Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers: The Equinox v.4, No.1: The Equinox Vol 4, No.1 Hardcover – 1 Oct 1996
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This text examines the essentials of the A.A. system of initiation from the preliminary stage of Student to the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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COMMENTARIES ON THE HOLY BOOKS & OTHER PAPERS
by Aleister Crowley, with H.P. Blavatsky, J.F.C. Fuller & Charles Stansfeld Jones. (Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1996. Hardcover, 382 pp. ISBN 0-87728-888-7. $40.00)
Fra. Hymenæus Beta is the preeminent Crowley editor of our time. Although his name does not appear anywhere on this present volume (subtitled The Equinox, Vol. IV, No. 1), his able hand is visible in both the quality handling of the content, and the beautiful form. Primarily, the volume consists of Crowley commentaries to many Class A Documents; but it contains much more. Its main feature is the 'Holy Book' Liber Cordis Cincte Serpente (Liber LXV), with Crowley's extraordinary commentary thereon. In addition to Karl Germer's small 1952 Ontario edition, the commentary had been serialized by Sor. Meral (In the Continuum, I:7-II:1, 1976-1979), and later published by C.O.T. in a single volume (1995). Unfortunately, in the present book the editor did not see fit to maintain the useful format of these three earlier editions wherein the commentary was positioned opposite and facing the corresponding text of Liber LXV.
Other, shorter commentaries are included (on Libri B, Liberi, Trigrammaton, Stellæ Rubeæ, A'ash, Tav, and Ararita). Some have been published before; most have not. Their inclusion lends a welcome completeness to the volume. Frater Achad's commentary on Liber A'ash (written by him as an A.'.A.'. assignment, and then annotated by Crowley) will interest many. Also reprinted are documents important in defining the A.'.A.'. training system -- essentially the same set of defining documents appended, in 1993, to C.O.T.'s The Mystical & Magical System of the A.'.A.'. (One Star in Sight, Liber XIII, and Liber CLXXXV -- to which this book adds An Account of A.'.A.'.). These are introduced by a hitherto unpublished Crowley essay titled "Occultism," which includes one unpublished version of the A.'.A.'. Student Examination.
A large color plate section includes a color reproduction of Crowley's original illuminated manuscript of Liber Pyramidos. Readers of "John St. John" (in Equinox 1) will recall that, during a magical retirement in late 1908, Crowley adapted the A.'.A.'. Neophyte initiation ceremony into a self-initiation ritual for his use in attaining the 6=5 Grade. This self-initiation ritual is now published. Though known to private collectors for many years, this color manuscript has not been available to most students until now, and we are happy to see it finally in print. However, we must disagree with the editor's labeling it as Liber DCLXXI, since that is the number of the official A.'.A.'. initiation ritual from which it was adapted, Liber ThROA.
The one serious embarrassment of the volume is a new paper titled Liber Vesta, which claims to give "the correct designs (with color illustrations)" of the robes for each A.'.A.'. grade. This paper is new, created for the A.'.A.'. lineage served by the individuals who lent it their imprimatur. Except for the Probationer robe, these designs do not at all match those which have come down to us from the A.'.A.'.'s founders. They do not even distantly resemble the many published photographs of A.'.A.'. robes which embellish Crowley's writings. (The correct designs, published in Appendix F of The Mystical & Magical System of the A.'.A.'., 2nd. Ed., will be reprinted with further discussion in a later issue of BLACK PEARL.) Our conclusion, based on the colorful and entertaining appearance of these robes and the fact that the book was released the first week of October, is that Liber Vesta was the special Halloween Supplement.
A further criticism concerns the inclusion of Blavatsky's (non-Class A) The Voice of the Silence, with Crowley's commentary. This lengthy piece -- constituting one-third of the entire, expensive volume -- was already included in Equinox III:1 (the "Blue Equinox"), and in Gems. It is readily available. Its inclusion here makes no sense in terms of the present book, the Equinox series overall, or service to the audience, and merely cranked up the size and cost unnecessarily. In fact, about 85% of this book's contents are already in print and accessible (which, however, is not inappropriate for a reference volume). Nonetheless, based, if nothing else, on the full color Pyramidos, and the compendium of commentaries, the book has enough new material, of such excellent virtue, as to win a Three Rose recommendation (|||). -- QUIL
it begins a new volume (IV) in the Equinox journal of
scinetific illuminism. It makes available for the
first time, on a large scale, several important
commentaries on the Holy Books, as well as the
founding documents of the Ordo A.'.A.'., by
whom this book is edited. In more ways than one
this book may prove to be to the Ordo A.'.A.'., what
the Equinox III 10 was to the O.T.O. It is definitely
one of the books every self respecting Thelemite must have
on his book shelf. 93 93/93.
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