Meditation - Aleister Crowley

by Aleister Crowley



Issued by order of
known as the A.'.A.'.

"Witness our Seal,"

{Diagram: A.'.A.'. seal}


EXISTENCE, as we know it, is full of sorrow. To mention only one minor point:
every man is a condemned criminal, only he does not know the date of his execution.
This is unpleasant for every man. Consequently every man does everything possible
to postpone the date, and would sacrifice anything that he has if he could reverse
the sentence.
Practically all religions and all philosophies have started thus crudely, by
promising their adherents some such reward as immortality.
No religion has failed hitherto by not promising enough; the present breaking
up of all religions is due to the fact that people have asked to see the securities.
Men have even renounced the important material advantages which a well-organized
religion may confer upon a State, rather than acquiesce in fraud or falsehood, or
even in any system which, if not proved guilty, is at least unable to demonstrate
its innocence.
Being more or less bankrupt, the best thing that we can do is to attack the
problem afresh without preconceived ideas. Let us begin by doubting every
statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of
experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of various religions?
Let us examine the question.
Our original difficulty will be due to the enormous wealth of our material.
To enter into a critical examination of all systems would be an unending task;
the cloud of witnesses is too great. Now each religion is equally positive; and
each demands faith. This we refuse in the absence of positive proof. But we may
usefully inquire whether there is not any one thing upon which all religions have
agreed: for, if so, it seems possible that it may be worthy of really thorough
It is certainly not to be found in dogma. Even so simple an idea as that of
a supreme and eternal being is denied by a third of the human race. Legends of
miracle are perhaps universal, but these, in the absence of demonstrative proof,
are repugnant to common sense.
But what of the origin of religions? How is it that unproved assertion has so
frequently compelled the assent of all classes of mankind? Is not this a miracle?
There is, however, one form of miracle which certainly happens, the influence
of the genius. There is no known analogy in Nature. One cannot even think of a
"super-dog" transforming the {7} world of dogs, whereas in the history of mankind
this happens with regularity and frequency. Now here are three "super-men," all at
loggerheads. What is there in common between Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed? Is
there any one point upon which all three are in accord?
No point of doctrine, no point of ethics, no theory of a "hereafter" do they share,
and yet in the history of their lives we find one identity amid many diversities.
Buddha was born a Prince, and died a beggar.
Mohammed was born a beggar, and died a Prince.
Christ remained obscure until many years after his death.
Elaborate lives of each have been written by devotees, and there is one thing
common to all three -- an omission. We hear nothing of Christ between the ages of
twelve and thirty. Mohammed disappeared into a cave. Buddha left his palace, and
went for a long while into the desert.
Each of them, perfectly silent up to the time of the disappearance, came back and
immediately began to preach a new law.
This is so curious that it leaves us to inquire whether the histories of other great
teachers contradict or confirm.
Moses led a quiet life until his slaying of the Egyptian. He then flees into the land
of Midian, and we hear nothing of what he did there, yet immediately on his return he turns
the whole place upside down. Later on, too, he absents himself on Mount Sinai for a few
days, and comes back with the Tables of the Law in his hand.
St. Paul (again), after his adventure on the road to Damascus, goes into the desert of
Arabia for many years, and on his return overturns the Roman Empire. Even in the legends
of savages we find the same thing universal; somebody who is nobody in particular goes
away for a longer or shorter period, and comes back as the "great medicine man"; but
nobody ever knows exactly what happened to him.
Making every possible deduction for fable and myth, we get this one coincidence.
A nobody goes away, and comes back a somebody. This is not to be explained in any
of the ordinary ways.
There is not the smallest ground for the contention that these were from the start
exceptional men. Mohammed would hardly have driven a camel until he was thirty-five
years old if he had possessed any talent or ambition. St. Paul had much original
talent; but he is the least of the five. Nor do they seem to have possessed any of
the usual materials of power, such as rank, fortune, or influence.
Moses was rather a big man in Egypt when he left; he came back as a mere stranger. {8}
Christ had not been to China and married the Emperor's daughter.
Mohammed had not been acquiring wealth and drilling soldiers.
Buddha had not been consolidating any religious organizations.
St. Paul had not been intriguing with an ambitious general.
Each came back poor; each came back alone.
What was the nature of their power? What happened to them in their absence?
History will not help us to solve the problem, for history is silent.
We have only the accounts given by the men themselves.
It would be very remarkable should we find that these accounts agree.
Of the great teachers we have mentioned Christ is silent; the other four tell us
something; some more, some less.
Buddha goes into details too elaborate to enter upon in this place; but the gist
of it is that in one way or another he got hold of the secret force of the World and
mastered it.
Of St. Paul's experiences, we have nothing but a casual illusion to his having been
"caught up into Heaven, and seen and heard things of which it was not lawful to speak."
Mohammed speaks crudely of his having been "visited by the Angel Gabriel," who
communicated things from "God."
Moses says that he "beheld God."
Diverse as these statements are at first sight, all agree in announcing an experience
of the class which fifty years ago would have been called supernatural, to-day may be
called spiritual, and fifty years hence will have a proper name based on an understanding
of the phenomenon which occurred.
Theorists have not been at a loss to explain; but they differ.
The Mohammedan insists that God is, and did really send Gabriel with messages for
Mohammed: but all others contradict him. And from the nature of the case proof is
The lack of proof has been so severely felt by Christianity (and in a much less
degree by Islam) that fresh miracles have been manufactured almost daily to support
the tottering structure. Modern thought, rejecting these miracles, has adopted
theories involving epilepsy and madness. As if organization could spring from
disorganization! Even if epilepsy were the cause of these great movements which
have caused civilization after civilization to arise from barbarism, it would
merely form an argument for cultivating epilepsy.
Of course great men will never conform with the standards of little men, and
he whose mission it is to overturn the world can hardly escape the title of
revolutionary. The fads of a period always furnish terms of abuse. The fad of
Caiaphas was Judaism, and the Pharisees told him that Christ "blasphemed." Pilate
was a loyal Roman; to him {9} they accused Christ of "sedition." When the Pope had
all power it was necessary to prove an enemy a "heretic." Advancing to-day towards
a medical oligarchy, we try to prove that our opponents are "insane," and (in a
Puritan country) to attack their "morals." We should then avoid all rhetoric,
and try to investigate with perfect freedom from bias the phenomena which occurred
to these great leaders of mankind.
There is no difficulty in our assuming that these men themselves did not understand
clearly what happened to them. The only one who explains his system thoroughly is Buddha,
and Buddha is the only one that is not dogmatic. We may also suppose that the others
thought it inadvisable to explain too clearly to their followers; St. Paul evidently
took this line.
Our best document will therefore be the system of Buddha;< documents of Hinduism, and of two Chinese systems. But Hinduism has no single founder.
Lao Tze is one of our best examples of a man who went away and had a mysterious experience;
perhaps the best of all examples, as his system is the best of all systems. We have full
details of his method of training in the "Kh"ang "K"ang "K"ing, and elsewhere. But it is
so little known that we shall omit consideration of it in this popular account.>> but it
is so complex that no immediate summary will serve; and in the case of the others, if we
have not the accounts of the Masters, we have those of their immediate followers.
The methods advised by all these people have a startling resemblance to one another.
They recommend "virtue" (of various kinds), solitude, absence of excitement, moderation
in diet, and finally a practice which some call prayer and some call meditation. (The
former four may turn out on examination to be merely conditions favourable to the last.)
On investigating what is meant by these two things, we find that they are only one.
For what is the state of either prayer or meditation? It is the restraining of the mind
to a single act, state, or thought. If we sit down quietly and investigate the contents
of our minds, we shall find that even at the best of times the principal characteristics
are wandering and distraction. Any one who has had anything to do with children and
untrained minds generally knows that fixity of attention is never present, even when
there is a large amount of intelligence and good will.
If then we, with our well-trained minds, determine to control this wandering thought,
we shall find that we are fairly well able to keep the thoughts running in a narrow channel,
each thought linked to the last in a perfectly rational manner; but if we attempt to stop
this current we shall find that, so far from succeeding, we shall merely bread down the
banks of the channel. The mind will overflow, and instead of a chain of thought we shall
have a chaos of confused images. {10}
This mental activity is so great, and seems so natural, that it is hard to understand
how any one first got the idea that it was a weakness and a nuisance. Perhaps it was
because in the more natural practice of "devotion," people found that their thoughts
interfered. In any case calm and self-control are to be preferred to restlessness.
Darwin in his study presents a marked contrast with a monkey in a cage.
Generally speaking, the larger and stronger and more highly developed any animal
is, the less does it move about, and such movements as it does make are slow and
purposeful. Compare the ceaseless activity of bacteria with the reasoned steadiness
of the beaver; and except in the few animal communities which are organized, such as
bees, the greatest intelligence is shown by those of solitary habits. This is so true
of man that psychologists have been obliged to treat of the mental state of crowds as
if it were totally different in quality from any state possible to an individual.
It is by freeing the mind from external influences, whether casual or emotional,
that it obtains power to see somewhat of the truth of things.
let us, however, continue our practice. Let us determine to be masters of our minds.
We shall then soon find what conditions are favourable.
There will be no need to persuade ourselves at great length that all external influences
are likely to be unfavourable. New faces, new scenes will disturb us; even the new habits
of life which we undertake for this very purpose of controlling the mind will at first tend
to upset it. Still, we must give up our habit of eating too much, and follow the natural
rule of only eating when we are hungry, listening to the interior voice which tells us that
we have had enough.
The same rule applies to sleep. We have determined to control our minds, and so our time
for meditation must take precedence of other hours.
We must fix times for practice, and make our feasts movable. In order to test our progress,
for we shall find that (as in all physiological matters) meditation cannot be gauged by the
feelings, we shall have a note-book and pencil, and we shall also have a watch. We shall then
endeavour to count how often, during the first quarter of an hour, the mind breaks away from the
idea upon which it is determined to concentrate. We shall practice this twice daily; and, as we
go, experience will teach us which conditions are favourable and which are not. Before we have
been doing this for very long we are almost certain to get impatient, and we shall find that we
have to practice many other things in order to assist us in our work. New problems will
constantly arise which must be faced, and solved.
For instance, we shall most assuredly find that we fidget. We shall {11} discover that
no position is comfortable, though we never noticed it before in all our lives!
This difficulty has been solved by a practice called "Asana," which will be described later on.
Memories of the events of the day will bother us; we must arrange our day so that it is
absolutely uneventful. Our minds will recall to us our hopes and fears, our loves and hates,
our ambitions, our envies, and many other emotions. All these must be cut off. We must have
absolutely no interest in life but that of quieting our minds.
This is the object of the usual monastic vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. If you
have no property, you have no care, nothing to be anxious about; with chastity no other person
to be anxious about, and to distract your attention; while if you are vowed to obedience the
question of what you are to do no longer frets: you simply obey.
There are a great many other obstacles which you will discover as you go on, and it is
proposed to deal with these in turn. But let us pass by for the moment to the point where
you are nearing success.
In your early struggles you may have found it difficult to conquer sleep; and you may
have wandered so far from the object of your meditations without noticing it, that the
meditation has really been broken; but much later on, when you feel that you are "getting
quite good," you will be shocked to find a complete oblivion of yourself and your surroundings.
You will say: "Good heavens! I must have been to sleep!" or else "What on earth was I
meditating upon?" or even "What was I doing?" "Where am I~" "Who am I?" or a mere wordless
bewilderment may daze you. This may alarm you, and your alarm will not be lessened when you
come to full consciousness, and reflect that you have actually forgotten who you are and what
your are doing!
This is only one of many adventures that may come to you; but it is one of the most typical.
By this time your hours of meditation will fill most of the day, and you will probably be
constantly having presentiments that something is about to happen. You may also be terrified
with the idea that your brain may be giving way; but you will have learnt the real symptoms of
mental fatigue, and you will be careful to avoid them. They must be very carefully distinguished
from idleness!
At certain times you will feel as if there were a contest between the will and the mind; at
other times you may feel as if they were in harmony; but there is a third state, to be
distinguished from the latter feeling. It is the certain sign of near success, the
view-halloo. This is when the mind runs naturally towards the object chosen, not as if
in obedience to the will of the owner of the mind, but as if directed by nothing at all,
or by something impersonal; as if it were falling by its own weight, and not being pushed
down. {12}
Almost always, the moment that one becomes conscious of this, it stops; and the dreary
old struggle between the cowboy will and the buckjumper mind begins again.
Like every other physiological process, consciousness of it implies disorder or disease.
In analysing the nature of this work of controlling the mind, the student will appreciate
without trouble the fact that two things are involved -- the person seeing and the thing seen
-- the person knowing and the thing known; and he will come to regard this as the necessary
condition of all consciousness. We are too accustomed to assume to be facts things about
which we have no real right even to guess. We assume, for example, that the unconscious
is the torpid; and yet nothing is more certain than that bodily organs which are functioning
well do so in silence. The best sleep is dreamless. Even in the case of games of skill our
very best strokes are followed by the thought, "I don't know how I did it;" and we cannot
repeat those strokes at will. The moment we begin to think consciously about a stroke we
get "nervous," and are lost.
In fact, there are three main classes of stroke; the bad stroke, which we associate, and
rightly, with wandering attention; the good stroke which we associate, and rightly, with
fixed attention; and the perfect stroke, which we do not understand, but which is really
caused by the habit of fixity of attention having become independent of the will, and thus
enabled to act freely of its own accord.
This is the same phenomenon referred to above as being a good sign.
Finally something happens whose nature may form the subject of a further discussion later
on. For the moment let it suffice to say that this consciousness of the Ego and the non-Ego,
the seer and the thing seen, the knower and the thing known, is blotted out.
There is usually an intense light, an intense sound, and a feeling of such overwhelming
bliss that the resources of language have been exhausted again and again in the attempt to
describe it.
It is an absolute knock-out blow to the mind. It is so vivid and tremendous that those
who experience it are in the gravest danger of losing all sense of proportion.
By its light all other events of life are as darkness. Owing to this, people have utterly
failed to analyse it or to estimate it. They are accurate enough in saying that, compared
with this, all human life is absolutely dross; but they go further, and go wrong. They argue
that "since this is that which transcends the terrestrial, it must be celestial." One of the
tendencies in their minds has been the hope of a heaven such as their parents and teachers
have described, or such as {13} they have themselves pictured; and, without the slightest
grounds for saying so, they make the assumption "This is That."
In the Bhagavadgita a vision of this class is naturally attributed to the apparation of
Vishnu, who was the local god of the period.
Anna Kingsford, who had dabbled in Hebrew mysticism, and was a feminist, got an almost
identical vision; but called the "divine" figure which she saw alternately "Adonai" and
Now this woman, though handicapped by a brain that was a mass of putrid pulp, and a
complete lack of social status, education, and moral character, did more in the religious
world than any other person had done for generations. She, and she alone, made Theosophy
possible, and without Theosophy the world-wide interest in similar matters would never have
been aroused. This interest is to the Law of Thelema what the preaching of John the Baptist
was to Christianity.
We are now in a position to say what happened to Mohammed. Somehow or another his
phenomenon happened in his mind. More ignorant than Anna Kingsford, though, fortunately,
more moral, he connected it with the story of the "Annunciation," which he had undoubtedly
heard in his boyhood, and said "Gabriel appeared to me." But in spite of his ignorance, his
total misconception of the truth, the power of the vision was such that he was enabled to
persist through the usual persecution, and founded a religion to which even to-day one man
in every eight belongs.
The history of Christianity shows precisely the same remarkable fact. Jesus Christ was
brought up on the fables of the "Old Testament," and so was compelled to ascribe his
experiences to "Jehovah," although his gentle spirit could have had nothing in common
with the monster who was always commanding the rape of virgins and the murder of little
children, and whose rites were then, and still are, celebrated by human sacrifice.
< almost invariably excited by the disappearance of "Christian" children, stolen, as the
parents suppose, for the purposes of "ritual murder."< perpetuation of the "blood-libel" myth was later recanted by Crowley. The blood-libel
was visited upon early Christians by the Romans and is visited today upon Thelemites by
Christian Fundamentalists.>>>>
Similarly the visions of Joan of Arc were entirely Christian; but she, like all the
others we have mentioned, found somewhere the force to do great things. Of course, it
may be said that there is a fallacy in the argument; it may be true that all these great
people "saw God," but it does not follow that every one who "sees God" will do great things.
This is true enough. In fact, the majority of people who claim to have "seen God," and
who no doubt did "see God" just as much as those whom we have quoted, did nothing else.
But perhaps their silence is not a sign of their weakness, but of their strength.
Perhaps these "great" men are the failures of humanity; {14} perhaps it would be better
to say nothing; perhaps only an unbalanced mind would wish to alter anything or believe
in the possibility of altering anything; but there are those who think existence even in
heaven intolerable so long as there is one single being who does not share that joy.
There are some who may wish to travel back from the very threshold of the bridal chamber
to assist belated guests.
Such at least was the attitude which Gotama Buddha adopted. Nor shall he be alone.
Again it may be pointed out that the contemplative life is generally opposed to the
active life, and it must require an extremely careful balance to prevent the one absorbing
the other.
As it will be seen later, the "vision of God," or "Union with God," or "Samadhi," or
whatever we may agree to call it, has many kinds and many degrees, although there is an
impassable abyss between the least of them and the greatest of all the phenomena of normal
consciousness. "To sum up," we assert a secret source of energy which explains the
phenomenon of Genius.< of religious genius. Other kinds are subject to the same remarks, but the limits of our
space forbid discussion of these.>> We do not believe in any supernatural explanations,
but insist that this source may be reached by the following out of definite rules, the
degree of success depending upon the capacity of the seeker, and not upon the favour of
any Divine Being. We assert that the critical phenomenon which determines success is an
occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object.
We propose to discuss this phenomenon, analyse its nature, determine accurately the
physical, mental and moral conditions which are favourable to it, to ascertain its
cause, and thus to produce it in ourselves, so that we may adequately study its effects. {15}



THE problem before us may be stated thus simply. A man wishes to control his mind, to be able
to think one chosen thought for as long as he will without interruption.
As previously remarked, the first difficulty arises from the body, which keeps on asserting
its presence by causing its victim to itch, and in other ways to be distracted. He wants to
stretch, scratch, sneeze. This nuisance is so persistent that the Hindus (in their scientific
way) devised a special practice for quieting it.
The word Asana means "posture; but, as with all words which have caused debate, its exact
meaning has altered, and it is used in several distinct senses by various authors. The greatest
authority on "Yoga"< the uniting of subject and object, for "yog" is the root from which are derived the Latin word
"Jugum" and the English word "Yoke.">> is Patanjali. He says, "Asana is that which is firm and
pleasant." This may be taken as meaning the result of success in the practice. Again, Sankhya
says, "Posture is that which is steady and easy." And again, "any posture which is steady and
easy is an Asana; there is no other rule." Any posture will do.
In a sense this is true, because any posture becomes uncomfortable sooner or later. The
steadiness and easiness mark a definite attainment, as will be explained later on. Hindu
books, such as the "Shiva Sanhita," give countless postures; many, perhaps most of them,
impossible for the average adult European. Others insist that the head, neck, and spine
should be kept vertical and straight, for reasons connected with the subject of Prana,
which will be dealt with in its proper place. The positions illustrated in Liber E
(Equinox I and VII) form the best guide.< 1. Sit in a chair; head up, back straight, knees together, hands on knees, eyes
closed. ("The God.")
2. Kneel; buttocks resting on the heels, toes turned back, back and head straight,
hands on thighs. ("The Dragon.")
3. Stand; hold left ankle with right hand (and alternately practise right ankle in
left hanalcd, etc.), free forefinger on lips. ("The Ibis.")
4. Sit; left heel pressing up anus, right foot poised on its toes, the heel covering
the phallus; arms stretched out over the knees: head and back straight. ("The Thunderbolt.")>>
The extreme of Asana is practised by those Yogis who remain in one position without moving,
except in the case of absolute necessity, {16} during their whole lives. One should not
criticise such persons without a thorough knowledge of the subject. Such knowledge has
not yet been published.
However, one may safely assert that since the great men previously mentioned did not
do this, it will not be necessary for their followers. Let us then choose a suitable
position, and consider what happens. There is a sort of happy medium between rigidity
and limpness; the muscles are not to be strained; and yet they are not allowed to be
altogether slack. It is difficult to find a good descriptive word. "Braced" is perhaps
the best. A sense of physical alertness is desirable. Think of the tiger about to spring,
or of the oarsman waiting for the gun. After a little there will be cramp and fatigue.
The student must now set his teeth, and go through with it. The minor sensations of
itching, etc., will be found to pass away, if they are resolutely neglected, but the
cramp and fatigue may be expected to increase until the end of the practice. One may
begin with half an hour or an hour. The student must not mind if the process of quitting
the Asana involves several minutes of the acutest agony.< to distinguish between cramp and severe chronic muscle spasm which can tear ligaments.
Muscle spasm tends to result from pinching or compressing nerves, and can lead to
permanent injury. Also beware of constricted circulation, which produces numbness
more than it does pain. Wear loose clothing and avoid pressing on hard objects.>>
It will require a good deal of determination to persist day after day, for in
most cases it will be found that the discomfort and pain, instead of diminishing,
tend to increase.
On the other hand, if the student pay no attention, fail to watch the body, an
opposite phenomenon may occur. He shifts to ease himself without knowing that he
has done so. To avoid this, choose a position which naturally is rather cramped
and awkward, and in which slight changes are not sufficient to bring ease. Otherwise,
for the first few days, the student may even imagine that he has conquered the position.
In fact, in all these practices their apparent simplicity is such that the beginner is
likely to wonder what all the fuss is about, perhaps to think that he is specially gifted.
Similarly a man who has never touched a golf club will take his umbrella and carelessly hole
a putt which would frighten the best putter alive.
In a few days, however, in all cases, the discomforts will begin. As you go on, they will
begin earlier in the course of the hour's exercise. The disinclination to practise at all may
become almost unconquerable. One must warn the student against imagining that some other
position would be easier to master than the one he has selected. Once you begin to change
about you are lost.
Perhaps the reward is not so far distant: it will happen one day that the pain is suddenly
forgotten, the fact of the presence of the body is forgotten, and one will realize that during
the whole of one's previous life the body was always on the borderland of consciousness, {17}
and that consciousness a consciousness of pain; and at this moment one will further realize with
an indescribable feeling of relief that not only is this position, which has been so painful, the
very ideal of physical comfort, but that all other conceivable positions of the body are uncomfortable.
This feeling represents success.
There will be no further difficulty in the practice. One will get into one's Asana with almost the
same feeling as that with which a tired man gets into a hot bath; and while he is in that position,
the body may be trusted to send him no message that might disturb his mind.
Other results of this practice are described by Hindu authors, but they do not concern us at present.
Our first obstacle has been removed, and we can continue with the others.




THE connection between breath and mind will be fully discussed in speaking of the Magick Sword, but it
may be useful to premise a few details of a practical character. You may consult various Hindu manuals,
and the writing of "K"wang Tze, for various notable theories as to method and result.
But in this sceptical system one had better content one's self with statements which are not worth the
trouble of doubting.
The ultimate idea of meditation being to still the mind, it may be considered a useful preliminary to
still consciousness of all the functions of the body. This has been dealt with in the chapter on Asana.
One may, however, mention that some Yogis carry it to the point of trying to stop the beating of the heart.
Whether this be desirable or no it would be useless to the beginner, so he will endeavour to make the breathing
very slow and very regular. The rules for this practice are given in Liber CCVI.
The best way to time the breathing, once some little skill has been acquired, with a watch to bear witness,
is by the use of a mantra. The mantra acts on the thoughts very much as Pranayama does upon the breath. The
thought is bound down to a recurring cycle; any intruding thoughts are thrown off by the mantra, just as pieces
of putty would be from a fly-wheel; and the swifter the wheel the more difficult would it be for anything to stick.
This is the proper way to practise a mantra. Utter it as loudly and slowly as possible ten times, then not quite
so loudly and a very little faster ten times more. Continue this process until there is nothing but a rapid movement
of the lips; this movement should be continued with increased velocity and diminishing intensity until the mental
muttering completely absorbs the physical. The student is by this time absolutely still, with the mantra racing
in his brain; he should, however, continue to speed it up until he reaches his limit, at which he should continue
for as long as possible, and then cease the practice by reversing the process above described.
Any sentence may be used as a mantra, and possibly the Hindus are correct in thinking that there is a particular
sentence best suited to any particular man. Some men might find the liquid mantras of the Quran slide too easily,
so that it would be possible to continue another train of thought without disturbing the mantra; one is supposed
while saying {19} the mantra to meditate upon its meaning. This suggests that the student might construct for
himself a mantra which should represent the Universe in sound, as the pantacle<> should
do in form. Occasionally a mantra may be "given," "i.e.," heard in some unexplained manner during a meditation.
One man, for example, used the words: "And strive to see in everything the will of God;" to another, while engaged
in killing thoughts, came the words "and push it down," apparently referring to the action of the inhibitory centres
which he was using. By keeping on with this he got his "result."
The ideal mantra should be rhythmical, one might even say musical; but there should be sufficient emphasis on some
syllable to assist the faculty of attention. The best mantras are of medium length, so far as the beginner is concerned.
If the mantra is too long, one is apt to forget it, unless one practises very hard for a great length of time. On the
other hand, mantras of a single syllable, such as "Aum,"< one sometimes forgets the other words, and remains concentrated, repeating the "Aum" at intervals; but this is the result
of a practice already begun, not the beginning of a practice.>> are rather jerky; the rhythmical idea is lost. Here are
a few useful mantras:

1. Aum.
2. Aum Tat Sat Aum. This mantra is purely spondaic.
{illustration: line of music with: Aum Tat Sat Aum :under it}
3. Aum mani padme hum; two trochees between two caesuras.
{illustration: line of music with: Aum Ma-ni Pad-me Hum :under it}
4. Aum shivaya vashi; three trochees. Note that "shi" means rest, the absolute or male aspect of the Deity; "va" is
energy, the manifested or female side of the Deity. This Mantra therefore expresses the whole course of the Universe,
from Zero through the finite back to Zero.
{illustration: line of music with: Aum shi-va-ya Va-shi Aum shi-va-ya Vashi :under it}
5. Allah. The syllables of this are accented equally, with a certain pause between them; and are usually combined
by fakirs with a rhythmical motion of the body to and fro.
6. Hua allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua. {20}

Here are some longer ones:
7. The famous Gayatri.
Aum! tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dimahi
Dhiyo yo na pratyodayat.
Scan this as trochaic tetrameters.
8. Qol: Hua Allahu achad; Allahu Assamad; lam yalid walam yulad; walam yakun lahu kufwan achad.
9. This mantra is the holiest of all that are or can be. It is from the Stele of Revealing.<>
A ka dua
Tuf ur biu
Bi aa chefu
IX. Dudu ner af an nuteru.
{illustration: two lines of music with: A ka du - a Tuf ur bi - u Bi A'a che -
- fu Du - du ner af an nu - te -ru :under them}
Such are enough for selection.< 1 Aum is the sound produced by breathing forcibly from the back of the throat and gradually closing the mouth.
The three sounds represent the creative, preservative, and destructive principles. There are many more points
about this, enough to fill a volume.
2. O that Existent! O! -- An aspiration after realty, truth.
3. O the Jewel in the Lotus! Amen! -- Refers to Buddha and Harpocrates; but also the symbolism of the Rosy Cross.
4. Gives the cycle of creation. Peace manifesting as Power, Power dissolving in Peace.
5. God. It adds to 66, the sum of the first 11 numbers.
6. He is God, and there is no other God than He.
7. O! let us strictly meditate on the adorable light of that divine Savitri (the interior Sun, etc.). May she enlighten our minds!
8. Say:
He is God alone!
God the Eternal!
He begets not and is not begotten!
Nor is there like unto Him any one!

9. Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the Gods and Death
To tremble before Thee: --
I, I adore Thee!>>

There are many other mantras. Sri Sabapaty Swami gives a particular one for each of the Cakkras. But let the student
select one mantra and master it thoroughly. {21}
You have not even begun to master a mantra until it continues unbroken through sleep. This is much easier than it sounds.
Some schools advocate practising a mantra with the aid of instrumental music and dancing. Certainly very remarkable effects
are obtained in the way of "magic" powers; whether great spiritual results are equally common is a doubtful point. Persons
wishing to study them may remember that the Sahara desert is within three days of London; and no doubt the Sidi Aissawa
would be glad to accept pupils. This discussion of the parallel science of mantra-yoga has led us far indeed from the
subject of Pranayama.
Pranayama is notably useful in quieting the emotions and appetites; and, whether by reason of the mechanical pressure
which it asserts, or by the thorough combustion which it assures in the lungs, it seems to be admirable from the standpoint
of health. Digestive troubles in particular are very easy to remove in this way. It purifies both the body and the lower
functions of the mind,< properly performed with emotional thought. It should be resorted to immediately, at all times during life, when calm
is threatened.

On the whole, the ambulatory practices are more generally useful to the health than the sedentary; for in this way
walking and fresh air are assured. But some of the sedentary practice should be done, and combined with meditation.
Of course when actually "racing" to get results, walking is a distraction.>> and should be practised certainly never
less than one hour daily by the serious student.
Four hours is a better period, a golden mean; sixteen hours is too much for most people.




THE Hindus have place these two attainments in the forefront of their programme. They are the "moral qualities"
and "good works" which are supposed to predispose to mental calm.
"Yama" consists of non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gift.
In the Buddhist system, "Sila", "Virtue," is similarly enjoined. The qualities are, for the layman, these five:
Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt drink
no intoxicating drink. For the monk many others are added.
The commandments of Moses are familiar to all; they are rather similar; and so are those given by Christ< Not, however, original. The whole sermon is to be found in the Talmud.>> in the "Sermon on the Mount."
Some of these are only the "virtues" of a slave, invented by his master to keep him in order. The real point of
the Hindu "Yama" is that breaking any of these would tend to excite the mind.
Subsequent theologians have tried to improve upon the teachings of the Masters, have given a sort of mystical
importance to these virtues; they have insisted upon them for their own sake, and turned them into puritanism and
formalism. Thus "non-killing," which originally meant "do not excite yourself by stalking tigers," has been
interpreted to mean that it is a crime to drink water that has not been strained, lest you should kill the animalcula.
But this constant worry, this fear of killing anything by mischance is, on the whole, worse than a hand-to-hand
conflict with a griesly bear. If the barking of a dog disturbs your meditation, it is simplest to shoot the dog,
and think no more about it.
A similar difficulty with wives has caused some masters to recommend celibacy. In all these questions common
sense must be the guide. No fixed rule can be laid down. The "non-receiving of gifts," for instance, is rather
important for a Hindu, who would be thoroughly upset for weeks if any one gave him a coconut: but the average
European takes things as they come by the time that he has been put into long trousers. {23}
The only difficult question is that of continence, which is complicated by many considerations, such as that
of energy; but everybody's mind is hopelessly muddled on this subject, which some people confuse with erotology,
and others with sociology. There will be no clear thinking on this matter until it is understood as being solely
a branch of athletics.
We may then dismiss Yama and Niyama with this advice: let the student decide for himself what form of life, what
moral code, will least tend to excite his mind; but once he has formulated it, let him stick to it, avoiding
opportunism; and let him be very careful to take no credit for what he does or refrains from doing -- it is a
purely practical code, of no value in itself.
The cleanliness which assists the surgeon in his work would prevent the engineer from doing his at all.
(Ethical questions are adequately dealt with in "Then Tao" in "Konx Om Pax," and should be there studied.
Also see Liber XXX of the A. A. Also in Liber CCXX, the "Book of the Law," it is said: "DO WHAT THOU WILT
shall be the whole of the Law."< Law.">> Remember that for the purpose of this treatise the whole object of Yama and Niyama is to live so
that no emotion or passion disturbs the mind.)




PRATYAHARA is the first process in the mental part of our task. The previous practices, Asana, Pranayama,
Yama, and Niyama, are all acts of the body, while mantra is connected with speech: Pratyahara is purely mental.
And what is Pratyahara? This word is used by different authors in different senses. The same word is employed
to designate both the practice and the result. It means for our present purpose a process rather strategical than
practical; it is introspection, a sort of general examination of the contents of the mind which we wish to control:
Asana having been mastered, all immediate exciting causes have been removed, and we are free to think what we are
thinking about.
A very similar experience to that of Asana is in store for us. At first we shall very likely flatter ourselves
that our minds are pretty calm; this is a defect of observation. Just as the European standing for the first time
on the edge of the desert will see nothing there, while his Arab can tell him the family history of each of the
fifty persons in view, because he has learnt how to look, so with practice the thoughts will become more numerous
and more insistent.
As soon as the body was accurately observed it was found to be terribly restless and painful; now that we
observe the mind it is seen to be more restless and painful still. ("See diagram opposite.")
A similar curve might be plotted for the real and apparent painfulness of Asana.
Conscious of this fact, we begin to try to control it: "Not quite so many thoughts, please!" "Don't think
quite so fast, please!" "No more of that kind of thought, please!" It is only then that we discover that what
we thought was a school of playful porpoises is really the convolutions of the sea-serpent. The attempt to
repress has the effect of exciting.
When the unsuspecting pupil first approaches his holy but wily Guru, and demands magical powers, that Wise
One replies that he will confer them, points out with much caution and secrecy some particular spot on the
pupil's body which has never previously attracted his attention, and says: "In order to obtain this magical
power which you seek, all that is necessary is to wash seven times in the Ganges during seven days, being
particularly careful to avoid thinking of that one spot." Of {25}

{diagram on page 26, nothing else, graph with following text beneath:
BD shows the Control of the Mind, improving slowly at first, afterwards more quickly. It starts from at
or near zero, and should reach absolute control at D.
EF shows the Power of Observation of the contents of the mind, improving quickly at first, afterwards more
slowly, up to perfection at F. It starts well above zero in the case of most educated men.
The height of the perpendiculars HI indicates the dissatisfaction of the student with his power of control.
Increasing at first, it ultimately diminishes to zero.}

Of course the unhappy youth spends a disgusted week in thinking of little else.
It is positively amazing with what persistence a thought, even a whole train of thoughts, returns again and
again to the charge. It becomes a positive nightmare. It is intensely annoying, too, to find that one does
not become conscious that one has got on to the forbidden subject until one has gone right through with it.
However, one continues day after day investigating thoughts and trying to check them; and sooner or later one
proceeds to the next stage, Dharana, the attempt to restrain the mind to a single object.
Before we go on to this, however, we must consider what is meant by success in Pratyahara. This is a very
extensive subject, and different authors take widely divergent views. One writer means an analysis so acute
that every thought is resolved into a number of elements (see "The Psychology of Hashish," Section V, in Equinox II).
Others take the view that success in the practice is something like the experience which Sir Humphrey Davy had as
a result of taking nitrous oxide, in which he exclaimed: "The universe is composed exclusively of ideas."
Others say that it gives Hamlet's feeling: "There's nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so," interpreted as
literally as was done by Mrs. Eddy.
However, the main point is to acquire some sort of inhibitory power over the thoughts. Fortunately there is an
unfailing method of acquiring this power. It is given in Liber III. If Sections 1 and 2 are practised (if necessary
with the assistance of another person to aid your vigilance) you will soon be able to master the final section.
In some people this inhibitory power may flower suddenly in very much the same way as occurred with Asana. Quite
without any relaxation of vigilance, the mind will suddenly be stilled. There will be a marvellous feeling of peace
and rest, quite different from the lethargic feeling which is produced by over-eating. It is difficult to say whether
so definite a result would come to all, or even to most people. The matter is one of no very great importance. If you
have acquired the power of checking the rise of thought you may proceed to the next stage. {27}



NOW that we have learnt to observe the mind, so that we know how it works to some extent, and have begun to understand the
elements of control, we may try the result of gathering together all the powers of the mind, and attempting to focus them
on a single point.
We know that it is fairly easy for the ordinary educated mind to think without much distraction on a subject in which
it is much interested. We have the popular phrase, "revolving a thing in the mind"; and as long as the subject is
sufficiently complex, as long as thoughts pass freely, there is no great difficulty. So long as a gyroscope is in
motion, it remains motionless relatively to its support, and even resists attempts to distract it; when it stops it
falls from that position. If the earth ceased to spin round the sun, it would at once fall into the sun.
The moment then that the student takes a simple subject -- or rather a simple object -- and imagines it or
visualizes it, he will find that it is not so much his creature as he supposed. Other thoughts will invade the
mind, so that the object is altogether forgotten, perhaps for whole minutes at a time; and at other times the
object itself will begin to play all sorts of tricks.
Suppose you have chosen a white cross. It will move its bar up and down, elongate the bar, turn the bar
oblique, get its arms unequal, turn upside down, grow branches, get a crack around it or a figure upon it,
change its shape altogether like an Amoeba, change its size and distance as a whole, change the degree of its
illumination, and at the same time change its colour. It will get splotchy and blotchy, grow patterns, rise,
fall, twist and turn; clouds will pass over its face. There is no conceivable change of which it is incapable.
Not to mention its total disappearance, and replacement by something altogether different!
Any one to whom this experience does not occur need not imagine that he is meditating. It shows merely that he
is incapable of concentrating his mind in the very smallest degree. Perhaps a student may go for several days before
discovering that he is not meditating. When he does, the obstinacy of the object will infuriate him; and it is only
now that his real troubles will begin, only now that Will comes really into play, only now that his manhood is tested.
If it were not for the Will-development which he got in the conquest of Asana, he would probably give up. As it is,
the mere physical agony which he underwent is the veriest trifle compared with the horrible tedium of Dharana. {28}
For the first week it may seem rather amusing, and you may even imagine you are progressing; but as the practice
teaches you what you are doing, you will apparently get worse and worse.
Please understand that in doing this practice you are supposed to be seated in Asana, and to have note-book and
pencil by your side, and a watch in front of you. You are not to practise at first for more than ten minutes at a
time, so as to avoid risk of overtiring the brain. In fact you will probably find that the whole of your will-power
is not equal to keeping to a subject at all for so long as three minutes, or even apparently concentrating on it for
so long as three seconds, or three-fifths of one second. By "keeping to it at all" is meant the mere attempt to keep
to it. The mind becomes so fatigued, and the object so incredibly loathsome, that it is useless to continue for the
time being. In Frater P.'s record we find that after daily practice for six months, meditations of four minutes and
less are still being recorded.
The student is supposed to count the number of times that his thought wanders; this he can do on his fingers or on
a string of beads.< a break associate the notion of counting.
The grosser kind of break can be detected by another person. It is accompanied with a flickering of the eyelid, and
can be seen by him. With practice he could detect even very small breaks.>> If these breaks seem to become more
frequent instead of less frequent, the student must not be discourage; this is partially caused by his increased
accuracy of observation. In exactly the same way, the introduction of vaccination resulted in an apparent increase
in the number of cases of smallpox, the reason being that people began to tell the truth about the disease instead of
Soon, however, the control will improve faster than the observation. When this occurs the improvement will become
apparent in the record. Any variation will probably be due to accidental circumstances; for example, one night your
may be very tired when you start; another night you may have headache or indigestion. You will do well to avoid
practising at such times.
We will suppose, then, that you have reached the stage when your average practice on one subject is about half an
hour, and the average number of breaks between ten and twenty. One would suppose that this implied that during the
periods between the breaks one was really concentrated, but this is not the case. The mind is flickering, although
imperceptibly. However, there may be sufficient real steadiness even at this early stage to cause some very striking
phenomena, of which the most marked is one which will possibly make you think that you have gone to sleep. Or, it may
seem quite inexplicable, and in any case {29} will disgust you with yourself. You will completely forget who you are,
what you are, and what you are doing. A similar phenomenon sometimes happens when one is half awake in the morning, and
one cannot think what town one is living in. The similarity of these two things is rather significant. It suggests that
what is really happening is that you are waking up from the sleep which men call waking, the sleep whose dreams are life.
There is another way to test one's progress in this practice, and that is by the character of the breaks.
"Breaks" are classed as follows:
"Firstly," physical sensations. These should have been overcome by Asana.
"Secondly," breaks that seem to be dictated by events immediately preceding the meditation. Their activity becomes
tremendous. Only by this practice does one understand how much is really observed by the sense without the mind becoming
conscious of it.
"Thirdly," there is a class of breaks partaking of the nature of reverie or "day-dreams." These are very insidious --
one may go on for a long time without realizing that one has wandered at all.
"Fourthly," we get a very high class of break, which is a sort of aberration of the control itself. You think, "How well
I am doing it!" or perhaps that it would be rather a good idea if you were on a desert island, or if you were in a sound-proof
house, or if you were sitting by a waterfall. But these are only trifling variations from the vigilance itself.
"A fifth class of breaks" seems to have no discoverable source in the mind. Such may even take the form of actual
hallucination, usually auditory. Of course, such hallucinations are infrequent, and are recognized for what they are;
otherwise the student had better see his doctor. The usual kind consists of odd sentences or fragments of sentences,
which are heard quite distinctly in a recognizable human voice, not the student's own voice, or that of any one he knows.
A similar phenomenon is observed by wireless operators, who call such messages "atmospherics."
There is "a further kind of break, which is the desired result itself." It must be dealt with later in detail.
Now there is a real sequence in these classes of breaks. As control improves, the percentage of primaries and secondaries
will diminish, even though the total number of breaks in a meditation remain stationary. By the time that you are meditating
two or three hours a day, and filing up most of the rest of the day with other practices designed to assist, when nearly every
time something or other happens, and there is constantly a feeling of being "on the brink of something pretty big," one may
expect to proceed to the next state -- Dhyana.




THIS word has two quite distinct and mutually exclusive meanings. The first refers to the result itself. Dhyana is the same
word as the Pali "Jhana." The Buddha counted eight Jhanas, which are evidently different degrees and kinds of trance. The
Hindu also speaks of Dhyana as a lesser form of Samadhi. Others, however, treat it as if it were merely an intensification
of Dharana. Patanjali says: "Dhrana is holding the mind on to some particular object. An unbroken flow of knowledge in that
subject is Dhyana. When that, giving up all forms, reflects only the meaning, it is Samadhi." He combines these three into
We shall treat of Dhyana as a result rather than as a method. Up to this point ancient authorities have been fairly
reliable guides, except with regard to their crabbed ethics; but when they get on the subject of results of meditation,
they completely lose their heads.
They exhaust the possibilities of poetry to declare what is demonstrably untrue. For example, we find in the Shiva
Sanhita that "he who daily contemplates on this lotus of the heart is eagerly desired by the daughters of Gods, has
clairaudience, clairvoyance, and can walk in the air." Another person "can make gold, discover medicine for disease,
and see hidden treasures." All this is filth. What is the curse upon religion that its tenets must always be
associated with every kind of extravagance and falsehood?
There is one exception; it is the A.'.A.'., whose members are extremely careful to make no statement at all
that cannot be verified in the usual manner; or where this is not easy, at least avoid anything like a dogmatic
statement. In Their second book of practical instruction, Liber O, occur these words:
"By doing certain things certain results will follow. Students are most earnestly warned against attributing
objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them."
Those golden words!
In discussing Dhyana, then, let it be clearly understood that something unexpected is about to be described.
We shall consider its nature and estimate its value in a perfectly unbiassed way, without allowing ourselves
the usual rhapsodies, or deducing any theory of the universe. One extra fact may destroy some {31} existing
theory; that is common enough. But no single fact is sufficient to construct one.
It will have been understood that Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi form a continuous process, and exactly when
the climax comes does not matter. It is of this climax that we must speak, for this is a matter of "experience,"
and a very striking one.
In the course of our concentration we noticed that the contents of the mind at any moment consisted of two
things, and no more: the Object, variable, and the Subject, invariable, or apparently so. By success in Dharana
the object has been made as invariable as the subject.
Now the result of this is that the two become one. This phenomenon usually comes as a tremendous shock. It is
indescribable even by the masters of language; and it is therefore not surprising that semi-educated stutterers
wallow in oceans of gush.
All the poetic faculties and all the emotional faculties are thrown into a sort of ecstasy by an occurrence
which overthrows the mind, and makes the rest of life seem absolutely worthless in comparison.
Good literature is principally a matter of clear observation and good judgment expressed in the simplest way.
For this reason none of the great events of history (such as earthquakes and battles) have been well described by
eye-witnesses, unless those eye-witnesses were out of danger. But even when one has become accustomed to Dhyana
by constant repetition, no words seem adequate.
One of the simplest forms of Dhyana may be called "the Sun." The sun is seen (as it were) by itself, not by
an observer; and although the physical eye cannot behold the sun, one is compelled to make the statement that
this "Sun" is far more brilliant than the sun of nature. The whole thing takes place on a higher level.
Also the conditions of thought, time, and space are abolished. It is impossible to explain what this really
means: only experience can furnish you with apprehension.
(This, too, has its analogies in ordinary life; the conceptions of higher mathematics cannot be grasped by
the beginner, cannot be explained to the layman.)
A further development is the appearance of the Form which has been universally described as human; although
the persons describing it proceed to add a great number of details which are not human at all. This particular
appearance is usually assumed to be "God."
But, whatever it may be, the result on the mind of the student is tremendous; all his thoughts are pushed to
their greatest development. He sincerely believes that they have the divine sanction; perhaps he even supposes
that they emanate from this "God." He goes back into the world armed with this intense conviction {32} and
authority. He proclaims his ideas without the restraint which is imposed upon most persons by doubt, modesty,
and diffidence;< madness. Yet there is a very striking similarity, though only a superficial one.>> while further there is, one
may suppose, a real clarification.
In any case, the mass of mankind is always ready to be swayed by anything thus authoritative and distinct.
History is full of stories of officers who have walked unarmed up to a mutinous regiment, and disarmed them by
the mere force of confidence. The power of the orator over the mob is well known. It is, probably, for this
reason that the prophet has been able to constrain mankind to obey his law. I never occurs to him that any one
can do otherwise. In practical life one can walk past any guardian, such as a sentry or ticket-collector, if
one can really act so that the man is somehow persuaded that you have a right to pass unchallenged.
This power, by the way, is what has been described by magicians as the power of invisibility. Somebody or
other has an excellent story of four quite reliable men who were on the look-out for a murderer, and had
instructions to let no one pass, and who all swore subsequently in presence of the dead body that no one
had passed. None of them had seen the postman.
The thieves who stole the "Gioconda" from the Louvre were probably disguised as workmen, and stole the
picture under the very eye of the guardian; very likely got him to help them.
It is only necessary to believe that a thing must be to bring it about. This belief must not be an
emotional or an intellectual one. It resides in a deeper portion of the mind, yet a portion not so deep
but that most men, probably all successful men, will understand these words, having experience of their
own with which they can compare it.
The most important factor in Dhyana is, however, the annihilation of the Ego. Our conception of the
universe must be completely overturned if we are to admit this as valid; and it is time that we considered
what is really happening.
It will be conceded that we have given a very rational explanation of the greatness of great men. They
had an experience so overwhelming, so out of proportion to the rest of things, that they were freed from
all the petty hindrances which prevent the normal man from carrying out his projects.
Worrying about clothes, food, money, what people may think, how and why, and above all the fear of
consequences, clog nearly every one. Nothing is easier, theoretically, than for an anarchist to kill
a king. He has only to buy a rifle, make himself a first-class shot, and shoot the king from a quarter
of a mile away. And yet, although there are plenty of anarchists, outrages are very few. At the same time,
the police would {33} probably be the first to admit that if any man were really tired of life, in his deepest
being, a state very different from that in which a man goes about saying he is tired of life, he could manage
somehow or other to kill someone first.
Now the man who has experienced any of the more intense forms of Dhyana is thus liberated. The Universe is
thus destroyed for him, and he for it. His will can therefore go on its way unhampered. One may imagine that
in the case of Mohammed he had cherished for years a tremendous ambition, and never done anything because those
qualities which were subsequently manifested as statesmanship warned him that he was impotent. His vision in
the cave gave him that confidence which was required, the faith that moves mountains. There are a lot of
solid-seeming things in this world which a child could push over; but not one has the courage to push.
Let us accept provisionally this explanation of greatness, and pass it by. Ambition has led us to this
point; but we are now interested in the work for its own sake.
A most astounding phenomenon has happened to us; we have had an experience which makes Love, fame, rank,
ambition, wealth, look like thirty cents; and we begin to wonder passionately, "What is truth?" The Universe
has tumbled about our ears like a house of cards, and we have tumbled too. Yet this ruin is like the opening
of the Gates of Heaven! Here is a tremendous problem, and there is something within us which ravins for its solution.
Let us see what what explanation we can find.
The first suggestion which would enter a well-balanced mind, versed in the study of nature, is that we have
experienced a mental catastrophe. Just as a blow on the head will made a man "see stars," so one might suppose
that the terrific mental strain of Dharana has somehow over-excited the brain, and caused a spasm, or possibly
even the breaking of a small vessel. There seems no reason to reject this explanation altogether, though it
would be quite absurd to suppose that to accept it would be to condemn the practice. Spasm is a normal function
of at least one of the organs of the body. That the brain is not damaged by the practice is proved by the fact
that many people who claim to have had this experience repeatedly continue to exercise the ordinary avocations of
life without diminished activity.
We may dismiss, then the physiological question. It throws no light on the main problem, which is the value of
the testimony of the experience.
Now this is a very difficult question, and raises the much larger question as to the value of any testimony.
Every possible thought has been doubted at some time or another, except the thought which can {34} only be
expressed by a note of interrogation, since to doubt that thought asserts it. (For a full discussion see "The
Soldier and the Hunchback," "Equinox," I.) But apart from this deep-seated philosophic doubt there is the practical
doubt of every day. The popular phrase, "to doubt the evidence of one's senses," shows us that that evidence is
normally accepted; but a man of science does nothing of the sort. He is so well aware that his senses constantly
deceive him, that he invents elaborate instruments to correct them. And he is further aware that the Universe
which he can directly perceive through sense, is the minutest fraction of the Universe which he knows indirectly.
For example, four-fifths of the air is composed of nitrogen. If anyone were to bring a bottle of nitrogen
into this room it would be exceedingly difficult to say what it was; nearly all the tests that one could apply
to it would be negative. His senses tell him little or nothing.
Argon was only discovered at all by comparing the weight of chemically pure nitrogen with that of the nitrogen
of the air. This had often been done, but no one had sufficiently fine instruments even to perceive the discrepancy.
To take another example, a famous man of science asserted not so long ago that science could never discover the chemical
composition of the fixed stars. Yet this has been done, and with certainty.
If you were to ask your man of science for his "theory of the real," he would tell you that the "ether," which cannot
be perceived in any way by any of the senses, or detected by any instruments, and which possesses qualities which are, to
use ordinary language, impossible, is very much more real than the chair he is sitting on. The chair is only one fact; and
its existence is testified by one very fallible person. The ether is the necessary deduction from millions of facts, which
have been verified again and again and checked by every possible test of truth. There is therefore no "a priori" reason
for rejecting anything on the ground that it is not directly perceived by the senses.
To turn to another point. One of our tests of truth is the vividness of the impression. An isolated event in the past
of no great importance may be forgotten; and if it be in some way recalled, one may find one's self asking: "Did I dream
it? or did it really happen?" What can never be forgotten is the "catastrophic". The first death among the people that
one loves (for example) would never be forgotten; for the first time one would "realize" what one had previously merely
"known". Such an experience sometimes drives people insane. Men of science have been known to commit suicide when their
pet theory has been shattered. This problem has been discussed freely in "Science and Buddhism,"< "Collected Works.">> "Time," "The Camel," and other papers. This much only need we {35} say in this place that Dhyana has
to be classed as the most vivid and catastrophic of all experiences. This will be confirmed by any one who has been there.
It is, then, difficult to overrate the value that such an experience has for the individual, especially as it is his
entire conception of things, including his most deep-seated conception, the standard to which he has always referred
everything, his own self, that is overthrown; and when we try to explain it away as hallucination, temporary suspension
of the faculties or something similar, we find ourselves unable to do so. You cannot argue with a flash of lightning
that has knocked you down.
Any mere theory is easy to upset. One can find flaws in the reasoning process, one can assume that the premisses
are in some way false; but in this case, if one attacks the evidence for Dhyana, the mind is staggered by the fact
that all other experience, attacked on the same lines, will fall much more easily.
In whatever way we examine it the result will always be the same. Dhyana may be false; but, if so, so is everything else.
Now the mind refuses to rest in a belief of the unreality of its own experiences. It may not be what is seems; but it
must be something, and if (on the whole) ordinary life is something, how much more must that be by whose light ordinary
life seems nothing!
The ordinary man sees the falsity and disconnectedness and purposelessness of dreams; he ascribes them (rightly) to a
disordered mind. The philosopher looks upon waking life with similar contempt; and the person who has experienced Dhyana
takes the same view, but not by mere pale intellectual conviction. Reasons, however cogent, never convince utterly; but
this man in Dhyana has the same commonplace certainty that a man has on waking from a nightmare. "I wasn't falling down
a thousand flights of stairs, it was only a bad dream."
Similarly comes the reflection of the man who has had experience of Dhyana: "I am not that wretched insect, that
imperceptible parasite of earth; it was only a bad dream." And as you could not convince the normal man that his
nightmare was more real than his awakening, so you cannot convince the other that his Dhyana was hallucination,
even though he is only too well aware that he has fallen from that state into "normal" life.
It is probably rare for a single experience to upset thus radically the whole conception of the Universe, just
as sometimes, in the first moments of waking, there remains a half-doubt as to whether dream or waking is real.
But as one gains further experience, when Dhyana is no longer a shock, when the student has had plenty of time to
make himself at home in the new world, this conviction will become absolute.< that at present there are no data for determining the duration of Dhyana. One can only say that, since it certainly
occured between such and such hours, it must have lasted less than that time. Thus we see, from Frater P.'s record,
that it can certianly occur in less than an hour and five minutes.>> {36}
Another rationalist consideration is this. The student has not been trying to excite the mind but to calm it, not
to produce any one thought but to exclude all thoughts; for there is no connection between the object of meditation
and the Dhyana. Why must we suppose a breaking down of the whole process, especially as the mind bears no subsequent
traces of any interference, such as pain or fatigue? Surely this once, if never again, the Hindu image expresses the
simplest theory!
That image is that of a lake into which five glaciers move. These glaciers are the senses. While ice (the
impressions) is breaking off constantly into the lake, the waters are troubled. If the glaciers are stopped the
surface becomes calm; and then, and only then, can it reflect unbroken the disk of the sum. This sun is the "soul" or "God."
We should, however, avoid these terms for the present, on account of their implications. Let us rather speak of this
sun as "some unknown thing whose presence has been masked by all things known, and by the knower."
It is probable, too, that our memory of Dhyana is not of the phenomenon itself, but of the image left thereby on the
mind. But this is true of all phenomena, as Berkeley and Kant have proved beyond all question. This matter, then, need
not concern us.
We may, however, provisionally accept the view that Dhyana is real; more real and thus of more importance to
ourselves than all other experience. This state has been described not only by the Hindus and Buddhists, but by
Mohammedans and Christians. In Christian writings, however, the deeply-seated dogmatic bias has rendered their
documents worthless to the average man. They ignore the essential conditions of Dhyana, and insist on the
inessential, to a much greater extent than the best Indian writers. But to any one with experience and some
knowledge of comparative religion the identity is certain. We may now proceed to Samadhi.




MORE rubbish has been written about Samadhi than enough; we must endeavour to avoid adding to the heap. Even
Patanjali, who is extraordinarily clear and practical in most things, begins to rave when he talks of it. Even
if what he said were true he should not have mentioned it; because it does not sound true, and we should make no
statement that is "a priori" improbable without being prepared to back it up with the fullest proofs. But it is
more than likely that his commentators have misunderstood him.
The most reasonable statement, of any acknowledged authority, is that of Vajna Valkya, who says: "By Pranayama
impurities of the body are thrown out; by Dharana the impurities of the mind; by Pratyahara the impurities of
attachment; and by Samadhi is taken off everything that hides the lordship of the soul." There is a modest
statement in good literary form. If we can only do as well as that!
In the first place, what is the meaning of the term? Etymologically, "Sam" is the Greek {in Greek alphabet:
sigma-upsilon-nu--} the English prefix "syn-" meaning "together with." "Adhi" means "Lord," and a reasonable
translation of the whole word would be "Union with God," the exact term used by Christian mystics to describe
their attainment.
Now there is great confusion, because the Buddhists use the word Samadhi to mean something entirely different,
the mere faculty of attention. Thus, with them, to think of a cat is to "make Samadhi" on that cat. They use the
word Jhana to describe mystic states. This is excessively misleading, for as we saw in the last section, Dhyana
is a preliminary of Samadhi, and of course Jhana is merely the wretched plebeian Pali corruption of it.< The vulgarism and provincialism of the Buddhist cannon is infinitely repulsive to all nice minds; and the attempt
to use the terms of an ego-centric philosophy to explain the details of a psychology whose principal doctrine is
the denial of the ego, was the work of a mischievous idiot. Let us unhesitatingly reject these abominations, these
nastinesses of the beggars dressed in rags that they have snatched from corpses, and follow the etymological
signification of the word as given above!>>
There are many kinds of Samadhi.< Possibly the cause is only one, refracted through diverse media.>> "Some authors consider Atmadarshana,
the Universe as a single phenomenon without conditions, to be the first real Samadhi." If we accept this,
we must relegate many less exalted states to the class of Dhyana. Patanjali enumerates a number of these
states: to perform these on different things gives different {38} magical powers; or so he says. These
need not be debated here. Any one who wants magic powers can get them in dozens of different ways.
Power grows faster than desire. The boy who wants money to buy lead soldiers sets to work to obtain
it, and by the time he has got it wants something else instead -- in all probability something just beyond
his means.
Such is the splendid history of all spiritual advance! One never stops to take the reward.
We shall therefore not trouble at all about what any Samadhi may or may not bring as far as its results
in our lives are concerned. We began this book, it will be remembered, with considerations of death. Death
has now lost all meaning. The idea of death depends on those of the ego, and of time; these ideas have been
destroyed; and so "Death is swallowed up in victory." We shall now only be interested in what Samadhi is in
itself, and in the conditions which cause it.
Let us try a final definition. Dhyana resembles Samadhi in many respects. There is a union of the ego and
the non-ego, and a loss of the senses of time and space and causality. Duality in any form is abolished. The
idea of time involves that of two consecutive things, that of space two non-coincident things, that of causality
two connected things.
These Dhyanic conditions contradict those of normal thought; but in Samadhi they are very much more marked
than in Dhyana. And while in the latter it seems like a simple union of two things, in the former it appears
as if all things rushed together and united. One might say that in Dhyana there was still this quality latent,
that the One existing was opposed to the Many non-existing; in Samadhi the Many and the One are united in a union
of Existence with non-Existence. This definition is not made from reflection, but from memory.
Further, it is easy to master the "trick" or "knack" of Dhyana. After a while one can get into that state
without preliminary practice; and, looking at it from this point, one seems able to reconcile the two meanings
of the word which we debated in the last section. From below Dhyana seems like a trance, an experience so
tremendous that one cannot think of anything bigger, while from above it seems merely a state of mind as
natural as any other. Frater P., before he had Samadhi, wrote of Dhyana: "Perhaps as a result of the
intense control a nervous storm breaks: this we call Dhyana. Samadhi is but an expansion of this, so
far as I can see."
Five years later he would not take this view. He would say perhaps that Dhyana was "a flowing of the
mind in one unbroken current from the ego to the non-ego without consciousness of either, accompanied by
a crescent wonder and bliss." He can understand how that is the {39} natural result of Dhyana, but he
cannot call Dhyana in the same way the precursor of Samadhi. Perhaps he does not really know the
conditions which induce Samadhi. He can produce Dhyana at will in the course of a few minutes' work;
and it often happens with apparent spontaneity: with Samadhi this is unfortunately not the case. He
probably can get it at will, but could not say exactly how, or tell how long it might take him; and
he could not be "sure" of getting it at all.
One feels "sure" that one can walk a mile along a level road. One knows the conditions, and it
would have to be a very extraordinary set of circumstances that would stop one. But thought it would
be equally fair to say: "I have climbed the Matterhorn and I know I can climb it again," yet there are
all sorts of more or less probable circumstances any one of which would prevent success.
Now we do know this, that if thought is kept single and steady, Dhyana results. We do not know whether
an intensification of this is sufficient to cause Samadhi, or whether some other circumstances are required.
One is science, the other empiricism.
One author says (unless memory deceives) that twelve seconds' steadiness is Dharana, a hundred and forty-four
Dhyana, and seventeen hundred and twenty-eight Samadhi. And Vivekananda, commenting on Patanjali, makes Dhyana a
mere prolongation of Dharana; but says further: "Suppose I were meditating on a book, and I gradually succeeded
in concentrating the mind on it , and perceiving only the internal sensation, the meaning unexpressed in any form,
that state of Dhyana is called Samadhi."
Other authors are inclined to suggest that Samadhi results from meditating on subjects that are in themselves
worthy. For example, Vivekananda says: "Think of any holy subject:" and explains this as follows: "This does not
mean any wicked subject."(!)
Frater P. would not like to say definitely whether he ever got Dhyana from common objects. He gave up the
practice after a few months, and meditated on the Cakkras, etc. Also his Dhyana became so common that he gave
up recording it. But if he wished to do it this minute he would choose something to excite his "godly fear,"
or "holy awe," or "wonderment."< system to admit that anything can be in any way better than another. Do it thus: "A., is a thing that B. thinks
'holy.' It is natural therefore for B. to meditate on it." Get rid of the ego, observe all your actions as if
they were another's, and you will avoid ninety-nine percent. of the troubles that await you.>> There is no
apparent reason why Dhyana should not occur when thinking of any common object of the sea-shore, such as a
blue pig; but Frater P.'s constant reference to this as the usual object of his meditation need not be taken
"au pied de la lettre." His records of meditation contain no reference to this remarkable animal.
It will be a good thing when organized research has determined the {40} conditions of Samadhi; but in the
meantime there seems no particular objection to our following tradition, and using the same objects of
meditation as our predecessors, with the single exception which we shall note in due course.
The first class of objects for serious meditation (as opposed to preliminary practice, in which one
should keep to simple recognizable objects, whose definiteness is easy to maintain) is "various parts of
the body." The Hindus have an elaborate system of anatomy and physiology which has apparently no reference
to the facts of the dissecting-room. Prominent in this class are the seven Cakkras, which will be described
in Part II. There are also various "nerves", equally mythical.< anatomical knowledge has advanced since Crowley wrote this!>>
The second class is "objects of devotion," such as the idea or form of the Deity, or the heart or body of
your Teacher, or of some man whom you respect profoundly. This practice is not to be commended, because it
implies a bias of the mind.
You can also meditate on "your dreams." This sounds superstitious; but the idea is that you have already
a tendency, independent of your conscious will, to think of those things, which will consequently be easier
to think of than others. That this is the explanation is evident from the nature of the preceding and subsequent
You can also meditate on "anything that especially appeals to you."
But in all this one feels inclined to suggest that it will be better and more convincing if the meditation is
directed to an object which in itself is apparently unimportant. One does not want the mind to be excited in any
way, even by adoration. See the three meditative methods in Liber HHH (Equinox VI.).< complements of the three methods of Enthusiasm (A.'.A.'. instruction not yet issued up to March 1912.)>> At the
same time, one would not like to deny positively that it is very much "easier" to take some idea towards which the
mind would naturally flow.
The Hindus assert that the nature of the object determines the Samadhi; that is, the nature of those lower
Samadhis which confer so-called "magic powers." For example, there are the Yogapravritti. Meditating on the
tip of the nose, one obtains what may be called the "ideal smell"; that is, a smell which is not any particular
smell, but is the archetypal smell, of which all actual smells are modifications. It is "the smell which is "not"
a smell." This is the only reasonable description; for the experience being contrary to reason, it is only reasonable
that the words describing it should be contrary to reason too.< precise parallel in the Zohar: "The Head which is above all heads; the Head which is "not" a Head.'>>
Similarly, concentration on the tip of the tongue gives the "ideal taste"; on the dorsum of the tongue, "ideal
contact." "Every atom of {41} the body comes into contact with every atom in the Universe all at once," is the
description Bhikku Ananda Metteya gives of it. The root of the tongue gives the "ideal sound"; and the pharynx
the "ideal sight."< or a tiger, the student acquires that strength. Conquer "the nerve Udana," and you can walk on the water; "Samana,"
and you begin to flash with light; the "elements" fire, air, earth, and water, and you can do whatever in natural
life they prevent you from doing. For instance, by conquering earth, one could take a short cut to Australia; or
by conquering water, one can live at the bottom of the Ganges. They say there is a holy man at Benares who does
this, coming up only once a year to comfort and instruct his disciples. But nobody need believe this unless he
wants to; and you are even advised to conquer that desire should it arise. It will be interesting when science
really determines the variables and constants of these equations.>>
The Samadhi "par excellence," however, is Atmadarshana, which for some, and those not the least instructed,
is the first real Samadhi; for even the visions of "God" and of the "Self" are tainted by form. In Atmadarshana
the All is manifested as the One: it is the Universe freed from its conditions. Not only are all forms and ideas
destroyed, but also those conceptions which are implicit in our ideas of those ideas.< that not only "Black is White," but "The Whiteness of Black is the "essential" of its Blackness." "Naught = One =
Infinity"; but this is only true "because" of this threefold arrangement, a trinity or "triangle of contradictories.">>
Each part of the Universe has become the whole, and phenomena and noumena are no longer opposed.
But it is quite impossible to describe this state of mind. One can only specify some of the characteristics, and
that in language which forms no image in mind. It is impossible for anyone who experiences it to bring back any
adequate memory, nor can we conceive a state transcending this.
There is, however, a very much higher state called Shivadarshana, of which it is only necessary to say that it
is the destruction of the previous state, its annihilation; and to understand this blotting-out, one must not imagine
"Nothingness" (the only name for it) as negative, but as positive.
The normal mind is a candle in a darkened room. Throw open the shutters, and the sunlight makes the flame invisible.
That is a fair image of Dhyana.< difficulty of making the image clear. Virakam.>>
But the mind refuses to find a simile for Atmadarshana. It seems merely ineffective to say that the rushing
together of all the host of heaven would similarly blot out the sunlight. But if we do say so, and wish to form
a further image of Shivadarshana, we must imagine ourselves as suddenly recognizing that this universal blaze is
darkness; not {42} a light extremely dim compared with some other light, but darkness itself. It is not the change
from the minute to the vast, or even from the finite to the infinite. It is the recognition that the positive is
merely the negative. The ultimate truth is perceived not only as false, but as the logical contradictory of truth.
It is quite useless to elaborate this theme, which has baffled all other minds hitherto. We have tried to say as
little as possible rather than as much as possible.< as Yajna Valkya!>>
Still further from our present purpose would it be to criticise the innumerable discussions which have taken
place as to whether this is the ultimate attainment, or what it confers. It is enough if we say that even the
first and most transitory Dhyana repays a thousandfold the pains we may have taken to attain it.
And there is this anchor for the beginner, that his work is cumulative: every act directed towards attainment
builds up a destiny which must some day come to fruition. May all attain!



"Q." What is genius, and how is it produced?
"A." Let us take several specimens of the species, and try to find some
one thing common to all which is not found in other species.
"Q." Is there any such thing?
"A." Yes: all geniuses have the habit of concentration of thought, and
usually need long periods of solitude to acquire this habit. In
particular the greatest religious geniuses have all retired from the
world at one time or another in their lives, and begun to preach
immediately on their return.
"Q." Of what advantage is such a retirement? One would expect that a
man who so acted would find himself on his return out of touch
with his civilization, and in every way less capable than when
he left.
"A." But each claims, though in different language, to have gained in his
absence some superhuman power.
"Q." Do you believe this?
"A." It becomes us ill to reject the assertions of those who are admittedly
the greatest of mankind until we can refute them by proof, or
at least explain how they may have been mistaken. In this case
each teacher left instructions for us to follow. The only scientific
method is for us to repeat their experiments, and so confirm or
disprove their results.
"Q." But their instructions differ widely!
"A." Only in so far as each was bound by conditions of time, race,
climate and language. There is essential identity in the method.
"Q." Indeed!
"A." It was the great work of the life of Frater Perdurabo to prove this.
Studying each religious practice of each great religion on the spot,
he was able to show the Identity-in-diversity of all, and to formulate
a method free from all dogmatic bias, and based only on the ascertained
facts of anatomy, physiology, and psychology.
"Q." Can you give me a brief abstract of this method?
"A." The main idea is that the Infinite, the Absolute, God, the Over-soul,
or whatever you may prefer to call it, is always present; but
veiled or masked by the thoughts of the mind, just as one cannot
hear a heart-beat in a noisy city.
"Q." Yes?
"A." Then to obtain knowledge of That, it is only necessary to still all
thoughts. {44}
"Q." But in sleep thought is stilled?
"A." True, perhaps, roughly speaking; but the perceiving function is
stilled also.
"Q." Then you wish to obtain a perfect vigilance and attention of the
mind, uninterrupted by the rise of thoughts?
"A." Yes.
"Q." And how do you proceed?
"A." Firstly, we still the body by the practice called Asana, and secure
its ease and the regularity of its functions by Pranayama. Thus no
messages from the body will disturb the mind.
Secondly, by Yama and Niyama, we still the emotions and passions,
and thus prevent them arising to disturb the mind.
Thirdly, by Pratyahara we analyse the mind yet more deeply, and
begin to control and suppress thought in general of whatever
Fourthly, we suppress all other thoughts by a direct concentration
upon a single thought. This process, which leads to the highest
results, consists of three parts, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi,
grouped under the single term Samyama.
"Q." How can I obtain further knowledge and experience of this?
"A." The A.'.A.'. is an organization whose heads have obtained by
personal experience to the summit of this science. They have
founded a system by which every one can equally attain, and that
with an ease and speed which was previously impossible.
The first grade in Their system is that of


A Student must possess the following books:
1. The Equinox,
2. 777.
3. Konx Om Pax.
4. Collected Works of A. Crowley; Tannhauser, The Sword of
Song, Time, Eleusis. 3 vols.
5. Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda.
6. The Shiva Sanhita, or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
7. The Tao Teh "K"ing and the writings of "K"wang Tze: S.B.E.
xxxix, xl.
8. The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
9. Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Levi, or its
translation by A. E. Waite.
10. The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.
These books should be well studied in any case in conjunction with the second part -- Magick -- of this Book IV. {45}
Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their system.
After three months the Student is examined in these books, and if his knowledge of them is found satisfactory, he may
become a Probationer, receiving Liber LXI and the secret holy book, Liber LXV. The principal point of this grade is that
the Probationer has a master appointed, whose experience can guide him in his work.
He may select any practices that he prefers, but in any case must keep an exact record, so that he may discover the
relation of cause and effect in his working, and so that the A.'.A.'. may judge of his progress, and direct his further studies.
After a year of probation he may be admitted a Neophyte of the A.'.A.'., and receive the secret holy book Liber VII.
These are the principal instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:


THERE are seven keys to the great gate,
Being eight in one and one in eight.
First, let the body of thee be still,
Bound by the cerements of will,
Corpse-rigid; thus thou mayst abort
The fidget-babes that tease the thought.
Next, let the breath-rhythm be low,
Easy, regular, and slow;
So that thy being be in tune
With the great sea's Pacific swoon.
Third, let thy life be pure and calm,
Swayed softly as a windless palm.
Fourth, let the will-to-live be bound
To the one love of the profound.
Fifth, let the thought, divinely free
From sense, observe its entity.
Watch every thought that springs; enhance
Hour after hour thy vigilance!
Intense and keen, turned inward, miss
No atom of analysis!
Sixth, on one thought securely pinned
Still every whisper of the wind!
So like a flame straight and unstirred
Burn up thy being in one word!
Next, still that ecstasy, prolong
Thy meditation steep and strong,
Slaying even God, should He distract
Thy attention from the chosen act!
Last, all these things in one o'erpowered,
Time that the midnight blossom flowered!
The oneness is. Yet even in this,
My son, thou shall not do amiss
If thou restrain the expression, shoot
Thy glance to rapture's darkling root,
Discarding name, form, sight, and stress
Even of this high consciousness;
Pierce to the heart! I leave thee here:
Thou art the Master. I revere
Thy radiance that rolls afar,
O Brother of the Silver Star!

Issued by order of
known as the A.'.A.'.

"Witness our Seal,"

{Diagram: A.'.A.'. seal}

{photograph: The colotype of Crowley from EQUINOX I, 3, just before page 11, titled underneath "ALEISTER CROWLEY"}



{photograph: (probably colotype original) of Crowley with implements, titled underneath "THE MAGICIAN IN HIS ROBE


CEREMONIAL MAGICK,< to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits.>>



HITHERTO we have spoken only of the mystic path; and we have kept particularly to the practical exoteric side of it. Such
difficulties as we have mentioned have been purely natural obstacles. For example, the great question of the surrender of
the self, which bulks so largely in most mystical treatises, has not been referred to at all. We have said only what a man
must do; we have not considered at all what that doing may involve. The rebellion of the will against the terrible discipline
of meditation has not been discussed; one may now devote a few words to it.
There is no limit to what theologians call "wickedness." Only by experience can the student discover the ingenuity of the
mind in trying to escape from control. He is perfectly safe so long as he sticks to meditation, doing no more and no less
than that which we have prescribed; but the mind will probably not let him remain in that simplicity. This fact is the root
of all the legends about the "Saint" being tempted by the '"Devil." Consider the parable of Christ in the Wilderness, where
he is tempted to use his magical power, to do anything but the thing that should be done. These attacks on the will are as
bad as the thoughts which intrude upon Dharana. It would almost seem as if one could not succesfully practice meditation
until the will had become so strong that no force in the Universe could either bend or break it. Before concentrating the
lower principle, the mind, one must concentrate the higher principle, the Will. Failure to understand this has destroyed
the value of all attempts to teach "Yoga," "Menticulture," "New Thought," and the like.
There are method of training the will, by which it is easy to check one's progress.
Every one knows the force of habit. Every one knows that if you keep on acting in a particular way, that action becomes
easier, and at last absolutely natural.
All religions have devised practices for this purpose. If you keep on praying with your lips long enough, you will one
day find yourself praying in your heart.
The whole question has been threshed out and organized {53} by wise men of old; they have made a Science of Life complete
and perfect; and they have given to it the name of MAGICK> It is the chief secret of the Ancients, and if the keys have never
been actually lost, they have certainly been little used. < about it. This has been especially necessary in Europe, because of the dominance of persecuting churches.>>
Again, the confusion of thought caused by the ignorance of the people who did not understand it has discredited the whole
subject. It is now our task to re-establish this science in its perfection.
To do this we must criticize the Authorities; some of them have made it too complex, others have completely failed in such
simple matters as coherence. Many of the writers are empirics, still more mere scribes, while by far the largest class of all
is composed of stupid charlatans.
We shall consider a simple form of magick, harmonized from many systems old and new, describing the various weapons of the
Magician and the furniture of his temple. We shall explain to what each really corresponds, and discuss the construction and
the use of everything.
The Magician works in a "Temple;" the Universe, which is (be it remembered!) conterminous with himself.< yourself" you mean the contents of your consciousness. All without does not exist for you.>> In this temple a "Circle"
is drawn upon the floor for the limitation of his working. This circle is protected by divine names, the influences on
which he relies to keep out hostile thoughts. Within the circle stands an "Altar", the solid basis on which he works,
the foundation of all. Upon the Altar are his "Wand," "Cup," "Sword," and "Pantacle," to represent his Will, his
Understanding, his Reason, and the lower parts of his being, respectively. On the Altar, too, is a phial of "Oil,"
surrounded by a "Scourge," a "Dagger," and a "Chain," while above the Altar hangs a "Lamp." The Magician wears a
"Crown," a single "Robe," and a "Lamen," and he bears a "Book" of Conjurations and a "Bell."
The oil consecrates everything that is touched with it; it is his aspiration; all acts performed in accordance
with that are holy. The scourge tortures him; the dagger wounds him; the chain binds him. It is by virtue of these
three that his aspiration remains pure, and is able to consecrate all other things. He wears a crown to affirm his
lordship, his divinity; a robe to symbolize silence, and a lamen to declare his work. The book of spells or conjurations
is his magical record, his Karma. In the East is the "Magick Fire," in which all burns up at last.< nothing else but the apparatus here described for invocation, by which he calls down that which is above him and within
him; but for evocations, by which he calls forth that which is below him and without him, he may place a triangle without
the circle.>>
We will now consider each of these matters in detail.{54}



THE Temple represents the external Universe. The Magician must take it as he finds it, so that it is of no particular
shape; yet we find written, Liber VII, vi, 2: "We made us a Temple of stones in the shape of the Universe, even as thou
didst wear openly and I concealed." This shape is the Vesica Piscis; but it is only the greatest of the Magicians who
can thus fashion the Temple. There may, however, be some choice of rooms; this refers to the power of the Magician to
reincarnate in a suitable body. {55}

{diagram on this page: a magical circle reminiscent of an illustration in the "Treasure House of Images" in the Equinox.
Caption below: "THE CIRCLE".}




THE Circle announces the Nature of the Great Work.
Though the Magician has been limited in his choice of room, he is more or less able to choose what part of the room he
will work in. He will consider convenience and possibility. His circle should not be too small and cramp his movements;
it should not be so large that he has long distances to traverse. Once the circle is made and consecrated, the Magician
must not leave it, or even lean outside, lest he be destroyed by the hostile forces that are without.
He chooses a circle rather than any other lineal figure for many reasons; e.g.,
1. He affirms thereby his identity with the infinite.
2. He affirms the equal balance of his working; since all points on the circumference are equidistant from the centre.
3. He affirms the limitation implied by his devotion to the Great Work. He no longer wanders about aimlessly in the world.
The centre of this circle is the centre of the Tau of ten squares which is in the midst, as shown in the illustration.
The Tau and the circle together make one form of the Rosy Cross, the uniting of subject and object which is the Great Work,
and which is symbolized sometimes as this cross and circle, sometimes as the Lingam-Yoni, sometimes as the Ankh or Crux
Ansata, sometimes by the Spire and Nave of a church or temple, and sometimes as a marriage feast, mystic marriage, spiritual
marriage, "chymical nuptials," and in a hundred other ways. Whatever the form chosen, it is the symbol of the Great Work.
This place of his working therefore declares the nature and object of the Work. Those persons who have supposed that the
use of these symbols implied worship of the generative organs, merely attributed to the sages of every time and country minds
of a calibre equal to their own.
The Tau is composed of ten squares for the ten Sephiroth.< classification (see "777") these are so arranged, and various ideas are so attributed to them, that they have been made to mean
anything. The more you know, the more these numbers mean to you.>> About this Tau is escribed a triangle, which is inscribed
in the great Circle; but of the triangle nothing is actually marked but the three corners, the areas defined by the cutting of
the lines bounding this triangle. This triangle is only visible in the parts which are common to two of the {57} sides; they
have therefore the shape of the diamond, one form of the Yoni. The significance of this is too complex for our simple treatise;
it may be studied in Crowley's "Berashith."
The size of the whole figure is determined by the size of one square of the Tau. And the size of this square is that of the
base of the Altar, which is placed upon Maukuth. It will follow then that, in spite of the apparent freedom of the Magician to
do anything he likes, he is really determined absolutely; for as the Altar must have a base proportionate to its height, and as
that height must be convenient for the Magician, the size of the whole will depend upon his own stature. It is easy to draw a
moral lesson from these considerations. We will merely indicate this one, that the scope of any man's work depends upon his own
original genius. Even the size of the weapons must be determined by necessary proportion. The exceptions to this rule are the
Lamp, which hangs from the roof, above the centre of the Circle, above the square of Tiphereth; and the Oil, whose phial is so
small that it will suit any altar.
On the Circle are inscribed the Names of God; the Circle is of green, and the names are in flaming vermilion, of the same
colour as the Tau. Without the Circle are nine pentagrams equidistant,< the seven Spirits of God that are before the Throne. Each stands in a heptagram, and in each angle of the heptagram is a
letter, so that the seven names (see "Equinox VII") are spelt out. But this is a rather different symbolism. Of course
in ordinary specialised working the number of lamps depends on the nature of the work, "e.g.," three for works of Saturn,
eight for works Mercuial, and so on.>> in the centre of each of which burns a small Lamp; these are the "Fortresses upon
the Frontiers of the Abyss." See the eleventh Aethyr, Liber 418 ("Equinox V"). They keep off those forces of darkness
which might otherwise break in.
The names of God form a further protection. The Magician may consider what names he will use; but each name should
in some way symbolise this Work in its method and accomplishment. It is impossible here to enter into this subject
fully; the discovery or construction of suitable names might occupy the most learned Qabalist for many years.
These nine lamps were originally candles made of human fat, the fat of enemies< "birth-strangled babes," "i.e.," of thoughts slain ere they could arise into consciousness.>> slain by the
Magician; they thus served as warnings to any hostile force of what might be expected if it caused trouble.
To-day such candles are difficult to procure; and it is perhaps simpler to use beeswax. The honey has been
taken by the Magician; nothing is left of the toil of all those hosts of bees but the mere shell, the fuel of
light. This beeswax is also used in the construction of the Pantacle, and this {58} forms a link between the
two symbols. The Pantacle is the food of the Magus; and some of it he gives up in order to give light to that
which is without. For these lights are only apparently hostile to intrusion; they serve to illuminate the Circle
and the Names of God, and so to bring the first and outmost symbols of initiation within the view of the profane.
These candles stand upon pentagrams, which symbolize Geburah, severity, and give protection; but also represent
the microcosm, the four elements crowned by Spirit, the Will of man perfected in its aspiration to the Higher.
They are placed outside the Circle to attract the hostile forces, to give them the first inkling of the Great Work,
which they too must some day perform. {59}

{diagram on this page: A double cubic altar with universal sigil on top, sigils of the 4 Enochian elemental kings
around sides in top half and Enochian watch towers (elemental squares) around sides in bottom half. There is a
scale at bottom of the diagram and the caption under that: "THE ALTAR. SIDE DESIGNS FROM DR. DEE, AS IN EQUINOX VII."}




THE Altar represents the solid basis of the work, the fixed Will< is the Dyad (see section on the Wand); 2 x 2 = 4. So the altar is foursquare, and also its ten squares show
4. 10 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4.>> of the Magician; and the law under which he works. Within this altar everything is
kept, since everything is subject to law. Except the lamp.
According to some authorities the Altar should be made of oak to represent the stubbornness and rigidity of
law; others would make it of Acacia, for Acacia is the symbol of resurrection.
The Altar is a double cube, which is a rough way of symbolizing the Great Work; for the doubling of the cube,
like the squaring of the circle, was one of the great problems of antiquity. The surface of this Altar is composed
of ten squares. The top is Kether, and the bottom Malkuth. The height of the Altar is equal to the height above
the ground of the navel of the Magician. The Altar is connected with the Ark of the Covenant, Noah's Ark, the nave
("navis," a ship) of the Church, and many other symbols of antiquity, whose symbolism has been well worked out in an
anonymous book called "The Cannon,"<> (Elkin Mathews), which should be
studied carefully before constructing the Altar.
For this Altar must embody the Magician's knowledge of the laws of Nature, which are the laws through which he works.
He should endeavour to make geometrical constructions to symbolize cosmic measurements. For example, he may take the
two diagonals as (say) the diameter of the sun. Then the side of the altar will be found to have a length equal to some
other cosmic measure, a vesica drawn on the side some other, a "rood cross" within the vesica yet another. Each Magician
should work out his own system of symbolism -- and he need not confine himself to cosmic measurements. He might, for
example, find some relation to express the law of inverse squares.
The top of the Altar shall be covered with gold, and on this gold should be engraved some such figure as the Holy
Oblation, or the New Jerusalem, or, if he have the skill, the Microcosm of Vitruvius, of which we give illustrations.
On the sides of the Altar are also sometimes drawn the great tablets


{diagrams on this page, at top the microcosm of Vitruvius from the title page decoration (not frontispiece as is
sometimes said) to Robert Fludd's "Utriusque Cosmi Maioris scilicet et Minoris Metaphysica, Physica, Atque Technica
Historia", based on a Renaissance copy of Vitruvius' 1st century "De Architectura" as interpreted by Cesariano in
1521, minus Fludd's rope, clouds and winged fawn+hourglass, with the caption beneath "DESIGN SUITABLE FOR TOP OF ALTAR",
and below that a geometrical figure of the planets and stars from "The Cannon" fig. 3, p. 30, chap. II. with the under


of the elements, and the sigils of the holy elemental kings, as shown in The Equinox, No. VII; for these are syntheses
of the forces of Nature. Yet these are rather special than general symbols, and this book purports to treat only of the
grand principles of working.


{diagram on this page: Inside a dashed equilateral triangle are a scourge, chain, dagger and a wide, low perfume bottle
shaped like a woman's breast with nipple, below this is a scale in inches and below that the caption "THE SCOURGE, THE




THE Scourge, the Dagger, and the Chain, represent the three alchemical principles of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. These
are not the substances which we now call by these names; they represent "principles," whose operations chemists have
found it more convenient to explain in other ways. But Sulphur represents the energy of things, Mercury their fluidity,
Salt their fixity. They are analogous to Fire, Air and Water; but they mean rather more, for they represent something
deeper and subtler, and yet more truly active. An almost exact analogy is given by the three Gunas of the Hindus;
Sattvas, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattvas is Mercury, equable, calm, clear; Rajas is Sulphur, active, excitable, even
fierce; Tamas is Salt, thick, sluggish, heavy, dark.< in the Bhagavadgita.>>
But Hindu philosophy is so occupied with the main idea that only the Absolute is worth anything, that it tends
to consider these Gunas (even Sattvas) as evil. This is a correct view, but only from above; and we prefer, if we
are truly wise, to avoid this everlasting wail which characterizes the thought of the Indian peninsula: "Everything
is sorrow," etc. Accepting their doctrine of the two phases of the Absolute, we must, if we are to be consistent,
class the two phases together, either as good or as bad; if one is good and the other bad we are back again in that
duality, to avoid which we invented the Absolute.
The Christian idea that sin was worth while because salvation was so much more worth while, that redemption is
so splendid that innocence was well lost, is more satisfactory. St. Paul says: "Where sin abounded, there did
grace much more abound. Then shall we do evil that good may come? God forbid." But (clearly!) it is exactly
what God Himself did, or why did He create Satan with the germ of his "fall" in him?
Instead of condemning the three qualities outright, we should consider them as parts of a sacrament. This
particular aspect of the Scourge, the Dagger, and the Chain, suggests the sacrament of penance.
The Scourge is Sulphur: its application excites our sluggish natures; and it may further be used as an
instrument of correction, to castigate rebellious volitions. It is applied to the Nephesh, the Animal Soul,
the natural desires. {65}
The Dagger is Mercury: it is used to calm too great heat, by the letting of blood; and it is this weapon
which is plunged into the side or heart of the Magician to fill the Holy Cup. Those faculties which come
between the appetites and the reason are thus dealt with.
The Chain is Salt: it serves to bind the wandering thoughts; and for this reason is placed about the neck
of the Magician, where Daath is situated.
These instruments also remind us of pain, death, and bondage. Students of the gospel will recollect that
in the martyrdom of Christ these three were used, the dagger being replaced by the nails.< true of all magical instruments. The Hill of Golgotha is a circle, and the Cross the Tau. Christ had robe,
crown, sceptre, etc.; this thesis should one day be fully worked out.>>
The Scourge should be made with a handle of iron; the lash is composed of nine strands of fine copper wire,
in each of which are twisted small pieces of lead. Iron represents severity, copper love, and lead austerity.
The Dagger is made of steel inlaid with gold; and the hilt is also golden.
The chain{Sic} is made of soft iron. It has 333 links.< the Voice": Xth Aethyr.>>
It is now evident why these weapons are grouped around the phial of clear crystal in which is kept the Holy Oil.
The Scourge keeps the aspiration keen: the Dagger expresses the determination to sacrifice all; and the Chain
restricts any wandering.
We may now consider the Holy Oil itself.




THE Holy Oil is the Aspiration of the Magician; it is that which consecrates him to the performance of the Great
Work; and such is its efficacy that it also consecrates all the furniture of the Temple and the instruments thereof.
It is also the grace or chrism; for this aspiration is not ambition; it is a quality bestowed from above. For this
reason the Magician will anoint first the top of his head before proceeding to consecrate the lower centres in their
This oil is of a pure golden colour; and when placed upon the skin it should burn and thrill through the body
with an intensity as of fire. It is the pure light translated into terms of desire. It is not the Will of the
Magician, the desire of the lower to reach the higher; but it is that spark of the higher in the Magician which
wishes to unite the lower with itself.
Unless therefore the Magician be first anointed with this oil, all his work will be wasted and evil.
This oil is compounded of four substances. The basis of all is the oil of the olive. The olive is, traditionally,
the gift of Minerva, the Wisdom of God, the Logos. In this are dissolved three other oils; oil of myrrh, oil of cinnamon,
oil of galangal. The Myrrh is attributed to Binah, the Great Mother, who is both the understanding of the Magician and that
sorrow and compassion which results from the contemplation of the Universe. The Cinnamon represents Tiphereth, the Sun --
the Son, in whom Glory and Suffering are identical. The Galangal represents both Kether and Malkuth, the First and the Last,
the One and the Many, since in this Oil they are One.
These oils taken together represent therefore the whole Tree of Life. The ten Sephiroth are blended into the perfect gold.
This Oil cannot be prepared from crude myrrh, cinnamon, and galangal. The attempt to do so only gives a brown mud with
which the oil will not mix. These substances must be themselves refined into pure oils before the final combination.
This perfect Oil is most penetrating and subtle. Gradually it will spread itself, a glistening film, over every
object in the Temple. Each of these objects will then flame in the light of the Lamp. This Oil is like that which
was in the widow's curse: it renews and multiplies itself miraculously; its perfume fills the whole Temple; it is
the soul of which the grosser perfume is the body. {67}
The phial which contains the Oil should be of clear rock crystal, and some magicians have fashioned it in the
shape of the female breast, for that it is the true nourishment of all that lives. For this reason also it has
been made of mother-of-pearl and stoppered with a ruby.




THE Magical Will is in its essence twofold, for it presupposes a beginning and an end; to will to be a thing is to
admit that you are not that thing.
Hence to will anything but the supreme thing, is to wander still further from it -- any will but that to give up
the self to the Beloved is Black Magick -- yet this surrender is so simple an act that to our complex minds it is the
most difficult of all acts; and hence training is necessary. Further, the Self surrendered must not be less than the
All-Self; one must not come before the altar of the Most High with an impure or an imperfect offering. As it is
written in Liber LXV, "To await Thee is the end, not the beginning."
This training may lead through all sorts of complications, varying according to the nature of the student, and
hence it may be necessary for him at any moment to will all sorts of things which to others might seem unconnected
with the goal. Thus it is not "a priori" obvious why a billiard player should need a file.
Since, then, we may want "anything," let us see to it that our will is strong enough to obtain anything we want
without loss of time.
It is therefore necessary to develop the will to its highest point, even though the last task but one is the total
surrender of this will. Partial surrender of an imperfect will is of no account in Magick.
The will being a lever, a fulcrum is necessary; this fulcrum is the main aspiration of the student to attain. All
wills which are not dependent upon this principal will are so many leakages; they are like fat to the athlete.
The majority of the people in this world are ataxic; they cannot coordinate their mental muscles to make a purposed
movement. They have no real will, only a set of wishes, many of which contradict others. The victim wobbles from one
to the other (and it is no less wobbling because the movements may occasionally be very violent) and at the end of life
the movements cancel each other out. Nothing has been achieved; except the one thing of which the victim is not conscious:
the destruction of his own character, the confirming of indecision. Such an one is torn limb from limb by Choronzon.
How then is the will to be trained? All these wishes, whims, caprices, {69}

{diagram on this page: Solomonic sword vertical to the left, flame carved wand vertical to the right, cup supported by lotus
flower tripod (four legs or three?) center top, circle at center bottom. A vertical scale is to the extreme right and this
caption is below: "THE WAND, CUP, SWORD, AND DISK OR PANTACLE (drawn to scale)."}


inclinations, tendencies, appetites, must be detected, examined, judged by the standard of whether they help or hinder the
main purpose, and treated accordingly.
Vigilance and courage are obviously required. I was about to add self-denial, in deference to conventional speech; but
how could I call that self-denial which is merely denial of those things which hamper the self? It is not suicide to kill
the germs of malaria in one's blood.
Now there are very great difficulties to be overcome in the training of the mind. Perhaps the greatest is forgetfulness,
which is probably the worst form of what the Buddhists call ignorance. Special practices for training the memory may be of
some use as a preliminary for persons whose memory is naturally poor. In any case the Magical Record prescribed for
Probationers of the A.'.A.'. is useful and necessary.
Above all the practices of Liber III must be done again and again, for these practices develop not only vigilance
but those inhibiting centres in the brain which are, according to some psychologists, the mainspring of the mechanism
by which civilized man has raised himself above the savage.
So far it has been spoken, as it were, in the negative. Aaron's rod has become a serpent, and swallowed the serpents
of the other Magicians; it is now necessary to turn it once more into a rod.< in Exodus for a Rod of Almond is {{Hebrew letters: Mem-tet-Hay Hay-Shin-Qof-Dalet>>}, adding to 463. Now 400 is Tau, the
path leading from Malkuth to Yesod. Sixty is Samekh, the path leading leading {{sic}} from Yesod to Tiphereth; and 3 is
Gimel, the path leading thence to Kether. The whole rod therefore gives the paths from the Kingdom to the Crown.}
This Magical Will is the wand in your hand by which the Great Work is accomplished, by which the Daughter is not merely
set upon the throne of the Mother, but assumed into the Highest.< is called the Crown, God is called the Father, the Pure Soul is called the Mother, the Holy Guardian Angel is called the Son,
and the Natural Soul is called the Daughter. The Son purifies the Daughter by wedding her; she thus becomes the Mother, the
uniting of whom with the Father absorbs all into the Crown. See Liber CDXVIII.>>
The Magick Wand is thus the principal weapon of the Magus; and the "name" of that wand is the Magical Oath.
The will being twofold is in Chokmah, who is the Logos, the word; hence some have said that the word is the will. Thoth
the Lord of Magic {sic} is also the Lord of Speech; Hermes the messenger bears the Caduceus.
Word should express will: hence the Mystic Name of the Probationer is the expression of his highest Will.
There are, of course, few Probationers who understand themselves sufficiently to be able to formulate this will to
themselves, and therefore at the end of their probation they choose a new name. {71}
It is convenient therefore for the student to express his will by taking Magical Oaths.
Since such an oath is irrevocable it should be well considered; and it is better not to take any oath permanently;
because with increase of understanding may come a perception of the incompatibility of the lesser oath with the greater.
This is indeed almost certain to occur, and it must be remembered that as the whole essence of the will is its
one-pointedness,< Thaumiel, opposing heads that rend and devour each other.>> a dilemma of this sort is the worst in which the Magus
can find himself.
Another great point in this consideration of Magick Vows is to keep them in their proper place. They must be
taken for a clearly defined purpose, a clearly understood purpose, and they must never be allowed to go beyond it.
It is a virtue in a diabetic not to eat sugar, but only in reference to his own condition. It is not a virtue
of universal import. Elijah said on one occasion: "I do well to be angry;" but such occasions are rare.
Moreover, one man's meat is another man's poison. An oath of poverty might be very useful for a man
who was unable intelligently to use his wealth for the single end proposed; to another it would be simply
stripping himself of energy, causing him to waste his time over trifles.
There is no power which cannot be pressed in to the service of the Magical Will: it is only the temptation to
value that power for itself which offends.
One does not say: "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" unless repeated prunings have convinced the gardener
that the growth must always be a rank one.
"If thine hand offend thee, cut it off!" is the scream of a weakling. If one killed a dog the first time it
misbehaved itself, not many would pass the stage of puppyhood.
The best vow, and that of most universal application, is the vow of Holy Obedience; for not only does it lead
to perfect freedom, but is a training in that surrender which is the last task.< views, this is the most controversial. It appears to fly in the face of Thelema. There is high merit in a vow of
obedience, and necessity; but the merit is to be found in the "small print." To receive a vow of obedience from a
nother implies perfection in the teacher, a thing impossible to mortals but possible to roles. To make a vow of
obedience to a mortal is foolish unless conditions of circumstance and duration are involved.>>
It has this great value, that it never gets rusty. If the superior to whom the vow is taken knows his business,
he will quickly detect which things are really displeasing to his pupil, and familiarize him with them.
Disobedience to the superior is a contest between these two wills in the inferior. The will expressed in his
vow, which is the will linked to his highest will by the fact that he has taken it in order to develop that highest
will, contends with the temporary will, which is based only on temporary considerations. {72}
The Teacher should then seek gently and firmly to key up the pupil, little by little, until obedience follows
command without reference to what that command may be; as Loyola wrote: "perinde ac cadaver."
No one has understood the Magical Will better than Loyola; in his system the individual was forgotten. The
will of the General was instantly echoed by every member of the Order; hence the Society of Jesus became the most
formidable of the religious organizations of the world.
That of the Old Man of the Mountains was perhaps the next best.
The defect in Loyola's system is that the General was not God, and that owing to various other considerations
he was not even necessarily the best man in the Order.
To become General of the Order he must have willed to become General of the Order; and because of this he could
be nothing more.
To return to the question of the development of the Will. It is always something to pluck up the weeds, but the
flower itself needs tending. Having crushed all volitions in ourselves, and if necessary in others, which we find
opposing our real Will, that Will itself will grow naturally with greater freedom. But it is not only necessary to
purify the temple itself and consecrate it; invocations must be made. Hence it is necessary to be constantly doing
things of a positive, not merely of a negative nature, to affirm that Will.
Renunciation and sacrifice are necessary, but they are comparatively easy. There are a hundred ways of missing,
and only one of hitting. To avoid eating beef is easy; to eat nothing but pork is very difficult.
Levi recommends hat at times the Magical Will itself should be cut off, on the same principle as one can always
work better after a "complete change." Levi is doubtless right, but he must be understood as saying this "for the
hardness of men's hearts." The turbine is more efficient than a reciprocating engine; and his counsel is only good
for the beginner.
Ultimately the Magical Will so identifies itself with the man's whole being that it becomes unconscious, and is as
constant a force as gravitation. One may even be surprised at one's own acts, and have to reason out their connection.
But let it be understood that when the Will has thus really raised itself to the height of Destiny, the man is no more
likely to do wrong than he is to float off into the air.
One may be asked whether there is not a conflict between this development of the Will and Ethics.
The answer is Yes.
In the Grand Grimoire we are told "to buy an egg without haggling"; and attainment, and the next step in the path of
attainment, is that pearl {73} of great price, which when a man hath found he straightway selleth all that he hath, and
buyeth that pearl.
With many people custom and habit -- of which ethics is but the social expression --- are the things most difficult
to give up: and it is a useful practice to break any habit just to get into the way of being free from that form of
slavery. Hence we have practices for breaking up sleep, for putting our bodies into strained and unnatural positions,
for doing difficult exercises of breathing -- all these, apart from any special merit they may have in themselves for
any particular purpose, have the main merit that the man forces himself to do them despite any conditions that may
exist. Having conquered internal resistance one may conquer external resistance more easily.
In a steam boat the engine must first overcome its own inertia before it can attack the resistance of the water.
When the will has thus ceased to be intermittent, it becomes necessary to consider its size. Gravitation gives
an acceleration of thirty-two feet per second on this planet, on the moon very much less. And a Will, however single
and however constant, may still be of no particular use, because the circumstances which oppose it may be altogether
too strong, or because it is for some reason unable to get into touch with them. It is useless to wish for the moon.
If one does so, one must consider by what means that Will may be made effective.
And though a man may have a tremendous Will in one direction it need not always be sufficient to help him in another;
it may even be stupid.
There is the story of the man who practised for forty years to walk across the Ganges; and, having succeeded, was
reproached by his Holy Guru, who said: "You are a great fool. All your neighbours have been crossing every day on a
raft for two pice."
This occurs to most, perhaps to all, of us in our careers. We spend infinite pains to learn something, to achieve
something, which when gained does not seem worth even the utterance of the wish.
But this is a wrong view to take. The discipline necessary in order to learn Latin will stand us in good stead
when we wish to do something quite different.
At school our masters punished us; when we leave school, if we have not learned to punish ourselves, we have
learned nothing.
In fact the only danger is that we may value the achievement in itself. The boy who prides himself on his
school knowledge is in danger of becoming a college professor.
So the Guru of the water-walking Hindu only meant that it was now time to be dissatisfied with what he had
done -- and to employ his powers to some better end.
And, incidentally, since the divine Will is one, it will be found that {74} there is no capacity which is
not necessarily subservient to the destiny of the man who possesses it.
One may be unable to tell when a thread of a particular colour will be woven into the carpet of Destiny.
It is only when the carpet is finished and seen from a proper distance that the position of that particular
strand is seen to be necessary. From this one is tempted to break a lance on that most ancient battlefield,
free-will and destiny.
But even though every man is "determined" so that every action is merely the passive resultant of the
sum-total of the forces which have acted upon him from eternity, so that his own Will is only the echo of the
Will of the Universe, yet that consciousness of "free-will" is valuable; and if he really understands it as
being the partial and individual expression of that internal motion in a Universe whose sum is rest, by so
much will he feel that harmony, that totality. And though the happiness which he experiences may be criticised
as only one scale of a balance in whose other scale is an equal misery, there are those who hold that misery
consists only in the feeling of separation from the Universe, and that consequently all may cancel out among
the lesser feelings, leaving only that infinite bliss which is one phase of the infinite consciousness of that
ALL. Such speculations are somewhat beyond the scope of the present remarks. It is of no particular moment to
observe that the elephant and flea can be no other than they are; but we do perceive that one is bigger than the
other. That is the fact of practical importance.
We do know that persons can be trained to do things which they could not do without training -- and anyone who
remarks that you cannot train a person unless it is his destiny to be trained is quite unpractical. Equally it is
the destiny of the trainer to train. There is a fallacy in the determinist argument similar to the fallacy which
is the root of all "systems" of gambling at Roulette. The odds are just over three to one against red coming up
twice running; but after red has come up once the conditions are changed.< before and even after.>>
It would be useless to insist on such a point were it not for the fact that many people confuse Philosophy
with Magick. Philosophy is the enemy of Magick. Philosophy assures us that after all nothing matters, and
that "che sara sara."
In practical life, and Magick is the most practical of the Arts of life, this difficulty does not occur.
It is useless to argue with a man who is running to catch a train that he may be destined not to catch it; he
just runs, and if he could spare breath would say "Blow destiny!"
It has been said earlier that the real Magical Will must be toward the highest attainment, and this can never
be until the flowering of the Magical Understanding. The Wand must be made to grow in length as well as in
strength; it need not do so of its own nature. {75}
The ambition of every boy is to be an engine-driver. Some attain it, and remain there all their lives.
But in the majority of cases the Understanding grows faster than the Will, and long before the boy is in
a position to attain his wish he has already forgotten it.
In other cases the Understanding never grows beyond a certain point, and the Will persists without intelligence.
The business man (for example) has wished for ease and comfort, and to this end goes daily to his office and slaves
under a more cruel taskmaster than the meanest of the workmen in his pay; he decides to retire, and finds that life in
empty. The end has been swallowed up in the means.
Only those are happy who have desired the unattainable.
All possessions, the material and the spiritual alike, are but dust.
Love, sorrow, and compassion are three sisters who, if they seem freed from this curse, are only so because of their
relation to The Unsatisfied.
Beauty is itself so unattainable that it escapes altogether; and the true artist, like the true mystic, can never
rest. To him the Magician is but a servant. His wand is of infinite length; it is the creative Mahalingam.
The difficulty with such an one is naturally that his wand being very thin in proportion to its length is liable to
wobble. Very few artists are conscious of their real purpose, and in very many cases we have this infinite yearning
supported by so frail a constitution that nothing is achieved.
The Magician must build all that he has into his pyramid; and if that pyramid is to touch the stars, how broad must
be the base! There is no knowledge and no power which is useless to the Magician. One might almost say there is no
scrap of material in the whole Universe with which he can dispense. His ultimate enemy is the great Magician, the
Magician who created the whole illusion of the Universe; and to meet him in battle, so that nothing is left either
of him or of yourself, you must be exactly equal to him.
At the same time let the Magician never forget that every brick must tend to the summit of the pyramid -- the
sides must be perfectly smooth; there must be no false summits, even in the lowest layers.
This is the practical and active form of that obligation of a Master of the Temple in which it is said: "I
will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul."
In Liber CLXXV many practical devices for attaining this one-pointedness are given, and though the subject of
that book is devotion to a particular Deity, its instructions may be easily generalized to suit the development
of any form of will.
This will is then the active form of understanding. The Master of {76} the Temple asks, on seeing a slug:
"What is the purpose of this message from the Unseen? How shall I interpret this Word of God Most High?" The
Magus thinks: "How shall I use this slug?" And in this course he must persist. Though many things useless,
so far as he can see, are sent to him, one day he will find the one thing he needs, while his Understanding will
appreciate the fact that none of those other things were useless.
So with these early practices of renunciation it will now be clearly understood that they were but of temporary
use. They were only of value as training. The adept will laugh over his early absurdities -- the disproportions
will have been harmonized; and the structure of his soul will be seen as perfectly organic, with no one thing out
of its place. He will see himself as the positive Tau with its ten complete squares within the triangle of the
negatives; and this figure will become one, as soon as from the equilibrium of opposites he has attained to the
identity of opposites.
In all this is will have been seen that the most powerful weapon in the hand of the student is the Vow of Holy
Obedience; and many will wish that they had the opportunity of putting themselves under a holy Guru. Let them take
heart -- for any being capable of giving commands is an efficient Guru for the purpose of this Vow, provided that he
is not too amiable and lazy.
The only reason for choosing a Guru who has himself attained is that he will aid the vigilance of the sleepy Chela,
and, while tempering the Wind to that shorn lamb, will carefully harden him, and at the same time gladden his ears with
holy discourse. But if such a person is inaccessible, let him choose any one with whom he has constant intercourse,
explain the circumstances, and ask him to act.
The person should if possible be trustworthy; and let the Chela remember that if he should be ordered to jump over
a cliff it is very much better to do it than to give up the practice.
And it is of the very greatest importance not to limit the vow in any way. You must buy the egg without haggling.
In a certain Society the members were bound to do certain things, being assured that there was "nothing in the vow
contrary to their civil, moral, or religious obligations." So when any one wanted to break his vow he had no difficulty
in discovering a very good reason for it. The vow lost all its force.< in the Golden Dawn initiations as the third defense for his publishing the Golden Dawn rituals. See Equinox I, 4, page
5, "Editorial".>>
When Buddha took his seat under the blessed Bo-Tree, he took an oath that none of the inhabitants of the 10,000 worlds
should cause him to rise until he had attained; so that when even Mara the great Arch-Devil, with his three daughters the
arch-temptresses appeared, he remained still.
Now it is useless for the beginner to take so formidable a vow; he {77} has not yet attained the strength which can defy
Mara. Let him estimate his strength, and take a vow which is within it, but only just within it. Thus Milo began by carrying
a new-born calf; and day by day as it grew into a bull, his strength was found sufficient.
Again let it be said that Liber III is a most admirable method for the beginner,< read. Its essence is that the pupil swears to refrain from a certain thought, word, or deed; and on each breach of the oath,
cuts his arm sharply with a razor. This is better than flagellation because it can be done in public, without attracting
notice. It however forms one of the most hilariously exciting parlour games for the family circle ever invented. Friends
and relations are always ready to do their utmost to trap you into doing the forbidden thing.>> and it will be best, even
if he is very confident in his strength, to take the vow for very short periods, beginning with an hour and increasing daily
by half-hours until the day is filled. Then let him rest awhile, and attempt a two-day practice; and so on until he is perfect.
He should also begin with the very easiest practices. But the thing which he is sworn to avoid should not be a thing which
normally he would do infrequently; because the strain on the memory which subserves his vigilance would be very great, and the
practice become difficult. It is just as well at first that the pain of his arm should be there "at the time when he would
normally do the forbidden thing," to warn him against its repetition.
There will thus be a clear connection in his mind of cause and effect, until he will be just as careful in avoiding this
particular act which he has consciously determined, as in those other things which in childhood he has been trained to avoid.
Just as the eyelid unconsciously closes when the eye is threatened,< people in the world who were not blind.>> so must he build up in consciousness this power of inhibition until it sinks below
consciousness, adding to his store of automatic force, so that he is free to devote his conscious energy to a yet higher task.
It is impossible to overrate the value of this inhibition to the man when he comes to meditate. He has guarded his mind
against thoughts A, B, and C; he has told the sentries to allow no one to pass who is not in uniform. And it will be very
easy for him to extend that power, and to lower the portcullis.
Let him remember, too that there is a difference not only in the frequency of thoughts -- but in their intensity.
The worst of all is of course the ego, which is almost omnipresent {78} and almost irresistible, although so deeply-seated
that in normal thought one may not always be aware of it.
Buddha, taking the bull by the horns, made this idea the first to be attacked.
Each must decide for himself whether this is a wise course to pursue. But it certainly seems easier to strip off first
the things which can easily be done without.< attack are those who confuse it with a sense of private property. Many petty thieves use denial of the ego as an excuse.
Three book-thieves and any number of shop-lifters come to mind.>>
The majority of people will find most trouble with the Emotions, and thoughts which excite them.
But is is both possible and necessary not merely to suppress the emotions, but to turn them into faithful servants.
Thus the emotion of anger is occasionally useful against that portion of the brain whose slackness vitiates the control.
If there is one emotion which is never useful, it is pride; for this reason, that it is bound up entirely with the Ego...
No, there is no use for pride!
The destruction of the Perceptions, either the grosser or the subtler, appears much easier, because the mind not being
moved, is free to remember its control.
It is easy to be so absorbed in a book that one takes no notice of the most beautiful scenery. But if stung by a wasp
the book is immediately forgotten.
The Tendencies are, however, much harder to combat than the three lower Shandhas put together -- for the simple reason
that they are for the most part below consciousness, and must be, as it were, awakened in order to be destroyed, so that
the will of the Magician is in a sense trying to do two opposite things at the same time.
Consciousness itself is only destroyed by Samadhi.
One can now see the logical process which begins in refusing to think of a foot, and ends by destroying the sense of
Of the methods of destroying various deep-rooted ideas there are many.
The best is perhaps the method of equilibrium. Get the mind into the habit of calling up the opposite to every thought
that may arise. In conversation always disagree. See the other man's arguments; but, however much your judgment approves
them, find the answer.
Let this be done dispassionately; the more convinced you are that a certain point of view is right, the more determined
you should be to find proofs that it is wrong.
If you have done this thoroughly, these points of view will cease to trouble you; you can then assert your own point of
view with the calm of a master, which is more convincing than the enthusiasm of a learner. {79}
You will cease to be interested in controversies; politics, ethics, religion will seem so many toys, and your Magical
Will will be free from these inhibitions.
In Burma there is only one animal which the people will kill, Russell's Viper; because, as they say, "either you must
kill it or it will kill you"; and it is a question of which sees the other first.
Now any one idea which is not The Idea must be treated in this fashion. When you have killed the snake you can use its
skin, but as long as it is alive and free, you are in danger.
And unfortunately the ego-idea, which is the real snake, can throw itself into a multitude of forms, each clothed in the
most brilliant dress. Thus the devil is said to be able to disguise himself as an angel of light.
Under the strain of a magical vow this is too terribly the case. No normal human being understands or can understand the
temptations of the saints.
An ordinary person with ideas like those which obsessed St. Patrick and St. Antony would be only fit for an asylum.
The tighter you hold the snake (which was previously asleep in the sun, and harmless enough, to all appearance), the more
it struggles; and it is important to remember that your hold must tighten correspondingly, or it will escape and bite you.
Just as if you tell a child not to do a thing -- no matter what -- it will immediately want to do it, thought otherwise
the idea might never have entered its head, so it is with the saint. We have all of us these tendencies latent in us; of
most of them we might remain unconscious all our lives -- unless they were awakened by our Magick. They lie in ambush.
And every one must be awakened, and every one must be destroyed. Every one who signs the oath of a Probationer is stirring
up a hornets' nest.
A man has only to affirm his conscious aspiration; and the enemy is upon him.
It seems hardly possible that any one can ever pass through that terrible year of probation -- and yet the aspirant is not
bound to anything difficult; it almost seems as if he were not bound to anything at all -- and yet experience teaches us that
the effect is like plucking a man from his fireside into mid-Atlantic in a gale. The truth is, it may be, that the very
simplicity of the task makes it difficult.
The Probationer must cling to his aspiration -- affirm it again and again in desperation.
He has, perhaps, almost lost sight of it; it has become meaningless to him; he repeats it mechanically as he is tossed
from wave to wave.
But if he can stick to it he will come through.
And, once he "is" through, things will again assume their proper aspect; {80} he will see that mere illusion were the
things that seemed so real, and he will be fortified against the new trials that await him.
But the unfortunate indeed is he who cannot thus endure. It is useless for him to say, "I don't like the Atlantic; I
will go back to the fireside."
Once take one step on the path, and there is no return. You will remember in Browning's "Childe Roland to the dark
Tower came":
For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,
Than, pausing to throw backwards a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone: grey plain all round,
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.
I might go on; naught else remained to do.
And this is universally true. The statement that the Probationer can resign when he chooses is in truth only for those
who have taken the oath but superficially.
A real Magical Oath cannot be broken: you think it can, but it can't.
This is the advantage of a real Magical Oath.
However far you go around, you arrive at the end just the same, and all you have done by attempting to break your oath is
to involve yourself in the most frightful trouble.
It cannot be too clearly understood that such is the nature of things: it does not depend upon the will of any persons,
however powerful or exalted; nor can Their force, the force of Their great oaths, avail against the weakest oath of the most
trivial of beginners.
The attempt to interfere with the Magical Will of another person would be wicked, if it were not absurd.
One may attempt to build up a Will when {sic} before nothing existed but a chaos of whims; but once organization has taken
place it is sacred. As Blake says: "Everything that lives is holy"; and hence the creation of life is the most sacred of
tasks. It does not matter very much to the creator what it is that he creates; there is room in the universe for both the
spider and the fly.
It is from the rubbish-heap of Choronzon that one selects the material for a god!
This is the ultimate analysis of the Mystery of Redemption, and is possibly the real reason of the existence (if existence
it can be called) of form, or, if you like, of the Ego.
It is astonishing that this typical cry -- "I am I" -- is the cry of that which above all is not I.
It was that Master whose Will was so powerful that at its lightest expression the deaf heard, and the dumb spake, lepers
were cleansed and the dead arose to life, that Master and no other who at the supreme moment of his agony could cry, "Not my
Will, but Thine, be done." {81}



AS the Magick Wand is the Will, the Wisdom, the Word of the Magician, so is the Magick Cup his Understanding.
This is the cup of which it was written: "Father, if it be Thy Will, let this cup pass from Me!" And again: "Can ye drink
of the cup that I drink of?"
And it is also the cup in the hand of OUR LADY BABALON, and the cup of the Sacrament.
This Cup is full of bitterness, and of blood, and of intoxication.
The Understanding of the Magus is his link with the Invisible, on the passive side.
His Will errs actively by opposing itself to the Universal Will.
His Understanding errs passively when it receives influence from that which is not the ultimate truth.
In the beginning the Cup of the student is almost empty; and even such truth as he receives may leak away, and be lost.
They say that the Venetians made glasses which changed colour if poison was put into them; of such a glass must the student
make his Cup.
Very little experience on the mystic path will show him that of all the impressions he receives none is true. Either they
are false in themselves, or they are wrongly interpreted in his mind.
There is one truth, and only one. All other thoughts are false.
And as he advances in the knowledge of his mind he will come to understand that its whole structure is so faulty that it
is quite incapable, even in its most exalted moods, of truth.
He will recognize that any thought merely establishes a relation between the Ego and the non-Ego.
Kant has shown that even the laws of nature are but the conditions of thought. And as the current of thought is the blood
of the mind, it is said that the Magick Cup is filled with the blood of the Saints. All thought must be offered up as a sacrifice.
The Cup can hardly be described as a weapon. It is round like the pantacle -- not straight like the wand and the dagger.
Reception, not projection, is its nature.< evokes, he stands in the Circle, and the spirit in the Triangle; so the Magician is in the Triangle with respect to his own
God.>> {82}
So that which is round is to him a symbol of the influence from the higher. This circle symbolizes the Infinite, as every
cross or Tau represents the Finite. That which is four square shows the Finite fixed into itself; for this reason the altar
is foursquare. It is the solid basis from which all the operation proceeds. One form< given in the illustration.>> of the magical cup has a sphere beneath the bowl, and is supported upon a conical base.
This cup (crescent, sphere, cone) represents the three principles of the Moon, the Sun, and Fire, the three principles
which, according to the Hindus, have course in the body.< succeeds in stilling his mind. That one which happens to be in course at the moment is the one seen by him. This is so
marvellous an experience, even for one who has pushed astral visions to a very high point, that he may mistake them for
the End. See chapter on Dhyana.
The Hebrew letters corresponding to these principles are Gimel, Resh, and Shin, and the word formed by them means "a
flower" and also "expelled," "cast forth.">>
This is the Cup of Purification; as Zoroaster says:
"So therefore first the priest who governeth the works of fire must sprinkle with the lustral water of the loud-resounding sea."
It is the sea that purifies the world. And the "Great Sea" is in the Qabalah a name of Binah, "Understanding."
It is by the Understanding of the Magus that his work is purified.
Binah, moreover, is the Moon, and the bowl of this cup is shaped like the moon.
This moon is the path of Gimel through which the influence from the Crown descends upon the Sun of Tiphereth.
And this is based upon the pyramid of fire which symbolizes the aspiration of the student.
In Hindu symbolism the Amrita or "dew of immortality"<> drips
constantly upon a man, but is burnt up by the gross fire of his appetites. Yogis attempt to catch and so preserve this dew
by turning back the tongue in the mouth.
Concerning the water in this Cup, it may be said that just as the wand should be perfectly rigid, the ideal solid, so
should the water be the ideal fluid.
The Wand is erect, and must extend to Infinity.
The surface of the water is flat, and must extend to Infinity.
One is the line, the other the plane.
But as the Wand is weak without breadth, so is the water false without depth. The Understanding of the Magus must
include all things, and that understanding must be infinitely profound. {83}
H. G. Wells has said that "every word of which a man is ignorant represents an idea of which he is ignorant." And
it is impossible perfectly to understand all things unless all things be first known.
Understanding is the structuralization of knowledge.
All impressions are disconnected, as the Babe of the Abyss is so terribly aware; and the Master of the Temple must
sit for 106 seasons in the City of the Pyramids because this coordination is a tremendous task.
There is nothing particularly occult in this doctrine concerning knowledge and understanding.
A looking-glass receives all impressions but coordinates none.
The savage has none but the most simple associations of ideas.
Even the ordinary civilized man goes very little further.
All advance in thought is made by collecting the greatest possible number of facts, classifying them, and grouping them.
The philologist, though perhaps he only speaks one language, has a much higher type of mind than the linguist who speaks twenty.
This Tree of Thought is exactly paralleled by the tree of nervous structure.
Very many people go about nowadays who are exceedingly "well-informed," but who have not the slightest idea of the meaning of
the facts they know. They have not developed the necessary higher part of the brain. Induction is impossible to them.
This capacity for storing away facts is compatible with actual imbecility. Some imbeciles have been able to store their
memories with more knowledge than perhaps any sane man could hope to acquire.
This is the great fault of modern education -- a child is stuffed with facts, and no attempt is made to explain their
connection and bearing. The result is that even the facts themselves are soon forgotten.
Any first-rate mind is insulted and irritated by such treatment, and any first-rate memory is in danger of being spoilt by it.
No two ideas have any real meaning until they are harmonized in a third, and the operation is only perfect when these ideas
are contradictory. This is the essence of the Hegelian logic.
The Magick Cup, as was shown above, is also the flower. It is the lotus which opens to the sun, and which collects the dew.
This Lotus is in the hand of Isis the great Mother. It is a symbol similar to the Cup in the hand of OUR LADY BABALON.
There are also the Lotuses in the human body, according to the Hindu system of Physiology referred to in the chapter on
Dharana.< Ida and Pingala on either side ("cf." the Tree of Life). The central channel is compressed at the base by Kundalini, the
magical power, a sleeping serpent. Awake her: she darts up the spine, and the Prana flows through the Sushumna. See
"Raja-Yoga" for more details.>> {84}
There is the lotus of three petals in the Sacrum, in which the Kundalini lies asleep. This lotus is the receptacle
of reproductive force.
There is also the six-petalled lotus opposite the navel -- which receives the forces which nourish the body.
There is also a lotus in the Solar plexus which receives the nervous forces.
The six-petalled lotus in the heart corresponds to Tiphereth, and receives those vital forces which are connected
with the blood.
The sixteen-petalled lotus opposite the larynx receives the nourishment needed by the breath.
The two-petalled lotus of the pineal gland receives the nourishment needed by thought, while above the junction of
the cranial structures is that sublime lotus, of a thousand and one petals, which receives the influence from on high;
and in which, in the Adept, the awakened Kundalini takes her pleasure with the Lord of All.
All these lotuses are figured by the Magick Cup.
In man they are but partly opened, or only opened to their natural nourishment. In fact it is better to think of
them as closed, as secreting that nourishment, which, because of the lack of sun, turns to poison.
The Magick Cup must have no lid, yet it must be kept veiled most carefully at all times, except when invocation of
the Highest is being made.
This cup must also be hidden from the profane. The Wand must be kept secret lest the profane, fearing it, should
succeed in breaking it; the Cup lest, wishing to touch it, they should defile it.
Yet the Sprinkling of its water not only purifies the Temple, but blesseth them that are without: freely must it be
poured! But let no one know your real purpose, and let no one know the secret of your strength. Remember Samson!
Remember Guy Fawkes!
Of the methods of increasing Understanding those of the Holy Qabalah are perhaps the best, provided that the
intellect is thoroughly awake to their absurdity, and never allows itself to be convinced.< "Interlude" following.>>
Further meditation of certain sorts is useful: not the strict meditation which endeavours to still the mind,
but such a meditation as Samasati.< of Hashish": Equinox VII, "Liber DCCCCXIII.">>
On the exoteric side if necessary the mind should be trained by the study of any well-developed science, such as
chemistry, or mathematics.
The idea of organization is the first step, that of interpretation the second. The Master of the Temple, whose
grade corresponds to Binah, is sworn to "interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with his soul." {85}
But even the beginner may attempt this practice with advantage.
Either a fact fits in or it does not; if it does not, harmony is broken; and as the Universal harmony cannot be broken,
the discord must be in the mind of the student, thus showing that he is not in tune with that Universal choir.
Let him then puzzle out first the great facts, then the little; until one summer, when he is bald and lethargic after
lunch, he understands and appreciates the existence of flies!
This lack of Understanding with which we all begin is so terrible, so pitiful. In this world there is so much cruelty,
so much waste, so much stupidity.
The contemplation of the Universe must be at first almost pure anguish. It is this fact which is responsible for most
of the speculations of philosophy.
Mediaeval philosophers when hopelessly astray because their theology necessitated the reference of all things to the
standard of men's welfare.
They even became stupid: Bernardin de St. Pierre (was it not?) said that the goodness of God was such that wherever
men had built a great city, He had placed a river to assist them in conveying merchandise. But the truth is that in no
way can we imagine the Universe as devised. If horses were made for men to ride, were not men made for worms to eat?
And so we find once more that the Ego-idea must be ruthlessly rooted out before Understanding can be attained.
There is an apparent contradiction between this attitude and that of the Master of the Temple. What can possibly be
more selfish than this interpretation of everything as the dealing of God with the soul?
But it is God who is all and not any part; and every "dealing" must thus be an expansion of the soul, a destruction of
its separateness.
Every ray of the sun expands the flower.
The surface of the water in the Magick Cup is infinite; there is no point different from any other point.< "If ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many ... then expect the direful judgments of
Ra Hoor Khuit ... {{sic: error of capitalization, should be: "if ye confound the space-marks ..."}}>> This shall regenerate
the world, the little world my sister." These are the words of NUIT, Our Lady of the Stars, of whom Binah is but the
troubled reflection.}
Thus, ultimately, as the wand is a binding and a limitation, so is the Cup an expansion -- into the Infinite.
And this is the danger of the Cup; it must necessarily be open to all, and yet if anything is put into it which is out
of proportion, unbalanced, or impure, it takes hurt.
And here again we find difficulty with our thoughts. The grossness and stupidity of "simple impressions" cloud the
waters; "emotions" trouble it; "perceptions" are still far from the perfect purity of truth; they cause reflections; {86}
while the "tendencies" alter the refractive index, and break up the light. Even "consciousness" itself is that which
distinguishes between the lower and the higher, the waters which are below the firmament from the waters which are above
the firmament, that appalling stage in the great curse of creation.
Since at the best this water< from the ancient to the modern Tarot; the suit "Hearts" in old packs of cards, and even in modern Spanish and Italian cards,
is called "Cups") is the letter "Mem" (the Hebrew word for water), which has for its Tarot trump the Hanged Man. This Hanged
Man represents the Adept hanging by one heel from a gallows, which is in the shape of the letter Daleth -- the letter of the
Empress, the heavenly Venus in the Tarot. His legs form a cross, his arms a triangle, as if by his equilibrium and
self-sacrifice he were bringing the light down and establishing it even in the abyss.
Elementary as this is, it is a very satisfactory hieroglyph of the Great Work, though the student is warned that the
obvious sentimental interpretation will have to be discarded as soon as it has been understood. It is a very noble
illusion, and therefore a very dangerous one, to figure one's self as the Redeemer. For, of all the illusions in this
Cup -- the subtler and purer they are, the more difficult they are to detect.>> is but a reflection, how tremendously
important it becomes that it should be still!
If the cup is shaken the light will be broken up.
Therefore the Cup is placed upon the Altar, which is foursquare, will multiplied by will, the confirmation of the will
in the Magical Oath, its fixation in Law.
It is easy to see when water is muddy, and easy to get rid of the mud; but there are many impurities which defy everything
but distillation and even some which must be fractionated unto 70 times 7.
There is, however, a universal solvent and harmonizer, a certain dew which is so pure that a single drop of it cast into the
water of the Cup will for the time being bring all to perfection.
This dew is called Love. Even as in the case of human love, the whole Universe appears perfect to the man who is under its
control, so is it, and much more, with the Divine Love of which it is now spoken.
For human love is an excitement, and not a stilling, of the mind; and as it is bound to the individual, only leads to greater
trouble in the end.
This Divine Love, on the contrary, is attached to no symbol.
It abhors limitation, either in its intensity or its scope. And this is the dew of the stars of which it is spoken in the Holy
Books, for NUIT the Lady of the Stars is called "the Continuous One of Heaven," and it is that Dew which bathes the body of the
Adept "in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat."< his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let ...>>
In this cup, therefore, though all things are placed, by virtue of this {87} dew all lose their identity. And therefore this
Cup is in the hand of BABALON, the Lady of the City of the Pyramids, wherein no one can be distinguished from any other, wherein
no one may sit until he has lost his name.
Of that which is in the Cup it is also said that it is wine. This is the Cup of Intoxication. Intoxication means poisoning,
and in particular refers to the poison in which arrows are dipped (Greek <>,
"a bow"). Think of the Vision of the Arrow in Liber 418, and look at the passages in the Holy Books which speak of the action of
the spirit under the figure of a deadly poison.
For to each individual thing attainment means first and foremost the destruction of the individuality.
Each of our ideas must be made to give up the Self to the Beloved, so that we may eventually give up the Self to the Beloved
in our turn.
It will be remembered in the History Lection< of A.'.A.'.>> how the Adepts "who had with smiling faces abandoned their homes and their possessions -- could with steady calm
and firm correctness abandon the Great Work itself; for this is the last and greatest projection of the Alchemist."
The Master of the Temple has crossed the Abyss, has entered the Palace of the King's Daughter; he has only to utter one word,
and all is dissolved. But, instead of that, he is found hidden in the earth, tending a garden.
This mystery is all too complex to be elucidated in these fragments of impure thought; it is a suitable subject for meditation.


An Interlude

Every nursery rime contains profound magical secrets which are open to every one who has made a study of the correspondences of
the Holy Qabalah. To puzzle out an imaginary meaning for this "nonsense" sets one thinking of the Mysteries; one enters into deep
contemplation of holy things and God Himself leads the soul to a real illumination. Hence also the necessity of Incarnation; the
soul must descend into all falsity in order to attain All-Truth.
For instance:
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to her cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone;
When she got there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

Who is this ancient and venerable mother of whom it is spoken? Verily she is none other than Binah, as is evident in the use
of the holy letter H with which her name begins.
Nor is she the sterile Mother Ama-but the fertile Aima; for within her she bears Vau, the son, for the second letter of her
name, and R, the penultimate, is the Sun, Tiphareth, the Son.
The other three letters of her name, B, A, and D, are the three paths which join the three supernals.
To what cupboard did she go? Even to the most secret caverns of the Universe. And who is this dog? Is it not the name of
God spelt Qabalistically backwards? And what is this bone? The bone is the Wand, the holy Lingam!
The complete interpretation of the rune is now open. This rime is the legend of the murder of Osiris by Typhon.
The limbs of Osiris were scattered in the Nile.
Isis sought them in every corner of the Universe, and she found all except his sacred lingam, which was not found until
quite recently (vide Fuller, The Star in the West).
Let us take another example from this rich storehouse of magick lore.

Little Bo Peep
She lost her sheep,
And couldn't tell where to find them.
Leave them alone!
And they'll come home,
Dragging their tails behind them.

"Bo" is the root meaning Light, from which spring such words as Bo-Tree, Bodhisattva, and Buddha.
And "Peep" is Apep, the serpent Apophis. This poem therefore contains the same symbol as that in the Egyptian and Hebrew
The snake is the serpent of initiation, as the Lamb is the Saviour.
This ancient one, the Wisdom of Eternity, sits in its old anguish awaiting the Redeemer. And this holy verse triumphantly
assures us that there is no need for anxiety. The Saviours will come one after the other, at their own good pleasure, and as
they may be needed, and drag their tails, that is to say those who follow out their holy commandment, to the ultimate goal.
Again we read:

Little Miss Muffett
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating of curds and whey,
Up came a big spider,
And sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffett away.

Little Miss Muffett unquestionably represents Malkah; for she is unmarried. She is seated upon a "tuffet"; id est, she is
the unregenerate soul upon Tophet, the pit of hell. And she eats curds and whey, that is, not the pure milk of the mother, but
milk which has undergone decomposition.
But who is the spider? Verily herein is a venerable arcanum connoted! Like all insects, the spider represents a demon. But
why a spider? Who is this spider "who taketh hold with her hands, and is in King's Palaces"? The name of this spider is Death.
It is the fear of death which first makes the soul aware of its forlorn condition.
It would be interesting if tradition had preserved for us Miss Muffett's subsequent adventures.
But we must proceed to consider the interpretation of the following rime:

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"

In the interpretation of this remarkable poem there is a difference between two great schools of Adepts.
One holds that Jack is merely a corruption of John, Ion, he who goes-Hermes, the Messenger. The other prefers to take Jack
simply and reverently as Iacchus, the spiritual form of Bacchus. But it does not matter very much whether we insist upon the
swiftness or the rapture of the Holy Spirit of God; and that it is he of whom it is here spoken is evident, for the name Horner
could be applied to none other by even the most casual reader of the Holy Gospels and the works of Congreve. And the context
makes this even clearer, for he sits in a corner, that is in the place of Christ, the Corner Stone, eating, that is, enjoying,
that which the birth of Christ assures to us. He is the Comforter who replaces the absent Saviour. If there was still any doubt
of His identity it would be cleared up by the fact that it is the thumb, which is attributed to the element of Spirit, and not
one of the four fingers of the four lesser elements, which he sticks into the pie of the new dispensation. He plucks forth one
who is ripe, no doubt to send him forth as a teacher into the world, and rejoices that he is so well carrying out the will of
the Father.
Let us pass from this most blessed subject to yet another.

Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig and away he run.
The pig was eat,
And Tom was beat,
And Tom went roaring down the street.

This is one of the more exoteric of these rimes. In fact, it is not much better than a sun-myth. Tom is Toum, the God of the
Sunset (called the Son of Apollo, the Piper, the maker of music). The only difficulty in the poem concerns the pig; for anyone
who has watched an angry sunset in the Tropics upon the sea, will recognize how incomparable a description of that sunset is
given in that wonderful last line. Some have thought that the pig refers to the evening sacrifice, others that she is Hathor,
the Lady of the West, in her more sensual aspect.
But it is probable that this poem is only the frst stanza of an epic. It has all the characteristic marks. Someone said of
the Iliad that it did not finish, but merely stopped. This is the same. We may be sure that there is more of this poem. It
tells us too much and too little. How came this tragedy of the eating of a merely stolen pig? Unveil this mystery of who
"eat" it!
It must be abandoned, then, as at least partially insoluble. Let us consider this poem:

Hickory, dickory, dock!
The mouse ran up the clock;
The clock struck one,
And the mouse ran down,
Hickory, dickory, dock!

Here we are on higher ground at once. The clock symbolizes the spinal column, or, if you prefer it, Time, chosen as one
of the conditions of normal consciousness. The mouse is the Ego; "Mus," a mouse, being only Sum, "I am," spelt Qabalistically
This Ego or Prana or Kundalini force being driven up the spine, the clock strikes one, that is, the duality of consciousness
is abolished. And the force again subsides to its original level.
"Hickory, dickory, dock!" is perhaps the mantra which was used by the adept who constructed this rime, thereby hoping to fix
it in the minds of men; so that they might attain to Samadhi by the same method. Others attribute to it a more profound
signifcance-which it is impossible to go into at this moment, for we must turn to:-

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall;
Humpty Dumpty got a great fall;
All the king's horses
And all the king's men
Couldn't set up Humpty Dumpty again.

This is so simple as hardly to require explanation. Humpty Dumpty is of course the Egg of Spirit, and the wall is the
Abyss--his "fall" is therefore the descent of spirit into matter; and it is only too painfully familiar to us that all the
king's horses and all his men cannot restore us to the height.
Only The King Himself can do that!
But one can hardly comment upon a theme which has been so fruitfully treated by Ludovicus Carolus, that most holy
illuminated man of God. His masterly treatment of the identity of the three reciprocating paths of Daleth, Teth, and
Pe, is one of the most wonderful passages in the Holy Qabalah. His resolution of what we take to be the bond of slavery
into very love, the embroidered neckband of honour bestowed upon us by the King himself, is one of the most sublime
passages in this class of literature.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
He put her in a peanut shell;
Then he kept her very well.

This early authentic text of the Hinayana School of Buddhism is much esteemed even to-day by the more cultured and
devoted followers of that school.
The pumpkin is of course the symbol of resurrection, as is familiar to all students of the story of Jonah and the gourd.
Peter is therefore the Arahat who has put an end to his series of resurrections. That he is called Peter is a reference
to the symbolizing of Arahats as stones in the great wall of the guardians of mankind. His wife is of course (by the usual
symbolism) his body, which he could not keep until he put her in a peanut shell, the yellow robe of a Bhikkhu.
Buddha said that if any man became an Arahat he must either take the vows of a Bhikkhu that very day, or die, and it is
this saying of Buddha's that the unknown poet wished to commemorate.

Taffy was a Welshman
Taffy was a thief;
Taffy came to my house
And stole a leg of beef.
I went to Taffy's house;
Taffy was in bed.
I took a carving knife,
And cut off Taffy's head.

Taffy is merely short for Taphthatharath, the Spirit of Mercury and the God of Welshmen or thieves. "My house" is of course
equivalent to "my magick circle." Note that Beth, the letter of Mercury and "The Magus," means "a house."
The beef is a symbol of the Bull, Apis the Redeemer. This is therefore that which is written, "Oh my God, disguise thy glory!
Come as a thief, and let us steal away the sacraments!"
In the following verse we find that Taffy is "in bed," owing to the operation of the sacrament. The great task of the Alchemist
has been accomplished; the mercury is fixed.
One can then take the Holy Dagger, and separate the Caput Mortuum from the Elixir. Some Alchemists believe that the beef
represents that dense physical substance which is imbibed by Mercury for his fixation; but here as always we should prefer
the more spiritual interpretation.

Bye, Baby Bunting!
Daddy's gone a-hunting.
He's gone to get a rabbit-skin
To wrap my Baby Bunting in.

This is mystical charge to the new-born soul to keep still, to remain steadfast in meditation; for, in Bye, Beth is the
letter of thought, Yod that of the Hermit. It tells the soul that the Father of All will clothe him about with His own
majestical silence. For is not the rabbit he "who lay low and said nuffin'"?
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man!
Bake me a cake as fast as you can!
Pat it and prick it and mark it with P!
Bake it in the oven for baby and me!

This rime is usually accompanied (even to-day in the nursery) with a ceremonial clapping of hands-the symbol of Samadhi.
Compare what is said on this subject in our comment on the famous "Advent" passage in Thessalonians.
The cake is of course the bread of the sacrament, and it would ill become Frater P. to comment upon the third line-though
it may be remarked that even among the Catholics the wafer has always been marked with a phallus or cross.



"THE word of the Lord is quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword."
As the Wand is Chokmah, the Will, "the Father," and the Cup the Understanding, "the Mother," Binah; so the Magick Sword is
the Reason, "the Son," the six Sephiroth of the Ruach, and we shall see that the Pantacle corresponds to Malkuth, "the Daughter."
The Magick Sword is the analytical faculty; directed against any demon it attacks his complexity.
Only the simple can withstand the sword. As we are below the Abyss, this weapon is then entirely destructive: it divides Satan
against Satan. It is only in the lower forms of Magick, the purely human forms, that the Sword has become so important a weapon.
A dagger should be sufficient.
But the mind of man is normally so important to him that the sword is actually the largest of his weapons; happy is he who can
make the dagger suffice!
The hilt of the Sword should be made of copper.
The guard is composed of the two crescents of the waxing and the waning moon -- back to back. Spheres are placed between them,
forming an equilateral triangle with the sphere of the pommel.
The blade is straight, pointed, and sharp right up to the guard. It is made of steel, to equilibrate with the hilt, for steel
is the metal of Mars, as copper is of Venus.
Those two planets are male and female -- and thus reflect the Wand and the Cup, though in a much lower sense.
The hilt is of Venus, for Love is the motive of this ruthless analysis -- if this were not so the sword would be a Black Magical
The pommel of the Sword is in Daath, the guard extends to Chesed and Geburah; the point is in Malkuth. Some magi make the three
spheres of lead, tin, and gold respectively; the moons are silver, and the grip contains quicksilver, thus making the Sword symbolic
of the seven planets. But this is a phantasy and affectation.
"Whoso taketh the sword shall perish by the sword," is not a mystical threat, but a mystical promise. It is our own complexity
that must be destroyed. {89}
Here is another parable. Peter, the Stone of the Philosophers, cuts off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest
(the ear is the organ of Spirit). In analysis the spiritual part of Malkuth must be separated from it by the philosophical
stone, and then Christus, the Anointed One, makes it whole once more. "Solve et coagula!"
It is noticeable that this takes place at the arrest of Christ, who is the son, the Ruach, immediately before his crucifixion.
The Calvary Cross should be of six squares, an unfolded cube, which cube is this same philosophical stone.
Meditation will reveal many mysteries which are concealed in this symbol.
The Sword or Dagger is attributed to air, all-wandering, all-penetrating, but unstable; not a phenomenon subtle like fire,
not a chemical combination like water, but a mixture of gases.< it must be largely diluted with the inert nitrogen.
The rational mind supports life, but about seventy-nine per cent. of it not only refuses itself to enter into combination,
but prevents the remaining twenty-one per cent. from doing so. Enthusiasms are checked; the intellect is the great enemy of
devotion. One of the tasks of the Magician is to manage somehow to separate the Oxygen and Nitrogen in his mind, to stifle
four-fifts so that he may burn up the remainder, a flame of holiness. But this cannot be done by the Sword.>>
The Sword, necessary as it is to the Beginner, is but a crude weapon. Its function is to keep off the enemy or to force a
passage through them -- and though it must be wielded to gain admission to the palace, it cannot be worn at the marriage feast.
One might say that the Pantacle is the bread of life, and the Sword the knife which cuts it up. One must have ideas, but
one must criticize them.
The Sword, too, is that weapon with which one strikes terror into the demons and dominates them. One must keep the Ego
Lord of the impressions. One must not allow the circle to be broken by the demon; one must not allow any one idea to carry
one away.
It will readily be seen how very elementary and false all this is -- but for the beginner it is necessary.
In all dealings with demons the point of the Sword is kept downwards, and it should not be used for invocation, as is
taught in certain schools of magick.
If the Sword is raised towards the Crown, it is no longer really a sword. The Crown cannot be divided. Certainly the
Sword should not be lifted.
The Sword may, however, be clasped in both hands, and kept steady and erect, symbolizing that thought has become one with
the single aspiration, and burnt up like a flame. This flame is the Shin, the Ruach Alhim, not the mere Ruach Adam. The
divine and not the human consciousness. {90}
The Magician cannot wield the Sword unless the Crown is on his head.
Those Magicians, who have attempted to make the Sword the sole or even the principal weapon, have only destroyed
themselves, not by the destruction of combination, but by the destruction of division.< that this ambiguity in the word "destruction" has been the cause of much misunderstanding. "Solve" is destruction,
but so is "coagula." The aim of the Magus is to destroy his partial thought by uniting it with the Universal Thought,
not to make a further breach and division in the Whole.>> Weakness overcomes strength.
The most stable political edifice of history has been that of China, which was founded principally on politeness; and
that of India has proved strong enough to absorb its many conquerors.< of the "heaven-born" (Indian Civil Service).>>
The Sword has been the great weapon of the last century. Every idea has been attacked by thinkers, and none has withstood
attack. Hence civilization crumbles.
No settled principles remain. To-day all constructive statesmanship is empiricism or opportunism. It has been doubted
whether there is any real relation between Mother and Child, any real distinction between Male and Female.
The human mind, in despair, seeing insanity imminent in the breaking up of these coherent images, has tried to replace
them by ideals which are only saved from destruction, at the very moment of their birth, by their vagueness.
The Will of the King was at least ascertainable at any moment; nobody has yet devised a means for ascertaining the will
of the people.
All conscious willed action is impeded; the march of events is now nothing but inertia.
Let the Magician consider these matters before he takes the Sword in his hand. Let him understand that the Ruach, this
loose combination of 6 Sephiroth, only bound together by their attachment to the human will in Tiphereth, must be rent asunder.
The mind must be broken up into a form of insanity before it can be transcended.
David said: "I hate thoughts."
The Hindu says: "That which can be thought is not true."
Paul said: "The carnal mind is enmity against God."
And every one who meditates, even for an hour, will soon discover how this gusty aimless wind makes his flame flicker. "The
wind bloweth where it listeth." The normal man is less than a straw.< we find this Ruach also the symbol of the Spirit. RVCh ALHIM, the Spirit of God, is 300, the number of the holy letter Shin. As
this is the breath, which by its nature is double, the two edges of the Sword, the letter H symbolises breath, and H is the letter
of Aries -- the House of Mars, of the Sword: and H is also the letter of the Mother; this is the link between the Sword and the
Cup.>> {91}
The connection between Breath and Mind has been supposed by some to exist merely in etymology. But the connection is a
truer one.< wind," and that its secondary meaning was mind because of the observed instability of mind, and its tendency to a circular
motion. "Spiritus" only came to mean Spirit in the modern technical sense owing to the efforts of the theologians. We have
an example of the proper use of the word in the term: Spirit of Wine -- the airy portion of wine. But the word "inspire" was
perhaps derived from observing the derangement of the breathing of persons in divine ecstasy.>>
In any case there is undoubtedly a connection between the respiratory and mental functions. The Student will find this out
by practising Pranayama. By this exercise some thoughts are barred, and those which do come into the mind come more slowly
than before, so that the mind has time to perceive their falsity and to destroy them.
On the blade of the Magick Sword is etched the name AGLA, a Notariqon formed from the initials of the sentence "Ateh Gibor
Leolahm Adonai," "To thee be the Power unto the Ages, O my lord."
And the acid which eats into the steel should be oil of vitrol. Vitrol is a Notariqon of "Visita Interiora Terrae
Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem." That is to say: By investigating everything and bringing it into harmony and
proportion you will find the hidden stone, the same stone of the philosophers of which mention has already been made,
which turns all into gold. This oil which can eat into the steel, is further that which is written, Liber LXV, i, 16:
"As an acid eats into steel . . . so am I unto the Spirit of Man."
Note how closely woven into itself is all this symbolism!
The centre of Ruach being the heart, it is seen that this Sword of the Ruach must be thrust by the Magician into his
own heart.
But there is a subsequent task, of which it is spoken -- Liber VII, v, 47. "He shall await the sword of the Beloved
and bare his throat for the stroke." In the throat is Daath -- the throne of Ruach. Daath is knowledge. This final
destruction of knowledge opens the gate of the City of the Pyramids.
It is also written, Liber CCXX, iii, 11: "Let the woman be girt with a sword before me." But this refers to the
arming of Vedana with Sanna, the overcoming of emotion by clarity of perception.
It is also spoken, Liber LXV, v, 14, of the Sword of Adonai, "that hath four blades, the blade of the Thunderbolt,
the blade of the Pylon, the blade of the Serpent, the blade of the Phallus."
But this Sword is not for the ordinary Magician. For this is the Sword flaming every way that keeps Eden, and in this
Sword the Wand and the Cup are concealed -- so that although the being of the Magician {92} is blasted by the Thunderbolt,
and poisoned by the Serpent, at the same time the organs whose union is the supreme sacrament are left in him.
At the coming of Adonai the individual is destroyed in both senses. He is shattered into a thousand pieces, yet at the
same time united with the simple< the Sword.)>>
Of this it is also spoken by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church in Thessalonica: "For the Lord shall descend from
Heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and
so shall we be for ever with the Lord."
The stupid interpretation of this verse as prophetic of a "second advent" need not concern us; every word of it is,
however, worthy of profound consideration.
"The Lord" is Adonai -- which is the Hebrew for "my Lord"; and He descends from heaven, the supernal Eden, the Sahasrara
Cakkra in man, with a "shout," a "voice," and a "trump," again airy symbols, for it is air that carries sound. These sounds
refer to those heard by the Adept at the moment of rapture.
This is most accurately pictured in the Tarot Trump called "The Angel," which corresponds to the letter Shin, the letter
of Spirit and of Breath.
The whole mind of man is rent by the advent of Adonai, and is at once caught up into union with Him. "In the air," the
Note that etymologically the word {greek letters here: sigma-upsilon-nu}, "together with," is the Sanskrit "Sam;" and
the Hebrew ADNI is the Sanskrit ADHI.
The phrase "together with the Lord," is then literally identical with the word Samadhi, which is the Sanskrit name of
the phenomenon described by Saint Paul, this union of the ego and the non-ego, subject and object, this chymical marriage,
and thus identical with the symbolism of the Rosy Cross, under a slightly different aspect.
And since marriage can only take place between one and one, it is evident that no idea can thus be united, unless it is
Hence every idea must be analysed by the Sword. Hence, too, there must only be a single thought in the mind of the person
One may now go on to consider the use of the Sword in purifying emotions into perceptions.
It was the function of the Cup to interpret the perceptions by the tendencies; the Sword frees the perceptions from the
Web of emotion. {93}
The perceptions are meaningless in themselves; but the emotions are worse, for they delude their victim into supposing
them significant and true.
Every emotion is an obsession; the most horrible of blasphemies is to attribute any emotion to God in the macrocosm, or
to the pure soul in the microcosm.
How can that which is self-existent, complete, be "moved?" It is even written that "torsion about a point is iniquity.
But if the point itself could be moved it would cease to be itself, for position is the only attribute of the point.
The Magician must therefore make himself absolutely free in this respect.
It is the constant practice of Demons to attempt to terrify, to shock, to disgust, to allure. Against all this he must
oppose the Steel of the Sword. If he has got rid the ego-idea this task will be comparatively easy; unless he has done so
it will be almost impossible. So says the Dhammapada:

Me he abused, and me he beat, he robbed me, he insulted me;
In whom such thoughts find harbourage, hatred will never cease to be.

And this hatred is the thought which inhibits the love whose apotheosis is Samadhi.
But it is too much to expect of the young Magician to practise attachment to the distasteful; let him first become
indifferent. Let him endeavour to see facts as facts, as simply as he would see them if they were historical. Let
him avoid the imaginative interpretation of any facts. Let him not put himself in the place of the people of whom
the facts are related, or if he does so, let it be done only for the purpose of comprehension. Sympathy,< It is true that sometimes sympathy is necessary to comprehension.>> indignation, praise and blame, are out of place in
the observer.
No one has properly considered the question as to the amount and quality of the light afforded by candles made by
waxed Christians.
Who has any idea which joint of the ordinary missionary is preferred by epicures? It is only a matter of conjecture
that Catholics are better eating than Presbyterians.
Yet these points and their kind are the only ones which have any importance at the time when the events occur.
Nero did not consider what unborn posterity might think of him; it is difficult to credit cannibals with the calculation
that the recital of their exploits will induce pious old ladies to replenish their larder.
Very few people have ever "seen" a bull-fight. One set of people goes for excitement, another set for the perverse
excitement which real or simulated horror affords. Very few people know that blood freshly {94} spilled in the
sunlight is perhaps the most beautiful colour that is to be found in nature.
It is a notorious fact that it is practically impossible to get a reliable description of what occurs at a
spiritualistic "seance;" the emotions cloud the vision.
Only in the absolute calm of the laboratory, where the observer is perfectly indifferent to what may happen,
only concerned to observe exactly what that happening is, to measure and to weigh it by means of instruments
incapable of emotion, can one even begin to hope for a truthful record of events. Even the common physical bases
of emotion, the senses of pleasure and pain, lead the observer infallibly to err. This though they be not
sufficiently excited to disturb his mind.
Plunge one hand into a basin of hot water, the other into a basin of cold water, then both together into a basin
of tepid water; the one hand will say hot, the other cold.
Even in instruments themselves, their physical qualities, such as expansion and contraction (which may be called,
in a way, the roots of pleasure and pain), cause error.
Make a thermometer, and the glass is so excited by the necessary fusion that year by year, for thirty years afterwards
or more, the height of the mercury will continue to alter; how much more then with so plastic a matter as the mind! There
is no emotion which does not leave a mark on the mind, and all marks are bad marks. Hope and fear are only opposite phases
of a single emotion; both are incompatible with the purity of the soul. With the passions of man the case is somewhat
different, as they are functions of his own will. They need to be disciplined, not to be suppressed. But emotion is
impressed from without. It is an invasion of the circle.
As the Dhammapada says:

An ill-thatched house is open to the mercy of the rain and wind;
So passion hath the power to break into an unreflecting mind.
A well-thatched house is proof against the fury of the rain and wind;
So passion hath no power to break into a rightly-ordered mind.

Let then the Student practise observation of those things which normally would cause him emotion; and let him, having
written a careful description of what he sees, check it by the aid of some person familiar with such sights.
Surgical operations and dancing girls are fruitful fields for the beginner.
In reading emotional books such as are inflicted on children, let him always endeavour to see the event from the
standpoint opposite to that of the author. Yet let him not emulate the partially emancipated child who complained of
a picture of the Colosseum that "there was one {95} poor little lion who hadn't got any Christian," except in the first
instance. Adverse criticism is the first step; the second must go further.
Having sympathized sufficiently with both the lions and the Christians, let him open his eyes to that which his sympathy
had masked hitherto, that the picture is abominably conceived, abominably composed, abominably drawn, and abominably coloured,
as it is pretty sure to be.
Let him further study those masters, in science or in art, who have observed with minds untinctured by emotion.
Let him learn to detect idealizations, to criticize and correct them.
Let him understand the falsehood of Raphael, of Watteau, of Leighton, of Bouguereau; let him appreciate the truthfulness of
John, of Rembrandt, of Titian, of O'Conor.
Similar studies in literature and philosophy will lead to similar results. But do not let him neglect the analysis of his
own emotions; for until these are overcome he will be incapable of judging others.
This analysis may be carried out in various ways; one is the materialistic way. For example, if oppressed by nightmare,
let him explain: "This nightmare is a cerebral congestion."
The strict way of doing this by meditation is Mahasatipatthana,< 252-254.>> but it should be aided in every moment of life by endeavouring to estimate occurrences at their true value. Their
relativity in particular must be carefully considered.
Your toothache does not hurt any one outside a very small circle. Floods in China mean to you nothing but a paragraph in
the newspaper. The destruction of the world itself would have no significance in Sirius. One can hardly imagine even that
the astronomers of Sirius could perceive so trifling a disturbance.
Now considering that Sirius itself is only, as far as you know, but one, and one of the least important, of the ideas in
your mind, why should that mind be disturbed by your toothache? It is not possible to labour this point without tautology,
for it is a very simple one; but it should be emphasised, for it is a very simple one. Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! Waugh!
In the question of ethics it again becomes vital, for to many people it seems impossible to consider the merits of any
act without dragging in a number of subjects which have no real connection with it.
The Bible has been mistranslated by perfectly competent scholars because they had to consider the current theology. The
most glaring example is the "Song of Solomon," a typical piece of Oriental eroticism. {96} But since to admit that it was
this would never do for a canonical book, they had to pretend that it was symbolical.
They tried to refine away the grossness of the expressions, but even their hardihood proved unequal to the task.
This form of dishonesty reaches its climax in the expurgating of the classics. "The Bible is the Word of God, written by
holy men, as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost. But we will cut out those passages which we think unsuitable." "Shakespeare
is our greatest poet -- but, of course, he is very dreadful." "No one can surpass the lyrics of Shelley, but we must pretend
that he was not an atheist."
Some translators could not bear that the heathen Chinese should use the word Shang Ti, and pretended that it did not mean
God. Others, compelled to admit that it did mean God, explained that the use of the term showed that "God had not left
himself without a witness even in this most idolatrous of nations. They had been mysteriously compelled to use it, not
knowing what it meant." All this because of their emotional belief that they were better than the Chinese.
The most dazzling example of this is shown in the history of the study of Buddhism.
The early scholars simply could not understand that the Buddhist canon denies the soul, regards the ego as a delusion
caused by a special faculty of the diseased mind, could not understand that the goal of the Buddhist, Nibbana, was in any
way different from their own goal, Heaven, in spite of the perfect plainness of the language in such dialogues as those
between the Arahat Nagasena and King Melinda; and their attempts to square the text with their preconceptions will always
stand as one of the great follies of the wise.
Again, it is almost impossible for the well-mannered Christian to realize that Jesus Christ ate with his fingers. The
temperance advocate makes believe that the wine at the marriage feast of Cana was non-alcoholic.
It is a sort of mad syllogism.
"Nobody whom I respect does this."
"I respect So-and-so."
"Therefore, So-and-so did not do this."
The moralist of to-day is furious when one points to the fact that practically every great man in history was grossly
and notoriously immoral.
Enough of this painful subject!
As long as we try to fit facts to theories instead of adopting the scientific attitude of altering the theories (when
necessary) to fit the facts, we shall remain mired in falsehood.
The religious taunt the scientific man with this open-mindedness, with this adaptability. "Tell a lie and stick to
it!" is "their" golden rule.


{diagram on this page: The Sigillum Dei Aemeth pantacle, taken from the version in the Equinox. This caption below:




AS the Magick Cup is the heavenly food of the Magus, so is the Magick Pantacle his earthly food.
The Wand was his divine force, and the Sword his human force.
The Cup is hollow to receive the influence from above. The Pantacle is flat like the fertile plains of earth.
The name Pantacle implies an image of the All, "omne in parvo;" but this is by a magical transformation of the Pantacle.
Just as we made the Sword symbolical of everything by the force of our Magick, so do we work upon the Pantacle. That which
is merely a piece of common bread shall be the body of God!
The Wand was the will of man, his wisdom, his word; the Cup was his understanding, the vehicle of grace; the Sword was his
reason; and the Pantacle shall be his body, the temple of the Holy Ghost.
What is the length of this Temple?
From North to South.
What is the breadth of this Temple?
From East to West.
What is the height of this Temple?
From the Abyss to the Abyss.
There is, therefore, nothing movable or immovable under the whole firmament of heaven which is not included in this pantacle,
though it be but "eight inches in diameter, and in thickness half an inch."
Fire is not matter at all; water is a combination of elements; air almost entirely a mixture of elements; earth contains all
both in admixture and in combination.
So must it be with this Pantacle, the symbol of earth.
And as this Pantacle is made of pure wax, do not forget that "everything that lives is holy."
All phenomena are sacraments. Every fact, and even every falsehood, must enter into the Pantacle; it is the great storehouse
from which the Magician draws.
"In the brown cakes of corn we shall taste the food of the world and be strong."< Pantacle as the Paten of the Sacrament, though special instructions about it are given in Liber Legis. It is composed of meal,
honey, wine, holy oil, and blood.>> {99}
When speaking of the Cup, it was shown how every fact must be made significant, how every stone must have its proper place
in the mosaic. Woe were it were one stone misplaced! But that mosaic cannot be wrought at all, well or ill, unless every
stone be there.
These stones are the simple impressions or experiences; not one may be foregone.
Do not refuse anything merely because you know that it is the cup of Poison offered by your enemy; drink it with
confidence; it is he that will fall dead!<>
How can I give Cambodian art its proper place in art, if I have never heard of Cambodia? How can the Geologist
estimate the age of what lies beneath the chalk unless he have a piece of knowledge totally unconnected with geology,
the life-history of the animals of whom that chalk is the remains?
This then is a very great difficulty for the Magician. He cannot possibly have all experience, and though he may
console himself philosophically with the reflection that the Universe is conterminous with such experience as he has,
he will find it grow at such a pace during the early years of his life that he may almost be tempted to believe in the
possibility of experiences beyond his own, and from a practical standpoint he will seem to be confronted with so many
avenues of knowledge that he will be bewildered which to choose.
The ass hesitated between two thistles; how much more that greater ass, that incomparably greater ass, between two thousand!
Fortunately it does not matter very much; but he should at least choose those branches of knowledge which abut directly upon
universal problems.
He should choose not one but several, and these should be as diverse as possible in nature.
It is important that he should strive to excel in some sport, and that that sport should be the one best calculated to keep
this body in health.
He should have a thorough grounding in classics, mathematics and science; also enough general knowledge of modern languages
and of the shifts of life to enable him to travel in any part of the world with ease and security.
History and geography he can pick up as he wants them; and what should interest him most in any subject is its links with
some other subject, so that his Pantacle may not lack what painters call "composition."
He will find that, however good his memory may be, ten thousand impressions enter his mind for every one that it is able to
retain even for a day. And the excellence of a memory lies in the wisdom of its selection.
The best memories so select and judge that practically {100} nothing is retained which has not some coherence with the general
plan of the mind.
All Pantacles will contain the ultimate conceptions of the circle and the cross, though some will prefer to replace the cross
by a point, or by a Tau, or by a triangle. The Vesica Pisces is sometimes used instead of the circle, or the circle may be
glyphed as a serpent. Time and space and the idea of causality are sometimes represented; so also are the three stages in the
history of philosophy, in which the three objects of study were successively Nature, God, and Man.
The duality of consciousness is also sometimes represented; and the Tree of Life itself may be figured therein, or the
categories. An emblem of the Great Work should be added. But the Pantacle will be imperfect unless each idea is contrasted
in a balanced manner with its opposite, and unless there is a necessary connection between each pair of ideas and every other
The Neophyte will perhaps do well to make the first sketches for his Pantacle very large and complex, subsequently simplifying,
not so much by exclusion as by combination, just as a Zoologist, beginning with the four great Apes and Man, combines all in the
single word "primate."
It is not wise to simplify too far, since the ultimate hieroglyphic must be an infinite. The ultimate resolution not having
been performed, its symbol must not be portrayed.
If any person were to gain access to V.V.V.V.V.,< Himself.">> and ask Him to discourse upon any subject, there is little doubt that He could only comply by an unbroken silence,
and even that might not be wholly satisfactory, since the Tao Teh King says that the Tao cannot be declared either by silence
or by speech.
In this preliminary task of collecting materials, the idea of the Ego is not of such great moment; all impressions are
phases of the non-ego, and the Ego serves merely as a receptacle. In fact, to the well regulated mind, there is no question
but that the impressions are real, and that the mind, if not a "tabula rasa," is only not so because of the "tendencies" or
"innate ideas" which prevent some ideas from being received as readily as others.< newly-hatched chicken to behave in the same way as a new-born child.>>
These "tendencies" must be combated: distasteful facts should be insisted upon until the Ego is perfectly indifferent
to the nature of its food.
"Even as the diamond shall glow red for the rose, and green for the rose-leaf, so shalt thou abide apart from the
This great task of separating the self from the impressions or "vrittis" {101} is one of the may meanings of the
aphorism "solve," corresponding to the "coagula" implied in Samadhi, and this Pantacle therefore represents all that
we are, the resultant of all that we had a tendency to be.
In the Dhammapada we read:

All that we are from mind results; on mind is founded, built of mind;
Who acts or speaks with evil thought him doth pain follow sure and blind.
So the ox plants his foot, and so the car wheel follows hard behind.

All that we are from mind results; on mind is founded, built of mind;
Who acts or speaks with righteous thought him happiness doth surely find.
So failing not the shadow falls for ever in its place assigned.

The Pantacle is then in a sense identical with the Karma or Kamma of the Magician.
The Karma of a man is his "ledger." The balance has not been struck and he does not know what it is; he does not even
fully know what debts he may have to pay, or what is owed him; nor does he know on what dates even those payments which he
anticipates may fall due.
A business conducted on such lines would be in a terrible mess; and we find in fact that man is in just such a mess.
While he is working day and night at some unimportant detail of his affairs, some giant force may be advancing "pede claudo"
to overtake him.
Many of the entries in this "ledger" are for the ordinary man necessarily illegible; the method of reading them is given
in that important instruction of the A.'.A.'. called "Thisharb," Liber CMXIII.
Now consider that this Karma is all that a man has or is. His ultimate object is to get rid of it completely -- when it
comes to the point of surrendering< weakness but strength. How can the mystic surrender all, while he clings to his virtues?>> the Self to the Beloved; but
in the beginning the Magician is not that Self, he is only the heap of refuse from which that Self is to be built up. The
Magical instruments must be made before they are destroyed.
This idea of Karma has been confused by many who ought to have know better, including the Buddha, with the ideas of poetic
justice and of retribution.
We have the story of one of the Buddha's Arahats, who being blind, in walking up and down unwittingly killed a number of
insects. [The Buddhist regards the destruction of life as the most shocking crime.] His brother Arahats inquired as to how
this was, and Buddha spun them a long yarn as to how, in a previous incarnation, he had maliciously deprived a woman of her
sight. This is only a fairy tale, a bogey to frighten the children, and probably the worst way of influencing the young yet
devised by human stupidity. {102}
Karma does not work in this way at all.
In any case moral fables have to be very carefully constructed, or they may prove dangerous to those who use them.
You will remember Bunyan's Passion and Patience: naughty Passion played with all this toys and broke them, good little
Patience put them carefully aside. Bunyan forgets to mention that by the time Passion had broken all his toys, he had
outgrown them.
Karma does not act in this tit-for-tat-way. An eye for an eye is a sort of savage justice, and the idea of justice
in our human sense is quite foreign to the constitution of the Universe.
Karma is the Law of Cause and Effect. There is no proportion in its operations. Once an accident occurs it is
impossible to say what may happen; and the Universe is a stupendous accident.
We go out to tea a thousand times without mishap, and the thousand-and-first time we meet some one who changes
radically the course of our lives for ever.
There is a sort of sense in which every impression that is made upon our minds is the resultant of all the forces
of the past; no incident is so trifling that it has not in some way shaped one's disposition. But there is none of
this crude retribution about it. One may kill a hundred thousand lice in one brief hour at the foot of the Baltoro
Glacier, as Frater P. once did. It would be stupid to suppose, as the Theosophist inclines to suppose, that this
action involves one in the doom of being killed by a louse a hundred thousand times.
This ledger of Karma is kept separate from the petty cash account; and in respect of bulk this petty cash account
is very much bigger than the ledger.
If we eat too much salmon we get indigestion and perhaps nightmare. It is silly to suppose that a time will come
when a salmon will eat us, and find us disagree.
On the other hand we are always being terribly punished for actions that are not faults at all. Even our virtues
rouse insulted nature to revenge.
Karma only grows by what it fees on: and if Karma is to be properly brought up, it requires a very careful diet.
With the majority of people their actions cancel each other out; no sooner is effort made than it is counterbalanced
by idleness. Eros gives place to Anteros.
Not one man in a thousand makes even an apparent escape from the commonplace of animal life.

Birth is sorrow;
Life is sorrow;
Sorrowful are old age, disease, and death;
But resurrection is the greatest misery of all. {103}

"Oh what misery! birth incessantly!" as Buddha said.
One goes on from day to day with a little of this and a little of that, a few kind thoughts and a few unkind thoughts;
nothing really gets done. Body and mind are changed, changed beyond recall by nightfall. But what "meaning" has any of
this change?
How few there are who can look back through the years and say that they have made advance in any definite direction?
And in how few is that change, such as it is, a variable with intelligence and conscious volition! The dead weight of
the original conditions under which we were born has counted for far more than all our striving. The unconscious forces
are incomparably greater than those of which we have any knowledge. This is the "solidity" of our Pantacle, the Karma of
our earth that whirls us will he nill he around her axis at the rate of a thousand miles an hour. And a thousand is Aleph,
a capital Aleph, the microcosm of all-wandering air, the fool of the Taro, the aimlessness and fatality of things!
It is very difficult then in any way to "fashion" this heavy Pantacle.
We can engrave characters upon it with the dagger, but they will scarcely come to more than did the statue of Ozymandias,
King of Kings, in the midst of the unending desert.
We cut a figure on the ice; it is effaced in a morning by the tracks of other skaters; nor did that figure do more than
scratch the surface of the ice, and the ice itself must melt before the sun. Indeed the Magician may despair when he comes
to make the Pantacle! Everyone has the material, one man's pretty well as good as his brothers; but for that Pantacle to be
in any way fashioned to a willed end, or even to an intelligible end, or even to a known end: "Hoc opus, Hic labor est." It
is indeed the toil of ascending from Avernus, and escaping to the upper air.
In order to do it, it is most necessary to understand our tendencies, and to will the development of one, the destruction of
another. And though all elements in the Pantacle must ultimately be destroyed, yet some will help us directly to reach a position
from which this task of destruction becomes possible; and there is no element therein which may not be occasionally helpful.
And so -- beware! Select! Select! Select!
This Pantacle is an infinite storehouse; things will always be there when we want them. We may see to it occasionally that
they are dusted and the moth kept out, but we shall usually be too busy to do much more. Remember that in travelling from the
earth to the stars, one dare not be encumbered with too much heavy luggage. Nothing that is not a necessary part of the machine
should enter into its composition. {104}
Now though this Pantacle is composed only of shams, some shams somehow seem to be more false than others.
The whole Universe is an illusion, but it is an illusion difficult to get rid of. It is true compared with most things. But
ninety-nine out of every hundred impressions are false even in relation to the things on their own plane.
Such distinctions must be graven deeply upon the surface of the Pantacle by the Holy Dagger.
There is only one other of the elemental Instruments to be considered, namely the Lamp.




IN Liber A. vel Armorum, the official instruction of the A.'.A.'. for the preparation of the elemental weapons, it is said that
each symbolic representation of the Universe is to be approved by the Superior of the Magician. To this rule the Lamp is an
exception; it is said:
"A Magical Lamp that shall burn without wick or oil, being fed by the Aethyr. This shall he accomplish secretly and apart,
without asking the advice or approval of his Adeptus Minor."
This Lamp is the light of the pure soul; it hath no need of fuel, it is the Burning Bush incomsumable that Moses saw, the
image of the Most High.
This Lamp hangeth above the Altar, it hath no support from below; its light illumines the whole Temple, yet upon it are
cast no shadows, no reflections. It cannot be touched, it cannot be extinguished, in no way can it change; for it is utterly
apart from all those things which have complexity, which have dimension, which change and may be changed.
When the eyes of the Magus are fixed upon this Lamp naught else exists.
The Instruments lie idle on the Altar; that Light alone burns eternally.
The Divine Will that was the Wand is no more; for the path has become one with the Goal.
The Divine Understanding that was the Cup is no more; for the subject and Object of intelligence are one.
The Divine Reason that was the Sword is no more; for the complex has been resolved into the Simple.
And the Divine Substance that was the Pantacle is no more; for the many has become the One.
Eternal, unconfined, unextended, without cause and without effect, the Holy Lamp mysteriously burns. Without quantity or
quality, unconditioned and sempiternal, is this Light.
It is not possible for anyone to advise or approve; for this Lamp is not made with hands; it exists alone for ever; it has
no parts, no person; it is before "I am." Few can behold it, yet it is always there. For it there is no "here" nor "there,"
no "then" nor "now;" all parts of speech are abolished, save the noun; and this noun is not found either in {106} human speech
or in Divine. It is the Lost Word, the dying music of whose sevenfold echo is I A O and A U M. Without this Light the
Magician could not work at all; yet few indeed are the Magicians that have know of it, and far fewer They that have beheld
its brilliance!
The Temple and all that is in it must be destroyed again and again before it is worthy to receive that Light. Hence it
so often seems that the only advice that any master can give to any pupil is to destroy the Temple.
"Whatever you have" and "whatever you are" are veils before that Light.
Yet in so great ~a matter all advice is vain. There is no master so great that he can see clearly the whole character of
any pupil. What helped him in the past may hinder another in the future.
Yet since the Master is pledged to serve, he may take up that service on these simple lines. Since all thoughts are veils
of this Light, he may advise the destruction of all thoughts, and to that end teach those practices which are clearly conductive
to such destruction.
These practices have now fortunately been set down in clear language by order of the A.'.A.'..
In these instructions the relativity and limitation of each practice is clearly taught, and all dogmatic interpretations are
carefully avoided. Each practice is in itself a demon which must be destroyed; but to be destroyed it must first be evoked.
Shame upon that Master who shirks any one of these practices, however distasteful or useless it may be to him! For in the
detailed knowledge of it, which experience alone can give him, may lie his opportunity for crucial assistance to a pupil.
However dull the drudgery, it should be undergone. If it were possible to regret anything in life, which is fortunately not
the case, it would be the hours wasted in fruitful practices which might have been more profitably employed on sterile ones:
for NEMO< XIII.>> in tending his garden seeketh not to single out the flower that shall be NEMO after him. And we are not told that
NEMO might have used other things than those which he actually does use; it seems possible that if he had not the acid or
the knife, or the fire, or the oil, he might miss tending just that one flower which was to be NEMO after him!




THE Crown of the Magician represents the Attainment of his Work. It is a band of pure gold, on the front of which stand
three pentagrams, and on the back a hexagram. The central pentagram contains a diamond or a great opal; the other three
symbols contain the Tau. Around this Crown is twined the golden Ureaus serpent, with erect head and expanded hood. Under
the Crown is a crimson cap of maintenance, which falls to the shoulders.
Instead of this, the Ateph Crown of Thoth is sometimes worn; for Thoth is the God of Truth, of Wisdom, and the Teacher of
Magick. The Ateph Crown has two ram's horns, showing energy, dominion, the force that breaks down obstacles, the sign of the
spring. Between these horns is the disk of the sun; from this springs a Lotus upheld by the twin plumes of truth, and three
other sun-disks are upheld, one by the cup of the lotus, the others beneath the curving feathers.
There is still another Crown, the Crown of Amoun, the concealed one, from whom the Hebrews borrowed their holy word "Amen."
This Crown consists simply of the plumes of truth. But into the symbolism of these it is not necessary to go, for all this and
more is in the Crown first described.
The crimson cap implies concealment, and is also symbolical of the flood of glory that pours upon the Magician from above.
It is of velvet for the softness of that divine kiss, and crimson for that it is the very blood of God which is its life. The
band of gold is the eternal circle of perfection. The three pentagrams symbolize the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
while the hexagram represents the Magician himself. Ordinarily, pentagrams represent the microcosm, hexagrams the macrocosm;
but here the reverse is the case, because in this Crown of Perfection, that which is below has become that which is above,
and that which is above had become that which is below. If a diamond be worn, it is for the Light which is before all
manifestations in form; if an opal, it is to commemorate that sublime plan of the All, to fold and unfold in eternal
rapture, to manifest as the Many that the Many may become the One Unmanifest. But this matter is too great for an
elementary treatise on Magick.
The Serpent which is coiled about the Crown means many things, or, rather, one thing in many ways. It is the
symbol of royalty and of initiation, for the Magician is anointed King and Priest. {108}
It also represents Hadit, of which one can here only quote these words: "I am the secret serpent coiled about
to spring; in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one; if I droop down mine head and
shoot forth venom, there is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one."
The serpent is also the Kundalini serpent, the Magical force itself, the manifesting side of the Godhead of the
Magician, whose unmanifested side is peace and silence, of which there is no symbol.
In the Hindu system the Great Work is represented by saying that this serpent, which is normally coiled at the base
of the spine, rises with her hood over the head of the Yogi, there to unite with the Lord of all.
The serpent is also he who poisons. It is that force which destroys the manifested Universe. This is also the emerald
snake which encircles the Universe. This matter must be studied in Liber LXV, where this is discussed incomparably. In the
hood of this serpent are the six jewels, three on each side, Ruby, Emerald, and Sapphire, the three holy elements made perfect,
on both sides in equilibrium.




THE Robe of the Magician may be varied according to his grade and the nature of his working.
There are two principal Robes, the white and the black; of these the black is more important than the white, for the white
has no hood. These Robes may be varied by the addition of various symbols, but in any case the shape of the Robe is a Tau.
The general symbolism which we have adopted leads us, however, to prefer the description of a Robe which few dare wear.
This Robe is of a rich silk of deep pure blue, the blue of the night sky: it is embroidered with golden stars, and with roses
and lilies. Around the hem, its tail in its mouth, is the great serpent, while upon the front from neck to hem falls the
Arrow described in the Vision of the Fifth Aethyr. This Robe is lined with purple silk on which is embroidered a green
serpent coiled from neck to hem. The symbolism of this Robe treats of high mysteries which must be studied in Liber CCXX
and Liber CDXVIII; but having thus dealt with special Robes, let us consider the use of the Robe in general.
The Robe is that which conceals, and which protects the Magician from the elements; it is the silence and secrecy with
which he works, the hiding of himself in the occult life of Magick and Meditation. This is the "going away into the
wilderness" which we find in the lives of all men of the highest types of greatness. And it is also the withdrawing of
one's self from life as such.
In another sense it is the "Aura" of the Magician, that invisible egg or sheath which surrounds him. This "Aura" must
be shining, elastic, impenetrable, even by the light, that is, by any partial light that comes from one side.
The only light of the Magician is from the Lamp which hangs above his head, as he stands in the centre of the Circle,
and the Robe, being open at the neck, opposes no obstacles to the passage of this light. And being open, and very wide
open, at the bottom, it permits that light to pass and illumine them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.




THE Book of Spells or of Conjurations is the Record of every thought, word, and deed of the Magician; for everything that
he has willed is willed to a purpose. It is the same as if he had taken an oath to perform some achievement.
Now this Book must be a holy Book, not a scribbling-book in which you jot down every piece of rubbish that comes into
your head. It is written, Liber VII, v, 23: "Every breath, every word, every thought, every deed is an act of love with
Thee. Be this devotion a potent spell to exorcise the demons of the Five."
This Book must then be thus written. In the first place the Magician must perform the practice laid down in Liber
CMXIII so that he understands perfectly who he is, and to what his development must necessarily tend. So much for the
first page of the Book.
Let him then be careful to write nothing therein that is inharmonious or untrue. Nor can he avoid this writing, for
this is a Magick Book. If you abandon even for an hour the one purpose of your life, you will find a number of meaningless
scratches and scrawls on the white vellum; and these cannot be erased. In such a case, when you come to conjure a demon by
the power of the Book, he will mock you; he will point to all this foolish writing, more like his own than yours. In vain
will you continue with the subsequent spells; you have broken by your own foolishness the chain which would have bound him.
Even the calligraphy of the Book must be firm, clear, and beautiful; in the cloud of incense it is hard to read the
conjurations. While you peer dimly through the smoke, the demon will vanish, and you will have to write the terrible word
And yet there is no page of this Book on which this word is not written; but so long as it is immediately followed by a
new affirmation, all is not lost; and as in this Book the word "failure" is thus made of little account, so also must the
word "success" never be employed, for its is the last word that may be written therein, and it is followed by a full stop.
This full stop may never be written anywhere else; for the writing of the Book goes on eternally; there is no way of
closing the record until the goal of all has been attained. Let every page of this Book be filled with song -- for it is
a Book of incantation!




THE Magical Bell is best attached to the chain. In some systems of Magick a number of bells have been worn, sewn upon the
hem of the robe with the idea of symbolizing that every movement of the Magician should make music. But the Bell of which
we shall speak is a more important implement. This Bell summons and alarms; and it is also the Bell which sounds at the
elevation of the Host.
It is thus also the "Astral Bell" of the Magician.< bell resound in the depths of his being. It is not subjective, for it is sometimes heard by other people. Some Magicians
are able to call the attention of those with whom they wish to communicate at a distance by its means, or, so it is said.>>
The Bell of which we speak is a disk of some two inches in diameter, very slightly bent into a shape not unlike that of
a cymbal. A hole in the centre permits the passage of a short leather thong, by which it may be attached to the chain. At
the other end of the chain is the striker; which, in Tibet, is usually made of human bone.
The Bell itself is made of electrum magicum, an alloy of the "seven metals" blended together in a special manner. First
the gold is melted up with the silver during a favourable aspect of the sun and moon; these are then fused with tin when
Jupiter is well dignified. Lead is added under an auspicious Saturn; and so for the quicksilver, copper, and iron, when
Mercury, Venus, and Mars are of good augury.
The sound of this Bell is indescribably commanding, solemn, and majestic. Without even the minutest jar, its single
notes tinkle fainter and fainter into silence. At the sound of this Bell the Universe ceases for an indivisible moment
of time, and attends to the Will of the Magician. Let him not interrupt the sound of this Bell. Let this be that which
is written, Liber VII, v, 31: "There is a solemnity of the silence. There is no more voice at all."
As the Magical Book was the record of the past, so is the Magick Bell the prophecy of the future. The manifested shall
repeat itself again and again, always a clear thin note, always a simplicity of music, yet ever less and less disturbing
the infinite silence until the end.




THE breastplate of Lamen of the Magician is a very elaborate and important symbol. In the Jewish system we read that the
High Priest was to wear a plate with twelve stones, for the twelve tribes of Israel (with all their correspondences), and
in this plate were kept the Urim and Thummin.< apparently they were methods of divination.>>
The modern Lamen is, however, a simple plate which (being worn over the heart) symbolizes Tiphereth, and it should
therefore be a harmony of all the other symbols in one. It connects naturally by its shape with the Circle and the
Pentacle; but it is not sufficient to repeat the design of either.
The Lamen of the spirit whom one wishes to evoke is both placed in the triangle and worn on the breast; but in
this case, since that which we wish to evoke in nothing partial, but whole, we shall have but a single symbol to
combine the two. The Great Work will then form the subject of the design.< confused the Lamen with the Pantacle, usually through a misunderstanding of the nature of the latter. Dr. Dee's
"Sigillum Dei Amath" makes a fine pantacle, but it would be useless as a lamen, Eliphas Levi made several attempts
to draw one or the other, he never seemed sure which. Fortunately he knows better now. The lamens given in the
Lesser and Greater Keys of "Solomon" are rather better, but we know of no perfect example. The design on the cover
of "The Star in the West" represents an early effort of Fra. P.>>
In this Lamen the Magician must place the secret keys of his power.
The Pentacle is merely the material to be worked upon, gathered together and harmonized but not yet in operation,
the parts of the engine arranged for use, or even put together, but not yet set in motion. In the Lamen these forces
are already at work; even accomplishment is prefigured.
In the system of Abramelin the Lamen is a plate of silver upon which the Holy Guardian Angel writes in dew. This is
another way of expressing the same thing, for it is He who confers the secrets of that power which should be herein
expressed. St. Paul expresses the same thing when he says that the breastplate is faith, and can withstand the fiery
darts of the wicked. "This "faith" is not blind self-confidence {113}

{figure on this page: A vesica with balances, sword, rose and crown, along with several letters and numbers. This
caption beneath: "EXAMPLE OF DESIGN FOR A LAMEN"}


and credulity; it is that self confidence which only comes when self is forgotten.
It is the "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" which confers this faith. The task of attaining
to this Knowledge and Conversation is the sole task of him who would be called Adept. An absolute method for achieving
this is given in the Eighth Aethyr (Liber CDXVIII, Equinox V).


{illustration on this page: a pot supported by a tripod with arms up and over the top to hold up a perforated circular
grate. The upper extensions of the arms are flame-shaped. This caption beneath: "THE CENSER (CROWLEY'S PATENT PATTERN)."}





INTO the Magick Fire all things are cast. It symbolizes the final burning up of all things in Shivadarshana. It is the
absolute destruction alike of the Magician and the Universe.
The Thurible stands upon a small altar. "My altar is of open brass work: burn thereon in silver or gold!" < footnote: quotation corrected>> This altar stands in the East, as if to symbolize the identity of Hope and Annihilation.
This brass contains the metals of Jupiter and Venus fused in a homogeneous alloy. This is then symbolical of divine love,
and it is "open brass work" because this love is not limited in direction or extent; it is not particularized, it is universal.
Upon this altar stands the Censer proper; it has three legs symbolical of fire.< of Fire, has three tongues of flame, and its value is 300.>> Its cup is a hemisphere, and supported from its edge is a plate
pierced with holes. This censer is of silver or gold, because there were called the perfect metals; it is upon perfection
that the imperfect is burned. Upon this plate burns a great fire of charcoal, impregnated with nitre. This charcoal is (as
chemists now begin to surmise) the ultimate protean element: absolutely black, because it absorbs all light; infusible by the
application of any known heat; the lightest of those elements which occur in the solid state in nature; the essential constituent
of all known forms of life.
It has been treated with nitre, whose potassium has the violet flame of Jupiter, the father of all, whose nitrogen is that
inert element which by proper combination becomes a constituent of all the most explosive bodies known; and oxygen, the food
of fire.< Potash is now commonly sold for incense burning in the form of disks with an indentation in the top, "Three Kings Charcoal"
is a popular brand, but some "self-starting" barbecue brickettes are also of this composition and much less expensive.>>
This fire is blown upon by the Magician; this blaze of destruction has been kindled by his word and by his will.
Into this Fire he casts the Incense, symbolical of prayer, the gross vehicle or image of his aspiration. Owing to the
imperfection of this image, we obtain mere smoke instead of perfect combustion. But we cannot use explosives instead of
incense, because it would not be true. Our prayer is the expression of the lower aspiring to the higher; it is without
the clear vision of the higher, it does not understand what the higher wants. And, however sweet may be its smell, it
is always cloudy. {117}
In this smoke illusions arise. We sought the light, and behold the Temple is darkened! In the darkness this smoke
seems to take strange shapes, and we may hear the crying of beasts. The thicker the smoke, the darker grows the Universe.
We gasp and tremble, beholding what foul and unsubstantial things we have evoked!
Yet we cannot do without the Incense! Unless our aspiration took form it could not influence form. This also is the
mystery of incarnation.
This Incense is based upon Gum Olibanum, the sacrifice of the human will of the heart. This olibanum has been mixed
with half its weight of storax, the earthly desires, dark, sweet, and clinging; and this again with half its weight of
lignum aloes, which symbolizes Sagittarius, the arrow,< the human upward. The former is the Oil, the latter the Incense, or rather the finest part of it. See Liber CDXVIII, Fifth
Aethyr.>> and so represents the aspiration itself; it is the arrow that cleaves the rainbow. This arrow is "Temperance" in
the Taro; it is a life equally balanced and direct which makes our work possible; yet this life itself must be sacrificed!
In the burning up of these things arise in our imagination those terrifying or alluring phantasms which throng the
"Astral Plane." This smoke represents the "Astral Plane," which lies between the material and the spiritual. One
may now devote a little attention to the consideration of this "plane," about which a great deal of nonsense has
been written.
When a man shuts his eyes and begins to look about him, at first there is nothing but darkness. If he continues trying
to penetrate the gloom, a new pair of eyes gradually opens.
Some people think that these are the "eyes of imagination." Those with more experience understand that this truly
represents things seen, although those things are themselves totally false.
As first the seer will perceive gray gloom; in subsequent experiments perhaps figures may appear with whom the seer
may converse, and under whose guidance he may travel about. This "plane" being quite as large and varied as the material
Universe, one cannot describe it effectively; we must refer the reader to Liber O and to Equinox II, pages 295 to 334.
This "Astral Plane" has been described by Homer in the Odyssey. Here are Polyphemus and the Laestrygons, here Calypso
and the Sirens. Here, too, are those things which many have imagined to be the "spirits" of the dead. If the student
once take any of these things for truth, he must worship it, since all truth is worshipful. In such a case he is lost;
the phantom will have power over him; it will obsess him.
As long as an idea is being examined you are free from {118} it. There is no harm in man's experimenting with
opium-smoking or feeding on nuts; but the moment he ceases to examine, to act from habit and without reflection,
he is in trouble. We all of us eat too much, because people, liveried and obsequious, have always bustled up five
times daily with six months' provisions, and it was less trouble to feed and be done with it, than to examine the
question whether we were hungry. If you cook your own food, you soon find that you don't cook more or less than
you want; and health returns. If, however, you go to the other extreme and think of nothing but diet, you are
almost sure to acquire that typical form of melancholia, in which the patient is convinced that all the world is
in league to poison him. Professor Schweinhund has shown that beef causes gout; Professor Naschtikoff proves that
milk causes consumption. Sir Ruffon Wratts tells us that old age is brought on by eating cabbage. By and by you
reach the state of which Mr. Hereward Carrington make his proud boast: your sole food is chocolate, which you chew
unceasingly, even in your dreams. Yet no sooner have you taken it into you than you awake to the terrible truth
demonstrated by Guterbock Q. Hosenscheisser, Fourth Avenue, Grand Rapids, that chocolate is the cause of constipation,
and constipation of cancer, and proceed to get it out of you by means of an enema which would frighten a camel into
A similar madness attacks even real men of science. Metchnikoff studied the diseases of the colon until he could
see nothing else, and then calmly proposed to cut out every one's colon, pointing out that a vulture (who has no colon)
is a very long-lived bird. As a matter of fact the longevity of the vulture is due to its twisted neck, and many
thoughtful persons propose to experiment on Professor Metchnikoff.
But the worst of all phantasms are the moral ideas and the religious ideas. Sanity consists in the faculty of
adjusting ideas in proper proportion. Any one who accepts a moral or religious truth without understanding it is
only kept out of the asylum because he does not follow it out logically. If one really believed in Christianity,
< -- "Crowley.">> if one really thought that the majority of mankind was doomed to eternal punishment, one would go
raving about the world trying to "save" people. Sleep would not be possible until the horror of the mind left the
body exhausted. Otherwise, one must be morally insane. Which of us can sleep if one we love is in danger of mere
death? We cannot even see a dog drown without at least interrupting all our business to look on. Who then can live
in London and reflect upon the fact that of its seven million souls, all but about a thousand Plymouth Brethren will
be damned? Yet the thousand Plymouth Brethren (who are the loudest in proclaiming that they will be the only ones
saved) seem to {119} get on very well, thank you. Whether they are hypocrites or morally insane is a matter which
we can leave to their own consideration.
All these phantoms, of whatever nature, must be evoked, examined, and mastered; otherwise we may find that just
when we want it there is some idea with which we have never dealt; and perhaps that idea, springing on us by surprise,
and as it were from behind, may strangle us. This is the legend of the sorcerer strangled by the Devil!



ONLY words nowhere explained in the preceding pages are given in this list. Several others, mentioned in passing in the
early part of the book, are sufficiently dealt with later on. In these cases the references in the Index should be turned up.

"A.'.A.'." The Great White Brotherhood which is giving this Method of
Attainment to the world. "See" Equinox I.
"Adeptus Minor." A grade of adeptship. "See" Equinox III.
"Aethyrs." "See" Equinox V and VII.
"Aima." The Great Fertile Mother Nature.
"Ama." The Great Mother not yet fertile.
"Amoun." The God Amen = Zeus = Jupiter, etc., etc.
"Ankh." The Symbol of "Life." A form of the Rosy Cross. "See" Equinox III.
"Apophis." The Serpent-God who slew Osiris. "See" Equinox III.

"Babalon, Our Lady." "See" Equinox V, The Vision and Voice, 14th Aethyr.
"Babe of the Abyss." "See" Equinox VIII, Temple of Solomon.
"Bhagavadgita." Scared Hymn of India, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold in
the "Song Celestial."
"Binah." Understanding, the 3rd "emanation" of the Absolute.

"Caduceus." The Wand of Mercury. "See" Equinox II and III.
"Chela." Pupil.
"Chesed." Mercy, the 4th "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Chokmah." Wisdom, the 2nd "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Choronzon." "See" Equinox V, The Vision and the Voice, 10th Aethyr.
"City of the Pyramids." "See" Equinox V, The Vision and the Voice, 14th
"Crux Ansata." Same as Ankh, "q.v."

"Daath." Knowledge, child of Chokmah and Binah in one sense; in another,
the home of Choronzon.
"Dhammapada." A sacred Buddhist book.

"Elemental Kings." "See" 777.

"Geburah." Strength, the 5th "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Gunas." Three principles. "See" Bhagadvadgita,{sic} 777, etc.
"Guru." Teacher.

"Hadit." "See" "Liber Legis," Equinox VII. Also "Liber 555."
"Hathayoga Pradipika." A book on physical training for spiritual purposes.
"Hod." Splendour, the 8th "emanation" of the Absolute.

"Kamma." Pali dialect of Karma, "q.v."
"Karma." "That which is made," "The law of cause and effect." "See" "Science
and Buddhism," Crowley, Coll. Works, Vol. II.
"Kether." The Crown, 1st "emanation" of the Absolute.

"Lao Tze." Great Chinese teacher, founder of Taoists. "See" Tao Teh "K"ing.
"Liber Legis." "See" Equinox VII for facsimile reproduction of MS. {123}
"Lingam" The Unity or Male Principle. But these have many symbols, "e.g.,"
sometimes Yoni is 0 or 3 and Lingam 2.
"Lingam-Yoni." A form of the Rosy Cross.

"Macrocosm." The great Universe, of which man is an exact image.
"Magus." A magician. Technically, also, a Master of the grade 9{degree} =
2{square}. "See" Equinox VII, "Liber I," and elsewhere.
"Mahalingam." "See" Lingam. Maha means great.
"Maha Sattipatthana." A mode of meditation. "See" "Science and Buddhism,"
Crowley, Coll. Works, Vol. II, for a full account.
"Malkah." A young girl. The "bride." The unredeemed soul.
"Malkuth." "The kingdom," 10th "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Mantrayoga." A practice to attain union with God by repetition of a sacred
"Master of the Temple." One of grade 8{degree} = 3{square}. Fully discussed
in Equinox.
"Microcosm." Man, considered as an exact image of the Universe.

"Nephesch." The "animal soul" of man.
"Netzach." Victory, the 7th "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Nibbana." The state called, for want of a better name, annihilation. The
final goal.
"Nirvana." "See" Nibbana.
"Nuit." "See" "Liber Legis."

"Paths." "See" 777, and Equinox II and elsewhere.
"Perdurabo, Frater." "See" Equinox I-X, "The Temple of Solomon the King."
"Prana." "See" "Raja Yoga."

"Qabalah." "See" "The tradition of secret wisdom of the Hebrews," Equinox V.
"Qliphoth." "Shells" or demons. The excrement of ideas.

"Ra-Hoor-Khuit." "See" "Liber Legis."
"Ruach." The intellect and other mental qualities. "See" 777, etc.

"Sahasrara Cakkra." "The Temple of Solomon the King." "See" Equinox IV.
"Sammasati." "See" "The training of the Mind," Equinox V, and "The Temple
of Solomon," Equinox VIII. "Also" "Science and Buddhism," Crowley
Coll. Works, Vol. II
"Sankhara." "See" "Science and Buddhism."
"Sanna." "See" "Science and Buddhism."
"Sephiroth." "See" "Temple of Solomon," Equinox V.
"Shin." "A tooth." Hebrew letter = Sh, corresponds to Fire and Spirit.
"Shiva Sanhita." A Hindu treatise on physical training for spiritual ends.
"Skandhas." "See" "Science and Buddhism."

"Tao." "See" Konx Om Pax, "Thien Tao." 777, etc.
"Tao Teh King." Chinese Classic of the Tao.
"Taro." "See" 777, Equinox III and VIII, etc., etc.
"Tau." A "cross," Hebrew letter = Th corresponds to "Earth." "See" 777.
"Thaumiel." The demons corresponding to Kether. Two contending forces.
"Theosophist." A person who talks about Yoga, and does no work.
"Thoth." The Egyptian god of Speech, Magick, Wisdom.
"Tiphereth." "Beauty" or "Harmony," the 6th "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Typhon." The destroyer of Osiris.

"Udana." One of the imaginary "nerves" of Hindu pseudo-physiology." {124}

"Vedana." "See" "Science an Buddhism," Crowley, Coll. Works, Vol. II.
"Vesica, Vesica Piscies." "See" Yoni. The oval formed by the intersection of
the circles in Euclid I, 1.
"Virakam, Soror." A chela of Frater Perdurabo.
"Vrittis." "Impressions."

"Yesod." "Foundation," the ninth "emanation" of the Absolute.
"Yogi." One who seeks to attain "Union" (with God). A Hindu word
corresponding to the Mohammedan word Fakir.
"Yoni." The Dyad, or Female Principle. "See" Lingam.

"Zohar." Splendour, a collection of books on the Qabalah. "See" "The Temple
of Solomon the King," Equinox V.



The A.'.A.'. is an organization whose heads have obtained by
personal experience to the summit of this science. They have
founded a system by which every one can equally attain, and that
with an ease and speed which was previously impossible.
The first grade in their system is that of


A Student must possess the following books:
1. The Equinox, No. I.
2. 777.
3. Konx Om Pax.
4. Collected Works of A. Crowley; Tannhauser, The Sword of
Song, Time, Eleusis.
5. Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda.
6. The Shiva Sanhita, or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
7. The Tao Teh "K"ing and the writings of "K"wang Tze: S.B.E.
xxxix, xl.
8. The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
9. Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Levi, or its
translation by A. E. Waite.
10. The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.
Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their system.
After three months the Student is examined in these books, and if his knowledge of them is found satisfactory, he may become
a Probationer, receiving Liber LXI and the secret holy book, Liber LXV. The principal point of this grade is that the Probationer
has a master appointed, whose experience can guide him in his work.
He may select any practices that he prefers, but in any case must keep an exact record, so that he may discover the relation of
cause and effect in his working, and so that the A.'.A.'. may judge of his progress, and direct his further studies.
After a year of probation he may be admitted a Neophyte of the A.'.A.'., and receive the secret holy book Liber VII.
These are the principal instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:
Libri E, A, O, III, XXX, CLXXV, CC, CCVI, CMXIII, while the Key to Magick Power is given in Liber CCCLXX.


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