A friend of mine, who happens to be a Methodist minister, wrote, on reading the texts of the EGC Gnostic Mass and Liber AL:
> The deacon's naming of Babalon as the name of Mother of all in the
> "creed" during the introit bothered me. I admit that it hit me wrong
> because of its Christian (or antiChristian if you prefer) implications.
> My first impulse was to pass it off as Crowley trying to be creative.
> After all, this is the man who proclaimed himself to be the Beast of
> Revelations and the Antichrist. I went a little further however, and
> checked out the Book of the Law (Liber AL) in the chapter house.
> Interesting reading. I'm sorry, but I don't like what I read there
> at all. This isn't a neo-pagan kind of return to nature, all sweetness
> and goodness. Starting in Chapter II, verse 43 and running to the end
> is a statement of contempt and hatred for anything "virtuous", anything
> kind. What does this have to do with the mass? The liturgy by the
> deacon after the Hailing Sign when the priest mounts the second step
> during the Opening of the Veil is chapter II, verses 33-42. Chapter III
> is the statement of evil that is not veiled or hidden in allegory
> including a call for the blood of children.
I responded as follows (and I'll probably expand this into a proper essay when I have time):
Well, for starters, as I understand it, Crowley always used "sacrifice a child" as a deliberately inflammatory euphemism for onanism. YMMV.
You're right about its not being "all sweetness and goodness" Life isn't all sweet and good, and nature, especially, isn't. There's an extent to which AL is a reaction to the all-light philosophy -- it's important to balance the darkness with the light, and I'm certain that you will never agree with me there. AL is also revealed wisdom, revealed to a man who was a product of his time and class, in the exact same way that Revelation was a vision translated through the experiences, hopes, and fears of John. It's my opinion that any time that the supernal touches a person, it can only be expressed by that person in terms that person comprehends -- since the supernal is ultimately incomprehensible.
> contempt and hatred for anything "virtuous"
Well now, I have to say that I'm fully contemptuous of the virtue of Victorian England. I'm pretty damned contemptuous of much that calls itself "virtue" in modern-day America, if it comes to that.
Verse 43?? What? That's one of my favorites:
43. Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.
As for 44 on to the end of Chapter II, that's pure Nietzchean philosophy. Remember that story by Vonnegut, where all the excellent people were handicapped to bring them down to the lowest common denominator? That's the sort of thing that section of AL is railing against.
As for Chapter III, did it occur to you that maybe the whole thing is in fact an allegory? That the expressions of war and violence are directed to aspects of oneself? That this section and its subsequents:
49. I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of
50.Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!
is actually the clearest possible statement that the gods of men are obstacles to the supernal? There's contradiction here, of course, since Ra Hoor Khuit is also one of the "gods of men" but my feeling for this is that RHK's book is entirely about breaking down, by violence to one's preconceptions if necessary, the barrier between the individual and the supernal.
Now that I think about it, actually, all three books are about bringing the individual and the supernal together; Nuit is all-receptive, and with her the individual expands to meet the supernal; Hadit is all-expansive, and with him the individual contracts to meet the supernal. Both of these methods are for people who are able to ease past the barriers set up for them and by them, by their upbringings, their surroundings, their experiences; for those who can't do that, Ra Hoor Khuit is there to burn and scour and destroy those barriers for them:
7. I will give you a war-engine.
17. ...Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms.
So no, the violence isn't hidden in allegory -- it IS the allegory.
What does AL have to do with the Gnostic Mass? Well, if AL is about bringing the individual to the supernal, that's Gnosis, innit! Sorry, that was a flip answer. But it's a true one nonetheless. "I am alone; there is no god where I am" is a declaration of the achievement of the supernal.
Anyway, that's what I think, and now I'm a "centre of pestilence" for discussing the Book of the Law... ;)
Cheers, - LA