Some people believe no other person had such a significant impact on the counter cultural turns of the 1900s such as Aleister Crowley. He was a Cambridge-educated occultist, but also the inventor of the Thelema Religion. But according to his notes his role in history is not over, because “in 1000 years from now, the world will be sitting in the sunset of Crowlianity”. Crowley called himself the “Great Beast 666” and other apocalyptic titles. He was given the title of “The Wickedest Man in the World” by the British press, which is also the title of one episode from a BBC 4, four-part documentary about famous sinister figures.
Occult and Life
Born as Edward Alexander Crowley, Aleister came from wealthy upper-class family. During his younger years, he was greatly influenced by the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in which he became a highly influential member after he became close friends with the order’s leader. The cult referred to him as Frater Perdurabo. He believed that he was regularly contacted by his Guardian Angel (called Aiwass) ever since his staying in Egypt. In the same period, in 1904, he wrote a text known as the “Book of the Law,” which he believes it was of divine source. He used the book later to develop the Thelema religion. He founded his own occult society and managed to become the leader of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). His religion was adopted by the O.T.O., but also by the Order of the Silver Star, and by the magical order Argenteum Astrum.
Crowley’s lifestyle was something completely unimaginable at the beginning of the 1900s. Besides his obsession with the occult, he was a bisexual (at a time when homosexuality was illegal in Britain), he would frequent prostitutes, he was very defiant against Christianity, and he enjoyed taking drugs. Some say that he was in complete revolt against the religious and moral values of his time.
Even so, Crowley had influence
Aleister Crowley was a mountain climber, chess player, poet, philosopher, mystic, astrologer, hedonist, bisexual, social critic and drug experimenter. He was a known Freemason and supposedly was a member of the United Grand Lodge of England. As a mountaineer, Aleister Crowley co-lead in 1902 the first British expedition to K2. As a poet, he published under the name George Archibald Bishop the most scandalous verse in 1898.
In 2002, a poll done by BBC ranked him as the 73rd greatest Briton of all time. A high number of writers, filmmakers, and musicians use references of Crowley in their work as he had a crucial influence on countless later esoteric groups, such as Jack Parsons, Kenneth Grant, Gerald Gardner, and Austin Osman Spare.
After 1904 and the Thelema religion
Crowley said that he had a mystical experience in 1904. While on holiday in Egypt, with his wife Rose, he observed she was behaving in an odd way. This led Crowley to believe that some entity was contacting her. At her direct instructions, he was able to perform on March 20th, an invocation of the well-known Egyptian god Horus. The God told him about the new magical Aeon that had begun, and that Aleister would serve as a prophet. On April 8th and for the next two days, at noon, he claimed to have heard a voice that dictated the words of the text: Liber AL vel Legis, also known as “The Book of Law,” which was written down by Crowley. Portions of this book were written in some type of numerical cipher. Crowley claimed he was forbidden to decode it. In the Thelemic dogma, it is explained the warning of deciphering the message within the Book of Law; the voice told that Ankh-of-na-klonsu (or Aleister Crowley) should never attempt to decode the hidden ciphers, because if he does, all will end in folly.
Crowley once said: “to hell with Christianity, rationalism, Buddhism. I want blasphemy, murder, rape, revolution, anything bad or good, but strong.”
In 1920 he started preaching in Sicily a belief that he thought will one day sweep away Christianity and oppression. But after three years Mussolini deported him and all his followers after reports of animal and human sacrifice, and sexual depravity. An Oxford graduate who came to Aleister’s Sicily Abbey with his wife died after drinking the blood of a cat. The wife left Italy and went directly to the British press.
The death of Aleister Crowley
Crowley was a notorious character, a frequent target of attack in media, which labeled him as “The Wickedest Man in the Word”. It would be an understatement to say that Satanist Aleister Crowley was an evil man. He had a great influence on this world, but he had different moral values. He said, “ I went over to Satan’s side, […] I was not content to believe in Satan, I just wanted to be his chief of staff”.
Between the years 1923 and 1947 he travelled to Germany, England, and France, where he continued to promote Thelema philosophy and religion. On 1 December 1947, at Netherwood, Aleister Crowley died of chronic bronchitis at age 72. His funeral was held on 5th of December at a Brighton crematorium.
Thus the life of Aleister Crowley ended, but his philosophy and ideas remain to this day and will continue to influence the lives of many people in the future.
“I have exposed myself to every form of disease, accident, and violence. I have driven myself to delight in dirty and disgusting debauches, and to devour human excrement and human flesh. I have mastered every mode of my mind and made myself a mortality more severe than any other in the world.”
About the Author: Ruxandra Burcescu
Being born in the land that gave birth to Prince Vlad Tepes (you may know him by the name of Dracula) shapes you. I grew up with myths, legends, and stories that many people believe to be true. And so do I as a matter of fact. That’s why I combined my two great passions – writing and seeking the extraordinary.
I am an avid hunter of secrets and legends, and I travel to discover mysterious and fascinating places that inspire me to offer you more than articles – to provide you with the means to see through my eyes and experience goose bumps as you read about the unknown lurking in the shadows.
Besides paranormal, mysteries and legends, I also like red wine, snowflakes, and burgers. Yep, we all need our passions, so I am still seeking for the burger-man who lives in Antarctica and has a cellar full of spicy, 100-years red wine bottles. But, in the meantime, I discover exciting places filled with mystery and reveal them to you. Enjoy!