“Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love. Come! lift up thine heart & rejoice! We are one; we are none.”
–Liber Legis, 2:66.
Throughout the entire month of December, the Holy Thelemic Church celebrates the greater feast (i.e. death) of the first prophet of the Thelemic Age, Aleister Crowley, a.k.a. To Mega Therion. Crowley died of heart failure on December 1st, 1947 Era Vulgari, at 11 a.m., at 72 years of age. His funeral was held on December 5th; and so we find this date to be fitting to commemorate that earlier Thelemic saint, Ankh-af-na-khonsu (Ankhfnkhons I), of whom Crowley claimed to be a reincarnation.
While not all Thelemites hold the lesser and greater feast days of the prophet to be official holy occasions, we find a clear injunction in Liber Legis, 2:41 (“a feast for life and a greater feast for death”), 2:66 (“whoso seeth it shall be glad”), and 2:79 (“blessing & worship to the prophet of the lovely Star”). Of course, our form of “worship” is not adoration and supplication, but simply a form of ceremonial remembrance, and invocation of that loftier Genius that inspired and guided this remarkable man.
Given that the month of December is, in vulgar circles of the society in which we live, a time of popular festivity, culminating in the Winter Solstice near the end of the month, it is an easy matter to engage in such festivities as the vulgar public does. But while others are celebrating the birth of their “Slain God”, we rejoice in the death of the prince-priest, the Beast 666, who gave us the Holy Law of the New Millennium, which holds that there is no god but man and no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Death, in the New Aeon of Thelema, is to be extolled not lamented. The Book of the Law (2:52) states:
“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…”
Death is a feast greater than that of birth, not because it is better to die than to live — on the contrary, we love life above all — but to abolish the age-old tendency to regard death as an unfortunate end to material existence. It is, in fact, merely the end of one of an unending series of incarnations in some or other material form. Beyond the terrible agony of the process of dying is an experience not to be dreaded. “Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter. There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.” (L, 2:44.) Death culminates in a form of Samadhi or “Union”, in which there is only the greatest ecstasy; so it is a lack of understanding which leads us to mourn over it.
There are those who claim that Aleister Crowley failed as the prophet of a new religion, and that all of the problems during the latter portion of his life prove their point. Having spent a small fortune on publishing books and pursuing his mission to spread the joyous Law of Love under Holy Will, he died nearly penniless and without popular recognition for his abundant wisdom and talent. But it is short-sightedness that sees his life as a failure. His body of work is enormous and nothing short of brilliant; and that work will only continue to gain popular appreciation as time goes by.
All of this was foreseen back in 1904 E.V., when the following portent was given (L, 2:53-54):
“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.
“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.”
It took a couple of centuries for Christ to be popularized after his death. It is a lack of vision that estimates Aleister Crowley’s efforts to have been in vain. Humanity is slow to catch up to its prophets.
We remember our prophet not with sadness but with gladness, knowing that a victorious destiny awaits his work, as prophesied — for the prophecies of The Book of the Law have not failed us yet. “There is success.” (L, 3:69.) Such a praeterhuman mind as is so clearly responsible for the transmission of the extraordinary verses of that little book does not work for failure.
Solstitial greetings and well-wishes to all at this joyous time; and may 93 be with ye.