The Book of Lies (Crowley)

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The Book of Lies
TheBookofLies-AleisterCrowley.jpg
Author Aleister Crowley
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Occult
Publication date
1912
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 200 pp
ISBN 0877285160
Laylah (Leila Waddell) was Aleister Crowley's muse during the writing of The Book of Lies and is referenced many times within it. Leila Waddell Headshot.jpg
Laylah (Leila Waddell) was Aleister Crowley's muse during the writing of The Book of Lies and is referenced many times within it.

The Book of Lies (full title: Which is also Falsely Called BREAKS. The Wanderings or Falsifications of the One Thought of Frater Perdurabo, which Thought is itself Untrue. Liber CCCXXXIII [Book 333]) was written by English occultist and teacher Aleister Crowley (using the pen name of Frater Perdurabo) and first published in 1912 or 1913 (see explanation below). As Crowley describes it: "This book deals with many matters on all planes of the very highest importance. It is an official publication for Babes of the Abyss, but is recommended even to beginners as highly suggestive." [1]

Aleister Crowley English poet, mountaineer, and occultist

Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.

In Thelemic mysticism, the Abyss is the great gulf or void between the phenomenal world of manifestation and its noumenal source.

Contents

The book consists of 91 chapters, [2] [3] each of which consists of one page of text. The chapters include a question mark, poems, rituals, instructions, and obscure allusions and cryptograms. The subject of each chapter is generally determined by its number and its corresponding Qabalistic meaning. Around 1921, Crowley wrote a short commentary about each chapter, assisting the reader in the Qabalistic interpretation.

Hermetic Qabalah

Hermetic Qabalah is a Western esoteric tradition involving mysticism and the occult. It is the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn, Thelemic orders, mystical-religious societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements.The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for Qliphothic Qabala as studied by left hand path orders, such as the Typhonian Order.

Several chapters and a photograph in the book reference Leila Waddell, who Crowley called Laylah, and who, as Crowley's influential Scarlet Woman, acted as his muse during the writing process of this volume.

Leila Waddell Aleister Crowleys Muse

Leila Ida Nerissa Bathurst Waddell, also known as Laylah, was a violinist, daughter of Irish immigrants to Australia, David Waddell of Bathurst and Randwick. She became a famed Scarlet Woman of Aleister Crowley, and a powerful historical figure in magick and Thelema in her own right. While Creswell states Leila was part-Maori, he provides no evidence of this; in fact NSW birth deaths and marriages records show she was the granddaughter of John Crane (Coventry) and Janet McKenzie and John Waddell (Monaghan) and Elizabeth McAnally (Monaghan).

Babalon Goddess from Thelema

Babalon is a goddess found in the occult system of Thelema, which was established in 1904 with English author and occultist Aleister Crowley's writing of The Book of the Law, her name being later given in other works. In her most abstract form, she represents the female sexual impulse and the liberated woman. In the creed of the Gnostic Mass she is also identified with Mother Earth, in her most fertile sense. At the same time, Crowley believed that Babalon had an earthly aspect in the form of a spiritual office, which could be filled by actual women—usually as a counterpart to his own identification as "To Mega Therion" —whose duty was then to help manifest the energies of the current Aeon of Horus. He believed in his life the Lady of Babalon was personified as Lady Leah Hirsig, who, after several portraits, was consecrated, taking the name Alostrael.

Details

The title page contains the following quotation from Tennyson:

"Break, break, break
At the foot of thy stones, O Sea!
And I would that I could utter
The thoughts that arise in me!" [4]

An explanation of the title on the facing page ends with the sentence, "There is no joke or subtle meaning in the publisher's imprint." [4] This seems to be[ according to whom? ] an ironic joke-reference to the fact that every word on the frontispiece apart from the name of the publishing-house had been subjected to tortuous qabalistic self-exegesis, yet according to Robert Anton Wilson in his 1977 book Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati :

Robert Anton Wilson American author and polymath

Robert Anton Wilson was an American author, novelist, essayist, editor, playwright, poet, futurist, and self-described agnostic mystic. Recognized by Discordianism as an Episkopos, Pope, and saint, Wilson helped publicize the group through his writings and interviews.

<i>Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati</i> book by Robert Anton Wilson

Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of The Illuminati is the first book in the Cosmic Trigger series, first published in 1977 and the first of a three-volume autobiographical and philosophical work by Robert Anton Wilson. It has a foreword by Timothy Leary, which he wrote in the summer of 1977. The first volume was published without numbering, as the second volume did not appear for nearly 15 years.

This might have been a veiled warning about what will follow, but is actually the first lie in the book; occult historian Francis King has carefully determined the date on the imprint is inaccurate by at least a year. [5]

In his Confessions , Crowley discusses how the book was to lead to his joining Ordo Templi Orientis. He wrote each chapter at lunch or dinner "by the aid of Dionysos," with one chapter that was especially troubling. He eventually was able to get it written after much effort, but he remained dissatisfied and angry with it. Not too long after it had been published, he was visited by Theodor Reuss, then head of the order.

[Reuss] said that since I was acquainted with the supreme secret of the Order, I must be allowed the IX° and obligated in regard to it. I protested that I knew no such secret. He said, "But you have printed it in the plainest language." I said that I could not have done so because I did not know it. He went to the bookshelves and, taking out a copy of The Book of Lies, pointed to a passage in the despised chapter. It instantly flashed upon me. The entire symbolism, not only of freemasonry but of many other traditions, blazed upon my spiritual vision. From that moment the O.T.O. assumed its proper importance in my mind. I understood that I held in my hands the key to the future progress of humanity. [6]

Aleister Crowley sometimes said [7] that this could not have happened the way he remembered it, since The Book of Lies had not yet come out when he joined the O.T.O. As previously mentioned, however, Wilson claims that the book lies about its publication date.

Assuming this event did take place, readers have suggested various possible chapters that might contain the secret. Wilson points to Chapter 69, "The Way to Succeed—and the Way to Suck Eggs!" (sucking seed and sucking eggs referring to mutual oral sex), while Crowley's book De Arte Magica names Chapter 36, "The Star Sapphire", a ritual related chapter. [8]

Chapter 44, the Mass of the Phoenix

Chapter 44 of the book is a ritual named the Mass of the Phoenix. The ritual has been performed by many practitioners during the years, including Robert Anton Wilson, who describes his experience with it in Cosmic Trigger .

Editions

See also

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References

  1. "A syllabus of the official instructions of the A∴A∴.", in The Equinox vol 1 no 10.
  2. Quote in the Foreword to the 1980 edition, p. 5.
  3. Commentary to the Chapter, p. 11.
  4. 1 2 Crowley, Aleister (1978). The Book of Lies. New York: Samuel Weiser.
  5. Wilson, Robert Anton. Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati , prologue. ISBN   1-56184-003-3
  6. Crowley, Aleister. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley , pp. 708–709. Penguin, 1989. ISBN   978-0-14-019189-9
  7. Letter, Crowley to author J. W. Dunne, n.d., O.T.O. Archives. via Sutin, Do what thou wilt 2002 edition, p. 225.
  8. De Arte Magica section I, "Of Ararat".