- Hardcover: 844 pages
- Publisher: Weiser Books; 2nd Revised edition (1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0877289190
- ISBN-13: 978-0877289197
- Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 8 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Magick: Liber ABA, Book 4 2nd Revised Edition
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About the Author
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), who claimed to be the re-incarnation of Dr. John Dee among others, lived in England from 1875 through 1947. He is the author of several Weiser Books titles, including Book of Thoth, Diary of a Drug Fiend, Magick, Book of Lies, Book of the Law and 777 & Other Qabalistic Writings. He was a poet, mountaineer, secret agent, magus, libertine, and prophet - was dubbed by the tabloids "The Wickedest Man in the World."
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Top Customer Reviews
* note: be careful with 'Book Four' (in which Crowley depicts a ridiculous conception of The Scourge used in Witchcraft, legitimately) & 'Magick in Theory and Practice' (esp., due to the fact that in that time period, as now, 'morality' prevented people from talking/writing about sex, but it was/is perfectly ok to talk or write about more dangerous subjects). When reading Crowley, one must often read between the lines. Crowley had a weird sense of humor about revealing 'secrets' without revealing them--when in doubt, reread the section(s) and 'Magick Without Tears' (which shows Crowley's sense of humor and proves he was 'of sound mind' at the end of his life--a typical cranky ol' Grandpa kind guy).
'Magick' is NOT light reading! This is a scholarly work that took decades to compile, and a century to be brought-together in this format. Keep in mind, purchasing this book is the equivalent of purchasing many of Crowley's books in one volume (as he originally intended)--with the added benefit of preface material, illustrations, modern research, Footnotes (!), etc. It is well-worth the price, considering the fact that all of this material is compiled in a painstaking manner, including lost material and better renditions of previous editions.
However, for those who are just beginning to study Thelema, or have just begun the process of wading through Crowley's works (or just want to research Thelema in-general), I strongly suggest beginning with: "The Magick of Thelema: A Handbook of the Rituals of Aleister Crowley," by Lon Milo Duquette (ISBN # 0877287783).
For further research about "Thelema" and "The Book of The Law," I suggest: "The Law is For All," by Aleister Crowley (ISBN # 1561840904).
Step 1: Read the Prelimary Remarks found at the beginning of Book 4 Part 1 Mysticism. This is Crowley's major thesis for the book. His thesis is one of the most profound in the history of Religion.
Step 2: Read Liber E and Liber O found in Appendix 7. Immediately undertake the practices discussed in these two libers. At least begin doing the Diary and Asana sections from Liber E and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram from Liber O. Also recommended is a practice called Resh, which is found in Liber Resh in Appendix 7. The Ritual of the Pentagram and Resh both involve memorization, of words and movement. It will take a couple of weeks to get comfortable. Be patient and don't be too hard on yourself.
Optional Step: You can now read the book from the beginning starting with the Editor's Introduction. Do this if you do not have much background in the subject. If you get 5 pages in and are bored, skip it. Come back to it when you feel like it.
Step 3: After beginning to put Liber E and Liber O into practice begin reading Part 1 Mysticism. This section will give you insight into the meditation practices of Crowley's system. Take notes. It will elaborate on questions you may have concerning instructions found in Liber E, and also Liber RV and Liber Jugorum (two important books both found in Appendix 7).
Optional Step: There is a student reading list found at the end of Part 1 Mysticism. I suggest that you begin to get familiar with at least one or two of the works found here. They are all important. The hard work and study that you put into the works on this list will be repaid exponentially. A sufficient beginning would be The Equinox, 777, and the Eliphas Levi book.
Step 4: Read Part 2 Magick (Elementary Theory). By giving descriptions of the furniture found in the temple, Crowley gives you information on not only what is necessary for a physical temple; he also talks about what is necessary for your inner temple. This book is as much about the physical temple as it is about the mental and spiritual temple found within each of us. If this section becomes boring, just think of it as a kind of discourse on ethics and ontology, Crowley style. Taking notes will make it easier.
Step 5: Before going on to Part 3 Magick in Theory and Practice, you must read Liber AL aka the Book of the Law if you haven't already. This book is the cornerstone of Crowley's philosophy of Thelema. In Magick in Theory and Practice, Crowley constantly references concepts from this book. The Book of the Law can be found in Part 4. This section contains a photocopy of the original handwritten Book of the Law, Liber 31 or XXXI. This is the original document written down by Crowley in 1904. Also in this section is a typed print copy, Liber 220 or CCXX. I recommend reading the typed print copy Liber 220. Crowley's handwriting is very difficult to read. The handwritten copy becomes valuable once you begin to memorize the Book of the Law.
Step 6: At this stage before reading Magick in Theory and Practice, I also recommend reading One Star in Sight. This can be found in Appendix 2. It gives you an overview of the A.'.A.'. training system. The reason why Crowley will be important for hundreds of years in the future is because no teacher has amassed such a beautiful system of instruction, and that system is called A.'.A.'.. Luckily most of the fundamental A.'.A.'. instructions are found in this book and another book called Gems from the Equinox.
Step 7: Now you are ready to begin reading Part 3 Magick in Theory and Practice. It is a difficult read. The first time through may not make much sense. But given time and study, it is an incredible book. Take notes. Write about insights in your diary. In my years of reading, and rereading, and studying different books, no other book presents such startling new insights for each reading like Magick in Theory and Practice. Be sure to record new insights in your diary each time you read it. It's truly a magickal book.
Optional Step: Highly recommended is Bill Heidrick's Study Guide for Magick in Theory and Practice. Google it and it will come up. Heidrick gives you a brief outline of the contents of each chapter and some information on the rituals in the appendices. This may be of great help to you in the beginning.
Take about three to six months (or even a year) to complete the whole reading. Do not rush through it. The rest of the reading sequence is up to you. I recommend 3 books for the next step. First is Eight Lectures on Yoga. This book elaborates on Part 1 Mysticism. Secondly I recommend Magick Without Tears. This book fleshes out the system of magick that Crowley teaches. It's the last book written by Crowley, and it comments on nearly everything that came before. Third is Gems from the Equinox. This book is a compilation of material like Book 4. Gems from the Equinox is a good substitute for the Equinox set of books. It has most of the essential A.'.A.'. material that is left out of Book 4. After you've tackled these books and you're farther along in the system, next is The Book of Thoth. It's Crowley's final masterwork. In my opinion it is just as important as Magick In Theory and Practice.
Keep up your practices and your diary as you see fit. Read Magick in Theory and Practice once every 3 or 4 years. The book and it's insights change as you change. Good luck!