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Was Aleister Crowley a charlatan?

You know; a demagogue, a false prophet, a fake?
If so, why – if not, why not?

8 COMMENTS

  1. Every woman he ever got involved with, and some of the men he got involved with, went insane. So whatever he was, he obviously drove people crazy.

  2. He was brilliant but a little weird. He explored a lot of ideas that other people were afraid to touch, and he wrote some interesting books.

  3. If you ever actually read any of his stuff or read factual things about him, you would realize that although he was quite eccentric and also quite provocative for his time (the Victorian era), he thought of himself as a mystic and many people today follow his teaching and think of themselves as aspiring mystics. Indeed, some of his teachings parallel and are in fact derivative of eastern spirituality. He–and his followers–are also quite dogmatic about their doctrine–no less so than some fundamentalist Christians. Some also conduct themselves as if they are in a secret and elite club, which is annoying, of course, especially after you find out what they’re talking about and *might* end up saying “been there, done that.”
    He radically rejuvenated the Western occult and esoteric traditions, and like most historic figures whose ideology and antics radically question and change the existing stagnant paradigm, he was an ambiguous and provocative character. He has yet to live down the mainstream Victorian preceptions, myths, and slander against him. If he were alive today and doing whatever he was doing then now, no one would blink twice. He would just be another pop-culture guru, would probably cater to rock stars, etc., have his face splashed all over Rolling Stone and the celebrity gossip rags, and would be featured on some HBO reality show.

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