Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
In Righteousness of heart come hither, and listen: for it is I, ΤΟ ΜΕΓΑ ΘΗΡΙΟΝ, who gave this Law unto everyone that holdeth himself holy. It is I, not another, that willeth your whole Freedom, and the arising within you of full Knowledge and Power.
Behold! the Kingdom of God is within you, even as the Sun standeth eternal in the heavens, equal at midnight and at noon. He riseth not: he setteth not: it is but the shadow of the earth which concealeth him, or the clouds upon her face.
Let me then declare unto you this Mystery of the Law, as it hath been made known unto me in divers places, upon the mountains and in the deserts, but also in great cities, which thing I speak for your comfort and good courage. And so be it unto all of you!
Know first, that from the Law spring four Rays or Emanations: so that if the Law be the centre of your own being, they must needs fill you with their secret goodness. And these four are Light, Life, Love, and Liberty.
By Light shall ye look upon yourselves, and behold All Things that are in Truth One Thing only, whose name hath been called No Thing for a cause which later shall be declared unto you. But the substance of Light is Life, since without Existence and Energy it were naught. By Life therefore are you made yourselves, eternal and incorruptible, flaming forth as suns, self-created and self-supported, each the sole centre of the Universe.
Now as by Light ye beheld, by Love ye feel. There is an ecstasy of pure Knowledge, and another of pure Love. And this Love is the force that uniteth things diverse, for the contemplation in Light of their Oneness. Know that the Universe is not at rest, but in extreme motion whose sum is Rest. And this understanding that Stability is Change, and Change Stability, that Being is Becoming, and Becoming Being, is the Key to the Golden Palace of this Law.
Lastly, by Liberty is the power to direct your course according to your Will. For the extent of the Universe is without bounds, and ye are free to make your pleasure as ye will, seeing that the diversity of being is infinite also. For this also is the Joy of the Law, that no two stars are alike, and ye must understand also that this Multiplicity is itself Unity, and without it Unity could not be. And this is an hard saying against Reason: ye shall comprehend, when, rising above Reason, which is but a manipulation of the Mind, ye come to pure Knowledge by direct perception of the Truth.
Know also that these four Emanations of the Law flame forth upon all paths: ye shall use them not only in these Highways of the Universe whereof I have written, but in every By-path of your daily life.
Love is the law, love under will.
It is of Liberty that I would first write unto you, for except ye be free to act, ye cannot act. Yet all four gifts of the Law must in some degree be exercised, seeing that these four are one. But for the Aspirant that cometh unto the Master, the first need is freedom.
The great bond of all bonds is ignorance. How shall a man be free to act if he know not his own purpose? You must therefore first of all discover which star of all the stars you are, your relation to the other stars about you, and your relation to, and identity with, the Whole.
In our Holy Books are given sundry means of making this discovery, and each must make it for himself, attaining absolute conviction by direct experience, not merely reasoning and calculating what is probable. And to each will come the knowledge of his finite will, whereby one is a poet, one prophet, one worker in steel, another in jade. But also to each be the knowledge of his infinite Will, his destiny to perform the Great Work, the realization of his True Self. Of this Will let me therefore speak clearly unto all, since it pertaineth unto all.
Understand now that in yourselves is a certain discontent. Analyse well its nature: at the end is in every case one conclusion. The ill springs from the belief in two things, the Self and the Not-Self, and the conflict between them. This also is a restriction of the Will. He who is sick is in conflict with his own body: he who is poor is at odds with society: and so for the rest. Ultimately, therefore, the problem is how to destroy this perception of duality, to attain to the apprehension of unity.
Now then let us suppose that you have come to the Master, and that He has declared to you the Way of this attainment. What hindereth you? Alas! there is yet much Freedom afar off.
Understand clearly this: that if you are sure of your Will, and sure of your means, then any thoughts or actions which are contrary to those means are contrary also to that Will.
If therefore the Master should enjoin upon you a Vow of Holy Obedience, compliance is not a surrender of the Will, but a fulfilment thereof.
For see, what hindereth you? It is either from without or from within, or both. It may be easy for the strong-minded seeker to put his heel upon public opinion, or to tear from his heart the objects which he loves, in a sense: but there will always remain in himself many discordant affections, as also the bond of habit, and these also must he conquer.
In our holiest Book it is written: “Thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay.” Write it also in your heart and in your brain: for this is the key of the whole matter.
Here Nature herself be your preacher: for in every phenomenon of force and motion doth she proclaim aloud this truth. Even in so small a matter as driving a nail into a plank, hear this same sermon. Your nail must be hard, smooth, fine-pointed, or it will not move swiftly in the direction willed. Imagine then a nail of tinder-wood with twenty points— it is verily no longer a nail. Yet nigh all mankind are like unto this. They wish a dozen different careers; and the force which might have been sufficient to attain eminence in one is wasted on the others: they are null.
Here then let me make open confession, and say thus: though I pledged myself almost in boyhood to the Great Work, though to my aid came the most puissant forces in the whole Universe to hold me to it, though habit itself now constraineth me in the right direction, yet I have not fulfilled my Will: I turn aside daily from the appointed task. I waver. I falter. I lag.
Let this then be of great comfort to you all, that if I be so imperfect— and for very shame I have not emphasized that imperfection— if I, the chosen one, still fail, then how easy for yourselves to surpass me! Or, should you only equal me, then even so how great attainment should be yours!
Be of good cheer, therefore, since both my failure and my success are arguments of courage for yourselves.
Search yourselves cunningly, I pray you, analysing your inmost thoughts. And first you shall discard all those gross obvious hindrances to your Will: idleness, foolish friendships, waste employments or enjoyments, I will not enumerate the conspirators against the welfare of your State.
Next, find the minimum of daily time which is in good sooth necessary to your natural life. The rest you shall devote to the True Means of your Attainment. And even these necessary hours you shall consecrate to the Great Work, saying consciously always while at these Tasks that you perform them only in order to preserve your body and mind in health for the right application to that sublime and single Object.
It shall not be very long before you come to understand that such a life is the true Liberty. You will feel distractions from your Will as being what they are. They will no longer appear pleasant and attractive, but as bonds, as shames. And when you have attained this point, know that you have passed the Middle Gate of this Path. For you will have unified your Will.
Even thus, were a man sitting in a theatre where the play wearies him, he would welcome every distraction, and find amusement in any accident: but if he were intent upon the play, every such incident would annoy him. His attitude to these is then an indication of his attitude towards the play itself.
At first the habit of attention is hard to acquire. Persevere, and you will have spasms of revulsion periodically. Reason itself will attack you, saying: how can so strict a bondage be the Path of Freedom?
Persevere. You have never yet known Liberty. When the temptations are overcome, the voice of Reason silenced, then will your soul bound forward unhampered upon its chosen course, and for the first time will you experience the extreme delight of being Master of Yourself, and therefore of the Universe.
When this is fully attained, when you sit securely in the saddle, then you may enjoy also all those distractions which first pleased you and then angered you. Now they will do neither any more: for they are your slaves and toys.
Until you have reached this point, you are not wholly free. You must kill out desire, and kill out fear. The end of all is the power to live according to your own nature, without danger that one part may develop to the detriment of the whole, or concern lest that danger should arise.
The sot drinks, and is drunken: the coward drinks not, and shivers: the wise man, brave and free, drinks, and gives glory to the Most High God.
This then is the Law of Liberty: you possess all Liberty in your own right, but you must buttress Right with Might: you must win Freedom for yourself in many a war. Woe unto the children who sleep in the Freedom that their forefathers won for them!
“There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt:” but it is only the greatest of the race who have the strength and courage to obey it.
O man! behold thyself! With what pains wast thou fashioned! What ages have gone to thy shaping! The history of the planet is woven into the very substance of thy brain! Was all this for naught? Is there no purpose in thee? Wast thou made thus that thou shouldst eat, and breed, and die? Think it not so! Thou dost incorporate so many elements, thou art the fruit of so many æons of labour, thou art fashioned thus as thou art, and not otherwise, for some colossal End.
Nerve thyself, then, to seek it and to do it. Naught can satisfy thee but the fulfilment of thy transcendent Will, that is hidden within thee. For this, then, up, to arms! Win thine own Freedom for thyself! Strike hard!
It is written that “Love is the law, love under will.” Herein is an Arcanum concealed, for in the Greek Language ΑΓΑΠΗ, Love, is of the same numerical value as ΘΕΛΗΜΑ, Will. By this we understand that the Universal Will is of the nature of Love.
Now Love is the enkindling in ecstasy of Two that will to become One. It is thus an Universal formula of High Magick. For see now how all things, being in sorrow caused by dividuality, must of necessity will Oneness as their medicine.
Here also is Nature monitor to them that seek Wisdom at her breast: for in the uniting of elements of opposite polarities is there a glory of heat, of light, and of electricity. Thus also in mankind do we behold the spiritual fruit of poetry and all genius, arising from the seed of what is but an animal gesture, in the estimation of such as are schooled in Philosophy. And it is to be noted strongly that the most violent and divine passions are those between people of utterly unharmonious natures.
But now I would have you to know that in the mind are no such limitations in respect of species as prevent a man falling in love with an inanimate object, or an idea. For to him that is in any wise advanced upon the Way of Meditation it appears that all objects save the One Object are distasteful, even as appeared formerly in respect of his chance wishes to the Will. So therefore all objects must be grasped by the mind, and heated in the sevenfold furnace of Love, until with explosion of ecstasy they unite, and disappear, for they, being imperfect, are destroyed utterly in the creation of the Perfection of Union, even as the persons of the Lover and the Beloved are fused into the spiritual gold of Love, which knoweth no person, but comprehendeth all.
Yet since each star is but one star, and the coming together of any two is but one partial rapture, so must the aspirant to our holy Science and Art increase constantly by this method of assimilating ideas, that in the end, become capable of apprehending the Universe in one thought, he may leap forth upon It with the massed violence of his Self, and destroying both these, become that Unity whose name is No Thing. Seek ye all therefore constantly to unite yourselves in rapture with each and every thing that is, and that by utmost passion and lust of Union. To this end take chiefly all such things as are naturally repulsive. For what is pleasant is assimilated easily and without ecstasy: it is in the transfiguration of the loathsome and abhorred into The Beloved that the Self is shaken to the root in Love.
Thus in human love also we see that mediocrities among men mate with null women: but History teacheth us that the supreme masters of the world seek ever the vilest and most horrible creatures for their concubines, overstepping even the limiting laws of sex and species in their necessity to transcend normality. It is not enough in such natures to excite lust or passion: the imagination itself must be enflamed by every means.
For us, then, emancipated from all base law, what shall we do to satisfy our Will to Unity? No less a mistress than the Universe: no lupanar more cramped than Infinite Space: no night of rape that is not co-eval with Eternity!
Consider that as Love is mighty to bring forth all Ecstasy, so absence of Love is the greatest craving. Whoso is balked in Love suffereth indeed, but he that hath not actively that passion in his heart towards some object is weary with the ache of craving. And this state is called mystically “Dryness.” For this there is, as I believe, no cure but patient persistence in a Rule of Life.
But this Dryness hath its virtue, in that thereby the Soul is purged of those things that impeach the Will: for when the drouth is altogether perfect, then is it certain that by no means can the Soul be satisfied, save by the Accomplishment of the Great Work. And this is in strong souls a stimulus to the Will. It is the Furnace of Thirst that burneth up all dross within us.
But to each act of Will is a particular Dryness corresponding: and as Love increaseth within you, so doth the torment of His absence. Be this also unto you for a consolation in the ordeal! Moreover, the more fierce the plague of impotence, the more swiftly and suddenly is it wont to abate.
Here is the method of Love in Meditation. Let the Aspirant first practice and then discipline himself in the Art of fixing the attention upon any thing whatsoever at will, without permitting the least imaginable distraction.
Let him also practice the art of the Analysis of Ideas, and that of refusing to allow the mind its natural reaction to them, pleasant or unpleasant, thus fixing himself in Simplicity and Indifference. These things being achieved in their ripe season, be it known to you that all ideas will have become equal to your apprehension, since each is simple and each indifferent: any one of them remaining in the mind at Will without stirring or striving, or tending to pass on to any other. But each idea will possess one special quality common to all: this, that no one of any of them is The Self, inasmuch as it is perceived by The Self as Something Opposite.
When this is thorough and profound in the impact of its realization, then is the moment for the aspirant to direct his Will to Love upon it, so that his whole consciousness findeth focus upon that One Idea. And at the first it may be fixed and dead, or lightly held. This may then pass into dryness, or into repulsion. Then at last by pure persistence in that Act of Will to Love, shall Love himself arise, as a bird, as a flame, as a song, and the whole Soul shall wing a fiery path of music unto the Ultimate Heaven of Possession.
Now in this method there are many roads and ways, some simple and direct, some hidden and mysterious, even as it is with human love whereof no man hath made so much as the first sketches for a Map: for Love is infinite in diversity even as are the Stars. For this cause do I leave Love himself master in the heart of every one of you: for he shall teach you rightly if you but serve him with diligence and devotion even to abandonment.
Nor shall you take umbrage or surprise at the strange pranks that he shall play: for He is a wayward boy and wanton, wise in the Wiles of Aphrodite Our Lady His sweet Mother: and all His jests and cruelties are spices in a confection cunning as no art may match.
Rejoice therefore in all His play, not remitting in any wise your own ardour, but glowing with the sting of His whips, and making of Laughter itself a sacrament adjuvant to Love, even as in the Wine of Rheims is sparkle and bite, like as they were ministers to the High Priest of its Intoxication.
It is also fit that I write to you of the importance of Purity in Love. Now this matter concerneth not in any wise the object or the method of the practice: the one thing essential is that no alien element should intrude. And this is of most particular pertinence to the aspirant in that primary and mundane aspect of his work wherein he establisheth himself in the method through his natural affections.
For know, that all things are masks or symbols of the One Truth, and nature serveth alway to point out the higher perfection under the veil of the lower perfection. So then all the Art and Craft of human love shall serve you as an hieroglyphic: for it is written that That which is above is like that which is below: and That which is below is like that which is above.
Therefore also doth it behoove you to take well heed lest in any manner you fail in this business of purity. For though each act is to be complete on its own plane, and no influence of any other plane is to be brought in for interference or admixture, for that such is all impurity, yet each act should in itself be so complete and perfect that it is a mirror of the perfection of every other plane, and thereby becometh partaker of the pure Light of the highest. Also, since all acts are to be acts of Will in Freedom on every plane, all planes are in reality but one: and thus the lowest expression of any function of that Will is to be at the same time an expression of the highest Will, or only true Will, which is that already implied in the acceptance of the Law.
Be it also well understood of you that it is not necessary or right to shut off natural activity of any kind, as certain false folk, eunuchs of the spirit, most foully teach, to the destruction of many. For in every thing soever inhereth its own perfection proper to it, and to neglect the full operation and function of any one part bringeth distortion and degeneration to the whole. Act therefore in all ways, but transforming the effect of all these ways to the One Way of the Will. And this is possible, because all ways are in actual Truth One Way, the Universe being itself One and One Only, and its appearance as Multiplicity that cardinal illusion which it is the very object of Love to dissipate.
In the achievement of Love are two principles, that of mastering and that of yielding. But the nature of these is hard to explain, for they are subtle, and are best taught by Love Himself in the course of the Operations. But it is to be said generally that the choice of one formula or the other is automatic, being the work of that inmost Will which is alive within you. Seek not then to determine consciously this decision, for herein true instinct is not liable to err.
But now I end, without further words: for in our Holy Books are written many details of the actual practices of Love. And those are the best and truest which are most subtly written in symbol and image, especially in Tragedy and Comedy, for the whole nature of these things is in this kind, Life itself being but the fruit of the flower of Love.
It is then of Life that I must needs now write to you, seeing that by every act of Will in Love you are creating it, a quintessence more mysterious and joyous than you deem, for this which men call life is but a shadow of that true Life, your birthright, and the gift of the Law of Thelema.