Australia: the land of sun worshippers

Liber Resh for everyone! Part I

Grand Master Shiva X°

The solar adorations of Thelema, known as Liber Resh, are a rite from the initiatic Order A∴A∴, who OTO Grand Lodge works closely with.

In Liber Resh, a ritual composed by Aleister Crowley, at 4 times during the day (dawn, noon, sunset and midnight) the aspirant to the A∴A∴ gives the Sign of his or her Grade, greets the Sun with an invocation, performs an adoration, and then settles into meditation.

As with most of Crowley’s ritual corpus, the simpler the ritual the more profound its virtues. Liber Resh is no different. Adoring the Sun in this manner is said to ensure: “Thus shalt thou ever be mindful of the Great Work which thou hast undertaken to perform, and thus shalt thou be strengthened to pursue it unto the attainment of the Stone of the Wise, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.”

The beauty of Liber Resh is that it is for everyone, not just for those dedicated aspirants to the Great Order of A∴A∴. Everyone has a pure nature and Way to be or perform in day to day life, and all of us could do with True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness. All of us can likewise benefit from the purity of the Stone of the Wise (the alchemy of existence) and the selflessness of the Summum Bonum or supreme good.

Liber Resh is given here:

  1. These are the adorations to be performed by aspirants to the A∴A∴
  2. Let him greet the Sun at dawn, facing East, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
    Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy rising, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy strength, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the Sun.
    Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
    Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!
  3. Also at Noon, let him greet the Sun, facing South, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
    Hail unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy triumphing, even unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy beauty, who travellest over the heavens in thy bark at the Mid-course of the Sun.
    Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
    Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!
  4. Also, at Sunset, let him greet the Sun, facing West, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
    Hail unto Thee who art Tum in Thy setting, even unto Thee who art Tum in Thy joy, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Down-going of the Sun.
    Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
    Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Day!
  5. Lastly, at Midnight, let him greet the Sun, facing North, giving the sign of his grade, and let him say in a loud voice:
    Hail unto thee who art Khephra in Thy hiding, even unto Thee who art Khephra in Thy silence, who travellest over the heavens in Thy bark at the Midnight Hour of the Sun.
    Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
    Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening.
  6. And after each of these invocations thou shalt give the sign of silence, and afterward thou shalt perform the adoration that is taught thee by thy Superior. And then do thou compose Thyself to holy meditation.
  7. Also it is better if in these adorations thou assume the God-form of Whom thou adorest, as if thou didst unite with Him in the adoration of That which is beyond Him.
  8. Thus shalt thou ever be mindful of the Great Work which thou hast undertaken to perform, and thus shalt thou be strengthened to pursue it unto the attainment of the Stone of the Wise, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.

(This was written in and for the northern hemisphere. Swap north and south in the southern hemisphere)

In the A∴A∴. canon, Liber Resh is a “Class D” publication – meaning it is an official instruction or ritual of this Order. It is assigned to Course 2 (for Probationers to the Order), however there’s a great deal of published and oral tradition – and a healthy dose of common sense – to indicate Liber Resh was intended as a lifelong practice. In the old OTO Newsletter (1979), the former head of the OTO, Grady McMurtry, a student of Aleister Crowley in the 1940s, recounted how the aging Magus discreetly did Liber Resh while they were on a London double decker bus together. In a letter to McMurtry from the same period, Crowley complained about having to explain the performance of Liber Resh to McMurtry, as he’d already seen him perform it firsthand.

In the official A∴A∴ publication of Liber Resh in Book Four (edited by OTO Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta), archival notes from Aleister Crowley give provisions for how you would do the rite if you had no grade in the A∴A∴, or if you happened to be in the OTO. There is also an OTO paper by Crowley (as OTO head) which insists upon OTO members practicing the solar adorations. Liber Resh is mentioned consistently in Crowley’s private letters of instructions over the decades. It all implies that Liber Resh is singularly important, and a rite anyone can do, whether affiliated with the Orders of initiation or not. And there is great merit in doing so in the Great Southern Land!

The only secret to the rite is that the A∴A∴ aspirant must “perform the adoration that is taught thee by thy Superior.” There is obviously a teacher-student transmission or inner instruction relevant to that Order and system of Initiation, concerning performance. Be that as it may, for all outside the A∴A∴, the ritual can easily be worked. For the adoration for example, the “adorations” from the Book of the Law chapter 3 are often used. Crowley gives other provisions for personal performance which have been included in the official publication of Book Four.

“Resh” is the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet (רֹ) and means “head.” In Thelema it is attributed to the Tarot Card XIX The Sun, and the 30th path on the qabalistic Tree of Life. רֹ has the numerical value of 200, the number assigned to Liber Resh (which is also referred to as Liber 200). Studying up on these correspondences can enhance understanding and performance.

In the Official Instructions of the A∴A∴ (Book Four, Appendix 1), Liber Resh is described as “An instruction for adoration of the Sun four times daily, with the object of composing the mind to meditation and of regularizing the practices.” A somewhat fuller description is given by Crowley in his Confessions:

“The object of this practice is firstly to remind the aspirant at regular intervals of the Great Work; secondly, to bring him into conscious personal relations with the centre of our system; and thirdly, for advanced students, to make actual magical contact with the spiritual energy of the Sun and thus to draw actual force from him.”

In all of these objects and especially in objects 2 and 3, Liber Resh accords with the doctrine and practices of Ordo Templi Orientis, its course of training from beginner through to advanced practitioner, and its Gnostic Catholic Mass.