean and quiet after the nuisance of "getting up." I feel as if I were being pushed about in a crowd of swarming insect-citizens.

Then there is quite another kind, which is quite clearly penny-plain frustration. Something one wants to do, perhaps a trifle, and one can't. Then one looks for the obstacle, and then the enemy behind that again; maybe one gets into one of those "ladder-meditations" (as described in Liber Aleph,4 quoted in The Book of Thoth, when discussing "The Fool" and Hashish, only the wrong way up!) which end by the conception of the Universe itself as the very climax, asymptote, quintessence of frustration—the perfect symbol of all uselessness. This is, of course, the absolute contradictory of Thelema; but it is the sorites on which both Hindu and Buddhist conclusions are based.

This kind of rage is, accordingly, most noxious; it is direct attack from within upon the virgin citadel of Self. It is high treason to existence. Its results are immediately harmful; it begets depression, melancholy, despair. In fact, one does wisely to take the bear by the ring in his snout; accept his conclusions, agree that it is all abject and futile and silly—and turn the hose-pipe of the Trance of Laughter on him until he dances to your pleasure.

But—is this any answer to your problem? It disturbs me little that you should try to palm off "Peace" upon my sentries as the password. Too often peace is merely the result of war-weariness, and the very negation of victory. It is (or may be) the formula of sloth and the gateway of stagnation.

Life is to be a continuous vibration of ecstasy; and so it is for the Adept, whenever his work allows him time to consider the matter, consciously; and even when his work pre-empts his attention, is an eternal fountain of pure joy springing, a crystal fragrance of reverberation light from the most inmost caverns of the Heart. It secretly informs one's dullest thought with sparkling wine, radiant in the Aethyr—see well! the least excuse, since it is always there, and champing at its bit, to turn the dreary cart-horse drudge into proud Pegasus himself!

This is where I want to have you, with us who are come thus far, in a state utterly detached from the Ego, so that you appear the plain Jane Wolfe5 "doing your duty in that state of life to which it has pleased God to call you" and consequently unremarked—like a Rosicrucian, "wearing the habit of the country in which you are travelling"—but trembling with interior illumination, so that the first relaxation of the constant conscious burden of Jane Wolfe, Soror Estai is automatically released, a pillar of Creative Light.

"I am Thou, and the Pillar is 'stablished in the Void."

(Liber LXV, as you know, is full of these explosions).

No: I am not at all sure that all this is the answer that you need about white rages. Yet it is certainly contained herein, or, at the least, implied. (Of course, it is all here, my love, and may God bless you, whereever you are.)

Try another aspect.

We tracked the cause: it was frustration. Good: then we must counter it. How? Only (in the last event) by getting the mind firmly fixed in the complete philosophy of Thelema. There is no such thing as frustration. Every step is a step on the Path. It is simply not true that you were being baulked. The height of your irritation is a direct measure of the intensity of your Energy. Again, you soon come to laugh at yourself for your impatience. Probably (you surmise) your trouble is exactly that: you are pushing too hard. Your mind runs back to AL I, 44; you realize (again!) that any result actually spoils the Truth and Beauty of the Act of Will; it is almost a burden; even an insult. Rather as if I risked my life to save yours, and you tipped me half-a- crown! Here's that Book of Lies popping out its ugly mug again: "Thou has become the Way." This is why the Ankh or "Key of Life" is a sandal-strap, borne in the hand of every God as a mark of his Godhead: a God is one who goes. (If I remember rightly, Plato derives "Θεως" from a verb meaning "to run", and is heartily abused by scholars for so doing. But perhaps the dreary old sophist was not far wrong, for once.) What you need to do, then, is to knit all these ideas into a very close pattern; to make of them a consecrated Talisman. Then, when rage takes you, it can be thrown upon the fire to stifle it: to thrust against the Demon, to disintegrate him. The great point is to have this weapon very firmly constructed, very complete. Your rage will pass in one of those two ways, which are one: Rapture and Laughter.

I want you to go over this apparatus very carefully; to analyse the argument, to make sure that there are no loose ends, to keep it keen and polished and well-oiled, ever ready for immediate use: not only against rage, but against any hampering or depressing line of thought.

Well, let us hope that I've got it all down fairly well this time, and that you will find it work. For I confess to a touch of my Mariana-in-the-moated-Grange complex: I've been umpteen hours on this letter, and I must have killed a Cakkravarti-Rajah, or wounded the body of a Buddha, in my last incarnation, or Tahuti (hang it all! I have been most devoted to him all my life) would have let me have a secretary. Well, that's that: so now to turn the Flak on to your so-called "Astral Flight." What a Tail spin! (Here I dash my turban to the ground! Here I deliver you to Eblis, and reserve a private box for you in Jehannum! Here I melt into salt tears, and think of all the other Gurus that have had to bear it.)

Astral Flight!!!!!!!!

Excuse me if I mention it, but—no doubt the fault is mine—you seem to have failed to note any single one of all my prayerful injunctions, either in the letter or on your visit.

Perhaps you thought that I should take circles and pentagrams etc. for granted: but you give no hint of the object of your journey. (No don't quote AL I, 44 at me: it doesn't mean that. I don't expect you to answer the clerk at the booking-office "Where to, madam?" with "I don't mind in the least." Though, even in that case it is magically true, or should be. As in the case of the young lady who got carried on to Crewe. The unplanned adventure may have proved much more amusing.) How am I to tell whether you were seeing correctly? Suppose your chosen hexagram had been VI Sung "Contention" or XXIX Î "Nourishing"? Where would be the "vision"? You are to set out to explore a country unknown to you: How can I be sure that you have actually been there? How can you be sure yourself? You can't. You can, if you go to a place you have never heard of, and then discover later on, that it actually exists. You have got to display the congruity of your vision with the account of the country given in the Text. If you take Khien I, which is all Lingams and Dragons, and you describe it as a landscape in the Broads, I can only conclude that you did not get anywhere near it.

Then you produce a monk, and never get his name or office. Finally after you return, you get this Caballero dropping in unasked.

Alas! I fear me much this was no Astral journey at all; it reads like weak imagination tinged by desire. All you got of interest was the answer to your question: and that you should have gripped, made more precise, analysed, interpreted. Dear me, no!

Final shot: my instinct is all against the "lying in bed." These visions are intensely active: the hardest kind of work. Read Liber CDXVIII, 2nd Aethyr (and others) to understand the appalling physical strain, when you reach remote, well-guarded, and exalted confines of the Universe.

In every sense of the expression—SIT UP!

(I'm "sitting up" myself to finish this letter. Here goes for the last lap!)

Music. Justifiable? Why not? A help to your great Work, an aspect of your Will, nicht wahr? Go to it!

Apollo is the God of Music, pre-eminently; but He is too all-comprehensive, all-pervading, to be much use in a Talisman except as a general background. But there are the Muses: Polymina (or Polyhymnia) seems the one you want: she inspires the sublime hymn. How to invoke her is a matter for prolonged consideration. One would hardly see how to tackle the problem at all, unless by digging out an Angel from one of the Enochian Tablets. (See Equinox I, 7 and 8). Perhaps there is a square ruled by Sol (or Venus), Fire, Air and Water in the Tablet of one of these, with an appropriate Character on the summit of the Pyramid. If so, all would be plain sailing.

Of course, there are other Gods, notably Pan. (I must ask you to set my Hymn to Pan to music). But I doubt if any of these are what you want. Probably the most practical plan would be to make a musical conjuration of Sol: use this as your invocation when you go on the Astral Plane: there find a suitable guide to the proper authority—and so on!

And that, dear Sister, for to-night will be exactly and precisely that!

Love is the law, love under will.





1: The reader should bear in mind that traffic was primarily horses in the era in which Crowley worked out this method! – WEH

2: The "sleep of Siloam" (or 'Sialam') appears to have been a term used in certain occult fraternities to denote a controlled deliberate trance state (according to the editors of The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor the term originates in a 19th-century British army officer's memoir of his time in India, and was taken up by P.B. Randolph and H.P. Blavatsky). An unpublished (possibly lost, or never written) official instruction of A.'.A.'. supposedly deals with the matter. One ritual by Crowley which mentions "the Sleep of Siloam" survives (it was published in The Magical Link in 1999), and this does indeed have the magician lying down in the Hanged Man posture at one point in the ritual – T.S.

3: This letter may have been written in the early 40's before the blockbuster hit behind Crowley's residence while he was out. A caution regarding visualization is in order! – W.E.H.

4: Chapters 177-182.

5: Jane Wolfe (Soror Estai), Hollywood actress in the 1920s; briefly resident at the Abbey of Thelema; later a member of Agapé Lodge #2 in California. Some of the other letters in Magick Without Tears may have also been originally written to her, though most were for Ms. Anne Macky (Soror Fiat Yod) – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 6:00 am

Chapter LXIV: Magical Power

Cara Soror,

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

Rightly you remark that most of these letters have dealt with self-development in one form or another; now, what of the "causa finalis",1 the "practical angle" some would call it. Are the outrageous quack advertisements of the swindlers with their "Great Free Book" and so on, all baseless? My dear child, then back to those letters that gave you a glimpse of the History of Magick, and those in which I told you something of the ways in which the Masters work. Oh, I see! What you want now is to learn how to apply the knowledge and power that you have gained to the execution of your True Will, to accomplishment of the Great Work.

Obviously, much must be left to your own common-sense; the one technical point on which I insist above all others is the Magical Link.

You must lay to heart Magick Chapter XIV (pp. 106-122) and never forget one detail. More failure comes from neglect of this than from all other causes put together. Most of the qualities that you need are inborn; all the material is to your hand; and to develop them is a natural process, equally your birthright. But the making of the Link is an intellectual, even mechanical, task; success depends on purely objective considerations.

That granted, there are perhaps a few hints. Firstly, while of course the Magical Theory supposes a kind of omnipotence, please remember that Magick is Science, that the Laws of Nature remain the same, however subtle may be the material with which one is working. It is, to put it brutally, a bigger miracle to destroy a fortress than an easy chair.

You know this well enough; but the corollary is that it is nearly always a mistake to try to do things entirely off one's own bat. It is much simpler to look for an existing force, in good working order, that is doing the sort of stuff that you need, and take from it, or control in it, just that bit of it that you happen to require.

You can, theoretically, walk from Cadiz to Vladivostock; but unless there be some special reason, it will save time and waste of energy to make use of a fraction of the machine-power that happens to be moving in that direction.

This is particularly true of moral and political reform. Hitler would have got exactly nowhere if he had been content to announce his evangel; he became master of Germany, and, for a time, of nearly all Europe, by playing upon existing instruments of human passion; the revenge-lust of Central Europe, the panic of the Blimps and Junkers, the discontent of the property-lacking classes, the pride and ambition of the Prussian military clique, and so on. When he had used them to the full, he callously flung them to the wolves. But make no mistake! The Magical Power behind all his actions lay in himself. He had succeeded in making himself a prophet, like Mohammed; even a symbol, like the Cross of the His magical technique was indescribably admirable; he adopted the Swastika, the Hammer of Thor, the distinctive dress, the slogan, the gestures, the greeting; he even imposed a Sacred Book upon the people. If that book had only been more mystic and incomprehensible, instead of reasonable, diffuse, and intolerably dull, he might have done better. As it was, he came within an ace of capturing England, even before he came to power in Germany; and it was American money that saved the Nazi party at the most critical moment. Cleverest move of all, he gave the world something to hate; the Communist and the Jew.

His only trouble was that he couldn't count on his fingers! I perceive that I am turning into the late Samuel Smiles; having given you an example to imitate—but don't forget your arithmetic!—let me initiate you into one of two other secrets of power!

Um—will I now? Perhaps you're hardly grown up enough. I suspect that your question contemplated not so much Power as powers: things like healing the sick, making oneself invisible, kindling a flame with- out combustibles, bewitching the neighbours' cows, spoiling your friend's honeymoon, fascinations of all kinds, levitation, lycanthropy, necromancy, all the regular stuff of the legends and the fables.

Most of these matters are discussed in Magick, so all I need tell you is the correct general attitude to all such thaumaturgies.

The best excuse for trying to acquire them is that one learns such a lot in the process. Otherwise—

Here is another of those Eastern stories for you! A certain Yogi thought it would be an admirable achievement to walk across the Ganges. After forty years he succeeded, and went off to his Guru to demonstrate his power, and receive his due meed of praise. It so happened that this Guru was rather like myself, at least in he matter of his Nasty Temper; and when the disciple came gaily striding back across the Sacred Stream, expecting compliments, he was met with: "Well, I think you're a perfect fool all these years, your neighbours have been going to and fro on a raft for a couple of pice!"

The moral, dear child, is that such powers are never to be considered as the main object; it ought in fact to be obvious from the start that any one's True Will must be deeper and more comprehensive than any mere technical achievement. I will go further and say that any such endeavour must be a magical mistake, like cherishing a gun or a clock or a fishing-rod for its own sake, and not for the use that one can make of it. Indeed, that remark goes to the root of the matter; for all these powers, if we understand them properly, are natural by-products of one's real Great Work. My own experience was very convincing on this point; for one power after another came popping up when it was least wanted, and I saw at once that they represented so many leaks in my boat. They argued imperfect insulation.

And really they are quite a bit of a nuisance. Their possession is so flattering, and their seduction so subtle. One understands at once why all the first-class Teachers insist so sternly that the Siddhi (or Iddhi) must be rejected firmly by the Aspirant, if he is not to be sidetracked and ultimately lost.

Nevertheless, "even the evil germs of Matter may alike become useful and good" as Zoroaster reminds us.2 For one thing, their possession is indubitably a sheet-anchor, at the mercy of the hurricane of Doubt— doubt as to whether the whole business is not Tommy-rot!

Such moments are frequent, even when one has advanced to a stage when Doubt would seem impossible; until you get there, you can have no idea how bad it is!

Then, again, when these powers have sprung naturally and spontaneously from the exercise of one's proper faculties in the Great Work, they ought to be a little more than leaks. You ought to be able to organize and control them in such wise that they are of actual assistance to you in taking the Next Step. After all, what moral or magical difference is there between the power of digesting one's food, and that of transforming oneself into a hawk?

That being the case, let me transform myself into a butterfly, and flit on to other honeysuckles!

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,




1: Lat., "final cause." Aristotelean and medieval philosophy recognised four kinds of "cause" (αιτια): material, formal, efficient and final; the "final cause" is the "for the sake of which," the purpose an intelligent agent has when making or doing something, the end or goal for which a thing exists, and so on – T.S.

2: Chaldæan Oracles, fragment 191 in the Westcott edition, where it is rendered "Nature persuadeth us that there are pure Dæmons, and that evil germs of Matter may alike become useful and good." A modern translation (by Johnston in Hekate Soteira) runs "Physis persuades us to believe that the daemones are pure, and that the products of evil matter are propitious and good." Johnston (also Lewy in Chaldæan Oracles and Theurgy) interprets this verse in a manner almost diametrically opposed to that of Crowley, arguing that the Oracles have a basically hylophobic perspective and this fragment is rather a warning about the delusiveness of "nature" (φυσις) – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 6:06 am

Chapter LXV: Man

Cara Soror,

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

In previous letters I hope I have been able to give you some idea of the initiated conception of the Macrocosm, and also to have made it clear to you why we must all use a symbolic language, and the necessity of constructing a special alphabet as the basis of our conversations about Magick.

I have also furnished you with charts of this alphabet. It would of course have been too clumsy and cumbersome to put all the different systems of symbol on to the Tree of Life. That Tree is indeed the basis of all our classification, and I hope by now you have got fairly familiar with the process of sticking everything that turns up on its correct branch of the Tree.

In your last letter you thank me for having made clear to you the initiated teaching with regard to the Universe; and you now very rightly enquire "this being so, where do we come in?" You hold up to me one of the oldest axioms of the Qabalah. "That which is above is like that which is below," and you ask me for details. What, you enquire, is the constitution of Man? With what parts of the Great System is the Little System to coincide?

Perhaps I could hardly do better than call your attention to the description given in my essay on Man in my small book Little Essays Toward Truth.

In some respects indeed this description is not as clear as I could have wished. The fact is that this Essay was written chiefly for the benefit of those people who were already more or less familiar with the Tree of Life and its correspondences. But I do not know even to-day, twenty years later, and writing as I am to you who admittedly had no previous knowledge of any of these subjects, how to set forth the facts in more elementary terms. I warned you in the beginning that there was an essential difficulty in these studies which is not to be by-passed or dodged in any way whatever.
But, after all, it is the same difficulty which every child finds when he begins any study of any kind. In Latin, for instance, he is told that mensa means a table, that it belongs to the first declension and is feminine. There is no why about any of this; no explanation is possible; the child has to pick up the elements of the language one by one, taking what he is taught on trust. And it is only after accumulating a vast collection of unintelligible details that the jig-saw pieces fall into place, and he finds himself able to construe the classical texts.

You must be patient; you must go over and over again everything that is presented to you, and by obeying you will not only come to a clear comprehension of the subject, but find yourself automatically thinking in the language which you have been at such pains to acquire.

I feel then that I must leave you with these descriptions and these charts until painfully at first, but at the end with intense pride and gratification, you find yourself spontaneously grasping the more complex combinations of these letters and words which are the anatomy of the body of our Learning.

And do not forget the old and well-worn saw: "Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring!—A little learning is a dangerous thing."

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours fraternally,


Note: In the original this letter was accompanied by four Tree of Life diagrams, three of which were copies of those which appeared in The Book of Thoth. They have been redrawn and in some cases re-arranged in an attempt to make the information readable on a computer screen.



This figure shows the Sephiroth with their numbers only, and the Paths with Hebrew letters corresponding. The first number on each Path is its "key scale" number, the second is the numerical value of the letter.



This figure shows the name of the Sephiroth and the letters of the Paths in English, Hebrew and transliterated Hebrew. In the original edition the information on this and the above were combined into a single diagram which thus became unreadable in places.



This shows Crowley's later attributions of the Taoist principles including the eight trigrams of the Yi King to the Sephiroth. These differ somewhat from those in 777 col. XLVI and Appendix I.



Names of Tarot Trumps, suits and court cards have been conformed to those employed in The Book of Thoth.

• ATU VIII, "Adjustment," was traditionally called Justice.
• ATU IX, "The Hermit," is sometimes known as Prudence.
• ATU X, "Fortune" was traditionally called The Wheel of Fortune.
• ATU XI, "Lust," was traditionally called Strength or Fortitude.
• ATU XIV, "Art," was traditionally called Temperence.
• ATU XVI, "The Tower," has also been called The Blasted Tower or The House of God.
• ATU XX, "The Æon," was traditionally called The Angel or The Last Judgement.
• ATU XXI, "The Universe," is also known as The World.
• The suit of Disks is also known as Coins or Pentacles.
• The Knight court cards (mounted male figures) are sometimes known as Kings.
• The Prince court cards (male figures in chariots) are sometimes known as Emperors or Kings (confusing, eh?).
• The Princess court cards are sometimes known as Empresses or Pages.



The figure on which this is based was probably a copy of the diagram accompanying the first edition of Little Essays Toward Truth and shows the A.'.A.'. grades on the Tree of Life along with the Four Worlds and the Qabalistic Soul.1



1: This duplicates the G.'.D.'. confusion of the parts of the soul with the four Qabalistic worlds—as started by Mathers through misinterpretation of traditional Qabalah. The error of omitting the sixth traditional part, the Guff, is also perpetuated here. No big issue, but I'm picky – WEH. The confusion between the Qabalistic worlds and parts of the soul first appears to have been perpetrated by Mathers in his introduction to Kabbalah Unveiled (s.72 and subjoined plate). The G'uph, identified with the physical body, is mentioned in the account of the Qabalistic Soul in Zalewski, Kabbalah of the Golden Dawn – T.S.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 6:09 am

Chapter LXVI: Vampires

Cara Soror,

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

So you want me to tell you all about Vampires? Vampire yourself!

I ask you, how does this come within the scope of your enquiries? Is this information essential to your Accomplishment of the Great Work? As the Government might say "Is your journey really necessary?"

So musing, I rang you up for details. Vampires, you say, might be a temptation to yourself, or they might sap your energy. Very good. I will tell you the little I know.

Listen to Eliphas Lévi! He warns us against a type of person, fearless and cold-blooded, who seems to have the power to cast a sudden chill, merely by entering the room, upon the gayest party ever assembled.

Tête-à-tête, they shake one's resolution, kill one's enthusiasm, devitalize one's faith and courage.

Yes, we all know such people. Mercury, by the way, is the planet responsible. I have examined a considerable number of nativities, both of murderers and of people murdered; in both cases it was not a "malefic" that did the dirty work, but poor tiny innocent silvery-shining Mercury!

"Fie for same, you naughty planet!
You're the blighter that began it."

is it not John Henry Newman that sang of Lucifer? I doubt it.

You, however, are thinking more of the vampire of romance. Bram Stoker's Dracula and its kindred. This is a splendidly well-documented book, by the way; he got his "facts" and their legal and magical surroundings, perfectly correct.

It is easy enough to laugh at vampires if you live in Upper Tooting, or Surbiton, or one of those places where no self-respecting Vampire would wish to be seen. But in a lonely mountain village in Bulgaria you might feel differently about it! You should remember, incidentally, that the evidence for vampires is as strong as for pretty well anything else in the world. There are innumerable records extant of legal proceedings wherein the most sober, responsible, worthy and well-respected citizens, including the advocates and judges, investigated case after case with the utmost minuteness, with the most distinguished surgeons and anatomists to swear to the clinical details.

Endless is the list of well-attested cases of bodies dug up after months of burial which have been found not merely flourishing with all the lines of life, but gorged with fresh blood.

I cannot help feeling that all the superior-person explanations—which explain nothing—about collective hysteria and superstition and wish fulfillment and the rest of the current tomfool jargon, are just about as hard to believe as the original straight forward stories.

The man who shook his head on being shown a giraffe, and said "I don't believe it," is quite on a par with he pontifical wiseacres of Wimpole Street.

It is egomaniac vanity that prompts disbelief in phenomena merely because they lie outside the infinitesimally minute pilule of one's own personal experience.

When I crossed the Burma-China frontier for the first time, who should I meet but our Consul at Tengyueh, the admirable Litton, who had by sheer brains and personality turned the whole province of Yunnan into his own Vice-royalty? We lunched together on the grass, and I hastened to dig into the goldmine of his knowledge of the country. About the third or fourth thing he said to me was this: "Remember! whatever anyone tells you about China is true." No words have ever impressed me more deeply; they sank right in and were illuminated by daily experience until they had justified themselves a thousand times over.

That goes for Vampires!

Oh yeah! (you vulgarly interpolate) and how does it go with the Master's unfathomably sage discourse on Doubt.

Sister, you're loopy! Sister, if I may doubt all the people who have been to Africa or the Zoo and seen that giraffe, why must I cling with simple childlike trust to the people that say they've been all over Hell and parts of Kansas, and haven't seen one, and therefore such things cannot possibly be? Of the two dogmatic assertions, I should unquestionably prefer the positive statement to the negative.

In 1916, I was the first trained scientific observer to record the appearance commonly called "St Elmo's fire" indiscreetly revealing this fact in a letter to the New York Times. I was pestered for the next six months and more by professors of physics (and the rest) from all over the U.S.A. The Existence of the phenomenon had been doubted until then because of certain theoretical difficulties. That, sister, is the point. If a statement is hard to reconcile with the whole body of evidence on the laws of the subject, it is rightly received with suspicion.

A moment with great Huxley, and his illustration of the centaur in Piccadilly, reported to him (he humorously hypothesizes) by Professor Owen. What occasions Huxley's doubt, and inspires the questions by means of which he seeks to confirm or to discredit it? Just this, no more: here is the head and torso of a man fitted to the shoulders of a horse; how are the mechanical adjustments effected?

In the same strain, he pointed out that for an angel to have practicable wings as in Mediaeval pictures, the breast-bone would have to stand out some five feet in front of the body. (The poor fellow, of course, was densely ignorant of the mechanics of the Astral Plane. I am, for once, "on the side of the angels.")*

Am I digressing again? No, not really; I am just putting forward a case for keeping an open mind on the subject of Vampires, even of the Clan Dracula.

But certainly there is little or no evidence of the existence of that species in England.

How then is the subject in any way important to you? Thus, that there are actually people running about all over the place, who actually possess, and exercise, faculties similar to those mentioned by Lévi, but in much greater intensity, even of a kind far more formidable, and directed by malignant will.

There is a mighty volume of theory and practice concerning this and cognate subjects which will be open to you when—and if—you attain the VIII° of O.T.O. and become Pontiff and Epopt of the Illuminati. Further, when you enter the Sanctuary of the Gnosis—oh boy! Or, more accurately, oh girl!

Not that the O.T.O. is a Young Ladies' and Gentlemen's Seminary for Tuition in Vampirism,1 with a Chair (hardly suitable) for Werwolves, and Beds of Justice—that sounds more apt—for Incubi and Succubi;2 far from it! But the forces of Nature employed in these presumably abominable practices are similar or identical.

The doctrine of "Vital Force" has been so long and so completely exploded that I hardly need to tell you that in some still undiscovered (or, rather, unpublished) and unmeasured form it is certainly a fact. Haven't I told you one time how we nearly starved on Iztaccihuatl with dozens of tinned foods all round us, they being ancient; of how one can get drunk on half a dozen oysters; of how the best meat I have ever eaten is half-raw Himalyan sheep, cut up and thrown on the glowing ashes before rigor mortis had set in?3 There is a difference between living and dead protoplasm, whether the chemist and his fellow twilight-gropers admit it or no. I do not blame the ignorance of these fumblers with frost-bitten fingers; b ut they make themselves conspicuously assinine when they flaunt that ignorance as the Quintessence of Knowledge; Boeotian bombast!

There are forms of Energy, their Order too subtle to have been properly measured hitherto, which underlie and can, within certain limits, direct the gross chemical and physical changes of the body. To deny this is to be flung headlong into the arms of Animal Automatism. Huxley's arguments for this theory are precisely like those of Bishop Berkeley: unanswerable, but unconvincing. This letter is not, to every comma, the ineluctable, apodeictic, automatic, reaction to the stimulus of your question; and no one can persuade me that it is. Of course that unpersuadability is equally a factor in the equation; it is quite useless to try to "answer back." Only, it's silly!

(And, in the meanwhile, the mathematical physicists are knocking the bottom clean out of their ship by shewing that causality itself is little more than a maniac's raving!)

* For all that, they move without flapping them. As Swinburne says:

"Swift without feet, and flying without wings."4

So then, we may—at least!—get busy. It is easy enough to bore one's neighbour—look how I bore you! But that is usually an unintentional business. Is it possible to intensify the devitalizing process, so as to weaken the victim physically, perhaps even almost to the point of death? Yes.

How? The traditional method is to get possession of some object or substance intimately connected with the victim. On this you work magically so as to absorb its virtue. It is best if it was as recently as possible part of his living tissue; for instance, a nail-paring, a hair plucked from his head. Something still alive or nearly so, and still part of the complex of energies that he included in his conception of his body.

Best of all are fluids and secretions, notably blood and one other of supreme importance to the continuity of life. When you can get these still alive to their function, it is best of all. That is why it is not so highly recommended to tear out and devour the heart and liver of your next-door neighbour; you have gone far to destroy just that which is of most importance to you to keep alive.

Doubtless you will reply with some apparent justice, indeed most plausible is such ratiocination, that by taking into your own body, and so preserving the life of, his heart and liver, the whole of his "vital energies" will desert the sinking ship of the physical tissue, and rush to the lifeboat provided by the vampire. Never forget that you confer an inestimable benefit upon the victim by absorbing his lower point of Energy into your higher. Read your Magick, Chapter XII!5

You say this strongly, my dear Sister in the Lord; your thesis is impeccably stated, your arguments are cogent, plangent, not to be repeated. But—this I pout to you most solemnly—what experimental evidence do you adduce? How many hearts, how many livers, have been your spiritual sustenance? Have you excluded every source of error? Have you—here, you know the routine; write it all down and send it along to be vetted!

Be that as it may, I once knew a lady of some seventy summers. She came of a noble Polish family; she was short, sturdy, rather plump but singularly agile; good-looking in a brutal sort of way. But—her eyes! For fifty years she had lived nearly all the year round in her chateau in Touraine. She had plenty of money, and had always surrounded her- self with a dozen or more boys and young men. (By young I mean up to forty). She not only looked twenty-five but she lived twenty-five. It was a genuine, natural, spontaneous twenty-five, not a gallant effort. She would dance the night through and go a long walk in the morning. You may apply to her for details of the treatment; I dare say she is still about, thought I did hear that she moved to South America when she saw 1914 coming. In any case, you have had some fairly plain hints so I can say in all simplicity, "Go thou and do likewise!"

I think my old friend Claude Farrère had more than an inkling of these matters; the idea of using young cellular tissue to fortify the old is plainly stated in La maison des hommes vivants; but as to the method of transmission his water was drawn form Wells (H.G.)

After that—you will agree that I have written enough.

Love is the law, love under will.





1: See De Arte Magica; the chapter on Vampirism is titled "Of a certain other method of Magick not included in the instruction of O.T.O." – T.S.

2: See Liber XXIV, chapter on Incubi and Succubi – T.S.

3: See Crowley's essay "On Food," printed in the Teitan Press edition of Amrita – T.S.

4: The quote is from Atalanta in Calydon, chorus "Who hath given man speech?" – T.S.

5: ... and note that the "male child" (p.95) equals the Serpent.
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Re: Magick Without Tears, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2018 6:11 am

Chapter LXVII: Faith

Cara Soror,

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

Dear me! dear me! this is very unexpected. I wrote you a long while ago about doubt, and now I suppose the seed fell in fertile ground! My chaste remarks have prompted a new question "arising out of the previous answer, Sir."

You point out quite correctly that the doubt of which I wrote in passages of such burning eloquence is after all what used to be called "philosophic" doubt; and by "philosophic" people apparently meant something rather like "Pickwickians."

Not the genuine McCoy, determining action, but—well, rather like scoring points in an intellectual game.

Now then (air connu) what is Faith? There are two kinds; and they are almost exact opposites. (N.B. The word is allied to Bide: there's some idea of endurance (or perhaps repose) in it. Cf Peter!?!?!?) Then the third kind, which is moral, not intellectual; as in "good faith," bona fide, yours faithfully; and this is probably the hallmarked sense, for it implies just that endurance which goes with bide, and is not dependent in any way upon reason or conviction. This then I may dismiss as impertinent to the question in your letter, and stick to the other two.

Faith in its Meaning Number One was perfectly well defined by the schoolboy: "the faculty of believing that which we know to be untrue." It is at least the acceptance of any statement as true without criticism, examination, verification, or any other method of test. Faith of this sort is evidently the main symptom of the moron, the half-wit, the village idiot. It is this kind of faith upon the possession and exercise of which religious persons always insist as the first condition of salvation.

Here is my own lamentable foresight on the subject!

The Convert

(A Hundred Years Hence)1

There met one eve in a sylan glade
A horrible Man and a beautiful maid.
"Where are you going, so meek and holy?"
"I'm going to temple to worship Crowley."
"Crowley is God, then? How did you know?"
"Why, it's Captain Fuller that told us so."
"And how do you know that Fuller was right?"
"I'm afraid you're a wicked man; Good-night."

While this sort of thing is styled success
I shall not count failure bitterness.

Sometimes, note well! they are even frank about it, and say plainly that there would be no merit in it if there were any reasonable basis for it! This position is at the worst both honest and intelligible; the only trouble is that there is no possible means of deciding which to two conflicting statements to accept.

In faith of this kind there are of course in practice delicately shaded degrees; these depend mostly upon the authority of the speaker and your relations with, and opinion of, him. In practice, moreover, faith is usually tinged—should I say clouded?—by questions of probability. I see no need to weary you with examples of varying degrees; it is enough to dismiss the subject with the remark that faith is not true faith if any considerations of any kind sully its virgin nullity.

To prop faith is to destroy it: I am reminded of Mr. Harry Price's young lady of Brocken fame, who was so timorously careful of her virginity that she never felt it safe unless she had a man in bed with her.

What is the other kind of faith? Like its hostile twin, it must have no truck with reason, at least no conscious truck, or it ceases to possess a moral meaning. It is that confidence* in oneself which assures one that the long shot at the tiger will fly true to the mark, that the tricky putt will go down, that the man one never beat before will go down this time; also its horrid contrary, the moral certainty that something will go wrong, even with the easiest problems, with one hundred to one in one's favour.

I think the official answer is that one's certainty is in reality based upon subconscious calculation, so that faith has nothing whatever to do with it. If there is any answer to this, I don't know it.

After all, that is neither here nor there; there is but one material issue: how to acquire that kind of faith. Suppose we hunt it up in that precious Book of Lies! Any luck? Sure, kiddums, here we are!

Steeped Horsehair

Mind is a disease of semen.

All that a man is or may be is hidden therein

Bodily functions are parts of the machine; silent, unless in dis-ease.

But mind, never at ease, creaketh "I."

This I persisteth not, posteth not through generations, changeth momently, finally is dead.

Therefore is man only himself when lost to himself in The Charioting.

Nothing in that to contradict the official view, is there? Nothing in biology either.

Or in Blake:

"If the Sun and Moon should doubt
They'd immediately go out."

Or in that other chapter of the Book of Lies:

The Mountaineer

Consciousness is a symptom of disease.

All that moves well moves without will.

All skilfullness, all strain, all intention is contrary to ease.

Practise a thousand times, and it becomes difficult; a thousand, thousand, and it becomes easy; a thousand, thousand times a thousand thousand, and it is no longer Thou that doeth it, but It that doeth itself through thee. Not until then is that which is done well done.

Thus spoke FRATER PERDURABO as he leapt from rock to rock of the moraine without ever casting his eyes upon the ground.

Or in The Book of the Law. You know the passage well enough.

Conclusion: this discussion has for ever abolished the use of the word faith to imply conscious belief of any sort.

At least, if there should ever be an element of awareness, it is of the nature of a sudden leap into daylight of the quintessence of a mass of subconsciously selected and ordered experience.

Then what, if you please, did Paul mean when he wrote "Faith is the substance of things hoped-for, the evidence of things unseen." Oh, spot the Lady!

Love is the law, love under will.

Yours etc.

P.S. Don't take any wooden money.

P.P.S. I have a marvelous proposition for you; I wouldn't let in anyone on it but my very best friend: there's a man in San Luis Potosi in a mine there; he stole about $20,000 worth of gold dust and now he's afraid to get rid of it, but he knows I'm safe and knows how to handle it and I've been his very best friend for twenty years, and he's as straight as a die, and I know he'd let us have it for $10,000 and I've only got $4,000—and that is where you come in!

* "Confidence" = cum, with; fidere, to trust = to trust fully. This confidence of which I write is usually a sort of "hunch".



1: Originally published in The Winged Beetle (1910).
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