“We of Thelema say that “Every man and every woman is a star.” We do not fool and flatter women; we do not despise and abuse them. To us a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is. We dare not thwart Her Going, Goddess she! We arrogate no right upon Her will; we claim not to deflect Her development, to dispose of Her desires, or to determine Her destiny. She is Her own sole arbitar; we ask no more than to supply our strength to Her, whose natural weakness else were prey to the world’s pressure. Nay more, it were too zealous even to guard Her in Her Going; for She were best by Her own self-reliance to win Her own way forth!
We do not want Her as a slave; we want Her free and royal, whether Her love fight death in our arms by night, or Her loyalty ride by day beside us in the Charge of the Battle of Life.
“Let the woman be girt with a sword before me!”
“In her is all power given.”
So sayeth this our Book of the Law. We respect Woman in the self of Her own nature; we do not arrogate the right to criticise her. We welcome her as our ally, come to our camp as her Will, free-flashing, sword-swinging, hath told Her, Welcome, thou Woman, we hail thee, star shouting to Star! Welcome to rout and to revel! Welcome to fray and to feast! Welcome to vigil and victory! Welcome to war with it’s wounds! Welcome to peace with its pageants! Welcome to lust and to laughter! Welcome to board and to bed! Welcome to trumpet and triumph; welcome to dirge and to death!
It is we of Thelema who truly love and respect Woman, who hold her sinless and shameless even as we are; and those who say that we despise Her are those who shrink from the flash of our falchions as we strike from Her limbs their foul fetters.
Do we call Woman Whore? Ay, Verily and Amen, She is that; the air shudders and burns as we shout it, exulting and eager.
O ye! Was not this your sneer, your vile Whisper that scorned Her and shamed Her? Was not “Whore” the truth of Her, the title of terror that you gave Her in your fear of Her, coward comforting coward with furtive glance and gesture? But we fear Her not; we cry Whore, as Her armies approach us. We beat on our shields with our swords. Earth echoes the clamour!
Is there doubt of the victory? Your hordes of cringing slaves, afraid of themselves, afraid of their own slaves, hostile, despised and distrusted, your only tacticians the ostrich, the opossum, and the cuttle, will you not break and flee at our first onset, as with levelled lances of lust we ride at the charge, with our allies, the Whores whom we love and acclaim, free friends by our sides in the Battle of Life?
The Book of the Law is the Charter of Woman; the Word Thelema has opened the lock of Her “girdle of chastity.” Your Sphinx of stone has come to life; to know, to will, to dare and to keep silence.
Yes, I, The Beast, my Scarlet Whore bestriding me, naked and crowned, drunk on Her golden Cup of Fornication, boasting Herself my bedfellow, have trodden Her in the Market place, and roared this Word that every woman is a star. And with that Word is uttered Woman’s Freedom; the fools and fribbles and flirts have heard my voice. The fox in woman hath heard the Lion in man; fear, fainting, flabbiness, frivolity, falsehood — these are no more the mode.
In vain will bully and brute and braggart man, priest, lawyer, or social censor knit his brows to devise him a new tamer’s trick; once and for all the tradition is broken; vanished the vogue of bowstring, sack, stoning, nose-slitting, beltbuckling, cart’s tail-dragging, whipping, pillory posting, walling-up, divorce court, eunuch, harem, mind-crippling, house-imprisoning, menial-work-wearying, creed-stultifying, social-ostracism marooning, Divine-wrath-scaring, and even the device of creating and encouraging prostitution to keep one class of women in the abyss under the heel of the police, and the other on its brink, at the mercy of the husband’s boot at the first sign of insubordination or even of failure to please.
Man’s torture-chamber had tools inexhaustibly varied; at one end murder crude and direct to subtler, more callous, starvation; at the other moral agonies, from tearing her child from her breast to threatening her with a rival when her service had blasted her beauty.
Most masterful man, yet most cunning, was not thy supreme stratagem to band the woman’s own sisters against her, to use their knowledge of her psychology and the cruelty of their jealousies to avenge thee on thy slave as thou thyself hadst neither wit nor spite to do? […]
She hath been trampled thus through all the ages, and she hath tamed them thus. Her silence was the token of her triumph. But now the Word of Me the Beast is this; not only art thou Woman, sworn to a purpose not thine own; thou art thyself a star, and in thyself a purpose to thyself. Not only mother of men art thou, or whore to men; serf to their need of Life and Love, not sharing in their Light and Liberty; nay, thou art Mother and Whore for thine own pleasure; the Word I say to Man I say to thee no less: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law! Ay, priest, ay, lawyer, ay, censor! Will ye not gather in secret once again, if in your hoard of juggler’s tricks there be not one untried, or in your cunning and counsel one device new-false to save your pirate ship from sinking? It has always been so easy up to now! What is the blasting Magick in that Word, first thesis of the Book of the Law, that “every woman is a star.”
Alas! it is I the Beast that roared that Word so loud, and wakened Beauty.
Your tricks, your drowsy drugs, your lies, your hypnotic passes — they will not serve you.
Make up your minds to be free and fearless as I, fit mates for women no less free and fearless!
For I, The Beast, am come; an end to the evils of old, to the duping and clubbing of abject and ailing animals, degraded to that shameful state to serve that shameful pleasure. The essence of my Word is to declare woman to be Herself, of, to, and for Herself; and I give this one irresistible Weapon, the expression of Herself and Her will through sex, to Her on precisely the same terms as to man. Murder is no longer to be dreaded; the economic weapon is powerless since female labour has been found industrially valuable; and the social weapon is entirely in her own hands.
The best women have always been sexually-free, like the best men; it is only necessary to remove the penalties for being found out. Let Women’s labour organizations support any individual who is economically harried on sexual grounds; let social organizations honour in public what their members practise in private.
Most domestic unhhappiness will disappear automatically, for its chief cause is the sexual dissatisfaction of wives, or the anxiety (or other mental strain) engendered should they take the remedy in their own hands. The crime of abortion will lose its motive in all but the most exceptional cases.
Blackmail will be confined to commercial and political offences, thus diminishing its frequency by two-thirds, at least, maybe much more.
Social scandals and jealousies will tend to disappear.
Sexual disease will be easier to track and to combat, when it is not longer a disgrace to admit it.
Prostitution (with its attendant crimes) will tend to disappear, as it will cease to offer exorbitant profits to those who exploit it. The pre-occupation of the minds of the public with sexual questions will no longer breed moral disease and insanity, when the sex-appetite is treated as simply as hunger. Frankness of speech and writing on sex
ual questions will dispel the ignorance which entraps so many unfortunate people; proper precaution against actual dangers will replace unnecessary and absurd precautions against imaginary or artificial dangers; and the quacks who trade on fear will be put out of business.
All this must follow as the Light the night as soon as Woman, true to Herself, finds that She can no longer be false to any man. She must hold Herself and Her Will in honour; and She must compel the world to accord it.
The modern woman is not going to be dupe, slave, and victim any more; the woman who gives herself up freely to her own enjoyment, without asking recompense, will earn the respect of her brothers, and will openly despise her ‘chaste’ or venal sisters, as men now despise ‘milksops,’ ‘sissies,’ and ‘tango lizards.’ Love is to be divorced utterly and irrevocably from social and financial agreements, especially marriage. Love is a sport, an art, a religion, as you will; it is not an ol’ clo’ Emporium.
‘Mary inviolate’ is to be ‘torn upon wheels’ because tearing is the only treatment for her; and RV, a wheel, is the name of the feminine principle. (See Liber D.) It is her own sisters who are to punish her for the crime of denying Her nature, not men who are to redeem her, since, as above remarked, it is man’s own false sense of guilt, his selfishness, and his cowardice, which originally forced her to blaspheme against herself, and so degraded her in her own eyes, and in his. Let him attend to his own particular business, to redeem himself — he has surely his hands full! Woman will save herself if she be but left alone to do it. I see, it, I, the Beast, who have seen – who see —
Space splendid with stars, who have seen — who see — the Body of our Lady Nuith, all-pervading, and therein swallowed up, to have found — to find — no soul that is not wholly of Her. Woman! thou drawest us upward and onward for ever; and every woman is one among women, of Woman; one star of Her stars.
I see thee, Woman, thou standest alone, High Priestess art thou unto Love at the Altar of Life. And Man is the Victim therein.
Beneath thee, rejoicing, he lies; he exults as he dies, burning up in the breath of thy kiss. Yea, star rushes flaming to star; the blaze burst, splashes the skies.
There is a Cry in an unknown tongue, it resounds through the Temple of the Universe; in its one Word is Death and Ecstasy, and thy title of honour, o thou, to Thyself High Priestess, Prophetess, Empress, to thyself the Goddess whose Name means Mother and whore! […]
If we are to have Beauty and Love, whether in begetting children or works of art, or what not, we must have perfect freedom to act, without fear or shame or any falsity. […]
It is within the experience of most people that pleasure-parties and the like, if organized on the spur of the moment, are always a success, while the most elaborate entertainments, prepared with all possible care, often fall flat. Now one cannot exactly give rules for producing a ‘genius’ to order, a genius in this sense being one who has the Idea, and is fortified with power to enflame the enthusiasm of the crowd, with wit to know, and initiative to seize, the psychological moment.
But one can specify certain conditions, incompatible with the manifestation of this spontaneity; and the first of these is evidently absolute freedom from obstacles, internal or external, to the idea of the ‘genius.’
It is clear that a woman cannot love naturally, freely, wholesomely, if she is bound to contaminate the purity of her impulse with thoughts of her social, economical, and spiritual status. When such things restrain her, Love may conquer, as often enough it does; but the Beauty engendered is usually stunted or wried, assuming a tragic or cynic mask. The history of the world is full of such stories; it is, one may almost say, the chief motive of Romance. I need only mention Tristan, Paolo, Romeo, Othello, Paris, Edward the Second, Abelard, Tannhauser, of old, and recently Mrs. ~Asquith, Maud Allan, Charles Stuart Parnell, Sir Charles Dilke, Lord Henry Somerset, and Oscar Wilde, Down to ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle! […]
Thus we find that almost the only love-affairs which breed no annoyance, and leave no scar, are those between people who have accepted the Law of Thelema, and broken for good with the tabus of the slave-gods. The true artist, loving his art and nothing else, can enjoy a series of spontaneous liaisons, all his life long, yet never suffer himself, or cause any other to suffer.
Of such liaisons Beauty is ever the child; the wholesome attitude of the clean simple mind, free from all complications alien to Love, assures it.
Just as a woman’s body is deformed and diseased by the corset demanded by Jaganath Fashion, so is her soul by the compression of convention, which is a fashion as fitful, arbitrary, and senseless as that of the man-milliner, though they call him God, and his freakish Fiat pass for Everlasting Law.
The English Bible sanctions the polygamy and concubinage of Abraham, Solomon and others, the incest of Lot, the wholesale rape of captured virgins, as well as the promiscuity of the first Christians, the prostitution of temple servants, men and women, the relations of Johannes with his master, and the putting of wandering Prophets to stud, as well as the celibacy of such people as Paul. Jehovah went so far as to slay Onan because he balked at fertilizing his brother’s widow, condoned the adultery, with murder of the husband, of David, and commanded Hosea to intrigue with a “wife of whoredom.” He only drew the moral line at any self-assertion on the part of a woman.
In the past man has bludgeoned Woman into gratifying the lust of her loathed tyrant, and trampled the flower of her own love into the mire; making her rape more beastly by calling her antipathy Chastity, and proving her an unclean thing on the evidence of the torn soiled blossom.
She has had no chance to Love unless she first renounced the respect of society, and found a way to drive the wolf of hunger from her door.
Her chance is come! In any Abbey of Thelema any woman is welcome; there she is free to do her will, and held in honour for the doing. The child of love is a star, even as all are stars; but such an one we specially cherish; it is a trophy of battle fought and won!’
Abridged from the New Commentary to Liber AL vel Legis; III:55 -56