(07/09/1945) Aleister Crowley to Grady McMurtry

The Ridge
St. Leonards-on-Sea
9th July, 1945

Dear Grady,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

What a shock! after ransacking England for the “Yogi & the Commissar” without success, a copy turns up from the depths of the Black Forest. Thanks a thousand times.

There is nothing else to say at the moment, except the business about “Golden Twigs.” I am asking Miss Kingston to copy my account of the said incident from my letter to Karl. I am not feeling in the mood for writing letters. I wanted to see the Eclipse, and the whole sky is overcast.

[Quote from letter to Karl. — annotation in A.C.’s hand] “Events here may assume a very serious aspect at any moment. You probably remember that my book of short stores called ‘Golden Twigs’ was being published by the Mandrake Press and got as far as galley proofs. This bundle was sent by me to Lady Harris during the first big blitz of London, with some other books and MSS for safety; at least I am 90 per cent sure that this bundle was in the box that I sent to her. When she returned them I found that these proofs are missing. I wrote to ask her about it, and she did not know anything; she was not sure that she had ever had them. Well, whether I sent them to her or not, they were stolen and a few weeks ago while he was here, Grant thought that he had seen them in the Atlantis Bookshop and that they were for sale, but he could not be certain of the identity.

“As it happened, Michael Just{?} came down here, as he occasionally does, at Easter, and I had a long and quite amiable talk with him. He also was uncertain as to whether these were the proofs that had been stolen from me, and protested that if anything like that came into his hands he would immediately return them to me. He said however ‘If these are what you want I suppose you won’t mind paying a few pounds.’ I returned an oracular answer. He also promised to let me have the copy of The Giant’s Thumb proofs bound up, which had also been stolen from me originally by Norman Mudd. They passed through the hands of Michael Just{?} on more occasions than one. I found it among the books of John Jamieson when we had the house in Chelsea together, and I wrote in the book the facts about the theft. Jamieson should of course have returned them to me, but he did not do so and after he went all to pieces sold that and a number of other books which he had bought either from Atlantis or from me to Michael. All I was really anxious to do was to get hold of that copy, and have typed some few poems which were not in my possession in some other form.

“Now back to Easter of this year.

“Michael said he would let me have this book for the purpose of copying, but he did not do so, and when Grant asked him about it, he was told that that book was no longer accessible.
“I wrote to Michael after consulting my lawyer, saying that I wanted the identification of the Golden Twigs proofs made certain, and it would be sufficient for that purpose if he sent me a copy of the title page and the list of contents. He however sent me the whole bundle and ended his covering letter as follows :- ‘If you are retaining them, I am asking £5.’ He then added in capital letters ‘DO WHO YOU WILL — THAT IS MY LAW.’

“I went to my lawyer with that letter and said “It looks to me as if the Lord had delivered him into our hands.” He has written to Michael asking him to disclose the source from which he obtained the proofs, but so far he has not had a reply. My lawyer wrote about the 4th or 5th of this month, and no doubt Michael is taking his time about replying; probably has seen his own lawyer.

“My instructions were to give Michael a chance to exhibit the proper reaction. The person I want to get at is the actual thief who is stealing things from myself or Freda, for this scheme has been going on really a little too long.”


I think that is all for to-day. Love is the law, love under will.

Yours ever,
{signed} Aleister.

Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, May 1995.

(07/09/1945) Aleister Crowley to Grady McMurtry

Note: Thank you to William Heidrick for making this image available.