Magick in Theory and Practice, Book Four, Liber Aba, and Liber 777
By Aleister Crowley
This is the classic modern volume of Crowley's system of Magick. Published in many variations during the Twentieth Century this book is a must have for just about any occult library. Even if only used as a work of reference it is invaluable and one suspects that many owners of this work use it for nothing more. To say this is not a criticism of people who have bought this book, rather that the work is so comprehensive that one would have to be very dedicated indeed to work through all the practices and exercises contained therein.
The first part of this particular volume, edited, annotated and introduced by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, is a comprehensive introduction to the principles of yoga. Crowley, along with Madame Blavatsky was responsible for bringing many of the ideas of yoga to the West arguably before anybody else and Crowley himself was most probably the first person to describe tantra to Westerners as a part of the yogic discipline.
The second part of the book describes Crowley's recommendations for the acquisition, manufacture and use of the magical weapons, temple equipment, clothing and much more. It also describes the principles of Crowley's system of Magick called Thelema. This is the application of his principle "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" and the response "Love is the law, love under will" and is described as the formula of sexual magick.
The book includes details of the Tree of Life which along with 777 is used as a map of the occult universe from the material world of Assiah, through the astral world of Yetzirah, the mental world of Briah, to the spiritual world of Atziluth.
This is a book written at a time when magical practice was seen as working with unseen forces, on planes of existence inhabited by entities that might be benevolent or malign. This is the same time when the majority of the Christian world firmly believed in the literal existence of Heaven and Hell. Today many people see the world in a very different way, influenced by modern Twentieth and Twenty First Century perspectives. Regardless of your beliefs the material herein is of excellent value, particularly to a complexity magician working with the correspondences in 777. There is also much more of value here, for example it contains complete details of Crowley's versions of the Rituals of the Pentagram, Hexagram and others which can serve as an excellent primer for creating your own rituals whatever your chosen discipline.
As a magician this reviewer is not a Thelemite. However, should I ever find myself forced to live alone on a desert island with the option of having just one book, then this book would serve to provide endless hours of reading, contemplation, exercises and magical practice. Perhaps, even, a desert island would be the only place this book could properly be appreciated.
Crowley, Aleister; Magick, Book Club Associates, 1986, 511 pages including appendices and index.
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