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
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;
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 devourer, all begetter”, is the
praise of Pan.
— The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Page 603.
supplement to the first number of
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
In summary, let me add that
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
— for the most part with hatred and envy in their
— 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
New York, NY. Hill and Wang, 1969. Pages 604-605.
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
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”
So I found that the format of
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.
The Equinox. Vol. I., No. 7. Wieland and Co. 10s. 6d.
The different items of this Review are very diverse in
character. Mr. Crowley, if he is nothing else, is at least a
first 100 pages are devoted to the Official Instructions of the
A\A\, which I will not even pretend to understand; but if The
Daily Mail says truly, as it says emphatically, that the prose
rises to the level of that of the prophets of the Old Testament,
they should be well worth reading. The dramatic poem, "
Adonis," contains some rather clever feats of rhyming, but the
poetry of it is, to my mind, marred by persistent and somewhat
feeble attempts at wit and satire.
The little play which follows is a cheerful story for children
about a young lady who digs up an old gentleman to get his
violin. This arouses the corpse, who proceeds to strangle
her under romantic circumstances. It is hoped that this
bright trifle will shortly enliven the gloom of the Grand
Guignol. Another play, called Snowstorm, is also about a
violin, or rather a violinist, who is thrown to the wolves by an
injured wife, and goes blind. After various intrigues, the
injured wife kills her husband by mistake, and the violinist,
who wishes to make an assignation with him, plays only to his
In complete change from this old-fashioned Christmassy fare
comes an article entitled "A Brief Abstract of the Symbolic
Representation of the Universe Derived by Doctor John Dee
through the Skrying of Sir Edward Kelly." Of this I can
make neither head nor tail, especially as it is illustrated with
ten plates even more totally mysterious than the text. The
author apologises for omitting any account of the Tables of
Soyga, Liber, Logaeth, the Heptarchia Mystica, and the Book of
Enoch; but I really doubt whether even these would have made
things quite clear. This work of Dee and Kelly is,
however, one of the most interesting chapters in history.
They worked together for many years, and elaborated the most
complex and incomprehensible of all the magical systems.
It is not at all clear how they did it, or why they did it; and
it must be remembered that Dee was one of the first scholars in
England. Their work is also interesting as the first and best
account of a somewhat exalted form of dealings with alleged
spirits. The re-publication and analysis of these
manuscripts is a task which I strongly recommend to the S.P.R.
There is nothing about a violin in this article; but after this
we recur to the subject, and hardly ever leave it again, except
in the most important of the contents of the volume, "The Temple
of Solomon the King" (continued—it began in No. I.—and though
not nearly finished, makes already about 1,000 pages!).
This is really interesting as detailing the circumstances under
which the mysterious Society of the A\A\ manifested itself to
Frater Perdurabo. A very strong case is certainly made out
for the revelations; coincidence can hardly be stretched so far
as to account for everything; and in the documents delivered
there is certainly evidence of prophecy fulfilled in rather
minute detail. In short, if miracles and prophecies were
any evidence for a religion, one should find it difficult to
overthrow this one. There is, in any case, at the very
least, incontrovertible evidence of the workings of some
supernormal intelligence possessing knowledge and power of a
kind, not only of a degree, which is foreign to our experience
Mr. Crowley is best in his cheerful attacks on Mr. G. K.
Chesterton and Mr. A. E. Waite. The latter article is one
of the nastiest pieces of writing that I have seen for a long
English Review, October 1912.
many periodicals just off the beaten track, "The Equinox" is
certainly the most remarkable, both from the points of view of
contents and format. It is a portly quarto, well printed
and illustrated, and varying between three hundred and five
hundred pages per number. The early numbers were published
at five shillings, but owing to the increased cost of
production, this price has been altered until it has reached
half a guinea with the latest number. With this number
also the original editor of "The Equinox," Mr. Aleister Crowley,
retires, but from an announcement made in the preface, I gather
that this strangely exotic personality will continue to inspire
the policy of future issues. At a first glance much of the
matter in "The Equinox" is quite incomprehensible to the average
reader, and probably its producers would agree with me if I said
it did not invite average readers to the feast of occultism set
forth in each issue. The publication is described as "The
official organ of the
and further, that it is "the review of scientific illuminism,"
and its pages blossom very often into wondrous cabalistic
devices, hieroglyphics, symbols, and sentences printed in the
strange and beautiful characters of Sanscrit and Hebrew.
Although there is an air of mystery about many of the articles
which one feels could only be understood after long training in
magic and the occult, in every number there are tales and poems
which all lovers of literature can appreciate. And
whatever may be the ultimate aim of the promoters of "The
Equinox," there is little doubt that they have succeeded in
producing a periodical organ of rare distinction and merit.
The current number contains, among much other interesting
matter, a lithographic reproduction by Auguste Clot of the
sketch portrait of Mr. Crowley, by Augustus John.
Weekly, 19 April 1912.
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
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
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
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.”
Open Court, August 1912.
purposes of review, it may be hazarded roundly that the whole of
the “Equinox” is a creation of the amazing Mr. Crowley. His
antics are as wild as the devil’s, he dances through its pages
like a mad magician. It is a sort of enchanted variety
entertainment. I must not fail however to draw attention to one
of the two fine plays that happen to be written in prose. “The
Ghouls” is possibly the most ghastly death-dance in English
literature. If Oscar Wilde had written it (but he could not
have) every one would know it. It is the very pitch and marrow
of terror. Cynical it may be, indecent it may be, but I defy
the lord of dreams to send any more plutonian nightmare to haunt
our mortal sleep.
—The Poetry Review, date unknown.
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.
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.
Equinox is permanent in its stately size and type, continuous in
its periodical character, permanent—in the value of its
—Vanity Fair, date unknown.
Expensively printed lunacy, astrology, etc., in
—The Literary Guide, date unknown.
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.
mysterious publication called “The Equinox,” the official organ
of the 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\
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.
The Equinox, Vol. I. No. VII. March 1912 (19s. 6d. net),
contains between 400 and 500 pages, largely the work of Mr.
Aleister Crowley. “The Ghools” is a truly haunting production,
and perhaps the best thing in the volume. There is also a
striking full-page sketch of Mr. Crowley by Augustus John.
—The Cambridge Magazine, 19 October 1912.