Did Crowley drink beer?
I can't recall Crowley ever mentioning drinking beer. As far as i can recall, he mentions every other conceivable alcoholic drink, but never beer or ale.
Of course, much of his life and activities were bound up with a very forced performance of being a "gentleman" (which of course he wasn't, quite). Like many social climbers, he was careful to avoid any signifiers of being middle-class, or (horrors!) working class. My understanding is that drinking beer was a very strong class signifier (of working class-ness) during his lifetime in the UK.
He also hated his parents, and was probably loathe to have anyone think his money came from "trade" from those Crowley's Ales pubs, rather than being "old money" from land rents like a real gentleperson.
As one who eschews "sweet wines", and can seldom afford "wines that foam", and brews his own ale, i would be delighted to learn i am mistaken about this, and that AC actually enjoyed "The Beverage of Civilization" (as my anthro professor used to call it). The ancient Egyptians of course drank beer, but not wine- one would think this would have counted for something with such an Egyptophile.
I don't think he recorded the specific act of quaffing ale in his records or the Confessions, but he was no stranger to occasionally frequenting pubs in London (such as The Fitzroy Tavern in Fitzrovia - a stone's throw from my girlfriend's place, incidentally) and it's possible though unlikely he would have stuck to imbibing "shorts" throughout a protracted session. I'm fairly sure he wouldn't have been too bothered about the 'class' perception and let that get in the way of a good old proper booze-up either - one example of which was on the night before the dedication of his The Equinox of the Gods at Cleopatra's needle, at which he and at least 6 accomplices were recorded as having been on an all-night bender immediately prior to the ceremony at sunrise. Unless he had a specific dislike for and antipathy towards the beverage, I would have thought it unlikely he wouldn't have supped a pint of the amber nectar during that sesh at least…
Yr very good health & bottoms up!
Norma N Joy Conquest
PS Also wouldn't lager have been the most excellent accompaniment to wash down his fiercesomely hot fiery curries with?
Great topic, ignant666. Now, AC had written
"People spoke to me, people whose experience and judgment in all matters of Sacrifice to Dionysus had my very fullest assent and admiration; they told me that of all drinks, the best was Beer. So I have wanted for many years to drink it. I can't. I once tasted a few drops on the end of a teaspoon. They told me that wasn't quite the same thing!"
(Magick Without Tears, Chapter XLIX: Thelemic Morality)
(On Hermetic here: https://hermetic.com/crowley/magick-without-tears/mwt_49)
It is interesting to note that 'beer' appears as an hieroglyph on the table on the Stele of Revealing, and yet none of the translations of the Stele, during Crowley's lifetime, include it as part of the translation.
There's an account of him visiting pubs in The Confessions, I know this because he laments that working class men were apes only good for belching fumes of alcohol into the ceilings, something like that. I think this must have been in his student days.
Thanx to all, especially Serpent 252.
I think both the MWOT quote, and david's recollection of the Hag passage, tend to support my "class panic" idea- drinking beer was a marker of being not a "gentlemen", and so AC avoided beer.
Going to pubs may have been the equivalent of going to the zoo for AC- a chance to observe, and mock, his social "inferiors", with their pints.
Crowley mentioned beer dozens of times in his published output. A few examples:
‘Magick is a Pyramid, built layer by layer. The work of the Body of Light --- with the technique of Yoga --- is the foundation of the whole. One's apprehension of the Astral Plane must be accurate, for Angels, Archangels, and Gods are derived therefrom by analysis. One must have pure materials if one wishes to brew pure beer.’ --- Magick in Theory and Practice
‘On the other, when it comes to excitement or amusement, we see perspiring brutes belching the fumes of beer; course, ugly parodies of apes. Nature affords no parallel to their degradation.’ --- Confessions, cap. 13
‘The author was a pompous, ignorant and affected dipsomaniac from America, and he treated his subject with the vulgarity of Jerome K. Jerome, and the beery, leering frivolity of a red-nosed music-hall comedian making jokes about mothers-in-law and lodgers.’ --- Confessions, cap. 14
‘I have never drunk beer in my life’ --- Magick Without Tears, cap. 57
‘Now will somebody tell me why in the name of all that's inappropriate they built a thieves' kitchen, a beggar's boozing- ken, a cads' cradle, a dumping-ground for all the lousy, spavined, ring- wormed, scrofulous, soapless, paper-collared, dicky-wearing, frayed- trousered, dusty-bowlered, tooth-brushless, frowsty, fuggy, onanizing, cheesy, onion-smelling, lantern-jawed, pi-inclined, lecture-keeping, hockey-playing, tub-pushing, beer-squiffy, syphilophobic, landlady's- daughter-cuddling, pseudo-blood, Union-haunting, Ciccu-jawing, mongrel-breeding, Math-Trip-mugging, oak- sporting, penny-nap- playing, Fabian, don-frequenting, stinks-stewing, proggings-fearing, touts next door?’ --- Not the Life and Adventures of Sir Roger Bloxam
Owner and Editor
Thank you, Paul, for these many mentions i've forgotten- i think we can now agree that AC was very firmly anti-beer, and never drank it.
I think we also see ample evidence that this was because beer-drinking was incompatible with his assumed status as a "gentleman".
On a most likely unrelated issue, what on earth can be meant by "pi-inclined"? Do we think he thought the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is a matter of opinion or choice?
Off to get "beer-squiffy" (well, i may wait a bit as it's 9:30am here), yours truly,
Yet Another Pompous, Ignant And Affected Dipsomaniac From America
Note how Crowley's favourite people Anglo-Saxons (ha!) tend to drink beer (the word 'lager' is derived from the German verb 'to store') but the Mediterranean southern European countries tend to drink wine. Derive from that what ye will.
This is a remarkably foolish post, david. It is both 1) factually wrong, and 2) in any case, a rather pointless and banal observation even if you were correct.
As to #1: Can you provide even one example of Crowley saying something positive about "Anglo-Saxons"? Crowley spent a great deal of time pretending to be a Celt of some sort, perhaps an Irishman, or sometimes a Scotsman swanning around in kilts, rather than what he actually was, an Anglo-Saxon Englishman.
As to #2: You are correct that the wine/beer divide is an important cultural marker in Europe, with northern countries preferring beer, and southern countries preferring wine. The beer-drinking countries tend to have houses with doors and windows that face the outside, while the wine-drinking countries tend to have houses with doors and windows that open into a central court. The beer-drinking countries are mostly Protestant, while the wine-drinking countries are mostly Catholic. The beer-drinking countries are colder, while the wine-drinking countries are warmer. Many such correlations exist. So what?
On refection, i realize that perhaps your parenthetical "ha!" indicates that you are aware of point #1, but were attempting to be clever, which still leaves me baffled by the point of your post.
They say Americans don't get irony. AC was open about his hatred for Anglo-Saxons and his fondness for Latin cultures. So what? So the abuse of beer drinking is a massive problem in the UK related to bad health and public disorder problems. Just saying. Google the term "lager lout".
You are correct- Americans are incapable of understanding irony, or of perpetrating it.
However, i have been taking special lessons, so i was able to "get" your very clever remark, as my edit indicates. I, having, through my special "how to understand clever ironic remarks by Brits" lessons, twigged your very clever use of irony, pointed out that you were making a rather well-known point, and not really contributing to the "conversation" here. Perhaps your point was that his avoiding beer was an effort to pose as being more Latin, and less British?
Are these "lager louts" you mention mostly very upper-class folks, or would that be more of a class slur on working-class youth, perpetrated by wine-drinking middle-, and upper-class, oldsters?
Right- it is a class slur on the drinking preferences of working-class youth, which comes back to my point: Crowley eschewed beer as a part of his performance of being a claret-drinking "gentleman", and not the son of a brewery-owner.
There you go, looks like I was on topic all along after all. I was wondering what crawled up your ass.
Guardian readers used to say that Britain's main export was it's football hooliganism which was pretty much fueled by lager. Mind you the same folk now can't get enough of soccer watching ever since the multinational companies poured a lot of their funds into the game due to tv satellite channel footage.
Guardian readers used to say that Britain’s main export was it’s football hooliganism which was pretty much fueled by lager.
I've been a Guardian reader since the 1970s, and I've never said that. Nor am I aware of it being a widespread view amongst my fellow Guardianistas. Since the Guardian has a strong football section, I think it unlikely that the view you describe is widespread.
Idiot sheets such as the Daily Mail, though, do love to perpetuate such a view.
Thank you for the helpful translation from the British in using "crawled up [my] ass", instead of "crawled up [my] arse", and explaining that "football hooliganism" involves soccer games, as i am wholly ignorant of such things, never having read, for example, Among The Thugs (by- gasp!- an American), and never having been to a football game outside the United States.
I assume that by "Guardian readers" you would refer to middle-, and upper-class, university educated wine-bibbing folk? So again, no, you were not, in fact ,"on topic" in your rather incoherent post- the issue here is class, not nationality, since, as i pointed out, the beer/wine divide within British society is a class divide, and has been for at least a century before televised "footy matches", or football supporter "firms", existed.
I wonder how you would account for the prevalence of football violence among Italian, French and Russian ultras? Are they, too, fueled by lager, in those wine-, and vodka-drinking places? What about Brazilian torcidos?
Yet Another Pompous, Ignant, Affected, And Irony-Challenged Dipsomaniac From America
dom probably just roughin the moguled course
gettin jiggy with it;
while piloting the Barque of Ra on wards .
Workin the upside and down side
of the thick landscape of snow
between Rural and Borough .
Ok beer, lager and bitter are traditionally working class drinks. The thing is AC probably didn't drink beer because, frankly who in their right mind would? It's disgusting basically, nothing to do with class.
It’s disgusting basically, nothing to do with class.
That's your opinion, nothing more. I've been drinking beer since the age of 14. Drnk a lot less than I used to, but there are certain beers such as Fuller's London Pride that in my opinion are gorgeous. Probably my favourite tipples are red wines, but there's some very good beers out there.
Thank you for the gracious concession that beer-drinking is a strong class marker in the UK, now and in AC's day.
There is no "probably" about AC avoiding beer, see the posts by serpent 252 and Paul on the previous page, including "I have never drunk beer in my life’" (Magick Without Tears, ch. 57).
[F]rankly who in their right mind would [drink beer]? It’s disgusting basically, nothing to do with class.
Well, me, for one. "There's no accounting for tastes, as the old lady said as she kissed her cow", as my late great-grandma used to say.
As to 90+% of all lager, i might almost agree with you. Though i'd be more inclined to say "dull" than "disgusting", if only lager is available, i just drink some non-alcoholic beverage (perhaps as a reaction against my own middle-class wine-snob parents, i have never liked wine very much, and i very seldom drink spirits, and never outside my own house).
But ale, on the other hand, is clear proof of the existence of the gods, and the special bounty of the goddess Ceres. Bitter, which you appear also to find disgusting, is a traditional British/Scottish form of ale. But ale reaches its apotheosis in the products of the many small breweries of Belgium, where more than 200 styles (not brands, but different types) of ale are brewed.
To get started, you need to try at least Duvel, Orval, both Chimay dubbel and trippel, St. Sixtus, Rodenbach, and any good gueze and lambic before you can even begin to claim that you know what beer tastes like. None of these nine varieties taste particularly like each other, and none taste anything like lager.
As is so often the case, i fear you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about here, and are running your mouth compulsively in response to various emotional issues that you might care to take a look at, especially if you plan to pursue the Great Work.
Also, i (best by emotional compulsion), must divert us from beer, because i now have to reply in a more "American" manner to the absurd belief among (some) Brits that "Americans don't get irony".
Anyone who believes this must have very little acquaintance with American culture, either high or low, and has obviously never spoken to a New Yorker, a New Englander (especially folks from Vermont or Maine), a Southerner, an African-American or Jew from anywhere, or basically any American who is not a white person from California or the Midwest (where i freely admit folks do tend to run a bit, um, sincere, though even in these places there are many exceptions; see below).
As to the lack of irony in American culture, from high culture, i guess you've never read a word of Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Philip Roth, Dorothy Parker, H.L. Mencken, Ambrose Bierce, i'll stop now. Mark Twain's work alone should be enough to end this idiotic idea forever- universally considered one of America's greatest writers, if not the greatest, and a man who almost never wrote a word in his life not meant ironically.
In pop culture, um, The Simpsons , M*A*S*H (book, movie, tv show), the Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Roadrunner, Rocky & Bullwinkle, the Beastie Boys, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, MAD magazine, The National Lampoon, The New York Dolls, The Ramones, The Modern Lovers, pretty much all of punk rock in fact (a wholly ironic artform that we invented, that Brits copied and, in may cases, dumbed down because they missed the irony (see, e.g., The Clash)), Alice Cooper, KISS, again i'll stop now before i have to list practically all US pop culture besides TV, and Christian rock.
We're a country built on slavery and genocide that calls ourselves "the land of the free", and you think we don't get from irony? Oy gevalt!
Also, why do you suppose Monty Python and Aleister Crowley, two irony-steeped examples of British culture, did so much better in America than in their homeland?
Who are the most frequent posters here who are Americans? Me and Fra. Shiva. Here is a secret clue for you: many, if not most posts, by both of us employ the irony- who new?
So here we have Ignant deriding my connection between Anglo Saxon cultures and Anglo Saxon cultures' preference for beer/lager and AC's distaste (pun intended) for Anglo Saxon cultures. Ignant says they are not related and he sees AC's hatred for beer as a universal class slur (pun intended) but is it? AC didn't deride the Anglo Saxon working class per se but he did deride Anglo Saxsons per se. Furthermore he had good things to say about Mexican and Latin working class. Maybe there is a connection between AC's reason for hating Anglo Saxon cultures and the latter's beercentric nature. Beer is generally consumed greedily and is not appreciated the way a wine drinker relates to his wine. Beer makes people more prone to loutishness especially in sex repressed cultures.
How much disgruntled heaviness, lameness, dampness, how much beer is there in the German intelligence?
Where does one not find that bland degeneration which beer produces in the spirit!
So when Nietzsche uses the term "German" here who do you think he means? The German working classes only? So the beer festival tradition of Germany is a working class thing only? Furthermore, the NSDAP meetings in bier kellars did not involve "the middle class"? I'm not telling you I'm asking you.
Whilst we are on the subject of Germany would you care to tell us why you made that silly post in the summer gloating about Gremany going out of the world cup?
Ig: ... who new?
The Shadow Knows (new) !
This whole penetration into abstract reality, and returning with something practical, that we have chosen to cal The Spiritual Path, is a game. The gaming aspect is actually a requirement at and after a certain stage. If anyone wants to get this all put into its proper perspective, they must (MUST!) referee, er, refer to the following Thistle, um, Epistle:
The Universe is the Practical Joke of the General
at the Expense of the Particular, quoth FRATER PERDURABO, and laughed [from Chokmah]..
But those disciples nearest to him wept, seeing the Universal Sorrow [at Binah].
Those next to them laughed, seeing the Universal Joke[at Chesed].
Below these [at the arsenal of Geburah] certain disciples wept.
Then certain laughed [expressing the harmonious joy of Tiphareth].
Others [stuck in the pit of cultural programming, drinking beer, or wine, or Ale, or Mead] next wept.
[Mead is now introduced into the"Beer/Lager/Ale" lineage-category]
Others next laughed, happy enough in their little mind sanctuary of Hod].
Next others wept. [Of course they did; they were wallowing in emotional desire at Yesod].
Next others laughed, [hard on the physical plane of Malkuth].
Last came those that wept because they could not see the Joke, and those that laughed lest they
should be thought not to see the Joke, and thought it safe to act like FRATER PERDURABO. [This is the Path of Probation, whee nobody's sur of anything].
But though FRATER PERDURABO laughed openly, He also at the same time wept secretly;
and in Himself He neither laughed nor wept.
[Frater P.'. is self-described as being neutral, which is above laughing and crying. Switch from here to Taoism or Dzogchen to move on to the next stage]..
Nor did He mean what He said. [It doesn't tter. If he's playing the game, hen this is the sort of result you want].
Ref: Citation: Source: Chapter 14, Liber 333.
All this does not detract from the fact that there is an archetypal scenario (at some sephira, or upon some Atuic Oath, or in some Aethyr, wherein the dunce, mmm, candidate finds him or her self in dreadful vale of tears ... and the trance is broken by clinton, no, hilarity as one perceives the Universal Joke. If you haven't seen this movie yet, then you (anyone) is living in LOST ANGELES.
David: Can you please remind me [assuming this remark was addressed to me] what i said about a thing that anyone who doesn't support Germany, or who supports a team with an easier path if Germany is out, should be happy about, a major football threat like Germany being eliminated in any WC, as i just reviewed the thread i think you mean and can't find what you mention? Thanx dude. (My dad was half Kraut, half Scots , so i can assure you no nationalism was involved, should i prove to have said such a thing).
Shiva: You know what they say, you lay pearls before swine and what do you get? Pearls before swine.
Yr. fellow American,
If it's true I don't like the fact that American football fans have turned Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye " into some mindless ritual, yeah that thread Our Favourite Music. That's cool I thought it would be strange if you of all people were being anti -some nation. Thanks.
Oh, i forgot that, i thought you meant something i said in the actual football thread; "It's all in the game , son" ["Omar", The Wire].
America's fondness for Steam's immortal '70s glam chanson is not limited to sporting events: here are many thousands of residents of the very African-American, and thus very Democratic Party-supporting, city of Washington, DC (and some visitors, including your pal Ig) singing "Na-na-na! Hey-hey! Goodbye!" outside the (Bush-occupied) White House, after the networks announced that Obama had won in 2008:
Many of us had been drinking beer; and by sheer law of averages, there has to been at least one other Thelemite besides me among the thousands there, and all of us were Americans using a '70s British pop-culture artifact Ironically, just to keep things OT(s).
playing 21 or some such game ?
“ the adept has acquired the complete control of his mind and senses .
If a camel is shewn to the ordinary man, he is compelled to see a camel
and cannot persuade himself that it is a house or an ox .
But the adept can easily put himself out of gear
with his senses, and awake others; as for instance he can awake the supernal taste by concentrating his thought “
A.C. Equinox V No 4 pg 315
the song was written/released in the late 60s by Paul Leka the guy who wrote Green Tambourine, he was a "bubblegum "/psychedelic pop specialist therefore. Thanks for that list of the American espousers of irony, I'll look into it. Maybe Woody Allen should be added to that list.
Dom jerkin the chain on ye ole codgers yet again! ha ha.... 😜.... Well the Ale & the Christianity wasn't to AC's taste. Does that make him a 'social climber'? -Such an absurd statement to begin with that he was so pathetic as to shun a beverage associated with the 'working class'. He drank whiskey, rum, cognac, absinthe...a hard liquor guy. So what? How is that detrimental to him? He was Aleister Crowley for fucks sake!
“ye ole codgers “
Back in the day there used to be a party
that was going to eradicate the working poor
as well as their need for an illicit means of support to make ends meet .
If they succeeded the party would be over .
so they switched the game plan .
Asked for more money
then abandoned their fiduciary duty
and claim they can’t make ends meet because they don’t have enough money .
nothings changed except if you want good water the people have to pay for it .
the party gets theirs delivered free; payed for by the people .
They would not want to drink the tap water that the people drink
because they know whats in it .
That was way back at the millennium or even further .
So long ago i can’t even remember .
And way back in the decade
the risk management department
decided it was time to herd
the people away from guns that could be used to keep the kleptocracy at bay .
i think the workings of the revolution started in a tavern .
T: i think the workings of the revolution started in a tavern .
Not a Crowley Tavern ... surely?
What a masterpiece Liber 333 is...always something new each reading.
Just like AL.
Bier: Favourites are pilsners, and now IPA. Growing up in Europe I was mostly a pils guy but now that I am officially a Yankee doodle, I have grown a liking for hops. But not too strong.
In regards to Crowley, I always find it agreeable that he was so contradictory to his own beliefs in his behaviour. It makes him more interesting .Thelema can in some ways be called classist, as in Kings of men and elitism, but I think it can also be viewed as above good and evil.
Last but not least, in regards to football /soccer I am supporting Bayern Munchen and Porto in Champions league due to familial connections. I also like WC and am sad the Netherlands has not been doing well the last couple of years. But it's not very serious for me. It's just a game.
It's all a game called life.
Since we all knew (most of us) that AC despised beer and this thread is rollicking around I guess I can consider it case closed?