About Book Four Magick Liber Aba

About Book Four Magick Liber Aba Image
This book has about the most convoluted history of anything Crowley ever wrote. To begin the story, late in 1911 Crowley began an affair with Mary d’Este Sturges (1871 - 1931). She is also known as Mary Desti and an account of their first meeting, only slightly fictionalised, forms the first chapter of Crowley’s novel, Moonchild. They were disporting themselves in Switzerland when she turned suddenly oracular on him and claimed to be in contact with an Adept called Ab-Ul-Diz— you can read the record of their dealings with that entity in Equinox IV-2.

As a result of this communication they went to Italy, rented a villa outside Naples, and sat down to write what became the basis of Book Four.

This was intended to be a complete manual for Crowley’s system of Magick, and in keeping with the title was to consist of four parts:

I: Mysticism
II: Magick (Elementary Theory)
III: Magick in Theory and Practice
IV: Thelema— The Law

Crowley even took the theme of ‘fourness’ to the extent of printing the earlier parts in a square format. To ensure that this work would be accessible to the average person, for Crowley already knew he had problems in that area, he and Sturges adopted an interesting method of composition. Crowley would dictate to Sturges, she would stop him whenever he said something she couldn’t follow, and he would then rephrase or elaborate the passage in question until she was satisfied. This method worked admirably, at least in the earlier sections, and Crowley would use it continually throughout the remainder of his life.

Before their relationship foundered, Crowley and Sturges had completed Parts I and II as well as the core of Part III. When the first two parts were published as separate volumes in 1911 and 1912 Crowley credited Sturges as co-author under her A.A. motto of Soror Virakam.

Crowley continued on with the aid of other assistants, but still Part III took a good deal longer to complete, partly because all this was going on while he was writing and publishing Volume I of The Equinox and partly because he and his associates kept thinking of more stuff to put in. In fact the section that would become the famous Magick in Theory and Practice took another fourteen years to complete! It did not actually see print until 1929, by which time the delay had obscured the fact that it was not a stand-alone work. This still left the final section which was to cover the Law of Thelema, and Crowley finally decided that The Equinox of the Gods (1936), which was also The Equinox III-3, could do double-duty in this respect. Having discussed the genesis of the project, it is now time to give some attention to the actual contents.

I recommend that everyone interested in Magick, even if not the Thelemic variety, should buy the revised second edition of Book Four (Samuel Weiser, 1998.) It is true that the cover price is rather high, but remember that it has the complete contents of three other recent books with corrections and lots of extras to boot. Finally, if you’re at all serious about doing Magick, there is plenty in this book alone to keep you busy for many years.

by Frater Julianus

Suggested ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - Book 4 Part Iii Magick In Theory And Practice
Aleister Crowley - Liber 004 Or Magick Liber Aba

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