I – The Book
1. This book was dictated in Cairo between noon and 1 p.m. on three successive days, April 8th, 9th and 10th in the year 1904.
The Author called himself Aiwass, and claimed to be “the minister of Hoor-Paar-Kraat”; that is, a messenger from the forces ruling this earth at present, as will be explained later on.
How could he prove that he was in fact a being of a kind superior to any of the human race, and so entitled to speak with authority? Evidently he must show KNOWLEDGE and POWER such as no man has ever been known to possess.
2. He showed his KNOWLEDGE chiefly by the use of cipher or cryptogram in certain passages to set forth recondite facts, including some events which had yet to take place, such that no human being could possibly be aware of them; thus, the proof of his claim exists in the manuscript itself. It is independent of any human witness.
The study of these passages necessarily demands supreme human scholarship to interpret— it needs years of intense application. A great deal has still to be worked out. But enough has been discovered to justify his claim; the most sceptical intelligence is compelled to admit its truth.
This matter is best studied under the Master Therion, whose years of arduous research have led him to enlightenment.
On the other hand, the language of most of the Book is admirably simple, clear and vigorous. No one can read it without being stricken in the very core of his being.
3. The more than human POWER of Aiwass is shewn by the influence of his Master, and of the Book, upon actual events: and history fully supports the claim made by him. These facts are appreciable by everyone; but are better understood with the help of the Master Therion.
4. The full detailed account of the events leading up to the dictation of this Book, with facsimile reproduction of the Manuscript and an essay by the Master Therion, is published in The Equinox of the Gods.
II – The Universe
This Book explains the Universe.
The elements are Nuit— Space— that is, the total of possibilities of every kind— and Hadit, any point which has experience of these possibilities. (This idea is for literary convenience symbolized by the Egyptian Goddess Nuit, a woman bending over like the Arch of the Night Sky. Hadit is symbolized as a Winged Globe at the heart of Nuit.)
Every event is a uniting of some one monad with one of the experiences possible to it.
“Every man and every woman is a star,” that is, an aggregate of such experiences, constantly changing with each fresh event, which affects him or her either consciously or subconsciously.
Each one of us has thus an universe of his own, but it is the same universe for each one as soon as it includes all possible experience. This implies the extension of consciousness to include all other consciousness.
In our present stage, the object that you see is never the same as the one that I see; we infer that it is the same because your experience tallies with mine on so many points that the actual differences of our observation are negligible. For instance, if a friend is walking between us, you see only his left side, I his right; but we agree that it is the same man, although we may differ not only as to what we may see of his body but as to what we know of his qualities. This conviction of identity grows stronger as we see him more often and get to know him better. Yet all the time neither of us can know anything of him at all beyond the total impression made on our respective minds.
The above is an extremely crude attempt to explain a system which reconciles all existing schools of philosophy.
III – The Law of Thelema*
This Book lays down a simple Code of Conduct.
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”
“Love is the law, love under will.”
“There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.”
This means that each of us stars is to move on our true orbit, as marked out by the nature of our position, the law of our growth, the impulse of our past experiences. All events are equally lawful— and every one necessary, in the long run— for all of us, in theory; but in practice, only one act is lawful for each one of us at any given moment. Therefore Duty consists in determining to experience the right event from one moment of consciousness to another.
Each action or motion is an act of love, the uniting with one or another part of “Nuit”; each such act must be “under will,” chosen so as to fulfil and not to thwart the true nature of the being concerned.
The technical methods of achieving this are to be studied in Magick, or acquired by personal instruction from the Master Therion and his appointed assistants.
* Thelema is the Greek for Will, and has the same numerical value as Agape, the Greek for Love.
IV – The New Aeon
The third chapter of the Book is difficult to understand, and may be very repugnant to many people born before the date of the book (April, 1904).
It tells us the characteristics of the Period on which we are now entered. Superficially, they appear appalling. We see some of them already with terrifying clarity. But fear not!
It explains that certain vast “stars” (or aggregates of experience) may be described as Gods. One of these is in charge of the destinies of this planet for periods of 2,000 years.* In the history of the world, as far as we know accurately, are three such Gods: Isis, the mother, when the Universe was conceived as simple nourishment drawn directly from her; this period is marked by matriarchal government.
Next, beginning 500 B.C., Osiris, the father, when the Universe was imagined as catastrophic, love, death, resurrection, as the method by which experience was built up; this corresponds to patriarchal systems.
Now, Horus, the child, in which we come to perceive events as a continual growth partaking in its elements of both these methods, and not to be overcome by circumstance. This present period involves the recognition of the individual as the unit of society.
We realize ourselves as explained in the first paragraphs of this essay. Every event, including death, is only one more accretion to our experience, freely willed by ourselves from the beginning and therefore also predestined.
This “God,” Horus, has a technical title: Heru-Ra-Ha, a combination of twin gods, Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-Paar-Kraat. The meaning of this doctrine must be studied in Magick. (He is symbolized as a Hawk-Headed God enthroned.)
He rules the present period of 2,000 years, beginning in 1904. Everywhere his government is taking root. Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bisexual or epicene, the childlike confidence in progress combined with nightmare fear of catastrophe, against which we are yet half unwilling to take precautions.
Consider the outcrop of dictatorships, only possible when moral growth is in its earliest stages, and the prevalence of infantile cults like Communism, Fascism, Pacifism, Health Crazes, Occultism in nearly all its forms, religions sentimentalised to the point of practical extinction.
Consider the popularity of the cinema, the wireless, the football pools and guessing competitions, all devices for soothing fractious infants, no seed of purpose in them.
Consider sport, the babyish enthusiasms and rages which it excites, whole nations disturbed by disputes between boys.
Consider war, the atrocities which occur daily and leave us unmoved and hardly worried.
We are children.
How this new Aeon of Horus will develop, how the Child will grow up, these are for us to determine, growing up ourselves in the way of the Law of Thelema under the enlightened guidance of the Master Therion.
* The moment of change from one period to another is technically called The Equinox of the Gods.
V – The Next Step
Ferocious Fascism, cackling Communism, equally frauds, cavort crazily all over the globe.
They are hemming us in.
They are abortive births of the Child, the New Aeon of Horus.
Liberty stirs once more in the womb of Time.
Evolution makes its changes by anti-Socialistic ways. The “abnormal” man who foresees the trend of the times and adapts circumstance intelligently, is laughed at, persecuted, often destroyed by the herd; but he and his heirs, when the crisis comes, are survivors.
Above us today hangs a danger never yet paralleled in history. We suppress the individual in more and more ways. We think in terms of the herd. War no longer kills soldiers; it kills all indiscriminately. Every new measure of the most democratic and autocratic govenments is Communistic in essence. It is always restriction. We are all treated as imbecile children. Dora, the Shops Act, the Motoring Laws, Sunday suffocation, the Censorship— they won’t trust us to cross the roads at will.
Fascism is like Communism, and dishonest into the bargain. The dictators suppress all art, literature, theatre, music, news, that does not meet their requirements; yet the world only moves by the light of genius. The herd will be destroyed in mass.
The establishment of the Law of Thelema is the only way to preserve individual liberty and to assure the future of the race.
In the words of the famous paradox of the Comte de Fénix— The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.
All men and women are invited to cooperate with the Master Therion in this, the Great Work.