Crowley is the lynch-pin of modern of occultism and his books are lucid and well-written as whole, but for a new student Crowley can be daunting to say the least. Where does one even start? His classic of modern occultism, Magick Book 4, is not for the squeamish. It’s detailed, symbolic, and if you were actually trying to practice rituals out of it for the first time, extremely overwhelming. Some of his other writing is even more obtuse, and difficult. Much of his writing is symbolic and highly entrenched in Qabalistic symbolism, such as the Book of Lies. Liber 418: The Vision and the Voice, is about his fantastic visions experienced while astral traveling the Enochian Aethyrs. These are all fascinating reading, but do little to help a new student who simply wants to start learning some practical magick!
Magick Without Tears is Crowley’s most accessible book from a practical standpoint, and it’s a much needed remedy to the rigorous and highly symbolic requirements of Magick Book 4. Indeed, compare his descriptions of how to make magickal tools. In Magick Without Tears, Crowley discusses in practical easy-to-understand terms how to make one’s magickal weapons, while Magick Book 4 discusses magickal weapons from such a symbolic and metaphorical point of view that the examples sound like descriptions from a fantasy book (i.e. the Lamp that burns without fuel.) Unfortunately, Magick Without Tears is a collection of letters Crowley wrote with one of his students, so while packed with useful information, it’s not particularly well organized!
Admittedly one of the goals of my writing Everything You Want To Know About Magick was to create an entryway for students into the infinite highways and byways of Aleister Crowley’s voluminous works. I do firmly believe that any student who studies and reads my book, will find Crowley’s work an eye-opener instead of a psychic punch in the skull.
“My colour is black to the blind, but the blue & gold are seen of the seeing…” — Aleister Crowley’s Liber AL: The Book of The Law; Chapter I, Verse 60