Commentaries to The Book Of The Law – Liber AL vel Legis – Chapter 2

Category: Aleister Crowley, Religion · Posted by on · Comments Off on Commentaries to The Book Of The Law – Liber AL vel Legis – Chapter 2
Tags: ,

The Old and New Commentaries to Liber AL vel Legis (The Book Of The Law) Chapter II

by Aleister Crowley

Chapter I
Chapter III

The Second Chapter

AL II,1: “Nu! the hiding of Hadit.”

The Old Comment
1. As Had, the root of Hadit, is the manifestation of Nuit, so Nu, the root of Nuit, is the hiding of Hadit.

The New Comment
We see again set forth the complementary character of Nuith and Hadith. Nu conceals Had because He is Everywhere in the Infinite, and She manifests Him for the same reason. See verse 3. Every Individual manifests the Whole; and the Whole conceals every Individual. The Soul interprets the Universe; and the Universe veils the Soul. Nature understands Herself by becoming self-conscious in Her units; and the Consciousness loses its sense of separateness by dissolution in Her.

There has been much difficulty in the orthography (in sacred languages) of these names. Nu is clearly stated to be 56, {NV}; but Had is only hinted obscurely. This matter is discussed later more fully; verses 15 and 16.

{WEH NOTE: “Hadit” is the spelling of “Bahadit” found on the Stele. This is unusual in that most Egyptian spelling of the period maintained the “Ba” prefix. Crowley adopted the spelling from the Stele, and it is common as well in Liber AL. This “Hadit” or “Bahadit” is the winged sun disk, used over the entrances of temple doorways, at the tops of stel and elsewhere in Egyptian art and architecture. Interestingly, the full name of Ra-Hoor-Khuit is Ra-Heru-Khuti-Ba-Hadi, Ra-Horus who flies into the disk of the sun. — information researched by Fr. Ebony. Liber AL was received during that part of the year in which Ra-Heru-Khuti-Ba-Hadi was said by the ancient Egyptians to rule the decan occupied by the Sun. It is not known if Crowley was aware of this particular deity being astrologically “on official watch” at the time.}

AL II,2: “Come! all ye, and learn the secret that hath not yet been revealed. I, Hadit, am the complement of Nu, my bride. I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.”

The Old Comment
2. Nuit is Infinite Extension; Hadit Infinite Contraction. Khabs is the House of Hadit, even as Nuit is the house of Khu, and the Khabs is in the Khu (I,8). These theologies reflect mystic experiences of Infinite Contraction and Expansion, while philosophically they are the two opposing Infinities whose interplay gives Finity.

The New Comment
Khabs — ‘a star’ — is an unit of Nuit, and therefore Nuit Herself. This doctrine is enormously difficult of apprehension, even after these many years of study.

Hadit is the ‘core of every star,’ verse 6. He is thus the Impersonal Identity within the Individuality of ‘every man and every woman.’

He is ‘not extended;’ that is, without condition of any sort in the metaphysical sense. Only in the highest trances can the nature of these truths be realized. It is indeed a suprarational experience not dissimilar to those characteristic of the “Star-Sponge” Vision previously described that can help us here. The trouble is that the truth itself is unfitted to the dualistic reason of “normal” mankind. Hadit seems to be the principle of Motion which is everywhere, yet is not extended in any dimension except as it chances to combine with the “Matter” which is Nuit. There can evidently be no manifestation apart from this conjunction. A “Khabs” or Star is apparently any nucleus where this conjunction has taken place. The real philosophical difficulty about this cosmogony is not concerned with any particular equation, or even with the Original Equation. We can understand x = ab, x = a, b, & c; and also 0degrees = pa + qb, whether pa – qb = 0 or not. But we ask how the homogeneity of both Nuit and Hadit can ever lead to even the illusion of “difference.” The answer appears to be that this difference appears naturally with the self-realization of Nuit as the totality of possibilities; each of these, singly and in combination, is satisfied or set in motion by Hadit, to compose a particular manifestation. 0degrees could possess no signification at all, unless there were diverse dimensions wherein it had no extension. “Nothing” means nothing save from the point of view of “Two,” just as “Two” is monstrous unless it is seen as a mode of “Nothing.”

The above explanation appears somewhat disingenuous, since there is no means whatever of distinguishing any Union H + N = R from another. We must postulate a further stage. R (Ra-Hoor-Khuit) Kether, Unity, is always itself; but we may suppose that a number of such homogeneous positive manifestations may form groups differing from each other as to size and structure so as to create the illusion of diversity.

AL II,3: “In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.”

The Old Comment
3. A further development of higher meaning. This verse suggests an old mystical definition of God: “He whose centre is everywhere and Whose circumference nowhere”.

The New Comment
This is again interesting as throwing light on the thesis; Every man and every woman is a star. There is no place soever that is not a Centre of Light.

This Truth is to be realised by direct perception, not merely by intellection. It is axiomatic; it cannot be demonstrated. It is to be assimilated by experience of the Vision of the “Star-Sponge.”

AL II,4: “Yet she shall be known & I never.”

The Old Comment
4. The circumference of Nuit touches Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Kether; but her centre Hadit is forever concealed above Kether. Is not Nu the Hiding of Hadit, and Had the Manifestation of Nuit? (I later, Sun in Libra, An. VII, dislike this note; and refer the student to Liber XI and Liber DLV.

The New Comment
See later, verse 13, “Thou (i.e. the Beast, who is here the Mask, or “per-sona,” of Hadit) wast the knower.” Hadit possesses the power to know, Nuit that of being known. Nuit is not unconnected with the idea of Nibbana, the “Shoreless Sea,” in which Knowledge is Not.

Hadit is hidden in Nuit, and knows Her, She being an object of knowledge; but He is not knowable, for He is merely that part of Her which She formulates in order that She may be known.

AL II,5: “Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.”

The Old Comment
5. A reference to certain magical formulae known to the scribe of this book.

The purification of said rituals is in progress at this time, An. V.

The New Comment
The ‘old time’ is the Aeon of the Dying God. Some of his rituals are founded on an utterly false metaphysic and cosmogony; but others are based on Truth. We mend these, and end those.

This “Knowledge” is the initiated Wisdom of this Aeon of Horus.

See Book 4, Part III, for an account of the new principles of magick.

Note that Knowledge is Daath, Child of Chokmah by Binah, and crown of Microprosopus; yet he is not one of the Sephiroth, and his place is in the Abyss. By this symbolism we draw attention to the fact that Knowledge is by nature impossible; for it implies Duality and is therefore relative. Any proposition of Knowledge may be written “ARB:” “A has the relation R to B.” Now if A and B are identical, the proposition conveys no knowledge at all. If A is not identical with B, ARB implies “A is identical with BC;” this assumes that not less than three distinct ideas exist. In every case, we must proceed either to the identity which means ultimately “Nothing,” or to divergent diversities which only seem to mean something so long as we refrain from pushing the analysis of any term to its logical elements. For example, “Sugar is sugar” is obviously not knowledge. But no more is this: “Sugar is a sweet white crystalline carbo-hydrate.” For each of these four terms describes a sensory impression on ourselves; and we define our impressions only in terms of such things as sugar. Thus “sweet” means “the quality ascribed by our taste to honey, sugar, etc.”; “white” is “what champaks, zinc oxide, sugar, etc. report to our eyesight;” and so on. The proposition is ultimately an identity, for all our attempts to evade the issue by creating complications. “Knowledge” is therefore not a “thing-in-itself;” it is rightly denied a place upon the Tree of Life; it pertains to the Abyss.

Besides the above considerations, it may be observed that Knowledge, so far as it exists at all, even as a statement of relation, is no more than a momentary phenomenon of consciousness. It is annihilated in the instant of its creation. For no sooner do we assent to ARB than ARB is absorbed in our conception of A. After the nine-days’ wonder of “The earth revolves round the sun,” we modify our former idea of Earth. “Earth” is intuitively classed with other solar satellites. The proposition vanishes automatically as it is assimilated. Knowledge, while it exists as such is consequently “sub judice”, at the best.

What then may we understand by this verse, with its capital K for “Knowledge?” What is it, and how shall it “go aright?” The key is in the word “go.” It cannot “be,” as we have seen above; it is the fundamental error of the “Black Brothers” in their policy of resisting all Change, to try to maintain it as fixed and absolute. But (as the Tree of Life indicates) Knowledge is the means by which the conscious mind, Microprosopus, reaches to Understanding and to Wisdom, its mother and father, which reflect respectively Nuith and Hadit from the Ain and Kether. The process is to use each new item of knowledge to correct and increase one’s comprehension of the Subject of the Proposition. Thus ARB should tell us: A is (not A, as we supposed) but A. This facilitates the discovery A,R,C leading to A, is A(index2); and so on. In practice, every thing that we learn about (e.g.) “horse” helps us to understand — to enjoy — the idea. The difference between the scholar and the schoolboy is that the former glows and exults when he is reminded of some word like “Thalassa.” Ourselves:- What a pageant of passion empurples our minds whenever we think of the number 93! Most of all, each new thing that we know about ourselves helps us to realize what we mean by our “Star.”

Now, “the rituals of the old time,” are no longer valid vehicles; Knowledge cannot ‘go aright’ until they are adapted to the Formula of the New Aeon. Their defects are due principally to two radical errors. (1.) The Universe was conceived as possessing a fixed centre, or summit; an absolute standard to which all things might be referred; an Unity, or God. (Mystics were angry and bewildered, often enough, when attaining to “union with God” they found him equally in all). This led to making a difference between one thing and another, and so to the ideas of superiority, of sin, etc., ending by absurdities of all kinds, alike in theology, ethics, and science. (2) The absolute antithesis between the pairs of opposites. This is really a corollary of (1). There was an imaginary “absolute evil” which made Manichaeanism necessary — despite the cloaks of the Causists — and meant “That which leads one away from God.” But each man, while postulating an absolute “God” defined Him unconsciously in terms of a Freudian Phantasm created by his own wish-fulfilment machinery. Thus “God” and “Evil” were really expressions of personal prejudice. A man who “bowed humbly to the Authority of” the Pope, or the Bible, or the Sanhedrim, or the Oracle of Apollo, or the tribal Medicine-Man, none the less expressed truly his own Wish to abdicate responsibility. In the light of this Book, we know that the centre is everywhere, the circumference nowhere; that “Every man and every woman is a star,” a “Khabs,” the name of the house of Hadit; that “The word of Sin is Restriction.” To us, then, “evil” is a relative term; it is “that which hinders one from fulfilling his true Will.” (E.g., rain is “good” or “bad” for the farmer according to the requirements of his crops).

The Osirian Rituals inculcating self-sacrifice to an abstract ideal, mutilation to appease an “ex cathedra” morality, fidelity to a priori formulae, etc. teach false and futile methods of acquiring false Knowledge; they must be ‘cast away’ or ‘purged’. The Schools of Initiation must be reformed.

AL II,6: “I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.”

The Old Comment
6. Hadit is the Ego or Atman in everything, but of course a loftier and more secret thing than anything understood by the Hindus. And of course the distinction between Ego and Ego is illusion. Hence Hadit, who is the life of all that is, if known, becomes the death of that individuality.

The New Comment
It follows that, as Hadit can never be known, there is no death. The death of the individual is his awakening to the impersonal immortality of Hadit. This applies less to physical death than to the Crossing of the Abyss; for which see Liber 418, Fourteenth Aethyr. One may attain to be aware that one is but a particular ‘child’ of the Play of Hadit and Nuit; one’s personality is then perceived as being a disguise. It is not only not a living thing, as one had thought; but a mere symbol without substance, incapable of life. It is the conventional form of a certain cluster of thoughts, themselves the partial and hieroglyphic symbols of an ‘ego.’ The conscious and sensible ‘man’ is to his Self just what the printed letters on this page are to me who have caused them to manifest in colour and form. They are arbitrary devices for conveying my thought; I could use French or Greek just as well. Nor is this thought, here conveyed, more than one ray of my Orb; and even that whole Orb is but the garment of Me. The analogy is precise; therefore when one becomes “the knower,” it involves the ‘death’ of all sense of the Ego. One perceives one’s personality precisely as I now do these printed letters; and they are forgotten, just as, absorbed in my thought, the trained automatism of my mind and body expresses that thought in writing, without attention on my part, still less with identification of the extremes involved in the process.

AL II,7: “I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.”

The Old Comment
7. Hadit is both the Maker of Illusion and its destroyer. For though His interplay with Nuit results in the production of the Finite, yet His withdrawing into Himself is the destruction thereof.

“…the axle of the wheel”, another way of saying that He is the Core of Things.

“… the cube in the circle.” Cf. Liber 418, The Vision and the Voice, 30th Aethyr.

“‘Come unto me’ is a foolish word: for it is I that go.” That is, Hadit is everywhere; yet, being sought, he flies. The Ego cannot be found, as meditation will show.

The New Comment
“It is I that go.” The Book Aleph must be consulted for a full demonstration of this truth. We may say briefly that Hadit is Motion, that is, Change or ‘Love.’ The symbol of Godhead in Egypt was the Ankh, which is a sandal-strap, implying the Power to Go; and it suggests the Rosy Cross, the Fulfilment of Love, by its shape.

The Wheel and the Circle are evidently symbols of Nuith; this sentence insists upon the conception of Lingam-Yoni. But beyond the obvious relation, we observe two geometrical definitions. The axle is a cylinder set perpendicularly to the plane of the wheel; thus Hadit supplies the third dimension to Nuith. It suggests that Matter is to be conceived as Two-dimensional; that is, perhaps, as possessed of two qualities, extension and potentiality. To these Hadit brings motion and position. The wheel moves; manifestation now is possible. Its perception implies three-dimensional space, and time. But note that the Mover is himself not moved. The “cube in the circle” emphasizes this question of dimensions. The cube is rectilinear (therefore phallic no less than the axle); its unity suggests perfection projected as a “solid” for human perception; its square faces affirm balance, equity, and limitation; its six-sidedness sets it among the solar symbols. It is thus like the Sun in the Zodiac, which is no more than the field for His fulfilment in His going. He, by virtue of his successive relations with each degree of the circle, clothes Himself with an appearance of “Matter in Motion,” although absolute motion through space is a meaningless expression (Eddington, Op, cit.). None the less, every point in the cube — there are 2 of them — has an unique relation with every point in the circle exactly balanced against an equal and opposite relation. We have thus Matter that both is and is not, Motion that both moves and moves not, interacting in a variety of ways which is infinite to manifest individuals, each of which is unlike any other, yet is symmetrically supported by its counterpart. Note that even at the centre of gravity of the cube no two rays are identical except in mere length. They differ as to their point of contact with the circle, their right ascension, and their relation with the other points of the cube.

Why is Nuith restricted to two dimensions? We usually think of space as a sphere. “None —- and two:” extension and potentiality are Her only projections of Naught. It is strange, by the way to find that modern mathematics says “Spherical space is not very easy to imagine” (Eddington, Op.cit.p.158) and prefers to attribute a geometrical form whose resemblance to the Kteis is most striking. For Nuit is, philosophically speaking, the archetype of the Kteis, giving appropriate Form to all Being, and offering every possibility of fulfilment of every several point that it envelops. But Nuith cannot be symbolized as three-dimensional, in our system; each unit has position by three spatial, and one temporal, coordinates. It cannot exist, in our consciousness, with less, as a reality. Each ‘individual’ must be a ‘point-interval;’ he must be the product of some part of the Matter of Nuit (with special energies) determined in space by his relations with his neighbours, and in time by his relations with himself.

It is evidently “a foolish word” for Hadit to say “Come unto me,” as did Nuit naturally enough, meaning “Fulfil thy possibilities;” for who can “come unto” Motion itself, who draw near unto that which is in very truth his innermost identity?

AL II,8: “Who worshipped Heru-pa-kraath have worshipped me; ill, for I am the worshipper.”

The Old Comment
8. He is symbolized by Harpocrates, crowned child upon the lotus whose shadow is called Silence.

Yet His Silence is the Act of Adoration; not the dumb callousness of heaven toward man, but the supreme ritual, the Silence of supreme Orgasm, the stilling of all Voices in the perfect rapture.

The New Comment
Harpocrates is also the Dwarf-Soul, the Secret Self of every man, the Serpent with the Lion’s Head. Now Hadit knows Nuit by virtue of his ‘Going’ or ‘Love.’ It is therefore wrong to worship Hadit; one is to be Hadit, and worship Her. This is clear even from His instruction “To worship me” in verse 22 of this chapter. Confer, Cap.I, v.9. We are exhorted to offer ourselves unto Nuit, pilgrims to all her temples. It is bad Magick to admit that one is other than One’s inmost self. One should plunge passionately into every possible experience; by doing so one is purged of those personal prejudices which we took so stupidly for ourselves, though they prevented us from realizing our true Wills and from knowing our Names and Natures. The Aspirant must well understand that it is no paradox to say that the Annihilation of the Ego in the Abyss is the condition of emancipating the true Self, and exalting it to unimaginable heights. So long as one remains “one’s self,” one is overwhelmed by the Universe; destroy the sense of self, and every event is equally an expression of one’s Will, since its occurrence is the resultant of the concourse of the forces which one recognizes as one’s own.

AL II,9: “Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.”

The Old Comment
9. Hence we pass naturally and easily to the sublime optimism of verse 9. The lie is given to the pessimism, not by sophistry, but by a direct knowledge.

The New Comment
This verse is very thoroughly explained in Liber Aleph. “All in this kind are but shadows” says Shakespeare, referring to actors. The Universe is a Puppet-Play for the amusement of Nuit and Hadit in their Nuptials; a very Midsummer Night’s Dream. So then we laugh at the mock woes of Pyramus and Thisbe, the clumsy gambols of Bottom; for we understand the Truth of Things, how all is a Dance of Ecstasy. “Were the world understood, Ye would know it was good, a Dance to a lyrical measure!” The nature of events must be “pure joy;” for obviously, whatever occurs is the fulfilment of the Will of its master. Sorrow thus appears as the result of any unsuccessful — therefore, ill-judged — struggle. Acquiescence in the order of Nature is the ultimate Wisdom.

One must understand the Universe perfectly, and be utterly indifferent to its pressure. These are the virtues which constitute a Master of the Temple. Yet each man must act What he will; for he is energized by his own nature. So long as he works “without lust of result” and does his duty for its own sake, he will know that “the sorrows are but shadows.” And he himself is “that which remains;” for he can no more be destroyed, or his true Will be thwarted, than Matter diminish or Energy disappear. He is a necessary Unit of the Universe, equal and opposite to the sum total of all the others; and his Will is similarly the final factor which completes the equilibrium of the dynamical equation. He cannot fail if he would; thus, his sorrows are but shadows – he could not see them if he kept his gaze fixed on his goal, the Sun.

AL II,10: “O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing.”

The Old Comment
10. The prophet who wrote this was at this point angrily unwilling to proceed.

The New Comment
As related in Equinox I, VII, I was at the time of this revelation, a rationalistic Buddhist, very convinced of the First Noble Truth: “Everything is Sorrow.” I supposed this point of view to be an absolute and final truth — as if Apemantus were the only character in Shakespeare!

It is also explained in that place how I was prepared for this Work by that period of Dryness. If I had been in sympathy with it, my personality would have interfered. I should have tried to better my instructions.

See, in Liber 418, the series of visions by which I actually transcended Sorrow. But the considerations set forth in the comment on verse 9 lead to a simpler, purer, and more perfect attainment for those who can assimilate them in the subconscious mind by the process described in the comment on verse 6.

It may encourage certain types of aspirant if I emphasize my personal position. AIWAZ made no mistake when he spoke this verse — and the triumphant contempt of his tone still rings in my ear! After seventeen years of unparalleled spiritual progress, of unimaginably intense ecstasies, of beatitudes prolonged for whole months, of initiations indescribably exalted, of proof piled on proof of His power, His vigilance, His love, after being protected and energized with incredible aptness, I find myself still only too ready to grumble, nay even to doubt. It seems as if I resented the whole business. There art times when I feel that the amoeba, the bourgeois, and the cow represent the ABC of enviable creatures. There may be a melancholic strain in me, as one might expect in a case of renal weakness such as mine. In any event, it is surely a most overwhelming proof that AIWAZ is not myself, but my master, that He could force me to write verse 9, at a time when I was both intellectually and spiritually disgusted with, and despairing of, the Universe, as well as physically alarmed about my health.

AL II,11: “I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger.”

The Old Comment
11. He was compelled to do so.

The New Comment
This compulsion was that of true inspiration. It was the Karma of countless incarnations of struggle towards the light. There is a sharp repulsion, physical and mental, toward any initiation, like that towards death.

The above paragraph states only a part of the truth. I am not sure that it is not an attempt to explain away the verse, which humiliates me. I remember clearly enough the impulse to refuse to go on, and the fierce resentment at the refusal of my muscles to obey me. Reflect that I was being compelled to make an abject recantation of practically every article of my creed, and I had not even Cranmer’s excuse. I was proud of my personal prowess as a poet, hunter, and mountaineer of admittedly dauntless virility; yet I was being treated like a hypnotized imbecile, only worse, for I was perfectly aware of what I was doing.

AL II,12: “Because of me in Thee which thou knewest not.”

The Old Comment
12. For the God was in him, albeit he knew it not.

The New Comment
The use of capitals “Me” and “Thee” emphasizes that Hadit was wholly manifested in The Beast. It is to be remembered that The Beast has agreed to follow the instructions communicated to Him only in order to show that ‘nothing would happen if you broke all the rules.’ Poor fool! The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules — but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.

Aiwaz here explains that his power over me depended upon the fact that Hadit is verily “the core of every star.” As is well known, there is a limit to the power of the hypnotist; he cannot overcome the resistance of the Unconscious of his patient. My own Unconscious was thus in alliance with Aiwaz; taken between two fires, my conscious self was paralyzed so long as the pressure lasted. It will be seen later — verses 61 to 69 — that my consciousness was ultimately invaded by the Secret Self, and surrendered unconditionally, so that, it proclaimed, loudly and gladly, from its citadel, the victory of its rightful Lord. The mystery is indeed this, that in so prosperous and joyous a city, there should still be groups of malcontents whose grumblings are occasionally audible.

AL II,13: “for why? Because thou wast the knower, and me.”

The Old Comment
13. For so long as any answer remains, there is no thing known. Knowledge is the loss of the Knower in the Known.

“And me” (not “and I”), Hadit was the passive, which could not arise because of the existence of the Knower; “and” implying further duality — which is Ignorance.

The New Comment
Hadit had to overcome the silly ‘knower,’ who thought everything was Sorrow. Cf. “Who am I?” — “Thou knowest” in Chapter I.

I am far from satisfied with either of the above interpretations of this verse. We shall see a little later, verses 27 ~sqq, a general objection to “Because” and “why.” Then how is it that Hadit does not disdain to use those terms? It must be for the sake of my mind. Then, “for why” is detestably vulgar; and no straining of grammar excuses or explains the “me.”

We have two alternatives. The verse may be an insult to me. My memory tells me, however, that the tone of the voice of Aiwaz was at this point low, even, and musical. It sounded like a confidential, almost deferential, clarification of the previous verse, which had rung out with joyful crescendo.

The alternative is that the verse contains some Qabalistic proof of the authority of Aiwaz to lay down the law in so autocratic a manner. Just so, one might add weight to one’s quotation from Sappho, in the English, by following it up with the original Greek.

The absence of all capital letters favours this theory. Such explanation, if discovered, will be given in the Appendix. {WEH NOTE: Appendix not extant} However, simply enough, the solution begins with the idea that the small initial of ‘because’ would be explained by a colon preceding it instead of a note of interrogation, which may have been due to my haste, ignorance, and carelessness. Then ‘for why’ may be understood: “for the benefit of this Mr. Why — to satisfy your childish clamour for a reason — I will now repeat my remarks in an alternative form such that even your stupidity can scarcely fail to observe that I have sealed my psychological explanation in cipher.” We find accordingly that the arising “of Me in Thee” constitutes a state wherein “thou knewest not.” By “knewest” we may understand the function of Hadit, intellectually and conjugally united with Nuit. (See Book 4, Part III, for GN, the root meaning both ‘to know’ and ‘to beget’). And ‘not’ is Nuit, as in Cap. I. Now this idea explains that the arising ‘of Me (Hadit) in Thee (The Beast)’ is the fulfilment of the Magical Formula of Hadit and Nuit. And to know Nuit is the very definition of ‘joy.’ The next verse confirms this: “thou (the Beast) wast the knower (Hadit) and (united with) me (Nuit, as in Cap.I., verse 51 & others).” Finally, Nuit is indicated by two different symbols ‘not’ (Gk OU) and ‘me’ (Gk MH). Now OU MH was my Motto in the Grade of Adeptus Exemptus; Aiwaz thus subtly reminds me that I was pledged to deny the assertions of my intellectual and moral consciousness.

He combines in these few words (a) a correct psychological explanation of the situation, (b) a correct magical explanation of that explanation, (c) a personal rebuke to which I had no possible reply, involving a knowledge of my own mental state which was superior to my own.

These two verses are sufficient in themselves to demonstrate the praeter-human qualities of the Author of this Book.

AL II,14: “Now let there be a veiling of this shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness!”

The Old Comment
14. Enough has been said of the nature of Hadit; now let a riddle of L.V.X. be propounded.

The New Comment
The subject changes. Hadit will give an Exordium upon Himself in the next two verses. Then He will propound an ethical doctrine so terrible and strange that men will be “devoured and eaten up with blindness” because of it.

AL II,15: “For I am perfect, being Not; and my number is nine by the fools; but with the just I am eight, and one in eight: Which is vital, for I am none indeed. The Empress and the King are not of me; for there is a further secret.”

The Old Comment
15. I am perfect, being Not (31 LA or 61 AIN). My number is Nine, by the fools (IX, the Hermit, Virgo: Yod and Mercury). With the just I am Eight, VIII, Justice-Libra-Maat, Lamed and, One in Eight, Aleph. Which is vital, for I am None indeed. LA.

The Empress, Daleth III, the King, He, IV, are not of me, III plus IV = VII.

The New Comment
See Appendix. {WEH NOTE: not available.}

AL II,16: “I am the Empress & the Hierophant. Thus eleven, as my bride is eleven.”

The Old Comment
16. I am the Empress and the Hierophant (Vau) III + V = VIII, and VIII is XI, both because of the 11 letters in Abrahadabra (= 418 = ChITH = Cheth = 8), the Key Word of all this ritual and because VIII is not Leo, Strength, but Libra, Justice, in the Tarot. (see 777)

The New Comment
See Appendix.{WEH NOTE: not available.}

AL II,17: Hear me, ye people of sighing!

The sorrows of pain and regret

Are left to the dead and the dying,

The folk that not know me as yet.

The Old Comment
17. This passage was again very painful to the prophet, who took it in its literal sense.

But ‘the poor and the outcast’ are the petty thoughts and the Qliphotic thoughts and the sad thoughts. These must be rooted out, or the ecstasy of Hadit is not in us. They are the weeds in the Garden that starve the Flower.

The New Comment
The dead and the dying, who know not Hadit, are in the Illusion of Sorrow. Not being Hadit, they are shadows, puppets, and what happens to them does not matter. If you insist upon identifying yourself with Hecuba, your tears are natural enough.

There is no contradiction here, by the way, with verses 4 and 5. The words ‘know me’ are used loosely as is natural in a stanza; or, more likely, are used (as in the English Bible) to suggest the root GN, identity in transcendental ecstasy. Possibly ‘not’ and ‘me’ are once more intended to apply to Nuit. With ‘know’ itself, they may be “Nothing under its three forms” of negativity, action, and individuality.

AL II,18: “These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.”

The New Comment
This idea is confirmed. Those who sorrow are not real people at all, not’stars’ — for the time being. The fact of their being ‘poor and sad’ proves them to be ‘shadows,’ who ‘pass and are done.’ The ‘lords of the earth’ are those who are doing their Will. It does not necessarily mean people with coronets and automobiles; there are plenty of such people who are the most sorrowful slaves in the world. The sole test of one’s lordship is to know what one’s true Will is, and to do it.

AL II,19: “Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.”

The New Comment
A god living in a dog would be one who was prevented from fulfilling his function properly. The highest are those who have mastered and transcended accidental environment. They rejoice, because they do their Will; and if any man sorrow, it is clear evidence of something wrong with him. When machinery creaks and growls, the engineer knows that it is not fulfilling its function, doing its Will, with ease and joy.

AL II,20: “Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”

The New Comment
As soon as one realizes one’s self as Hadit, one obtains all His qualities. It is all a question of doing one’s Will. A flaming harlot, with red cap and sparkling eyes, her foot on the neck of a dead king, is just as much a star as her predecessor, simpering in his arms. But one must be a flaming harlot — one must let oneself go, whether one’s star be twin with that of Shelly, or of Blake, or of Titian, or of Beethoven. Beauty and strength come from doing one’s Will; you have only to look at any one who is doing it to recognize the glory of it.

AL II,21: “We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.”

The New Comment
There is a good deal of the Nietzschean standpoint in this verse. It is the evolutionary and natural view. Of what use is it to perpetuate the misery of Tuberculosis, and such diseases, as we now do? Nature’s way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way, too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the Lions!

Our humanitarianism, which is the syphilis of the mind, acts on the basis of the lie that the King must die. The King is beyond death; it is merely a pool where he dips for refreshment. We must therefore go back to Spartan ideas of education; and the worst enemies of humanity are those who wish, under the pretext of compassion, to continue its ills through the generations. The Christians to the Lions!

Let weak and wry productions go back into the melting-pot, as is done with flawed steel castings. Death will purge, reincarnation make whole, these errors and abortions. Nature herself may be trusted to do this, if only we will leave her alone. But what of those who, physically fitted to live, are tainted with rottenness of soul, cancerous with the sin-complex? For the third time I answer: The Christians to the Lions!

Hadith calls himself the Star, the Star being the Unit of the Macrocosm; and the Snake, the Snake being the symbol of Going or Love, and the Chariot of Life. He is Harpocrates, the Dwarf-Soul, the Spermatozoon of all Life, as one may phrase it. The Sun, etc., are the external manifestations or Vestures of this Soul, as a Man is the Garment of an actual Spermatozoon, the Tree sprung of that Seed, with power to multiply and to perpetuate that particular Nature, though without necessary consciousness of what is happening.

In a deeper sense, the word “Death” is meaningless apart from the presentation of the Universe as conditioned by “Time.” But what is the meaning of Time?

There is great confusion of thought in the use of the word “eternal,” and the phrase “for ever.” People who want “eternal happiness” mean by that a cycle of varying events all effective in stimulating pleasant sensations; i.e., they want time to continue exactly as it does with themselves released from the contingencies of accidents such as poverty, sickness and death. An eternal state is however a possible experience, if one interprets the term sensibly. One can kindle “flamman aeternae caritatis”,” for instance; one can experience a love which is in truth eternal. Such love must have no relation with phenomena whose condition is time. Similarly, one’s “immortal soul” is a different kind of thing altogether from one’s mortal vesture. This Soul is a particular Star, with its own peculiar qualities, of course; but these qualities are all “eternal,” and part of the nature of the Soul. This Soul being a monistic consciousness, it is unable to appreciate itself and its qualities, as explained in a previous entry; so it realizes itself by the device of duality, with the limitations of time, space and causality. The “Happiness” of Wedded Love or eating Marrons Glaces is a concrete external non-eternal expression of the corresponding abstract internal eternal idea, just as any triangle is one partial and imperfect picture of the idea of a triangle. (It does not matter whether we consider “Triangle” as an unreal thing invented for the convenience of including all actual triangles, or vice versa. Once the idea Triangle has arisen, actual triangles are related to it as above stated).

One does not want even a comparatively brief extension of these “actual” states; Wedded Love though licensed for a lifetime, is usually intolerable after a month; and Marrons Glaces pall after the first five or six kilogrammes have been consumed. But the “Happiness,” eternal and formless, is not less enjoyable because these forms of it cease to give pleasure. What happens is that the Idea ceases to find its image in those particular images; it begins to notice the limitations, which are not itself and indeed deny itself, as soon as its original joy in its success at having become conscious of itself wears off. It becomes aware of the external imperfection of Marrons Glaces; they no longer represent its infinitely varied nature. It therefore rejects them, and creates a new form of itself, such as Nightgowns with pale yellow ribbons or Amber Cigarettes.

In the same way a poet or painter, wishing to express Beauty, is impelled to choose a particular form; with luck, this is at first able to recompense in him what he feels; but sooner or later he finds that he has failed to include certain elements of himself, and he must needs embody these in a new poem or picture. He may know that he can never do more than present a part of the possible perfection, and that in imperfect imagery; but at least he may utter his utmost within the limits of the mental and sensory instruments of his similarly inadequate symbol of the Absolute, his vehicle of human incarnation.

These suffer from the same defects as the other forms; ultimately, “Happiness” wearies itself in the effort to invent fresh images, and becomes disheartened and doubtful of itself. Only a few people have wit enough to proceed to generalization from the failure of a few familiar figures of itself, and recognize that all “actual” forms are imperfect; but such people are apt to turn with disgust from the whole procedure, and to long for the “eternal” state. This state is however incapable of realization, as we know; and the Soul understanding this, can find no good but in “Cessation” of all things, its creations no more than its own tendencies to create. It therefore sighs for Nibbana.

But there is one other solution, as I have endeavoured to shew. We may accept (what after all it is absurd to accuse and oppose) the essential character of existence. We cannot extirpate or even alter in the minutest degree either the matter or manner of any element of the Universe, here each item is equally inherent and important, each aequipollent, independent, and interdependent.

We may thus acquiesce in the fact that it is apodeictically implicit in the Absolute to apprehend itself by self-expression as Positive and Negative in the first place, and to combine these primary opposites in an infinite variety of finite forms.

We may thus cease either (1) to seek the Absolute in any of its images, knowing that we must abstract every one of their qualities from every one of these equally if we would unveil it; or (2) to reject all images of the Absolute, knowing that attainment thereof would be the signal for the manifestation of that part of its nature which necessarily formulates itself in a new universe of images.

Realizing that these two courses (the materialist’s and the mystic’s) are equally fatuous, we may engage in either or both of two other plans of action, based on assent to actuality.

We may (1) ascertain our own particular properties as partial projections of the Absolute; we may allow every image presented to us to be of equally intrinsic and essential entity with ourselves, and its presentation to us a phenomenon necessary in Nature; and we may adjust our apprehension to the actuality that every event is an item in the account which we render to ourselves of our own estate. We dare not desire to omit any single entry, lest the balance be upset. We may react with elasticity and indifference to each occurrence, intent only on the idea that the total, intelligently appreciated, constitutes a perfect knowledge not indeed of the Absolute but of that part thereof which is ourselves. We thus adjust one imperfection accurately to another, and remain contented in the appreciation of the righteousness of the relation.

This path, the “Way of the Tao,” is perfectly proper to all men. It does not attempt either to transcend or to tamper with Truth; it is loyal to its own laws,and therefore no less perfect than any other Truth. The Equation Five plus Six is Eleven is of the same order of perfection as Ten Million times Ten times Ten Thousand Million is One Billion. In the Universe fomulated by the Absolute, every point is equally the Centre; every point is equally the focus of the forces of the whole. (In any system of three points, any two may be considered solely with reference to the third, so that even in a finite universe the sum of the properties of all points is the same, though no two properties may be common to any two points. Thus a circle, BCD, may be described by the revolution of a line AB in a plane about the point A; but also from the point C, or indeed any other point, by the application of the proper analysis and construction. We calculate the motion of the solar system in heliocentric terms for no reason but simplicity and convenience; we could convert our tables to a geocentric basis by mere mechanical manipulation without affecting their truth, which is only the truth of the relations between a number of bodies. All are alike in motion, but we have arbitrarily chosen to consider one of them as stationary, so that we may more easily describe the movements of the others in regard to it, without complicating our calculations by introduction of the movements of the whole system as such. And for this purpose the Sun is a more convenient standard than the Earth).

There is another Way that we may take, if we will; I say “another,” though it seems perhaps to some no more than development of the other which happens to be proper to some people.

Even in the first Way, it is of all things necessary to begin by exploring one’s own Nature, so as to discover what its peculiarities are; this is accomplished partly by introspection, but principally by Right Recollection of the whole phantasmagoria presented to it by experience; for since every event of life is a symbol of part of the structure of the Soul, the totality of experience must by the “Name” if the whole of that part of the Soul which has so far uttered itself. Now then, let us suppose that some Soul, having penetrated thus far, should discover in its “Name” that it is a Son truly begotten by the Spirit of Being upon the Body of Form, and that it has power to understand itself and its Father, with all that such heirship implies. Suppose further that it be come to puberty, will it not be impelled to assert itself as its Father’s son? Will it not shake itself free from the Form that bore and nourished and trained it, and turn from its brothers and sisters and playmates? Will it not glow and ache with the impulse to be utterly itself, and find a Form fit to impress with its image, even as did its Father aforetime?

If such a Soul be indeed its Father’s son, he will not fear to show lack of filial reverence, or presumption, if he forget its family in the fervour of founding one of his own, of begetting boys not better or braver indeed than his brothers, girls not softer or sweeter indeed than his sisters, but wholly his own, with his own defects and desires evoked by enchantment of ecstasy when he dies to himself in the womb of the witch who lusts for his life, and buys it with the coin that bears his Image and Superscription.

Such is the secret of the Soul of the Artist. He knows that he is a God, of the Sons of God; he has no fear or shame in showing himself of the seed of his Father. He is proud of that Father’s most precious privilege, and he honours him no less than himself by using it. He accepts his family as of his own royal stock; every one is as princely as he is himself. But he were not his Father’s son unless he found for himself a Form fit to express himself by multiplex reproductions of his Image. He must admire himself in many costumes, each emphatic of some elected elegance or excellence in himself which would otherwise elude his homage by being hidden and hushed in the harmony of his heart. This Form which shall serve him must be softness’ self to his impress, with exact elasticity adapting itself to the strongest and subtlest salients, yet like steel to resist all other stress than his own, and to retain and reproduce surely and sharply the image that his acid bites into its surface. There must be no flaw, no irregularity, no granulation, no warp in its substance; it must be smooth and shining, pure metal of true temper.

And he must love this chosen Form, love it with fearful fervour; it is the face of his Fate that craves his kiss, and in her eyes Enigma blazes and smoulders; she is his death, her body his coffin where he may rot and stink, or writhe in damned dreams, self-slain, or rise in incorruption self-renewed, immortal and identical, fulfilling himself wholly in and by her, splashing all space with sparkling stars his sons and daughters, each star an image of his own infinity made manifest, mood after mood, by her magick to mould him when his passion makes molten her metal.

Thus then must every Artist work. First, he must find himself. Next, he must find the form that is fitted to express himself. Next, he must love that form, as a form, adoring it, understanding it, and mastering it, with most minute attention, until it (as it seems) adapts itself to him with eager elasticity, and answers accurately and aptly, with the unconscious automatism of an organ perfected by evolution, to his most subtlest suggestion, to his most giant gesture.

Next, he must give himself utterly up to that Form; he must annihilate himself absolutely in every act of love, labouring day and night to lose himself in lust for it, so that he leave no atom unconsumed in the furnace of their frenzy, as did of old his Father that begat him. He must realize himself wholly in the integration of the infinite Pantheon of images; for if he fail to formulate one facet of himself, by lack thereof will he know himself falsely.

There is of course no ultimate difference between the Artist as here delineated and him who follows the “Way of the Tao”, though the latter finds perfection in his existing relation with his environment, and the former creates a private perfection of a peculiar and secondary character. We might call one the son, the other the daughter, of the Absolute.

But the Artist, though his Work, the images of himself in the Form that he loves, is less perfect than the Work of his Father, since he can but express one particular point of view and that by means of one type of technique, is not to be thought useless on that account, any more than an Atlas is useless because it presents by means of certain crude conventions a fraction of the facts of geography.

The Artist calls our attention away from Nature, whose immensity bewilders us so that she seems incoherent, and unintelligible, to his own interpretation of himself, and his relations with various phenomena of nature expressed in a language more or less common to us all.

The smaller the Artist, the narrower his view, the more vulgar his vocabulary, the more familiar his figures, the more readily is he recognized as a guide. To be accepted and admired, he must say what we all know, but have not told each other till it is tedious, and say it in simple and clear language, a little more emphatically and eloquently than we have been accustomed to hear; and he must please and flatter us in the telling by soothing our fears and stimulating our hopes and our self-esteem.

When an Artist — whether in Astronomy, like Copernicus, Anthropology, like Ibsen, or Anatomy, like Darwin — selects a set of facts too large, too recondite, or too “regrettable” to receive instant assent from everybody; when he presents conclusions which conflict with popular credence or prejudice; when he employs a language which is not generally intelligible to all; in such cases he must be content to appeal to the few. He must wait for the world to awake to the value of his work.

The greater he is, the more individual and the less intelligible he will appear to be, although in reality he is more universal and more simple than anybody. He must be indifferent to anything but his own integrity in the realization and imagination of himself.

AL II,22: “I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.”

The Old Comment
22. Hadit now identifies himself with the Kundalini, the central magical force in man.

This privilege of using wine and strange drugs has been confirmed; the drugs were indeed revealed. (P.S. And they have not harmed those who have used them in this Law.)

Follows a curse against the cringing altruism of Christianity the yielding of the self to external impressions, the smothering of the Babe of Bliss beneath the flabby old nurse Convention.

The New Comment
Drunkeness is a curse and a hindrance only to slaves. Shelley’s couriers were ‘drunk on the wind of their own speed.’ Any one who is doing his true Will is drunk with the delight of Life.

Wine and strange drugs do not harm people who are doing their will; they only poison people who are cancerous with Original Sin. In Latin countries where Sin is not taken seriously, and sex-expression is simple, wholesome, and free, drunkenness is a rare accident. It is only in Puritan countries, where self-analysis, under the whip of a coarse bully like Billy Sunday, brings the hearer to ‘conviction of sin,’ that he hits first the ‘trail’ and then the ‘booze.’ Can you imagine an evangelist in Taormina? It is to laugh.

This is why missionaries, in all these centuries, have produced no conversions whatever, save among the lowest types of negro, who resemble the Anglo-Saxon in this possession of the ‘fear-of-God’ and ‘Sin’ psychopathies.

Truth is so terrible to these detestable mockeries of humanity that the thought of self is a realization of hell. Therefore they fly to drink and drugs as to an anaesthetic in the surgical operation of introspection.

The craving for these things is caused by the internal misery which their use reveals to the slave-souls. If you are really free, you can take cocaine as simply as salt-water taffy. There is no better rough test of a soul than its attitude to drugs. If a man is simple, fearless, eager, he is all right; he will not become a slave. If he is afraid, he is already a slave. Let the whole world take opium, hashish, and the rest; those who are liable to abuse them were better dead.

For it is in the power of all so-called intoxicating drugs to reveal a man to himself. If this revelation declare a Star, then it shines brighter ever after. If it declare a Christian — a thing not man nor beast, but a muddle of mind — he craves the drug, no more for its analytical but for its numbing effect. Lytton has a great story of this in ‘Zanoni.’ Glyndon, an uninitiate, takes an Elixir, and beholds not Adonai the glorious, but the Dweller on the Threshold; cast out from the Sanctuary, he becomes a vulgar drunkard.

“This folly against self;” altruism is a direct assertion of duality, which is division, restriction, sin, in its vilest form. I love my neighbour because love makes him part of me; not because hate divides him from me. Our law is so simple that it constantly approximates to truism.

“The exposure of innocence.” Exposure means “putting out” as in a shop-window. The pretence of altruism and so-called virtue “is a lie;” it is the hypocrisy of the Puritan, which is hideously corrupting both to the hypocrite and to his victim.

To “lust” is to grasp continually at fresh aspects of Nuit. It is the mistake of the vulgar to expect to find satisfaction in the objects of sense. Disillusion is inevitable; when it comes, it leads only too often to an error which is in reality more fatal than the former, the denial of ‘materiality’ and of ‘animalism.’ There is a correspondence between these two attitudes and those of the ‘once-born’ and ‘twice-born’ of William James (Varieties of Religious Experience). Thelemites are ‘thrice-born;’ we accept everything for what it is, without ‘lust of result,’ without insisting upon things conforming with a priori ideals, or regretting their failure to do so. We can therefore ‘enjoy’ all things of sense and rapture’ according to their true nature. For example, the average man dreads tuberculosis. The “Christian Scientist” flees this fear by pretending that the disease is an illusion in “mortal mind.” But the Thelemite accepts it for what it is, and finds interest in it for its own sake. For him it is a necessary part of the Universe; he makes “no difference” between it and any other thing. The artist’s position is analogous. Rubens, for instance, takes a gross pleasure in female flesh, rendering it truthfully from lack of imagination and analysis. Idealist painters like Bourgereau awake to the divergence between Nature and their academic standards of Beauty, falsify the facts in order to delude themselves. The greatest, like Rembrandt, paint a gallant, a hag, and a carcass with equal passion and rapture; they love the truth as it is. They do not admit that anything can be ugly or evil; its existence justifies itself. This is because they know themselves to be part of an harmonious unity; to disdain any item of it would be to blaspheme the whole. The Thelemite is able to revel in any experience soever; in each he recognizes the tokens of ultimate Truth. It is surely obvious, even intellectually, that all phenomena are interdependent, and therefore involve each other. Suppose a + b + c = d, a = d – b – c just as much as b = d – c – a. It is senseless to pick out one equation as ‘nice’, and another as ‘nasty’. Personal predilections are evidence of imperfect vision. But it is even worse to deny reality to such facts as refuse to humour them. In the charter of spiritual sovereignty it is written that the charcoal-burner is no less a subject than the duke. The structure of the state includes all elements; it were stupid and suicidal to aim at homogeneity, or to assert it. Spiritual experience soon enables the aspirant to assimilate these ideas, and he can enjoy life to the full, finding his True Self alike in the contemplation of every element of existence.

AL II,23: “I am alone: there is no God where I am.”

The Old Comment
23. The Atheism of God. “Allah’s the Atheist! He owns no Allah.”

To admit God is to look up to God, and so not to be God. The cures of duality.

The New Comment
This refers to the spiritual experience of Identity. When one realizes one’s Truth there is no room for any other conception.

It also means that the God-idea must go with other relics of the Fear born of Ignorance into the limbo of savagery. I speak of the Idea of God as generally understood, God being ‘something “not ourselves” that makes for righteousness,’ as Matthew Arnold victorianatically phrased his definition. The whiskered wowser! Why this ingrained conviction that self is unrighteous? It is the heritage of the whip, the brand of the born slave. Incidentally, we cannot allow people who believe in this ‘God;’ they are troglodytes, as dangerous to society as any other thieves and murderers. The Christians to the Lions!

Yet, in the reign of Good Queen Victoria, Matthew Arnold was considered rather hot stuff as an infidel! Tempora mutantur, p.d.q. when a Magus gets on the job.

The quintessence of this verse is (however) its revelation of the nature of Hadit as a self-conscious and individual Being, although impersonal. He is an ultimate independent, and unique element in Nature, impenetrably aloof. The negative electron seems to be his physical analogue. Each such electron is indistinguishable from any other; yet each is determined diversely by its relations with various positive complementary electrons.

The verse is introduced at this juncture in order to throw light on the passage which follows. It is important to understand Hadit as the ‘core of every star’ when we come to consider the character of those stars, his ‘friends’ or sympathetic ideas grouped about him, who are ‘hermits,’ individualities eternally isolated in reality though they may appear to be lost in their relations with external things.

AL II,24: “Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my friends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs, and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them. Ye shall see them at rule, at victorious armies, at all the joy; and there shall be in them a joy a million times greater than this. Beware lest any force another, King against King! Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in the fierce lust of your pride, in the day of your wrath.”

The Old Comment
24. Hermits — See verse 15.

Our ascetics enjoy, govern, conquer, love, and are not to quarrel (but see verses 59, 60 — Even their combats are glorious).

The New Comment
The Christians to the Lions!

A hermit is one who dwells isolated in the desert, exactly as a soul, a star, or an electron in the wilderness of space-time. The doctrine here put forth is that the initiate cannot be polluted by any particular environment. He accepts and enjoys everything that is proper to his nature. Thus, a man’s sexual character is one form of his self-expression; he unites Hadit with Nuit sacramentally when he satisfied his instinct of physical love. Of course, this is only one partial projection; to govern, to fight, and so on, must fulfil other needs. We must not imagine that any form of activity is ipso facto incapable of supplying the elements of an Eucharist: suum cuique. Observe, however, the constant factor in this enumeration of the practices proper to ‘hermits:’ it is ecstatic delight. Let us borrow an analogy from Chemistry. Oxygen has two hands (so to speak) to offer to other elements. But contrast the cordial clasp of hydrogen or phosphorus with the weak reluctant greeting of chlorine! Yet hydrogen and chlorine rush passionately to embrace each other in monogamic madness! There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in the matter; it is the enthusiastic energy of union, as betokened by the disengagement of heat, light, electricity, or music, and the stability of the resulting compound, that sanctifies the act. Note also that the utmost external joy in any phenomenon is surpassed a millionfold by the internal joy of the realization that self-fulfilment in the sensible world is but a symbol of the universal sublimity of the formula “love under will.”

The last two sentences demand careful attention. There is an apparent contradiction with verses 59, 60. We must seek reconcilement in this way: Do not imagine that any King can die (v.21) or be hurt (v.59); strife between two Kings can therefore be nothing more than a friendly trial of strength. We are all inevitably allies, even identical in our variety; to “love one another with burning hearts” is one of our essential qualities.

But who then are the “low men,” since “Every man and every woman is a star?” The casus belli is this: there are people who are veiled from themselves so deeply that they resent the bared faces of us others. We are fighting to free them, to make them masters like ourselves. Note verse 60, “to hell with them:” that is, let us drive them to the ‘hell’ or secret sanctuary within their consciousness. There dwells “the worm that dieth not and the fire that is not quenched;’ that is, ‘the secret serpent coiled about to spring’ and ‘the flame that burns in every heart of man’ — Hadit. In other words, we take up arms against falsehood; we cannot help it if that falsehood forces the King it has imprisoned to assent to its edicts, even to believe that his interests are those of his oppressor, and to fear Truth as once Jehovah did the Serpent.

AL II,25: “Ye are against the people, O my chosen!”

The Old Comment
25. The cant of democracy condemned. It is useless to pretend that men are equal; facts are against it. And we are not going to stay, dull and contented as oxen, in the ruck of humanity.

The New Comment
By ‘the people’ is meant that canting, whining, servile breed of whipped dogs which refuses to admit its deity. The mob is always afraid for its bread and butter — when its tyrants let it have any butter — and now and then the bread has 60% substitutes of cattle-fodder. (Beast-food, even the New York Times of November 13, 1918, E.V. has it.) So, being afraid, it dare not strike. And when the trouble begins, we aristocrats of Freedom, from the castle or the cottage, the tower or the tenement, shall have the slave mob against us. The newspapers will point out to us that “the People” prefer to starve, and thank John D. Rockefeller for the permission to do so.

Still deeper, there is a meaning in this verse applicable to the process of personal initiation. By “the people” we may understand the many-headed and mutable mob which swarms in the slums of our own minds. Most men are almost entirely at the mercy of a mass of loud and violent emotions, without discipline or even organization. They sway with the mood of the moment. They lack purpose, foresight, and intelligence. They are moved by ignorant and irrational instincts, many of which affront the law of self-preservation itself, with suicidal stupidity. The moral Idea which we call “the people” is the natural enemy of good government. He who is ‘chosen’ by Hadit to Kingship must consequently be ‘against the people’ if he is to pursue any consistent policy. The massed maggots of ‘love’ devoured Mark Antony as they did Abelard. For this reason the first task of the Aspirant is to disarm all his thoughts, to make himself impregnably above the influence of any one of them; this he may accomplish by the methods given in Liber Aleph, Liber Jugorum, Thien Tao, and elsewhere. Secondly, he must impose absolute silence upon them, as may be done by the “Yoga” practices taught in Book 4 (Part I) Liber XVI, etc. He is then ready to analyse them, to organize them, to drill them, and so to take advantage of the properties peculiar to each one by employing its energies in the service of his imperial purpose.

AL II,26: “I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.”

The Old Comment
26. The Kundalini again. The mystic Union is to be practised both with Spirit and with Matter.

The New Comment
The magical power is universal. The Free Man directs it as He Will. Leave Him alone, or He will make you sorry you tried to interfere!

There is here a reference to the two main types of the Orgia of Magick; I have already dealt with this matter in the Comment. Observe that in the “mystic” work, the union takes place spontaneously; in the other, venom is shot forth. This awakes the earth to rapture; not until then does union occur. For, in working on the planes of manifestation, the elements must be consecrated and made “God” by virtue of a definite rite.

AL II,27: “There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.”

The Old Comment
27. The importance of failing to interpret these verses. Unspirituality leads to the bird-lime of Intellect. The Hawk must not perch on any earthly bough, but remain poised on the ether.

The New Comment
Humanity errs terribly when it gets ‘education’, in the sense of ability to read newspapers. Reason is rubbish; race-instinct is the true guide. Experience is the great Teacher; and each one of us possesses millions of years of experience, the very quintessence of it, stored automatically in our subconscious minds. The Intellectuals are worse than the bourgeoisie themselves; a la lanterne! Give us Men!

Understanding is the attribute of the Master of the Temple, who has crossed the Abyss (or “Pit”) that divides the true Self from its conscious instrument. (See Liber 418, “Aha”! and Book 4, Part III). We must meditate the meaning of this attack upon the idea of “Because.” I quote from my diary the demonstration that Reason is the Absolute, whereof all Truths soever art merely particular cases. The theorem may be stated roughly as follows.

The universe must be expressible either as +/- n, or as Zero. That is, it is either unbalanced or balanced. The former theory (Theism) is unthinkable; but Zero, when examined, proves to contain the possibility of being expressed as n-n, and this possibility must in its turn be considered as +/- p.

This thesis appears to me a reductio ad absurdum of the very basis of our mathematical thinking.

We knew before, of course, that all reasoning is bound to end in some mystery or some absurdity; the above is only one more antimony, a little deeper than Kant’s, perhaps, but of the same character. Mathematicians would doubtless agree that all signs are arbitrary, elaboration of an abacus, and that all ‘truth’ is merely our name for statements that content our reason; so that it is lower than reason, and within it; not higher and beyond, as transcendentalists argue. I seem never to have seen this point before, though “men of sense” instinctively affirm it, I suppose. The pragmatists are mere tradesmen with their definition of Truth as ‘the useful to be thought; ‘ but why not ‘the necessary to be thought?’ There is a sort of Berkeleyan subjectivity in this view; we might put it: “All that we can know of Truth is ‘that which we are bound to think.’ ” The search for Truth amounts, then, to the result of the analysis of the Mind; and here let us remember my fear of the result of that analysis as I expressed them a month ago.

This analysis is the right method after all.

Now, are we justified in assuming, as we always do, that our reason is either correct or incorrect? That if any proposition can be shown to be congruous with ‘A is A’ it is ‘true,’ and so on? Does the ‘reason’ of the oyster comply with the same canon as man’s? We assume it. We make the necessity in our thought the standard of the laws of Nature; and thus implicitly declare Reason to be the Absolute. This has nothing to do with the weakness of error in any one mind, or in all minds; all that we rely on is the existence of some purely mental standard by which we could always correct our thinking, if we knew how. It is then this power which constrains our thought, to which our minds owe fealty, that we call ‘Truth;’ and this ‘Truth’ is not a proposition at all, but a ‘Law!” We cannot think what it is, obviously, as it is a final condition of philosophical thought in the same way as Space and Time are conditions of phenomenal thought. But, can there be some third type of thought which can escape the bonds of that as that can of this? “Samadhic realization,” one is tempted to rush in and answer — while angels hesitate. All my ‘philosophic’ thought, as above, is direct reflection upon the meaning of Samadhic experience. Is it simply that the reflections are distorted and dim? I have shown the impossibility of any true Zero, and thus destroyed every axiom, blown up the foundations of my mind. In failing to distinguish between None and Two, I cannot even cling to the straw of ‘phrases,’ since Time and Space are long since perished. None “is” Two, without conditions; and therefore it is a positive idea, and we are just as right to enquire how it came to be as in the case of Haeckel’s monad, or one’s aunt’s umbrella. We are, however, this one small step advanced by our initiations, that we can be quite sure this ‘None-Two’ is, since all possible theories of Ontology simplify out to it.

Nevertheless, with whatever we try to identify this Absolute, we cannot escape from the fact that it is in reality merely the formula of our own Reason. The idea of Space arises from reflection upon the relations of our bodily gestures with the various objects of our senses. (Poincare – I note after reading him, months later, as I revise this note – explains this fully). So that a ‘yard’ is not a thing in itself, but a term in the equations which express the Laws according to which we move our muscles. My knowledge consists exclusively of the mechanics of my own mind. All that I know is the nature of its norm. The judgments of the Reason are arbitrary, and can never be verified. Truth and Reality are simply the Substance of the Reason itself. My demonstration that “None-Two is the formula of the Universe” should then preferably be re-stated thus: “The mind of the Beast 666 is so constituted that it is compelled to conceive of an Universe whose formula is None-Two.”

I note that Laotze makes no attempt to announce a Tao which is truly free from Teh. Teh is the necessary quality of Tao, even though Tao, withdrawing Teh into itself, seems to ignore the fact. The only pause I make is this, that mine own Holy Guardian Angel, Aiwaz, whose crown is Thelema, whose robe Agape, whose body the Lost Word that He declared to me, spake in Book Seven and Twenty, saying: “Here is Nothing under its three forms.” Can there then be not only Nothing Manifested, Teh or Two, a Nothing Unmanifested, Tao or Naught, but also a Nothing Absolute?

But there is nothing incompatible with the terms of this verse. The idea of “Because” makes everything dependent on everything else, contrary to the conception of the Universe which this Book has formulated. It is true that the concatenation exists; but the chain does not fetter our limbs. The actions and reactions of illusion are only appearances; we are not affected. No series of images matters to the mirror. What then is the danger of making ‘a great miss?’ We are immune – that is the very essence of the doctrine. But error exists in this sense, that we may imagine it; and when a lunatic believes that Mankind is conspiring to poison him, it is no consolation that others know his delusion for what it is. Thus, we must ‘understand these runes;” we must become aware of our True Selves; if we abdicate our authority as absolute individuals, we are liable to submit to Law, to feel ourselves the puppets of Determinism, and to suffer the agonies of impotence which have afflicted the thinker, from Gautama to James Thomson.

Now then, “there is great danger in me” — we have seen what it is; but why should it lie in Hadit? Because the process of self-analysis involves certain risks. The profane are protected against those subtle spiritual perils which lie in ambush for the priest. A Bushman never has a nervous breakdown. (See Cap.I,v.31). When the Aspirant takes his first Oath, the most trivial things turn into transcendental terrors, tortures, and temptations. (Parts II and III of Book 4 Elaborate this thesis at length.) We are so caked with dirt that the germs of disease cannot reach us. If we decide to wash, we must do it well; or we may have awakened some sleeping dogs, and set them on defenceless areas. Initiation stirs up the mud. It creates unstable equilibrium. It exposes our elements to unfamiliar conditions. The France of Louis XVI had to pass through the Terror before Napoleon could teach it to find itself. Similarly, any error in reaching the realization of Hadit may abandon the Aspirant to the ambitions of every frenzied faction of his character, the masterless dogs of the Augean kennel of his mind.

AL II,28: “Now a curse upon Because and his kin!”

The Old Comment
28. The great Curse pronounced by the Supernals against the Inferiors who arise against them.

Our reasoning faculties are the toils of the Labyrinth within which we are all caught. Cf. Liber LXV, v.59.

The New Comment
This is against these Intellectuals aforesaid. There are no “standards of Right.” Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its orbit. To hell with ‘moral Principle;’ there is no such thing; that is a herd-delusion, and makes men cattle. Do not listen to the rational explanation of How Right It All Is, in the newspapers.

We may moreover consider “Because” as involving the idea of causality, and therefore of duality. If cause and effect are really inseparable, as they must be by definition, it is mere clumsiness to regard them as separate; they are two aspects of one single idea, conceived as consecutive for the sake of (apparent) convenience, or for the general purpose previously indicated of understanding and expressing ourselves in finite terms.

Shallow indeed is the obvious objection to this passage that the Book of the Law itself is full of phrases which imply causality. Nobody denies that causality is a category of the mind, a form of condition of thought which, if not quite a theoretical necessity, is yet inevitable in practice. The very idea of any relation between any two things appears as causal. Even should we declare it to be causal, our minds would still insist that causality itself was the effect of some cause. Our daily experience hammers home this conviction; and a man’s mental excellence seems to be measurable almost entirely in terms of the strength and depth of his appreciation thereof as the soul of the structure of the Universe. It is the spine of Science which has vertebrated human Knowledge above the slimy mollusc whose principle was Faith.

We must not suppose for an instant that the Book of the Law is opposed to reason. On the contrary, its own claim to authority rests upon reason, and nothing else. It disdains the arts of the orator. It makes reason the autocrat of the mind. But that very fact emphasizes that the mind should attend to its own business. It should not transgress its limits. It should be a perfect machine, an apparatus for representing the universe accurately and impartially to its master. The Self, its Will, and its Apprehension, should be utterly beyond it. Its individual peculiarities are its imperfections. If we identify ourselves with our thoughts or our bodily instincts, we are evidently pledged to partake of their partiality. We make ourselves items of the interaction of our own illusions.

In the following verses we shall find the practical application of this theorem.

AL II,29: “May Because be accursed for ever!”

The New Comment
Distrust any explanation whatever. Disraeli said: Never ask any one to dinner who has to be explained. All explanations are intended to cover up lies, injustices, or shames. The Truth is radiantly simple.

AL II,30: “If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.”

The New Comment
There is no ‘reason’ why a Star should continue in its orbit. Let her rip! Every time the conscious acts, it interferes with the Subconscious, which is Hadit. It is the voice of Man, and not of a God. Any man who ‘listens to reason’ ceases to be a revolutionary. The newspapers are Past Masters in the Lodge of Sophistry Number 333. They can always prove to you that it is necessary, and patriotic, and all the rest of it, that you should suffer intolerable wrongs.

The Qabalists represent the mind as a complex of six elements, whereas the Will is single, the direct expression as “The Word” of the Self. The mind must inform the Understanding, which then presents a simple idea to the Will. This issues its orders accordingly for unquestioning execution. If the Will should appeal to the mind, it must confuse itself with incomplete and uncoordinated ideas. The clamour of these cries crowns Anarchy, and action becomes impossible.

AL II,31: “If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.”

The New Comment
It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfil one’s true Nature, one must do one’s Will. To question this is to destroy confidence, and so to create an inhibition. If a woman asks a man who wishes to kiss her why he wants to do so, and he tries to explain, he becomes impotent. His proper course is to choke her into compliance, which is what she wants, anyhow.

Power acts: the nature of the action depends on the information received by the Will; but once the decision is taken, reflection is out of place. Power should indeed be absolutely unconscious. Every athlete is aware that his skill, strength, and endurance depend on forbidding mind to meddle with muscle. Here is a simple experiment. Hold out a weight at arm’s length. If you fix your attention firmly on other matters, you can support the strain many times longer than if you allow yourself to think of what your body is doing.

AL II,32: “Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.”

The Old Comment
32. We have insufficient data on which to reason. This passage only allies to ‘rational’ criticism of the Things Beyond.

The New Comment
The ‘factor infinite and unknown’ is the subconscious Will. ‘On with the revel!” ‘Their words’ — the plausible humbug of the newspapers and the churches. Forget it! Allons! Marchons!

It has been explained at length in a previous note that ‘reason is a lie’ by nature. We may here add certain confirmations suggested by the ‘factor.’ A and a (not-A) together make up the Universe. As a is evidently ‘infinite and unknown,’ its equal and opposite A must be so no less. Again, from any proposition S is P, reason deduces “S is not p;” thus the apparent finitude and knowability of S is deceptive, since it is in direct relation with p.

No matter what n may be, {?infinity?}, the number of the inductive numbers, is unaltered by adding or subtracting it. There are just as many odd numbers as there are numbers altogether. Our knowledge is confined to statements of the relations between certain sets of our own sensory impressions; and we are convinced by our limitations that ‘a factor infinite and unknown’ must be concealed within the sphere of which we see but one minute part of the surface. As to reason itself, what is more certain than that its laws are only the conscious expression of the limits imposed upon us by our animal nature, and that to attribute universal validity, or even significance, to them is a logical folly, the raving of our megalomania? Experiment proves nothing; it is surely obvious that we are obliged to correlate all observations with the physical and mental structure whose truth we are trying to test. Indeed, we can assume an ‘unreasonable’ axiom, and translate the whole of our knowledge into its terms, without fear of stumbling over any obstacle. Reason is no more than a set or rules developed by the race; it takes no account of anything beyond sensory impressions and their reactions to various parts of our being. There is no possible escape from the vicious circle that we can register only the behaviour of our own instrument. We conclude from the fact that it behaves at all, that there must be ‘a factor infinite and unknown’ at work upon it. This being the case, we may be sure that our apparatus is inherently incapable of discovering the truth about anything, even in part.

Let me illustrate. I see a drop of water. Distrusting my eyes, I put it under the microscope. Still in doubt, I photograph and enlarge the slide. I compare my results with those of others. I check them by cultivating the germs in the water, and injecting them into paupers. But I have learnt nothing at all about ‘the infinite and unknown,’ merely producing all sorts of different impressions according to the conditions in which one observes it!

More yet, all the instruments used have been tested and declared “true” on the evidence of those very eyes distrust of which drove me to the research.

Modern Science has at last grown out of the very-young-man cocksureness of the 19th century. It is now admitted that axioms themselves depend on definitions, and that Intuitive Certainty is simply one trait of “homo sapiens”, like the ears of the ass or the slime of the slug. That we reason as we do merely proves that we cannot reason otherwise. We cannot move the upper jaw; it does not follow that the idea of motion is ridiculous. The limitation hints rather that there may be an infinite variety of structures which the jaw cannot imagine. The metric system is not the necessary mode of measurement. It is the mark of a mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth. Our two eyes see an object in two aspects, and present to our consciousness a third which agrees with neither, is indeed, strictly speaking, not sensible to sight, but to touch! Our senses declare some things at rest and others in motion; our reason corrects the error, firstly by denying that anything can exist unless it is in motion, secondly by denying that absolute motion possesses any meaning at all.

At the time when this Book was written, official Science angrily scouted the ‘factor infinite and unknown,’ and clung with pathetic faith to the idea that reason was the touchstone of truth. In a single sentence, Aiwaz anticipates the discoveries by which the greatest minds now incarnate have made the last ten years memorable.

AL II,33: “Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!”

The Old Comment
33. We pass from the wandering in the jungle of Reason to — the Awakening. (see next verse).

The New Comment
This is the only way to deal with reason. Reason is like a woman; if you listen, you are lost; with a thick stick, you have some sort of sporting chance. Reason leads the philosopher to self-contradiction, the statesman to doctrinaire follies; it makes the warrior lay down his arms, and the lover cease to rave. What is so unreasonable as man? The only Because in the lover’s litany is Because I love you. We want no skeleton syllogisms at our symposium of souls.

Philosophically, ‘Because is absurd.’ There is no answer to the question “Why.” The greatest thinkers have been sceptics or agnostics: “omnia exeunt in mysterium”,” and “summa scientia nihil scire” are old commonplaces. In my essays ‘Truth’ (in Konx Om Pax), ‘The Soldier and the Hunchback,’ ‘Eleusis’ and others, I have offered a detailed demonstration of the self-contradictory nature of Reason. The crux of the whole proof may be summarized by saying that any possible proposition must be equally true with its contradictory, as, if not, the universe would no longer be in equilibrium. It is no objection that to accept this is to destroy conventional Logic, for that is exactly what it is intended to do. I may also mention briefly one line of analysis.

I ask “What is (e.g.) a tree?” The dictionary defines this simple idea by means of many complex ideas; obviously one gets in deeper with every stroke one takes. The same applies to any “Why” that may be posed. The one existing mystery disappears as a consequence of innumerable antecedents, each equally mysterious.

To ask questions is thus evidently worse than a waste of time, so far as one is looking for an answer.

There is also the point that any proposition S is P merely includes P in the connotation of S, and is therefore not really a statement of relation between two things, but an amendment of the definition of one of them. “Some cats are black” only means that our idea of a cat involves the liability to appear black, and that blackness is consistent with those sets of impressions which we recognize as characteristic of cats. All ratiocination may be reduced to syllogistic form; hence, the sole effect of the process is to make each term more complex. Reason does not add to our knowledge; a filing system does not increase one’s correspondence directly, though by arranging it one gets a better grasp of one’s business. Thus coordination of our impressions should help us to control them; but to allow reason to rule us is as abject as to expect the exactitude of our ledgers to enable us to dispense with initiative on the one hand and actual transactions on the other.

AL II,34: “But ye, o my people, rise up & awake!”

The New Comment
We are not to calculate, to argue, to criticise; these things lead to division of will and to stagnation. They are shackles of our Going. They hamstring our Pegasus. We are to rise up — to Go — to Love — we are to be awake, alert —

“Joyous and eager, Our tresses adorning,

O let us beleaguer the City of Morning!”

The Secret of Magick is to “enflame oneself in praying.” This is the ready test of a Star, that it whirls flaming through the sky. You cannot mistake it for an Old Maid objecting to Everything. This Universe is a wild revel of atoms, men, and stars, each one a Soul of Light and Mirth, horsed on Eternity.

Observe that we must ‘rise up’ befor we ‘awake!’ Aspiration to the Higher is a dream — a wish-fulfilment which remains a phantasm to wheedle us away from seeking reality — unless we follow it up by Action. Only then do we become fully aware of ourselves, and enter into right reaction with the world in which we live.

AL II,35: “Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty!”

The Old Comment
35. Let us be practical persons, not babblers of gossip and platitude.

The New Comment
A ritual is not a melancholy formality; it is a Sacrament, a Dance, a Commemoration of the Universe. The Universe is endless rapture, wild and unconfined, a mad passion of speed. Astronomers tell us this of the Great Republic of the Stars; physicists say the same of the Little Republic of Molecules. Shall not the Middle Republic of Men be like unto them? The polite ethicist demurs; his ideal is funereal solemnity. His horizon is bounded by death; and his spy-glass is smeared with the idea of sin. The New Aeon proclaims Man as Immortal God, eternally active to do His Will. All’s Joy, all’s Beauty; this Will we celebrate.

In this verse we see how the awakening leads to ordered and purposeful action. Joy and Beauty are the evidence that our functions are free and fit; when we take no pleasure, and find nothing to admire, in our work, we are doing it wrong.

AL II,36: “There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.”

The Old Comment
36. A crescendo of ecstasy in the mere thought of performing these rituals; which are in preparation under the great guidance of V.V.V.V.V.

The New Comment
Each element — fire, earth, air, water, and Spirit — possesses its own Nature, Will, and Magical Formula. Each one may then have its appropriate ritual. Many such in crude form are described in The Golden Bough of Dr. J.G. Frazer, the Glory of Trinity!

In particular the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices are suitable for festivals.

The difference between ‘rituals’ and ‘feasts’ is this: by the one a particular form of energy is generated, while there is a general discharge of one’s superfluous force in the other. Yet a feast implies periodical nourishment.

AL II,37: “A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride!”

The New Comment
There should be a special feast on the 12th day of August in every year, since it was the marriage of The Beast which made possible the revelation of the New Law. (This is not an Apology for Marriage. Hard Cases make Bad Law).

AL II,38: “A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.”

The New Comment
This is April 8th, 9th, and 10th, the feast beginning at High Noon.

AL II,39: “A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet-secret, O Prophet!”

The New Comment
This particular feast is of a character suited only to initiates.

AL II,40: “A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.”

The New Comment
The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus, which brought about the Opening of the New Aeon. The date is March 20.

The Equinox of the Gods is the term used to describe the Beginning of a New Aeon, or a New Magical Formula. It should be celebrated at every Equinox, in the manner known to Neophytes of the A.’.A..’.

AL II,41: “A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death!”

The New Comment
The feasts of fire and water indicate rejoicings to be made at the puberty of boys and girls respectively.

The feast for life is at a birth; and the feast for death at a death. It is of the utmost importance to make funerals merry, so as to train people to take the proper view of death. The fear of death is one of the great weapons of tyrants, as well as their scourge; and it distorts our whole outlook upon the Universe.

AL II,42: “A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture!”

The New Comment
To him who realizes Hadit this text needs little comment. It is wondrous, this joy of awakening every morning to the truth of one’s immortal energy and rapture.

AL II,43: “A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight!”

The New Comment
To sleep is to return, in a sense, to the Bosom of Nuit. But there is to be a particular Act of Worship of Our Lady, as ye well wot.

AL II,44: “Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.”

The Old Comment
44. Without fear rejoice; death is only a dissolution, a uniting of Hadit with Nu, the Ego with the All. Yod with Aleph. (Note Yod, 10 + Aleph, 1 = 11, Abrahadabra, the Word of Uniting the 5 and the 6.)

The New Comment
Do not be afraid of ‘going the pace’. It is better to wear out than to rust out. You are unconquerable, and of indefatigable energy. Great men find time for everything, shirk nothing, make reputations in half a dozen different lines, have twenty simultaneous love affairs, and live to a green old age. The milksops and valetudinarians never get anywhere; usually they die early; and even if they lived for ever, what’s the use?

The body is itself a restriction as well as an instrument. When death is as complete as it should be, the individual expands and fulfils himself in all directions; it is an omniform Samadhi. This is of course ‘eternal ecstasy’ in the sense already explained. But in the time-world Karma reconcentrates the elements, and a new incarnation occurs.

AL II,45: “There is death for the dogs.”

The Old Comment
45. Those without our Circle of ecstasy do indeed die. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

The New Comment
The prigs, the prudes, the Christians, die in a real sense of the word; for although even they are ‘Stars’, there is not enough body to them (as it were) to carry on the individuality. There is no basis for the magical memory if one’s incarnation holds nothing worth remembering. Count your years by your wounds “– forsitan haec clim meminisse juvabit.”

In regard to this question of death I quote from

Liber Aleph — De Morte.

Thou hast made Question of me concerning Death, and this is mine Opinion, of which I say not: This is the Truth. First in the Temple called Man is the God, his Soul, or Star, individual and eternal, but also inherent in the Body of Our Lady Nuith. Now this Soul, as an Officer in the High Mass of the Cosmos, taketh on the vesture of his Office, that is, inhabiteth a Tabernacle of Illusion, a Body and Mind. And this Tabernacle is subject to the Law of Change, for it is complex, and diffuse, reacting to every Stimulus or Impression. If then the Mind be attached constantly to the Body, Death hath not Power to decompose it wholly, but a decaying Shell of the Dead Man, his Mind holding together for a little his Body of Light, haunteth the Earth, seeking a new Tabernacle (in its Error, that feareth Change) in some other Body. These Shells are broken away utterly from the Star that did enlighten them, and they are Vampires, obsessing that that adventure themselves into the Astral World, without Magical Protection, or invoke them, as do the Spiritists. For by Death is Man released only from the Gross Body, at the first, and is complete otherwise upon the Astral Plane, as he was in his Life. But this Wholeness suffereth Stress, and its Girders are loosened, the weaker first, and after that the stronger.

De Adeptis R.C. Eschatologia.

Consider now in this Light what shall come to the Adept, to him that hath aspired constantly and firmly to his Star, attuning his Mind unto the Musick of its Will. In him, if his Mind be knit perfectly together in itself, and conjoined with the Star, is so strong a Confection that it breaketh away easily not only from the Gross Body, but the Fine. It is this Fine Body which bindeth it to the Astral, as did the Gross to the Material World; so then it accomplisheth willingly the Sacrament of a Second Death, and leaveth the Body of Light. But the Mind, cleaving closely by Right of its Harmony, and Might of its Love, to its Star, resisteth the Ministers of Disruption, for a Season, according to its Strength.

Now, if this Star be of those that are bound by the Great Oath, incarnating without Remission because of Delight in the Cosmic Sacrament, it seeketh a new Vehicle in the Appointed Way, and indwelleth the Foetus of a Child, and quickeneth it. And if at this Time the Mind of its Former Tabernacle yet cling to it, then is there Continuity of Character, and it may be Memory, between the Two Vehicles. This is, briefly and without Elaboration, the Way of Asar in Amennti, according to mine Opinion, of which I say not: this is the Truth.

De Nuptiis summis.

Now then to this Doctrine, o my Son, add thou that which thou hast learned in the Book of the Law, that Death is the Dissolution in the Kiss of Our Lady Nuith. This is a true Consonance as of Bass with Treble; for here is the Impulse that setteth us to Magick, the Pain of the Conscious Mind. Having then Wit to find the Cause of this Pain in the Sense of Separation, and its Cessation by the Union of Love, it is the Summit of Our Holy Art to present the whole Engine in true and real appurtenance of our Force, without Leak, or Friction, or any other Waste or Hindrance to its Action. Thou knowest well how an Horse, or even a Machine propelled by a Man’s Feet, becometh as it were an Extension of the Rider, through his Skill and Custom. Thus let thy Star have Profit of thy Vehicle, assimilating it, and sustaining it, so that it be healed of its Separation, and this even in Life, but most especially in Death. Also thou oughtest to increase thy Vehicle in Mass by true Growth in Balance, that thou be a Bridegroom comely and well-favoured, a man of Might, and a Warrior worthy of the Bed of so divine a Dissolution.

AL II,46: “Dost thou fail? Art thou sorry? Is fear in thine heart?”

The Old Comment
46. The prophet was again perplexed and troubled; for in his soul was Compassion for all beings. But though his Compassion is a feeling perhaps admirable and necessary for mortals, yet it pertains to the planes of Illusion. It is based on a misapprehension.

The New Comment
This verse brings out what is a fact in psychology, the necessary connection between fear, sorrow, and failure. To will and to dare are closely linked Powers of the Sphinx, and they are based on — to know. If one have a right apprehension of the Universe, if he know himself free, immortal, boundless, infinite force and fire, then may he will and dare. Fear, sorrow and failure are but phantoms.

AL II,47: “Where I am these are not.”

The Old Comment
47. Hadit knows nothing of these things; He is pure ecstasy.

The New Comment
Hadit is everywhere; fear, sorrow, and failure are only ‘shadows’. It is for this reason that compassion is absurd.

It may be objected that “shadows” exist after all; the “pink rats” of an alcoholic are not to be exorcised by ‘Christian Science” methods. Very true — they are, in fact, necessary functions of our idea of the Universe in its dualistic ‘shadow-show’. But they do not form any part of Hadit, who is beneath all conditions. And they are in a sense less real than their logical contradictories, because they are patently incompatible with the Changeless and Impersonal. They have their roots in conceptions involving change and personality. Strictly speaking, ‘joy’ is no less absurd than sorrow, with reference to Hadit; but from the standpoint of the individual, this is not the case. One’s fear of death is removed by the knowledge that there is no such thing in reality; but one’s joy in life is not affected.

AL II,48: “Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I am not for them. I console not: I hate the consoled & the consoler.”

48. Hadit has never defiled His purity with the Illusion of Sorrow, etc. Even love and pity for the fallen is an identification with it (sympathy from sigma-upsilon-nu Pi-alpha-theta-epsilon-iota-nu), and therefore a contamination.

The New Comment
It is several times shewn in this Book that ‘falling’ is in truth impossible. “All is ever as it was”. To sympathize with the illusion is not only absurd, but tends to perpetuate the false idea. It is a mistake to ‘spoil’ a child, or humour a malade imaginaire. One must, on the contrary, chase away the shadows by lighting a fire, which fire is: Do what thou wilt!

AL II,49: “I am unique & conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish. Be they damned & dead! Amen. [This is of the 4: there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.]”

The Old Comment
49. Continues the curse against the slave-soul. Amen. This is of the 4, i.e. should be spelt with 4 letters (the elements). Aleph-Mem-Taw-Shin not Aleph-Mem-nun. The fifth, who is invisible, is Ayin, 70, the Eye. Now Aleph-Mem-Taw-Shin, 741 + 70 = 811 = IAO in Greek, and IAO is the Greek form of Yod-He-Vau-He, the synthesis of the 4 elements Aleph-Mem-Taw-Shin. (This Ayin is perhaps the O in N.O.X., Liber VII, I, 40.)

The New Comment
We are to conquer the Illusion, to drive it out. The slaves that perish are better dead. They will be reborn into a world where Freedom is the Air of Breath. So then, in all kindness, the Christians to the Lions!

The “Babe in the Egg” is Harpocrates; it is his regular Image.

I am not very well satisfied with the old comment on this verse. It appears rather as if the Amen should be the beginning of a new paragraph altogether. Amen is evidently a synthesis of the four elements, and the invisible fifth is Spirit. But Harpocrates, the Babe in the Egg, is Virgo in the Zodiac indeed, but Mercury among the planets. Mercury has the Winged Helmet and Heels, and the Winged Staff about which Snakes twine, and it is He that Goeth. Now this letter is Beth whose numeration is 2, and Aleph-Mem-Nun is 91, which added to 2 makes 93. Amoun is of course Jupiter in his highest Form. To understand this note fully one must have studied “The Paris Working”; also one must be an initiate of the O.T.O.

AL II,50: “Blue am I and gold in the light of my bride: but the red gleam is in my eyes; & my spangles are purple & green.”

The New Comment
There is here suggested the Image of “the Star and the Snake”.

AL II,51: “Purple beyond purple: it is the light higher than eyesight.”

The Old Comment
51. Purple — the ultra-violet (v.51), the most positive of the colours.

Green — the most negative of the colours, half-way in the spectrum.

The Magical Image of Hadit is therefore an Eye within a coiled serpent, gleaming red — the spiritual red of the Spirit of Nature, the letter Shin, not mere Fire — at the apex of the Triangle in the half circle of Nuiot’s Body, and shedding spangles as of the spectrum of eight colours, including the ultra-violet but not the ultra-red; and set above a black veil, as the next verse indicates.

The New Comment
There is a certain suggestion in this ‘purple’ as connected with ‘eyesight’, which should reveal a certain identity of Hadit with the Dwarf-Soul to those who possess — eyesight!

AL II,52: “There is a veil: that veil is black. It is the veil of the modest woman; it is the veil of sorrow, & the pall of death: this is none of me. Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries: veil not your vices in virtuous words: these vices are my service; ye do well, & I will reward you here and hereafter.”

The Old Comment
52. This verse is very difficult for anyone, either with or without morality. For what men nowadays call Vice is really virtue — virtue, manliness — and Virtue — cowardice, hypocrisy, prudery, chastity, and so on are really vices — vitia, flaws.

The New Comment
Mohammed struck at the root of the insane superstition of tabu with his word: “Women are your field; go in unto them as ye will”. He only struck half the blow. I say: go in unto them as ye will and they will. Two-thirds of modern misery springs from Woman’s sexual dissatisfaction. A dissatisfied woman is a curse to herself and to everybody in her neighbourhood. Women must learn to let themselves enjoy without fear or shame, and both men and woman must be trained in the technique of sex. Sex-repression leads to neurosis, and is the cause of social unrest. Ignorance of sexual technique leads to disappointment, even where passion is free and unrestrained. Sex is not everything in life, any more than food is: but until people have got satisfaction of these natural hungers, it is useless to expect them to think of other things. This truth is vital to the statesman, now that women have some direct political power; they will certainly overthrow the Republic unless they obtain full sexual satisfaction. Also, women outnumber men; and one man cannot satisfy a woman unless he be skilful and diligent. The New Aeon will have a foundation of Happy Women: A Woman under Tabu is loathsome to Life, detested by her fellows, and wretched in herself.

The student should study in Liber Aleph and Liber 418, the connection between ‘modesty’ and the attitude of the “Black Brothers”.

AL II,53: “Fear not, o prophet, when these words are said, thou shalt not be sorry. Thou art emphatically my chosen; and blessed are the eyes that thou shalt look upon with gladness. But I will hide thee in a mask of sorrow: they that see thee shall fear thou art fallen: but I lift thee up.”

The Old Comment
53. But the prophet again disliked the writing. The God comforted him.

Also he prophesied of his immediate future, which was fulfiled, and is still being fulfilled at the time (An V. Sun in 20 degrees Cancer) of this writing. Even more marked now (An VII, Sun in Libra) especially these words, “I lift thee up.”

The New Comment
Yes! I was frightened when the God of Things as They Ought to Be told me that They Were to Be. I was born under a German Queen, and I did not believe in the Revolution that I willed. And lo! it is upon us, ere the Fifteenth Year of the New Aeon has dawned.

Yes! I am lifted up, the Sun being in Scorpio in this Fourteenth Year of the Aeon.

AL II,54: “Nor shall they who cry aloud their folly that thou meanest nought avail; thou shall reveal it: thou availest: they are the slaves of because: They are not of me. The stops as thou wilt; the letters? change them not in style or value!”

The Old Comment
54. The triumph over the rationalists predicted. The punctuation of this book was done after its writing; at the time it was mere hurried scribble from dictation. See the MS. facsimile.

The New Comment
The second part of the text was in answer to an unspoken query as to the peculiar phrasing.

The first part is clear enough. There are a number of people of shallow wit who do not believe in Magick. This is doubtless partly due to the bad presentation of the subject by previous Masters. I have identified Magick with the Art of Life. The transcendental superstructure will not overburden those who have laid this Right Foundation.

There is an elaborate cryptographic meaning in this verse; the words ‘folly’, ‘nought’, ‘it’, and ‘me’ indicate the path of research.

AL II,55: “Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto.”

The Old Comment
55. Done. See Liber Trigrammaton, Comment.

The New Comment
The attribution in Liber Trigrammation is good theoretically; but no Qabalah of merit has arisen therefrom. I am inclined to look further into the question of Sanskrit Roots, and into the Enochian Records, in order to put this matter in more polished shape.

I append Liber Trigrammaton with the attribution aforesaid.

sub Figura XXVII.

THE BOOK OF THE TRIGRAMS OF THE MUTATIONS OF THE TAO WITH THE YIN AND YANG.

*
*
*

Here is Nothing under its three forms. It is not, yet informeth all things.

I Narrowed breath. Represents concentration, including aspiration.

*
*

Now cometh the glory of the Single One, as an imperfection and stain.

L Passive undulation, without effort, unchecked.

*
*
– –

But by the Weak One the Mother was it equilibrated.

C. Vide S. and K.

*

*

Also the purity was divided by Strength, the force of the Demiurge.

H. forcible addition of pure breath to other sounds. Represents effort.

*
– –
*

And the Cross was formulated in the Universe that as yet was not.

X Combines K & S.


*
*

But now the Imperfection became manifest, presiding over the fading of perfection.

T The sexual onslaught. A less responsible form of D.

– –
*
*

Also the Woman arose, and veiled the Upper Heaven with her body of stars.

Y When distinct from I, dignifies the vowel to which it is prefixed.

*

Now then a giant arose, of terrible strength; and asserted the Spirit in a secret rite.

P As to B as K is to (hard) G. Bursting of a bud as against that of a fruit.

*

– –

And the Master of the Temple balancing all things arose; his stature was above the Heaven and below Earth and Hell.

A Open unmodulated breath. (ah.)

*
– –

Against him the Brothers of the Left-hand Path, confusing the symbols. They concealed their horror [in this symbol]; for in truth they were

– –

*

J Like soft G.

*
– –
– –

The master flamed forth as a star and set a guard of Water in every Abyss.

W When distinct from U represents the operation of choice. ‘U” does this to some extent. (Will, word, way.)


*

Also certain secret ones concealed the Light of Purity in themselves, protecting it from the Persecutions.

O The breath concentrated and directed. As to I as magic is to mysticism.


*
– –

Likewise also did certain sons and daughters of Hermes and of Aphrodite, more openly

G (hard) Opening as if to devour. (Soft?)

– –
*

But the Enemy confused them. They pretended to conceal that Light, that they might betray it, and profane it.

Z An irritated or excited form of S, emphasizing elements of anger and alarm.

– –
*
– –

Yet certain holy nuns concealed the secret in songs upon the lyre.

B Bursting forth. Phallus and Vulva. Kissing.



*

Now did the Horror of Time pervert all things, hiding the Purity with a loathsome thing, a thing unnameable.

F Compound of P & H.


– –
*

Yea, and there arose sensualists upon the firmament, as a foul stain of storm upon the sky.

S Devence, warning, etc.

– –

*

And the Black Brothers raised their heads; yea, they unveiled themselves without shame or fear.

M The Will to Die.

– –
– –
*

Also there rose up a soul of filth and of weakness, and it corrupted all the rule of the Tao.

N The vibration which includes Life and Death as complementary Curves.



Then only was Heaven established to bear sway; for only in the lowest corruption is form manifest. (Phallus).

E Softened, but otherwise unmodulated breath.



– –

Also did Heaven manifest in violent light. (Air or the Aethyr).

R Continuous vibration, like L but active.


– –

And in soft light. (The Sun).

Q Combines K + U.

– –

Then were the waters gathered together from the heaven. (Water).

V Conscious male will. Manhood, strength, truth, righteousness, immortality, integrity.


– –
– –

And a crust of earth concealed the core of flame. (Earth).

K Opening as if startled.

– –

– –

Around the globe gathered the wide air. (The moon)<<the moon is not considered to be a light, but as a cohesion of the planet’s atmosphere.>>

D The paternal vibration.

– –
– –

And men began to light fires upon the earth. (Fire).

U Like O with added refinement and a tinge of melancholy. O is completely self-confident. (Vulva).

– –
– –
– –

Therefore was the end of it sorrow; yet in that sorrow a sixfold star of glory whereby they might see to return unto the stainless Abode; yea, unto the Stainless Abode.

AL II,56: “Begone! ye mockers; even though ye laugh in my honour ye shall laugh not long: then when ye are sad know that I have forsaken you.”

The Old Comment
56. The God again identifies himself with the essential ecstasy. He wants no reverence, but identity.

The New Comment
These passages are certainly very difficult. It seems as if they were given to meet some contingency which has not yet arisen. For example this verse might be appropriate in case of the institution of a false cultus by impostors.

The doctrine is that Hadit is the nucleolus (to borrow a term from bilogy) of any star-organism. To mock at Hadit is therefore evidently very much what is meant by the mysterious phrase in the “New Testament” with regard to the Unpardonable Sin, the “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost”. A star forsaken by Hadit would thus be in the condition of real death it is this state which is characteristic of the “Black Brothers”, as they are described in other parts of this Comment, and elsewhere in the Holy Books of the A.’. A.’.

I may here quote Liber Aleph, De Inferno Servorum and De Fratribut Nigris.

“Now, o my Son, having understood the Heaven that is within thee, according to thy Will, learn this concerning the Hell of the Slaves of the Slavegods, that it is true Place of torment. For they, restricting themselves, and being divided in Will, are indeed the Servants of Sin, and they suffer, because, not being united in Love with the whole Universe, they perceive not Beauty, but Ugliness and Deformity; and, not being united in Understanding thereof, conceive only of Darkness and Confusion, beholding Evil therein. Thus at last they come, as did the Manichaeans, to find, to their Terror, a Division even in the One, not that Division which we know for the Craft of Love, but a Division of Hate, And this, multiplying itself, Conflict upon Conflict, endeth in Hotchpot, and in the Impotence and Envy of Choronzon, and in the Abominations of the Abyss. And of such the Lords are the Black Brothers, who seek by their Sorceries to confirm themselves in Division. Yet in this even is no true Evil, for Love conquereth All, and their Corruption and Disintegration is also the Victory of BABALON”.

“O my Son, know this concerning the Black Brothers, that cry: I am I. This is Falsity and Delusion, for the Law endureth not Exception. So then these Brethren are not Apart, as they Think; but are peculiar Combinations of Nature in Her Variety. Rejoice then even in the Contemplation of these, for they are proper to Perfection, and Adornments of Beauty, like a Mole upon the Cheek of a Woman. Shall I then say that were it of thine own Nature, even thine, to compose so sinsister a complex, thou shouldst not strive therewith, destroying it by Love, but continue in that Way? I deny not this hastily, nor affirm; for it is in mine won Nature to think that in this Matter the Sum of Wisdom is Silence. But this I say, and that boldly, that thou shalt not look upon this Horror with Fear, or with Hate, but accept this as thou dost all else, as a Phenomenon of Change, that is, of Love. For in a swift Stream thou mayst behold a Twig held steady for awhile by the Play of the Water, and by this Analogue thou mayst understand the Nature of this Mystery of the Path of Perfection.”

AL II,57: “He that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is filthy shall be filthy still.”

The Old Comment
57. A quotation from the Apocalypse. This God is not a Redeemer: He is Himself. You cannot worship Him, or seek Him — He is He. And if thou be He, well.

The New Comment
This, and the first part of the next verse demonstrate the inviolability of Hadit our Quintessence. Every Star has its own Nature, which is ‘Right’ for it. We are not to be missionaries, with ideal standards of dress and morals, and such hard-ideas. We are to do what we will, and leave others to do what they will. We are infinitely tolerant, save of intolerance. It is not good, however, to try to prevent Christians from meddling, save by the one cure: The Christians to the Lions’.

It is impossible to alter the ultimate Nature of any Being, however completely we may succeed in transfiguring its external signs as displayed in any of its combinations. Thus, the sweetness, whiteness, and crystalline structure of sugar depend partly on the presence of Carbon; so do the bitterness, greeness, and resinous composition of hashish. But the Carbon is inviolably Carbon. And even when we transmute what seem to be elements, as Radium to Lead, we merely go a step further; there is still an immutable substance — or essence of Energy — which is inevitably Itself, the basis of the diversity.

This holds good even should we arrive at demonstrating Material Monism. It may well be — I have believed so ever since I was fourteen years old — that the elements are all isomers, differentiated by geometrical structure, electrical charge, or otherwise in precisely the same way as ozone from oxygen, red from yellow phosphorous, dextrose from ~laevulose, and a paraffin from a benzene of identical empirical formula. Indeed, every “star” is necessarily derived from the uniform continuity of Nuith, and resolvable back into Her Body by the proper analytical methods, as the experience of mysticism testifies. But each such ~complexs is none the less uniquely itself; for the scheme of its construction is part of its existence, so that this peculiar scheme constitutes the essence of its individuality. It is impossible to change a shilling into two sixpences, though the value and the material may be identical; for part of the essence of the shilling is the intention to have a single coin.

The above considerations must be thoroughly assimilated by any mind which wishes to gain a firm intellectual grasp of the truth which lies behind the paradox of existence.

AL II,58: “Yea! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was. Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty.”

58. Yet it does not follow that He (and His) must appear joyous. They may assume the disguise of sorrow.

The New Comment
Again we learn the permanence of the Nature of a Star. We are not to judge by temporary circumstances, but to penetrate to the True Nature.

It has naturally been objected by economists that our Law, in declaring every man and every woman to be a star, reduces society to its elements, and makes hierarchy or even democracy impossible. The view is superficial. Each star has a function in its galaxy proper to its own nature. Much mischief has come from our ignorance in insisting, on the contrary, that each citizen is fit for any and every social duty. But also our Law teaches that a star often veils itself from its nature. Thus the vast bulk of humanity is obsessed by an abject fear of freedom; the principal objections hitherto urged against my Law have been those of people who cannot bear to imagine the horrors which would result if they were free to do their own wills. The sense of sin, shame, self-distrust, this is what makes folk cling to CHristianity-slavery. People believe in a medicine just in so far as it is nasty; the metaphysical root of this idea is in sexual degeneracy of the masochistic type. Now “the Law is for all”; but such defectives will refuse it, and serve us who are free with a fidelity the more dog-like as the simplicity of our freedom denotes their abjection.

Even such shallow soapsudmongers as Sir Walter Besant and Mr. James Rice have had an inkling of these ideas. I quote “Ready-Money Mortiboy”, Chapter XXIII:

“The big-bearded man stood towering over the children, with his right arm waving them out into the world — where? No matter where: somewhere away: somewhere into the good places of the world — not a boy’s heart but was stirred within him: and the brave old English blood rose in them as he spoke, in his deep bass tones, of the worth of a single man in those far-off lands; — and oration destined to bear fruit in after-days, when the lads, who talk yet with bated breath of the speech and the speaker, shall grow to man’s estate.

“Dangerous, Dick”, said Farmer John. “What should I do without my labourers?”

“Don’t be afraid”, said Dick. “There are not ten percent have the pluck to go. Let us help them, and you shall keep the rest.”

He might have added that the employer would be better off without that percentage of yeast to ferment his infusion of harmless vegetable human.

No one is better aware than I am that the Labour Problem has to be settled by practical and not ideal considerations, but in this case the ideal considerations happen to be extremely practical. The mistake has been in trying to produce a standard article to supply the labour market; it is an error from the point of view of capital and labour alike. Men should not be taught to read and write unless they exhibit capacity or inclination. Compulsory education has aided nobody. It has imposed an unwarrantable constraint on the people it was intended to benefit; it has been asinine presumption on the part of the intellectuals to consider a smattering of mental acquirements of universal benefit. It is a form of sectarian bigotry. We should recognize the fact that the vast majority of human beings have no ambition in life beyond mere ease and animal happiness. We should allow these people to fulfil their destinies without interference. We should give every opportunity to the ambitious, and thereby establish a class of morally and intellectually superior men and women. We should have no compunction in utilizing the natural qualities of the bulk of mankind. We do not insist on trying to train sheep to hunt foxes or lecture on history; we look after their physical well being, and enjoy their wool and mutton. I this way we shall have a contented class of slaves who will accept the conditions of existence as they really are, and enjoy life with the quiet wisdom of cattle. It is our duty to see to it that this class of people lack for nothing. The patriarchal system is better for all classes than any other; the objections to it come from the abuses of it. But bad masters have been artificially created by exactly the same blunder as was responsible for the bad servants. It is essential to teach the masters that each one must discover his own will, and do it. There is no reason in nature for cut-throat competition. All this has been explained previously in other connections; here it is only necessary to emphasize the point. It must be cleanly understood that every man must find his own happiness in a purely personal way. Our troubles have been caused by the assumption that everybody wanted the same things, and thereby the supply of those things has become artificially limited; even those benefits of which there is an inexhaustible store have been cornered. For example, fresh air and beautiful scenery. In a world where everyone did his own will none would lack these things. In our present society, they have become the luxuries of wealth and leisure, yet they are still accessible to any one who possesses sufficient sense to emancipate himself from the alleged advantages of city life. We have deliberately trained people to wish for things that they do not really want.

It would be easy to elaborate this theme at great length, but I prefer to leave it to be worked out by each reader in the light of his own intelligence, but I wish to call the very particular attention of capitalists and labour leaders to the principles here set forth.

I conclude by quoting four chapters from Liber Aleph which bear on the subject.

‘j’De Lege Motus.

“Consider, my Son, that word in the Call or Key of the Thirty Aethyrs: Behold the Face of your God, the Beginning of Comfort, whose eyes are the Brightness of the Heavens, which provided you for the Government of the Earth, and the Unspeakable Variety! And Again: let there be no Creature upon her or within her the same. All her Members let them differ in their Qualities, and let there be no Creature equal with another. Here also is the voice of true Science, crying aloud that Variation is the Key of Evolution. Thereunto Art cometh the third, perceiving Beauty in the Harmony of the Diverse. Know then, o my Son, that all Laws, all ~Systems, all Customs, all Ideals and Standards which tend to produce uniformity, are in direct opposition to Nature’s Will to change and to develop through Variety, and are accursed. Do thou with all thy Might of Manhood strive against these Forces, for they resist Change, which is Life; and thus they are of Death.”

“De Legibus Contra Motum.

“Say not, in thine Haste, that such Stagnations are Unity even as the last Victory of thy Will is Unity. For thy Will moveth through free Function, according to its particular Nature, to that End of Dissolution of all Complexities, and those Ideals and Standards are Attempts to halt thee on that Way. Although for thee some certain Ideal be upon thy Path, yet for thy Neighbour it may not be so. Set all Men a-horseback; thou speedest the Foot-soldier upon his way, indeed; but what hast thou done to the Bird-man? Thou must have simple Laws and Customs to express the general Will, and so prevent the Tyranny or Violence of a few; but multiply them not! Now then herewith I will declare unto thee the Limits of the civil Law upon the Rock of the Law of Thelema”.

“De Necessitate Communi.

“Understand first that the Disturbers of the Peace of Mankind do so by Reason of their Ignorance of their own True Wills. Therefore, as this Wisdom of mine increaseth among Mankind, the false Will to Crime must become constantly more rare. Also, the exercise of our Freedom will cause Men to be born with less and ever less Affliction from that Dis-ease of Spirit, which breedeth these false Wills. But, in the While of waiting for this Perfection, thou must by Law assure to every Man a Means of satisfying his bodily and his mental Needs, leaving him free to develop any Super-structure in accordance with his Will, and protecting him from any that may seek to deprive him of these vertebral Rights. There shall be therefore a Standard of Satisfaction, though it must vary in detail with Race, Climate, and other such Conditions. And this Standard shall be based upon a large Interpretation of Facts biological, physiological, and the like”.

“De Fundamentis Civitatis.

“Say not, o my Son, that in this Argument I Have set Limits to individual Freedom. For each Man in this State which I purpose is fulfilling his own true Will by his eager Acquiescence in the Order necessary to the Welfare of all, and therefore of himself also. But see thou well to it that thou set high the Standard of Satisfaction, and that to every one be a Surplus of Leisure and of Energy, so that, his Will of Self-preservation-being fulfilled by the Performance of his Function in the State, he may devote the Remainder of his Powers to the Satisfaction of the other Parts of his Will. And because the People are oft times unlearned, not understanding Pleasure, let them be instructed in the Art of Life: to prepare Food palatable and wholesome, each to his own Taste, to make Clothes according to Fancy, with variety of Individuality, and to practice the manifold Crafts of Love. These Things being first secured, thou mayst afterward lead them into the Heavens of Poesy and Tale, of Music, Painting, and Sculpture, and into the Lore of the Mind Itself, with its insatiable Joy of all Knowledge, Thence let them soar!”

AL II,59: “Beware therefore! Love all, lest perchance is a King concealed! Say you so? Fool! If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.”

The Old Comment
59. Yet, being indeed invulnerable, one need not fear for them.

We must abolish the shadows by the Radiant Light of the Sun. Real things are only thrown into brighter glory by His ~effulgence. We need have no fear then to throw the Christians to the Lions. If there be indeed True Men among them, who happen through defect of education to know no better, they will reincarnate all right, and no harm done.

This passage may perhaps be interpreted in a sense slightly different from that assumed in the above paragraph. We should indeed love all — is not the Law “love under will”? By this I mean that we should make proper contact with all, for love means union; and the proper condition of union is determined by will. Consider the right attitude to adopt in the matter of cholera. One should love it, that is, study it intimately; not otherwise can one be sure of maintaining the right relation with it, which is, not to allow it to interfere with one’s will to live. (And almost everything that is true of Cholera is true of Christians.)

AL II,60: “Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master!”

The Old Comment
60. Hit out indiscriminately therefore. The fittest will survive.

This doctrine is therefore contrary to that of Galileo{SIC, ?Galilean?}, or that of Buddha.

The New Comment
The Christians to the Lions!

An XVII Sol in Libra, I am reminded of Samuel Butler’s observation that the apotheosis of love is to devour the beloved. Indeed, one cannot say that one has perfectly attained to love or hate until the object of that passion is assimilated. The word “hell” is significant in this connection. One must never be so careless as to let oneself think that even “the Style of a letter” (how much less a phrase!) in this Book is casual. The expression “to hell with them” is not merely an outburst of colloquial enthusiasm. The word “hell”, that and no other, serves the purpose of the speaker. This would naturally be suggested to us, in any case, by the reflection that our Law does not indulge in the frothings of impotent fury, like the priestly frauds of Moses, the Rishis, and Buddha, in the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth of the Galilean fishwife. Our Law knows nothing of punishment beyond that imposed by ignorance and awkwardness on their possessor. The word ‘hell’ must therefore be explained in terms neither of virile vulgarity, or theological blackmail.

I quote Liber Aleph, p.24, p.129, p.130, from which the peculiar applicability of the expression to the problem of the text will be evident.

“De Nuptiis Mysticis.

“O my Son, how wonderful is the Wisdom of this Law of Love! How vast are the Oceans of uncharted Joy that lie before the Keel of thy Ship! Yet know this, that every Opposition is in its Nature named Sorrow, and the Joy lieth in the Destruction of the Dyad. Therefore must thou seek ever those Things which are to thee poisonous, and that in the highest Degree, and make them thine by Love. That which repels, that which disgusts, must thou assimilate in this Way of Wholeness. Yet rest not in the Joy of Destruction of every Complex in thy Nature, but press on to that ultimate Marriage with the Universe whose Consummation shall destroy thee utterly, leaving only that Nothingness which was before the Beginning.

So then the Life of Non-action is not for thee; the Withdrawal from Activity is not the Way of the Tao; but rather the Intensification and making universal of every Unity of thine Energy on every Plane.”

“De Inferno Palatio Sapientiae..

“Now then thou seest that this Hell, or concealed Place within thee, is no more a Fear or Hindrance to Men of a Free Race, But the Treasure-House of the Assimilated Wisdom of the Ages, and the Knowledge of the True Way. Thus are we Just and Wise to discover this Secret in Ourselves, and to conform the conscious Mind therewith. For that Mind is compact solely (until it be illuminated) of Impressions and Judgments, so that its Will is but directed by the sum of the Shallow Reactions of a most limited Experience. But thy True Will is the Wisdom of the Ages of thy Generations, the Expression of that which hath fitted thee exactly to thine Environment. Thus thy conscious Mind is oftentimes foolish, as when thou admirest an Ideal, and wouldst attain it, but thy true Will letteth thee, so that there is Conflict, and the Humiliation of that Mind. Here will I call to Witness the common Event of “Good Resolutions” that defy the Lightning of Destiny, being puffed up by the Wind of an Indigestible Ideal putrefying within thee Thence cometh colic, and presently the Poison is expelled, or else thou diest. But Resolutions of True Will are mighty against Circumstance.”

“De Vitiis Voluntatis Secretae.

“Learn moreover concerning this Hell, or Hidden Wisdom, that is within thee, that it is modified, little by little, in respect of its Khu, through the Experience of the Conscious Mind, which feedeth it. For that Wisdom is the Expression, or rather Symbol and Hieroglyph, of the True Adjustment of thy Being to its Environment. Now then, that Environment being eroded by Time, this Wisdom is no more perfect, for it is not absolute, but standeth in Relation to the Universe. So then a Part thereof may become useless, and atrophy, as (I will instance) Man’s Wit of Smell; and the bodily Organ corresponding degenerateth therewith. But this is an Effect of much Time, so that in thy Hell thou art like to find Elements vain, or foolish, or contrary to thy present Weal. Yet, o my Son, this Hidden Wisdom is not thy true Will, but only the Levers (I may say so) thereof. Notwithstanding, there lieth therein a Faculty of Balance, whereby it is able to judge whether any Element in itself is presently useful and benign, or idle and malignant. Here then is a Root of Conflict between the Conscious and the Unconscious, and a Debate concerning the right Order of Conduct, how the Will may be accomplished”.

AL II,61: “There is a light before thine eyes, o prophet, a light undesired, most desirable.”

The Old Comment
61. At the ecstasy of this thought the prophet was rapt away by the God. First came a strange new light, His herald.

The New Comment
This chapter now enters upon an entirely new phase. The revelation or ‘hiding’ of Hadit had by now sunk into the soul of The Beast, so that He realized Himself.

AL II,62: “I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.”

The Old Comment
62. Next, as Hadit himself, did he know the athletic rapture of Nuit’s embrace.

The New Comment
“Uplifted in thine Heart”: — compare the Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent. (See Equinox III,I.)

AL II,63: “Thou art exhaust in the voluptuous fullness of the inspiration; the expiration is sweeter than death, more rapid and laughterful than a caress of Hell’s own worm.”

The Old Comment
63. Each breath, as He drew it in, was an orgasm; each breath, as it went out, was a new dissolution into death.

Note that throughout these books death is always spoken of as a definite experience, a delightful event in one’s career.

The New Comment
This verse conceals a certain Magical Formula of the loftiest initiations. It refers to a method of using the breath, in connexion with the appropriate series of ideas, which is perhaps not to be taught directly. But it may be learnt by those who have attained the necessary degree of magical technique, suggested automatically to them by Nature Herself, just as newly-hatched chickens pick up corn without instruction.

AL II,64: “Oh! thou art overcome: we are upon thee; our delight is all over thee: hail! hail: prophet of Nu! prophet of Had! prophet of Ra-Hoor-Khu! Now rejoice! now come in our splendour & rapture! Come in our passionate peace, & write sweet words for the Kings!”

The Old Comment
64. The prophet is now completely swallowed up in the ecstasy. Then he is hailed by the Gods, and bidden to write on.

The New Comment
“The Kings” are evidently those men who are capable of understanding Themselves. This is a consecration of The Beast to the task of putting forth the Law.

“Thou art overcome”. The conscious resisted desperately, and died in the last ditch.

AL II,65: “I am the Master: thou art the Holy Chosen One.”

The Old Comment
65. The division of consciousness having re-arisen, and been asserted, the God continues, and prophesies — of which I cannot comment.

The ecstasy rekindles.

The New Comment
It is curious that this verse should be numbered 65, suggesting L.V.X. and Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel. It seems then that He is Hadit. I have never liked the term ‘Higher Self’; True Self is more the idea. For each Star is the husk of Hadit, unique and conqueror, sublime in His own virtue, independent of Hierarchy. There is an external hierarchy, of course, but that is only a matter of convenience.

AL II,66: “Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none.”

The New Comment
The first part of this text appears to be a digression in the nature of a prophecy. The word “Come!” is a summons to reenter the full Trance. Its essence is declared in the last six words. Notice that the transition from one to none in instantaneous.

AL II,67: “Hold! Hold! Bear up in thy rapture; fall not in swoon of the excellent kisses!”

The Old Comment
67. So violently does the trance recommence, that the body of the prophet is nigh death.

The New Comment
The instructions in the text of this and the next verse were actual indications as to how to behave, so as to get the full effect of the Trance.

This too is a general Magical Formula, convenient even in the Work of the physical image of the Godhead.

It is of the utmost importance to resist the temptation to let oneself be carried away into trance. One should summon one’s reserve forces to react against the tendency to ~lose normal consciousness. More and more of one’s being is gradually drawn into the struggle, and one only yields at the last moment. (It needs practice and courage to get the best results.). I quote from the Holy Books:

“Fall not into death, O my soul! Think that death is the bed into which you are falling!” (Liber VII,I,33.)

“Thou hast brought me into great delight. Thou hast given me of Thy flesh to eat and of Thy blood for an offering of intoxication.

Thou hast fastened the fangs of Eternity in my soul, and the Poison of the Infinite hath consumed me utterly.

I am become like a luscious devil of Italy; a fair strong woman with worn cheeks, eaten out with Hunger for kisses. She hath played the harlot in diverse palaces; she hath given her body to the beasts.

She hath slain her kinsfolk with strong venom of toads; she hath been scourged with many rods.

She hath been broken in pieces upon the Wheel; the hands of the hangman have bound her unto it.

The fountains of water have been loosed upon her; she hath struggled with exceeding torment.

The hath burst in sunder with the weights of the waters; she hath sunk into the awful Sea. So am I, O Adonai, my lord, and such are the waters of Thine intolerable Essence.

So am I, O Adonai, my beloved, and Thou hast burst me utterly in sunder.

I am shed out like spilt blood upon the mountains; the Ravens of Dispersion have borne me utterly away.

Therefore is the seal unloosed, that guarded the Eighth abyss; therefore is the vast sea as a veil; therefore is there a rending asunder of all things.” (Liber LXV,III, vv. 38-48.)

“Intoxicate the inmost, O my lover, not the outermost!” (Liber LXV, I, v.64).

AL II,68: “Harder! Hold up thyself! Lift thine head! breathe not so deep-die!”

The New Comment
68. (Harden, not Harder, as the MS. indicates. The memory of DCLXVI says, though with diffidence, that the former is correct.)

The New Comment
It is remarkable that this extraordinary Experience has practically no effect upon the normal consciousness of THe Beast. “Intoxicate the inmost, o my God” — and it was His Magical Self, 666, that was by this Ecstasy initiated. It needed years for this Light to dissolve the husks of accident that shrouded his True Seed.

AL II,69: “Ah! Ah! What do I feel? Is the word exhausted?”

The Old Comment
69. The prophet’s own consciousness re-awakens. He no longer knows anything at all — then grows the memory of the inspiration past; he asks if it is all. (It is evidently his own interpolation in the dictation.)

The New Comment
The phrase — “the word” — is of a deeper significance than at first sight may appear. The question is not merely equivalent to: “Is the dictation at an end?” For the Word is Conceived as the act of possession. This is evident from the choice of the word “exhausted”. The inspiration has been like an electrical discharge. Language is in itself nothing; it is only the medium of transmitting experience to consciousness. Tahuti, Thoth, Hermes, or Mercury symbolize this relation; the character of this God is declared in very full terms in “The Paris Working”, which should be studied eagerly by those who are fortunate enough to have access to the MS.

AL II,70: “There is help & hope in other spells. Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!”

The Old Comment
70. Also he has the human feeling of failure. It seems that he must fortify his nature in many other ways, in order that he may endure the ecstasy unbearable of mortals.

There is also a charge that other than physical considerations obtain.

The New Comment
It is absurd to suppose that ‘to indulge the passions’ is necessarily a reversion or degeneration. On the contrary, all human progress has depended on such indulgence. Every art and science is intended to gratify some fundamental need of nature. What is the ultimate use of the telephone and all the other inventions on which we pride ourselves? Only to sustain life, or to protect or reproduce it; or to subserve Knowledge and other forms of pleasure.

On the other hand, the passions must be understood properly as what they are, nothing in themselves, but the diverse forms of expression employed by the Will. One must preserve discipline. A passion cannot be good or bad, too weak or too strong, etc. by an arbitrary standard. Its virtue consists solely in its conformity with the plan of the Commander-in-Chief. Its initiative and elan are limited by the requirements of his strategy. For instance, modesty may well cooperate with ambition; but also it may thwart it. This verse counsels us to train our passions to the highest degree of efficiency. Each is to acquire the utmost strength and intelligence; but all are equally to contribute their quota towards the success of the campaign.

It is nonsense to bring a verdict of “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” against a prisoner without reference to the law under which he is living. The end justifies the means: if the Jesuits do not assert this, I do. There is obviously a limit, where “the means” in any case are such that their use blasphemes “the end”: e.g. to murder one’s rich aunt affirms the right of one’s poor nephew to repeat the trick, and so to go against one’s own Will-to-live, which lies deeper in one’s being than the mere Will-to-inherit. The judge in each case is not ideal morality, but inherent logic.

This then being understood, that we cannot call any given passion good or bad absolutely, any more than we can call Knight to King’s Fifth a good or bad move in chess without study of the position, we may see more clearly what this verse implies. There is here a general instruction to refine Pleasure, not by excluding its gross elements, but by emphasizing all elements in equilibrated development. Thus one is to combind the joys of Messalina with those of Saint Theresa and Isolde in one single act. One’s rapture is to include those of Blake, Petrarch, Shelley, and Catullus. Liber Aleph has detailed instruction on numerous points involved in these questions.

Why “eight and ninety” rules of art? I am totally unable to suggest a reason satisfactory to myself; but 90 is Tzaddi, the “Emperor”, and 8, Cheth, the “Charioteer” or Cup-Bearer; the phrase might them conceivably mean “with majesty”. Alternatively, 98 = 2 x 49: now Two is the number of the Will, and Seven of the passive senses. 98 might then mean the full expansion of the senses (7 x 7) balanced against each other, and controlled firmly by the Will.

“Exceed by delicacy”: this does not mean, by refraining from so-called animalism. One should make every act a sacrament, full of divinest ecstasy and nourishment. There is no act which true delicacy cannot consecrate. It is one thing to be like a sow, unconscious of the mire, and unable to discriminate between sweet food and sour; another to take the filth firmly and force oneself to discover the purity therein, initiating even the body to overcome its natural repulsion and partake with the soul at this Eucharist. We ‘believe in the Miracle of the Mass’ not only because meat and drink are actually “transmuted in us daily into Spiritual Substance”, but because we can make the “Body and Blood of God” from any materials soever by Virtue of our royal and Pontifical Art of Magick.

Now when Brillat-Savarin (was it not?) served to the King’s table a pair of old kid gloves, and pleased the princely palate, he certainly proved himself a Master-Cook. The feat is not one to be repeated constantly, but one should achieve it at least once — that it may bear witness to oneself that the skill is there. One might even find it advisable to practice it occasionally, to retain one’s confidence that one’s “right hand hath not lost its cunning”. On this point hear further more our Holy Books:

“Go thou unto the outermost places and subdue all things”.

Subdue thy fear and thy disgust. Then — yield!” (Liber LXV, I. 45.46).

“Morover I beheld a vision of a river. There was a little boat thereon; and in it under purple sails was a golden woman, an image of Asi wrought in finest gold. Also the river was of blood, and the boat of shining steel. Then I loved her; and, loosing my girdle, cast myself into the stream.

I gathered myself into the little Boat, and for many days and nights did I love her, burning beautiful incense before her.

Yea! I gave her of the flower of my youth.

But she stirred not; only by my kisses I defiled her so that she turned to blackness before me.

Yet I worshipped her, and gave her of the flower of my youth.

Also it came to pass that thereby she sickened, and corrupted before me. Almost I cast myself into the stream.

Then at the end appointed her body was whiter that the milk of the stars, and her lips red and warm as the sunset, and her life of a white heat like the heat of the midmost sun.

Then rose she up from the abyss of Ages of Sleep, and her body embraced me. Altogether I melted into her beauty and was glad.

The river also became the river of Amrit, and the little boat was the chariot of the flesh, and the sails thereof the blood of the heart that beareth me, thereof the blood of the heart that beareth me, that beareth me.”

We therefore train our adepts to make the Gold Philosophical from the dung of witches, and the Elixir of Life from Hippomanes; but we do not advocate ostentatious addiction to these operations. It is good to know that one is man enough to spend a month or so at a height of twenty thousand feet or more above the sea-level; but it would be unpardonably foolish to live there permanently.

This illustrates on case of a general principle. We consider the Attainment of various Illuminations, incomparably glorious as that is, of chief value for its witness to our possession of the faculty which made success possible. To have climbed alone to the summit of Iztaccihuatl is great and grand; but the essence of one’s joy is that one possesses the courage, knowledge, agility, endurance, and self-mastery necessary to have done it.

The Goal is ineffably worth all our pains, as we say to ourselves at first; but in a little while are aware that even that Goal is less intoxicating then the Way itself.

We find that it matters little whither we go; the Going itself is our gladness, I quote in this connection Liber LXV, II, 17-25, one of several similar passages in Our Holy Books.

“Also the Holy One came upon me, and I beheld a white swan floating in the blue.

Between its wings I sate, and the aeons fled away.

Then the swan flew and dived and soared, yet no whither we went.

A little crazy boy that rode with me spake unto the swan, and said:

Who art thou that dost float and fly and dive and soar in the inane? Behold, these many aeons have passed; whence camest thou? Whither wilt thou go?

And laughing I chide him, saying: No whence! No whither!

The swan being silent, he answered: Then, if with no goal, why this eternal journey?

And I laid my head against the Head of the Swan, and laughed saying: Is there not joy ineffable in this aimless winging? Is there not weariness and impatience for who would attain to some goal?

And the swan was ever silent. Ah! but we floated in the infinite Abyss. Joy! Joy!

White swan, bear thou ever me up between thy wings!”

“Be strong!” We need healthy robust bodies as the mechanical instruments of our souls. Could Paganini have expressed himself on the “fiddle for eighteen pence” that some one once bought when he was “young and had no sense”? Each of us is Hadit, the core of our Khabs, our Star, one of the Company of Heaven; but this Khabs needs a Khu or Magical Image, in order to play its part in the Great Drama. This Khu, again, needs the proper costume, a suitable ‘body of flesh’, and this costume must be worthy of the Play.

We therefore employ various magical means to increase the vigour of our bodies and the energy of our minds, to fortify and sublime them.

The result is that we of Thelema are capable of enormously more achievement than others, even in terrestrial matters, from sexual orgia to creative Art. Even if we had only this one earth-life to consider, we exceed our fellows some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, some an hundredfold.

One most important point, in conclusion. We must doubtless admit that each one of us is lacking in one capacity or another. There must always be some among the infinite possibilities of Nuith which possesses no correlative points of contact in any given Khu. For example, the Khu of a male body cannot fulfil itself in the quality of motherhood. Any such lacuna must be accepted as a necessary limit, without regret or vain yearnings for the impossible. But we should beware lest prejudice or other personal passion exclude any type of self-realization which is properly ours. In our initiation the tests must be thorough and exhaustive. The neglect to develop even a single power can only result in deformity. However slight this might seem, it might lead to fatal consequences; the ancient adepts taught that by the parable of the heel of Achilles. It is essential for the Aspirant to make a systematic study of every possible passion, icily aloof from all alike, and setting their armies in array beneath the banner of his Will after he has perfectly gauged the capacity of each unit, and assured himself of its loyalty, discipline, courage, and efficiency. But woe unto him who leaves a gap in his line, or one arm unprepared to do its whole duty in the position proper to its peculiar potentialities!

AL II,71: “But exceed! exceed!”

The Old Comment
71. Yet excess is the secret of success.

The New Comment
“The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom”.

Progress, as its very etymology declares, means A Step Ahead. It is the Genius, the Eccentric, the Man Who Goes One Better than his fellows, that is the Saviour of the Race. And while it is unwise possibly (in some senses) to exceed in certain respects, we may be sure that he who exceeds in no respect is a mediocrity.

The key of Evolution is Right Variation.

Excess is evidence at least of capacity in the quality at issue. The golf teacher growls tirelessly: “Putt for the back of the hole! Never up, never in!” The application is universal. Far from me be it to deny that excess is too often disastrous. The athlete who dies in his early prime is the skeleton at every Boat Supper. But in such cases the excess is almost always due to the desire to excel other men, instead of referring the matter to the only competent judge, the true Will of the body. I myself used to “go all out” on mountains; I hold more World’s Records of various kinds than I can reckon — for pace, skill, daring, and endurance. But I never worried about whether other people could beat me. For this reason my excesses, instead of causing damage to health and danger to life, turned me from a delicate boy, too frail for football, doomed by my doctors to die in my teens, into a robust ruffian who throve on every kind of hardship and exposure.

On the contrary, every department of life in which, from distaste or laziness, I did not ‘exceed’, is constantly crippling me in one way or another — and I recognize with savage remorse that the weakness which I could have corrected so easily in my twenties is in my forties an incurably chronic complaint.

AL II,72: “Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine-and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous!-death is the crown of all.”

The Old Comment
72. There is no end to the Path — death crowns all.

The New Comment
This striving is to be strenuous. We are not to set our lives at a pin’s fee. “Unhand me, gentlemen! I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!” Death is the End that crowns the Work.

Evolution works by variation. When an animal develops one part of itself beyond the others, it infringes the norm of its type. At first this effort is made at the expense of other efforts, and it seems as if, the general balance being upset, the Nature were in danger. (It must obviously appear so to the casual observer — who probably reproaches and persecutes the experimenter). But when this variation is intended to meet some new, or even foreseen, change in environment, and is paid for by some surplus part, or some part now superfluous, although once useful to meet a quality of the environment which no longer menaces the individual, the adaptation is biologically profitable.

Obviously, the whole idea of exercise, mental or bodily, is to develop the involved organs in manner physiologically and psychologically proper.

It is deleterious to force any faculty to live by an alien law. When parents insist on a boy adopting a profession which he loathes, because they themselves fancy it; when Florence Nightingale fought to open hospital windows in India at night; then the Ideal mutilates and murders.

Every organ has ‘no law beyond Do what thou wilt’. Its law is determined by the history of its development, and by its present relations with its fellow-citizens. We do not fortify our lungs and our limbs by identical methods, or aim at the same tokens of success in training the throat of the tenor and the fingers of the fiddler. But all laws are alike in this: they agree that power and tone come from persistently practising the proper exercise without overstraining. When a faculty is freely fulfilling its function, it will grow; the test is its willingness to ‘strive ever to more’; it justifies itself by being ‘ever joyous’. It follows that ‘death is the crown of all’. For a life which has fulfilled all its possibilities ceases to have a purpose; death is its diploma, so to speak; it is ready to apply itself to the new conditions of a larger life. Just so a schoolboy who has mastered his work, dies to school, reincarnates in cap & gown, triumphs in the trips, dies to the cloisters, and is reborn to the world.

Note that the Atu “Death” in the Tarot refers to Scorpio. This sign is threefold: the Scorpion that kills itself with its own poison, when its environment (the ring of fire) becomes intolerable; the Serpent that renews itself by shedding its skin, that is crowned and hooded, that moves by undulations like Light, and gives man Wisdom at the price of Toil Suffering and Mortality; and the Eagle that soars, its lidless eyes bent boldly upon the Sun. “Death” is, to the initiate, as inn by the wayside; its marks a stage accomplished; it offers refreshment, repose, and advice as to his plans for the morrow.

But in this verse the main point is that death is the ‘crown’ of all. The crown is Kether, the Unity; “Love under will” having been applied to all Nuith-possibilities of all Khu-energies of any Hadit-central-Star, that Star has exhausted itself perfectly, completed one stage of its course. It is therefore crowned by death; and, being wholly itself, lives again by attracting its equal and opposite Counterpart, with whom ‘love under will’ is the fulfilment of the Law, in a sublimer sphere.

But there are no rules until one finds them: a man leaving Ireland for the Sahara does well to discard such ‘indispensable’ and ‘proper’ things as a waterproof and a blackthorn for a turban and a dagger.

The ‘moral’ man is living by the no-reason of Laws, and that is stupid and inadequate even when the Laws still hold good; for he is a mere mechanism, resourceless should any danger that is not already provided for in his original design chance to arise. Respect for routine is the mark of the second-rate man.

The ‘immoral’ man, defying convention by shouting aloud in church, may indeed be ‘brawling’; but equally he may be a sensitive who has felt the first tremor of an earthquake.

We of Thelema encourage every possible variation; we welcome every new ‘sport’; its success or failure is our sole test of its value. We let the hen’s queer hatching take to water, and laugh at her alarms; and we protect the ‘ugly duckling’, knowing that Time will tell us whether it be a cygnet.

Herbert Spencer, inexorably condemning the Unfit to the gallows, only echoed the High-Priest who protected Paul from the Pharisees. Sound biology and sound theology are for once at one!

The question of the limits of individual Liberty is fully discussed in Liber CXI (Aleph), to which we refer the student. The following four chapters will give a general idea of the main principles.

“De Vi Per Disciplinam Colenda.

“Consider the Bond of a cold Climate, how it maketh man a Slave; he must have Shelter and Food with fierce Toil. Yet thereby he becometh strong against the Elements, and his moral Force waxeth, so that he is Master of such Men as live in Lands of Sun where bodily Needs are satisfied without Struggle.

Consider also him that willeth to excel in Speed or in Battle, how he denieth himself the Food he craveth, and all Pleasures natural to him, putting himself under the harsh Order of a Trainer. So by this Bondage he hath, at the last, his Will.

Now then the one by natural, and the other by voluntary, Restriction have come each to a greater Liberty. This is also a general law of Biology, for all Development is Structuralization; that is, Limitation and Specialization of an originally indeterminate Protoplasm, which latter may therefore be called free, in the definition of a Pendant.”

“De Ordins Rerum”.

“In the Body every Cell is subordinated to the general physiological Control, and we who will that Control do not ask whether each individual Unit of that Structure be consciously happy. But we do care that each shall fulfil its Function, and the Failure of even a few Cells, or their Revolt, may involve the Death of the whole Organism. Yet even here the Complaint of a few, which we call pain, is a Warning of general Danger. Many Cells fulfil their Destiny by swift Death, and this being their Function, they in no wise resent it. Should Haemoglobin resist the Attack of Oxygen, the Body would perish, and the HAEMOGLOBIN would not even save itself. Now, o my Son, do then consider deeply of these Things in thine Ordering of the World under the Law of Thelema. For every Individual in the State must be perfect in his own Function, with Contentment, respecting his own Task as necessary and holy, not envious of another’s. For so only mayst thou build up a free state, whose directing Will shall be singly directed to the Welfare of all”.

We of Thelema think it vitally aright to let a man take opium. He may destroy his physical vehicle thereby, but he may produce another “Kubla Khan”. It is his own responsibility. Also we know well that “if he be a King” it will not hurt him — in the end. We trust Nature to protect, and Wisdom to be justified of, their children. It is superficial to object that a man should be prevented from ruining and killing himself, for his own sake or for that of “those dependent on him”. One who is unfit to survive aught to be allowed to die. We want only those who can conquer themselves and their environment. As for “those dependent on him” it is one of our chief objects to abolish the very idea of dependence on others. Women with child, and infants, are not exceptions, as might seem. They are doing their will, the one class to reproduce, the other to live; the state should consider their welfare to be its first duty; for if they are for the moment dependent on it, it is also dependent on them. A man might as well cut out his heart because it was weak, and in need of cautious care. But he would be no less foolish if he tried to prevent the used-up elements from eliminating themselves from his body. We respect the Will-to-Live; we should respect the Will-to Die. The race is auto-intoxicated by suppressing the excretory processes of Nature.

Each case must of course be judged on its merits. His neighbours do well to assist one who is weak by accident or misfortune, if he wishes to recover. But it is a crime against the state and against the individuals in question to hinder the gambler, the drunkard, the voluptuary, the congenital defective, from drifting to death, unless they prove by their own dogged determination to master their circumstances, that they are fit to pull their weight in the Noah’s Ark of mankind.

AL II,73: “Ah! Ah! Death! Death! thou shalt long for death. Death is forbidden, o man, unto thee.”

The Old Comment
73. Yet death is forbidden: work, I suppose, must be done before it is earned; its splendour will increase with the years that it is longed for.

The New Comment
There is a connection between Death, Sleep and Our Lady Nuit. (This is worked out, on profane lines, by Dr. Sigmund Freud, and his school, especially by Jung, “Psychology of the Unconscious”, which the reader should consult). The fatigue of the day’s toil creates the toxins whose accumulation is the ‘will to Die’. All mystic attainment is of this type, as all Magick is of the ‘Will to Live’. At times we all want Nibbana, to withdraw into the Silence, and so on. The Art of it is to dip deeply into ‘Death’, but to emerge immediately, a giant refreshed. This plan is also possible on the larger scale, all Life being Magick, all Death Mysticism.

Then why is Death ‘forbidden’? All things are surely lawful. But we must work “without lust of result”, taking everything as it comes without desire indeed, but with all manner of delight! Let thy Love-Madrigal to Death, thy Mother-Mistress, ripple and swell throughout the years, with all the Starry Heaven for thine Orchestra; but do not imagine that to attain Her is the sole satisfaction. It is the yearning itself that is Beatitude.

It may seem that in this verse the word “Death” is used in a sense somewhat other than that explained in the previous note. It is forbidden, observe, to ‘man’. That is, then, the formula must not be

Tags: ,

About Aymen Fares:

Aymen Fares is an Intuitive Life Coach, Speaker and Author with clients all over the world. He is based in Melbourne Australia and is the editor of this web site. Find out more about Life Coaching with Aymen or join one of his Workshops by clicking on the link “Aymen Fares” above.

Comments are closed.