My Thoughts on @WeiserBooks’ Living Thelema & The Magick of Aleister Crowley

Two of the most important books on Thelema, the spearhead of the Western Esoteric Religio-Spiritual Movement received and disseminated by Aleister Crowley, have been rereleased by Weiser Books this month of December:

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

They compliment each other very well, and their reissue is timely. Thelema, over the course of the pandemic lockdowns, became elevated in the discourse across the occult circles of social media. Now, in that aftermath, these books, and the anticipation of Marco Viscanti’s The Aleister Crowley Manual: Thelemic Magick for Modern Times due in February, look to offer up a sort of Thelemic Renaissance which I am quite eager to observe and comment on.

Now, let’s have a look at these December titles.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

The 30th Anniversary of the Classic Guide to Thelema, Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual System of Ritual Magick, with a New Introduction by the Author.

This is the perfect introductory text for readers who wonder what the works—rather than the myth—of Aleister Crowley are all about.

DuQuette begins by dispatching some of the myths that have surrounded Crowley’s life and legend. He then explores the practice of rituals themselves, unpacking Crowley’s often opaque writing and offering his own commentary. Step by step, and in plain English, he presents a course of study with examples of rituals and explanations of their significance. DuQuette also includes a survey of many of Crowley’s original works with an extensive bibliography and endnotes.

Formerly titled The Magick of Thelema, then released in a revised edition published in 2003, this Weiser Classics edition includes a new introduction by the author.

.:.

I am quite familiar with this book, having read both previous iterations. The standout for this edition was the great Introduction by Jason Louv who delivered an insightful call to action and beautiful summation of Thelemic thought.

The book itself is a “Weiser Classic” for good reason. Lon DuQuette is an elegant writer without all the pretense. He takes you on a journey and speaks with an almost folksy wisdom that makes you comfortable. All the while, however, he is presenting his interpretation of the truths behind the sometimes archaic language that intimidates many initiates.

The Law is for All? Well, DuQuette makes that maxim a reality by delivering a master class in the ins-and-outs of Thelema. A must-read book for anyone interested in what makes Thelema tick.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette is available wherever books are sold. He is your obligatory link to AMAZON.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

“The most thorough and understandable exposition of the underlying theories and the practical applications of the spiritual disciplines of Thelema currently available. A landmark work.” ―Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Magick of Aleister Crowley

The system of spiritual attainment developed by Aleister Crowley is notoriously challenging in its scope. Living Thelema, adapted from the popular podcast of the same name, brings a welcome approachability to Crowley’s material, without diminishing the depth of the system. The author focuses on the practical and experiential aspects of the path of Thelema, allowing the reader to grasp the true transformative power of the system.

Beginners and advanced practitioners alike will find much useful advice here, as Shoemaker brings his characteristic down-to-earth style to bear on topics such as ritual and meditation practices, sex magick, astral projection, psychotherapy for magicians, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that pinnacle of attainment known as the crossing of the Abyss.

The author’s background as a practicing psychotherapist allows an entirely unique fusion of esoteric wisdom and cognitive science.

“In this entertaining and (dare I say it?) lively book, David Shoemaker reminds us that Thelema is not just a philosophy or a study but a spiritual practice. From applied ‘how to’ advice to thought-provoking ‘how about’ posers, Dr. Shoemaker offers his personal take―informed by twenty years of walking the talk, along with his incisiveness as a professional therapist―on how to get the most out of the fundamental Thelemic practices of yoga and ritual, both inside and outside of the temple.” ―Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley

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I had the Anima Solis edition of this book and you’ll not find many differences between these volumes, though the former is passingly rare and, having lost mine through an unfortunate accident, this edition is a godsend, as they say. Shoemaker’s narrative voice is the star here. It’s why I see such a similarity and complimentary aspect between this an Baba Lon’s book.

Living Thelema presents a system for making the practice a part of your life, by embracing the spirituality of it, and stripping away some of the things that weigh it down. All things you add later as you advance and progress.

It’s well-reasoned, personal, and insightful. It find the beauty in the symmetry and simplicity, by making the complex palatable.

It’s a beautiful book and should be read and studied by magicians and witches of all stripes.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker is available wherever books are sold. Here is your link to AMAZON. Use it wisely.

I could go on, but I am struggling with a nasty bout of flu and while the spirit is willing, the mind and body are not up to the task. Suffice to say, these books are definitive. If you have an interest in Thelema, I believe this is where you begin, before Crowley. These prime you for what is to come in the Old Crow’s Holy Books.

Enjoy.

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