Notes on the Publication of Liber OZ

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

On the morning of December 21, 1941, two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and during the Winter Solstice, Crowley enacted a “Magical Gesture” by formally issuing Liber OZ. He recorded the names of the first 11 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 – All-child, 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 in fact, was somewhat common – but usually the early copies were sent to members of the A∴ A∴, O.T.O. or close associates. However, 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.”

Liber OZ, which Crowley initially referred to as the “War Aims” of Thelema, was compiled over several months in the latter part of 1941.  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.  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.

There were two versions of the first edition OZ card issued.  Both printed by Apex Printing and identical in every way, save the tone 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.  The cards would also be the first official publication of any of the Thoth deck’s images.

I ‘ve attached color scans (verso & recto) of both versions of the true 1st edition.  The astute will note the error in the second line where the letter L in the word “Law” should be capitalized – unfortunately this error was repeated on all editions of OZ published by Crowley out of England.  Subsequently this same error appears on many (if not most) 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.

“Love is the law, love under will”