CHAPTER XVI ON CONCENTRATION Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

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CHAPTER XVI ON CONCENTRATION Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. You wisely ask me for a special letter on Concentration; you point out that I have implied it constantly, but never given plain instruction. It hope I have not been so vague as to allow you to suppose that Concen- tration Camps are evidence that benevolent and enlightened governments are at last seriously concerned to educate the world to Yoga; but I do agree that it cannot do great harm if I take a dose of my own medicine, and gather into one golden sheaf all the ripe corn of my wisdom on this subject. For concentration does indeed unlock all doors; it lies at the heart of every practice as it is of the essence of all theory; and almost all the various rules and regulations are aimed at securing adeptship in this matter. All the subsidiary work --- awareness, one-pointedness, mind- fullness and the rest --- is intended to train you to this. All the greetings, salutations, "Saying Will," periodical adorations, even saying "apo pantos kakodaimonos" with a downward and outward sweep of the arm, the eyes averted, when one sees a person dressed in a religious (Christian) uniform: all these come under "Don't stroke the cat the wrong way!" or, in the modern pseudo-scientific journalese jargon "streamlining life." Let us see if Frater Perdurabo has anything to the point! Of course, Part I of Book 4 is devoted to it; but there is too much, and not enough, to be useful to us just now. What your really need is the official Instruction in The Equinox, and the very fullest and deepest understanding of Eight Lectures on Yoga; but these lectures are so infernally interesting that when I look into the book for something to quote, it carries me away with it. I can't put it down, I forget all about this letter. Rather a back-handed advertisement for Concentration! The best way is the hardest; to forget all this and start from the begin- ning as if there had never been anything on the subject written before. I must keep always in mind that you are assumed to know nothing whatever about Yoga and Magick, or anything else beyond what the average educated person may be assumed to have been taught. What is the problem? There are two. Beta: To train the mind to move with the maximum speed and energy, with the utmost possible accuracy in the chosen direction, and with the minimum of disturbance or friction. That is Magick. 1 Alpha: To stop the mind altogether. That is Yoga. The rules, strangely enough, are identical in both cases; at least, until your "Magick" is perfect; Yoga merely goes on a step further. In Beta you have reduced all movements from many to One; in Alpha you reduce that One to Zero. Now then, with a sigh of relief, know you this: that every possible inci- dent in the Beta training is mutatis mutandis, perfectly familiar to the engineer. The material must be chosen and prepared in the kind and in the manner, best suited to the design of the intended machine; the various parts must be put together with the utmost precision; every obstacle to the function must be removed, and every source of error eliminated. Now cheer up, child! In the case of a machine that he has devised and constructed himself with every condition in his favour, he thinks he is doing not too badly if he gets some fifteen or twenty per cent of the calculated effi- ciency out of the instrument; and even Nature, with millions of years to adjust and improve, very often cannot boast of having done much better. So you have no reason to be discouraged if success does not smile upon you in the first week or so of your Work, starting as you do with material of whose properties you are miserably ignorant, with means pitifully limited, with Laws of Nature which you do not understand; in fact, with almost everything against you but indomitable Will and unconquerable courage. (I know I'm a poor contemptible Lowbrow; but I refuse to be ashamed for finding Kipling's If and Henley's Don't remember-the title; they may not be poetry --- but they are honest food and damned good beer for the plebeian wayfarer. It was such manhood, not the left-wing high-brow Bloomsbury sissies, that kept London through the blitz. Pray forgive the digression!) There is only one method to adopt in such circumstances as those of the Aspirant to Magick and Yoga: the method of Science. Trial and error. You must observe. That implies, first of all, that you must learn to ob- serve. And you must record your observations. No circumstance of life is, or can be irrelevant. "He that is not with me is against me." In all these letters you will find only two things: either I tell you what is bad for you, or what is good for you. But I am not you; I don't know every detail of your life, every trick of your thought. You must do ninety percent of the work for yourself. Whether it is love, or your daily avo- cation, or diet, or friends, or amusement, or anything else, you must find out what helps you to your True Will and what hinders; cherish the one and eschew the other. I want to insist most earnestly that concentration is not, as we nearly all of us think, a matter of getting things right in the practices; you must make every breath you draw subservient to the True Will, to fertilize the soil for the practices. When you sit down in your Asana to quiet your mind, it is much easier for you if your whole life has tended to relative quietude; when you knock with your Wand to announce the opening of an Invocation, it is better if the purpose of that ceremony has been simmer- ing in the background of your thought since childhood! Yes indeed: background! Deep down, on the very brink of the subconscious, are all those facts which have determined you to choose this your Great Work. 2 Then, the ambition, conscious, which arranges the general order and dispo- sition of your life. Lastly, the practices themselves. And my belief is that the immense majority of failures have their neglect to brush up their drill to thank for it. For technical advice on all these subjects, I shall refer you to those official works mentioned in the early part of this letter; I shall be happy if you will take to heart what I am now so violently thrusting at you, this Middle Work of Concentration. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XVII ASTRAL JOURNEY, EXAMPLE. HOW TO DO IT: HOW TO VERIFY YOUR EXPERIENCES Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. There is no better way of training the memory than the practice of the Holy Qabalah. The whole mechanism of memory depends on joining up independent data. You must go on adding a little to little, always joining the simple impres- sions by referring them to others which are more general; and so on until the whole of your universe is arranged like the brain and the nervous system. This system in fact, becomes the Universe. When you have got everything properly correlated, your central consciousness understands and controls every tiniest detail. But you must begin at the beginning --- you go out for a walk, and the first thing you see is a car; that represents the Atu VII, the Chariot, referred to Cancer. Then you come to a fishmonger, and notice certain crustacea, very mala chostomous. This comes under the same sign of Cancer. The next thing you notice is an amber-coloured dress in Swan and Edgar's; amber also is the colour of Cancer in the King's Scale. Now then you have a set of three impressions which is joined together by the fact that they all belong to the Cancer class; experience will soon teach that you can remember all three very much more clearly and accurately than you could any one of the three singly. You have not increased the burden on your memory, but diminished it. What you say about tension and eagerness and haste is very true. See The Book of the Law, Chapter I, 44. "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect." This, from a practical point of view, is one of the most important verses 3 in the book. The unusual word "unassuaged" is very interesting. People generally suppose that "will" is the slave of purpose, that you cannot will a thing properly unless you are aiming at a definite goal. But this is not the case. Thinking of the goal actually serves to distract the mind. In these few words is included the whole method without all the bombastic piety of the servile doctrine of mysticism about the surrender of the Will. Nor is this idea of surrender actually correct; the will must be identified with the Divine Will, so-called. One wants to become like a mighty flowing river, which is not consciously aiming at the sea, and is certainly not yielding to any external influence. It is acting in conformity with the law of its own nature, with the Tao. One can describe it, if necessary, as "passive love"; but it is love (in effect) raised to its highest potential. We come back to the same thing: when passion is purged of any "lust of result" it is irresistible; it has become "Law." I can never understand why it is that mystics fail to see that their smarmy doctrine of surrender actually insists upon the duality which they have set out to abolish! I certainly have no intention of "holding you down" to "a narrow path of work" or any path. All I can do is to help you to understand clearly the laws of your own nature, so that you may go ahead without extraneous influence. It does not follow that a plan that I have found successful in my own case will be any use to you. That is another cardinal mistake of most teachers. One must have become a Master of the Temple to annihi- late one's ego. Most teachers, consciously or unconsciously, try to get others to follow in their steps. I might as well dress you up in my cast- off clothing! (In the steps of the Master. At the feet of the Master. Steward!) Please observe that the further you get on, the higher your potential, the greater is the tendency to leak, or even to break the containing vessel. I can help you by warning you against setting up obstacles, real or imaginary, in your own path; which is what most people do. It is almost laughable to think that the Great Work consists merely in "letting her rip;" but Karma bumps you from one side of the toboggan slide to the other, until you "come into the straight." (There's a chapter or two in the Book of Lies about this, but I haven't got a copy. I must find one, and put them in here. Yes: p. 22) O thou that settest out upon the Path, false is the Phantom that thou seekest. When thou hast it thou shalt know all bitterness, thy teeth fixed in the Sodom-Apple. Thus hast thou been lured along that Path, whose terror else had driven thee far away. O thou that stridest upon the middle of the Path, no phantoms mock thee. For the stride's sake thou stridest. Thus art thou lured along that Path, whose fascination else had driven thee far away. O thou that drawest toward the End of The Path, effort is no more. Faster and faster dost thou fall; thy weariness is changed into Ineffable Rest. 4 For there is no Thou upon that Path: thou hast become The Way. As in the Yi King, the 3rd hexagram has departed from the original perfec- tion, and it takes all the rest of the hexagrams to put things right again. The result, it is true, is superior; the perfection of the original has been enhanced and enriched by its experience. There is another way of defining the Great Work. That explains to us the whole object of manifestation, of departing from the perfection of "Nothing" towards the perfection of "everything", and one may consider this advan- tage, that it is quite impossible to go wrong. Every experience, whatever may be its nature, is just another necessary bump. Naturally one cannot realize this until one becomes a Master of the Temple; consequently one is perpetually plunged in sorrow and despair. There is, you see, a good deal more to it than merely learning one's mistakes. One can never be sure what is right and what is wrong, until one appreciates that "wrong" is equally "right." Now then one gets rid of the idea of "effort" which is associated with "lust of result." All that one does is to exercise pleasantly and healthfully one's energies. It will not do to regard "man" as the "final cause" of manifestation. Please do not quote myself against me. "Man is so infinitely small, In all these stars, determinate. Maker and master of them all, Man is so infinitely great." The human apparatus is the best instrument of which we are, at present, aware in our normal consciousness; but when you come to experience the Conversation of the higher intelligences, you will understand how imper- fect are your faculties. It is true that you can project these intelli- gences as parts of yourself, or you can suppose that certain human vehicles may be temporally employed by them for various purposes; but these specu- lations tend to be idle. The important thing is to make contact with beings, whatever their nature, who are superior to yourself, not merely in degree but it kind. That is to say, not merely different as a Great Dane differs from a Chihuahua, but as a buffalo differs from either. Of course you are perfectly right about the senses, though I would not agree to confine the meaning to the five which are common to most people. There must, one might suspect, be ways of apprehending directly such phenomena as magnetism, electrical resistance, chemical affinity and the like. Let me direct you once more to The Book of the Law, Chapter II, vs. 70 - 72. "There is help & hope in other spells. Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein! "But exceed! exceed! "Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine --- and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous! --- death is the crown of all." 5 The mystic's idea of deliberately stupefying and stultifying himself is an "abomination unto the Lord." This, by the way, does not conflict with the rules of Yoga. That kind of suppression is comparable to the restric- tions in athletic training, or diet in sickness. Now we get back to the Qabalah --- how to make use of it. Let us suppose that you have been making an invocation, or shall we call it an investigation, and suppose you want to interpret a passage of Bach. To play this is the principal weapon of your ceremony. In the course of your operation, you assume your astral body and rise far above the terres- trial atmosphere, while the music continues softly in the background. You open your eyes, and find that it is night. Dark clouds are on the horizon; but in the zenith is a crown of constellations. This light helps you, especially as your eyes become accustomed to the gloom, to take in your surroundings. It is a bleak and barren landscape. Terrific mountains rim the world. In the midst looms a cluster of blue-black crags. Now there appears from their recesses a gigantic being. His strength, especially in his hands and in his loins, it terrifying. he suggests a combination of lion, mountain goat and serpent; and you instantly jump to the idea that this is one of the rare beings which the Greeks called Chimaera. So formidable is his appearance that you consider it prudent to assume an appropriate god-form. But who is the appropriate god? You may perhaps consider it best, in view of your complete ignorance as to who he is and where you are, to assume the god-form of Harpocrates, as being good defence in any case; but of course this will not take you very far. If you are sufficiently curious and bold, you will make up your mind rapidly on this point. This is where your daily practice of the Qabalah will come in useful. You run through in your mind the seven sacred planets. The very first of them seems quite consonant with what you have so far seen. Everything suits Saturn well enough. To be on the safe side, you go through the others; but this is a very obvious case --- Saturn is the only planet that agrees with everything. The only other possibility will be the Moon; but there is no trace noticeable of any of her more amiable characteristics. You will therefore make up your mind that it is a Saturnian god-form that you need. Fortunate indeed for you that you have practiced daily the assumption of such forms! Very firmly, very steadily, very slowly, very quietly, you transform your normal astral appearance into that of Sebek. The Chimaera, recognizing your divine authority, becomes less formidable and menacing in appearance. He may, in some way, indicate his willingness to serve you. Very good, so far; but it is of course the first essential to make sure of his integrity. Accordingly you begin by asking his name. This is vital; because if he tells you the truth, it gives you power over him. But if, on the other hand, he tells you a lie, he abandons for good and all his fortress. He becomes rather like a submarine whose base has been destroyed. He may do you a lot of mischief in the meantime, of course, so look out! Well then, he tells you that his name is Ottillia. Shall we try to spell it in Greek or in Hebrew. By the sound of the name and perhaps to some extent by his appearance one might plump for the former; but after all the Greek Qabalah is so unsatisfactory. We give Hebrew the first chance --- we start with Ayin Teth Yod Lamed Yod Aleph Hay {render in Hebrew}. Let us try this lettering for a start. It adds up to 135. I daresay that you don't remember what the Sepher Sephiroth tells you about the number; but as luck will have it, there is no need to inquire; for 135 = 3 x 45. Three is the number, is the first number of Saturn, and 45 the last. (The sum of the numbers in the magic {sic} square 6 of Saturn is 45.) That corresponds beautifully with everything you have got so far; but then of course you must know if he is "one of the beliv- ing Jinn." Briefly, is he a friend or an enemy? You accordingly say to him "The word of the Law is Thelema {spell it in Greek}" It turns out that he doesn't under- stand Greek at all, so you were certainly right in choosing Hebrew. You put it to him, "What is the word of the Law?" and he replies darkly. "The word of the Law is Thora." That means nothing to you; any one might know as much as that, Thora being the ordinary word for the Sacred Law of Israel, and you accordingly ask him to spell it to make sure you have heard aright; and he gives you the letters, perhaps by speaking them, perhaps by showing them: Teth, Resh, Ayin. You add these up and get 279. This again is divisible by the Saturnian 3, and the result is 93; in other words, he has been precisely right. On the plane of Saturn one may multiply by three and therefore he has given you the correct word "Thelema" in a form unfamiliar to you. You man now consider yourself satisfied of his good faith, and may proceed to inspect him more closely. The stars above his head suggest the influence of Binah, whose number also is three, while the most striking thing about him is the core of his being: the letter Yod. (One does not count the termination "AH": being a divine suffix it represents the inmost light and the outermost light.) This Yod, this spark of intense brilliance, is of the pale greenish gold which one sees (in this world) in the fine gold leaf of Tibet. It glows with ever greater intensity as you concentrate upon observing him, which you could not do while you were preoccupied with investigating his credentials. Confidence being thus established, you inquire why he as appeared to you at this time and at this place; and the answer to this question is of course your original idea, that is to say, he is presenting to you in other terms that "mountainous Fugue" which invoked him. You listen to him with attention, make such enquiries as seem good to you, and record the proceedings. The above example is, of course, pure imagination, and represents a very favourable case. You are only too likely, and that not only at the begin- ning, to meet all sorts of difficulties and dangers. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XVIII THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR CONVENTIONAL GREETINGS, ETC. Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. From time to time I have exhorted you with mine accustomed matchless eloquence never to neglect the prescribed Greetings: but I think it just as well to collect the various considerations connected with their use --- and in "Greetings" I include "saying Will" before set meals, the four daily adorations of the Sun (Liber CC, vel Resh) and the salutation of Our Lady the Moon. I propose to deal with the general object of the combined rituals, not with the special virtues of each separately. 7 The practice of Liber III vel Jugorum1 is the complement of these grouped customs. By sharp physical self-chastisement when you think, say, or do whatever it is that you have set yourself to avoid doing, you set a sentry at the gate of your mind ready to challenge all comers, and so you acquire the habit of being on the alert. Keep this in mind, and you will have no difficulty in following the argument of this letter. When you are practicing Dharana2 concentration, you allow yourself so many minutes. It is a steady, sustained effort. The mind constantly struggles to escape control. (I hope you remember the sequence of "breaks." In case you don't, I summarize them. (1) Immediate physical interruptions: Asana should stop these. (2) Things that are "on you mind." (3) Reverie, and "Wouldn't it help if I were to --- ?" (4) Atmospherics --- e.g. voices apparently from some alien source. (5) Aberrations of the control itself; and the result itself. (Remember the practice of some Hindu schools: "Not that, not that!" to whatever it is the presents itself as Tat Sat --- reality, truth). Need I remind you how urgent the wish to escape will assuredly become, how fantastic are the mind's devices and excuses, amounting often to deliberate revolt? In Kandy I broke away in a fury, and dashed down to Colombo with the intention of painting the very air as red as the betel- spittle on the pavements! But after three days of futile search for satisfying debauchery I came back to my horses, and, sure enough, it was merely that I had gone stale; the relaxation soothed and steadied me; I resumed the discipline with redoubled energy, and Dhyana dawned before a week had elapsed. I mention this because it is the normal habit of the mind to organize these counter-attacks that makes their task so easy. What you need is a mind that will help rather than hinder your Work by its normal function. This is where these Greetings, and Will-sayings, and Adorations come in. It is not a concentration-practice proper; I haven't a good word for it. "Background-concentration" or "long-distance-concentration" are clumsy, and not too accurate. It is really rather like a public school education. One is not constantly "doing a better thing that one has ever done;" one is not dropping one's eye-glass every two minutes, or being a little gentleman in the act of brushing one's hair. The point is that one trains oneself to react properly at any moment of surprise. It must become "second nature" for "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." to spring to the forefront of the mind when one is introduced to a stranger, or comes down to breakfast, or hears the telephone bell, or observes the hour of the adoration, (these are to be the superficial reactions, like instinctively rising when a lady enters the room), or, at the other end, in moments of immediate peril, or of sudden apprehension, or when in one's meditation, one approaches the deepest strata. 1* See Magick in Theory and Practice, pp. 427 - 429. 2** Book 4, Part I. 8 One need not be dogmatic about the use of these special words. One might choose a formula to represent one's own particular True Will. It is a little like Cato, (or Scipio, was it?) who concluded every speech, whether about the Regulations of the Roman Bath or the proposal to reclaim a marsh of the Maremma, with the words: "And moreover, in my opinion, Carthage ought to be destroyed." Got it? You teach the mind to push your thought automatically to the very thing from which it was trying to wander. "Yes, I get you Stephen! . . . But, Uncle Dudley, come clean, do you always do all this yourself? Don't you sometimes feel embarrassed, or fear that you may destroy the effect of your letter, or "create a scene" in the public street when you suddenly stop and perform these incomprehensible antics, or simply forget about the whole thing?" Yes, I do. Peccavi. Mea culpa, mea macima culpa. I am not your old and valued friend, Adam Qadmon, the Perfect Man. I am a pretty poor specimen. I am nothing to cable about to Lung Peng Choung, or Himi, or Monsalvat. I do forget now and again; though, I am glad to say, not nearly as often as I used to do. (As the habit is acquired, it tends to strengthen itself). But often I deliberately omit to do my duty. I do funk it. I do resent it. I do feel that it's too much bother. As I said above, Adam Qadman is not my middle name. Well now, have I any shadow of an excuse? Yes, I have, after a fashion; I don't think it good manners to force my idiosyncrasies down people's throats, and I don't want to appear more of an eccentric than I need. It might detract from my personal influence, and so actually harm the Work that I am trying to perform. . . "Yes, that's all very well, Alibi Ike; you are exceedingly well know as a Scripture-quoting Satan, as a Past-Master in self-justification. Trained from infancy by the Plymouth Brethern, who for casuistry leave the Jesuits at the post!" "Yes, yes, but --- --- ---." "You needn't but me no buts, you old he-goat! Wasn't there once a Jonas Hanway, the first man to sport an umbrella? Wouldn't your practice be natural, and right, and the cream of the cream of good manners as soon as a few hundred people of position took to doing it? And wouldn't Thomas, Richard, and Henry, three months later, make a point of doing the same as their betters?" (That was Conscience speaking.) All right, you win. Love is the law, love under will. 9 Yours Fraternally, CHAPTER XIX THE ACT OF TRUTH Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. It seems that last Wednesday I so far forgot myself as to refer to the "Act of Truth" in conversation, and never mentioned what it is when it's at home, or why anyone should perform it, or what happens when one does perform it! All right, I will remedy that; luckily, it is a very simple matter; very important, perfectly paradoxical and devastatingly effective. Analysed, it is to make the assumption that something which seems very wrong is actually all right, that an eager wish is an accomplished fact. a reasonable anxiety, entirely unfounded --- and to act accordingly. For instance, I'm in some desolate place, dependent for my food supply on a weekly messenger. If he is a day late, it is awkward; if two, it means hardship; if three, serious risk. One is naturally anxious as the day approaches; perhaps the weather, or some similar snag, makes it likely that he will be late. From one cause or another, I have rather exceeded my ration. There is nothing I can do about it, materially. The sensible course of action is to draw in my horns, live on the mini- mun, necessary to life, which involves cutting the day's work down to almost noting, and hope for the best, expecting the worst. But there is a Magical mode of procedure. You say to yourself: I am here to do this Work in accordance with my true Will. The Gods have got to see to it that I'm not baulked by any blinking messenger. (But take care They don't overhear you; They might mistake it for Hybris, or pre- sumption. Do it all in the Sign of Silence, under the aegis of Harpocrates, the "Lord of Defence and Protection"; be careful to assume his God-form, as standing on two crocodiles. Then you increase your consumption, and at the same time put in a whole lot of extra Work. If you perform this "Act of Truth" properly, with genuine conviction that nothing can go wrong, your messenger will arrive a day early, and bring an extra large supply. This, let me say at once, is very difficult, especially at first, until one has gained confidence in the efficacy of the Formula; and it is very nastily easy to "fake." Going through the motions (as they say) is more futile here than in most cases, and the results of messing it up are commonly disastrous.3 You must invent your act to suit your case, every time; suppose you expect a cable next Friday week, transferring cash to your account. You need $500 to make up an important payment, and you don't know whether they will send even $200. What are you going to do about it? Skimp, and save your expenses, and make yourself miserable and incapable of 3* Do not be misled by any apparent superficial resemblance to "Christian Science" and "Coueism" and their cackling kin. They miss every essential feature of the formula. 10 vigorous thought or action? You may succeed in saving enough to swing the deal; but you won't get a penny beyond the amount actually needed --- and look at the cost in moral grandeur! No, go and stand yourself a champagne luncheon, and stroll up Bond Street with an 8 1/2 "Hoyo de Monterey," and squander $30 on some utterly useless bauble. Then the $500 will swell to $1000, and arrive two days early at that! There are one or two points to consider very carefully indeed before you start: --- 1. The proposed Act must be absurd; it won't do at all if by some fluke, however unlikely, it might accomplish your aim. For instance, it's no use backing an outsider. there must be no causal link. 2. The Act must be one which makes the situation definitely worse. E.g.: suppose you are counting on a new dress to make a hit at a Reception, and doubt whether it is so much better than your present best, or whether it will be finished in time. Then, wear that present best to-night (wet, of course), knowing you are sure to soil it. 3. Obviously, all the usual conditions of a Magical Operation apply in this as in all cases; your aim must conform with your True Will, and all that; but there is one curious point about an Act of Truth: this, that one should resort to it only when there is no other method possible. In the explorer's case, above, it won't do if he has any means of hurrying up the messenger. It seems to me that the above brief sketch should suffice an intelligent and imaginative student like yourself; but if any point remains darkling, let me know, and I will follow up with a postscript. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 P.S. --- I thought it might help you if I were to make a few experiments. I have done so. Result: this is much more difficult and delicate an affair than I had thought when I wrote this letter. For instance, one single thought of a "second string" --- e.g. "if it fails, I had better do so and so" --- is enough to kill the while operation stone dead. Of course, I am totally out of practice; but, even so . . . . . . CHAPTER XX TALISMANS: THE LAMEN: THE PANTACLE Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Really you comfort me when you turn from those abstruse and exalted themes with which you have belaboured me so often of late to dear cuddlesome 11 little questions like this in our letter received this morning: "Do please, dear Master, give me some hints about how to make Talismans (that's the same as Telesmata, isn't it? Yes, 666) and the Pantacle. The official instructions are quite clear, of course; but somehow I find them just a little frightening." Well, I think I know pretty well what you mean; so I will try to imitate the style of Aunt Tabitha in "The Flapper's Fireside." For one thing, you forgot to mention the Lamen. Now what are these things when they are at home? That's easy enough. The Lamen is a sort of Coat of Arms. It expresses the character and powers of the wearer. A talisman is a storehouse of some particular kind of energy, the kind that is needed to accomplish the task for which you have constructed it. The Pantacle is often confused with both the others; accurately, it is a "Minutum Mundum", "the Universe in Little"; it is a map of all that exists, arranged in the Order of Nature. There is a chapter in Book 4, Part II, devoted to it (pp. 117 - 129); I cannot make up my mind whether I like it. At the best it is very far from being practical instruction. (The chapter on the Lamen, pp. 159 - 161, is even worse.) An analogy, not too silly, for these three; the Chess-player, the Open- ings, and the Game itself. But --- you will object --- why be silly at all? Why not say simply that the Lamen, stating as it does the Character and Powers of he wearer, is a dynamic portrait of the individual, while the Pantacle, his Universe, is a static portrait of him? And that, you pursue flattering, is why you preferred to call the Weapon of Earth (in the Tarot) the Disk, emphasizing its continual whirling movement rather than the Pantacle of Coin, as is more usual. Once again, exquisite child of our Father the Archer of Light and of seaborn Aphrodite, your well-known acumen has "nicked the ninety and nine and one over" as Browning says when he (he too!) alludes to the Tarot. As you will have gathered from the above, a Talisman is a much more restricted idea; it is no more than one of the objects in his Pantacle, one of the arrows in the quiver of his Lamen. As, then, you would expect, it is very little trouble to design. All that you need is to "make consi- derations' about your proposed operation, decide which planet, sign, element or sub-element or what not you need to accomplish your miracle. As you know, a very great many desirable objects can be attained by the use of the talismans in the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon the King; also in Pietro di Abano and the dubious Fourth Book of Cornelius Agrippa. You must on no account attempt to use the squares given in the Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage until you have succeeded in the Opera- tion. More, unless you mean to perform it, and are prepared to go to any length to do so, you are a fool to have the book in your possession at all. Those squares are liable to get loose and do things on their own initiative; and you won't like it. The late Philip Haseltine, a young composer of genius, used one of these squares to get his wife to return to him. He engraved it neatly on his 12 arm. I don't know how he proceeded to set to work; but his wife came back all right, and a very short time afterwards he killed himself. Then there are the Elemental Tablets of Sir Edward Kelly and Dr. John Dee. From these you can extract a square to perform almost any conceivable operation, if you understand the virtue of the various symbols which they manifest. They are actually an expansion of the Tarot. (Obviously, the Tarot itself as a whole is a universal Pantacle --- forgive the pleonasm! Each card, especially is this true of the Trumps, is a talisman; and the whole may also be considered as the Lamen of Mercury. It is evidently an Idea far too vast for any human mind to comprehend in its entirety. For it is "the Wisdom whereby He created the worlds.") The decisive advantage of this system is not that its variety makes it so adaptable to our needs, but that we already posses the Invocations necessary to call forth the Energies required. What is perhaps still more to the point, they work without putting the Magician to such severe toil and exertion as is needed when he has to write them out from his own ingenium. Yes! This is weakness on my part, and I am very naughty to encourage you to shirk the hardest path. I used often to make the background of my Talismans of four concentric circles, painting then, the first (inmost) in the King (or Knight) scale, the second in the Queen, the third in the Prince, and the outermost in the Princess scale, of the Sign, Planet, or Element to which I was devoting it. On this, preferably in the "flashing" colours, I would paint the appropriate Names and Figures. Lastly, the Talisman may be surrounded with a band inscribed with a suit- able "versicle" chosen from some Holy book, or devised by the Magician to suit the case. In the British Museum (and I suppose elsewhere) you may see the medal struck to commemorate the victory over the Armada. This is a reproduction, perhaps modified, of the Talisman used by Dee to raise the storm which scattered the enemy fleet. You must lay most closely to your heart the theory of the Magical Link (see Magick pp . 107 - 122) and see well to it that it rings true; for without this your talisman is worse than useless. It is dangerous; for all that Energy is bound to expend itself somehow; it will make its own links with anything handy that takes its fancy; and you can get into any sort of the most serious kind of trouble. There is a great deal of useful stuff in Magick; pp. 92 - 100, and pp. 179 - 189. I could go on all night doing nothing but indicating sources of information. Then comes the question of how to "charge" the Talisman, of how to evoke or to invoke the Beings concerned, and of --- oh! of so much that you need a lifetime merely to master the theory. Remember, too, please, what I have pointed out elsewhere, that the greatest Masters have quite often not been Magicians at all, technically; they have used such devices as Secret Societies, Slogans and Books. If you are so frivolous as to try to exclude these from our discourse, it is merely evidence that you have not understood a single word of what I have been trying to tell you these last few hundred years! 13 May I close with a stray example or so? Equinox III, 1, has the Neophyte's Pantacle of Frater O.I.V.V.I.O. The Fontispiece of the original (4 vol- ume) edition of Magick, the colors vilely reproduced, is a Lamen of my own Magick, or a Pantacle of the Science, I'm sure I'm not sure which! Most of my Talismans, like my Invocations, have been poems. This letter must be like the Iliad in at least one respect: it does not end; it stops. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXI MY THEORY OF ASTROLOGY Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. A few well-chosen words about Astrology? Madam, I am only too happy to oblige: our aim is to serve. The customer is usually wrong; but statis- tics indicate that it doesn't pay to tell him so. It seems a long while since I set up your Nativity, and read it, but it is very clear in my mind that you were astonished, as so many others have been, by the simplicity and correctness of my reading. It began, you remember, by your giving me the usual data when we dropped in for tea at the Anglers' Rest,. I calculated the Ascendant on the spot, and remarked "Rubbish!" I looked at you again very carefully; and, after many grunts, observed, "More likely half-past ten --- within an hour one way or the other." You insisted; I insisted. Unwilling to make a Fracas in the Inn, we decided to put you to the trouble of writing to your mother to settle the dispute. Back came the answer: "within a few minutes of eleven. I remember because your father had hung on as long as he could --- he had to take the morning service." This occurrence is very common in my experience; I have contradicted what sounded like ascertained fact and proved on enquiry to have been right; so, considering that the statistics I made many years ago showed me to have been right 109 times out of 120, I think two things are fairly near probation; firstly, I am not guessing --- that doesn't matter much; but, secondly, which is of supreme importance, there is a definite con- nection between the personal appearance and manner of the native, and the Sign of the Zodiac which was rising when he first drew air into his lungs. Let me add, to strengthen the argument, that on the few occasions where I have erred there has been a good astrological reason for it. E.g. I might plump for Pisces rising when it was actually Capricornus; but in that case Saturn would have been afflicted by being in Cancer, with bad aspects from Venus and the Moon, thus taking away all his rugged, male, laborious qualities, and in the Ascendant might have been Jupiter, suggesting many of the qualities of Pisces: and so forth. 14 Now let me start! You want me to explain the system --- or no-system! --- which I use. I do not "move in a mysterious way My wonders to perform;" for nothing could be simpler. For its origin I have to thank Abramelin the Mage, who empties the vials of his scorn upon the astrologers of his time with their meticulous calculations of "the hours of the planets" and so on. I think he goes too far when he says that a planet can have no influence at all, or very little, unless it is above the horizon; but he meant well, bless him! And, though he does not say so, I believe that I do my stuff in very much the same way as he did. Modern astrologers multiply their charts until their desks remind me of a Bargain Basement in the rush hour! They compare and contrast until they are in bat-eyed bewilderment bemused; and when the answer turns out absolutely false, exclaim, what a shout: "By Ptolemy, I forgot to look at the last Luniation for Buda-Pesth!" But then they can always find something or other which will explain how they came to go wrong: naturally, when you have several hundred factors, helplessly bound and gagged, it would be just too bad if you couldn't pick out one to serve your turn --- after the event! No, dear girl, it should be obvious to an unweaned brat: (a) they can't see the wood for the trees, (b) they are using Ruach on a proposition which demands Neschamah. Intellect is quite inadequate; the problem requires mother-wit, intuition, understanding. Here is my system in a Number 000 Ampoule. Put up the figure at birth: study it, make notes of the aspects and dignities, concentrate --- and turn on the Magical Tap! Occasionally, when I began, I set up the "progressed figure" to see how the patient was doing this week, but it never seemed to help enough to compensate for the distraction caused by the complication. What I do observe to examine the situation of to-day is Transits. These I have found very reliable; but even with these I usually ignore aspects of minor importance. Truth to tell, conjunctions mean very much more than the rest put together. Talking of aspects, I think it ridiculous to allow vast "orbs" like 15 for Luna, and 12 for Sol. Astrologers go to extreme lengths to calculate the "solar revolution" figure not to a degree, not to a minute, but to a second: and that when they don't know the exact time of birth within half an hour or more! Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! Then what does an hour or so matter anyhow, if you are going to allow an aspect, whether it is 2 or 10 off? This even with delicate aspects like the quintile or semi-sextile. What would you think of a doctor who had a special thermometer made to register -1/100 of a degree, and never took notice of the fact that the patient had just swallowed a cupful of scalding hot tea? In my own work, I disallow a deviation of 5 or 6 from the exact aspect, unless there is some alien reason for thinking that it is actually opera- tive. With the minor aspects, I dislike reckoning with them if they are even 3 away. Nor do I see any sense in marking the odd minutes in the Ascendant, when one is not sure even of the decan. That seems to be about all that is necessary for my "morning hate;" suppose we go on to the question of interpretation. 15 Thousands of books have been written on Astrology; nobody could possible read them all thoroughly, and he would be a great fool to try. But he may do little harm by going into them far enough to observe that hardly any half-dozen are agreed even on the foundations of their system, hardly any two upon the meaning of any given aspect, dignity, or posi- tion; there is not always agreement even upon what questions pertain to which houses. There are a few completely quack systems, such as those which mix up the science with Toshosophical4 hypotheses; naturally you discard these. But even of generally acceptable forms of Astrology, such as Mundane and Horary, I tend to be distrustful. I ask, for instance, why, if Taurus rules Poland and Ireland, as is no doubt the case, the crash and massacres of 1939 e.v. and later in the one did not take place in the other. All the seaports of the world naturally come under one of the three watery signs; but we do not find that an affliction of Pisces, which hits Tunis, should do harm to all the other harbours similarly ruled. This brings us to the first Big Jump in the steeplechase of the whole science. We hear of thousands of people being killed at the same time (within an hour or two, perhaps a minute or two) by earthquake, ship- wreck, explosion, battle or other form of violence. Was the horoscope of every one of the victims marked with the probability of some such end? I have known very strange cases of coincidence, but not to that extent! The answer, I believe, is manifold. It might be, for example, that Poland and Ireland are ruled by different degrees of Taurus; that there are major and minor figures, the former overruling the latter, so that the figure of the launching of the "Titanic" swallowed up the nativities of the victims of her wreck. Something of this sort is really an obvious truth. Flood in China, famine in India, pestilence anywhere, evidently depend on maps of a scale far more enormous than the personal. Then --- on this point I feel reasonably sure --- there may be one or more factors of which we know nothing at all, by which the basic possibilities of a figure are set to work. (Just as a car with engine running will not start until the clutch is put in.) I will conclude by announcing a rather remarkable position. 1. I see no objection at all to postulating that certain "rays,' or other means of transmitting some peculiar form or forms of energy, may reach us from the other parts of the solar system; for we can in fact point to perfectly analogous phenomena in the discoveries of the last hundred years or so. But that is no more than a postulate. 4^ WEH NOTE: By now this term has appeared several times, and it will be going by more than a few times ahead. Crowley disdained to apply "Theosophical" to the movement of Anne Besant, preferring to reserve the word for older systems. He coined the word "TOSHosophical" to replace "Theosophical" in these references. 16 2. The objections to Astrology as such, indicated by what I have already pointed out, and several others, would suffice to place me among the most arrogant disbelievers in the whole study, were it not for what follows. 3. The facts with regard to the Ascendant are so patent, so undeni- able, and so inexplicable without the postulate in (1), that I am utterly convinced of the fundamental truth of the basic principles of the science. I said, "I will conclude"; and I meant it. For now that (or so I hope) you respect sufficiently my conviction that Astrology is a genuine science and not a messy mass of Old Wives' Tales, you will obviously demand instruction as to how to learn it, that you may verify my opinion in the light of your own experiments. This will look much better if I put it in a separate letter. 'Till then --- Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, CHAPTER XXII HOW TO LEARN THE PRACTICE OF ASTROLOGY Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. "Up guards, and at 'em!" First, you must know your correspondences by heart backwards and upside down (air connu.) They are practically all in The Book of Thoth; but "if anyone anything lacks," look for it in 777. Then, get a book on Astrology, the older the better. Raphael's Shilling Handbook is probably enough for the present purpose. Get well into your head what the menu says about the natures of the planets, the influence of the aspects, what is meant by dignities, the scope of the houses, and so on. Dovetail all this with your classical knowledge; the character and qualities, the powers and the exploits, of the several deities concerned. Next, learn how to set up a figure of the heavens. This need not take an average intelligent person more than an hour at the most. You can learn it from a book. Lastly, get Barley's 1001 Notable nativities and More Nativites. Also any other collections available. Practice setting up the horoscopes. Use the Chaldean square system; it shows at the first glance what is happening in the angular houses, which are the keys of the whole figure. compare and contrast what you know of the natives, from history, with what is said of the aspects (and the rest) in the books you have read. Put together similar horoscopes; e.g. a dozen which have Sagittarius 17 rising, another lot with Jupiter in the hid-heaven, and so on; see if you can find a similarity in their lives with what the books will have led you to expect. Don't be afraid to criticise; on the contrary, do some research work on your own, and find cases which seem to contradict tradition. Instance: Saturn in the M.C. is said to cause a spectacular rise in a man's career, ending in an equally notable crash. Examples: Napoleon I and III, Oscar Wilde, Woodrow Wilson, Lord Northcliffe, Hitler. Look for figures with Saturn thus placed, whose natives have jogged along equably and died in the odour of sanctity. Find out why what worked in some cases failed in the others. By the time you have studied (say) 500 nativities you will be already a fairly competent judge. Work your bloody guns! as Kipling says; get a friend --- just this once I allow you human intercourse --- to set up for you figures of historical importance, or with some outstanding characteristic (e.g. murderers, champions of sport, statesmen, monsters, philanthropists, heresiarchs) without telling you to whom it refers. Build up the character, profession, story from the nativity. It sounds incredible; but more than a score of times I have been actually able to name him! By the time you have got good at this game --- and a most amusing game it is --- you may call yourself a very competent astrologer. Sometimes, even now, you may assign the figure of the Archbishop of York to Jabez Balfour or Catherine de Medici; or mix up Moody and Sankey with Brown and Kennedy; don't be discouraged; perhaps there may be something to be said for you after all! I believe, as I hope, that you will be surprised at the speed with which you acquire proficiency. All this time, moreover, you have not been wholly idle. You will have been running about like a demented rabbit, and trying to spot the rising sign of everybody you know. Look at them full-face, then profile; and note salient characteristics, pendulous lips, receding chins, bulbous noses, narrow foreheads, stuck-out ears, pimples, squints, warts, shape of face (three main types; thin, jutting, for cardinal signs; square, steadfast for cherubic; weak, nondescript, for the rest); then the stature, whether lithe, well-knit, sturdy, muscular, fat or what not; in short every bodily feature in turn; make up your mind what sign was rising at birth, and stick to it! Now to verify your suspicions. The conversation may run thus: You: "Can you answer a question without answering another which you were not asked?" It, surprised: "Why, yes, of course I can." You: "Good. Then, do you know the date of the Battle of Waterloo?" It: "1815." 18 You probably have to explain! In any case you begin all over again, when he has contented himself with "Yes" or "No" you say "Do you know the hour of your birth?" If he says "No," you ask if he can find out, and so on. It he says "Yes;" "Then tell me either the hour or the day and month; but not both." If he gives you the hour, you calculate a bit, and say: "Then you were born on the nth of Xember, within a fortnight either way." If he tells you his birthday, work it out as before and then: "You were born at P in the morning within an hour either way." (This makes it about 11 to 1 against your being right, in either case, on pure chance.) Again, you can practise this in cafs, when you visit civilized countries, and it is often possible to scrape acquaintance with people who look specially interesting, and do not, as in England, instantly suspect you of dishonourable advances, and get them to play up. This is sometimes easier when you are already with that friend which I was so lax as to allow you; and it is, I own, very helpful to discuss strange faces if only to make it quite clear to your own mind why you decide on one as Virgo, another as Taurus. A strange thing happened once; I had explained all this to the girl that I happened to be living with: that is, I taught her the names of the signs; she knew no Astrology, net even the simple correspondences. After about a month, she was better at it than I was! ("Why strange?" you mutter rudely. "Quite right, my dear! I have always been a wretched reader of character. Bless my soul! there was a time when I had hopes of you," I savagely retort.) She had picked up the knack, the trick of it; she could select, eliminate, re-compose, compare with past experience, and form a judgment, without knowing the names of its materials. When you have got your sea-legs at both these parts of your astrological education, you may (I think) put out to sea with some confidence. Perhaps a fair test of your fitness would be when you got three people right out of four, in a total of a score or so. Well, allow for my being in a "mood" to-night; call it two out of three. If it were guesswork, after all, that means you are bringing it off at seven to one. Obviously, when you do go wrong, set up the figure, study it more carefully than ever, and find out what misled you. Remember constantly that the Statistical Method is your one and only safeguard against self-deception. Within the limits of a letter I could hardly hope to go into matters much more fully or deeply than I have done; but 'pon my soul! I think that what I have said should be enough for an intelligent and assiduous student. Let me insist that all that is worth while comes by experience. Learning one thing will give you the clue to another. Well do I know to my sorrow how hard it is, as a rule, to learn how to do a thing solely from written instruction; so perhaps you had better arrange to see me one day about the actual setting-up of a figure. Probably, too, there will be a few points that you would like to discuss. I will end by betting you six clothing coupons to a pound of sugar that in two years' concentrated work on these lines you will become a better astrologer than ever I was. (This is very cunning of me; in two years we shall all be getting clothes without coupons.) 19 Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, CHAPTER XXIII IMPROVISING A TEMPLE Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. (This letter has been provoked by points discussed in your recent visit.) As some of your daily practices are ceremonial, it should not come amiss to vouchsafe a few hints of practical service. For in ritual Magick, it will of course be the first care to get everything balanced and tidy. If you propose to erect a regular Temple, the most precise instructions in every detail are given in Book 4, Part II. (But I haven't so much as seen a copy for years!) There is a good deal scattered about in Part III (Magick, which you have) especially about the four elemental weapons. But if circumstances deny you for the moment the means of carrying out this Aedification as the Ideal would have it, you can certainly do your best to create a fairly satisfactory --- above all, workable --- substitute. (By the way, note the moral aspect of a house, as displayed in our language. "Edification" -- "house-making": from Latin Aedes, "house". "Economy" --- "house- ruling": from the Greek "OIKOC", "House" and "NOMOC", "law".) I was often reduced to such expedients when wandering in strange lands, camping on glaciers, and so on. I fixed it workably well. In Mexico, D.F. for instance, I took my bedroom itself for the Circle, my night- table for the Altar, my candle for the Lamp; and I made the Weapons compact. I had a Wand eight inches long, all precious stones and enamel, to represent the Tree of Life; within, an iron tube containing quick- silver --- very correct, lordly, and damsilly. What a club! Also, bought, a silver-gilt Cup; for Air and Earth I made one sachet of rose-petals in yellow silk, and another in green silk packed with salt. In the wilds it was easy, agreeable and most efficacious to make a Circle, and build an altar, of stones; my Alpine Lantern served admirably for the Lamp. It did double duty when required: e.g. in partaking of the Sacrament of the Four Elements, it served for Fire. But your conditions are not so restricted as this. Let us consider what one can do with an ordinary house, such as you are happy enough to possess. First of all, it is of immense advantage to have a room specially conse- crated to the Work, never used for any other purpose, and never entered by any other person than yourself, unless it were another Initiate, either for inspection or in case you were working together. The aura accumulates with the regularity and frequency of Use. 20 The first point is the Banishing: Everything is to be removed from the room which is not absolutely necessary to the Work. in this country, one must attend to the heating. An electric stove in the East or the South, is best: it must not need attention. One can usually buy stoves with excellent appropriate symbolism. (Last time I did this --- 13 e.v. --- I got a perfect Ferranti at Harrods. The circular copper bowl, with the central Disk as the source of heat, is unsurpas- sable.) The walls should be "self-coloured," a neutral tint --- green, grey or blue-grey? and entirely bare, unless you put up, in the proper quarters, the proper designs, such as the "Watch Towers" --- see The Equinox I, 7. Remember that your "East," your Kiblah, is Boleskine House, which is as near as possible due North from Plymouth. Find North by the shadow of a vertical rod and noon, or by the Pole-Star. Work out the angle as usual. The Stl of Revealing may be just on the N. Wall to make your "East." Next, your Circle. The floor ought to be "Earth" green; but white will serve, or black. (A Masonic carpet is not at all bad.) The Circle it- self should be as shown in Book 4, Part II; but as this volume is probably unavailable, ask me to show you the large painted diagram in my portfolio when next you visit me, and we can arrange for it to be copied. This should then be painted in the correct colours on the floor: the Kether Square to the North, your "East." The Altar must fit exactly the square of Tiphareth; it is best made as a cupboard; of oak or acacia, by preference. It can then be used to hold reserves of incense and other requisites. Note that the height of the Altar has to suit your convenience. It is consequently in direct relation with your own stature; in proportion, it is a double cube. This then determines the size of your circle; in fact the entire apparatus and furniture is a geometrical function of yourself. Consider it all as a projection of yourself in terms of these conventional formulae. (A convention does really mean "that which is convenient." How abject, then to obey a self-styled convention which is actually as inconvenient as possible!) Next, the Lamp. This may be of silver, or silver-gilt, (to represent the Path of Gimel) and is to be hung from the ceiling exactly above the centre of the altar. There are plenty of old church lamps which serve very well. The light is to be from a wick in a floating cork in a glass of olive oil. (I hope you can get it!) It is really desirable to make this as near the "Ever-burning Lamp of the Rosicrucians" as possible; it is not a drawback that this implies frequent attention. Now for the Weapons! The Wand. Let this be simple, straight and slim! Have you an Almond or Witch Hazel in your garden --- or do I call it park? If so, cut (with the magick knife --- I would lend you mine) a bough, as nearly straight as possible, about two feet long. Peel it, rub it constantly with Oil of Abramelin (this, and his incense, from Wallis and Co., 26 New Cavendish 21 Street, W.1) and keep wrapped in scarlet silk, constantly, I wrote, and meant it; rub it, when saying your mantra, to the rhythm of that same. (Remember, "A ka dua" is the best; ask me to intone it to you when you next visit me.) The Cup. There are plenty of chalices to be bought. It should be of silver. If ornamented, the best form is that of the apple. I have seen suitable cups in many shops. The Sword. The ideal form is shown in the Ace of Swords in the Tarot. At all events, let the blade be straight, and the hilt a simple cross. (The 32 Masonic Sword is not too bad; Kenning or Spencer in Great Queen Street, W.C.2 stock them --- or used to do.) The Disk. This ought to be of pure gold, with your own Pantacle, designed by yourself after prolonged study, graved thereupon. While getting ready for this any plain circle of gold will have to serve your turn. Quite flat, of course. If you want a good simple design to go on interim, try the Rosy Cross or the Unicursal Hexagram. So much for the Weapons! Now, as to your personal accoutrements, Robe, Lamen, Sandals and the like, The Book of the Law has most thoughtfully simplified matters for us. "I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich headdress." (AL I, 61) The Robe may well be in the form of the Tau Cross; i.e. expanding from axilla to ankle, and from shoulder to --- whatever you call the place where your hands come out. (Shape well shown in the illustration Magick face p. 360). You being a Probationer, plain black is correct; and the Unicursal Hexa- gram might be embroidered, or "applique" (is it? I mean "stuck on"), upon the breast. The best head-dress is the Nemyss: I cannot trust myself to describe how to make one, but there are any number of models in the British Museum, on in any Illustrated Hieroglyphic text. The Sphinx wears one, and there is a photograph, showing the shape and structure very clearly, in the Equinox I, 1, frontispiece to Supplement. You can easily make one yourself out of silk; broad black-and-white stripes is a pleasing design. Avoid "artistic" complexities. Well, that ought to be enough to keep you out of mischief for a little while; but I feel moved to add a line of caution and encouragement. Listen! Faites attention! Achtung! Khabardar karo! Just as soon as you start seriously to prepare a place for magical Work, the world goes more cockeyed than it is already. Don't be surprised if you find that six weeks' intense shopping all over London fails to provide you with some simple requisite that normally you could buy in ten minutes. Perhaps your fires simply refuse to burn, even when liberally dosed with petrol and phosphorus, with a handful of Chlorate of Potash thrown in just to show there is no ill feeling! When you have almost decided that you had better make up your mind to do without something that seems really quite unobtainable --- say, a sixty-carat diamond which would look so well on the head-dress --- a perfect stranger comes along and makes you a present of one. Or, a long series of quite unreasonable obstacles or silly acci- dents interfere with your plans: or, the worst difficulty in your way is incomprehensibly removed by some extraordinary "freak of chance." Or, . . . 22 In a word, you seem to have strolled into a world where --- well, it might be going too far to say that the Law of Cause and Effect is suspended; but at least the Law of Probability seems to be playing practical jokes on you. This means that your manoeuvres have somehow attracted the notice of the Astral Plane: your new neighbours (May I call them?) are taking an interest in the latest Tenderfoot, some to welcome, to do all they can to help you to settle down, others indignant or apprehensive at this disturbance of routine. This is where your Banishings and Invocations come to the rescue. Of course, I am not here referring to the approach to Sanctuaries which of necessity are closely guarded, but merely to the recognition of a new-comer to that part of the world in general. Of course all these miracles are very naughty of you; they mean that your magical power has sprung a few small leaks; at least, the water is oozing between some planks not sealed as Hermetically as they should be. But oh and this is naughtier still --- it is a blessed, blessed comfort that they happen, that chance, coincidence and all the rest will simply not explain it all away, that your new vision of life is not a dream, but part and parcel of Experience for evermore, a real as any other manifestation of Reality through sense such as is common to all men. And this brings us --- it has been a long way round --- from the suggestion of your visit to the question (hitherto unanswered) in your letter. You raise so vast and razor-edged a question when you write of the supposed antinomy of "soul" and "sense" that it seemed better to withhold comment until this later letter; much meditation was most needful to compress the answer within reasonable limits; even to give it form at all is no easy matter. For this is probably the symptom of the earliest stirring of the mind of the cave-man to reflection, thereunto moved by other symptoms --- those of the morning after following upon the night before. It is --- have we not already dealt with that matter after a fashion? --- evidence of disease when an organ become aware of its own modes of motion. Certainly the mere fact of questioning Life bears witness to some interruption of its flow, just as a ripple on an even stream tells of a rock submerged. The fiercer the torrent and the bigger the obstacle, the greater the disturbance to the surface --- have I not seen them in the Bralduh eight feet high? Lethargic folk with no wild impulse of Will may get through Life in bovine apathy; we may well note that (in a sense) the rage of the water seems to our perturbed imagining actually to increase and multiply the obstructions; there is a critical point beyond which the ripples fight each other! That, in short, is a picture of you! You have mistaken the flurry of passing over some actual snag for a snag in itself! You put the blame on to your own quite rational attempts to overcome difficulties. The secret of the trick of getting past the rocks is elasticity; yet it is that very quality with which you reproach your- self! We even, at the worst, reach the state for which Buddhism, in the East presents most ably the case: as in the West, does James Thomson (B.V.) in The City of Dreadful Night; we come to wish for --- or, more truly to think that we wish for "blest Nirvana's sinless stainless Peace" (or some 23 such twaddle --- thank God I can't recall Arnold's mawkish and unmanly phrase!) and B.V.'s "Dateless oblivion and divine repose." I insist on the "think that you wish," because, if the real You did really wish the real That, you could never have come to exist at all! ("But I don't exist." --- "I know --- let's get on!") Note, please, how sophistically unconvincing are the Buddhist theories of how we ever got into this mess. First cause: Ignorance. Way out, then, knowledge. O.K., that implies a knower, a thing known --- and so on and so forth, thought all the Three Waste Paper Baskets of the Law; analysed, it turns out to be nonsense all dolled up to look like thinking. And there is no genuine explanation of the origin of the Will to be. How different, how simple, how self-evident, is the doctrine of The Book of the Law! There are any number of passages dealing with this matter in my writings: let's forget them, and keep to the Text! Cap. I, v. 26 ". . my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body." V. 30 "This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all." (There is a Qabalistic inner meaning in this text; "the pain," for instance, {Greek caps: OmicronAlphaLambdaGammaOmicronSigma}, may be read XVII x 22 "the expression of Star-love," and so on: all too complicated for this time and place!) V. 32. "Then the joys of my love" (i.e. the fulfillment of all possible experiences) "will redeem ye from all pain." V. 58. "I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace5 unutterable, rest, ecstasy; . . ." Cap. II, v. 9 "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." (The continuation is amusing! vv. 10 and 11 read: "O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger." At that time I was a hard-shell Buddhist, sent out a New Year's Card "wishing you a speedy termination of existence!" And this as a young man, with the world at my feet. It only goes to show . . . . .) Vv. 19, 20. "Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. . . . Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us." This chapter returns over and over again to this theme in one form or 5* "Peace": the glow of satisfaction at achievement. It is not "eternal," rather, it whets the appetite for another adventure. (Peace, {GK: H. EIPHNH} = 189 = 7 x 9 x 13 ' the Venusian plus Lunar form of Unity.) 24 another. What is really more significant is the hidden, the unexpressed, soul of the Book; the way in which it leaps into wild spate of rhapsody on any excuse or no excuse. This is surely more convincing than some dreary thesis plodding along doggedly with the "proof" (!) that "God is good," every sentence creaking with your chalk-stones and squeaking with the twinges of your toe! Yet just because I proclaim a doctrine of joy in the language of joy, people -- dull camels --- say I am not "serious." Yet I have found pleasure in harnessing the winged horses of the Sun to the ploughshare of Reason, in showing the validity of this doctrine in detail. It satisfies my sense of rhythm and of symmetry to explain that every experience, no matter what, must of necessity be a gain of grandeur, of grip, of comprehension and enjoyment ever growing as complexity and simplicity succeed each other in sublime systole and diastole, in strophe and antistrope chanting against each other to the stars of the Night and of the Morning! Of course it is easy as pie to knock all this to pieces by "lunatic logic," saying: "Then toothache is really as pleasant as strawberry shortcake:" You are hereby referred to Eight Lectures of Yoga. None of the terms I am using have been, or can be defined. All my propositions amount to no more than tautology: A. is A. You may even quote The Book of the Law itself: "Now a curse upon Because and his kin! . . . . Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!" (AL II, 28-33). These things stink of Ignoratio Elenchi, or something painfully like it: as sort of slipping up a cog, of "confusing the planes" of willfully misunderstanding the gist of an argument. (All magicians, by the way, ought to be grounded solidly in Formal Logic.) Never forget, at the least, how simple it is to make a maniac's hell-broth of any proposition, however plain to common sense. All the above, now: --- Buddhism refuted. Yet it is a possibility and therefore one facet of Truth. "Rest" is an idea: so immobility is one of the moving states. A certain state of mind is (almost by definition) "eternal," yet it most assuredly begins and ends. And so on for ever --- I fear it would be nugatory, pleonastic (and oh! several other lovely long adjectives!) to try to guard you from these hydra-headed and protean booby-traps; you must tackle them yourself as they arise, and deal with them as best you can: always remembering that often enough you cannot tell which is you and which is the Monkey Puzzle, or who has won. ("Everybody's won; so everybody must have a prize" applies beautifully). And none of it all matters a row of haricots verts sauts; for the conclusion must always be Doubt (see that beastly Book of Lies again --- there's a gorgeous chapter about it) and the practical moral is this: these contradictions don't occur (or don't matter) in Neschamah. Also, it might help you quite a lot (by encouraging you when depressed, or amusing you when you want to relax) to read Sir Palamede the Saracen; Supplement to The Equinox, Vol. I, No. 4. I expect quite a few of his tragi-comic misadventures will be already familiar to you in one disguise or another. 25 And if the above remarks should embolden you to exclaim: "Perhaps a little drink would do me no great harm" I shall feel that I have deserved well of my country! For --- see Liber Aleph, after Rabelais --- the Word of the Last Oracle is TRINC. . . . . . . . . This plaint of yours tails off --- and perks up in so doing --- with confession of Ambition, and considerations of what you must leave over to your next life. Very right! but all that is covered by your general programme. It is proper to assimilate these ideas with the fundamental structure of your mind: "Perhaps I had better leave 'The Life and opinion of Battling Bill, the Ballarat Bruiser' till, shall we say, six incarnations ahead" --- But perhaps you have acquired that already. No, better still, concentrate on the Next Step! After all, it is the only one you can take, isn't it! Without lust of result, please! And I shall leave anything else to the next letter. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 P.S. "Next letter," yes, they are running into one another more than some- what; it is better so, for life is like that. And we have the bold bad editor to sort them out. CHAPTER XXIV NECROMANCY AND SPIRITISM Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Really, you make me ashamed of You! To write to ignorant me to wise you up about necromancy, when you have at your elbow the one supreme classic --- Lvi's Chapter XIII in the Dogme et Rituel!6" What sublimity of approach! What ingenuity of "considerations!" With what fatally sure steps marches his preparation! With what superb tech- nique does he carry out his energized enthusiasm! And, finally, with what exact judicial righteousness does he sum the results of his great Evocation of Apollonius of Tyana! Contrast with this elaborate care, rightness of every detail, earnestness and intentness upon the goal --- contrast, I say, the modern Spiritist in the dingy squalor of her foul back street in her suburban slum, the room musty, smelling of stale food, the hideous prints, the cheap and rickety furniture, calling up any one required from Jesus Christ to Queen Victoria, 6* Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Lvi. 26 all at a bob-a-nob! Faugh! Let us return to clean air, and analyse Lvi's experiment; I believe that by the application of the principles set forth in my other letters on Death and Reincarnation, it will be simple to explain his par- tial failure to evoke Apollonius. You had better read them over again, to have the matter clear and fresh in your mind. Now then, let me call you attention to the extreme care which Lvi took to construct a proper Magical Link between himself and the Ancient Master. Alas! It was rather a case of building with bricks made without straw; he had not at his command any fresh and vital object pertaining intimately to Apollonius. A "relic" would have been immensely helpful, especially if it had been consecrated and re-consecrated through the centuries by devout veneration. This, incidentally, is the great advantage that one may often obtain when invoking Gods; their images, constantly revered, nourished by continual sacrifice, serve as a receptacle for the Prana driven into them by thousands or millions of worshippers. In fact, such idols are often already consecrated talismans; and their possession and daily use is at least two-thirds of the battle. Apollonius was indeed as refractory a subject as Lvi could possibly have chosen. All the cards were against him. Why? Let me remind you of the sublimity of the man's genius, and the extent of his attainment. Apollonius must certainly have made the closest links between his Ruach and his Supernal Triad, and this would have gone seeking a new incarnation elsewhere. All the available Ruach left float- ing around in the Akasha must have been comparatively worthless odds and ends, true Qlippoth or "Shells of the Dead" --- just those parts of him, in a word, which Apollonius would have deliberately discarded at his death. So what use would they be to Lvi? Even if there were among them a few such elements as would serve his purpose, they would have been devitalized and frittered away by the mere lapse of the centuries, since they had lost connection with the reality of the Sage. Alternatively, they might have been caught up and adopted by some wandering Entity, quite probably some malignant demon. Qlipoth --- Shells of the Dead --- Obsessing Spirits! Here we are back in the pestilent purlieus of Walham Green, and the frowsty atmosphere of the frowsy "medium" and the squalid sance. "Look! but do not speak to them!" as Virgil warned Dante. So let us look. No! Let us first congratulate ourselves that this subject of Necromancy is so admirably documented. As to the real Art, we have not only Eliphas Lvi, but the sublimely simple account in the Old Testament of the Witch of Endor, her conjuring up of the apparition of Samuel to King Saul. A third classic must not be neglected: I have heard or read the story else- where --- for the moment I cannot place it. But it is so brilliantly told in I Write as I Please by Walter Duranty that nothing could be happier than to quote him verbatim. "It was the story of a Bolshevik who conversed with a corpse. He told it to me himself, and undoubtedly believed it, although he was an average tough Bolshevik who naturally disbelieved in Heaven and Hell and a Life beyond the Grave. This man was doing 'underground' revolutionary work in 27 St. Petersburg when the War broke out; but he was caught by the police and exiled to the far north of Siberia. In the second winter of the War he escaped from his prison camp and reached an Eskimo village where they gave him shelter until the spring. They lived, he said, in beastly condi- tions, and the only one whom he could talk to was the Shaman, or medicine man, who knew a little Russian. The Shaman once boasted that he could foretell the future, which my Bolshevik friend ridiculed. The next day the Shaman took him to a cave in the side of a hill in which there was a big transparent block of ice enclosing the naked body of a man --- a white man, not a native --- apparently about thirty years of age with no sign of a wound anywhere. The man's head, which was clean-shaven, was outside the block of ice; the eyes were closed and the features were European. The shaman then lit a fire and burnt some leaves, threw powder on them muttering incantations, and there was a heavy aromatic smoke. He said in Russian to the bolshevik, 'Ask what you want to know.' The Bolshevik spoke in German; he was sure that the Shaman knew no German, but he was equally sure he saw the lips move and heard it answer, clearly, in German. He asked what would happen to Russia, and what would happen to him. From the moving lips of the corpse came the reply that Russia would be defeated in war and that there would be a revolution; the Tzar would be captured by his enemies and killed on the eve of rescue; he, the Bolshevik, would fight in the Revolution but would suffer no harm; later, he would be wounded fighting a foreign enemy, but would recover and live long." "The Bolshevik did not really believe what he had seen although he was certain that he had seen it. I mean that he explained it by hypnotism or auto-suggestion or something of the kind; but it was true, he said, that he passed unscathed through the Revolution and the Civil War and was wounded in the Polish War when the Red Army recovered Kiev." So also we are most fortunate in possessing the account almost beyond Heart's desire of Spiritism, in Robert Browning's Mr. Sludge the Medium. You see that I write "Spiritism" not "Spiritualism." To use the latter word in this connection is vulgar ignorance; it denotes a system of philosophy which flourished (more or less) is the Middle Ages --- read your Erdmann if you want the gruesome details. But why should you? The model for Mr. Sludge was David Dunbar (? Douglas) Home, who was really quite a distinguished person in his way, and succeeded in pulling some remarkably instructed and blue-blooded legs. Personally, I believe him to have been genuine, getting real results through pacts with elementals, demons or what not; for when he was in Paris, arrangements were made for him to meet Eliphas Lvi; forthwith "he abandoned the unequal contest, and fled in terror from the accursed spot." What annoyed Browning was that he had added to his collection of "Femora I have pulled", those appendages of Elizabeth Barrett; and where R.B. was there was no room for anyone else --- as in the case of Allah! R.B. was accordingly as spiteful as he could be, and that was not a little. It is not fair to tar all mediums with the Sludge brush; there are many who could advance quite sincerely some of the apologia of Sludge. Why should a medium be immune to self-deception spurred by the Wish-Fiend? While there are people walking about outside the Bug-house who can find Mrs. Simpson and Generals de Gaulle, Franco, Allenby, Montgomery and who else in the "Centuries" of Nostradamus, we should be stupid to assign everything to conscious fraud. 28 In that case what about poor Tiny Aleister? Do please allow me the happy young Eagles of the Old Testament; what clearer prophecy of psychoanalysis, it's only the English for Freud and Jung and Adler! No, by no means always fraud. Yet at any sance the "investigators" take no magical precautions soever --- against, say, the impersonation of Iophiel by Hismael, or the Doves of Venus by the A'arab Zareq. All they attempt especially at "demonstrations" and "materializations," is to guard with great elaboration and (as a rule) complete futility against the deceptions of the common conjuror. They are not expecting any genuine manifestation of the "Spirit World;" and this fact makes clear their true subconscious attitude. As for those mediums who possess magical ability, they almost always come from the most ignorant classes --- Celts are an exception to this rule --- and have no knowledge whatever of the technique of the business. Worse, they are usually of the type that delights in the secret dirty affinities, and so naturally and gladly attract entities of the Qliphothic world to their magical circle. Hence tricksters, of the lowest elemental orders, at the best, come and vitalize odds and ends of the Ruach of people recently deceased, and perform astonishing impersonations. The hollow shells glow with infernal fire. Also, of course, they soak up vitality from the sitters, and from the medium herself. Altogether, a most poisonous performance. And what do they get out of it? Even when the "Spirits" are really spirits, they only stuff the party up with a lot of trashy lies. To this summary the Laws of Probability insist that there shall be occa- sional exceptions. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXV FASCINATIONS, INVISIBILITY, LEVITATION, TRANSMUTATIONS, KINKS IN TIME Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Dear me! dear me! The world's indeed gone topsy-turvy if you have to ask me for the secrets of Fascination! Altogether tohu-bohu and the Temurah Thash raq! So much for a display of Old-World Courtly Manners; actually rubbish, for you might very well be fascinating without knowing how you worked the trick. In fact, I think that is the case ninety-nine times in a hundred. Besides, I read your letter carelessly; I overlooked the phrase in which you mention that you use the word as Lvi did; i.e. to cover all those types of "miracle" which depend on distracting the attention of, or other- wise composing, the miraclee --- I invent a rather useful word, yes? So let us see what sort of miracles those are. 29 To start with, I doubt if we can. Many of such thaumaturgic phenomena contain elements of illusion in greater or less degree; if the maraclee's mind is 100% responsible, I think the business becomes a mere conjuring trick. My dictionary defines the verb: "to charm, to enchant; to act on by some irresistible influence; to captivate; to excite and allure irresistibly or powerfully." For the noun it gets even deeper into technical Magic {sic}: "the act or power of fascinating or spell binding, often to one's harm; a mysterious, irre- sistible, alluring influence." (Personally, I have always used, or heard, it much less seriously: "attractive" hardly more). Skeat, sur- prisingly, is almost dumb: p. part. of "to enchant" and "from L. fascinum, a spell." Yes, surprisingly; for the word is one of the many that means the Phallus. The implication is that there is some sexual element in the exciting and alluring quality, which lifts it altogether above mere "pleasing." To my mind the implication is that there is some quality inherent which is cognate to that too totally irrational quasimagnetic force which has been responsible not only for innumerable personal tragedies --- and comedies --- but for the fall of dynasties and even the wreck of Empires. "Christ" is reported as having said: "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me." Interpret this in the light of the Cross as a Phallic emblem, and --- how lurid a flash! Compare AL II, 26. "I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one." This versicle is deep, devilish deep; and it is chock-a-block with the mysteries of Fascination. Dig into this, dear sister! dig with your Qabalistic trowel; don't blame me if you don't get a Mandrake with the very first thrust! But most certainly I shall say nothing here. Yes, indeed, nothing was ever more sternly forbidden than prattle on subjects like this! Look! It goes right on: "There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason." (v. 27) The pit is of course the Abyss: see The Vision and the Voice, Xth Aethyr. A very sticky --- or rather, unstuck! finish; so 'ware Hawk! To business! Fascination No! Invisibility, is obviously penny plain S.A. This is notably an affair of the subconscious; it often masters open dislike and distaste; it never yields to reason. It destroys all sense of values. Its origin is usually obscure. The least irrational base of it is the sense of smell. It was, if I remember rightly, the Comte de St. Germain who advised Loise de la Vallire to fix her exquisitely broidered kerchief in such wise that it protected her from contact with her saddle, and then, after a morning's hard gallop, to find an excuse for using it to wipe the brows of the perspiring king. It took him years to recover! The story is well known, and the plan widely adopted with 30 remarkably unvarying success. But be careful not to overdo it; for if the source of the perfume is recognized the consciousness takes charge, and the result is antipathy. Many years ago I composed a scent based on similar principles, which I intended to market under the title "Potted Sex Appeal." We tried it out with the assistance of a certain noble Marquess, whose consequent mis- adventures --- won't he laugh when he reads this! But there are other senses: "l'amour de l'oreille" may refer not only to Othello's way of snaring Desdemona, but subtleties of timbre in the voice... Yes, yes, you say impatiently, but there isn't any miracle about all this in the ordinary sense of the word. True, but why the devil do you want me, so long as you're getting what you need? Just being childlike, I suppose! No? Merely that you can explain such matters to yourself well enough. All right; on to No. 2. Shall we look at levitation for a change? This power --- if it be one --- is very curious indeed. It connects more directly with magnetism than almost any other. The first thing we think of when someone says "magnet" is picking up iron filings as a child. Age before honesty! Let Father Poulain S.J. speak first! He is obliged to admit the phenomenon, because the Church has done so. But precisely similar accounts of the levitation of pagans and heretics must be accord- ing to him, lies, or Works of the Devil. As for the method, "God employs the angels to raise the saint, so as to avoid the necessity of intervening Himself." Lazy old parishioner! Now for a douche of common sense. Hatha-Yoga is quite clear and simple, even logical, about it. The method is plain Pranayama. Didn't I tell you onetime of the Four Stages of Success? 1. Perspiration --- of a very special kind. 2. Sukshma-Khumbakam: automatic rigidity. One stiffens like a dog in a bell-jar when you pump in Carbon Dioxide (is it?) 3. The Bhuchari-Siddhi, "jumping about like a frog." One is wafted, without one's Asana being disturbed, about the floor, rather as fragments of paper, or dry leaves, might be in a slight draught under the door. 4. If one is quite perfectly balanced one cannot be moved sideways; so one rises. And there you are! Personally, I reached the Bhuchari-Siddhi quite a number of times; but I never observed No. 4. On several occasions other people have seen me levi- tated, though never to a height of more than a foot or so. Here is the best account of such an incident, of those at my immediate disposal. "Nearly midnight. At this moment we stopped dictating, and began to con- verse. Then Fra. P. said: "Oh, if I could only dictate a book like the Tao Teh King!" Then he close his eyes as if meditating. Just before I had noticed a change in his face, most extraordinary, as if he were no longer the same person; in fact, in the ten minutes we were talking he seemed to be any number of different people. I especially noticed the pupils of his eyes were so enlarged that the entire eye seemed black. (I tremble so and have such a quaking feeling inside, simply in thinking of last night, that I can't form letters). Then quite slowly the entire room filled with a thick yellow light (deep golden, but not brilliant. I mean not dazzling, but soft.) Fra. P. Looked like a person I had never 31 seen but seemed to know quite well --- his face, clothes and all were of the same yellow. I was so disturbed that I looked up to the ceiling to see what caused the light, but could only see the candles. Then the chair on which he sat seemed to rise; it was like a throne, and he seemed to rise; it was like a throne, and he seemed to be either dead or sleeping; but it was certainly no longer Fra. P. This frightened me, and I tried to understand by looking round the room; when I looked back the chair was raised, and he was still the same. I realized I was alone; and thinking he was dead or gone --- or some other terrible thing --- I lost consciousness." This discourse has been thus left unfinished: but it is only necessary to add that the capacity to extract such spiritual honey from these un- promising flowers is the mark of an adept who has perfected his Magick Cup. This method of Qabalistic exegesis is one of he best ways of exalting the reason to the higher consciousness. Evidently it started Fra. P. so that in a moment he become completely concentrated and entranced. Note that this has nothing at all to do with any Pranayama. It seems a matter of ecstatic concentration, which chose this mode of expression instead of bringing on Samadhi --- though that, too, occurred in some of the cases. By the way, there is a fairly full account of the whole business; I have just remembered --- it is in my Autohagiography. "Pranayama produced, firstly, a peculiar kind of perspiration; secondly, an automatic rigidity of the muscles; and thirdly, the very curious phenomenon of causing the body, while still absolutely rigid, to take little hops in various directions. It seems as if one were somehow raised, possibly an inch from the ground, and deposited very gently a short dis- tance away. I saw a very striking case of this at Kandy. When Allan was meditating, it was my duty to bring his food very quietly (from time to time) into the room adjoining that where he was working. One day he missed two successive meals, and I thought I ought to look into his room to see if all was well. I must explain that I have known only two European women and three European men who could sit in the attitude called Padmasana, which is that usually seen in seated images of the Buddha. Of these men, Allan was one. He could knot his legs so well that, putting his hands on the ground, he could swing his body to and fro in the air between them. When I looked into his room I found him not seated on his meditation mat, which was in the centre of the room at the end farthest from the window, but in a distant corner ten or twelve feet off, still in his knotted position, resting on his head and right shoulder, exactly like an image overturned. I set him right way up, and he came out of his trance. He was quite unconscious that anything unusual had happened. But he had evidently been thrown there by the mysterious forces generated by Pranayama. "There is no doubt whatever about this phenomenon; it is quite common. But the Yogis claim that the lateral motion is due to lack of balance, and that if one were in perfect spiritual equilibrium one would rise directly in the air. I have never seen any case of levitation, and hesitate to say that it has happened to me, thought I have actually been seen by others, on several occasions, apparently poised in the air. For the first three phenomena I have found no difficulty in devising quite simple physiologi- 32 cal explanations. But I can form no theory as to how the practice could counteract the force of gravitation, and I am unregenerate enough to allow this to make me sceptical about the occurrence of levitation. Yet, after all, the stars are suspended in space. There is no priori reason why the forces which prevent them rushing together should not come into operation in respect of the earth and the body." The Allan part of this is the best evidence at my disposal. He couldn't have got where he did by hopping, and he couldn't have got into that position intentionally; he must have been levitated, lost balance, and dropped upside down. In any case, there is no trace of fascination about it, as there may have been in Soror Virakam's observation. About invisibility, now? Of this I have so much experience that the merest outline could take us far beyond the limits of a letter. In Mexico D.F., I worked at acquiring the power by means of ritual. I worked desper- ately hard. I got to the point where my image in a pier-glass flickered, rather like the very earliest films did. Possibly more work, after more skill had come to me, might have done the whole trick. But I did not persist when I found out how to do it by fascination. (Here we are at last!) Roughly, this is how to do it. If one is concentrated to the point when what you are thinking of is the only reality in the Universe, when you lose all awareness of who and where you are and what you are doing, it seems as though that unconsciousness were in some way contagious. The people around you just can't see anybody. At one time, in Sicily, this happened nearly every day. Our party, strolling down to our bathing bay --- the loveliest spot of its kind that I have ever seen --- over a hillside where there wasn't cover for a rabbit, would lose sight of me, look, and fail to find me, though I was walking in their midst. At first, astonishment, bewilderment; at last, so normal had it become: "He's invisible again." One incident I remember very vividly indeed; an old friend and I were sitting opposite each other in armchairs in front of a large fire, smoking our pipes. Suddenly he lost sight of me, and actually cried out in alarm. I said: "What's wrong?" That broke the spell; there I was, all present and correct. Did I hear you mutter "Transmutations? Werwolves? Golden Hawks?" Likely enough; it's time we touched on that. In certain types of animal there appears, if tradition have any weight, to be a curious quality of --- sympathy? I doubt if that be the word, but can think of none better --- which enables them to assume at times the human form. No. 1 --- and the rest are also rans --- is the seal. There is a whole body of literature about this. Then come wolves, hyaenas, large dogs of the hunting type; occasionally leopards. Tales of cats and serpents are usually the other way round; it is the human (nearly always female) that assumes these shapes by witchcraft. But in ancient Egypt they literally doted on this sort of thing. The papyri are full of formulas for operating such transmutations. But I think that this was mostly to afford some relaxa- tion for the spirit of the dead man; he nipped out of his sarcophagus, and painted the town all the colours of the rainbow in one animal shape or another. 33 The only experience I have of anything of this sort was when I was in Pacific waters, mostly at Honolulu or in Nippon. I was practising Astral projection. A sister of the Order who lived in Hong Kong helped me. I was to visit her, and the token of perfect success was to be that I should knock a vase off the mantel-piece. We appointed certain days and hours --- with some awkward- ness, as my time-distance from her was constantly growing shorter --- for me to pay my visit. We got some remarkable results; our records of the inter- view used to tally with surprising accuracy; but the vase remained intact! This is not one of my notorious digressions; and this is how transmu- tation comes into it. I found that by first taking the shape of a golden hawk, and resuming my own form after landing in her "temple" --- a room she had fitted ad hoc --- the whole operation became incomparably easier. I shall not indulge in hypotheses of why this should have been the case. A little over four years later --- in the meantime we had met and worked at Magick together --- we resumed these experiments in a somewhat different form. The success was much greater; but though I could move her, and even any objects which she was touching, I could make no impression on inanimate objects at a distance from her. The behaviour of her dogs, and of her cat, was very curious and interesting. Strangest of all, there appeared those "kinks in Time" which profane science is just beginning to discuss. Example: on one occasion our records of an "interview" agreed with quite extraordinary precision; but, on comparing notes, it was found that owing to some stupid miscalculation of mine, it was all over in Hong Kong some hours before I had started from Honolulu! Again, don't ask me why, or how, or anything! Talking of kinks in Time, I shall now maintain my aforesaid evil notor- iety --- the story is totally asynartete from fascinations of whatever variety --- by recounting what is by far the most inexplicable set of facts that ever came my way. In the summer of 1910 e.v. I was living at 125 Victoria Street, in a studio converted into a Temple by means of a Circle, an Altar and the rest. West of the Altar was a big fireplace with a fender settee; the East wall was covered with bookshelves. Enter the late Theodor Reuss, O.H.O. and Frater Superior of the O.T.O. He wanted me to join that Order. I recommended him, in politer language to repeat the Novocastrian Experi- ment. Undeterred, he insisted: "But you must." (Now we go back, or forward, I know not which, to a night when I found myself stranded in London. I asked hospitality of a stranger; it was readily afforded. Some hours later my hostess fell asleep; I could not do so; something was nagging me. I suddenly took my notebook, and wrote a certain passage in a certain book, since published.) "Must, my foot!" He persisted: "You have published the secret of the nth degree of O.T.O., and you must take the corresponding oaths." "I have done nothing of the sort. I don't know the secret. I don't want to know it. I don't . . . " He interrupted me; he strode across the room; he plucked a book from the shelves; he opened it; he thrust it under my nose; he pointed out a passage with a minatory index. I began to stammer. "Yes, I wrote that. I don't know what it means; I don't like it; I only put it in because it was written in rather curious cir- cumstances, and I was too lazy --- or perhaps a little afraid --- to reject it and write what I wanted." He fastened on one point: "You don't know what it means?" I repeated that I did not, even now that he had claimed 34 it as important. He explained it to me, as to a child. I was merely surprised; it didn't sound possible. (Sister, all this while I've been lying to you like an Archbishop; it is connected wit fascinations; indeed, it has very little to do with anything else!) Finally, he won me over, I went down to his G.H.Q., took the Oaths, was installed in the Throne of the X of O.T.O. as National Sovereign Grand Master General, and began to establish the Order as a going concern. Well, you say, that is a very simple story, nothing specially hard to believe in it. True, but consider the dates. That scene in Victoria Street, is as clear and vivid in my mind, in every detail, as if it were yesterday. That secret is published only in that passage of that book. And --- the book was not published until three years later, and from an address of which in 1910 I had not so much as thought of. The date of my adhesion to the O.T.O. (which, by the way, upset every principle and plan that I had ever held) is equally certain by virtue of subsequent published writings. Now go away and explain that! Well I've given you a fair account of some of the principal fascinations; as to the rest, bewitchments, sorceries, inhibitions and all that lot, it is enough if I say that they follow the regular Laws of Magick; in some, fascination proper plays a prominent part; in others, it is barely more than walking on to say "My lord, the carriage waits!" But --- even that can be done well or ill, and a small mistake may work a mighty mischief. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXVI MENTAL PROCESSES --- TWO ONLY ARE POSSIBLE Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. "Occult" science is the most difficult of them all. For one thing, its subject-matter includes the whole of philosophy, from ontology and metaphysics down to natural history. More, the most rarefied and recon- dite of these has a direct bearing upon the conduct of life in its most material details, and the simplest study of such apparently earthbound matters as botany and mineralogy leads to the most abstruse calculations of the imponderables. With what weapons, then, are we to attack so formidable a fortress? The first essential is clear thinking. In a previous letter I have dealt to some extent with this subject; but it is so important that you must forgive me if I return to it, and 35 that at length, from the outset, and in detail. Let us begin but having our own minds clear of all ambiguities, ignoring for the purpose of this argument all metaphysical subtleties.7 I want to confine it to the outlook of the "plain man." What do we do when we "think?" There are two operations, and only two, possible to thought. However complex a statement may appear, it can always be reduced to a series of one or other of these. If not, it is a sham statement; nonsense mas- querading as sense in the cloak of verbiage and verbosity. Analysis, and Synthesis; or, Subtraction, and Addition. 1. You can examine A, and find that it is composed of B and C. A = B + C. 2. You can find out what happens to B when you add C to it. B + C = A. As you notice, the two are identical, after all; but the process is different. Example: Raise Copper Oxide to a very high temperature; you obtain metallic copper and oxygen gas. Heat copper in a stream of oxygen; you obtain copper oxide. You can complicate such experiments indefinitely, as when one analyzes coal-tar, or synthesizes complex products like quinine from its elements; but one can always describe what happens as a series of simple operations, either of the analytical or the synthetic type. (I wonder if you remember a delightful passage in Anatole France where he interprets an "exalted" mystical statement, first by giving the words their meaning as concrete images, when he gets a magnificent hymn, like a passage from the Rig-Veda; secondly, by digging down to the original meaning, with an effect comical and even a little ribald. I fear I have no idea where to find it; in one of the "odds and ends" compilations most likely. So please, look somebody; you won't have wasted your time!) This has been put in a sort of text, because the first stumbling-block to study is the one never has any certainty as to what the author means, or thinks he means, or is trying to persuade one that he means. Try something simple: "The soul is part of God." Now then, when he writes "soul" does he mean Atma, or Buddhi, or the Higher Manas, or Purusha, or Yechidah,or Neschamah, or Nepheshch, or Nous, or Psyche, or Phren, or Ba, or Khu, or Ka, or Animus, or Anima, or Seele, or what? As everybody will he nill he, creates "God" in his own image, it is perfectly useless to inquire what he may happen to mean by that. But even this very plain word "part". Does he mean to imply a quantita- tive assertion, as when one says sixpence is part of a pound, or a factor 7* I mean criticisms such as "Definition is impossible;" "All arguments are circular;" "All propositions are tautological." These are true, but one is obliged to ignore them in all practical discussions. 36 indispensable, as when one says "A wheel is part of a motor-car", or . . . (Part actually means "a share, that which is provided," according to Skeat; and I am closer to the place where Moses was when the candle went out than I was before!) The fact is that very few of us know what words mean; fewer still take the trouble to enquire. We calmly, we carelessly assume that our minds are identical with that of the writer, at least on that point; and then we wonder that there should be misunderstandings! The fact is (again!) that usually we don't really want to know; it is so very much easier to drift down the river of discourse, "lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily, In the noonday sun". Why is this so satisfactory? Because although we may not know what a word means, most words have a pleasant or unpleasant connotation, each for himself, either because of the ideas or images thus begotten, of hopes or memories stirred up, or merely for the sound of the word itself. (I have gone a month's journey out of my way to visit a town, just because I liked the sound of the name!) Then there are devices: style --- rhythm, cadence, rime, ornamentation of a thousand kinds. I think one may take it that the good writer makes use of such artifice to make his meaning clear; the bad writer to obscure it, or to conceal the fact that he has none. One of the best items of the education system at the Abbey in Cefal was the weekly Essay. Everyone, including children of five or six, had to write on "The Housing Problem," "Why Athens Decayed," "The Marriage System," "Buddhist Ethics" and the like; the subject didn't matter much; the point was that one had to discover, arrange and condense one's ideas about it, so as to present it in a given number of words, 93 or 156, or 418 as like as not, that number, neither more nor less. A superb disci- pline for any writer. I had a marvellous lesson myself some years earlier. I had cut down a certain ritual of initiation to what I thought were the very barest bones, chiefly to make it easy to commit to memory. Then came a candidate who was deaf --- not merely "a little hard of hearing;" his tympana were rup- tured --- and the question was How? All right for most of it; one could show him the words typed on slips. But during part of the ceremony he was hoodwinked; one was reduced to the deaf-and-dumb alphabet devised for such occasions. I am as clumsy and stupid at that as I am at most things, and lazy, infernally lazy, on top of that. Well, when it came to the point, the communication of the words became abominably, intolerably tedious. And then! Then I found that about two-thirds of my "absolutely essential" ritual was not neces- asary at all! That larned 'im. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXVII 37 STRUCTURE OF MIND BASED ON THAT OF BODY (HAECKEL AND BERTRAND RUSSELL) Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Was the sudden cloudburst at the end of my last letter somewhat of a surprise, and more that somewhat of a shock? Cheer up! The worst is yet to come. This is where clean thinking --- a subject whose fringes I seem to remember having touched --- wins the Gold Medal of the Royal Humane Society. It is surely the wise course to accept the plain facts; to try to explain them away, or to excuse them, is certain to involve one in a maelstrom of sophistry; and when, despite these laudable efforts, the facts jump up and land a short jab to the point, one is even worse off than before. This has to be said, because Sammasati is assuredly one of the most useful, as well as one of the most trustworthy and most manageable, weapons in the armoury of the Aspirant. You stop me, obviously with a demand for a personal explanation. "How is it," you write, "that you reject with such immitigable scorn the very foundation-stones of Buddhism, and yet refer disciples enthusiasti- cally to the technique of some of its subtlest super-structures?" I laff. It is the old, old story. When the Buddha was making experiments and recording the results, he was on safe ground: when he started to theorize, committing (incidentally) innumerable logical crimes in the process, he is no better a guesser than the Arahat next door, or for the matter of that, the Arahat's Lady Char. So, if you don't mind, we will look a little into this matter of Samma- sati: what is it when it's at home? It may be no more than a personal fancy, but I think Allan Bennett's translation of the term, "Recollection," is as near as one can get in English. One can strain the meaning slightly to include Re-collection, to imply the ranging of one's facts, and the fitting of them into an organized structure. The term "sati" suggests an identification of Being with Knowledge --- see The Soldier and the Hunchback ! -- ! and ? (Equinox I, 1). So far as it applies to the Magical Memory, it lays stress on some such expedient, very much as is explained in Liber Thisarb (Magick, pp. 415 - 422). But is it not a little strange that "The Abomination of Desolation should be set up in the Holy Place," as it were? Why should the whole- bearted search for Truth and Beauty disclose such hateful and such hideous elements as necessary components of the Absolute Perfection? Never mind the why, for a moment; first let us be sure that it is so. 38 Have we any grounds for expecting this to be the case? We certainly have. This is a case where "clean thinking" is most absolutely helpful. The truth is of exquisite texture; it blazons the escutcheon of the Unity of Nature in such delicate yet forceful colours that the Postulant may well come thereby to the Opening of the Trance of Wonder; yet religious theories and personal pernicketiness have erected against its impact the very stoutest of their hedgehogs of prejudice. Who shall help us here? Not the sonorous Vedas, not the Upanishads, Not Apollonius, Plotinus, Ruysbroeck, Molinos; not any gleaner in the field of priori; no, a mere devotee of natural history and biology: Ernst Haeckel. Enormous, elephantine, his work's bulk is almost incredible; for us his one revolutionary discovery is pertinent to this matter of Samma- sati and the revelations of one's inmost subtle structure. He discovered, and he demonstrated, that the history of any animal throughout the course of its evolution is repeated in the stages of the individual. To put it crudely, the growth of a child from the fertilized ovum to the adult repeats the adventures of its species. This doctrine is tremendously important, and I feel that I do not know how to emphasize it as it deserves. I want to be exceptionally accurate; yet the use of his meticulous scientific terms, with an armoury of quotations, would almost certainly result in your missing the point, "unable to see the wood for the trees." Let me put it that the body is formed by the super-position of layers, each representing a stage in the history of the evolution of the species. The foetus displays essential characteristics of insect, reptile, mammal (or whatever they are) in the order in which these classes of animal appeared in the world's history. Now I want to put forward a thesis --- and as far as I know it is personal to myself, based on my work at Cefal --- to the effect that the mind is constructed on precisely the same lines. You will remember from my note on "Breaks" in meditation how one's gradual improvement in the practice results in the barring-out of certain classes of idea, by classes. The ready-to-hand, recent fugi- tive thoughts come first and first they go. Then the events of the previous day or so, and the preoccupations of the mind for that period. Next, one comes to the layer of reveries and other forms of wish-phanstasm; then cryptomnesia gets busy with incidents of childhood and the like; finally, there intrudes the class of "atmospherics," where one cannot trace the source of the interruption. All these are matters of the conscious rational mind; and when I explored and classified these facts, in the very first months of my serious prac- tice of Yoga, I had no suspicion that they were no more than the foam on a glass of champagne: nay, rather of "black wine in jars of jade 39 Cooled all these months in hoarded snow, Black wine with purple starlight in its bosom, Oily and sweet as the soul of a brown maid Brought from the forenoon's archipelago, Her brows bound bright with many a scarlet blossom Like the blood of the slain that flowered free When we met the black men knee to knee." How apt the verses are! How close are wine and snow to lust and slaughter! I have been digressing, for all that; let us return to our goats! The structure of the mind reveals its history as does the structure of the body. (Capitals, please, or bang on something; that has got to sink in.) Just as your body was at one stage the body of an ape, a fish, a frog (and all the rest of it) so did that animal at that stage possess a mind correlative. Now then! In the course of that kind of initiation conferred by Samma- sati, the layers are stripped off very much as happens in elementary meditation (Dharana) to the conscious mind. (There is a way of acquiring a great deal of strange and unsuspected knowledge of these matters by the use of Sulphuric Ether, [C2H5]2O, according to a special technique. I wrote a paper on it once, 16 pp. 4to, and fearing that it might be lost had many copies made and distributed. Where is it? I must write you a letter one day.) Accordingly, one finds oneself experiencing the thoughts, the feelings, the desires of a gorilla, a crocodile, a rat, a devil-fish, or what have you! One is no longer capable of human thoughts in the ordinary sense of the word; such would be wholly unintelligible. I leave the rest to your imagination; doesn't it sound to you a little like some of the accounts of "The Dweller on the Threshold?" Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXVIII NEED TO DEFINE "GOD", "SELF", ETC. Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Artless remark!8 Oh you! Well, I suppose it's a gift --- to stir Hell to its most abysmal horror with one small remark slipped in at the end. Scorpion! 8* Refers to a pious phrase at the end of her letter. 40 "Higher self" --- "God within us." Dear Lady, you could never have picked five words from Iroquois, or Banti, or Basuto or the Jargon of Master Franois Villon, or Pictish, which severally and together convey less to my mind. No, no, not Less: I mean More, so much more that it amounts to nothing at all. Spencer Montmorency Bourbon Hohenstaufen sounds very exclusive and aristocratic, and even posh or Ritzy; but if you bestow these names upon every male child, the effect tends to diminish. The "Southern Gentleman" Lee Davis9 recently hanged for rape and murder, was not a near relation either of the General or the President: he was a Nigger. Gimme the old spade, I've got to go digging again. 1. Higher. Here we fall straight into the arms of Freud. Why "higher?" Because in a scrap it is easier to strangle him if you are on top. When very young children watch their parents in actu coitus, a circumstance exceedingly usual almost anywhere outside England, and even here where houseroom is restricted, the infant supposes that his mother, upon whom he depends entirely for nourishment, is being attacked by the intrusive stranger whom they want him to address as "Dad." From this seed springs an "over-under complex," giving rise later on, in certain cases to whole legions of neuroses. Now then make it a little clearer, please, just what you mean by "higher." Skeat seems to connect it with hills, swellings, boils, the maternal breast; is that reason enough for us to connect it with the idea of advantage, or --- "superiority" merely translates it into Latin! --- worth, or --- no, it's really too difficult. Of course, sometimes it has a "bad" meaning, as of temperature in fever; but nearly always it implies a condition preferable to "low." Applied to the "self," it becomes a sort of trade name; nobody tells me if he means Khu, or Ba, or Khabs, or Ut of the Upanishads or Augoeides of the Neo-Platonists, or Adonai of the Bulwer-Lytton, or --- --- here we are with all those thrice-accurs't alternatives. There is not, cannot be, any specific meaning unless we start with a sound skeleton of ontogenic theory, a well-mapped hierarchy of the Cosmos, and define the term anew. Then why use it? To do so can only cause confusion, unless the context helps us to clarify the image. And that is surely rather a defeatist attitude, isn't it? When I first set myself to put a name to my "mission" --- the contempla- 9^ WEH NOTE: Crowley sometimes carries his despite for euphemism to a point that obscures his purpose. The use of the term "nigger" here gives such offense to the modern reader that the point can be missed! This was not so in Crowley's youth, when this term was used without regard for its effect. For the record, "nigger" does not derive from "negro" = "black" but from "niggard" = "lazy". Crowley uses it here for the stereotype; but he also uses it deliberately to shock, as a lazy way to make such an effect. That makes Crowley a "nigger" at this point, as the word is properly defined! {Research Lee Davis --- } 41 tion carried me half-way across South-West China --- I considered these alternatives. I thought to cut the Gordian Knot, and call it by Abramelin's title the "Holy Guardian Angel" because (I mused) that will be as intelligible to the villagers of Pu Peng as to the most learned Pundits; moreover, the implied theory was so crude that no one need be bound by it. All this is rubbish, as you will see when we reach the discussion on "self:" To explain now would lead to too unwieldy a digression. 2. "Within." If you don't mind, we'll tackle this now, while "higher" is fresh in our minds; for it is also a preposition. First you want to go up; then you want to go in. Why? As "higher" gave the idea of aggression, of conquest, "within" usually implies safety. Always we get back to that stage of history when the social unit, based on the family, was little less than condition No. 1 of survival. The house, the castle, the fortified camp, the city wall; the "gens," the clan, the tribe, the "patrie," to be outside means dan- ger from cold, hunger and thirst, raiding parties, highway robbers, bears, wolves, and tigers. To go out was to take a risk; and, your labour and courage being assets to your kinsmen, you were also a bad man; in fact, a "bounder" or "outsider." "Debauch" is simply "to go out of doors!" St. John says: "without are dogs and sorcerers and whoremongers and adulterers and idolaters and. ." --- so on. We of Thelema challenge all this briskly. "The word of Sin is Restriction." (AL I, 41). Our formula, roughly speaking, is to go out and grab what we want. We do this so thoroughly that we grow thereby, extending our conception of "I" by including each new accretion instead of remaining a closely delineated self, proud of possessing other things, as do the Black Brothers. We are whole-hearted extroverts; the penalty of restricting oneself is anything from neurosis to down right lunacy; in particular, melancholia. You ask whether these remarks do not conflict with my repeated definition of Initiation as the Way In. Not at all; the Inmost is identical with the All. As you travel inward, you become able to perceive all the layers which surround the "Self" from within, thus enlarging the scope of your vision of the Universe. It is like moving from a skirmishing patrol to G.H.Q.; and the object of so doing is obviously to exercise constantly increasing control over the whole Army. Every step in rank enables you both to see more and to do more; but one's attention is inevitably directed outward. When the entire system of the Universe is conterminous with your compre- hension, "inward" and "outward" become identical. But it won't do at all to seek anything within but a point of view, for the simple reason that there is nothing else there! It is just like all those symbols in The Book of Thoth; as soon as you get to the "end" of anything, you suddenly find it is the "beginning." To formulate the idea of "self" at all, you must posit limitations; any- thing that is distinguishable is a mere temporary (and arbitrary) selection of the finite from the infinite; whatever you chose to think 42 of, it changes, it grows, it disappears. You have got to train your mind to canter through those leafy avenues of thought upon the good green turf of Indifference; when you can do it without conscious effort, so that up-down, in-out, far-near, black-white (and so on for everything) appears quite automatically, you are already as near an Initiate as makes no matter. 3. "Self." For a full discussion of this see Letter XLII. 4. "God." This is really to bad of you! Of all the hopelessly mangled words in the language, you settle with unerring Sadism on the most brutally butchered. Crippen10 was an amateur. Skeat hardly helps us at all, except by warning us that "good" has nothing whatever to do with it.11 Dieu comes from Deus, with all its Sol-Jupiter references, and Deos, which Plato thought meant a runner; hence, Sun, Moon, Planets. The best I can do for you, honest Injun! is the Russian word for god Bog; connected probably, though the Lithuanian, with the Welsh Bwq a spectre or hobgoblin. Bugge, too. Not very inspiring, is it, to replace the Old Hundredth by "Hush! Hush! Hush! here come the Bogey Man." Or is it. Enough of this fooling! Out, trusty rapier, and home to the stone heart of the audacious woman that wrote "God within us." I know you thought you knew more or less what you meant when you wrote it; but surely that was a mere slip. An instant's thought would have warned you that the word wouldn't stand even the most superficial analysis You meant "Something which seems to me the most perfect symbol of all that I love, worship, admire" --- all that class of verb. But nobody else will have the same set of qualities in his private museum; you have, as every one has always done, made another God in your own image. Then the Vedantists define God as "having neither quality nor quantity;" and some Yogis have a practice of setting up images to knock them down at once with "Not that! Not that!" And the Buddhists won't admit any God at all in anything at all like the sense in which you use the word12. What's worse, whatever you may mean by "God" conveys no idea to me: I 10* Crippen was a famous English poisoner who was caught and hung. 11^ WEH NOTE: Shipley's Dictionary of Word Origins sneaks the following in under the word "goodbye": "God, Goth. guth, may be traced to Aryan ghut, god, from ghuto, to implore: God is the one to whom we pray." "God" might also be a contraction of "Odin", as "'Od" --- have the English speaking Christians been praying to the Aesir all this time? 12* One of the most amusing passages of irony is to be found in The Questions of King Milinda where the Arhat Nagasena demolishes Maha Brahma. 43 can only guess by the light of my exceedingly small knowledge of you and your general habits of thought and action. Then what sense was there in chucking it at my head? Half a brick would have served you better. You think you can explain to me viva voce, perhaps? Don't you dare try! Whatever you said, I should prove to be nonsense, philosophically and in a dozen other ways. And the County Council Ambulance would bundle you off in your battered and bewildered dbris to the Bug-house, as is so etymologically indicated. Do see it simply; the word must in any event connote ideas of Neschamah, not of Ruach. "But you use the word all the time." Yes, I do, and rely on the context to crystallize this most fluid --- or gaseous --- of expressions. 5. "Us". Why "Us"? Is this a reference to the Old School Tie, or that Finishing School in Brussels, and the ticket to the Royal enclosure at Ascot? I do not suppose for a moment that you meant it that way: but it's there. And so --- Anecdote of Lao-Tze. The Old One was surrounded as usual by a galaxy of adoring disciples, and they were trying to get him to show them where the Tao was to be found. It was in the Sun and Moon, he admitted; it was in the Son of Heaven and in the Superior Man. (Not George Nathaniel Curzon, however). It was in the Blossoms of Springtide, and in the chilling winds that swept over from Siberia, and in the Wild Geese that it bore Southward when their instinct bade them. In short, the catalogue began to look is if it were going to extend indefinitely; and an impatient disciple, pointing to certain traces left by a mule in its recent passage, asked: "And is the Tao also in that?" The Master nodded, and echoed: "Also in that." . . . . . . . . Then what becomes of this privileged "us"? We are obliged to extend it to include everything. Then, as we have just seen, "God" also is un- fettered by definitions. Net result: "God within us" means precisely nothing at all. And so it does, By Bradman! "Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!" (AL I, 22 - 23) I implore you not to point out that, this being the case, words like "hurt" and "chief" cannot possibly mean anything. The fact is that if we are to get on peaceably in the Club, we have to know when to take any given expression in a Pickwickian sense. In the Ruach all the laws of logic apply: they don't in Neschamah. 44 The real meaning of the passage is simple enough, if you understand that it refers to a specific result of Initiation. You have to be able to reckon up the Universe, as a whole and in every part; and to get rid of all its false or partial realities by discarding everything but the One Reality which is the sole truth in, and of Illusion. There is one set of equations which express the relation of the Perceiver and the Perceived, adjusted in accordance with the particular limitations on both sides; another cancels out all the finite terms, and leaves us with an ultimate x = o = O. See? I know I'm a disheartening kind of bloke, and it does seem so unfriendly to jump down a fellow's throat every minute or so when she tries to put it ever so nicely, and it is so easy --- isn't it? --- to play the game of Sanctimonious Grandiloquence, and surely what was said was perfectly harmless, and . . . . No, N.O., no: not harmless at all. My whole object is it train you to silence every kind of hypothetical speculation, and formulae both reso- nant and satisfying. I want you to --- abhor them abominate them despise them detest them escew them hate them loathe them and da capo. and to get on with your practice. Then when you get the results, you can try, albeit uselessly, to fit your own words to the facts, if you should wish to communicate, for any good reason, your experiences to other people. Then, despairing of your impotence, how glad you will be that you have been trained not to let anyone fob you of with phrases. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally yours, 666 CHAPTER XXIX WHAT IS CERTAINTY Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Well, I suppose I ought to have expected you to cock that wise left eyebrow at me! Right you are to wonder precisely what I mean by "certainty", in the light of: 45 "On Soul's curtain Is written this one certainty, that naught is certain." Then there is that chapter in The Book of Lies (again!) "The Chinese cannot help thinking that the Octave has five notes." "The more necessary anything appears to my mind, the more certain it is that I only assert a limitation." "I slept with Faith, and found a corpse in my arms on awaking." "I drank and danced all night with Doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning." I wouldn't start to argue with the Chinese, if I were you; they might remind you that you exude the stench peculiar to corpses. Again, that other "Hymn to St. Thomas", as I ought perhaps to have called it: "Doubt. Doubt Thyself Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself. Doubt all Doubt even if thou doubtest all." "It seems sometimes as if beneath all conscious doubt there lay some deepest certainty. O kill it! slay the snake!" "The horn of the Doubt-Goat be exalted!" "Dive deeper, ever deeper, into the Abyss of Mind, until thou unearth that fox THAT. On, hounds! Yoicks! Tally-ho! Bring THAT to bay!" "Then, wind the Mort!" Once more --- what a book that is: I never realized it until now! it says --- see that double page at the onset, one with "?" and the other with "!" alone upon the blank. Moreover you should read the long essay "The Soldier and the Hunchback: ! and?" in the first volume and number of The Equinox. But every one of those --- rather significant, nich wahr? --- slides into a rhapsody of exaltation, a dithyramb, a Paean13. No good here. For 13* It seems natural to me --- apodeictic after a fashion --- to treat Doubt as positive, even aggressive. There is none of the wavering, wobbling, woebegone wail of the weary and bewildered wage-slave; it is a trium- phant challenge, disagreement for its own sake. Irish! Browing painted a quite perfect picture of my Doubt. "Up jumped Tokay on our table, Like a pigmy castle-warder, Dwarfish to see but stout and able, Arms and accoutrement all in order; 46 what you want is a penny plain pedestrian prose Probability-Percentage. You want to know what the Odds are when I say "certain". A case for casuistry? At least, for classification. It depends rather on one's tone of voice? Yes, of course, and as to the classification, off we jog to the Divine Pymander, who saw, and stated, the quiddity of our query with his accustomed lucidity. He discerns three degrees of Truth; and he distinguishes accordingly: --- 1. True 2. Certain without error 3. Of all truth. Clear enough, the difference between 1 and 2: ask me the time, I say half-past two; and that's true enough. But the Astronomer Royal is by no manner of means satisfied with any approximation of that kind. He wants it accurate. He must know the longitude to a second; he must have decided what method of measuring time is to be used; he must make corrections for this and for that; and he must have attached an (arbitrary) interpretation to the system; the whole question of Relativity pops up. And, even so, he will enter a caveat about every single ganglion in the gossamer of his calculations. Well then, all this intricate differentiation and integration and verifi- cation and Lord knows what leads at last to a statement which may be called "Certain without Error". Excuse me just a moment! When I was staying at the Consulate of Tengyueh, just inside the S.W. frontier of China, our one link with England, Home, and Beauty was the Telegraph Service from Pekin. One week it was silent, and we were anxious for news, our last bit of information having been that there was rioting in Shanghai, seventeen Sikh policemen killed. For all we knew the whole country might rise en masse at any moment to expel the "Foreign Devils". At last the welcome messenger trotted across from the city in the twilight with a whole sheaf of telegrams. Alas, save for the date of dispatch, the wording in each one was identical: each told us that it was noon in Pekin! They had to be relayed at Yung Chang, and both the operators had taken ten days off to smoke opium, sensible fellows! And fierce he looked North, then wheeling South Blew with his bugle a challenge to Drouth, Cocked his flap-hat with the tosspot feather, Twisted his thumb in his red moustache, Jingled his huge brass spurs together, Tightened his waist with its Buda Sash, And then, with an impudence nought could abash Shrugged his hump-shoulder, to tell the beholder, For twenty such knaves he should laugh but the bolder; And so, with his sword-hilt gallantly jutting, And dexter hand on his haunch abutting, Went the little man, Sir Ausbruch, strutting!" It's not the least bit like Tokay; rather the Bull's Blood its neighbor, or any rough strong red wine like Rioja. Curious, though, his making him a hunchbacked dwarf; there must be something in this deep down. I wonder what! (Ask Jung!) 47 But Hermes Trismegistus is not content with any such fugues as the Astronomer, however cunning and colossal his Organ; his Third Degree demands much more than this. The Astronomer's estimate has puttied every tiniest crack, he concedes it, but then waves it brusquely away: all the time the door is standing wide open! The Astronomer's exquisitely tailored figure stands in abashed isolation, like a gawky young man at his first Ball; he feels that he doesn't belong, For this D.S.T., or Greenwich, or what not, however exact in itself, is so only in reference to some other set of measurements which themselves turn out to be arbitrary; it is not of any ultimate import; nobody can dispute it, but it simply doesn't matter to anybody, apart from the particular case. It is not "Of all Truth." What Hermes means by this it will be well to enquire. May we call it "a truth of Religion?" (Don't be shocked! The original word implies a binding-together-again, as in a "Body of Doctrine:" com- pare the word "Ligature". It was only later by corruption, that the word came to imply "piety;" re-ligens, attentive (to the gods) as opposed to neg-ligens, neglectful.) I think that Hermes was contemplating a Ruach closely knitted together and anchored by incessant Aspiration to the Supernal Triad; just such an one, in short, as appears in those remarks on the Magical Memory, a God-man ready to discard his well-worn Instrument for a new one, bought up to date with all the latest improvements (the movement of the Zeit- geist during his past incarnation, in particular) well wrought and ready for his use. This being so, a truth which is "of all Truth" should mean any proposi- tion which forms an essential part of this Khu --- this "Magical Identity" of a man. How how curious it must appear at the first glance to note that the truths of this order should prove to be what we call Axioms --- or even Platitudes --- . . . . . . What's that noise? . . . . . . I think I hear Sir Ausbruch! And in full eruption too! And hasn't he the right? For all this time we've bluffed our way breezily ahead over the sparkling seas, oblivious of that very Chinese Chinese-puzzle that we started with, the paradox (is it?) of the Chinese Gamut. (We shan't get into doldrums; there's always the way out from "?" to "!" as with any and every intellectual problem whatsoever: it's the only way. Otherwise, of course, we get to A is A, A is not-A, not-A is not-A, not-A is A, as is inevitable). "The more certain I am of anything, the more certain it is that I am only asserting a limitation of my own mind." Very good, but what am I to do about it? Some at least of such certain- ties must surely be "of all Truth". The test of admission to this class ought to be that, of one were to accept the contradictory of the proposi- tion, the entire structure of the Mind would be knocked to pieces, as is 48 not at all the case with the Astronomer's determination, which may turn out to be wrong for a dozen different reasons without anybody getting seriously wounded in his tenderest feelings. The Statesman knows instinctively, or at worst, by his training and experience, what sort of assertion, harmless enough on the surface, may be "dangerous thinking", a death-blow to his own idea of what is "of all Truth", and strikes out wildly in a panic entirely justifiable from his own point of view. Exhibit No. 1: Galileo and that lot. What could it possibly matter to the Gospel story that people should think that the Earth moves round the Sun? (Riemann, and oh! such a lot of things, have shewn that it didn't and doesn't! This sort of "Truth" is only a set of conventions.) "Oh, don't gas away like this! I want to know what to do about it. Am I to accept this cauerwauling Gamut, and enlarge my Mind, and call it an Initiation? Or am I to nail my own of-all-Truth Tonic Solfa to the Mast, and go down into the Maelstrom of Insanity with colours flying? Do you really need Massed Bands to lull Baby to sleep? The Master of the Temple deals very simply and efficiently with problems of this kind. "The Mind" (says he) of this Party of the First Part, hereinafter referred to as Frater N (or whatever his 8 = 3 motto may be) is so constructed that the interval from C to C is most harmoniously divided into n notes; that of the Party of the Second Part hereinafter referred to as --- not a Heretic, an Atheist, a Bolshie, ad Die-hard, a Schismatic, and Anarchist, a Black Magician, a Friend of Aleister Crowley, or whatever may be the current term of abuse --- Mr. A, Lord B, the Duke of C, Mrs. X, or whatever he or she may chance to be called --- into five. The Structure called of-all-Truth in neither of us is affected in the least, any more than in the reading of a Thermometer with Fahrenheit on one side and Centigrade on the other. You naturally object that this answer is little better than an evasion, that it automatically pushes the Gamut question outside the Charmed of- all-Truth Circle. No, it doesn't really; for if you were able to put up a Projection of those two minds, there would be, firstly, some sort of compensation elsewhere than in the musical section; and secondly, some Truth of a yet higher order which is common to both. Not unaware am I that these conceptions are at first exceedingly diffi- cult to formulate clearly. I wouldn't go so far as to say that one would have to be a Master of the Temple to understand them; but it is really very necessary to have grasped firmly the doctrine that "a thing is only true insofar as it contains its contradiction in itself." (A good way to realize this is by keeping up a merry dance of paradoxes, such as infest Logic and Mathematics. The repeated butting of the head against a brick wall is bound in the long run to shake up the little grey cells [as Poirot might say], teach you to distrust any train of argument, however apparently impeccable the syllogisms, and to seek ever more eagerly the dawn of that Neschamic consciousness where all these things are clearly understood, although impossible to express in rational language.) The prime function of intellect is differentiation; it deals with marks, with limits, with the relations of what is not identical; in Neschamah 49 all this work has been carried out so perfectly that the "rough working" has passed clean out of mind; just so, you say "I" as if it were an indivisible Unity, unconscious of the inconceivably intricate machinery of anatomical, physiological, psychological construction which issues in this idea of "I". We may then with some confidence reaffirm that our certainties do assert our limitations; but this kind of limitation is not necessarily harmful, provided that we view the situation in its proper perspective, that we understand that membership of the of-all-Truth class does not (as one is apt to think at first sight) deepen the gulfs which separate mind from mind, but on the contrary put us in a position to ignore them. Our acts of "love under will," which express our devotion to Nuit, which multiply the fulfillments of our possibilities, become continually more efficacious, and more closely bound up with our Formula of Initiation; and we progres- sively become aware of deeper and vaster Images of the of-all-Truth class, which reconcile, by including within themselves, all apparent antinomies. It is certain without error that I ought to go to bed. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXX DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD? Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. You are quite right, as usual. True, we have gone over a great deal of the ground in various learned disquisitions of Gods, Angels, Elves, et hoc genus omne. But God with a capital "G" in the singular is a totally different pair of Blchers --- nicht wahr? Let me go back just for a moment to the meaning of "belief". We agreed that the word was senseless except as it implies an opinion, instinct, conviction --- what you please! --- so firmly entrenched in our natures that we act automatically as if it were "true" and "certain without error," perhaps even "of the essence of truth." (Browning discusses this in Mr. Sludge the Medium.) Good: the field is clear for an enquiry into this word "God". We find ourselves in trouble from the start. We must define; and to define is to limit; and to limit is to reduce "God" to "a God" or at best "the God". He must be omniscient ({symbol of alchemical mercury}) omnipotent, ({Al. Sulfur}) and omnipresent ({Al. Salt}); yet to such a Being no purpose would be possible; so that all the apol- ogies for the existence of "evil" crash. If there be opposites of any kind, there can be no consistency. He cannot be Two; He must be One; 50 yet, as is obvious, he isn't. How do the Hindu philosophers try to get out of this quag? "Evil" is "illusion;" has no "real" existence. Then what is the point of it? They say "Not that, not that!" denying to him all attributes; He is "that which is without quantity or quality." They contradict themselves at every turn; seeking to remove limit, they remove definition. Their only refuge is in "superconsciousness." Splendid! but now "belief" has disappeared altogether; for the word has no sense unless it is subject to the laws of normal thought...Tut! you must be feeling it yourself; the further one goes, the darker the path. All I have written is some- how muddled and obscure, maugre my frenzied struggle for lucidity, simplicity . . . . Is this the fault of my own sophistication? I asked myself. Tell you what! I'll trot round to my masseuse, and put it up to her. She is a simple country soul, by no means over-educated, but intelligent; capable of a firm grasp of the principles of her job; a steady church-goer on what she considers worthwhile occasions; dislikes the rector, but praises his policy of keeping his discourse within bounds. She has done quite a lot of thinking for herself; distrusts and despises the Press and the Radio, has no use for ready-made opinions. She shares with the flock their normal prejudices and phobias, but is not bigoted about them, and follows readily enough a line of simply-expressed destructive criticism when it is put to her. This is, however, only a temporary reaction; a day later she would repeat the previous inanities as if they had never been demolished. In the late fifties, at a guess. I sprang your question on her out of the blue, la "doodle-bug;" premising merely that I had been asked the question, and was puzzled as to how to answer it. Her reply was curious and surprising: without a moment's hesitation and with great enthusiasm, "Quickly, yes!" The spontaneous reservation struck me as extremely interesting. I said: of course, but suppose you think it over --- and out --- a bit, what am I to understand? She began glibly "He's a great big --- " and broke off, looking foolish. Then, although omnipotent, He needed our help --- we were all just as powerful as He, for we were little bits of each other --- but exactly how, or to what end, she did not make clear. An exclama- tion: "Then there is the Devil!" She went on without a word from me for a long while, tying herself up into fresh knots with every phase. She became irreverent, then down- right blasphemous; stopped short and began to laugh at herself. And so forth --- but, what struck me as curious and significant, in the main her argument followed quite closely the lines which came naturally to me, at the beginning of this letter! In the end, "curiouser and curiouser," she arrived at a practically identical conclusion: she believed, but what she believed in was Nothing! As to our old criterion of what we imply in practice when we say that we believe, she began by saying that If we "helped" God in His mysterious plan, He would in some fashion or other look after us. But about this she was even more vague than in the matter of intellectual conviction; "helping God" meant behaving decently according to one's own instinctive ideas of what "decently" means. It is very encouraging that she should have seen, without any prompting 51 on my part, to what a muddle the question necessarily led; and very nice for me, because it lets me out, cara soror! Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 P.S. I thought it a good plan to put my fundamental position all by itself in a postscript; to frame it. My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know; and that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to make contact with such Beings. CHAPTER XXXI RELIGION --- IS THELEMA A "NEW RELIGION?" Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. "Would you describe your system as a new religion?" A pertinent question, you doubtless suppose; whether it may happen to mean anything is --- is --- is --- well, is what we must try to make clear. True, it's a slogan of A.'. A.'. "The method of science --- the aim of religion." Here the word "aim" and the context help the definition; it must mean the attainment of Knowledge and Power in spiritual matters --- or words to that effect: as soon as one selects a phrase, one starts to kick holes in it! Yet we both know perfectly well all the time what we do mean. But this is certainly not the sense of the word in your question. It may clear our minds, as has so often happened, if we examine it through the lens of dear old Skeat. Religion, he says, Latin: religio, piety. Collection or paying atten- tion to: religens as opposed to negligens, neglecting; the attitude of Gallio. But it also implies a binding together i.e. of ideas; in fact, a "body of doctrine." Not a bad expression. A religion then, is a more or less coherent and consistent set of beliefs, with precepts and prohibitions therefrom deducible. But then there is the sense in which Frazer (and I) often use the word: as in opposition to "Science" or "Magic". Here the point is that religious people attribute phenomena to the will of some postulated Being or Beings, placable and moveable by virtue of sacrifice, devotion, or appeal. Against such, the scienti- fic or magical mind believes in the Laws of Nature, asserts "If A, then B" --- if you do so-and-so, the result will be so-and-so, aloof from arbitrary interference. Joshua, it is alleged, made the sun stand still by supplication, and Hezekiah in the same way cause it to "go back upon the dial of Ahaz;" Willett did it by putting the clock back, and getting an Act of Parliament to confirm his lunacy. Petruchio, too "It shall be what o'clock I say it is!" The two last came close to the magical method; at least, to that branch of it which consists of "fooling all 52 the people all the time." But such an operation, if true Magick were employed, would be beyond the power of any magician of my acquaintance; for it would mess up the solar system completely. (You remember how this happened, and what came of it, in a rather clever short story by H.G. Wells.14) For true Magick means "to employ one set of natural forces at a mechanical advantage as against another set" --- I quote, as closely as memory serves, Thomas Henry Huxley, when he explains that when he lifts his water-jug --- or his elbow --- he does not "defy the Law of Gravitation." On the contrary, he uses that Law; its equations form part of the system by which he lifts the jug without spilling the water. To sum up, our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with Science or Magick. Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief. The word does not occur in The Book of the Law. Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXXII HOW CAN A YOGI EVER BE WORRIED? Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. That question I have been expecting for a very long time! And what you expect is to see my middle stump break the wicket-keeper's nose, with the balls smartly fielded by Third Man and Short Leg! I admit that it looks like a strong case. Here (you put it in your more elegant prose) we have a Yogi, nay more, a Paramahamsa, a Bodhisattva of the best: yea, further, we have a Master of the Temple --- and is not his Motto "Vi veri vniversom vivus vici?" and yet we find him fussing like an old hen over the most trivial of troubles; we find him wrapped in the lacustrine vapours of Avernus, fretting himself into a fever about imagi- nary misfortunes at which no normal person would do more than cast a contemptuous glance, and get on with the job. Yes, although you can scarcely evade indictment for unnecessarily employ- ing the language of hyperbole, I see what you mean. Yet the answer is adequate; the very terms of his Bargain with Destiny not only allow for, but imply, some such reaction on the part of the Master to the Bludgeon- ings of Fate. (W. E. Henley15) There are two ways of looking at the problem. One is what I may call the mathematical. If I have ten and sixpence in the world and but a 14^ WEH NOTE: {Research it --- may be "The Man Who Could Work Miracles" -- also the British film made of the story about the time Crowley was writing.} 15* An English poet. 53 half-guinea cigar, I have no money left to buy a box of matches. To "snap out of it" and recover my normal serenity requires only a minute effort, and the whole of my magical energy is earmarked for the Great Work. I have none left to make that effort. Of course, if the worry is enough to interfere with that Work, I must detail a corporal's file to abate the nuisance. The other way may be called the Taoist aspect. First, however, let me explain the point of view of the Master of the Temple, as it is so similar. You should remember from your reading what happens in this Grade. The new Master is "cast out" into the sphere appropriate to the nature of his own particular Great Work. And it is proper for him to act in true accordance with the nature of the man as he was when he passed through that Sphere (or Grade) on his upward journey. Thus, if he be cast out into 3 = 8, it is no part of his work to aim at the virtues of a 4 = 7; all that has been done long before. It is no business of his to be bothering his head about anything at all but his Work; so he must react to events as they occur in the way natural to him without trying to "improve himself." (This, of course, applies not only to worry, but to all his funny little ways.) The Taoist position differs little, but it is independent of all consi- derations of the man's attainment; it is an universal rule based on a particular theory of things in general. Thus, "benevolence and right- eousness" are not "virtues;" they are only symptoms of the world-disease, in that they should be needed. The same applies to all conditions, and to all modes of seeking to modify them. There is only one proper reaction to event; that is, to adjust oneself with perfect elasticity to whatever happens. That tiger across the paddy-field looks hungry. There are several ways of dealing with the situation. One can run away, or climb a tree, or shoot him, or (in your case) cow him by the Power of the Human Eye; but the way of the Tao is to take no particular notice. (This, incidentally, is not such bad Magick; the diversion of your attention might very well result in your becoming invisible, as I have explained in a previous letter.) The theory appears to be that, although your effort to save yourself is successful, it is bound to create a disturbance of equili- brium elsewhere, with results equally disastrous. Even more so; it might be that to be eaten by a tiger is just what you needed in your career through the incarnations; at that moment there might well be a vacancy somewhere exactly where it will do most good to your Great Work. When you press on one spot, you make a corresponding bulge in another, as we often see a beautiful lady, unhappy about her waist-line, adopt drastic measures, and transform herself into the semblance of a Pouter Puffin! In theory, I am particularly pleased about this Method, because it goes for everybody, requires no knowledge, no technical training, "no nuffin." All the same, it won't do for me, except in a much modified form, and in very special cases; because no course of action (or inaction) is conceivable that would do great violence to my nature. So let me worry along, please, with the accent on the "along;" I will grin and bear it, or, if it gets so bad that I can't do my Work, I will make the necessary effort to abate the nuisance, always most careful to do as little damage as possible to the main current of my total Energy. 54 Love is the law, love under will. Yours fraternally, 666 CHAPTER XXXIII THE GOLDEN MEAN Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. You would think that one who like myself has the Sun, the Lord of His Horoscope, in Libra, with Venus who rules that sign in close conjunction with him, with Saturn trine, Uranus sextile, Mars square and Luna quincunx to him, would wear the Golden Mean as a breastplate, flaunt it on my banneret, quarter it on my escutcheon, and grave it on the two-edged blade of my thrice trusty falchion! Just so, objects that instinct itself! "Had you been born a few hours earlier, with Aries rising, its lord Mars aggravated by the square of Sol and Venus, you would indeed have bee a Wild Man of the Woods, arro- gant, bigoted, domineering, incapable of seeing a second side to any question, headstrong, haughty, a seething hell-broth of hate; and this fact disables your judgment." All perfectly true. My equable nature is congenitally hostile to extreme measures, except in imagination. I cannot bear sudden violent movements. Climbing rocks, people used to say that I didn't climb them, that I oozed over them! This explains, I think, my deep-seated dislike of many passages in The Boot of the Law. "O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger." (AL II, 10-11) Well, what is the upshot of all this? It answers your question about the value to be attached to this Golden Mean. There is no rule about it; your own attitude is proper for yourself, and has no value for anybody else. But you must make sure exactly what that attitude actually is, deep down. Let us go back for a moment to the passage above quoted. The text goes on to give the reason for the facts. "Because of me in Thee which thou knewest not. for why? Because thou wast the knower, and me." (AL II, 12 -13) The unexpected use or disuse of capitals, the queer syntax, the unintelligibility of the whole passage: these certainly indicate some profound Qabalistic import in these texts. So we had better mark that Strictly Private, and forget it. One point, however, we have forgotten: although my Libra inclinations do bias me personally, they also make me fair-minded, "a judge, and a good judge too" in the memorable phrase of the late William Schwenk Gilbert. So I will sum up what is to be said for and against this Golden Mean. As usual, nobody has taken the trouble to define the term. We know that it was extolled by both the Greek and the Chinese philosophers; but I 55 cannot see that they meant much more than to counsel the avoidance of extremes, whether of measures or of opinions; and to advocate modera- tion in all things. James Hilton has a most amusing Chinese in his Lost Horizon. When the American 100% he-man, mixer, joiner, and go-getter, agrees with him about broadmindedness in religious beliefs, and ends "and I'm dead sure you're right!" his host mildly rebukes him, saying: "But we are only moderately sure." S CHAPTER XVI. "SERIOUS" STYLE OF A.C., OR THE APPARENT FRIVOLITY OF SOME OF MY REMARKS. Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Alas! It is unlikely that either you or I should come upon a copy of Max Beerbohm's portrait of Mathew Arnold; but Raven Hill's famous car- toon is history, and can be told as such without the illustration. We shall have to go into the matter, because of your very just criticism of my magical writings in general --- and these letters, being colloquial, are naturally an extreme case. Far-off indeed those sunny days when life in England was worth living; when one could travel anywhere in Europe --- except Russia and Turkey, which spiritually, at least, are in Asia --- or America, without a pass- port; when we complained that closing time was twelve-thirty a.m.; when there was little or no class bitterness, the future seemed secure, and only Nonconformists failed to enjoy the fun that bubbled up on every side. Well, in those days there were Music-halls; I can't hope to explain to you what they were like, but they were jolly. (I'm afraid that there's another word beyond the scope of your universe!) At the Empire, Leicester Square, which at that time actually looked as if it had been lifted bodily from the "Continong" (a very wicked place) there was a promenade, with bars complete (drinking bars, my dear child, I blush to say) where one might hope to find "strength and beauty met together, Kindle their image like a star in a sea of glassy weather." There one might always find London's "soiled doves" (ass they revoltingly called them in the papers) of every type: Theodora (celebrated "Christian" Empress) and Phryne, Messalina and Thais, Baudelaire's swarthy mistress, and Nana, Moll Flanders and Fanny hill. But the enemies of life were on guard. They saw people enjoying them- selves, (shame!) and they raked through the mildewed parchments of obsolete laws until they found some long-forgotten piece of mischief that might stop it. The withered husks of womanhood, idle, frustrated, spiteful and malignant, called up their forces, blackmailed the Church into supporting them, and began a senseless string of prosecutions. Notable in infamy stands out he name of Mrs. Ormiston Chant. So here we had the trial of some harmless girl for "accosting;" it was a scene from this that inspired Raven Hill's admirable cartoon. A "pale young curate" is in the witness box. "The prisoner," he drawled "made improper proposals to me. The actual words used were: "why do you look so sad, Bertie?'" The magistrate: "A very natural question!" Now, fifty years later, here am I in the dock. 1 ("How can you expect people to take your Magick seriously!" I hear from every quarter, "when you write so gleefully about it, with your tongue always in your cheek?") My dear good sister, do be logical! Here am I who set out nigh half a century ago to seek "The Stone of the Wise, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness:" I get it, and you expect me to look down a forty-inch nose and lament! I have plenty of trouble in life, and often enough I am in low enough spirits to please anybody; but turn my thoughts to Magick --- the years fall off. I am again the gay, quick, careless boy to whom the world was gracious. Let this serve for an epitaph: Gray took eleven years; I, less. Elegy Written in a Country Farmyard By Cock-a-doodle-doo Here lies upon this hospitable spot A youth to flats and flatties unknown; The Plymouth Brethren gave it to him hot; Trinity, Cambridge, claimed him for her own. He climbed a lot of mountains in his time He stalked the tiger, bear and elephant. He wrote a stack of poems, some sublime, Some not. Tales, essays, pictures, plays my aunt! At chess a minor master, Hoylake set His handicap at two. Love drove him crazy. Three thousand women used to call him pet; In other matters --- shall we call him "lazy"? He had the gift of laughing at himself; Most affably he walked and talked with God; And now the silly bastard's on the shelf, We'll bury him beneath another sod. - - - - - In all the active moods of Nature --- her activity is Worship! there is an element of rejoicing; even when she is at her wildest and most destructive. (You know Gilbert's song "When the tiger is a-lashing of his tail"?) Her sadness always goes with the implied threat of cessa- tion --- and that we know to be illusion. There is nothing worse in religion, especially in the Wisdom-Religion, than the pedagogic-horatory accents of the owlish dogmatist, unless it be the pompous self-satisfaction of the prig. Eschew it, sister, eschew it! Even in giving orders there is a virile roar, and the commander who is best obeyed is he who rages cheerfully like an Eights Coach or a Rugger Captain. "Up Guards and at 'em!" may not be authentic; but that is the right spirit. 2 The curate's twang, the solemnity of self-importance, all manners that do not disclose the real man, are abominations, "Anathema Maranatha" --- or any other day of the week. These painted masks are devised to conceal chicanery or emptiness. The easy-going humorous style of Vivekananda is intelligible and instructive; the platitudinous hot potatoes of Waite are neither. The dreadful thing is that this assumption of learning, of holiness, of mysterious avenging powers, somehow deceives the average student. He does not realise how well and wisely such have conned Wilde's maxim: "To be intelligible is to be found out." I know that I too am at times obscure; I lament the fact. The reason is twofold: (a) my ineradicable belief that my reader knows all about the subject better than I do myself, and (at best) may like to hear it tackled from a novel angle, (b) I am carried away by the exultant exaltation of my theme: I boil over with rapture --- not the crystal-clear, the cool solution that I aimed at. On the Path of the Wise there is probably no danger more deadly, no poison more pernicious, no seduction more subtle than Spiritual Pride; it strikes, being solar, at the very heart of the Aspirant; more, it is an inflation and exacerbation of the Ego, so that its victim runs the peril of straying into a Black Lodge, and finding himself at home there. Against this risk we look to our insurance; there are two infallible: Common Sense and the Sense of Humour. When you are lying exhausted and exenterate after the attainment of Vishvarupadarshana it is all wrong to think: "Well, now I'm the holiest man in the world, of course with the exception of John M. Watkins;" better recall the words of the weary sceptical judge in A. P. Herbert's Holy Deadlock; he makes a Mantram of it! "I put it to you --- I put it to you --- I put it to you --- that you have got a boil on your bottom." To this rule there is, as usual with rules, an exception. Some states of mind are of the same structure as poetry, where the "one step from the sublime to the ridiculous" is an easy and fatal step. But even so, pedantry is as bad as ribaldry. Personally, I have tried to avoid the dilemma by the use of poetic language and form; for instance, in AHA! It is all difficult, dammed difficult; but if it must be that one's most sacred shrine be profaned, let it be the clean assault of laughter rather than the slimy smear of sactimoniousness! There, or thereabouts, we must leave it. "Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh;" and I cannot sing the words of an epithalamium to the music of a dirge. Besides, what says the poet? "Love's at its height in pure love? Nay, but after When the song's light dissolves gently in laughter." Oh! "One word more" as Browning said, and poured forth the most puerile portentous piffle about that grim blue-stocking "interesting invalid," his spouting wife. Here it is, mercifully much shorter, and not in tripping trochees! "Actions speak louder than words." (I positively leak proverbs this afternoon --- country air, I suppose): and where actions are the issue, devil a joke from Aleister! 3 Do you see what is my mark? It is you that I am going to put in the dock about "being serious;" and that will take a separate letter --- part of the answer to yours received March 10th, 1944 and in general to your entire course of conduct since you came to me --- now over a year ago. Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally yours, 666 CHAPTER XLV "UNSERIOUS" CONDUCT OF A PUPIL Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Here pops us Zola again --- this time he says J'Accuse! To day's Hexa gram for me is No. X. L, the Tiger: and the Duke of Chau comments on the last line as follows: "The sixth line, undivided, tells us to look at the whole course that is trodden, and examine the presage which that gives. If it be complete and without failure, there will be great good fortune." O.K.; Let's! It is now well over a year since you came to me howling like a damned soul in torment --- and so you should be! --- and persuaded me to take you as my pupil. What have you done with that year? . . . . . . . . First, suppose we put down what you agreed to do: The essential prelim- inaries of the work of the A.'. A.'. --- you are to be heartily congratu- lated upon your swift perception that the principles of that august body were absolute. 1. Prepare and submit your Magical Record. (Without this you are in the position of a navigator with neither chart nor log.) It would have been quite easy to get this ready in a week. Have you done so in a year? No. 2. Learn to construct and perfect the Body of Light. This might have required anything up to a dozen personal lessons. You were urged to claim priority upon my time. What did you do? You made one experiment with me fairly satisfactory, and got full instructions for practice and experiment at home. You made one experiment, ignoring every single one of the recom- mendations made to you. You kept on making further appointments for a second personal lesson; and every one of them you broke. 3. Begin simple Yoga practices. This, of course, cannot be checked at all in the absence of a 4 careful record and of instructed critical analysis. You do not make the one, and are incapable of the other. so I suppose you are very well satisfied with yourself! 4. Your O.T.O. work. You were supplied with copies of those rituals to which you were entitled. You were to make copies of these. Your were to go through them with me, so as to assimilate their Symbolism and teaching. Have you done any of this? No. 5. You were to write me a letter of questions once every fortnight. Have you done so? No. . . . . . . . . Have you in thirteen months done as much as honest work would have accomplished in a week? No. . . . . . . . . What excuses do you drag out, when taxed with these misdemeanors? You are eager to make appointments to be received in audience; then you break them without warning, explanation, apology or regret. You are always going to have ample time to devote to the Great Work; but that time is always somewhere after the middle of next week. If you put half as much enthusiasm into what you quite rightly claim to be the most important factor in life as other old ladies do into Culbert- son Contract, you might get somewhere. What you need, in the way of a Guru, is some fat, greasy Swami, who would not allow you to enter or leave his presence without permission, or address him without being formally invited to do so. After seven years at menial household drudgeries, you might with luck be allowed to listen to some of his improving discourse. Pretentious humbug is the only appeal to which you can be relied on to respond. Praxiteles would repel you, unless you covered the marble completely with glittering gew-gaws, tinsel finery, sham jewels from the tray of Autolycus! Yet it was precisely because you were sick of all this that you came to me at all. How can one take you as a serious student? Only because you do have moments when the scales fall from your eyes, and your deep need tears down the tawdry counterfeits which hide the shrine where Isis stands unveiled --- but ah! too far. You must advance. To advance --- that means Work. Patient, exhausting, thankless, often 5 bewildering Work. Dear sister, if you would but Work! Work blindly, foolishly, misguidedly, it doesn't matter in the end: Work in itself has absolute virtue. But for you, having got so far in this incarnation, there must be a revolution. You must no longer hesitate, no longer plan; you must leap into the dark, and leap at once. "The Voice of my Higher Soul said unto me: Let me enter the Path of Darkness; peradventure thus I may attain the Light." Love is the law, love under will. Fraternally yours, 666 P.S. Let me adduce an example of the way in which the serious Aspirant bends to the oar. This is not boasting as if the facts denoted super- lative excellence; they speak. The only comment is that if such conduct is not normal and universal, it ought to be. Yet no! I would add this: that I have not yet heard of anyone who has attained to any results of importance who does not attribute his success to devotion of quite similar quality. Here they are: 1. The Cloud on the Sanctuary. On reading this book, Mr. X., who was desperate from the conviction that no success in life was worth a tinker's dam, decided: "This is the answer to my problem; the members of the Secret Fraternity which this book describes have solved the riddle of life. I must discover them, and seek to be received amongst them." 2. X., hearing a conversation in a caf which made him think that the speaker might be such an one as he sought, hunted him down --- he had gone on his travels --- caught him, and made him promise an interview at the earliest possible date. 3. This interview leading to an introduction to the Fraternity, he joined it, pledging his fealty. But he was grievously shocked, and nearly withdrew, when assured: "There is nothing in this Oath which might conflict in any way with your civil, moral or religious obliga- tions." If it was not worth while becoming a murderer, a traitor, and an eternally damned soul, why bother about it? was his attitude. The Head of the Fraternity being threatened with revolt, X. when to him, in circumstances which jeopardised his own progress, and offered his support "to the last drop of my blood, and the last penny of my purse." Deciding to perform a critical Magical Operation, and being warned that serious opposition might come from his own friends, family, etc., he abandoned his career, changed his name, cut himself off completely from the past, and allowed no alien interest of any sort to interfere with his absorption in the Work. His journey to see the Head seemed at that time a fatal interruption; at the least, it involved the waste of one whole year. He was wrong; his gesture of setting the interests of the Order before his personal advancement was counted unto him for right- eousness. 6 There should be no need to extend this list; it could be continued indefinitely. X. had one rule of life, and one only; to do whatever came first on the list of agenda, and never to count the cost. Because this course of conduct was so rigidly rational, it appeared to others irrational and incalculable; because it was so serenely simple, it appeared an insoluble mystery of a complexity utterly unfathomable! But --- I fear that you are only too likely to ask --- is not this system (a) absurd, (b) wrong, as certain in the long run to defeat its own object. Well, as to (a), everything is absurd. The Universe is not constructed to gratify the mania of "social planners" and their tedipus kind. As to (b), there you said something; the refutation will lead us to open a new chapter. Ought not X. to have laid down a comprehensive scheme, and worked out the details, so that he would not break down half-way through for lack of foresight and provision for emergencies? An example. Suppose that the next step in his Work involved the sacri- fice of a camel in a house in Tooting Bec, furnished in such fashion as his Grimoire laid down, and that the purchase of the house left him with- out resources to but that furniture, to say nothing of the camel. What a fool! No, that does not necessarily follow. If the Gods will the End, They also will the means. I shall do all that is possible to me by buying the house: I shall leave it to Them to do Their share when the time comes. This "Act of Truth" is already a Magical Formula of infallible puissance; the man who is capable of so thinking and acting is far more likely to get what he wanted from the Sacrifice --- when at long last the Camel appears on the premises --- then he who, having ample means to carry out the whole Operation without risk of failure, goes through the ceremony without ever having experienced a moment's anxiety about his ability to bring it to a successful conclusion. It think personally that the error lies in calculating. The injunction is "to buy the egg of a perfectly black hen without haggling." You have no means of judging what is written in Their ledger; so "...reason is a lie;...", ..." & all their words are skew-wise...." AL II, 32. Let me add that it is a well-attested fact of magical experience --- beginning with Tarquin and the Sibylline books! --- as well as a fact of profane psychology, that if you funk a fence, it is harder next time. If the boy falls off the pony, put him on again at once: if the young airman crashes, send him up again without a minute's avoidable delay. If you don't, their nerve is liable to break for good and all. I am not saying that this policy is invariably successful; your judg- ment may have misled you as to the necessity of the Operation which loomed so large at the moment. And so on; plenty of room for blunders! But it is a thousand times better to make every kind of mistake than to slide into the habit of hesitation, of uncertainty, of indecision. 7 For one thing, you acquire also the habit of dishonourable failure; and you very soon convince yourself that"the whole thing is nonsense." confidence comes from exercise, from taking risks, from picking your- self up after a purler; finding that the maddest gambles keep oncoming off, you begin to suspect that there is no more than Luck in it; you observe this closely, and there forms, in the dusk dimly, a Shape; very soon you see a Hand, and from its movements you divine a Brain behind the whole contrivance. "Good!" you say quietly, with a determined nod; "I'm watched, I'm helped: I'll do my bit; the rest will come about without my worrying or meddling." And so it is. Good-night. 666. CHAPTER XLVI SELFISHNESS Cara Soror, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Selfishness? I am glad to find you worrying that bone, for it has plenty of meat on it; fine juicy meat, none of your Chilled Argentine or Canterbury lamb. It is a pelvis, what's more; for in a way the whole structure of the ethics of Thelema is founded upon it. There is some danger here; for the question is a booby trap for the noble, the generous, the high-minded. "Selfishness," the great characteristic of the Master of the Temple, the very quintessence of his attainment, is not its contradictory, or even its contrary; it is perfectly compatible (nay, shall we say friendly?) with it. The Book of the Law has plenty to say on this subject, and it does not mince its words. "First, text; sermon, next," as the poet says. AL II, 18, 19, 20, 21. "These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk. "Is a God to live in a dog? No! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us. "Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us. "We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp 8 down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. ..." That sets up a standard, with a vengeance! (Note "they feel not," twice repeated. There should be something impor- tant to the thesis herein concealed.) The passage becomes exalted, but a verse later resumes the theme, setting forth the philosophical basis of these apparently violent and arrogant remarks. "...It is a lie, this folly against self...." (AL II, 22) This is the central doctrine of Thelema in this matter. What are we to understand by it? That this imbecile and nauseating cult of weakness --- democracy some call it --- is utterly false and vile. Let us look into the matter. (First consult AL II, 24, 25, 48, 49, 58, 59. and III, 18, 58, 59. It might be confusing to quote these texts in full; but they throw much further light on the subject.) The word "compassion"


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