_Liber Practicus: The Sin of Practice_

By Frater (I) Nigris (666) 333
-------------------------------------------------------------

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The word of Sin is Restriction."

_The Book of the Law_, Ch.1, V. 40-1.


Is there a 'correct' interpretation of the words above?
It is difficult to know.  While the liberty guaranteed in the
first line allows us to define them in any way we choose, the
qualification of the second seems to prohibit our assessing the
definition we choose as 'correct'.

Those who then call upon 'reason' and 'logic' in order to
ascertain such a 'correct' interpretation, perhaps by placing
them within the context of the entirety of the book, or by
comparing them with common definitions given us by 'authorities'
(Ankh-f-n-khonsu included) help us little, for _The Book of the Law_
itself prohibits this in subsequent verses, as the Priest of Princes
describes in his commentary upon them:

"32. 'Also reason is a lie...'
"It has been explained at length in a previous note that 'reason
is a lie' by nature.... What is more certain than that [reason's]
laws are only the conscious expression of the limits imposed upon
us by our animal nature; and that to attribute universal validity,
or even significance, to them is a logical fallacy, the raving of
our megalomania?  Experiment proves nothing; it is surely obvious
that we are obliged to correlate all observations with the physical
and mental structure whose truth we are trying to test.
"...Reason is no more than a set of rules developed by the race;
it takes no account of anything beyond sensory impressions and
their reactions to various parts of our being.  There is no possible
escape from the vicious circle that we can register only the
behavior of our own instrument.  We conclude from the fact that
it behaves at all, that there must be 'a factor infinite and
unknown' at work upon it.  This being the case, we may be sure that
our apparatus is inherently incapable of discovering the truth
about anything, even in part."

_The Law is for All_, Crowley, Regardie Ed., pgs. 202-3.


This passage, among others of a similar nature, at first seem
ridiculous. Are we to be convinced VIA reason of its fault?
Will we accept a sequence of reasoned assertions which lead us
to abandon the acceptance of reason altogether?!  This makes no
sense.  Yet, like Godel's Theorem of Incompleteness and
Heisenburg's Principle of Uncertainty, perhaps Crowley is
simply using mentation to point out the limitations of the
mind itself.  Perhaps what is being distinguished here is the
NATURE of the conclusions which may be constructed using the
tools of reason.

That truth is of a different order than reason and logic has been
suggested by clever theists from their first writings.  We are
here, however, not evaluating the remarks of a clever theist so
much as a clever magician; one for whom Science was a means to
achieve and reason a tool with which to derive these means.
What is also of importance is that the very text which we might
seek to understand via reason claims that 'reason is a lie'.

One could, presumably, interpret this not as a description of
reason but as some other message, or as a temporary interruption
in the Master Therion's 'connection' at the time of transmission.
However, this resembles the make-it-up-as-you-go justification
system which so many people enjoy using with their own holy tomes.
No, it would seem that we must abandon reason in our search for
any 'correct' interpretation of these verses.

We could, therefore, rely on the interpretation of an 'authority',
yet who might represent for us the force of absolute truth?
Who might be able to speak FOR the truth, putting into decisive
and clear language what we shall accept as the true interpretation?

None qualify for such a heavy responsibility, surely, and to
place such a load upon the shoulders of any individual would
seem unfair.  Yet if nobody could speak FOR the truth, perhaps
there are some who might speak THEIR truth about its meaning,
and who better to know pertinent perspectives about these words
than the very man who put the verses to paper (albeit as receiver)
and who therefore lived with these words until death?  The Priest
has much to say regarding the lines in question.


Of the first...:

"'Do what thou wilt' need not only be interpreted as license or even
as liberty.  It may, for example, be taken to mean, Do what thou (Ateh)
wilt... The charge might then be read as a charge to self-sacrifice or
equilibrium.
"I only put forward this suggestion to exhibit the profundity of
thought required to deal even with so plain a passage.
"All meanings are true, if only the interpreter be illuminated; but if
not, they are all false, even as he is false....


...and of the second:

"The first paragraph... is a general statement of definition of sin and
error.  Anything whatsoever that binds the will, hinders it, or diverts
it, is sin.  That is, sin is the appearance of the dyad.  Sin is impurity."

Ibid, pages 97-8.


Here we encounter a rather unclear statement that all
interpretations to 'the illuminated' are correct (!).  How can
we determine who is 'illuminated' and who is not?  Do these lofty
beings have limitations on THEIR ability to interpret the verse?
This would seem foolish, given that the 'illuminated' are generally
thought to have a GREATER capacity to posit alternatives based on
increased understanding.

Crowley here suggests that the veracity of the interpretation does
not depend upon its form so much as upon who does the interpreting.
It is less that one might interpret incorrectly than that one who is
not 'illuminated' or, perhaps, 'mature' might interpret incompletely
and thus lock onto a false subset of all possible interpretations.
He seems to say that there are no false interpretations of 'Do what
thou wilt'.  There are, thus, no 'correct' interpretations in
isolation.


On the second phrase ('The word of Sin is Restriction') he is
much less clear.  Sin is that which hinders or diverts 'the will'.
We are left to guess what, exactly, is meant by 'the will' in this
context.  Yet other commentary on sin and will may help ...

"42.' ...thou has no right but to do thy will.'
"Interference with the will of another is the great sin, for it
predicates the existence of another.  In this duality sorrow exists.
I think that possibly the higher meaning is still attributed to will."

Ibid, pages 101-2.


Most confusing!  Additional material is necessary...

"51. ...'Also take your fill and will of love as ye will...'
"...It is also excluded from 'as ye will' to compromise the
liberty of another person indirectly, as by taking advantage of
the ignorance or good faith of another person to expose that
person to the constraint of sickness, poverty, social detriment,
or childbearing, unless with the well informed and uninfluenced
free will of the person."

Ibid, page 110.


"It is not indicated here in the text, though it is elsewhere
implied, that only one symptom warns that you have mistaken your
True Will, and that is, if you should imagine that in pursuing your
way you interfere with that of another star."

Ibid, pages 125-6.


"To us, then, 'evil' is a relative term; it is 'that which hinders
one fulfilling his True Will."

Ibid, page 162.


"20. ... As soon as one realizes one's self as Hadit, one obtains
all His qualities.  It is all a question of doing one's will.
A flaming Harlot, with red cap and sparking eyes, her foot on the
neck of a dead king, is just as much a star as her predecessor,
simpering in his arms.  But one must be a flaming Harlot - one
must let oneself go, whether one's star be twin with that of
Shelley, or of Blake, or of Titian, or of Beethoven. Beauty and
strength come from doing one's will; you have only to look at
any one who is doing it to recognize the glory of it."

Ibid, page 176.


"But also our Law teaches that a star often veils itself from
its nature. Thus the vast bulk of humanity is obsessed by an
abject fear of freedom; the principal objections hitherto urged
against my Law have been made by those who cannot bear to
imagine the horrors which would result if they were free to do
their wills.  The sense of sin, shame, self-distrust, this is what
make folk cling to Christian slavery."

Ibid, page 225.


"Consider also him that willeth to excel in Speed or in Battle,
how, he denieth himself the food he craveth, and all Pleasures
natural to him, putting himself under the harsh Order of the Trainer.
So by his Bondage he hath, at the last, his Will.
"Now then the one, by natural, and the other by voluntary,
Restriction have come each to a greater Liberty. [Liber Aleph]"

Ibid, page 251.


"49. 'I am in a secret four fold word, the blasphemy against all
gods of men.'
"The evident interpretation of this is to take the word to be
'Do what thou wilt,' which is a secret word, because its meaning
for every man is his own inmost secret.  And it is the most
profound blasphemy possible against all 'gods of men,' because
it makes every man his own God."

Ibid, page 300.


"60. 'There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.'
"There are of course lesser laws than this, details, particular
cases of the Law.  But the whole of the Law is 'Do what thou wilt,'
and there is no other law beyond it....
"Far better, let him assume this Law to be the universal key to
every problem of life, and then apply it to one particular case
after another. As he comes by degrees to understand it, he will
be astounded at the simplification of the most obscure questions
which it furnishes.  Thus he will assimilate the Law and make it
the norm of his conscious being; this, by itself, will suffice to
initiate him, to dissolve his complexes, to unveil himself to
himself; and so shall he attain the Knowledge and Conversation
of his Holy Guardian Angel."

Ibid, page 320.


It would seem obvious from the foregoing, that 'sin' within the
special meaning Crowley has adopted for this term, involves
interfering in the affairs, business, doings of another where one
has no call, where our will does not hold within the Law of Thelema.

Thus, to say that 'sin is restriction' applies solely to the
restriction of ANOTHER.  In fact, positing ANOTHER to begin with
is sin.  Solipsism would seem, on a pragmatic level, a solution
to such ensnarements. To maintain to our own life, will and all,
is all we need to do to abide in this.


By this time the reader may perceptively be asking:
'What has this to do with 'practice'?  How can sin be associated
with this?'  Regardless of one's definition for the term 'practice',
it is wise to remember Crowley's basis for a definition of sin
as restriction.  Where will is concerned, the interference with
another is considered sinful inasmuch as it POSITS ANOTHER.

It is not a social but a metaphysical support which is invoked
here. Nondualism as the basis for ethics is without parallel in
both obscurity and value.  Not to assume the Other is to consider
oneself continuous and identical with All.

With respect to Restriction, what we restrict is our own as well
as the All's esence and power by presuming to divide It so.  Thus,
in performing one's True Will one does not enter into the restriction
of dualism.  To maintain a 'practice' as if to prepare for 'life' or what
is 'real' - a getting-ready as opposed to a doing - is sinful.  This
assumes that one's life is NOT the manifestation of one's True Will,
when such an assumption participates in the duality of practice.
'Practice', in this sense, validates the original assumption that one's
life is NOT one's True Will.

'Do what thou wilt' may mean 'Do as you please' to those who
realise the truth of nonduality.  In restricting our efforts to our
'practice' without infusing our will into and throughout our very
lives, we participate in the sin which we seek so mightily to escape.

There are those who shall be aided by entering into 'practice' as
a means to seeing past the duality which it involves.  This is
called 'using dualism as a tool to pluck the dualism from one's mind'.
Yet once this sliver has been extracted, once the will is united,
the tool of 'practice' is the only remnant of sin left with the aspirant.
It must also be discarded if one is to manifest the Great Work.


This conclusion has far-reaching implications when applied
within the context of an Order of Kinship such as O.T.O.
What manners of 'practice' shall be REQUIRED of its members at
any level?  Who shall do this requiring and for what purpose?
If the goal of the Order is to aid our kin in perfecting their
True Will, shall we decide FOR them what this Will is or whether
they are engaging it?  How shall such an evaluation be made and
by whom?

The inference of these questions and the preceding essay are
intended to support my assertion that NO absolute practical
requirements ought EVER become installed as a condition of
membership in O.T.O.  That some majority of members practice
'ceremonial magick' or 'sex magick' is an important facet of the
Order's character, yet it would be a mistake, which even the
Order's prophet has warned against, to institutionalize
either specific forms of practice or practice itself.

For those who are done with said dualisms, this institution might
indeed turn them away.  This, eventually, would lead to a gradual
dissolution and disintegration of quality membership.  It is to our
benefit to see 'sin' not as a moral failing but as an ontological
ignorance.  Evaluation of another constitutes a perfect example
of this sin.

Let each evaluate their own needs and procure the structure and
practice which she desires.  In this way might the health of the
Order be preserved and the True Will of all be fostered, yea, let
the health of the Order be preserved.

---------------------------------------------------

Revised 9303.03 e.v.
Htmlized 0906.21 e.v.
Frater (I) Nigris (666) 333
nagasiva@luckymojo.com (nagasiva)
ArkaotikA
6632 Covey Drive
Forestville, CA 95436