What Tattvas Are & Uses for the Aspirant

There is a theory that Solar Prana vibrates through the universe from the sun by way of the etheric current. Think of this current as an electrical wire that can carry all kinds of messages from pure power for appliances to sophisticated voice and computer signals. Faith is not something that is required; all you need to do is to begin to use the etheric current and test it in a scientific manner. With experience you can verify its existence and learn about its capacities.

The Tattwas represent a westernization of the Hindu theory of the elements. They represent a synthesis of western and eastern ideas about the mystic elements in the Western Mystery Schools. Your Tattwa cards will prove useful in showing you some of the facets of Solar Prana as it is carried through the etheric current. As well, these cards will prepare you for the more advanced visualization exercises that the student will become involved with when learning the Tarot later on.

But first, let’s examine a working theory in order to better describe exactly what Solar Prana is, and its relationship to the Tattwas. For starters, lets travel to the beginnings of what is to become our galaxy. Now imagine the existence of a formless cloud. If you are already familiar with the Qabalah, this can be equivocated with Kether on the Tree of Life. This is a cloud that contains the potential for all that will exist and is called AKASA.

As this scattered cloud begins to contract, it will begin to whirl. The ‘matter’ will start to move in a fashion as if blown by some etheric or solar wind. The spirit that is AKASA is stirring in its wholly inorganic state and pushing itself to maneuver from an unmanifested state; eventually towards a state of manifestation. This whirling is an airlike quality that is referred to as VAYU.

Now, these particles, in their whirling have formed a Nebula. And as they co‑exist, they each react to the magnetic pulse of the surrounding particles. This increases, not only the intensity of the whirling; pushing it into a feverish and frenzied state, but the increase in friction between each magnetic particle creates a potent heat. This heat rises in temperature to a point of incandescent luminosity and a raging fire breaks out. This condition is known as TEJAS.

When this Nebula reaches its climax of motion, it will then begin to slow down; thereby producing a cooling off in temperature. Along with this, the Nebula will coagulate into a fluid like substance; still hot and molten, like the lava of a volcano or moreover, the lava that once covered this planet that still remains hot at the center of this planet. This watery phase is known as APAS.

The final stage is reached when it cools completely. It will then solidify and form a large mass such as our own planet earth. Here the original primordial substance is manifested and moving at its slowest rate of vibration. As well, it is in its most dense form. The particles are dense and close together; tightly wound into complex molecular structures. This is the manifestation that was originally sought; and in the Qabalah it is known as the tenth sephirah called the Kingdom. In the Tattwa system, it is referred to as PRITHIVI.

From what has been delineated above, the Tattwas could be said to be modalities of matter as it transitions from the primordial and unmanifested state into the finite and manifested state. These are the elemental conditions of being (and non being) that serve not only as points of reference for the development of material substances, but are the base substances which the Prana acts through. However, this paradigm but can be empirically applied to the immaterial, as well such as conditions of the soul or functions of the personality.

A study of these same ancient Greek elements would be advisable. The student will note that there are only four elements in the Greek system as compared to the five of the Tattwas. But in actuality, fire in the Greek system does the double duty of taking on the Spiritual qualities as AKASA does in the Tattwa system. The Tattwas being eastern and Hindu in origin do not necessarily represent a divergence from the western model, however. If the student examines the five points of the Pentagram, note that the four bottom points represent the four Greek elements and the top point represents those four elements being ruled by Spirit. Therefore, it is only a matter of perspective as to whether or not Spirit is to actually be considered an element.

Up to this point we have discussed the five Tattwas in their course of existence. To summarize more succinctly the Tattwas, they are listed as follows; showing their geometric representation:

Akasa Spirit Black Egg
Tejas Fire Red Triangle
Apas Water Silver Crescent
Vayu Air Blue Circle
Prithivi Earth Yellow Square

The five principal tattwa cards denote these symbols. The prana is evendenced by the human breath which is referred to as Swara. This prana either comes directly from the sun (IDA) or indirectly fromt he moon (PINGALA). And the neutral point of rest betwen the two is referred to as Susumna which relates directly to the human spinal column. Therefore, the IDA is in the left side of the body and the PINGALA is in the right side.

Now the Tattwas break down into sub elements which correspond to the remaining cards in the Tattwa deck. This is listed as follows:

Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Tejas of Akasa of Akasa of Akasa of Akasa of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Apas of Apas of Tejas of Tejas of Tejas of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Vayu of Vayu of Vayu of Apas of Apas of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi
Prithivi of Prithivi of Prithivi of Prithivi of Vayu of
Akasa Tejas Apas Vayu Prithivi

Note that sub elements such as Apas of Vayu and Vayu of Apas are not identical. The former represents the watery qualities of air and the latter represents the airy qualities of water. In that way, the former is a silver crescent within a blue circle and the latter is a blue circle within a silver crescent. So you can see that even from a visual point of view, there is a dramatic difference.

What these Tattwas delineate is the idea that for the Hindus, reality is composed of five sets of five categories of phenomena. They are as follows:

The Preternatural Pentad:

Purusa (the transcendent self)
Prakrti (natural characteristics; animal nature)
Buddhi (intellect)
Ahamkara (ego)
Manas (mind)

These are the main five with the next four parallel pentads interacting with and interpenetrating each other. These are:

The Five Buddhindriyas: Sense capacities; hearing, seeing smelling, feeling, tasting
The Five Karmendriyas: Action capacities: speaking, grasping, walking, excreting, generating
The Five Tanmatras: Subtle elements; sound, touch, form, taste, smell
The five Mahabhutas: Gross elements; ether, air, fire, water, earth


The beginning student should endeavor to memorize the cards as efficiently as possible. The first use for your Tattwa deck can be as flash cards. The student should endeavor to open the deck to any card and be able to instantly call out the name of the card, denoting both the Hindu title and the corresponding element or sub element. After this is mastered, then the student can proceed with the next exercize. But note that a new vocabulary has been established in both word and visual image.

Next, note that there is a twenty sixth card in the deck of Tattwas and it is a blank white card. This is to be used for the following exercize: Start with one of the major elemental shapes; it is recommended that you start with the shape and color that most appeals to you initially. Sit under a comfortable lamp perhaps in a favorite chair. In one hand, hold the Tattwa card of choice, and in the other the blank, white card.

Stare at the Tattwa card. Allow the eyes to dry up and begin to play tricks on you. When you have reached this subtle state of visual exhaustion, quickly transfer your eyes to the blank white card in your other hand. You may want to actually maneuver that card to cover up the Tattwa card; thus aiding in your concentration. What are you now seeing? What you should be seeing is the astral complement of the color of the Tattwa card. The astral complements are listed, for your convenience, as follows:

Material Astral
Element Tattwa Color Complement
Spirit Akasa Black White
Fire Tejas Red Green
Water Apas Silver Black
Air Vayu Blue Orange
Earth Prithivi Yellow Purple

To further your work in this exercize, you should then practice on taking the Material Colors of the Tattwas and focusing on seeing them with your inner eye. Again, sit in a comfortable chair, or in an asana with your eyes closed. Focus on your memory of the particular Tattwa that you are working with and try to see it in front of you. You may also want to practice on making it larger or smaller.

The next step in visualization is to place the Tattwas in the body. For this, it is necessary to learn about the centers of energy in the body. These centers exist along the path of the Susumna and are called Chakkras.

Spend time visualizing these Chakkras. There is a simple exercize to assist in this effort. It will prepare you for the more Middle Pillar Exercise and will sensitize you to the presence and nature of the Chakkras.


The Swara are the ten principle nerves throughout the body. These nerves are the ten principle manifestations of the Swara within which the Vayus move. The ten Vayus are as follows:

1. Prana in the breast.
2. Apana about the excretory organs.
3. Samana in the navel.
4. Udana middle of the throat.
5. Vyana pervading the whole body.
6. Kurmana the eyes, helping them open.
7. Kirkala in the stomach, producing hunger.
8. Nag whence comes vomiting.
9. Devadatta causes yawning.
10. Dhananjaya that which does not leav the body after death.

These Vayus are the regulators of the body and are active in all ten principle nerves. Their proper functioning preserves the health of the body. The key to the ten nerves is found in working the Prana Vayu.

Solar Prana

The Solar Prana is under the influence of Swara and hence the breath. It is said that the Swara is the breath of the universe or its soul and spirit. It appears in positive, negative and centered modes corresponding to the nerves and the right, left and center (spine) of the body. The positive breath which corresponds to the nerves on the right side of the body is called Pingala. The negative breath which corresponds to the nerves on the left side of the body is called Ida. And the centered point of rest between breaths is called Susumna.

The Prana breaths are organized into units or intervals of time called Gharis. During any particular Ghari, the breath may be in Pingala, Ida, or Susumna. The way to determine this is to first be in good health. Then draw the breath with a quick inspiration. If it is felt in the right nostril, then the prana is in Pingala. Please note that your health is vital in making such a determination. Should you have a head cold, this will certainly intefere with the free flow of your breath.

The course of each Ghari is determined by the moon. On the first sunrise after the new moon, the cycle is begun. Here, the prana is in Ida or the left nostril for two hours. This alternates with the Pingala and the breath in the right nostril for the next two hours. Now, the last ten minutes of the Ida Ghari up through the first ten minutes of the Pingala Ghari is where the Susumna breath (both nostrils) occurs. This entire cycle continues for three days.

At sunrise on the fourth day, the first Ghari is in Pingala and alternates from there for three more days. Then, at the sunrise of the seventh day, it starts again, with Ida. Notice that the end of each three day period, the prana is in the same Ghari as it will be at the start of the next three day period. This all proceeds until the sunrise following the full moon. Here, the first Ghari is Pingala and continues as outlined until the sunrise after the new moon.

During each Ghari, the five tattwas are active in succeeding order; starting with Akasa for a period of twenty minutes each. The forder is as follws:


Each subtattwa comes into course for four minutes of the twenty minute cycle. Thus for Akasa it is as follows:

Akasa of Akasa
Vayu of Akasa
Tejas of Akasa
Apas of Akasa
Prithivi of Akasa
Timing the Gharis

Don’t despair that calculating which Ghari and Tattwa in course may be too complicated. Of course, you could create a chart using an ephemeris and calendar. However, a more interesting method does exist.

To determine which Tattwa is in course at the moment, place five small marbles, each painted with one of the five colors of the Tattwas, into a small pouch. Draw out the marbles blindly. This should be the same color as the Tattwa that is presently in course.

If that does not satisfy you, there is another method. Instead, close your eyes and wait to see a color in the darkness. The first color that you see should be the Tattwa in course. With practice, your sensitivity will increase. Then you can percieve the phsical effects of the Tattwa in operation. They are as follows:

Vayu A feeling of restlessness;
Tejas Warmth and energy;
Apas A cold phlegmatic sensation;
Prithivi Steadiness and solid strength;
Akasa is spirit and has no physical effects.

You can use your breath to determine your actions in any given situation. For example, for all activities demanding energy, these should be performed during the sun breath (Pingala) and the corresponding Tattwa. All activities of imagination or a receptive nature will prosper under the moon breath (Ida) and again, the appropriate Tattwa.

Mastering the Tattwas

Eventually, the serious student can forecast the future with the Tattwas. You can also learn to command nature with the visible world before your eyes. During the day, sit on an easy chair and fix your eyes on the sky with your mind withdrawn from all external things. At first, you will see the watery vapour in the atmosphere. Eventually, with practice over time, you will see different sorts of buildings in the air. This is the first success you are looking for.

After this, you will see different Tattwic colors in the sky. To test this, close your eyes and compare what you see in the sky to what you see when you close your eyes. (Refer to the Tattwa visualization exercise given above). When these both correspond, this is the second success that you are looking for.

During the night, wait till all is calm, rising about 2:00am. There is a special holiness in the stars at this hour and the sleeping world is in silent rapture. Wash your hands, feet, the crown of your head, and hte nape of your neck with cold water.

Assume your asana from your Yoga practice and meditate on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. Discover the Tattwa in course at this time. When that is discovered, vibrate the appropriate corresponding mantra. These are as follows:

Akasa HAM
Vayu VAM
Tejas PAM
Apas RAM
Prithivi LAM

When this third success is achieved, you will now have the tools to prevent and cure disease as you have achieved the proper regulation of the Swara of the body. This is an excellent command to hold over nature!

Divination with the Tattwas

To use the Tattwas for divination, you must first ask a question and determine which Tattwa is in course. If the Tattwa in course is Prithivi then the question should pertain to mundane affairs. If in Apas, then the question should be an emotional issue. If in Tejas, then gain or loss should be involved in the issue. And if it is Akasa, then the issue is not really that important. There is however, another more important issue in this event. And if it is in Vayu then the querent seeks knowledge that may require a journey to a distant place.

Next, determine which nostril the breath is flowing through and which fortnight of the moon is in course. Also determine whether the number of the day is odd or even and which direction it is that you are facing.

If the breath is in Ida, the following synchronicities must be met for the success of the question:

o Bright fortnight ‑ Waning moon
o The day is even numbered
o You must be facing East or North

If the breath is in Pingala, then the opposite synchronicites must be present:

o Dark fortnight Waxing moon
o The day is odd numbered
o You must be facing West or South

Any mixture of these shows mixed results in success of the matter and of course, the complete lack of any synchronicites assures failure. From here, trust your intuition to develop your perception of the matter at hand.

The Winds of Wisdom



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frater Orpheus

The Holy Books of Thelema




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

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

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

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

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


Detail of the new edition


The new edition next to the original from 1909

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


The three formats: Vellum, Emerald and Sapphire

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

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

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


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




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



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


Frater Orpheus

The Golden Flower



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

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

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

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

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

Frater Orpheus

You can order this book here…


Notes on the Publication of Liber OZ

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

Liber OZ,* which Crowley initially referred to as the “War Aims of the new Aeon”, was compiled over several months in the latter part of 1941 and during the second World War.  This Proclamation of Man’s rights, drew almost entirely from two previously written sources; Liber AL vel Legis and the rituals of the Ordo Templi Orientis.

With the war raging in Europe, Crowley was confronted with Man’s need for change and desperately wanted to tear down the barriers of old aeonic thinking.  With OZ, he was able to focus the full force of his Magical intent towards this end.  To Crowley, OZ was one of several propaganda pieces he would produce in efforts to aid the war; but it was also a Magical talismans written with the explicit purpose of causing change in the world – and in direct response to conditions Crowley viewed as tyrannical or oppressive in nature.  It’s a Magical proclamation expounding upon the Law of Thelema with the aim of guiding humanity forward, and Crowley believed, provided a practical code of ethics for all Thelemites.

Astrology chart presented to Mortlake.

Crowley completed his first full draft on the morning of October 10, 1941 and then decided to share it with Gerald Yorke, Harold Mortlake, and Robert Cecil- the latter while chatting with him at the Masons Arms, a pub not far from where Crowley lived. Mortlake was a friend of Gerald Yorke and a local bookseller. Crowley recorded in his journal that all three “highly approved” of War Aims and that Cecil and he shared “a very pleasant talk, all too short.”  Crowley, who often prepared charts for acquaintances, later presented Mortlake with a chart penned on the obverse side of an early OZ printer proof.

A month later, on the 15th of December, Crowley wrote to his dear friend, Louis Wilkinson: “…it has been rather fun preparing Liber LXXVII: the Book of the Goat. I am so absorbed into my own spiritual blotting – paper (queer usage, but somehow it seems apt!) that the publication of this Manifesto—I thought of calling it goat’s Milk, with a glance in your direction—may amount to a Magical Gesture.  I could ensure this, I suppose, by doing something idiotic in public at the moment of the Solstice.  Well, well, if it does count as a gesture, we may look for a bloody great Revolution of some sort at the Autumnal Equinox.”

Crowley issued Liber OZ on the morning of December 21, 1941 during the Winter Solstice.  He recorded the names of the first eleven recipients, each a leader in their particular industry. These were: 1) Literature – H.G. Wells, 2) Peerage & Press & Air – Lord Edward Donegal, 3) Medicine – Ivor Back, 4) Art – G.F. Kelly, 5) Army – General Fuller, 6) Navy – Sir R Keyes, 7) Agriculture – FW Hylton, 8) Law – Lord Maugham, 9) Church – Vicar of St. George, 10) Trade – Allchild, 11) BBC and Stage – Esme Percy. Crowley records the exact time that he mailed this first batch of 11 as “9¾ AM”. It wasn’t unprecedented for Crowley to record who received the first copies of his latest publication; This was, in fact – somewhat common.  However, the early copies were usually reserved for members of the A∴ A∴, O.T.O. or close associates.  But, in this case Crowley purposely chose influential individuals throughout society, waited for the proper Magical moment and recorded the exact time of issuance. By distributing OZ in this manner Crowley was planting seeds, to what he hoped would be, “a bloody great Revolution.”

There were two versions of the first edition of OZ issued.  Both printed by Apex Printing and identical in every way, save that one featured a picture of the Devil Atu and the other, that of the Aeon. 300 in total were printed, (50 Devil and 250 of the Aeon).  It was a single sheet of paper, printed on both sides measuring 7 1/2″ x 4 3/4”. Formally “Published by the O.T.O. at the Abbey of Thelema, Rainbow Valley, Palomar Mountains, California.  And at Hanover Square, London, W.1. An lxv Sol in O° Capricornus”.  Both versions are printed in a dark blue hue which matched the print on the obverse side.  These cards were also the first official publication of any of the Thoth deck’s images.

We have attached color scans (verso & recto) of both versions; note the error in line two where the letter L in the word “Law” should be capitalized – unfortunately this error was repeated on all editions of OZ published by Crowley and has subsequently made its way into several modern editions.  I should also point out that in the first line of section 2 the word “the” is repeated.  However this error is limited to just the early English editions or copies thereof. (see image below for the 1st English edition)

The first American edition was published by W. T. Smith out of Los Angeles, California; and though printed sometime around February 1st of 1942, it bears the same date as the first English edition which has caused some confusion among collectors who at times mistake Smith’s edition for the first edition. Fortunately, they are distinguishable in every other regard. (see images below for the 1st American edition)

Throughout this period a social experiment known as the Mass Observation project became somewhat of a cultural fad in England.  Beginning in 1937, it was a research project whose goal was to record the everyday life and thoughts of the common citizen and was at its peak of popularity during the second world war.  Hundreds volunteered their time and effort to poll their fellow citizens, recording their thoughts on a wide variety of issues. Others agreed to keep a daily journal for the sake of the project.  Everything from bathroom behavior to sexual proclivities, etc., was examined, polled and tabulated.  The published results fascinated the British people and today this vast archive of film, pictures, journals, and interviews is housed at the University in Sussex, England.  Crowley, ever the opportunist, seized the occasion to piggy-back on the project’s success and encouraged initiates to hit the streets and poll the general populace’s response to Liber OZ and report back to him their findings.  He also encouraged them to post copies around town, nailing them “to church and town hall doors” – from here stems the tradition of sharing OZ while engaging others in conversation regarding the Law of Thelema.

                   Liber OZ; The Oriflamme Vol 1 No. II.

The final edition of OZ released during Crowley’s lifetime was published in The Oriflamme (Vol. 1 No. 11) on the 21st of June, 1945.  Also included in this volume was a brief introduction to the O.T.O. along with the Preliminary Pledge form, a short list of available publications, and Crowley’s poem “Anthem” from Thumbs Up!. This publication of OZ bears a distinction from all others, in that W.T. Smith added a footnote to section 5 (“Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.”) which directs the reader to “See 2nd Amendment, Constitution of The United States”—which is the right to bear arms. I am unaware of any other occasion wherein OZ is footnoted in an official publication of the Ordo Templi Orientis.  I am unaware of any correspondence which verify that Crowley was aware of this footnote.  However, generally speaking – we do know that Crowley was not opposed to the private ownership of  firearms having himself obtained a Firearm Certificate for a Webley 45 Revolver while living at 89 Park Mansions, Knightsbridge, London in the early 1930’s.  So it is entirely plausible that he may of approved of Smith’s alteration.

Believing that Liber OZ was perfectly suited for attracting new aspirants to the O.T.O.—most especially in the United States, Crowley continued to urge Order members to share it with acquaintances right up to his death in December of 1947. 

Today, OZ is in all likelihood the most widely published, distributed, and recognizable of Crowley’s works—a true cornerstone of the Thelemic community.  In the end, it would be Crowley’s last Proclamation to Mankind – and arguably his finest; as relevant today, as it was to the war-torn Europe of the 1940’s.

“Love is the law, love under will”


*These notes have been excerpted from “On the Rights of Man” —A study by Frater Orpheus.