“Please be aware that some readers may find some of the content in this article being of a more disturbing nature”
Had Aleister Crowley, the occultist been simply misunderstood by the world’s media? And was he really the evil persona that he was made out to be! During the past year writing for Silent Voices I have written much about Mediumship and those great pioneer mediums of yester year who worked hard towards the greater understanding of Mediumship and magic so as to show the world that it was possible to commune with the dead without the need of magic or the dark arts. So this month without exception I thought I would tell you off another pioneer of his time yet this character was steeped in much scandal, mystery and the dark arts.
So who was Aleister Crowley? A psychic! Illusionist! Madman! Murderer? Or had he been an extremely knowledgeable, as well as being a great occultist of his day. Aleister Crowley was born in England in 1875 in Warwickshire and over his life time much had been written of him, much of it focusing on his huge sexual appetite for women, mostly and his fascination for human blood as well as human scarifies.
Aleister Crowley did marry but also was a known womaniser having a string of affairs with many willing women, he also had a gay relationship with a poet who later went on to become his assistant and was expelled from Italy due to his sexual orgies and magical practises at his villa.
Stories circulated about his so called supernatural powers, it was claimed that he used these so called powers to attack others who were against him in life, there were claims he had been a devil worshiper and surrounded himself with demonic creatures. And there were also the many connections to varying secret societies during his time.
He joined the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn in London where he pursued his occult activities. He also became the leader of The Oro Templi Orientis occult order and it was only when he went to live in Italy that he set up The Sacred Abbey of the Thelemic Mysteries.
Throughout his life he became accomplished in ceremonial magic, some say it was the black arts or evil worshiping as claimed or had he just been a man that from the outside was completely misunderstood. He also wrote many books throughout his life time, many are still in publication today, “Magick in theory and practice”, “The book of Law” and the “Diary of a drug friend”. In his later years he was in very poor health, he also suffered from a drug addiction himself and had many financial difficulties and earned only a basic living from his writing.
He had revolted against a strict religious childhood whilst growing up and during his life he travelled a lot, to places as India and Ceylon, where he studied yoga and Buddhism. At one point in his history Buddhism actually replaced his occult interests for a while, until he had a strange experience in Cairo, Egypt in 1904.
Out of curiosity his wife Rose asked him to do an occult ritual. During the ritual she then went into a state of trance and brought down a message from some celestrial being. "He's waiting for you", she told Crowley. "Him", she said, was Horus, the God of wars and the son of Osiris in the old Egyptian mythology.
The messenger also declared that Crowley was the Beast from the "Book of Revelations" who had come to destroy Christianity. He tried to forget the whole thing, but from 1909 it would appear that he started to take the messages more seriously.
Crowley's messenger taught that the old Age of Osiris would soon be follow by the new Age of Horus. But first Earth must bathe in blood. The messenger wanted there to be a World War. It told about a race of Super humans and condemned the old religions. One of those messages received claims to have said "Let my servants be few and secret, they shall reign over the many and the known", the Superhuman continued. The rest of the message goes in the same spirit. “The lower races should be humiliated and condemned and even killed”. It taught "no mercy". Long before the Roswell incident in New Mexico, where it is claimed a flying saucer crashed in the desert and dead aliens were found, Crowley made a drawing of one of his "messengers" called Lam - the drawing is identical with the Grey Aliens with the big black eyes, who nowadays are so well promoted in movies and among the abducted.
Crowley left his former occult teacher MacGregor Mathers, and soon after doing so the two men started a psychic war against one another, it is reported that they contacted "demons" with which they attacked each other. It is said that such demonic warfare is still very common among the Brotherhoods of today as much as it was back then.
He also began to explore levels of the astral plane with his assistant, a poet called “Victor Neuberg”; they used 'Enochian' magic which is a system of ceremonial magic based on the evocation of various spirits. Crowley believed he crossed the Abyss and united his consciousness with the universal consciousness. He describes the astral journeys in “The Vision and the Voice”, which was first published in his periodical “The Equinox” and then posthumously in 1949.
Never far from controversy in 1909 through to 1913, Crowley serialized the secret rituals of the Golden Dawn in his magazine 'the Equinox', which he also used as vehicle for his poetry. Mathers who had written most of the rituals and who was still his greatest antagonist, tried but failed to get a legal injunction to stop him. His action only served to gaine Crowley more press, publicity and notoriety.
By now Crowley was fast becoming infamous as a Black magician and Satanist, he openly identified himself with the number 666, the biblical number for the antichrist. He also kept with him a series of 'Scarlet Women'; the best known of these was Leah Hirsig. Together they would indulge in drinking sessions, drugs and sexual magic. It is believed that Crowley made several attempts with several of these women to beget a 'Magical child', none of which worked and instead he fictionalized his attempts in a book called “Moonchild”, published in 1929.
One of the types of magic Aleister Crowley greatly followed and is still followed very much today is his advice to follow your own way and become you own self and create your own lifestyle, he claims that you don’t need a priest to tell to how to live your life, you work it out for yourself!
Towards the end of his 72 years on earth he was a feeble man living in retirement at a private hotel in Hastings, only kept alive by the use of drugs. It was here that he passed from this world into the next on the 1st December 1947. Unrepentant he left this world with a final snub at the society that had so misunderstood him. He left instructions that he was to be cremated and instead of the usual religious service, his 'Hymn to Pan' and other extracts from his works and his writings were to be proclaimed from the pulpit with the request that his ashes were to be sent to his disciples in America……..
© Paul Cissell 2012