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THE EQUINOX VOLUME I, NUMBER I


 

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Title:

The Equinox (Volume I, Number I).  The Official Organ of the A\A\

   

Upper Cover - State (a)

 

Upper Cover - State (b)

 

Lower Cover - State (b)

 

Spine - State (b)

 

Title Page

 

Crowley

 

Printer

 

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Print
Variations
:

State (a):

50 “deluxe edition” subscription copies bound in white buckram.1
Upper cover stamped in gilt ‘THE EQUINOX
within a gilt frame that is crossed horizontally by 16 gilt lines.2
Spine stamped in gilt horizontally across the spine [within a gilt frame] ‘THE | EQUINOX| [6 horizontal lines] | VOLUME I | NUMBER I | [8 rules] |
8 IN ^ | AN V2

Top edge gilt.5

The Deluxe editions were slightly larger than the standard issue due to the pages not being trimmed.5

State (b):

1000 copies for the early numbers and less (probably 500) for later numbers.3

Bound in decorated papered boards.1 

Upper cover has an Equinox “coat of arms” design.2
Brown cloth spine with a printed title label.1

Spine has a paper label lettered in black within a black frame ‘THE | EQUINOX | VOLUME ONE | NUMBER ONE |[horizontal rule] | SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, | HAMILTON, KENT & CO. | LIMITED2
9 1/2” x 7 1/4”.2

 
Publisher:

Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co.1

 
Printer:

Ballantyne & Co. Limited, London.2

 
Published At:

London.1

 
Date:

21 March 1909.2

 
Edition:

1st Edition.

 
Pages:

x + 256 + 139 + viii advertisements.2

 
Price:

Priced at 1 guinea6 for the subscriber‘s edition and 5 shillings2 for the regular edition.

 
Remarks:

The title page is printed in black and red.2

Some of the “deluxe edition” subscription copies have a color frontispiece of the Equinox “coat of arms” design which is not present in the standard editions.4

 
Pagination:2

Page(s)

 

[i-ii]

Blanks

[  iii]

The Equinox

[  iv]

Blank

[  v]

Half-title

[  vi]

‘The Editor will be glad to consider contributions and to return such as are unacceptable if stamps are enclosed for the purpose.

[  vii]

Title-page

[  viii]

Blank

[ix-x]

Contents

[1-3]

Editorial

[  4]

Blank

[5-255]

Text

[256]

Blank

[  1]

Divisional title ‘SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT | JOHN ST. JOHN | THE RECORD OF THE MAGICAL RETIREMENT OF | G. H. FRATER O\M\

[  2]

Blank

[3-139]

Text

[i-viii]

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Contents:

-

Editorial

-

An Account of OF A\A\

-

Liber Libræ

-

Liber Exercitiorum

-

The Wizard Way

-

The Magic Glasses

-

The Chymical Jousting of Brother Perardua

-

The Lonely Bride

-

At the Fork of the Roads

-

The Magician

-

The Soldier and the Hunchback ! AND ?

-

The Hermit

-

The Temple of Solomon the King (Book I)

-

The Herb Dangerous—(Part I) A Pharmaceutical Study

-

John St. John—The Record of the Magical Retirement of G. H. Frater O\M\ (Special Supplement)

  

 

Illustrations

-

The Silent Watcher (facing page 6)

-

The Four Positions:  The Ibis, The God, The Thunderbolt, The Dragon (facing page 29)

-

The Regimen of the Seven (facing page 89)

-

Blind Force (facing page 2) (Supplement)

 

Author’s
Working
Versions:

 

 

 

Other
Known
Editions:

+

Samuel Weiser, New York, 1972.

+

Gordon Press, New York, 1973.

+

Samuel Weiser, New York, 1978.

+

Mandrake, England, (Limited edition of 50 copies), 1992.

+

Mandrake, England, 1992.

+

Samuel Weiser, Maine, (Limited edition of 750 copies), 1992.

+

Samuel Weiser, Maine, 1999.

 
Bibliographic
Sources:

1.

Gerald Yorke, A Bibliography of the Works of Aleister Crowley (Expanded and Corrected by Clive Harper from Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn and Buddhism:  Reminiscences and Writings of Gerald Yorke, Keith Richmond, editor, The Teitan Press, York Beach, ME, 2011, pp. 53-54.  

2.

Personal observation of the item.

3. Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 97, “Aleister Crowley.  Used and Rare Books and Ephemera.”
4. J. Edward Cornelius, The Aleister Crowley Desk Reference, The Teitan Press, York Beach, Maine, 2013, p. 110.
5. Weiser Antiquarian Books, Catalog # 26, “Aleister Crowley Rarities.  Books and Manuscripts.”
6. Martin Booth, A Magick Life, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2001, p. 266.
 

Comments by
Aleister
Crowley:

     “The Equinox” should have been, on its merits, a very successful venture. Frank Harris had generously given me one of the best stories he ever wrote, “The Magic Glasses”. Fuller had contributed a gargantuan preface to The Temple of Solomon the King (the title of the story of my magical career), a series of sublimely eloquent rhapsodies descriptive of the various possible attitudes towards existence. There were three important instructions in Magick; the best poem of its kind that I had so far written, “The Wizard Way”; “At the Fork of the Roads”, a true and fascinating story of one of my early magical experiences; The Soldier and the Hunchback ! and ? which I still think one of the subtlest analyses that has ever been written on ontology, with its conclusion: that ecstatic affirmation and sceptical negation are neither of them valid in themselves but are alternate terms in an infinite series, a progression which is in itself a sublime and delightful path to pursue. Disappointment arises from the fear that every joy is transient. If we accept it as such and delight to destroy our own ideals in the faith that the very act of destruction will encourage us to rebuild a nobler and loftier temple from the debris of the old, each phase of our progress will be increasingly pleasant. “pi alpha mu phi alpha gamma epsilon pi alpha gamma gamma epsilon nu epsilon tau omega rho”, “All devouerer, all begetter”, is the praise of Pan.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Page 603.

______________________________
 

     The supplement to the first number of The Equinox is a plain reprint of my Magical Record in Paris, mentioned above. I have omitted no detail of my doings. My dinners, my dalliance and my other diversions are described as minutely as my Magick, my mantras and my meditations. Nothing of the sort had ever been published before. It is a complete demonstration of the possibility of achieving the most colossal results in conditions which had hitherto been considered an absolute bar to carrying on even elementary work. It proves my proposition that the efficacy of traditional practices is independent of dogmatic and ethical considerations; and, moreover, that my sceptical formulae based on a purely agnostic viewpoint, and on the facts of physiology and psychology, as understood by modern materialists, were entirely efficacious.
     In summary, let me add that The Equinox was the first serious attempt to put before the public the facts of occult science, so-called, since Blavatsky’s unscholarly hotch-poch of fact and fable, Isis Unveiled. It was the first attempt in history to treat the subject with scholarship and from the standpoint of science. No previous book of its kind can compare with it for the perfection of its poetry and prose; the dignity and sublimity of its style, and the rigidity of its rule never to make any statement which could not be proved as precisely as the mathematician exacts. I confess to being entirely proud of having inaugurated an epoch. From the moment of its appearance, it imposed its standards of sincerity, scholarship, scientific seriousness and aristocracy of all kinds, from the excellence of its English to the perfection of its printing, upon everyone with ambition to enter this field of literature.
     It did not command a large public, but its influence has been enormous. It is recognized as the standard publication of its kind, as encyclopedia without “equal, son, or companion”. It has been quoted, copied and imitated everywhere. Innumerable cults have been founded by charlatans on its information. Its influence has changed the whole current of thought of students all over the world. Its inveterate enemies are not only unable to ignore it, but submit themselves to its sovereignty. It was thus entirely successful from my personal point of view. I had put a pearl of great price in a shop window, whose other exhibits were pasted diamonds and bits of coloured glass for the most part, and at best, precious stones of the cheaper and commoner kind. From the moment of its appearance, everyone had to admit — for the most part with hatred and envy in their hearts — that the sun had appeared in the slum and put to shame the dips and kerosene lamps which had lighted it till then. It was no longer possible to carry on hole-in-the-corner charlatanism as heretofore.
     I printed only one thousand and fifty copies, the odd fifty being bound subscription copies at a guinea, and the rest in boards at five shillings. Had I sold a complete edition straight out without any discounts my return would thus have been three hundred pounds. The cost of production was nearer four hundred. Similar figures apply to the other nine numbers. In this way I satisfied myself that no one could reproach me with trying to make money out of Magick. As a matter of fact, it went utterly against the grain to take money at all. When anyone showed interest in my poetry or my magical writings, the attitude so delighted me that I felt it utterly shameful to have any kind of commercial transaction with so noble an individual, and I used, as often as not, to beg him to accept the book as a present.
     The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Pages 604-605.

______________________________
 

     To return to The Equinox, there was no question of selling even that small edition even at that pitiful price. I have never had any idea of how to do business. I can make plans, both sound and brilliant; but I cannot force myself to take the necessary steps to put them into practice. My greatest weakness is that as soon as I am sure that I can attain any given object, from climbing a mountain to exploiting a beauty spot, I lose interest. The only things I complete are those of which (as for instance, poetry and Magick) I am not the real author but an instrument impelled by a mysterious power which sweeps me away in effortless enthusiasm which leaves no room for my laziness, cynicism and similar inhibiting qualities to interfere.
     I did try to get a few booksellers to stock The Equinox but found myself immediately up against a blank wall of what I must call Chinese conventionality. I remember hearing of an engineer in the East who wanted to built himself a house and employed a Chinese contractor. He pointed out that the work would be much easier by using bricks of a different size to that which the man was making. He obeyed, but a day later went back to the old kind. The engineer protested, but the man explained that his bricks were of a “heaven-sent” size.
     So I found that the format of The Equinox shocked the bookseller; worse still, it was not a book, being issued periodically, nor a magazine, being to big and well produced! I said, “What does it matter? All I ask you to do is to show it and sell it.” Quite useless.
     — The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.  New York, NY.  Hill and Wang, 1969.  Pages 605-606.

 
Reviews:

     A very mysterious volume with some mystical illustrations and elegantly made up, made its appearance at our office some time ago.  It announces itself as a review published by the brothers of the A\A\ and they declare their principle in a motto on the title page as well as in the editorial introduction to be "The Method of Science—the Aim of Religion."  The book contains an account of the A\A\  by the Councillor of Eckartshausen, and we learn that the A\A\ is "the society whose members form the republic of genius, the regent mother of the whole world."  Among other contributions to this review we notice a poem entitled "The Magician" which has been translated from Eliphas Levi's "well-known hymn."  The largest contribution is entitled "The Temple of Solomon the King" and is headed by a quotation from Prof. William James.  It is surpassed in length only by "John St. John the Record of the Magical Retirement of G. H. Frater O\M\"  Other smaller contributions of poetry, short essays and tales form the remaining third of the volume.  Most assuredly the whole bears a very curious aspect.

     The Occult Review, which is more familiar with the subject and literature of "scientific illuminism" than we, writes as follows of this remarkable periodical:  "The genius of this book, Mr. Aleister Crowley, seems at the first blush to be the Panurge of mysticism, and to those who have regarded with delight the amazing adventures of the brilliant Rabelaisian figure, such a modern prototype would appear in anything but an unamiable light.  At all events, Mr. Crowley is at once a mystic, a sardonic mocker, an utterer of many languages, a writer of magnificent prose interspersed with passages of coarse persiflage, and also a philosopher of not a little penetration and power of analysis.  The expert alone will be able to judge of the scope and meaning of the mystical doctrines and practices contained in this volume, but to the uninformed lay reader the main thesis would appear to be the necessary passage of the soul through all experience, including the depths of iniquity, in order to rise to the serene heights of balanced wisdom and superior life."

     This reviewer speaks with enthusiasm of the literary style of the volume:  "Though the imaginative portion is not all on the same level, it may be said that there is no one now writing in the English language who can command a greater splendor of style."

     We agree with the reviewer in The Occult Review that this unusual publication "may be recommended to any one who has a spark of intellectual curiosity."

 —The Open Court, August 1912.

______________________________
 

     The genius of this book, Mr. Aleister Crowley, seems at the first blush to be the Panurge of mysticism, and to those who have regarded with delight the amazing adventures of the brilliant Rabelaisian figure, such a modern prototype would appear in anything but an unamiable light.  At all events, Mr. Crowley in this new venture plays many parts, and is at once a mystic, a sardonic mocker, an utterer of many languages, a writer of magnificent prose interspersed with passages of coarse persiflage, and also a philosopher of not a little penetration and power of analysis.  The expert alone will be able to judge of the scope and meaning of the mystical doctrines and practices contained in this volume, but to the uninformed lay-reader the main thesis would appear to be the necessary passage of the soul through al experience, including the depths of iniquity, in order to rise to the serene heights of balanced wisdom and superior life.  It is almost impossible sometimes to avoid the thought that we are the victims of an elaborate joke, but we put aside the thought as laying us under a charge of lack of subtlety.  The most striking piece in the book, not excepting Mr. Frank Harris; admirable short story “The Magic Glasses,” is “The Temple of Solomon the King.”  It is a mingling of acute criticism and glowing imagination, shot through with strange esoteric doctrine.  Though the imaginative portion is not all on the same level, it may be said that there is no one now writing in the English language who can command a greater splendor of style.  Space does not allow comment upon all the unusual features of this publication, which may be recommended to any one who has a spark of intellectual curiosity.

The Occult Review, May 1909.

______________________________
 

     A finely unpopular magazine, just out, is “The Equinox.”  It is a venture of that philosopher-errant, Mr. Aleister Crowley.  It appears twice a year, at five shillings a time, and is large and luxurious.  It is a “review of scientific illuminism,” and also “the official organ of the A. A.”  I will not murmur on this too exoteric page the secret significance of “A. A.”  To discover it you must spend a crown.  For me, who am a mystic only in my leisure hours, the chief interest of the first number of “The Equinox” is a short story by Frank Harris, “The Magic Glasses.”  With a due sense of responsibility, I say that this is the finest story that Frank Harris has written.  It must be read.  It cannot be left unread.  One of the characters in it is Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  When I tell you that this tale really is something that errs from the common, you may believe me.  It is a morsel for persons of taste, for those do not accept the statement that the short story perished with Guy de Maupassant.  If “The Equinox” can live up to this standard it will be bought by the profane.

The New Age, 25 March, 1909.

______________________________
 

     The new number of “The Equinox” continues to keep up the tradition of the earlier numbers as to size, the mystical nature of its contents, and the unintelligibility of many of its articles. . . .
Review of Reviews, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     One of the most extraordinary publications we have ever received is called The Equinox, just issued by Simpkin, Marshall. It is the “official organ of the A.A. review of scientific illuminism,” and the first number consists of a quarto of nearly 400 pages published at 5s. “With the publication of this review,” we are told in an editorial note, “begins a completely new adventure in the history of mankind,” and “some of the contents of the review may be difficult or impossible to understand at first.” Certainly the average reader will find himself in that predicament, for we are unable to follow the outlook of “The Brothers.” Their intention, we are told, is to “establish a laboratory in which students may be able to carry out such experiments as require too much time and toil to suit with their ordinary life.” One of the contributors is Mr. Aleister Crowley, whose remarkable treatise on the mystic path entitled Konx om Pax puzzled reviewers some time ago. Mr. Frank Harris contributes a sketch called “The Magic Glasses,” and a supplement of 139 pages entitled “John St. John” is “a record of the magical retirement of G. H. Frater, O.M.” The paper is handsomely produced—some of the illustrations are quite extraordinary. One wonders how many adherents the new creed (whatever it is) possesses.

The Sphere, 5 June 1909.

______________________________
 

The Equinox:  The Official Organ of the A. A. The Review Of Scientific Illuminism.  Vol. I. No. 1.  9 ¾, 255 + 139 pp.  Simpkin.  5s.

     We have not given above all the title page, for there are certain strange signs and letters upon it which might be as meaningless, if reproduced, to the initiated as the whole work is to the uninitiated. We can only, is respectful silence, commend the volume—as one which is certainly well printed—to "Scientific Illuminists" and "Brothers of the A. A.," and those who wish to understand their motto, "The method of science—The aim of religion."  There are contributions from Mr. Frank Harris and Mr. Aleister Crowley, and a special supplement of 139 pp. thus described, "John St. John:  The Record of the Magical Retirement of G. H. Frater, O\M\"
Times Literary Supplement, 15 April 1909.

______________________________
 

     Here is the weirdest muddle that one could well stumble across in this most muddled age. . . . Powerfully individualistic, descending sometimes nearly to the level of the sordid, soaring sometimes to the heights of genius, the matter could not be reviewed properly in twenty times the space that we can give it. . . . Those who are certain of their sanity and the breadth of their viewpoint should read this magazine when they get the opportunity.  Theosophists will find the few references to Theosophy anything but complimentary. . . .
Theosophy in Scotland, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     The Equinox is permanent in its stately size and type, continuous in its periodical character, permanent—in the value of its contents.
Vanity Fair, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     Expensively printed lunacy, astrology, etc., in oriental-occidental jargon.
—The Literary Guide, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     It easily takes rank as the most vigorous swearer and blasphemous in respectable modern literature.  Moreover its swearing and blasphemy are splendidly done, with immense style and glorious colouring.  Its contributors certainly know how to write, though occasionally they remind one of certain efforts that have emanated from lunatic asylums where gorgeousness of imagination and riotous language are by no means unknown.  But underneath all, there is a huge wealth of knowledge, a few indications of serious feeling, and a big flow of occult thought.  Yet with all its “illuminism” it is so much of a mocker that we have before us the figure of a Mephistopheles. . . . The Equinox is put forth with a certain pomp, its writers are by no means negligible in competence.  All we can say is that they remind us of Diakkas and Jingles, and occasionally of Colney Hatch. . . . The reference to black mass and the chaotic mixture may possibly help to explain the rumours of devil worship which were persistent not long ago.  Perhaps we have here the key to that dark door. . . .
—The Light, date unknown.

______________________________
 

     A mysterious publication called “The Equinox,” the official organ of the A\A\ has just been released upon a long-suffering world. . . . It is a sort of thing no fellow can understand.  One gathers vaguely out of the confusion that it deals with such things as Magic, wizardry, mysticism, and so on; but what the special line is, remains a baffling mystery. . . . From frequent references to some people called The Brothers of the A\A\ one gathers that they have a lot to do with this weird venture; but a grim perusal of an article purporting to explain the Order . . . leaves one without any real clue as to their identity.  True, the Chief of the Brothers is definitely names, his name being “V.V.V.V.V.” but five V’s, do not strike one as a name likely to be well known at any local post office. . . . One gets all kinds of entertainments in “The Equinox” . . . Poetry gets a strong show, but it is uncomfortable reading. . . .
—The Morning Leader, date unknown.

______________________________
 

Special Correspondence THE NEW YORK TIMES.

LONDON, April 9.—Some months ago the publication was begun in this city of perhaps the most extraordinary magazine ever published.  It is called The Equinox, the Review of Scientific Illuminism, and is a thick quarto, with a cover design of “occult” symbols.  The price is 5s., and, so far as quantity of reading matter is concerned, the reader gets a generous return for his investment, unusually large though the price is, compared with the cost of most other magazines.

As for quality, opinions differ.  There are some persons who would not be willing to invest sixpence in the magazine, while others declare that if the 5s. were 50s. the money would be well invested.  The latter are the persons who believe the extraordinary claims made by the magazine.  These, in brief, are that in it are to be found “occult” secrets which have never before been made public, formulae for ceremonial magic which contain almost all the directions necessary for the evocation of “elemental spirits,” etc.

The editor of the magazine is Aleister Crowley, who, to the ordinary reader, is best known as a poet.  The Equinox was in the courts a few days ago, when Mr. MacGregor Mathers, the well-known writer on magic and witchcraft, applied for an injunction restraining Mr. Crowley from publishing the ritual of an order which calls itself the Rosicrucians.  Mr. MacGregor Mathers, who is the chief of the order, failed to obtain the injunction, so, presumably, Mr. Crowley, who is also a Rosicrucian, will proceed to print the ritual.

Here is a specimen title of an Equinox article:

AHA!  The Sevenfold Mystery of the Ineffable Love:  the Coming of the Lord in the Air as King and Judge of this corrupted world; wherein under the form of a discourse between Marsyas an adept and Olympas his pupil the whole Secret of the Way of Initiation is laid open from the beginning of the End; for the instruction of the Little Children of the Light.  Written in trembling and humility for the Brethren of the A.A. by their very dutiful servant, an Aspirant to their Sublime Order, Aleister Crowley.

The English Rosicrucian Society was founded in 1888.

—The New York Times, 17 April 1910.

 
       
   

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