Abstracted from "Magick in Theory and Practice" by Crowley
Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in
conformity with Will.
Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain
facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magickal weapons",
pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations"---these
sentences---in the "magickal language" ie, that which is
understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth
"spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so
forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people.
The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of
Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity
with my Will.
note: In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to
Science by the vulgar.
ANY required change may be effected by the application of the
proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner, through the
proper medium to the proper object.
Illustration: I wish to prepare an ounce of Chloride of Gold. I
must take the right kind of acid, nitro-hydrochloric and no
other, in a vessel which will not break, leak or corrode, in
such a manner as will not produce undesirable results, with the
necessary quantity of Gold: and so forth. Every change has its
own conditions. In the present state of our knowledge and
power some changes are not possible in practice; we cannot
cause eclipses, for instance, or transform lead into tin, or
create men from mushrooms. But it is theoretically possible to
cause in any object any change of which that object is capable
by nature; and the conditions are covered by the above
1) Every intentional act is a Magickal act.
Illustration: See "Definition" above.
note: By "intentional" is meant "willed" But even
unintentional acts so seeming are not truly so. Thus,
breathing is an act of the Will to Live.
2) Evey successful act has conformed to the postulate.
3) Every failure proves that one or more requirements of the
postulate have not been fulfilled.
Illustrations: There may be failure to understand the case, as
when a doctor makes a wrong diagnosis, and his treatment
injures the patient. There may be a failure to apply the
right kind of force, as when a rustic tries to blow out an
electric light. There may be failure to apply the right degree
of force, as when a wrestler has his hold broken, There may be
failure to apply the force in the right manner, as when one
presents a cheque at the wrong window of the Bank. There may
be failure to employ the correct medium, as when Leonardo da
Vinci saw his masterpiece fade away. The force may be applied
to an unsuitable object, as when one tries to crack a stone,
thinking it a nut.
4) The first requisite for causing any change is thorough
qualitative and quantitative understanding of the conditions.
Illustration: The most common cause of failure in life is
ignorance of one's own True Will, or of the means to fulfill
that Will. A man may fancy himself a painter, and waste his
life trying to become one; or he may really be a painter, and
yet fail to understand and to measure the difficulties
peculiar to that career.
5) The second requisite of causing any change is the practical
ability to set in right motion the necessary forces.
Illustration: A banker may have a perfect grasp of a given
situation, yet lack the quality of decision, or the assets,
necessary to take advantage of it.
6) "Every man and every woman is a star". That is to say, every
human being is intrinsically an independant individual with
his own proper character and proper motion.
7) Every man and every woman has a course, depending partly on the
self, and partly on the environment which is natural and
necessary for each. Anyone who is forced from his own course,
either through not understanding him- self, or through
external opposition, comes into conflict with the order of the
Universe, and suffers accordingly.
Illustration: A man may think it is his duty to act in a
certain way, through having made a fancy picture of himself,
instead of investigating his actual nature. For example, a
woman may make herself miserable for life by thinking that she
prefers love to social consideration, or vice versa. One woman
may stay with an unsympathetic husband when she would really
be happy in an attic with a lover, while another may fool
herself into a romantic elopement when her only pleasures are
those of presiding over fashionable functions. Again, a boy's
instinct may tell him to go to sea, while his parents insist
on his becoming a doctor. In such a case he will be both
unsuccessful and unhappy in medicine.
8) A Man whose conscious will is at odds with his True Will is
wasting his strength. He cannot hope to influence his
Illustration: When Civil War rages in a nation, it is in no
condition to undertake the invasion of other countries. A man
with cancer employs his nourishment alike to his own use and
to that of the enemy which is part of himself. He soon fails
to resist the pressure of his environment. In practical life,
a man who is doing what his conscience tells him to be wrong
will do it very clumsily. At first!
9) A Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the
Universe to assist him.
Illustration: The first principle of success in evolution is
that the individual should be true to his own nature, and at
the same time adapt himself to his environment.
10) Nature is a continuous phenomenon, though we may not know in
all cases how things are connected.
Illustration: Human comsciousness depends on the properties of
protoplasm, the existence of which depends on innumerable
physical conditions peculiar to this planet; and this planet
is determined by the mechanical balance of the whole universe
of matter. We may then say that our con- sciousness is
causally connected with the remotest galaxies; yet we do not
even know how it arises from--or with--the molecular changes
in the brain.
11) Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of
Nature by the empirical application of certain principles
whose interplay involves different orders of idea connected
with each other in a way beyond our present comprehension.
Illustration: We are able to light cities by rule-of-thumb
methods. We do not know what consciousness is, or how it is
connected with muscular action; what electricity is or how it
is connected with the machines that generate it; and our
methods depend on calculations involving mathema- tical ideas
which have no correspondance in the Universe as we know it.
note: For instance "irrational", "unreal" and "infinite"
12) Man is ignorant of the nature of his own being and powers.
Even his idea of his limitations is based on experience of the
past, and every step in his progress extends his empire. There
is therefore no reason to assign theoretical limits to what he
may be, or what he may do.
Illustration: A generation ago it was supposed theoretically
impossible that man should ever know the composition of the
fixed stars. It is known that our senses are adapted to
receive only a fraction of the possible rates of
vibration.Modern instruments have enabled us to detect some of
these supra-sensibles by indirect methods, and even to use
their peculiar qualities in the service of man, as in the case
of the rays of Hertz and Roentgen. As Tyndall said, man might
at any moment learn to percieve and utilize vibrations of all
concievable and inconcievable kinds. The ques- tion of Magick
is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown
forces in nature. We know that they exist, and we cannot doubt
the possibility of mental or physical instruments capable of
bringing us into relation with them.
note: i.e., except---possibly---in the case of logically
absurd questions such as the Schoolmen discussed in connection
13) Every man is more or less aware that his individuality
comprises several orders of existence, even when he maintains
that his subtler principles are merely symptomatic of the
changes in his gross vehicle. A similar order may be assumed
to extend throughout nature.
Illustration: One does not confuse the pain of a toothache
with the decay that causes it. Inanimate objects are sensitive
to certain physical forces, such as electrical and thermal
conductivity; but neither in us nor in them--so far as we
know--is there any direct conscious perception of these
forces. Imperceptible influences are therefore associated with
all material phenomena; and there is no reason why we should
not work upon matter through these subtle energies as we do
through their material bases. In fact, we use magnetic force
to move iron and solar radiation to reproduce images.
14) Man is capable of being, and using, anything which he
perceives, for everything which he perceives is in a certain
sense a part of his being. He may thus subjugate the whole of
the Universe of which he is conscious to his individual Will.
Illustration: Man has used the idea of God to dictate his
personal conduct, to obtain power over his fellows, to excuse
his crimes, and for innumer- able other purposes, including
that of realizing himself as God. He has used the irrational
and unreal conceptions of mathematics to help him in the
construction of mechanical devices. He has used his moral
force to influence the actions even of wild animals. He has
employed poetic genius for political purposes.
15) Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed
into any other kind of force by using suitable means. There is
thus an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force
that we may need.
Illustration: Heat may be transformed into light and power by
using it to drive dynamos. The vibrations of the air may be
used to kill men by so ordering them in speech so as to
inflame war-like passions. The hallucinations connected with
the mysterious energies of sex result in the perpetuation of
16) The application of any given force affects all the orders of
being which exist in the object in the object to which it is
applied, whichever of of those orders is directly affected.
Illustration: If I strike a man with a dagger, his
consciousness, not his body only, is affected by my act,
although the dagger, as such, has no direct relation
therewith. Similarly, the power of my thought may so work on
the mind of another person as to produce far-reaching physical
changes in him, or in others through him.
17) A man may learn to use any force so as to serve any purpose,
by taking advantage of the above theorems.
Illustration: A man may use a razor to make himself vigilant
over his speech, by using it to cut himself whenever he
ungaurdedly utters a chosen word. He may serve the same
purpose by resolving that every incident of his life shall
remind him of a particular thing, making every impression the
starting point of a connected series of thoughts ending in
that thing. He might also devote his whole energies to some
one par- ticular object, by resolving to do nothing at
variance therewith, and to make every act turn to the
advantage of that object.
18) He may attract to himself any force of the Universe by making
himself a fit receptacle for it, and arranging conditions so
that its nature compels it to flow toward him.
Illustration: If I want pure water to drink, I dig a well in a
place where there is underground water; I prevent it from
leaking away; and I arrange to take advantage of water's
accordance with the laws of Hydrostatics to fill it.
19) Man's sense of himself as seperate from, and opposed to, the
Universe is a bar to his conducting its currents. It insulates
Illustration: A popular leader is most successful when he
forgets himself and remembers only "The Cause". Self-seeking
engenders jealousies and schism. When the organs of the body
assert their presence other by silent satisfaction, it is a
sign they are diseased. The single exception is the organ of
reproduction. Yet even in this case its self-assertion bears
witness to its dissatisfaction with itself, since it cannot
fulfil its function until completed by its counterpart in
20) Man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is
Illustration: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
A true man of science learns from every phenomeneon. But
Nature is dumb to the hypocrite; for in her there is nothing
note: It is no objection that the hypocrite is himself part of
Nature. He is an "endothermic" product, divided against
himself, with a tend- ency to break up. He will see his own
qualities everywhere, and thus obtain a radical misconception
of phenomena. Most religions of the past have failed by
expecting nature to conform with their ideals of proper
21) There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man
with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself
one with any idea the means of measurement cease to exist. But
his power to utilize that force is limited by his mental power
and capacity, and by the circumstances of his human
Illustration: When a man falls in love, the whole world
becomes, to him, nothing but love boundless and immanent; but
his mystical state is not contagious; his fellow-men are
either amused or annoyed. He can only extend to others the
effect which his love has had upon himself by means of his
mental and physical qualities. Thus Catullus, Dante and
Swinburne made their love a mighty mover of mankind by virtue
of their power to put their thoughts on the subject in musical
and eloquent language. Again, Cleopatra and other people in
authority moulded the fortunes of many other people by
allowing love to influence their political actions. The
Magician, however well he succeed in making contact with the
secret sources of energy in nature, can only use them to the
extent permitted by his intellectual and moral qualities.
Mohammed's intercourse with Gabriel was only effective because
of his statesmanship, soldiership, and the sublimity of his
command of Arabic. Hertz's discovery of the rays which we now
use for wireless telegraphy was sterile until it reflected
through the minds and wills of the people who could take his
truth and transmit it to the world of action by means of
mechanical and economic instruments.
22) Every individual is essentially sufficient to himself. But he
is unsatisfactory to himself until he has established himself
in his right relation with the universe.
Illustration: A microscope, however perfect, is useless in the
hands of savages. A poet, however sublime, must impose himself
upon his generation if he is to enjoy (and even to understand)
himself, as theoretically should be the case.
23) Magick is the Science of understanding oneself and one's
conditions. It is the Art of applying that understanding in
Illustration: A golf club is intended to move a special ball
in a special way in special circumstances. A Niblick should
rarely be used on the tee or a brassie under the bank of a
bunker. But also, the use of any club demands skill and
24) Every man has an indefeasible right to be what he is.
Illustration: To insist that any one else should comply with
one's own standards is to outrage, not only him, but oneself,
since both parties are equally born of necessity.
25) Every man must do Magick each time he acts or even thinks,
since a thought is an internal act whose influence ultimately
affects action, though it may not do so at the time.
Illustration: The least gesture causes a change in a man's own
body and in the air around him; it disturbs the balance of the
entire Universe, and its effects continue eternally throughout
all space. Every thought, how- ever swiftly suppressed, has
its effect on the mind. It stands as one of the causes of
every subsequent thought, and tends to influence every sub-
sequent action. A golfer may lose a few yards on his drive, a
few more with his second and third, he may lie on the green
six bare inches too far from the hole, but the net result of
these trifling mishaps is the difference between halving and
losing the hole.
26) Every man has a right, the right of self preservation, to
fulfill himself to the utmost.
Illustration: A function imperfectly performed injures, not
only itself, but everything associated with it. If the heart
is afraid to beat for fear of disturbing the liver, the liver
is starved for blood and avenges itself on the heart by
upsetting digestion, which disorders respiration, on which
cardiac welfare depends.
note: Men of "criminal nature" are simply at issue with their
true Wills. The murderer has the Will to Live; and his will
to murder is a false will at variance with his true Will,
since he risks death at the hands of Society by obeying his
27) Every man should make Magick the keystone of his life. He
should learn its laws and live by them.
Illustration: The Banker should discover the real meaning of
his existence, the real motive which led him to choose that
profession. He should under- stand banking as a necessary
factor in the economic existence of mankind instead of merely
a business whose objects are independant of the general
welfare. He should learn to distinguish false values from
real, and to act not on accidental fluctuations but on
considerations of essential importance. Such a banker will
prove himself superior to others; because he will not be an
individual limited by transitory things, but a force of
Nature, as impersonal, impartial and eternal as gravitation,
as patient and irresistable as the tides. His system will not
be subject to panic, any more than the law of Inverse Squares
is disturbed by elections. He will not be anxious about his
affairs because they will not be his; and for that reason he
will be able to direct them with the calm, clear- headed
confidence of an onlooker, with intelligence unclouded by
self- interest, and power unimpaired by passion.
28) Every man has a right to fulfill his own will without being
afraid that it may interfere with that of others; for if he is
in his proper place, it is the fault of others if they
interfere with him.
Illustration: If a man like Napoleon were actually appointed
by destiny to control Europe, he should not be blamed for
exercising his rights. To op- pose him would be an error. Any
one so doing would have made a mistake as to his own destiny,
except insofar as it mught be necessary for him to learn the
lessons of defeat. The sun moves in space without
interference. the order of nature provides an orbit for each
star. A clash proves that one or the other has strayed from
its course. But as to each man that keeps his true course, the
more firmly he acts, the less likely others are to get in his
way. His example will helpthem to find their own paths and
pursue them. Every man that becomes a Magician helps others to
do likewise. The more firmly and surely men move, and the more
such action is accepted as the standard of morality, the less
will conflict and confusion hamper humanity.
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