*Previously published elsewhere - see note below
|Crowley as a young man in ritual regalia|
Aleister Crowley's most well-known and talked about quote is from his seminal work Magick in Theory and Practice and states his idea of the nature of magic:
"Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will."
The concept of the pure will of the individual was paramount in Crowley's philosophy and is touched upon below.
Wisdom from the Book of the Law
While on honeymoon in Egypt, Aleister Crowley's wife, Rose, received instruction through a trance that her husband needed to once again begin his magical studies that he had been ignoring. Per instruction from Rose, Crowley sat down at given times to transcribe the message he was supposed to receive.
Liber AL vel Legis or the Book of the Law was dictated over the days of April 8, 9, and 10 in 1904 from what Crowley claimed was the voice Aiwass, a messenger announcing the changing of the age to that of the magical child. These are but a few of the quotes from the book that would eventually give birth to Crowley's Thelemic spiritual order.
- "Every man and woman is a star."
- "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."
- "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
- "There is no law beyond do what thou wilt. Love is the law, love under will."
His use of the word will has caused much contention. While it may be seen as a license for hedonism without thought for others, that is not what was meant in the Book of the Law.
Crowley believed that the pure will of every man and woman was their highest nature which was in harmony with the divine will of the universal creative force.
The Holy Guardian Angel
Crowley stated about the purpose of magic in Magick Without Tears:
"It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel."
This magical concept of uniting with this supreme spiritual being was not new but expanded upon by Crowley. He believed pure will can only be expressed after this meeting with the Holy Guardian Angel (also referred to as the HGA).
Notably, Crowley was no angel himself. His childhood propensity for challenging society's assumptions of what was good and evil stayed with him throughout his life.
- DuQuette, Lon Milo. The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of Rituals of Thelema. Weiser Books, 1993.
- Holy Guardian Angel. Thelemapedia: The Encyclopedia of Thelema and Magick. June 2005. March 2009.
[Note: This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere. Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]