Magick In Theory and Practice (or Liber ABA, Book 4) by Aleister Crowley


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Paris: Lecram Press, 1929. Subscriber's Edition. Hardcover Quarto (10 x 8 inches), 436 pages. Publishers original maroon cloth with gilt title to spine slightly faded, edges rubbed. Re-bound using 1/3 original boards, a fine job. Internally clean with no markings or inscriptions. No jacket. A very good copy of a scarce work.  

'A seminal text, considered to be the magnum opus of 20th-century figure Aleister Crowley. This is his lengthy treatise on magick synthesised from many sources; Eastern Yoga schools, Buddhism, Hermeticism, medieval grimoires, Tantra, Hinduism, contemporary magical theories and his own original contributions. Crowley sought to update magical practice in the 20th century, through his own philosophical system he called 'Scientific Illuminism.'

In 'Magic Naturalized? Negotiating Science and Occult Experience in Aleister Crowley’s Scientific Illuminism' Egil Asprem writes;

'Crowley’s work represents primarily a move towards the naturalisation of magic.. He is seen to embrace natural scientific inquiry and tirelessly pursue such critical assessment of magical techniques, practices and results, reclaiming the subjective experiences for intersubjective scrutiny.'

According to Crowley, "Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.. the method of science and the aim of religion."

The book consists of four parts: Mysticism, Magick (Elementary Theory), Magick in Theory and Practice, and ΘΕΛΗΜΑ—the Law (The Equinox of The Gods). It also includes numerous appendices presenting many rituals and explicatory papers.

There were several variant issues of the first hardbound edition. "Magick" was originally issued in four parts; each in paper wrappers with an additional colour plate. However, he was dissatisfied with this design, had the plate removed, a new title page prepared, and most copies dis-bound and sent to Britain. They where then rebound in a durable cloth or buckram, to make this; the "Subscriber's Edition." Although the title-page has the date of 1929, the book did not actually appear until 1930.'

“The question of Magick is a question of discovering and employing hitherto unknown forces of nature. We know that they exist, and we cannot doubt the possibility of mental or physical instruments capable of bringing us into relation with them.”

- Magic Naturalized? Negotiating Science and Occult Experience in Aleister Crowley’s Scientific Illuminism. Aries 8 (2008) 139-165, 
Asprem, E, 2008.