Aiwass is the name of the being whom Aleister Crowley claimed dictated "The Book of the Law", the central sacred text of Thelema, to him on April 8th, 9th, and 10th in 1904.

The dictation

The first appearance of Aiwass was during the Three Days of the writing of Liber Legis. His first and only identification as such is in Chapter I: "Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat" (AL I:7). Hoor-paar-kraat (Egyptian: Har-par-khered) is more commonly referred to by the Greek transliteration Harpocrates, meaning "Horus the Child", whom Crowley considered to be the central deity within the Thelemic cosmology (see: Aeon of Horus). However, Harpocrates also represents the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel. [Harv|Crowley|1996|p=29]

Crowley described the encounter in detail in "The Equinox of the Gods", saying that as he sat at his desk in Cairo, the voice of Aiwass came from over his left shoulder in the furthest corner of the room. This voice is described as passionate and hurried, and was "of deep timbre, musical and expressive, its tones solemn, voluptuous, tender, fierce or aught else as suited the moods of the message. Not bass—perhaps a rich tenor or baritone." [Harv|Crowley|1974|loc=ch. 7] Further, the voice was described as being devoid of "native [i.e. Egyptian, as the encounter occurred in Cairo] or foreign accent". Crowley also described a "strong impression" of the speaker's general appearance. He saw or pictured Aiwass with a body composed of "fine matter," having a gauze-like transparency. Further, the speaker "seemed to be a tall, dark man in his thirties, well-knit, active and strong, with the face of a savage king, and eyes veiled lest their gaze should destroy what they saw. The dress was not Arab; it suggested Assyria or Persia, but very vaguely." [Harv|Crowley|1974|loc=ch. 7]

In the later-written "Liber 418", the voice of the 8th Aethyr says "my name is called Aiwass," and "in "The Book of the Law" did I write the secrets of truth that are like unto a star and a snake and a sword." Crowley says this later manifestation took the form of a pyramid of light.


Crowley went to great pains to argue that Aiwass was an objectively separate being from himself, possessing far more knowledge than he or any other human could possibly have. As Crowley writes in his "Confessions": "I was bound to admit that Aiwass had shown a knowledge of the Cabbala immeasurably superior to my own" [Harv|Crowley|1979|loc=ch. 50] and "We are forced to conclude that the author of "The Book of the Law" is an intelligence both alien and superior to myself, yet acquainted with my inmost secrets; and, most important point of all, that this intelligence is discarnate." [Harv|Crowley|1979|loc=ch. 49] Finally, this excerpt (also from "Confessions", ch.49):

:"The existence of true religion presupposes that of some discarnate intelligence, whether we call him God or anything else. And this is exactly what no religion had ever proved scientifically. And this is what The Book of the Law does prove by internal evidence, altogether independent of any statement of mine. This proof is evidently the most important step in science that could possibly be made: for it opens up an entirely new avenue to knowledge. The immense superiority of this particular intelligence, AIWASS, to any other with which mankind has yet been in conscious communication is shown not merely by the character of the book itself, but by the fact of his comprehending perfectly the nature of the proof necessary to demonstrate the fact of his own existence and the conditions of that existence. And, further, having provided the proof required." [Harv|Crowley|1979|loc=ch. 49]

However, Crowley also spoke of Aiwass in symbolic terms. In "The Law is for All", [Harv|Crowley|1996|pp=29-32] he goes on at length in comparison to various other deities and spiritual concepts, but most especially to The Fool. For example, he writes of Aiwass: "In his absolute innocence and ignorance he is The Fool; he is the Saviour, being the Son who shall trample on the crocodiles and tigers, and avenge his father Osiris. Thus we see him as the Great Fool of Celtic legend, the Pure Fool of Act I of "Parsifal", and, generally speaking, the insane person whose words have always been taken for oracles."

Perhaps more importantly, Crowley later identified Aiwass as his own personal Holy Guardian Angel and more. Again from "Equinox of the Gods": "I now incline to believe that Aiwass is not only the God or Demon or Devil once held holy in Sumer, and mine own Guradian Angel, but also a man as I am, insofar as He uses a human body to make His magical link with Mankind, whom He loves, and that He is thus an Ipsissimus, the Head of the A.'.A.'." [Harv|Crowley|1974|loc=ch. 7]

However, by the 1930s, Crowley may have felt that he had been abandoned by Aiwass, as reported by Shri Gurudev Mahendranath in "The Londinium Temple Strain", where he reports this conversation he had with Crowley:

:The Magus often visited me in a little flatlet I had on the King's Road front at Brighton. He frequently came down from London and stayed at the Ship Hotel. One afternoon I put to him the question, "Where is Aiwass now?" Crowley looked at me and gave his head a minute shake and then spread his arms with upturned palms as if to say, "Where?" or even "God knows!" Then he spoke, "I think the fault is mine." [Mahendranath (1990)]


Crowley, being the Qabalist that he was, labored to discover Aiwass's number within the system of gematria. Initially he believed that it was 78, based on the name of an associate, Samuel Jacob, whose Hebrew name was SHMUEL Bar AIWAZ bie YACKOU de SHERABAD: "I had decided on AIVAS = 78, the number of Mezla, the influence from the highest unity, and therefore suitable enough as the title of a messenger from Him." [Harv|Crowley|1979|loc=ch. 85] When Mr. Jacobs gave Crowley the Hebrew spelling of the name, to Crowley's great delight it was OIVZ, which equated to 93, the number of Thelema itself. Crowley remained perplexed, though, since the spelling of the name in AL was "Aiwass" not "AIVAS", which does not add up to 93. However, when Crowley decided to use the Greek Qabalah, he discovered that ...

:"...its value is 418! and this is the number of the Magical Formula of the Aeon. It represents the practice of the Book as 93 does the theory. It is now evident with what inconceivable ingenuity AIWAZ has arranged his expression. He is not content to give one spelling of his name, however potent; he gives two which taken together are not merely twice as significant as either alone, but more so, in a degree which is beyond me to calculate." [Harv|Crowley|1979|loc=ch. 85]

According to Israel Regardie [cite book
author=Israel Regardie
title=A Garden of Pomegranates
chapter=The Literal Qabalah
pages=p. 115
] , a certain "Qabalist of tremendous knowledge" would have discovered a Hebrew spelling that enumerates to 418 were he aware that Tav is pronounced /s/ when without a "dagesh":: (tav)400 + (aleph)1 + (waw)6 + (yod)10 + (aleph)1 = 418



*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1982|Title=The Book of the Law: Liber AL vel Legis|Place=York Beach, ME|Publisher= Weiser|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1979|Title=The Confessions of Aleister Crowley|Place=London;Boston|Publisher= Routledge & Kegan Paul|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1974|Title=Equinox of the Gods|Place=New York, NY|Publisher=Gordon Press|URL=
*Harvard reference|Surname=Crowley|Given=Aleister|Authorlink=Aleister Crowley|Year=1996|Title=The Law is for All|Place=Tempe, AZ|Publisher=New Falcon Publications|ISBN=1561840904
*Mahendranath, Shri Gurudev (1990), " [ The Scrolls of Mahendranath] ". Seattle: International Nath Order.
*Thelemapedia. (2004). " [ Aiwass.] " Retrieved April 14, 2006.

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