Category Archives: Liber Legis – The Book of the Law

The Revival of Magick and Other Essays

The Revival of Magick and Other Essays by Aleister Crowley, edited by Hymenaeus Beta, afterword by Samuel Aiwaz Jacobs, a 1998 paperback from New Falcon, the 2nd in the Oriflamme series, with cover design by John Bowie, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Aleister Crowley The Revival of Magick and Other Essays from New Falcon

This is the 2nd in the newer Oriflamme series, of which the first was Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword and Other Essays by Jack Parsons, and of which there has not yet been a 3rd. The original Oriflamme was an early newsletter from Theodor Reuss and Ordo Templi Orientis, a title which has appeared in various and varied usage since and is here used again for the newer series of books.

“This collection is concerned with Aleister Crowley as an essayist. This literary form gave full range to his wit, humor, knowledge, and command of English. Most of his essays are as fresh today as when they were first written, and some of his best are collected here, forming a curiously charming sampling of Crowley’s opinions and interests. His essay subjects are wide-ranging, including mysticism, magick, travel, humor, social satire, drugs, psychoanalysis, religious fundamentalism, ‘pop’ occultism, art, divination, mythology, and drama. Crowley preaches his new Law of Thelema in several passionate essays and epistlatory letters, explaining the religious philosophy of the new law given in 1904 e.v. by Liber AL vel Legis, The Book of the Law. Sometimes writing as Crowley the man, at other times as The Master Therion, Magus of the New Æon of Horus, the recipients range from a fellow writer (the American novelist James Branch Cabell). to an industrialist (Henry Ford), to his colleagues. Crowley makes doctrinal connections not made elsewhere, many of great relevance to the theology and social philosophy of Thelema, discussing François Rabelais and William Blake. he also discusses the practical application of his philosophy at that great experiment in Thelemic monasticism, the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily.

The intent of this collection is to introduce Crowley’s writing to a wider modern audience, and his essays have been annotated thoroughly, including notes on sources, a bibliography of works cited, and an index. The Oriflamme is a series of monographs on magick, mysticism and the history of ideas. This is the second number of a new series.” — back cover

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Goddess Nuit Kitty

Goddess Nuit Kitty is a another Aleister Crowley related Hello Kitty sculpture by The All Seeing Cat, which may be of interest.

The All Seeing Cat Goddess Nuit Kitty

“‘Every man and woman is a star.’—Nuit; Liber AL vel Legis, 1:3 (April 8th, 1904)

‘Note that Heaven is not a place where Gods Live; Nuit is Heaven, itself.’—Aleister Crowley; Magical And Philosophical Commentaries On The Book Of The Law (1974)

As the mother of Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, Horus and Set, the reign of Nuit (or Nut) as an Egyptian mythological deity lasted for thousands of years. While her popularity has waned through the ages, a new interest in ‘The Queen Of Infinite Space’ was sparked by Aleister Crowley and his Thelemic movement. Nuit dictated the first chapter of The Book Of The Law through Aiwass and to Crowley in 1904. Crowley referred to her as the ‘Lady of the Starry Heaven, who is also Matter in its deepest metaphysical sense, who is the infinite in whom all we live and move and have our being.'”

The All Seeing Cat Goddess Nuit Kitty alternate view

A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema

A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema by Hermetic Library fellow Colin Campbell, the 2008 hardcover limited to 418 copies from Teitan Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Colin Campbell Richard Kaczynski A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema from Teitan Press

“‘The Holy Books of Thelema,’ is the collective name given to the group of inspired texts received by Aleister Crowley between the years 1904 and 1911. These texts lie at the very heart of the teachings of his magical fraternity, the A∴ A∴, and consequently have been the subject of intense study and commentary by Crowley himself, and also by many of his students.

A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema is an important new tool for those engaged in the study of these beautiful and enigmatic books. It comprises a survey of every word in these texts, along with a brief quotation to give the context in which each word is used, and the location in which it appears.

On the most basic level A Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema serves as a convenient reference guide or index to the contents of The Holy Books. More importantly, it provides a level of access to the basic elements of the structure and composition of the texts that no conventional reading would afford. Key words and their frequencies of use become apparent, broader usage patterns are revealed, and the identification of particular phraseologies and idioms is simplified. The new paths of exploration that it opens for those with knowledge of the Kabbalah and Gematria are too numerous to list.

The Concordance includes an Introduction by the compiler, Colin D. Campbell, a student and teacher of the Thelemic, Kabbalistic, and Enochian magickal systems, and a Foreword by Crowley biographer and scholar, Dr. Richard Kaczynski.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

To Perfect This Feast

To Perfect This Feast: A Performance Commentary on The Gnostic Mass by James and Nancy Wasserman will be available in October, 2013, in a further revised third, and they say final, edition.

James and Nancy Wasserman's To Perfect This Feast 3rd edition

“The Gnostic Mass is a hymn to the wedding of scientific truth and religious aspiration. It offers a truly modern spirituality. The celebrant is encouraged to leave superstition and dogma behind and join in an ecstatic tribute to the glorious nature of reality. Aleister Crowley wrote the Gnostic Mass in 1913. He described it as the central ritual—public and private—of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). Today it is being performed on a regular basis throughout the world.

The authors of this performance guide to the Mass are both longtime O.T.O. members and consecrated bishops of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.). They share between them over half a century of diligent practice and training with this rite. Their devotion has been rewarded with long-sought-after insights into its complex choreography.

The detailed instructions presented here not only provide missing keys to the geometrical puzzle of the Mass, but offer a wider window into the workings of magical ritual. This book will thus be of value to spiritual aspirants, as well as to scholars and students of ancient myth, modern religious movements, and contemporary Gnosticism. The authors believe the Gnostic Mass to be a doorway into the highest realms of spiritual development and make a compelling case for that assertion.

In addition to a detailed commentary, they offer a corrected, uninterrupted Mass Missal suitable for use by individuals and groups interested in working with the ritual, along with valuable insights into magical ceremonies in general, and the Gnostic Mass in particular.

From the new edition:

‘The primary insight we received that prompted the first edition of this book in 2009 e.v. began in December 2005. It is described in the Commentary to Section VI, starting on page 93. It perfectly resolved the mathematical imbalance that had troubled me for over two and a half decades. We were humbled and felt compelled to share it with the wider Thelemic community. We then worked diligently to solve some of the other performance puzzles of which we were aware in Crowley’s stage directions. That quest led us through two previous editions of this book.

“We feel we have here solved problems that remained in our understanding of the choreography of the children and Deacon in Sections III, IV, and elsewhere. We noted the occurrence of two additional ‘X-switches’ during a training session conducted in 2012 e.v. They are mentioned on pages 94 and 102. We have refined and explained our version of the Communion in Section VIII better than ever before. We ‘road-tested’ this text twice with a group of five officers who had never done the Mass (three were not even O.T.O. members). That led to several important improvements in the instructions, and to the creation of the Temple diagram on page 52. We hope Mass teams will find the checklist useful on pages 125–127. There are another myriad of minor changes and refinements throughout.'” [via]

Manifest Thy Glory

Manifest Thy Glory: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference was recently released, and may be of interest. This book includes the text of presentations by many Hermetic Library fellows, including Sabazius, T Polyphilus, Colin Campbell, and Beth Kimbell, and touches many topics related to the subject matter of the library.

National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference NOTOCON Manifest Thy Glory

Manifest Thy Glory offers a selection of papers from the eighth biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference (NOTOCON) of the United States Grand Lodge of O.T.O., held in the Valley of Detroit, Michigan, in 2011 EV. The papers cover diverse topics including the Holy Guardian Angel, talismans in magick, spatial orientation in ritual, and other magical methods; occult history and biography, including the Stèle of Revealing and Ida Craddock; promulgation of Thelema through publishing and podcasts; textual analysis from Catullus to ‘Liber Trigrammaton;’ a touching reminiscence from the incomparable Lon Milo DuQuette; and even space, the final frontier. Other highlights include a street guide to Thelemic historical sites in Detroit, and the address given by U.S. National Grand Master Sabazius. They represent some of best modern practical and scholarly work on Ordo Templi Orientis, Thelema, and the magick of Aleister Crowley.

The first NOTOCON conference took place in 1997 EV in Akron, Ohio, and has since been held on alternate years in different cities around the United States. Manifest Thy Glory is the third collection of papers from the national conference to be made available, following the inaugural volume Beauty & Strength for the 2007 EV conference.

Ordo Templi Orientis is an international fraternal order of men and women devoted to the pursuit of individual liberty, the study of magick, and the promulgation of the Law of Thelema. Founded in the early twentieth century, it has been shaped by such leading lights as Carl Kellner, Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, Karl Germer and Grady Louis McMurtry.” [via]

Aleister Crowley: New, Used and Rare Books and Ephemera

You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #110: Aleister Crowley: New, Used and Rare Books and Ephemera. Including a Selection of Books from the Library of Wilfred T. Smith.

Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #110 Aleister Crowley

“Welcome to the one hundred-and-tenth of our on-line catalogues, this being another of our specialised Aleister Crowley lists.

The catalogue begins with three interesting new releases: signed copies of Marlene Cornelius’ Liber AL Vel Legis: The Book of the Law. An Examination of Liber XXXI & Liber CCXX; and David Shoemaker’s Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick, and the always-interesting and beautifully produced AMeTh Lodge Journal. Vol. I, No. II from AMeTh Lodge of the O.T.O. in London. The next item is “Dark Halo,” a signed and numbered Limited Edition Print of a portrait of Aleister Crowley by California artist Heather McMillen, with an accompanying hand-written poetic “homage to Aleister Crowley” by Blair MacKenzie Blake, author of The Wickedest Books in the World and other works.

The third section of the catalogue is devoted to books and ephemera by Aleister Crowley himself. Amongst the rarities included are a copy of the Cambridge University magazine Granta which includes an anonymous poem by Crowley, a copy of the vellum bound first volume of The [Collected] Works of Aleister Crowley with an extraordinary double inscription, and Nicholas Bishop-Culpeper’s personal copy of Magick In Theory and Practice, beautifully bound in full vellum. There is also a group of four autograph letters, signed by Crowley; each is significant in its own way, with topics ranging from Crowley’s alleged share holdings in Australia, to a defense of Aubrey Beardsley! A selection of copies of The English Review, each with a contribution by Crowley, are followed by a varied group of books and journals that in one way or another relate to “the Beast.” Included amongst the journals are a copy of Esquire Magazine from March 1970 with a detailed and heavily illustrated series of essays on Californian occultism, that also reproduces a newsclipping concerning the famous “Solar Lodge” “Boy in the Box” debacle; a complete set of Sothis Magazine from the 1970s, a collection of the first seven issues of the Typhonian magazine Starfire; and 3 consecutive issues of Picture Post Magazine from 1955 which serialised a well-illustrated but breathless account of Crowley’s life. Amongst the books in the same section are a first edition of The Macedonians by Mary Butts, the English novelist and serious occult practitioner who spent some time at Cefalu with Crowley, the very uncommon first edition of Tiger-Woman by Betty May, in which she recounts her own time at Cefalu, and Nina Hamnett’s Laughing Torso, a book which eventually led Crowley into bankruptcy after he sued it’s publishers for libel, and failed.

A selection of the rather abstruse “Ming” booklets by one-time Crowley acolyte C. F. Russell is followed by the first three volumes of his also often-baffling Znuz is Znees, Memoirs of a Magician. A link, to a separate page, leads to listings for a collection of 26 books that were formerly in the library of Wilfred Talbot Smith (1885-1957), founder of “The Church of Thelema,” head of Agape Lodge of the O.T.O. in California, a long term associate of Aleister Crowley, and subject of Martin Starr’s biography The Unknown God. The collection includes a copy of the First US edition of Aleister Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend, and copies of a number of works that Crowley is known to have recommended to his disciples, including The Canon; three books by Sydney T. Klein; the James Legge, translations of The Tao Teh King and The Yi King; etc. Some of the books have presentation or other inscriptions by well known people within the Thelemic community, including C. Stansfeld Jones; Frederic Mellinger; and Helen Parsons Smith. Most of the books are stamped with the personal lamen, with phallic design, of W.T. Smith, which he used as an ownership stamp, and a few also have his ownership signature. Included in the collection are several books that are quite scarce in their own right; notably the works by the obscure American alchemical author Delmar DeForest Bryant and the First Edition of the Pancham Sinh, translation of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Returning to the present page, the catalogue finishes with a group of copies of the Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick, a magazine published by a small Thelemic group in Ohio known as the Bate Cabal in the late 1970s and 80s.” [via]

Liber AL: an examination

Liber AL: an examination is a recent release from Conjoined Creation. Although not mentioned on the page for this book, it appears this being released by Marlene Cornelius and is in part an expanded reissue of material that appeared in the journal Red Flame, No 8.

Liber AL from Conjoined Creation

“Thelema, the religious philosophy of ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,’ began when Liber AL vel Legis was received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904. Liber AL, also known as The Book of the Law, is the central holy book of Thelema, and forms the foundation of Thelemic theory and practice. It has therefore been the subject of intense study by Thelemites for over a century.

The Book of the Law has been of interest to many people over the last century and has impacted innumerable lives. The research in Liber AL: an examination is of great importance to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Thelema’s foundational text, whether or not one is a Thelemite.

Liber AL: an examination brings together for the first time several scholarly expositions of different aspects of The Book of the Law, including a detailed review of its publication history and an exact transliteration of the manuscript with notations regarding changes made to it by Aleister Crowley during the course of his life. It also includes an exploration of a recent debate about whether the typescript as published by Crowley may contain a printing error that was never corrected.” [via]

The Law is for All

The Law Is for All: The Authorized Popular Commentary of Liber Al Vel Legis Sub Figura CCXX, The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley, edited by Louis Wilkinson and Hymenaeus Beta, the 2002 softcover third printing of the first edition from New Falcon Publications, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Aleister Crowley, Louis Wilkinson and Hymenaeus Beta's The Law is for All from New Falcon Publications

It is worth noting that in this edition, on page 192, “A Paraphrase of the Inscriptions upon the Obverse of the Stèle of Revealing” has “Aum! let it fill me!”

“Aleister Crowley’s life and thought are inexorably linked with The Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis, sub figura CCXX). He was not the author of this short, prophetic text. He received this visionary work by direct-voice dictation from a preterhuman, possibly discarnate intelligence in Cairo in 1904.

Crowley was an intelligent sceptic, and at first found this improbable means of communication as difficult to accept as most intelligent readers will today. Yet he could not ignore it or its message, and eventually concluded that it stood as conclusive proof of the underlying assumption of all religion — that intelligences superior to mankind not only exist, but take an active role in our welfare. He found that The Book of the Law holds the keys to the Next Step in human evolution, and sets forth the spiritual principles of a New Aeon.

He worked for decades to interpret its meaning for initiates and the general public, but rejected commentary after commentary as inadequate. He eventually concluded that he was too close to his subject to judge the value of his own commentaries, and entrusted the task to his best friend, Louis Wilkinson. Wilkinson (who wrote under the pen-name Louis Marlow) possessed impressive literary qualifications and had the advantages of knowing Crowley well and being a layman in esoteric matters. The result of his work is this long-awaited authorized popular edition of Crowley’s new commentary on The Book of the Law, and its first appearance as Crowley wished it. Louis Wilkinson’s editorial work was posthumously completed and augmented by Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta of the O.T.O. This new edition features annotations, reading lists and indexes, as well as an insightful introduction by Louis Wilkinson.”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

The Law is for All

The Law is for All: The Authorized Popular Commentary to the Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley, edited with an introduction by Israel Regardie, the 1985 second printing of the second edition softcover from Falcon Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie's The Law is for All from Falcon Press

It is worth noting that in this edition, in the front matter, “A Paraphrase of the Inscriptions upon the Obverse of the Stèle of Revealing” has “Aum! let it kill me!”

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law

Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley, edited and annotated by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, with an introduction by Kenneth Grant, the 1974 edition from 93 Publishing, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

John Symonds, Kenneth Grant and Aleister Crowley's Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the-Book of the Law from 93 Publishing

Unfortunately this is just a rather clandestine facsimile of a facsimile of the much sought after Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on Liber AL vel Legis, The Book of the Law.

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.