By Aleister Crowley
De Arte Magica Secundum ritum Gradus Nonæ O.T.O. Baphometi Epistola anno belli universalis ne perdat arcanum scripta
I Of Ararat The supreme secret of the O.T.O. is written in detail in the Book called Agape and is also written plainly in Liber CCCXXXIII, Cap. XXXVI. But now also do We think it fitting to add Our own comment to this book Agape which We wrote in Our own words for the proper setting-forth of this Secret taught Us at Our Initiation to the IX' by the O.H.O. And this Book has received His official approbation in every word thereof. But in this comment do We not set forth the Secret itself (rather on the contrary guarding it by certain subtilties even from the conjecture of the unworthy) but only Our own ideas as to its right use, with other matters germane, thinking that those into whose hands it may come may thereby understand more fully the utter importance of this Secret as having been the Pivot of Our working for so long a period, and further that it may aid such persons to attain perfectly the mastery of this Holy and Imperial Art.
II Of the Importance of the Secret This secret is the true Key to Magick; that is, by the right use of this secret man may impose his Will on Nature herself, as will appear hereafter in this comment. In this way, although all recorded Knowledge were destroyed, it would be possible for an adept of this secret to restore it.
III Of the Mind of the Adept In Our holiest isle Ierne is found a being called Leprechaun. This creature, once seen, is easy to catch; and once caught must lead his captor to great treasure, provided that never for an eye-wink doth he relax viligance; and the Leprechaun by all manner of tricks doth seek ever to divert the attention of him that hath made him prisoner. Now this is a Magical Apologue or Fable of the utmost abyss of Truth. For in the preperation of the Sacrament, and in its consummation also, the mind of the Initiate must be concerned absolutely in one rushing flame of will upon the determined object of his operation. For there is no act more easy and natural to man than this preperation, none which requires less auxiliary. And yet by far the most part of mankind is ignorant and incapable of its proper performance; so that it is said that perfection in it as both science and art requires no less study than the most abstruse of philosophies, and no less practice than the most difficult of dexterities. But it is utterly in vain unless this first condition be fulfilled; and so difficult is this, not only because of the Overcoming of the Bodily Trance, but because of the wandering nature of the mind itself. And thereafter only by long and hard training preliminary in the art of meditation, and by constant practice and experience, can this Act become fruitful in Magick.
IV Of Times and Seasons Although no instruction has been given on this matter, yet it is evident, not only from considerations of the nature of things, but from Our own experience of these two years, that the fruitfulness of this Sacrament varies constantly, as it seems without rational cause. Nor have We fully understood the best conditions. But it is Our Opinion that the Adept should suffer inward premonition whether the hour be propitious or no. Yet it hath also been observed, and that often, that by extreme violence to Nature results are obtained equal to those garnered when Nature herself urges vehemently to the Act by enthusiasm. But mediocre states of body and mind are to be avoided. As it is written "I would thou wert cold or hot; but because thou art lukewarm I shall spew thee out of My mouth." Nor is it necessarily to be disregarded as superstition to assert that certain hours of the day and certain aspects of the stars are more favourable than others, but rather to be criticised and investigated according to the methods of true science.
V Of Bodily States
There is here a certain difficulty, in that the body being full of meat and wine is more apt for the preperation, as it is said, Sine Cereri et Baccho Venus friget, while for the consumation the body should be empty of all gross nutriment, so that the Elixir may be sucked up eagerly, and, running nobly into every part, revivify the whole. It will in Our opinion be best if a full meal be taken not less than three hours before the beginning of the Ceremony, and after that no food, although stimulants whether of wine or subtler agents may be continued, so as to raise the body from excitement to excitement, and thus fit it for the proper exaltation suitable to the Work. But in all this men may differ, and there is no rule but what may be engraven upon her Tracing Board by the burin of Experience.
VI Of Operations of this Art, whether they should be Single or Multiple We have doubt also in this matter whether, if an operation fail, it be wise to reiterate. A Single Act implieth perfection, and full faith, in the Adept, if he repeat, that is Fear, and argueth imperfection in the first Trial. Yet possibly for great cosmic operations it may be well to perform a series of Sacraments; but in this case the series should be arranged beforehand, and carried out regularly. As for example the 16 operations of Jupiter done in the city of Paris during the passage of the Sun from 10' Capricorn to 22' Aquarius An Ix. In Our experience, repititions undertaken because of apparent failure have sometimes seemed fatal, actually stopping what might reasonably have been expected to occur, and which has occured only some time after the cessation of such attempts. But we have also noted that in such cases the result hath been great and favourable, as if the repeated operations had built a dam restraining the the natural current of the favourable forces, thus keeping them back so as to make them more effective in the end. But this may be false interpretation of the observed phenomena. And, again, a series of such Sacraments has been futile until one last Work has landed in success. Yet this again may be coincidence, the result of the first working, but delayed. The Adept will develop Intuition in all these questions; it is likely that the personal equation is very important, and that no absolute Rule Catholic, always everywhere, and by all men to be observed, exists.
VII Of certain unknown Inhibitions, and their Effect
We have marked subtly and regularly, the conditions and results of divers Workings of this Art, and this is the marvel now the Result follows swift and perfect, now again a group of lesser Results symapthetic to the Result willed, now but slight movements imitative of that Result, and now not only perfect failure, but the sudden reversal of all hopes in despair and ruin. More plainly, if X be the Object of the Work, the result is sometimes X, sometimes x x x x, sometimes V(x), sometimes -V(x), or -x x x x, or -X. In the concrete, suppose that one worketh this Art to obtain a great sum. Then at one time that sum will arrive that same night or within (say) 48 hours after, or an event occur involving the gain of that sum; at another time there will merely arise a group of circumstances favourable; at another time again a lesser sum will arrive; but also these may be reversed, in the worst case the loss of the sum proposed or the occurance of an event which might involve that loss, or at least disappoint some reasonable expectation of that gain. In the particular case of employing this Sacrament for the Elixer of Life, its misuse might cause premature old age, disease, or even death, as it is said; We do not think that these results would follow the miscarriage of any other operation; We think that retribution is to be the evil and adverse reflection of reward, and on its plane. Adepts will then shew prudence by experimenting thoroughly in minor operations, where failure does not imply irreparable disaster, until they have the knowledge and Experience of this Art which will give a reasonable confidence.
VIII Of a Theory of this Art Magical
The theory of this Art appears to Us to involve certain cosmic hypotheses to which it is perhaps not impossible to assent at least tentatively, but which are certainly unproven. The idea of Prana in some form more mystical than that which identifieth it with the Motion of the physicist is perhaps inherent. In the mere consumation of the Sacrament for health and vitality is no violation of reason, but at most an exaggeration of anticipation; for the Matter of the Sacrament is indubitably a Microcosm; but in the extension of this Sacrament to validity in Magick is an hiatus comparable to that which exists in the theory of astrology. Even granting that an angle of 120 degrees subtended at the eye of the observer on Earth between Sol and Saturn (exempli gratia) is accompanied by certain fortunes, this may be casual and not causal. However, in this matter We have no doubt of the efficacy of the process, and are therefore fain to toy with any hypothesis, investigating as probablity may determine us to do. Thus we may assume an Ether or Akasa, inflamed or stressed by a particular Prana. And all stresses in this Akasa being of one kind ultimately, though mediately diverse, it may be as easy to arrest the course of the Earth as to destroy a worm. For the Work is taking place in a World of Causes fluid and not soild, in Yetzirah (or even Briah) rather than in Assiah. It will be impossible or very difficult to move infantry from one wing of the engaged line to the other, but in the Quarters of the Staff it is indifferent whether that body, being at the base, is pushed forward to either. One cannot easily oxidize gold precipated from the chloride, but having the chloride, it is easy to prepare the oxide rather than the metal. And in all these matters reason must be the guide,
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