Category Archives: Reflections

The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life

You may be interested in The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life by Robert C. Stein, available from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is an important new contribution to Thelemic studies. It begins with an examination and analysis of the “Class A” texts of the Thelemic canon, with special emphasis on the manuscript and symbolism of The Book of the Law. The author, Robert Stein, reminds us that the prophet of Thelema, Aleister Crowley, declared that the manuscript of The Book of the Law (Liber XXXI) was unequivocally the first and final authority above all other Thelemic literature. He surveys the mysteries and questions it poses, and encourages his readers not just to rely on a typeset version of the text, but also to study a copy of the manuscript, so as to derive a direct and personal understanding from it. He then examines the symbolism of Thelema by comparison to archetypal messages expressed historically through god-forms, kabalah, trigrams (I Ching), Tree of Life models, and alphabets. Stein further proposes a three-dimensional Tree of Life, relates it to Tarot and the paths in Liber 231. The model originates in Liber Trigrammaton and the Cube of Space, but while based on historical material, it approaches the symbolism from a fresh perspective. The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is not an “introductory work” or a “beginner’s guide,” but a serious and challenging study of a complex subject.

The author, Robert C. Stein, is a Professor Emeritus of Biology in the NY State University System, whose involvement in the study and practice of Thelema spans three decades and travels in five continents. In writing this study he has, as far as possible, approached the texts from a scientific and logical viewpoint, and in most instances has included facsimile excerpts of the pertinent material illustrating the basis of his thought.”


I had the chance to attend a presentation by Bob Stein back in 2009 at the seventh National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference (NOTOCON VII), and he has some strong opinions and interesting ideas about the Book of the Law as it appears in both Liber CCXX (Book 220) and the original manuscript Liber XXXI (Book 31).

“Crowley strived to have an unequivocal ultimate source book for Thelema. However, the Book of the Law has several variations that may affect an initiate’s individual interpretation. The history of the editions published during Crowley’s lifetime show the changes. The importance of the manuscript is emphasized. Please bring a copy of Liber AL that includes both the manuscript and the typeset version.” [via]

In fact, that presentation was one of the reasons I decided to do my own transliteration of Liber XXXI for the library, and though I know the same had been done previously I avoided referencing Ash’s version until after I’d completed my own. Anyhow, if that presentation was any indication, if you’re interested in the subject matter, you’re going to find this new release an interesting read.

In Operibus Sigillo Dei Aemeth, Part 0, “The Seal of God’s Truth” by David Richard Jones

“Dee was himself told originally to adapt the form from several in his own collection of Grimoires; but which one, was not made clear either by Dee or the Angels. A number of variations on the Seal of God or Seal of God’s Truth are to be found in MSS owned by Dee.” [via]

The Spirit Actions

Another section of David Richard Jones’ Invisible College was The Spirit Actions, a collection of texts from a project to create an online edition of John Dee and Edward Kelley’s “A TRUE & FAITHFUL RELATION OF What passed for many Yeers Between DR. JOHN DEE and SOME SPIRITS”:

“The Texts contained in this folder are part of a project, by various members of [email protected], to produce a web edition of A TRUE & FAITHFUL RELATION OF What passed for many Yeers Between DR. JOHN DEE and SOME SPIRITS: Those who have substantively contributed to this project are: Frater Adsum Iterum, Raymond Drewry, Susan Drewry, David R. Jones, Victor Marques and Patricia A. Shaffer. This notice should be included with any distribution or posting of this material. The Latin translations are copyright their respective translators.”

In addition to The Obsidian Mirror of John Dee and Edward Kelley, An Enochian Miscellany, as well as The Enochian World of Benjamin Rowe and Norton’s Imperium; there’s also Clay Holden’s John Dee Publication Project, mirrored at the Hermetic Library. Of course, there’s a lot of other material on the site related to this, which you can find using a site search, but some things you may want to check out “Enochian” and “John Dee” as a start.

Elsewhere online, you may also be interested in The John Dee Society which I’ve been told is still alive in spite of the apparent silence or Twilit Grotto’s Writings of John Dee.

The Elias Ashmole Award for Enochian Excellence on the Web

Back in the day, there were several sites that were honored with the Elias Ashmole Award for Enochian Excellence on the Web. These are recorded in the archives of David Richard Jones’ Invisible College site recently added to the Hermetic Library at

The awards were Parker Torrence on November 1997, Benjamin Rowe on December 1997, and Clay Holden on January 1998. There is a mirror of Clay Holden’s John Dee Publication Project and two significant archives of Benjamin Rowe’s materials from The Enochian World of Benjamin Rowe and Norton’s Imperium: Enochian Magick Papers & Links that are part of the Hermetic Library collection.

You may want to take a gander through the links on these award pages for a fascinating look at the active work that was being done online in those bygone days of yore, when the commercial Internet was only a few years old. There’s a lot of interesting materials and history here to be discovered and remembered.

In rescuing these pages, I have updated a few links which go to materials elsewhere in the collection of the Hermetic Library, but I’ve decided to keep links to other materials as they appear in snapshots available at the Wayback Machine. Without the luminary service provided by the Internet Archive this rescue of materials could not have happened, so, in the spirit of Awards for Excellence on the Web, I’ll take this moment to give my own kind of award of thanks for the service they have provided and continue to provide to the community and culture of the Internet.