Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Yellow Book: The Divine Mother, Kundalini, and Spiritual Powers by Samael Aun Weor.
Columbian occultist Samael Aun Weor obviously did not have the French decadence or English fin de siècle quarterly The Yellow Book in mind while choosing the title El Libro Amarillo for this short book of esoteric instruction when he first issued it in the 1950s. He identifies yellow with Buddha and Christ and “the Mental World,” and explains:
“The science of the mind truly constitutes The Yellow Book. This is why this book is called The Yellow Book because the science of the mind is written here. In order to work with the science of the mind, the initiate should retire to bed at 10:00 p.m. daily.” (111)
I’m afraid that’s a pretty representative sample of his prose style as well. The 2011 English edition of this book was produced by Glorian Publishing, a non-profit dedicated to the English-language promotion of Weor’s work. No translator or editor is identified, although significant editorial impositions on the text are evident, even without direct comparison to the Spanish original.
Weor was a student of the neo-Rosicrucian Arnold Krumm-Heller, who was himself a recipient of O.T.O. high degrees from O.H.O. Theodor Reuss. Krumm-Heller was also a sympathetic associate of Reuss’ successor Aleister Crowley. The reader will not learn these facts from The Yellow Book, where the only authorities cited are Mahavatar Babaji and famous Theosophical mahatmas like Morya (91). Weor writes no less than four times in this volume, “Our motto is Thelema (willpower)” (11, 37, 57, 113), but the one explicit reference to Crowley is from a passage in the glossary written by the editor(s):
“Unfortunately the term ‘sexual magic’ has been grossly misinterpreted by mistaken persons such as Aleister Crowley, who advocated a host of degenerated practices, all of which belong solely to the lowest and most perverse mentality and lead only to the enslavement of the consciousness, the worship of lust and desire, and the decay of humanity.” (139)
The “Arcanum A.Z.F.” frequently invoked by Weor appears at first glance to be a close parallel to the Supreme Secret of the Sovereign Sanctuary in O.T.O. doctrine. Weor’s editor glosses it as “The practice of sexual transmutation as a couple (male-female), a technique known in Tantra and Alchemy” (118). If the secret is in any way similar, however, the understanding of that secret certainly differs greatly between Weor and Crowley. Weor construes “chastity” as sexual continence (cf. Little Essays Toward Truth), and he condemns orgasm generally. He further asserts, “seminal ejaculation is a crime; seminal ejaculation is brutal fornication” (31). (For counterpoint, Crowley writes, “There is nothing unclean or degrading in any manifestation soever of the sexual instinct, because, without exception, every act is an impulsively projected image of the Will of the individual who, whether man or woman, is a star,” in his commentary to CCXX I:52.)
Weor makes conspicuous use of the correlation of the sat chakras to the Apocalyptic seven churches of Asia. But he does not credit this concept to its earlier development in The Apocalypse Unsealed of Theosophist James M. Pryse. By contrast, Weor’s notions about crickets as an adjunct to visionary technique appear to be rather novel, despite his claim for their Mexican and Roman antiquity (chapter 13).
The Yellow Book culminates in a set of instructions regarding the hypergeometric thaumaturgy of “Jinn Science,” which Weor affirmatively distinguishes from “Gnostic ritual” (108). The practitioner is directed to aim at the physical ability to fly or levitate as a basic attainment in this discipline, and magical powers are attributed to the powdered eggshells of chickens. I would not recommend this little book as a resource for sincere aspirants, although it has a great number of intriguing features for readers tracing the twentieth-century evolution of occult movements.