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The Book of Lies

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The Book of Lies (full title: Which is also Falsely Called BREAKS. The Wanderings or Falsifications of the One Thought of Frater Perdurabo, which Thought is itself Untrue. Liber CCCXXXIII [Book 333]) was written by English occultist Aleister Crowley (using the pen name of Frater Perdurabo) and first published in 1912 or 1913.

The book consists of 93 chapters, each of which consists of one page of text. The chapters include a question mark, poems, rituals, instructions, and obscure allusions and cryptograms. The subject of each chapter is generally determined by its number and its corresponding qabalistic meaning. Around 1921, Crowley wrote a short commentary about each chapter, assisting the reader in the qabalistic interpretation.

Several chapters and a photograph in the book reference Leila Waddell, who Crowley called Laylah, and who, as Crowley's influential Scarlet Woman, acted as his muse during the writing process of this volume.

196 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1913

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About the author

Aleister Crowley

772 books1,525 followers
Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an 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 notoriety during his lifetime, and was infamously dubbed "The Wickedest Man in the World."

Crowley was additionally a chess player, painter, astrologer, hedonist, bisexual, drug experimenter, and social critic. Crowley also claimed to be a Freemason, but the regularity of his initiations with the United Grand Lodge of England has been disputed.

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5 stars
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3 stars
888 (23%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 184 reviews
15 reviews3 followers
October 6, 2007
Possibly drug-induced pablum. Good in fragments, preferably aloud on the subway.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,047 reviews1,698 followers
August 3, 2017
“با "ایمان" هم بستر شدم، و صبحگاه، با جیفه ای در آغوش از خواب برخاستم. اما تمام شب را با "تردید" نوشیدم و رقصیدم، و صبحدم او را همچنان باکره یافتم.”

کتاب بی ربط دیگه ای از آلیستر کراولی.
فکر کنم اشعارش قراره اوراد یا ادعیه ی جادوگری باشن.
توی فیلم شرلوک هولمز (محصول 2009) اشاره ای به این کتاب میشه و این کتاب به عنوان منبع قدرت های یک جادوگر مخوف معرفی میشه. این هم تصویرش از فیلم مزبور:

البته کتابی که من خوندم هیچ نقاشی و تصویری نداشت. شاید اگه نقاشی داشت بیشتر هیجان انگیز میشد.
Profile Image for Fredstrong.
60 reviews25 followers
December 7, 2007
The Book of Lies is the book that keeps giving. It is the musings of a Master Western Occultist. At times deeply veiled in Qabalistic allegory, other times intuitively accessible to the layman. Crowley rattles off metaphysical riddles like Lao Tzu on absinthe. It's a good book for the beginner, because some of it will be accessible to everyone, but the more one learns of Qabalah, Gematria, Tarot, Astrology, and so on, the more they go back to TBOL, to be met with a forehead slapping AHA! It grows with the student of the occult, and never becomes sophomoric.

Warning: Crowley is very easy to spiral into. His books all cross reference each other and can obsessively suck one into Crowley. His system, Thelema, is "his system" and it is good to get exposed to other points of view as well. A great book to begin study of the Qabalah with is, The Mystical Qabalah, by Dion Fortune


Mind is a disease of semen.
All that a man is or may be is hidden therein.
Bodily functions are parts of the machine; silent,
unless in dis-ease.
But mind, never at ease, creaketh "I".
This I persisteth not, posteth not through genera-
tions, changeth momently, finally is dead.
Therefore is man only himself when lost to himself
in The Charioting.
Chapter 8

22 reviews2 followers
December 6, 2009
The book of lies! Or so-called. The first time i looked into this book about 7 years ago....everything in it was completely opaque. It read like nonsense. Now...these riddles, puns, and metaphors have started opening up for me.
Profile Image for Amanda"Iris".
79 reviews32 followers
August 24, 2018
Behold, a scholar, an artist, a megalomaniac? Imagine how intense you must be to feel the need to create and then EXPLAIN your creation. There is something ridiculous about creating symbolic spiritual poetry and then analyzing it for the reader. Dear Aleister, I wish you’d left us some more mystery.

That said, I enjoyed this work. We aren’t forced to read the analysis… which is indeed thought-provoking and intelligent. The poetry is often evocative and lovely, and it’s definitely worth flagging some passages for use in invocation or prayer.

Hidden within its pages are earlier version of certain rituals as well, and it was interesting to compare this Star Ruby to later revisions.

3.5 stars rounded up. The book surprised me and I will read it again. It truly inspires me to be more creative. It isn’t essential occult literature, but instead a lovely little reminder of the value of whimsy, that we are all human.
That Crowley wrote most of this inspired by, and in love with his muse LAYLAH… I desire to be so in love, so uncaring of what others think of me in love.
Profile Image for Julie Rylie.
587 reviews70 followers
January 30, 2013
The Book of Lies should be called The Book of Crap. It's so full of shit. I hated this crap! This is really crap, seriously. I regret the €8 I paid for this! I had so many better things to do with that money.

I was amazed by a sentence of this book (this one: "I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.") and I loved it so much I decided I had to have the book. It was supposed to be a book with aphorisms (and I freaking damn love it), I thought it was going to be so inspiring and full of meaning... After all it was just a bunch of CRAP. This guy really should have had been tested because I honestly believe he has severe mental problems. He writes a book with all this esoteric pile of shit that is of absolute no interest and then even comments on it, because has he said, he should make the book readable for the masses. baaaaaaaaahahhaahah I'm still deciding if I should really have read this without the comments or then read the comments and realize it's just cuckoo stuff.

Oh well, never read this man. Never waste money on this because it's just the most boring and idiotic book of all times.
Profile Image for Jinsen.
6 reviews1 follower
August 8, 2008
one of the strangest, oddly cryptic, mystical, poetic and other worldly pieces of literature i've ever read in my life. everything is written as a poem and has so many strange and beautiful dimensions to it. its simultaneously evil and saintly and touches upon multitudes occult topics and historical lore... the beauty of the whole book is that it could be read by anyone and paint a different picture to whomever it was that reads it... for those not well versed in occult lore it would just come across as some absurb, strange, funny, outlandish gibberish... for those in the know it really takes them to some strange netherworlds as the verses have so many subtle references and hidden occult/magick symbolism and what not. read it. you'll be deranged for life like myself...
August 21, 2012
Everytime I read this, I am amazed on the beauty of this words.


Love, I love you! Night, night, cover us! Thou art
night, O my love; and there are no stars but thine
Dark night, sweet night, so warm and yet so fresh,
so scented yet so holy, cover me, cover me!
Let me be no more! Let me be Thine; let me be
Thou; let me be neither Thou nor I; let there be
love in night and night in love.
N.O.X. the night of Pan; and Laylah, the night
before His threshold!
Profile Image for Alex Laser.
92 reviews1 follower
August 16, 2017
This is one of those books that jumps out at you on the shelf of a used book store. When I saw the creepy anthropomorphic sun staring out at me from the end of the stack, I was immediately taken in. The book vendor told me to read it and form my own impressions before looking into interpretations or even into the life of Crowley. I'm not a practitioner of occult, but I do like obscure subcultures. This book offered a glimpse into the world that fascinated such modernists as Yeats and later postmodernist like Robert Anton Wilson.

I found that "The Book of Lies" could read easily as modern poetry or accessible spiritual advice that doesn't speak exclusively to practitioners of Crowley's cult.

The book has some practical wisdom that I enjoyed: "Doubt thyself./Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself."

Also, "A red rose absorbs all colors but red; red is therefore the one colour that is not...All that we know of Man, Nature, God, is just that which they are not."

Probably my favorite is "Practice a thousand times, and it becomes difficult; a thousand thousand and it becomes easy; a thousand thousand times a thousand thousand, and it is no longer Thou that doeth it, but It that doeth itself through thee."

One thing that kept me engaged was Crowley's legitimately funny word play. Even more striking was his constant toying with typographical symbolism (using the letter O and the Greek letter theta Θ side by side to represent "bullocks" for example). At a time when British censorship wouldn't even condone the softcore poetic eroticism of DH Lawrence, his ingenious use of the text itself to hide subversive messages about sexual liberation becomes all the more intriguing. This is perhaps one of the earliest books to use the numbers 69 to cheekily celebrate the virtues of reciprocal oral sex.

There's plenty in here that is utterly obscure and could only be understood by Crowley's magick practitioners or advanced scholars with lots of time on their hands. Somehow that didn't really bother me as it might in other works, probably because of Crowley's self-deprecating humor and constant deflation of his own pomposity. The book's breaths with laughter and never takes itself too serious making it interesting and relatable to a post-modern audience.

In fact, Crowley's influence I've since learned stretched to many hippies in the 60s and 70s. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover features his image on their famous collage. You can see the influence of Crowley in the Beatles willingness to embed secret messages into their lyrics and into the very fabric of the technology with which they worked. Needing to play Beatles records backwards to hear the full album evokes the same kind of prankster spirit of Crowley's insinuating secret messages into the typeface for more advanced readers.

Ahead of his time, Crowley recognizes that all words are "lies". As the book's title suggests, words are powerless to capture the truth as is. Every sentence of the book and every utterance is made ironic by its very title. Crowley even had the publisher lie about the year of the book's publication, so it is impossible to consider even one page of this book to be the Truth. Truly hilarious. The book shows kind of humor and irreverence that is sometimes lacking in some today's New Age communities.

Of course there's plenty to dislike about this book and Crowley. Despite his love for his muse Laylah, there's plenty of misogynistic tripe in here about the inferiority of women. I haven't read much into Crowley's personal life yet, but I suspect I'll find much to be disappointed in. He's not always self-effacing and does come off as a megalomaniac at times. He seems to think only his school of magick can provide the path to truth. The again, chapters like "Gold Bricks" Ch. 88 in which he brags about swindling clients out of their money shows that Crowley is letting us in on the joke. He's honest about his lies and about his imperfections as an "enlightened being". Perhaps it calls into question the authenticity of his misogyny as well, although I'm sure many readers wouldn't be satisfied.

Overall, despite its flaws, this was an interesting read and a refreshing use of the English language as a mystical playground.
Profile Image for Marko Bojkovský.
95 reviews18 followers
January 6, 2019
Najlepše je dok peva o Lejli:
" Spring beans and strawberries are in: goodbye to the
If I really knew what I wanted, I could give up
Laylah, or give up everything for Laylah.
But "what I want" varies from hour to hour.
This wavering is the root of all compromise, and so
of all good sense.
With this gift a man can spend his seventy years in
Now is this well or ill?
Emphasise gift, then man, then spend, then seventy
years, and lastly peace, and change the intonations
--each time reverse the meaning!
I would show you how; but-for the moment!
--I prefer to think of Laylah."

Holy, holy, holy, unto Five Hundred and Fifty Five
times holy be OUR LADY of the STARS!
Holy, holy, holy, unto One Hundred and Fifty Six
times holy be OUR LADY that rideth upon THE
Holy, holy, holy, unto the Number of Times
Necessary and Appropriate be OUR LADY
Isis in Her Millions-of-Names, All-Mother,
Yet holier than all These to me is LAYLAH, night
and death; for Her do I blaspheme alike the finite
and the The Infinite."
Author 2 books2 followers
December 12, 2014
It's actually not easy to review this one... it's a book of philosophy more than anything. Its contents were written by a very egotistical media whore... and strangely enough, I say that with the utmost respect. While many negative adjectives would apply to Crowley (and he may have even proudly used them in description of himself), he was brilliant, and has much wisdom to offer.

Many of the entries in this book seem to be nonsensical (and likely are precisely that), some of them are brilliant, and others that seem nonsensical you will find the brilliance in after turning it over in your head for awhile.
22 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2012
A red rose absorbs all colours but red; red is therefore the one colour that it is not.

But mind, never at ease, creaketh “I”.
This I persisteth not, posteth not through generations,
Changeth momentarily, finally is dead.

Death implies change and individuality… The birth of individuality is ecstasy; so also is its death.

Doubt thyself.
Doubt even if thou doubtest thyself.
Doubt all.
Doubt even if thou doubtest all.

The Word was uttered: the One exploded into one thousand million worlds.
Each world contained a thousand million spheres.
Each sphere contained a thousand million planes.
Each plane contained a thousand million stars.
Each star contained a many thousand million things.
Of these the reasoner took six, and, preening, said: This is the One and the All.
These six the Adept harmonised, and said: This is the Heart of the One and the All.
These six were destroyed by the Master of the Temple; and he spake not.
The Ash thereof was burnt up by the Magus into The Word.
Of all this did the Ipsissimus know Nothing.
Profile Image for Chris Feldman.
113 reviews24 followers
August 1, 2009
What happens when you blend Zen and Thelema?

All of the above.
None of the above.
Profile Image for Jack Lhasa.
17 reviews10 followers
March 4, 2012
My personal favorite of Crowley's works. I've re-read this more times than I can count.
Profile Image for Josh.
7 reviews3 followers
December 30, 2012
Cryptic and awesome. Wish i understood half of it.
Profile Image for AL.
202 reviews14 followers
January 16, 2018
I’ve read this a few times, and I will read it again and often. Mostly, because I revel in the joys of Love. Do you?
Profile Image for Matt Evans.
332 reviews
August 27, 2015

Fascinating, often humorous, and mostly perplexing. Crowley was a modern-day mystic/pagan/occultist/Freemason, but mostly he seems to have enjoyed crafting paradoxes for the credulous.

The book consists of 91 paradoxes or little sayings. The spirt (but not letter) of which is meant to be koan-like. Kind of. Each of the 91 paradoxes has a commentary written by Crowley (who also calls himself Frater Perdurabo, Latin for Father Endurance).

Here's an example that will suffice for all:


Death implies change and individuality; if thou be
THAT which hath no person, which is beyond the
changing, even beyond changelessness, what hast
thou to do with death?

The birth of individuality is ecstasy; so also is its death.

In love the individuality is slain; who loves not love?
Love death therefore, and long eagerly for it.
Die Daily.


This seems a comment on the previous chapter [i.e., Lie #15, The Gun Barrel:]; the Stag-Beetle is a reference to Keph-ra, the Egyptian God of Midnight, who bears the Sun through the Underworld; but it is called the Stag-Beetle to emphasise [sic; British variant spelling:] his horns. Horns are the universal hieroglyph of energy, particularly of Phallic energy.

The 16th key of the Tarot is "The Blasted Tower". In this chapter death is regarded as a form of marriage. Modern Greek peasants, in many cases, cling to Pagan belief, and suppose that in death they are united to the Deity which they have cultivated during life. This is "a consummation devoutly to be wished" (Shakespeare).

In the last paragraph the Master urges his pupils to practise [again, sic:] Samadhi every day.


Samadhi: In HINDUISM is: a state of deep concentration resulting in union with or absorption into ultimate reality. In BUDDHISM is: the meditative concentration that is the final step of the Eightfold Path. in JAINISM is: spiritual self-fulfillment. Enlightenment.

Ecstasy: This comes from the Greek word "ekstasis," which itself comes from "existanai," which refers to a coming out of (a) place or to come out of. In its most literal sense, then, ecstasy refers to a kind of joyous transcendence of self.

Great fun and interesting if you're into this kind of thing. (Which I guess I obviously kind of am.) Also: learn a great new vocab word to describe the rumbling sound of gas in the intestinal tract: borborygmus. Say it to yourself a few times (or ten) and you'll understand where the word came from!
Profile Image for Dan Welch.
1 review1 follower
January 25, 2011
Definitely my favourite Crowley book so far. This book seems to possess an underlying stillness that transcends rational analysis. In fact Crowley makes numerous references to the paradox of parading the ineffable as literature.

An understanding of Zen\Sufism\Qabalah or Thelema is likely to add depth to the interpretation. Personally I've used passages from this book as koans with interesting results.

Probably not a good starter for someone new to Crowley, but nonetheless a remarkable collection of work.
Profile Image for Brett C.
783 reviews157 followers
May 2, 2021
I found this to be very obscure, cryptic, and beautiful. Most of it went over my head but doing some research on the subject the more I grew a fascination. I felt the same way about The Book of The Law when I read it. I felt the prose was perplexing and poetic at the same time. I will read this again!
Profile Image for Jake.
722 reviews44 followers
November 15, 2017
This was kind of fun to read. A book of scripture of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, inspired by all sorts of mythology, masonry, eastern religion, etc. It has something other holy books lack, which is humor.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
198 reviews15 followers
February 25, 2019
First crowley book,so I jumped in to something that should be read after, reading more of his books. I did however, find some if the poems fascinating. I will read more of his work.
Profile Image for Lynn.
73 reviews
Want to read
October 4, 2013
I am just curious about this....
Just to set things straight-I'm an open-minded Christian and knowing his "legacy," I can't help but be curious about this dark person deemed as "evil."
I'll get around to reading this someday...but for now, I'm focusing on World Religions- Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and later Buddhism, Hinduism.....etc...

I am no longer "Christian," actually. I now consider myself more of a secular humanist.
Profile Image for K.D. Rose.
Author 25 books146 followers
August 30, 2012
Don't let the author's name scare you off. This is one of the most enlightened books around, but only for those who already have a very well versed foundation. If you can't stand Koans and don't like puzzles, this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you want some real esoteric knowledge and are willing to do the work to figure it out, its a great read.
Profile Image for Nando Gigaba.
156 reviews1 follower
June 18, 2021
When American rapper/songwriter Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, better known by his stage name Ab-Soul released his forth studio album Do What Thou Wilt. in 2016, that is when I was introduced to Aleister Crowley and my curiosity about The Book of Lies was thus conceived.

Fortunately the book is available on free public domains for download. You can download the audiobook on Libri Vox and there's a PDF, which I would highly recommend if you're going to read/listen to the book. The PDF has notes and commentary to help decode the cryptic writing of the book.
You can easily dismiss the book because of the author's history of experimenting with drugs, but the book has some good chapters.

Audiobook Comments:
Narrated by P. J. Taylor who gives a pretty theatrical performance. I would suggest you play the audiobook at 1x because at normal speed it sounds slow and some words are unclear at 1.5x or 2x
Profile Image for Abe Fabella.
23 reviews3 followers
May 5, 2012
At times bewildering, other times downright offensive, and always utterly shocking in its ability to induce razor-sharp satori, this colorful collection of epigrams is a fascinating read for those who have some initiation into occult knowledge. The best part about this edition are the commentaries included at the end of each chapter. More often than not, they elucidate the matter... not obfuscate.
9 reviews2 followers
April 2, 2008
You can't really "like" or "dislike" this book; you can only wonder at what it's driving. To figure out its riddle is to know the ultimate secret of Freemasonry. Very interesting.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 184 reviews

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