“I SWORE TO REHABILITATE MAGICK… TO COMPEL MANKIND TO RESPECT, LOVE AND TRUST THAT WHICH THEY SCORNED, HATED AND FEARED”: ALEISTER CROWLEY’S MAGICK, 1929 FIRST EDITION IN SCARCE DUST JACKET, WITH PROSPECTUS LAID IN
CROWLEY, Aleister. Magick in Theory and Practice by the Master Therion. (Paris: Lecram), 1929. Quarto, original red cloth gilt, top edge gilt, original dust jacket. $2200.
First edition in book form of Crowley’s masterwork, the cornerstone of his religious philosophy “Thelema,” a brotherhood of “purified and chosen souls,” in scarce original dust jacket.
British mystic Aleister Crowley was "colorful, eccentric, flamboyant, and deliberately shocking… His principal concerns consisted of his researches into ways of accelerating human evolution through increasing human intelligence by techniques of concentrating the mind one-pointedly, stimulating the central nervous system, and maximizing and mapping hitherto unexplored regions of the brain. This initially led him to ceremonial magic and London's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, members of which included W.B. Yeats, Arthur Machen and its leader, S.L. Mathers" (DNB). In time, Crowley created his own philosophical system, Scientific Illuminism, a synthesis of various Eastern mystical beliefs including Hinduism, Buddhism, Tantra, Zoroastrianism and the many systems of Yoga. In 1904, while on vacation in Cairo, Crowley underwent a mystical experience, leading to the founding of a new religious order, which he called "Thelema." He heard a voice claiming to be that of Horus, the god of force and fire, child of Isis and Osirus, dictating the words of The Book of the Law, which Crowley dutifully transcribed. The Book of the Law was to be made manifest through Horus' chosen scribe Crowley, "the prince-priest of the Beast." "Its principal commandment, 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,' for Crowley meant not vulgar hedonism, but the honest and honorable fulfillment of a person's deepest potential. Unfortunately, his concerns led to a campaign of vilification in the press and Crowley was dubbed the 'wickedest man in the world" (DNB). Magick in Theory and Practice explains the Thelema system of religious philosophy. First published in four parts the same year. The scarce, laid-in prospectus bears a photograph of Crowley in North African garb and invites parties interested in Magick and the Law of Thelema to write to him at his London address. Owner signature and stamp. Bookseller's small inkstamp.
Scarce original dust jacket with light sunning to spine and front panel, minor chipping to extremities. An excellent copy in very nearly fine condition.