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 by Bill Heidrick
<> Many Thelemites are a bit appalled by the evident complexity of this work. Crowley wrote it in obedience to the injunction in "The Book of the Law:" I, 35-37: "35: This that thou writest is the threefold book of Law. 36: 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-Khu-it. 37: Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach." It is the last of these verses that prompted Crowley to write "Book Four"<> -- the fourth book to "The Book of the Law," but not the fourth Chapter of the same; for verse 35 clearly declares that there are only three parts to "Liber AL." The closing ve rses of "Liber AL" also leave no possible doubt that the Book itself is ended. There is no Fourth Book or Chapter to "Liber AL," and there never will be; efforts by such as James Beck and this "Book of Codes" p ublished in the recent "Book of Perfection" are misguided in claiming this. Such works can be of consi derable value, but cannot rest on a par with "The Book of the Law" -- more on this subject in another place . {9} In addition to several other aids, the reader of "Magick in Theory and Pract ice" will be better armed for the fray with a copy of "Magick Without Tears" (letters written by Crowley to e xplain M in T and P) and a slender volume sometimes published separately from M in T and P titled "Book Fo ur". This latter is an introduction to the technical aspects of Magick. Actually "Magick in Theory an d Practice," taken together with this little book,<> form "Book Four" .<> "Magick in Theory an Practice" is roughly divided into two parts: Theory and Practice -- hence the title. This Study Guide will chiefly concern itself with the Theory part. Notes will be added on some of the Rituals, but they require a more extensive discussion than is possible here. M embership in the Order makes possible further instruction. Obviously the first thing to do with the book is to have a good look at it. Mark especially the diagrams of the signs given at the beginning and the list of recommended reading found in t he middle. These two short items are doors to understanding the rest. INTRODUCTION -- intended to perform several functions. For a person already able to confront Magick without undue skepticism, it may be unnecessary. For the beginner, it includes a pseudo-rational exposition of the Magical world-view. Actually, this introduction is a series of images and tropes -- it is intended to begin an opening of the more closed minded readers and to trap the minds of those who should not study this work -- so that they will not enter into danger. Chapter 0 -- basic philosophy and method. The real introduction to the Work . Chapter 1 -- Definition of terms and fundamental advice. Learn this before going further. The material is relatively light. Any difficult point may be returned to later -- such difficu lty will be more a matter of trying to find problems that aren't there, than it will be of confronting real obstacl es. Chapter 2 -- through Chapter 7 -- Magick formulas. These are mental ways of organizing thought and ritual. The reader will not be able to understand them perfectly at first. Th ey must be firmly understood before any of the Rituals can be consciously mastered. Each of these chapters should be studied and learned in succession before any but light reading of the rest is undertaken. Chapter 8 -- This sets the method for the whole of the Work. It must be stu died well. It may be studied along with Chapters 2 through 7. Chapter 9 -- Basics of use of sound and general notes on working. Necessary for ritual, but not absolutely necessary of understanding of general theory. Some valuable points of philosop hy are to be found here, none-the-less. Chapter 10 -- Method of physical action in ritual. Necessary for the ritual s. Chapter 11 -- The critical work of performing Magick rests in development of the Body of Light. This chapter introduces the method and concept. Study this before reading further. Chapter 12 -- Technical instruction. Not all of this material is to be take n literally. Those who wish to become involved in this level of working should proceed cautiously and with ins truction from those they can accept as teachers.<> Chapters 13 and 14 --- This must be studied closely. The material here is o f very wide application in all workings. Chapter 16 part I -- The main point is not to take a magical Oath until you are ready to set the pattern for your life's work. Chapter 15 -- Read and reread this material until it become an integral part of your thought. This is absolutely basic technical and attitudinal orientation. Chapters 16 part II and 17 -- Not generally important unless it is desired t o take on specialized work of this kind. Chapter 18 -- Very important. Study closely. This material is essential to successful working and control. Without the knowledge presented here, your body of light will be effectively bl ind and blundering. Chapter 19 -- Specialized work again. Study if it appeals to your interest. {10} Chapter 20 -- This will appear obscure at first. It is the advanced theory of ritual design. Without this material, one cannot understand some of the shorter rituals given in the rest o f the book. Some of the ideas presented here are misleading if looked at lightly. Study of this chapter shou ld come after work with the earlier part of the book. Chapter 21 -- The material here is mostly advanced philosophy of Magick. So me parts will appear clear on first reading. This chapter may be read chiefly for entertainment until one ha s read "The Book of the Law." While the theory chapters of "Magick in Theory and Practice" are being studi ed one should practice several rituals. Study of Appendix III on pages 245 and 246 of the shorter edi tion of the book is advised. Rituals for special attention include Liber E (general exercises), Liber O (esp ecially the Lesser Pentagram Banishment),<> Liber Resh (daily). The student is advis ed against Liber III in instruction #2 -- the basic method is excellent, but this particular technique is not for most people (or necessarily the most promising students). In the process of reading "Magick in Theory and Practice", one comes across many references to the "Equinox" and other writings. In most instances, the point to be found in the reference is unnecessary for the average student. When unusual difficulty arises, Associates and Initiates of the Order may apply for specific instruction. Inquires by others will be handled as time permits. Here is a brief note on some of the rituals in the "Practice" section of the text: Liber Samekh -- excellent for gathering magical force. Should be performed only in conjunction with banishing rituals. The injunction that no names be used unless understood perf ectly may be considered as a trope. Appendix VI "Grimorium Sanctissimum" -- The Latin portion beginning this sec tion. This material may be interpreted as a method for securing the fluids of the sex-act for magical appl ication. It is unwise to attempt this work without instruction and an effective body of light under control. Liber XXV -- advance form of the Pentagram Banishment. Should only be under taken after study of "The Book of the Law." Another version is to be found in "The Book of Lies." Liber V -- difficult. Successful performance of this ritual may be a goal t o set in testing your own comprehension of this book. Liber XV -- the principal group ritual of the Order in the Outer. Appendix VII, Liber HHH. This material is in the line of the Order of the G olden Dawn to some extent. Alteration and adaptation to circumstance is valid. Liber E -- Very important to take up with the study of the theory sections. Liber O -- Basic Golden Dawn rituals for practical working. This material s hould be relatively easy to understand. It is assumed knowledge for the more elaborate workings presented before and after it in the text. Liber Astarte -- Very useful. It may be undertaken without reading the rest of the book. Liber RV -- Yoga instruction. Should be taken up as an independent practice throughout one's working and study. It furthers all efforts. Liber Yod -- another item that may be considered a sort of self-proficiency test. Very good mental yoga when attained. It furthers all efforts. Liber Thisharb -- for very advanced working only. Do not attempt it until s killed in all other workings and experienced by several years of magical practice. It may be studied, if the te mptation to practice it can be mastered, at any level. Liber B -- Its value is wasted on those who are not ready for it. Liber Resh -- For daily use by all. Liber III -- Excellent discipline, if the part about the razor is not taken rashly. {11}

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