That poem of Browning owes much of its haunting charm to this very circumstance, that the reader is never told who Childe Roland is, or why he wants to get to the Dark Tower, or what he expects to find when he does get there. There is a skillfully constructed atmosphere of Giants, and Ogres, and Hunchbacks, and the rest of the apparatus of fairy-tales; but there is no trace of the influence of Bædeker in the style. Now this is really very irritating to anybody who happens to be seriously concerned to get to that tower. I remember, as a boy, what misery I suffered over this poem. Had Browning been alive, I think I would have sought him out, so seriously did I take the Quest.
The Mystical and Magical System of the A∴A∴: The Spiritual System of Aleister Crowley & George Cecil Jones Step-by-Step by James A Eshelman, from the College of Thelema, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Initiation is a reality. Humanity has a potential to grow far beyond its native state of consciousness and capability. This growth is a spiritual growth. its fruits inform and empower every facet of human, mortal expression, while disclosing to each of us our own inherently immortal natures.
On this spiritual growth, more than any other thing, the future welfare and progress of humanity depends.
For thousands of years, Adepts have known how to unlock or awaken this growth—how to mature it and unleash genius at will. Beginning in 1906, two such Adepts, Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones, organized and made public the mystical and magical disciplines by which any motivated person can achieve this spiritual maturity and have direct experience of realization, liberation, union with God, or cosmic consciousness.
They called their system A∴A∴. Its methods are those of empirical science; its aim, those of devoted religion.
This book explores, step-by-step, the mystical and magical system of the A∴A∴. For many in the West, it is a strange thought that spirituality can be drilled in the same way that a muscle is strengthened. Yet, an ear trained to listen to music detects wondrous subtleties that the untrained ear misses. The same is true of the palate trained to distinguish fine food and wine, or the eye trained to discriminate nuance in any of a thousand areas.
The same is true of spiritual experience. The stages of its unfolding are distinct: the discovery of one’s True Will (or who one is in the Universe), and the practical means of expressing this in the world; the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel (or conscious union with the Divine); and the continued advance toward and through that vast gulf, or Abyss, which lies between humanity and Divinity.
The author, in more than 20 years of experience of the the mystical and magical system of the A∴A∴, has derived enormous value from it. This book is the clearest, most comprehensive presentation of the system ever written.” — back cover
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Cloud upon the Sanctuary by Karl von Eckartshausen, introduction by Arthur Edward Waite, preface by J W Brodie-Innes, translated and annotated by Isabelle De Steiger, foreword by Edward Dunning.
When Aleister Crowley had just been first turned on to magic by reading Arthur Edward Waite’s Book of Black Magic and Pacts, he wrote to the author to find out what he should study to become an occultist. Waite directed him to Eckartshausen’s Cloud Upon the Sanctuary. A freely-edited version of Letter II from this book later became Crowley’s Liber XXXIII: “An Account of A∴A∴” in which Jesus Christ was replaced with V.V.V.V.V., and God with L.V.X.
The rest of Eckartshausen’s book deserves to be read in the same spirit, substituting a more wholesome Thelemic morality and metaphysic for the crypto-gnostic Roman Catholicism of the author. It does afford a surprisingly useful apprehension of the Eternal and Invisible Order that hath no name among men. [via]
David Shoemaker will be giving a talk, “The System of Aleister Crowley’s A∴A∴ Methods and Tools of Attainment”, followed by a Q&A session and book signing for Living Thelema, at Atlantis Bookshop on July 11th, 2014.
“David Shoemaker at The Atlantis Bookshop
The System of Aleister Crowley’s A∴A∴
Methods and Tools of Attainment
Friday 11th July
Doors at 7pm; Event begins at 7:30
The talk will be followed by a Question & Answer Session and book signing featuring
Dr. Shoemaker’s new book, Living Thelema.” [via]
Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Inside Solar Lodge, Outside the Law: True Tales of Initiation and High Adventure by Frater Shiva. There has since 2012 been a new and expanded edition released, available at extortionate prices or a reasonable price.
This book is an invaluable addition to the history of Thelema, providing a previously-unavailable level of detail on the principal group in the US that believed itself to be perpetuating a magical catena from Aleister Crowley during the late 1960s. It is quite readable, and mostly credible. Still, practicing 21st-century Thelemites with no particular interest in history may find it somewhat shallow and uninteresting.
The account is certainly worth the read by students and researchers of the phenomena of New Religious Movements, as it offers an insider’s view of the full developmental arc of a ceremonial magic cult from inception to drug-addled senescence. [via]