Writing a book is a major undertaking regardless of how many times that you have already gone through the process in the past. Since I have taken up writing full time I have had a couple of opportunities to ghost write books and prior to that I had already published several of my own efforts. Easily the most difficult and perhaps controversial types of books to write deal with occult topics that are often misunderstood and usually misinterpreted.
My latest book; Pyramidos: Self Initiation in the Aeon of Horus, has its genesis in a series of correspondences between myself and a magician of considerable knowledge and experience. Having both found success in our practice of magick we both find ourselves in a position of offering guidance and advice to novices at the occult arts and we discussed potential strategies for providing useful and practical advice for these students as they embark upon the Path of the Wise. This original inspiration ultimately led to writing a comprehensive book on the symbolism and practical performance of one of Aleister Crowley’s least well known magical compositions; the Pyramidos Ritual.
The Provenance of Pyramidos
The Pyramidos Ritual was written by Aleister Crowley in 1906-8 to be the ceremony of first initiation for his new magical order of A.’.A.’.. Its structure and movements are based upon the Golden Dawn Neophyte Ceremony that Crowley had been using for eight years and had previously attempted to develop into a unique new style of magick in 1900. As an occult composition the Pyramidos Ritual represented a definite evolution of Hermetic magick from a lodge based, Masonic styled practice into an individual spiritual pursuit that put the onus for progress and development almost entirely upon the solo practitioner.
First presented as Liber DCLXXI vel Pyramidos, A Ritual of Self-Initiation based on the formula of the Neophyte, by Aleister Crowley, A.’.A.’. Publication in Class D it was never published in full and even Crowley’s closest acolytes only ever received the instructions in sketch form, left to flesh out the full details for themselves. Although there is sufficient detail included in Liber 671 for an assiduous student of Crowley’s magick to expand it into its full form, it requires a fairly comprehensive understanding of the Golden Dawn system of magick upon which it is based. The instructions also assume that there is a general familiarity with the literature of occultism and that the novice is proficient in the basic theory of magick, at least as Crowley expounded it.
From Essay to Tome
As the ceremony of first initiation, and a general pattern for practical magick, every novice at Crowley’s system of magick will come up against this fundamental book of instructions, usually early on as they come across references to it in his other works. Magick in Theory and Practice has a great deal of useful, instructional material for the performance of the Pyramidos Ceremony and Liber 671 is cited directly in the footnotes. It is also mentioned in other works by Crowley including Liber Tau and Liber Israfel and it is the recommended structure for the composition of the ceremony for the invocation of the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel in the instructions given for that operation in Liber Samekh.
In the days before the internet, this obscure ritual was very difficult to obtain, ensuring that novices didn’t come into possession of it before they were prepared to come to terms with the details of preparing to perform it. The web changed all of that and now there are a number of versions of Liber 671 easily downloadable online. As these once difficult to obtain texts can now all be found on the internet it seems impractical to attempt to restrict their use and so, after much consideration, I decided to try and create a useful, practical guide for novices to use in their study of this central, foundation work of ceremonial magick.
Originally I intended to write an essay that could be distributed to students (my colleague is associated with a number of Probationers in A.’.A.’. that are approaching this milestone in their magical careers) but as I delved into the material I soon realized that the Pyramidos was much more complex and had deeper roots in Western occultism than it appeared to on the surface.
Another issue that I considered was the language of the source material which has become somewhat archaic in the century since it was written. The Golden Dawn Z Documents, an invaluable source for the study of ceremonial magick, are especially difficult to get through as they are steeped in high sounding language and suffer from a chaotic structure that makes them difficult to study. When I revisited these sorts of obscure documents, and after speaking to a friend who had struggled with the obscure language of the Victorian gentleman occult scholar, I saw that there was a genuine need for an explanation of these fundamental principles of ceremonial magick in plain terms.
Many of the sources that contributed to the composition of the Pyramidos Ritual, like The Book of the Spirit of the Living God are obscure and often buried within other books. Even if a student of magick knows where to find them, they may not be able to obtain them all and I came to the conclusion that the most practical option would be to assemble all of those sources into one volume where their connections could be more easily studied. At the same time, to provide the best possible practical guide to the use of these various techniques I decided to explain them and their connection to Crowley’s Pyramidos Ritual.
The result was that what began as a simple essay on a magical ceremony grew into a comprehensive book about a Thelemite style of self initiation and the magical heritage of Crowley’s system of magick developed for the newly dawned Aeon of Horus. The final result, Pyramidos: Self Initiation in the Aeon of Horus is a practical examination of the basic Elemental magick that emerged from Victorian occultism at the end of the nineteenth century and evolved into an eclectic, modern spiritual practice in which Liber 671 is a definite and significant step.
Pyramidos: Self Initiation in the Aeon of Horus includes 15 illustrations and a comprehensive bibliography of references that contributed to the composition of this dynamic ceremony of high magick art.
Pyramidos: Self Initiation in the Aeon of Horus is available now for $39.95 (plus postage and handling) from: