The Secret Door
Thoughts on Thelema

The Key of It All

858px-minoan_master_of_animals_jewelleryAlmost immediately, Aiwass refers to a secret meaning in the Book of the Law. The company of heaven is unveiled before the children of men, assisted by the warrior Lord of Thebes, Ankh-f-n-khonsu (a.k.a. Aleister Crowley).  If something is unveiled, then that implies something that is veiled. HADIT, the centre, heart, and tongue of NUIT, is secret. However, it is revealed by Aiwass, the minister of Harpokrates, the child god Horus in his aspect as the god of silence. The servants of Nuit too are few and secret. The ardours of HADIT, the winged flame, are also secret. The key of the rituals is in a secret word, which is ABRAHADABRA. Similarly, NUIT shall be known by a secret name, which is BABALON. NUIT herself is secret, since she is not to be spoken of (i.e., cannot be described). Similarly, the ordeals are not written of and the rituals are half-concealed and half revealed. Nevertheless, the Law (dharma) is for all. This is the opposite of secrecy, corresponding to the manifestation of NUIT, the aforementioned unveiling/revealing, the formula of 0 = 2. Thus, the threefold Book of Law itself is the revealing or revelation. Nevertheless, there are mysteries in the Book of the Law that shall not be known by the prophet, Aleister Crowley, the scribe himself. Rather, one shall come after him who shall discover the Key of it all. He shall be the child of his bowels, Old Norse kviðr “womb,” Old English cwið, Gothic qiþus “belly, womb.” Crowley, as the mother, shall beget the child, who shall discover the key of it all. Similarly, Crowley, as the scribe, shall solve the first half of the equation, but not the second. He shall behold many mysteries, but not all. The non-identity of Tzaddi and the Star is another mystery that is secret, which Crowley will reveal to the wise (i.e., the gnostics, those who know). NUIT also has a secret glory for them who love her. NU is the hiding of HADIT, continuing the theme of the binary of veiling and unveiling that pervades the Book of the Law. The secret that has not been revealed is the binary relationship of HADIT and NUIT. Thus, NUIT is nowhere found, i.e., she is secret, unknowable, being the totality of all possibilities and therefore infinite. Yet NUIT is known and HADIT, who is not extended, is never found (this is the doctrine of anatta, no-self). Similarly, the scribe, Aleister Crowley, has not known HADIT. The shrine is veiled. The light devours men and eats them up with blindness. Because he is not, HADIT is perfect, i.e., not extended, which may be understood in two ways, either as non-extension or potential, or the extension or emanation of not, nothingness, the void (shunyata; cf. the Gnostic plenum). Another secret is that the Empress and the King (Daleth and He) are not of HADIT. Suffering (dukkha) is the characteristic of those who do not know HADIT.  HADIT is the secret serpent, i.e., the kundalini. Once again, the scribe, Aleister Crowley, shall never know the meaning of the numbers and the words. One shall follow him who shall expound it. The hiding of HADIT is ended. That is, HADIT is revealed.

terms_midnightsun_largeA word is not known. Even Crowley himself does not know the whole meaning. There are mysteries in the letters that no Beast (i.e., Aleister Crowley) shall divine. One shall come after him who shall discover the key of it all. The fool reads the Book of the Law, and does not understand it (or: the Pure Fool realizes the Book as an expression of the ultimate void or emptiness that is reality itself). Rather, he goes through a series of ordeals – silver (moon), gold (sun), precious water (the alchemical solvent) – and in the end, he shall discover it to be ultimate sparks of the intimate (inmost) fire, i.e., the kundalini. That is, the Book of the Law is ultimately resolvable into the precepts of kundalini yoga (see, e.g., Sivananda, Kundalini Yoga [Divine Life Society, 1991]). There is a splendour in the name of Horus that is hidden and glorious, like the midnight sun-son. The midnight sun is the illumination that appears at midnight, the moment of greatest darkness or interiority, the “dark refuge.” The Book of the Law is written and concealed (in Buddhism, a concealed [samarti] text necessarily implies that the surface meaning is a “blind” for an esoteric, ultimate interpretation. Strictly speaking, the literal or conventional meaning is false, a mere construct or fabrication designed to lead the hearer to a deeper, more profound understanding. See A.K. Warder, Indian Buddhism, 3rd revised edition [Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2000], pp. 147f. etc.; see index entry s.v. ‘concealing’, p. 553, and ‘conventional’, p. 554 and corresponding pages).

The foregoing summary of relevant references in the Book of the Law shows quite clearly that there is a secret meaning in the Book of the Law that will not be revealed by or known to the scribe, Aleister Crowley. Yet it must be implicit in Crowley’s writings, since the Comment says that “All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.” We know of course what the key of it all is. It is the word AL, discovered by Charles Stansfeld Jones, and its correlative words, LA and SET, which altogether add up to 93, the number of THELEMA. Crowley himself recognized Jones as his magical child, but in the very process of recognizing him he “fell from it,” as prophesied by Aiwass in the Book of the Law. Therefore, the word was revealed and immediately concealed in the failure of Jones to live up to his role as the magical heir of Aleister Crowley, which he never regained. While the word was revealed, its meaning never was and the mystery remains: What does this revelation actually signify? The Book of the Law remains a sealed scripture, the study and discussion of which is forbidden. Yet Crowley himself predicted the future advent of a genius who would explain the significance of the word, AL, and thereby provide the key to the decipherment of the Book of the Law. Clearly, the solution lies in the significance of this word, AL, applied as a key to the text of the Book of the Law.

prophet_muhammad-468px-001The word AL means “strength, might, power,” and derives from the Ugaritic word for god. Ugaritic refers to the city of Ugarit, in Syria, the birthplace of the alphabet. Ugaritic was a precursor of Biblical Hebrew. Ugarit was not discovered until 1929, 25 years after the dictation of the Book of the Law (hence, it was not known to Crowley as the scribe of the Book of the Law). The city was destroyed in the 12th century BCE. The pictogram of AL (pronounced ‘el’) represents a strong controller or sovereign. It refers especially to Hadad (Adad), a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god identified with Baal. The symbolic animal of Hadad was the bull. He was equated with Egyptian Set and Indian Indra, amongst others. The Hebrew word AL means “above, over, upon, or against.” However, the Book of the Law makes it clear that is cannot be separated from its metathesis, LA, which refers to the negative (also, ignorance, avijja). Thus, AL-LA is the God that is Not. This is the central revelation of the Book of the Law, not merely that God is Not (i.e., atheism), but also that God is the Void (i.e., uncharacterizable, the Tao, shunyata). Cf. the Book of the Law: “I am alone; there is no God where I am” I (II.23), 23 = the glyph of life – nascent life. If one adds SET = ShT = 31 (the sum of Atus XX and XI), one gets 93, the number of Thelema, the True Will.

The foregoing considerations clearly show that the Book of the Law is a mystical scripture with an interior or secret meaning that transcends the literal meaning and the interpretation of its scribe, Aleister Crowley. This meaning refers to the realization of the interior godhead of perfect illumination of and by the individual, which is identical with the True Will.

lamlargeMoreover, the letters Aleph + Lamed = “ox goad,” i.e, that which controls or directs the raw animal energy of the ox (or bull, see above). Aleph is the ox, strength, or leader, the “father” of the Hebrew alphabet. It is also silent. Lamed is the tallest and central or middle letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which in English is pronounced ‘el.’ symbolizing aspiration, contemplation of the heart, and spiritual work.  It is the only Hebrew letter which “ascends above the head.” Lam is also the name of a mysterious portrait drawn by Aleister Crowley, depicting a being who Crowley referred to as his “guru” or lama.



Relevant Textual References from the Book of the Law

My scribe Ankh-af-na-khonsu, the priest of the princes, shall not in one letter change this book; but lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon by the wisdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. (I.36)

The sun, the universal symbol of divine life and illumination, is Ra in Egyptian symbolism, Hoor-Khuit referring to “the flesh of Hoor,” Horus, Egyptian har, meaning the falcon, the distant one, or the one who is above. Crowley wrote several commentaries,  but he only considered the Comment to be inspired by Horus. (see below).

Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. (I.54)

Aiwaz reemphasizes that the letters of the Book of Law are individually significant and must be preserved exactly. Moreover, he asserts that these letters hide mysteries that shall not be known to the prophet, Aleister Crowley. But if the Book contains mysteries that Crowley would not know, how can Crowley’s commentary be definitive? These two tendencies create a paradox.

The child of thy bowels, he shall behold them. (I.55)

Crowley shall give birth to the child as a mother from his [!] womb. Clearly the child therefore is spiritual, not physical. Yet Crowley tried to “beget” this child by normal means, magically empowered, doubtless interpreting “child of thy bowels” as referring to his sperm. The hermaphroditic symbolism is obvious, however.

Expect him not from the East, nor from the West; for from no expected house cometh that child. Aum! All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little; solve the first half of the equation, leave the second unattacked. But thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark. (1.56)

The arrival of the child is unexpected. It cannot be planned for or produced intentionally. In fact, the coming of the child is mysterious. Aiwaz affirms that the perennial philosophy is true, but that each system represents only one part of the elephant. Therefore even Aleister Crowley himself does not understand the whole system.

O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. (II.10)

I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger. (II.11)

Because of me in Thee which thou knewest not. (II.12)

for why? Because thou wast the knower, and me. (II.13)

Crowley resists the challenge that Aiwaz is making to Crowley’s Buddhist worldview.

There is great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason. (II.27)

Now a curse upon Because and his kin! (II.28)

May Because be accursed for ever! (II.29)

Aiwaz refers to the words and letters of the Book of the Law as runes, from. PIE *RU-NO-, source  of Gaelic run,“secret, mystery, craft,” cognate with Welsh, German, Celtic, and Old English terms. These runes cannot be understood rationally. They are therefore symbols, which can only be understood intuitively. The implication is that the Book of the Law “encodes” ultimate, trans-rational information. Presumably therefore the coding itself is non-rational. Even though Crowley discovered a number of symbolic words and numbers, and symbolic references in the Book of the Law, no comprehensive wisdom system or “cabala” has ever emerged from of the Book of the Law. The spiritual development of the system became frozen in place due to the “abortion” or Charles Stansfield Jones. Crowley accepted Jones’s resignation from the A∴A∴ on September 24, 1925. Crowley wrote his exoteric commentary on the Book of the Law circa 1920. Hitler published Mein Kampf in 1925 and 1926. No leader has ever emerged to succeed the prophet himself.

Nor shall they who cry aloud their folly that thou meanest nought avail; thou shall reveal it: thou availest: they are the slaves of because: They are not of me. The stops as thou wilt; the letters? change them not in style or value! (II.54)

Aiwaz reassures the prophet that he will transmit the wisdom beyond reason, i.e., real spiritual truth, accurately and completely. But then Aiwaz cautions the scribe once more to preserve the letters of the Book of the Law, without regard to the punctuation.

Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto. (II.55)

Aiwaz informs Crowley that he will discover new mysteries in the English letters, paralleling the Hebrew cabalistic system. Aiwaz’s impication is that there are secret cyphers in the Book of the law, which may be unlocked using gematria.

Aye! listen to the numbers & the words: (II.75)

4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L. What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it. (II.76)

Aiwaz provides an example. Crowley was able to decipher RPSTOVAL, but the solution to the rest of the puzzle eluded him. Crowly established this as a test for anyone claiming to be his successor. It has never been decyphered. Perhaps it is undecipherable, the implication being that Crowley may not have a successor. The “one to follow thee” is not necessarily “the child.”

Deem not too eagerly to catch the promises; fear not to undergo the curses. Ye, even ye, know not this meaning all. (III.16)

Aiwaz reasserts that Crowley will not understand the Book of the Law completely. Therefore Crowley’s commentary cannot be complete. Cheekily, he refers to the secret key of “all” = AL (one interpretation of which might be pantheism). Yod He (i.e., God, the Tetragrammaton, the divine Self) knows that the meaning of the Book refers the potential divine power or shakti that abides dormant in the emptiness of the void.

All this and a book to say how thou didst come hither and a reproduction of this ink and paper for ever – for in it is the word secret & not only in the English – and thy comment upon this the Book of the Law shall be printed beautifully in red ink and black upon beautiful paper made by hand; and to each man and woman that thou meetest, were it but to dine or to drink at them, it is the Law to give. Then they shall chance to abide in this bliss or no; it is no odds. Do this quickly! (III.40)

The word or message of the Book of the Law is secret and includes covert references to non-English tongues, perhaps translations (see below).

But the work of the comment? That is easy; and Hadit burning in thy heart shall make swift and secure thy pen. (III.41)

The Comment will be an inspired (Class A) communication.

This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all. Then this line drawn is a key: then this circle squared in its failure is a key also. And Abrahadabra. It shall be his child & that strangely. Let him not seek after this; for thereby alone can he fall from it. (III.47)

Aiwaz reaffirms that there are mysteries in the letters of the Book of the Law in relation to reach other (i.e., words) that Crowley will never understand. Another shall come after him from an unknown place who will discover the key by which these mysteries may be understood. Crowley accepted Charles Stansfeld Jones’s discovery of the key-word AL to be this word. The slash across the manuscript of the Book of the Law adds up to 418, a key-number of the Law which is also the number of Abrahadabra. Jones’s discovery was premature, precipitated magically by Aleister Crowley’s act of sex magick to beget a magical child, against which Aiwaz specifically warns Crowley. Subsequently, Jone’s “birth” was aborted and he never explained or interpreted the message of the Book of the Law based on this key, which in its simplest expression means the divine power or energy (shakti or AL).

Now this mystery of the letters is done, and I want to go on to the holier place. (III.48)

Again Aiwaz refers to the mystery of the letters.

Paste the sheets from right to left and from top to bottom: then behold! (III.73)

There is a splendour in my name hidden and glorious, as the sun of midnight is ever the son. (III.74)

Aiwaz apparently directs Crowley to publish the holograph manuscript of the Book of the Law backwards. The Enochian language was dicated to Dee and Kelly backwards because the words when spoken forwards are potent words of power or mantras. Thus Aiwaz is implying that the words of the Book of the Law are mantras. Mantras are strings of sounds or words, consisting of a mixture of an especially meaningful or sacred language, gibberish or glossalalia, and symbols and symbolic-cognitive references. Mantras exhibit particular metrical qualities and an interior sense, and are often communicated using a highly symbolic “twilight language.” The twilight language is often difficult to understand. The audible repetition of mantras, often for long periods, entrain the brain and thus precipitate spiritual experiences in one suitably prepared for the experience. Such mantras may or may not be facilitated by the use of plant medicines. Symbolically the emphasis on reversal may imply a “backwards” or “reverse” way of reading the text of the Book of the Law itself, perhaps in the manner of Hebrew cabala. The twilight language is meant to transmit subtle and visionary insights incorporating the pre-linguistic, experiential, and symbolic level of consciousness. Symbolism is the first articulate expression of the ultimate level of consciousness and reality, and is vital to philosophy and art. Symbols or patterns are the information “stuff” that constitutes actual existence, matter itself being nothing but an inchoate chaos of potentiality. The sun of midnight is the realization of transcendent wisdom or illuminated consciousness.

The Book of the Law is Written and Concealed. Aum. Ha. (III.75)

Aiwaz concludes with the reiterated reference to the mysterious, hidden, runic, or secret meaning of the Book of the Law, and provides a hint – Aum and Ha are Sanskrit words of power, alluding to the Indian tradition, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tantra. The addition of “ha,” a Tantric word of power, is significant. HA is the unaspirated h – the Hebrew he depicting the attitude of worship and the breath – followed by the exhalation into A, the first letter representing what one might term “the spirit.” Called the visarga, lit. sound or transmission, it expresses the innate power of manifestation that is shakti (divine energy), connoting the vibratory union of Shiva and Shakti, the Buddhist yabyum. In Hinduism it is referred to as the heart of Shiva, but in Buddhism also it is also a powerful symbol of the ultimate emptiness of the Tathagata’s dwelling.  In Magick in Theory and Practice, Crowley associates the Indian word of power AUM(GN) with the formula of the New Eon. Crowley also produced a picture of a “lama” (Lam) that Crowley referred to as his guru. Both AUM and HA relate to the innate power of  breath or prana. HA or AHA is the spontaneous humour of the epiphanic awakening into the blissful lucidity of enlightenment (cf. the Vision of Laughter in Little Essays toward Truth). Thus in the final syllable the entire message of the Book of the Law is vibrated in the heart or anahata chakra. The Book of the Law begins and ends with HA (HAD), identifying the Sumerian-Egyptian and mantrayana traditions. HADAD is the Northwest Semitic and ancient Mesopotamian storm and rain god identified with Egyptian SET, the complement of Horus and the god of desert heat.



Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading.

Since the Book of the Law is non-rational, it cannot be studied.

Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire.

Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence.

All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.

Spiritual realization is “each for himself,” a phrase also found in the Pali Canon. Therefore discussion is also forbidden. Those who discuss the Book are automatically outside the system. Yet the Book predicts one to come after, and Crowley himself recognizes this in his writings. Therefore, when the inner meaning of the Book of the Law is spontanously realized and spoken by the one to come after, the system will terminate and a new system of “the shunned” will appear, from PIE *SKEU-, “hide, conceal.” Cf. OE scunian, “seek safety by concealment.” Thus Thelema divides into exoteric and esoteric sections, the latter, like Tantra, a secret and despised order of initiates like the A∴A∴. This order has not yet arisen.

There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

Somehow this is all in accordance with the True Will qua True Will. Therefore, it is universal.

Love is the law, love under will.The priest of the princes,Ankh-f-n-khonsu















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