DescriptionThis first Book of the Lesser Key of Solomon the King is one of the most famous and influential works on Ceremonial Magic and Demonology. It names and describes the forms and functions of 72 Infernal Spirits, and also gives instructions for calling them forth. Translated by S. L. MacGregor Mathers and edited by Aleister Crowley.
April 25, 2019
5.0 X 0.25 X 8.0 inches | 0.27 pounds
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About the Author
ALEISTER CROWLEY, born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 - 1 December 1947, was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He was the founder of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life. Born to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected his fundamentalist Christian faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, where some biographers allege he was recruited into the British intelligence agency. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and trained in ceremonial magic under Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India. He married Rose Edith Kelly, and in 1904 they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema. Announcing the start of the Æon of Horus, The Book declared that its followers should adhere to the code of "Do what thou wilt" and seek to align themselves with their Will through the practice of Magick. After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded a Thelemite order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated their religion. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), rising to become the leader of its British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemite beliefs. Through the O.T.O., Thelemite groups were established in Britain, Australia, and North America. Crowley spent the First World War in the United States, where he took up painting and campaigned for the German war effort against Britain, later revealing that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement to assist the British intelligence services. In 1920, he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death. Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual and an individualist social critic. He was denounced in the popular press as "the wickedest man in the world" and a Satanist. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over Western esotericism and the counter-culture, and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema.
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers was born in 1854 in London, England. He attended Bedford School and, after graduating, began work as a clerk in Dorset. His father died while he was a young boy, and his mother died while he was in his thirties. Shortly after his mother's death, he moved from Dorset to London. He was married to Monia Bergson, the sister of the philosopher Henri Bergson. Mathers was a freemason - raised as a Master Mason in 1878. In 1882 he was admitted to the Metropolitan College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) as well as a number of fringe Masonic degrees. Working hard both for and in the SRIA, he was awarded an honorary 8th Degree in 1886. Upon the death of William Robert Woodman in 1891, Mathers assumed leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He moved with his wife to Paris on 21 May 1892. After his expulsion from the Golden Dawn in April 1900, Mathers formed a group in Paris in 1903 called Alpha et Omega (its headquarters, the Ahathoor Temple). Mathers assumed the title of Archon Basileus. Mathers was a polyglot; among the languages he had studied were English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic - though he had a greater command of some languages than of others. His translations of such books as The Book of Abramelin (14thC.), Christian Knorr von Rosenroth's The Kabbalah Unveiled (1684), Key of Solomon (anonymous 14thC.), The Lesser Key of Solomon (anonymous 17thC.), and the Grimoire of Armadel (17thC.), while probably justly criticized with respect to quality, were responsible for making what had been obscure and inaccessible material widely available to the non-academic English speaking world. His works have had considerable influence on the development of occult and esoteric thought since their publication, as has his consolidation of the Enochian magical system of John Dee and Edward Kelley. Mathers died in November 1918 in Paris. The manner of his death is unknown; his death certificate lists no cause of death. Violet Firth claimed his death was the result of the Spanish influenza of 1918. While this seems likely, few facts are known about Mathers's private life, verification of such claims is difficult.