Aleister Crowley - a fraud?

iBrian

Peace, Love and Unity
Admin
Messages
6,532
Reaction score
12
Points
38
Location
Scotland
Few names are as evocative as Crowley's - but, really, wasn't he more Barnum than Beelzebub?

After all - while Hitler oversaw the final solution with the gassing of over 6 million people, and Hirohito presided over an army that destroyed 10 million lives in China - aleister Crowley was claiming to be the most evil man alive...because he had sex with men and said a few funny words.

Isn't that all Crowley ultimately amounts to? An angry man playing his sexuality against a prudish and prejudiced society that was so easily manipulated into outrage?

Ultimately, was Aleister Crowley's life without any other purpose than to play against the superstitious sensibilities of Polite Society?

Are his works and writings therefore nothing but vacuous props in his own media circus, his life empty and void of any real belief in what he was doing?

A starter for discussion. :)
 

bgruagach

eclectic Wiccan
Messages
522
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
Novelty OH USA
I said:
Few names are as evocative as Crowley's - but, really, wasn't he more Barnum than Beelzebub?

After all - while Hitler oversaw the final solution with the gassing of over 6 million people, and Hirohito presided over an army that destroyed 10 million lives in China - aleister Crowley was claiming to be the most evil man alive...because he had sex with men and said a few funny words.

Isn't that all Crowley ultimately amounts to? An angry man playing his sexuality against a prudish and prejudiced society that was so easily manipulated into outrage?

Ultimately, was Aleister Crowley's life without any other purpose than to play against the superstitious sensibilities of Polite Society?

Are his works and writings therefore nothing but vacuous props in his own media circus, his life empty and void of any real belief in what he was doing?

A starter for discussion. :)

I think that Anton LaVey fits the image you've depicted far better than Aleister Crowley.

Crowley worked through the ranks of the Golden Dawn, which at the time was THE magickal group in the United Kingdom, and worked rapidly to the top. I don't think LaVey could have done the same... he got as far as he did by just making up his own little empire to lord over.

Crowley did go on to found his own magickal order, the OTO, after he split from the Golden Dawn. But he wasn't the only one to do that. Dion Fortune did the same, starting up the Fraternity (later the Society) of Inner Light. Both those organizations are still running today in some form.

I think the importance of a person's work is measured more by how influential it was in succeeding generations rather than by what sort of publicity the person had while they were alive. Crowley's work definitely lives on in the OTO and anyone who knows what Thelema is. Historians like Ronald Hutton have identified some of the very real impact Crowley had on the formation and evolution of religions like Wicca. Some of the other "bright lights" of the current magickal community, people like Lon "Milo" DuQuette, draw extensively from Crowley's work.

Crowley was certainly no saint but he was certainly talented when it came to magickal work and theory. His works have lived beyond his physical life and still flourish. He did get a lot of publicity because of his over-the-top rebellion against the status quo, but we should keep in mind that this refusal to just blindly conform to arbitrary rules is a large part of the philosophy he was developing and promoting.

There is a new book out by Richard Kaczynski called "Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley" which I understand is an excellent and unsentimental account of Crowley's life. I haven't read it yet but I hear it's about the best one out there.
 

Baud

Seeker of Knowledge
Messages
71
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Toulouse, France
I would tend to agree with Ben. despite whatever Crowley did, what for whatever reason he did it, he did have an important influence of a lot of current movements, including Pagan religions, even if a lot of these would like not to be linked with him. I personally think he was much more like a circus figure, but from what I read he anyway left some interesting philosophical writings (some contradicting each other) and was an influential man.

As a side note, I think what he said was that he was "the wickedest man in the world", not "the most evil man alive". Although one takes often "wicked" as synonymous with "evil" my gut feeling tells me that it wasn't what he meant.

Baud
 

WHKeith

Well-Known Member
Messages
201
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
And I'll chime in here with an "I agree" as well.

Crowley was an extraordinarily talented magician. To my mind, he was also a tragic figure, able to master the self-discipline necessary to hone his magical work, yet unable to apply that discipline in his life. He seemed to feel above such ideals as loyalty or gratitude to friends and supporters, and his callous abuse of others ruined him on several occasions. He declared that to be truly free, one needed to rise above addictions through pure willpower, and to that end became deeply addicted to several drugs, including, I believe, heroin. Apparently he would break the habit for days or weeks at a time, but always went back--a sadly pathetic commentary on the man who so disdained weakness in others.

He existed, possibly, as a warning to others. The "Great Work" of magical societies like the O.T.O. involves the perfection of self through dedication, discipline, and mental control. Crowley certainly had sheer, raw magical power, but he lacked the discipline in his personal life--and, evidently, the capacity for love of others--he needed to be TRULY free.
 

bgruagach

eclectic Wiccan
Messages
522
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
Novelty OH USA
WHKeith said:
Crowley certainly had sheer, raw magical power, but he lacked the discipline in his personal life--and, evidently, the capacity for love of others--he needed to be TRULY free.

I think you got it right on the nose.

Crowley, I suspect, was a sociopath of some sort. It might have been a result of his upbringing; I understand he lived in a very repressive home, with a mother who called him "The Beast" as in the beast of revelations, which he took to heart in his rebellious manner.

For those who are interested, Franz Bardon has been compared as being on par with Crowley when it comes to magickal genius. Bardon, unlike Crowley, appears to have been more socially together and seems to have had his magickal life integrated pretty successfully with the rest of his life. His problems came more from being in the wrong place at the wrong time (in Nazi-controlled regions during WWII) rather than things caused by his own character flaws.
 

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

Junior Moderator, Intro
Moderator
Messages
7,885
Reaction score
1,069
Points
108
Location
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Originally posted by I, Brian
"After all - while Hitler oversaw the final solution with the gassing of over 6 million people,"

This is going to be off-topic, but here goes.

Actually, it was over 12 million people, 6 million were Jewish. Don't forget the Rom (gypsies), the Jehovah's Witnesses, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the homosexuals, the blacks, the Russians, the Poles, etc.

Sorry. Did a paper on that for a class last fall, and I get a bit touchy about the figures and such. :)

I'll try to find something on-topic to post later (gotta do my bioethics homework. :rolleyes: )

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 

neoxenos

Well-Known Member
Messages
51
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Crowley had some powers, and he taught methods to awaken consciousness, not through the elimination of desire but instead through desire. This is known also a Dianetics. Scientology is the step child of Crowley philosophy.

So, I would not say he is a fraud but rather, a bit dangerous. In my opinion, I must state that nothing good can come from the study of any of his works.

If one wishes to read about magic, I recommend Eliphas Levi and especially Samael Aun Weor.

Best regards,
Steve
 

Pet Zepi

Dog Star Dissident
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
The Murder Stone
I said:
Few names are as evocative as Crowley's - but, really, wasn't he more Barnum than Beelzebub?

After all - while Hitler oversaw the final solution with the gassing of over 6 million people, and Hirohito presided over an army that destroyed 10 million lives in China - aleister Crowley was claiming to be the most evil man alive...because he had sex with men and said a few funny words.

Isn't that all Crowley ultimately amounts to? An angry man playing his sexuality against a prudish and prejudiced society that was so easily manipulated into outrage?

Ultimately, was Aleister Crowley's life without any other purpose than to play against the superstitious sensibilities of Polite Society?

Are his works and writings therefore nothing but vacuous props in his own media circus, his life empty and void of any real belief in what he was doing?

A starter for discussion. :)

Mmmmmmm.. sounds more like Augustus Caesar to me.
 

bgruagach

eclectic Wiccan
Messages
522
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
Novelty OH USA
Oh, I think I should mention a correction from one of my previous posts.

Aleister Crowley didn't found the OTO. It understand it was started by Theodor Reuss around 1912. That very year Crowley got involved, moved up the ranks, and was established as the head of the OTO branch in the UK (there were branches in Canada and the US as well.)

Reuss died in 1921 and Crowley was considered by many in the English-speaking lodges to be the obvious replacement, although I understand there was a lot of disagreement about who the new leader really should be. Apparently the OTO didn't do too well after Crowley's death, and didn't really restart again until 1969 when Grady McMurtry stepped forward and got it all going again, claiming to have a charter from Crowley that dated to 1943. Even this is apparently considered questionable. Regardless, the OTO is now still going despite the controversies and periods of no real activity.

I got this info from John Michael Greer's excellent new book, "The New Encyclopedia of the Occult."
 

Mus Zibii

QUID EST VERITAS
Messages
469
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I always thought his charm was the fact he was fleecing the bourgeois. But I've never followed occult history that much. I mostly get my interpretation from Ozzy. LOL
 

alexa

somewhere in time
Messages
721
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
mapple area
I said:
Few names are as evocative as Crowley's - but, really, wasn't he more Barnum than Beelzebub?(QUOTE)

As I know, Crowley took for himself the title of the great beast 666. In his Liber Alvel Legis (The book of the loi) he let us a cryptogramme :

4638ABK24aLGMOR3YX2489RPSTOVAL

Nobody was able to find the key. Maybe those who undestand the kabbale could translate this and let us know what Crowley really wanted to say.

He had used mediums (see Victor Neuberg in 1910) to find answers to his questions and proclame them as propheties.

In my opinion, he was just a social psychopath.
 

alexa

somewhere in time
Messages
721
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
mapple area
Guys,

Let's go back to Crowley, please !

I found something interesting about him. Did you know his life rule was : 'Do what you want to' ?

In his theory, each individual has to find a pourpose in life (or goal ) and do everything in his power to reach that purpose/goal.

It seems the hippy generation found the idea interesting and they have used it.:)
 

Mus Zibii

QUID EST VERITAS
Messages
469
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Yeah, I'm not going to waste my time on this. Sorry for starting it.

Back to Crowley!
 

Vajradhara

One of Many
Messages
3,786
Reaction score
45
Points
48
Location
Seattle, WA
Namaste neoxenos,

thank you for the post.

neoxenos said:
Crowley had some powers, and he taught methods to awaken consciousness, not through the elimination of desire but instead through desire.
that's essentially correct...

This is known also a Dianetics. Scientology is the step child of Crowley philosophy.
however this is not. Dianetics was, in fact, started by Layfayette Ron Hubbard, the erstwhile sci-fi author, however, it was originally created by real, certified doctors. when they finally got wind of what Layfayettes real purpose was, they all abandoned the project, and thus, he lost the licensed MD's for the clinic... hence.. no clinic.

of course.. Hubbard had no contact with the O.T.O. or the I.O.T at this time. it was his meeting with a man named Jack Parsons that changed all that. seems that Mr. Parsons was a high level O.T.O initiate whom, incidently, worked at the JPL. nevertheless, it was from this interaction and becoming exposed to the O.T.O. and, essentially, Crowley, that led to the eventual development of Scientology.

Scientology is one of the spiritual paths that Buddhists would not consider a valid spiritual refuge since it does not have a sound moral and ethical teaching.

if you are really interested in this subject in more detail, please PM me as i am concerned for the forums liability.... and that's all i'm saying on that :)
 

Vajradhara

One of Many
Messages
3,786
Reaction score
45
Points
48
Location
Seattle, WA
Namaste Alexa,

thank you for the post.


alexa said:
Did you know his life rule was : 'Do what you want to' ?
actually.. it's a bit more than that... iirc..

"Do what thy whilt shall be the whole of the Law" with the addendum "provided that it harm none."

now... as far as i can ascertain, this addendum was added by the North American branch of the O.T.O to deal with the polemics from the I.O.T.
how effective it will be, is anyone's guess.
 

Mus Zibii

QUID EST VERITAS
Messages
469
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Vajradhara said:
if you are really interested in this subject in more detail, please PM me as i am concerned for the forums liability.... and that's all i'm saying on that :)
Ooo, I'm tempted to a make a John Travolta joke now. Battlefield Earth was subpar! Do your worst Heber Jentzsch!
 

iBrian

Peace, Love and Unity
Admin
Messages
6,532
Reaction score
12
Points
38
Location
Scotland
Indeed, I'm sure the issues of WWII and Nazi Germany could be addressed on the politics board- though, of course, we would ask that is remains as civil as may be. :)

As for LaVey - seems to have done a good job of trying to turn Organised Satanism into an Alternative Lifestyle - so as to get away from the pre-CoS hysteria of killing black cats, as psychopathic expressions travelling under a non-descript label of "Satanism".
 

Mus Zibii

QUID EST VERITAS
Messages
469
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I could never get passed the fact the 'Satanic Bible' was originally published by Avon. Or that whole Sammy Davis Jr thing.
 

alexa

somewhere in time
Messages
721
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
mapple area
Vajradhara said:
"Do what thy whilt shall be the whole of the Law" with the addendum "provided that it harm none."

now... as far as i can ascertain, this addendum was added by the North American branch of the O.T.O to deal with the polemics from the I.O.T.
how effective it will be, is anyone's guess.
Thanks, Vajradhara. I knew I miss something during translation from French.

By the way, what does this mean : 'Namaste ' ?

alexa
 
Top