5 u80icf36nINT-2 Crowley later recognized Aiwass as his Holy Guardian Angel, and came to a
u80icf36nINT-2 Crowley later recognized Aiwass as his Holy Guardian Angel, and came to accept the mantle of Thelemic prophet of the aeon of Horus thrust upon him by his reception of Liber Legis. Although the book abounds in specific references to the scribe and prophet in his now-historical rople of The Beast 666, it is nevertheless the most influential of the Holy Books, with the greatest general relevance to humanity.
The Book of the Law was also the origin of the technical class (Class << A >>) to which these Holy Books belong. Chapter I, verse 36, states that the scribe << shall not in one letter change this book; but lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon by the wisdom of Ra-Hoor-Khu-it. >> Crowley accordingly produced several important commentaries to Liber Legis, but only one that he regarded as definitely inspired the Comment he received in 1925 E.V., as predicted by Liber Legis :
i2li2rBut the work of the comment? That is easy; and Hadit burning in thy heart shall make swift and secure thy pen.
ic Crowley considered the Comment (page 196 of the present volume) << the really inspired message, cutting as it does all the difficulties with a single keen stroke. >> This refers to the commentators that would otherwise revise and distort the message of Liber Legis to their own ends, forming their << schools of interpretation >> with the conformist pressures and tendencies to schism that inevitably follow. The Comment warns against the dissemination of personal interpretations of the book, thus establishing a scriptural tradition resistant to the revisionism that plagued previous religions and mystery schools. Yet it places supreme emphasis upon individual freedom of interpretation: << All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.>> As applied, this creates a climate of freedom without parallel in religious history.
In many ways Liber Legis edits itself, giving explicit and detailed instructions to the scribe. These instructions, reviewed below, shed light on the dynamic interaction between scribe and book.
Liber Legis places great emphasis upon the importance of preserving the book intact for future generations: << Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. >> Crowley writes of this:
i2li2rp10l11.5This injunction was most necessary, for had I been left to myself, I should have wanted to edit the book ruthlessly. I find in it what I consider faults of style, and even of grammar; much of the matter was at the time of writing most antipathetic. But the Book proved itself greater than the scribe: again and again have the << mistakes >> proved themselves to be devices for transmitting a Wisdom beyond the scope of ordinary language.
ic Another such instruction insists upon << a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever for in it is the word secret & not only in the English >>. Liber Legis even stipulates that the manuscript be included in foreign-language translations, << for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. >> The manuscript is therefore reproduced (at 56/ original size) immediately following the typeset text of Liber CCXX in the present compilation,
The manuscript is technically titled Liber XXXI, and should not be confused with another well-known book with the same title. By printing Liber XXXI side-by-side with Liber CCXX, the numerical order otherwise observed in this edition is disregarded. However, this placement has long been traditional, and greatly simplifies cross-reference.
An important change made by Crowley when editing Liber CCXX was his numbering of the verses in Chapter I, which are unnumbered in manuscript. Since Liber CCXX derives its title from its total of 220 verses, this title clearly cannot apply to the manuscript. A few recent editions of Liber Legis have appeared which follow the MS., Liber XXXI, more literally in some respects than does Liber CCXX. Technically, such editions are not Liber CCXX, but rather attempts to produce a typeset version of Liber XXXI.
Finally, a close comparison of the text and manuscript will show variant punctuation. This was anticipated and approved by Liber Legis : << The stops as thou wilt: the letters, change them not in style or value. >> Thus, the changes in the << stops >> introduced by Crowley in preparing Liber CCXX from Liber XXXI are in accordance with the book's instructions.
Accordingly, each of the above-described prescriptions for publication have been observed in preparing Liber CCXX for this edition. The most recent authorized publication of Liber Legis has been used: that published by the O.T.O. in 1938 E.V. In recent reprintings (Weiser, 1979, 1981) four typographical errors were corrected by the O.T.O., after verification in earlier authorized editions and the MS. This reprint and the present edition are therefore the most accurate of the several editions of Liber Legis.
In The Equinox of the Gods Crowley gives an explanatory list of the departures in the manuscript itself from what was dictated during the reception of Liber Legis :
i2li2rp10l11.5A.06 itlOn page 6 of the MS. Aiwaz instructs me to << write this (what he had just said) in whiter words,>> for my mind rebelled at His phrase. He added at once << But go forth on,>> i.e., with His utterance, leaving the emendation until later.
ici2li2rB.09 itlOn page 19 I failed to hear a sentence, and (later on) the Scarlet Woman, invoking Aiwass, wrote in the missing words. (How? She was not in the room at the time, and heard nothing.)
ici2li2rC.06 itlPage 20 of Cap. III, I got a phrase indistinctly, and she put it in, as for << B >>.
ici2li2rD. itlThe versified paraphrase of the hieroglyphs on the StŠlŠ being ready Aiwaz allowed me to insert these later, so as to save time.
ici2li2r These four apart, the MS. is exactly as it was written on those three days.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank