Chapter I Commentary

The five chapters refer to the five Elements. 
1 - Earth, 2 - Air, 3 - Water, 4 - Fire, and 5 - Spirit.
Each shows its Element in the light of the relation  between the Adeptus Minor and his
Holy Guardian Angel

Thus in Chapter 1 the material world or sensible aspect
of Nature is shown to be a mere symbolic picture of
something altogether different. 

(Verse 1) Invocation of kundalini

The Adept “dies” to the natural world and blooms as a Lotus. He ceases: and enters the midnight slience where he adores Khephra. Then he awaits the coming of his Lord

(Verses 2-11) The Angel says: Each man sees Nature in his own particular way. What he sees is only an image. All images must be ignored; the Adept must aspire single-heartedly to the Smooth Point. This matter cannot be discussed in common language; the king must speak of kingly things in a kingly way. 

(Verse 12) Silence. The Adept reports his impressions. The highest degree of any given kind of energy surpasses the receptive power of the observer. Thus it appears as if of some other order. 

(Verse 13) The subtler the form of energy, the more potent, but it is less easily observed.

(Verse 14) Truth destroys the reason. 

(Verse 15) Life disturbs the placidity of the mind’s acceptance of dead symbols as reality. 

(Verse 16) The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel gives a new and higher form of energy which destroys the grosser types of existence. 

(Verse 17) The process continues until complete. 

(Verse 18) Phenomena result from resistance to “love.” Perfect union is silent. 

(Verses 19-21) V.V.V.V.V. being perfectly Adeptus Minor appears evil. 

(Verse 22) Those who understand all this Work praise V.V.V.V.V.

(Verses 23-24) They do so in secret ways. 

(Verse 25) Perdurabo hindered his own success by over-eagerness.

(Verses 26-27) Union once made is permanent. 

(Verse 28) The Angel is crownded with the Zodiac. His body is that of Nuit. 

(Verse 29) Stability has been found on a basis of continual change.(

(Verse 30) Seems an injunction to the Holy Guardian Angel to keep in close touch with the Adept. 

(Verse 31) The Adept accepts this as a definite promise. 

(Verses 32-33) Proposal to view phenomena from the new standpoint. 

(Verses 34-36) Two points of view: as a girl’s smile involves the death of many cells in her body. 

(Verse 37) The above explains why men should resent their savior. They misinterpret his acts as destructive. 

(Verse 38) He in his human mind is distressed at this. 

(Verses 39-40) But the whole relation is illusion. In reality the Angel and the Adept are simply arranging to sail through eternity together; the Work of the Adept in redeeming Mankind is only an image seen as he fashions his mother-of-pearl. 

(Verses 41-42) The human mind demands to be relieved of its sorrow by seeing Nature in this light on the ground that it has served the Masters with unselfish devotion. 

(Verse 43) The mind demanded complete relief. 

(Verses 44-46) The method. Know everything possible, become indifferent to all. This attained, become perfectly passive. 

(Verses 47-48) Persephone, the earth-bound soul. Corn = material nourishment; its result is sorrow. Narcissus = the sexual instinct flowering as Beauty. 

Instantly the soul forgets the “corn” and desires the flower, Hades comes and carries her off. Hades is the lord of “Hell,” i.e. the dark and secret but divine Soul within every man and woman. The rape thus means that the desire for Beauty awakes the Unconscious Self who then takes possession of the Soul, and enthrones her, only allowing her to return to earth (Knowledge of the material world) at certain seasons, in order to attend to the welfare of mankind. 

(Verse 49) I was seized by the impulse to adore Beauty, and felt ashamed at my inability to write a poem on the spot which should be worthy of the theme. 
    by Aleister Crowley