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What’s New – Home – Login. School Donation Program In Memory of How To Swap Books? Aleister Crowley ; 12 October — 1 Decemberborn Edward Alexander Crowleyand also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beastwas an influential English occultist, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. Through this belief he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted alrister informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus ina time when old ethical and religious systems would be replaced.
Widely seen as one of the most influential occultists of all time, he was a member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as well as a co-founder of the A? He is known today for his magical writings, especially The Book of the Lawthe ctowley sacred text of Thelema, although he also wrote widely on other subjects, including a large amount of fiction and poetry.
Crowley was also a bisexual, recreational drug experimenter and social critic. In many of these roles he “was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time”, espousing a form of libertinism based upon the rule of “Do What Thou Wilt”. Because of this, he gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as “the wickedest man in maija world. Crowley has remained an influential figure right up till this day, and ina BBC poll described him as being the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time.
References to him can be found in the works of numerous writers, musicians and filmmakers, and he has also been cited as a key influence on many later esoteric groups and individuals, including Kenneth Grant, Gerald Gardner and, to some degree, Austin Osman Spare.
I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
His father, Edward Crowley, was trained as an engineer but, according to Aleister, never worked as one, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley instead owning shares in a lucrative family brewery business, which allowed him to retire before Aleister was born. His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop, drew roots from a Devon and Somerset family and was despised by her son, whom she described as “the Beast”, a name that he revelled in. His father, who had been born a Quaker, had converted to the Exclusive Brethren, a more conservative faction of a Christian denomination known as the Plymouth Brethren, as had his mother when she married him.
His father was particularly devout, spending his time as a travelling preacher for the sect and reading to his wife and son a daily reading of a chapter from the Bible after breakfast. On 5 Marchwhen Crowley was 11, his father died of tongue cancer.
Aleister would later describe this as a turning point in his life, and he always maintained some admiration for his father, describing him as “his hero and his friend”. Inheriting his father’s wealth, he was subsequently sent to Ebor School in Cambridge, a private Plymouth Brethren school, but was expelled for “attempting to corrupt another boy”.
Following this he attended Malvern College and then Tonbridge School, both of which he despised and soon left after only a few terms and then attending Eastbourne College. He became increasingly skeptical about Christianity, pointing out logic inconsistencies in the Bible to his religious teachers and went against the Christian morality of his upbringing, for instance embracing sex by visiting male and female prostitutes, from one of whom he contracted gonorrhea.
It was here that he further severed his ties with Christianity, later stating: The Church of England When I discovered that chapel was compulsory I immediately struck back. The junior dean halled me for not attending chapel, which I was certainly not going to do, because it involved early rising.
I excused myself on the ground that I had been brought up among the Plymouth Brethren. The dean asked me to come and see him occasionally and discuss the matter, and I had the astonishing impudence to write to him that ‘The seed planted by my father, watered by my mother’s tears, would prove too hardy a growth to be uprooted even by his eloquence and learning. Of this, he later stated: For many years I had loathed being called Alick, partly because of the unpleasant sound and sight of the word, partly because it was the name by which my mother called me.
Edward did not seem to suit me and the diminutives Ted or Ned were even less appropriate. Alexander was too long and Sandy suggested tow hair and freckles. I had read in some book or other that the most favourable name for becoming famous was one consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee, as at the end of a hexameter: Aleister Crowley fulfilled these conditions and Aleister is the Gaelic form of Alexander.
To adopt it would satisfy my romantic ideals. For these reasons I saddled myself with my present nom-de-guerre—I can’t say that I feel sure that I facilitated the process of becoming famous.
I should doubtless have done so, whatever name I had chosen. Crowley largely spent his time at university engaged in his pastimes, one of which was mountaineering; he went on holiday to the Alps to do so every year from toand various other mountaineers who knew him at this time recognized him as “a promising climber, although somewhat erratic”. Another of his hobbies was writing poetry, which he had been doing since the age of ten, and in he privately published one hundred copies of one of his poems, Aceldamabut it was not a particular success.
Nonetheless, that same year he published a string of other poems, the most notable of which appeared in White Stainsa piece of erotica that had to be printed abroad as a safety measure in case it caused trouble with the British authorities. Part of this work, according to biographer Lawrence Sutin, “deserves a place in any wide-ranging anthology of gay poetry.
These were the people to whose ranks I was seeking admission. InCrowley met a man named Herbert Charles Pollitt, the president of the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, and the two subsequently entered into a relationship but broke up because Pollitt did not share Crowley’s increasing interest in the esoteric.
Crowley himself stated, “I told him frankly that I had given my life to religion and that he did not fit into the scheme. I see now how imbecile I was, how hideously wrong and weak it is to reject any part of one’s personality. In October a brief illness triggered considerations of mortality and “the futility of all human endeavour,” or at least the futility of the diplomatic career that Crowley had previously considered; instead, he decided to devote his life to the occult.
In he left Cambridge, not having taken any degree at all despite a “first class” showing in his spring exams and consistent “second class honours” results before that.
Weber, Marko [WorldCat Identities]
Baker, and the two began talking about their common interest in alchemy. Crowley was subsequently initiated into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn on 18 November by the group’s head, S. The ceremony itself took place at Mark Masons Hall in London, where Crowley accepted his motto and magical name of Frater Perdurabomeaning “I shall endure to the end. There, Crowley would prepare two different rooms: He soon invited a Golden Dawn associate, Allan Bennett, to live with him, and Bennett became his personal tutor, teaching him more about ceremonial magic and the ritual usage of drugs.
He subsequently developed a love of Scottish culture, describing himself as the “Laird of Boleskine” and took to wearing traditional highland dress, even during visits back to London. However, a schism had developed in the Golden Dawn, with MacGregor Mathers, the organization’s leader, being ousted by a group of members who were unhappy with his autocratic rule.
Crowley had previously approached this group, asking to be initiated into further orders of the Golden Dawn, but they had declined him. Unfazed, he went directly to MacGregor Mathers, who still held the post of chief at the time and who initiated him into the Second Order after learning of the situation. Now loyal to Mathers, Crowley with the help of his then mistress and fellow initiate, Elaine Simpson attempted to help crush the rebellion and unsuccessfully attempted to seize a London temple space known as the Vault of Rosenkreutz from the rebels.
Crowley had also developed more personal feuds with some of the Golden Dawn’s members; he disliked the poet W. Yeats, who had been one of the rebels, because Yeats had not been particularly favourable towards one of his own poems, Jephthat. He also disliked Arthur Edward Waite, who would rouse the anger of his fellows at the Golden Dawn with his pedantry.
Crowley voiced the view that Waite was a pretentious bore through searing critiques of Waite’s writings and editorials of other authors’ writings. Travels around the World: During this period, Eckenstein revealed mystical leanings of his own and told him that he needed to improve the control of his mind, recommending the practice of raja yoga.
Crowley had continued his magical experimentation on his own after leaving Mathers and the Golden Dawn, and his writings suggest that he discovered the word Abrahadabra during this time. Leaving Mexico, a country that he would always remain fond of, Crowley visited San Francisco, Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong and Ceylon, where he met up with Allan Bennett and devoted himself further to yoga, from which he claimed to have achieved the spiritual state of dhyana.
It was during this visit that Bennett decided to become a Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, travelling to Burma, whilst Crowley went on to India, studying various Hindu practices. Wesseley, and Dr Jules Jacot-Guillarmod. Together the Eckenstein-Crowley expedition attempted to climb the mountain K2, which at that time no other Europeans had attempted.
Upon the journey, Crowley was afflicted with influenza, malaria, and snow blindness, whilst other expedition members were similarly stricken with illness. They finally reached a point of before deciding to turn back. Returning to Europe, he visited MacGregor Mathers in Paris, and although they had once been friends, the two soon fell out; Crowley stated that Mathers had been stealing from him whilst he had been away he subsequently stole the items backand as Crowley’s biographer John Symonds noted, both figures now considered themselves the superior esotericist, each refusing to submit to the other.
However, soon after their marriage, Crowley actually fell in love with her and set about to woo her. Gerald Kelly was in fact a very good friend of W.
Somerset Maugham, who would later use Crowley as model for his novel The Magicianpublished in Aiwass and The Book of the Law: During this time, according to Crowley’s own account, Rose, who was pregnant, had become somewhat delusional, regularly informing him that “they are waiting for you”.
It was on 18 March, after Crowley sought the aid of the Egyptian god Thoth, that she actually revealed who the “they” were — the god Horus and his alleged messenger. She then led him to a nearby museum in Cairo where she showed him a 7th century BCE mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu it would later come to be revered in Thelema as the “Stele of Revealing” ; Crowley was astounded for the exhibit’s number wasthe number of the beast.
He took this all to be a sign and on 20 March began invoking the god Horus in his room.
It was after this invocation that Rose, or as he now referred to her, Ouarda the Seeress, informed him that akeister Equinox of the Gods had come”. This referred to a more cosmic version of the regular Golden Dawn ritual of the Equinox, when they changed their initiating officer and password. The Equinox of the Gods supposedly replaces the office’s ruling deity Osiris with Horus.
It was on 8 April that Crowley first heard a voice talking to him and calling itself Aiwass. The nature of Aiwass has never mqgija fully explained. Crowley’s disciple and secretary Israel Regardie believes that this voice came from Crowley’s subconscious, but opinions among Thelemites differ widely.
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Crowley wrote down everything the aleisteer told him over the course of the next three days, and subsequently titled it Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law. The god’s commands explained that a new Aeon for mankind had begun, and that Crowley would serve as its prophet.
As a supreme moral law, it declared “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, and that people should learn to live in tune with their “True Will”. Meanwhile in Crowley traveled once more to India in order to lead a mountaineering expedition up the Kangchenjunga, although they failed to reach the top, alesiter four men were killed by an avalanche.
Crowley’s apparently uncaring attitudes towards the deaths and the fact that he beat one of the porters made “himself odious in the eyes of all mountaineers. The family embarked on a trip through China, Rose having chosen this destination over Persia.