Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
“The red three-angled heart hath been set up in Thy shrine; for the priests despised equally the shrine and the god. Yet all the while Thou wast hidden therein as the Lord of Silence is hidden in the buds of the lotus.”
Thus say the 28th and 29th verses of the third chapter of Liber LXV, The Book of the Heart Girt with a Serpent. Crowley himself especially appreciated this text, and in the 1920s produced an extensive commentary on it. (This is not the best format to read it, but it is all available here: http://archives.bapho.net/C/C0000087/C0000087.html ). Since I first discovered it more than 15 years ago, I have often returned to it. I know of nothing in Crowley’s own writings, and not a lot elsewhere, that is as clear an exposition of the actual process of moving into Adeptship.
I chose the verses above because of Crowley’s remarks on it, which in part read: “..the prophet objected to accepting The Book of the Law, which proclaims Him [Ra-Hoor Khuit], as being incompatible with his Path to attain the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel. Not until nineteen years later did he fully realise that the Holy Guardian Angel was concealed in this symbol Ra-Hoor-Khuit. The “priests” seem here to represent the Secret Chiefs of the A.’.A.’. who executed their purpose of establishing the Law by means of To Mega Therion in complete disregard of his personal ideas of what his Work (shrine) and the object of his adoration (god) might be.”
The entire process of the outer mysteries is one of gradually diminishing the dominance of the separate, egoic self, in favour of such forces as described here that are actually and constantly guiding us towards the central dynamism of the True Will and the living presence of the Angel. Many people I encounter in Thelema have concluded that the purpose is the opposite – enhancement of the known self is the aim for them, and they hold that the True Will can only manifest and play out its drama in some conflict of wills with other “stars.” One of the tougher jobs for any teacher of a Qabalistic system is to help students to recognise exactly how this attitude is a massive barrier to initiation, not its fulfilment. As the commentary to the next three verses (30 through 32) says, “The Holy Guardian Angel is now further identified not only with cognate symbols like Ra-Hoor-Khuit, but with ostensibly hostile glyphs. He is to be found in all phenomena soever. In whatever direction the Adept chooses to move he must come eventually to his Angel.”
This is far from having anything to do with personal fulfilment … except that it is precisely that. We all kick like crazy, most of us for years, wrestling with the idea that by going through this process we’re actually grovelling to the slave-gods of the Old Aeon, or some similar excuse. Finally reaching the point where the Angel, while still almost entirely veiled and unknowable, is beginning to take over the driver’s seat, is a long journey. I’ve seen a number of promising people lose their way in this, and I often think I have, too. As, at times, perhaps I have; but that phrase, “all phenomena soever” does remind me I should use any such experience of lostness as a way to expand my grasp of what the Angel is, or might be. Nor does all this mean my ego has no function or validity. But it does mean I have to loosen its grip on the wheel.
There’s a verse in chapter five of Liber LXV, verse five, that says:
“Now is the Pillar established in the Void; now is Asi fulfilled of Asar; now is Hoor let down into the Animal Soul of Things like a fiery star that falleth upon the darkness of the earth.” The Animal Soul of Things, the lower nature or Nephesh, is here elevated to be a global entity, not just a personal one. “It is as a meteor or thunderbolt that he [Hoor, or Horus] invades the planet,” Crowley observes. “Note that he is “let down;” from the earth he appears as of terrific import, but from the point of view of the Gods he is imbued with all possible gentleness.”
At some point, many points in fact, we have to confront that apparent meteor or thunderbolt. But we also have to accept that from the level of the “Gods,” that is from the plane of attainment, no such disaster is happening. The import of the third chapter of The Book of the Law is, for me, made far clearer by this one verse. The scary, drastic realignment of our world today, politically, economically and environmentally, can be viewed in the same light: it’s a radical transformation, but not the disaster that some hold it to be.
Each of us has to find our own route through this issue of relativising the ego, guided by study, practice and, ideally, by initiation in a soundly based mystery school. But there is no fast resolution of it, no simple formula we can find that the ego itself won’t seize on to save its status. Only to endure, and eventually to find reward in the ordeals themselves, both resolves and explains it. “..[T]o me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss,” as The Book of the Law says (III, v.62).
Love is the law, love under will,