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The Book of the Law
The Book of the Law
The Book of the Law
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The Book of the Law

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Liber AL vel Legis, commonly known as The Book of the Law, is the central sacred text of Thelema, allegedly written down from dictation mostly by Aleister Crowley, although his wife Rose Edith Crowley is also known to have written two phrases into the manuscript of the Book after its dictation. Crowley claimed it was dictated to him by a discarnate entity named Aiwass. However, the three chapters are largely written in the first person by the Thelemic deities Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit respectively, rather than by Aiwass/Aiwaz.
Through the reception of the Book, Crowley proclaimed the arrival of a new stage in the spiritual evolution of humanity, to be known as the "Æon of Horus". The primary precept of this new aeon is the charge to "Do what thou wilt".
The book contains three chapters, each of which was alleged to be written down in one hour, beginning at noon, on 8 April, 9 April, and 10 April in Cairo, Egypt, in the year 1904. Crowley says that the author was an entity named Aiwass, whom he later referred to as his personal Holy Guardian Angel. Biographer Lawrence Sutin quotes private diaries that fit this story, and writes that "if ever Crowley uttered the truth of his relation to the Book," his public account accurately describes what he remembered on this point.
Crowley himself wrote "Certain very serious questions have arisen with regard to the method by which this Book was obtained. I do not refer to those doubts—real or pretended—which hostility engenders, for all such are dispelled by study of the text; no forger could have prepared so complex a set of numerical and literal puzzles[...]"
The book is often referred to simply as Liber AL, Liber Legis or just AL, though technically the latter two refer only to the manuscript.
LanguageEnglish
Release dateJan 20, 2020
ISBN9788835361824
The Book of the Law
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Author

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was an English poet, painter, occultist, magician, and mountaineer. Born into wealth, he rejected his family’s Christian beliefs and developed a passion for Western esotericism. At Trinity College, Cambridge, Crowley gained a reputation as a poet whose work appeared in such publications as The Granta and Cambridge Magazine. An avid mountaineer, he made the first unguided ascent of the Mönch in the Swiss Alps. Around this time, he first began identifying as bisexual and carried on relationships with prostitutes, which led to his contracting syphilis. In 1897, he briefly dated fellow student Herbert Charles Pollitt, whose unease with Crowley’s esotericism would lead to their breakup. The following year, Crowley joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a secret occult society to which many of the era’s leading artists belonged, including Bram Stoker, W. B. Yeats, Arthur Machen, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Between 1900 and 1903, he traveled to Mexico, India, Japan, and Paris. In these formative years, Crowley studied Hinduism, wrote the poems that would form The Sword of Song (1904), attempted to climb K2, and became acquainted with such artists as Auguste Rodin and W. Somerset Maugham. A 1904 trip to Egypt inspired him to develop Thelema, a philosophical and religious group he would lead for the remainder of his life. He would claim that The Book of the Law (1909), his most important literary work and the central sacred text of Thelema, was delivered to him personally in Cairo by the entity Aiwass. During the First World War, Crowley allegedly worked as a double agent for the British intelligence services while pretending to support the pro-German movement in the United States. The last decades of his life were spent largely in exile due to persecution in the press and by the states of Britain and Italy for his bohemian lifestyle and open bisexuality.

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