Chapter 49

Part Three





This chapter is the climax of this book. Its contents are so extraordinary, they demand such breadth and depth of preliminary explanation, that I am in despair. It is so serious to me that my responsibility overwhelms me. My entire previous life was but a preparation for this event, and my entire subsequent life has been not merely determined by it, but wrapped up in it.

I have made several attempts to write the history of these few weeks, notably, that section of The Temple of Solomon the King which appears in The Equinox, vol. I, no. VII. I cannot with literary propriety incorporate these documents in the body of this book, but they are presented in an appendix, together with the text of The Book of the Law.

Most of the past nine years of my life have been preoccupied, each year more fully than the last, with the problem of proving to humanity in general the propositions involved. To make the elements of my thesis as clear and distinct as possible, I shall endeavour to insulate them in sections.

Ouarda and I left Helwan for Cairo. (Date unascertained, probably on March 11th or 13th.) We had taken an apartment (Address unascertained) on Wednesday, March 16th. One day, having nothing special to do, I made the “Preliminary Invocation” referred to above. I had no more serious purpose than to show her the sylphs as I might have taken her to the theatre. She could not (or refused to) see them, but instead got into a strange state of mind. I had never seen her anything at all like it before. She kept on repeating dreamily, yet intensely, “They are waiting for you.” I was annoyed at her conduct.

March 17th. I don't remember whether I repeated my attempt to show her the sylphs, but probably did. It is in my character to persist. She again got into the same state and repeated her remarks, adding, “It is all about the child.” And “All Osiris.” I think I must have been annoyed by her contumacy. Perhaps for this reason I invoked Thoth, the god of wisdom, presumably by the invocation printed in Liber Israfel (The Equinox, Vol. I, Vo. VII), which I knew by heart. I may also have been subconsciously wondering whether there was not something in her remarks, and wanted to be enlightened. The record says, “Thoth, invoked with great success, indwells us.” But this strikes me as to some extent “written up” in a spirit of complacency, if not arrogance. I remember nothing of any result.

March 18th. Possibly I repeated the invocation. The record says, “Revealed that the waiter was Horus, whom I had offended and ought to invoke.” {393}

“Waiter” sounds like a sneer. I thought is was sheer impudence of Ouarda to offer independent remarks. I want her to see the sylphs.

I must have been impressed by one point. How did Ouarda know that I had offended Horus? The troubles of Mathers were due to his excessive devotion to Mars, who represents one side of the personality of Horus, and no doubt I was inclined to err in the opposite directions, to neglect and dislike Mars as the personification of unintelligent violence.

But was her bull's-eye a fluke? Her mention of Horus gave me a chance to cross-examine her. “How do you know that it is Horus who is telling you all this? Identify him.” (Ouarda knew less Egyptology than ninety-nine Cairene tourists our of one hundred.) Her answers were overwhelming. The odds against her being right were one in many million.

I allowed her to go on. She instructed me how to invoke Horus. The instructions were, from my point of view, pure rubbish. I suggested amending them. She emphatically refused to allow a single detail to be altered. She promised success (whatever that might mean) on Saturday or Sunday. If I had any aspiration left at all, it was to attain Samadhi (which I had not yet ever done). She promised that I should do so. I agreed to carry out her instructions, avowedly in order to show her that nothing could happen if you broke all the rules.

On some day before March 23rd, Ouarda identified the particular god with whom she was in communication from a stele in the Boulak Museum, which we had never visited. It is not the ordinary form of Horus but Ra-Hoor-Khuit1). I was no doubt very much struck by the coincidence that the exhibit, a quite obscure and undistinguished stele, bore the catalogue number 666. But I dismissed it as an obvious coincidence.

March 19th. I wrote out the ritual and did the invocation with little success. I was put off, not only by my scepticism and the absurdity of the ritual, but by having to do it in robes at an open window on a street at noon. She allowed me to make the second attempt at midnight.

March 20th. The invocation was a startling success. I was told that “The Equinox of the Gods had come”; that is, that a new epoch had begun. I was to formulate a link between the solar-spiritual force and mankind.

Various considerations showed me that the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order (that is, of the A∴ A∴ whose First and Second Orders were known as G∴ D∴ and R.R. et A.C. respectively) had sent a messenger to confer upon me the position which Mathers had forfeited. I made it a condition that I should attain Samadhi; that is, that I should receive a degree of illumination, in default of which it would be presumptuous to put myself forward.

March 21st-22nd-23rd. There seems to have been a reaction after the success of the twentieth. The phenomena faded out. I tried to clear up my {394} position by the old methods and did a long Tarot divination which proved perfectly futile.

March 23rd to April 7th. I made inquiries about the stele and had the inscriptions translated into French by the assistant curator at Boulak. I made poetic paraphrases of them. Ouarda now told me to enter the room, where all this work had been done, exactly at noon on April 8th, 9th and 10th, and write down what I heard, rising exactly at one o'clock. This is did. In these three hours were written the three chapters of The Book of the Law.

The above statement is as succinct as I can make it. By April 8th, I had been convinced of the reality of the communication and obeyed my wife's arbitrary instructions with a certain confidence. I retained my sceptical attitude none the less.

THE CLAIM OF THE BOOK OF THE LAW IN RESPECT OF RELIGION. The importance of religion to humanity is paramount. The reason is that all men perceive more of less the “First Noble Truth” — that everything is sorrow; and religion claims to console them by an authoritative denial of this truth or by promising compensations in other states of existence. This claim implies the possibility of knowledge derived from sources other than the unaided investigation of nature through the senses and the intellect. It postulates, therefore, the existence of one or more praeter-human intelligences, able and willing to communicate, through the medium of certain chosen man, to mankind a truth or truths which could not otherwise be known. Religion is justified in demanding faith, since the evidence of the senses and the mind cannot confirm its statements. The evidence from prophecy and miracle is valid only in so far as it goes to the credit of the man through whom the communication is made. It establishes that he is in possession of knowledge and power different, not only in degree but in kind, from those enjoyed by the rest of man kind.

The history of mankind teems with religious teachers. These may be divided into three classes.

1. Such men as Moses an Mohammed state simply that they have received a direct communication from God. They buttress their authority by divers methods, chiefly threats and promises guaranteed by thaumaturgy; they resent the criticism of reason.

2. Such men as Blake and Boehme claimed to have entered into direct communication with discarnate intelligence which may be considered as personal, creative, omnipotent, unique, identical with themselves or otherwise. Its authority depends on “the interior certainty” of the seer. 3. Such teachers as Lao-Tzu, the Buddha and the highest Gnana-yogis announce that they have attained to superior wisdom, understanding, knowledge and power, but make no pretence of imposing their views on {395} mankind. They remain essentially sceptics. They base their precepts on their own personal experience, saying, in effect, that they have found that the performance of certain acts and the abstention from others created conditions favourable to the attainment of the state which has emancipated them. The wiser they are, the less dogmatic. Such men indeed formulate their transcendental conception of the cosmos more or less clearly; they may explain evil as illusion, etc., but the heart of their theory is that the problem of sorrow has been wrongly stated, owing to the superficial or incomplete data presented by normal human experience through the senses, and that it is possible for men, but virtue of some special training (from Asana to Ceremonial Magick), to develop in themselves a faculty superior to reason and immune from intellectual criticism, by the exercise of which the original problem of suffering is satisfactorily solved.

The Book of the Law claims to comply with the conditions necessary to satisfy all three types of inquirer.

Firstly, it claims to be a document not only verbally, but literally inspired. Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. … This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all.

The author claims to be a messenger of the Lord of the Universe and therefore to speak with absolute authority.

Secondly, it claims to be the statement of transcendental truth, and to have overcome the difficulty of expressing such truth in human language by what really amounts to the invention of a new method of communicating thought, not merely a new language, but a new type of language; a literal and numerical cipher involving the Greek and Hebrew Cabbalas, the highest mathematics etc. It also claims to be the utterance of an illuminated mind co-extensive with the ultimate ideas of which the universe is composed.

Thirdly, it claims to offer a method by which men may arrive independently at the direct consciousness of the truth of the contents of the Book; enter into communication directly on their own initiative and responsibility with the type of intelligence which informs it, and solve all their personal religious problems.

Generally, The Book of the Law claims to answer all possible religious problems. One is struck by the fat that so many of them are stated and settled separately in so short a space.

Top return the the general question of religion. The fundamental problem has never been explicitly stated. We know that all religions, without exception, have broken down at the first test. The claim of religion is to complete, {396} and (incidentally) to reverse, the conclusions of reason by means of a direct communication from some intelligence superior in kind to that o any incarnate human being. I ask Mohammed, “How am I to know that the Koran is not your own compilation?”

It is impertinent to answer that the Koran is so sublime, so musical, so true, so full of prophecies which time has fulfilled and confirmed by so many miraculous events that Mohammed could not have written it himself.

The author of The Book of the Law foresaw and provided against all such difficulties by inserting in the text discoveries which I did not merely not make for years afterwards, but did not even possess the machinery for making. Some, in fact, depend upon events which I had no part in bringing about.

It may be said that nevertheless there may have been someone somewhere in the world who possessed the necessary qualities. This again is rebutted by the fact that some of the allusions are to facts known to me alone. We are forced to conclude that the author of The Book of the Law is an intelligence both alien and superior to myself, yet acquainted with my inmost secrets; and, most important point of all, that this intelligence is discarnate.

The existence of true religion presupposes that of some discarnate intelligence, whether we call him God or anything else. And this is exactly what no religion had ever proved scientifically. And this is what The Book of the Law does prove by internal evidence, altogether independent of any statement of mine. This proof is evidently the most important step in science that could possibly be made: for it opens up an entirely new avenue to knowledge. The immense superiority of this particular intelligence, AIWASS, to any other with which mankind has yet been in conscious communication is shown not merely by the character of the book itself, but by the fact of his comprehending perfectly the nature of the proof necessary to demonstrate the fact of his own existence and the conditions of that existence. And, further, having provided the proof required.

DISCARNATE INTELLIGENCE. In the above section I have shown that the failure of previous religions is due, not so much to hostile criticism, but to their positive defect. They have not made good their claim. It has been shown above that The Book of the Law does demonstrate the prime position of religion in the only possible way. The only possible argument, on the other side, is that the communication cannot have been made by a discarnate intelligence, because there are none such. That indeed constitutes the supreme importance of The Book of the Law. But there is no a priori reason for doubting the existence of such beings. We have long been acquainted with many discarnate forces. Especially in the last few years science has been chiefly occupied with the reactions, not {397} merely of things which cannot be directly perceived by sense, but of forces which do not possess being at all in the old sense of the word.

Yet the average man of science still denies the existence of the elementals of the Rosicrucian, the angels of the Cabbalist, the Nats, Pisachas and Devas of southern Asia, and the Jinn of Islam, with the same blind misosophy as in Victorian days. It has apparently not occurred to him that his position in doubting the existence of consciousness except in connection with certain types of anatomical structure is really identical with that of the narrowest geocentric and anthropocentric Evangelicals.

Our actions may be unintelligible to plants, they might plausibly argue that we are unconscious. Our real reason for attributing consciousness to our fellow-men is that the similarity of our structure enables us to communicate by means of language, and as soon as we invent a language in which we can talk to anything soever, we begin to find evidence of consciousness.

The was is therefore clear for me to come forward and assert positively that I have opened up communication with one such intelligence; or, rather, that I have been selected by him to receive the first message from a new order of beings.

Just as The book of the Law reconciles an impersonal and infinite interpretation of the cosmos with an egocentric and practical viewpoint, so it makes “infinite space” speak in the language of a goddess and deals with the details of eating and drinking:

Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will! But always unto me.

The emancipation of mankind from all limitations whatever is one of the main precepts of the Book.

Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.

It reconciles cosmological conceptions which transcend time and space with a conventional, historical point of view. In the first place it announces unconditional truth, but in the second is careful to state that the “Magical Formula” (or system of principles) on which the practical part of the book is based is not an absolute truth by one relative to the terrestrial time of the revelation. (It is a strong point in favour of the Book that it make no pretence to settle the practical problems of humanity once and for all. It contents itself with indicating a stage in evolution.)

The Book of the Law presumes the existence of a body of initiates pledged to watch over the welfare of mankind and to communicate its own wisdom little by little in the measure of man's capacity to receive it. {398}

The initiate is well aware that his instruction will be misinterpreted by malice, dishonesty and stupidity: and not being omnipotent, he has to acquiesce in the perversion of his precepts. It is apart of the game. Liber I vel Magi tells the Magus (here defined as the initiate charged with the duty of communicating a new truth to mankind) of what he may expect.

There are many magical teachers but in recorded history we have scarcely had a dozen Magi in the technical sense of the word. They may be recognized by the fact that their message may be formulated as a single word, which word must be such that it overturns all existing beliefs and codes. We may take as instances the Word of Buddha-Anatta (absence of an atman or soul), which laid its axe to the root of Hindu cosmology, theology and psychology, and incidentally knocked away the foundation of the caste system; and indeed of all accepted morality. Mohammed, again, with the single word Allah, did the same thing with polytheisms, patently pagan or camouflaged as Christian, of his period.

Similarly, Aiwass, uttering the word Thelema (with all its implications), destroys completely the formula of the Dying God. Thelema implies not merely a new religion, but a new cosmology, a new philosophy, a new ethics. It co-ordinates the disconnected discoveries of science, from physics to psychology, into a coherent and consistent system. Its scope is so vast that it is impossible even to hint at the universality of its application. But the whole of my work, from the moment of its utterance, illustrates some phase of its potentiality, and the story of my life itself from this time on is no more than a record of my reactions to it.

To recapitulate the historical basis of The Book of the Law, let me say that evolution (within human memory) shows three great steps: 1. the worship of the Mother, when the universe was conceived as simple nourishment drawn directly from her; 2. the worship of the Father, when the universe was imagined as catastrophic; 3. the worship of the Child, in which we come to perceive events as a continual growth partaking in its elements of both these methods.

Egyptian theology foresaw this progress of humanity and symbolized it in the triad of Isis, Osiris, Horus. The neophyte ceremony of the Golden Dawn prepared me for the New Aeon; for, at the Equinox, the officer who represented Horus in the West took the throne of Osiris in the East.

The Book of the Law is careful to indicate the nature of the formula implied by the assertion that the residing officer of the temple (the earth) is Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child. And again, Egyptology and psychology help us to understand what is implied, and what effect to expect, in the world of thought and action.

Horus avenged his father Osiris. We know that the sun (indeed, every element of nature) does not suffer death. {399}

The child is not merely a symbol of growth, but of complete moral independence and innocence. We may then expect the New Aeon to release mankind from its pretence of altruism, its obsession of fear and its consciousness of sin. It will possess no consciousness of the purpose of its own existence. It will not be possible to persuade it that it should submit to incomprehensible standards; it will suffer from spasms of transitory passion; it will be absurdly sensitive to pain and suffer from meaningless terror; it will be utterly conscienceless, cruel, helpless, affectionate and ambitious, without knowing why; it will be incapable of reason, yet at the same time intuitively aware of truth. I might go on indefinitely to enumerate the stigmata of child psychology, but the reader can do it equally fro himself, and every idea that comes to him as characteristic of children will strike him as applicable to the events of history since 1904, from the Great War to Prohibition. And if he possess any capacity for understanding the language of symbolism, he will be staggered by the adequacy and accuracy of the summary of the spirit of the New Aeon given in The Book of the Law.

I may now point out that the reign of the Crowned and Conquering Child is limited in time by The Book of the Law itself. We learn that Horus will be in his turn succeeded by Thmaist, the Double-Wanded One; she who shall bring the candidates to full initiation, and though we know litter of her peculiar characteristics, we know at least that her name is justice.

THE ETHICS OF THE BOOK OF THE LAW. Every cosmography implies some sort of ethical theory. The Aeon of Osiris had been succeeded by that of Horus. The Magical Formula of the Aeon being no longer that of the Dying god but that o the Crowned and Conquering Child, mankind is to govern itself accordingly. A “righteous” act may be defined as one which fulfils the existing Magical Formula. The motives which were valid in the Aeon of Osiris are sheer superstition today. What were those motives and on what basis did they rest? The old conception was that man was born to die; that eternal life had to be gained by a magical act, exactly as the sun had to be brought to life every morning by the priest.

There is no need to develop the ethics of Thelema in detail, for everything springs with absolute logic from the singular principle, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Or, to put it another way, “There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.” And, “thou hast no right but to do thy will.” This formula itself springs ineluctably from the conception of the individual outlined in the preceding section. “The word of Sin is Restriction.” “It is a lie, this folly against self.” The theory is that every man and every woman has each definite attributes whose tendency, considered in due relation to environment, indicate a proper course of action in each case. To pursue this course of action is to do one's true will. “Do that, and no other shall say nay.” {400}

The physical parallel still holds. In a galaxy each star has its own magnitude, characteristics and direction and the celestial harmony is best maintained by its attending to its own business. Nothing could be more subversive of that harmony than if a number of stars set up in a uniform standard of conduct insisted on everyone aiming at the same goal, going at the same pace, and so on. Even a single star, by refusing to do its own will, by restricting itself in any way, would immediately produce disorder.

We have a sentimental idea of self-sacrifice, the kind which is most esteemed by the vulgar and is the essence of popular Christianity. It is the sacrifice of the strong to the weak. This is wholly against the principles of evolution. Any nation which does this systematically on a sufficiently large scale, simply destroys itself. The sacrifice is in vain; the weak are not even save. Consider the action of Zanoni in going to the scaffold in order to save his silly wife. The gesture was magnificent; it was evidence of his own supreme courage and moral strength; but if everyone acted on that principle the race would deteriorate and disappear.

There is here a conflict between private and public morality. We should not protect the weak and the vicious from the results of their inferiority. By doing so, we perpetuate the elements of dissolution in our own social body. We should rather aid nature by subjecting every newcomer to the most rigorous tests of his fitness to deal with his environment. The human race grew in stature and intelligence as long as the individual prowess achieved security, so that the strongest and cleverest people were able to reproduce their kind in the best conditions. But when security became general through the operation of altruism the most degenerate of the people were often the offspring of the strongest.

The Book of the Law regards pity as despicable. The reason is partly indicated in the above paragraph. But further, to pity another man is to insult him. He also is a star, “one, individual and eternal”. The Book does not condemn fighting — “If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.”

There are many ethical injunctions of a revolutionary character in the Book, but they are all particular cases of the general precept to realize one's own absolute God-head and to act with the nobility which springs from that knowledge. Practically all vices springs from failure to do this. For example: falsehood is invariably the child of fear in one form or another.

With regard to what are commonly considered offences against morality, the undesirable results often observed are due to the same error. Strong and successful men always express themselves fully, and when they are sufficiently strong no harm comes of it to themselves or to others. When it does, it is practically always due to the artificial situation brought about by people who, having no business of their own, meddle in that of other people. One may mention the cases of Sir Charles Dilke and Charles Steward Parnell. It {401} didn't matter a straw to anybody outside the negligibly small circle of their acquaintances what these men did in their private lives, but England lost her greatest foreign minister and Ireland her greatest leader, because it was discovered that they were doing exactly the same as practically everyone else in their class.

With regard again to personal jealousy and ill-regulated passion, is it too much to say that nine tenths of the social misery not due to poverty arises from these hallucinations? The Book of the Law sweeps them out of existence. “There shall be no property in human flesh.” Nobody has a right to say what anyone else shall or shall not do with his or her body. Establish this principle of absolute respect for others and the whole nightmare of sex is dispelled. Blackmail and prostitution automatically lose their raison d'être. The corrupting influence of hypocrisy breaks like a rotten reed. The sweating of “female labour cheapened by prostitution” (as Bernard Shaw says) becomes impossible. I have written at considerable length in recent years on the ethical, as well as on the cosmographical problems solved by the Law of Thelema. I need not go into them more deeply in this place . But the subsequent events of my life will furnish constant illustration of how every time I violated the Law, as I sometimes did with what I was ass enough to call the noblest motives, I got myself into a mess — and failed to benefit those on whose behalf I had chosen to make a fool of myself. {402}

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WEH Note: Ra-Heru-Khuti-Ba-Hadit is the particular Egyptian deity said to rule the 2nd Decan of Aries, in 1904, from 1st April to 10th April.


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