Thelema and the Book Of The Law

You’ll have to forgive the nasty formatting, this is from the text file I wrote my notes in.

Also note that I’m hardly an expert on this. For more information see the links at the end.

You’ll want a copy of the book to read along with.

Background on Crowley

  • Born to Plymouth Bretheren, 1875
  • Cambridge 1895 – 1898
  • Summer of 1898: In the Alps with Oscar Eckenstein and Julian

    • Discusses alchemy with Baker, who then allegedly teaches him
      some GD Magic
    • Perhaps first given Abra-Melin in the autumn
  • November 18th 1898, Joins the Golden Dawn as Neophyte
    • Zelator December 1=10
    • Theoricus 2=9 January 1899
    • Practicus 3=7 Febuary 1899
    • Philosophus May 1899
  • December 1898, flat in Chancery Lane rented
    • During 1899 Alan Bennet moves in as a guest, Crowley given
      Second Order rituals
  • May 1899: Crowley goes to Paris to meet Mathers
    • Bennet moves to Ceylon for health, leaves magical diaries to
  • November? 1899 acquires Boleskine house
  • December 1899/January 1900 begins to prepare for
  • January 15th 1900, in Paris, Mathers raises him to 5=6 and
    places him in the Second Order
  • Febuary 1900: Mathers and London fully break (W.B. Yeats, A.E.
    Waite take over)
  • April 1900: Crowley is Mathers representative in the UK,
    Mathers unleashes the punative current to no effect

    • 17th – 19th, Crowley breaks into the GD vault, changes locks,
      summons the Second Order members, who ignore him
  • June 1900: Yeats reforms the GD London
    • Crowley disillusioned with the GD politics goes to Mexico, via
    • Mexico: Continues magical work, awards himself 6=5 grade.
  • January 1901: Eckenstein appears in Mexico, trains Crowley in
    Raj-Yoga and they climb together. Invites Crowley to climb on
  • April 1901: Crowley leaves Mexico, travels to Japan via
    San-Francisco. Romantic affair on the boat.

    • Visits Hong Kong and Elaine Simpson, an ex-lover who was a GD
      member but is now a socialite.
  • August 6th: Crowley arrives in Ceylon, starts to learn Yoga
    from Bennet.

    • October 1st/2nd reaches Dhyana.
  • August 23rd: Agrees to K2 climb with Eckenstein
  • April 22nd 1902: Climb begins, sets record for longest time on
    the mountain.
  • November 1902: Crowley confronts Mathers in Paris
  • April 1903: Crowley returns to Boleskine
  • August 1903: Crowley meets Gerald Kelly (GDer) and his sister
    Rose Kelly.

    • Rose is in a bad situation, being pressured to marry a man she
      was seeing
    • Crowley agrees to help her out
    • They marry August 12th
  • Honey Moon: Paris 1903
    Cairo: November 1903 (Crowley performs the Bornless ritual)
    Ceylon: December 1903, rose pregnant
    Cairo: Febuary, 1904 return
  • March 16th Crowley performs the Bornless one, Rose makes odd
  • March 17th Crowley invokes Thoth, Rose continues to make odd
  • March 18th Rose reveals messages from Horus
  • March 18th-19th, Rose gives Crowley a ritual to invoke
  • March 20th Crowley uses this ritual
  • March 21st Crowley takes rose to a museum neither has been too
    and asks her to point out Horus, she ignores a number of
    traditional statues and leads him to #666, the Stele of
  • March 23rd to April 7th: Rose revels Aiwass
  • April 8th,9th,10th: The Book of the Law is dictated

Background on Thelema

  • The word stems from Will
  • Assumes a magical structure to time, the progress of Aeons (which may overlap)
    • The well known run is: Isis (the mother), Osiris (the dying
      god), Horus (the crowned and conquering child)
    • After Horus there will either be an aeon of Set or of Maat
    • Before Isis is a theorised aeon of Bez, egyptian dwarf god
      (related to HGA)
  • Centered around the idea of discovery of the True Will, via
    contact with Inner Genius/Holy Guardian Angel, and then following
    this Will.

Who are the Dramatis personæ

  • Nuit/Nu-Isis, the infinite possibilities, goddess, all space,
    limitless potential, infinite space and stars within, the scarlett
    woman, babalon, shakti
  • Hadit/Had, the point-event, absolute moment, God/Not, present,
    beast, master therion, shiva
  • Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Horus of the 2 Horizons
  • Horus, crowned and conquering child of the aeon, hawk headed
    god, brahma
  • Hoor-pa-kraat, Horus as lord of silence, babe in the blue egg,
    horus the child (Kenneth Grant also says this is Set)
  • Set, god of the outsiders, shaitan, brother to Horus and also
  • Aiwass/Aiwaz, minister of Hoor-pa-kraat. Crowley identified him
    as a non-human intelligence, or possibly his HGA (LAM,

The important formula: 2=0 / 0=2

My understanding of this formula is roughly as follows

0 represents absolute 0, which contains no limits and is thus the whole universe e.g. the Tao, Nuit, Brahma, Ginnungagap. This isn’t a Monad as then there would be Monad/Universe, i.e. 2 things.
2 represents a pair of opposites. As soon as something comes from nothing you have 2 (0 and X). And once something has come the 10 thousand things will come (see Magick Without Tears pp 60-61 for a Ying/Yang/Tao discussion of this). cf. Niflheim/Muspellheim

So 0=2 represents the creation of the universe, and the opposites/opposing-pairs within it, including creation and nothingness

2=0 represents the annihilation of the subject/object divide, the reaching of samadhi, uniting with the universe.

Magickally speaking the use of the formulas is as follows:

2=0 First use the union of opposites to reach a mystic state, uniting with the universe. This is the union of Nuit/Hadit, Babalon/Beast, Ying/Yang etc. If a mystic state is all thats is required then the work is done.

0=2 The goal is then to bring the mystic state back to the real world focussed by true will, this will create a “magickal child”, the aim being that this “child” is the effect that was wished by the magician, cf. Creation of runes as living objects, Spare’s sigil technique.

Crowley notes that “Every act of love under will has the dual result of (1) creation of a child combining the qualities of its parents and (2) the withdrawal by ecstasy into Nothingness” (see Magick without tears, pp 63. In fact the whole chapter is quite good and has more examples in).

Note that whilst this can be a sex magick formula it can be a lot of things. Spare talked about achieving vacant gnosis by playing cards, I’ve also seen a meditative technique based on his work with holding pairs of opposites in the brain (neither/neither) like a koan until this state is reached.

Interpretation of interesting verses

1.2,14,64 The nature of Nuit
1.3 All people have paths, a definite true will to follow
1.6 Had/Nuit mix, the 2=0/0=2 formula. See also: 1.16,21,45,27,28,2.15
1.8 Khu = 31, defined as “spirit” or “deva” (akhus = spirit of the dead). Khabs defined as “start” A material/spiritual split, the subject/object. or Inner/Outer lights
1.22 “Bind Nothing” is the destruction of the subject/object split, see also “because” for removing causality, see also: zen
1.40 The “man of earth”, return to earth after time as Hermit/Lover, see also: the ten oxherding pictures (
1.41,42,43,51 The freedom of Love/Sex/Passion
1.44 Magical hint, the lust for results like all other lusts makes the results impure, must direct all to the True Will for its own sake, all into the moment and the magic
1.51 4 “gates” or methods: goods, dress, food/drink, love/sex. See also: flags,flax,fodder,frig and Buddhist “gates to enlightenment” terms
1.57 The Law itself, Love is the Law, Love under Will. Dove and Serpent is Left/Right hand path tantric stuff.
1.58 to 1.63 The Nuit formula for contact and working with

2.6 The nature of Hadit
2.7 Hadit is that which goes, motion. The axle/wheel bit is lingam/yoni symbology. Although the axle doesn’t move which is interesting.
2.9 Life should be joyful, ecstasy is part of life
2.15 This is the 2=0/0=2 formula
2.16 Equality between Nuit/Hadit Beast/Scarlet Woman. Cf. Crowley vs. Kenneth Grant in opinion. Grant maintains the mixture is the Woman (Nuit, infinite space) to unite with Man (Hadit, point-event) and for each to experience the other, in a uniting of the whole universe (2=0)
2.19 This dog reference is that if its the true will of that person it will be good

2.21 King here means Thelemite/Adept, the “body of the King dissolve” may refer to the meditation practice of the “dropping away of body”, although this doesn’t mention the following stage: “dropping away of mind”.

2.24,2.52,3.11,3.43-45 The office and qualities of the Scarlet Lady

2.26 Two Methods, up/kundali is to unite with Nuit and the infinite in a mystical experience (2=0, the annihilation of both sides to nothing/all). Down/earth is to turn 0 back into 2 (0=2, to go back to the world from the mystic state and create change on the world, to work magick) 0=2 creates a magical child, cf. Austin Osman Spare: “All things fornicate all the time”.

2.28,2.29 “Because” is symptomatic of reasoning and thought, however true knowledge can never be part of this, it is held by a person and can only be passed on as “a finger pointing to the moon”, reasoning may help someone take the pointer and head towards understanding but it can never take you all the way.

2.36-44 Gives the religious structure and public worship of Thelema

2.49 The babe in the egg: This is Harpocrates. Perhaps this verse means there is Nuit,Hadit,Horus and a 4th, Harpocrates/Set

2.57-59 The nature of Kings/Thelemites
2.58-60 Doing ones True Will
2.67-69 Sex Magick instruction
2.70-72 Hints for working skillful magick

3.1,3.75 Adrahadabra, the magickal word of the Aeon. Has the same number (365) as Abrasax, the Gnostic universal god. Crowley also works it into the 5+6 Nuit/Hadit formula. See also: comment on the book.
3.10 Kiblah = altar/template
2.19 This number is part of Kenneth Grants magical motto
3.10,12,32,22,23 Instructions for the private worship of Thelemites
3.23-16 Is an improved version of the punative current
3.63-67 This is suggestive of the middle pillar ritual, however the MPR brings light down from Ain Soph, whereas this raises power upwards, suggestive of kundalini. Whilst Thelema is a sun/ain-soph-aur style practice perhaps this is supportive of Kenneth Grants “Hidden God”/Set suggestions?


Thelema (Θελημα: 9,5,30,8,40,1 = 93)
Agape (αγαπη: 1,3,1,80,8 = 93)

LA = Hebrew: “not”. Nothing/0. אל (30+1 = 31)
ShT = Hebrew: “to wander”. טשׂ (300+9). As tarot trumps: = The Aeon (20), &#1496 = Lust (11). 20+11 = 31
AL = Hebrew “god”. All/2. לא (1+30 = 31)
LAShTAL = 93 = Thelema. Also LA/AL 0=2.

See also:

Additional Information

Book of the Law:




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