Friends and lovers, I am rather excited to begin this month’s book club meeting. So without further ado, let’s talk books.
You human beings and your religions. Do Gods have words? Some say, “Yes they do”. Can you hear them? Some say, “Yes I can”. Can I hear them? Some say, “Yes you can”. When can I hear them? Some say, “Right now”. What if I can’t hear them? Some say, “Read the Bible”. Which Bible? Some say, “All of them”. Ok, maybe they don’t say that. But you will get a whole bunch of different answers from a whole bunch of different people. It just so happens, that this one particular religious tomb caught my eye the other day and I am rather excited to share it with you.
Have you ever been interested in the Qabalah? Or fascinated by the use of sex and erotica to perfect your ability to manipulate mystical powers from the astral plane? Then maybe Thelema is the right philosophy/religion for you. The Thelemic religion draws greatly from the Egyptian pantheon. Specifically the deities Nut, Hadit and Ra-Hoo- Khuit are considered to be Gods of particular importance. For they are the heavenly authors of this month’s holy text.
Aleister Crowley, the founder of the Thelemic religion, was a mystic who claimed to share a conversation with a higher being. Specifically, he was contacted by his guardian angel, Aiwass, The Minister of Hoor-paar-kraat (more commonly believed to be Horus, the centralized deity of Thelema). Aiwass used Crowley’s fiancee’s body to speak to him in order for Crowley to annotate the bible of his Theleman philosophy; Liber Al vel Legis, or in English, The Book of the Law.
In the span of four days (April 1st, 7th, 8th and 9th) between the hours of noon and 1 pm, Crowley and Aiwaas sat in the drawing room of an apartment in Cairo, Egypt to dictate this magical tomb.
The writing of the book is both overly complicated and significantly cryptic. Depending on your desire to dig deep into the will of the Thelemic pantheon or the mind of an insane wizardy-type (depending on your point of view) you may either get a great deal of spiritual awakening from reading this brief dictation, or a great deal pissed off for reading something so indecipherable. Later in his life, Crowley wrote The Comment, which spelled out the interpretation of his holy book in a concise simple paragraph. In The Comment, Crowley strictly prohibits any outside study or lecture of the book. He states that the book must be interpreted privately by ones self only, without aid outside of his own writings and analyses. He goes on to recommend you destroy your copy as soon as you have read it for the first time. It was in this brief paraphrase that Crowley defined the book in two simple phrases,
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”
“love is the law, love under will”
The definition of “Do what thou wilt” is meant to focus more on one’s spiritual destiny rather than one’s selfish desires. In thelema everyone has a true will, which is considered to be one’s destiny one must attain. It is not chosen, rather enlisted to an individual based off of their inner self in relation to the universe. To attain one’s true self is to attain enlightenment. A true Theleman’s actions are in perfect harmony with nature, as they use magick (yes, with a K) to attain one’s true will.
If you wish to read more on the subject of Thelema, I recommend starting with The Book of the Law. You can read it online by clicking here.
If you’d like to read any more of Aleister Crowley’s work online, you can do so by clicking here.
I also recommend Crowley’s autobiographical experience as a drug user, Diary of a Drug Fiend. At the very least it is worth a couple laughs.
For those of you who wish to read The Book of the Law and are easily lost in Aiwass’ fancy and highly metaphorical prose, I have written up a quick cheat sheet for you to become better acquainted with the meaning behind some of the texts. Does that make me a sinner in the eyes of your average Thelemic practitioner? I don’t care. I’m a horrible monster who lives in a closet and eats people. However, as this is such a complex piece of writing and I do have a great many babies to toss off of tall buildings today, my cheat sheet does not go so in depth to be a complete analysis, rather a modest glossary of Thelemic terms, metaphors and meanings behind various phrases and reoccurring concepts you will come across by reading The Book of the Law. If you are interested in reading Crowley’s various essays and commentaries on the book (which go significantly more in depth), I recommend reading his other book, The Law is for All. You can purchase a copy at Amazon.com by clicking here.
So without further ado, let us begin...
Heavenly speaker of the first chapter of the book.
She is the sky goddess, ever arching over her masculine counterpart Hadit, to kiss his “secret ardours”. (14)
“…and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given” (15)
The Scarlet Woman is the goddess Babylon, riding bare breasted on the back of the great Beast, whose number is 666 (Aleister Crowley often saved this title, The Great Beast, for himself. However in this case, he is referring to another deity. Not Satanic in nature, but Thelemic).
-To her is the “stooping Starlight” as to Hadit is the “Winged secret flame” (16)
Nuit and Hadit are represented as female and male counterparts, Nuit the feminine encompassing Hadit the masculine in her heavenly body. Crowley is famous for his blatant and cryptic carnality, for sex is a powerful tool in the Thelemic religion. Keep your peepers pealed. You are bound to find a great deal of metaphorical soft-core porn in this bible.
-“I am Nuit and my word is six and fifty. Divide, add, multiply, and understand” (24 – 25)
The use of numbers is very common in many pagan and spiritually based religions. In Thelema, they are used to uncover many transcendental secrets. 50 + 6 is 56, the number of Nuit. When broken apart and added together, 5 + 6 = 11, the number of the Tree of Life. Take special note of the importance of the numbers 5 and 6, for 5 is represented by the Pentagram, the 5 pointed star and 6 is represented by the Hexagram, the 6 pointed star. Both stars have their own magickal significance. The Pentagram represents the Microcosm, the four elements Earth, Fire, Wind and Water crowned together with the fifth point, the spirit. The Hexagram represents the Macrocosm, the points of the star are granted to the planetary bodies Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, The Sun and The Moon. Put together, the Pentagram and the Hexagram become a very powerful and all encompassing symbol. As you can see, there is already much to dive into with this mystical text.
-“My scribe Ankh-af-na-khonsu, the priest of the princes, shall not in one letter change this book; but lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon by the wisdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit” (36)
Interesting tidbit, Cowley actually did make changes to the original manuscript (such as inserting summed up excerpts from his previous work, The Stele of Revealing and various other spelling and grammatical changes).
-“Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, The Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth” (40)
The Thelemic Order System has three levels of initiation.
The Man of Earth is the first level of enlightenment, in which the lesser magicks of nature are taught to the novice Thelemite.
The Lover is the second level of enlightenment, in which lessons of the first level are expanded upon with more emphasis on the pursuit of knowledge of the greater magicks of nature.
The Hermit is the third level of enlightenment, in which the Theemic student must follow the pursuit of light and knowledge. It is where one finds inner and personal enlightenment. To achieve this is to achieve the highest form of existence and become a Master of the Universe.
Heavenly speaker of the second chapter of the book
The spirit within all humans. The masculine counterpart to Nuit.
-“With the just I am eight, and one in eight”
Numbers again. You can read more about the Thelemic meaning of numbers by clicking here.
-“Now a curse on because and his kin!” (28)
“If will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, the Will stops & does nought” (29)
“If power asks why, then is Power weakness” (30)
“Because” is a rebellious word. The answer to the question “because” defines reason, and in Thelema, reason is acquiescent to Will. Crowley states in his later work, The Law Is For All, “It is ridiculous to ask a dog why it barks. One must fulfill one’s true nature, one must do one’s will”, emphasizing this Thelemic school of thought.
-“A Feast…Aye! Feast! Rejoice! There is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu” (34 – 44)
Hadit commands you to rejoice on the path of your true will.
-“There is light before thine eyes, o prophet, a light undesired, most desirable…I am the master: thou art the Holy Chosen One” (61 – 65)
Hadit’s message seems to be directed toward Crowley himself, as Hadit depicts the joyous rapture which comes with the service of dictating this heavenly prophecy. Crowley would later describe in his piece the old Comment as feeling “swallowed up in ecstacy” while writing this.
-"4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L…There cometh one to follow the: he shall expound it” (76)
Some magicians believe this to be a Cipher, a code, which can be easily solved through a mysterious process.
A wonderful author, G. M. Kelly attempts to decipher this crypic code through several notes and works of Crowley. You can read his article by clicking here.
Heavenly speaker of the third chapter of the book of the law
God of war and vengeance (pay close attention to his words, for they are very war mongering)
Lord of the Aeon
-"Abrahadabra, the reward of a Hoor Khut” (1)
The word Abrahadabra (with an H, not a C) is, according to Crowley in The Law is for All, the mystical formula for this new Aeon, The Aeon of Horus. The reason is broken down in said book.
-“Sacrifice cattle, little and big: after a child. But not now” (12 – 13)
Interesting tidbit, Crowley had many children with many different women. A good portion of his children died in his lifetime.
-“There cometh a rich man from the West who shall pour gold upon thee…and blessing no longer be poured to the Hawk-headed mystical lord!” (31 - 34)
This is a prophesy of the future, involving the formation of the Thelemic church and the oncoming battle that will ensue.
-Hrumachis – The double lion headed form of Horus. It is an inverted form of the Sphinx, the body of a lion and the head of a man for Hrumachis has the body of a woman and the head(s) of a lioness.
-Mentu – Egyptian war God, lord of Thebes.
-Ankh-af-na-khonsu – a Thebian priest of Mentu from the 26th dynasty in Egypt.
-Ra, Tum, Khephra, Ahathoor Bes-na-Maut and Ta-Nech – Egyptian Gods. Ahathoor is better known from history as Hathor, Egyptian Goddess of fertility and love.
-“...and thy comment upon this the Book of the Law shall be printed beautifully in red ink and black upon beautiful paper made by hand” (39)
You can buy a copy of the Book of the Law by clicking here.
made with crappy printer paper and inked with equally crappy printer ink.
-“…let her be shameless before all men” (44)
more metaphorical and literal allusions to sexuality as a powerful tool of magic.
-“With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross…For her sake let all chaste women be utterly despised among you” (51 – 55)
Here, Ra-Hoor-Khuit condemns all other religious philosophies, cursing the oppression of all other schools of thought.
-“The ending of the words is the Word Abrahadabra” (75)
And with this, Ra-Hoor-Khuit ends his dictation as he begun it.
Aeon of isis
Mankind worshipped a great goddess (Isis)
Mother earth took care of her children - pagan worship
Aeon of Osiris
Classical to medieval centuries
Mankind worships a single male god (Osiris)
Patriarchal values – Christian values are the priority
Aeon of Horus
controlled by the child god, Horus
humanity will enter self realization and self actualization
Did this prophesy actually come to pass? You tell me, Led Zeppelin.