aleister crowley Quotes
Aleister Crowley QuotesBirth Date: 1907-11-17 (Sunday, November 17th, 1907)
Date of Death: 1947-12-01 (Monday, December 1st, 1947)
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|British mystic Aleister Crowley transcribes the first chapter of the Book of the Law.||Friday, April 8th, 1904|
- I was in the death struggle with self: God and Satan fought for my soul those three long hours. God conquered - now I have only one doubt left - which of the twain was God?
- I am certainly of opinion that genius can be acquired, or, in the alternative, that it is an almost universal possession. Its rarity may be attributed to the crushing influence of a corrupted society. It is rare to meet a youth without high ideals, generous thoughts, a sense of holiness, of his own importance, which, being interpreted, is, of his own identity with God. Three years in the world, and he is a bank clerk or even a government official. Only those who intuitively understand from early boyhood that they must stand out, and who have the incredible courage and endurance to do so in the face of all that tyranny, callousness, and the scorn of inferiors can do; only these arrive at manhood uncontaminated.
- I am inclined to agree with the Head Master of Eton that p?derastic passions among schoolboys 'do no harm'; further, I think them the only redeeming feature of sexual life at public schools.
- There seems to be much misunderstanding about True Will ... The fact of a person being a gentleman is as much an ineluctable factor as any possible spiritual experience; in fact, it is possible, even probable, that a man may be misled by the enthusiasm of an illumination, and if he should find apparent conflict between his spiritual duty and his duty to honour, it is almost sure evidence that a trap is being laid for him and he should unhesitatingly stick to the course which ordinary decency indicates ... I wish to say definitely, once and for all, that people who do not understand and accept this position have utterly failed to grasp the fundamental principles of the Law of Thelema.
- Black magic is not a myth. It is a totally unscientific and emotional form of magic, but it does get results - of an extremely temporary nature. The recoil upon those who practice it is terrific. It is like looking for an escape of gas with a lighted candle. As far as the search goes, there is little fear of failure! To practice black magic you have to violate every principle of science, decency, and intelligence. You must be obsessed with an insane idea of the importance of the petty object of your wretched and selfish desires. I have been accused of being a 'black magician.' No more foolish statement was ever made about me. I despise the thing to such an extent that I can hardly believe in the existence of people so debased and idiotic as to practice it.
- Sit still. Stop thinking. Shut up. Get out! The first two of these instructions comprise the whole of the technique of Yoga. The last two are of a sublimity which it would be improper to expound in this present elementary stage.
- The best models of English writing are Shakespeare and the Old Testament, especially the book of Job, the Psalms, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. ... In writing English the most important quality that you can acquire is style. It makes all the difference to anyone who reads what you write, whether you use the best phrases in the best way.
- Every man and every woman is a star.
- These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.
- I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.
- Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bending down, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.
- I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
- Love is the law, love under will.
- Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!
- I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky.
- To me! To me!
- The Manifestation of Nuit is at an end.
- Now a curse upon Because and his kin!
- May Because be accursed for ever!
- ...Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!
- But exceed! exceed!
- There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
- There is a splendour in my name hidden and glorious, as the sun of midnight is ever the son.
- The ending of the words is the Word Abrahadabra.
- The Book of the Law is Written and Concealed.
- Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading. Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire.
- There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Love is the law, love under will.
- The old spelling MAGICK has been adopted throughout in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits.
- This book is for ALL: for every man, woman, and child. My former work has been misunderstood, and its scope limited, by my use of technical terms. It has attracted only too many dilettanti and eccentrics, weaklings seeking in 'Magic' an escape from reality. I myself was first consciously drawn to the subject in this way. And it has repelled only too many scientific and practical minds, such as I most designed to influence. But MAGICK is for ALL.
- In my third year at Cambridge, I devoted myself consciously to the Great Work, understanding thereby the Work of becoming a Spiritual Being, free from the constraints, accidents, and deceptions of material existence. I found myself at a loss for a name to designate my work, just as H. P. Blavatsky some years earlier. 'Theosophy', 'Spiritualism', 'Occultism', 'Mysticism', all involved undesirable connotations. I chose therefore the name. 'MAGICK' as essentially the most sublime, and actually the most discredited, of all the available terms. I swore to rehabilitate MAGICK, to identify it with my own career; and to compel mankind to respect, love, and trust that which they scorned, hated and feared. I have kept my Word.
- I must make MAGICK the essential factor in the life of ALL. In presenting this book to the world, I must then explain and justify my position by formulating a definition of MAGICK and setting forth its main principles in such a way that ALL may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon MAGICK and the right comprehension and right application thereof.
- Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will. (Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take 'magickal weapons', pen, ink, and paper; I write 'incantations' - these sentences - in the 'magickal language' ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth 'spirits', such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.) In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.
- The essence of MAGICK is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government. The Aim is simply prosperity; but the theory is tangled, and the practice beset with briars. In the same way MAGICK is merely to be and to do. I should add: 'to suffer'. For Magick is the verb; and it is part of the Training to use the passive voice. This is, however, a matter of Initiation rather than of Magick in its ordinary sense. It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!
- There is a single main definition of the object of all magical Ritual. It is the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm. The Supreme and Complete Ritual is therefore the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel; or, in the language of Mysticism, Union with God.
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and had better come first. Purity means singleness. God is one. The Wand is not a Wand if it has something sticking to it which is not an essential part of itself. If you wish to invoke Venus, you do not succeed if there are traces of Saturn mixed up with it.
- The first task of the Magician in every ceremony is therefore to render his Circle absolutely impregnable.
- Acts which are essentially dishonourable must not be done; they would be justified only by calm contemplation of their correctness in abstract cases.
- Love is a virtue; it grows stronger and purer and less selfish by applying it to what it loathes; but theft is a vice involving the slave-idea that one's neighbor is superior to oneself.
- Crime, folly, sickness and all phenomena must be contemplated with complete freedom from fear aversion or shame. Otherwise we shall fail to see accurately, and interpret intelligently; in which case we shall be unable to outwit and outfight them.
- It has always been fatal when somebody finds out too much too suddenly. If John Huss had cackled more like a hen, he might have survived Michaelmas, and been esteemed for his eggs. The last fifty years have laid the axe of analysis to the root of every axiom; they are triflers who content themselves with lopping the blossoming twigs of our beliefs, or the boughs of our intellectual instruments. We can no longer assert any single proposition, unless we guard ourselves by enumerating countless conditions which must be assumed.
- The Magician must be wary in his use of his powers; he must make every act not only accord with his Will, but with the properties of his position at the time. It might be my Will to reach the foot of a cliff; but the easiest way - also the speediest, most direct least obstructed, the way of minimum effort - would be simply to jump. I should have destroyed my Will in the act of fulfilling it, or what I mistook for it; for the True Will has no goal; its nature being To Go.
- A parabola is bound by one law which fixes its relations with two straight lines at every point; yet it has no end short of infinity, and it continually changes its direction. The Initiate who is aware Who he is can always check is conduct by reference to the determinants of his curve, and calculate his past, his future, his bearings, and his proper course at any assigned moment; he can even comprehend himself as a simple idea.
- His own infinity becomes zero in relation to that of the least fragment of the solid. He hardly exists at all. Trillions multiplies by trillions of trillions of such as he could not cross the frontier even of breadth, the idea which he came to guess at only becuase he felt himself bound by some mysterious power.
- His first conception must evidently be a frantic spasm, formless, insane, not to be classed as an articulate thought. Yet, if he develops the faculties of his mind, the more he knows of it the more he sees that its nature is identical with his own whenever comparision is possible. The True Will is thus both determined by its equations, and free because those equation are simply its own name, spelt out fully. His sense of being under bondage comes from his inability to read it; his sense that evil exists to thwart him arises when he begins to learn to read, reads wrong, and is obstinate that his error is an improvement.
- We know one thing only. Absolute existence, absolute motion, absolute direction, absolute simultaneity, absolute truth, all such ideas: they have not, and never can have, any real meaning. If a man in delirium tremens fell into the Hudson River, he might remember the proverb and clutch at an imaginary straw. Words such as 'truth' are like that straw. Confusion of thought is concealed, and its impotence denied, by the invention. This paragraph opened with 'We know': yet, quesitoned, 'we' make haste to deny the possibility of possessing, or even of defining, knowledge. What could be more certain to a parabola-philosopher that he could be approached in two ways, and two only? It would be indeed little less that the whole body of his knowledge, implied in the theory of his definition of himself, and confirmed by every single experience. He could receive impressions only be meeting A, or being caught up by B. Yet he would be wrong in an infinite number of ways. There are therefore Aleph-Zero possibilities that at any moment a man may find himself totally transformed. And it may be that our present dazzled bewilderment is due to our recognition of the existence of a new dimension of thought, which seems so 'inscrutably infinite' and 'absurd' and 'immoral,' etc. - because we have not studied it long enough to appreciate that its laws are identical with our own, though extended to new conceptions.
- The discovery of radioactivity created a momentary chaos in chemistry and physics; but it soon led to a fuller interpretation of the old ideas. It dispersed many difficulties, harmonized many discords, and - yea, more! It shewed the substance of Universe as a simplicity of Light and Life, manners to compose atoms, themselves capable of deeper self-realization through fresh complexities and organizations, each with its own peculiar powers and pleasures, each pursuing its path through the world where all things are possible.
- The Inmost is one with the Inmost; yet the form of the One is not the form of the other; intimacy exacts fitness. He therefore who liveth by air, let him not be bold to breathe water. But mastery cometh by measure: to him who with labour, courage, and caution giveth his life to understand all that doth encompass him, and to prevail against it, shall be increase. 'The word of Sin is Restriction': seek therefore Righteousness, enquiring into Iniquity, and fortify thyself to overcome it.
- In this book it is spoken of the Sephiroth and the Paths; of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes, and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether these exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophic validity to any of them.
- There is little danger that any student, however idle or stupid, will fail to get some result; but there is great danger that he will be led astray, obsessed and overwhelmed by his results, even though it be by those which it is necessary that he should attain. Too often, moreover, he mistaketh the first resting-place for the goal, and taketh off his armour as if he were a victor ere the fight is well begun. It is desirable that the student should never attach to any result the importance which it at first seems to possess.
- The following is an attempt to systematize alike the data of mysticism and the results of comparative religion. The skeptic will applaud our labours, for that the very catholicity of the symbols denies them any objective validity, since, in so many contradictions, something must be false; while the mystic will rejoice equally that the self-same catholicity all-embracing proves that very validity, since after all something must be true. Fortunately we have learnt to combine these ideas, not in the mutual toleration of sub-contraries, but in the affirmation of contraries, that transcending of the laws of intellect which is madness in the ordinary man, genius in the Overman who hath arrived to strike off more fetters from our understanding.
- Here again, there is no tabulation; for us it is left to sacrifice literary charm, and even some accuracy, in order to bring out the one great point. The cause of human sectarianism is not lack of sympathy in thought, but in speech; and this it is our not unambitious design to remedy.
- I believe in one secret and ineffable LORD; and in one Star in the Company of Stars of whose fire we are created, and to which we shall return; and in one Father of Life, Mystery of Mystery, in His name CHAOS, the sole viceregent of the Sun upon the Earth; and in one Air the nourisher of all that breathes. And I believe in one Earth, the Mother of us all, and in one Womb wherein all men are begotten, and wherein they shall rest, Mystery of Mystery, in Her name BABALON.
- I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.
- I believe in the communion of Saints. And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass. And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom, whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation. And I confess my life one, individual and eternal that was, and is, and is to come.
- There is no part of me that is not of the gods!
- The Many is as adorable to the One as the One is to the Many. This is the Love of These; creation-parturition is the Bliss of the One; coition-dissolution is the Bliss of the Many. The All, thus interwoven of These, is Bliss. Naught is beyond Bliss.
- I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.
- The definition of self-respect contains a clause to include pitiless contempt for some other class. ... English society is impregnated from top to bottom with this spirit. The supreme satisfaction is to be able to despise one's neighbor and this fact goes far to account for religious intolerance. It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell.
- Adaptation to one's environment makes for a sort of survival; but after all, the supreme victory is only won by those who prove themselves of so much hardier stuff than the rest that no power on earth is able to destroy them. The people who have really made history are the martyrs.
- As long as sexual relations are complicated by religious, social and financial considerations, so long will they cause all kinds of cowardly, dishonourable and disgusting behaviour.
- The conscience of the world is so guilty that it always assumes that people who investigate heresies must be heretics; just as if a doctor who studies leprosy must be a leper. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach.
- To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worth while. The natural laziness of the mind tempts one to eschew authors who demand a continuous effort of intelligence. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter. People tell me that they must read the papers so as to know what is going on. In the first place, they could hardly find a worse guide. Most of what is printed turns out to be false, sooner or later. Even when there is no deliberate deception, the account must, from the nature of the case, be presented without adequate reflection and must seem to possess an importance which time shows to be absurdly exaggerated; or vice versa. No event can be fairly judged without background and perspective.
- The pious pretence that evil does not exist only makes it vague, enormous and menacing. Its overshadowing formlessness obsesses the mind. The way to beat an enemy is to define him clearly, to analyse and measure him. Once an idea is intelligently grasped, it ceases to threaten the mind with the terrors of the unknown.
- Destiny is an absolutely definite and inexorable ruler. Physical ability and moral determination count for nothing. It is impossible to perform the simplest act when the gods say 'No.' I have no idea how they bring pressure to bear on such occasions; I only know that it is irresistible. One may be wholeheartedly eager to do something which is as easy as falling off a log; and yet it is impossible.
- Falsehood is invariably the child of fear in one form or another.
- I embrace hardship and privation with ecstatic delight; I want everything the world holds; I would go to prison or to the scaffold for the sake of the experience. I have never grown out of the infantile belief that the universe was made for me to suck. I grow delirious to contemplate the delicious horrors that are certain to happen to me. This is the keynote of my life, the untrammeled delight in every possibility of existence, potential or actual.
- Modern morality and manners suppress all natural instincts, keep people ignorant of the facts of nature and make them fighting drunk on bogey tales. ... Knowing nothing and fearing everything, they rant and rave and riot like so many maniacs. The subject does not matter. Any idea which gives them an excuse of getting excited will serve. They look for a victim to chivy, and howl him down, and finally lynch him in a sheer storm of sexual frenzy which they honestly imagine to be moral indignation, patriotic passion or some equally avowable emotion. It may be an innocent Negro, a Jew like Leo Frank, a harmless half-witted German; a Christ-like idealist of the type of Debs, an enthusiastic reformer like Emma Goldman or even a doctor whose views displease the Medial Trust.
- I admit that my visions can never mean to other men as much as they do to me. I do not regret this. All I ask is that my results should convince seekers after truth that there is beyond doubt something worth while seeking, attainable by methods more or less like mine. I do not want to father a flock, to be the fetish of fools and fanatics, or the founder of a faith whose followers are content to echo my opinions. I want each man to cut his own way through the jungle.
- Intolerance is evidence of impotence.
- The customer is usually wrong; but statistics indicate that it doesn't pay to tell him so.
- As soon as you put men together, they somehow sink, corporatively, below the level of the worst of the individuals composing it. Collect scholars on a club committee, or men of science on a jury; all their virtues vanish, and their vices pop out, reinforced by the self-confidence which the power of numbers is bound to bestow.
- How right politicians are to look upon their constituents as cattle! Anyone who has any experience of dealing with any class as such knows the futility of appealing to intelligence, indeed to any other qualities than those of brutes.
- Knowledge is power; knowledge shared is power lost.
- Crowley is, admittedly, a complicated case. One can hardly blame people for feeling hatred and fear toward Crowley when Crowley himself so often exulted in provoking just such emotions. Indeed he tended to view those emotions as inevitable, given what he regarded as the revolutionary nature and power of his teachings and the prevailing hypocrisy of society ... Revile Christianity (but not Christ, mind you) as he might, seek its downfall as he did, Crowley desired nothing less than a full-fledged successor religion - complete with a guiding Logos that would endure for millenia, as had the teachings of Jesus. 'Thelema' was the Logos Crowley proclaimed, Greek for 'Will.' 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law' was its central credo. Let us concede that this credo - so redolent, seemingly, of license and arnarchy, dark deeds and darker dreams - terrifies on first impact, as does Crowley the man. ... Say what you will of Crowley, judge his failings as you will, there remains a man as protean, brilliant, courageous, flabbergasting, as ever you could imagine. There endure achievements that no reasoned account of his life may ignore...
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