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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
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27/12/2009 4:33 pm  

93,
I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of Thelema and wish to continue further into my studies. I have spent a great deal of time reading and studying various Thelemic texts online. I have been looking to purchase a hard copy of these, and have found a few that seem to be fairly comprehensive. I have narrowed it down to either Magick: Book 4, Liber Aba (yeah, the one they call the "blue brick", 928 pages of Crowley's works) or The Holy Books of Thelema (a 270 page paperback covering all of the essential core texts of Thelema). Neither one is particularly cheap, and I have found both available for roughly $40 used. Does anybody own either of these books or have any opinion on them? Any advice would be greatly appreciated 🙂

Love is the law, love under will.


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ozzzz666
(@ozzzz666)
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27/12/2009 4:43 pm  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Every Thelemite should own both of these books in my opinion. I'm sure most do. If I were you, I would buy Liber ABA first. It is an invaluable resource, and contains some of the holy books as well. I also recommend "The Law is for All". This is a must have as well, IMO.

Love is the law, love under will.

93 93/93,
Oz


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 Anonymous
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27/12/2009 4:43 pm  

You should definitely get "The Holy Books" regardless of which of the other two you get. I'm sure you could find it on e-bay for just a few bucks. Alternatively, your local bookstore probably carries a copy. That's where I bought mine. Although, in hindsight, I wish I would've not impulsively grabbed it off of the shelf and bought it and held out for one of the Hardback editions, myself. I hate paperback books.


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 Anonymous
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27/12/2009 4:55 pm  

Right along those two, I would suggest Gems from the Equinox and Magick Without Tears. If you have all four of those, you have the bulk of Crowley's instruction. After those would come the Book of Thoth, the Vision and the Voice (although there is a copy of the bulk of it in Gems From the Equinox) and the Book of Lies.


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newneubergOuch2
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28/12/2009 3:15 am  

Many of Crowleys books can be had for cheap from ebay, abebooks or amazon. Yes the blue brick-liber ABA is a great purchase(I have it), though I myself found it more comfortable to have it broken down by buying Yoga, Book 4 and Magick.... in earlier separate editions -just easier to hold and read.
Magick without tears. The Holy books yes.
Have a check online, sometimes there are sellers who are selling 5 books at a time for a bargain price.


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 Anonymous
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28/12/2009 3:33 pm  

The paperback version of Liber ABA: this is exactly the same version as the blue brick one? Because I just found it at a local bookstore for only $14! Definitely more budget-friendly than its hardcover counterpart.


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newneubergOuch2
(@newneubergouch2)
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28/12/2009 4:12 pm  

hmm, searched amazon `liber aba` , not exactly the same as the blue brick, but perhaps a good place to start as it is more transportable it seems, and the price is right.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
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13/01/2010 8:04 am  

i was going to say if you can find Magick edited by grant and symonds its a great starting point. its the same as liber aba or book four with all parts. the only thing you are missing is some new things added in the latest version but its much more portable and useful as a ritual book since its not so bulky and you dont need all the commentary anyway. that i noted. im sure i disagree with a lot of people but hey, generally Magick is a great place to start for a book.
second i would say the book of the law the little red one it has the commentary too i believe. and also magick without tears. that should get you started.


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 Anonymous
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14/01/2010 4:53 pm  

Gem of the Equinox, 777 and other.. were my first ones, I highly recommend them


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 Anonymous
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14/01/2010 5:06 pm  

I would recommend to leave aside Crowley's works in the beginning and start with this: http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Fire-Heaven-Stephen-Mace/dp/0972026606/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263488611&sr=8-1-spell


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 Anonymous
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15/01/2010 11:39 pm  

Crowley interpreted Thelema to be all-encompassing, as can be seen in the following quote from his 'autohagiography', The Confessions of Aleister Crowley An Autohagiography, on page 619 in chapter 66:

"I understood directly that the formula of Osiris[=all religions before Thelema] necessarily assumed all sorts of apparently incompatible forms as it was applied to different conditions of race, climate and similar conditions. I saw also that Horus[=Thelema] might reconcile all religions, it being possible now to bring all countries to agree on a few fundamental principles."

(Source: http://hermetic.com/crowley/confessions/chapter66.html ).

I present Crowley's all-encompassing interpretation of Thelema in more detail in my Post Posted: Jan 15, 2010 - 09:38 AM in the thread "Thelema/Magick's semblance to religion in general"

In light of Crowley's own interpretation of Thelema as being all-encompassing, you might want to choose the one that is widest in scope and/or covering the biggest variety of subjects, between the two books you mention; Magick: Book 4, Liber Aba and The Holy Books of Thelema.

An aside, but still important to keep in mind!:

First: It is a common myth to view Aleister Crowley as an occultist who built a bridge between Eastern tantrism and Western esotericism. Crowley does not show any deeper understanding of Eastern tantrism in any of his writings.

Second: Do not let yourself be fooled by ignorants that claim Crowley's Thelema contains nothing on moral and social responsibilities, as such foolish and misleading claims are not confirmed by his own writings.

On page 848 in chapter 87 of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley An Autohagiography, he for example writes this about moral and social responsibilities within Thelema:

"The main ethical principle [in Thelema] is that each human being has its own definite object in life. He has every right to fulfil his purpose, and none to do anything else. It is the business of the community to help each of its members to achieve this aim; in consequence all rules should be made, and all questions of policy decided, by the application of this principle to the circumstances."

(Source: http://hermetic.com/crowley/confessions/chapter87.html ).

Good luck with your choice of book.


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Michael Staley
(@michael-staley)
MANIO - it's all in the egg
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16/01/2010 6:24 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
"I understood directly that the formula of Osiris[=all religions before Thelema] . . . .

Your interpolation is incorrect. The formula of Osiris is that of the slain and subsequently resurrected god, as epitomised by Christianity. There are many pre-Thelema religions that do not correspond to this formula, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

Best wishes,

Michael.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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16/01/2010 7:04 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
"I understood directly that the formula of Osiris[=all religions before Thelema] necessarily assumed all sorts of apparently incompatible forms as it was applied to different conditions of race, climate and similar conditions. I saw also that Horus[=Thelema] might reconcile all religions, it being possible now to bring all countries to agree on a few fundamental principles."

Please keep your posts on-topic and, if you're planning to continue to base a large part of your posts on quotations from other sources, please would you do us all a favour and leave them unadorned by your own comments and emphases? It seems to me that in this example, your own additions demonstrate an ignorance of the meaning of the quote.

Ta.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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17/01/2010 6:56 am  

Yes, MichaelStaley, my interpolation is incorrect on the Osiris part of the quote. Thanks for your correction.

Ok, Lashtal, I will leave my use of quotest unadorned by my own comments and emphases.

"I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of Thelema and wish to continue further into my studies" you write, The_Chairman

And you ask for advise on which book to purchase between Magick: Book 4, Liber Aba or The Holy Books of Thelema.

I have already advised you to purchase the one that is widest in scope, but in addition i want to add this information about something you can not expect to find anything about in the two books you mention, or in any other books by A. Crowley for that matter:

"Crowley never identified any of his practices with Tantra. As Urban notes, Crowley referred in passing to “the follies of Vamacharya (debauchery)” in The Equinox. The claims of biographers Symonds and Sutin regarding Crowley’s supposed study of Tantra in Asia are unconvincing. “Tantra” and Tantric terminology are conspicuously absent from Crowley’s technical instructions for OTO initiates. That sort of synthesis had to wait for the “Creative Occultism” of Crowley’s student Kenneth Grant. Grant’s own interest in Tantra was probably to blame for the fact that Crowley actually got around to mentioning it in his last book-length work Aleister Explains Everything (published posthumously as Magick Without Tears). Even then, Crowley merely wrote vaguely of having studied “numerous writings on the Tantra,” among other sources of Indian lore. (MWT 232) Grant’s craving for Tantric instruction was finally satisfied by David Curwen, a full OTO initiate who had not received his Tantrism through OTO. This relation is documented in Grant’s correspondence memoir Remembering Aleister Crowley. (47-49)"

(Source: http://www.scarletwoman.org/reviews/022_tantra.html Publications Book Reviews Review by Swami Mahalingam Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion
By Hugh Urban).


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 Anonymous
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17/01/2010 3:22 pm  

Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, Magickal Revival, Hecates Fountain.


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 Anonymous
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17/01/2010 7:36 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:

"Crowley never identified any of his practices with Tantra. As Urban notes, Crowley referred in passing to “the follies of Vamacharya (debauchery)” in The Equinox. The claims of biographers Symonds and Sutin regarding Crowley’s supposed study of Tantra in Asia are unconvincing. “Tantra” and Tantric terminology are conspicuously absent from Crowley’s technical instructions for OTO initiates. That sort of synthesis had to wait for the “Creative Occultism” of Crowley’s student Kenneth Grant. Grant’s own interest in Tantra was probably to blame for the fact that Crowley actually got around to mentioning it in his last book-length work Aleister Explains Everything (published posthumously as Magick Without Tears). Even then, Crowley merely wrote vaguely of having studied “numerous writings on the Tantra,” among other sources of Indian lore. (MWT 232) Grant’s craving for Tantric instruction was finally satisfied by David Curwen, a full OTO initiate who had not received his Tantrism through OTO. This relation is documented in Grant’s correspondence memoir Remembering Aleister Crowley. (47-49)"

(Source: http://www.scarletwoman.org/reviews/022_tantra.html Publications Book Reviews Review by Swami Mahalingam Tantra: Sex, Secrecy, Politics, and Power in the Study of Religion
By Hugh Urban).

What does this bizarre, biased, pejorative and schizophrenicly speculative opinion have to do with this thread?

First the writer opines:

"The claims of biographers Symonds and Sutin regarding Crowley’s supposed study of Tantra in Asia are unconvincing."

Then the writer implies that AC actually did know tantra:

"Crowley actually got around to mentioning it in his last book-length work Aleister Explains Everything (published posthumously as Magick Without Tears). Even then, Crowley merely wrote vaguely of having studied “numerous writings on the Tantra,” among other sources of Indian lore. "

One of Crowley's actual quotes mentioning his study of tantra from MWT:

"I also studied all varieties of Asiatic philosophy, especially with regard to the practical question of spiritual development, the Sufi doctrines, the Upanishads, the Sankhra, Veda and Vedanta, the Bhagavad-Gita and Purana, the Dammapada, and many other classics, together with numerous writings on the Tantra and Yoga of such men as Patanjali, Vivekananda, etc., etc. Not a few of these teachings are as yet wholly unknown to scholars. I made the scope of my studies as comprehensive as possible, omitting no school of thought however unimportant or repugnant." MWT p.231-232

That doesn't sound very vague to me.


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gurugeorge
(@gurugeorge)
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17/01/2010 10:33 pm  
"wellredwellbred" wrote:
First: It is a common myth to view Aleister Crowley as an occultist who built a bridge between Eastern tantrism and Western esotericism. Crowley does not show any deeper understanding of Eastern tantrism in any of his writings.

I think the common view amongst serious students of Crowley is simply that Crowley was a pioneer in the area of bridging the gap between Eastern and Western traditions of mysticism and magick; he was in the tradition of the Theosophical Society, only with a more pragmatic approach. One might criticize him now, in the light of the heaps of academic research that has been done since then, and with the combined experience of heaps of people from the West who have by now had a taste of traditional Eastern systems; but if you look at him in the context of his day, he was light years ahead of most (though not all) of his contemporaries. He's one of the first of a small bunch of Europeans who took a more hands-on approach with the "wisdom of the East" through the earlier part of the 20th century.

I wouldn't say that anything of his Tantric work is indebted to much that he learnt in the East (possibly some of the homosexual stuff may be related to some of his Sufi encounters). That seems to come from Western sources. But I don't think any serious student of Crowley would have claimed that he's an especial authority on Eastern tantrism anyway. His authority in things Eastern is limited to what he actually tried - some Hindu Yoga, some Sufi stuff, some Chinese stuff, mostly learned via introductions from the upper echelons of middle class society he inhabited in his younger days - consols, ambassadors, Foreign Office staff, etc., people who knew the regions he was travelling in, and who had some interest in such matters, and knew of local practitioners.

However, having said all that, it's actually surprising the degree to which the tantrism Crowley did practice is more like the ancient kind. That is to say, we are used to a somewhat "sanitised" and "spiritualised" version of Eastern Tantra (e.g. Kashmiri Tantra, Arthur Avalalon's translations, the for-family-consumption versions of Buddhist Tantra). One might call it generally "mediaeval" Tantra. But according to the investigations of at least one pukka academic I know of, David Gordon White, the rather more earthy form of Tantra that AC practiced, that he got the idea of both from his own researches and those of the O.T.O., is much more like the most ancient forms than you would think (some of it even dating to BCE times). It's easy to take a superficial look at what those Westerners were up to at the turn of the 20th century and think it was all fin de siecle titillation and antinomianism and whatnot. But perhaps we may give people like Karl Kellner (or whoever) more credit than that.

To put it bluntly, the deeper irony in all this is that (according to David Gordon White, at least) the practice of wishing on the combined essence of male and female secretions, is the more ancient form of Tantra, and it was in fact a "royal art", and an avowedly magickal art, in its original form. The sublimation of Tantric symbolism, on the one hand into Hatha Yoga, and on the other hand into Tantric systems that dealt with guided visualisations aiming at a mystical experience, were later developments.

Plus, a point not to be forgotten: the "sanitised" versions themselves probably covered up a more robust (and indeed perhaps in some cases abusive) practice.


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 Anonymous
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17/01/2010 10:35 pm  

Liber O - contains the basic keys to ritual

Liber Aleph, Liber AL, and the Holy Books - For spirituial and philosphical guiadance.

The Golden Dawn- (Israel Regardie) - For a solid foundation in what Thelema grew out of.

777- especially "an essay upon number" and "Bereshith"


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 Anonymous
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18/01/2010 9:43 am  

Crowley's system of magick grew out of the Golden Dawn, since that's where he got his foundational magickal education, but I would hardly say that Thelema grew out of the Golden Dawn.


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 Anonymous
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18/01/2010 10:27 pm  
"kuniggety" wrote:
Crowley's system of magick grew out of the Golden Dawn, since that's where he got his foundational magickal education, but I would hardly say that Thelema grew out of the Golden Dawn.

Fair enough, I suppose. However, such references to Horus taking his seat in the east at the Equinox of the Gods really only makes sense with reference to the Ceremony of the Equinox that was practiced in the Golden Dawn. Liber Al uses symbolism from the Golden Dawn ceromonies to convey specific ideas, such as the advent of the Aeon of Horus. I believe an understanding of the Golden Dawn aids a comprehension of Thelema, even if it is only through contrast.


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Walterfive
(@walterfive)
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21/01/2010 4:11 pm  
"christibrany" wrote:
i was going to say if you can find Magick edited by grant and symonds its a great starting point. its the same as liber aba or book four with all parts. the only thing you are missing is some new things added in the latest version but its much more portable and useful as a ritual book since its not so bulky and you dont need all the commentary anyway. that i noted. im sure i disagree with a lot of people but hey, generally Magick is a great place to start for a book.
second i would say the book of the law the little red one it has the commentary too i believe. and also magick without tears. that should get you started.

"Magick" is NOT "the same" as Book Four/Liber ABA/Magick. Magick/Book Four/Liber ABA (2nd Edition) is a far superior work. It's certainly not as "bulky" as "The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic" and I don't hear anyone piss and moan about *that* one. 🙄

If you *have* Book Four/Liber ABA/Magick as a beginning student, you can largely do without several books, such as 777, it having all of the neccesary tables to comprehend the meanings of the symbols and such of Crowley's Man of Earth O.T.O. Rituals. It contains key material and illustrations from the Book of Thoth explaining some of points Crowley had about the Thoth Deck, and furthermore, the footnotes and commentary can often be very illuminating, and usually (at least) interesting. Book Four/Liber ABA/Magick is encyclopaedic in its expanse, it covers most every point of Thelemic study the student needs to go from Minerval to (at least) 5th Degree. Now, if you want to study the A.A. curriculum, OTOH, you'd want (at least) Gems From The Equinox as well, if not the actual 10 volume Equinox Set itself. (But not the 2-Volume Weiser Edition, those babies really *are* "bulky"!) But Book Four/Liber ABA/Magick is now the cornerstone on which every aspiring Thelemite ought to be building their Thelemic Library. It's a book they'll be studying and referring to again and again for decades to come.

One more thing: After some consideration I have come to the conclusion that we do a disservice, IMHO, to the student when we refer them to books that are out of print, and that have prices out-of-reach to the average wage-earner. We're tossing around titles like "Magick Without Tears" (which starts at $49) and Equinox IV Vol. 2 "The Vision And The Voice" (which starts at $55 used on Amazon). Granted, Magick/Book 4/Liber ABA starts at $46, but it's a hardback where the previous two prices are for used paperbacks, and it's truly an investment, in that, as I said, they'll be studying it for years, and referring to it often.

Chairman? The paperback of Liber ABA you speak of appears to be a pirated edition of an on-line PDF file. The textual accuracy and completeness of the book is in question, or so I gather. I haven't seen the edition in question, but it's not an authorized edition. However, I'll grant you that it's affordable, and it's really quite a shame that so many key works of Crowley's are currently out-of-print and only available through second-market sellers. The copyright holders are really denying themselves some royalties by not making less expensive paperback editions of these works readily available.


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SatansAdvocaat
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21/01/2010 4:53 pm  

Oh, hum, Chairman - look what you've got yourself into here - a veritable Thelemic quagmire.

I've gotten by with Grant's and Symond's edition of MAGICK for quite some time now, and I'm not aware (willing to be corrected) that the the 'big blue brick' ABA really adds all that much to the general melange.

By all means get 'The Holy Books of Thelema' and don't quibble about the cost, such things are priceless and beautiful; if your'e really into THELEMA you will not regret it.

As for LIBER AL and its Commentaries, there is nothing yet to compare with 'Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law' - Symonds and Grant, 93 Publishing - but alas, long out of print and very expensive. (Is this 'Law is for All' that gets bandied about, Israel Regardie's book with its crappy introduction, or something more recent -ain't a patch on the 93 in its original version and not as impressive as Motta's 'Commentaries on AL').

If this is not particularly helpful, I don't really feel the need to apologise.

93,93/93.

Satan's Advocaat


The Children of Transgression are the Dragons of the Law.


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SatansAdvocaat
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21/01/2010 4:59 pm  

An afterthought - worthy or not.

As for all this complex business about Tantra, we Westerners are a simple lot, not given to subtle Sanskrit delineations on discreet metaphysical observations.

My advice is: 'Drink Sweet Yoni' and OM MANI PADME HUM !

S.A.


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alysa
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21/01/2010 7:04 pm  

"The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic" by Israel Regardie is a bulky volume of which I moan and am willing to p*ss, though I still think of it as interesting, and keep Regardie in high regard.


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 Anonymous
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21/01/2010 7:51 pm  

"i was going to say if you can find Magick edited by grant and symonds its a great starting point. its the same as liber aba or book four with all parts. the only thing you are missing is some new things added in the latest version but its much more portable and useful as a ritual book since its not so bulky and you dont need all the commentary anyway. that i noted. im sure i disagree with a lot of people but hey, generally Magick is a great place to start for a book."
The Grant/Symonds MAGICK is missing a LOT of material-including the entire EQUINOX OF THE GODS plus lots of biographical material & complete translations of ALL non-English quotaions/rituals etc (of which there are many!). Plus the Grant /Symonds edition is now generally going for collectors prices that far exceed the $50 or so that MAGICK now goes for on AMAZON. If you can only have one book LIBER ABA/BOOK 4/MAGICK is the one to get.


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Horemakhet
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21/01/2010 8:21 pm  

. . Now that this thread is fully derailed from it's starting point: My first Crowley books were ' Diary of a Drug Fiend', '777', & the " Hag " . . .


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alysa
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21/01/2010 9:43 pm  

I should recommend buy both the Kenneth Grant/ John Symonds edition of 'Magick' as well as the 'big blue brick ABA' as some call it, the John Symonds/ Kenneth Grant-edition is far more portable, I don't have one for the moment, though I'm intending to buy one, the 'big blue brick' contains interesting biographical information, some interesting pictures, there are standing very informative footnotes in which explain quiet a very lot, yes I'd say it I'm happy with it.


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Horemakhet
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21/01/2010 11:51 pm  

. . . The originator of this thread took off into space a few weeks ago, with a well padded helmet. It is all well & good to talk about 'editions'; but are we not heading into overkill territory here? If I was a newcomer to these books, I would not need so much info for choosing one over another. Just buy it, & read it!


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 Anonymous
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21/01/2010 11:57 pm  

93,
Buy as many used books as you can find and read the print off them 😉

Both The Holy Books and Magick are great! I like Thelema Without Tears and 777 as early texts (available online I believe) and Jack Parson's writings are insightful.

Buy what you can, when you can afford it. Some focus on mysticism, some on Magick, some on organizational structures.

For general reading there is always the general reading list of the A(honor sign) A(honor sign)

Good Luck on your journey

93s


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alysa
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22/01/2010 12:10 am  

Do you mean "Thelema Without Tears" by Gerald del Campo or "Magick Without Tears" by Aleister Crowley?


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Horemakhet
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22/01/2010 1:39 am  

. . . Dont ruin this for me, Alysa. He gave me 93's & a 'best of luck' on my "journey". At least, I thought that he was talking to me. There are alot of books being recommended to invisible people. . .


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alysa
(@alysa)
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22/01/2010 2:10 am  

LOL, Horemakhet, hope your journey is very enjoyable, hope very eagerly that these invisible people can do something with the books recommended.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
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22/01/2010 5:51 am  

ok 'magick' is not 'the same' as liber aba, but it is the same book. minus some annotations and translations like you mentoined. i merely thought it was a good thing for a beginner to realise he doesnt need both. and i prefer 'magic' because after looking through the new version or the blue brick as you call it i could do without the extra annotations and notes and i had equinox of the gods separately. plus it was not that expensive. i got one copy for 20 dollars total including shipping. and a second copy for 25 that was like new. so i dont see how that is more than the new version...


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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22/01/2010 6:04 am  

[Moderator's Note: This post edited to remove link to eBay. Please see the Guidelines.]


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Walterfive
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22/01/2010 4:57 pm  
"christibrany" wrote:
ok 'magick' is not 'the same' as liber aba, but it is the same book. minus some annotations and translations like you mentoined. i merely thought it was a good thing for a beginner to realise he doesnt need both. and i prefer 'magic' because after looking through the new version or the blue brick as you call it i could do without the extra annotations and notes and i had equinox of the gods separately. plus it was not that expensive. i got one copy for 20 dollars total including shipping. and a second copy for 25 that was like new. so i dont see how that is more than the new version...

Well, first off, I don't call it that. I call it "Magick/Book Four/Liber ABA" and regard it as Crowley's Magnum Opus. If you spent $20 on one copy of "Magick" and $25 for another copy of the same book, you *could* have bought one copy of Magick/Book Four/Liber ABA for a dollar more than the combined price of the two and had the other additional three parts of Book Four, as well as the 777 tables, the appendices, photos, and other features that others here have so eloquently mentioned and praised. So for a dollar less you got a *lot* less, and two copies of an out-dated book. Mmmm.... I dunno... doesn't sound like much of a bargain to me.

On another topic, I agree with Satan's Advocate that "Magickal and Philosopical Commentaries" is the best edition of the commentaries out there, it's a stunningly beautiful book, the face of the Stele embossed in gold on the front cover, nice paper, Smythe-sewn, a marvelous hardback. That was from 93 Publishing in Toronto (or Montreal?), if memory serves. Satan's Adv., are you *certain* that this was a Symonds/Grant project? I admittedly don't have the book at hand, I haven't lived with a copy around for several years, but I don't recall (offhand) seeing Symonds or Grant's name attached to it, and *I* thought 93 Publishing was a (then, in 1974) independent press in Canada, as 93 Publishing later came under the management of U.S. Caliphate O.T.O. members. I'd also be suprised that they went with such a small press, and small pressing, only 5,000 copies of that book were made, if memory serves...

On the other hand, I've been told that the new (non-Israel Regardie edited) revised edition of "The Law Is For All" that came out a few years ago, replacing the old New Falcon edition, contains the same two commentaries as Magickal and Philosophical Commentaries... but, not owning a copy of said, I've not been able to compare the two, paragraph for paragraph, to see if this is true. Can any of the Lashtal readers confirm or deny this? Amazon reviews are not helpful. I've got the original '75 Llewellyn paperback, and all the various commentaries in PDF format, so I haven't seen fit to purchase any newer editions, but it would be handy to know which to reccomend...

The Motta edition of the Commentaries, I feel, is the inferior edition out of all previously mentioned. Motta mixes his own commentaries quite freely with Crowley's, and it was impossible (without comparing line-for-line with Magickal and Philosophical Commentaries) to tell where Crowley's opinions ended, and where Motta's editorializations began. I remember this quite clearly, as I compared them line-for-line 20 years ago in a study group I was co-coordinating. While Regardie's edition is admittedly edited, what he leaves intact are undeniably the words of Aleister Crowley; no confusion about who said what.


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lashtal
(@lashtal)
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22/01/2010 8:26 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
Satan's Adv., are you *certain* that this was a Symonds/Grant project?

Yes, it's a Symonds-Grant piece: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/module-pnMediaLibrary-display-id-99.phtml Internal evidence would suggest far more Grant than Symonds, though.

"Walterfive" wrote:
I've been told that the new (non-Israel Regardie edited) revised edition of "The Law Is For All" that came out a few years ago, replacing the old New Falcon edition, contains the same two commentaries as Magickal and Philosophical Commentaries

No, it's a significantly different work, edited as a "popular edition" at Crowley's behest by Louis Wilkinson: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/module-pnMediaLibrary-display-id-57.phtml

"Walterfive" wrote:
The Motta edition of the Commentaries, I feel, is the inferior edition out of all previously mentioned.

I'd agree. Handsome to look at on the shelf, though!

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2131
23/01/2010 1:34 am  

from what i hear if you want the majority of the text contained in 'magical and philosophical commentaries' then the best available price wise is the regardie version of 'law is for all' because the new one by HB is not the same.

though i prefer the first version, because the regardie version is missing the annotations, i find it hard to afford 400 dollars per book


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Walterfive
(@walterfive)
Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 860
25/01/2010 5:57 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
"Walterfive" wrote:
The Motta edition of the Commentaries, I feel, is the inferior edition out of all previously mentioned.

I'd agree. Handsome to look at on the shelf, though!

Lovely bird, the Norweigan Blue! Beautiful plumage!


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
11/09/2012 5:42 am  

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Last time I was on here, someone asked about tantra,and did I think AC's stuff alone was enough or something like that. I probably replied sounding somewhat as if were assuming an authority I certainly do not claim. But the topic seems relevant her and I am only humbly contributing a view that I hope might assist someone sincerely seeking rather than just wanting to chat, which doesn't interest me much. I'm not banging a drum. Just giving my opinion. I realise there are people on here who are not so fanatical about the works of Aleister Crowley and you are free to interpret anything however you like - it's a level playing ground - I am only directing a few comments, with the best of intentions, to fellow seekers of the truth and who have come to the conclusion that AC is worth listening to. (Yes, my 'umble opinion is that of a thelemite of many years and in good standing, but that is by-the-by - where I'm coming from if you ask - you can take my opinion as it stands by itself or not - it's all the same to me and I wish you well even if you wish to disagree.)

so fwiw . . .

The ideal reading list may have changed a bit but the principles are the same. You probably want to be more up to date on philosophy nowadays than just Erdmann, for instance.

Is the dilemma just, "let's have some ideas" or, how to determine exactly what is needed?

At the root of it, is an informative example of how the "rituals of the old time are black." It is not as if there isn't much truth in many (not all) of the rituals of the old time (including the ones in modern guise). But thelema gives you the modern tools.

May I offer an example?

If you have some personal experience of the subject and can maybe read for instance, Evans-Wentz's Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, or you look into some of the better kriyas of the Bhajan's 'Kundalini Yoga' group, you can see that all the main descriptive elements are there - you have the pranayamas, the essential bandas and physical exercises, the mental concentrations, visualisations, the devotional attitude - but still they are (IMHO) essentially of the old time. Today (ie in AC's day as well), more exact tools have become formulated, enabling a greater degree of scientific precision in application.

One of the key elements which AC formulated is effort. As Patanjali long ago pointed out, success is achieved either rapidly or only after a long time - depending on the degree and type of effort.

Take any of the set practices and AC, unlike most authors, is quite clear about how to measure effort. His description of pranayama in Liber RV, for instance, even includes illustrations (as some pupils were apt to do it without effort). Everything is measurable. The effort has to be of the appropriate degree or intensity (squeezing every drop of air out of the lungs, using the various parts of the body to do so . . . or, in asana, remaining so still that not a drop of water is spilled from a saucer filled to the brim and balanced on one's head for a whole hour).

It also has to be correctly directed. Many pupils will put in an immense amount of effort but not follow the instructions exactly. This is a bit like trying to pedal a bike with just one foot and while exercising the jaw - it might be very impressive - unless you are actually aiming to actually pedal up that hill or whatever.

If you look at people following those old time doctrines today, you will often see that they are not applying the correct effort or correct degree of effort. It also happens with many so-called 'lineages' of thelema. The most important thing for any supervisor is to retain the pupil without budging an inch on correct practice exactly as it is written.

So the same if you are attempting thelemic practices yourself, unsupervised. Take the instructions literally. Spill not one drop. If Jugorvm says use a razor, it does not mean a rubber-band will somehow 'do.'

(This is only for people seriously interested in thelema - you can read/follow what you like and who knows you may get some benefit.)

If we look at the reading list (original), it says how certain books are essential in order to understand the language of the Order. That still holds. You can read Patanjali (the Yeats edition is still good) and any number of books on tantra, qabalah and anything else that interests you. But it is so you get the lay of the land. This in itself can take quite a long period. But don't mistake the 'supplemental' material for the real thing, the thelemic texts. Otherwise you'll get lost.

I've used the criteria of "effort" to try to express an important difference. It is probably not your aim (or anyone's conscious aim) to become a talking encyclopaedia, to know every commentary, every view, to talk eruditely for hours on this forum or anywhere else. So somewhere you find ourself wanting to sift the wheat from the chaff. Even if there is much chaff that can usefully be examined. And it doesn't really matter what chaff you use - just whatever gets you up to speed on the subject (although it does need to be reasonably authentic, and not - as if often the vogue - take fancy Indian names for things and apply them to something totally different).

The advantage of having a Supervisor, an initiate who puts you through initiation, is not that you get things explained to you - a scientist doesn't skew his results by 'knowing' the answer - but that you get your butt gently kicked if you stray too far from your path. That, and the magickal connection. But it's not necessary at a selecting books stage. Do what thou wilt. And your touchstone is the works of the Master Therion.

Good luck. And enjoy! (Free links to large numbers of secondhand books available at inflated prices omitted - enquire within.)

Love is the law, love under will.


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HG
 HG
(@hg)
Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 96
11/09/2012 6:46 am  
"galangal" wrote:
If you look at people following those old time doctrines today, you will often see that they are not applying the correct effort or correct degree of effort. It also happens with many so-called 'lineages' of thelema. The most important thing for any supervisor is to retain the pupil without budging an inch on correct practice exactly as it is written.

So the same if you are attempting thelemic practices yourself, unsupervised. Take the instructions literally. Spill not one drop. If Jugorvm says use a razor, it does not mean a rubber-band will somehow 'do.'

Do you know what a cargo cult is?

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm

"I think the educational and psychological studies I mentioned are
examples of what I would like to call cargo cult science. In the
South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw
airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same
thing to happen now. So they've arranged to imitate things like
runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a
wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head
like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas--he's
the controller--and they wait for the airplanes to land. They're
doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the
way it looked before. But it doesn't work. No airplanes land. So
I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the
apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but
they're missing something essential, because the planes don't land."

-Richard Feynman, from the chapter "Cargo Cult Science" from his autobiography "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman"

So basically, what you're describing is doing what Crowley did, aping him as exactly as possible, without having a clear idea why one is doing it.

Cargo cult Thelema.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
11/09/2012 7:03 am  

There are also some of us, like myself, who cannot literally follow instructions of certain techniques.  For example, I cannot do asana.  My messed up lower back (Which is the main problem.  I hurt all day, everyday) and a bum knee (which thankfully is finally getting better) will not allow me to stay in any position for any extended period of time.  That is, unless I dope myself up real good on pain meds, and then I'm just likely to nod out while meditating.  I cannot fight through it.  I have to get up and move around every so often.  This practice is just unfortunately unavailable to me.

I agree with HG.  Slavishly following in Crowley's footsteps is not the answer....Imitation is not Initiation.  Everyone must walk one's own path, not just follow the trailblazer around.

N.O.X


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alysa
(@alysa)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 652
11/09/2012 11:23 pm  

We're just not made to follow all the same yoga instructions, diets, etc, . . .  that's just the good news, "Imitation is not Initiation" these are very wise words!


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
11/09/2012 11:28 pm  
"Walterfive" wrote:
Motta mixes his own commentaries quite freely with Crowley's, and it was impossible (without comparing line-for-line with Magickal and Philosophical Commentaries) to tell where Crowley's opinions ended, and where Motta's editorializations began. I remember this quite clearly, as I compared them line-for-line 20 years ago in a study group I was co-coordinating. While Regardie's edition is admittedly edited, what he leaves intact are undeniably the words of Aleister Crowley; no confusion about who said what.

Gentlemen - I don't want to intrude on this forum further if my opinions and experiences are less than welcome, but I have heard the above once or twice and beg to differ. It is true of the bowdlerised, online scans, but I have several originals and the texts are very clearly distinguished.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
12/09/2012 6:26 am  

Your experiences and opinions, along with those of every other member of LAShTAL.com, are welcome here.  Its all good.  Disagreements happen here all the time, and will happen often, when a bunch of Thelemites with varying perspectives and interests get together.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3000
12/09/2012 8:59 pm  
"galangal" wrote:
"Walterfive" wrote:
Motta mixes his own commentaries quite freely with Crowley's, and it was impossible (without comparing line-for-line with Magickal and Philosophical Commentaries) to tell where Crowley's opinions ended, and where Motta's editorializations began. I remember this quite clearly, as I compared them line-for-line 20 years ago in a study group I was co-coordinating. While Regardie's edition is admittedly edited, what he leaves intact are undeniably the words of Aleister Crowley; no confusion about who said what.

Gentlemen - I don't want to intrude on this forum further if my opinions and experiences are less than welcome, but I have heard the above once or twice and beg to differ. It is true of the bowdlerised, online scans, but I have several originals and the texts are very clearly distinguished.

Your opinion is welcome.

However, I do not agree that becoming a puppet of a book (any book), is anything close to the Way. There are some who prescribe to the methods, to the very letter, and some who do not.

You seem to be prescribing to the methods, to the very letter, and emphasizing effort as a means to not get lulled into being a Crowley book clone.

It is my opinion that each Sanctuary Door is unique, and therefore each Sanctuary Key is unique also. If there were some way to magickally forge a one-size-fits-all key, then the Sanctuary would not, indeed, be unique, which is false.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
14/09/2012 6:23 am  

Lol, I need a supervisor!


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
15/09/2012 5:35 am  

Nice to hear from you again Azidonis. The point you make about effort is a good one, though not exactly the same point I have been making. And I realise you have both an acquaintance with the material yet are skilful enough to play both sides of the game on a forum . . .

Not becoming a Crowley book clone? Ah, that makes more sense than 'becoming a Crowley clone.' Of course, there are those who enjoy dabbling 'or mixing and matching' and why not? There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. There are choices. Practice is different from book learning alone, and does involve effort of a different kind. Books written about Crowley (and the various publications of his work by others) are close to second-hand knowledge as it were, though admittedly going to the horse's mouth is a bit much for the complete beginner.

The gentleman who mentions his bad back is a good example with which to illustrate effort. One has to choose practices according to one's inclination and within any unsurpassable physical limitations one might have. But has the gentleman read Liber E?? Particularly the "Supplementary Instruction In Asana"? Doing so makes it clear that a bad back is not a prohibition on learning the necessaries.

So first the effort to get the exact material; then the effort to give it a decent shot! Make of it what you will!

This thing about cloning oneself as Crowley is a bit of a dream as far as I can see. The practices are designed to bring out your own true Will. If you were to read say, Iyengar's book on pranayama and follow it closely (a whole book on pranayama!) then yes, I suppose you could say you risk becoming a clone - and no disrespect to Iyengar. But Crowley's (or rather, Therion's) instructions are so minimalist that your own abilities and tendencies (and discoveries) will be unique. They really are just the basics. You can find them with more or less the same wording in the Hatha Yoga Pradapika, but then you have to wade through a lot more totally unnecessary stuff to get to the goodies, an unnecessarily large compendium of terms, and the choice of a version that isn't illustrated by some smiling young woman who isn't really doing it very well at all.

So then there is the big question someone brought up of authenticity. Crowley tried so hard to present his work with exactitude and it is consequently a 'big deal' among many thelemites. It really is (IMHO) worth trying to get originals, or photocopies of them, but the minute you have to choose between one commentator and another (or make a mash of them all), you place yourself back in the situation of potentially getting too much information - information that can influence you psychologically ('cloning you') rather than being your own scientist-experimenter.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2197
15/09/2012 6:16 am  
"galangal" wrote:
So first the effort to get the exact material; then the effort to give it a decent shot! Make of it what you will!

No, the first effort is – or at least ideally should be – to understand what it is that you’re trying to do, why you’re trying to do it, how the practices you’ve selected will enable you to do it, and how you can tell that the practices actually are doing what you think they are.

If one’s intention is to practice in order to attain to the True Will, then it’s unnecessary and a complete waste of time to “get originals, or photocopies of them” or follow Crowley’s practices to the letter, without ever bothering to ask what they’re supposed to do and why one should think that they actually do what they’re supposed to do.

It’s all well and good to say “The practices are designed to bring out your own true Will,” but without answering those questions for oneself, one is just blindly accepting that they do bring out the True Will.

For example, take your absurd remark earlier in the thread that a rubber band “will not do” in practicing Jugorum because one should “Take the instructions literally.” Such a ridiculous comment can only be made by someone who doesn’t understand the purpose of Jugorum in the first place.

See, Jugorum is actually a practice that can aid one in the goal of attainment, but it's pretty much useless without a clear understanding of what attainment is, how one goes about attaining it, and how Jugorum could fit into a program of practice (and how one knows that Jugorum is, in fact, working).

Lots of practices have little or nothing to do with actual attainment. For example, no amount of memorizing the Book of the Law, sitting still for hours, or eating cakes made out of bodily fluids is going to get one even an inch closer to attainment. But the only way to figure this out is to approach the subject critically.

There are people who have this idea that one just has to “do the work” – i.e. credulously and absent-mindedly perform practices down to the letter – and enlightenment will somehow just come pouring in. It won’t. What’s required is an intelligent and critical practice.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 3000
15/09/2012 6:30 am  
"galangal" wrote:
Not becoming a Crowley book clone? Ah, that makes more sense than 'becoming a Crowley clone.' Of course, there are those who enjoy dabbling 'or mixing and matching' and why not? There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. There are choices. Practice is different from book learning alone, and does involve effort of a different kind. Books written about Crowley (and the various publications of his work by others) are close to second-hand knowledge as it were, though admittedly going to the horse's mouth is a bit much for the complete beginner.

I suppose one could just say Crowleyite and leave it at that.

"galangal" wrote:
The gentleman who mentions his bad back is a good example with which to illustrate effort. One has to choose practices according to one's inclination and within any unsurpassable physical limitations one might have. But has the gentleman read Liber E?? Particularly the "Supplementary Instruction In Asana"? Doing so makes it clear that a bad back is not a prohibition on learning the necessaries.

My ever-aching minor-scoliosis-affected spine agrees.

"galangal" wrote:
This thing about cloning oneself as Crowley is a bit of a dream as far as I can see. The practices are designed to bring out your own true Will. If you were to read say, Iyengar's book on pranayama and follow it closely (a whole book on pranayama!) then yes, I suppose you could say you risk becoming a clone - and no disrespect to Iyengar. But Crowley's (or rather, Therion's) instructions are so minimalist that your own abilities and tendencies (and discoveries) will be unique. They really are just the basics. You can find them with more or less the same wording in the Hatha Yoga Pradapika, but then you have to wade through a lot more totally unnecessary stuff to get to the goodies, an unnecessarily large compendium of terms, and the choice of a version that isn't illustrated by some smiling young woman who isn't really doing it very well at all.

If "no one knows the name of another's Angel, nor the rite the invokes him", the practices in some sense become mere templates.

"galangal" wrote:
So then there is the big question someone brought up of authenticity. Crowley tried so hard to present his work with exactitude and it is consequently a 'big deal' among many thelemites. It really is (IMHO) worth trying to get originals, or photocopies of them, but the minute you have to choose between one commentator and another (or make a mash of them all), you place yourself back in the situation of potentially getting too much information -

Crowley's work wasn't all exactly 'new'.

"galangal" wrote:
information that can influence you psychologically ('cloning you') rather than being your own scientist-experimenter.

Key point here.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 50 years ago
Posts: 0
15/09/2012 8:45 am  

Well,

When you're trying to be a rockstar they always advise you to listen to the influences of your influences.

So, for instance if you're a Led Zepplin fan, you should listen to Robert Johnson.

If you're an Aleister Crowley fan you should read Rabelaise...


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