Aleister Crowley; a man deemed the wickedest man in the world. Crowley was also an influential figure in the Western esoteric traditions. Furthermore, he is not forgotten since his death on December 1, 1947. His legacy lives on.
Aleister Crowley and His Early Life
The occult pioneer was born on October 12, 1875, in Leamington, Spa. He was known as Edward Alexander Crowley until he adopted the Gaelic form of his given name.
Crowley was born from a wealthy family. However, even at a young age, he had been vocal with his criticisms against his parents. He deplored their' fundamentalist Christian Plymouth beliefs, leading him to reject the entirely said faith.
It wasn't until he started his education at Trinity College, a division of the University of Cambridge. At Cambridge, he pursued his interest in poetry and mountaineering. He then published several of his writings on his passions.
For some biographers, this is when Crowley was allegedly introduced into the British intelligence agency. It was suggested the man that everyone feared had lived as a spy throughout his life.
Crowley's Spiritual Journey
Even though Crowley detested Christianity, which is supported by his several anti-Semitic sentiments. He still considered himself an immensely spiritual and religious person.
In 1898; he was recruited in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He practiced and applied the ceremonial magic under the care of Allan Bennett and Samuel Lidell MacGregor Mathers.
His interests in mountain pursuits grew. To feed his quest for excellence, he once visited Mexico to mountaineer with a friend known as Oscar Eckenstein. He then travelled to India to study of Buddhism and Hinduism in India.
Biographies of Crowley
In multiple biographies, Crowley was described to have explored the belief systems of Kabbalah, Judeo-Christian, yoga, and Hermeticism. This was despite his critical view on the dominating religion.
Rose Edith Kelly married him in 1904, and they set their honeymoon in Cairo, Egypt. It was in this place that changed Crowley's life forever.
Crowley claimed that a supernatural entity named "Aiwass" had contacted him and lent him the “Book of the Law”. This was then to be the sacred text of Crowley's established Thelema religion.
It was the start of Æon of Horus, or the "Era of Horus." As the trustee of The Book, Crowley was hailed as the prophet of Thelemites. The era of Osiris, and the Isis, represented the previous ages, where the era of Isis was a period of matriarchy. In contrast, the era of Osiris displayed the power of the patriarchy.
Additionally, Osiris' generation has set a great emphasis on religious sacrifices. Yet, the followers believed that the era of Horus was the time for individualism. This was taken from the Egyptian belief that Horus struck his own, so he could learn and grow.
In Thelema, figures like Hadit, Nuit, and Ra Hoor Kuit are revered as the deities that guide the believers. They are equated to the Egyptian gods and goddess, such as Horus, Osiris, and Isis.
They may be seen as literal beings or archetypes, as long as Crowley's works are viewed canonically. The interpretation of The Book is left to the individual understanding of followers.
Aleister Crowley Created Thelema as the Way of Life
The law of Thelema states that, Thelemites should strive to ascend into a higher state of existence, unite the self to higher powers, and embrace the True Will as their ultimate place and purpose in life.
The religion upholds the beliefs
"Every Man and Woman is a Star" and the "Love is the Law. Law under Will."
The former refers to the perspective that everyone possesses unique abilities, potentials, and talents. Therefore, no one has the right to impede in their search for True Self. On the other hand, the latter indicates that each person is entangled with their True Will using love.
“As someone learns to love. They come to discover that it's founded on unity and understanding and never on coercion or force.”
A Ruthless Legacy on His Wake
In 1920, Crowley finally decided to move to Sicily to build the Abbey of Thelema. The abbey was to serve as the Thelemites' headquarters.
He went beyond his spiritual enlightenment by declaring himself as the Ipssissimus, roughly translated as “beyond the Gods,” in 1921.
After two years, Crowley began engaging with drugs and sexual endeavors. He communed with both men and women, all while bisexuality was considered a taboo subject back then.
Not long after, an Englishman passed away under mysterious circumstances. Furthermore, this followed a ritual to which it was disclosed that he consumed the cat's blood.
To say that the Italian fascist and British press are appalled is an understatement. As a result, the Abbey was shut down. Not only that but Crowley was also expelled from the city, leading the rest of the Thelemites to scatter. Nonetheless, this wasn't the first time that Crowley made a gruesome move.
Aleister Crowley sowed dread in the Boleskine House as he used it as a secluded area to practice his magic by “The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.”
The act prompted the sudden death of the housekeeper's two children. As a consequence, Crowley further bragged that a former drunkard employee, had been under the influence of alcohol and tried to murder the rest of his family.
Even after Crowley lost ownership of the place, the house was still filled with dark energy.
In 1965, a suicide incident had taken place when an army major shot himself with a shotgun. Although the next owner; Jimmy Page, rarely spent time in the estate, he undoubtedly heard some odd creaks, ghostly apparitions, and unexplained groans within the house whenever he visits.
Instead of leaving the land to a friend, Jimmy decided to continue owning the property despite the frequent attempts of Page and Aleister Crowley fans to enter the premises.
Later, owners dismissed the notions of witchcraft and hauntings around the house, but a 2015 incident of the house enveloped in fires may have said otherwise.
Evil On the Loose
Crowley was deemed a disgrace, and was in a near-skeletal state due to his heroin addiction, but his followers never left his side. In fact, he fathered a handful of children, where most of them were illegitimate. Even then, Crowley was still considered a remarkable magus and medium.
Tarot and Magick
Aleister designed a new sequence of tarot cards and incorporated them into his 1944 “Book of Thoth” until he marked the end of his life in Hastings in 1947.
He may have been referred to as the wickedest man in the world, but there's no doubt that Crowley would deny this claim. It's worth noting, that after everything that Crowley had put people through, he had complete confidence that his works were good as they opened men to spiritual experiences by abandoning the earthly rules.
In the present day, there are a couple of individuals who still call themselves Thelemites and follow the works of Aleister Crowley. It’s as if he is still here, among us and plying his craft.