Aiwass (Aiwaz) Imposing entity who dictated to Aleister Crowley The Book of the Law, Crowley’s most significant magical work. Crowley considered Aiwass to be his Holy Guardian Angel, or divine Higher Self, acting as intermediary for higher beings such as the Secret Chiefs, superhuman Adepts of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Occultists have debated whether Aiwass was an entity in its own right or part of Crowley himself. For Crowley, the Holy Guardian Angel was a discrete entity and not a dissociated part of his own personality. Crowley originally spelled the entity’s name Aiwaz but then later changed the spelling to Aiwass for numerological reasons.
Aiwass made his entrance in April 1904 through the mediumship of Crowley’s wife, Rose, while the couple was on honeymoon in Cairo. Rose described Aiwass as an emissary of the Egyptian god Horus, son of Isis and Osiris. Crowley envisioned Aiwass as a male entity, one distinctly different and more unfathomable than other entities he had encountered. Answers to questions posed by Crowley indicated that Aiwass was:
. . . a Being whose mind was so different from mine that we failed to converse. All my wife obtained from Him was to command me to do things magically absurd. He would not play my game: I must play His.
On April 7, 1904, Aiwass commanded that the drawing room of the Cairo apartment leased by the Crowleys had to be turned into a temple. Aiwass ordered Crowley to enter the temple precisely at noon on the next three days and to write down exactly what he heard for precisely one hour.
Crowley followed the instructions. Inside the “temple,” he sat alone at a table facing the southern wall. From behind him came the voice of Aiwass, which Crowley described as “a rich tenor or baritone . . . deep timbre, musical and expressive, its tones solemn, voluptuous, tender, fierce, or aught else as suited the moods of the message.” The voice was “the Speech in the Silence,” he said. Later he called Aiwass “the minister of Hoor–Paar–Kraat” or “the Lord of Silence,” an aspect of Horus that was the equivalent of the Greek Harpocrates.
During the dictation, Crowley did not see a visual apparition of Aiwass, though he did have a mental impression of the entity. Aiwass had
. . . a body of “fi ne matter”or astral matter, transparent as a veil of gauze or a cloud of incense-smoke. He seemed to be a tall, dark man in his thirties, well-knit, active and strong, with the face of a savage king, and eyes veiled lest their gaze should destroy what they saw.
Further, Aiwass seemed dressed in the garb of an Assyrian or a Persian.
Crowley took Aiwass’s dictation for three hours on April 8–10, scribbling in longhand to keep pace with the voice. The sessions lasted exactly one hour each. The 65 pages of handwritten material comprised the three chapters of The Book of the Law, which Crowley saw as the herald of the New Aeon or a new religion. Each chapter carried the voice of an Egyptian deity: Nut, the goddess of the heavens; and two aspects of Horus, Ha-Kadit, a solar aspect, and Ra-Hoor-Kuit, or “Horus of the Two Horizons.”
For years Crowley remained in awe of Aiwass. In The Equinox of the Gods, he acknowledged that he never fully understood the nature of Aiwass. He alternately called the entity a God or Demon or Devil; a praeterhuman intelligence; a minister or messenger of other Gods; his own Guardian Angel, and his own subconscious (the last he rejected in favor of the Holy Guardian Angel). Crowley also said he was permitted from time to time to see Aiwass in a physical appearance, inhabiting a human body, as much a material man as Crowley was himself.
C.S. Jones, who ran the Vancouver, B.C., lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientalis, said he underwent a series of magical initiations that revealed to him that Aiwass was in truth an evil Demon and the enemy of humanity. Others considered Jones to have gone mad.
FURTHER READING :
- Sutin, Lawrence. Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley. New York: St. Martin’s Griffi n, 2000.
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