Notifications
Clear all

Crowley's Reading List


 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
Topic starter  

I have tried, as far as my finances and availability will allow, to familiarise myself with the works listed in the Curriculum of the A' A'. I would like to know if any readers of this forum would add anything to this list, bearing in mind that "the general object of [the] course [...] is to assure sound education in occult matters, so that when spiritual illumination comes it may find a well-built temple."

I am particularly interested in works published since Crowley's death, but I would also like to hear from anyone who thinks the original list contains startling omissions; i.e. influential works published before or during Crowley's life time which were not included in the curriculum.

I will start things off with a painfully obvious suggestion, namely Levi's Transcendental Magic . I hope this doesn't prompt too many groans of exasperation!


Quote
Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2964
 
"seeyouintheentity" wrote:
I have tried, as far as my finances and availability will allow, to familiarise myself with the works listed in the Curriculum of the A' A'. I would like to know if any readers of this forum would add anything to this list, bearing in mind that "the general object of [the] course [...] is to assure sound education in occult matters, so that when spiritual illumination comes it may find a well-built temple."

I am particularly interested in works published since Crowley's death, but I would also like to hear from anyone who thinks the original list contains startling omissions; i.e. influential works published before or during Crowley's life time which were not included in the curriculum.

I will start things off with a painfully obvious suggestion, namely Levi's Transcendental Magic . I hope this doesn't prompt too many groans of exasperation!

93,

Just to see if I am understanding you correctly... It seems you are asking about:

1. If there have been any official additions to the A:.A:. Curriculum since Therion's death, and
2. If there have been any official subtractions to the A:.A:. Curriculum since Therion's death.

In case that I do understand you, it would seem that,

1. Any additions that have been made are most likely a product of the individual Lineages which currently represent the A:.A:. at this point in Space-Time. After Motta's death, there has been no Visable Head (correct me if I'm wrong).
2. Subtractions and ommissions also would be the product of individual Lineages and the inclinations of those who push the respective Lineages. However, just as there has been no Visable Head since Motta, there has really been little Visable Authority since Crowley. Thus, who would really Authoritively challenge Crowley's ideas of what is on the list?

In short, the A:.A:. was designed to branch off from Therion, in a way. As such, there are quite a few paper trails, but with the current situation of Thelema, it would take some time for the A:.A:. to again come to a Visable Head. This is something I don't personally see occuring any time soon. Until then, anything "official" is pretty much exclusively the opinion of the individual Lineages, and can be adjusted to fit the needs of each apparent School of Thought.

With no Visable Head, there can be no overall "Official" changes.

Just my opinion... if I misunderstood your question, please accept my apologies.

93 93/93


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

93 seeyouintheentity,

DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion. Nothing further

a) What should've been excluded from the original list (going from Liber E here, not MITP appendix)

-1) The Goetia. (can only be a diversion; lures people interested in demons and conjuring demons and not doing work on the self. Someone pointed out how hard it is to see conjuring demons being in line with K&C of HGA...)

-2) Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (I honestly feel this can only be a diversion although it may be 'interesting' to learn of this one man's particular method... one that is condensed and explained infinitely more lucidly in Liber Samekh)

-3) Erdmann's History of Philosophy (simply because its outdated compared to many works available now)

-4) The Star in the West (Captain Fuller) (self-gratification on the part of Crowley. I would say, instead, read Crowley's works on Liber AL including Liber Aleph, the commentaries, and innumerable essays)

b) Additions to the original list

-1) I think the inclusion of "Yi King, Upanishads, Dhammapada, Tao Teh King, and Bhagavad Gita" are extremely, extremely important. I see so many people dismissing the traditions these texts represent as "slave religions" with "slave gods" when they obviously do not see the great sides of these. One can only move beyond a concept only when one can see where it is both effective and ineffective; burn the dross away, keep the gold, and move on. Each of these listed can be read 100x over and they will retain their sublimity just as Liber AL does. The connections between these texts and Liber AL could fill multiple volumes. I heartily encourage you to look into these and not just read them once but many times (and not successively; one must come back after a period of time/experience and come around to see it in a transformed light). I would include the "Heart Sutra" here because Mahayana Buddhism is not represented at all. There are many other sutras but this one is about a page and is extremely profound. Also perhaps D.T. Suzuki's "Introduction to Zen Buddhism" as an amazingly lucid exposition of Zen (a Mahayana 'sect' one might say).

-2) "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman (a nature-infused treatise of the mystical consciousness from the "modern" era... and an American)

-3) In this same sphere of transcendentalists, I also recommend the essays "Self-Reliance" and "The Oversoul" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau to a less extent.

-4) "Apocalypse" by D.H. Lawrence (an exposition of Apocalypse from Lawrence's view. He was born after and died before Crowley, i.e. lived in the exact same time period. Although Lawrence was a traveler and a hermit he has amazingly poignant views with a startling amount of occult knowledge. Many amazing parallels to Thelema.).

-5) "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche (a pseudo-mystical treatise by a German who preceded Crowley's works. This book was actually released in german from 1883 to 1885 when Crowley was 8-10 years old. He had a profound influence on not only Crowley's thought but Freud, Jung, and pretty much everyone after him.). In addition to "Zarathustra," "Beyond Good and Evil" is a classic, as is "The Antichrist." I honestly recommend everything by Nietzsche but especially the above works.

-6) Carl Jung. I don't have a particular book by him for you to get although he does have a pseudo-mystical treaties entitled "Septem Sermones ad Mortuos" which is almost like Jung's version of Liber AL in many ways. I recommend getting a compilation book ("Basic Writings of Jung" is good as is "Portable Jung" but I like the former more. THere are also compilation books on certain topics but they are only good for specific ideas.)

-7) "Be Here Now" by Ram Dass. (A psychedelic-mystic treatise in non-conventional format. Done in the late 1960s by Richard Alpert/Ram Dass, synthesizing the psychedelic and mystic experience and really just crystallizing the mystic consciousness into book form.)

-8) "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," "All Religions are One," "Songs of Innocence & Experience" by William Blake. (This man is an utter genius. I can say no more. Also his "Jerusalem" is worth it but these three are each quite short, the first being no more than 10 pages, the second being only one page, and the third being a collection of poems.)

-9) Philosophy: "Three Dialogues between Hylas & Philonus" by George Berkeley (on Idealism, etc.). I already mentioned Nietzsche. Also, "The Word as Will..." by Arthur Schopenhauer, "Meditations" by Descartes - especially the First on life as a dream, and a jillion others. Crowley was well versed in traditional western philosophy and his work incorporates many aspects. In Liber Da'ath he assigns various philosophical texts to the inevitable end that reason finds itself totally helpless against hte various Mysteries of existence. Further, one's mind is honed and true skepticism can appear.

No occult works!? Egads! These are "worth a thousand folios" you might say. I wholeheartedly recommend each one.

65 & 210,
111-418


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

- Instead of, or in addition to, the Mathers translation of the Goetia, I'd include/substitute the much better Joseph Peterson translation of the Lesser Key of Solomon.

- There is also a much better translation of Abramelin available thanks to Georg Dehn and Steven Guth. I wholeheartedly recommend this.

- Three books by Mortimer J. Adler: The Angels and Us, How to think about God, and Truth in Religion. This covers very basic material, and should be considered remedial reading -- meaning that, in all likelihood, probably everyone needs to read them.

- The Bible. Again, this is basic, and should be considered remedial unless you grew up memorizing it.

- Heidegger: Basic Writings. Especially "The Question Concerning Technology."

- Julius Evola, "Ride the Tiger" and "The Hermetic Tradition."

- Liber ABA. IMO this should have been on the reading list in the first place.

- The Prophet's commentaries on the Book of the Law. See above.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

my input:

Joseph Campbell - Masks of God Vol 1 - 4, or others by same.


ReplyQuote
kidneyhawk
(@kidneyhawk)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1994
 

Aum-

Whitman & Emerson are brilliant suggestions (Emerson's essays BURN with Thelema). We all know AC honored Blake in several places, including him as "William O'Neil" in his suggested reading list. For those who are working on a "curriculum" and not going to penetrate the Prophesies, the Songs and MHH (esp.!) is essential stuff.

Cheers,

Kyle


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"jcyn" wrote:
my input:

Joseph Campbell - Masks of God Vol 1 - 4, or others by same.

I concur! A good over-all book that is short is "Myths to Live By." I would also watch the Bill Moyers PBS special "Power of Myth" as its nice to actually see the man and his liveliness, the joy he gets from talking about myth. He expanded on a lot of Jung's work, specifically the hero archetype ("Hero of a Thousand Faces" was the work that made him popular and that George Lucas used as a base for Star Wars).


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
Topic starter  

93,

Thanks to those who have posted. Some very useful and interesting contributions. I'd like to add a note of clarification; I do not wish to trivialise Crowley's original list or suggest that it should be dismissed and superseded by something "new". Apologies to anyone who thinks this thread presumptuous or just downright silly. I just thought that, as with the lively "How it all Began" thread, it would be a chance for members to give their take on the texts that have affected them on a personal level or they regard as useful and which they feel should be recommended.

I am surprised that the curriculum doesn't include a some kind of general history of Magick. I suppose The Golden Bough would provide that "general familiarity with the mystical and magical tradition" which Crowley enjoins, but a systematic, chronological treatment of the Western tradition would be useful for a course such as this. Perhaps something in the same vein as Cavendish's History of Magic. I suppose we have to bear in mind the fact that Crowley's list was intended for those with little or no previous knowledge of occult philosophy.

And I wholeheartedly second Aum418's view that "the inclusion of "Yi King, Upanishads, Dhammapada, Tao Teh King, and Bhagavad Gita" are extremely, extremely important." For anyone who's interested, here's a complete list of the OUP's Sacred Books of the East series.

http://groups.msn.com/SpiritualLibrary/sacredbooksoftheeastindex.msnw

93
93/93


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"seeyouintheentity" wrote:
93,

Thanks to those who have posted. Some very useful and interesting contributions. I'd like to add a note of clarification; I do not wish to trivialise Crowley's original list or suggest that it should be dismissed and superseded by something "new". Apologies to anyone who thinks this thread presumptuous or just downright silly. I just thought that, as with the lively "How it all Began" thread, it would be a chance for members to give their take on the texts that have affected them on a personal level or they regard as useful and which they feel should be recommended.

I am surprised that the curriculum doesn't include a some kind of general history of Magick. I suppose The Golden Bough would provide that "general familiarity with the mystical and magical tradition" which Crowley enjoins, but a systematic, chronological treatment of the Western tradition would be useful for a course such as this. Perhaps something in the same vein as Cavendish's History of Magic. I suppose we have to bear in mind the fact that Crowley's list was intended for those with little or no previous knowledge of occult philosophy.

And I wholeheartedly second Aum418's view that "the inclusion of "Yi King, Upanishads, Dhammapada, Tao Teh King, and Bhagavad Gita" are extremely, extremely important." For anyone who's interested, here's a complete list of the OUP's Sacred Books of the East series.

http://groups.msn.com/SpiritualLibrary/sacredbooksoftheeastindex.msnw

93
93/93

Wow, thank you for the link.

I think theres a good reason not to include a 'History of Magic/Occult.' Yes, Thelema is part of the history of magic and the occult, for sure, but it is also part of philosophy, ethics, psychology, etc. We need to stop confining it into this little ridiculous (in my opinion) corner that is obsessed with ceremonial magic and the "occult." From a certain perspective one could easily view Liber AL as a continuation of eastern mystical texts, a tantric text (no, not just in the sense of having sex), of poetry, of judeo-christian mysticism, of western philosophy...etc.

65 & 210,
111-418


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

James Austin's Zen & the Brain can be useful for those who are not afraid of scientific drill work and possible neuroscientific explanations of some mystic states. I'm not sure I can recommend it to a typical Crowley fan, but it was one of the most useful books for me.

I also try to read all kinds of classics such as Thomas Hardy, Dostoyevsky, Upanishads, Kant, etc. I don't know them very well but at least I'm trying, and I find that though working through some of them may feel quite "dry" at first, after the experience you'll notice your mind has progressed quite a lot.


ReplyQuote
lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5331
 
"Aum418" wrote:
I think theres a good reason not to include a 'History of Magic/Occult.' Yes, Thelema is part of the history of magic and the occult, for sure, but it is also part of philosophy, ethics, psychology, etc. We need to stop confining it into this little ridiculous (in my opinion) corner that is obsessed with ceremonial magic and the "occult." From a certain perspective one could easily view Liber AL as a continuation of eastern mystical texts, a tantric text (no, not just in the sense of having sex), of poetry, of judeo-christian mysticism, of western philosophy

For what it's worth, I agree unreservedly.

I shudder to think how many potential readers are "put off" Thelema by the ridiculous pigeon-holing of Crowley into the "occult" shelves.

It's why I have, on several occasions, noted on these pages that "LAShTAL.COM is not an occult website".

In the same way that Crowley used the spelling "magick" in order to remove the subject from unfortunate and inappropriate connotations implied by the word, we need to move away from "occult".

Any suggestions?

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

Problem with ditching the term "occult" is that the Hidden Stone is still hidden, and your own experiences of enlightenment will probably always be within yourself and hidden from everyone else.

I agree thought that it does bring up unfortunate images of middle aged men in polo-necks stroking their chin mysteriously by candle light.

I guess this is why people use terms like "Hermeticism" and "Scientific Illuminism".

We could always just change the spelling to "okkult". πŸ˜†


ReplyQuote
lashtal
(@lashtal)
Owner and Editor Admin
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5331
 
"nashimiron" wrote:
We could always just change the spelling to "okkult". πŸ˜†

Hmmm... You might be onto something there!
πŸ˜‰

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4132
 

I like the word "occult", and am happy to describe myself as an occultist. I take the point that Lashtal is not an occult site, just as it is not Thelemic. I'd still prefer to keep the word as it is.

Doubtless some people misunderstand the term, just as they confuse Magick with "black magic", but any other term for it would be similarly open to misinterpretation.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 

Transcendental Magic is included in the reading list, it is a translation of Dogma et la Ritual by A.E. Waite. Its also curious that you would suggest this as not being included when Transcendental Magic itself is also included under the heading of D et la R as an alternative.

The Three Dialogues are included as well. The suggestions of this forum make me seriously wonder if anyone at all has actually read the list.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"KCh" wrote:
The suggestions of this forum make me seriously wonder if anyone at all has actually read the list.

How come?

Edit: Let me remind you that the original list included William James: Varieties of Religious Experience, which was a recent book during the writing of the whole thing. The list also basically includes all of the important classics of religion.

It also includes Lewis Carroll's works, on this basis:

" ALICE IN WONDERLAND, by Lewis Carroll. Valuable to those who understand the Qabalah.

ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, by Lewis Carroll. Valuable to those who understand the Qabalah."

Could you please point *one* suggestion that is against the principle of this list? Especially considering original poster's suggestion "I am particularly interested in works published since Crowley's death"...


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I like the word "occult", and am happy to describe myself as an occultist. I take the point that Lashtal is not an occult site, just as it is not Thelemic. I'd still prefer to keep the word as it is.

Doubtless some people misunderstand the term, just as they confuse Magick with "black magic", but any other term for it would be similarly open to misinterpretation.

I like the word "occult" too. I think that Crowley knew that people would connect the concepts of "magic" and "magick" in their mind at some level, otherwise he would have chosen a totally differing name.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
Topic starter  
"KCh" wrote:
Transcendental Magic is included in the reading list, it is a translation of Dogma et la Ritual by A.E. Waite. Its also curious that you would suggest this as not being included when Transcendental Magic itself is also included under the heading of D et la R as an alternative.

The Three Dialogues are included as well. The suggestions of this forum make me seriously wonder if anyone at all has actually read the list.

I can find no mention of Levi's Transcendental Magic in Appendix 1 of Book Four. Perhaps you're referring to Crowley's translation of La Clef des grands mysteres (Liber XLVI).

As to the question of negative labelling, I think the use of the word "occult" is acceptable despite the somewhat banal connotations it has acquired over the last half century or so. Crowley preferred "Magick" in order to distinguish "...the true science of the Magi from all its counterfeits." I simply regard Magick as a branch of occult philosophy, which I think is reasonable enough if one bears in mind the the etymology of "occult" i.e. occultus, that which is hidden or secret. Having said that, not a great deal of occult philosophy remains hidden or secret, so it is perhaps slightly anachronistic. However, I am very sympathetic to the views expressed by Aum418 and Lashtal. Personally, I blame the tabloids!


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"seeyouintheentity" wrote:
"KCh" wrote:
Transcendental Magic is included in the reading list, it is a translation of Dogma et la Ritual by A.E. Waite. Its also curious that you would suggest this as not being included when Transcendental Magic itself is also included under the heading of D et la R as an alternative.

The Three Dialogues are included as well. The suggestions of this forum make me seriously wonder if anyone at all has actually read the list.

I can find no mention of Levi's Transcendental Magic in Appendix 1 of Book Four. Perhaps you're referring to Crowley's translation of La Clef des grands mysteres (Liber XLVI).

This book appears on the reading list at the end of Book Four Part I for me.

MichaelStaley: Honestly, what you are into (Grant, waiting for aliens to come save us) is much more occult than what Thelema is aiming at. The Typhonian tradition seems absolutely steeped in traditional occultism with little or no repercussions outside of this sphere whereas Thelema, especially Liber AL, has repercussions in religion, spirituality, psychology, politics, ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, etc. etc. etc. etc. I see no reason for you NOT to call yourself an 'occultist' (since what you seem to do/propagate is on these exact lines) but that isnt what the discussion was about - Thelema as an occult philosophy is what is being talked about.

KCh: It makes me wonder if you read my post: I said I was using the Liber E reading list, and SPECIFICALLY said I am not using the MITP Appendix reading list. Kind of hypocritical for you to accuse others of not reading, isnt it?

65 & 210,
111-418


ReplyQuote
Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 4132
 
"Aum418" wrote:
Honestly, what you are into (Grant, waiting for aliens to come save us) is much more occult than what Thelema is aiming at.

You have little idea of my magical practices, so a little less presumption on your part might be a good idea. No? Thought not. Perhaps you can point to a passage in Grant's work where he speaks of anything remotely like "waiting for aliens to come save us".

"Aum418" wrote:
. . . Thelema as an occult philosophy is what is being talked about.

I wasn't aware that this thread was restricted to talking of Thelema as an "occult philosophy". Personally I'm more interested in magical practise than occult philosophy, but each to his own. Whatever the original subject of this thread, someone was speculating a few posts earlier about the appropriateness of the label "occult", and I was responding to that.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"Aum418" wrote:
This book appears on the reading list at the end of Book Four Part I for me.

There's a reading list at the end of Book 4 Part 1? I guess I must have the abridged version it ain't in mine! πŸ˜•

"Aum418" wrote:
I was using the Liber E reading list

How very embarrasing. If you flick back a few pages in Book 4, appendix 1 has the curriculum thats currently under discussion. Then you'll be on the same page as the rest of us! πŸ˜†

Anyway I'd probably say the curriculum could be updated with Arthur Avalon's tantric texts and some better books on yoga.

And Battlefield Earth by L Ron Hubbard. 😯


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Perhaps you can point to a passage in Grant's work where he speaks of anything remotely like "waiting for aliens to come save us".

Siriusly?

"MichaelStaley" wrote:
I wasn't aware that this thread was restricted to talking of Thelema as an "occult philosophy". Personally I'm more interested in magical practise than occult philosophy, but each to his own. Whatever the original subject of this thread, someone was speculating a few posts earlier about the appropriateness of the label "occult", and I was responding to that.

That was my point - he was asking about the label of "occult" to Thelema, not the label of occult as applied to your personal practice, but its such a silly issue why dont we drop it.

nashimiron: I was reading out of my small, yellow square version of book 4 part 1 from 1969... it even has the prices of like 1 and 2 pouonds for various books back whenever... it probably isnt in later versions as the updated one in the appendix is there.


ReplyQuote
 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
 
"seeyouintheentity" wrote:
I will start things off with a painfully obvious suggestion, namely Levi's Transcendental Magic . I hope this doesn't prompt too many groans of exasperation!

No chance there mate! Back in 1986, Eliphas Levi's 'Transcendental Magic' was one of the first books on occultism I ever had read. I also think it is the best book on occultism ever written!

Best Wishes

Charles

P.S. and I definately do not think it was by chance that A.C. 'fantasised' about being Levi in a past life either!, as he writes so very well and knows his onions!


ReplyQuote
Share: