Relevance of Aleister Crowley to Wicca and / or Magick?

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I first came across his name when reading about Paulo Cohelo’s experiences with magick in the book about himself called The Pilgrim, in which he does not paint a very positive image of Crowley, and i understand now after seeing just a few other articles and clips about him , that he was somewhat a satanist and quite evil- and therefore am not at all interested in learning about his teachings at all (quite honestly its freaky stuff there) . When on Wiki (and yes, i do understand it can be edited quite easily) I read in G. Gardener’s article that Crowley and another lady (the writer of Charge of the Goddess, if i am not mistaken) contributed quite a sum to Gardener’s work. Wiccans and those who know, pls confrim the relevance of Crowely having an influence on Wicca and/or Magick. Could some of his wickedness have rubbed off? Or what exactly did he contribute? I am just trying understand Wicca and Magick, so i thought i’d ask- am not looking to offend anyone. Info only please- no links.
Also, is it correct to say that Wicca as G. Gardner started it and Magick are entirely seperate from what Crowley practiced? Or do you know of any common themes or practices?

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Aliester Crowley was the father of modern satanism. he wrote several rituals invoking satan and taught them to a lot of people, he admitted to killing 135 children in sacrifice but they couldn’t bust him for it because they couldn’t find the bodies. One of his students, Gerald Gardner, founded Wicca as it is known today ( claiming to have been secretly initiated by a woman known as old dorothy, of whose existence there is really no proof) As a result of these facts we can assume that modern Wicca has roots in Crowlian satanism.


I am reading a lot of Aleister Crowley’s books, & I realize what you are saying about “that is some freaky stuff there”.
I think the only link I can really make at this point in my limited understanding of his works is maybe the numerolgical systems used by both Crowley & Gardner.
Also, both extoll the virtues of the Goddess in their own way. Hope this helps. 🙂


Crowley… well he has a limited amount of relevance in the occult, but Wicca specifically? Not really. Of course, a lot of Wiccans are involved in the occult to some extent, and he has contributed a bit, ie his “Thoth” tarot stuff.


Crowley was not a satanist. He was actually a Thelemite (who do not believe in the devil) and occultist (who aren’t necessarily bad). He was accused of devil worship, and enjoyed freaking people out by calling himself “The Great Beast.” (like Marilyn Manson does) Crowley wasn’t really all that bad. Just probably a little weird.
He had a significant impact on magic in general, in particularly divination and ceremonial magic. He developed rituals for Thelema and Golden Dawn, and was the founder of the occult organization Ordo Templi Orientis.
AC had no direct impact on Wicca and was not a Witch. Wicca was Gerald Gardner’s invention, circa 1939. Wicca is an attempt at a reconstructionist witchcraft and goddess worship movement, and while it is not actually true Traditional Witchcraft, it still is a valid religious Path for many people. (As long as they don’t go fluffy or read and believe Silver Ravenwolf.) It is one of the first and most popular neo-pagan religions and is significant to the Pagan and Neo-pagan Movements.
Some people accuse AC of making up Wiccan rituals and ghosting some of GG’s books and rituals (which are actually just modified Freemasonry rituals), but that cannot be proven.


Crowley and Gardner met a couple of times in the last year of Crowley’s life. Gardner appears to have had a great amount of respect for Crowley’s work. By Doreen Valiente’s own claims, Gardner plagerized large parts of Crowley’s work into early Wiccan ritual, but Valiente rewrote much of it (although bits and pieces can still be found in things like the Charge). Gardner and Crowley both were also heavily influenced by the outlooks and rituals of the Golden Dawn, so many similarities can be seen because they worked from a common source. (working tools, calling quarters, circle casting, etc.)
The two obvious influences of Crowley I can think of are the lines of his that remain in the Charge (for mre, see and his expression of a goddess in triple form (although the idea was slowly developing before him and the spefic labeling of maid mother and crone came after him by Robert Graves). The Wiccan Rede (And it harm none, do what you will) may be influenced by the Law of Thelema (Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law), although there are at least two other similar phrases (Love and do what you will – Saint Augustine, and a passage that Gardner himself quotes from a fictional novel: “Do what you like so long as you harm no one” from The Adventures of King Pausole)
Crowley was a drug fiend and by many accounts not a nice person. The accusation that he was a Satanist, however, is false (although he abhorred Christianity). I’m very amused that one of the previous responses mentioned his “confession” of killing more than a hundred children. He was talking about ejaculations that didn’t result in pregnancy, and said it specifically to piss of the establishment.
I don’t believe that wickedness “rubs off.” We each choose whether we’re going to be wicked. Wicked people do not carry around some sort of wicked contamination. (Although the more you hang around a wicked person the more temptation you’re going to have to participate in his vices)
Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon devotes considerable time to Crowley and his influence on the development of Wicca. If you’re interested in the subject, I would definitely recommend reading it.

Deirdre H

Actually, Crowley is exceedingly important to modern Wicca and Witchcraft. The Rede, “An it harm none, Do what thou wilt” is a modification of Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, Love is the law, Love under Will.”
Crowley was quite genius. He was a major influence, not only in Magick, but in Wicca, through his influence upon Gardiner and others of his time.
He was somewhat hedonistic, prone to let people think what they wished, and often to encourage them.
Was he a Satanist? It’s not likely that he followed Satan, but perhaps he was in the sense that modern Satanism is more hedonism than a religious following of the Christian character of Satan.
He certainly had much to teach when it comes to Magickal ritual.

LabGrrl MmmBacon.

As a Wiccan by most definitions thereof and a person who can be described as a Thelemite, I’d say Crowley had far less influence upon Gardner and early Gardnerian Witchcraft than it might appear to the uneducated observer.
Valiente was MUCH more influenced by Mathers and Levi than Crowley, and Crowley was in his grave for a few years when the Wiccan liturgy was written.
Crowley wasn’t wicked- the systems he was opposed to were, and he showed them that by reflection.


Aleister Crowley was a major influence on modern ceremonial magick at a time when it and other forms of alternative spirituality that had been marginalized (or demonized) during the late medieval era and then mostly trivialized during the Modern era in history were making a come-back in revisionist and syncretic form. He was a hedonist but he was not a Satanist. Part of his “trip” was to turn the constructs of the Victorian culture he was part of on its head–such that he got into some heavy duty sex-magick practices (taken but distorted fromTantric yogic Vamachanda practices) and purposefully tried to be shocking. He had an understanding of medieval magic that got revised through the Order of the Golden Dawn, the OTO, and other systems. This included number magic, Kabalah, angelelogy, theurgy, and necromancy, among other things.
A more sympathetic critic might say he was “pushing boundaries” of consciousness, sexuality, and mores. He was a drug addict and did get into some deranged goings on ( and what some would term “black magic,” I believe), but he is still highly respected in the world of ceremonial magick more for his contributions than his weirdness. (Hey, if Jimmy Page thought he was interesting, he must’ve been.)
Ceremonial magick and Wicca are two separate systems. Other responders who are Wiccan seem to be much more knowledgable about the relationship between Gardner and Crowley than me. I am involved in ceremonial magick but not of the thelemetic/Crowlian sort. In any case, a lot of the self-styled neopagans of that era wildly fabricated and borrowed and “stole” from each other in forumulating their spiritual systems.


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