Home Discussion Forum Aleister Crowley: Prophet Or Kook?

Aleister Crowley: Prophet Or Kook?

What do you think?
I think this wise man had the basic ideas right, he just was starved for guidance…a thing the internet has saved us solitares from these days….
Your Magickal Opinions would be appreciated!
Yes i know he went mad in the end… i am saying i think the lack of guidance in the craft is what tipped him over the edge..


  1. Kook…
    I’ve spent time studying the Hermetic traditions (OTO), as well as many of his writings. Frankly, I’m not even sure that he believed the things he wrote, himself.

  2. Honestly, I think Crowley had an image of himself that was larger than any sort of reality. He liked to convince himself and his friends that he was truly on the edge of something great, he liked to fascinate and control, he liked to scare people.
    Ultimately he ended up living his life as a leech off of other people. Some people project power and then take hold of it. They make use of it for themselves and others. Crowley had no such personal success. He died broken. His power projection was simple smoke and mirrors with hallucinogen inspired ranting thrown in for flavor.
    All the best,

  3. Blessings Ari!
    Personally, I have only read a bit here and there on A.Crowley. I am not to sure what to make of him. I cannot exactly say i believe him to be a prophet, while he did have some valid claims, however, I think that alot of what Lazarus referred to was pretty much on time.
    Perhaps I will do some studying and get back to you on this one.
    Blessed Be

  4. ariel, i too cannot decide which theory to believe. so much has been written, both supporting and decrying him.
    i found this on a website – http://www.popsubculture.com/pop/bio_project/aleister_crowley.html

    “Crowley’s entire religion, (Crowleyanity as it sometimes referred to by some cynical authors) liberally mixes elements of Christianity, Gnosticism and the Masons into its magickal rituals. It’s hard to conceive how mildly Crowley and his followers would have been received if they were judged according to our contemporary standards. Thelemites, those who follow the laws of Thelema, often greet one another with the shorthand “93”, which is the numerical value of the phrase “Love Is The Law, Love Under Will”, the proper response to the “Do As Thou Wilt…” phrase.
    Subcultural Relevance
    Aleister Crowley may seem, to the uninitiated, like an unmitigated egomaniac, a charlatan, a mad man, or worse. It can be argued, even by occultists, that this was indeed the case. However as occultist, Crowley remains unparalleled. How many contemporary practitioners can actually claim to have manifested a lasting change on the world. After all, changing the world around you is what magic is all about, and Aleister Crowley did it better than anyone. To say that Crowley was ahead of his time would be an understatement. Aside from the glamour of his “wickedness” which will always have a certain appeal, his greatest gift was perhaps his ability to reshape the theory of magic from a modern psychological standpoint, refashioning it into a tool for the New Aeon, a contribution that has yet to be matched or exceeded. ”
    it seems his huge ego and over-enthusiasm took over and his desire to shock the world over-ran his undoubted abilities and intelligence.
    a lesson for all egos methinks!!
    blessed be

  5. I would almost have to say a bit of both. He was a very intelligent and I find enlightened man. I can’t really say starved for guidance because he guided many other people in many things, including a unique form of spirituality, Thelema. Most of what people know or have heard about him is mostly speculation and rumor having little do with the actual man. He may not have been the best of people, he made mistakes, and he did not things that were not very good, but greatness does not always mean being a good person.
    I find his writings to be very inspired, and many of the are the basis for modern paganism. Some of Wicca is based on the writings of Crowley, and most of the correspondences we use today for spells, times, deities, herbs, stones, etc were published by him.
    He may have been a drug addict for part of his life, but not all of his life. He did not die a drug addict, he eventually was able to detox himself from herion. He was not a devil worshipper. Crowley followed the religion of Thelema, and he believed Thelema was the end of various orthodox faiths. At the time of his death, he had many friends and comrads, including his long time companion Leah Hersing, who at the time of his death was away visiting someone I believe, but she still lived with him. Some of his best work was written in the final years of his life. Crowley lived to the age of 74, which is quite old for someone at that time period, and not likely to be the age of someone who did not take care of his health. He was also not broke at his death, he had many published works, and was renting a flat in London.
    Most of his image and rumors about him were cultivated by Crowley to basicly keep stupid people away from him. He was a very sexual person, but not the pervert some places make him out to be. A great deal of the information on that website is simply untrue.
    In his time at Cambridge there is not record not has there ever been anything about him having sex with people of both genders, and really, so what if he did. He was bisexual, and in college.
    Crowley was expelled from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn for publishing what they felt was secret information in the book Knox Om Pax. There was never a “magickal dual” between Mathers and Crowley, and as far as I remember he never claimed there was one. There was a court battle which Crowley won, because the Golden Dawn never copyrighted the material that Crowley published. Mathers and two cohorts later attacked Crowley in an alley and beat him up over it.
    His second wife did not exactly go mad, as she was still with him when he died. She was simply not at the flat at the time. There is no record of any of his concubines committing suicide, or even of that many people he was involved with. Heck, I have probobly had sex with as many people as Crowley, it really was not as many as tales say.
    Probobly the biggest thing I can put here is that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” is not an excuse to do as he pleased or live a life of debauchery. The law of Thelema is exactly the opposite of that. It speaks of a personal and magickal responsability for our own actions. “Every Man and Woman is a Star” is another line from the Book of the Law. The Law of Thelema is basicly the right of each individual to their own will, and how no individual has the right to oppose that. According to the Law of Thelema, to harm another person is to harm their will, and thus to loose your own will. By stealing from someone, you are robbing them of their will to own their posessions they worked to get, so thus your will to possess is also harmed. A very similar view to karma, but on a more metaphysical and magickal level.
    Crowley was the prophet of the religion of Thelema, he may have been a great writer, and in some ways a great man, but this does not mean he was a good person. He made some bad choices, which he regretted later in life, and he did some things that were not exactly nice, but he did not do half the things people say that he did. Truly, he was a kook sometimes, and pretty nuts at other times, and also sometimes he was also a very enlightened man. Quite a unique character. I really think before people make judgements about him, they should read some of his work. Particularly Magick in Theory and Practice, The Holy Books of Thelema, Gems from the Equinox, Liber Astarte, Magick without Tears, and Eight Lectures on Yoga. These are some of his best works, and especially useful for any serious ceremonial magician.

  6. Personally, I don’t think he was either. I do feel he was misguided and if he was alive today, I think he would not be the same man.
    I think it had a lot to do with the century he was born in and the prejudices everyone had then.
    I guess it is also possible that he was just rebelling against his fathers religion.
    For me, being pagan and studying the occult should not be about rebellion, but about personal knowledge and spiritual growth.

  7. Definitely not a prophet. . . in my opinion. Too “dark” to have any influence in my spiritual evolution, except to say I’ve steered clear of his writings/teachings. His Tarot deck is the one deck I will not use–I just don’t resonate with it at all; again, too “dark.”

  8. In all honestly only the eccentrics have the forsight to challange/question the Status Quo.
    So – unfortunately – both.

  9. “Is Aleister Crowley really dead?
    Did he do all the terrible things they said?
    Is he merely dust beneath the sod,
    Or is Aleister Crowley really ______?”
    You can make it rhyme, no doubt.

  10. I read this, this morning, and now in the afternoon, I think I’m ready to answer it.
    I don’t know. He brought a lot of attention to the plight of the ‘older’ religions. He also went a bit odd in the end. Why he got into a sort of satanic version of paganism I’ll never understand, as satanism is a reaction to the Christian Religion and not a real pagan religion, as no real pagan religion believes in hell and heaven, devils and demons, quite the same way any Christian would. Usually pagans don’t believe in the concepts.
    I think he probably needed guidance and couldn’t find it. And of course on not finding it, created his own way and beliefs.

  11. I believe his story (the way it is told in the link you provided) is an almost perfect example of how the selfish nature of people can leave them penniless and without love.
    So many times I have seen little glimmers of self-righteousness and attention-hogging by people who claim to be “spiritualists” and I just shake my head and hope the best for them but I know the outlook for such people is grim.
    I think your link is a cautionary tale of Karma.
    As a side note, I think that Led Zepplin took a genuine interest in Crowley and possibly even subscribed to his debauchery. But I think the Beatles were sort of being tongue in cheek about it (considering the reputation they had earned with American Fundamentalists for those famously ill-chosen words “We are more popular than Jesus”.)

  12. Aleister Crowley was perhaps the most controversial and misunderstood personality to figure in the new era of modern day witchcraft. Known by the popular press of his time as “The Great Beast” and “The Wickedest Man in the World”, Crowley was a powerful magician, poet, prophet and famed occultist. He was also a one-time witch, though most of the elders of the craft would discredit him the title.
    Crowley like many great men before him, was a man before his time. He lived in a society that could little understand him or appreciated his latent genius. His writings so shocked the peoples of his era that he was robbed of the praise that it merited, and as a poet he never received the recognition he deserved.
    Schoolboy, aged 14
    Crowley was born on the 12th October 1875 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. His parents Edward Crowley and his wife Emily were wealthy brewers and the epitome of respectability. They were also devout Christians and staunch members of the Plymouth Brethren sect. They brought up young Crowley in an atmosphere of pious religious narrow-mindedness, against which he constantly rebelled. His whole life thereafter seems to have been a revolt against his parents and everything they stood for. His father died when he was 11 years old.
    Crowley’s Father and Mother
    After the death of his father, Crowley inherited the family fortune and went on to be educated at Trinity College Cambridge. There he wrote and studied poetry. He loved the out-doors life and was a capable mountain climber, in pursuit of which he attempted some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. In 1898 he published his first book of poetry called “Aceldama, A Place to Bury Strangers In”, a philosophical poem by a ‘Gentleman of the University of Cambridge’ in 1898′. In the preface he describes how God and Satan had fought for his soul and states: “God conquered — and now I have only one doubt left — which of the twain was God”?
    It was while he was at Trinity that Crowley became interested in the occult and with his roommate Allan Bennett, they began to study whatever they could. Crowley soon discovered that he was excited by descriptions of torture and blood. He liked to fantasize about being degraded and abused by a ‘Scarlet Women’, one who was dominant, wicked and independent.
    One of the books he read about this time was by the author ‘Arthur Edward Waite’, entitled “The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts”. It hinted at a secret brotherhood of occultists and Crowley became even more intrigued. He wrote to Waite for more information and was referred to “The Cloud upon the Sanctuary — By Karl von Exkartshausen”. This book tells of the ‘Great White Brotherhood’ and Crowley determined he wanted to join this group and advance to its highest levels. Later that year on the 18th November 1898, he and Bennett both joined the ‘Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’, the elusive Great White Brotherhood.
    In 1899 Crowley is reported to have become a member of one of “Old George Pickingill’s” hereditary covens situated in the New Forrest, although apparently he was not welcome for long It is alleged that he obtained his ‘Second Degree’ before being dismissed due to his contemptuous attitude toward women, failure to attend rituals with regularity, his personal ego and sexual perversion (Crowley had a bias toward homosexuality and the bizarre, shocking during his time even amongst witches). The priestess of his coven later described him as “a dirty-minded, evilly-disposed and vicious little monster!”
    As well as being dismissed and outcaste by the New Forrest witches, all was not well within the Golden Dawn. By this time Crowley had moved out of Trinity Collage without earning his degree, and taken a flat in Chancery Lane, London. There he renamed himself ‘Count Vladimir’ and began to pursue his occult studies on a full-time basis. Crowley had a natural aptitude for magic and advanced quickly through the ranks of the Golden Dawn, but the London lodge leaders considered him unsuitable for advancement into the second order. Crowley went to Paris in 1899 to see ‘S.L. MacGregor Mathers’, the then head of the Order and insisted that he be initiated into the second Order. Mathers at the time was experiencing growing dissension to his absolute rule from London, and sensed in Crowley an ally. To the consternation of the London lodge he readily agreed to Crowley’s request and initiated him into the second order.
    However their allegiance was an uneasy one, for Mathers like Crowley was a powerful magician and both were intensely competitive. Mathers taught Crowley ‘Abra-Melin’ magic but neither attained any of the grades of the A\A\. They quarreled constantly and allegedly engaged in magical warfare. Mathers is said to have sent an astral vampire to attack Crowley who responded with an army of demons led by Beelzebub. In April 1900, Mathers due to problems within the London lodge, dispatched Crowley back to England as his ‘Special Envoy’ where he made an abortive attempt to regain control. Shortly thereafter both Mathers and Crowley were expelled from the order.
    Crowley began to travel, mostly in the East studying Eastern Occult systems and ‘Tantric Yoga’; he also studied ‘Buddhism’ and the ‘I Ching’. Then for a time he lived in an isolated setting near to Loch Ness in Scotland. In 1903 he met and then married Rose Edith Kelly, sister of the well-known artist Sir Gerald Kelly. She bore him one child. While they where on holiday in Egypt the following year, April 1904, he and Rose took part in a magical ritual during which he alleges to have received a message from the God’s. As a result of this communication he wrote down the first three chapters of his most famous book “Liber Legis, the Book of Law”. This book contains his oft-quoted dictum: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, Love under Will”, upon which Crowley based the rest of his life and teachings.
    Rose Edith Kelly – Crowley’s first wife
    In 1909 Crowley began to explore levels of the astral plane with his assistant, a poet called “Victor Neuberg”; they used ‘Enochian’ magic. 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 gained 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, the so-called “Ape of Thoth”. 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.
    Leah Hirsig – the “Ape of Thoth”
    In 1912 Crowley became involved with the British section of the O.T.O. (the Ordo Temple Orientis or Order of the Temple of the East), a German occult order practicing magic. He then moved and lived in America from 1915 to 1919, moving again in 1920 to Sicily where he established the notorious Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu.
    In Sicily he proceeded to involve himself in Italian occultism and in 1922 became the head of the ‘Ordo Temple Orientis’. However (as he routinely did) he began to attract more bad publicity. The press denounced him as “The Wickedest Man in the World” because of the alleged satanic goings on in the Abbey. It has now come to light that many of the allegations were false and were no more than press sensationalism. However their effect had serious repercussions for Crowley. In 1923 Mussolini the then ruler of Italy stepped in and expelled him from Sicily.
    Crowley wondered around for a while visiting such places as Tunisia and Germany before settling for a time in France. While in France he engaged as his secretary the services of another aspiring magician ‘Israel Regardie’. Regardie would later become famous himself and played a prominent role in exposing the complete rituals of the ‘Golden Dawn’ to the public Crowley continued to travel around Europe during which time he picked up a growing heroin addiction, a habit he would suffer from for the rest of his life. Back in England in 1929 he met and married his second wife ‘Maria Ferrari de Miramar’. The marriage took place in Leipzig, Germany.
    Maria Ferrari de Miramar and Crowley
    In 1932 Crowley met with ‘Sybil Leek’ another famous witch and became a frequent visitor to her home. Sybil a hereditary witch was only nine years old at the time and later wrote in her autobiography “Diary of a Witch” – (New York: Signet, 1969), that Crowley talked to her about witchcraft. He taught her the words of power and instructed her on the use of certain words for their vibratory qualities when working with magick.
    Already notorious and well known to the press, Crowley then became involved in a famous and sensational libel case. In 1934 before Mr. Justice Swift, he sued Nina Hamnett a prominent sculptress. Nina had published a book “Laughing Torso” (Constable and Co., London, 1932) in which Crowley alleged she had libeled him by saying he that the practiced black magic. As the case proceeded the other side produced such evidence of Crowley’s bizarre life-style and scandalous writings (as they were considered at that time), that the justice was horrified. Crowley lost the case and was forced into bankruptcy, much to the delight of the popular press who again had a field day.
    Crowley in his room in Jermyn Street.
    In his penultimate year 1946, a mutual friend ‘Arnold Crowther’ introduced Crowley to ‘Gerald B. Gardner’. His meetings with Gardner would later lead to controversy over the authenticity of Gardner’s original ‘Book of Shadows’. It was alleged that Gardner paid Crowley to write it for him? But this has now been discounted. While it did contain some of Crowley’s writings, this was the result of Gardner and Crowley comparing notes on rituals used in ‘Old George Pickingill’s’ covens in the New Forrest area. Doreen Valiente in her book “Witchcraft for Tomorrow” does much to shed light on this controversy.
    Crowley near the end of his life
    At the time of his meetings with Gerald Gardner, Crowley was a feeble old man living in retirement at a private hotel in Hastings, barely 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 and unbowed 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 writings was to be proclaimed from the pulpit. Finally his ashes were to be sent to his disciples in America.
    In many ways Aleister Crowley was not a well-liked man, but he influenced and had an effect on the build up to the new era of modern witchcraft. His knowledge of witchcraft and magick was profound and without question, and he has passed on that knowledge through his books. In today’s more liberal society more and more of Crowley’s books are being reprinted as we begin to appreciate his strange genius. Indeed some of his books have now gained classical status. These include: Gnostic Mass and The Book of Law (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1977) from which portions of the well known “Charge of the Goddess” were written by Doreen Valiente. Other books include: Magick in Theory and Practice, 777 And Other Qabalistic Writing and The Book of Thoth to mention just a few.
    Best wishes and Blessed Be

  13. The way of Crowley was more a culture outside culture than any kind of Religion. When he wanted to, he could write with tight discipline and an obvious erudition. When he wanted to tweak the nose of upstarts, culture, religions, and civilization in general, he wrote of truth with tales twisted at both begining and end. Yet, while Christians beat at his reputation and condemn him to Hell, when reminded that he existed. He wrote as a Christian of deep faith on occasion. . .I’ll let you judge.
    Hail Mary
    Mother and maiden! on the natal night
    Embowered in bliss of roses red and white,
    Westward three Magi move to minister
    To Him with gold and frankincense and myrhh.
    Those Pagans gazing on the Heavenly Host
    Were blest of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
    And me, though I be as an heathen Mage,
    Thou wilt accept in this my pious page.
    The worlds were drunken as with wine
    When shimmering from the throne divine,
    The soul of Mary fixed its ray
    Within that meek and maiden clay
    The stars in mightier music rolled;
    The sun acheived a gladder gold;
    The moon lest pure acclaimed the morn;
    — Mary Immaculate is born.
    Rejoice, O children of the earth,
    At your salvation brought to birth!
    This is the perfect period.
    Mary is born that shall bear God.


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