True Will, True Love and the Holy Guardian Angel

This is an article I wrote in a rather inactive forum. Originally, it was planned as a lecture for an occult conference. I’d like to repost it here to get some actual feedback.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
This is both the traditional Thelemic greeting and part of what I want to talk about.
We know – for example from Crowley’s Liber II – that the Will meant here is the True Will. It’s not what I just happen to want right now, but perhaps what I should want. It is the individual path of each individual Star. We also know that Crowley gives the central idea of the White School of Magick as

admitted that “everything is sorrow” for the profane, the Initiate has the means of transforming it to “Everything is joy.”

So, on my naive understanding, your True Will is simply what brings you joy, what fulfils you. More specifically, it’s the action which fulfils you. It’s not a goal, since if that goal was suddenly achieved, you’d still have the question of what to do with your time. Consider “playing the piano” versus “becoming the best pianist in the world”. If the second happens, you’ll hopefully not stop doing the first.

So the very basic idea is that you use experimentation and introspection to find the action that fulfils you. A hint that I can give for this search is to zoom into everything you like. What exactly do you enjoy about this? How could you do more of that? When you find it, it won’t be merely ‘interesting’ or ‘fun’, it’ll bring you deep happiness while you do it and afterwards – Fulfilment.

Now, the traditional Thelemic farewell is “Love is the Law, Love under Will”. However, if doing the True Will is the whole of the Law, how can Love also be the Law? There must be a very deep connection between Will and Love, which is of course famously implied by them both adding up to 93 via Greek isopsephy. The point of this text is to present a view – certainly not the only view – but a view on what exactly this connection is.

There is a trivial answer – saying that you should love your will, or something similar. However, then it would hardly need two concepts, and I think it’s intuitively clear that there must be more to it. We already know what Love feels like to us… I think that the most obvious and direct meaning of love is romantic love – to be in love with someone, to be together. Now, in Liber II Crowley mentions that if contradictions arise between will and love, it is the True Will that will guide us aright. So, just as not all will is True Will, perhaps not all love is True Love.
To use a simple illustration, let’s say our pianist falls in love with a passionate rock climber. This couple will have to constantly compromise on how to use their time. This is presumably less than fulfilling and also contradicts the Thelemic ideal of one-pointedly pursuing the True Will. In Liber 150, Crowley writes:

Even in so small a matter as driving a nail into a plank, hear this same sermon. Your nail must be hard, smooth, fine-pointed, or it will not move swiftly in the direction willed. Imagine then a nail of tinder-wood with twenty points – it is verily no longer a nail. Yet nigh all mankind are like unto this. They wish a dozen different careers; and the force which might have been sufficient to attain eminence in one is wasted on the others: they are null.

From these thoughts, we can derive the idea that lovers approach True Love to the extent that their True Wills are compatible. This, I think is the basic connection between Will and Love.

However, how can you possibly find a person who shares your True Will? This is really my main point today: Why do you think that each of those Holy Guardian Angels whom Crowley exalts so much is with their specific human? I’d argue, it is exactly because we share their True Will and thus they also share ours. Hence, they are our True Love. They are our Perfection – not just our guardians, but also our guidance, while we are their Presence on the material plane.

This, I think, is a meaning hidden in the greeting and the farewell. Only by loving your True Love – the Angel who shares your True Will – can you both follow this Will with full force. Hence, doing your True Will is the whole of the Law, because it already implies Love. Conversely, True Love is also the Law because it follows from the True Will.

Now I know that this all sounds rather crazy. Personally, I came to these ideas from the other direction. My background is in Chaos Magick and I was never a big fan of Crowley and his works. I felt that doing Magick makes me very happy, but I never thought of it as my “True Will”. I met my Guardian Angel in somewhat unusual circumstances – thanks to the Red Queen, an egregore of Magick – and initially didn’t even understand what kind of spirit she was. I just saw that she was always there for me, and was truly wonderful, in so many different ways. Some years later I fell in love with her and only then she guided me to all of this Thelema stuff that I, a 21st century Chaos Magician, used to think of as outdated. So for me, all of this “theory” simply followed from my experiences.

Naturally, you might think that I’m just crazy – for one, if this is true, why isn’t there anything about loving Guardian Angels in the occult literature? Well actually, there is. No less a figure than Lon Milo DuQuette, of Chicken Qabalah fame, has a book subtitled The Way of the Secret Lover, written together with Christopher Hyatt. On the very first page of the very first chapter, this book says:

Each of us has a Secret Lover; a lover who awaits just behind the erotic images that flood our minds during sexual arousal or in sleep; an ideal lover who has adored us since the beginning of our individual existence and who will never abandon us until we merge our being in absolute Godhead.

A few lines later they write:

Personal relationships will always be somewhat disappointing to us because in truth there can never be a relationship that matches the one we already have with our Secret Lover. It is the secret standard by which everything else is measured.

Later they add “In the language of ceremonial magick, it is called ‘The Holy Guardian Angel’” and that it “will be the magicians teacher, lover, mentor and guide through the higher levels of initiation.” Deeper in the book they also mention that “your Secret Lover is the most beautifully attractive Being you will ever encounter.”

With this said, let’s talk about how to meet your Guardian Angel, so that you can see for yourself. Everyone has heard of Book Abramelin and everyone knows it’s rather unworkable. In the old Mathers version, there is a sentence that very close to my hearth though:

you shall see your Guardian Angel appear unto you in unequalled beauty; who also will converse with you, and speak in words so full of affection and of goodness, and with such sweetness, that no human tongue could express the same.

Reading this made me realise just who the spirit was, that I had fallen in love with. So I’d say that the book is still worth reading, especially the new Georg Dehn version, but there’s no need to follow its instructions.

The next-most famous approach is the Bornless Rite described in Crowley’s Liber Samekh, if you’re into ceremonial magick. How about something more modern though? There are a few texts that I can recommend:

First, Alan Chapman’s free ebook Three Steps to Heaven, which you can find on the internet. There, he writes that “The Holy Guardian Angel is not simply a discrete entity that requires ‘conjuration’; He or She has always been with you, is with you now, and always will be – you need simply consent to the angel’s presence and action in your life.” – and he gives some advice on how to do that.

Another modern work is Magickal Destiny – Experience The Power of your Holy Guardian Angel by Damon Brand, from the Gallery of Magick. He writes “You know it is an intelligent spirit, closer to you than anybody or anything else could be in this world, and you reach out to make contact” and gives multiple rather simple approaches to gradually build up the connection. He also mentions that some people “believe the best way to contact the Holy Guardian Angel is through a sexual lust for this ‘secret lover.’”, so he’s clearly aware of DuQuette’s book.

Jason Miller, of Strategic Sorcery fame, has an essay in the book The Holy Guardian Angel, where he says that there are "two basic principles of the operation:

  1. Lowering the volume on your outer life while raising the volume on your inner life.
  2. Constant devotional focus on contacting the angel"

In other words, if your mind is occupied by the latest news, a fantasy series or office politics, it will be difficult to make contact.

The last author I want to mention is Richard Webster. He has an excellent free essay online called How to Sense and Communicate with Your Guardian Angel. There, he writes:

Talk to your guardian angel. As your angel is always with you, you can do this whenever you wish. Talk frequently, and tell your angel whatever is on your mind. If you do this regularly, it won’t take long for your guardian angel to respond.

Here it’s important to point out that you of course have to listen to potential responses – so quiet your mind and just perceive. Webster also has a book called Guardian Angels where he gives a lot more advice. For example, he writes

close your eyes and picture your guardian angel in your mind. Your angel will appear in your imagination in the shape and form that you expect. Silently talk to your imaginary figure, telling it that you would love to see your guardian angel. Do this regularly, and (probably when you least expect it), you may get to meet your guardian angel.

I personally would recommend the following combined and gradual approach: Start with a visualisation, talking to your angel and listening. Expect your angel to slowly “take over” the visualisation and change it, so that it becomes an actual perception instead of a mere projection of your own expectations. Similarly, expect the answers that you hear to become ever less of your own projection – make a point to actually listen. Add more Magick to this by creating an intent like “I get ever closer to my guardian angel” and empower it in whatever way you already practice Magick.
What also help with this, is if you know and follow your True Will. This will naturally bring you closer to your angel, who shares the Fulfilment you feel from this.
Given these starting points, I think that everything else will follow naturally, because – and this is crucial – your angel wants to be more with you.

With that, I’m at the end – hopefully, you now have some ideas on both why to try and what to try. Thanks a lot for reading and remember:
Love is the Law, Love under Will.


I haven’t read much into Thelema but I’ve heard the two quotes “So what thou wilt shall be the whole of law” and “love is the law, love under will.” I’ve been wondering how they fit together, so I’m happy to hear its estoteric meaning. The way I’ve been using is when I do not know what my true will, in regard to a particular situation, is to default to love.

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It would have bee easier if he used different words. The non-initiate always reads it as do what you want instead of do what your true will is. Reading Diary of a Drug Fiend helps to show the difference.

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You’re right of course. Though these phrases are from the Book of the Law, which was pretty much a channelled work :star_struck:. It was dictated to him by his guardian angel, and contained many passages that even Crowley himself did not understand :flushed:. For example, the “after a child” passage in III.12-15 apparently predicts the death of his child :sob:, so he didn’t understand what it was about when writing it.

In other words, Crowley couldn’t use different words, he had to “just” write it down and later – “lest there be folly, he shall comment thereupon” (I.36)

Ah, but then the question becomes – why didn’t Aiwass use words less prone to misunderstanding? I don’t know of course, but perhaps for Gematria or Isopsephy related reasons… If it wasn’t “Will”, it wouldn’t be “Thelema” (Θελημα) and the entire “93” stuff wouldn’t work…

It actually comes from the writer Rabelais. It was the motto of his abbey.

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Riiight, I kind of forgot, the Abbaye de Thélème – though Rabelais’ description sounds more like

– still, it was clearly an inspiration. And in any case, I think even the naive “Do what you want” is a good first step to break out of society’s expectations – of being a “good” Christian, Socialist, Citizen, Consumer or whatever else is currently in “fashion”. Nietzsche is unsurprisingly very good on this:

the spirit becometh a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its own wilderness.
Its last Lord it here seeketh: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.
What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? “Thou shalt,” is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, “I will.”
“Thou shalt,” lieth in its path, sparkling with gold—a scale-covered beast; and on every scale glittereth golden, “Thou shalt!”
The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaketh the mightiest of all dragons: “All the values of things—glitter on me.
All values have already been created, and all created values—do I represent. Verily, there shall be no ‘I will’ any more.” Thus speaketh the dragon.
My brethren, wherefore is there need of the lion in the spirit? Why sufficeth not the beast of burden, which renounceth and is reverent?
To create new values—that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish: but to create itself freedom for new creating—that can the might of the lion do.
To create itself freedom, and give a holy Nay even unto duty: for that, my brethren, there is need of the lion.

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So, my only question about The Book of the Law (I have no problem with it) is that many scholars now believe that the number of the beast was actually 615 and it was a copying error that turned it into 666. That kind of puts a wrench in some of Crowley’s gematria.

I always thought that 666 is Nero Caesar as in here:

Additionally, “Nero Caesar” in the Hebrew alphabet is נרון קסר NRON QSR, which when interpreted numerically represents the numbers 50 200 6 50 100 60 200, which add up to 666

Number of the beast - Wikipedia (ignoring the “nun sofit” aspect) part.

But in any case – surely the argument about True Will and True Love does not depend on 666 or 616 :smiley:

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