Brother Scott Wilde shared this good news with us!
As part of my Crowley First edition scanning project, I’d like to announce that ΘΕΛΗΜΑ is available at https://keepsilence.org/the-equinox/ A print version of this will eventually be made available as part of a limited run as a fundraiser for Horizon Lodge.
A huge thanks to Tony Iannotti, who scanned in several examples of this work. Because of its rarity I really wouldn’t have been able to do this without his generous help. The sets that Tony scanned originally belonged to Wilfred Talbot Smith, CF Russell, Frank Bennett, and Kenneth Anger, containing their motto signatures, lamen stamps, marginalia notes, and pencilled in corrections. These raw scans will be made available soon.
Be advised that this is a photographic copy of a first edition and thus maintains any errors. Especially, this version of L vel Legis should be avoided for any serious non-scholarly work, as it contains a large number of errors.
First printed in 1909 as three separate volumes, the contents of this work consist of just six texts: LIBER LXI VEL CAVSÆ, LIBER CORDI SCINCTI SERPENTE VEL LXV (65), LIBER LIBERI VEL LAPIDIS LAZVLI (7), LIBER L VEL LEGIS (220), LIBER TRIGRAMMATON (27), LIBER DCCCXIII VEL ARARITA (570). In the first of these, LXI, Crowley describes the others as “Sacred Writings”:
“29. Also one V. V. V. V. V. arose, an exalted adept of the rank of Master of the Temple (or this much He disclosed to the Exempt Adepts) and His utterance is enshrined in the Sacred Writings.
30. Such are Liber Legis, Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente, Liber Liberi vel Lapidis Lazuli and such others whose existence may one day be divulged unto you. Beware lest you interpret them either in the Light or in the darkness, for only in L. V. X. may they be understood.”
Crowley would sometimes use “Thelema” or “ΘΕΛΗΜΑ” to refer specifically to these books, as opposed to using it to describe Thelema as a concept, school of thought, or religion. The term “holy books” (sometimes capitalized as “Holy Books”) was often used in conjunction to describe the contents of “Thelema”, both uses are seen in ASTARTÉ VEL LIBER BERYLLI. The Equinox 1.7 (1912):
“Let the Philosophus read solely in his copies of the holy books of Thelema, during the whole period of his devotion. But if he weary, then let him read books which have no part whatever in love, as for recreation.
But let him copy out each verse of Thelema which bears upon this matter, and ponder them, and comment thereupon. For therein is a wisdom and a magic too deep to utter in any other wise.”
The context of these texts is also important to consider. Liber Liberi, Trigrammaton, and Ararita were the only Class A texts never published in The Equinox, and were not available for purchase by the general public until 1919 when they were advertised in the back of The Equinox 3.1. Instead they were given out only to worthy aspirants of the A∴A∴ as was required for the task particular to their grade. As such they were printed in three seperate volumes: LXI & LXV (65) in the first, given to Probationers (both later published in The Equinox 3.1); Liberi (7) in the second, given to Neophytes; and L vel Legis, Trigrammaton, and Ararita in the third, given to Zelators. This process is in part described in the back of Book IV (1912) parts I & 2 as part of an advert and order form for certain books required to be a student of the A∴A∴:
“Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their [the A∴A∴’s] system.
After three months the Student is examined in these books, and if his knowledge of them is found satisfactory, he may become a Probationer, receiving Liber LXI and the secret holy book, Liber LXV. The principal point of this grade is that the Probationer has a master appointed, whose experience can guide him in his work.
He may select any practices that he prefers, but in any case must keep an exact record, so that he may discover the relation of cause and effect in his working, and so that the A∴A∴ may judge of his progress, and direct his further studies.
After a year of probation he may be admitted a Neophyte of the A∴A∴, and receive the secret holy book Liber VII.”
This is further described in the description of LXV in “CURRICULUM OF A∴A∴” The Equinox 3.1 (1919):
“LIBER LXV. LIBER CORDIS CINCTI SERPENTE. An account of the relations of the Aspirant with his Holy Guardian Angel. This book is given to Probationers, as the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is the Crown of the Outer College. Similarly Liber VII. is given to Neophytes, as the grade of Master of the Temple is the next resting-place, and Liber CCXX. to Zelator, since that carries him to the highest of all possible grades. Liber XXVII. is given to the Practicus, as in this book is the ultimate foundation of the highest theoretical Qabalah, and Liber [DCCXIII]. to the Philosophus, as it is the foundation of the highest practical Qabalah.”
The rest of the texts are also described in this text:
“LIBER VII. LIBER LIBERI VEL LAPIDIS LAZULI, ADVMBRATIO KABBALÆ AEGYPTIORVM Sub Figura VII., being the Voluntary Emancipation of a certain Exempt Adept from his Adeptship. These are the Birth Words of a Master of the Temple.
The nature of this book is sufficiently explained by its title. Its seven chapters are referred to the seven planets in the following order: Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Sol, Mercury, Luna, Venus.
LIBER CCXX. (LIBER L VEL LEGIS.) The Book of the Law. This book is the foundation Of the New Æon, and thus of the whole of our Work.
LIBER XXVII. LIBER TRIGRAMMATON, being a book of Trigrams of the Mutations of the Tao with the Yin and the Yang. An account of the cosmic process: corresponding to the Stanzas of Dzyan in another system.
LIBER DCCCXIII. VEL ARARITA Sub Figura DLXX. This book is an account οf the Hexagram and the method of reducing it to the Unity, and Beyond.
LIBER LXI. LIBER CAUSE. The Preliminary Lection, including the History Lection. Explains the actual history of the origin of the present movement. Its statements are accurate in the ordinary sense of the word. The object of the book is to discount Mythopœia.”