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object:3.00 - The Magical Theory of the Universe
author class:Aleister Crowley
subject class:Occultism
book class:Liber ABA



The Magical Theory of the Universe
There are three main theories of the Universe: Dualism,
Monism and Nihilism. It is impossible to enter into a discussion of
their relative merits in a popular manual of this sort. They may be
studied in Erdmanns History of Philosophy and similar treatises.
All are reconciled and unified in the theory which we shall
now set forth. The basis of this Harmony is given in Crowleys
Berashithto which reference should be made.
Infinite space is called the goddess NUIT, while the infinitely
small and atomic yet omnipresent point is called HADIT.1 These
are unmanifest. One conjunction of these infinites is called RAHOOR-KHUIT,2 a Unity which both includes and heads all things.3
(There is also a particular Nature of Him, in certain conditions, such
have obtained since the Spring of 1904 E.V.) This profoundly
mystical conception is based upon actual spiritual experience, but [2]
the trained reason4 can reach a reflection of this idea by the method
of logical contradiction which ends in reason transcending itself.
The reader should consult The Soldier and the Hunchback in
Equinox I (1), and Konx Om Pax.
Unity transcends consciousness. It is above all division. The
Father of thought the Wordis called Chaos the dyad. The
number Three, the Mother, is called Babalon. In connection with
this the reader should study The Temple of Solomon the King in

1. I present this theory in a very simple form. I cannot even explain (for instance)
that an idea may not refer to Being at all, but to Going. The Book of the Law demands
special study and initiated apprehension.
2. More correctly, HERU-RA-HA, to include HOOR-PAAR-KRAAT.
3. The basis of this theology is given in Liber CCXX, AL vel Legis which forms
Part IV of this Book 4. Here I can only outline the matter in a very crude way; it
would require a separate treatise to discuss the true meanings of the terms
employed, and to show how The Book of the Law anticipate the recent discoveries of
Frege, Cantor, Poincar, Russell, Whitehead, Einstein and others.
4. All advance in understanding demands the acquisition of a new point-of-view.
Modern conceptions of Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics are sheer paradox to
the plain man who thinks of Matter as something that one can knock up against.



Equinox I (5),1 and Liber 418.
This first triad is essentially unity, in a manner transcending
reason. The comprehension of this Trinity is a matter of spiritual
experience. All true gods are attri buted to this Trinity.2
An immeasurable abyss divides it from all manifestations of
Reason or the lower qualities of man. In the ultimate analysis of
Reason, we find all reason identified with this abyss. Yet this abyss
is the crown of the mind. Purely intellectual faculties all obtain
here. This abyss has no number, for in it all is confusion.
Below this abyss we find the moral qualities of Man, of which
there are six. The highest is symbolised by the number Four. Its nature
is fatherly;3 Mercy and Authority are the attri butes of its dignity.
The number Five is balanced against it. The attri butes of Five are
Energy and Justice. Four and Five are again combined and
harmonized in the number Six, whose nature is beauty and
harmony, mortality and immortality.
In the number Seven the feminine nature is again predominant,
but it is the masculine type of female, the Amazon, who is balanced
in the number Eight by the feminine type of male.
In the number Nine we reach the last of the purely mental
qualities. It identifies change with stability.
Pendant to this sixfold system is the number Ten4 which includes

1. [Liber 58, an article on the Qabalah.]
2. Considerations of the Christian Trinity are of a nature suited only to Initiates
of the IX of O.T.O., as they enclose the final secret of all practical Magick. [Vide
Liber 100, Agape Azoth sal Philosophorum.]
3. Each conception is, however, balanced in itself. Four is also Daleth, the letter
of Venus; so that the mother-idea is included. Again, the Sephira of 4 is Chesed,
referred to Water. 4 is ruled by Jupiter, Lord of the Lightning (Fire) yet ruler of Air.
Each Sephira is complete in its way.
4. The Balance of the Sephiroth:
(1) Kether is in Malkuth, and Malkuth is in Kether, but after another
Chokmah (2) is Yod of Tetragrammaton, and therefore also Unity.
(3) is H of Tetragrammaton, and therefore The Emperor. [Presumably
this was written before Crowley changed this Tarot attri bution.]
(4) is Daleth, Venus the female.
Geburah (5) is the Sephira of Mars, the Male.
Tiphareth (6) is the Hexagram, harmonizing, and mediating between Kether and
Malkuth. Also it reflects Kether. That which is above, is like
that which is below, and that which is below, is like that which is
Netzach (7) and Hod (8) balanced as in text.
(9) see text.
Malkuth (10) contains all the numbers.



the whole of Matter as we know it by the senses.
It is impossible here to explain thoroughly the complete
conception; for it cannot be too clearly understood that this is a
classification of the Universe, that there is nothing which is not
comprehended therein.
The Article on the Qabalah in Vol. I, No. 5 of the Equinox1 is the
best which has written on the subject. It should be deeply studied,
in connection with the Qabalistic Diagrams in Nos. 2 and 3, The
Temple of Solomon the King.
Such is a crude and elementary sketch of this system.
The formula of Tetragrammaton is the most important for the
practical Magician. Here Yod = 2, H = 3, Vau = 4 to 9, H final = 10.
The number Two represents Yod, the Divine or Archetypal
World, and the Number One is only attained by the destruction of
the God and the Magician in samdhi. The Archangelic World is
under the number Three. The world of Angles is under the
numbers Four to Nine, and that of spirits under the number Ten.2 [4]
All these numbers are of course parts of the magician himself
considered as the microcosm. The microcosm is an exact image of
the Macrocosm; the Great Work is the raising of the whole man in
perfect balance to the power of Infinity.
The reader will remark that all criticism directed against the
Magical Hierarchy is futile. One cannot call it incorrect the only
line to take might be that it was inconvenient. In the same way one
cannot say that the Roman alphabet is better or worse than the
Greek, since all required sounds can be more or less satisfactorily
represented by either; yet both these alphabets were found so little
satisfactory when it came to an attempt at phonetic printing of
Oriental languages, that the alphabet had to be expanded by the use

1. [Liber 58, part of the Temple of Solomon the King serial.]
2. It is not possible to give a full account of the twenty paths in this condensed
sketch. They should be studied in view of all their attri butes in 777, but more
especially that in which they are attri buted to the planets, elements and signs, as
also to the Tarot Trumps, while their position on the Tree itself and their position
as links between the particular Sephiroth which they join is the final key to their
understanding. It will be noticed that each chapter of this book is attri buted to one
of them. This was not intentional. The book was originally but a collection of
haphazard dialogues between Frater P. and Soror A.; but on arranging the MSS.,
they fell naturally and of necessity into this division. Conversely my knowledge of
the Schema pointed out to me numerous gaps in my original exposition; thanks to
this, I have been able to make it a complete and systematic treatise. That is, when
my laziness had been jogged by the criticisms and suggestions of various
colleagues to whom I had submitted the early drafts.



of italics and other diacritical marks. In the same way our magical
alphabet of the Sephiroth and the Paths (thirty-two letters as it
were) has been expanded into the four worlds corresponding to the
four letters of the name hwhy; and each Sephira is supposed to
contain a Tree of Life of its own. Thus we obtain four hundred
Sephiroth instead of the original ten, and the Paths being capable of
similar multiplications, or rather of subdivision, the number is still
further extended. Of course this process might be indefinitely
continued without destroying the original system.
The Apologia for this System is that our purest conceptions are
symbolized in Mathematics. God is the Great Arithmetician.
God is the Grand Geometer. It is best therefore to prepare to
apprehend Him by formulating our minds according to these
To return, each letter of this alphabet may have its special
magical sigil. The student must not expect to be given a cut-anddried definition of what exactly is meant by any of all this. On the
contrary, he must work backwards, putting the whole of his mental
and moral outfit into these pigeon-holes. You would not expect to
be able to buy a filing cabinet with the names of all your past,
present and future correspondents ready indexed: your cabinet has
a system of letters and numbers meaningless in themselves, but
ready to take on a meaning to you, as you fill up the files. As your
business increased, each letter and number would receive fresh
accessions of meaning for you; and by adopting this orderly
arrangement you would be able to have a much more comprehensive
grasp of your affairs than would otherwise be the case. By the use
of this system the magician is able ultimately to unify the whole
of his knowledgeto transmute, even on the Intellectual Plane,
the Many into the One.
The reader can now understand that the sketch given above of
the magical Hierarchy is hardly even an outline of the real theory of
the Universe. This theory may indeed be studied in the article
already referred to in [Vol. I] no. 5 of the Equinox, and, more deeply,
in the Book of the Law and the Commentaries thereon: but the true
understanding depends entirely upon the work of the Magician

1. By God I here mean the Ideal Identity of a mans inmost nature.
Something ourselves (I erase Arnolds imbecile and guilty not) that makes for
righteousness; righteousness being rightly defined as internal coherence. (Internal
Coherence implies that which is written Detegitur Yod. [Lat. / Heb., The yod is



himself. Without magical experience it will be meaningless.
In this there is nothing peculiar. It is so with all scientific knowledge. A man born blind might cram up astronomy for the purpose
of passing examinations, but his knowledge would be almost
entirely unrelated to his experience, and it would certainly not give
him sight. A similar phenomenon is observed when a gentleman
who has taken an honours degree in modern languages at
Cambridge arrives in Paris, and is unable to order his dinner. To
exclaim against the Master Therion is to act like a person who,
observing this, should attack both the professors of French and the
inhabitants of Paris, and perhaps go on to deny the existence of
Let us say, once again, that the magical language is nothing but a
convenient system of classification to enable the magician to docket
his experiences as he obtains them.
Yet this is true also, that, once the language is mastered, one can
divine the unknown by study of the known, just as ones knowledge
of Latin and Greek enables one to understand some unfamiliar
English word derived from these sources. Also, there is the similar
case of the Periodic Law in Chemistry, which enables Science to
prophesy, and so in the end to discover, the existence of certain
previously unsuspected elements in nature. All discussions upon
philosophy are necessarily sterile, since truth is beyond language.
They are, however, useful if carried far enoughif carried to the
point when it becomes apparent that all arguments are arguments
in a circle.1 But discussions of the details of purely imaginary
qualities are frivolous and may be deadly. For the great danger of
this magical theory is that the student may mistake the alphabet for
the things which the words represent.
An excellent man of great intelligence, a learned Qabalist, once
amazed the Master Therion by stating that the Tree of Life was the
framework of the Universe. It was as if some one had seriously
maintained that a cat was a creature constructed by placing the
letters C. A. T. in that order. It is no wonder that Magick has excited
the ridicule of the unintelligent, since even its educated students can
be guilty of so gross a violation of the first principles of common

1. See The Solider and the Hunchback [Liber 148], Equinox I (1). The apparatus
of human reason is simply one particular system of coordinating impressions; its
structure is determined by the course of the evolution of the species. It is no more
absolute than the mechanism of our muscles is a complete type wherewith all other
systems of transmitting Force must conform.





A synopsis of the grades of the AA as illustrative of the
Magical Hierarchy in Man is given in Appendix II, One Star in
Sight. This should be read before proceeding with the chapter.
The subject is very difficult. To deal with it in full is entirely
beyond the limits of this small treatise.

Further concerning the Magical Universe
All these letters of the magical alphabetreferred to aboveare
like so many names on a map. Man himself is a complete microcosm. Few other beings have this balanced perfection. Of course
every sun, every planet, may have beings similarly constituted.2
[8] But when we speak of dealing with the planets in Magick, the
reference is usually not to the actual planets, but to parts of the
earth which are of the nature attri buted to these planets. Thus,
when we say that Nakhiel is the Intelligence of the Sun, we do not
mean that he lives in the Sun, but only that he has a certain rank
and character; and although we can invoke him, we do not
necessarily mean that he exists in the same sense of the word in
which our butcher exists.

1. Long since writing the above, an even grosser imbecility has been perpetrated.
One who ought to have known better tried to improve the Tree of Life by turning
the Serpent of Wisdom upside down! Yet he could not even make his scheme
symmetrical: his little remaining good sense revolted at the supreme atrocities. Yet
he succeeded in reducing the whole Magical Alphabet to nonsense, and shewing
that he had never understood its real meaning.
The absurdity of any such disturbance of the arrangement of the Paths is evident
to any sober student from such examples as the following. Binah, the Supernal
Understanding, is connected with Tiphareth, the Human Consciousness, by Zain,
Gemini, the Oracles of the Gods, or the Intuition. That is, the attri bution represents
a psychological fact: to replace it by The Devil is either humour or plain idiocy.
Again the card Fortitude [later named Lust by Crowley], Leo, balanaces
Majesty and Mercy with Strength and Severity: what sense is there in putting
Death, the Scorpion, in its stead? There are twenty other mistakes in this new
wonderful illuminated-from-on-high attri bution; the student can therefore be sure
of twenty more laughs if he cares to study it.
[This One was C.S. Jones, Frater Achad; the reference is to his re-arrangement of
the attri butions of the Paths in Q.B.L., or the Brides Reception and The Egyptian Revival.]
2. Equally of course, we have no means of knowing what we really are. We are
limited to symbols. And it is certain that all our sense-perceptions give only partial
aspects of their objects. Sight, for instance, tells us very little about solidity, weight,
composition, electrical character, thermal conductivity, etc., etc. It says nothing at
all about the very existence of such vitally important ideas as Heat, Hardness, and
so on. The impression which the mind combines from the senses can never claim
to be accurate or complete. We have indeed learnt that nothing is in itself what it
seems to be to us.



When we conjure Nakhiel to visible appearance, it may be that
our process resembles creationor, rather imaginationmore
nearly than it does calling-forth. The aura of a man is called the
magical mirror of the universe; and, so far as anyone can tell,
nothing exists outside of this mirror. It is at least convenient to represent the whole as if it were subjective. It leads to less confusion.
And, as man is a perfect microcosm,1 it is perfectly easy to re-model
ones conception at any moment.
Now there is a traditional correspondence, which modern
experiment has shown to be fairly reliable. There is a certain
natural connexion between certain letters, words, numbers,
gestures, shapes, perfumes and so on, so that any idea or (as we
might call it) spirit, may be composed or called forth by the use
of those things which are harmonious with it, and express
particular parts of its nature. These correspondences have been
elaborately mapped in the Book 777 in a very convenient and
compendious form. It will be necessary for the student to make a
careful study of this book in connexion with some actual rituals of
Magick, for example, that of the evocation of Taphthartharath [9]
printed in Equinox I (3), pages 170-190, where he will see exactly why
these things are to be used. Of course, as the student advances in
knowledge by experience he will find a progressive subtlety in
the magical universe corresponding to his own; for let it be said
yet again! not only is his aura a magical mirror of the universe,
but the universe is a magical mirror of his aura.
In this chapter we are only able to give a very thin outline of
magical theoryfaint pencilling by weak and wavering fingers
for this subject may almost be said to be co-extensive with ones
whole knowledge.
The knowledge of exoteric science is comically limited by the fact
that we have no access, except in the most indirect way, to any other
celestial body than our own. In the last few years, the semi-educated

1. He is this only by definition. The universe may contain an infinite variety of
world inaccessible to human apprehension. Yet, for this very reason, they do not
exist for the purposes of the argument. Man has, however, some instruments of
knowledge; we may, therefore, define the Macrocosm as the totality of things
possible to his perception. As evolution develops those instruments, the Macrocosm and the Microcosm extend; but they always maintain their mutual relation.
Neither can possess any meaning except in terms of the other. Our discoveries
are exactly as much of ourselves as they are of Nature. America and Electricity did,
in a sense, exist before we were aware of them; but they are even now no more
than incomplete ideas, expressed in symbolic terms of a series of relations between
two sets of inscrutable phenomena.



have got an idea that they know a great deal about the universe,
and the principal ground for their fine opinion of themselves is
usually the telephone or the airship. It is pitiful to read the
bombastic twaddle about progress, which journalists and others,
who which to prevent men from thinking, put out for consumption.
We know infinitesimally little of the material universe. Our
detailed knowledge is so contemptibly minute, that it is hardly
worth reference, save that our shame may spur us to increased
endeavour. Such knowledge1 as we have got is of a very general
and abstruse, of a philosophical and almost magical character.
This consists principally of the conceptions of pure mathematics.
It is, therefore, almost legitimate to say that pure mathematics is
our link with the rest of the universe and with God.
Now the conceptions of Magick are themselves very profoundly
mathematical. The whole basis of our theory is the Qabalah, which
corresponds to the truths of mathematics and geometry. The
method of operation in Magick is based on this, in very much the
same way as the laws of mechanics are based on mathematics. So
far, therefore, as we can be said to possess a magical theory of the
[10] universe, it must be a matter solely of fundamental law, with a few
simple and comprehensive propositions stated in very general terms.
I might expend a lifetime in exploring the details of one plane, just
as an explorer might give his life to one corner of Africa, or a chemist
to one subgroup of compounds. Each such detailed piece of work
may be very valuable, but it does not as a rule throw light on the
main principles of the universe. Its truth is the truth of one angle. It
might even lead to error, if some inferior person were to generalize
from too few facts.
Imagine an inhabitant of Mars who wished to philosophize about
the earth, and had nothing to go by but the diary of some man at the
North Pole! But the work of every explorer, on whatever branch of
the Tree of Life the caterpillar he is after may happen to be crawling,
is immensely helped by a grasp of general principles. Every
Magician, therefore, should study the Holy Qabalah. Once he has
mastered the main principles, he will find his work grow easy.
Solvitur ambulando:2 which does not mean Call the

1. Knowledge is, moreover, an impossible conception. All propositions come
ultimately back to A is A.
2. [Lat., it is solved by walking, i.e. by doing the work.]


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