“Hey, Zaphod’s just this guy, you know?”
I find it important to avoid hero worship, to always remember that Zaphod’s just this guy. Part of my being a Thelemite is to avoid the lazy trap of becoming a Crowleyite. Uncle Al was very human. Of course, another trap is letting someone’s flaws convince you to disregard everything else about them, see Miles, Lovecraft, Allah (Clarence 13X), Ye, etc. Of course, YMMV, there are artists that I will avoid wholesale because of their stupidity. Looking at you Lydon.
I first read this book first over 30ish years ago while I was tussling about with a Thelemic boy-toy and my beatnik roommate had a copy. I was (and am) well-read and had a foundation in mysticism and meditation, with a healthy (?) skepticism. I was a hungry spiritual seeker and wanted to KNOW dammit! I knew Crowley by reputation, especially from Colin Wilson’s The Occult, yet had not yet given the devil his due.
Needless to say, most of this book went over my head. Oh but I Got IT! I wasn’t sure if Crowley and Thelema were the Way but I was willing to try.
Back to 2021, I have kept Thelema close. I have also become an adult with a disposable income and have started updating my Uncle Al collection. This was a fun re-read, insomnia at 3am (eternal) on a Saturday, I took over the couch and read this all the way through, stopping for coffee and breakfast, smooching the wife et al. Oh, it’s a completely different book than that young man in Queens read so long ago.
A few years ago, in my effort to finally become an adult, I took some advice from Rodney Orpheus’s writing and rewrote the LBRP to my own ethos. This re-read helped me understand why it was working and gave me clues to rework the Hexagram rituals.
All Al’s foibles and pomposity seemed larger, almost like self-mockery, to be treated as blinds.
I look forward to re-reading his rest, although I will take it slow.