Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
The unveiling of the company of heaven. Every man and every woman is a star.
Nuit, the Egyptian divinity of the stars, seems to tell us, in these opening verses, that we are Her children. She goes on to declare:
I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.
The union of mankind with the stars is precisely forecast:
They shall gather my children into their fold; they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.
And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body…
For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.
This seems a vividly poetic pre-statement of Leary’s theory that Higher Intelligence is “divided,” by sending out DNA seed to fertilize every womb-
planet in the galaxy, “for the chance of union,” the return of these “children” after they have evolved past the larval circuits into higher modes of consciousness.
I love you! I yearn to you! … Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendor within you: come unto me!
The Star-Mother, Nuit, is definitely calling us home, to Galactic Center. The “coiled splendor” may even suggest the DNA helix within which, Leary and other investigators now think, is the secret of immortality. But shortly comes a more interesting text:
Is a God to live in a dog?
A reference to the great Dog Star, Sirius? Instructions on contacting this intelligence are quite specific:
To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet & be drunk thereof!
The Immortality Pill is directly mentioned:
Think not, O King, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live.
In Chapter Three, Horus, the war-god, takes over and makes some ferocious predictions about the 20th century:
Now let it be understood first that I am a god of War and Vengeance. I shall deal hardly with them…
I am the Warrior Lord of the Forties; the Eighties cower before me & are
Now, this is not terribly bad as prophecy of the 20th century, for a book produced in 1904—when the majority opinion of Europe was that war had been banished from the civilized nations forever.
It seems clear that the Starseed Transmissions acquired a rather heavy Timothy Leary flavor in passing through the Leary nervous system, just as the Book of the Law took on an undeniably Crowleyan aroma in passing through Aleister’s neurons; but the underlying message is hauntingly similar.
A few other oddities about the Book of the Law and the Stele of Revealing are worth noting. Crowley was an avid Qabalist and spent years examining the Qabalistic numbers for key words in the text. This is based on the traditional assumption that Qabalistic numerology is a code worked out millennia ago for communication between humans and Higher Intelligence. Be as cynical about that as you will, but consider the data: All the important words, Crowley gradually realized, had the value of 93 in Greek Qabala. (He thereafter referred to his magick work as “the 93 current,” and Crowleyans to this day speak of their work as carrying on the 93 current.)
93 is also the Qabalistic numeration of the word Thelema, the “word” of the New Age, according to the communicating entity. The Abbey of Thelema, in Rabelais, had the motto “Do what thou wilt.” The Book of the Law says, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” Thelema, in Greek, means either will or the casting of a magick spell. Aiwass, the “Holy Guardian Angel” presiding over this Contact, also has the value 93. And Agape (love), another key word in the text, is again 93. The name of “God” in Genesis (Alhim) contains the value of π to four places (3.1415); add Crowley’s 93 and you get π accurate to six places (3.141593).
The second major number in the book is 418, which “coincidentally” was the number of Crowley’s home in Inverness, Scotland. Its standard Qabalistic meaning is “the Great Work accomplished,” or the Illumination of all humanity. Crowley interpreted this to mean that his mission was not to illuminate a few, as other gurus have done and are doing, but to set in motion occult forces which would result in the illumination of all by the end of this century; 418 is also the value of “Parcifal,” that Sufi whose life so oddly intersected mine in that mad summer of 1973.
The Stele of Revealing contains in addition to Nuit, Horus and Ankh-f-na- Khonsu, a mysterious winged globe. Dr. Jacques Vallee, in The Invisible College, gives several other forms of the winged globe from Egyptian and Gnostic sources and points out the similarity to modern sketches of UFOs by witnesses or Contactees.
The winged globe, with an eye in it, appears in an ancient Assyrian seal found by astronomer [Robert] Temple and reproduced in his Sirius Mystery. In this case, it is accompanied by Oannes, the water-god, whom Temple identifies as an extraterrestrial visitor from Sirius. Note the fish-tail on Oannes. Now look at the following illustration which is a drawing from the Dogon tribe of Africa, showing Nommo, whom they claim was a visitor from Sirius; note the similar fish-tail.
Dr. John Lilly, who has duplicated much of Timothy Leary’s research and supplemented it with hypnotic methods and Sufi yoga, describes many encounters with what seem to be extraterrestrial intelligences in his Programming and Meta-programming the Human Biocomputer. Dr. Lilly agnostically examines also the possibilities that these transmitters are time- travelers from the future, very advanced Illuminati Adepts alive now on earth, “angels” in the traditional sense, or projected aspects of his own mind. In The Center of the Cyclone he says clearly:
Such a network [of Adepts] exists and functions … throughout this planet. I suspect it extends farther than our earth, but this this has yet to be publicly demonstrated beyond the private experience of myself and others.
A network of adepts that extends far beyond our Earth … that was what your narrator was gradually coming to believe and here it was being said, with only slight reservation, by Dr. John Lilly—the man once defined by the New York Times as “a walking one-man syllabus of Western civilization.”
But permission to visit Dr. Leary had finally been granted by prison authorities and I was to hear even more extraordinary theories from him.
- Grant here quotes, in a footnote, from Fort’s The Book of the Damned, “… some other world is not attempting, but has been, for centuries, in communication with a sect, perhaps, or a secret society or certain esoteric ones of this earth’s inhabitants.”
- Because Leary had already escaped from one California prison, the authorities at Folsom originally placed him in “the hole,” a solitary confinement cell in the basement of the maximum security building.
- The Law is For All by Aleister Crowley, edited by Israel Regardie, Llewellyn: St. Paul, 1970. See also Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Bantam: New York, 1971, pp 413—27.
- All quotations from the Book of the Law are from The Law is For All, op. cit., pp 44—65.
Aleister Crowley (1875—1947) created a spiritual or religious system known as Thelema, which revolves around ideas of freedom and personal growth. Unlike traditional religious systems that expect their adherents to echo their teachings, Thelema recognizes the validity and holiness of many different voices. This introduction presents six different voices, myself, or the Unreliable Narrator, together with Crowley’s own voice, and four fictional voices, the True Believer, the Chaotic, the Skeptic and the Mystic, composites drawn from the occult community. I do not always agree with them, and they do not always agree with each other.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” or the Law of Thelema is a moral utterance found in the Thelemic foundation scripture, the Book of the Law. It is derived from the rule of the fictional Abbey of Thélème in the classic satire Gargantua by the French priest and occult student François Rabelais (1483—1553), named by Crowley as a Gnostic Saint, along with Nietzsche, Payne Knight, Swinburne, and Papus. In Rabelais this rule was “fay çe que vouldras,” French for “do what you will.” The maxim became a part of Western literary life, and was adopted by the English gentleman’s society called the Hell-Fire Club.
In Crowley’s writing, the Law of Thelema is explained in terms of True Will, the ultimate spiritual core or quintessence of each person, which has a divinely self-ordained path through the world of experience. “Do what thou wilt” refers not to the outer emotional and intellectual self but to this sacred inner core of personal divinity. Often will is contrasted with whim, and the knowing and doing of the True Will is painted not in terms of license but of responsibility.
The Great Beast
Since this new law replaces outdated moral codes based around sins and forbidden acts, a person knowing and doing the will might appear to be sinful from a traditional viewpoints. In Crowley’s view the Thelemite is following a demanding code requiring personal integrity even while, for instance, making
love in ways that would be illegal in oppressive societies. This inversion of traditional mores is easily expressed in ironic or satirical form.
Crowley also held that “do what thou wilt” was an ethical code bearing on how one should deal with others. One must respect not only one’s own will but the wills of others. All the wills are magically arranged so that there is no conflict between them, just as (so it was believed in Crowley’s day) the stars are arranged so that they never collide. The personal will and the will of all are mystically joined in a unified whole that is paradoxically also the basis of individuality. Collision between wills indicates that one or the other person was not doing their True Will.
At other times Crowley said that the only error was to believe that others existed at all and that they had wills that could be violated. This solipsism was inspired by his sympathy for the philosopher Berkeley but he placed God within rather than without.
At yet other times Crowley said that there was no possibility of error and that all beings live according to the will-paths predestined by themselves before their births, from which any deviation would be impossible. In this view the appearance of deviation from the will is akin to the Buddhist doctrine that all beings are enlightened already, and the appearance of non-enlightenment is illusion. Crowley added that incarnation is voluntarily chosen as a play of shadow and light, in contrast with traditional Hindu ideas of the curse of rebirth. The idea that sorrow is illusory in a reincarnatory world was popular in Spiritualist circles during Crowley’s formative period.
“Do what thou wilt” refers not to the outer emotional and intellectual self but to this sacred inner core of personal divinity.
These apparent contradictions may have been reconciled for Crowley by the idea of levels of truth. Pure selfhood is paradoxically selfless. The realization of one’s true nature comes at the same time that one realizes one’s unity with all beings. So for the ordinary person, “do what thou wilt” is a useful rule of thumb for interacting with others. At a higher level one realizes that there are no others, or that the distinction between self and non-self is an illusion, and so the Law of Thelema takes on a non-dual meaning.
The Law of Rabelais’ Abbey has widespread influence by itself. For instance,
in 1929 Aldous Huxley published a book of his essays entitled Do What You Will. His source was not Crowley, but William Blake (1757—1827), who wrote in his Gnomic Verses, xxiii, “Do what you will this life’s a fiction, And is made up of contradiction.” Similarly, the Wiccan Rede of Gerald Gardner came from Rabelais through the erotic novelist Pierre Louys and his Adventures of King Pausole (1900). Crowley did not invent the phrase, and his views are not the last word upon it.
ALEISTER CROWLEY: “Thelema means Will. The Key to this Message is this word—Will. The first obvious meaning of this Law is confirmed by antithesis; ‘The word of Sin is Restriction.’
“Again: ‘Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.’
“Take this carefully; it seems to imply a theory that if every man and every woman did his and her will—the true will—there would be no clashing. ‘Every man and every woman is a star,’ and each star moves in an appointed path without interference. There is plenty of room for all; it is only disorder that creates confusion.
“From these considerations it should be clear that ‘Do what thou wilt’ does not mean ‘Do what you like.’ It is the apotheosis of Freedom; but it is also the strictest possible bond.
“Take this carefully; it seems to imply a theory that if every man and every woman did his and her will—the true will— there would be no clashing. ‘Every man and every woman is a star,’ and each star moves in an appointed path without interference.”
“From these considerations it should be clear that ‘Do what thou wilt’ does not mean ‘Do what you like.’ It is the apotheosis of Freedom; but it is also the strictest possible bond.”
“Do what thou wilt—then do nothing else.”—“The Message of the Master Therion,” The International, January 1918.
THE TRUE BELIEVER: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. As revealed in the Book of the Law, human history is divided into Æons
which correspond to the precession of the Astrological Signs of the Zodiac. The new Æon of Horus, which began in 1904, brings with it a rotation in the roster of deities governing the planet as well as a revolution in moral codes. Gone are the old codes based on sin, sacrifice and other veils of shame and sorrow. The Law of Thelema is the code of absolute Freedom and absolute Responsibility, and the most perfect moral Law ever formulated. It will last for two thousand years until the rise of the next Æon. Love is the law, love under will.
THE CHAOTIC: True magical power resides in the unconscious mind, which is aware of many things beyond the scope of the ordinary consciousness. Descend far enough into the alien geometries of the unconscious and you might find out who and what you really are. This will free you from shame and guilt and other limitations that society has imposed on you. You can use magic to go inside, or music, or entheogens, or other techniques.