Is the Holy Guardian Angel internal or external?

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The Holy Guardian Angel is Within & WithoutMany people push for an interpretation of the Holy Guardian Angel as exclusively internal (as in the case when we say the Angel is another name for the unconscious or a name for some deeper/truer aspect of ourselves) or exclusively external (as in the case when we say the Angel is a physically and mentally separate entity from the individual who oversees and guides his or her life).

In Magick Without Tears, Crowley is discussing how language is often vague when describing “God” and spiritual experience in general. He talks about this notion of God as “within” when he says, “‘The word of Sin is Restriction.’ (AL I, 41).  Our formula, roughly speaking, is to go out and grab what we want.  We do this so thoroughly that we grow thereby, extending our conception of ‘I’ by including each new accretion instead of remaining a closely delineated self, proud of possessing other things, as do the Black Brothers. We are whole-hearted extroverts; the penalty of restricting oneself is anything from neurosis to down right lunacy; in particular, melancholia.” Even in our extroversion – in our reaching out to & interacting with the world – we are exploring that which is within and letting it manifest.

“You ask whether these remarks do not conflict with my repeated definition of Initiation as the Way In.  Not at all; The Inmost is identical with the All. As you travel inward, you become able to perceive all the layers which surround the “Self” from within, thus enlarging the scope of your vision of the Universe… When the entire system of the Universe is conterminous with your comprehension, ‘inward’ and ‘outward’ become identical.” (emphasis added)

Even as we moved inwards even in our moving outwards as extroverts, so too does our Way In lead us to the All. In talking about the Holy Guardian Angel and Attainment, we often speak about getting beyond dualities including good and evil, upright and averse, mercy and severity, and even self & not-self. One we also have to learn to get beyond is our dualistic understanding of things as either inside or outside.

While this is true, we have to understand that it may be more practical & effective to speak about the Holy Guardian Angel as either external or internal at various times and to different people. Fresh Fever From the Skies: The Collected Writings of IAO131Crowley, when talking about whether angels & demons were truly external/separate from ourselves, remarked “Our Canon of Truth is Maximum Convenience.” If it makes communication clearer & more coherent to speak of a Being separate from myself, the Angel will be spoken of as external; if it makes communication clearer & more coherent to speak of the True Self or an aspect of oneself that is the Angel, then the Angel will be spoken of as internal. All this should be understood in the light that Godhead itself is beyond these divisions with which language inherently limits us.

“The keystone to this arch some have called God, some Brahma, some Zeus, some Allah, some even IAO the God of the sounding name; but in truth, O seeker, it is Thy-SELF – this higher dimension in which the inner becomes the outer, and in which the single Eye alone can see the throbbing heart, Master of the entangled skein of veins.” -The Temple of Solomon the King

Love is the law, love under will.



  1. 93,

    I feel that the Guardian Angel is the part of the self that transcends time and space.. it is Internal and External. It is the Ascended Self…


    1. 93 patricia: Interesting thoughts. In that sense, if the Angel is the part of the self that transcends time and space what is the part that does not transcend time and space? and what is that which transcends both of these?


  2. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    The biggest obstacle anybody has to them becoming the person they would like to or is meant be, is actually their fixed view of themselves and their situation in life. The person we would like others to see us as can be a restricting to fulfilment as such. For me I struggled for years looking for a Holy Guardian Angel. As an introverted personality type, I stupidly thought I could grovel and beg my way to godhead and become a great successful person like Aleister Crowley using this self-sacrificing method he promoted. I would no longer be shy and retiring by retreating into a deeply spiritual work. When I failed to get anywhere in this I simply became more focused on it and even more determined to retreat away. I started to lose my way following Crowley’s works into thinking my evil was holding me back; I became a recluse from it all. Unsurprisingly it made me worse, even ill. This wasn’t Crowley’s fault as such as what he teaches works well for people like him. For me however it was exactly the opposite from what I needed.
    There is a danger of the concept of ‘self’ being misleading when talking about these things. There is also far too much mystical language about The Abramelin Operation, which is simply about finding the true self and true will and doing it. I often hear the phrase be careful what you wish for as it will come true. Human beings are essentially self-fulfilling prophecies. How you define yourself is how you start to become and this then reinforces it further and resonates throughout your whole being until nothing else is possible. This is how it should be as long as you are working in the right direction for your personality type.
    In the Abramelin Operation there is the self, The Deity and the Angel; the go between. The deity you chose for the operation is a below the abyss concept, not an above the abyss one. It must be one that brings out all that you lack as an individual to make you perfect; the above the abyss idea of godhead (Hadit for a man, Nuit for a woman). Take Crowley’s example Ankh f n Khonsu is a priest named after a moon god, yet oddly he worships a sun god, this a vital clue that is sadly overlooked. What I am saying is that in order to make one a Nuit or Hadit, the ideal, you need to find what is underdeveloped in you, to bring that deficient part of you out and make you whole. So for a Crowley type personality, his methodology will work wonders. He makes it clear he is an extrovert so what do us introverts do? It took me years to work this out and it was a real challenge to my whole sense of being. I was a very moral person in my youth, I would never put a foot wrong, I had no over developed ego in need of restraining, like young Aleister. People used to worry I wasn’t bad enough to even earn the right to have an ego if anything.
    To wish for perfection is the only correct wish to wish for you see, else if you get your wish, then where would you be? To sum up it is all simply 0=2. ‘Good’ is just as much an imperfection as ‘Evil’ you see. I realised that I had been going about it all the wrong way. Instead of following the Great White Brotherhood ideal my destiny was instead to become A Black Brother Of The Left Hand Path. It all started to work for me by choosing instead a lunar god form of Heru-Khonsu (Horus as the moon) and not to look for a Holy Guardian Angel (ruled by Michael, the ‘good’ angel in the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil) but an Evil Genius (ruled by Samael, the Evil Angel from the same Tree Of Knowledge). The perfect is absolute nothing you see and so The Abramelin Operation is more about finding that which cancels out the imperfections of the self. To put it mathematically you have the perfected self as 0, the deity as 1 and the HGA or EG as -1 and hey presto 1 + -1 = 0.

    Love is the law, love under will.


  3. I guess when it comes down to it, neither the internal or external perceptions of the HGA are anymore valid than the other since both are the same. Gods of lore and theology are but archetypes of the nature of Man and of Man as nature, hence there is no god but Man; hence the shadow work of the Unconscious (“The psychological rule states when an inner situation is not made conscious it appears outside as fate” – Carl Jung); hence the powerful workings of magick and divination… the causes and effects of prayer and meditation… etc.


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