>Re discussing contents of Al
>I dont think worrying about what 'outsiders' think of Al should be a
>factor at all - Can't remember the text off hand but doesn't A.C.
>comment that putting the ideas of thelema into a 'public' forum will
>stir up 'interest and --animosity--' among the people, and put you
>in a position of being noticed and thus gaining a wider audience? or
>words to that effect.
Salubrious Greetings from I of the Grand Falloon:
There is also: The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy
THIS COPY after the FIRST reading. He doesn't say destroy this copy after
reading, but after the FIRST reading, which would imply a second and a third
and so on. (otherwise the inference is absolutely meaningless.)
Also, the comment itself didn't even see the light of day until 1925, which
meant that Liber Al was being discussed by those in Crowley's various
circles for some years. (This is all Post Cefalu period, not Crowley's
happiest times.) The Book of the Law had previously been published three
times beginning in 1909, then again in 1912 and 1913 without any such
This commentary came out in the Tunis edition of Liber Al, privately printed
in 1926 (13 years after the last publication). Only eleven copies of this
edition were printed. The fact that the commentary says "this copy" in an
edition where only eleven were printed may be significant. Also, 1925 was
two years after he had been expelled from Italy and was the year he was
invited by Heinrich Tränker to Thuringen in Germany for O.T.O..
I find the phrase "Whosoever DISREGARDS this does so at his own risk and
peril. These are most dire" appears to be a device of temptation ...a dare.
Thelema, according to Crowley's interpretation, is not for the slaves.
"Abandon all hope ye who enter here." The clue is in DISREGARDS. This
represents an intentional act, a choice to do what is "forbidden." This
represents a culling from status quo, "do as your told" behavior. This is
the original manifestation of the iconoclast.
"I am unique & conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish. Be they damned
& dead! Amen." (I'd like to hear Al Franken's Saturday Night Live character,
Stuart Smalley, say that!)
I don't really think that the commentary CAN prohibit us from discussing the
Book of the Law, "as we will," even. It's a dare to do it ...It ends with
"There is NO LAW beyond Do what thou wilt. Love is the law, love under
will." So the comment says it forbids discussion and then concludes that one
CAN ONLY do what they will, in any event. as if to suppose there is some
choice in the matter. It's like saying, "don't do it. it will horrible, just
horrible. but go ahead, if you must." People who don't like the possibility
that their actions, words, thoughts etc might have consequences that they
may have to deal with ...will probably go no further. This stuff isn't for
that type of person. People who are superstitious enough to believe that bad
things will automatically happen if they discuss a book probably don't need
to go much further into it either. I might ought to add that: nor should
people who HOPE that bad things will happen to them if they do discuss it
should go much further into it either.
It's interesting that it doesn't begin with ..."Don't even read any
further. Go back. Destroy this book now. Oh please, don't turn the next
page." ...But Crowley understood enough about human nature to know that a
great number of potential readers would take it literally and not read the
book because the world is full of terrified people.
Also, there is a large portion of the population in the "Christian" nations
that would take offense, and there's no telling how they'll behave should
they get too much, too soon and get all worked up. They've been known to
lynch people and burn their houses down, because they think that think this
is what Jesus would do. By 1925, Crowley was well aware of the dangers that
Let me quote from my own experience. As early as 1907, I was warned by a
friend, I cannot say with what truth, that the police were watching me. My
conscience being clear, I replied, "Good, I shan't be burgled." In 1910
during "The Rites of Eleusis" in Caxton Hall, to which we purposely invited
a police representative, they had other men in plain clothing outside the
building, apparently hoping that something indictable would ooze through the
In 1913-14 again, my studio near Onslow Square was a regular rendezvous for
spies. I was always seeing them in the courtyard, skulking behind trees as I
went to and fro from dinner. What they had hoped to find out I cannot
In Detroit, months after my return to Europe, they repeatedly raided poor
half-crazed Ryerson's house in search of some evidence of the "Devil
Worshipper's Mystic Love Cult" and of course found nothing; from which they
concluded not my innocence, but that my pact with the devil contained a
clause guaranteeing me against the discovery of my crimes. If any of those
obstinate asses had possessed sufficient intelligence to study a single page
of my writings, he would have seen at once what ridiculous rubbish were the
accusations made against me by foul-minded and illiterate cheats whom I had
never so much as met.
While I was in America, the London police not only disgraced themselves by
the brutal raid on poor old Mrs Davies, described in "The Law Straw", but
covered themselves with shame and ridicule by sending to prison a poor
little bookseller who had sold for many years The Open Court, a well-known
philosophical magazine of the highest character.
Again they sent round a man to Frank Hollings to frighten him out of selling
The Equinox, though no complaint had ever been made about it. Even my
personal friends were haunted by sinister spies who made mysterious
inquiries and uttered oracular hints about the frightful things that might
happen if they happened. They wrote to my lawyers, and called on them to
inquire my address which they knew perfectly well, and on my complaining to
them about the theft of some of my property, not only refused to take up the
matter, but answered me through the local police of the place where I lived,
saying that I was "well-known" in Scotland Yard. The fact is undeniable, but
the insinuation cowardly and dirty.
The latest news from the front is that the special commissary in Tunis,
having asked me to call with regard to an irregularity in my permis de
séjour, amplified his remark with the cock-and-bull story intended to
persuade me that I ran the risk of assassination by ferocious Fascisti. I
asked the British consul to make inquiries and as with Hamlet --- the rest
What interests me is the perverse psychology in this case. What can be their
object? I am not annoyed but amused. But why should they waste so
much energy and public money on watching a man year after year when one
would have thought that the most elementary common sense would have told
them anyhow, after the first few months, that I was no more likely to
infringe the law than the Archbishop of Canterbury?
I vaguely assume some connection between this puerile policy of halfhearted
pinpricks and the perennial flowering of the fantastic falsehoods about me.
It suggests that I possess some quality which attracts the attention of the
half-witted so that they cannot leave me alone. I have often wished to
collect "The Thousand and One Nights of Nonsense", of which I am the hero.
Seabrook's serial in 1923 is absurdly incomplete.
My arrest in mistake for Bevan, whom I resemble about as much and as little
as I do any other featherless biped, is rather typical of the odd incidents
that help to keep me young. But when people ask me to clear my character of
the aspersions upon it, my mind runs back to that scene in the smoking-room.
I say to myself, "My dear man, if it took you an hour to prove to a
perfectly sensible Frenchman so simple and clear a case with all the trumps
in your fist, how long would it take to persuade a prejudiced ignorant
public, congenitally incapable of understanding your point of view, that you
are innocent of crimes, the witnesses to which are unavailable, and whose
very nature translates the court into a wonderland far more weird than
anything in the adventures of Alice?""