When Liber Al vel Legis, the Book of the Law, was received by Aleister Crowley in the Spring of 1904 c.e., human awareness was about to be advanced in a number of significant ways. The Book of the Law was taken down as dictation, from the spiritual intelligence named Aiwass, less than four months after the first recorded powered flight by the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The following year, both Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein published pivotal papers in their fields of study. These four events, spanning late 1903 through 1905, would lead to profound changes in the way human beings regard themselves and the world in which they live. The full effects of these changes have yet to be realised a hundred years after their inception. In the case of Liber Al vel Legis, we have barely scratched the surface.
In 1919, Lowell Thomas showed motion-picture scenes of T. E. Lawrence charging with Bedouin horseback riders, as photographed by cameraman Harry Chase, with a hand crank movie camera, from a biplane flying just overhead. Thomas’s audiences experienced a bird’s eye view for the first time in their lives. This compelling scene made the viewers feel almost as if they were flying, themselves. Thomas became wealthy and famous from touring the travelogue With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia, due in no small measure to the aerial scenes
In 1972, the crew of Apollo 17 took an iconic photograph that showed the black starlit sky framing the entire planet Earth from 29,000 kilometers away. Another famous photo of Earth had been taken from orbit about the Moon during the pioneering Apollo 8 mission in late 1968. It showed earthrise over the Moon’s desolate cratered horizon. These photos provided perspectives more compelling than any representations of planet Earth that had appeared before. They led people to reflect that this planet is the only home we have. The images of Earth framed in the vastness of space sparked intense public interest in ecology and the environment. It is no coincidence that the first Earth Day was held in 1970, as photos from NASA’s moon program had recently enjoyed wide circulation.
Taking to the sky gave humanity a new perspective on our planet, our home in the universe.
Albert Einstein published three seminal papers on physics in 1905. The second paper, on what became known as the Special Theory of Relativity, introduced his famous equation E=mc2. In 1907, he put forth the Principal of Equivalence which says, essentially, that the force of gravity is indistinguishable from the force of acceleration. This lead to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Predictions that the presence of mass curves space/time, derived from that theory, were proven in 1919.
Crowley often referred to Sir Arthur Eddington who introduced Einstein’s general relativity to the English speaking world in his 1919 article Report on the relativity theory of gravitation. “I was greatly assisted in all this work [the new comment on Liber Al] by the constant study of the work of Einstein, Whitehead, Russel, Eddington and Henri Pointcaré, whom Sullivan had recommended to me. They seemed to be on the very brink of discovering those truths which The Book of the Law concealed and revealed.” – The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, page 922.
With the detonation of the first atomic bomb, at New Mexico’s Alamogordo Gunnery and Bombing Range on the morning of 16 July 1945, and the subsequent destruction of Hiroshima on 6 August and Nagasaki on 9 August by atomic weapons, the whole world came to know about Professor Einstein’s famous equation. Within a few years, mankind had engineered the ability, as Winston Churchill put it, to make the rubble bounce.
It should be noted that before the 1925 announcement of Edwin Hubble’s discovery of other galaxies, astronomers believed that the Milky Way was, itself, the entire universe. We now know that there are hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the universe, some containing hundreds of billions of stars.
Science has given us not only a new perspective on the nature of the material universe, but also new tools to change the world for good or ill. Liber 75 vel Luciferi, in verse 31, says that our world has been “ailing with the turmoil of pubescence.”
Sigmund Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, published in 1905, advanced the scientific study of the human psyche in a very profound way. This and his The Interpretation of Dreams, published five years earlier (November 1899), are considered his most important contributions. Freud pioneered psychoanalysis, a kind of psychotherapy, in which the client and therapist examine the emotions that inspire behaviour. Many, if not most, of these emotions have effect without our conscious awareness. The unconscious, he said, has two main elements – the Id (das Es, the It) and the Superego (das Über Ich, the Over I). The conscious waking mind and sense of self, he labelled the Ego (das Ich, the I). Freud suggested that complexes of repressed desires form in the unconscious and are outwardly expressed in unintentional behaviour.
Soldiers respond to real threats in combat with emotional and physical reactions appropriate to life threatening situations. When they return to a nominally peaceful environment, they respond inappropriately to non-threatening stimuli. Their neurotic responses isolate them from friends and family who can’t really understand their experiences. Freud’s ideas became better known and more widely accepted after the First World War (1914-1918) when his methods seemed the most effective treatment for Shell Shock, today’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We now know that much less horrific trauma than combat can produce neuroses in childhood that may last a lifetime. Psychotherapy can bring these neuroses to waking consciousness in the safe setting of the therapeutic relationship and, once understood, healthier ways of coping can be relearned; the emotional knots can be unraveled and the energies they restricted can be reintegrated in to the psyche.
‘The libido of the unconscious’ is really ‘the true will of the inmost self ’. … Experience teaches the adepts who initiate mankind that when any complex (duality) is resolved (unity) the initiate becomes whole.
– The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, p. 72.
Now let it be understood that this evil is but a word to signify a lack of wholeness in the individual, as to the outer and the inner. There is no law beyond Do What Thou Wilt.
Aleister Crowley’s comment on chapter 1, verse 8 of the Book of the Law declares: “The Great Work therefore consists in the solution of complexes.” Dis-ease makes the mind and the body more opaque, to use Crowley’s metaphor, thus occulting the inner light. By resolving complexes, the veils become more transparent, allowing the inner light to shine in the world. In this way God is made flesh.
Many approaches to psychotherapy include both Eastern and Western spiritual perspectives in their attempts to perceive and understand the interaction between conscious and unconscious awareness. Neuroses, which inhibit healthful responses, can also be described as demons feeding off our psychic energy. Magick and psychotherapy both explore the unconscious.
Freud gave us new perspectives on the inner landscape of our thoughts and feelings, and helped us to see how the inner world affects our behaviour and our experience of the outer world.
In his famous lecture The Coming Religion, first published in 1874, the year before Crowley’s birth, egyptologist and social-activist Gerald Massey described a religion to follow Christianity which was similar in many ways to the Thelema of the Book of the Law. Massey wrote: “It has to be a sincerity of life, in place of pretended belief. A religion of science, in place of superstition. Of joy, instead of sorrow. Of man’s Ascent, instead of his Fall. A religion of fact in the present, and not of mere faith for the future. A religion in which the temple reared to God will be in human form, instead of being built of brick or stone. A religion of work, rather than worship; and in place of the deathly creeds, with all their hungry parasites of prey, a religion of life—life actual, life here, life now, as well as the promise of life everlasting!” Little did Massey know, when he died in 1907 at the age of 79, that just such a ‘religion’ had been born only three and a half years earlier when the Book of the Law announced the Equinox of the Gods. But Massey had made an immense contribution to the New Aeon by putting to rest the superstitions of a bygone era.
The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
In his ‘new’ comment on this chapter 1 verse 8 of the Book of the Law, Aleister Crowley wrote: “The Doctrine is evidently of supreme importance, from its position as the first ‘revelation’ of Aiwass.”
Here is Aleister Crowley’s old comment:
Here Begins 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 Scorpio, An. VII) that Khabs means star. In which case cf.v.3.
The doctrine here taught is that that Light is innermost, essential man. Intra (not Extra) Nobis Regnum deI.
“Lux” is a Latin word meaning ‘light’. “Sun in Scorpio, Anno VII” (year 7), was the Fall of 1911 c.e. “cf.v.3” abbreviates ‘compare [confer] with verse three’. Verse three (220,1:3) reads “Every man and every woman is a star.” Note is a star, not has a star. “Intra Nobis Regnum deI,” a version of the Christian INRI, means ‘Inside Ourselves [is] the Kingdom of goD’.
The next verse continues:
Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
We are obliged to worship the Khabs that is in the Khu. Then the light of Nuit, shedding over us, penetrates the shadows and makes plain what was previously obscure. Nuit promises “…certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death”, for example.
Aiwass advanced a metaphor, which describes the Khabs and Khu, in the third chapter of the Book of Codes:
Art thou keen? Hast thou the secret realization? Then harken to what the Word sayeth unto the stars and the lampstands. Thou art seven for thou workest in love. The stars are thine angels, fixed in their proper and pleasing orbit. The lampstands are thy bodies, surmounted by an halo of light.
The Khabs, which Crowley identified as the star mentioned in 220,1:3, is the Holy Guardian Angel, the Higher Self or Eternal Self. The Great Work, in the Thelemic context, is for the individual incarnation to discover and identify with this spiritual entity, his or her own Holy Guardian Angel. Conscious contact is made by the Minor Adept at Tiphereth. Identity with the Angel is achieved by the Ipsissimus at Kether.
The halo of light is the Khu, Akhu, or Akh. It is a higher level astral body that we are connected to via the Heart Chakra, the Anahata Chakra. The Khu is the light that, filtered through the personality (Ka), is seen as a person’s aura.
Note that the Ka is a lower level astral body; lower because it is more material (more form, less energy) and closer to the material plane. The Ka is the ghost, the doppelgänger, which looks like the physical body at the beginning of adulthood. We link to the Ka via the Svadhisthana Chakra.
Because the Khu is an aspect of our manifestation in the world, we can shift our perspective to that level of our being. This shift of perspective can be effected through rituals of the pentagram and hexagram, formal meditation in asana, and recruitment of the libido to the service of the True Will.
Revealing the Khu is the task of the Adeptus Minor whose perspective is at Tiphereth, the sephira in the centre of the Tree of Life. The Khu is a temple, or house, for the Holy Guardian Angel. The Adeptus Minor unveils the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel through identification with the Sun.
When you worship the Sun, your world is bright.
When you become the Sun, your world is night,
For then you are the one who is shining.
We communicate with the Khabs via the Khu. We find the Khu in our unconscious. The relationship between Khu and Khabs is expressed by the Tarot trump card The High Priestess, to which the Hebrew letter Gimmel and the Moon are attributed. It is the path between Tiphereth, the Khu, and Kether, the Khabs, the crown or Sahasrarah Chakra. When the adept achieves the perspective at Kether, the incarnation is unable to distinguish between the earthly self and the Holy Guardian Angel. He is Ipsissimus, the ‘most self’. Ipse is Latin for ‘self’. The Latin suffix ‘-issimus’ is added to an adjective to make it superlative. Kenneth Grant translated Ipsissimus as “his own very self.”
The Khabs is the star. The Khu is the heart of man. In practice, we cannot directly perceive the Holy Guardian Angel, any more than we can look directly into our own eyes. We are the worldly manifestations of our Holy Guardian Angels. Our bodies are the temples of our spiritual selves. The Great Work, for us, is to resolve our psychological complexes; to make the veils within the unconscious transparent rather than opaque; to unveil the light (L.U.X.) within. We cannot see the Angel, but we can perceive the Khu by the light it shines. The Khu is found within the unconscious. The Khu is the interface between the incarnation and the Angel. Thus the halo of light is the interface between the lampstand and the star. Our lives in the world are temporal instances of eternal stars.
Hadit tells us, at the beginning of His chapter in the Book of the Law:
I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.
In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as
she [Nuit], the circumference, is nowhere found.
Yet she shall be known & I never.
I am the flame that burns in every heart of
man, and in the core of every star.
Nuit is the temple of the universe. The universe is the temple of the world. The world is the temple of the incarnation. The incarnation is the temple of the Khu. The Khu is the temple of the Khabs. The Khabs is the temple of Hadit.
Nuit is infinite expansion that embraces all. Hadit is infinite contraction that penetrates all.
Heru-Ra-Ha says, in the Book of Codes:
I am the God enthroned in Ra’s seat. I am Spirit and Will conjoined. Know that as Ra Hoor Khuit I am powerful to destroy and to build. As Hoor-pa-Kraat I do none of these things, for I am absorbed deep within myself, nigh unto the abode of Nu. Know that Had is my seed, becoming solar in his extension, yet NOT in his contraction. There is no God but God. There is no God.
A model of consciousness in which spirituality is found within nature, rather than above it, can bee seen in the Sinhalese Moonstone, which comes to us from the Buddhism of Sri Lanka.
The Sandakadapahana shows avidya (Malkuth) on the perimeter. More enlightened levels of awareness are depicted by the various inner rings of imagery. The centre of the lotus flower represents Nirvana (Kether). The door, or gateway, that leads from avidya to Nirvana is found by becoming present, here and now.
The graphic, below, is an attempt to represent a metaphysical concept I call the Cosmic Onion. The world we know is in a constant cycle of creation and destruction. Creation begins in the centre of the Cosmic Onion and bubbles out to eventually be perfected in the world of our experience at the skin of the onion. Then it immediately recedes into the past. The unceasing aspect of this creation/destruction at the surface of the skin of the onion produces the illusion of permanence. Nature is not fair; nature is prolific. The future is only potential. The past can no longer be changed. Only the present is real. If we can find a way into the present, we can not only understand the hidden truths about existence, we can also cause small changes on inner levels that can have huge effects in objective reality.
One could imagine an indefinite number of planes of consciousness between the outer material projection and the star at the centre of the system, but here only four are represented. The four concentric rings correspond to the four major stages of Thelemic initiation.
The outside surface of the outer ring, named Objective Time/Space, represents the material world of our daily experience. This is the skin of the onion, thin and hard. Each inner layer of the Cosmic Onion is a significant step inside time and space. Each inner time element is more present. Each inner space element is more here.
The Word of the Ordeals describes four major stages of spiritual initiation and their consequent ordeals. Each more present plane of consciousness represents a greater degree of connection between the material-world incarnation and the spiritual-realm star.
This quote from the second chapter of the Book of Codes introduces the Word of the Ordeals, ABRAX. It references the following verses from the Book of the Law: 220,1:50-51, 220,3:38 and 220,3:64-67.
Know that the ordeals shall differ from chela to chela, and the Master shall know which will serve best. The gross must pass through fire, and it shall be to him as silver. This is the first door and its letter is X. The fine shall be tried in intellect, and it shall be to him as gold. This is the second door and its letter is R. The lofty ones shall be chosen in the highest, and it shall be to them as mercury. This is the third door and its letter is B. The one in three shall be to the Beast as the ultimate sparks of his own Daemon; he shall come to full knowledge of Godhood. He shall transcend the Three in order to become the One. He shall transcend the One to become the None. This is the fourth door, and its letter is A. Know that the Word of the ordeals is ABRAX, as it is hidden in the Book of the Law.
ABRAX is further revealed in this quote from chapter 5 of the Book of Codes, where Aiwass is predicting perhaps hundreds of years into the future.
The Grand Temple shall be built according to the pattern of the Minutum Mundum, and thou mayst have four levels herein. Each level shall be a major degree of initiation as revealed in the word ABRAX. Each sephir shall be committed to its own type and wonder of deity. This shall slope gradually to a point at the top, in the form of a pyramid, but at the uttermost point shall be an observatory, and a temple dedicated to the glory and worship of Nuit.
The Cosmic Onion graphic shows the four major degrees of initiation represented in the word ABRAX. The skin of the onion is the gross material world. The core of the onion is the Clear Light. X (Tzaddi) and R (Resh) form the Ruach. B (Bet) and A (Aleph) make up the supernal triad.
The gross materiality of Malkuth must pass through the fire of Shin, in the Ordeal X, to achieve the silver of Yesod, the Moon. This is a shift of consciousness with huge ramifications for the initiate, particularly vis-à-vis reality and illusion. It is the entry into the Ruach, the grade of Zelator.
The fine is tried in the Ruach, the mind. This is the Ordeal R, consequent to initiation into the Thelemite degrees. The Minor Adept is the Man of Earth (μα) whose key method is autosexual. The Minor Adept attains the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel through the magick of self-love. The key method of the Hermit (Θε) or Major Adept, at Geburah, is heterosexual. And the key method of the Lover (λη) or Exempt Adept, at Chesed, is homosexual. Θελημα, pronounced tay-leh-mah, means ‘that which is willed’. That which is willed is any of the alchemical elements that have been consecrated by sincere willful intent. The Word of the Law is the product of ‘love under will’. The Word of the Law is the key that unlocks the door into the present.
The word of the Law is Θελημα. [Telhma]
Who calls us Thelemites will do no
wrong, if he look but close into the
word. For there are therein Three
Grades, the Hermit [Θε], and the Lover [λη], and
the man of Earth [μα]. Do what thou wilt
shall be the whole of the Law.
The lofty ones cross the Abyss and gain entry into the Supernal Triad, the Order of the Astrum Argentium or Silver Star. While consciousness in the Ruach is about knowing, consciousness above the Abyss is about being. It is consciousness that is simpler and more profound than intellect can apprehend. The Master of the Temple sees Saturn not as opposition and limitation but as the power that makes objective manifestation possible. Saturn is the real in reality. The Magus rules as Neptune, making change in stability; finding stability in change. The apparent capriciousness of Neptune makes him appear as Mercury from below the Abyss. The Master of the Temple is saturnine and mystical. The Magus is mercurial and magical. The Magus, is the second Tarot trump card, Atu I. It is attributed to the letter Bet and to the planet Mercury. “The Master’s task is to recognize his own Power, that all about him is an effect of his Will…” – 718,4:12. Stones of precious water refers to the liquid metal mercury, in honour of the grade Magus.
All previous ordeals are summed up in the Ordeal A, the ordeal of the Ipsissimus. ‘The ultimate sparks of the intimate fire’ describes how the Book of the Law appears to the Ipsissimus who is fully identified with the Holy Guardian Angel, the star or Khabs. The Book of the Law is a magick mirror that reflects the initiate’s degree of initiation, i.e.: the degree of connection to the Angel, the Eternal Self. The Neophyte is primarily engaged in material-world affairs and has little awareness of his or her Angel. “The fool readeth this Book of the Law, and its comment; & he understandeth it not.” – 220,3:63. The Ipsissimus possesses the highest spiritual awareness and completely identifies with the Angel. In Buddhist terms he is the bodhisattva. However, the Ipsissimus comprehends not only the passive mystical but also the active magickal. He not only perceives the essential truth of existence but he destroys and creates with the innocence of great wisdom. He is not above nature. He is natural humanity in its finest form: a physical conduit for manifestation of the divine in the world.
The graphic below shows cause and effect relationships. The causes initiated on interior levels of the Cosmic Onion bubble out until they become perfected (finalised) in the onion’s skin, the gross material world.
The cause and effect pair on the left represents normal material-plane events. We humans have evolved to sort out this type of event chain and reason is the product of this evolution. In this case, it is possible to rationally work out the series of events along a time line that ultimately produce the effect.
The cause and effect pair on the right represents magical events of the sort that initiates of the Golden Dawn might effect. In this case, the series of events that produces the effect is obscured from a perspective in the material world, but initiates can comprehend the links between cause and effect. Also, the effect is not rigidly limited in time/space. The results of actions taken yesterday, without our knowledge or intent, may tomorrow fulfill the object of a magical operation enacted today. That is to say, magick can affect not only the future but also the past.
The cause and effect pair in the middle represents magickal events of the sort that Thelemites, initiates of the Rosy Cross, might effect. Here, we use the Thelemic Method, the basis of which we learned in the G∴D∴. Here, we operate from a position that is much more here and much more now than either of the previous two examples. The effect goes further into the past and into the future than the magic of a more external perspective can produce.
Initiates of the Rosy Cross channel the will of their Eternal Selves. They have the inertia of the universe behind them to the extent that they have identified with their own Holy Guardian Angels. They act without reason, for no chain of reason can explain the effect. From the perspective of reason, the cause and effect relationships produced by magick are skewed and irrational, though they may be simple and direct to the initiate. The Book of the Law tells us “Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.” – 220,2:32. And we are admonished by the Book of Codes, “Cast out this devil who is 333, or I shall cast thee out from the sanctuary; nay! thou shalt damn thyselves. This is no small Sin thou committest, that there be a right action and a wrong — if thou submittest not thy judgment to Will.” – 718,3:11. To do the True Will is to act innocently. Any attempt to rationally explain an act of True Will is a lie. That is why “The exposure of innocence is a lie.” – 220,2:22.
When we shift our perspective from Malkuth, the world, to Yesod, the foundation of the Ruach, we add a new dimension to our appreciation of reality. This new dimension is infinite and unknown to the perspective at Malkuth. In this graphic, I have depicted the causes as points and the effects, at least for the G∴D∴ and the Rosy Cross, as continua. We may imagine the continua as two dimensional planes, not just points on a time line. The effect continuum for the Thelemic method is more extensive than that produced by methods of the G∴D∴.
For the A∴A∴, the causes would be depicted as two-dimensional continua and the effects would then be shown in three dimensions in the graphic. Shifting our perspective from the Ruach to the supernal triad adds another dimension to our perception of reality. With each major initiation, patterns that seemed impossibly complex and counter intuitive become simple and obvious in the same way as a two-dimensional Flatlander, given the ability to perceive a third dimension, will easily comprehend cubes, cones and spheres which he would previously have considered mysterious magical effects.
There are no actual extra dimensions added to our awareness as we gain interior levels of initiation. They are only a metaphor to express the quality of the shift of awareness. Things that are simple and clear to the Hermit (Major Adept) might be opaque to the Zelator. The Lover (Exempt Adept) may be utterly defeated by something that has become trivial to the Master of the Temple. No amount of study or mental preparedness can produce initiation. Only taking action in the world can evoke initiation and only ordeal can forge the links that make initiation a practical reality in the world.
It may take several lifetimes to complete the ordeal of any given Thelemic initiation, but initiation is the one thing we can take with us to subsequent incarnations. Once we have gained the ability to cope with a certain level of energy, we re-establish the practical ability to deal with that level in all subsequent incarnations, but we must re-link that consciousness to the body/mind complex by means of the ordeals each new time around.
Initiation is a shift of perspective that has a profound effect on our world view, not unlike the effect that taking to the skies and leaving earth orbit had on the world view of society in general. Like Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics, the Book of the Law and Aleister Crowley’s initiated metaphysics, have given us intelectual tools with which to explore our reality. Every initiation unbinds energy associated with the level of the grade. We undergo ordeals as we struggle to cope with the energies released by our initiations. We are aided in our ability to cope by the psychotherapeutic ideas of Freud, Jung, Klein, Lacan and others as we connect our conscious waking awareness to our symbol laden unconscious minds, the hidden interface between our manifestations and our spiritual sources.
Thelemites contact the god (star) hidden inside them. They then manifest their own True Will, which, in turn, creates the universe of their experience. The challenge is to resolve the complexes that muddle the veils of personality so that the inner light can illuminate the world unhindered by neuroses. The choice is not between a restrictive order imposed from on high or chaos and destruction. The choice is between life-affirming innocence or life-denying paranoia.
The First Revelation of Aiwass shows us a new perspective on our place in the world. God is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here.’ The Khabs (star, God, Holy Guardian Angel, Eternal Self) is in the Khu (magical entity of a man, bright solar spirit body, light behind the aura, beast-god interface), not the Khu in the Khabs (not the old-aeon belief in a supernatural god). Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light (Nuit’s light of initiated awareness) shed over you. When we cause changes on internal layers of bycoming, they bubble up into the world in a seemingly magical manner, but this is just natural science not generally understood. Thelema unites the mysticism of the East with the magic of the West to make a new way for humanity to understand reality and to approach the future with confidence.
The Aeon is a New Way
The old Ways are but partial in their truthfulness.
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Liber 220, Liber Al vel Legis, the Book of the Law, chapter 1: verse 8
8. The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
Here Begins 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 Scorpio, An. VII) that Khabs means star. In which case cf.v.3.
The doctrine here taught is that that Light is innermost, essential man. Intra (not Extra) Nobis Regnum deI.
We are not to regard ourselves as base things, 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 make it opaque. The Great Work therefore consists in the solution of complexes. Everything in itself is perfect, but when things are muddled, they become ‘evil’. 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.)
(Achad in Liber XXXI: “We are told to worship the Khabs (the house of Hadit) and behold my (Nuit’s) light shed over you, because Khabs is the Central Point of Light, and we thus perform an act similar to that which made Creation Manifest, rather than Not”.
Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law, pp 96 & 97
Edited and Annotated by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant
© 1974 John Symonds and Kenneth Grant
93 Publishing, Montréal, Québec.
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Liber 220, Liber Al vel Legis, the Book of the Law, chapter 1: verse 3
3. Every man and every woman is a star.
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 part; but I shall not discuss it fully in this place.
Man is the Middle Kingdom. The Great Kingdom is Heaven, with each star as a unit; the Little Kingdom is the Molecule, with each Electron as a unit. (The ratio of these three is regularly geometrical, each being 10 to the 22nd times greater in size than its neighbour.)
See The Book of the Great Auk [non extant] 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 recognisable 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 recognise 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 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 the atoms get to the Sun, we get 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 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 could become something more than itself; 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 which he has during these incarnations, because he knows he will come through unchanged.
Therefore you can 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 monotheism, 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 [explain the obscure by the more obscure]. 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.
Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law, pp. 82-84.
*Brought up in Victorian England, Crowley’s writing is littered with similar statements of misogyny. He was a product of his time. He reflected the gender bias and racial arrogance of the British Empire, which was at its zenith during his education. Since we can see women’s auras, it is clear that women have khus, spirit bodies which are temples to their Holy Guardian Angels. Crowley’s statement “woman has no soul” contradicts the very verse of Liber Al on which he is commenting: ‘Every…woman is a star.’ The star is the True Self which pre-existed the incarnation and remains after the incarnation dissolves back into its elements. The cycle of the star’s existence is much, much longer than the cycle of a single incarnation. How would we mere mortals ever know if a star is built up at all, let alone from the centre outwards or the circumference inwards? As great a man as Aleister Crowley was, we must remember that he was human, warts and all.
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Initiation consists in identifying the human with the divine, and the man who does not strain constantly to this end is simply a brute made wretched and ashamed by the fact of self-consciousness.
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, p. 469
© 1969 Symonds & Grant
Hill and Wang, New York
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I have seen and heard my Holy Guardian Angel as an objective entity. I know, however, that what I saw and heard were products of my own mind. The vision may have been inspired by my Angel, as a message sent through the unconscious to stimulate the visual and auditory regions of my brain, but no physical being could have appeared where or in the way It did. Never before, or since, had any presence appeared to me out of thin air nor addressed me directly. I came to realise that I already had a relationship with the Angel, on the astral plane, before It appeared physically before me.
Given the differences between the female and male human brain, I believe women are more likely to perceive a profound and beautiful contextual pattern to identify as the Holy Guardian Angel, rather than the vision of an objective being with a name and a voice. I must admit that I have little information from which to draw conclusions in this matter. Of my generation, apart from myself and Jim Beck, I am aware that only Llee Heflin had seen and heard his Angel. I am aware of only three women whose spiritual accomplishment clearly surpassed that of the grade of Minor Adept. I am sure there are other women and men who have achieved high initiation, but they are not known to me.
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