Baroja, Julio Caro. The World of the Witches. 1961. Reprint,
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975. Leach, Maria, ed., and Jerome Fried, assoc. ed. Funk & Wag-
nall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
Crowley, Aleister (1875-1947) The most controversial and perhaps least understood magician and occultist of his time, Aleister Crowley has been both vilified and idolized. He was a man of both low excesses and high brilliance. He considered himself to be the reincarnation of other great occultists: Pope Alexander VI, renowned for his love of physical pleasures; Edward Kelly, the notorious assistant to occultist John Dee in Elizabethan England; Cagliostro; and occultist Eliphas Levi, who died on the day Crowley was born. Crowley also believed he had been Ankh-f-n-Khonsu, an Egyptian priest of the XXVIth dynasty.
Crowley was born in Warwickshire, England. His father was a brewer and a preacher of Plymouthism, the beliefs of a sect founded of the Plymouth Brethren in 1830 that considered itself the only true Christian order. As a child, Crowley participated in the preaching with his parents, then rebelled against it. His behavior inspired his mother to call him "the Beast" after the Antichrist. Later, he called her "a brainless bigot of the most narrow, logical and inhuman type." His father died when he was 11.
As Crowley grew older, he became interested in the occult. He also discovered he was excited by descriptions of TORTuRE and BLOOD, and he liked to fantasize about being degraded by a Scarlet Woman who was both wicked and independent.
He entered Trinity College at Cambridge, where he wrote poetry and pursued, on his own, his occult studies. He loved to climb rocks and mountains and attempted some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. In 1898 he published his first book of poetry, Aceldama, A Place to Bury Strangers in. A Philosophical Poem. By a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge, 1898. In the preface, he described how God and Satan had fought for his soul: "God conquered—now I have only one doubt left—which of the twain was God?"
After reading Arthur Edward Waite's The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, which hints of a secret brotherhood of adepts who dispense occult wisdom to certain initiates. Intrigued, Crowley wrote to Waite for more information and was referred to The Cloud upon the Sanctuary, by Carl von Eckartshausen, which tells of the Great White Brotherhood. Crowley determined he wanted to join this brotherhood and advance to the highest degree.
On November 18, 1898, Crowley joined the London chapter of the HERMETIC order of THE GoLDEN Dawn, which was the First or Outer Order of the Great White Brotherhood. He discovered he had a natural aptitude for MAGIC and rose quickly through the hierarchy. He began practicing yoga, in the course of which he discovered his earlier incarnations. He left Trinity College without earning a degree, took a flat in Chancery Lane, named him-
self Count Vladimir and pursued his occult studies on a full-time basis. He advanced through the First Order and sought entry into the Second Order of the Great White Brotherhood, a Rosicrucian order also called the Order of the Red Rose and the Golden Cross. Beyond this was the top order, the Silver Star or A .'.A.'. (Argentum Astrum), which had three grades: Master of the Temple, Magus and Ipissimus. The latter could be achieved only by crossing an unknown and uncharted Abyss.
Crowley was intensely competitive with S. L. MacGregor Mathers, the chief of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and a ceremonial magician. Mathers taught Crowley Abra-Melin magic (see ABRAMELIN THE Mage) but had not attained any of three grades in the A. A.. The two quarreled, and Mathers supposedly dispatched an army of ELEMENTALs to attack Crowley. Crowley also argued with other members of the Golden Dawn as well and as a result was expelled from the order. He pursued the attainment of Ipissimus on his own.
Crowley traveled widely. He studied Eastern mysticism, including Buddhism, Tantric Yoga and the I Ching. For a time he lived in Scotland, in an isolated setting near Loch Ness. In 1903 he married Rose Kelly, who bore him one child. Rose began to receive communications from the astral plane, and in 1904 she told Crowley that he was to receive an extremely important message. It came from Aiwass, a spirit and Crowley's Holy Guardian Angel, or True Self. Crowley also later identified Aiwass as a magical current or solar-phallic energy worshiped by the Su-merians as Shaitan, a "devil-god," and by the Egyptians as Set. On three consecutive days in April 1904, from noon until 1 P.M., Aiwass reportedly manifested as a voice and dictated to Crowley The Book of the Law, the most significant work of his magical career. It contains the Law of Thelema: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Though some have interpreted it to mean doing as one pleases, it actually means that one must do what one must and nothing else. Admirers of Crowley say the Law of Thelema distinguishes him as one of the greatest magicians of history.
Aiwass also heralded the coming of a new Aeon of Horus, the third great age of humanity. The three ages were characterized as Paganism/Christianity/Thelema, represented, respectively, by Isis/osiRis/Horus. Crowley considered himself the prophet of the New Aeon.
From 1909 to 1913, Crowley published the secret rituals of the Golden Dawn in his periodical, The Equinox, which also served as a vehicle for his poetry. Mathers tried but failed to get an injunction to stop him. By 1912 Crowley had become involved with the Ordo Templi Ori-entis, a German occult order practicing magic.
In 1909 Crowley explored levels of the astral plane with his assistant, poet Victor Neuberg, using Enochian magic. He believed he crossed the Abyss and united his consciousness with the universal consciousness, thus becoming Master of the Temple. He described the astral
Was this article helpful?
Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.