"An Account of A.'.A.'." - I can see why Crowley liked this, why he saw great promise in this; why he sought for such a thing - it has the potential to be very inspirational.
"Liber Librae" - I have always liked this; it is a lovely epistle. It's just wonderful, and needs to be constantly re-read.
"Liber E vel Exercitiorum" - This is excellent. This is what I've been waiting for. What took him so long? It's interesting that we begin with Yoga rather than Magick. St least he mentions Tarot decks. This is something to figuratively sink our teeth into!
"The Wizard Way" - this is tedious. Crowley uses strong evocative words, but they go nowhere; or they go on too long. This reminds me of Shakespeare's "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
"The Magic Glasses" - I understand the theme of this story; it is about how we perceive things; but it is one of the most long, drawn-out, boring pieces I've ever read. I want to say good things about it, but I really can't.
"The Chemical Jousting of Brother Perardua" - I can tell this is well-written, but I must learn more alchemy to fully appreciate it.
"The Lonely Bride" (Victor Neuburg) - I feel no desire to comment on the work of Victor Neuburg.
"At the Fork of the Roads" - This story is obviously about the choices we make. I wish I knew a little bit better who the principal characters really were.
"The Magician" (Eliphas Levi) - I was looking forward to reading this, as I have a great deal of respect for Levi, but it is just words. Whatever Levi said in the original, it is lost due to Crowley's need to use meter and rhyme. It is all just pretty words. I would rather read a literal translation, even if it didn't rhyme.
"The Soldier and the Hunchback: ! and ?" - This is a great piece of analytical writing, and great advice to the aspirant: have healthy skepticism and have all facts prove themselves, but don't be silly!
"The Hermit" - This is a jaunty bit of humor, but wields more truth than many more serious pieces.
"The Temple of Solomon the King" - I had read this introduction before. I really really enjoy this. the things this intro discusses, and the way it discusses them is just perfect. It is a magnus opus all by itself.
"The Herb Dangerous" - it seems odd to have this here. Some mystics maintain that certain drugs can help open the door to other worlds, so to speak. From those I've talked to, Magic Mushrooms may be the best way to have a drug-enhanced vision-quest. Personally I consider the use of drugs to be cheating. The magician needs to knock down those doors himself; no matter how long it takes.
"John St. John" - I could wish that Crowley spent less time talking about his diet and more time talking - and doing - the actual work. Having had some exposure to heightened states of consciousness, I understand the euphoria of the last couple days of this working.
July 5 - about 10:00 p.m. - LBR Pentagram.
July 11-20 - The Equinox #2 - Editorial - I really enjoy the metaphor of this piece. The way it is written, the arguments it makes - these all strike a chord within me.
"Liber O vel Manus et Sagittae" - The simplicity and directness of this is just wonderful. This is what I've been waiting for.
"The Herb Dangerous" - The essay on Hashish seems to have slipped into an essay on meditative states; which gives this piece more added value.
I see no point in commenting on sarcastic book reviews.
"The Garden of Janus" - This just didn't do anything for me. It was all puffery and pretense. Applying roman numerals to the stanzas of poems is ridiculous.
"The Dream Circean" (Crowley) - This story features Eliphaz Levi Zahed. I am tempted to say this is all about the journey.
"The Last Shepherd" (Neuburg) - This actually was more interesting than "The Garden of Janus".
"A Handbook of Geomancy" - There are apparently blinds in these instructions.
"The Organ in King's Chapel, Cambridge" - Is Pinsent trying to describe the imagery the organ player has brought to him? If so, he's doing it quite well.
"A Note on Genesis" (Allen Bennett) - This is absolutely quite brilliant, but should be considered as for a very advanced student.
"The Five Adorations" - I have to say I wasn't much impressed by this.
"Illusion D'Amoureux" - This was pretty enough in its way, but it doesn't seem to get to the point.
"The Opium Smoker" - The rhyme seemed forced, and the plot didn't seem to go anywhere!
"Postcards to Probationers" - These are ingenious little encapsulations, and worth returning to time and again ... though I daresay some are a bit long to fit on a postcard.
"The Wild Ass" - This is sort of a hymn or ode to Set or Seth. Whatever it is, it falls far short of its goal.
"The Sphinx at Gizeh (Lord Dunsany) - This is really a great little piece, but could we expect anything less from the great Lord Dunsany. I like the story told by this poem.
"The Priestess of Panormita" - This is more or less dedicated to Pan (Crowley would do better later). It drags on with very few bright spots.
"The Temple of Solomon the King" - This installment was good. But it would have been better to give synopses of the rituals, including the part where actual instruction was imparted; plus he completely overlooked the Knowledge Lectures. Instead, my interest is drawn to what Crowley studied before joining the Golden Dawn: Alchemy, The Spiritual Guide, The Cherubic Wanderer, The Arbatel, The Seven Mysterious Orisons, Key of Solomon and other grimoires, Qabalah, The Book of Concealed Mystery, Knorr von Rosenrath and The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage.
"Amongst the Mermaids" (Norman Roe) - A re-telling of legends of were-seals.
"Ave Adonai" - I understand the poem. He is talking to his HGA. I am just unmoved by it.
"The Man-Cover" - this could mean that our surface personalities hide our real thoughts; that the real us - "the inner us" - needs to break free, or we'll go insane ... or this could just be a crazy bit of twaddle.
July 20 - August 3 - I am taking a slight break to read The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, by Richard Wilkinson. [I am moving my notes on this book to the "Miscellaneous Notes" section.]