Please note that the original text is bold. Plain text indicated analysis. An asterisks indicates that the explanation being given on a specific line may use words not-totally in line with the ideology for the sake of brevity. Its my hope that as you read, these * portions will become more clear and in line with the ideology as it is meant to be understood.
1. Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
The voice of this chapter is Nuit (see image), an Egyptian goddess synonymous with the continuous night sky.
2. The unveiling of the company of heaven.
This book is a revelation.
3. Every man and every woman is a star.
More on this throughout, but according Crowley the star is a person’s true, perfect, immortal, monist soul or self*.
4. Every number is infinite; there is no difference.
Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher, religious leader and mathematician said much the same thing. Essentially each number is a specific identity with qualities unique to it. The number 12 is not a 1-digit and a 2-digit made up of 5 and 7, but rather a unique entity. This same idea is reflected throughout history, especially in the qabala and Thelema.
5. Help me, o warrior lord of Thebes, in my unveiling before the Children of men!
The spirit narrator (Aiwass) speaking through the voice of Nuit is referring to Crowley. This is the unveiling of Nuit to humankind.
6. Be thou Hadit, my secret centre, my heart & my tongue!
7. Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.
Aiwass is the minister of Horus the Child (here in the passive aspect).
8. The Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs.
The “Khabs” (or star) is an individual’s true self in accordance with the Will. The “Khu” is one’s active consciousness or ego or “personality soul.” Since the Khabs is immortal, the true self lives on eternally, while the body, mind and personality pass away after death or are (possibily) reincarnated. More on this later*.
9. Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
Crowley (or Aiwass/Nuit) is telling the reader to worship the Will; and to realize the “Khabs” as their true self.
10. Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.
As with most occult religions, few are chosen. According to Crowley, his vision for a world government consists of initiated kings who rule over the masses, guiding them according to the Will.
11. These are fools that men adore; both their Gods & their men are fools.
The Gods of the new Aeon spit on the gods and prophets of the old aeons.
12. Come forth, o children, under the stars, & take your fill of love!
Again, the stars or Khabs are the true self, contained within Nuit, the starry sky. Just as we should live in accordance with the Will. More on “love” soon.
13. I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.
Nuit wants to see us happy. She wants us to live in the way most fulfilling to us.
14. Above, the gemmed azure is
The naked splendour of Nuit;
She bends in ecstasy to kiss
The secret ardours of Hadit.
The winged globe, the starry blue,
Are mine, O Ankh-af-na-khonsu!
And we see another name for Crowley here – Ankh-af-na-khonsu. According to Egyptian myth, Nuit is the starry sky, bending in an arch to kiss her lover, the earth. However, in Thelema, Nuit (the eternal and boundless) is in love with Hadit, a winged sphere representing a single point of experience.
15. Now ye shall know that the chosen priest & apostle of infinite space is the prince-priest the Beast; and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given. They shall gather my children into their fold: they shall bring the glory of the stars into the hearts of men.
“Chosen priest” is Crowley, as is “the Beast.” And the “Scarlet Woman” is of course Rose Edith Kelly.
16. For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight.
Comparing Crowley and Rose to Hadit and Nuit.
17. But ye are not so chosen.
Not totally sure what this means. Does this mean Crowley and Rose aren’t Hadit and Nuit? They weren’t chosen maybe? For some reason, I was reminded of this verse.
18. Burn upon their brows, o splendrous serpent!
Referring to Hadit.
19. O azure-lidded woman, bend upon them!
20. The key of the rituals is in the secret word which I have given unto him.
The Word of the Aeon – if you are a Thelemite, you already know it.
21. With the God & the Adorer I am nothing: they do not see me. They are as upon the earth; I am Heaven, and there is no other God than me, and my lord Hadit.
Hadit is the point, the ‘eye with which the Universe beholds itself.’ There is no god above Nuit and Hadit. More on this throughout.
22. Now, therefore, I am known to ye by my name Nuit, and to him by a secret name which I will give him when at last he knoweth me. Since I am Infinite Space, and the Infinite Stars thereof, do ye also thus. Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt.
Sometimes interpretation can’t do a passage justice. So stop and ruminate on this for awhile. Nuit is ‘the All.’ There’s an emotion you have when you think about something so large as infinity.
23. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!
Nuit promises great punishment for those who do not understand. But she promises great blessings or great power for those who do – even to the point that you are ‘chief of all.’ Whether these words are figurative or literal is up to the reader.
24. I am Nuit, and my word is six and fifty.
Now we start breaking to qabala (not to be confused with Jewish Kabbalah).
6 and 50.
25. Divide, add, multiply, and understand.
The text tells us to divide, add and multiple 6 and 50 to understand the nature of Nuit.
6 / 50 = 0.12; Zero is Nuit (as you’ll see) because she is everything, which is the same as nothing. The decimal is Hadit, the point within the circle. One is whole, Two is divided “for the chance of union.”
6+50=56 becomes 5+6=11; the magickal number of ritual.
6×50=300; the child within or Horus.
26. Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bendingdown, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.
[Image of Nuit]
27. Then the priest answered & said unto the Queen of Space, kissing her lovely brows, and the dew of her light bathing his whole body in a sweet-smelling perfume of sweat: O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it be ever thus; that men speak not of Thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous!
Nuit is the All. So there is no other or opposite to her. After all, what is up without down? Their existence depends on each other, so Nuit does not exist. The All does not exist. The All is Nothing. And Nothing is infinite.
28. None, breathed the light, faint & faery, of the stars, and two.
Here 0=2. Nuit is zero, with her lover, the decimal Hadit, she becomes 1, but Hadit is observing her, so she is 2.
Just like in the above equation 0.12
29. For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.
Nuit was divided so she could come back together in love. There can be no love, in fact, nothing at all without division (duality).
30. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.
We might feel pain in a world with duality, but don’t fear. It’s not separation, its the chance for union (a positive spin). And when duality comes back together, it is dissolution – oblivion, nothing at all.
31. For these fools of men and their woes care not thou at all! They feel little; what is, is balanced by weak joys; but ye are my chosen ones.
Thelemites understand this mystery of Nuit. Non-initiates do not. Nuit promises intense joy for understanding this (and following the true Will), but instead fools entertain themselves with “weak joys.”
32. Obey my prophet! follow out the ordeals of my knowledge! seek me only! Then the joys of my love will redeem ye from all pain. This is so: I swear it by the vault of my body; by my sacred heart and tongue; by all I can give, by all I desire of ye all.
Obey Crowley, she says. Nuit makes a promise to release you from all suffering by virtue of following the Will.
33. Then the priest fell into a deep trance or swoon, & said unto the Queen of Heaven; Write unto us the ordeals; write unto us the rituals; write unto us the law!
Here, Crowley faints but is controlled by Aiwass to continue writing. Crowley asks Nuit to reveal the ordeals (which is hard to explain), the rituals and the Law of the new religion.
34. But she said: the ordeals I write not: the rituals shall be half known and half concealed: the Law is for all.
The ordeals are kept secret from the Book. Essentially the ordeals are obstacles on specific paths on qabalistic the tree of life. The rituals will be half-revealed in the Book of the Law (meaning they will likely be hidden in symbolic verses or they will need be expounded on by Crowley; both of which happen). And finally, the Law will be revealed because it is meant for everyone.
35. This that thou writest is the threefold book of Law.
The Book has three chapters spoken by three different ‘voices’ through Aiwass and is dictated over three days.
36. My scribe Ankh-af-na-khonsu, the priest of the princes, shall not in one letter change this book; but lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon by the wisdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit.
Crowley, the human author, will not change one letter (or even the shapes of the letters) of the Book because it is so holy. But if there are any errors, he will comment on it through the power of Horus.
37. Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.
Basically means Crowley will make up rituals for the new religion.
38. He must teach; but he may make severe the ordeals.
Crowley will be the teacher for the new religion. But he too must go through the ordeals (or barriers to realizing their True Will, as guided by their Holy Guardian Angel, along the initiator path of the Tree of Life), as will anyone else who progresses through this religions
39. The word of the Law is THELEMA.
The word of the Law is Will or 93.
40. Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
And now we see the infamous command. Let’s pick through this. Adherents of the new religions are called, Thelemites or those who follow the Will. There are three grades of Thelemites which correspond to the Tree of Life (see verse 34, click “the ordeals”). These represent major achievements in mastering your own soul, understanding the Law, getting in contact with your Holy Guardian Angel and living according to the Will rather than your own ego.
41. The word of Sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell.
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, Crowley clarifies that the word of the old aeons was sin and restriction. He relates this to sex, marriage and monogomy as a form of restriction. In the new Aeon of Horus, there are no restrictions or sins as long as the individual listens to their true Will. Nuit then curses restriction.
42. Let it be that state of manyhood bound and loathing. So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will.
Again, the old aeon was restrictive and odious. The new Aeon says that you have no right, except to live in accordance with the Will.
43. Do that, and no other shall say nay.
Obviously, if you are living according to Thelema (a philosophy that bascially requires members to break social mores), you will get some push back from the followers of the word of restriction. So what is Crowley saying here? Well, according to Thelema, every man and woman is a star with an appropriate course (in the same way that a star has a course). If you living according to your Will, or inner star, then you will live – not in opposition to the universal Will – but rather with it. None shall say nay because you are living the life that you should be – and the universe will reward you.
44. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.
[Stolen from Reballas?] You should want to live with the Will because it is perfect for you as an individual. Not because it will grant you anything or give you the results you want. It’s just the right way to live.
45. The Perfect and the Perfect are one Perfect and not two; nay, are none!
Again we see Nuit as the perfected Nothing. Divided into two for the chance of union; which is, again, nothing.
46. Nothing is a secret key of this law. Sixty-one the Jews call it; I call it eight, eighty, four hundred & eighteen.
And here’s where things get really complicated; but I will try to keep it short since I could spend entire blog posts on this and most Thelemites spend their lives studying these mysteries. What we see here is a culmination of tarot, qabala and the new religion.
According to Hebrew geometria 61 is Ain, meaning ‘nothing’ or ‘not.’ It is the Veil of the Negative, a Nothing Limitless Light (Ain Soph Aur). But 61 is also the ‘Naveh’ which is a habitat or house (more on this).
But Nuit has other names for ‘nothing’ including 8, 80 and 418. I’ll run through this quickly: 8 relates to the planet Mercury, the juggler/magus in the tarot, the Path of Sephiroth and again a ‘house.’ 80 is the tower or house of God. 418 is the secret word Abrahadabra, and relates to ‘the chariot,’ the Great Work and the Holy Guardian Angel. (for more on this see the link).
One possible interpretation is the Nuit is describing the path of initiation, along the Tree of Life, to the godhead – perfect union with one’s Will.
47. But they have the half: unite by thine art so that all disappear.
Again we see Crowley discussing the nature of Nuit. Half of 2 is 1, 1 united is 0 “so that all disappear.” As far as I can tell, we are seeing a reversal of creation from the formula 0.12
Another interpretation is that “their half” refers to the Hebrew 61, which when added to 8+80+418 equals 567 – the Transparent Light above the Tree of Life. But things go even further since 8+80+418=506, which becomes 605 when reversed. If 61 is added back to 605, we find 666 aka the number of the beast – and the beast is, of course, Crowley.
48. My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?
Here we again see one of Crowley’s names, as well as an allusion to the tarot in ‘ox’ and ‘fool’. 111 represents the fool who’s value in tarot is zero.
49. Abrogate are all rituals, all ordeals, all words and signs. Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods; and let Asar be with Isa, who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer; Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the Lord initiating.
All laws and customers are repealed. Horus the Child has taken his seat in the East (where the sun rises, and Thelema is a solar religion) at the Equinox of the Gods. The Equinox is the end of the old Aeon of the Resurected God (think of the various dead-and-resurections myths including Christianity) which is replaced with the Aeon of Horus which is “innocent” like a child. A child can do a gentle or harmful act, but he or she may not understand the ramifications for doing it or whether it is good or evil. If we follow our Will in this new Aeon (lasting roughly 2,000 years beginning with the completion of the Book of the Law), we too will be “innocent” in our actions – divorced from the stigmas of the past or the lust for result.
50. There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task. Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!
A hierophant is someone who brings the congregation into the presence of the divine (Crowley) and in a card within the tarot. The “ordeals” are tests of devotion for occult followers, which Nuit has hidden in occult language. (the link in verse 46 has some great information on the topic). In Thelema, the ordeals are often revealed through cultist organizations like the OTO. They can also be thought of as barriers within the training of the development of the individual to unite with the Will.
51. There are four gates to one palace; the floor of that palace is of silver and gold; lapis lazuli & jasper are there; and all rare scents; jasmine & rose, and the emblems of death. Let him enter in turn or at once the four gates; let him stand on the floor of the palace. Will he not sink? Amn. Ho! warrior, if thy servant sink? But there are means and means. Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam! Also, take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where and with whom ye will! But always unto me.
The first part is a description of the Tree of Life, which I won’t get into here. But basically the floor and four gates of the palace relate to the center pillar of the Tree of Life, which can be traveled up or down until the initiate realizes their Will.
The second part is pretty unique to Crowley. He didn’t just come up with another esoteric faith honoring bread and water, he came up with a rich ideology filled with passion, fine clothes, drugs, alcohol, wild sex, poetry and ritual. While these things might just be sex, drugs and rock n’ roll for the unititated, the Thelemite will perform these actions to get closer to the divine (much in the same way as Tantra). Or, as Crowley says in The Law of Liberty Liber 837: “make your self- indulgence your religion.”
52. If this be not aright; if ye confound the space-marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual be not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit!
There is no value in performing any action outside of one’s Will. Sure, some of the noninitates or powers that be (space-marks) might say their is one god or many gods. But it doesn’t matter if the rituals or actions are not performed according to the Will. They will suffer the wrath of Horus, as will anyone living outside of the Will, outside of the path best fit for an individual by the universe.
53. This shall regenerate the world, the little world my sister, my heart & my tongue, unto whom I send this kiss. Also, o scribe and prophet, though thou be of the princes, it shall not assuage thee nor absolve thee. But ecstasy be thine and joy of earth: ever To me! To me!
Remember, Nuit is the sky bending to kiss the earth. If humankind chooses to accept the Will, the world will be healed of discontent and disagreement as each star (or person) will follow their perfect path.
54. Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein.
Again, even the shapes of the letters are said to hold secret meanings of which not even Crowley is privvy.
55. The child of thy bowels, he shall behold them.
Crowley’s magickal child will solve these puzzles; which is not the same as a biological child as revealed in the next verse.
56. Expect him not from the East, nor from the West; for from no expected house cometh that child. Aum! All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little; solve the first half of the equation, leave the second unattacked. But thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark.
One feature of the occult is that the mysteries are never satisfied… and that’s kind of the point. Something as complex as the hidden construction of the universe or that nature of the soul can’t possibily be summed up in a nice neat package. Future occultists will need to reinterpret Crowley’s words and will inevitably expand on his work.
57. Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God.
The stars are again representative of the universe Will within Nuit, the totality of everything.
But what does “love is the law, love under will” mean? In Thelema, the star is something like a monad which can attach itself to any possibility. This connection is Love in the same way that Nuit has divided “for the chance of union.” Anything and everything that happens becomes a part of Nuit, but it is always best to move according to the Will “love under will.”
Crowley says “While will is the law, the nature of that will is love. But this love is as it were a by-product of that will; it does not contradict or supersede that will.”
The dove and serpent is probably a reference to Hadit; or it could represent peace and violence.
The “fortress” relates back to the idea of a “house” as in verse 46, or “house of God” as in verse 57. But what is god in Thelema? The star, of course. This is the eternal and true self, according to Crowley, lasts outside of space and time. It is perfect and unchanging – however, it can imagine itself as a human if it chooses (for a chance of union). The House of God is the soul (Khu) in which the star (khabs) resides. And the soul, of course, is within the body.
Not to mention that Thelema is furiously individualistic. Many of Crowley’s rituals require that the magickian visualize themselves as a divinity (a practice similar to the path of Tantra).
All these old letters of my Book are aright; but [Tzaddi] is not the Star. This also is secret: my prophet shall reveal it to the wise.
In this instance, the “Book” is the tarot; which Nuit confirms is correct save the “star” which is switched with the Emperor. Crowley will reveal this to his followers in the Book of Thoth (or tarot).
58. I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice.
Here Crowley butts heads against the Abrahamic faiths back asserting that Nuit is superior to the God of the Bible. Nuit gives joys here on earth, rather than some promised reward you only receive after death She offers certainty in life, not faith. She offeres peace unutterable upon death (when the star returns to its everlasting perfection). She does not demand anything at all in sacrifice.
59. My incense is of resinous woods & gums; and there is no blood therein: because of my hair the trees of Eternity.
From what I can tell this is alluding to ritual.
60. My number is 11, as all their numbers who are of us. The Five Pointed Star, with a Circle in the Middle, & the circle is Red. My colour is black to the blind, but the blue & gold are seen of the seeing. Also I have a secret glory for them that love me.
Again, Nuit prescribes a sigil for ritual, which she promised to do earlier in the chapter. The number 11 means ritual, so that’s a dead giveaway.
Crowley closes the verse saying the blind see Nuit as black (the night sky) but the faithful see her in full detail (the night sky is really deep blue with glittering stars). A secret glory for Thelemites.
61. But to love me is better than all things: if under the night stars in the desert thou presently burnest mine incense before me, invoking me with a pure heart, and the Serpent flame therein, thou shalt come a little to lie in my bosom. For one kiss wilt thou then be willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour. Ye shall gather goods and store of women and spices; ye shall wear rich jewels; ye shall exceed the nations of the earth in spendour & pride; but always in the love of me, and so shall ye come to my joy. I charge you earnestly to come before me in a single robe, and covered with a rich headdress. I love you! I yearn to you! Pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous, I who am all pleasure and purple, and drunkenness of the innermost sense, desire you. Put on the wings, and arouse the coiled splendour within you: come unto me!
Prescriptions for ritual.
62. At all my meetings with you shall the priestess say — and her eyes shall burn with desire as she stands bare and rejoicing in my secret temple — To me! To me! calling forth the flame of the hearts of all in her love-chant.
Passion in poetry.
63. Sing the rapturous love-song unto me! Burn to me perfumes! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!
Nuit loves us.
64. I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky.
Again, a description of Nuit as the arched body of the night sky.
65. To me! To me!
Always according to the Will.
66. The Manifestation of Nuit is at an end.
And Crowley stops writing for the day (as do I).