The Winds of Wisdom



Earlier today a good friend delivered me Shoemaker’s new book “The Winds of Wisdom”.  I have now sat with it for approximately three hours which in this case is a fair amount of time being that the book is only about 120 pages – but as with much in life it’s about quality and not quantity.

The book itself is nicely made, bound in an azure blue buckram with gold gilded spine and cover with matching blue ribbon and limited to 500 copies.  Available for purchase directly from Nephilim Press at

The first thing I should point out is that this book is by no means a comprehensive overview of the Enochian system nor does it make any pretense to be.  In fact, those without a working knowledge of Enochian may want to dedicate some time acquainting themselves with the system before approaching this book otherwise little will make much sense.  Shoemaker recommends Lon Milo Duquette’s book “Enochian Vision Magick” for this purpose.  I myself having not read this title (sorry Lon) cannot give an opinion – but knowing Lon’s expertise (having personally scyred several aethyrs with him) and being familiar with much of Lon’s writings – I’m certain this recommendation is sound.

The book gives little information outside of Shoemaker’s personal visions of each Aethyr.  However, that is the objective of this book and his visions are symbolically consistent with what one might traditionally attribute the aethyrs.  A few footnotes are added to each vision which elaborate upon the authors unique experiences and an “interpretive note” (about a page in length) is appended to the 7thAethyr – DEO.  Also provided is a recommended scrying method that (based upon personal experience) appears to be sound, practical and I’m sure effective.

There is also a rather explicit description of a sex-magick ritual used while scrying the 8th aethyr of ZID based upon techniques discussed in Crowley’s Eroto-Comatose Lucidity – chapter “15” (of 22) from liber CDXIV “De Arte Magica” – A document related to the Mysteries of the 9th degree OTO.

Interestingly, Shoemaker employs a system in which each of the aethyrs is attributed to one of the ten Sephiroth across three separate Trees of Life – each representing one of the Qabalistic worlds.  In this case Atziluth, Briah and Yetzirah; or the Archetypal, Creative and Formative stages leading up to manifestation from the highest to the lowest (YHV).  For those of you unfamiliar with the Four Worlds, they are derived from Isaiah 43:7 and only need to be referenced in a few of the standard Qabalistic resources to understand how they work – (If you are familiar with the formula of YHVH you have good start).  In any regard, this system is not that envisioned by Crowley who actually considered a couple different models and it’s debatable as to if he truly settled on just one.  (Crowley of course received the visions first and then later tried to project them unto the Tree of life).  Being that one’s experience of the aethyrs is a highly personal and therefore subjective matter it makes sense that different interpretations as to how to map the aethyrs unto the Tree would evolve.  Furthermore, it took me years to wrap my head around Crowley’s breakdown while the one suggested here immediately “fell into place” and I think easily adaptable by students of the western mystery schools.

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who is exploring the Enochian system.  Most especially those who intend on scrying the aethyrs.  You will of course need a few other resources and some time in actual practice before truly appreciating the material offered here – yet “The Winds of Wisdom” is one of the few resources you can turn to for a personal account of the aethyrs and this alone makes it worth picking up.  I am certain it will find a home on the shelf of many scholars, students and aspirants.  On a personal level, it’s my favorite of Shoemaker’s publications thus far – though easily the most specialized.

Frater Orpheus

The Holy Books of Thelema




A new edition of the Holy Books is now available through Hell Fire Club Books a boutique book publisher out of England who produces high quality bindings and limited editions of titles of interest to the occult community.  What makes a Hell Fire Club production unique is the craftsmanship of one Eamonn Loughran.  A true master of his trade who lovingly crafts each book the old fashioned way.  That is, by hand one at a time, utilizing nothing but the traditional tools of his craft.

“The Holy Books of Thelema” are being offered as a five-volume set and is everything we have come to love and cherish about HFC productions… that is a first-rate production from end to end.   Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to view these books (being offered in three formats) first hand and they are truly impressive; living up to all the hype and some.

I may be biased towards my interest in Thelema but I do believe these represent Hell Fire’s finest and most important work to date.  These books feel like living talismans with an energy all their own – a testament to the many hours of labor lovingly poured into each volume.  Never before have the Holy Books of Thelema been produced in such a high-quality fashion and I must believe that somewhere out there Crowley is grinning from ear to ear.  Books of this quality are bound to outlive their owner and to be collectable for centuries to come…

Those whom are acquainted with the true first editions will find much to be familiar. The layout and the font are nearly identical and each page is framed in a manner similar to the first edition… However, here they are framed in red as opposed to gold. (I should also point out that the errors and typos which plagued the early editions have here been corrected – trust me I hunted for them). Showing attention to detail, (and a nice little touch) – as per the original editions each of the first three volumes concludes with an “ownership” page exclusive to that Grade/volume. All five volumes feature red and black ink throughout which looks stunning and volume 5 includes color images of what I believe to be Crowley’s personal Stele. There is also a nice but brief introduction in volume one and a few (but very good) footnotes sprinkled throughout.

For those of you who care these (per original) are a “fill” as opposed to “kill” edition.  Not asking for or wanting to stir any controversy I asked the editor why this choice was made – he avoided all politic and simply stated it was how Crowley himself published it each time and that he believed “fill” to be the general consensus for the vast majority of the Thelemic community… with this I had no choice but to agree.


Detail of the new edition


The new edition next to the original from 1909

Now for some of the details… they are being offered in three formats, each a five volume set – The first three volumes closely replicate the true first editions published by Crowley in 1909 for the A∴A∴ – However this set includes two additional volumes.  The fourth contains the majority of the “class A” documents not originally included by Crowley in the first three volumes which were designed specifically for use by Aspirants in the earliest stages of their  A∴A∴ work.  Volume five is a unique presentation of Liber AL, with the manuscript on one side and a matching typescript on the other.  Described as The Temple Edition, it was inspired by a 93 publishing edition from 1975.


The three formats: Vellum, Emerald and Sapphire

So my conclusions… all three sets are outstanding! Head, shoulders and a couple of torsos above anything attempted thus far.  When considering the amount of labor and cost involved with such an endeavor it is unlikely we will ever see such again anytime soon – this alone should appeal to the collector.

The Vellum editions in particular are of outstanding quality but best left to the most serious collectors among us and for this reason they sold out before they were even produced.  The French marbled endpapers on the Emerald set were my favorite of the three and at 220 GBP represents a solid investment, (only a few of these left so you may want to purchase sooner than later here).  The final set, issued in dark blue Sapphire, are the best bargain.  At only 156 GBP I think they are a steal and for this reason I assume the more popular of the three. 

Which ever you choose don’t fret, all three versions feature the same quality paper, printing and binding.  They in fact appear to be nearly identical in every way save for the following… Vellum editions come in a special silk lined box/slip case (see images) while the other sets come with more of a traditional, but still very nice, slip case. Each set also utilized different end pages, slightly different volume numbering on the spine, and different grades of leather for the covers.  Yet all options and material are top of the line and made in the classic Hell Fire tradition.


Handbound in English Goatskin Vellum and limited to only 11 Sets. Printed in black and red inks throughout onto high quality Rives Tradition 120gsm cream paper, handbound in English goatskin vellum produced by William Cowleys (established 1860), marbled papers by Payhembury. All five volumes are securely contained in a full leather clamshell box bound in Scottish Pentland goatskin with silk linings. (SOLD OUT)




Handbound in Emerald Kid Morocco and limited to only 31 Sets. Printed in red and black inks throughout onto Rives Tradition fine 120gsm cream paper with French marbled endpapers. All five volumes are securely contained in a green cloth slipcase.



Handbound in Dark Sapphire Kid Morocco and limited to only 156 Sets. Printed in red and black throughout onto Rives Tradition 120gsm fine cream paper with French marbled endpapers. All five volumes are securely contained in a blue cloth slipcase


Frater Orpheus

The Golden Flower



About two weeks ago, I received a copy of the book “The Golden Flower” – a wonderful gift from my dear Brother (of no direct blood relations) Ricardo Flores and so I thought I would share my impressions with some of you.

First, I should point out that Ricardo’s writings are not at all your typical run of the meal Thelemic material which is too often a simple rehash or commentary upon Crowley… instead with Flores, who calls himself Koyote, we get a blend of his own personal experiences as a teacher in the Toltec tradition with Thelema (as well as other schools of thought). Much in the same way Crowley borrowed from and blended the teachings of several traditions in his quest, Flores has abrogated his way through life, keeping only those gems that spoke to his heart while facing his own trials and tribulations. In doing so the author has discovered his own unique path and now in the true tradition of the A.’.A.’. is sharing the light of his experiences in the hope that they may help guide others forward.

Too often in Thelema do we find Aspirants who simply want to repeat Crowley’s path – never fully embracing the spirit of the Law or without the fortitude to blaze their own internal path. Soror Meral use to say that you don’t make Thelemites, you find them. Books like this are far to rare in the Thelemic corpus and it brings me great joy to see the wings of Thelema spread in ways Crowley may have never imagined and for this reason alone many may enjoy this read.

The subject matter of this book is “Dream-work” and the author does not require of his readers some level of proficiency within Shamanistic or Toltec traditions in order to approach this book. Instead “The Golden Flower” is written in a straight forward manner that most anyone with a general understanding of occult matters may gleam some light. Flores explores various avenues and techniques of Dream-Working while explaining the sacred purpose of the dialog between self and sub-conscious yet does not clutter his message with the typical over-emphasis on Jungian psychology which is all the rage these days… instead more in the tradition of Corbin or even Hillman, the author never wanders far from the heart of a true mystic. In other words this is not another example of an author pontificating ad nauseam in intellectual circles that lead no-where. (we already have plenty of those) – In contrast “The Golden Flower” is clearly the work of a man who has walked the path and understands that these astral doorways are the same utilized by the HGA.

So, to whom would I recommend this book? First and foremost, to those working with vivid dreaming or beginning to explore the astral. But, also to those searching for something other than the same old tired approach or even those looking for an example of an adept who has embraced the Law and dared to make it his own… I for one enjoyed it… Thank you Ricardo! 

Frater Orpheus

You can order this book here…


Grady and his Thoth Deck

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

This is a breakdown of how Grady McMurtry did Tarot readings.  I started collecting information on this topic a few years back and over time all the pieces have fallen into place.  I was able to reconstruct this from various sources.  One such source is a collection of readings recorded by Frater Zardoz in my private archives.  Thankfully Chris kept a few records of the reading Grady did while visiting the Sacramento area in the early 80’s.  I also found records in Grady’s own journals and other notes. I was also able to gather some details from first-hand witnesses.


Grady doing readings at Ren Fair here in Norther CA circa 1979


Grady doing readings at Ren Fair here in Norther CA circa 1978

Here is what we know… Grady used a Celtic Cross variant with complementary cards thrown across the read.  In this way, he would have a clearer picture of the forces at play as there would be a dual fold expression at each position. 

He utilized an 18-card spread, in which 9 of the cards were always thrown in the exact order and the other 9 varied.  Yet how he read the over-all layout remained consistent.  In other words, even though the order in which he placed his cards varied some, (as Grady felt it was important to go with the inspiration of the moment), once in position he would analyzed the positions in a manner not unlike how any reader might read a Celtic Cross variant. 

The first Card drawn was always placed in the center and as would be expected, the entire reading was based upon it.  However, the next 9 cards dealt would be placed in various patterns to ultimately form the “Cross”.  Yet when Grady reached the two “Columns” to the right, the cards were always placed side by side and from top to bottom.  The result being that the order drawn for the first 9 positions varied some but would remain consistent for the final 9 positions.  Grady did favor and repeat certain patterns, (see below), and the color chart I created below demonstrates this.

I have included a few pics to clarify… one is a simple illustration which guides you through three separate examples of Grady’s laying of the cards. (Just shuffle and follow the colors around) If you are an experienced reader you will get the hang of this in no time.

Finally, I should point out that Grady preferred the Thoth deck and cut the edges from his personal deck so that only the images remained.  (His personal deck survives in private archives) Though he was familiar with and often used Rider/Waite deck as seen in the images from Ren Fair.

Here is how Grady interpreted the cards once they were placed…

  1. Current situation – Base, signifier
  2. Counter force – Opposition
  3. Possible future A – (Goal)
  4. Possible future B – (Goal)
  5. Present attitude
  6. Present attitude (complement)
  7. Past – Cause
  8. Past – Cause (complement)
  9. Future potential
  10. Future potential (complement)
  11. Self – Interior motive
  12. Self – Interior motive (complement)
  13. Exterior forces
  14. Exterior forces (complement)
  15. Hopes & fears – Expectations
  16. Hopes & fears – Expectations (complement)
  17. Future – Result
  18. Future – Result (complement)

Love is the law, love under will



Order of layout


An example of a reading done for Boleskin House circa 1981. There are several of Grady’s readings recorded in the camps journal.  This is written in the hand of Frater Zardoz.


An example of a reading recorded in Grady’s hand


Another example of a recorded reading but this in an un-known hand with a few additional notes by Grady in his hand.



What exactly is a Clerk House?

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

There are several ways in which the various lines of A.’.A.’. operating today differ.  Clerk Houses, which are found in branches of Grady’s lineage, are one of the more distinguishable differences – and for this reason I am often asked, “Just what is a Clerk House?” – Though not part of the traditional A.’.A.’. system, Clerk Houses have evolved to serve a purpose within Grady’s line.  However I should point out that not all members of Grady’s line go on to form Clerk Houses nor do most Clerk Houses choose to become public. 

The following article was written by Koyote (Ricardo Flores) of Ox and None Clerk House operating out of southern California. (  Here Koyote succinctly discusses many aspects of the Clerk House.  Including symbolically but, maybe more importantly – how it functions and why.  If you have ever had any questions in this regard just read on…

What exactly is a Clerk House?

Traditionally, a “clerk house” is a store front or public face of a temple, an abbey, or an esoteric school. It is the administrative center of the operations of the school with the outside world. This is the meaning of the term since the middle ages across different spiritual traditions. From this Clerk-House, the spiritual school and abbey would be coordinating and administering both the dealings with the community and the teaching curriculum for the spiritual aspirants training at the school. The external function of this Clerk-House would be to administer both the business dealings with the community that would allow the school to survive and operate, and the actions performed to serve the outside community. So, it would be in this Clerk-House that all the accounting, inventory, paperwork, and student documents would be kept.

Chapter III, verse 41, of Liber Al vel Legis says: “Establish at thy Kaaba a clerk-house: all must be done well and with business way.” 

Crowley often thought of the Kaaba in the religious context of Islam. The word “Kaaba” means “cube”, and it is the center stone around which the temple is built. Crowley wanted Thelemites to think of his house by Loch Ness, Boleskine, their religion’s Kaaba. He wanted Boleskine to be to Thelemites as Mecca is to Islam. However, initiates of the A.’.A.’. understand that vertical initiatory work is internal. In this light, the verse above is interpreted in the context of the first main task of the Order: to raise your kundalini and consciousness to the center of your Ruach, your mind, and from there enter into conscious communication with the Star, which is your true Self and whose orbit is your Will.

In this light, we understand the Kaaba to be the cube at the center of your being, or the sacred magical altar around which you will construct the temple of God out of your own self, your life, your consciousness, and your body. This Kaaba is the most intimate and secret center of every person, and there we build a house where we will pray and commune with God, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

It is, therefore, in the Lover’s grade that we attempt to balance the forces and powers of the Ruach, reconciling all opposites and putting the ego under control, in order to establish a firm connection with our true Self, and from there engage in conscious communication with our Higher Self of Genius. There, under that guidance, we then proceed to next phase of the Great Work which is the manifestation of your pure will in your life. 

In this initiatory blue print, to “Establish at thy Kaaba a Clerk-House”, means to set up an administrative center, a store front, at the center of your sacred cube. This sets the Clerk-House for the Adept with a dual function, as everything in the Ruach is subject to this duality: one inner, and one outer. The administrative function of the Clerk-House in the inner sense has to do with the ordering, balancing, and administration of the different parts of the Ruach. For the Adept, this means the reconciliation of all opposites and the mastery of all aspects of the mind, constantly endeavoring to bring all the elements of the lower and higher self to a state of balance and under the direction of the center, the Sun in Tiphareth, the True Self. This is the first part of the work of an Adept. It is secret and internal. This is “putting your house in order”, as Gurdjieff put it. With the house in order, the Master of the House comes. This is when we attempt to contact the Holy Guardian Angel in a conscious manner, and then establish the methods and conditions for such a communication to continue, acquiring a trusting and reliable source of teachings, guidance, and communion with the most sacred. This is why, in the Lover’s degree, and Adept who has made this contact no longer needs an external teacher, since she has already established a connection to the true Teacher, the real Guru who is a messenger of the sempiternal A.’.A.’. above the Abyss. From then on, your guidance is internal, and from there you derive your teachings, your gnosis, and your magick.

The second part of the task of an Adept is to establish this Clerk-House in the outer, in the world. This is done under the guidance of the Holy Guardian Angel. If the first part of the task was about finding the laws of your Star and entering into conscious contact with it, the second part is about manifesting those laws in your sphere of influence, in your world. This is part of the meaning behind “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In this phase of the Adept’s work, the task is to manifest the Clerk-House in the world. Each Clerk-House will be different, since each one is a manifestation of the innermost will of the Adept. This part of the task can take many years, or even a life time.

The Ox and None Clerk-House was officially established five years ago, and continues to orbit around the Star which gives its Light, Life, Love, and Liberty from the inner to the outer. As an outer expression of its Kaaba, the Ox and None Clerk-House administers and operates the training of its students, working as an abbey or esoteric school traditionally represented by a beehive. This image illustrates the manner of work and service taught to every student. We research and teach through different traditions from around the world, and many of our students are inheritors and initiates of different traditions, each one contributing to the understanding, the practices, and the technologies employed in our Clerk-House.

To sustain the efforts of the School, we produce works of art, books, street and stage performances, car washes, seminars and workshops.

To service the community, we bring to the community, free of charge, training in arts and craft, the sacred art of The Telling, free weekly lectures and teachings, sweat lodges and vision quests, dream circles, healing, cine forums, and readings for the dying. All of these are given as an offering to everyone. Other ways of service are in the planning stage.

The training itself is also free, but the student body is at maximum capacity at this time. The training is very engaging, committed, and exacting. At this point, we cannot accept new applicants, but everyone is welcome to participate in our weekly lectures, cine forums, and all the other community events we offer. If you live far from Riverside, our lectures and cine forums are broadcasted live on LiveStream, in the Koyote The Blind channel.

This is a very dynamic community of practitioners and students. It won’t be long until other students will open their own clerk houses and thus open the doors of the teaching to a wider circle, each one attracting very different people because everyone is learning to connect with their own Star and evolve their own life into a unique source of service to humanity.

Much has been accomplished in these first five years of the Clerk House, and in the 11 years of service of the School as the Xicoco Shamanic Arts. Tonight, we drink and celebrate for all my relations, and for the benefit of All Beings Everywhere!

Love is the law, love under will

Koyote The Blind


Crowley’s Yi King Sticks

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

The Yi King was Crowley’s preferred method of divination and he consulted it regularly if not daily.  He also cast an omen with every Word of the Equinox which were sent to members of the A∴A∴ as a sort of oracular “password” – (See The Words of the Equinox in “The Vault” for details).  Crowley’s personal edition of the Yi King was from “The Sacred Books of the East” series, Vol XVI. (Oxford 1899); translated by Legge and edited by F. Max Muller.  Many practitioners might prefer a modern translation of this work.  However, this is the version Crowley used for over forty years and is therefore especially well suited to the Thelemic scholar researching Crowley’s Yi King readings.

It should be noted that Crowley often disagreed with Legge interpretations.  At times drawing lines through entire sections while simply adding the note “Ass” or “Shit to Legge” etc… but he still utilized this translation as a spring board for his own analysis.  Crowley may have had little choice being that it was the only English edition available at the time.  None the less, most of Crowley’s criticisms were based upon the old aeonic perspectives which colored Legge’s interpretations.

In studying Crowley’s journals it’s clear that he actively engaged the Yi king in his own internal quest for Knowledge.  In a note before the Introduction in his personal copy Crowley wrote, “Very normally: the good hexagrams end ill, and vice-versa. View held in ancient China and a doctrine discovered independently by myself – long experience, experiment, and statistical inquiry – it is not enough to receive a good omen; one must assure it to oneself by some further ritual”.  Crowley’s interpretations were developed through years of labor, trial and analysis in an ongoing process.  Further he recognized that only by his actions would the Omens manifest, bad or good.

Crowley would develop his own unique system which quickly derives a hexagram and utilizes just 6 sticks.  A description of this method was first published in the OTO newsletter Vol. III no. 9 (Summer/August) – 1979 e.v.

Written by Grady McMurtry and part of a series entitled ‘On Knowing Aleister Crowley Personally’.  Grady describes watching Crowley doing a reading while visiting with him at Aston Clinton during the war.  If not for this article we would have no idea how Crowley read his Yi King sticks.  Thank you Hymenaeus Alpha.

“Here is Grady’s description of Crowley’s sticks…

“The blank side is the male (Yang, energy) side.  The divided side (looks like red nail polish to me) is ·the female (Yin, receptive) side.  By my ruler, they are less than an 8th of an inch in thickness, but slightly more than a 16th thick.  They either were mahogany or teak or stained dark to look so.  Each stick has a Yang side and a Yin side. The way Crowley used them was to shuffle them (with his eyes closed) then take them one at a time and, holding each one upright with his right fore­finger (eyes, still closed), get a signal and lay it down either right or left.  First stick down is the bottom line.  You can also get moving lines this way.  If one of the sticks wants to move when you lay it down, just shove it right or left as indicated.  Personally, I like this method of taking The Oracle It gives you a chance for your Angel to communicate directly through your fingertips.”

The image below is a modern replica of Crowley’s sticks made to spec by a dear Brother.  If you wish to get closer to Crowley’s in appearance then the wood should be a dark cherry color and the squares a darker red. (measuring 4 ½” X ½” & just over a 16th of an inch thick)

“Love is the law, love under will”



The Words of the Equinox

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

In 1907 Crowley began the tradition of issuing a new “Word” at each equinox.  These were sent to each member of the A∴A∴ (Neophyte and above) in good standing.  Commonly issued on Crowley’s personal stationary featuring his “Mark of the Beast” or a lamen of the O.T.O. imprinted in red.  Sometimes sent on unmarked paper or in a hand-written letter but most often typed on small pieces of stationary.  

The manner in which Crowley received each of these oracular Words varied from equinox to equinox.  While many were derived utilizing a sex-magick rite of one sort or another, there was no consistency in the method.  Sometimes the Word was chosen days before the actual Equinox and at other times after – working alone or with others.  At times, he would “hear” the Word, in other instances the Word was given through an assistant or received in a vision.  There is also a versified Ritual of the Ceremony of the Equinox incorporating aspects of the Neophyte ritual which remains unpublished and was utilized by Crowley on certain occasions.  Many Lineages carry on with this tradition, in one form or another, today.

To the Word of the equinox Crowley would append an Oracle and an Omen, a practice he began in the early 20’s.  The Oracle was chosen via bibliomancy.  That is, he would open a Holy book to a random page (most often Liber AL) and using either his thumb or ring, (at times just dropping his signet ring of Ankh-af-na-khonsu on the open page), and where ever his thumb or ring came to rest was the Oracle given for that Equinox.  The Omen was a Yi King reading utilizing a unique method developed by Crowley.  (for details see Crowley’s Yi King Sticks in our “Vault”)  

I have compiled a near complete list of all three aspects – being the Words, Oracles and Omens of the Equinox for each year from 1907 until Crowley’s death in 1947.  This is the most complete list published to date.  Thus far all 82 of the Words have been identified, 49 of the 54 Holy Book Oracles and 42 of the 51 Yi Omens.

1907: Spring – Catena
1907: Autumn – Amphora
1908: Spring – Opleis(?)
1908: Autumn – Belluim(?)
1909: Spring – Perdurabo
1909: Autumn – Audio
1910: Spring – ayata(?)
1910: Autumn – Credo
1911: Spring – Inero
1911: Autumn – Keacota
1912: Spring – Sanctum
1912: Autumn – Snake
1913: Spring – JAHBVLON
1913: Autumn – Peotos
1914: Spring – Poliax
1914: Autumn – N.O.X.
1915: Spring – DUPLEX (given in Enochian DUPLXX)
1915: Autumn – Nebulae
1916: Spring – Sol-Om-On
1916: Autumn – Saggitae
1917: Spring – ADNI
1917: Autumn – Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
1918: Spring – Akamrach
1918: Autumn – Eleven
1919: Spring – SA-CL =333 two words
1919: Autumn – (Teh & Alko)
1920: Spring – OCELLI
1920: Autumn – Oh, so much! (Word means Plenty)
1921: Spring – MENTULA – Liber VII.vii.42
1921: Autumn – FIFTY (Teh Al-Ko)
1922: Spring – HERU-RA-HA – AL III.70-71
1922: Autumn – 93-Teth-Ayin-Ayin-Shin = 542 (Thyhs) – 49 Ko
1923: Spring – GAMA-APPA-OPI – AL III.2 “Conquer – 2 Khwan
1923: Autumn – IHI AVD (Aud) – AL II.51 “Purple beyond purple…”
1924: Spring – NOVEM or VYHY AUR (Aud)
1924: Autumn – OM  (Aum) – AL III.46 “THELEMA” – 45 Tzhui
1925: Spring – OYVS oh! Yes! – Liber – 55 Fang
1925: Autumn – YMHN – Liber LXV.v.23 – 46 Shang
1926: Spring – Zero – AL II.24 “Fire” – 47 Kwan
1926: Autumn – ISh HIR  Yes Here – Liber “my” – 22 Pi
1927: Spring – FU – Liber VII.iii.46 – 54 Kwei Mei
1927: Autumn – Cara (???) – Liber VII.iii.60 – 56 Liu
1928: Spring – MAN – AL III.10 – 9 Hsiao Khu
1928: Autumn – To Day – AL II.58 – 5 Hsu
1929: Spring – Attention (French) – Liber
1929: Autumn – Viens – AL III.8 – The Tiger, no X
1930: Spring – YLALU – AL II.43 “A feast every night…” – 37 air of air
1930: Autumn – ANU – AL I.46 “Nothing” – 29 Luna
1931: Spring – BRAShITh – AL II.72 “Strive ever to more” – 28 Ta Kwo
1931: Autumn – TATARA (Fhatara) – Liber “Thou…” – 63 Ki Zi
1932: Spring – PHILUSTRICESS – AL III.25 s of word “cakes” – 58 Tui
1932: Autumn – AIND VACIMA– AL II.58 ”yea!” – 7 Sze
1933: Spring – Silence breaking into soft music of laughter (no oracle) 13 Thung Zen
1933: Autumn – KAVANI (KAANI) – AL II.9 – 31 Hsien
1934: Spring – KRMVTh (Karmuth) – AL II.79 – 41 Sun Earth of Water
1934: Autumn – QUAMAH QABLAS [Crowley note: H or B?]
1935: Spring – Armageddon – (The Oracle and the Omen are silent)
1935: Autumn – Lal
1936: Spring – Beast – Liber VII – IV.34
1936: Autumn – BAB – AL III.38 “door”
1937: Spring – ADIL – AL 1.62 “meetings”
1937: Autumn – OLVK – AL III.38 “Secret” – 63 KiZi
1938: Spring – OIDV – AL II.15 “Not” – 41 Sun
1938: Autumn – RASh ChL or SAShK AL  – AL III.38 “rays & secret” – 50 Ting
1939: Spring – LBA LI – AL III.46 “before” – 5 Hsu
1939: Autumn – W.A.R.M. (= 718) – AL III.38 – 21 Sol/fire      
1940: Spring – AH – AL I.62 “with” – 15 Khien
1940: Autumn – ROTA – AL I.56 (T-between “but” & “thou”) – 25 Wu Wang
1941: Spring – PNChAL (Pirochael) – AL I.13 “joy” – 43 Kwai
1941: Autumn – Koleso – AL I.5 “warrior lord” – 19 Lin
1942: Spring – KUSIS – AL I.4 “infinite” – 44 Kau
1942: Autumn – Thido – AL III.43 – 6 Sung
1943: Spring – Dorafakol – AL II.54 “thou” – 45 Zhui
1943: Autumn – KILIK – AL II.40 “for” (second one) – 16 Yu
1944: Spring – KUKRI – AL 1.61 “pleasure” – 58 Tui
1944: Autumn – BIKELON – AL II.53 – 55 Fang
1945: Spring – Astarte – AL III.74 “There is” – 62 Hsaio Kwo
1945: Autumn – ROTARA – AL II.22  “stir” – 55 Fang
1946: Spring – SUHAL – AL I.37  “The Wand” – 42 YI
1946: Autumn – ODAK – AL I.32  “y” – 32 Hang
1947: Spring – Lift – AL II.12 “Thee” – 22 PI
1947: Autumn – Brilliance – AL II.36 “times” – 8 PI


This sample is typed on Crowley’s personal stationary, measuring 5 1/2″ x 7″ and Headed with ‘Ex castro Nemoris Inferioris’ – An Ixx Sol in 0 degrees Aries, which is the Spring of 1946 (however this is a typo and should be dated the Spring of 1947).  It is addressed ‘Care Frater’ and begins and ends with the full Thelemic greetings. It includes the ‘Word of the Equinox’ (lift), the ‘Oracle’ (Thee) – both derived from Liber AL (presumably by bibliomancy) and the ‘Omen’ (Pi 22).  It is singed by Crowley – To Mega Therion 666 9º = 2º A∴A∴ – It was not uncommon to see Crowley make corrections or add comments to these forms which were often prepared by others and at times contained typos.  Here we see Crowley following to the letter what is written in Liber AL and correcting the words originally typed completely in capitals.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Notes on the Original Student Reading List

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

By late 1911, Crowley noticed that many who approached the Great Work lacked the proper intellectual foundation.  This was placing a huge burden upon teachers, most of which were Neophytes at the time.  Hoping to alleviate the problem Crowley introduced the Student curriculum.

What follows are three versions of the required Reading Lists as published by Crowley.  All three were released within in a year’s time which has led to some confusion.  Yet, the lists are all similar and Crowley’s changes appear to be refinements in the system.

The Student Program was first announced in The Equinox, (Volume I: number VII), in 1912 and was quickly followed by a second rendition just six months later in Volume VIII.  These first two lists are identical save for the later includes one additional title: The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tzu (or Sacred Books of the East, Vols. XXXIX, XL).

Just a few months later, the final version was published in Book 4 and reduced to just ten titles; but now included additional notes of interest.

Here is a copy of the Student material as published in Equinox 1 Vol. VII:


In the publication of Book 4 the Student Curriculum appears in a section entitled “Summary”, following a fictionalized question and answer session in which Crowley gives an explanation of how one may “produce genius” via the A∴ A∴ system.  And, in this sense the “Summary” provides a general overview of the principles of the A∴ A∴ system as envisioned by Crowley.

While this final rendition of the list is the more widely published, many still prefer one of the early versions; often believing them to be more complete.  However, while the final list contains less titles it also references ten additional Libri regarding official instruction. (One of which is said to provide the “Key to Magick power”).  The benefits from the practices given in these Libri should not be taken lightly – When combined with the principles outlined in the Summary and the knowledge provided in the Reading List, an overview of the entire A∴ A∴ system begins to emerge which should be thoroughly reviewed by the Aspirant.

Here is the Student material as published in Book 4.


Q. What is genius, and how is it produced?

A. Let us take several specimens of the species, and try to find some one thing common to all which is not found in other species.

Q. Is there any such thing?

A. Yes: all geniuses have the habit of concentration of thought, and usually need long periods of solitude to acquire this habit. In particular; the greatest religious geniuses have all retired from the world at one time or another in their lives, and begun to preach immediately on their return.

Q. Of what advantage is such a retirement? One would expect that a man who so acted would find himself on his return out of touch with his civilization, and in every way less capable than when he left.

A. But each claims, though in different language, to have gained in his absence some superhuman power.

Q. Do you believe this?

A. It becomes us ill to reject the assertions of those who are admittedly the greatest of mankind until we can refute them by proof, or at least explain how they may have been mistaken. In this case each teacher left instructions for us to follow. The only scientific method is for us to repeat their experiments, and so confirm or disprove their results.

Q. But their instructions differ widely!

A. Only insofar as each was bound by conditions of time, race, climate and lan­guage. There is essential identity in the method.

Q. Indeed!

A. It was the great work of the life of Frater Perdurabo to prove this. Studying each religious practice of each great religion on the spot, he was able to show the Identity-in-diversity of all, and to formulate a method free from all dogmatic bias, and based only on the ascertained facts of anatomy, physiology, and psychology.

Q. Can you give me a brief abstract of this method?

A. The main idea is that the Infinite, the Absolute, God, the Oversoul, or whatever you may prefer to call it, is always present, but veiled or masked by the thoughts of the mind, just as one cannot hear a heartbeat in a noisy city.

Q. Yes?

A. Then to obtain knowledge of That, it is only necessary to still all thoughts.

Q. But in sleep thought is stilled?

A. True, perhaps, roughly speaking; but the perceiving function is stilled also.

Q. Then you wish to obtain a perfect vigilance and attention of the mind, uninterrupted by the rise of thoughts?

A. Yes.

Q. And how do you proceed?

A. Firstly, we still the body by the practice called asana, and secure its ease and the regularity of its functions by pranayama. Thus no messages from the body will disturb the mind.

Secondly, by yama and niyama, we still the emotions and passions, and thus prevent them arising to disturb the mind.

Thirdly, by Pratyahara we analyze the mind yet more deeply, and begin to control and suppress thought in general of whatever nature.

Fourthly, we suppress all other thoughts by a direct concentration upon a single thought. This process, which leads to the highest results, consists of three parts, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, grouped under the single term Samyama.

Q. How can I obtain further knowledge and experience of this?

A. The A∴ A∴ is an organization whose heads have obtained by personal experience to the summit of this science. They have founded a system by which everyone can equally attain, and that with an ease and speed which was previously impossible.

The first grade in Their system is that of


A Student must study the following books:

  1. The Equinox.
  2. 777.
  3. Konx Om Pax.
  4. Collected Works of A. Crowley: Tannhäuser, The Sword of Song, Time, Eleusis.
  5. Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda.
  6. The Shiva Sanhita or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
  7. The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tze: S.B.E. xxxix,xl.
  8. The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
  9. Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie by Eliphas Levi, or its translation by A. E. Waite.
  10. The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.

Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their system.

After three months the Student is examined in these books, and if his knowledge of them is found satisfactory, he may become a Probationer, receiving Liber LXI and the secret holy book, Liber LXV. The principal point of this grade is that the Probationer has a master appointed, whose experience can guide him in his work.

He may select any practices that he prefers, but in any case, must keep an exact record, so that he may discover the relation of cause and effect in his working, and so that the A∴ A∴ may judge of his progress, and direct his further studies.

After a year of probation, he may be admitted a Neophyte of the A∴ A∴, and receive the secret holy book Liber VII.

These are the principle instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:Liber E, A, O, III, XXX, CLXXV, CC, CCVI, CMXIII, while the key to Magick Power is given in Liber CCCLXX.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Notes on The Original Student Exam

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

Like many aspects of the A∴ A∴ system, the Student exam has varied some over its history.  However, it has never wandered far from its original design or intent.  Compiled here are four examples of exams utilized by Crowley.

The first dates from 1912 and bears the title of an “Examination for Probationer”.  The second example is from 1913, the third from 1916 and the final from 1945.  Though these exams vary from each other in some degree they are more similar then dis-similar and clearly establish that Crowley did in fact administer a Student exam, in one form or another, based upon the required reading list.

Test circa 1912:

  1. Write down the principal correspondences of the signs Gemini, Scorpio, Mars, and the Sephira Binah.
  2. Make a study of all the multiples of the number 11 below 1000, and endeavour to trace a connection between them.
  3. Make a study of the various methods recommended by the A∴ A∴, and endeavour to classify them under as few heads as possible.
  4. Give an interpretation of Tannhauser, “Adonis,” and Sir Palamedes the Saracen in terms of the Qabalah.
  5. Write an essay on the mystical meanings of the Vesica Piscis, the Right-Angled Triangle and the Hyperbola.
  6. Analyze the visions in Liber 418, classifying them according to the indications afforded in “The Psychology of Hashish.”
  7. Give some account of the Hindu idea of the parts of the Body and Soul.
  8. Compare the wands described by Eliphas Levi, Abramelin, the Author of “The Goetia”, and Frater Perdurabo, stating which you would prefer, and why.
  9. Design a Pantacle to synthesize the number 777.
  10. Devise and prepare a talisman to cause a temple to be built for the Order. Write out a ceremony proper to consecrate it.
  11. State the fundamental aim of the practice advocated in Book 4, Part 1, in as few words as possible.
  12. Give either (a) a full and careful comment of any five chapters (consecutive) in the “Book of Lies”, or (b) A commentary and criticism on “The Psychology of Hashish,” or “The Training of the Mind,” or “The Soldier and the Hunchback.”

Note.  The Student may consult his works of reference in answering this paper.  He should remember that a full and satisfactory reply would entitle him, as far as intellectual attainment is concerned, to the Grade of Exempt Adept, so that he should not imagine that too much is expected of him.

Test circa 1913:

  1. Write down the principal correspondences of the signs Leo and Aquarius, the planet Jupiter, and the Sephira Tiphareth.
  2. Make a study of all the multiples of the number 17 below 1000, and endeavour to trace a connection between them.
  3. Make a study of the various methods recommended by the A∴ A∴, and endeavour to classify them under as few heads as possible.
  4. Give an interpretation of Tannhauser, “Adonis,” and Sir Palamedes the Saracen in terms of the Qabalah.
  5. Write an essay on the mystical meanings of the Vesica Piscis, the Right-Angled Triangle and the Hyperbola.
  6. Compare the mystical methods of Molinos and Lao-tzu.
  7. Give some account of the Hindu idea of the parts of the Body and Soul.
  8. Compare the wands described by Eliphas Levi, Abra­melin, the Author of the Goetia, and Frater Perdurabo, stating which you would prefer, and why.
  9. Design a Pantacle to synthesize the number 666.
  10. Write out a Ritual complete with Talismans, Plan of Temple, etc., for producing a thunderstorm.
  11. Discuss the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism with regard to atman, stating to which doctrine you incline, and why.
  12. Give either (a) a full and careful comment of any five consecutive chapters in The Book of Lies, or (b) a commentary and criticism on “The Psychology of Hashish,” or “The Training of the Mind,” or “The Soldier and the Hunchback.”

Note:  The Student may consult his works of reference in answering this paper.  He should remember that a full and satisfactory reply would entitle him, as far as intellectual attainment is concerned, to the Grade of Exempt Adept, so that he should not imagine that too much is expected of him.

Test circa 1916:

  1. Write down the principal correspondences of the signs Leo and Sagittarius, the planet Venus and the Sephira Chokmah.
  2. Make a study of all the multiples of the number 37 below 1000, and endeavour to trace a connection between them.
  3. Make a study of the various methods recommended by the A∴ A∴, and endeavor to classify them under as few heads as possible.
  4. Give an interpretation of Tannhauser, Adonis, and Sir Palamede the Saracen in terms of the progress of the initiate.
  5. Write an essay on the mystical meanings of the Vesica Piscis, the Right Cone and the Ellipse.
  6. Compare the mystical methods of Swami Vivekananda and Eliphas Levi.
  7. Give some account of the Buddhist idea of the parts of the Body and Soul.
  8. Compare the talismans described by Eliphas Levi, Abramelin, the Author of the Goetia, and Frater Perdurabo, stating which you prefer and why.
  9. Design a Pantacle to synthesize the number 418.
  10. Write out a Ritual complete with Talismans, Plan of Temple, etc, for acquiring the affection of a person of the opposite sex.
  11. Discuss the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism with regard to Karma, stating to which doctrine you incline and why.
  12. Give either (a) a full and careful commentary of any 5 consecutive chapters of the Book of Lies, or (b) a commentary and criticism on “The Psychology of Hashish” or “Training of the Mind”, or the “Soldier and the Hunchback.”

Note.  The Student may consult his works of reference in answering this paper.  He should remember that a full and satisfactory reply would entitle him, as far as intellectual attainment is concerned, to the Grade of Exempt Adept, so that he should not imagine that too much is expected of him.

Test given to Grant circa 1945:

  1. Buddhism may be divided into these classes:
    1. Hinayana (Burma, Siam, Ceylon)
    2. Mahayana (Tibet)
    3. Twelve sects in Japan
    4. Zen Japan
    5. Chinese Buddhism
    What divisions of Christianity correspond to each, and why?
  2. What is the meaning, & why, of the following numbers:
    Reconcile the two apparently conflicting series of meanings of the number 65. Work out the equation 3 = 4 especially in relation to the Sephiroth and the Planets.
  3. State the difference between Vedantism, Sufism, & Molinism. Can you trace any historical sequence in these branches of Mysticism?
  4. A friend’s cows suffer from some epidemic disease. How would you set to work to discover the cause; if due to bewitchment, how to detect the agent; and how would you proceed to avert the evil?
  5. Describe a woman with Uranus conjunct Luna trine Venus rising in 8° Capricorn.

Comparing these exams side by side (especially when considering the first three examples) a definite pattern emerges and the similarities are distinct.  In fact, most questions are simple variations upon a theme – which has the added benefit of making the exam well suited to individualization.

Under Crowley, Students were not actually required to read the suggested titles in their entirety – Instead Students were expected to be familiar enough with the material to pass examination.  For most, it would be nearly impossible to read the entire list within the allotted three-month period of time.  (The Equinox alone being over 3000 pages).  Instead, as it is clearly stated in the description of the Reading List, “A Student must possess the following books” – to which Crowley further adds – Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their system.”  This then is what is actually required of the Student – “to possess and study” the suggested titles.

“Owing to the unnecessary strain thrown upon Neophytes by unprepared persons totally ignorant of the groundwork” Crowley announces the Student Phase in The Equinox (Vol. I – No. VII) in 1912.  This was quickly followed by a second rendition six months later in Volume VIII.  These two lists are identical save for the second list included one additional title: The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tzu.  A third rendition of this list was introduced just a few months later in Book 4.  Here the Student Curriculum appears in a section entitled “Summary”, following a fictionalized question and answer session in which Crowley gives an explanation of how one may “produce genius” via the A∴A∴ system.  It is this rendition that is most commonly reproduced and the one I find most interesting  (the reasons for this are covered in my Notes on the Original Reading List – also posted here).  Ultimately the exam itself was “open book” and the Student allowed considerable time to respond.

The Student should also note that Crowley points out that full knowledge of these matters is, on an intellectual level, equivalent to that of a 7° = 4□ – or the Adeptus Exemptus Grade of the A∴ A∴ which clearly establishes that the Student curriculum goes well beyond the scope of this preliminary stage which suggest that continual study of them will benefit one well past this stage of the work.

This final example is from 1945 and the latest version that I know of.  It was hand written by Crowley and administered to Kenneth Grant in early December, just two years prior to his death.  This test varies substantially from all other known examples yet represents Crowley’s position in the later part of his life.  While there are fewer questions, and arguably easier ones, it -in general- requires the same level of scholarship as needed to complete the original.

“Love is the law, love under will”


MS of the Test given to Grant, 1945

Words of Wisdom by Grady McMurtry

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”

This article was first included in the O.T.O. newsletter and written about a year and half after Grady swore the Oath of the Abyss.  This was a very active time for Grady in both O.T.O. and A∴A∴.  By this time he had chartered Thelema Lodge as Grand Lodge #1 and reconstituted the modern OTO.  Grady had also broken from Soror Meral by this point and, having fused his own link to the sempiternal A∴A∴, was busy at work establishing his own line.  In the following article he mentions several “Lineages”: that of his own, Soror M(eral) and a few others.  It is no surprise to find some of these same “Lineages” still active in the greater Thelemic community today – Three in particular with many years of passionate service to the OTO.  Those aspiring to the A∴ A∴ would do well to carefully consider what Grady wrote here.

From the O.T.O. Newsletter, Berkeley, California Vol. II, #7&8 [Double Issue] Winter-Spring, May 1979, pgs. 104-105.


A∴ A∴ or, Who Has The Right To The Star ?

Over the past several years there have been a number of attempts to politicize A∴ A∴. Most of these have either taken the form of public advertising or private pressure tactics.  It seems an opportune time to make a few statements on the nature of this great order.

First of all, just who is a member of A∴ A∴?  In as much as this is an Inner Order, there can be only one person who can answer such a question in a particular case the claimant herself. When someone tells me that he or she (“she” is the traditional pronoun in this instance-for either a Frater or a Soror) is a member of A∴ A∴, I believe it. I also often wonder what business it is of mine. A∴ A∴ is not a school of outer initiation, like O.T.O. in some of its aspects. A∴ A∴ is a body of individuals who have attained particular grades of self-initiation in accordance with particular standards. Those standards are described by Crowley in “One Star in Sight” and in Liber CLXXXV. Some persons have direct lineage from Crowley as proctors for A∴ A∴ work. The basic texts are all in print. Anyone of sufficient judgment and intelligence can apply themselves diligently to the Great Work along this course. An Inner Order should be free from politics.  If an aspirant to A∴ A∴ would enter one of the several surviving direct lines of instruction, they can be found only through great effort. One of these is operative through O.T.O. valid through special provisions in Crowley’s letters and through magical sign. Another line is operative through Soror M, with valid CLXXXV lineage only. A reconstruction is to be had from Fr. A, based on personal attainment. Another Fr. A. looms near with whispered rumors of CLXXXV lineage. Fr. P. has representation in the American South and East Coast, but a propensity to make more of his papers than wood-pulp ever saw. Another Frater P. has declared that A∴ A∴ is now replaced by the Bavarian Illuminati – and his claim is not to be laughed out of consideration for all the oddness of it. These are only a few of many.

So, what is to be made of this?  Will a claimant come forth with court decision and papers of authorization, as has actually happened with O.T.O.? Will the matter at last be laid to rest? Not that way! O.T.O. is an Outer Order. Its governance is public knowledge, subject to legal proof. A∴ A∴ is an Inner Order. The Law of Man has no dominion. Crowley deliberately designed A∴ A∴ on the cell system, modified for one-on-one communication.  Division of branches is therefore inevitable on the death of the Frater or Soror linking particular series of members.  One of the obligations for advanced members is the establishment of independent systems, religions and orders. The Outer Grade recognition ends for all major purposes at Tiphareth.  Beyond Tiphareth the advancement is by the Knowledge and Conversation of the Angel. The Inner Head of A∴ A∴ is not in the ordinary sense a corporeal being.  Who is a Magister Templi? That person who can do the work of the Grade. It makes no difference whether her Oath is witnessed by Therion or by the Neteru. The Grade itself is as real as the blast that tore Jack Parsons from the world of men. To argue mightily that one is of such a grade is as near as may be to proving that one is not! One may simply say it by the way. One may not even mention it at all. To set one claim to A∴ A∴ against another is to fight as brothers — political exercise. But, the Brothers of A∴ A∴ are Sisters! Be done with politics at the sanctuary of NU!

There are many people in the world who have attained. In like manner, there are many who have not attained, but who have prepared. For some, one trail leads to the Star. For others another path. Let those who would take to the narrow road that widens in the Empyrean prepare themselves by discipline and diligence. The voice of the dove will be heard. The Angel will come in the right time.

What to take until the Angel arrives? A good look at “One Star in Sight.” Call in the redness of the morning.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Grady 1A