On the Relationship between a Probationer And His or Her Neophyte

On the Relationship between a Probationer And His or Her Neophyte

Epistola Publica I

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

The Chancellor of A∴A∴ views without satisfaction the practice of Probationers working together. A Probationer should work with his Neophyte, or alone. Breach of this rule may prove a bar to advancement.”—Official pronouncement, The Equinox, I:5.

At the very beginning of one’s approach to the Order known by the initials “A∴A∴”, one is confronted with the daunting Task of studying what, at first, seems to be a rather hefty set of books for a minimum of three months. After this time, the Student may request his or her Exam (which is “open book”, by the way) and, should he or she apply him or herself in answering the questions to the satisfaction of the Brother or Sister appointed to evaluate these matters, the Student is then immediately passed on to a member of the Order of the Grade of Neophyte 1◦=10▫ who shall receive him or her as a Probationer 0◦=0▫.

As all Probationers know, the Ceremony of Reception is a simple one, the general characteristics being that he listens to the reading of ‘Liber LXI (Causæ): The History Lection’, the Task of a Probationer, and after considering the matter for a time, takes and signs the Oath of a Probationer. No other single action at this grade is as significant, and some hold it to be the only necessary initiation one must take within the Order.

The principle business of the Probationer is to “begin such practices as he may prefer, and to write a careful record of the same for one year.”¹ While there is an extensive curriculum from which the Probationer may choose, and even further all potential practices are open to him or her, it is suggested that one choose from the curriculum given as that material is what the Probationer and his or her Neophyte have in common: It is nearly impossible for one’s Neophyte to gauge the merits or demerits of a practice of which he or she has not even heard; hence the injunction that the very first time the Probationer enters such a practice into his or her Record he or she describes it fully, so at the least the Neophyte has some clue to what is even being done. 

Frater O.M. 7◦=4▫ (Aleister Crowley) referred to the Instructor² as “the sparring-partner of the pupil”. This implies that the Instructor may not always say what the student wants to hear…in fact, he shouldn’t! For if all he or she tells the student is what the student wants to believe, is not the student living in a room full or mirrors? What effect, then, has the Instructor had on the student, other than to more fully involve the student with him or herself in a narcissistic way?

At the heading of this short epistle was a quote from the editorial of The Equinox I:5. This was not lightly done: What I have seen since we have begun to take on several new members contacted online is the very problem that they have taken on too many instructors, be they people, blogs, websites, or the like. By taking in so many varying points the student does not have a chance to build his or her own foundation from which he or she can then alter things to their satisfaction: As the old saying goes, one has to know the rules to break them! Study the curriculum given; that is enough for any assiduous student, and doing otherwise demonstrates that the Probationer is not putting enough time into the material originally assigned! There is far more in ‘Liber E’ and ‘Liber O’ than many suspect, and I agree with Israel Regardie that the perceptive student could spend years on each paper!

The other issue is people: Many, if not most, of us, are members of some other magical society or group. This is to be expected, and one cannot reasonably leave these for a year or more during one’s period as a Probationer of A∴A∴. If you are a Freemason or Martinist, go to your lodge, etc. Such things are not a problem and no one could reasonably ask you to stop doing so. What is problematic is engaging another in one’s personal Work during your tenure as a Probationer. This kind of problem is, I believe, one of the primary reasons that that pronouncement was made in the first place back in 1911 e.v.

This is not an issue of control; far from it. The purpose of working alone is so that the Instructor can learn about you, and you alone. Once someone else becomes involved, the Instructor must wonder: “Is this the student’s insight, or was it given to him/her by another?”; “Did the student accomplish this, or was it due to the presence of the other?” These kinds of questions, as you can see, make it extremely difficult to assess the Probationer for advancement! And even if said Probationer was advanced in the outer sense, the “bar to advancement” clause is still valid, as he or she would have been advanced to a grade for which they were not spiritually prepared. In a nutshell, as Scientific Illuminists, the experiment would be tainted.

Wishing all Fratres and Sorores the very best in the Great Work! 

‘Love is the law, love under will”

Frater H.A.


1 – From ‘One Star in Sight’, found in Magick: Book IV, Liber ABA (Weiser, 1997), p. 489. 

2 – Crowley used the term ‘Superior’ in his time to refer to that relationship in the Order. We have followed the practice of Frater Adjuvo 2◦=9▫ (Marcelo Motta) in using ‘Instructor’; for how can a “King” have a “Superior”

The Three Chiefs

On the Three Chiefs: Their Roles & Symbolism 

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

Inherited from the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Outer College of A∴A∴ and the Ordo R.C. are governed by a Triad of Officers: The Cancellārius (1) (Chancellor), Imperātor (2), & the Præmonstrātor (3). Both ideally and symbolically, they are members of the Second Order and provide not only a governing body for the Outer Order G.D. (the Order which is both largest and requires far more need of such governance), but provide in and of themselves a certain function in relation to one another that is instructive regarding members of the Ordo R.C. and their relations one to another in the hierarchy. It is intended to provide a brief account of them here, so that the general membership may acquire some basic understanding of what these Officers are as well as of their function.

On July 29, 1906 e.v. we find in Crowley’s Record (4): “Sunday night. D.D.S. and P. discuss a new Order. D.D.S. wants Authority. I should write and say, ‘Perfect the lightning-conductor and the flash will come.’”, but it wasn’t until November 15 of the following year that he wrote “Saw D.D.S. and got him to consent to O.” In this he meant the initial governing Triad, which in the beginning consisted of Jones as Præmonstrātor and Crowley as Imperātor, yet due to the lack of anyone of sufficient Grade, a Probationer by the name of J.F.C. Fuller was chosen as acting Cancellārius. Almost throughout the existence of the Order since, it has been the case that, because of a lack of sufficient Adepts, at least one of the governing Chiefs not been of sufficient Grade! While the above is of historical interest, it gives me the opportunity to delve into a fact that very few seem to realize: The Offices are intimately related to specific Grades, and symbolically represent such, regardless of the Grade of the person functionally acting in that position. Understanding this, the honorary holding of such a Grade for that purpose then becomes easier to understand. Their relationship was first explained in a Second Order Golden Dawn document called “Z.1 The Enterer of the Threshold” (5), and they are as follows:

Præmonstrātor 7◦=4▫ Chesed to instruct
Imperātor 6◦=5▫ Gevurah to command
Cancellārius 5◦=6▫ Tifareth to record

They are reflected into the Outer Order as Hod reflecting the Water of Chesed, Netzach the Fire of Gevurah, and Yesod the Air of Tifareth. But much more can be discovered about them, and how they relate to the Grades associated with them from “One Star in Sight”:

The Præmonstrātor (7◦=4▫)  and its corresponding Grade “confers authority to govern the two lower Orders of R. C. and G. D.” and “…will…be known as the leader of a school of thought.” Not only is this true for the Office of Præmonstrātor, who in essence maintains both the type and quality of the instruction of the Outer College (and in a sense all Grades below his or her own), but as is well known all Exempt Adepti must set forth their own ideas in published form. While the Order has certain set criteria for advancement, how this is brought about, and making sure this is done in some consistent form, is for him to set about; but he or she has a very important Task, and to that end cannot see to every rule being followed out once he or she has set it down, or in most cases given the order for instruction to continue as is. That is the Task of his or her immediate inferior. 

The Imperātor (6◦=5▫) is there to carry out the word of his or her Superior. As anyone of even moderate military rank knows, one cannot go to one’s Superior for every little thing. One has to know the letter, and put it into action with “absolute Self-Reliance, working in complete isolation, yet transmitting the word of his superior clearly, forcibly and subtly (6)”. “His work is to use these to support the authority of the Exempt Adept his superior. (This is not to be understood as an obligation of personal subservience or even loyalty; but as a necessary part of his duty to assist his inferiors. For the authority of the Teaching and governing Adept is the basis of all orderly work.)”. While the essay here appears to be speaking only of any Major Adept, it is clear how this applies to the job of the Imperātor, and it takes very little to see that every Adeptus Major, in the line from his or her Instructor down to the last Student, is in fact in one sense an Imperātor!

The Cancellārius (5◦=6▫) or Chancellor is generally the most well-known of the governing Triad, as he or she is the face of the Order to all new applicants. He or she is “to manifest the Beauty of the Order to the world, in the way that his superiors enjoin, and his genius dictates.” which, on the personal level of any Adeptus Minor, is exactly what the Cancellārius does for the Order as a whole. He or she not only records, but keeps records of all members, providing a central file so that, should any member lose touch with their Instructor through the latter’s death or the like, they will not be then shut out from the Order by way of a break in the chain. The Cancellārius provides for the examination of Students, and answers all queries directed towards the Order.

These Three Officers work together in a unique way, and in practice if one office is vacant another is voted into it by the other two. Agreement between them in such cases is important for harmonious functioning of the Triad as whole; and this is particularly true for the Cancellārius, who is in effect the public face of the Order. Other lineages may handle these latter interactions differently, but in the early birth pangs of our own, as its own being, have found these rules to be of immense practical value. Thus far concerning the Three Chiefs of the A∴A∴.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Frater H.A.


1. Lat. “secretary”; fem. Cancellāria. 

2. Lat. “commander; chief”; fem. Imperātrix.

3. Lat. “one who points out beforehand; guide, director”; fem. Imperātrix.

4. The Equinox V:4, Sex & Religion, (Nashville: Thelema Publishing Co., 1981). 

5. The Golden Dawn, ed. Israel Regardie (Llewellyn, 1992). 

6. These words also have another meaning, not obviously relevant to the present subject. 

The Magical Circle

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

In most traditions, a magical circle is commonly used to make clear to the spirit world, the working space for the practitioner. In Liber ABA Part 2 is stated concerning the magical circle:

“The Circle announces the Nature of the Great Work.

Though the Magician has been limited in his choice of room, he is more or less able to choose what part of the room he will work in. He will consider convenience and possibility. His circle should not be too small and cramp his movements; it should not be so large that he has long distances to traverse. Once the circle is made and consecrated, the Magician must not leave it, or even lean outside, lest he be destroyed by the hostile forces that are without.

He chooses a circle rather than any other lineal figure for many reasons; e.g.,

  1. He affirms thereby his identity with the infinite.
  1. He affirms the equal balance of his working; since all points on the circumference are equidistant from the centre.
  1. He affirms the limitation implied by his devotion to the Great Work. He no longer wanders about aimlessly in the world. 

The center of this circle is the center of the Tau of ten squares which is in the midst, as shown in the illustration. The Tau and the circle together make one form of the Rosy Cross, the uniting of subject and object which is the Great Work, and which is symbolized sometimes as this cross and circle, sometimes as the Lingam-Yoni, sometimes as the Ankh or Crux Ansata, sometimes by the Spire and Nave of a church or temple, and sometimes as a marriage feast, mystic marriage, spiritual marriage, “chymical nuptials,” and in a hundred other ways. Whatever the form chosen, it is the symbol of the Great Work.”

Many practitioners use a physical circle painted on cloth or drawn in the sand or with chalk on the floor. All physical considerations aside, I believe that it is most important, that practicing Magician already be projecting a magic circle, from within.  By this I mean that when one is working to purify the Nephesh, or the lower self, they must submit (on some level) to the Higher Self or some might say the Holy Guardian Angel.  It is this process which leads one to radiate what in my view is the ‘true’ magic circle. No lower entity or negativity can penetrate a circle established in this manner nor cause any harm to the practitioner through negative thoughts or deeds. The building blocks for this circle of light is the right motivation, and clear direction.  It’s a mastering of our thoughts, words and actions.  The Practitioner must be well aware of the tendencies of their lower mind and ideally under the guidance of the HGA. Some think that the use of a physical circle will protect them from harm, keeping at bay the lower spirits they work with. Yet, after the Magical operation, when the circle is down, it’s possible that certain entities bites them on the ass. Though a banishing was properly performed and the circle closed, certain “entities” stick around, feeding off the “weaknesses” of the Practitioner. You might say that the Practitioner doesn’t deserve the respect of the spirit world when not properly trained or ethically evolved. In a sense, this explains why in many cases people evoke all kind of spirits for their pleasure or sensation and end up in all kind of misery. So, it is fundamental that one begin the work of clearing the Ruach of its shadows and begin to build a foundation for a real magic circle of light. This, in practice, may take many years of dedication and hard work to fully realize yet, one will reap the rewards of their efforts.

Consider how when Buddha was tempted by the lord of death (Mara) he transformed the arrows and spears of her army into flowers. By the power of his realization (which I liken to actualizing a real circle of light) those negative energies instantly were transformed. Simply put, coming to the realization of the inner god is the best magical circle one can have.

Now consider the symbolism of Magician at the center of their circle, which from above appears as a point within a circle. The symbol of the Sun, or that of Hadit and Nuit conjoined; the fulfillment and realization of the Star whose number is 666

“Love is the law, love under will”

Frater Parusha


Qoph: A Kabbalistic Analysis of the Dreaming

Full Moon through the door.
Like a camel through the eye
of arcane needle.

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

The Bible tells the story of a rich man who came to Jesus and asked him how to attain life eternal. Jesus tells him to live a good life by following the Ten Commandments. The rich man declares he already does that, but something is lacking. Jesus then tells him to sell all his possessions, give them to the poor, and follow him. The rich man goes away sad because he knows he won’t be able to do this. Jesus declares two things of importance. One is that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” And two is that, to do what he is asking the rich man to do is impossible for a man, because this transformation is only possible for God.

While most people interpret this passage as either an admonition against greed or as a justification for tithing, the esoteric import goes in a quite different direction. The rich man is complaining that, while his external life is in observation of religious duty, he is not yet complete. Jesus’ answer seems to imply that the existing moral code, the Ten Commandments, should be but a stepping stone to get the man into an abundant and rich life. However, when the rich man asks what he still lacks, Jesus does not give him another code, but simply tells him to let go of something so that completion or perfection can emerge. What most people miss is the fact that the rich man cannot give up his wealth, not because he doesn’t want to, but because only God can produce the type of transformation necessary to let go of what holds him back. If we take the man’s wealth to be a symbol for one’s accumulated experience, the totality of one’s identification with organic life, we can then begin to see the story’s full import.

Now, let’s take a look at the meaning behind these terms. The hebrew for rich and abundant is ashir (Ayin-Shin-Yod-Resh), with a value of 580 in gematria. This is what the man had, yet he is unsatisfied with his mere material success and looks for the sense of profound peace and spiritual completion known as shalom (with a numerical value of 376). To go from ashir to shalom, you extract the difference: 580 – 376 = 204. The value of Bara is 204, which means Son, or Son of God. Therefore, the ending remarks of Jesus when he claims that to do this transformation is impossible for a man but possible for (1) God, he is passing on the formula of this transformation. To do this, however, divine intervention is needed. This divine intervention comes through the seed of God. When the rich man walks away, he is sad because he knows he cannot do this. Exoteric interpretation of the text leads most people to infer that the man is simply greedy. Jesus’ commentary, however, makes it clear that it is impossible for an ordinary person to accomplish what he asks. God is needed.

The esoteric import of this parable is given in the adage: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This adage gives the formula by which God’s help is invoked. The eye of the needle refers to the path of Qoph, (2) and the camel to the path of Gimel, (3) in the Tree of Life. This passage reflects the Essene teachings by stating that these two paths are connected. Of course, both are ruled by the moon and both are connections between two different triads. (4) Qoph connects Malkuth to Netzach, and Gimel connects Tiphareth to Kether. The former accounts for the connection between Manipura Chakra and our organic body, while the latter shows how the dewdrops of Amrit descend from the back of the head when the ojas are activated by the interaction of Ajna with Vishudda, activating the sacred fluid in the cerebellum. (5) The biblical passage is telling us how the interaction between these two passages is a key to the alchemical transformation. Let us examine each passage briefly and see how they interact alchemically.

In the microcosmos, the path of Qoph connects Manipura with the body. Since the path of Qoph is associated with both the moon and the back of the head, it is the path responsible for dreaming. Jodorowsky, Jung, Campbell and others see dreams as the archetypal language used by the body to communicate with the mind. These images are the oneiric language of the unconscious. Their origin can be just the subconscious mind trying to catalogue and make sense of the raw impressions of that day, or even a registry of current imbalances or impressions on the body. Of course, this path can bypass the conscious mind, and the impressions coming through are not necessarily of a logical nature nor voluntary. They are the dealings between the body and the soul.  

On the other hand, the channel can also carry signals from Netzach to Malkuth. Netzach can receive currents from Hod, Yesod, Malkuth and Tiphereth. Those signals coming from Yesod and Hod can affect our dreaming, of course, with both mental and erotic imagery, but they also open up the possibility of acquiring a conscious relationship with the Dreaming under intent. More importantly, these paths offer the possibility of transforming Qoph from a channel to the subconscious, to a channel to the divine, and the ability to make of the body a temple for God through the arte alchemica. When the path of Qoph is dormant, it serves as the channel for unconscious communication between body and soul. In “The Wake World,” (6) the bride describes her encounter with Qoph as follows: “There were nasty Jackals about, they made such a noise, and at the end I could see two towers. Then there was the queerest moon you ever saw, only a quarter full.” (7) When the moon is waxing, the dreaming is ruled by shadows, phantoms, and chaotic dualistic fluidity. The jackals, of course, are a reference to Anubis in his dual form of Anpu (who opens the road to the land of the subconscious and the underworld) and Ap-uat (who opens the road to the heavens). Anubis, therefore, serves as the guide who takes us through death and sleep, either to the subconscious or to heaven. The two towers they guard signify the path of Peh, (8) and its tower, which is the House of God, is here presented in its duality. Either way, Kephra will bring the sun through to its dawn, whether through the subconscious lands of the dreaming or through the Bardos (9) between incarnations. The sun comes up just as sure as we wake up once again or are reincarnated after the passage of death. However, the passage through this land offers the opportunity of a different kind of rebirth. The key is in the unification of all dualities under intent. This rebirth, as the parable of the rich man suggests, is only possible for God. The sun, of course, is not dead but shining its light on the moon. (10) If the moon is full through this passage, it will reflect the light of the sun and the passage is guided by intent. If Netzach contains the light of Tiphareth, the moon of Qoph will fill up with the light of divine intent and love. Another way to express this principle is to say that, if the Fool (Atu 0), being the only thing that survives the destruction of The Tower (Atu XVI), safely attaches to Netzach, then the path of Qoph will activate and unify soul and body under will. 

The path of Gimel is associated with the full moon. This path connects the Sahasrara Chakra with Anahata Chakra through Sushuma Nadi. It carries the kundalini up to the crown during Dhyana, as well as the Amrit (11) down to the lower chakras, activating them. In the macrocosmos, this is the passage through which the Holy Guardian Angel descends after the union between Chokmah and Binah opens the door of Daleth and gives birth to the Son. In a sense, Qoph connects the body directly with Manipura, just as in the macrocosmos the Earth and its biosphere are directly connected, albeit controlled by the passage and tides of the moon. But the path becomes active only when the moon has become full with the light of the sun. In other words, while the forces of Manipura are always in contact with our body, the path becomes fully active and conscious through Dhyana. Through Dhyana, (12) the solar current illuminates the dark 12 passages of our subconscious and allow body and soul to carry through the will of our spirit. Dhyana resolves the duality and shadows of the subconscious by unification and dissolution, and just like The Fool, survives the destruction of The Tower, the solar will survives the passage through the night. 

Let us examine how exactly the activation of Qoph (13) takes place. The kundalini serpent awakens in Muladhara and ascends to Swaddishtana. In one who is a slave to the sleeping state, this energy will follow the path of wants and organic tendencies. From the point of view of the mind, thoughts that flow and attach themselves to wants, fears, and mechanical tendencies give life to phantoms, kleshas, (14) and illusions. These mechanical thoughts tend to feed the libido and ground themselves in Malkuth through organic, automatic orgasm. A magician, however, learns to send the Kundalini and thoughts through the path of Peh, raising the energy towards Manipura, instead of grounding it. Once in Manipura, the seed planted there finds itself in Netzach, which, since it is at the bottom of the right hand pillar of the Tree Of Life, is pulled up towards the upper branches of the Tree. However, the vibration which connects to Netzach must be in alignment with this sphere or it will be ejected. This point is important, because the thought which leaves Hod (15) does not arrive intact. The Tower is destroyed, and what survives either ascends towards Netzach or is dispersed in Malkuth. This principle points to a fallacy common to those who think that to practice sex magick, all they have to do is think at the moment of orgasm, and what they think will come true. In a sense, they are correct because all thoughts and words give birth to an astral child, (16) but what results of that is not necessarily as the would-be magician imagines. They forget that the conscious word or image they hold will be dissolved once death (orgasm) overcomes the Tower. What remains, however, is the essence of the eidolon held by the intent of the magician.  

Now, in works of lesser magick, the magician can send a seed prayer towards Netzach and, if he succeeds and it is in agreement with the Fates (the Wheel of Fortune), it will ascend as a prayer. The adept who is able to receive Gnosis through the paths of Mem and Ayin (from the waters of Binah and the will of his Sun) can, in turn, send it to Netzach by preparing an adequate vehicle (eidolon or thought form) which will carry his intent. This sacred intent is Bhakti Yoga. It is the type of thought that connects itself to a deity, higher aspiration, or sacred principle. If successful, the intent will lodge itself to the Venusian vibration of Netzach, and naturally ascend. At the same time, this seed of Will constitutes the solar influence which fills the Moon of Qoph with the light of our Sun. As a result, the dream world is now of a different quality. It carries that quality of sacred import. It is not so much the propensity to lucidity, but the atmosphere of a sacred chamber, and the kind of message from the dreaming, that has the touch of spawned genius.  

The Greek word for truth is alethia, which refers to the awakening of the memory of truth. In Hebrew, the word for truth is Emet (Aleph-Mem-Tau), but if we transpose the letters we can obtain Mem-Aleph-Tau, which means from within, as the concept of truth in Greek also implies. The reader will remember that in the first paragraph we discussed how Bara, the Son of God, is what’s extracted when the rich man gives his wealth (Ashir) to attain completion (Shalom).  Bara also means a well. In a sense, the Son has a mystical equivalent to the well, just as the Phallus and the Kteis (17) are equivalent in a complementary sense. 

According to Crowley’s Liber 231, the Fool abides between Asar and Asi, before embarking in his cosmic voyage. This book describes the passage of The Fool through creation, where eventually he comes to destroy and survive the ruins of The Tower; the Holly Virgin (the moon of Qoph) appears after this, transformed. This is the full moon, who is now the Holly Virgin, but used to appear as a scary woman with blood in her teeth. She is now a “fluidic fire” which uses a “thunderbolt”—obvious allusions to the kundalini that now rises up from Swaddhistana to Manipura. At this point, the moon invokes “the Scarab, the Lord Kheph-Ra, so that the waters were cloven and the illusion of the powers was destroyed.” This parting of the waters is reminiscent of the parting of the waters in Genesis, before the creation of the universe. In this case, the sun comes out victorious: “Then the sun did appear unclouded, and the mouth of Asi was on the mouth of Asar.” (18) 

Kephra is what the full moon invokes so that the sun can pass through and emerge unclouded. This is what happens in the path of Qoph when intent is applied through the combination of desire with the love characteristic of Bhakti Yoga. (19) Notice how the path of Resh shows how the “mouth of Asi was on the mouth of Asar.” In the beginning, the Fool resided in joy between Asi and Asar. Now, with the emergence of the Will and its successful passage, these two kiss. The kiss is the ecstasy of union of that which was separated through duality. The redeemer, the Fool, emerges after this process and provides the union now in joy and ecstasy. (20) 

Within the confines of my own temple, I’ve noticed that when the energy moves up from Swaddhistana as a “fluidic fire” and, if the adoration and love towards the sacred eidolon has been kept without disturbance or distraction, there is a bolt of energy, like a light or thunderbolt, that moves from the third eye to the back of the head as I’m drifting into sleep. Without implying or assuming that this is an universal experience or, even, what the text of Liber CCXXXI signifies, it has provided an intimate landmark for the success of the operation within my own body. I know that the same feeling in Hod would, but for an internal tweak of intent and attention, produce the orgasmic release of semen outside the temple. What follows after this is not part of the conscious mind.  Intent is present, yes, but not shrouded by thought or wakeful memory.  

Qoph is exposed in chapter 18 of Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Lies, “On Dewdrops.” While the death mentioned in that chapter is often related to orgasm, it should be more properly understood as Samadhi. (21) However, death is also the passage from wakefulness into sleep. This is why it is Anubis who guards the narrow passage between the towers in Atu XVIII; and this passage is a lower octave of Peh, which is a lower octave of Gimel.  Indeed, in “The Wake World,” the bride describes the path of Gimel as having a beautiful moonlike virgin who reads from a book. The idea of the practice, therefore, is not to hold on to a thought form as if the want is more important than the will. The thought, or word, which is used to propel the will across the void is to dissolve and be surrendered for the seed to survive. “The old life is no more” and what survives is “more He than all he calls He.” (22) One is to let it go free, for one is not “its master, but the vehicle of it.” (23) Crowley tells us to study this chapter along with chapters 1 and 16. These chapters address the casting of the Fool into the Night of Pan (N.O.X.). In the “Sabbath Of The Goat,” (24) the phallus is adored as explained in De Natura Deorum. “Liber 24 Arcanorum” presents the Virgin of God (Daleth) as enthroned on a seashell and seeking “seventy to her four.” Seventy is the path of Ayin (The Devil), which casts the seed of will into the mind and accounts for the love of union the Male experiences for the Female. The four is a door, Daleth, which opens the heaves and allows the Son to descend (the HGA and the Amrit). Now, Chapter 16 describes the path of Peh, and it is in this passage that The Tower is destroyed and, if done properly, the Fool makes his way across the Night Of Pan to be planted in Netzach. 

While the Practicus of the A∴A∴ needs to learn Chastity, the practice of the sexual magick of De Natura Deorum teaches the Practicus that Chastity is only one side of a triangle. Chastity, in yoga, is Dharana. (25) The ability to hold a thought without distraction is akin to the ability to hold the desire in a hard phallus without dissipating the force nor letting it go too soon. However, Dharana is not the telos, the end result. It is a necessary, yet not sufficient, part. Dharana is the discipline that can be accomplished in the left column of the Tree. There has to be a seed, a sacred aim, an aspiration. This is the second part of the triangle. Also, there has to be death. “Neither of these alone is enough.” In the chapter “The Stag-Beetle” of The Book Of Lies, Crowley illustrates the path of Peh and, once again, shows how the three sides of the triangle are necessary. Here, Kephra is invoked by the moonlike Virgin of God. This process, where the adept merges with a deity by adoration throughout his lifetime (i.e., through the life of the phallus), and upon surrender during death, is the Love of Bhakti. This Love is essential for the activation of Qoph. The whole process of De Natura Deorum can be called Dhyana. Dharana, of course, is a necessary component, but the aim is Dhyana, or divine Love. However, one cannot, by the ordinary will alone, bring about such result. All the lower ego can do is hold the seed with impeccability and surrender to death at the right moment. Going to sleep, after adoring the Phallus and its eidolon, without uttering the Word teaches the adept one third of another triangle (to be completed in a higher octave through the Third Step, or the secrets of the IXth degree of the OTO). Dharana can be done through the will of the lower ego, but as we know from Ashtanga Yoga, the aim is the destruction of the thought held in Dharana; and through the destruction emerges the divine contemplation of Dhyana, beyond ego and the conditioned mind. Dhyana is the divine result of the death of Dharana. As Jesus claims of the rich man, only God can do this. He tells the rich man to sell his possessions (i.e., having built his Dharana, cast himself unto the Night so that the kingdom of heaven can descend and make him whole). The results of this first practice are the activation of the back of the head (Qoph) and the subsequent emanation of the Amrit. This is the beginning of the reception of Gnosis, and the result is the first manifestations of spawned genius.  

Most people are familiar with the phenomenon where someone goes to sleep with a pressing problem in mind and, if the issue has been held consistently for a long time in the mind, the dream will provide a solution, which is often described as a stroke of genius. The adept can use this principle consciously and with intent to climb up the mountain and activate the passages of his temple; but more importantly, to gain a connection with God that can guide his inner and outer life. When the rich man addresses Jesus, he explains that he follows the external law, his ethical code, impeccably. However, something is missing. His Yama practice is good, but the Niyama is not quite there. Crowley explains in Liber ABA that Niyama is best understood as virtue. (26) Yama is about the restrictions one places in one’s life (the control of the square); but the circle one must follow is Niyama; which, in regards to one’s external life, is the practice of one’s talent, the manifestation of one’s genius. The path of Qoph is connected to the practice of Niyama. It is through the flow of images and information from the subconscious that the artist, scientist, and innovator of any field draw the material that results in the works of genius that have the thumbprint of destiny. When one understands Qoph as related to Niyama, one can see that that spawned genius will result if the practice of the Adept is tied to his true will and not to mere wants. The Will comes from the Fool, and it is connected to one’s Wheel of Fortune. The result of 27 this practice will bring about works that are an execution of one’s true will (Niyama). The Niyama and the Dhyana are similar principles, albeit in different levels. Niyama is the manifestation of one’s genius, while Dhyana is the inner contact with the source of that light by the altar of the inner consciousness wherein which we seek Truth.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Frater L.M.


1 – Impossible, that is, to a man of the world—which is a man stuck in the material possessions of the sphere of Malkuth, the 10th sephira or emanation of the Tree of Life.

2 – Qoph is the 19th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It means back of the head, but it is often called “the eye of the needle” because of the shape of the letter.

3 – Camel in Hebrew. The letter Gimel is written with a Vav and a Yod at its base. It is a symbol often associated in the ancient world with a rich man running after a poor man (symbolized by the subsequent letter, Daleth) to give him charity.

4 – The path of Qoph connects the third triad of the A.’.A.’., the man of Earth, with the Lover (the second triad of this order). The path of Gimel connects the Lover triad to the Hermit triad (the first triad of the order). This is because of the spheres that these paths connect on the Tree of Life.

5 – This alchemical process is taught in various esoteric teachings of the East, and refers to substance that descends from the pineal gland, transforming the body and the mind.

6 – Crowley, Aleister. Konx Om Pax. I highly recommend this story, “The Wake World,” for an enlightening Kabbalistic account of the Dreaming as an allegorical passage of the dormant human soul through the Tree Of Life towards its awakening.

7 – ibid, pg. 9.

8 – 17th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It means mouth. In the Tree of Life it is connected with Trump XVI, The Tower.

9 – The Western tradition popularly recognizes three transitional states of existence: birth, life, and death. The Tibetan tradition recognizes a fourth state, the in-between state called the Bardo. For an enlightened rendition of this state in the Western World, see American Book of the Dead, by E.J. Gold.

10 – The scene described in “The Wake World” is also depicted in the 18th trump card (Atu XVIII), The Moon, of Crowley’s Thoth tarot.

11 – This is the alchemical sacred substance that transforms ordinary consciousness into divine consciousness. It is the elixir of ecstasy and the healing nectar of the gods.

12 – Dhyana is one of the eight limbs of yoga, and it’s characterized by the mind in a state of silence, illumination, and communion with the true nature of the higher Self.

13 – Qoph is the Hebrew letter that means “eye of the needle,” and it represents the passage in the Tree of Life that connects the physical body (Malkuth) with the intuition and source of emotions (Netzach). Qoph is the wire in the psychic body of humans that is responsible for dreaming. The activation of this wire implies the attainment of lucidity and the infusion of the dream with the sacred light of God.

14 – Attachments or unconscious habits

15 – Hod is the sphere that controls thoughts.

16 – That is, a program in the astral plane that seeks its fulfillment by becoming real in Malkuth

17 – Or, the penis and the vagina.

18 – Liber Arcanorum sub figura CCXXXI.

19 – The Yoga of Devotion, or divine love.

20 – See Liber 231.

21 – The divine ecstasy of union and the ultimate goal of Yoga.

22 – Crowley, Aleister. The Book Of Lies, “On Dewdrops”.

23 – Ibid

24 – Ibid

25 – Holding one thought in the mind, to the exclusion of any other impression, thought, or emotion.

26 – Crowley, Aleister. Liber ABA, chapter “Yama and Niyama.”

On the Nature of the Oaths

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

Those who have written about the A∴A∴ and to this date, continue the practices in either a lineal program or even in a solitary manner, seem to have overlooked a fundamental part of the work. If we look at the Oaths themselves, separate and apart from the Tasks, which shouldfundamentally support the Oaths, we get a larger perspective on the developmental course of Initiation. The importance of this shouldn’t beunderestimated as it provides the rationale for the Tasks of the various Grades. The particular component of the various Oaths that I am referring to are as follows:


Probationer: To obtain a scientific knowledge of the nature and powers of one’s own being
Neophyte: To obtain control of the nature and powers of one’s own being.
Zelator: To obtain control of the foundations of one’s own being.
Practicus: To obtain control of the vacillations of one’s own being.
Philosophus: To obtain control of the attractions and repulsions of one’s own being.
Dominus Liminis: To obtain control of the aspirations of one’s own being.
Adeptus Minor: To attain the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.


The Probationer Oath has us obtaining a scientific knowledge of the nature and powers of our being. This is a real discovery period that forces us to ask ‘What is being?’ From this, perhaps the question of what it’s nature might be is simultaneously answered, providing also a simple deduction as to what its powers might be. But we have to answer this question first and foremost. Is ‘being’ consciousness? Or is it also the body that houses that consciousness? And what is the nature of consciousness (whether connected to the mind or independent of it) and what is the nature of the body (whether or not it is also connected to consciousness)?

Experientially, we involve ourselves with the Task of memorizing a chapter of Liber LXV and the mastery of the Star Ruby (along with a certain initiatory instruction that accompanies this). We should discover an elemental reality where our etheric (as contrasted with astral) body is incorporated in a material universe that is more true than the qliphotic universe of that consensus reality, which belongs to the bulk of humanity. The electro-magnetic current in its vertical and horizontal dimensions should be observed, particularly as there is one coordinate where they intersect and where the self, the particular being that is the Probationer, is incarnated.

The Neophyte Oath has us gaining control of the nature and powers of this being. But what does that mean? Does that mean that we must become suddenly, masters of ourselves? No, it seems that would be rather absurd. We would not then be Neophytes, or even a Zelator on the successful attainment of such. But we would become Adepts, which tells us that this must mean something else entirely.

As in our Probationary period, we discovered experientially, an electro-magnetic, elemental dimension that incorporates a materialistic coagulation (or involution) of an etheric body, so now do we take one step further and begin to formulate the astral ‘body of light’. We then learn how to maneuver and manipulate the form of this body within that matrix that is called the ‘astral plane’. This certainly involves the four ‘Powers of the Sphinx’ and the alignment of one’s being with the energies now infusing the lower astral of our planet.

The Zelator Task is far more complicated in that one has to get to the foundations of one’s being. But what is that? It speaks to the very heart of the Aspiration as for the first time, from the position of Yesod, the Aspirant can clearly see Tiphareth and the goal of the Outer College of Our Order. Yet the distractions of Choronzon, which may light up with the ego imitating the role of the guru or holy man can easily dissuade us here, especially as it is the charge of the Zelator to be of service to the Order. And in the Astral Triad of which the Aspirant is now fully involved, the vacillations of being that is the work of the Practicus and the ‘attractions & repulsions’ of being that is the work of the Philosophus also come into one’s awareness. So one has the struggle to maintain the Aspiration and forge ahead despite the increased difficulty of the obstacles that one has run into.

This is a churning force that really adds meaning to the saying, ‘The greater the trials, the greater thy victory’. It is as if the Zelator simultaneously takes on the work of both the Practicus and Philosophus programs. Indeed, it seems almost impossible to separate them. So it makes sense that there is no minimum time limitation placed on these Grades as by the time the Aspirant can claim Practicus, he or she has already done much of the work of both this Grade and its succeeding Grade.

Having delivered oneself through the intense ardor of this Ordeal, one should have attained the Magickal power to directly fructify the Aspiration to a fevered pitch of intensity that is might cement the focus of one’s whole being to that Aspiration. This of course, is that, which is of the Oath of the Dominus Liminis. Then, but one task remains…finally, one takes the Oath of the Adeptus Minor and excluding all else, seeks directly to attain the Knowledge & Conversation of Thine Holy Guardian Angel.

In summation, the key point is in the developmental progression of the Oaths and the sincere resolve that one brings to force in carrying out these Oaths. The Tasks are the support structures that assist the Aspirant in fulfilling the obligation of having taken the Oaths. And most importantly, note that the Oaths taken by the Aspirant are to the Aspirant first and foremost, though in a few places, there is also the obligation to the Order…that invisible and Great White Brotherhood that remains in eternal service to the Initiation of all humanity.

“Love is the law, love under will”

Frater Zephyros

Descriptio de Ritu Minore Pentagrammae


Version 1.0
Sol 19* Gemini
Luna 0* Leo
An IVxiii 12:06

“Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it. Properly understood it is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.”—Aleister Crowley, footnote to ‘The Palace of the World’ in “The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley”, vol. I.


The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram1

I. The Qabalistic Cross

1. Touching the forehead, say Ateh (Unto Thee).
2. Touching the breast, say Malkuth (The Kingdom).
3. Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (and the Power).
4. Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory).
5. Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (to the Ages, Amen).

II. The Banishing of the Elements & the Invocation of the Archangels1.

1. Turning to the East, make a pentagram (that of Earth2) with the proper weapon (usually the Wand3). Say (e. vibrate) IHVH.4
2. Turning to the South, the same but say ADNI. 5
3. Turning to the West, the same but say EHIH. 6
4. Turning to the North, the same but say AGLA. 7

(Pronounce:  Ye-ho-wau, Adonai, Eheieh, Agla).8

5. Extending the arms in the form of a Cross, say,
6. Before me, Raphael;
7. Behind me, Gabriel;
8. On my right hand Michael;
9. On my left hand Auriel;
10. For about me flames the Pentagram,
11. And in the Column stands the six-rayed

  • Repeat I:1-5.


The Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram is perhaps the most often taught & used ritual of any kind in the Western Magical Tradition today. Performed as it should be, it utilizes most of the techniques that are the foundation of a large part of the Work in which any practicing magician is likely to engage.

It is the purpose of this paper to explore this ritual in some depth, concentrating not only on historical and technical details, but also on my own Work with the ritual over the years. I have kept analysis of the individual parts of the ritual to a minimum: Others, such as Bill Heidrick & the Ciceros9, have contributed  much in this area already. I do intend to go into my own feelings in some depth, since that is all that I really can teach about the ritual.


The present form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram originated (so far as is known) in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where it was given in the Neophyte 0=0 Knowledge Lecture. Earlier versions of parts of the ritual can be found in the writings of Éliphas Lévi10 & (according to some) in a Hebrew night prayer.

Although the ritual has both invoking & banishing forms, according to the direction in which the pentagrams are traced, it is usually the banishing form that is practiced the most, & with which I will primarily be concerned in this place.


“Banishing”, as a concept in Magick, goes back thousands of years. The Babylonian magician-healers (the Ashipu & Mashmashu) performed exorcisms of sorts & underwent a specific form of training.11 The general idea is that things as they are are haphazard & ‘impure’, so in order to begin any form of magical operation or meditation one’s environment should be purified, sterilized so to speak, so that only the purpose with which one has begun the operation or meditation can be invoked into one’s environment. To put it in more ‘New Age’ terms: Your aura needs to be cleansed before working any Magick.

A more modern view would be that one needs to be ‘centered’; i.e., before beginning any subjective working in which intense concentration is necessary one needs a method whereby one can become focused as a preliminary. Aleister Crowley cites a perfect example: “Sasaki Shigetsu tells us in his essay on Shinto that the Japanese are accustomed to clap their hands four times ‘to drive away evil spirits’. He explains that what really happens is that the sudden and sharp impact of the sound throws the mind into an alert activity which enables it to break loose from the obsession of the previous mood. It is aroused to apply itself aggressively to the ideals which had oppressed it.” 12 After prolonged use of the Pentagram Ritual one’s associations toward it in this direction can become strong & thus it can become a formidable tool to achieve the aforementioned state of mind.

To add to this, I quote here the explanatory material given in the Golden Dawn Neophyte 0=0 Knowledge Lecture:


  1. As a form of prayer the invoking13 ritual should be used in the morning, the banishing in the evening…
  2. As a protection against impure magnetism, the Banishing Ritual can be used to get rid of obsessing or disturbing thoughts. Give a mental image to your obsession and imagine it formulated before you. Project it out of your aura with the Saluting Sign of a Neophyte14, and when it is away about three feet, prevent its return with the Sign of Silence. 15

Now imagine the form in the East before you and do the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram to disintegrate it, seeing it, in your mind’s eye, dissolving on the further side of your ring of flame.

  1. It can be used as an exercise in concentration. Seated in meditation or lying down, formulate yourself standing up in robes and holding a dagger. Put your consciousness in this form and go to the Make yourself ‘feel’ there by touching the wall, opening your eyes, stamping on the floor, etc.

Begin the ritual and go round the room mentally vibrating the words and trying to feel them as coming from the form.

Finish in the East and try to see your results in the Astral Light, then walk back and stand behind the head of your body and let yourself be reabsorbed.” 16


Normally, the chosen weapon for this ritual (despite the fact that the A.’.A.’. instruction ‘Liber O’, from which section O is taken, indicates the Wand) is the Dagger.  There are quite good reasons for this.

In the Formula of Tetragrammaton, the Four Elemental Weapons are attributed as follows:17

Yod י – Wand – Fire – Chokmah – Will/Thelema
He ה – Cup – Water – Binah – Understanding/Agape
Vau ו – Dagger – Air – Tiphareth – Intellect/Reason
He ה – Pantacle – Earth – Malkuth – Bodily consciousness, etc

In the ceremony, especially that of banishing, the general idea is to separate, to divide oneself from all that is without. By its very nature, banishing firmly asserts that separateness. The nature of the Reason is also to separate, to divide this from that, A from B, Yin from Yang, etc., as opposed to the all-embracing nature of the Cup, the divine Understanding of Binah (Agape—also the Great Whore) which takes in all without discrimination, seeing ALL as ONE.

The Dagger, which should be double-edged in order to assert its function as ‘that which divides’, is thus the most logical 18 weapon for use in any banishing ritual. To show a parallel from a very different system, I quote from a Tibetan author: “The magic dagger, also called a vajra 19(S. vajrakila; T. rDo-rje phur-pa), is an important ritual tool in the tantric rites of Tibet. Its handle is a vajra and it has a three-edged blade… The dagger is used in Tibet for ritual exorcism and annihilation of harmful and demonic beings, and especially of serpent-spirits.” 20

In the system of the Golden Dawn, the Zelator Adeptus Minor 5=6 fashioned and consecrated a Sword attributed to Geburah (or Mars). Many confuse this with the Dagger yet it is a completely different implement with a completely different purpose.  Make the distinction between these two very clear in your mind.


The so-called “Qabalistic Cross”, which precedes and ends the ritual, goes back to antiquity & is primarily what I was referring to in section II. The attribution of the Sephiroth 21 to the parts of the body are given below:

Kether – Sahasrara

Binah – Right hemisphere
Chokmah – Left hemisphere                                                                   

Geburah – Right shoulder      
Chesed –
Left shoulder

(Daath) – Throat Visuddhi

Tiphareth – Heart – Anahata

Hod – Right hip 
Netzach – Left hip
Yesod – Genitals – Svadistthana

Malkuth – Feet – Muladhara

Going back to section O (I: 1-5), we begin by touching the forehead (Kether) and vibrating AThH22  (pron. ‘AH-TAH) which means ‘unto Thee’ 23, touch the heart 24 & vibrate MLKVTh 25 (pron. ‘MAHL-KOOTH’), which means  ‘the  Kingdom’. Touch the right shoulder & vibrate VGBVRH 26 (pron. ‘VUH-G’VOORAH’), which means ‘& the Power’, touch the left shoulder & vibrate VGDVLH27 (pron. ‘VUH- G’DOOLAH’), which means ‘& the Glory’.

Clasp the hands over the heart & vibrate LOVLM 28, (pron. ‘LUH-OHLAHM’), Amen 29 (Ah-Mayn).

Not only does this simple rite affirm one as a Microcosm 30, it activates certain Sephiroth/Chakras within the ‘subtle body’ of the operator.

The difference between this & the ‘regular’ Christian Cross is that the left & right points are reversed: God, or rather one’s own divinity, is seen as outside oneself, rather than as oneself. This represents a vast change in the way in which one’s place in the Universe is seen.  Consider what the Hindus mean by ‘Namaste’.

As a Probationer 0=0 of A∴A∴ 31 I was taught to bypass the heart and intone Malkuth at the ‘phallus’ or genital area. This makes more sense as this asserts the Yesod-center & continues downward to the feet & thus the Malkuth-center. A counterpart  was  also  given  to  me  when I took the I° of Ordo Templi Orientis (‘Caliphate’) in which I was taught the same but before continuing to the Yesod- center to pause at the heart & intone ‘Aiwass’. This I’ve found myself unable to do for personal reasons but others might find the information useful. I personally feel that one should wait until one has been communicated a name by one’s own Holy Guardian Angel, rather than Crowley’s, but opinions are like assholes…

Traditionally, at each point one visualizes a brilliant white sphere of Light, with each passing from one to the other forming a great Calvary Cross upon the Operator extending from the forehead to the feet, and from shoulder to shoulder. 32


The first thing one notices (or at least the first thing I noticed!) is that the Four Quarters (i.e., North, South, East, West) are attributed to the Four Elements of antiquity in this ritual.  Why should a banishing ritual focus on the Four Elements?

The answer is simple: Everything conceivable can be attributed to these Four. For example, the Four Elements can be conceived as an extension of the the Three Qualities (Sulphur, Mercury, & Salt) of the Alchemists or the Three Gunas of Hinduism 33(Rajas, Sattva, Tamas). Or, to put it Qabalistically, IHV extended to IHVH. 34

The Signs of the Zodiac, the cards of the Tarot, the planets—virtually all things can be reduced to these Four in some way.35 Thus banishing only these Four can include all that is!

The Fifth is the ‘Element’ of “Spirit”, which seems to interpenetrate & bind the other Four together36. In the Hindu system we have the Four Tattwas37with a Fifth, ‘Akasha’, that seems to serve the same function. In the Qabalistic system they are as follows:

Spirit – Akasha – Tiphareth – ש
Fire – Tejas – Netzach – י
Water – Apas – Hod – ה
Air – Vayu – Yesod – ו
Earth – Prithivi – Malkuth38 –  ה

What happens is this: Beginning in the East the Operator banishes the Element of Air. He then turns to the South, which is deosil, or clockwise. But why? Isn’t this the traditional direction for invoking? Yet we see that first he invokes the ‘Archangel’ Raphael by vibrating the corresponding Divine Name IHVH39 He banishes by the form of pentagram chosen, yet invokes by the direction taken afterwards. This is supported by Jung: “… a leftward movement indicates movement towards the unconscious, while a rightward (clockwise) movement goes toward consciousness.” 40


According to Crowley41, one is supposed to be standing at the intersection of the Paths of Samekh (ס) & Pe(פ)42facing Tiphareth. This puts Tiphareth before you, Yesod behind you, Netzach on your right hand, & Hod on your left. You are facing East.

Or at least, that is how it seems. We must remember from section V that the old method of viewing the Tree of Life was just as we look at it on paper: The Universe is apart from us; yet instead a mirror-image as it were it is applied to ourselves: For example, Geburah is on our right shoulder, not the left, & so on. Thus, though Tiphareth is still before us & Yesod behind us, Hod is on our right, & with its Mercurial nature might be said to imply the fluidity, the very changeability, of Fire; & on your left is the Sephirah Netzach, to which is attributed Venus, the Goddess of Love. Germination stems from the consummation of that Love, & (to me) this implies Ceres or Demeter, Goddesses of the Earth. Yesod, of course, is attributed to the Moon which in old legends was said to shed dew at night, plus it controls the tides:  Thus Water.

To Tiphareth is attributed the Vau of Tetragrammaton43, or Air. 44 In the East the Operator traces the pentagram & vibrates 45 the Divine Name IHVH, at the same time visualizing strongly the ‘Archangel’ Raphael vast & far in the distance. Keeping the point of the Dagger in the center of the Pentagram, he traces a line around to the South, where he vibrates the Divine Name ADNI, at which time the Archangel Michael appears. He continues to the West, doing the same but vibrating the Divine Name AHIH, seeing Gabriel, & on to the North where he vibrates AGLA & sees Uriel 46, returning to the East. What is left is a circle of Light studded at the Four Quarters with blazing Pentagrams, while off in the distance, vast & forbidding, are the figures of the Archangels. The attributions of the Archangels are due to tradition & may be found in “The Golden Dawn” 47  as well as “777”. 48

The Operator provides the center of the Circle, &, as Jung 49 says regarding the point which is the center of the circle: “The point is most akin to the nature of light, and light is a simulacrum Dei.” 50 Remember, too, that the ancient Alchemical symbol of the Sun was a point within a Circle. 51

The Formula of Vibration may be found in ‘Liber O’ as well as in “The Golden Dawn”.


After the banishing of the Elements & the Vibration of the Divine Names, the Operator vocalizes aloud the appearance of the Archangels. This acts as a formal statement that he has achieved his purpose. Yet this sets into action another process: By the formation of the Circle & the formulation of the Pentagrams is created an infinite Column 52 extending above & below. The Circle in which he stands now forms the perimeter of a Hexagram in the Center of which he stands. 53 

He then repeats the Qabalistic Cross 54, but this time it is not a statement of intention but a statement of achievement: In this case it is actualized, rather than purposed. 


Throughout this essay I have tried to stick primarily with the usual instructions given to those new to this ritual; instructions which the magician is expected to build upon on his or her own. Yet I can really only advise on that which stems from my own experience, not that of others. Therefore I have decided to give a few pointers from my own experience, which goes back about 10 or 11 years at the time of this writing.

I’ve thought for some time that at the ‘Kether-point’, when one intones ‘AThH’, that perhaps on an advanced level one might should instead use the Divine Name ‘AHIH’, which is the Hebrew for “I am”. This implies  an identification between one & one’s Holy Guardian Angel. This is only a thought, & one which perhaps others might wish to carry further.

Also, I usually visualize a brilliant white sphere at the Kether center, a purple one at the Yesod center, a green one at Malkuth, a red one at Geburah, a blue one at Chesed, & finally, on this great Calvary Cross pointed with colored spheres of Light at its various points, composed itself of very brilliant white Light, there blooms a Rose at the center where one intones ‘Le-Olahm, Amen’.

As for the Divine Names, I’ve come to approach this in my own way as well: I’ve noticed that each is composed of four Hebrew letters. There is a way to pronounce these that makes each have three syllables, which is again a way of stating that which was discussed in section VI. IHVH I pronounce as ‘Yeh-ho-wah’; ADNI as ‘Ah-doh-naee’; AHIH as ‘Eh-heh-yeh’; & AGLA as ‘Ah-guh-lah’. We thus come back to the Four stemming from the Three: Divine Names of four  letters pronounced with three syllables each. 

There are many ways to visualize the Archangels. Some make a ‘picture’ using Yetziratic 55 correspondences from the Qabalah, some just see giant figures, etc. For myself, I tend to visualize them as vast, towering, figures, robed in the traditional color ascribed to the Element. The termination ‘AL’ I take to be great Wings behind them, & in the left hand of each a set of scales. 56 In their right hand they hold the Elemental Weapon appropriate. Thus Raphael has yellow robes with a great Sword, Michael red robes with Wand, Gabriel blue with Cup, and Uriel black (sometimes green) with a Disk. 

The matter of Vibration is more complex. In the First Knowledge Lecture given to the Neophyte of the Golden Dawn it says “The NAMES should be pronounced inwardly in the breath vibrating it as much as possible and feeling that the whole body throbs with the sound and send out a wave of vibration directed to the ends of the quarter.” This is only a preliminary instruction. The full formula wasn’t given until the Zelator Adeptus Minor 5=6 grade in an explanatory lecture on the Neophyte ceremony called “Z.1” 57. It states:

“Let the Adept, standing upright, his arms stretched out in the form of a Calvary Cross, vibrate a Divine Name, bringing with the formulation thereof a deep inspiration into the lungs. Let him retain the breath, mentally pronouncing the Name in his Heart, so as to combine it with the forces he desires to awake thereby; thence sending it downwards through his body past Yesod, but not resting there, but taking his physical life for a material basis, send it into his feet. There he shall again momentarily formulate the Name—then, bringing it rushing upwards into the lungs, thence shall he breathe it forth strongly, while vibrating that Divine Name. He will send his breath steadily forward into the Universe so as to awake the corresponding forces of the Name in the Outer World. Standing with arms out in the form of a Cross, when the breath has been imaginatively sent to the feet and back, bring the arms forward in ‘The Sign of the Enterer’58 while vibrating the Name out into the Universe. On completing this, make the ‘Sign of Silence’ 59 and remain still, contemplating the Force you have invoked.

This is the secret traditional mode of pronouncing the Divine Names by vibration, but let the Adept beware that he applies it only to the Divine Names of the Gods. If he does this thing ignorantly in working with Elemental or Demonic Names, he may bring into himself terrible force of Evil and Obsession. The Method described is called ‘The Vibratory Formula of the Middle Pillar’.” 60 

This implies that ONLY the Divine Names of the Quarters are to be vibrated in this manner (should you choose to utilize it) while the Names of the Archangels, etc., are to be vibrated in the ordinary manner. 


Thus far concerning the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. In the Golden Dawn another, more complex ritual called the Greater Ritual of the Pentagram was given, for the specific invocation of the Elements, or to invoke or banish Zodiacal Signs according to which triplicity they belonged.61 Another, one might say “higher frequency”, all-purpose banishing pentagram ritual was written by Aleister Crowley for the A∴A∴ entitled ‘Liber XXV: The Star Ruby’, of which there are two forms: An earlier & a later.62

Another, more controversial, pentagram ritual is also an ins A∴A∴ instruction: ‘Liber V vel Reguli’.  On this I have no comment at the moment.

The impact of this ritual is great, going even into the Neo-pagan community in some form or another. Once adopted & used for any amount of time, it is unlikely you will ever cease to find something new. I nearly always come away with a more profound understanding of this wonderful rite, as of myself. 63    


“The Law is for All”, by Aleister Crowley “The Holy Books of Thelema”
“The Equinox III:10”
“The Equinox IV:1 Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers” “The Equinox IV:2 The Vision and the Voice”
“Liber Aleph: The Book of Wisdom or Folly”
“Magick: Liber ABA, Book IV”, by Aleister Crowley, et al.

1 From ‘Liber O’, in “Magick”, by A. Crowley, app.VII (Weiser, 1994)
2 Drawn from the lower left-hand point roughly at the left hip upwards to the very top at roughly the forehead (arm extended to the utmost either with the Weapon or the Ficus, which is the thumb between the index & second fingers) & on around until you return to the original point. The Pentagrams should be visualized in brilliant white Light.
3 See section IV.
יהוה 4
אדני 5
אהיה 6
אגלא 7
8 See section V.
9 “The Middle Pillar”, by Israel Regardie, ed. Chic & Sandra T. Cicero, part 2, chap. 9 (Llewellyn, 1998)
10 “Transcendental Magic”, by Eliphas Levi, trans. A. E. Waite, part 2, chap. 4 (Weiser, 1992)
11 See “The Greatness that was Babylon”, by H. W. F. Saggs (Mentor, 1968)
12 “Magick”, by A. Crowley, part 3, chap. X (Weiser, 1994)
13 Begin from the top point, going counterclockwise to the lower left-hand point, etc.  See note 2.
14 “…advance the left foot about 12 inches, throw forward the body, and let the hands (drawn back to the side of the eyes) shoot out, so that you are in the typical position of the God Horus…”,, A. Crowley; see note 1.
15 Stand straight up, placing the right forefinger on the lips—the God Harpocrates, the passive form of Horus.
16 “First Knowledge Lecture” in “The Golden Dawn”, ed. Israel Regardie (Llewellyn, 1992). Some of the ‘Flying Rolls’ published in “Ritual Magic of the Golden Dawn”, ed. Francis King (Destiny, 1997) might also prove useful. 17 Here it is assumed, for practical reasons, that the reader has some knowledge of the Qabalah.
18 No pun intended!
19 San., “Lightning Bolt”; the Tibetan equivalent is ‘Dorje’, & this was also the name of a ritual tool in itself.
20 Detlef Ingo Lauf, “Secret Doctrines of the Tibetan Book of the Dead”, trans. Graham Parkes, III:2:G (Shambhala, 1977).
21 See note 17.  There are also correspondences from Kundalini-Yoga given here.
22 אתה
23 See section IX.
24 See below.
מלכות 25
וגבורה 26
וגדולה 27
לעולם 28
29 אמן
30  See note 17.
31 In the Gunther/Breeze/Starr lineage, accepted by the ‘Caliphate’ O.T.O. as the only legitimate A.’.A.’. lineage.
32 See section IX.
33 See the “Bhagavad-Gita” chap. XIV; also “The Serpent Power”, by Arthur Avalon, Intro., chap. III (Dover, 1974). For the Three “Qualities” or “Principles” of the Alchemists see Regardie, ibid., “Second Knowledge Lecture”, as
well as Alchemical literature in general such as is to be found in “Collectanea Hermetica”, ed. W. W. Westcott (Weiser, 1998).  The Alchemical writings of C. G. Jung are also of immense value.
34 See Jung regarding “the Axiom of Maria Prophetissa”, passim.
35 See Regardie, ibid., “First”, “Second”, & “Third Knowledge Lectures”; as well as “Three Books of Occult Philosophy” by Henry Cornelius Agrippa [1531], trans. James Freake, ed. Donald Tyson, app. III (Llewellyn, 1993). 36 There is much on this given in the grade of S. in O.Z.I.
37 See Avalon, ibid., as well as Regardie, ibid., “Vol. IV, Book 7:  Tattwas of the Eastern School”.
38 See note 17.
39 See section IX.
40 “Mandala Symbolism”, by C. G. Jung, ‘A Study in the Process of Individuation’ ,trans. R.F.C. Hull (Princeton/Bollingen, 1972). In my own words, widdershins = banish, or make less conscious; deosil = invoke, or bring into consciousness.
41 “Notes on the Ritual of the Pentagram”, by A. Crowley; private O.T.O. material; published in “The Magick of Thelema”, by Lon Milo DuQuette IX* (Weiser, 1993).
42 Refer to the Tree of Life diagram in section V throughout this explanation.
43 See section IV.
44 There is an apparent contradiction here with the above table. The Qabalah has reasons (usually) for its inconsistencies, which usually are due to context & the application of its correspondences.
45 The technique of ‘Vibration’ will be dealt with in section IX.
46 The proper spellings of the Names of the Archangels are as follows, in the order they occur near the end of the ritual: רפאל, גבריאל, מיכאל, אוריאל. Notice that the Archangels representing the Active Elements of Air & Fire end in אל (pron. ‘AIL’) while those of the Passives end in יאל. Could there be a reason for this? אל is the God-name of Chesed, the paternalistic, male-oriented Sephirah attributed to Jupiter, the Father. יאל is 41, אם (pron. as in Eng. ‘aim’), the Mother (Or even ‘MA’ as a recurrent phoneme for ‘mother’ throughout the majority of Indo-European languages—Sanskrit mâtâ, Greek μητηρ, Latin mater, Gaelic màthair, etc.; see also the ‘Indo-European Roots Appendix’ to “The American Heritage College Dictionary”, Third Edition (Houghton-Mifflin, 1993) under the entry ‘māter-‘.  Even non-Indo-European tongues seem to have this:  Note Ancient Egyptian ‘muθ’). אל, moreover, in its pronunciation as ‘el’, is a Biblical Hebrew preposition meaning ‘to, towards’—giving the idea of projection which is certainly an ‘active’ concept.  Pronounced as ‘al’ it can serve as a preposition meaning ‘no, not’, the same as the word לא (pron. ‘loh’), meaning the same thing. See “Teach Yourself Biblical Hebrew”, by R. K. Harrison (NTC, 1993).
47 Regardie, ibid. “Fifth Knowledge Lecture”.
48 “777 & Other Qabalistic Writings”, A. Crowley, (Weiser, 1993), Table II, Col. LIX.
49 ‘Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon’, chap. 2, section F, in “Alchemical Studies”, trans. R. F. C. Hull (Bollingen/Princeton, 1983).
50 Lat.,”Image of God”.
51 A. Crowley hypothesized that this was the original form of the Greek letter Theta θ, equivalent to the Hebrew letter Teth ט, both of which are attributed to Atu XI, ‘Lust’, in the Tarot.
52 The Mahalingam?
53 “It flames both above & beneath the magus, who is thus in a cube of 4 pentagrams and 2 hexagrams, 32 points in all.  And 32 is אהיהוה , the sacred word that expresses the Unity of the Highest and the Human.”—Crowley, ‘The Palace of the World’, in “The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley” (Yogi, 1905).
54 See section V.
55  See note 17.
56 A = א = Air = Wings; L = ל =Libra = Scales.
57 Regardie, ibid., Book V.
58  See note 14.
59  See note 15.
60  See note 57.  All italics in original.  See also note 1.
61 In the A.’.A.’. the invocation & banishing of Zodiacal Signs was relegated to the Hexagram Ritual, being Macrocosmic.
62 There is, at the time of this writing, a paper on this ritual in preparation.
63 See “Liber Aleph”, chap. 108, A. Crowley (Weiser, 1992).

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. (http://www.koyotetheblind.com/ox-and-none-clerk-house)  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


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 VII.vi.27 – 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 VII.vi.50 “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 VII.vi.27
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 VII.vi.17 “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