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"Bloodline" by David St. CLAIR

jamie barter
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
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Magickal asked in “The Monster’s Lament” thread under “Crowley Clippings” about A.C. being a main character in a fictitious setting (rather than a biography) & enquired whether anybody would need to obtain permission [from the O.T.O., perhaps?] to do such a terrible thing.

In addition to a brief answer there relating to the present topic: there is at least one other book apart from W. Somerset Maugham’s The Magician [Oliver Haddo] and Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out [Mocata] in which A.C. is mentioned or portrayed as a ‘historical character’ - but this one this time identifies him directly by name and gives an eccentric slant to some of the main incidents in his real life with which I am sure we are all to a degree familiar.  Although currently out of print, it is well worth getting hold of a copy of the above title for those of you who may be connoisseurs of this sort of amiably entertaining but ultimately ridiculous nonsense…

The Family Gathering of the ‘Crowleys’
Mrs Loveday looked at Jason.  “How could you be Crowley’s son?  Didn’t he die in the mid-forties?”
“I was born the year before he died,” Jason explained.  “Father was sixty-nine years old when I was conceived.  My mother was an American, a WAC.  You know, the Women’s Army Corps.  She was stationed over here during the war.  I was born in the States.  I never saw my father and my mother never saw him again after she went home.”
“Sixty-nine years old and a young female soldier?”  Midge lifted his wine glass.  “I’ll drink to that.  He must have been quite a man!”
Pieces began to fall into place in Lois’s mind.  “So this isn’t a hotel?  You’re not just passing through?”  They grinned and someone said: “Hotel?  Not bloody likely.” (p.310)

Introductions effected, the eldest member of the family gives a – to begin with – reasonably accurate potted biography of “father”:

“He was a most extraordinary man.  Most extraordinary. […] His father, our grandfather, was a prosperous brewer.  ‘Crowley’s Ales’, the labels on the bottles said.  We have a few of them in the house,” he smiled at Lois, “empty now of course.  So father didn’t have to worry about money, but he did have to worry about religion.  You see, grandfather was a Christian fanatic.  He belonged to some group calling itself the Plymouth Brotherhood [sic] and he even preached from its pulpit at times.”
“A preacher owning a brewery?” Lois asked calmly.
“Exactly.  You can see how that created confusion in father’s young mind.  Anyway, father could not abide all the sanctimonious claptrap and the rituals and negativeness of Christianity.  He detested sitting hour after hour in church on Sundays and Wednesday evenings and hated having to listen to Bible stories the rest of the week.  He also hated his parents’ friends who would come to dinner and thank Jesus for every mouthful of peas they ate.”
“So he rebelled,” volunteered Signor Luchessi in his Sicilian accent. “He became intolerant of his papa’s feelings and of the mama’s as well.  He would do and say terrible things just to shock them.  One time grandmama was so angry that she screamed at him – “ And Signor Luchessi switched quickly to a falsetto voice: “’You are the Great Beast that Revelations prophesied.  You are the evil one!  You are the Beast 666!’  And you know what?  Papa didn’t consider that an insult.  He liked it!”
“So they sent him away to school,” Mr Cornell continued, “and when he was old enough he went to Trinity College in Cambridge.  It’s a most prestigious place of learning, in case you Americans have never heard of it.”  Lois nodded.  “He studied very well, he was a brilliant student, but in his free time he would read books about magic and the occult and secret mystical societies.  He even experimented with Buddhism for a while but it was too tame.  He wanted to try everything, he felt there was so much more to be experienced.” (pp. 311-2)

As this fascinating potted biography continues, fact and fiction gradually begin to diverge a bit more from the generally accepted history of our esteemed Prophet:

“When he was twenty-two,” Mr Mountolive interrupted Mr Cornell again, “he read a book that told about the secret brotherhood that was living in caves high in the mountains of India.  These men, or these spirits, whatever you want to call them, were in control of the whole world.  They could do anything, change anything, simply by willing it so.”
“And he went to India to try and find them, right?” Lois asked.
“No, not immediately,” Madame Dupré offered the information.  “He started the search for a connection with the Great White Brotherhood in London.  He knew about a group of wise men who called themselves the Order of the Golden Dawn.  Their leader claimed to have regular communication with the Brotherhood in India.”
“But he didn’t agree with the leader on many points and finally he left the membership.  So angry was he that he published all their secret rituals and blew a hole into the Golden Dawn that never sealed over.”  Mr Cornell shook his head of snow-white hair.  “Father got into a great deal of hot water over that one.”
Then he went to India,” said Madame Dupré.  “He was determined to find the real sources of power, to get right into the White Brotherhood [sic].  He’d already formed his own secret organization and called it the Order of the Secret Star, or Argenteum Astrum.  He went all over India and down into Ceylon – it’s called Sri Lanka today – and he delved into yoga and all sorts of things.” (p. 312)

Hearken ye now unto this alternate-reality tale of A.C.’s honeymoon with the first Scarlet Woman, and what then transpired on the occasion of their expedition to Egypt!

“He probably would have done a lot more, if he hadn’t had that woman with him,” Mrs Loveday snorted from her position near the serving plates. “Never could understand what he saw in her.”
“She just wasn’t his class,” Mr Cornell continued.  “Her name was Rose Kelly and she was born in Scotland, very near to where we are now.  Father always loved this part of the world the best.”
“He was almost thirty when he married her,” Mrs Loveday still had that sour expression on her face.  “As clever as he was, you’d have thought he’d have known better.”
“But she was important to him, you’ll have to grant her that,” resumed Mr Cornell, “because –“ He turned his attention back to Lois.  “Because when he was on his honeymoon in Cairo, Rose suddenly started doing automatic writing.  You know, getting information from the spirit world by holding a pencil, and letting your hand be taken over.”  Lois had heard of it, even tried it a couple of times.  “Now Rose Kelly was the farthest thing from being a psychic or a spirit medium that father had ever seen, and so when she started these occult manifestations he scoffed at them.  Then she told him the spirits said they were going to dictate through her a great truth.  A revelation that the world was waiting to hear and that he, our father, was to be the human teaching instrument to bring this knowledge to the world.  So, naturally,” Mr Cornell grinned, “father paid a little more attention.  What came out of it was a published volume called The Book of the Law.  It was a short book.  A spirit called Aiwass worked through Rose for three days on it.”
“Aiwass?” Lois let one eyebrow rise.
“Yes.  Father said that Aiwass is not only a spirit but also a source of energy.  He called it a magical current of solar-phallic energy.  I hope, my dear, I don’t offend you by using the word ‘phallic.”
“No,” she said.  “I’ve seen a couple of them in my life.”
Mr Cornell went on: “Now this Aiwass spirit also claimed that he had been worshipped by the ancient Sumerians.  They called him “Shaitan, the devil-god”.  In ancient Egypt, they called this energy the great god Set.  According to father, this spirit was the originator of all mankind.  He created the earth, put Adam and Eve in it and then appeared to them as a serpent to see how much they had learned.  But the Christians deliberately refused this spirit, and twisted his name from Shaitan and Set into Satan.”
“So your father worshipped Satan?” Lois watched the expression on the old man’s face.
“No,” he said rather loudly, “he was guided by Shaitan.  Not Satan.  He never worshipped anybody or anything.  That’s a false story that has been circulating for years.  Father was a good man and a very clever manipulator of natural energies.”
“He was also over-sexed,” Jason said this looking directly at Lois.  “He’d go to bed with anything that was warm.”
“Now that’s not quite true,” said Dr Fulham.  “He had his fair share of female lovers…”
“As well as male lovers,” Jason reminded the older man.
“And male, yes.  Why not?  He was dealing with human energy, human sexual energy and the energy he was after was neither masculine or feminine, it just was.  Like water power is.  Like wind power is.”
“So the old boy was bisexual?” Midge said.
Mrs Loveday scowled at her.  “He was nothing of the kind!  He preferred having sex with women but he liked to experiment with men from time to time as well.”
“And that’s not being bisexual?” Lois asked her.
“It is not!” the woman snapped.  “It is being a releaser of human energies!” (pp. 312-4)

The eldest of the clan gallantly attempts to prevent the one-pointed concentration of his learned discourse from being blown off course and to continue with his by now gripping tale, I’m sure you will agree:

“If I may continue,” said Mr Cornell, “Father tried to give the world the message about the Law of Thelema.  That’s where this house gets its name,” he smiled at Lois.  “Hotel Thelema?  Rather clever, I thought. The Law of Thelema was very simple.  It stated: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’  Now, that doesn’t mean ‘do as you please’, but rather ‘do only what you have to do and nothing else.’  That became, I’m afraid, something of a problem for father in his later years because he still wanted to do it all, still wanted to experience everything.  But in society those days, and even in today’s more permissive society, he found out he couldn’t do it all.  People began to point fingers at him, ridicule him, chase him out of wherever he was living and inflicted upon him general harassment.  He went to the United States for three years during the Great War and while he was there he was initiated into the highest rank of his Order by Egyptian gods who appeared to him disguised as beautiful women.  The temples of worship were their bodies and if he was to enter the temple he had to enter the body.”  He suddenly stopped.  “Am I confusing you” he asked Lois.
“No, but you’ll have to admit you had one strange daddy!”
Mr Cornell ignored that.  “Now this new discovery of his also tied in with his mother calling him ‘The Beast’ when he was young.  For in Revelations, Chapter Seventeen, it tells of the ‘Scarlet Woman’ who rides on the back of the Beast.  The two symbols of energy united and rushing forward together.”
“But where do all of you come into all of this?” Lois interrupted him and motioned for Mrs Loveday to fill her wine glass.
“He’s just getting to that part”, said Frau Baumgartner.
“Yes, I’m just getting to that.  You see, once father realized he actually was the prophesied Beast then he understood that to be complete he needed to have a Scarlet Woman with him.  So he searched for her.  Wherever he went he would meet women and they would fall for his charms and go to bed with him.”
“Just like that?” Lois asked.  “It was that easy?”
“For father it was.  He was a man of intense personal magnetism.” (pp. 314-5)

This is all fairly zipping along at a pace that would put John Symonds to shame, wouldn’t you agree?  Do you think they might go into the profligacy, vice and debauched goings on, such as preying upon the innocent, at Cefalu?

“After he left your country, he came to Sicily and founded his Abbey of Thelema.  It was a wondrous stone house, sitting on a steep cliff overlooking the sea, and every morning and every evening the group around him would give thanks to the sun.  He began to polish some of his rituals and eliminate others that didn’t produce the desired results.  He became a true master of the occult.  There was almost nothing he couldn’t do once he set his mind on it.”
Madame Dupré spoke now.  “He was absolute authority in the abbey.  His word was law.  His devotees had to do what he wanted.  His Scarlet Women had to do what he demanded.  There was much energy fornication on that hilltop, I can tell you.”
Lois didn’t know whether the Frenchwoman was joking or not.  “What happened to the abbey?  Is it still there?”
“No,” Mrs Loveday answered.  “It was disbanded.  The Italian police made them get out.”
“Why? They didn’t approve of a black magician in their town?”
“Not only that,” the woman said, “but some stupid follower of father’s got himself killed.  We’re all sure father had nothing to do with it.”
The others nodded in agreement.
“That was in 1924 [sic],” Mr Cornell said, “and for the next nine years he was in and out of various countries trying and ultimately failing to set up another abbey, trying to maintain his devoted members in a closed community.  He went to Tunisia, to France and even to Germany, but it was 1933 [sic] and he and Hitler didn’t like each other.  So he came back to Great Britain.  He wrote some books, he did some lectures and he tried to keep his ideas in front of the public.  One of his Scarlet Women wrote her life story, and when the British public read all the things father had supposedly done they referred to him as ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’.  I think father rather liked the title,” Mr Cornell smiled.
“So he came back here, to Corra, and retired and died here?  Is that right?  Do I have the ending of your story?” Lois asked, sipping her wine.
“Alas, no,” Mr Halmfazzi said.  “Father came back to England without a penny.  He was also addicted to heroin.  That took most of his money.  He died in a little cottage, a dirty little place, down in Sussex, near the sea.  They carried out his wishes and had his body cremated.  Then the ashes were sent, airmail, to several of his still devoted followers in America.”
“And that,” Jason concluded, “is father in a nutshell.”
“Or in an airmail envelope,” Lois said.  (pp. 315-6)

[TO BE CONCLUDED...][/align:2jfyc7ym]

jamie barter
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1688
Topic starter  

What then is the purpose of this most unusual gathering of the “Crowley clan”?

“Every one of us here in this room have had mothers who were chosen to bear his magical child.  And we are, you understand, we are all magical for we have been conceived from the sperm of the highest master the earth has ever known.  We have been conceived in the midst of his most sacred energy ritual.  We have been carried in the womb of she who was chosen expressly by the master.  That is why we are important to the world and that is why we must survive. […] ”
Lois looked at them all.  “You’re serious, aren’t you?” she said, her voice low.
“Quite serious,” Dr Fulham replied.  “We are children with a mission and that mission must be carried out.”
“When I was growing up,” Mrs Loveday started putting slices of lemon cream pie on dessert plates, “and I found out who my real father was, I rejoiced.  My mother had always told me that my father had been killed in the First World War.  One day she took one of father’s books, one of Crowley’s books, and showed me his picture in it.  She ws a little tipsy and feeling depressed that day and I suppose that’s why she did it.  I didn’t have any brothers and sisters, that I was aware of at the time –“  She beamed at the others around the table. “And both my mother’s parents had died early.  So it was just Mummy and me.  I read the book and I was so proud!  That great master, that internationally known spiritual leader, that magnetic man, was my father!  Mummy didn’t know where in the world he had gone.  She had told him about my birth, by letter, but he never replied.  She said he was busy doing other things, creating more magical children to carry on his work.  Mummy was sure that when the children grew older he would bring us all together and we would form the most powerful organization in the universe.  I mean, how could we lose?  Look who our father was!  We had his blood.  With indoctrination, we could one day do all the miracles he performed.”
“Did you ever meet him?” Lois asked.
“Oh yes, several times.  After Mummy died and I inherited this place I read in the newspaper that he was in Munich.  I went over there and stayed two months.”
“She was visiting father when I was born there,” Frau Baumgartner said, “in 1933.”
“Yes,” Mrs Loveday beamed with pleasure.  “Can you imagine how wonderful it was to have a sister delivered almost while you watched?  I had been so lonely, but suddenly I had a family.  It was wonderful!”
“We have all spent some time with father,” Mr Cornell said.  “Some longer than others, but none of us ever lived with him.  You know, like ordinary children live with their father.  He didn’t want us around.  He said it took from his energy.”
“And besides,” spoke up Signor Luchessi, “he had already discharged that energy that took to make us.”  He turned bright red.  “If you’ll pardon the word ‘discharge’.”
“When I was with him,” Mrs Loveday said, “I asked him if he was ever going to bring us all together.  Unite us under one roof and teach us everything he knew.  He said that had been part of his plan but events over the years had weakened him and discouraged him.  Many of his closest followers had deserted and published terrible untruths about him.” […]  (pp. 316-8)

Last days at Netherwood and hatching a secret plan…

[…] “The year before he died I went down to the coast to see him.” [said Mrs Loveday].  “Both of us knew it was the last time.  He looked so thin and frail.  It was a crime because he had been a vigorous healthy man.”
“That’s what heroin can do.”  Lois felt herself being sympathetic to the woman.
“I don’t think it was the heroin,” Jason spoke up.  “I think he was just tired of living and tired of seeing everything he had planned go wrong.  It’s just a guess because, as I said, I was the last of his magical children and I never met the man.”
“While I was down there for that last visit,” Mrs Loveday continued, “I asked him again about reuniting all the magical children.  He said it would be a good idea and it would be the one way his work could outlive him.  Not surprisingly, for father was a meticulous man, he gave me a list of the Scarlet Women and in what city they had performed the sexual magic ritual.  The list was several pages long.  I counted almost two hundred and sixty women in six countries over a thirty-year period.  He left many magical children in the United States when he was there during the First World War and a few dozen when he was in Italy in the early twenties.”
Signor Luchessi smiled and gave Lois a courtly nod of his head.
“Then came Tunisia and France and then Germany, and finally the women in England again.  I discovered I had dozens of older brothers and sisters and many that were younger as well.  The problem was how to locate them.  He had no addresses or telephone numbers.  Just their maiden names and if they produced a son or a daughter.  When I read in the paper that he had died – it was a terrible shock even though I knew it was coming – I decided to put the plan into operation.  I decided to try and locate as many of my brothers and sisters as I could and by bringing them together form the most powerful group on the face of the earth.”
“I was one of the first to come over,” Frau Baumgartner said.  “Loveday and I had stayed in contact all those years.  You know, birthday cards and that sort of thing.”
“I managed to find twenty-eight of father’s children who were still alive.  Doubtless there are at least as many more out there but we cannot locate them.  Several of those twenty-eight came to stay here, or at least to visit here.  Alas, some of them have already passed away.  Some who were older than I, some who were ill.  We have the preserved bodies of eight of them in the catcombs under the waters of the lake.” (pp. 318-9)
“Our brothers and sisters who have lived here and passed away have been preserved in vats of chemicals and waxes.  We couldn’t bury them, not around here.  The local population would have desecrated their tombs.  The local people don’t like us very much, I’m afraid.  They know how powerful we can be.  They’ve seen some of the things we can do when we channel our energies.”
Mr Cornell coughed lightly.  “I don’t think we want to go into that.  Not just now.  Just suffice to say that we have been able to alter the weather at times and to be able to make some crops flourish while making other crops fail.  The locals are very suspicious of us.”
“And with all good reason,” Lois said.  “They think it’s witchcraft.  It sounds like witchcraft.”
Mr Cornell shrugged.  “That’s the trouble with the world today: they lump everything together and the average person doesn’t stop to differentiate between one system and another.  We use the natural energies, the same ones that are used in witchcraft, but we manipulate them differently.  We have a firmer command over them.  Father taught us that.  All the magical children have special powers.  It’s in the blood.  In the birthright, if you will.”
“It would have been much easier for us,” Lois said, “if the locals hadn’t lied about not knowing where this house was.  They told us it had been torn down, that it had gone up in flames, that there was nothing here but an empty field.  Why didn’t they just tell us where it was and warn us to stay away?”
“It’s part of their superstition, part of their fear,”  Madame Dupré explained.  “Even before Loveday inherited this house, the rumour was out that her mother was working with the devil and that Satan himself had spawned Loveday.  That was why she was so lonely.  Nobody in the area wanted anything to do with her or her mother.”
“She’s right,” Mrs Loveday confirmed.  “And when, after the Second World War, my brothers and sisterts started coming here and we started practising and perfecting father’s rituals and spells, then they really became unnerved.  They threw stones at the windows and burned crosses on the lawn.  We even had a car full of Catholic priests who started sprinkling holy water around the walls.  We used one of our spells and turned the water into fire.  Suddenly eight black-robed priests were rolling over and over, trying to put out the fires in their cassocks, most of them too dumb to throw away their buckets of flaming holy water and burning sprinklers.  It was so funny to watch them howl.”
“I was here when that happened,” said Jason.  “We all laughed, but the townsfolk didn’t.  The police came and investigated us but they couldn’t charge us with anything because there was no proof we’d done anything.  It looked as if the good Fathers had done it to themselves.  Which, in a way, they did.”
“All we do is use nature’s own energies,” Mr Cornell repeated, “and it has nothing to do with the devil.”
“Or Christianity,” said Dr Fulham.
“Heaven forbid!” said Frau Baumgartner.  “Father always hated Christianity and so do we.”  Her tone softened. “Do you go to church in America?”
“No,” Lois admitted. “I don’t.  I was a Protestant before I got married and Bob was a Catholic.  We couldn’t work it out, so we opted for no religion at all.  But I still believe in Jesus,” she added quickly.
“We believe in Jesus as well,” Mr Mountolive replied, “but we don’t believe in all the man-made claptrap of religion that has distorted Jesus’ teachings.  Throw out the satues and the crosses and the hymn books.  Shut down the church buildings.  We don’t approve of them and if Jesus came back tomorrow he wouldn’t approve of what they have done in his name either.”  (pp. 319-21)

Aha - so now we know then!  The Holy Blood and the Sang Real:

“ – Why me?”
“You’re the last of the line,” Mr Cornell said simply.  “You’re the purest of all the descendants.  You are our one hope.”
“Of continuing the family line.”
“Of bringing the Crowley blood and the Crowley magick into the next century,” added Mr Mountolive.
“By assuring us that what father and the family stood for will not perish but endure in its battle against the Christians and the world.” This from Signor Luchessi.” (p.328)

What happens at the end? (NB!! SPOLIER Alert!!  Do NOT read the following paragraph if you wish to read the book itself!!)

“In between doctor’s visits she had been interviewed by the police.  Scottish as well as American.  All she could tell them was that she had been a guest at the Hotel Thelema and that there had been a fire and she had managed to escape with her son.  That’s all she would tell them.  She was not going to tell them about the Crowley family.  She was not going to tell them about the kidnapping in New York nor the magic that was worked for her dead baby.  The police knew about the Crowleys.  They also knew about the Brethren [sic].  Charred remains of both groups had been sifted from the ashes.” (p. 349)

This excellent piece of amiable nonsense retails at the bargain price of £0.01 on Amazon (I acquired it for 25p in a bargain bin at Woolie’s shortly after it was remaindered.)  The ‘Thelemites’ of the ‘Bloodline’ do not, in the end, seem to have some terrible agenda & would appear to be ‘relatively harmless’, apart from the unpleasant business of ‘terminating’ a couple of traitors to the cause from among their number along the way.  It is saved by being rather unintentionally (?) humorous and the author having apparently done at least a modicum of research, and was published by Corgi paperback books in 1989.  The cover illustrates the well-known photograph of our dignified Prophet with what looks like the contents of either a red pot of paint or else a jar of strawberry jam upended over his bald pate.

The plants talk to me....
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2133

Thank you Jamie, relatively cheap and easy to find, even though it is out of print.

Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 351

“Aiwass?” Lois let one eyebrow rise.
“Yes.  Father said that Aiwass is not only a spirit but also a source of energy.  He called it a magical current of solar-phallic energy.  I hope, my dear, I don’t offend you by using the word ‘phallic.”
“No,” she said.  “I’ve seen a couple of them in my life.”

If we assume that 'phallic' should be taken for 'prick', then clearly, David St.Clair has to be one of them.

Jamie J Barter
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1822

All of the recent conversation about three of AC's bloodline "heirs" who lived to at least "come of age" put me in mind of the plotline of this extraordinary little creation, which in the additional time afforded by the lockdown I decided to "disarchive" and give another glance to.  Once again, it managed to succeed in thoroughly discombobulating me, but I was also left wondering whether anybody else might have come across and investigated it in the interval since and had any interesting alternative opinions 'pon this amusing & quite "fantastic" piece of pulp fiction?

N Joy