Author Topic: Crowley and sufism  (Read 4730 times)

Offline 2109

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Crowley and sufism
« on: February 23, 2010, 12:08:16 pm »
I remember having read somewhere a claim that Crowley either was initiated by sufis during his travels or by people from the middle east. The claim, which I unfortunately can´t remember where it was being done, also stated the names of the people which he should have meet.

Does anyone know anything about this?

Regards,

Offline Lamogue

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 12:16:09 pm »
Crowley was massively influenced by Richard Francis Burton - recognised by some as having been a Sufi. This is debatable, but at the very least Burton explored Sufism during his travels. I don't know whether AC was initiated by Sufis during his travels, but I do know that this is a massive area that has yet to be fully explored. The OTO is littered with Sufic symbolism if you know where to look.

Offline ianrons

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 12:21:17 pm »
Indeed: on p.387 of Confessions he is pretty clearly following in Burton's footsteps by going to Cairo intending to study Sufism and dress as a Persian.  As for Burton, he did claim to have been initiated as a Master Sufi (whatever that means), and to have learned the secrets of tricks like the wire-through-the-cheek; but although Crowley did recount walking into a Sufi ceremony in Morocco (IIRC), that held him back from making contact with Sufis was, it would seem, his lack of Arabic and Persian.

Note, however, that Carl Kellner allegedly discovered the secret of the IX° OTO from, inter alia, a Sufi; so, if true, AC did have some kind of Sufi training!

Offline 2109

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 01:40:33 pm »
"The OTO is littered with Sufic symbolism if you know where to look."

I´m not a member of OTO so beside the obvious fact that cOTO sometimes is called the "caliphate" I´m not aware of the symbolism. I would be grateful if you would evolve this theme.

"but although Crowley did recount walking into a Sufi ceremony in Morocco (IIRC)"

IIRC? What is your source for this?

What I remember vaguely is that it was two men with arabic or perhaps persian names which should have initiated him or at least introduced him to some form of mysticism.

Offline ianrons

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 01:46:19 pm »
Quote
IIRC? What is your source for this?

Confessions.

Quote
What I remember vaguely is that it was two men with arabic or perhaps persian names which should have initiated him or at least introduced him to some form of mysticism.

You may be thinking of Carl Kellner.

Offline SSS

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Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 01:58:53 pm »
Quote from: "2109"

I´m not a member of OTO so beside the obvious fact that cOTO sometimes is called the "caliphate"


The designation Caliphate was actually a Pun for Calif(ornia). They just took that ball and ran with it for all it was worth. Well, we did.

Offline 2109

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2010, 02:02:45 pm »
Ok.

You are probably right.
Thank you.

Offline ianrons

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RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2010, 02:08:16 pm »
Quote
The designation Caliphate was actually a Pun for Calif(ornia). They just took that ball and ran with it for all it was worth. Well, we did.

This really is pedantry, but actually that's not correct: Crowley specifically refers to a "Caliph", and it's idle speculation to suppose he came up with the idea because of McMurtry's postal address.  Besides, it's not really accurate because the OTO aren't revisionists and if anything would represent the Sunni branch ;-)

Offline SSS

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Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2010, 02:15:24 pm »
Quote from: "ianrons"
, but actually that's not correct: Crowley specifically refers to a "Caliph", and it's idle speculation to suppose he came up with the idea because of McMurtry's postal address.


Do you know the sources where I can access all of the relevant data about this?

Offline ianrons

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RE: Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2010, 02:21:27 pm »
I discussed this in the Crowley copyright thread.  The following is copied from there.  I had forgotten that McMurtry was actually in Belgium at the time!

-----
Also re: rabrazier's raising of the suggestion that Caliph=Calif=Calif[ornia], the term "Caliphate" was applied by Crowley to refer simply to the OTO after his [the Prophet's] death.  He applied the term "Caliph" both to Germer and McMurtry (or presumably any potentional "successor" -- since that is what khalifa means).  Anyway, it is not specific to California, although the way König presents evidence, with great enthusiasm for quantity and inclusiveness, can lead the reader to assume he has as much enthusiasm for careful analysis; and hence his various remarks are often taken at face value.  Here is the quote from the letter in question (Crowley-McMurtry letter of 21st November 1944, addressed to McMurtry in Belgium), which need only be brief:
Quote from: "Crowley"
"The Caliphate." [...] Frater [Saturnus] is of course the natural Caliph. [...] Your actual life, or "blooding", is the sort of initiation which I regard as the first essential for a Caliph.

Note the date: after Germer's appointment by Crowley in the March 12th-14th 1942 letter.

Offline Lamogue

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RE: Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2010, 02:21:33 pm »
Quote
I´m not a member of OTO so beside the obvious fact that cOTO sometimes is called the "caliphate" I´m not aware of the symbolism. I would be grateful if you would evolve this theme.


Since I am a member of OTO that's not something I am willing to do, as it would involve violating oaths that I take very seriously.

Offline Julianus

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Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2010, 04:29:25 pm »
Quote from: "ianrons"
Indeed: on p.387 of Confessions he is pretty clearly following in Burton's footsteps by going to Cairo intending to study Sufism and dress as a Persian.  As for Burton, he did claim to have been initiated as a Master Sufi (whatever that means), and to have learned the secrets of tricks like the wire-through-the-cheek; but although Crowley did recount walking into a Sufi ceremony in Morocco (IIRC), that held him back from making contact with Sufis was, it would seem, his lack of Arabic and Persian.
!


Crowley had enough Persian to become fascinated by their poetry and create a credible hoax with The Bagh-i-Muattar.

As for the Sufi connection, he certainly studied under a Sufi Sheikh while in Cairo in 1904, before he got distracted by Aiwass & company. As these studies included how to stab oneself without injury the sheikh was probably of the Rifai order, which still specialises in such pastimes.

Crowley was interested in repeating Burton's pilgrimage to Mecca, which to my mind opens up one of the great 'what if' scenarios in occult history: by all accounts the Hajj is an overwhelming experience, so it's just possible Crowley could have come back as a committed Muslin, although one cannot imagine him being very orthodox! Crowleyan Sufism would probably have looked something like the works of Idries Shah in fact.

Offline ianrons

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RE: Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2010, 05:06:04 pm »
Quote from: "Julianus"
Crowley had enough Persian to become fascinated by their poetry and create a credible hoax with The Bagh-i-Muattar.

Yah... that was written in *English*.


Quote from: "Julianus"
As for the Sufi connection, he certainly studied under a Sufi Sheikh while in Cairo in 1904, before he got distracted by Aiwass & company. As these studies included how to stab oneself without injury the sheikh was probably of the Rifai order, which still specialises in such pastimes.

I really think either you are confusing Crowley with Burton or I am confusing Burton with Crowley.

Offline miles_vera

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RE: Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2010, 06:51:56 pm »
ianrons...well referenced and I was going to point out the same facts and the Persian / Sufism themes have been referred to by Robert Anton Wilson as well.

Thank you to the others as well for the background info.

By a strange coincidence I am catching Richrad Thompson  who is a well known sufi practitioner Thursday in San Fransisco...yeah  :-))
Though the course may change sometimes...the river always reaches the sea

Offline Patriarch156

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Re: RE: Re: RE: Crowley and sufism
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2010, 01:12:40 am »
Quote from: "Crowley"
"The Caliphate." [...] Frater [Saturnus] is of course the natural Caliph. [...] Your actual life, or "blooding", is the sort of initiation which I regard as the first essential for a Caliph.


Good post Ian. Crowley even specifically connects Caliph to the O.H.O. by noting in the same letter after describing this first essentiality for a Caliph: "For — say 20 years hence the Outer Head of the Order must, among other things, have had the experience of war as it is in actual fact to-day."

Anyone as has been shown who claims that the Caliph was not regarded as Crowley as identical to the O.H.O. are in some serious need of reality adjustment.