First Principles

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The attention of all members of The Aleister Crowley Society and, therefore, of LAShTAL.COM is drawn to this Forum announcement:
Announcement reproduced here:

What’s the point of LAShTAL.COM?

That’s a question that has been troubling me over recent weeks.

The site has been online since 1998, since 2003 in its current format. Back in 1998 it was clear that there was a desperate need for a site devoted to the life and legacy of Aleister Crowley. The Internet was younger then and it was obvious to even the most casual observer that Crowley’s legacy was not best served by the factional in-fighting of the time. “My OTO is bigger than your OTO” battles waged on biased and partial websites and ill-informed but opinionated webmasters were peddling falsehood and conjecture as accurate and authoritative information. Where sites existed that actually presented Crowley in his original words, one was equally likely to stumble upon fourth-chapters of The Book Of The Law presented as authentic. There was simply nowhere that the serious researcher or earnest student could go online and be confident of the quality, accuracy and impartiality of the material presented.

So, I put LAShTAL.COM onto the web. It was never my intention that it become as popular as it since has. A handful of hits a day was all I sought and for a few months it was all the site received! I deliberately chose an obscure word from the Crowley corpus as the site’s name: because not only did I want the quality of the resource to be high, but also the quality of the membership. There was no point developing a site rich in content integrity, if a new member was to find himself/herself surrounded by cultists, fools and self-promoters when seeking answers.

Broadly speaking, the site met and exceeded its objective. It rapidly developed into something extraordinary: a serious resource devoted to a subject that had been sorely let down otherwise online. The most significant Crowley scholars from around the world were very soon onboard and a glance at the archives shows an enthusiasm to get to the nub of things with the minimum of rudeness and aggression. Even in-fighting was just about absent. As moderator of the Forums, my approach was robust and, I like to think, effective.

Something changed, then, with the arrival of huge numbers of visitors, many of whom found the non-occult, “Home of The Aleister Crowley Society” focus of the site to be too limiting. Discussions were quick to divert into the occult equivalent of violent arguments about the number of angels that could dance on a pin. I made the serious mistake around this time of opening the site out to these wider, more “arcane”, more “supernatural” areas, regardless of how ridiculous they were. How can you discuss Crowley on the site without mentioning his impact on Grant, Spare, Chumbley and others, I was asked. Foolishly, I failed to stand to my principles and I opened the floodgates to every group or self-styled guru claiming influence from Crowley. Drawing attention to the nonsense presented as wisdom by some of these revisionists and others “inspired” by a distorted understanding or wilful misunderstanding of Crowley, I was frequently reminded that “all words are sacred” and again indulged those who ought not to have been indulged.

So, I’ve been considering the future of LAShTAL as a result both of the squabbling of factions that we’ve seen in the Forums recently and of the impact that running it is having on me and my family. Threats and insults arrive daily by email and offensive remarks and aggression on LAShTAL.COM and elsewhere have led me to understand that it’s necessary for LAShTAL.COM to return to its core functions, if I’m to continue to devote much of my spare time to the site.

As I reminded members and visitors back in 2007, LAShTAL.COM is a non-commercial and non-partisan website devoted to the legacy of Aleister Crowley and to the impact of Crowley and Thelema on media, news and culture. It is Home of The Aleister Crowley Society. It is ‘non-partisan’ in that it is impartial in its reporting of News and other items. I am not a member of any special interest group. Impartiality is a requirement of activity on the site and will be rigorously reinforced through increasingly robust Moderation. While many members are interested in ‘the occult’, ‘divination’, ‘magick’, etc., it is important to understand that LAShTAL.COM is not an ‘occult’ website. Its interests editorially are strictly cultural, biographical, bibliographical and social. To that extent, content relating to those influenced by Crowley is welcome, as is discussion of their own creative endeavours … but only to that extent. Kenneth Grant and Austin Osman Spare are a special case, in that their impact on the legacy of Crowley is substantial and an understanding of their work may lead to further insight into that of Crowley.

As the Home of The Aleister Crowley Society, all members of the website are members of the Society and will behave on the site in accordance with the standards that such a Society can reasonably expect. Any current members that do not consider themselves members of the Society are welcome to contact me for the closure of their accounts.

Editor and Owner

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