By Aleister Crowley



Letter No. A

March 19, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

I was very glad to gather from your conversation yesterday afternoon that you have a serious intention of taking up the Great Work in the proper spirit.  Your criticisms of previous experience in the course of your adventures appeared to be singularly sane and just.  As I promised I am writing this letter to cover a few practical points which we had not time to discuss and which in any case I think it better to arrange by correspondence.

1) It is of the first importance that you should understand my personal position.  It is not actually wrong to regard me as a teacher, but it is certainly liable to mislead; fellow-student, or, if you like, fellow-sufferer, seems a more appropriate definition.

The climax of my life was what is known as the Cairo Working, described in the minutest detail in The Equinox of the Gods.  At that time most of The Book of the Law was completely unintelligible to me, and a good deal of it—especially the third chapter—extremely antipathetic.  I fought against this book for years; but it proved irresistible.

I do not think I am boasting unfairly when I say that my personal researches have been of the greatest value and importance to the study of the subject of Magick and Mysticism in general, especially my integration of the various thought-systems of the world, notably the identification of the system of the Yi King with that of the Qabalah.  But I do assure you that the whole of my life's work, were it multiplied a thousand fold, would not be worth one tithe of the value of a single verse of The Book of the Law.

I think you should have a copy of The Equinox of the Gods and make The Book of the Law your constant study.  Such value as my own work may possess for you should amount to no more than an aid to the interpretation of this book.

2) It may be that later on you will want a copy of Eight Lectures on Yoga so I am putting a copy aside for you in case you should want it.

3) With regard to the O.T.O., I believe I can find you a typescript of all the official documents.  If so, I will let you have them to read, and you can make up your mind as to whether you wish to affiliate to the Third Degree of the Order.  I should consequently, in the case of your deciding to affiliate, go with you though the script of the Rituals and explain the meaning of the whole thing; communicating, in addition, the real secret and significant knowledge of which ordinary Masonry is not possessed.

4) The horoscope; I do not like doing these at all, but it is part of the agreement with the Grand Treasurer of the O.T.O. that I should undertake them in worthy cases, if pressed.  But I prefer to keep the figure to myself for future reference, in case any significant event makes consultation desirable.

Now there is one really important matter. The only thing besides The Book of the Law which is in the forefront of the battle.  As I told you yesterday, the first essential is the dedication of all that one is and all that one has to the Great Work, without reservation of any sort.  This must be kept constantly in mind; the way to do this is to practice Liber Resh vel Helios, sub figura CC, pp. 425-426 - Magick.  There is another version of these Adorations, slightly fuller; but those in the text are quite alright.  The important thing is not to forget.  I shall have to teach you the signs and gestures which go with the words.

It is also desirable before beginning a formal meal to go through the following dialogue: Knock 3-5-3: say, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."  The person at the other end of the table replies: "What is thy Will?"  You: "It is my Will to eat and drink."  He: "To what end?"  You: "That my body may be fortified thereby."  He: "To what end?"  You: "That I may accomplish the Great Work."  He: "Love is the law, love under will."  You, with a single knock: "Fall to."  When alone make a monologue of it: thus, Knock 3-5-3.  Do what, etc.  It is my Will to, etc., that my body, etc., that I may, etc., Love is, etc.  Knock: and begin to eat.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of performing these small ceremonies regularly, and being as nearly accurate as possible with regard to the times.  You must not mind stopping in the middle of a crowded thoroughfare—lorries or no lorries—and saying the Adorations; and you must not mind snubbing your guest—or your host—if he or she should prove ignorant of his or her share of the dialogue.  It is perhaps because these matters are so petty and trivial in appearance that they afford so excellent a training.  They teach you concentration, mindfulness, moral and social courage, and a host of other virtues.

Like a perfect lady, I have kept the tit bit to the last.  It is absolutely essential to begin a magical diary, and keep it up daily.  You begin by an account of your life, going back even before your birth to your ancestry. In conformity with the practice which you may perhaps choose to adopt later, given in Liber Thisarb, sub figura CMXIII, paragraphs 27-28, Magick, pp. 420-422, you must find an answer to the question: "How did I come to be in this place at this time, engaged in this particular work?"  As you will see from the book, this will start you on the discovery of who you really are, and eventually lead you to your recovering the memory of previous incarnations.

As it is difficult for you to come to Town except at rare and irregular intervals, may I suggest a plan which has previously proved very useful, and that is a weekly letter.  Eliphas Lévi did this with the Baron Spedalieri, and the correspondence is one of the most interesting of his works.  You ask such questions as you wish to have answered, and I answer them to the best of my ability.  I, of course, add spontaneous remarks which may be elicited by my observations on your progress and the perusal of your magical diary.  This, of course, should be written on one side of the paper only, so that the opposite page is free for comments, and an arrangement should be made for it to be inspected at regular intervals.

Love is the law, love under will.



Letter No. B

April 20, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

I was very glad to have your letter, and am very sorry to hear that you have been in affliction.  About the delay, however, I think I ought to tell you that the original Rule of the Order of A.'. A.'. was that the introducer read over a short lection to the applicant, then left him alone for a quarter of an hour, and on coming back received a "yes" or "no."  If there was any hesitation about it the applicant was barred for life.

The reason for the relaxation of the rule was that it was thought better to help people along in the early stages of the work, even if there was no hope of their turning out first-class.  But I should like you to realize that sooner or later, whether in this incarnation or another, it is put up to you to show perfect courage in face of the completely unknown, and the power of rapid and irrevocable decision without without counting the cost.

I think that it is altogether wrong to allow yourself to be worried by "psychological, moral, and artistic problems."  It is no good your starting anything of any kind unless you can see clearly into the simplicity of truth.  All this humming and hawing about things is moral poison.  What is the use of being a woman if you have not got an intuition, an instinct enabling you to distinguish between the genuine and the sham?

Your state of mind suggests to me that you must have been, in the past, under the influence of people who were always talking about things, and never doing any real work.  They kept on arguing all sorts of obscure philosophical points; that is all very well, but when you have succeeded in analyzing your reactions you will understand that all this talk is just an excuse for not doing any serious work.

I am confirmed in this judgment by your saying: "I don't know if I want to enter into a great conflict.  I need peace.""  Fortunately you save yourself by adding: "Real peace, that is living and not stagnant."  All life is conflict.  Every breath that you draw represents a victory in the struggle of the whole Universe.  You can't have peace without perfect mastery of circumstance; and I take it that this is what you mean by "living, not stagnant."

But it is of the first consequence for you to summon up the resolution to stamp on this sea of swirling thoughts by an act of will; you must say: "Peace be still."  The moment you have understood these thoughts for what they are, tools of the enemy, invented by him with the idea of preventing you from undertaking the Great Work—the moment you dismiss all such considerations firmly and decisively, and say: "What must I do?" and having discovered that, set to work to do it, allowing of no interruption, you will find that living peace which (as you seem to see) is a dynamic and not a static condition.  (There is quite a lot about this point in Little Essays Toward Truth, and also in The Vision and the Voice.)

Your postscript made me smile.  It is not a very good advertisement for the kind of people with whom you have been associated in the past.  My own position is a very simple one.  I obeyed the injunction to "buy a perfectly black hen, without haggling."  I have spent over 100,000 pounds of my inherited money on this work: and if I had a thousand times that amount today it would all go in the same direction.  It is only when one is built in this way, to stand entirely aloof from all considerations of twopence halfpenny more or fourpence halfpenny less, that one obtains perfect freedom on this Plane of Discs.

All the serious Orders of the world, or nearly all, begin by insisting that the aspirant should take a vow of poverty; a Buddhist Bhikku, for example, can own only nine objects—his three robes, begging bowl, a fan, toothbrush, and so on.  The Hindu and Mohammedan Orders have similar regulations; and so do all the important Orders of monkhood in Christianity.

Our own Order is the only exception of importance; and the reason for this is that it is much more difficult to retain one's purity if one is living in the world than if one simply cuts oneself off from it.  It is far easier to achieve technical attainments if one is unhampered by any such considerations.  These regulations operate as restrictions to one's usefulness in helping the world.  There are terrible dangers, the worst dangers of all, associated with complete retirement.  In my own personal judgment, moreover, I think that our own ideal of a natural life is much more wholesome.

When you have found out a little about your past incarnations, you should be able to understand this very clearly and simply.

Love is the law, love under will.



Letter No. C

April 30, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Thank you for your long letter of no date, but received two days ago.  I am very sorry you are still feeling exhausted.  I am not too good myself, for I find this weather very trying.  I will answer your various points as best I can.I am arranging to send you the official papers connected with the O.T.O., but the idea that you should meet other members first is quite impossible.  Even after affiliation, you would not meet anyone unless it were necessary for you to work in cooperation with them.  I am afraid you have still got the idea that the Great Work is a tea-party.  Contact with other students only means that you criticize their hats, and then their morals; and I am not going to encourage this.  Your work is not anybody else's; and undirected chatter is the worst poisonous element in human society.

When you talk of the "actual record" of the "Being called Jesus Christ," I don't know what you mean.  I am not aware of the existence of any such record.  I know a great many legends, mostly borrowed from previous legends of a similar character.

It would be better for you to get a copy of The Equinox of the Gods and study it.  The Great Work is the uniting of opposites.  It may mean the uniting of the soul with God, of the microcosm with the macrocosm, of the female with the male, of the ego with the non-ego—or what not.

By "love under will" one refers to the fact that the method in every case is love, by which is meant the uniting of opposites as above stated, such as hydrogen and chlorine, sodium and oxygen, and so on. Any reaction what- ever, any phenomenon, is a phenomenon of "love", as you will understand when I come to explain to you the meaning of the word "point-event".  But love has to be "under will," if it is to be properly directed.  You must find your True Will, and make all your actions subservient to the one great purpose.

Ra-Hoor is the Sun God; Tahuti is the Egyptian Mercury; Kephra is the Sun at midnight.

About your problems; what I have to do is to try to teach you to think clearly.  You will be immensely stimulated by having all the useless trimmings stripped from your thinking apparatus.  For instance, I don't think you know the first principles of logic.  You apparently take up a more or less Christian attitude, but at the same time you like very much the idea of Karma.  You cannot have both.

The question about money does not arise.  This old and very good rule (which I have always kept) was really pertinent to the time when there were actual secrets.  But I have published openly all the secrets.  All I can do is to train you in a perfectly exoteric way.  My suggestion about the weekly letter was intended to exclude this question, as you would be getting full commercial value for anything paid.

Your questions about the Spirit of the Sun, and so on, are to be answered by experience.  Intellectual satisfaction is worthless.  I have to bring you to a state of mind completely superior to the mechanism of the normal mind.

A good deal of your letter is rather difficult to answer.  You always seem to want to put the cart before the horse.  Don't you see that, if I were trying to get you to do something or other, I should simply return you to the kind of answer which I thought would satisfy you, and make you happy? And this would be very easy to do because you have got no clear ideas about anything.  For one thing, you keep on using terms about whose significance we are not yet in agreement.  When you talk about the "Christian path," do you believe in vicarious atonement and eternal damnation—or don't you?  A great deal of the confusion that arises in all these questions, and grows constantly worse as fellow-students talk them over—the blind leading the blind—is because they have no idea of the necessity of defining their terms.

Then again, you ask me questions like "What is purity?" that can be answered in a dozen different ways; and you must understand what is meant by a "universe of discourse."  If you asked me—"Is this sample of cloride of gold a pure sample?"  I can answer you.  You must understand the value of precision in speech.  I could go on rambling about purity and selflessness for years, and no one would be a penny the better.

P.S.—or rather, I did not want to dictate this bit—Your ideas about the O.T.O. remind me of some women's idea of shopping.  You want to maul about the stock and then walk out with a proud glad smile: NO.  Do you really think that I should muster all the most distinguished people alive for your inspection and approval?

The affiliation clause in our Constitution is a privilege: a courtesy to a sympathetic body.  Were you not a Mason, or Co-Mason, you would have to be proposed and seconded, and then examined by savage Inquisitors; and then—probably—thrown out on to the garbage heap.  Well, no, it's not as bad as that; but we certainly don't want anybody who chooses to apply.  Would you do it yourself, if you were on the Committee of a Club?  The O.T.O. is a serious body, engaged on a work of Cosmic scope.  You should question yourself: what can I contribute?

Secrets. There is one exception to what I have said about publishing everything: that is, the ultimate secret of the O.T.O.  This is really too dangerous to disclose; but the safeguard is that you could not use it if you knew it, unless you were an advanced Adept; and you would not be allowed to go so far unless we were satisfied that you were sincerely devoted to the Great Work.  (See One Star in Sight).  True, the Black Brothers could use it; but they would only destroy themselves.

Love is the law, love under will.



Letter No. D

June 8, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Thanks for your letter.  I couldn't find the O.T.O. typescript—and then it struck me that it would be useful to await your reactions.  If I were expecting some presumably important papers by post, I should get anxious after 24 hours delay (at most) and start enquiries.  Anyhow, I can't find them for the moment; but Mr. Bryant said he would lend you his Blue Equinox: pages 195-270 give what you require.

But the real point of your affiliating is that it saves me from constantly being on my guard lest I should mention something which I am sworn not to reveal. As in every serious society, members are pledged not to disclose what they may have learnt, whom they have met; it is so, even in Co-Masonry: isn't it: But one may mention the names of members who have died.  (See Liber LII, par. 2.)  Be happy then; the late X... Y... was one of us.  I hope that he and Rudolph Steiner will (between them) satisfy your doubts.

The A.'.A.'. is totally different.  One Star in Sight tells you everything that you need to know.  (Perhaps some of these regulations are hard to grasp: personally, I can never understand all this By-Law stuff.  So you must ask me what, and why, and so on.)

There is really only one point for your judgment.  "By their fruits ye shall know them."  You have read Liber LXV and Liber VII; That shows you what states you can attain by this cirriculum.  Now read "A Master of the Temple" (Blue Equinox, pp. 127-170) for an account of the early stages of training, and their results.  (Of course, your path might not coincide with, or even resemble, his path.)

But do get it into you head that "If the blind lead the blind, they shall both fall into the ditch."  If you had seen 1% of the mischief that I have seen, you would freeze to the marrow of your bones at the mere idea of seeing another member through the telescope!  Well, I employ the figure of hyperbole, that I admit; but it really won't do to have a dozen cooks at the broth!  If you're working with me, you'll have no time to waste on other people.

I fear your "Christianity" is like that of most other folk.  You pick out one or two of the figures from which the Alexandrines concocted "Jesus" (too many cooks, again, with a vengeance!) and neglect the others.  The Zionist Christ of Matthew can have no value for you; nor can the Asiatic "Dying-God"—compiled from Melcarth, Mithras, Adonis, Bacchus, Osiris, Attis, Krishna, and others—who supplied the miraculous and ritualistic elements of the fable.

Rightly you ask: "What can I contribute?"  Answer: One Book.  That is the idea of the weekly letter: 52 of yours and 52 of mine, competently edited, would make a most useful volume.  This would be your property: so that you get full material value, perhaps much more, for your outlay.  I thought of the plan because one such arrangement has recently come to an end, with amazingly happy results: they should lie open to your admiring gaze in a few months from now.  Incidentally, I personally get nothing out of it; secretarial work costs money these days.  But there is another great advantage; it keeps both of us up to the mark.  Also, in such letters a great deal of odds and ends of knowledge turn up automatically; valuable stuff, frequent enough; yes, but one doesn't want to lose the thread, once one starts.  Possibly ten days might be best.

But please understand that this suggestion arose solely from your own statement of what you thought would help in your present circumstances.  Anyway, as you say, decide!  If it is yes, I should like to see you before June 15 when I expect to go away for a few days; better to give you some groundwork to keep you busy in my absence.

Love is the law, love under will.



Letter No. E

Aug. 18, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Much thought has gone into the construction of your Motto.  "I will become" can be turned neatly enough as "Let there be;" by avoiding the First Pronoun one gets the idea of "the absorption of the Self in the Beloved," which is exactly what you want.

"The creative Force of the Universe" is quite ready-made.  Πυραμις, a pyramid, is that Force in its geometrical form; in its biological form it is Φαλλος, the Yang or Lingam.  Both words have the same numerical value, 831.  These two words can therefore serve you as the secret object of your Work.  How than can you construct the number 831?

The Letter Kaph, Jupiter (Jehovah), the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot—the Atu X is a picture of the Universe built up and revolving by virtue of those Three Principles: Sulphur, Mercury, Salt; or Gunas: Sattvas, Rajas, Tamas—has the value 20.  So also has the letter Yod spelt in full.

One Gnostic secret way of spelling and pronouncing Jehovah is ΙΑΩ and this has the value 811.  So has "Let there be," Fiat, transliterating into Greek.

Resuming all these ideas, it seems that you can express your aspiration very neatly, very fully, by choosing for your motto the words FIAT YOD.

Love is the law, love under will.



P.S. Please study this letter, and these explanatory figures and meditate upon them until you have fully assimilate not only the matter under immediate consideration, but the general method of Qabalistic research and construction.  Note how new cognate ideas arise to enrich the formula.


Note: In the "explanatory figures" referred to (omitted in the printed edition) Crowley spelt out the various Greek and Hebrew words mentioned with the numbers by each letter to indicate how they added to these values.  Where this edition, following the printed version, gives the names of Hebrew letters in English transliteration, the original had the actual Hebrew letters.

Letter No. F

Aug. 20, 1943

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Let me begin by referring to my letter about the motto and make clear to you the working of this letter.

In this motto you have really got several ideas combined, and yet they are really, of course, one idea.  Fiat, being 811, is identical with IAO, and therefore FIAT YOD might be read not only as "let there be" (or "Let me become"), the secret source of all creative energy, but as "the secret source of the energy of Jehovah."  The two words together, having the value of 831, they contain the secret meanings Pyramis and Phallos, which is the same idea in different forms; thus you have three ways of expressing the creative form, in its geometrical aspect, its human aspect, and its divine aspect.  I am making a point of this, because the working out of this motto should give you a very clear idea of the sort of way in which Qabalah should be used.  I think it is rather useful to remember what the essence of the Qabalah is in principle; thus, in your correspondence for Malkuth, Yesod, and Hod you are simply writing down some of the ideas which pertain to the numbers 10, 9, and 8 respectively.  Naturally, there is a great deal of redundancy and overloading as soon as you get to ideas important enough to be comprehensive; as is mentioned in the article on the Qabalah in Equinox Vol. I, No. 5, it is quite easy to prove 1 = 2 = 3 = 4, etc.

On the other hand, you must be careful to avoid taking the correspondences given in the books of reference without thinking out why they are so given. Thus, you find a camel in the number which refers to the Moon, but the Tarot card "the Moon" refers not to the letter Gimel which means camel, but to the letter Qoph, and the sign Pisces which means fish, while the letter itself refers to the back of the head; and you also find fish has the meaning of the letter Nun.  You must not go on from this, and say that the back of your head is like a camel—the connection between them is simply that they all refer to the same thing.

In studying the Qabalah you mention six months; I think after that time you should be able to realize that, after six incarnations of uninterrupted study, you may realize that you can never know it; as Confucius said about the Yi King.  "If a few more years were added to my life, I would devote a hundred of them to the study of the Yi."

If, however, you work at the Qabalah in the same way as I did myself, in season and out of season, you ought to get a very fair grasp of it in six months.  I will now tell you what this method is: as I walked about, I made a point of attributing everything I saw to its appropriate idea. I would walk out of the door of my house and reflect that door is Daleth, and house Beth; now the word "dob" is Hebrew for bear, and has the number 6, which refers to the Sun.  Then you come to the fence of your property and that is Cheth—number 8, number of Tarot Trump 7, which is the Chariot: so you begin to look about for your car.  Then you come to the street and the first house you see is number 86, and that is Elohim, and it is built of red brick which reminds you of Mars and the Blasted Tower, and so on.  As soon as this sort of work, which can be done in a quite lighthearted spirit, becomes habitual, you will find your mind running naturally in this direction, and will be surprised at your progress.  Never let your mind wander from the fact that your Qabalah is not my Qabalah; a good many of the things which I have noted may be useful to you, but you must construct your own system so that it is a living weapon in your hand.

I think I am fair if I say that the first step on the Qabalah which may be called success, is when you make an actual discovery which throws light on some problem which has been troubling you.  A quarter of a century ago I was in New Orleans, and was very puzzled about my immediate course of action; in fact I may say I was very much distressed.  There seemed literally nothing that I could do, so I bethought myself that I had better invoke Mercury.  As soon as I got into the appropriate frame of mind, it naturally occurred to me, with a sort of joy, "But I am Mercury."  I put it into Latin—Mercurius sum, and suddenly something struck me, a sort of nameless reaction which said: "That's not quite right."  Like a flash it came to me to put it into Greek, which gave me "'Ερμης Ειμι" and adding that up rapidly, I got the number 418, with all the marvellous correspondences which had been so abundantly useful to me in the past (See Equ. of the Gods, p. 138).  My troubles disappeared like a flash of lightning.

Now to answer your questions seriatum; it is quite all right to put questions to me about The Book of the Law; a very extended commentary has been written, but it is not yet published.  I shall probably be able to answer any of your questions from the manuscript, but you cannot go on after that when it would become a discussion; as they say in the law-courts, "You must take the witness' answer."

II. The Qabalah, both Greek and Hebrew, also very likely Arabic, was used by the author of The Book of the Law.  I have explained above the proper use of the Qabalah.  I cannot tell you how the early Rosicrucians used it, but I think one may assume that their methods were not dissimilar to our own.  Incidentally, it is not very safe to talk about Rosicrucians, because their name has become a signal for letting loose the most devastating floods of nonsense.  What is really known about the original Rosicrucians is practically confined to the three documents which they issued.  The eighteenth century Rosicrucians may, or may not, have been legitimate successors of the original brotherhood—I don't know.  But from them the O.T.O. derived its authority; The late O.H.O. Theodor Reuss possessed a certain number of documents which demonstrated the validity of his claim according to him; but I only saw two or three of them, and they were not of very great importance.  Unfortunately he died shortly after the last War, and he had got out of touch with some of the other Grand Masters.  The documents did not come to me as they should have done; they were seized by his wife who had an idea that she could sell them for a fantastic price; and we did not feel inclined to meet her views.  I don't think the matter is of very great importance, the work being done by members of the Order all over the place is to me quite sufficient.

III. The Ruach contains both the moral and intellectual worlds, which is really all that we mean by the conscious mind; perhaps it even includes certain portions of the subconscious.

IV. In initiation from the grade of Neophyte to that of Zelator, one passes by this way.  The main work is to obtain admission to, and control of, the astral plane.

Your expressions about "purifying the feelings" and so on are rather vague to enter into a scientific system like ours.  The result which you doubtless refer to is attained automatically in the course of your experiments.  Your very soon discover the sort of state of mind which is favourable or unfavourable to the work, and you also discover what is helpful and harmful to these states in your way of life.  For instance, the practice like the non-receiving of gifts is all right for a Hindu whose mind is branded for ten thousand incarnations by the shock of accepting a cigarette or a cup of tea.  Incidentally, most of the Eastern cults fall down when they come West, simply because they make no allowance for our different temperaments. Also they set tasks which are completely unsuitable to Europeans—an immense amount of disappointment has been caused by failure to recognize these facts.

Your sub-questions a, b, and c are really answered by the above.  All the terms you use are very indefinite. I hope it will not take too long to get you out of the way of thinking in these terms.  For instance, the word "initiation" includes the whole process, and how to distinguish between it and enlightenment I cannot tell you.  "Probation," moreover, if it means "proving," continues throughout the entire process.  Nothing is worse for the student than to indulge in these wild speculations about ambiguous terms.

V. You can, if you like, try to work out a progress of Osiris through Amennti on the Tree of Life, but I doubt whether you will get any satisfactory result.

It seems to me that you should confine yourself very closely to the actual work in front of you. At the present moment, of course, this includes a good deal of general study; but my point is that the terms employed in that study should always be capable of precise definition. I am not sure whether you have my Little Essays Toward Truth.  The first essay in the book entitled "Man" gives a full account of the five principles which go to make up Man according to the Qabalistic system.  I have tried to define these terms as accurately as possible, and I think you will find them, in any case, clearer than those to which you have become accustomed with the Eastern systems.  In India, by the way, no attempt is ever made to use these vague terms.  They always have a very clear idea of what is meant by words like "Buddhi," "Manas" and the like.  Attempts at translation are very unsatisfactory.  I find that even with such a simple matter as the "Eight limbs of Yoga," as you will see when you come to read my Eight Lectures.

I am very pleased with your illustrations; that is excellent practice for you.  Presently you have to make talismans, and a Lamen for yourself, and even to devise a seal to serve as what you might call a magical coat-of-arms, and all this sort of thing is very helpful.

It occurs to me that so far we have done nothing about the astral plane and this path of Tau of which you speak.  Have you had any experience of travelling in the astral?  If not, do you think that you can begin by yourself on the lines laid down in Liber O, sections 5 and 6?  (See Magick, pp. 387-9).  If not you had better let me take you through the first gates.  The question of noise instantly arises; I think we should have to do it not earlier than nine o'clock at night, and I don't know whether you can manage this.

Love is the law, love under will.



Letter No. G

Septmeber 4.

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

"shall be" (instead of "Do what thou wilt is ...") not "is."  See Liber AL, I, 36, 54, and II, 54.  Not "Master Perdurabo": see Magick p. XXIX.  "Care Frater" is enough.

777 is practically unpurchaseable: copies fetch £10 or so.  Nearly all important correspondences are in Magick Table I.  The other 2 books are being sent at once.  "Working out games with numbers."  I am sorry you should see no more than this.  When you are better equipped, you will see that the Qabalah is the best (and almost the only) means by which an intelligence can identify himself.  And Gematria methods serve to discover spiritual truths.  Numbers are the network of the structure of the Universe, and their relations the form of expression of our Understanding of it.*  In Greek and Hebrew there is no other way of writing numbers; our 1, 2, 3 etc. comes from the Phoenicians through the Arabs.  You need no more of Greek and Hebrew than these values, some sacred words—knowledge grows by use—and books of reference.

One cannot set a pupil definite tasks beyond the groundwork I am giving you, and we should find this correspondence taking clear shape of its own accord.  You have really more than you can do already.  And I can only tell you what the right tasks—out of hundreds—are by your own reactions to your own study and practice.

"Osiris in Amennti"—see the Book of the Dead.  I meant you might try to trace a parallelism between his journeyings and the Path of Initiation.

Astral travel—development of the Astral Body is essential to research; and, above all, to the attainment of "the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel."

You ought to demonstrate your performance of the Pentagram Ritual to me; you are probably making any number of mistakes.  I will, of course, take you carefully through the O.T.O. rituals to III° as soon as you are fairly familiar with them.  The plan of the grades is this:—

Attraction to the Solar System











Progressive comment on II° with very special reference to the central secret of practical Magick.

There is thus no connection with the A.'.A.'. system and the Tree of Life.  Of course, there are certain analogies.

Your suggested method of study: you have got my idea quite well.  But nobody can "take you through" the Grades of A.'.A.'..  The Grades confirm your attainments as you make them; then, the new tasks appear.  See One Star in Sight.

Love is the law, love under will.



* He gives the numerical value of the letters of the Greek alphabet—not copied here. — ed.

Letter No. H

November 10–11.  11 p.m.–2 a.m.

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Yours of yestere'en came to gladden me just when the whole evening lay blank before me: the one job such a big job that I simply can't get down to it until I get help: How annoying!  Still, yours the gain!

1. That verse (AL. I, 44) condenses the whole magical technique.  It makes clearwhen you have understood it—the secret of success in the Great Work.  Of course at first it appears a paradox.  You must have an aim, and one aim only: yet on no account must you want to achieve it!!!

Those chapters of The Book of Lies quoted in my last letter* do throw some light onto this Abyss of self-contradiction; and there is meaning much deeper than the contrast between the Will with a capital W, and desire, want, or velleity.  The main point seems to be that in aspiring to Power one is limited by the True Will.  If you use force, violating your own nature either from lack of understanding or from petulant whim, one is merely wasting energy; things go back to normal as soon as the stress is removed.  This is one small case of the big Equation "Free Will = Necessity" (Fate, Destiny, or Karma: it's all much the same idea).  One is most rigidly bound by the causal chain that has dragged one to where one is; but it is one's own self that has forged the links.

Please refrain from the obvious retort: "Then, in the long run, you can't possibly go wrong: so it doesn't matter what you do."  Perfectly true, of course!  (There is no single grain of dust that shall not attain to Buddhahood:" with some such words did the debauched old reprobate seek to console himself when Time began to take its revenge.)  But the answer is simple enough: you happen to be the kind of being that thinks it does matter what course you steer; or, still more haughtily, you enjoy the pleasure of sailing.

No, there is this factor in all success: self-confidence.  If we analyze this, we find that it means that one is aware that all one's mental and physical faculties are working harmoniously.  The deadliest and subtlest enemy of that feeling is anxiety about the result; the finest gauze of doubt is enough to dim one's vision, to throw the entire field out of focus.  Hence, even to be aware that there is a result in prospect must militate against that serenity of spirit which is the essence of self-confidence. As you will know, all our automatic physiological functions are deranged if one is aware of   This then, is the difficulty, to enjoy consciously while not disturbing the process involved.  The obvious physical case is the sexual act: perhaps its chief importance is just that it is a type of this exceptional spiritual-mental condition.  I hope, however, that you will remember what I have said on the subject in paragraphs 15–17 of my 3rd Lecture on Yoga for Yellowbellies (pp. 71-72); there is a way of obtaining ecstacy from the most insignificant physiological function.  Observe that in transferring the whole consciousness to (say) one's little finger or big toe is not trying to interfere with the normal exercise of its activities, but only to realize what is going on in the organism, the exquisite pleasure of a function in its normal activity.  With a little imagination one can conceive the analogical case of the Universe itself; and, still less fettered by even the mildest limitation which material symbols necessarily (however little) suggest, "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; ..." (AL, II, 9).

Is it too bold to suggest that the gradual merging of all these Ways into an interwoven unity may be taken as one mode of presentation of the Accomplishment of the Great Work itself?

At least, I feel fairly satisfied the meditation of them severally and jointly may help you to an answer to your first question.

2. Most people in my experience either cook up a hell-broth of self-induced obstacles to success in Astral traveling, or else shoot forth on the wings of romantic imagination and fool themselves for the rest of their lives in the manner of the Village Idiot.  Yours, luckily, is the former trouble.

But—is it plain obstinacy?—you do not exercise the sublime Art of Guru-bullying.  You should have made one frenzied leap to my dying bed, thrust aside the cohorts of Mourning Archimandrites, and wrung my nose until I made you do it.

And you repeatedly insist that it is difficult.  It isn't.  Is there, however, some deep-seated inhibition—a (Freudian) fear of success?  Is there some connection with that sense of guilt which is born in all but the very few?

But you don't give it a fair chance. There is, I admit, some trick, or knack, about getting properly across; a faculty which one acquires (as a rule) quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  Rather like mastering some shots at billiards.  Practice has taught me how to communicate this to students; only in rare cases does one fail.  (It's incredible: one man simply could not be persuaded that intense physical exertion was the wrong way to to it.  There he sat, with the veins on his forehead almost on the point of bursting, and the arms of my favourite chair visibly trembling beneath his powerful grip!)  In your case, I notice that you have got this practice mixed up with Dharana: you write of "Emptying my mind of everything except the one idea, etc." Then you go on: "The invoking of a supersensible Being is impossible to me as yet."  The impudence!  The arrogance!  How do you know, pray madam?  (Dial numbers at random: the results are often surprisingly delightful!)  Besides, I didn't ask you to invoke a supersensible (what a word! Meaning?) Being right away, or at any time: that supersensible is getting on my nerves: do you mean "not in normal circumstances to be apprehended by the senses?"  I suppose so.

In a word: do fix a convenient season for going on the Astral Plane under my eye: half an hour (with a bit of luck) on not more than four evenings would put you in a very different frame of mind.  You will soon "feel your feet" and then "get your sea-legs" and then, much sooner than you think

"Afloat in the aethyr, O my God! my God!" . . . . . "White swan, bear thou ever me up between thy wings!"

3. Now then to your old Pons Asinorum about the names of the Gods! Stand in the corner for half an hour with your face to the wall!  Stay in after school and write Malka be-Tharshishim v-Ruachoth b-Schehalim 999 times!

My dear, dear, dear sister, a name is a formula of power.  How can you talk of "anachronism" when the Being is eternal?  For the type of energy is eternal.

Every name is a number: and "Every number is infinite; there is no difference." (AL I, 4).  But one Name, or system of Names, may be more convenient either (a) to you personally or (b) to the work you are at.  E.g. I have very little sympathy with Jewish Theology or ritual; but the Qabalah is so handy and congenial that I use it more than almost any—or all the others together—for daily use and work.  The Egyptian Theogony is the noblest, the most truly magical, the most bound to me (or rather I to it) by some inmost instinct, and by the memory of my incarnation as Ankh-f-n-Khonsu, that I use it (with its Græco-Phoenician child) for all work of supreme import.  Why stamp my vitals, madam!  The Abramelin Operation itself turned into this form before I could so much as set to work on it!  Like the Duchess' baby (excuse this enthusiasm; but you have aroused the British Lion-Serpent.)

Note, please, that the equivalents given in 777 are not always exact.  Tahuti is not quite Thoth, still less Hermes; Mercury is a very much more comprehensive idea, but not nearly so exalted: Hanuman hardly at all.  Nor is Tetragrammaton IAO, though even etymology asserts the identity.

In these matters you must be catholic, eclectic, even syncretic.  And you must consider the nature of your work.  If I wanted to evoke Taphthartharath, there would be little help indeed from any but the Qabalistic system; for that spirit's precise forms and numbers are not to be found in any other.

The converse, however, is not so true.  The Qabalah, properly understood, properly treated, is so universal that one can vamp up a ritual to suit almost "any name and form."  But in such a case one may expect to have to reinforce it by a certain amount of historical, literary, or philosophic study—and research.

4. Quite right, dear lady, about your incarnation memories acting as a "Guide to the Way Back."  Of course, if you "missed an Egyptian Incarnation," you would not be so likely to be a little Martha, worried "about much serving."  Don't get surfeited with knowledge, above all things; it is so very fascinating, so dreadfully easy; and the danger of becoming a pedant—"Deuce take all your pedants! say I."  Don't "dry-rot at ease 'till the Judgment Day."

No, I will NOT recommend a book.  It should not hurt you too much to browse on condensed hay (or thistles) such as articles in Encyclopedias.  Take Roget's Thesaurus or Smith's Smaller Classical Dictionary (and the like) to read yourself to sleep on.  But don't stultify yourself by taking up such study too seriously.  You only make yourself ridiculous by trying to do at 50 what you ought to have done at 15.  As you didn't—tant pis!  You can't possibly get the spirit; if you could, it would mean merely mental indigestion.  We have all read how Cato started to learn Greek at 90: but the story stops there.  We have never been told what good it did to himself or anyone else.

5. God-forms.  See Magick pp. 378-9.  Quite clear: quite adequate: no use at all without continual practice.  No one can join with you --- off you go again! No, no, a thousand times no: this is the practice par excellence where you have to do it all yourself.  The Vibration of God-names: that perhaps, I can at least test you in.  But don't you dare come up for a test until you've been at it—and hard—for at least 100 exercises.

I think this is your trouble about being "left in the air."  When I "present many new things" to you, the sting is in the tail—the practice that vitalizes it.  Doctrinal stuff is fine "Lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily, in the noo-on-dye shaun!"  An ounce of your practice is worth a ton of my teaching.  GET THAT.  It's all your hatred of hard work:

"Go to the ant thou sluggard!
Consider her ways and be——."

I am sure that Solomon was too good a poet, and too experienced a Guru, to tail off with the anticlimax "wise."

6. Minerval.  What is the matter?  All you have to do is understand it: just a dramatization of the process of incarnation.  Better run through it with me: I'll make it clear, and you can make notes of your troubles and their solution for the use of future members.

7. The Book of Thoth  Surely all terms not in a good dictionary are explained in the text.  I don't see what I can do about it, in any case; the same criticism would apply to (say) Bertrand Russell's Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, wouldn't it?

Is x an R-ancestor of y if y has every R-hereditary that x has, provided x is a term which has the relation R to something or to which something has the relation R?  (Enthusiastic cries of "Yes, it is!")  He says "A number is anything which has the number of some class."  Feel better now?

Still, it would be kind of you to go through a page or so with me, and tell me where the shoe pinches.  Of course I have realized the difficulty long ago; but I don't know the solution—or if there is a solution.  I did think of calling Magick "Magick Without Tears"; and I did try having my work cross-examined as I went on by minds of very inferior education or capacity.  In fact, Parts I and II of Book 4 were thus tested.

What about applying the Dedekindian cut to this letter? I am sure you would not wish it to develop into a Goclenian Sorites, especially as I fear that I may already have deviated from the δια παντος Hapaxlegomenon.

Love is the law, love under will.



* A letter dated Oct. 12, '43 constituted No. 48 in Magick Without Tears, and the following chapters from the Book of Lies: "Peaches", "Pilgrim-Talk", "Buttons and Rosettes", "The Gun-Barrel" and "The Mountaineer."

Letter No. I

January 27, 1944

Cara Soror,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

It is very good hearing that these letters do good, but rather sad to reflect that it is going to make you so unpopular.  Your friends will notice at once that glib vacuities fail to impress, and hate you, and tell lies about you.  It's worth it.

Yes, your brain is quite all right; what is wanted is to acquire the habit of pinning things down instantly.  (He says 're-incarnation'—now what exactly does he mean by that?  He says "it is natural to suppose . . . ": what is "natural", and what is implied by supposition?)  Practice this style of criticism; write down what happens.  Within a week or two you will be astounded to discover that you have got what is apparently little less than a new brain!  You must make this a habit, not letting anything get by the sentries.

Indeed, I want you to go even further; make sure of what is meant by even the simplest words. Trace the history of the word with the help of Skeat's Etymological Dictionary.  E.g. "pretty" means tricky, deceitful; on the other hand, "hussy" is only "housewife."  It's amusing, too, this "tabby" refers to Prince Attab, the grandson of Ommeya—the silk quarter of Baghdad where utabi, a rich watered silk was sold.  This will soon give you the power of discerning instantly when words are being used to hide meaning or lack of it.

About A.'.A.'., etc.: your resolution is noble, but there is a letter ready for you which deals with what is really a legitimate enquiry; necessary, too, with so many hordes of "Hidden Masters" and "Mahatmas" and so on scurrying all over the floor in the hope of distracting attention from the inanities of their trusted henchmen.

Love is the law, love under will.



P.S. I must write at length about the Higher Self or "God within us," too easy to get muddled about it, and the subject requires careful preparation.


© Ordo Templi Orientis.  Original key entry by W.E. Heidrick for O.T.O.  HTML coding by Frater T.S. for Nu Isis Working Group.

First Chapter
Back to Foreword
Back to contents