[obtained from http://www.visi.com/~invoke/camp/library/ ]
A Study Guide for MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE
by Bill Heidrick
Many Thelemites are a bit appalled by the evident complexity of this work.
Crowley wrote it in
obedience to the injunction in "The Book of the Law:" I, 35-37:
"35: This that thou writest is the threefold book of Law.
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-Khu-it.
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." It
is the last of these verses that
prompted Crowley to write "Book Four"<> --
the fourth book to "The Book of the Law," but not the fourth Chapter of
the same; for verse 35 clearly
declares that there are only three parts to "Liber AL." The closing ve
rses of "Liber AL" also leave no
possible doubt that the Book itself is ended. There is no Fourth Book
or Chapter to "Liber AL," and there
never will be; efforts by such as James Beck and this "Book of Codes" p
ublished in the recent "Book of
Perfection" are misguided in claiming this. Such works can be of consi
derable value, but cannot rest on a
par with "The Book of the Law" -- more on this subject in another place
In addition to several other aids, the reader of "Magick in Theory and Pract
ice" will be better armed for
the fray with a copy of "Magick Without Tears" (letters written by Crowley to e
xplain M in T and P) and a
slender volume sometimes published separately from M in T and P titled "Book Fo
ur". This latter is an
introduction to the technical aspects of Magick. Actually "Magick in Theory an
d Practice," taken together
with this little book,<> form "Book Four"
"Magick in Theory an Practice" is roughly divided into two parts: Theory and
Practice -- hence the title.
This Study Guide will chiefly concern itself with the Theory part. Notes will
be added on some of the
Rituals, but they require a more extensive discussion than is possible here. M
embership in the Order
makes possible further instruction.
Obviously the first thing to do with the book is to have a good look at it.
Mark especially the diagrams of
the signs given at the beginning and the list of recommended reading found in t
he middle. These two short
items are doors to understanding the rest.
INTRODUCTION -- intended to perform several functions. For a person already
able to confront Magick
without undue skepticism, it may be unnecessary. For the beginner, it includes
exposition of the Magical world-view. Actually, this introduction is a series
of images and tropes -- it is
intended to begin an opening of the more closed minded readers and to trap the
minds of those who should
not study this work -- so that they will not enter into danger.
Chapter 0 -- basic philosophy and method. The real introduction to the Work
Chapter 1 -- Definition of terms and fundamental advice. Learn this before
going further. The material is
relatively light. Any difficult point may be returned to later -- such difficu
lty will be more a matter of trying
to find problems that aren't there, than it will be of confronting real obstacl
Chapter 2 -- through Chapter 7 -- Magick formulas. These are mental ways of
organizing thought and
ritual. The reader will not be able to understand them perfectly at first. Th
ey must be firmly understood
before any of the Rituals can be consciously mastered. Each of these chapters
should be studied and
learned in succession before any but light reading of the rest is undertaken.
Chapter 8 -- This sets the method for the whole of the Work. It must be stu
died well. It may be studied
along with Chapters 2 through 7.
Chapter 9 -- Basics of use of sound and general notes on working. Necessary
for ritual, but not absolutely
necessary of understanding of general theory. Some valuable points of philosop
hy are to be found here,
Chapter 10 -- Method of physical action in ritual. Necessary for the ritual
Chapter 11 -- The critical work of performing Magick rests in development of
the Body of Light. This
chapter introduces the method and concept. Study this before reading further.
Chapter 12 -- Technical instruction. Not all of this material is to be take
n literally. Those who wish to
become involved in this level of working should proceed cautiously and with ins
truction from those they can
accept as teachers.<>
Chapters 13 and 14 --- This must be studied closely. The material here is o
f very wide application in all
Chapter 16 part I -- The main point is not to take a magical Oath until you
are ready to set the pattern for
your life's work.
Chapter 15 -- Read and reread this material until it become an integral part
of your thought. This is
absolutely basic technical and attitudinal orientation.
Chapters 16 part II and 17 -- Not generally important unless it is desired t
o take on specialized work of this
Chapter 18 -- Very important. Study closely. This material is essential to
successful working and control.
Without the knowledge presented here, your body of light will be effectively bl
ind and blundering.
Chapter 19 -- Specialized work again. Study if it appeals to your interest.
Chapter 20 -- This will appear obscure at first. It is the advanced theory
of ritual design. Without this
material, one cannot understand some of the shorter rituals given in the rest o
f the book. Some of the ideas
presented here are misleading if looked at lightly. Study of this chapter shou
ld come after work with the
earlier part of the book.
Chapter 21 -- The material here is mostly advanced philosophy of Magick. So
me parts will appear clear on
first reading. This chapter may be read chiefly for entertainment until one ha
s read "The Book of the Law."
While the theory chapters of "Magick in Theory and Practice" are being studi
ed one should practice
several rituals. Study of Appendix III on pages 245 and 246 of the shorter edi
tion of the book is advised.
Rituals for special attention include Liber E (general exercises), Liber O (esp
ecially the Lesser Pentagram
Banishment),<> Liber Resh (daily). The student is advis
ed against Liber III in
instruction #2 -- the basic method is excellent, but this particular technique
is not for most people (or
necessarily the most promising students).
In the process of reading "Magick in Theory and Practice", one comes across
many references to the
"Equinox" and other writings. In most instances, the point to be found in the
reference is unnecessary for
the average student. When unusual difficulty arises, Associates and Initiates
of the Order may apply for
specific instruction. Inquires by others will be handled as time permits.
Here is a brief note on some of the rituals in the "Practice" section of the
Liber Samekh -- excellent for gathering magical force. Should be performed
only in conjunction with
banishing rituals. The injunction that no names be used unless understood perf
ectly may be considered as
Appendix VI "Grimorium Sanctissimum" -- The Latin portion beginning this sec
tion. This material may be
interpreted as a method for securing the fluids of the sex-act for magical appl
ication. It is unwise to attempt
this work without instruction and an effective body of light under control.
Liber XXV -- advance form of the Pentagram Banishment. Should only be under
taken after study of "The
Book of the Law." Another version is to be found in "The Book of Lies."
Liber V -- difficult. Successful performance of this ritual may be a goal t
o set in testing your own
comprehension of this book.
Liber XV -- the principal group ritual of the Order in the Outer.
Appendix VII, Liber HHH. This material is in the line of the Order of the G
olden Dawn to some extent.
Alteration and adaptation to circumstance is valid.
Liber E -- Very important to take up with the study of the theory sections.
Liber O -- Basic Golden Dawn rituals for practical working. This material s
hould be relatively easy to
understand. It is assumed knowledge for the more elaborate workings presented
before and after it in the
Liber Astarte -- Very useful. It may be undertaken without reading the rest
of the book.
Liber RV -- Yoga instruction. Should be taken up as an independent practice
throughout one's working
and study. It furthers all efforts.
Liber Yod -- another item that may be considered a sort of self-proficiency
test. Very good mental yoga
when attained. It furthers all efforts.
Liber Thisharb -- for very advanced working only. Do not attempt it until s
killed in all other workings and
experienced by several years of magical practice. It may be studied, if the te
mptation to practice it can be
mastered, at any level.
Liber B -- Its value is wasted on those who are not ready for it.
Liber Resh -- For daily use by all.
Liber III -- Excellent discipline, if the part about the razor is not taken