Crowley in The New Age

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LAShTAL.COM member, Excoriator, today posted a very interesting contribution to the Forum here, which I consider to be of such interest to visitors that I’ve reproduced it here:



“Lo, the mighty prophet sate him down and spake magic words. Hearken ye unto him!”

Is the toad in the Hole? For the soul has gone astray, a-whoring after strange gods. Men, indeed, there are who strive to–think! Fools they are; they know not the Teaching. They are blind and deaf and dumb and bereft of smell. But I know it. Hearken! The Soul is a perfect hole, into which all things flow, fall and disappear. A nest of intertwining boxes full of impressions–Cast them out!–full of aspirations–Beware; devils are about! full of strange beliefs in existence–Madness, it dreameth! I know it. Hearken!

Verily, even as copulating beetles in a dung-heap, as couples in a punt on the river, but without the magic ecstasy of their union with the Mystic Essence of God, so is the Soul of man when it striveth to know that which lieth without its boundaries. Life is a cheat, a dream, a bilk. Put not your trust in it. It is not. I know it. Hearken!

As a sleeping man sees visions in a dream and watcheth and careth not, so indeed a wise man goeth through life, watching, and caring not. Enjoy and pay not! Take what is offered and cast the cup away ere you drink the poisonous dregs. Say, “I dream,” and beware of waking. Thus may ye ever be blissful, neither joyful nor sad, neither brave nor cowardly, but ever content, seated on the sharp edge of a razor-blade. O Initiate, thus have I taught thee the Wonderful Teaching. I know it. Hearken! Hearken!

So I wrote with my finger in the mud beside the pavilion in the circus, and my soul was glad.

Amen, Amen. “I found this charming, little piece in an online copy of the July 23’rd, 1914 edition of a magazine called, amusingly, The New Age. It was not a New Age magazine! Not in the current sense, at least. It was a left-leaning review of politics, literature and the arts. There are a number of pieces in it either by or about Crowley; some known, some not, so far as I am aware. The Wonderful Teaching seems to me to be in the latter catagory. The reviewers were quite critical of A.C. but mostly they treated him with some respect. Neuberg gets a few mentions, too; one quite amusing. The database with the searchable pdf copies of the issues may be found here:

“There were many contributors whose names might be familiar, such as Florence Farr and Katherine Mansfield; and, indeed, I wonder why the material about A.C. has been forgotten. Where did that renowned collection of Crowley press-cuttings, that Montague Summers was supposed to have, go? I bet he had these ones. I have made up a little collection of pages from the magazine, in pdf, and I shall make it available to Lashtal.”

Thanks again, Excoriator. I have uploaded the PDFs here.

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