Aleister Crowley, one of the most prolific and ecletic occult authors of the 20th century, may not be well known for
his work on the I Ching, but he was actually an avid student of oriental wisdom, and deseves more credit for having provided
one of, if not the earliest english translations of the Tao Te Ching.
Although he never produced a major work on the I Ching itself, he did write about the hexagrams, and particularly about
the trigrams, on a number of occasions.
Perhaps his most interesting, and certainly his most original contribution is Liber Trigrammaton sub Figura XXVII subtitled
'The Book of the Trigrams of the mutations of the Tao with the Yin and Yang'.
In this short book, considered by many followers of Crowleys writings to be on of the Holy books of 'Thelema', Crowley
presents a set of 27 trigrams composed not only of the whole and broken lines of yin and yang, but also dots to represent
the tao itself.
As with so much of Crowley's work, interpretation of the 27 trigrams he presents can be difficult. But what he seems
to be showing in this progression, which begins with three dots of pure tao and moves through three tang lines to finnish
with three yin lines at the end, is the unfolding of the Tao into material existence and the subsequent way of return.
In both this and the I Ching appendix to '777
' Crowleys aim seems to be to highlight the underlying unity of Chinese and western esoteric philosophy by expressing concepts
of the western mystery tradition through the symbols of oriental philosophy. 777 is concerned mainly with qabalistic
tables of correspondences, which show associations between indeas from different traditions and philosophies (for more see
Kabbalah and the Perenial Philosophy
The Khien trigram, for example, composed of three yang lines, is associated with the Hindu Lingam, the astrological attribution
of the sun, and the Hebrew letter yod. Te Li trigram, composed of a single yin line in between two yang lines is associated
with the Hindu concept of prana, the planet Jupiter, and the Hebrew letter vav, whilst the three yin lines of Khwan is associated
with the mon, yoni and the letter heh.
Whilst both of Crowley's works mentioned hee are quite short they are nevertheless quite interesting and informative
for anyone studying the subject from a western perspective.