Tag Archives: Book 31

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.

Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force on Kindle

You may be interested to hear that over the weekend Aleister Crowley: The Fire and the Force came out for the Kindle ebook reader. This book is an exploration of the work of Aleister Crowley by Don Webb published by Rûna-Raven Press.

“Aleister Crowley wrote many works himself, and many works have been written about him. Most of the latter focus on his colorful lifestyle, while others seek to interpret his meta-poetic words in terms of one or another Thelemite orthodoxy. In this volume Don Webb, former High Priest of the Temple of Set, goes beyond either of these approaches. Webb, who has himself made his way along the same arduous initiatory pathways pioneered by the First Beast, here focuses on the initiatory and philosophical meaning of Crowley’s life-work. He does so in a way that can be of personal magical benefit to all who read the book. The text of Webb’s book is divided into two sections: The first is made up of essays originally written for his inner students in the Temple of Set, the second part consists of new writings created exclusively for this book. Throughout Webb guides the reader in a fascinating initiatory journey along the Left Hand Path with ‘Uncle Al,’ like Vergil, at his side.”

Also, you may be curious about an upcoming work by Don Webb in which he’s writing a pestilential commentary to the Book of the Law. I’ll post more about that when I myself know more, but I hear that this new work will mention the Hermetic Library; so I’m certainly curious now if I wasn’t already!

David Beth essay “Aleister Crowley and the Dawn of Aiwass”

You may be interested in checking out a newly available PDF of an updated David Beth (author of Voudon Gnosis, past leader of Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua & La Couleuvre Noire, and member of La Société Voudon Gnostique) essay “Aleister Crowley and the Dawn of Aiwass” which has a number of notes which reference Aleister Crowley’s Liber AL vel Legis sub figurâ CCXX as delivered by (LXXVIII) XCIII unto DCLXVI with a commentary by The Beast To Mega Therion 666.

The post about this essay over at LAShTAL notes that David Beth is making this available “[a]s a gift to the Thelemic community for their inspiration and their aid in research and ideas in the past” and that “David considers this one of his finest non-Voudon related writings and invites conversation and feedback on it.”