ALEISTER CROWLEY - Ch II - Liber AL vel Legis - Verse Commentary

(sub figura CCXX as delivered by XCIII = 418 to DCLXVI)


There are many reasons why Aleister Crowley remains relevant culturally and magically.
From his writings, to his work, Crowley remains a figure that continues to intrigue the masses and influence occultists around the globe.

The Second Chapter

1. Nu ! the hiding of Hadit.

The opposite or completion of c.I, v.1: concealment rather than manifestation.
The divine spark of life and consciousness is hidden in the physical world as a mystery sub-atomic and internal, subjective rather than objective.
Suggestive of the Egyptian High Æon Amoun, the 'Invisible' or 'Hidden One'.
Invisibility is an attribute of Hoor-par-kraat, the newborn Horus, who was hidden among the papyrus rushes in the swamplands of the Nile by his mother Isis when he was a child.
This landscape intermediate between earth and water is similar to the First Hill or primeval mound that emerges from the waters of space at the beginning of time at the Creation.
The Babe in the Egg is hidden in Darkness, the womb of the Goddess.
Crowley defines Hadit as “the Impersonal Identity within the Individuality”, and also says: 
Every Individual manifests the Whole; and the Whole conceals every Individual.
The Soul interprets the Universe; and the Universe veils the Soul.
Nature understands Herself by becoming self-conscious in Her units; and the Consciousness loses its sense of separateness by dissolution in Her.”

2. Come ! all ye, and learn the secret that hath not yet been revealed. I, Hadit, am the complement of Nu, my bride. I am not extended, and Khabs is the name of my House.

Come !’ implies a sacred gathering, the result of the marriage of Had and Nu.
The Khabs is the Star, first discussed under c.I, vs.8-9.
The House is the meaning of Beth/2, which is ascribed to the Atu of the Magus (Magician or Juggler) in the tarot; the physical human body is the dwelling-place of consciousness and the true temple of spiritual practice (and many forms of ancient temples are based upon the proportions of the human body). Hadit is the sub-atomic point, hence unextended but of infinite potential. It therefore seems that the House of Nuit must be the Khu, or Manifestation.

3.  In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found.
4.  Yet she shall be known & I never.

Nu-Isis is the expanding universe spread out before us, constantly revealing Herself; yet Hadit, the nucleus of the invisible human soul, remains mysterious and unknowable. ‘Nowhere’ is where She is found, and ‘no-when’.
The sphere is considered the perfect form, and a word with many meanings.
Crowley says: “Hadit is hidden in Nuit, and knows Her, She being an object of knowledge; but He is not knowable, for He is merely that part of Her which She formulates in order that She may be known.”

5. Behold! the rituals of the old time are black. Let the evil ones be cast away; let the good ones be purged by the prophet! Then shall this Knowledge go aright.

The old gods are over and done with, and their more useful practices must be realigned with the 93 current.
Knowledge in this sense is Gnosis: direct experience of wisdom, power and ecstasy. 
 nd indeed, reviewing world events, many religious forms seem to have passed their useful span and are in serious moral decay.

6. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.

Hadit is frequently identified with flame, and in many cosmologies (such as that of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, who stated that “Fire is All”) this fire is the original creative element of the primordial Big Bang: the energy before matter, the light in the darkness.
To be fully and consciously alive implies the awareness of impending death.
Life and death, like all polarities, each contain their own opposites.
Hadit is seen in Egyptian terms as the falcon-winged sun.
Yet another image for him in sacred art might be the human skull, implying both life and death: when individuality is stripped away with the flesh, this becomes an almost universal symbol of eternity, emptiness and ultimate reality.
The skull of a horned beast is also holy.

7. I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. "Come unto me" is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

The Magician is the Creator, and the Exorcist is the Destroyer.
Hadit is the omnipresent centre of manifestation.
See the 30th Aethyr of The Vision & The Voice, which opens with the words:
I AM in a vast crystal cube in the form of the Great God Harpocrates.
This cube is surrounded by a sphere.”
In much of ceremonial magick, the cube might be the altar in the centre of the circle, or might be seen as an unfolding geometry in space.
Nuit is the Sphere, Hadit the Cube, whose six sides imply the six directions of space and the sixth and central sphere of the Sun.
Squaring the Circle is also a philosophical paradox.
To me !’ is the call of Nuit; Hadit is motion, she is matter; he the spirit, she the matrix of forms emitted from the formless.
TIME is the reversal of EMIT; both equal 64 or 8x8, the number of squares on the chessboard.

8. Who worshipped Heru-pa-kraath have worshipped me; ill, for I am the worshipper.

Heru-pa-kraath is a child form of Horus, here identified with Hadit.
The proper attitude of Thelema is never just one of passively worshipping the gods, but of actually becoming or manifesting them through communion or overshadowing or trance or possession; magick is defined as the making of willed changes in our state of consciousness. 
By identifying ourselves with cosmic or cultural archetypes we take on their powers and aspects, the disguise becoming a reality.
We contain every thing within our selves.
We are all the Magical Child.
Therefore we do not worship Hadit, we are Hadit, and worship only Nuit.
As Crowley says: “It is bad Magick to admit that one is other than One's inmost self.

9. Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.

As ever, ecstasy is the theme of AL; and apparently the immortality of the soul may again be implied.
There are a number of references to transitory shadows, which occur when material object occlude the Light.

10. O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing.
11. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger.
12. Because of me in Thee which thou knewest not.
13. for why ? Because thou wast the knower, and me.

Crowley often spoke of his early resistance to this book, which considering his background may not be surprising; while the declaration that he was the prophet of a new epoch may have been quite flattering, his belief structures at the time were not precisely aligned to those expressed herein, and the peculiar leaps of grammar and concepts apparently drove him crazy. 
Hadit is the Knower, and Knowledge is the meaning of the word Gnosis.
Gnostics were a very diverse variety of both late Pagan and early Judeo-Christian sects who employed extremely magical visionary techniques, and sought direct experience of God rather than faith.

14. Now let there be a veiling of this shrine: now let the light devour men and eat them up with blindness!

Revealing and re-veiling, manifesting and concealing, are frequent themes in AL; they reflect the hide & seek love-play of Had & Nu.
One form of the ordeals is termed ‘the blind ones”, and there are other references to the word ‘blind’. In Egyptian temples the shrine and image of the patron god were hidden away in a secret chamber at the very heart of the structure.
Light as blindness is also an interesting paradox.

15. For I am perfect, being Not; and my number is nine by the fools; but with the just I am eight, and one in eight: Which is vital, for I am none indeed. The Empress and the King are not of me; for there is a further secret.
16. I am the Empress & the Hierophant. Thus eleven, as my bride is eleven.

“Hadit here clearly says he is Not, or BEING-NOT (a combination of Nuit and Hadit as the Perfect and Perfect, which, be it remembered are One, nay None.)
We have considered His particular aspect as AL rather than LA, but the previous verse indicates a blind.
He is the shrine veiled by Not, for AL is the manifestation of LA, and LA is the hiding of AL (See first verse of Chapters I and II).

17. Hear me, ye people of sighing !
The sorrows of pain and regret
Are left to the dead and the dying,
The folk that not know me as yet.
18. These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk.

Sorrow and despair are self-defeating in both organized theologies and personal life.
All we can really be sure of is our present lifetime, and to waste it by overindulgence in useless misery or sordid escapism is pathetic.
The poor and the sad are the un-awakened, those oblivious to the joys and opportunities of life. These dead might be seen as merely biologically alive drones or zombies (or slaves?).
Crowley is quite harsh with the general public: “Those who sorrow are not real people at all, not 'stars' - for the time being. The fact of their being "poor and sad" proves them to be 'shadows', who 'pass and are done'. The "lords of the earth" are those who are doing their Will.”
The lords of the earth are those who have control over their surroundings, over the material site of their 'existence'. That is, the true men. The others are asleep, and being asleep are merely animals walking on two legs - the "unfeathered bipeds" of Diogenes.”

19. Is a God to live in a dog ? No ! but the highest are of us. They shall rejoice, our chosen: who sorroweth is not of us.

This reversal of god/dog may conceal, in the highest, an astronomical secret.
In the esoteric tradition our Sun is the heart of the solar system, but the dog-star Sirius or Sothis is the third eye; it may indeed be the ‘One Star In Sight’ or ‘Silver Star’ of the magical order of the Astrum Argentum.
This star is associated with Isis and signaled the annual flooding of the Nile inundation that made life and agriculture possible in ancient Egypt.
Alternatively, the dog/god polarity may imply a choice between being and behaving as either a mindless animal or a fully aware human.

20. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.

‘Beauty and strength‘ are are linked elsewhere in AL; while ‘leaping laughter and delicious languor’ celebrate both active and passive pleasure.
It is quite refreshing to see laughter and languor celebrated as positive values.
Force and fire’ are repeated as aspects of Horus, and Crowley relates them to the titles of priest, prince and prophet through the initial letters PR: Pe/80 is linked to Mars or force - See also c.III, vs. 32-33.

21. We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit ! Ra-Hoor-Khuit ! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.

Clearly some rather harsh words; Nietzsche might be proud.
Perhaps they reflect the debris of the huge amounts of self-righteousness and hypocrisy that have resulted from two thousand years of Christianity; and anyone who has been involved in the works of social welfare has probably noticed that many people are in fact their own worst enemies.
Perhaps this is merely some recognition of the simple and harsh reality of the Darwinian bottom line: some people are just not functional, and only drain the resources of society.
Nature can, of sheer necessity, be extremely cruel in her judgements.
We must look very closely at the clear statement that ‘Compassion is the vice of kings’.
In fact, it may be that only kings can truly know compassion, as the common herd tends towards an excess of blood-thirst and is all too easily led into hatred and warfare.
People who lack empathy are frequently dangerous.
We must seek a clear definition of our values.
Who is strong ?
The man who delights in the suffering of other humans, or who needlessly hurts an animal
Or, on the other hand, the man who condemns scientists who experiment on animals to learn how to cure diseases, and is always eager to intervene between his neighbour and his private grief ? - Who is strong ?
The man who allows the existence and prosperity of others who think differently from him, who refuse to serve him or his ideals, or the man who interprets every demonstration of autonomy as an affront of his ego ? - Who is weaker ?
Who is stronger ? The man who daily scatters fish among the hungry, or the man who teaches the hungry how to fish for themselves ?
We do not know the nature of Time or the origin of all things, but it seems much more likely to mean Something than merely Nothing, and our memories may indeed be immortal.
We are told that energy changes forms but is never lost, and who really knows the true nature of Eternity and it’s recording ?
Some magical cultures believe that immortality is not for everyone: the Egyptians were famous for the elaborate rituals, offerings and embalming believed to guarantee eternal bliss, while other traditions maintain that the soul must be individually awakened and evolved if it is not to simply dissipate into the elements along with the body.
Perhaps this is among the secret teachings of AL: that practices such as enlightenment, cohesion of and communion with the soul, astral travel and union with one’s highest aspects may “strengthen the flames of our true being” to insure survival beyond.

22. I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, & be drunk thereof ! They shall not harm ye at all. It is a lie, this folly against self. The exposure of innocence is a lie. Be strong, o man! lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.

The identification of Hadit as a snake has many dimensions; in Egyptian myth the gods themselves begin and end in the form of serpents in the dark primordial ocean of the Nun, and the great magical power (Heka) may be portrayed either as or with a serpent. Any reading of AL must clearly link the multiple references to serpents with the Kundalini snake which lies coiled at the base of the spinal column and ascends when awakened.
Serpents have an ancient history as symbols of mystery, wisdom, and phallic vitality; of chthonic energies rising from the underworld and celestial forces writhing like lightning through the heavens.
How many cultures still remember their ancient dragons ?
Serpents hatch from eggs like birds, yet live invisibly underground.
They shed their skin, like the chrysalis of the butterfly a symbol of metamorphosis.
They produce venom, which is sometimes used as a healing medicine; the protective cobra-goddess or uraeus-serpent crowns many of the Egyptian gods, the circular Oroboros who devours his own tail is a symbol of both wholeness and the emptiness of Zero, the norse Midgard-serpent encircles the world… they are the rainbow spectrum, they entwine in spiralling coils upon the hermetic wand or caduceus.
Despite bourgeois respectability, it is quite clear that psychedelic entheogens are sacraments and that many other intoxicants are very close to the core of the Dionysian practices of Thelemic magick.

23. I am alone: there is no God where I am.

In an infinite and unbounded Universe every single point is the Center.
To stand alone in the cosmos, taking full responsibility for one’s own experiences, is a powerful meditation fully in harmony with the spirit of AL.
To accept the notion that you are the opening centre of the universe is thrilling.
That you are the sole and universal consciousness is liberating.
This can be seen as a statement that there is no other God than the Self.
God, in my sensorium, should clearly be understood as internal as much as external, since a transcendent rather than immanent deity seems to be one of the major diseases of our civilization.
It is essential to understand that if there is a God, it is not and never can be in any way separate from the entire cosmos that it incarnates; and really, even if there is not a God it still may be wonderful and useful to assume that there is and that we are It.
God is one of those big open-ended conceptions that serve to expand our horizons.
Alone’ may be ‘All One’ ? ‘No God’ is Nuit ?

24. Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my friends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs, and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them. Ye shall see them at rule, at victorious armies, at all the joy; and there shall be in them a joy a million times greater than this. Beware lest any force another, King against King ! Love one another with burning hearts; on the low men trample in the fierce lust of your pride, in the day of your wrath.

Asceticism is not the way of Thelema, nor is non-action considered anything but cowardice.
To live, and yet not to participate in life, is pointless.
To avoid ecstasy on any imposed dogmatic principle is even worse.
The true path is one of action.
The pleasures of Paradise are withheld from the poor in spirit and all ascetics, because they would not understand them.”
The ‘low men’ are simply those who are unaware.
Strengthening of self-awareness is not to be achieved through isolation and meditation, as in the Hindu and Buddhist systems, but through exposure and expression of the self.”

25. Ye are against the people, O my chosen!

In many ways the masses are foolish, and their leaders are even worse, while what passes for human culture is very often so utterly vile, oppressive, destructive and dysfunctional that a moral stance of complete opposition to what is accepted as normal is the only form of decency left.
In other ways the very existence of humanity is still miraculous… ‘the people’ may also be seen as the masses of random thoughts, inchoate desires, dreams and sensory impressions that rattle around inside our primate brains.

26. I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift up my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down mine head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one.

This must again refer to the great magical power or Kundalini, which does have its dangers and both positive and negative aspects; or to an even wider view of the chosen interaction of consciousness with all otherness.
Venom and nectar are two different forms of internal energy and external experience.
The distinction made seems to be between mystical energy devoted to Nuit in the heavens and magical force directed to the fulfilment of desire upon the earth, without any moral difference between them.
Spirit and Matter are equally educational.
In general the magical path, like life itself, can be both volatile and perilous; one is dealing with forces, entities, complexes, and aspects of ‘reality’ and ‘self’ that cut very close to the core of being. Choose your desires wisely.

27. There is a great danger in me; for who doth not understand these runes shall make a great miss. He shall fall down into the pit called because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason.

The use of the word ‘runes’ is very significant in light of c.II, v.55 and its comments on the english alphabet.
The Nordic system of poetic runic word-sorcery (Galdra) is extremely potent, and Odin is very clearly another name for Hadit (both having winged and serpent forms), and Freya has much in common with Babalon.
Ragnarok is very likely the Age of Horus. 
This one of the great secrets of this chapter, and in recent decades Asatru and Runelore have seen a considerable revival.
Freya, in her chariot drawn by cats, has been associated in at least one academic study with middle-eastern love & war goddesses such as Qatesh and Astarte who, like Babalon, stand upon or ride lions; and an alternate name for the atu Lust or Strength is the Enchantress, while Freya is also a lady of magick (Seidhr).
We could certainly include Odin’s wife with Freya in many ways, and some of their aspects frequently overlap (depending on the location, Freya being more widespread in Scandinavia and Frigg better-known among the Germans) but Queen Frigg seems likely to be more closely related to Fate (Wyrd) and to the sky, so I ascribe her to Nuit.
Thor and Hoor have warrior aspects in common, and two of Odin's other sons who survive the fires of Ragnarok (the new aeon) are Vali the Avenger and Vidar the Silent: Ra-hoor-khuit and Hoor-par-kraat ?
There are Norse and Celtic elements in The Vision & the Voice and the other Holy Books, and Thelema unites all.

28. Now a curse upon Because and his kin !
29. May Because be accursed for ever !

Warns of addiction to the notion of causality, and the limitations of merely rational thought when faced with the random vicissitudes of life, synchronicity, and a quantum universe.

30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops & does nought.
31. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: ‘Thou hast no right but to do thy will’.
Somewhere, Nietzsche is finally happy now.

32. Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise.

Modern physics and semantics have discovered the near-impossibility of perfectly observing and explaining the ultimate nature of reality.
Reason and knowledge have limitations (we can never predict all unknown factors), and paradoxes are useful shocks for breaking down the barriers of the mind.
Most official codes of human morality are made up by those with serious control issues and a sick need to dominate other people’s lives with false laws.
What exactly is a “victimless crime” ?
Crowley, on the other hand, states: “All this talk about 'suffering humanity' is principally drivel based on the error of transferring one's own psychology to one's neighbour.”

33. Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog !

See my remarks on c.II, vs.28-29 above; but let us not forget Sirius the Dog Star. DOG, GOD, also equal 77.

34. But ye, o my people, rise up & awake !

Awakening and ascent are both frequent themes.
It is safe to say that the goals of magick and mysticism include awakening or enlightenment.

35. Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy & beauty !

Joy and beauty are attributes of the solar sphere, where the Knowledge & Conversation of the True Will  takes place, and Cosmic Consciousness and the True Will are found.

36. There are rituals of the elements and feasts of the times.

These are workings of fire, water, earth, air and spirit for the elements, while the times referred to form the sacred calendar of the Thelemic year, especially the solstices and equinoxes. Rituals are acts of Will that focus, encode and transmit energy, while Feasts are nourishing and revitalizing celebrations of Love.

37. A feast for the first night of the Prophet and his Bride !

Commemorates the wedding of Crowley and his first wife Rose on August 12th, 1903.

38. A feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law.

Celebrated at Noon on April 8th, 9th, and 10th with readings of the Three Chapters of Liber AL vel Legis: The Book of the Law.
The full ritual Crowley used in preparation may be found in his book 'The Equinox of the Gods'. 

39. A feast for Tahuti and the child of the Prophet - secret, O Prophet !

Tahuti is the ibis-headed Egyptian god of magick and writing better known as Thoth or Hermes Trismegistus.
Crowley is quite secretive about this feast, which might be celebrated on January 18th.
The magickal childe is an ongoing theme in Crowley’s later work and life, in a sense a code for the results of magical and alchemical operations.

40. A feast for the Supreme Ritual, and a feast for the Equinox of the Gods.

“The Supreme Ritual is the Invocation of Horus which brought about the Opening of the New Age.
The date is March 20.
The 'Equinox of the Gods' is the term used to describe the 'Beginning of a New Age', or a New Magical Formula.
It should be celebrated at every Equinox, in the manner known to Neophytes of the A.'.A.’.”
The A.’.A.’. is the Astrum Argentum or Silver Star, while the O.’.T.’.O.’. is the Order of Oriental Templars.

41. A feast for fire and a feast for water; a feast for life and a greater feast for death !

“The feasts of fire and water indicate rejoicings to be made at the puberty of boys and girls respectively.”
For life celebrate birthdays, for death the departures of your heroes and saints. 

42. A feast every day in your hearts in the joy of my rapture !
43. A feast every night unto Nu, and the pleasure of uttermost delight !

Customs devoted to union with Had & Nu respectively: joyously awakening in the morning, entering sleep and dream in full awareness at night.

44. Aye ! feast ! rejoice ! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.
45. There is death for the dogs.

Again the question of unending bliss as the afterlife - ecstasy, or oblivion ?
Perhaps implies that genuine adepts, with subtle bodies strengthened by practices such as astral travel, and genuine self-awareness, can hold themselves together long enough to reincarnate, while lesser souls just eventually disintegrate.
Note that many of the Pagan systems predicate multiple souls and astral or aetheric bodies of various kinds, and that the Star-Seed may survive while some other aspects of the personality fade away over time.
More unkind words about dogs as well, perhaps implying the vast and obvious superiority of cats ?

46. Dost thou fail? Art thou sorry? Is fear in thine heart?
47. Where I am these are not.
48. Pity not the fallen! I never knew them. I am not for them. I console not: I hate the consoled & the consoler.

Hadit is essentially immortal ecstasy, whose flame is beyond sorrow and hence rejects all fear, doubt, sentimentality and weakness as essentially useless and soul-destroying.
To fear Death is in some sense to reject the very nature and pattern of joyous and anarchic and Dionysian Life.

49. I am unique & conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish. Be they damned & dead! Amen. (This is of the 4: there is a fifth who is invisible, & therein am I as a babe in an egg.)

Hadit is declared to be beyond such sordid limitations by virtue of divine nature.
A slave is one who surrenders to coercion or fate or dogma, rather than creating their own destiny.
The 4 refers to the occult and material elements of earth, water, air and fire or solid, liquid, gas and energy, while the fifth is spirit.
The invisible babe is Hoor-par-kraat, the egg a symbol of Akasha or spirit or the womb.

50. Blue am I and gold in the light of my bride: but the red gleam is in my eyes; & my spangles are purple & green.
51. Purple beyond purple: it is the light higher than eyesight.

These color-codes may reveal methods of evoking Hadit (as also described in Liber Had) and to me also recall serpent symbolism.
Blue and gold are the colours of Nu and Had.
Red is the base colour of the visible spectrum, and purple or violet the highest, with green found at the centre.
Purple beyond purple’ again suggests spirit, and the ultraviolet that extends beyond the rainbow that arises out of infra-red.
Infrared may be seen as Horus and ultraviolet as Maat, the two outermost extremes of visible light.

52. There is a veil: that veil is black. It is the veil of the modest woman; it is the veil of sorrow, & the pall of death: this is none of me. Tear down that lying spectre of the centuries: veil not your vices in virtuous words: these vices are my service; ye do well, & I will reward you here and hereafter.

Another blow against the black dharmas of the monotheist era, which have caused so much social and psychological damage.
As for modesty, recent anthropology draws a distinction between the simple Pagan ‘shame’ and the more insidious Christian ‘guilt’ cultures in terms of their severity and internal conflicts.
Freedom is celebrated, also honesty; and vice again hailed as a path to enlightenment as well as pleasure.

53. Fear not, o prophet, when these words are said, thou shalt not be sorry. Thou art emphatically my chosen; and blessed are the eyes that thou shalt look upon with gladness. But I will hide thee in a mask of sorrow: they that see thee shall fear thou art fallen: but I lift thee up.

Few people accept radical new prophets when they first appear.
Crowley in many ways did have a rather hard life, faced with a fundamentalist family, the early deaths of his own children, the difficulties of sustaining romantic relationships, years of poverty after a life of affluence, serious health problems, the struggle to make his voice heard.
However, he always did persevere, and his work is now better known and much more influential than at any period during his lifetime.

54. Nor shall they who cry aloud their folly that thou meanest nought avail; thou shall reveal it: thou availest: they are the slaves of because: They are not of me. The stops as thou wilt; the letters ? change them not in style or value !

Indeed, his posthumous stature seems to easily exceed that of his shrillest critics.
His remarkable life and spirit has undeniably inspired many of the basic techniques and much of the ethos of modern magick.
There is also a strong element of courage in his personality.
In response to an unspoken question, he is kindly given full latitude as to the punctuation of AL, but again warned to leave the actual words untouched.

55. Thou shalt obtain the order & value of the English Alphabet; thou shalt find new symbols to attribute them unto.

An ongoing project for many, and a variety of new english qabalas have been tentatively proposed. While new symbols, order & numerical values are prophesied, I still maintain the belief that the Runes are key to the English alphabet; it is, after all, arguably Anglo-Saxon, hence respectably British. Again, there has been a considerable Norse revival of Asatru in recent years, a parallel to the more Celtic influences in Wicca, which is fast becoming a major world religion.

56. Begone ! ye mockers; even though ye laugh in my honour ye shall laugh not long: then when ye are sad know that I have forsaken you.
57. He that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is filthy shall be filthy still.

Aiwaz here asserts the authority, integrity, and inevitable victory of Liber AL over the carping of its detractors; and also affirms the essential stability of human nature: by serious effort we may change ourselves, but the hard truth is that it is almost impossible to impose change on others. 

58. Yea ! deem not of change: ye shall be as ye are, & not other. Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings for ever: the slaves shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever as it was. Yet there are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty.

The individual’s rights and true nature are paramount; by doing one’s true will one becomes a king.
Destiny or fate appears to take a hand: we are what we are. Clearly, ‘the slaves shall serve‘ may mean that many are prisoners of their own natures: slaves to each other, or to obsessions, addictions, ideologies or institutions.
People must ultimately liberate themselves.
"Fear created Gods; Audacity created Kings.”
And as for these kings in disguise, we all play many roles and assume many personas in life; one should not be bound by any one illusion in particular.
The poor in spirit, however, really are with us always.
The reference to ‘masked ones’ is very significant in light of the later system of Magick involving Masks and Dances.
 Nietzsche once said, "All profound spirits love a mask."

59. Beware therefore ! Love all, lest perchance is a King concealed !
Say you so ? Fool ! If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.
60. Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them, master !

A world without competition or victory, without genius, art, science, struggle or the possibility of excellence, is eternally condemned to mediocrity.
Unconditional love is just cheap emotion, unearned forgiveness is moral vanity, and the free ride of “vicarious atonement” is one of the very worst things in Christianity’s so-called theology.

61. There is a light before thine eyes, o prophet, a light undesired, most desirable.
62. I am uplifted in thine heart; and the kisses of the stars rain hard upon thy body.

The inner and outer manifestations of Hadit and Nuit.

63. Thou art exhaust in the voluptuous fullness of the inspiration; the expiration is sweeter than death, more rapid and laughterful than a caress of Hell's own worm.

We return again to the exultations of ecstasy: each breath drawn an orgasm, each exhale a dissolution: life and death.
The mention of Hell should probably not be seen as referring to any particular culture or religious tradition, but to the depths of the subconscious.
Note that there is no devil in any Christian sense to be found in Thelemic eschatology; he always was an unfortunate concept.

64. Oh ! thou art overcome: we are upon thee; our delight is all over thee: hail ! hail: prophet of Nu ! prophet of Had ! prophet of Ra-Hoor-Khu ! Now rejoice ! now come in our splendour & rapture ! Come in our passionate peace, & write sweet words for the Kings !

The result of the practice of Thelemic invocation is often a high pitch of ecstasy, which may be translated into magical power or earthed in Art.

65. I am the Master: thou art the Holy Chosen One.

The symbolism of the word ‘Master’ recalls the whole guru/disciple relationship central to many religious traditions; also, of course, the Knowledge & Conversation of the True Will experience essential to Crowleyan magick.
A common name for the True Will is Adonai or ‘lord’, which shares this verse’s numeration of 65, and 6+5=11.
This is also the 131st verse of the Book as a whole, the number of the Great God PAN.

66. Write, & find ecstasy in writing! Work, & be our bed in working ! Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah ! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our age-long love. Come ! lift up thine heart & rejoice ! We are one; we are none.

The Great Work is doing your own will, expressing your own art, your being.
This is the only truly meaningful game in life.
In terms of AL as a sexual Gnosis, death must be seen as orgasm - one of the peak experiences of magick, as well as in sexuality.
Much of this chapter appears devoted to redefining the techniques of arcane empowerment and questions of personal morality, while the first chapter established the outlines of Thelemic cosmology and ritual structure.

67. Hold ! Hold ! Bear up in thy rapture; fall not in swoon of the excellent kisses!
68. Harder ! Hold up thyself ! Lift thine head ! breathe not so deep - die !

Crowley notes a memory that the word may actually have been ‘Harden’, not ‘Harder’; both may be seen as phallic.
In some forms of sex-magick prolonged intercourse with delayed orgasm is often practiced. The ‘head’ may again be a phallic reference. Here is the entire essence of sexual magick:
Although a jealously guarded secret for many centuries, allegedly because the powers unleashed are too dangerous to be revealed to all, the technique is simple enough to be revealed in a single sentence: Orgasm should be avoided for as long as possible, by always slowing down or altering position when it seems imminent, and each partner should visualize/idealize the other as some specially meaningful deity – e.g., in Thelemic magick the male usually identifies the female with Nuit, the sky goddess, and the female usually identifies the male with Pan.”

69. Ah ! Ah ! What do I feel ? Is the word exhausted ?

As the mouth speaks the word, so the phallus emits semen.
Crowley happily defined his cult as ‘solar-phallic’.

70. There is help & hope in other spells. Wisdom says: be strong ! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture ! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein !

Again, sage advice on the usage of sensuality and intoxication as keys to success.
One may fortify oneself by many means.
We therefore employ various magical means to increase the vigour of our bodies and the energy of our minds, to fortify and to sublime them.
The result is that we of Thelema are capable of enormously more achievement than others, even in terrestrial matters, from sexual matters to creative Art. Even if we had only this one earth-life to consider, we exceed our fellows many-fold.”

71. But exceed! exceed !

William Blake said, “The Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom.”

72. Strive ever to more ! and if thou art truly mine - and doubt it not, and if thou art ever joyous ! - death is the crown of all.
73. Ah ! Ah ! Death ! Death ! thou shalt long for death. Death is forbidden, O man, unto thee.
74. The length of thy longing shall be the strength of its glory. He that lives long & desires death much is ever the King among the Kings.

More on the question of death; and we must not forget the close connection of Eros and Thanatos, sex and death.
What this rather obviously seems to say is that a long life of struggling toward self-perfection is far better than surrender to entropy.
Life is extended foreplay and Death becomes the Ultimate Orgasm.

75. Aye! listen to the numbers & the words:
76. 4 6 3 8 A B K 2 4 A L G M O R 3 Y X 24 89 R P S T O V A L. What meaneth this, o prophet? Thou knowest not; nor shalt thou know ever. There cometh one to follow thee: he shall expound it. But remember, o chosen one, to be me; to follow the love of Nu in the star-lit heaven; to look forth upon men, to tell them this glad word.

The most complex of the conundrums of Liber AL; a cipher many have laboured to interpret, including Crowley, and I doubt if he would have expended the effort if Liber AL was actually a fraud.
Could Y & X refer to our human chromosomes ?
The runic Futhark or alphabet consists of 24 letters.
89 reverses the “eight and ninety rules of art” just mentioned.
RPSTOVAL equals 696, the same number as the Maatian Mahamantra IPSOS, if both are spelled using Shin/300 for ‘S’ and Vau/6 for the ‘O’ in IPSOS.

77. O be thou proud and mighty among men !

Proud is the Sun and mighty is Mars, again associated with the Age of Horus.
This implies transition from Inspiration to Action.

78. Lift up thyself! for there is none like unto thee among men or among Gods! Lift up thyself, o my prophet, thy stature shall surpass the stars. They shall worship thy name, foursquare, mystic, wonderful, the number of the man; and the name of thy house 418.

418 is the numeration of the word ABRAHADABRA.
Liber 418 is 'The Vision & The Voice', Crowley’s account of his marathon Enochian working in the desert.
It chronicles his initiation and the transformation of the world by the Word of Thelema, and includes many insights upon Liber AL.

79. The end of the hiding of Hadit; and blessing & worship to the prophet of the lovely Star !

The theme of hiding or concealment which opened the second chapter is repeated, as manifestation was in the first and last verses of the first chapter.
Liber Had sub figura DLV contains the magical and meditation practices for achieving Hadit. 
To the beginner I would offer this programme.
1. Furnish your mind as completely as possible with the knowledge of how to inspect and to control it.
2. Train your body to obey your mind, and not to distract its attention.
3. Control your mind to devote itself wholly to discover your true Will.
4. Explore the course of that Will till you reach its source, your Silent Self.
5. Unite the conscious will with the true Will, and the conscious Ego with the Silent Self. You must be utterly ruthless in discarding any atom of consciousness which is hostile or neutral.
6. Let this work freely from within, but heed not your environment, lest you make difference between one thing and another. Whatever it be, it is to be made one with you by Love.

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