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Was Aleister Crowley's biggest weakness not that he was somehow 'evil,' but that he was a terrible salesman?

His writtings are far too full of inside jokes, numerology, dead languages like Latin, and bad puns that are so obscure that most people think he’s talking about something completely different than his actual point!
Is this 19th Century elitism his saving grace or the ruin of any chance of a worldwide Thelemic movement during his lifetime?

5 COMMENTS

  1. At the time he was writing, none of his target audiences would’ve not known enough Latin and Greek to follow him. Honestly, I don’t know how people who call themselves various variations of mage get by without at least a basic understanding thereof.
    He actually was a great salesman, but the movement involving Thelema, which pre-dates him, was dying before he arrived.

  2. Crowley was a highly educated and highly intelligent man. His prose is excellent, though most of his poetry is terrible. He was also very complex, and had serious blindness to his own faults. He was sadistic,
    narcissistic, racist, elitist and very superior. Sure he wrote in the Book of the Law that every man and every woman is a star. This is a beautiful saying, but he wasn’t sincere. His addiction to heroin undoubtedly coarsened his personality.

  3. I never really thought about this before, but Crowley’s elitism was quite mainstream and in line with the fashion of his times, albeit a rarefied stratum of that fashion. The literary trends of the Western world in the late 19th to early 20th centuries were towards the “modern” voice, i.e., lofty, full of obscure references and accessible only to a few. That, coupled with the rise of spiritualism and Theosophy and the like, tends to put Crowley smack in the center of the fashion of his day. The fact that he actually knew what he was talking about with reference to archaic thought systems and religions might have put him out of reach of the poseurs, who might have felt slighted and thus labeled him as “evil.” He also had some unfortunate personal habits that may have tended to undermine his message too, but he was human, after all.

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