The Bell Inn.
Ashton Clinton, Bucks
November 13th, 1944
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Thanks a thousand times for sending Artemis Iota. It took a great weight off my mind. I have been terrified lest, like so many other important things of mine, it had somehow got irrevocably lost.
It is very extraordinary the way things happen. I have just heard from a new disciple that he copied with his own hand three bound volumes of typescript which I had written on Astrology in 1915. It was 1930 when he got them! I believe there was a fourth volume. How they were stolen, and by whom, I cannot imagine.
As I expected, my judgment about your poems is probably the exact opposite of yours. The one into which you put so much hard work I just don’t like. The hard work is apparent. The “Normandy in June” is not so bad; but it is not really a poem. There is no ecstasy in it, or coming out of it. It seems to me to be just a straightforward description of things observed. In other words, you did not do any magical work on it. But for “The Cynic” I have nothing but unqualified praise. As you say, it was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and I am absolutely convinced that all first class poetry is just exactly that. I said so in the Preface to the “City of God”.
I think that I have told you that I got the £80 from Jack. While on the question of finance, I have what should be very good news for you. It is now quite clear that the new book will run into two volumes, one quite elementary and one a little more advanced. That will automatically and incidentally double the value of your interest in it.
I am very glad to hear of your Education course. It certainly ought to give you a sound and broad idea of northern France. Don’t forget, though, that the central district, the mountain districts, the Bordeaux section, and finally the Mediterranean coast, are all very different from the North, and from each other.
I am very glad to hear of your deal in “La Gauloise”. When your second letter arrived this morning, I had hoped for news of that. Thanks, however, for sending “The Three Schools of Magick.” I don’t think I ever sent one to Jack, so you might as well pass it on. As, a matter of fact, I have cut it into three sections, with some emendations; and it will go into the beginning of the new book. I must say this book does manage to keep me busy. Almost every day I get an idea for a further letter. It seems strange that in all my writings I cannot find any really clear, simple, practical instructions for making talismans and such things; so that will make a letter. Then I have written nothing at all about Astrology; and here is an excellent opportunity to explain my system, which as I think you know, is totally different from any of the orthodox. (Have done this: Two letters — one theory, one how to learn to do it.)
I got a very nice letter from Jack, who seems to have snapped out of his Smith trouble. He talked about the Uriah Heep side of his character, which strikes me as a very good description; but the astonishing thing is I got this letter from Helen, who tells me that Smith has started the retirement on absolutely correct lines! I never believed for a moment that he would do it, so you can imagine how delighted I am to have such news. I hope that he succeeds with his mantra “to go mad and run about naked”, as they say in North Africa. What we have always lacked has been the real fanatic. I could never be anything of the sort myself. At the back of me is an extraordinarily powerful strain of conventional behaviour. I have done a few mad things in my time; but it has always been based upon calculation, and (as in the case of poetry) this business depends entirely on the spontaneous outflow of the spirit. That is why I always feel that even people who, from one point of view are notorious crooks like Billy Sunday and Aimee Macpherson, must have a deeply seated sincerity tucked away unknown to them, which gives them the magical force necessary for their success.
I think that is all for the moment.
Love is the law, love under will.
Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, April 1995.
Note: Thank you to William Heidrick for making these images available.