Commentaries to The Book Of The Law – Liber AL vel Legis – Chapter 1

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

by Aleister Crowley

Chapter II
Chapter III

Most of the text below has been entered by Frater H.B., except for the text of Liber AL (entered by Frater Ebony and proofread by many others), The Old Comment and portions of the New Comment omitted by L. Wilkenson in his abridgement. This text of Liber 220 has been restored by comparison with an early surviving typescript of the work, except for Chapter II, the portion not covered by the typescript available at this time.

The Old Comment has been restored by BH, except for Chapter II, from the TS. In that portion, the Old Comment has been restored from less reliable sources and may need further revision to Crowley’s text. The New Comment to Chapter II also needs further revision and expansion beyond the Wilkenson abridgement.

Some verses of Liber AL have were not individually commented by Crowley in this text. Some have only a New Comment, and not an Old one. Crowley’s footnotes have been moved up into the text and enclosed in double angle brackets: <<Crowley note>>. Again, for the comment to Chapter II, these may be in need of further correction to the original.

All other notes are enclosed in curly brackets, with attribution of origin: {WEH NOTE: …} if no attribution of origin is given, the content of the curly brackets is an interpolation of a gap in the TS. These gaps were intended to be filled by hand-written symbols and foreign letters not available on the typewriter used to prepare the TS. They are in a variety of hands, sometimes missing altogether. The accuracy of these interpolations is very high, but not certain.

L I B E R A L vel L E G I S
sub figura CCXX
as delivered by
(LXXVIII) XCIII unto DCLXVI
with a commentary by
T H E B E A S T
—-

In the first edition this Book is called L. L is the sacred letter in the Holy Twelve-fold Table which forms the triangle that stabilizes the Universe. See “Liber 418”. L is the letter of Libra, Balance, and ‘Justice’ in the Taro. This title should probably be “AL”, “El”, as the ‘L’ was heard of the Voice of Aiwaz, not seen. “AL” is the true name of the Book, for these letters, and their number 31, form the Master Key to its Mysteries.

In order that the ethical and philosophical comment should be “understanded of the common people”, without interruption, I have decided to transfer to an Appendix {WEH NOTE: The Appendix has not yet been recovered.} all considerations drawn from the numerical system of cipher which is interspersed with the more straightforward matter of this Book. In that Appendix will be found an account of the character of this cipher, called “Qabalah”, and the mysteries thus indicated; because of the impracticability of communicating them in verbal form, and of the necessity of proving to the student that the Author of the Book is possessed of knowledge beyond any yet acquired by man.


The First Chapter

AL I,1: “Had! The manifestation of Nuit.”

The Old Comment
1. Compare II.1, the complement of this verse. In Nu is Had concealed; by Had is Nu manifested. Nu being 56 and Had 9, their conjunction results in 65, Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel. Also Hoor, who combines the force of the Sun with that of Mars. Adonai is primarily Solar, but 65 is a number sacred to Mars.

See the “Sepher Sephiroth” ,and “The Wake World” in “Know Om Pax” for further details on 65.

Note moreover, the sixty-five pages of the MS. of Liber Legis.

Or, counting NV 56, Had 10, we get 66, which is (1-11). Had is further the centre of the Key-Word ABRAHADABRA.

The New Comment
The theogony of our Law is entirely scientific, Nuit is Matter, Hadit is Motion, in their full physical sense.<<The Proton and the Electron, in a metaphysical sense, suggest close analogies.>> They are the Tao and Teh of Chinese Philosophy; or, to put it very simply, the Noun and Verb in grammar. Our central Truth — beyond other philosophies — is that these two infinities cannot exist apart. This extensive subject must be studied in our other writings, notably “Berashith”, my own Magical Diaries, especially those of 1919, 1920 and 1921, and “The Book of Wisdom or Folly”. See also “The Soldier and the Hunchback”. Further information concerning Nuit and Hadit is given in the course of this Book; but I must here mention that the Brother mentioned in connexion with the “Wizard Amalantrah” etc. (Samuel bar Aiwaz) identifies them with ANU and ADAD the supreme Mother and Father deities of the Sumerians. Taken in connexion with the AIWAZ identification, this is very striking indeed.

It is also to be considered that Nu is connected with North, while Had is Sad, Set, Satan, Sat (equals “Being” in Sanskrit), South. He is then the Sun, one point concentring Space, as also is any other star. The word ABRAHADABRA is from Abrasax, Father Sun, which adds to 365. For the North-South antithesis see Fabre d’Olivet’s “Hermeneutic Interpretation of the Origin of the Social State in Man”. Note “Sax” also as a Rock, or Stone, whence the symbol of the Cubical Stone, the Mountain Abiegnus, and so forth. Nu is also reflected in Naus, Ship, etc., and that whole symbolism of Hollow Space which is familiar to all. There is also a question of identifying Nu with On, Noah, Oannes, Jonah, John, Dianus, Diana, and so on. But these identifications are all partial only, different facets of the Diamond Truth. We may neglect all these questions, and remain in the simplicity of this Her own Book.

AL I,2: “The unveiling of the company of heaven.”

The Old Comment
2. This book is a new revelation, or unveiling of the hold ones.

The New Comment
This explains the general theme of this revelation: gives the Dramatis Personae, so to speak.

It is cosmographically, the conception of the two Ultimate Ideas; Space, and That which occupies Space.

It will however appear later that these two ideas may be resolved into one, that of Matter; with Space, its ‘Condition’ or ‘form’, included therein. This leaves the idea of ‘Motion’ for Hadit, whose interplay with Nuit makes the Universe.

Time should perhaps be considered as a particular kind or dimension of Space.<<In “Berashith” all qualities soever are considered as so many dimensions. I see no reason, 19 years later, for receding from this view.>>

Further, this verse is to be taken with the next. The ‘company of heaven’ is Mankind, and its ‘unveiling’ is the assertion of the independent godhead of every man and every woman!

Further, as Khabs (see verse 8) is “Star”, there is a further meaning; this Book is to reveal the Secret Self of a man, i.e. to initiate him.

AL I,3: “Every man and every woman is a star.”

The New Comment
This thesis is fully treated in “The Book of Wisdom or Folly”. Its main statement is that each human being is an Element of the Cosmos, self-determined and supreme, co-equal with all other Gods.

From this the Law “Do what thou wilt” follows logically. One star influences another by attraction, of course; but these are incidents of self-predestined orbits. There is, however, a mystery of the planets, revolving about a star of whom they are parts; but I shall not discuss it fully in this place.

Man is the Middle Kingdom. The Great Kingdom is Heaven, with each star as an unit; the Little Kingdom is the Molecule, with each Electron as an unit. (The Ratio of these three is regularly geometrical, each being 10 to the 22 times greater in size than its neighbour.)

See “The Book of the Great Auk” for the demonstration that each ‘star’ is the Centre of the Universe to itself, and that a ‘star’ simple, original, absolute, can add to its omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence without ceasing to be itself; that its one way to do this is to gain experience, and that therefore it enters into combinations in which its true Nature is for awhile disguised, even from itself. Analogously, an atom of carbon may pass through myriad Proteus-phases, appearing in Chalk, Chloroform, Sugar, Sap, Brain and Blood, not recognizable as “itself” the black amorphous solid, but recoverable as such, unchanged by its adventures.

This theory is the only one which explains “why” the Absolute limited itself, and why It does not recognize Itself during its cycle of incarnations. It disposes of “Evil” and the Origin of Evil; without denying Reality to “Evil”, or insulting our daily observation and our common sense.

I here quote (with one or two elucidatory insertions) the original note originally made by Me on this subject.

May 14, 1919, 6.30 p.m.

All elements must at one time have been separate — that would be the case with great heat. Now when atoms get to the sun, when we get to the sun, we get that immense, extreme heat, and all the elements are themselves again. Imagine that each atom of each element possesses the memory of all his adventures in combination. By the way, that atom, fortified with that memory, would not be the same atom; yet it is, because it has gained nothing from anywhere except this memory. Therefore, by the lapse of time and by virtue of memory, a thing (although originally an Infinite Perfection) could become something more than itself; and thus a real development is possible. One can then see a reason for any element deciding to go through this series of incarnations (god, that was a magnificent conception!) because so, and only so, can he go; and he suffers the lapse of memory of His own Reality of Perfection which he has during these incarnations, because he knows he will come through unchanged.

Therefore you have an infinite number of gods, individual and equal though diverse, each one supreme and utterly indestructible. This is also the only explanation of how a being could create a world in which war, evil, “etc”. exist. Evil is only an appearance because, like “good”, it cannot affect the substance itself, but only multiply its combinations. This is something the same as mystic monism, but the objection to that theory is that God has to create things which are all parts of himself, so that their interplay is false. If we presuppose many elements, their interplay is natural. It is no objection to this theory to ask who made the elements — the elements are at least there; and God, when you look for him, is not there. Theism is “obscurum per obscurius”. A male star is built up from the centre outwards, a female star from the circumference inwards. This is what is meant when we say that woman has no soul. It explains fully the difference between the sexes.

{WEH NOTE: Although Crowley evidently felt that this characterization was true simply, it should be noted that this comment is not CLASS A. The idea of center outwards and circumference inwards may actually have described the impression received by a male of the Victorian age in regard to men and women. Certainly every male mystic has the state here described as “circumference inward”, “…no soul” and “female” at the time of reception — vide Liber LXV. Equally, every woman who acts positively from awareness of her identity would qualify for “center outwards”, “soul” and “male” in this sense. What Crowley identified as sex-linked may better be considered as modality linked, with the sexual linkage as much an accident of culture as anything else.}

AL I,4: “Every number is infinite; there is no difference.”

The New Comment
This is a great and holy mystery. Although each star has its own number, each number is equal and supreme. Every man and every woman is not only a part of God, but the Ultimate God. “The Centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”. The old definition of God takes new meaning for us. Each one of us is the One God. This can only be understood by the initiate; one must acquire certain high states of consciousness to appreciate it.

I have tried to put it simply in the note to the last verse. I may add that in the Trance called by me the “Star-Sponge” — see note to v. 59 — this apprehension of the Universe is seen as an astral Vision. It began as “Nothingness with Sparkles” in 1916 E.V. by Lake Pasquaney in New Hampshire, U.S.A. and developed into fullness on various subsequent occasions. Each ‘Star’ is connected directly with every other star, and the Space being Without Limit (Ain Soph) the Body of Nuith, any one star is as much the Centre as any other. Each man instinctively feels that he is the Centre of the Cosmos, and philosophers have jeered at his presumption. But it was he that was precisely right. The yokel is no more ‘petty’ than the King, nor the earth than the Sun. Each simple elemental Self is supreme, Very God of Very God. Ay, in this Book is Truth almost insufferably splendid, for Man has veiled himself too long from his own glory: he fears the abyss, the ageless Absolute. But Truth shall make him free!

It must be understood from the beginning that this book contains the keys of all the knowledge necessary for the operation of the Magical Formulae of the world during the Aeon which it initiates. In this very early verse is already given a Master Key to mathematics and metaphysics. On applying this to current problems of thought, it will be discovered that the long-fast doors fly open at a touch.

Let use briefly examine the implications of this statement. It should not occasion surprise to find that the Book of the Law not only anticipates the conclusion of the greatest modern mathematicians like Poincare, but goes beyond them. It was necessary that this should be the case, so that the book might be, beyond question, the expression of a mind possessed of superior powers to any incarnated mind soever.

It may clarify the subject if we venture to paraphrase the text. The first statement “Every number is infinite” is, on the face of it, a contradiction in terms. But that is only because of the accepted idea of a number as not being a thing in itself but merely a term in series homogeneous in character. All orthodox mathematical argument is based on definitions involving this conception. For example, it is fundamental to admit the identity of 2 plus 1 with 1 plus 2. The Book of the Law presents an altogether different conception of the nature of number.

Mathematical ideas involve what is called a continuum, which is, superficially at least, of a different character to the physical continuum. For instance, in the physical continuum, the eye can distinguish between the lengths of one-inch stick and a two-inch stick, but not between these which measure respectively one thousand miles and one thousand miles and on inch, though the difference in each case is equally an inch. The inch difference is either perceptible or not perceptible, according to the conditions. Similarly, the eye can distinguish either the one-inch or the two-inch stick from one of an inch and a half. But we cannot continue this process indefinitely — we can always reach a point where the extremes are distinguishable from each other but their mean from neither of the extremes. Thus, in the physical continuum, if we have three terms, A, B, and C, A appears equal to B, and B to C, yet C appears greater than A. Our reason tells us that this conclusion is an absurdity, that we have been deceived by the grossness of our perceptions. It is useless for us to invent instruments which increase the accuracy of our observations, for though they enable us to distinguish between the three terms of our series, and to restore the theoretical Hierarchy, we can always continue the process of division until we arrive at another series: A’, B’, C’, where A’ and C’ are distinguishable from each other, but where neither is distinguishable from B’.

On the above grounds, modern thinkers have endeavoured to create a distinction between the mathematical and the physical continuum, yet it should surely be obvious that the defect in our organs of sense, which is responsible for the difficulty, shows that our method of observation debars us from appreciating the true nature of things by this method of observation.

However, in the case of the mathematical continuum, its character is such that we can continue indefinitely the process of division between any two mathematical expressions so-ever, without interfering in any way with the regularity of the process, or creating a condition in which two terms become indistinguishable from each other. The mathematical continuum, moreover, is not merely a question of series of integral numbers, but of other types of numbers, which, like integers, express relations between existing ideas, yet are not measurable in terms of that series. Such numbers are themselves parts of a continuum of their own, which interpenetrates the series of integers without touching it, at least necessarily.

For example: the tangents of angles made by the separation of two lines from coincidence to perpendicularity, increases constantly from zero to infinity. But almost the only integral value is found at the angle of 45 degrees where it is unity.

It may be said that there is an infinite number of such series, each possessing the same property of infinite divisibility. The ninety tangents of angles differing by one degree between zero and ninety may be multiplied sixty fold by taking the minute instead of the degree as the co-efficient of the progression, and these again sixty fold by introducing the second to divide the minute. So on ad infinitum.

All these considerations depend upon the assumption that every number is no more than a statement of relation. The new conception, indicated by the Book of the Law, is of course in no way contradictory of the orthodox view; but it adds to it in the most practically important manner. A statistician computing the birth-rate of the eighteenth century makes no special mention of the birth of Napoleon. This does not invalidate his results; but it demonstrates how exceedingly limited is their scope even with regard to their own object, for the birth of Napoleon had more influence on the death-rate than another other phenomenon included in his calculations.

A short digression is necessary. There may be some who are still unaware of the fact, but the mathematical and physical sciences are in no sense concerned with absolute truth, but only with the relations between observed phenomena and the observer. The statement that the acceleration of falling bodies is thirty-two feet per second, is only the roughest of approximation at the best. In the first place, it applies to earth. As most people know, in the Moon the rate is only one-sixth as great. But, even on earth, it differs in a marked manner between the poles and the equator, and not only so, but it is affected by so small a matter as the neighborhood of a mountain.

It is similarly inaccurate to speak of “repeating” an experiment. The exact conditions never recur. One cannot boil water twice over. The water is not the same, and the observer is not the same. When a man says that he is sitting still, he forgets that he is whirling through space with vertiginous rapidity.

It is possibly such considerations that led earlier thinkers to admit that there was no expectation of finding truth in anything but mathematics, and they rashly supposed that the apparent ineluctability of her laws constitutes a guarantee of their coherence with truth. But mathematics is entirely a matter of convention, no less so than the rules of Chess or Baccarat. When we say that “two straight lines cannot enclose a space”, we mean no more than we are unable to think of them as doing so. The truth of the statement depends, consequently, on that of the hypothesis that our minds bear witness to truth. Yet the insane man may be unable to think that he is not the victim of mysterious persecution. We find that no reason for believing him. It is useless to reply that mathematical truths receive universal consent, because they do not. It is a matter of elaborate and tedious training to persuade even the few people when we teach of the truth of the simplest theorems in Geometry. There are very few people living who are convinced — or even aware — of the more recondite results of analysis. It is no reply to this criticism to say that all men can be convinced if they are sufficiently trained, for who is to guarantee that such training does not warp the mind?

But when we have brushed away these preliminary objections, we find that the nature of the statement itself is not, and cannot be, more than a statement of correspondences between our ideas. In the example chosen, we have five ideas; those of duality, of straightness, of a line, of enclosing, and of space. None of these are more than ideas. Each one is meaningless until it is defined as corresponding in a certain manner to certain other ideas. We cannot define any word soever, except by identifying it with two or more equally undefined words. To define it by a single word would evidently constitute a tautology.

We are thus forced to the conclusion that all investigation may be stigmatized as obscurum per obscurium. Logically, our position is even worse. We define A as BC, where B is DE, and C is FG. Not only does the process increase the number of our unknown quantities in Geometrical progression at every step, but we must ultimately arrive at a point where the definition of Z involves the term A. Not only is all argument confined within a vicious circle, but so is the definition of the terms on which any argument must be based.

It might be supposed that the above chain of reasoning made all conclusions impossible. But this is only true when we investigate the ultimate validity of our propositions. We can rely on water boiling at 100 degrees Centigrade,<<In revising this comment, I note with amusement that it had escaped me that 100 degrees C. is by definition the temperature at which water boils! I have seen it boil at about 84 degrees C. on the Baltoro Glacier, and determined my height above sea-level by observing the boiling point so often that I had quite forgotten the original conditions of Celsius.>> although, for mathematical accuracy, water never boils twice running at precisely the same temperature, and although, logically, the term water is an incomprehensible mystery.

To return to our so-called axiom; Two straight lines cannot enclose a space. It has been one of the most important discoveries of modern mathematics, that this statement, even if we assume the definition of the various terms employed, is strictly relative, not absolute; and that common sense is impotent to confirm it as in the case of the boiling water. For Bolyai, Lobatschewsky, and Riemann have shown conclusively that a consistent system of geometry can be erected on any arbitrary axiom soever. If one chooses to assume that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is either greater than or less than two right angles, instead of equal to them, we can construct two new systems of Geometry, each perfectly consistent with itself, and we possess no means soever of deciding which of the three represents truth.

I may illustrate this point by a simple analogy. We are accustomed to assert that we go from France to China, a form of expression which assumes that those countries are stationary, while we are mobile. But the fact might be equally well expressed by saying that France left us and China came to us. In either case there is no implication of absolute motion, for the course of the earth through space is not taken into account. We implicitly refer to a standard of repose which, in point of fact, we know not to exist. When I say that the chair in which I am sitting has remained stationary for the last hour, I mean only “stationary in respect to myself and my house”. In reality, the earth’s rotation has carried it over one thousand miles, and the earth’s course some seventy thousand miles, from its previous position. All that we can expect of any statement is that it should be coherent with regard to a series of assumption which we know perfectly well to be false and arbitrary.

It is commonly imagined, by those who have not examined the nature of the evidence, that our experience furnishes a criterion by which we may determine which of the possible symbolic representations of Nature is the true one. They suppose that Euclidian Geometry is in conformity with Nature because the actual measurements of the interior angles of a triangle tell us that their sum is in fact equal to two right angles, just as Euclid tells us that theoretical considerations declare to be the case. They forget that the instruments which we use for our measurements are themselves conceived of as in conformity with the principles of Euclidian Geometry. In other words, them measure ten yards with a piece of wood about which they really known nothing but that its length is one-tenth of the ten yards in question.

The fallacy should be obvious. The most ordinary reflection should make it clear that our results depend upon all sorts of condition. If we inquire, “What is the length of the thread of quicksilver in a thermometer?”, we can only reply that it depends on the temperature of the instrument. In fact, we judge temperature by the difference of the coefficients of expansion due to heat of the two substances, glass and mercury.

Again, the divisions of the scale of the thermometer depend upon the temperature of boiling water, which is not a fixed thing. It depends on the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere, which varies (according to time and place) to the extent of over twenty per cent. Most people who talk of “scientific accuracy” are quite ignorant of elementary facts of this kind.

It will be said, however, that having defined a yard as the length of a certain bar deposited in the Mint in London, under given conditions of temperature and pressure, we are at least in a position to measure the length of other objects by comparison, directly or indirectly, with that standard. In a rough and ready way, that is more or less the case. But if it should occur that the length of things in general were halved or doubled, we could not possibly be aware of the other so-called laws of Nature. We have no means so-ever of determining even so simple a matter as to whether one of two events happens before or after the other.

Let us take an instance. It is well known that the light of the sun requires some eight minutes to reach the earth. Simultaneous <<Simultaneity, closely considered, possesses no meaning soever. See A.A.Eddington, “Space, Time and Gravitation”, 61.>> {WEH NOTE: SIC. This is page 51 in Eddington, op. cit. 1920 edition, 1959 reprint: “The denial of absolute simultaneity is a natural complement to the denial of absolute motion …”} phenomena in the two bodies would therefore appear to be separated in time to that extent; and, from a mathematical standpoint, the same discrepancy theoretically exists, even if we suppose the two bodies in question to be only a few yards one more remote than the other. Recent consideration of these facts has show the impossibility of determining the fact of priority, so that it may be just as reasonable to assert that a dagger-thrust is caused by a wound as vice versa. Lewis Carroll has an amusing parable to this effect in “Through the Looking-Glass”, which work, by the way, with its predecessor, is packed with examples of philosophical paradox. <<If I strike a billiard ball, and it moves, both my will and its motion have causes long antecedent to the act. I may consider both my Work and its reaction as twin effects of the eternal Universe. The moved arm and ball are part of a state of the Cosmos which resulted necessarily from its momentarily previous state, and so, back for ever. Thus, my Magical Work is only on of the cause-effects necessarily concomitant with the cause-effects which set the ball in motion. I may therefore regard the act of striking as a cause-effect of my original Will to move the ball, though necessarily previous to its motion. But the case of Magical work is not quite analogous. For I am such that I am compelled to perform Magick in order to make my Will to prevail; so that the cause of my doing the Work is also he cause of the ball’s motion, and there is no reason why one should precede the other, See Book 4, Part III, for a full discussion. (Since writing the above, I have been introduced to “Space, Time and Gravitation”, where similar arguments are adduced.)>>

We may now return to our text “Every number is infinite”. The fact that every number is a term in a mathematical continuum is no more an adequate definition than if we were to describe a picture as Number So-and-So in the catalogue. Every number is a thing in itself,<<I regret to find myself in disagreement with the Hon. Bertrand Russell with regard to the conception of the nature of Number.>> possessing an infinite number of properties peculiar to itself.

Let us consider, for a moment, the numbers 8 and 9. 8 is the number of cubes measuring one inch each way in a cube which measures two inches each way; while 9 is the number of squares measuring one inch each way in a square measuring three inches each way. There is a sort of reciprocal correspondence between them in this respect.

By adding one to eight, we obtain nine, so that we might define unity as that which has the property of transforming a three-dimensional expansion of two into a two-dimensional expansion of three. But if we add unity to nine, unity appears as that which has the power of transforming the two-dimensional expansion of three aforesaid into a mere oblong measuring 5 by 2. Unity thus appears as in possession of two totally different properties. Are we then to conclude that it is not the same unity? How are we to describe unity, how know it? Only by experiment can we discover the nature of its action on any given number. In certain minor respects, this action exhibits regularity. We know, for example, that it uniformly transforms an odd number into an even one, and vice versa, but that is practically the limit of what we can predict as to its action.

We can go further, and state that any number soever possesses this infinite variety of powers to transform any other number, even by the primitive process of addition. We observe also how the manipulation of any two numbers can be arranged so that the result is incommensurable with either, or even so that ideas are created of a character totally incompatible with our original conception of numbers as a series of positive integers. We obtain unreal and irrational expressions, ideas of a wholly different order, by a very simple juxtaposition of such apparently comprehensible and commonplace entities as integers.

There is only one conclusion to be drawn from these various considerations. It is that the nature of every number is a thing peculiar to itself, a thing inscrutable and infinite, a thing inexpressible, even if we could understand it.

In other words, a number is a soul, in the proper sense of the term, an unique and necessary element in the totality of existence.

We may not turn to the second phrase of the text: “there is no difference”. It must strike the student immediately that this is, on the face of it, a point blank contradiction of all that has been said above. What have we done but insist upon the essential difference between any tow numbers, and show that even their sequential relation is little more than arbitrary, being indeed rather a convenient way of regarding them for the purpose of coordinating them with out understanding than anything else? On a similar principle, we number public vehicles or telephones without implication even of necessary sequence. The appellation denotes nothing beyond membership of a certain class of objects, and is indeed expressly chosen to avoid being entangled in considerations of any characteristics of the individual so designated except that cursory designation.

when it is said that there is no difference between numbers (for in this sense I think we must understand the phrase), we must examine the meaning of the word ‘difference’. Difference is the denial of identity in the first place, but the word is not properly applied to discriminate between objects which have no similarity. One does not ask, “What is the difference between a yard and a minute?” in practical life. We do ask the difference between two things of the same kind. The Book of the Law is trying to emphasize the doctrine that each number is unique and absolute. Its relations with other numbers are therefore in the nature of illusion. They are the forms of presentation under which we perceive their semblances; and it is to the last degree important to realize that these semblances only indicate the nature of the realities behind them in the same way in which the degrees on a thermoetric scale indicate heat. It is quite unphilosophical to say that 50 degrees Centigrade is hotter than 40 degrees. Degrees of temperature are simply conventions invented by ourselves to describe physical states of a totally different order; and, while the heat of a body may be regarded as an inherent property of its own, our measure of that heat in no way concerns it.

We use instruments of science to inform us of the nature of the various objects which we wish to study; but our observations never reveal the thing as it is in itself. They only enable us to compare unfamiliar with familiar experiences. The use of an instrument necessarily implies the imposition of alien conventions. To take the simplest example: when we say that we see a thing, we only mean that our consciousness is modified by its existence according to a particular arrangement of lenses and other optical instruments, which exist in our eyes and not in the object perceived. So also, the fact that the sum of 2 and 1 is three, affords us but a single statement of relations symptomatic of the presentation to us of those numbers.

We have, therefore, no means soever of determining the difference between any two numbers, except in respect of a particular and very limited relation. Furthermore, in view of the infinity of every number, it seems not unlikely that the apparent differences observed by us would tend to disappear with the disappearance of the arbitrary conditions which we attach to them to facilitate, as we think, our examination. We may also observe that each number, being absolute, is the centre of its universe, so that all other numbers, so far as they are related to it, are its appanages. Each number is, therefore, the totality of the universe, and there cannot be any difference between one infinite universe and another. The triangle ABC may look very different from the standpoints of A, B, and C respectively; each view is true, absolutely; yet it is the same triangle.

The above interpretation of the text is of a revolutionary character, from the point of view of science and mathematics. Investigation of the lines here laid down will lead to the solution of these grave problems which have so long baffled the greatest minds of the world, on account of the initial error of attaching them on lines which involve self-contradiction. The attempt to discover the nature of things by a study of the relations between them is precisely parallel with the ambition to obtain a finite value of Pi. Nobody wishes to deny the practical value of the limited investigations which have so long preoccupied the human mind. But it is only quite recently that even the best thinkers have begun to recognize that their work was only significant within a certain order. It will soon be admitted on all hands that the study of the nature of things in themselves is a work for which the human reason is incompetent; for the nature of reason is such that it must always formulate itself in proportions which merely assert a positive or negative relation between a subject and a predicate. Men will thus be led to the development of a faculty, superior to reason, whose apprehension is independent of the hieroglyphic representations of which reason so vainly makes use.<<See “Eleusis”, A. Crowley Collected Works, Vol. III, Epilogue.>> {This then will} be the foundation of the true spiritual science which is the proper tendency of the evolution of man. This Science will clarify, without superseding, the old; but it will free men from the bondage of mind, little by little, just as the old science has freed them from the bondage of matter.

This science is the proper and particular study of initiates, and its principia are formulated in the Book of the Law. This Book may therefore be regarded as indicating a complete revolution in human affairs, for it advances mankind in the most radical manner. The road of attainment to self-realisation is made open as never before has been done in the history of the planet.

AL I,5: “Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!”

The Old Comment
5. Nu, to unveil herself, needs a mortal intermediary, in the first instance.

It is to be supposed that ankh-f-n-khonsu, the warrior lord of Thebes, priest of Men Tu, is in some subtle manner identical with either Aiwass or the Beast.

The New Comment
Here Nuit appeals, simply and directly, recognizing the separate function of each Star of her Body. Though all is One, each part of that One has its own special work, each Star its particular Orbit.

In addressing me as warrior lord of Thebes, it appears as if She perceived a certain continuity or identity of myself with Ankh-f-n-khonsu, whose Stele is the Link with Antiquity of this Revelation. See Equinox I, VII, pp. 363-400a, for the account of this event.

The unveiling is the Proclamation of the Truth previously explained, that the Body of Nuith occupies Infinite Space, so that every Star thereof is Whole in itself, an independent and absolute Unit. They differ as Carbon and Calcium differ, but each is a simple “immortal” Substance, or at least a form of some simpler Substance. Each soul is thus absolute, and ‘good’ or ‘evil’ are merely terms descriptive of relations between destructible combinations. Thus Quinine is ‘good’ for a malarial patient, but ‘evil’ for the germ of the disease. Heat is ‘bad’ for ice-cream and ‘good’ for coffee. The indivisible essence of things, their ‘souls’, are indifferent to all conditions soever, for none can in any way affect them.

AL I,6: “Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!”

The Old Comment
6. The recipient of this knowledge is to identify himself with Hadit, and thus fully express the thoughts of her heart in her very language.

The New Comment
Nuit formulates me as Hadit, especially in the three centres of consciousness of her Being. IN this way, for this purpose, I became the complement of Her.

These centres are those of Love, Life and language. Duality is the condition of all three. It will appear later how it is that None and Two are identical; they are distinct in our minds only because those minds are conscious, and therefore think of “two” as their own state. But the unconscious mind thinks Nothing, and is Nothing. Yet it is the same mind.

Nuith selects three centres of Her Body to become “Two” with Hadit; for she asks me to declare Her in these three. Infinite freedom, all-embracing, for physical Love; boundless continuity for Life; and the silent rhythm of the Stars for Language. These three conceptions are Her gift to us.

AL I,7: “Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.”

The Old Comment
7. Aiwass — see Introduction. He is 78, Mezla, the “influence” from the Highest Crown, and the number of cards in the Tarot, Rota, the all-embracing Wheel.

Hoor-paar-Kraat — see II, 8.

Aiwass is called the minister of Hoor-paar-Kraat, the God of Silence; for his word is the Speech of the Silence.

The New Comment
Aiwass is the name given by Ouarda the Seer as that of the Intelligence Communicating. See note to Title.

Hoor-paar-Kraat or Harpocrates, the “Babe in the Egg of Blue”, is not merely the God of Silence in a conventional sense. He represents the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel. The connexion is with the symbolism of the Dwarf in Mythology. He contains everything in Himself, but is unmanifested. See II:8.

He is the First Letter of the Alphabet, Aleph, whose number is One, and his card in the Tarot is The Fool, numbered Zero. Aleph is attributed to the “Element” (in the old classification of things) of Air.

Now as “One” or Aleph he represents the Male Principle, the First Cause, and the free breath of Life, the sound of the vowel A being made with the open throat and mouth.

As Zero he represents the female Principle, the fertile Mother. (An old name for the card is Mat, from the Italian ‘Matto’, fool, but earlier also from Maut, the Egyptian Vulture-Mother-Goddess). Fertile, for the ‘Egg of Blue’ is the Uterus, and in the Macrocosm the Body of Nuith, and it contains the Unborn Babe, helpless yet protected and nourished against the crocodiles and tigers shown on the card, just as the womb is sealed during gestation. He sits on a lotus, the yoni, which floats on the ‘Nile’, the amniotic fluid.

In his absolute innocence and ignorance he is “The Fool”; he is the ‘Saviour’, being the Son who shall trample on the crocodiles and tigers, and avenge his father Osiris. Thus we see him as the “Great Fool” of Celtic legend, the “Pure Fool” of Act I of “Parsifal”, and, generally speaking, the insane person whose words have always been taken for oracles.

But to be ‘Saviour’ he must be born and grow to manhood; thus Parsifal acquires the Sacred Lance, emblem of virility. He usually wears the ‘Coat of many colours’ like Joseph the ‘dreamer’; so he is also now the Green Man of spring festivals. But his ‘folly’ is now not innocence but inspiration of wine; he drinks from the Graal, offered to him by the Priestess.

So we see him fully armed as Bacchus Diphues, male and female in one, bearing the Thyrsus-rod, and a cluster of grapes or a wineskin, while a tiger leaps up by his side. This form is suggested in the Taro card, where ‘The fool’ is shown with a long wand and carrying a sack; his coat is motley. Tigers and Crocodiles follow him, thus linking this image with that of Harpocrates.

Almost identical symbols are those of the secret God of the Templars, the bi-sexual Baphomet, and of Zeus Arrhenothelus, equally bi-sexual, the Father-Mother of All in One Person. (He is shown in this full form in the Tarot Trump XV, “the Devil”.) Now Zeus being lord of Air, we are reminded that Aleph is the letter of Air.

As Air we find the “Wandering Fool” pure wanton Breath, yet creative. Wind was supposed of old to impregnate the Vulture, which therefore was chosen to symbolize the Mother-Goddess.

He is the Wandering Knight or Prince of Fairy Tales who marries the King’s Daughter. This legend is derived from certain customs among exogamic tribes, for which see “The Golden Bough”.

Thus one Europa, Semele and others claimed that Zeus — Air<<Zeus obtained Air for his kingdom in the partition with Hades, who took Fire, and Poseidon, who took Water. Shu is the Egyptian God of the Firmament. There is a great difficulty here, etymologically. Zeus is connected with IAO, Abrasax, and the Dental Sibilant Gods of the Great Mysteries, with the South and Hadit, Ada, Set, Saturn, Adonai, Attis, Adonis; he is even the “Jesus”, slain with the Lance, whose blood is collected in a Cup. Yet he is also to be identified with the opposite party of the North and Nuit, with the “John” slain with the Sword, whose flesh is placed upon a Disk, in the Lesser Mysteries, baptizing with Water as “Jesus” with Fire, with On, Oannes, Noah, and the like.

It seems as if this great division, which has wrought such appalling havoc upon the Earth, were originally no more than a distinction adopted for convenience. It is indeed the task of this Book to reduce Theology to the interplay of the Dyad Nuith and Hadith, these being themselves conceived as complementary, as Two equivalent to Naught, “divided for lvoe’s sake, for the chance of union.”>> — had enjoyed them in the form of a beast, bird, or what not; while later Mary attributed her condition to the agency of a Spirit — Spiritus, breath, or air — in the shape of a dove.

But the “Small Person” of Hindu mysticism, the Dwarf insane yet crafty of many legends in many lands, is also this same “Holy Ghost”, or Silent Self of a man, or his Holy Guardian Angel.

He is almost the “Unconscious” of Freud, unknown, unaccountable, the silent Spirit, blowing “whither it listeth, but thou canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth”. It commands with absolute authority when it appears at all, despite conscious reason and judgment.

Aiwass is then, as this verse 7 states, the “minister” of this Hoor-paar-Kraat, that is of the Saviour of the World in the larger sense, and of mine own “Silent Self” in the lesser. A “minister” is one who performs a service, in this case evidently that of revealing; He was the intelligible medium between the Babe God — the New Aeon about to be born — and myself. This Book of the Law is the Voice of his Mother, His Father, and Himself. But on His appearing, He assumes the active form twin to Harpocrates, that of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The Concealed Child becomes the Conquering Child, the armed Horus avenging his father Osiris. So also our own Silent Self, helpless and witless, hidden within us, will spring forth, if we have craft to loose him to the Light, spring lustily forward with his cry of Battle, the Word of our True Wills.

This is the Task of the Adept, to have the Knowledge and Conversation of His Holy Guardian Angel, to become aware of his nature and his purpose, fulfilling them.

Why is Aiwass thus spelt, when Aiwaz is the natural transliteration of OIVZ{WEH NOTE: This word is not certain.}? Perhaps because he was not content with identifying Himself with Thelema, Agape, etc. by the number 93, but wished to express his nature by six letters (Six being the number of the Sun, the God-Man, etc.) whose value in Greek should be A=1, I=10, F=6, A=1, S=200, S=200: total 418, the number of Abrahadabra, the Magical Formula of the new Aeon! Note that I and V are the letters of the Father and the Son, also of the Virgin and the Bull, (See “Liber 418”) protected on either side by the letter of AIR, and followed by the letter of Fire twice over.

AL I,8: “The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.”

The Old Comment
8. Here beings the text.

Khabs is the secret Light or L.V.X.; the Khu is the magical entity of a man.

I find later (Sun in Virgo, An VII) that Khabs means star. In which chase cf. v.5.

The doctrine here taught is that that Light is innermost, essential man. Intra (not Extra) Nobis Regnum Dei.

The New Comment
We are not to regard ourselves as base beings, without whose sphere is Light or “God”. Our minds and bodies are veils of the Light within. The uninitiate is a “Dark Star”, and the Great Work for him is to make his veils transparent by ‘purifying’ them. This ‘purification’ is really ‘simplification’; it is not that the veil is dirty, but that the complexity of its folds makes it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists principally in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become ‘evil’. (This will be understood better in the Light of “The Hermit of Esopus Island”, q.v.) The Doctrine is evidently of supreme importance, from its position as the first ‘revelation’ of Aiwass.

This ‘star’ or ‘Inmost Light’ is the original, individual, eternal essence. The Khu is the magical garment which it weaves for itself, a ‘form’ for its Being Beyond Form, by use of which it can gain experience through self-consciousness, as explained in the note to verses 2 and 3. This Khu is the first veil, far subtler than mind or body, and truer; for its symbolic shape depends on the nature of its Star.

Why are we told that the Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs? Did we then suppose the converse? I think that we are warned against the idea of a Pleroma, a flame of which we are Sparks, and to which we return when we ‘attain’. That would indeed be to make the whole curse of separate existence ridiculous, a senseless and inexcusable folly. It would throw us back on the dilemma of Manichaeism. The idea of incarnations “perfecting” a thing originally perfect by definition is imbecile. The only sane solution is as given previously, to suppose that the Perfect enjoys experience of (apparent) Imperfection. (There are deeper resolutions of this problem appropriate to the highest grades of initiation; but the above should suffice the average intelligence.)

AL I,9: “Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!”

The Old Comment
9. That Khabs is declared to be the light of Nu. It being worshipped in the centre, the light also fills the circumference, so that all is light.

The New Comment
We are to pay attention to this Inmost Light; then comes the answering Light of Infinite Space. Note that the Light of Space is what men call Darkness; its nature is utterly incomprehensible to our uninitiated minds. It is the ‘veils’ men

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