Advice on a suitable book for Tree of Life?


Hyperbole aside (and I have strong suspicions Crowley wrote or at least edited that text himself), I've always seen the BoT as an exercise in syncretism to partially satisfy the stated goal. It would have had to encompass a multi-volume encyclopedic set in order to be as detailed as we might have wished.
Liber 777 is another expression of that syncretism. In a way it is the raw data behind the Thoth Tarot arranged in tabular form. Of course this is, in a certain sense, rather dry and lifeless. The Thoth deck distils it and brings it to life in a way that is immediately accessible.

The revised version of 777 was Crowley's attempt at "fleshing out" the data. Dion Fortune and John Bonner use the same 'data set', and their books form a sort of commentary on the most important parts of Liber 777.

(It's almost beyond doubt that Crowley wrote the biographical note. His relationship with Soror I.W.E. (Martha Küntzel ) was rather frosty at that time due to the war.)


Another general Qabalah book that hasn't been mentioned so far is:

Qabalah: A Magical Primer, by John Bonner

I try to "big-up" this book whenever an opportunity arises, and frequently use it as my 'go-to' recommendation for an introductory Qabalah book (after Chicken Qabalah).

Essentially it's a general overview of the Qabalah in the mould of Dion Fortune's, The Mystical Qabalah. Many people who have read the latter work claim that, despite its brilliance, it is written in a rather turgid and boring style. (A similar complaint is often levelled at Israel Regardie.) Thankfully John Bonner is anything but boring. His book is dense but still highly readable.

The book covers general questions about the nature and purpose of Qabalah, an overview of its history and how Hermetic Qabalah fits into the development of Kabbalah from its Hebraic roots to Aleister Crowley. Then concepts such as the formation of the Tree of Life and various structural components such as the Three Pillars and the Triads is covered before moving onto the Four Worlds.

Before the main body of the text in which the Ain and the Sephiroth are examined, Bonner explains the categories of correspondences that will be used throughout the rest of the book. Most of these are drawn directly from Crowley's, Liber 777, and include:

The Titles of the Sephiroth.
The Yetziratic text.
The names of God.
The Mundane Chakras.
The Gods and Goddesses.
The Orders of the Angels.
The Orders of the Qliphoth.
Magical Powers.
Virtues and Vices.
Magical Images.
Magical Grades (A.'.A.'.)
Magical Weapons and Symbols.
The Divisions of Man.
The Chakras.
Colours in the Four Worlds.
The Book of Thoth.
Other correspondences: Animals, Plants, Drugs.

Using the above format Bonner covers the Ain and the Sephiroth in turn from the perspective of Thelema, the philosophy that informs the Thoth Tarot, and quotes the The Book of the Law during his explanation. However this does not stop him referencing older works such as the Zohar and the ideas of the Lurianic Kabbalists.

Finally there is a brief chapter on the methods of the literal qabalah: Gematria, Notariqon and Temurah.

All of this is explained in a clear and readable fashion. And at no point does it feel like a chore to read. For this reason I recommend Bonner over Fortune or Regardie. While all three cover Qabalah in a similar way, the latter two are notorious for their coma inducing writing styles.

In addition the foreword is written by Hymenaeus Beta, current Frater Superior of the Ordo Templi Orientis.

Great book thanks for the recommendation. It's not a hefty tome either, clear paragraph and section headings. I find I can dip in quickley and find the relevant sephirah easily for study.