Chapter IX

Of Silence and Secrecy: and of
the Barbarous Names of Evocation.

It is found by experience (confirming the statement of Zoroaster) that the most potent conjurations are those in an ancient and perhaps forgotten language, or even those couched in a corrupt and possibly always meaningless jargon. Of these there are several main types. The "preliminary invocation" in the "Goetia" consists principally of corruptions of Greek and Egyptian names. For example, we find "Osorronnophris" for "Asor Un-Nefer".[1] The conjurations given by Dr. Dee (vide The Equinox I, VIII) are in a language called Angelic, or Enochian. Its source has hitherto baffled research, but it is a language and not a jargon, for it possesses a structure of its own, and there are traces of grammar and syntax.

However this may be, it works. Even the beginner finds that "things happen" when he uses it: and this is an advantage — or disadvantage! — shared by no other type of language. The rest need skill. This needs Prudence!

The Egyptian Invocations are much purer, but their meaning has not been sufficiently studied by persons magically competent. We possess a number of Invocations in Greek of every degree of excellence; in Latin but few, and those of inferior quality. It will be noticed that in every case the conjurations are very sonorous, and there is a certain magical voice in which they should be recited. This special voice was a natural gift of the Master Therion; but it can be easily taught — to the right people.

Various considerations impelled Him to attempt conjurations in the English language. There already existed one example, the charm of the witches in Macbeth; although this was perhaps not meant seriously, its effect is indubitable.[2]

He has found iambic tetrameters enriched with many rimes both internal an external very useful. "The Wizard Way" (The Equinox I,I) gives a good idea of the sort of thing. So does the Evocation of Bartzabel in The Equinox I,IX. There are many extant invocations throughout his works, in many kinds of metre, of many kinds of being, and for many kinds of purposes. (See Appendix).

Other methods of incantation are on record as efficacious. For instance Frater I.A.,[3] when a child, was told that he could invoke the devil by repeating the "Lord's Prayer" backwards. He went into the garden and did so. The Devil appeared, and almost scared him out of his life.

It is therefore not quite certain in what the efficacy of conjurations really lies. The peculiar mental excitement required may even be aroused by the perception of the absurdity of the process, and the persistence in it, as when once Frater Perdurabo (at the end of His magical resources) recited "From Greenland's Icy Mountains", and obtained His result.[4]

It may be conceded in any case that the long strings of formidable words which roar and moan through so many conjurations have a real effect in exalting the consciousness of the magician to the proper pitch — that they should do so is no more extraordinary than music of any kind should do so.

Magicians have not confined themselves to the use of the human voice. The Pan-pipe with its seven stops, corresponding to the seven planets, the bull-roarer, the tom-tom, and even the violin, have all been used, as well as many others, of which the most important is the bell,[5] though this is used not so much for actual conjuration as to mark stages in the ceremony. Of all these the tom-tom will be found to be the most generally useful.

While on the subject of barbarous names of evocation we should not omit the utterance of certain supreme words which enshrine (α) the complete formula of the God invoked, or (β) the whole ceremony.

Examples of the former kind are Tetragrammaton, I.A.O., and Abrahadabra.

An example of the latter kind is the great word StiBeTTChePhMeFSHiSS, which is a line drawn on the Tree of Life (Coptic attributions) in a certain manner.[6]

With all such words it is of the utmost importance that they should never be spoken until the supreme moment, and even then they should burst from the magician almost despite himself — so great should be his reluctance[7] to utter them. In fact, they should be the utterance of the God in him at the first onset of the divine possession. So uttered, they cannot fail of effect, for they have become the effect.

Every wise magician will have constructed (according to the principles of the Holy Qabalah) many such words, and he should have quintessentialised them all in one Word, which last Word, once he has formed it, he should never utter consciously even in thought, until perhaps with it he gives up the ghost. Such a Word should in fact be so potent that man cannot hear it and live.

Such a word was indeed the lost Tetragrammaton.[8] It is said that at the utterance of this name the Universe crashes into dissolution. Let the Magician earnestly seek this Lost Word, for its pronunciation is synonymous with the accomplishment of the Great Work.[9]

In this matter of the efficacity of words there are again two formulae exactly opposite in nature. A word may become potent and terrible by virtue of constant repetition. It is in this way that most religions gain strength. At first the statement "So and so is God" excites no interest. Continue, and you meet scorn and scepticism: possibly persecution. Continue, and the controversy has so far died out that no one troubles to contradict your assertion.

No superstition is so dangerous and so lively as an exploded superstition. The newspapers of to-day (written and edited almost exclusively by men without a spark of either religion or morality) dare not hint that any one disbelieves in the ostensibly prevailing cult; they deplore Atheism — all but universal in practice and implicit in the theory of practically all intelligent people — as if it were the eccentricity of a few negligible or objectionable persons. This is the ordinary story of advertisement; the sham has exactly the same chance as the real. Persistence is the only quality required for success.

The opposite formula is that of secrecy. An idea is perpetuated because it must never be mentioned. A freemason never forgets the secret words entrusted to him, thought these words mean absolutely nothing to him, in the vast majority of cases; the only reason for this is that he has been forbidden to mention them, although they have been published again and again, and are as accessible to the profane as to the initiate.

In such a work of practical Magick as the preaching of a new Law, these methods may be advantageously combined; on the one hand infinite frankness and readiness to communicate all secrets; on the other the sublime and terrible knowledge that all real secrets are incommunicable.[10]

It is, according to tradition, a certain advantage in conjurations to employ more than one language. In all probability the reason of this is than any change spurs the flagging attention. A man engaged in intense mental labour will frequently stop and walk up and down the room — one may suppose for this cause — but it is a sign of weakness that this should be necessary. For the beginner in Magick, however, it is permissible[11] to employ any device to secure the result.

Conjurations should be recited, not read:[12] and the entire ceremony should be so perfectly performed that one is hardly conscious of any effort of memory. The ceremony should be constructed with such logical fatality that a mistake is impossible.[13] The conscious ego of the Magician is to be destroyed to be absorbed in that of the God whom he invokes, and the process should not interfere with the automaton who is performing the ceremony.

But this ego of which it is here spoken is the true ultimate ego. The automaton should possess will, energy, intelligence, reason, and resource. This automaton should be the perfect man far more than any other man can be. It is only the divine self within the man, a self as far above the possession of will or any other qualities whatsoever as the heavens are high above the earth, that should reabsorb itself into that illimitable radiance of which it is a spark. This is said of the partial or lesser Works of Magick. This is an elementary treatise; one cannot discuss higher Works as for example those of "The Hermit of Aesopus Island".[14]

The great difficulty for the single Magician is so to perfect himself that these multifarious duties of the Ritual are adequately performed. At first he will find that the exaltation destroys memory and paralyses muscle. This is an essential difficulty of the magical process, and can only be overcome by practice and experience.[15]

In order to aid concentration, and to increase the supply of Energy, it has been customary for the Magician to employ assistants or colleagues. It is doubtful whether the obvious advantages of this plan compensate the difficulty of procuring suitable persons,[16] and the chance of a conflict of will or a misunderstanding in the circle itself. On one occasion Frater Perdurabo was disobeyed by an assistant, and had it not been for His promptitude in using the physical compulsion of the sword, it is probable that the circle would have been broken. As it was, the affair fortunately terminated in nothing more serious than the destruction of the culprit.

However, there is no doubt that an assemblage of persons who really are in harmony can much more easily produce an effect than a magician working by himself. The psychology of "Revival meetings" will be familiar to almost every one, and though such meetings[17] are the foulest and most degraded rituals of black magic, the laws of Magick are not thereby suspended. The laws of Magick are the laws of Nature.

A singular and world-famous example of this is of sufficiently recent date to be fresh in the memory of many people now living. At a nigger camp meeting in the "United" States of America, devotees were worked up to such a pitch of excitement that the whole assembly developed a furious form of hysteria. The comparatively intelligible cries of "Glory" and "Hallelujah" no longer expressed the situation. Somebody screamed out "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay!", and this was taken up by the whole meeting and yelled continuously, until reaction set in. The affair got into the papers, and some particularly bright disciple of John Stuart Mill, logician and economist, thought that these words, having set one set of fools crazy, might do the same to all the other fools in the world. He accordingly wrote a song, and produced the desired result. This is the most notorious example of recent times of the power exerted by a barbarous name of evocation.

A few words may be useful to reconcile the general notion of Causality with that of Magick. How can we be sure that a person waving a stick and howling thereby produces thunderstorms? In no other way than that familiar to Science; we note that whenever we put a lighted match to dry gunpowder, an unintelligibly arbitrary phenomenon, that of sound, is observed; and so forth.

We need not dwell upon this point; but it seems worth while to answer one of the objections to the possibility of Magick, chosing one which is at first sight of an obviously "fatal" character. It is convenient to quote verbatim from the Diary[18] of a distinguished Magician and philosopher.[19]

"I have noticed that the effect of a Magical Work has followed it so closely that it must have been started before the time of the Work. E.g. I work to-night to make X in Paris write to me. I get the letter the next morning, so that it must have been written before the Work. Does this deny that the Work caused the effect?

"If I strike a billiard-ball and it moves, both my will and its motion are due to causes long antecedent to the act. I may consider both my Work and its reaction as twin effects of the eternal Universe. The moved arm and ball are parts of a state of the Cosmos which resulted necessarily from its momentarily previous state, and so, back for ever.

"Thus, my Magical Work is only one of the cause-effects necessarily concomitant with the case-effects which set the ball in motion. I may therefore regard the act of striking as a cause-effect of my original Will to move the ball, though necessarily previous to its motion. But the case of magical Work is not quite analogous. For my nature is such that I am compelled to perform Magick in order to make my will to prevail; so that the cause of my doing the Work is also the cause of the ball's motion, and there is no reason why one should precede the other. (CF. Lewis Carroll, where the Red Queen screams before she pricks her finger.)

"Let me illustrate the theory by an actual example.

"I write from Italy to a man in France and another in Australia on the same day, telling them to join me. Both arrive ten days later; the first in answer to my letter, which he received, the second on "his own initiative", as it would seem. But I summoned him because I wanted him; and I wanted him because he was my representative; and his intelligence made him resolve to join me because it judged rightly that the situation (so far as he knew it) was such as to make me desire his presence.

"The same cause, therefore, which made me write to him made him come to me; and though it would be improper to say that the writing of the letter was the direct cause of his arrival, it is evident that if I had not written I should have been different from what I actually am, and therefore my relations with him would have been otherwise than they are. In this sense, therefore, the letter and the journey are causally connected.

"One cannot go farther, and say that in this case I ought to write the letter even if he had arrived before I did so; for it is part of the whole set of circumstance that I do not use a crowbar on an open door.

"The conclusion is that one should do one's Will 'without lust of result'. If one is working in accordance with the laws of one's own nature, one is doing 'right'; and no such work can be criticised as 'useless', even in cases of the character here discussed. So long as one's Will prevails, there is no cause for complaint.

"To abandon one's Magick would shew lack of self-confidence in one's powers, and doubt as to one's inmost faith in Self and in Nature.[20] Of course one changes one's methods as experience indicates; but there is no need to change them on any such ground as the above.

"Further, the argument here set forth disposes of the need to explain the modus operandi of Magick. A successful operation does not involve any theory soever, not even that of the existence of causality itself. The whole set of phenomena may be conceived as single.

"For instance, if I see a star (as it was years ago) I need not assume causal relations as existing between it, the earth, and myself. The connexion exists; I can predicate nothing beyond that. I cannot postulate purpose, or even determine the manner in which the event comes to be. Similarly, when I do Magick, it is in vain to inquire why I so act, or why the desired result does or does not follow. Nor can I know how the previous and subsequent conditions are connected. At most I can describe the consciousness which I interpret as a picture of the facts, and make empirical generalizations of the superficial aspects of the case.

"Thus, I have my own personal impressions of the act of telephoning; but I cannot be aware of what consciousness, electricity, mechanics, sound, etc., actually are in themselves. And although I can appeal to experience to lay down 'laws' as to what conditions accompany the act, I can never be sure that they have always been, or ever will again be, identical. (In fact, it is certain that an event can never occur twice in precisely the same circumstances.)[21]

"Further, my 'laws' must always take nearly all the more important elements of knowledge for granted. I cannot say — finally — how an electric current is generated. I cannot be sure that some totally unsuspected force is not at work in some entirely arbitrary way. For example, it was formerly supposed that Hydrogen and Chlorine would unite when an electric spark was passed through the mixture; now we 'know' that the presence of a minute quantity of aqueous vapour (or some tertium quid) is essential to the reaction. We formulated before the days of Ross the 'laws' of malarial fever, without reference to the mosquito; we might discover one day that the germ is only active when certain events are transpiring in some nebula,[22] or when so apparently inert a substance as Argon is present in the air in certain proportions.

"We may therefore admit quite cheerfully that Magick is as mysterious as mathematics, as empirical as poetry, as uncertain as golf, and as dependent on the personal equation as Love.

"That is no reason why we should not study, practice and enjoy it; for it is a Science in exactly the same sense as biology; it is no less an Art that Sculpture; and it is a Sport as much as Mountaineering.

"Indeed, there seems to be no undue presumption in urging that no Science possesses equal possibilities of deep and important Knowledge;[23] that no Art offers such opportunities to the ambition of the Soul to express its Truth, in Ecstasy, through Beauty; and that no Sport rivals its fascinations of danger and delight, so excites, exercises, and tests its devotees to the uttermost, or so rewards them by well-being, pride, and the passionate pleasures of personal triumph.

"Magick takes every thought and act for its apparatus; it has the Universe for its Library and its Laboratory; all Nature is its Subject; and its Game, free from close seasons and protective restrictions, always abounds in infinite variety, being all that exists.[24]

1See appendix 4, Liber Samekh; this is an edition of this Invocation, with an elaborate Rubric, translation, scholia, and instruction.

2A true poet cannot help revealing himself and the truth of things in his art, whether he be aware of what he is writing, or no.

3Iehi Aour, "Let there be Light," the motto of Allan Bennett in the Golden Dawn.

4See "Eleusis", A. Crowley, Collected Works, Vol. III Epilogue.

5See Part II. It should be said that in experience no bell save His own Tibetan bell of Electrum Magicum has ever sounded satisfactory to the Master Therion. Most bells jar and repel.

6It represents the descent of a certain Influence. See the Evocation of Taphtatharath, The Equinox I, III. The attributions are given in 777. This Word expresses the current Kether - Beth - Binah - Cheth - Geburach - Mem - Hod - Shin - Malkuth, the descent from 1 to 10 via the Pillar of Severity.

7This reluctance is Freudian, due to the power of these words to awaken the suppressed subconscious libido.

8The Master Therion has received this Word; it is communicated by Him to the proper postulants, at the proper time and place, in the proper circumstances.

9Each man has a different Great Work, just as no two points on the circumference of a circle are connected with the centre by the same radius. The Word will be correspondingly unique.

10If this were not the case, individuality would not be inviolable. No man can communicate even the simplest thought to any other man in any full and accurate sense. For that thought is sown in a different soil, and cannot produce an identical effect. I cannot put a spot of red upon two pictures without altering each in diverse ways. It might have little effect on a sunset by Turner, but much on a nocturne by Whistler. The identity of the two spots as spots would thus be fallacious.

11This is not to say that it is advisable. O how shameful is human weakness! But it does encourage one — it is useless to deny it — to be knocked down by a Demon of whose existence one was not really quite sure.

12Even this is for the weaker brethern. The really great Magus speaks and acts impromptu and extempore.

13First-rate poetry is easily memorized because the ideas and the musical values correspond to man's mental and sensory structure.

14On "Aesopus Island" in New Hampshire, U.S.A., in 1918, Crowley "the Hermit" recalled some of his past lives. The paper is unpublished, but see The Great Beast, 1971.

15See The Book of Lies; there are several chapters on this subject. But Right exaltation should produce spontaneously the proper mental and physical reactions. As soon as the development is secured, there will be automatic reflex "justesse", exactly as in normal affairs mind and body respond with free unconscious rightness to the Will.

16The organic development of Magick in the world due to the creative Will of the Master Therion makes it with every year that passes easier to find scientifically trained co-workers.

17See, for an account of properly-conducted congregational ceremonial, The Equinox I, IX. "Energized Enthusiasm", and The Equinox III, I. Liber XV, Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae Canon Missae. The "Revival meetings" here in question were deliberate exploitations of religious hysteria.

18In a later entry we read that the diarist has found a similar train of argument in Space, Time, and Gravitation, page 51. He was much encouraged by the confirmation of his thesis in so independent a system of thought.

19The Magical Record of the Beast 666. This extract was written probably during the Cefalu period.

20I.e. on the ground that one cannot understand how Magick can produce the desired effects. For if one possesses the inclination to do Magick, it is evidence of a tendency in one's Nature. Nobody understands fully how the mind moves the muscles; but we know that lack of confidence on this point means paralysis. "If the Sun and Moon should doubt, They'd immediately go out", as Blake said. Also, as I said myself. "Who hath the How is careless of the Why".

21If it did so, how could we call it duplex?

22The history of the Earth is included in the period of some such relation; so that we cannot possibly be sure that we may deny: "Malarial fever is a function of the present precession of the Equinoxes".

23Magick is less liable to lead to error than any other Science, because its terms are interchangeable, by definition, so that it is based on relativity from the start. We run no risk of asserting absolute propositions. Furthermore we make our measurements in terms of the object measured, thus avoiding the absurdity of defining metaphysical ideas by mutable standards, (Cf. Eddington Space, Time, and Gravitation, Prologue.) of being forced to attribute the qualities of human consciousness to inanimate things (Poincare, La mesure du temps), and of asserting that we know anything of the universe in itself, though the nature of our senses and our minds necessarily determines our observations, so that the limit of our knowledge is subjective, just as a thermometer can record nothing but its own reaction to one particular type of Energy.

Magick recognizes frankly (1) that truth is relative, subjective, and apparent; (2) that Truth implies Omniscience, which is unattainable by mind, being transfinite; just as if one tried to make an exact map of England in England, that map must contain a map of the map, and so on, ad infinitum; (3) that logical contradiction is inherent in reason, (Russell, Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, p. 136; Crowley, "Eleusis", and elsewhere); (4) that a Continuum requires a Continuum to be commensurable with it: (5) that Empiricism is ineluctable, and therefore that adjustment is the only possible method of action; and (6) that error may be avoided by opposing no resistance to change, and registering observed phenomena in their own language.

24The elasticity of Magick makes it equal to all possible kinds of environment, and therefore biologically perfect. "Do what thou wilt..." implies self-adjustment, so that failure cannot occur. One's true Will is necessarily fitted to the whole Universe with the utmost exactitude, because each term in the equation a+b+c=0 must be equal and opposite to the sum of all the other terms. No individual can ever be aught than himself, or do aught else than his Will, which is his necessary relation with his environment, dynamically considered. All error is no more than an illusion proper to him to dissipate the mirage, and it is a general law that the method of accomplishing this operation is to realize, and to acquiesce in, the order of the Universe, and to refrain from attempting the impossible task of overcoming the inertia of the forces which oppose, and therefore are identical with, one's self. Error in thought is therefore failure to understand, and in action to perform, one's own true Will.

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