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Book 4

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  689 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Book 4 is a discussion of the fundamentals and essentials of both magick and mysticism. A classic for all students of the O.T.O.
Paperback, 136 pages
Published March 5th 1987 by Red Wheel/Weiser (first published 1912)
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"Book 4" is probably 'Uncle Al's most accessible volume, aside from his few fiction works. Succinctly written and annotated, it concerns the very basics of yoga, meditation & ceremonial magic (or 'magick', if you prefer). There are no "spells" listed, or even rituals.

The first half of the book concerns yoga and meditation. Crowley scales the theory back to a simple guide--explaining dhyarna, samadhi, etc. in a way that even those with no experience of yoga can understand.

The second half goes
If you've ever wanted to read Crowley but wasn't sure where to start, this is as good a place as any. The first half of the book deals with Yoga, taking it step-by-step and reducing it to its most basic parts.

The second half of the book is about the symbolism of the tools of the magician (or "Magickal Weapons"). This is mostly of use to Themlemic magicians, as many magicians don't use the same tools and the tools may have different meaning. Still, I think it's pretty useful, even if it's just t
Zulu Adams
I really enjoyed the first part of this book where Crowley talks about meditation, and spirituality in general, in the most no-nonsense and often sarcastic way. He advocates practice but emphasises how much you can't ascribe meaning to the things you're doing. It's a great read and extremely useful.

The other two thirds went over my head a bit as he talks about the symbolism of the peripherals of ceremonial magick, but much of this was interspersed with more attacks on bliss-ninny spirituality an
This is among the most comprehensive introductions to magickal theory ever written. Caveat emptor, Crowley makes it quite easy to spiral into his system, Thelema, at the exclusion of the traditional Western paths, i.e. the Golden Dawn, (from which Crowley emerged). It’s good to read other authors along with Crowley to gain a holistic understanding of the Western paradigm. That being said, this book in conjunction with Magick Without Tears, is a pretty thorough introduction to the principles of c ...more
Part I deals with the subject of Yoga, which Crowley seems to address more in full in his book on Yoga I read earlier in the year, but it's a nice sort of reminder of what has been read, a sort of 'review,' so to speak, of the subjects at hand.

Part II introduces the tools & their meaning of Magick, and while I'm still not sure of the ritual aspects that these tools are used for, the practice, so to speak, as an introduction to the 'toolbox' it is lucid and well explanatory.

Crowley's writing
Bryan Elkins
The most concise introduction to yogic meditation I've encountered, and in typical Crowley form, the least compromising. Traditional yet non-mystical, specific in its description of the progressively objective states of consciousness and the steps taken to attain them, it is evident that he is presenting what he has personally verified by experience ...wait, did I lend you my copy of this? Where'd mine go?
One of the few books where Crowley puts forth actual clear thought and expresses his philosophy without it being TOO mired in nonsense. Not to say there isn't also plenty of nonsense but if you're reading Crowley and not expecting nonsense then you're some kind of idiot-weirdo hybrid.
Oct 30, 2008 Cyrus added it
This book is all important ,and maybe the only one besides ('light on yoga'; b.k.s Iyengar) in finding out exactly, how it is that the path of yoga; walk it's way into the western world.
P.S so; NO, I didn t read this because I am a devil worshipper.
Ayam Abraxas
Great, no-nonsense examination of kundalini yoga and magick, includes a hilarious kabbalistic interpretation of old nursery rhymes. This book is the first part of the larger, blue, Book 4.
Yomna hosny
Fascinating stuff! The intro. especially.
Mark Richfield
the best volume on the subject
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Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, was a British occultist, writer, mountaineer, philosopher, poet, and mystic. He was an influential member in several occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and is best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained much notoriet ...more
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