quinta-feira, 31 de maio de 2012
Aleister Crowley (by Christian Bouchet)
(Selected) Info About Aleister Crowley:
Aleister Crowley (/ˈkroʊli/ KROH-lee; 12 October 1875–1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.
Born into a wealthy upper class family, as a young man he became an influential member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn after befriending the order's leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Subsequently believing that he was being contacted by his Holy Guardian Angel, an entity known as Aiwass, while staying in Egypt in 1904, he "received" a text known as The Book of the Law from what he believed was a divine source, and around which he would come to develop his new philosophy of Thelema. He would go on to found his own occult society, the A∴A∴ and eventually rose to become a leader of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), before founding a religious commune in Cefalù known as the Abbey of Thelema, which he led from 1920 through till 1923. After abandoning the Abbey amid widespread opposition, Crowley returned to Britain, where he continued to promote Thelema until his death.
Crowley was also pansexual, a recreational drug experimenter and a 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 the world ."
Crowley has remained an influential figure and is widely thought of as the most influential occultist of all time. In 2002, a 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, Kenneth Anger, Jack Parsons, Gerald Gardner, Robert Anton Wilson and, to some degree, Austin Osman Spare.
The Golden Dawn: 1898–1899
In 1898, Crowley was staying in Zermatt, Switzerland, where he met the chemist Julian L. Baker, and the two began talking about their common interest in alchemy. Upon their return to England, Baker introduced Crowley to George Cecil Jones, a member of the occult society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which had been founded in 1888. Crowley was subsequently initiated into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn on 18 November 1898 by the group's leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918). The ceremony itself took place at Mark Masons Hall in London, where Crowley accepted his motto and magical name of "Frater Perdurabo", a Latin term meaning "I shall endure to the end."
Crowley moved from the elegant accommodation at the Hotel Cecil to his own luxury flat at 67–69 Chancery Lane. He soon invited a Golden Dawn associate, Allan Bennett (1872–1923), to live with him, and Bennett became his personal tutor, teaching him more about ceremonial magic and the ritual usage of drugs. In 1900, Bennett left London for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) to study Buddhism, while in 1899 Crowley acquired Boleskine House in Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland. 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 organisation's leader, being ousted by a group of members who were unhappy with his autocratic rule. Crowley had previously approached this group of rebels, asking to be initiated into the further orders of the Golden Dawn, but they had declined him. Unfazed, he went directly to Mathers, who still held the post of chief and who agreed to initiate him into the Second Order. 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 tried to seize a London temple space known as the Vault of Rosenkreutz from the rebels.
Crowley had also developed personal feuds with some of the Golden Dawn's members; he disliked the poet W.B. 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. In his periodical The Equinox, Crowley titled one diatribe, "Wisdom While You Waite", and his mock-obituary on the passing of Waite bore the title "Dead Waite".
Egypt and The Book of the Law: 1904
In 1904, Crowley and his new wife Rose travelled to Egypt using the pseudonym of Prince and Princess Chioa Khan, titles which Crowley claimed had been bestowed upon him by an eastern potentate. According to Crowley's own account, Rose, who was pregnant, began to experience visions while in the country, regularly informing him that "they are waiting for you", but not providing him with any further information as to who "they" were. It was on 18 March, after Crowley sought the aid of the Egyptian god Thoth in a magical rite, that she actually revealed who "they" were – the ancient Egyptian god Horus and his alleged messenger. She then led him to a nearby museum in Cairo where she showed him a seventh century BCE mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (it later came to be revered in Thelema as the "Stele of Revealing"); Crowley was astounded for the exhibit's number was 666, the number of the beast in Christian belief. Crowley took this all to be a sign from a divine entity and on 20 March began performing ritual invocations of the god Horus in his rented room. It was after this invocation that Rose, or as he now referred to her, Ouarda the Seeress, informed him that "the Equinox of the Gods had come".
It was on 8 April, when the couple were still staying in Cairo, that Crowley first heard a disembodied voice talking to him, claiming that it was coming from a being known as Aiwass, the true nature of whom Crowley never understood. Crowley's disciple and later secretary Israel Regardie believed that this voice came from Crowley's subconscious, but opinions among Thelemites differ widely. Aiwass claimed to be a messenger from the god Horus, who was also referred to by him as Hoor-Paar-Kraat. Crowley wrote down everything the voice 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". Although this event would prove to be a cornerstone in Crowley's life, being the origin of the philosophy of Thelema, at the time he was unsure what to think about the whole situation. He was "dumbfounded about what to do with The Book of the Law" and eventually decided to ignore the instructions that it commanded him to perform, which included taking the Stele of Revealing from the museum, fortifying his own island and translating the Book into all the world's languages. Instead he simply sent typescripts of the work to several occultists whom he knew, and then "put aside the book with relief."
Kangchenjunga and China: 1905–1906
Returning to Boleskine, Crowley came to believe, for reasons that are documented in Crowley's diaries, that his former friend Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers had become so jealous of his progression as a ceremonial magician that he had begun using magic against him, and the relationship between the two broke down. On 28 July 1905, Rose gave birth to Crowley's first child, a daughter, whom he named Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith, although she would commonly be referred to simply by her last name. He also founded a publishing company, naming it the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth in parody of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and through this released more of his own poetry, including The Sword of Song. While his poetry often received strong reviews (either positive or negative), it never sold well, and attempting to gain more publicity, he issued a reward of £100 for whomever could write the best essay on the topic of his work. The winner of this would prove to be J.F.C. Fuller (1878–1966), a British Army officer and military historian, whose essay, The Star in the West, heralded Crowley's poetry as some of the greatest ever written.
Crowley decided to climb another of the world's greatest mountains, and for this chose Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas, widely thought of as "the most treacherous mountain in the world" by climbers at the time. Assembling a team consisting of Dr Jacot-Guillarmod, a veteran of the K2 climb, as well as several other continental Europeans including Charles Adolphe Reymond, Alexis Pache and Alcesti C. Rigo de Righi, the group travelled to British India to undertake the task. Throughout the expedition, there was much argument between Crowley and the others who felt that he was reckless. They eventually mutinied against Crowley's control, with the other climbers heading back down the mountain as nightfall approached despite Crowley's warnings that it was too dangerous. Crowley was proved right as Pache and several porters were subsequently killed in an accident.
Returning from this expedition, he met up with Rose and Lilith in Kolkata before being forced to leave India after shooting dead a native who had tried to mug him. Travelling to China, Crowley soon fell down a forty foot cliff; finding himself unscathed, he believed that he was being protected for some prophetic purpose, and underwent a religious experience that he felt bestowed on him the rank of Exempt Adept, the highest grade of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn. Devoting himself fully to spiritual and magical work, he began studying the Goetia, and recited the grimoire's preliminary invocation daily in order to try to get in contact with his Holy Guardian Angel. The Crowleys spent the next few months travelling around China, but it was decided that in March 1906, they would return to Britain.
Rose took Lilith with her and set off for Europe via India, while Crowley himself decided to travel back via the United States, where he hoped he would be able to get support for a second expedition to Kangchenjunga. Before departing, Crowley visited his friend Elaine Simpson in Shanghai, a fellow occultist who had been his colleague in the Golden Dawn. She was fascinated by The Book of the Law and the prophetic message that it contained, something he had been ignoring, and together they performed a ritual to invoke Aiwass once more. The ritual proved successful, and Aiwass provided Crowley with the message that he should "Return to Egypt, with same surroundings. There I will give thee signs." Nonetheless, Crowley ignored the advice of Aiwass, instead heading off to America. Stopping off at the Japanese port of Kobe along the way, Crowley had a vision which he interpreted as meaning that the great spiritual beings known as the Secret Chiefs had admitted him into the Third Order of the Golden Dawn. Subsequently arriving in America, he found no support for his proposed mountaineering expedition, and so set sail to return to Britain, arriving there in June 1906.
The A∴A∴ and the Holy Books of Thelema: 1907–1909
Upon arrival at Britain, Crowley learned that his daughter Lilith had died of typhoid in Rangoon and that his wife had begun suffering from alcoholism. Heartbroken, his health began to suffer, and he underwent a series of surgical operations. He began having a short-lived sexual affair with Vera "Lola" Stepp, an actress to whom he would devote some of his poetry, while Rose gave birth to his second daughter, Lola Zaza, for whom Crowley devised a special ritual of thanksgiving.
Believing that he was now amongst the highest level of spiritual adepts, Crowley began to think about founding his own magical society. In this he was supported by his friend and fellow occultist George Cecil Jones. The pair began to practice rituals together at Jones' home in Coulsdon, and for the autumn equinox on 22 September 1907 developed a new ceremony based upon the Golden Dawn initiatory rite, for which Crowley composed a verse liturgy entitled "Liber 671", and later dubbed "Liber Pyramidos". The pair repeated this ritual again on 9 October, when they had made some alterations to it. In Crowley's eyes, this ritual would prove to be one of the "greatest events of his career" during which he "attained the knowledge and conversation of his holy guardian angel" and "entered the trance of samadhi, union with godhead." He therefore finally succeeded with the aim of his Abramelin operation – as set out in the grimoire known as The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage – which he had been working on for months. Because of his spiritual attainment Crowley came to believe that he could finally enter into conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel, the entity known as Aiwass, and as a result of this, on 30 October 1907 penned "Liber VII", a text that he believed to have been dictated to him by Aiwass through automatic writing. Following The Book of the Law, which had been received in 1904, "Liber VII" would prove to be the second book in a series of Holy Books of Thelema. Over the next few days, he also received a further Holy Book, "Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente".
Soon, Crowley, Jones and J.F.C. Fuller decided to found a new magical order as a successor to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which would be known as the A∴A∴, the Argenteum Astrum or the Silver Star. Following the order's foundation, Crowley continued to write down more received Thelemic Holy Books during the last two months of the year, including "Liber LXVI", "Liber Arcanorum", "Liber Porta Lucis, Sub Figura X", "Liber Tau", "Liber Trigrammaton" and "Liber DCCCXIII vel Ararita". Meanwhile, effectively separated from his wife Rose by this point, Crowley entered into a romantic and sexual affair with Ada Leverson (1862–1933), an author and friend of Oscar Wilde. This affair was brief, and in February 1908, Crowley was reunited with his wife as she had overcome her alcoholism, and together the couple travelled to Eastbourne for a holiday. Rose however relapsed and Crowley, who disliked her when drunk, fled to Paris. In 1909, when doctors stated that Rose required institutionalisation for her alcoholism, Crowley finally decided that it was time to get a divorce, but because he didn't want the proceedings to reflect badly upon her, he agreed that she could divorce him for infidelity, thereby meaning that any bad appearances would instead be reflected upon him, and he remained her friend following the proceedings.
Trying to gain more members for his A∴A∴, Crowley decided to begin publishing a biannual journal, The Equinox, which was billed as "The Review of Scientific Illuminism". Starting with a first issue in 1909, The Equinox contained pieces by Crowley, Fuller and a young poet Crowley had met in 1907 named Victor Neuburg. Soon other occultists had joined the order, including solicitor Richard Noel Warren, artist Austin Osman Spare, Horace Sheridan-Bickers, author George Raffalovich, Francis Henry Everard Joseph Fielding, engineer Herbert Edward Inman, Kenneth Ward and Charles Stansfeld Jones.
Victor Neuburg and Algeria: 1910–1911
In 1907, Crowley had been introduced to a Jewish Londoner named Victor Neuburg, a poet who was interested in the esoteric.
In Paris during October 1908, he again produced Samadhi by the use of ritual and this time did so without hashish. He published an account of this success in order to show that his method worked and that one could achieve great mystical results without living as a hermit. On 30 December 1908, Aleister Crowley using the pseudonym Oliver Haddo made accusations of plagiarism against Somerset Maugham, author of the novel The Magician. Crowley's article appeared in Vanity Fair, edited then by Frank Harris who admired Crowley and who would later write the famous work My Life and Loves. Admittedly, Maugham did model the character of his magician Oliver Haddo after Crowley himself and Crowley confessed Maugham acquiesced privately on the question of plagiarism.
In 1909, Crowley and Rose divorced, largely due to her alcoholism. She was subsequently admitted to an asylum suffering from alcoholic dementia. Meanwhile, Crowley soon moved on and took a woman named Leila Waddell as his lover or "Scarlet Woman". In 1910, Crowley performed his series of dramatic rites, the Rites of Eleusis, with A∴A∴ members Leila Waddell (Laylah) and Victor Benjamin Neuburg.
Ordo Templi Orientis: 1912–1913
According to Crowley, Theodor Reuss called on him in 1912 to accuse him of publishing O.T.O. secrets, which Crowley dismissed on the grounds of having never attained the grade in which these secrets were given (IXth Degree). Reuss opened up Crowley's latest book, The Book of Lies, and showed Crowley the passage. This sparked a long conversation which led to Crowley assuming the Xth Degree of O.T.O. and becoming Grand Master of the English-speaking section of O.T.O. called Mysteria Mystica Maxima.
Crowley would eventually introduce the practice of male homosexual sex magick into O.T.O. as one of the highest degrees of the Order for he believed it to be the most powerful formula. Crowley placed the new degree above the Tenth Degree – not to be confused with any title in his own Order – and numbered it the Eleventh Degree. There was a protest from some members of O.T.O. in Germany and the rest of continental Europe that occasioned a persistent rift with Crowley.
In March 1913, producer Crowley introduced Leila Waddell in The Ragged Ragtime Girls follies review at the Old Tivoli in London where it enjoyed a brief run. In July 1913, the production enjoyed a six-week run in Moscow where Crowley met a young Hungarian girl named Anny Ringler. Crowley went on to practice sado-masochistic sex with Ringler. According to Crowley, "... She had passed beyond the region where pleasure had meaning for her. She could only feel through pain, and my own means of making her happy was to inflict physical cruelties as she directed. The kind of relation was altogether new to me; and it was because of this, intensified as it was by the environment of the self-torturing soul of Russia, that I became inspired to create by the next six weeks." While in Moscow, Crowley would see Anny for an hour and then he would write poetry. During this summer in Moscow, Crowley would write two of his most memorable works, the Hymn to Pan and the Gnostic Mass or Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae Canon Missae. The Hymn to Pan would be read at his funeral thirty four years later. Certain Thelemites regularly perform the Gnostic Mass to this day. It symbolises the act of sex as a magical or religious ritual.
Upon returning to London in the autumn of 1913, Crowley published the tenth and final number of volume one of The Equinox. In December 1913 in Paris, Crowley would engage Victor Benjamin Neuburg in The Paris Working. The first ritual took place on New Year's Eve 1914. In a period of seven weeks, Crowley and Neuburg performed a total of twenty four rituals which they recorded in the 'holy' or partially holy book formally entitled Opus Lutetianum. Around eight months later Neuburg had a nervous breakdown. Afterward, Crowley and Neuburg would never see each other again.
United States: 1914–1918
During his time in the U.S., Crowley practised the task of a Magister Templi in the A∴A∴ as he conceived it, namely interpreting every phenomenon as a particular dealing of "God" with his soul. He began to see various women he met as officers in his ongoing initiation, associating them with priests wearing animal masks in Egyptian ritual. A meditation during his relationship with one of these women, the poet Jeanne Robert Foster, led him to claim the title of Magus, also referring to the system of the A∴A∴.
In June 1915, Crowley met Jeanne Robert Foster in the company of her friend Hellen Hollis, a journalist; Crowley would have affairs with both women. Foster was a famous New York fashion model, journalist, editor, poet and married. Crowley's plan with Foster was to produce his first son; but in spite of a series of magical operations she did not get pregnant. By the end of 1915, the affair would be over. During a trip to Vancouver in 1915, Crowley met Wilfred Smith, Frater 132 of the Vancouver Lodge of O.T.O., and in 1930 granted him permission to establish Agape Lodge in Southern California. During the same trip in 1915, Crowley stopped over at Parke Davis in Detroit for some mescaline.
In early 1916, Crowley had an illicit liaison with Alice Richardson, the wife of Ananda Coomaraswamy, one of the greatest art historians of the day. On the stage, Richardson was known as Ratan Devi, mezzo-soprano interpreter of East Indian music. Richardson became pregnant but on a voyage back to England, in mid-1916, she had a miscarriage. Just before his affair with Ratan Devi, Crowley was practising sex magick with Gerda Maria von Kothek, a German prostitute.
Two periods of magical experimentation followed. In June 1916, he began the first of these at the New Hampshire cottage of Evangeline Adams, having ghostwritten most of her two books on astrology. His diaries at first show discontent at the gap between his view of the grade of Magus and his view of himself: "It is no good making up my mind to do anything material; for I have no means. But this would vanish if I could make up my mind." Despite his objections to sacrificing a living animal, he resolved to crucify a frog as part of a rehearsal of the life of Jesus in the Gospels (afterward declaring it his willing familiar), "with the idea ... that some supreme violation of all the laws of my being would break down my Karma or dissolve the spell that seems to bind me." Slightly more than a month later, having taken ether (ethyl oxide), he had a vision of the universe from a modern scientific cosmology that he frequently referred to in later writings.
Crowley began another period of magical work on an island in the Hudson River after buying large amounts of red paint instead of food. Having painted "Do what thou wilt" on the cliffs at both sides of the island, he received gifts from curious visitors. Here at the island he had visions of seeming past lives, though he refused to endorse any theory of what they meant beyond linking them to his unconscious. Towards the end of his stay, he had a shocking experience he linked to "the Chinese wisdom" which made even Thelema appear insignificant. Nevertheless, he continued in his work. Before leaving the country he formed a sexual and magical relationship with Leah Hirsig, whom he had met earlier, and with her help began painting canvases with more creativity and passion.
Richard B. Spence writes in his 2008 book Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult that Crowley could have been a lifelong agent for British Intelligence. While this may have already been the case during his many travels to Tsarist Russia, Switzerland, Asia, Mexico and North Africa that had started in his student days, he could have been involved with this line of work during his life in America during the First World War, under a cover of being a German propaganda agent and a supporter of Irish independence. Crowley's mission might have been to gather information about the German intelligence network, the Irish independent activists and produce aberrant propaganda, aiming at compromising the German and Irish ideals. As an agent provocateur he could have played some role in provoking the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, thereby bringing the United States closer to active involvement in the war alongside the Allies. He also used German magazines The Fatherland and The International as outlets for his other writings. The question of whether Crowley was a spy has always been subject to debate, but Spence uncovered a document from the US Army's old Military Intelligence Division supporting Crowley's own claim to having been a spy:
Aleister Crowley was an employee of the British Government ... in this country on official business of which the British Consul, New York City has full cognizance.
Abbey of Thelema: 1920–1923
Soon after moving from West 9th St. in Greenwich Village, New York City, to Palermo, Sicily with their newborn daughter Anne Leah (nicknamed Poupée, born February 1920, died in a hospital in Palermo 14 October 1920), Crowley, along with Leah Hirsig, founded the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalù (Palermo) on 14 April 1920, the day the lease for the villa Santa Barbara was signed by Sir Alastor de Kerval (Crowley) and Contessa Lea Harcourt (Leah Hirsig). The Crowleys arrived in Cefalu on 1 April 1920. During their stay at the abbey Hirsig was known as Soror Alostrael, Crowley's Scarlet Woman, the name Crowley used for his female sex magick practitioners in reference to the consort of the Beast of the Apocalypse whose number is 666. The name of the abbey was borrowed from Rabelais's epic Gargantua, where the "Abbey of Thélème" is described as a sort of anti-monastery where the lives of the inhabitants were "spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure." This idealistic utopia was to be the model of Crowley's commune, while also being a type of magical school, giving it the designation "Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum," The College of the Holy Spirit. The general programme was in line with the A∴A∴ course of training, and included daily adorations to the Sun, a study of Crowley's writings, regular yogic and ritual practices (which were to be recorded), as well as general domestic labour. The object, naturally, was for students to devote themselves to the Great Work of discovering and manifesting their True Wills. Two women, Hirsig and Shumway (her magical name was Sister Cypris after Aphrodite), were both carrying Crowley's seed. Hirsig had a two-year old son named Hansi and Shumway had a three-year old boy named Howard; they were not Crowley's but he nicknamed them Dionysus and Hermes respectively. After Poupée died, Hirsig had a miscarriage but Shumway gave birth to a daughter, Astarte Lulu Panthea. Hirsig suspected Shumway's Black Magic foul play and what Crowley found when reading Shumway's magical diary (everybody had to keep one while at the abbey for reasons explained in Liber E) appalled him. Shumway was banished from the abbey and the Beast lamented the death of his children. However, Shumway was soon back in the abbey again to take care of her offspring.
Mussolini's Fascist government expelled Crowley from the country at the end of April 1923.
Thelema is the mystical cosmology Crowley announced in 1904 and expanded upon for the remainder of his life. The diversity of his writings illustrate his difficulty in classifying Thelema from any one vantage. It can be considered a form of magical philosophy, religious traditionalism, humanistic positivism, and/or an elitist meritocracy.
The chief precept of Thelema, derived from the works of François Rabelais, is the sovereignty of Will: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." Crowley's idea of will, however, is not simply the individual's desires or wishes, but also incorporates a sense of the person's destiny or greater purpose: what he termed "True Will".
The second precept of Thelema is "Love is the law, love under will"—and Crowley's meaning of "Love" is as complex as that of "Will." It is frequently sexual: Crowley's system, like elements of the Golden Dawn before him, sees the dichotomy and tension between the male and female as fundamental to existence, and sexual "magick" and metaphor form a significant part of Thelemic ritual. However, Love is also discussed as the Union of Opposites, which Crowley thought was the key to enlightenment.
He had also claimed to be a Freemason, but the organisations he joined are not considered regular by Masonic bodies in the Anglo-American tradition.
Crowley claimed the following Masonic degrees:
33° of the Scottish Rite in Mexico from Don Jesus Medina.
“Don Jesus Medina, a descendant of the great duke of Armada fame, and one of the highest chiefs of Scottish Rite free-masonry. My cabbalistic knowledge being already profound by current standards, he thought me worthy of the highest initiation in his power to confer; special powers were obtained in view of my limited sojourn, and I was pushed rapidly through and admitted to the thirty-third and last degree before I left the country.” The Confessions of Aleister Crowley pp. 202–203.
3° In France by the Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343, a Lodge chartered in 1899 by the Grande Loge de France, a body not at the time recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England, on 29 June 1904.
33° of the irregular 'Cerneau' Scottish Rite from John Yarker
90°/95° of the Rite of Memphis/Misraim from John Yarker.
The United Grand Lodge of England, whose recognition is generally considered the standard for Masonic validity, did not recognise any of the above bodies as being true Freemasonry, thus Crowley never was an “official” Freemason within the common understanding of the term.
Crowley quickly realized that the post-Yarker era meant change. He was not rebellious by reflex, at least where old British institutions were concerned. He undoubtedly believed O.T.O. had authority from Yarker to work the Ancient and Primitive Rite's equivalent to the Craft degrees in England, but once made aware of the issue of regularity when having his own French Masonic credentials declined, he was not defiant and on his own made changes to the O.T.O. to avoid conflict. He inserted notices into the last number of The Equinox to the effect that the O.T.O. did not infringe upon the just privileges of the Grand Lodge Of England
During WWI Crowley worked slightly revised English Craft rituals in America, but despite the absence of a central Grand Lodge, he met with objections from masonic authorities. He then rewrote the O.T.O. rituals for I° – III° so that they no longer resembled Craft masonry degrees in language, theme or intent.
Science and magic
Crowley endeavoured to use the scientific method to study what people at the time called spiritual experiences, making "The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion" the catchphrase of his magazine The Equinox. By this he meant that religious experiences should not be taken at face value, but critiqued and experimented with in order to arrive at their underlying mystical or neurological meaning.
In this connection there was also the point that I was anxious to prove that spiritual progress did not depend on religious or moral codes, but was like any other science. Magick would yield its secrets to the infidel and the libertine, just as one does not have to be a churchwarden in order to discover a new kind of orchid. There are, of course, certain virtues necessary to the Magician; but they are of the same order as those which make a successful chemist.
He frequently expressed views about sex that were radical for his time, and published numerous poems and tracts combining religious themes with sexual imagery both heterosexual and homosexual, as well as pederastic. One of his most notorious poetry collections, titled "White Stains" (1898), was published in Amsterdam in 1898 and dealt specifically with sexually explicit subject matter. However, most of the hundred copies printed for the initial release were later seized and destroyed by British customs.
Crowley's magical and initiatory system has amongst its innermost reaches a set of teachings on sex magick. Sex magick is the use of the sex act—or the energies, passions or arousal states it evokes—as a point upon which to focus the will or magical desire for effects in the non-sexual world. In the view of Allen Greenfield, Crowley was inspired by Paschal Beverly Randolph, an American Abolitionist, Spiritualist medium, and author of the mid-19th century who wrote (in Eulis!, 1874) of using the "nuptive moment" (orgasm) as the time to make a "prayer" for events to occur.
Crowley often introduced new terminology for spiritual and magickal practices and theory. In The Book of the Law and The Vision and the Voice, the Aramaic magickal formula Abracadabra was changed to Abrahadabra, which he called the new formula of the Aeon. He also famously spelled magic in the archaic manner, as magick, to differentiate "the true science of the Magi from all its counterfeits."
He urged his students to learn to control their own mental and behavioural habits, to the point of switching political views and personalities at will. For control of speech (symbolised as the unicorn) he recommended to choose a commonly used word, letter, or pronouns and adjectives of the first person (such as the word "I"), and avoid using it for a week or more. Should they say the word he instructed them to cut themselves with a blade on each occasion to serve as warning or reminder. Later the student could move on to the "Horse" of action and the "Ox" of thought. (These symbols derive from the cabala of Crowley's book 777.) Crowley has also been labelled by some anthropologists as a practitioner of neoshamanism and revivalist of shamanistic philosophies in the early 20th century.
Legacy and influence
Crowley has remained an influential figure, both amongst occultists and in popular culture, particularly that of Britain, but also of other parts of the world.
After Crowley's death, various of his colleagues and fellow Thelemites continued with his work. One of his British disciples, Kenneth Grant, subsequently founded the Typhonian O.T.O. in the 1950s. In America, his followers also continued, one of the most prominent of whom was Jack Parsons, the influential rocket scientist. Parsons performed what he described as the Babalon Working in 1946, and subsequently claimed to have been taught the fourth part of the Book of the Law. Parsons would also later work with and influence L. Ron Hubbard, the later founder of Scientology.
Crowley inspired and influenced a number of later Malvernians including Major-General John Fuller, the inventor of artificial moonlight, and Cecil Williamson, the neo-pagan witch.
One of Crowley's acquaintances in the last months of his life was Gerald Gardner, who was initiated into O.T.O. by Crowley and subsequently went on to found the Neopagan religion of Wicca. Various scholars on early Wiccan history, such as Ronald Hutton, Philip Heselton and Leo Ruickbie concur that witchcraft's early rituals, as devised by Gardner, contained much from Crowley's writings such as the Gnostic Mass. The third degree initiation ceremony in Gardnerian Wicca (including the Great Rite) is derived almost completely from the Gnostic Mass. Indeed, Gardner liked Crowley's writings because he believed that they "breathed the very spirit of paganism."
Crowley was also an influence on both the late 1960's counterculture and the New Age movement.
Fictionalised accounts of Crowley or characters based upon him have been included in a number of literary works, published both during his life and after. The writer W. Somerset Maugham used him as the model for the character in his novel The Magician, published in 1908. Crowley was flattered by Maugham's fictionalised depiction of himself, stating that "he had done more than justice to the qualities of which I was proud... The Magician was, in fact, an appreciation of my genius such as I had never dreamed of inspiring." Similarly, in Dennis Wheatley's popular thriller The Devil Rides Out, the Satanic cult leader Mocata is inspired by Crowley, and in turn the deceased Satanist Adrian Marcato referred to in Ira Levin's Rosemary's Baby is likewise a Crowley-like figure. Long after his death Crowley is still being used for similar purposes, appearing as a main character in Robert Anton Wilson's 1981 novel Masks of the Illuminati and Jake Arnott's 2009 novel The Devil's Paintbrush.
The association of Crowley's name with various satanic or dark individuals occurs widely in published works, especially those oriented toward a younger but technologically literate demographic target audience. In Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990), a World Fantasy Award nominated novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Crowley appears as one of the major characters - a demon who originated as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. In the cyberpunk novel Hammerjack (2005), author Marc D. Giller introduces the "Crowleys" on the second page of that sci-fi thriller, as one of the groups of "street species" inhabiting the cities. The long-running American TV series "Supernatural" also includes a major character named Crowley, who plays key roles in dealings with evil forces.
The acclaimed comic book author Alan Moore, himself a practitioner of ceremonial magic, has also included Crowley in several of his works. In Moore's From Hell, he appears in a cameo as a young boy declaring that magic is real, while in the series Promethea he appears several times existing in a realm of the imagination called the Immateria. Moore has also discussed Crowley's associations with the Highbury area of London in his recorded magical working, The Highbury Working. Other comic book writers have also made use of him, with Pat Mills and Olivier Ledroit portraying him as a reincarnated vampire in their series Requiem Chevalier Vampire. Crowley also is referenced in the Batman comic Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth where the character Amadeus Arkham meets with him, discuss the symbolism of Egyptian tarot, and they play chess. He has also appeared in Japanese media, such as D.Gray-Man and Toaru Majutsu no Index, as well as the hentai series Bible Black, where he has a fictional daughter named Jody Crowley who continues her father's search for the Scarlet Woman. He is also depicted in the Original PlayStation game Nightmare Creatures as a powerful demonic resurrection of himself. Ian Fleming used Crowley as a model for Le Chiffre, villain in the first James Bond novel Casino Royale.
Crowley has been an influence for a string of popular musicians throughout the 20th century. The hugely popular band The Beatles included him as one of the many figures on the cover sleeve of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, where he is situated between Sri Yukteswar Giri and Mae West. A more intent interest in Crowley was held by Jimmy Page, the guitarist and co-founder of 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin. Despite not describing himself as a Thelemite or being a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Page was still fascinated by Crowley, and owned some of his clothing, manuscripts and ritual objects, and during the 1970s bought Boleskine House, which also appears in the band's movie The Song Remains the Same. On the back cover of the Doors 13 album, Jim Morrison and the other members of the Doors are shown posing with a bust of Aleister Crowley. Author Paulo Coelho introduced the writings of Aleister Crowley to Brazilian rocker Raul Seixas, who went on to write and perform songs (most notably, "Viva a Sociedade Alternativa" and "Novo Aeon") that were strongly influenced by Crowley. The later rock musician Ozzy Osbourne released a song titled "Mr. Crowley" on his solo album Blizzard of Ozz, while a comparison of Crowley and Osbourne in the context of their media portrayals can be found in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Crowley has also been a favourite of Swiss Avant-Garde metal band Celtic Frost. In fact, the song Os Abysmi Vel Daath from Monotheist is based partially on some of his writings. In the early 1990s, British Indie band Five Thirty carried with them on tour a front door which they alleged had belonged to Crowley. The door was placed prominently on stage during their gigs.
Crowley has also had an influence in cinema; in particular, he was a major influence and inspiration to the work on the radical avant garde underground film-maker Kenneth Anger, especially his Magick Lantern Cycle series of works. One of Anger's works is a film of Crowley's paintings, and in 2009 he gave a lecture on the subject of Crowley. Bruce Dickinson, singer with Iron Maiden, wrote the screenplay of Chemical Wedding (released in America on DVD as Crowley), which features Simon Callow as Oliver Haddo, the name taken from the Magician-villain character in the Somerset Maugham book "The Magician", who was in turn inspired by Maugham's meeting with Crowley
The Italian historian of esotericism Giordano Berti, in his book Tarocchi di Aleister Crowley (1998) quotes a number of literary works and films inspired by Crowley's life and legends. Some of the films are The Magician (1926) by Rex Ingram, based upon the eponymous book written by William Somerset Maugham (1908); Night of the Demon (1957) by Jacques Tourneur, based on the story "Casting the Runes" by M. R. James; and The Devils Rides Out (1968) by Terence Fisher, from the eponymous thriller by Dennis Wheatley. Also: "Dance To The Music of Time" by Anthony Powell, "Black Easter" by James Blish, and "The Winged Bull" by Dion Fortune.
Extracts Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley
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