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Holy Books of Thelema
International Standard Version
FOR THELEMIC LITERATURE]
without written permission from the author.org 2 . including photocopying. electronic or mechanical.Holy Books of Thelema [ISV] A Manuscript Proposal Copyright © 2007-2008 Society for Thelemic Literature. Passages. www. recording or by any information storage and retrieval system. images.thelemicsociety. except as indicated by the “Fair Use” clause of the copyright law. All Rights Reserved No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means. or ideas taken from this work must be properly credited in any written or published materials.
SA MP LE T IT LE P AGE Annotated and Expanded Holy Books of Thelema Fully Revised and Updated INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION SAMPLE PAGE Student Edition General Editor JOHNATHON VICTOR REESE ASSOCIATE EDITORS Peter Ashley Kimberley Goodman Elsa Hahn Walker Hayes With the Society for Thelemic Literature Publisher Logo & Imprint 3 .
............................................................................ 15 Appendix IV: Tables....................................................................................Holy Books of Thelema [ISV] A Manuscript Proposal TABLE OF CONTENTS Sample Title Page ............................................................... 9 Conclusion ........................................... 7 Process and Design .... 6 International Standard Version [ISV]......................................................... 13 Appendix II: Companion Volumes ........................................................................................................................... 12 Appendix I: The Holy Books of Thelema ......................................................... 5 The OTOV & Academic Objectivity .......................................... & Illustrations ....................................................................... 16 4 ........................................... 14 Appendix III: Commissioned Essays ....................................................................................................................................................................................................... Maps.............................. 3 Introduction ...................................
There is no reason to believe these corrections have done anything other than comply with the mandate of Liber AL and continue the tradition of ensuring accuracy to this most important document in thelemic literature. for the faithful conservatorship of Crowley’s corpus along with the original publication of The Holy Books of Thelema in 1983. This is also one of a series of proposed projects to be undertaken in an effort to provide even more tools and resources for those who wish to pursue a comprehensive study with detailed information and research on many different subjects in the companion volumes to this edition of The Holy Books of Thelema. however. A brief synopsis of these additional volumes can be found in Appendix II of this proposal. process and goal for the Society for Thelemic Literature and a courageous publisher to pursue the publication of a new and updated edition of The Holy Books of Thelema. It is time to bring The Holy Books of Thelema out of the darkness of cultic isolation and into the light of modern scholarship and academic excellence. This proposal. These additional projects include A Thelemic Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide. times change and very little within the thelemic publishing community has changed with them.INTRODUCTION Since the first corrected publication of Liber AL vel Legis as a typescript edition in 1913 we have seen at least one more set of corrections to the text in 1979 and 1981 based on careful examination of the manuscript and earlier printed editions. However. 5 . It is my hope this dedicated focus on the Law of Thelema might assist scholars and students to dig further into the implications and applications of the Law in far more than an individual and cultic perspective of western esotericism. goes beyond the implementation of a new edition to suggest the establishment of an INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION [ISV] which would create an accurate baseline for future editions on objective academic standards rather than cultic adherence to tradition. It was certainly Crowley’s desire that the O. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the O. This proposal illustrates the need. Comprehensive Commentaries to the Holy Books of Thelema.O. This proposal is a continuation of that editorial tradition. and The Exhaustive Concordance of the Holy Books of Thelema.T. form a specific kind of social model for Thelema and to continue publishing the legacy he left the Order.T.O.
the Book of the Law. bowdlerized.O. Each of these volumes is out of print.) and its publishing endeavors. is supposed to be doing with Crowley’s corpus. the manuscript formally titled Liber XXXI. And. and promulgate the Law of Thelema in a serious and sustained manner. there has been no reason to question this approach. has published The Holy Books of Thelema.T. for the purposes of the O. and depending on who is in charge of the layout it could include one or more (or none) of the various introductions Crowley wrote for the book.T. This version has been fairly consistent in its content: the typescript text formally titled Liber CCXX. These volumes seem only to be designed around publishing the works of Aleister Crowley. and Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers. Without too much stretch of the imagination. It is a foundational and inspirational version that is subject to a reverent sort of honor among other attempts to create more literal transcriptions of Liber XXXI.T. frankly.T. But in order to best represent Thelema. The Authorized Popular Commentary of Liber AL Vel Legis Sub Figura CCXX. the only available version of Liber AL vel Legis has been through the best effort of Ordo Templi Orientis (O. this approach has gone unquestioned and unchanged for no other reason than to follow Aleister Crowley’s lead in publishing the Book of the Law. To date there has been no formal or academic approach that would create an edition through objective standards working outside individual or cultic bias.O. exactly what the O. however. missing pieces of original manuscripts. For all practical purposes. after all. Liber AL vel Legis is not subject to issues surrounding translation of original languages. the majority of editions that have been produced over the years are merely that: a literal transcription as close to accurate as the editor can make based on their own evaluation and ingenuity as to the substance of Crowley’s handwriting. 6 . and other problems that require a constant revision process as new information and material is discovered. one could suggest that this has similarities to the 1611 King James Version of the Christian Bible. Over the years the O. This is.O.O. The aim of this proposal is to correct that deficiency within the thelemic community. there is more to be considered and a baseline standard that should be created through an excellence in academic resources and publications outside organizational mandates.. Such transcriptions as mentioned above have resulted in variations drawn along individual or cultic lines that are not appropriate for such a text as this. or thrown together in what appears to be much haste and little scholastic care. ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS VERSION [OTOV] Unlike the Christian Bible.THE OTOV & ACADEMIC OBJECTIVITY For the last one hundred years. In fact.
to make this comment carry conviction to thinkers. We acknowledge that Crowley’s own life was far from a picture perfect illustration of the social morals of his time — indeed. but not even his own publication of these texts adhered completely to this mandate or the intent on which it was premised. It is little more than a delusion to believe the Law can spread in this environment through the personality of Aleister Crowley rather than the principles of light.000 years of influence from the three largest Western religious institutions and a number of lesser Eastern religious influences. if I were an Ambassador. but an honest evaluation of the challenges his legacy — both written and perceived — continue to bring to the efforts of promulgating the Law in a world still in the grips of a specific mode of social morality rooted in over 2. versed profoundly in Science. financially armed and socially stainless. This is not an apology for his lifestyle or his life choices. today. For. It is with this understanding that we approach a new version of the Book of the Law as well as the rest of The Holy Books of Thelema with the intention of executing the Will of the Prophet and to see the Law spread to every part of the world with the authority and clarity suited to the its stature as an important part of humanity’s most sacred religious traditions. even of our own time. it is certainly a hope of this author that a general and open synod of recognized and qualified thelemic leaders will join 7 . and to publish the Book of the Law in every part of the world. love. While there is no indication Crowley felt these Class A texts would be collected as ‘holy books’ or these would be the only inclusions to such a corpus. life. By definition this category “consists of the manuscripts of which not so much as the style of a letter may be changed: that is. The mandate provided within the Book of the Law is clear — “Change not as much as the style of a letter” — and has been taken to cover a category of books labeled as Class A materials. I should be able to execute my Will by pressure upon all classes of powerful people.INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION [ISV] The primary motivation behind the creation of an INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema is found in the words of the Prophet’s tormented rhetoric when he postulated an alternate life more suited for spreading the Law of Thelema to the world.” Each of these Holy Books represents Crowley’s contributions to this highest and most honored class of thelemic literature. and liberty found within and derived from The Holy Books of Thelema. they represent the utterance of an Adept entirely beyond all criticism.
Certainly. but the O. is to provide a different venue of exposure for The Holy Books of Thelema with modern academic standards divorced from the perception of cultic or organizational bias while adhering to the traditional mandate as provided by Liber AL vel Legis itself. 8 . or the so-called Short Comment.together someday to seriously discuss the expansion of this corpus to include literature outside the Class A designation yet premier models of thelemic ritual and inspiration. The nature of these resources — to name a few — is in the form of historical introductions. knowing that the Law of Thelema encompasses every area of life. then. The capitulation to the Tunis Comment. Its imagery is gorgeous without decadence. These are expounded upon more fully in the next section of this proposal. Of course. matchless for rhythm. The purpose of this proposal is to bring a standard of excellence in research and publishing to a new edition of The Holy Books of Thelema. Such a project as this. ethics. The purpose of this new edition of The Holy Books of Thelema is to bring the Law of Thelema to the widest possible audience with the greatest amount of opportunity to reach an honest understanding of Thelema and interpret its principles to their own satisfaction. It deals with primary ideas. might better be titled The Class A Initiatory Texts of the A∴A∴. There is a secondary need for the creation of an INTERNATIONAL STANDARD of The Holy Books of Thelema found in the lack of quality resources for students and adherents alike. this brings up the question as to what should be included in this edition though the answer is explored in a latter section of this proposal. VERSION Concerning Liber AL vel Legis. yet sublime. The resources to be included in this edition of The Holy Books of Thelema are not to be construed as interpretive but as assistive. are these verses of this Book. and textual connections to obscure concepts. other guides and resources outside the specifics of this edition are possible and a few are outlined in the appendix of this proposal. This primary motivation.T.O. this author agrees with the Prophet when he wrote in The Equinox of the Gods Terse. direct as a ray of light. subtle yet simple. in the whole nature of Man. footnotes of explanatory form. let the genie out of the bottle and it would be difficult at best to change that lead. is one of the most controversial issues in the thelemic community. without a more rounded inclusion of additional materials. It announces revolutions in philosophy. yea. religion.
To assume that HADIT is literally the Hor-Behudeti of the ancient Egyptian tradition would be a mistake. The same applies to HERU-RA-HA. Original Manuscripts & Textual Integrity In order to secure the integrity of this edition. it will be necessary to work from original manuscripts or full size. unclear lettering in original manuscripts. that fact has little bearing on the doctrines of Thelema outside of trivia. For example: while HADIT may be a bad translation of the Egyptian god Hor-Behudeti. explanations of technical terms. combined or alone. It will still be necessary to obtain and transcribe from these originals rather than from already published editions. and relationships to other texts should be indicated with the presence of footnotes. It is important each Class A document is accurately transcribed and maintained as closely to the original as possible. it is recommended that an academic association form committees around the necessary elements of the process. The widest possible latitude should be provided to ensure that interpretive meaning is distanced from material research or explanatory notations. This would include at least one transcription committee for Liber AL vel Legis alone as well as committees for any number of the other texts. Every caution should be made to keep research into origins from determining doctrine or the reality of entities or forces which are not made objectively clear through the text. A committee for design and publication and an advisory committee would be advisable as well. Textual Footnotes Changes from previous published versions. and for the purpose of research for introductions and footnotes as described below. corrections can be made after careful comparison and analysis. explanations for discrepancies in typescripts. though 9 . Even if the mandate to “Change not as much as the style of a letter” were not in place. It is understood that many of the Holy Books exist only in transcript form.PROCESS AND DESIGN In order to provide the proper foundation for an INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. a textual correction of the word “Hadit” to “Hor-Behudeti” would make no difference to the implications of the concept underlying the term. These footnotes may also be used to explain words or phrases in a text which have general unfamiliarity as to origin or use in a different context but which illuminates the current use through an educational value. If the original manuscripts are discovered and made available to the committees. high resolution photographs of the same.
This proposal includes a suggested arrangement for the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema in Appendix I of this proposal but it should be noted this is only a suggestion subject to review of the advisory committee. a standard format for these introductions is not advised and each should be specific to the text it introduces. Crowley’s explanation. These should be set apart clearly from the original text so as to not be misidentified as part of the Holy Book itself. Most editions. Commentary is never to be included in footnotes if it was not written by the Prophet. general theme. an outline of the text in question. For the most part. Commissioned introductory essays are recommended for inclusion for the beginning of this edition. placement brings up the question of inclusion as mentioned in a previous section of this proposal. this may be the case. Textual Introductions For each text within the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema an introduction should be included. As a general rule. and..T. With the proper justification. However. A list of possible subjects is found in Appendix III. Due to the previous compilation of ‘holy books’ published by the O. Footnotes may be used to provide limited inclusions from Crowley’s Commentary on a specific portion of the text only if it clarifies context and use. there is at least one Class A text that does not meet the general standard for a ‘holy book’: 10 . there has been no specific or canonical arrangement of the texts. most assume any Crowley text with a Class A designation should be included. placed them in a numerical order with Liber XXXI out of place but following Liber CCXX. Section Headings Section headings within the text may be added if such breaks are fully quantifiable by appearance and would enhance the use and study of the text by indicating themes and topics throughout the Holy Books. however. Given the diversity of each text. if possible. These introductions should have no interpretive value but historical information. However. Canonical Placement & Inclusion There have been many different publications or partial publications of The Holy Books of Thelema throughout the last century.O. like the OTOV publication of the Holy Books.such an explanation is better suited for resources such as the proposed A Thelemic Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide. the Commentary should be not be included in the footnotes to avoid undue influence or lengthy explanation better left to a separate resource.
If such inclusions are to be introduced. Textual Design & Illustrations This particular Student Edition of the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema should be. There is no question as to its inclusion in a Class A compilation. a question to be left to the advisory committee and not the prejudice of this author. All of the previous process and academic considerations for the annotation and introduction of the ‘holy books’ should be afforded these writings as well. designed in a standard page format of 6x9 (the same as this proposal) with double column text.Liber CD. A suggested list of possible tables. Such works may be considered as inspirational but not formally part of the canonical selection of ‘holy books’. but even a reasonable doubt should be enough to question its inclusion in an edition of ‘holy books’ or to include it with a selection of apocryphal writings. The phrase “With Apocryphal Books” or “Including Apocryphal Books” must then be used for clarity of their inclusion. however. This is. The Book of Babalon. They may be treated as extracanonical but no less important as thelemic literature. title pages. the cover. it also may be determined that certain inspirational texts may be included with the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema subject to author or property owner permission. Liber Tav vel Kabbalæ Trium Literarum. Other editions may require alternate formats based need and intent. illustrations. in this author’s opinion. 11 . This author has yet to hear any reasonable argument as to why this text should continue to be included in any compilation of thelemic ‘holy books’. It is merely raised as one of the potential issues that should be taken into consideration in the decisions affecting the creation of the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. One text suggested for a section with apocryphal writings is Jack Parson’s Liber 49. It is also the recommendation of this proposal that this edition include several different illustrations both within the text and at the end of the volume. and maps is found in Appendix IV. and table of contents should clearly demarcate between the formal ‘holy books’ and the apocryphal writings. Apocryphal Writings Under the guidance of the advisory committee.
are the ownership of the institution publishing the final result. however. It is this author’s sincere hope that such a proposal will be met with enthusiasm and action.T. At no time should any one organization be capable of influencing the outcome of the project. Any indication of a desire for the inclusion of its sponsorship.T. The rights and responsibilities for the project. this proposal sets forth what could be the next standard for academic studies in the field of Thelema and thelemic scholarship. but the makeup of the committees operating to produce this edition should be as broad as possible to include all manner of perspective from the thelemic community.O. As a general rule. should not be dismissed.O. however. Final Thoughts on the O. would be interested in such a project. By taking on a small piece of the larger field. Such sponsorship should be provided only in the way of scholars and advisors. It is highly doubtful that the O. scholar on at least the Liber AL transcription committee and the advisory committee. Any financial sponsorship should not be tied to a specific agenda or implied outcome in favor or disfavor of any other institution. this could open doors for other scholars to come out with more investigative and academic research of interest to thelemic communities.CONCLUSION In examining the foundation and process of the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. individuals on the committees should be free of organizational agendas.O & Sponsorship This proposal makes no exclusion or argument for any particular academic association to sponsor and publish the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema outside the tacit sponsorship by the Society for Thelemic Literature. The recommendation of this proposal is to have an O.T. 12 .
TZA COR LLL AL | ALM TRI ARA POR Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus Sub Figurâ XC Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente Sub Figurâ XXVII Liber Liberi vel Lapidus Lazuli. meditation. While only the introductory “note” is Class A material. It includes a proposed set of standard abbreviations to be used in footnotes and other reference materials. the whole of this text is certainly important to thelemic study. CHET AASH MAGI ARC STEL TAU Liber Cheth vel Vallum Abiegni Sub Figurâ XC Liber A'ash vel Capricoroni Pneumatici Sub Figurâ CCCLXX Liber B vel Magi Sub Figurâ I Liber Arcanorvm των Atu του Tahuti Quas Vidit Asar in Amennti Sub Figurâ CCXXXI Liber Carcerorum των Qliphoth Cum Suis Geniis.APPENDIX I: THE HOLY BOOKS OF THELEMA This is a breakdown of the proposed arrangement for the INTERNATIONAL of The Holy Books of Thelema. Assuntur Sigella et Nomina Eorum Liber Stellæ Rubeæ Sub Figurâ LXVI Liber Tau vel Kabbalæ Trium Literarum Sub Figurâ CD It is suggested that Liber DCCCCLXII: ΘΗΣΑΥΡΟΥ ΗΙΔΩΛΩΝ [The TreasureHouse of Images] be included in this collection in the second set of texts. and ritual. but form a secondary list of texts with a different kind of emphasis. A new proposal for such a volume could be designed upon request. 13 . A textual abbreviation of THI is suggested by this proposal. Adumbratio Kabbalæ Ægyptiorum Sub Figurâ VII Liber AL vel Legis Sub Figurâ CCXX | Sub Figurâ XXXI Liber Trigrammaton Sub Figurâ XXVII Vel Ararita Sub Figurâ DLXX Liber Porta Lucis Sub Figurâ X The following texts are not less important than the seven listed above. these form a loose “Heptateuch” of initiatory books in a specific pattern. It is certainly within the vanity of this author to suggest a broad scope of additional works for a volume such as this. Together. STANDARD VERSION A primary reader is formed with seven specific Class A texts. it would be a fairly complete compendium of important and relevant thelemic materials in one volume. While a title of The Holy Books of Thelema might not be appropriate for such a suggestion.
and a complete guide to Hebrew and Greek. A Thelemic Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide Covering topics from across a wide spectrum of thelemic topics. rites. publications. places. Included are the enumerations for more than half a dozen different cabalistic systems. information on rituals for the thelemic magician. 14 .APPENDIX II: COMPANION VOLUMES This is the synopsis for a series of proposed projects to be undertaken in an effort to provide even more tools and resources for those who may wish to pursue a comprehensive study with detailed information and research on many different subjects in these companion volumes to the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. III. variations of words and names found in the Holy Books. accurate. and easy to understand format. The "Topical Index" references hundreds of verses relating to thelemic subjects. this thelemic dictionary provides essential information for profitable study of Thelema and the Holy Books. names. It is more than a word-to-verse index. dates. this volume is the wellspring of thelemic philosophy and thought that gave birth to the academic avenues that designed and published the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. events. and doctrines. It includes short historical sketches. Such decisions should be left to the academic institution in coordination with the advisory committee. These are merely suggestions and should not be construed as more than viable additions. Compiled from original manuscripts. concepts. things. The Exhaustive Concordance to the Holy Books of Thelema The Exhaustive Concordance of the Holy Books of Thelema is nothing short of exhaustive. the Comprehensive Commentaries to the Holy Books of Thelema is the most complete reference to the thoughts and opinions of the greatest minds in the history of Thelema. as well as names. Any thelemic library would be incomplete without this indispensable volume. both used widely in thelemic texts. and other sources such as diaries and notes. and rituals. Comprehensive Commentaries to the Holy Books of Thelema Ranging from Crowley to Jones to Motta and beyond. I. places and much more in a concise. The pronunciation guide provides accurate information concerning the various languages used within the thelemic framework. II.
15 . A Brief History of Thelema. The selection and commission of introductory essays would be a decision for the advisory committee.APPENDIX III: COMMISSIONED ESSAYS As mentioned within the primary text of the proposal. A Proposed Cycle of Readings. Analysis of the Translation of the Stele of Revealing. The Process and Challenges of Transcription. A list of possible essays is included here for the purposes of providing some direction in this regard. Canonical and Critical Readings of the Holy Books. it is recommended that commissioned introductory essays be included at the beginning of this volume of the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema.
A list of suggested possibilities is provided below for illustrative purposes. The exact nature of these inclusions is to be determined by the advisory committee in coordination with other committees as may be necessary for completeness or design. A Complete List of Magi of the A∴A∴. 16 . Aeonic Theory According to Crowley. The relationship between NUIT. HADIT and RA-HOOR-KHUIT as found within the Book of the Law and expounded upon by the Prophet. A Map of Cairo in 1904. & ILLUSTRATIONS As found previously it is the recommendation of this proposal that this edition include several different illustrations both within the text and at the end of the volume of the INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION of The Holy Books of Thelema. The Stele of Revealing. Grade Attainments of Crowley. A Timeline of Important Thelemic Events. MAPS. A reconstruction of the Tree of Life as seen through the initiatory lens of The Holy Books of Thelema.APPENDIX IV: TABLES.
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