The Book of the Law
Foreword to The 2002 Occult E-Books edition of the Book of the Law
This is a book that is ‘Biblical’. Not in length- in fact it may be one of the shortest Holy books ever written in any faith. But in scope? Sure. Reams have been written, and will yet be written about how it was received/composed/created by Crowley; what he had for breakfast that morning and what colour socks he was wearing, and most of that is fascinating, if only for the diligence of researchers, the beauty of the philosophical interpretations and the sheer entertainment value of some of the wilder theories. Plenty of all that can be found on the site where you downloaded this. But what of the book, and what the hell is that little red book actually FOR?
This is an epic book, an awesome book, and an awe-full book. The shortest epic ever written and bears an author’s name to strike fear into the heart of every fundamentalist Christian you could meet. That alone makes it worthwhile, and worth carrying on your person at all times, to produce like a hand grenade when needed. But there is far, far more to the book.
A book that was written by an upper-class Victorian rebel about dialogues with ancient Egyptian Gods from millennia before, but which finds resonance in part with a diverse band of modern magicians, witches, anarchists, artists, poets and musicians; and yet a book that no-one seems to entirely agree with. Such was Crowley: not a ‘fluffy’ new-age teacher to give anyone an easy ride, and determined to force them to think for themselves. And think damned hard. Working with Uncle Aleister is like trying to arm-wrestle an octopus; there will always be something you can’t quite get a handle on, and just when you think you’ve found a way- the whole beast turns to smoke and eludes you, until next time.
The Book of the Law is approaching a hundred years old, and forecast the cataclysmic decline of modern civilisation, the onset of an age of force, fire and war, and the rise of Horus as the God-form of this world. Pretty good. And pretty fresh for nearly 100. It was also the catalyst for Crowley’s own world vision of a religion based on scientific approaches and is highly individualistic - you do what THOU wilt, after all. And that IS the greatest of great works- finding what thou wilt, and doing it; regardless of the innumerable social moralities and personal foibles and excuses which will get in the way, time after time. Never easy, always a challenge and the great task of our times.
The rituals of the old time are black, as is all else from the past. Purge, purge, purge and arise into a new Aeon, carrying only what you truly need, leaving behind the dross of what has been before. The seeming honour to write this introduction to the new edition of a Holy book is an illusion, but the chance to work with Crowley’s techniques and adapt them to mine own will (and you, yours) is something more than honour. Generations as yet unborn will know and learn to love this book, containing as it does one functional means for the ultimate liberation of the human spirit.
Did I say biblical? But not in the same enslaving way as that large tome tends to do: follow the Bible or Book of the Law by rote and you’re in deep trouble, but open your mind to the meaning behind the metaphor in Liber Al, and work with it and you are standing on the runway, waiting for the flight to the Stars. So take up the sword and the wand, and what a flight it is!
This intro needs to stop here; learning one lesson from Liber AL: keep it short and let the reader do the work themselves. Work, endure and succeed. Success is your proof!
Francis Breakspear, Devon, England. October 2002, e.v