93 brothers and sisters,
I am wondering why -for example- Jimmy Page, who was once owner of Crowley's villa in Boleskine and nobody else (OTO..) takes care about the Thelema Abbey in Cefalu. That great historical place is falling into pieces as I had to see with my own eyes last year..
What do you think about that topic, do you think there should be done more for this matter? I was also told in Cefalu that they don't really plan to make it a museum, it seems they will destroy it in the next year making something soccer-stadium related with it...
Is anybody interested in new pictures of the abbey? I'd be prepared to submit them to this page...
Thanks for the post.
I'd agree that the state of the Abbey is a cause of great disappointment.
My good friend, Fergus, visited the Abbey a few years back and provided me with a wonderful essay describing his visit. It sems to have disappeared from this site during one of the "upgrades" - I'll see if I can dig it out and re-post it here.
I think I speak for many when I say we'd love to see the photographs you have.
I understand that several Thelemites have made attempts to purchase and preserve the Abbey, including Jimmy Page. Unfortunately, ownership of the building is apparently the subject of some dispute between two local families - the labyrinthine Sicilian property laws prevented the purchase.
I think the best we can hope is that someone will make a thorough photographic record of what remains, for the information of those to come. I understand that Kenneth Anger's film documentary is lost, surviving only as a handful of stills.
All a great shame...
Owner and Editor
I know really nothing about Thelema Abbey, but I just looked at some photos of it - it looks as though it could have such potential to be renovated. 🙁
When I read that it might be destroyed so some soccer stadium can be built, my disdain for society in general advanced further. They would destroy something with obvious historic importance for a sport! It's ludicrous and shameful.
If I had the resources, I'd buy it.
Last info I received (about two months ago), is that the Abbey is now overshadowed by a huge soccer stadium, built literally a few yards from it. Of course, when Crowley rented it, it was alone up in the hills, but the expansion of the city has meant that buildings have slowly crept up the hillside to engulf it. Personally, if it was still a retreat, and out of the way, it would be worth a collective whip round to purchase it for Thelemites everywhere, but as things are, it's probably best left as a memory. That's progress for ya!
we visited the Abbey last summer. Great place, sure. May be the Abbey soon will be completly destroyed, who ever will do it, the rain, storms, the government of Cefalu or who ever. I think, it´s too late to safe it. But I am sure, the influence of the Abbey-myth will be much more stronger radiate into the world than these old rotten walls and the damaged roof.
But one thing is to do, a good photographer with good equipment should make the documentation. Now, best this year.
That is the kind of "preservation" for the world after today, which will work. Something like a "time-capsule".
what would be more meaningful to me, would be a permanent abbey of thelema, full of books, work/study rooms, temples, dormitories and computers. something modern; something fitting; and something for now, for all.
What do you think about this: Build not one, not two but many Abbeys of Thelema. First in your heads and in your lifes. The myth of the "real" Abbey will have a much stronger influence, like martyrs have.
These old walls at the feet of an ugly sport-stadion (visit it, than I hope you understand it) can in no way be a "refugium" you suggest.
Let me say it in other words: The master is dead, long live the master in yourself.
Is it too pathetic? I think not, it is even too weak for what I felt in Cefalu und now.
Just a thought; If the property cannot be purchased outright - could the building itself be bought & relocated. Perhapse an offer to demo the building & clear the property would be viewed as a 'win-win' situation for the current owners. Thusly helping to resolve their conflict.
I found this link to very recent pictures of the Abbey. Breaks one's heart to see it. Be warned, this site is bastardingly slow to appear...
Maybe as the OTO as a body preserving the work of uncle Al put some focus on the Abbey.
Before it ends up as a parking lot.
It's myth will carry it for years beyond it's structure, but let the be years down the road.
Right now I'm at roughly the half way point in a journey to check out the Abbey, I'm writing this in a net cafe in the Via Guelfa in Florence. Why did none of you other brave pilgrims tell me how damn cold Italy is?? Still, I guess that's why they call it winter...I'll try to keep you posted.
If the site cannot be saved, I am hopeful that at least the artmork adorning the walls can be preserved. I am no expert in this matter , but surely there is way to do this without spending too much cash ...
By the by, since I'm here. I only have a couple of days in Sicily before flying back to England ( Gawd bless ya, Ryanair! ). Can anyone give me good - and I cannot emphasise the word good enough - directions to the abbey once in Cefalu, just to save me some wandering? I'd be hugely grateful.
"Ryanair"?! Strewth! I've accompanied them to and from Eire many times - once in the company of Hugh Grant and once with Michael Barrymore - and am impressed by your bravery!
I've emailed a chum who has visited the Abbey - if he's able to provide directions, I'll pass them on here without delay...
Good luck! Please let us see the snaps!
Owner and Editor
Hello there - I'm the pal Paul referred to re directions to the Abbey.
Now, I have to say our trip three years ago was considerably helped by the fact we had an Italian speaker driving the car. As I recall the Abbey is slightly out of town on a slight hill, and the nearest landmark is the football stadium - there is a winding road and you can look down onto the roof of the Abbey (which is now in rather a sorry state). There are olive trees all around, and the grounds of the abbey are pretty derelict. If in doubt, drive into the town and ask anyone who looks like they've lived there a while. We stopped a petrol station attendant in his 60s and used a mixture of elaborate mime and broken English to ask for the home of "The famous English man Crowle" etc etc. It must receive a regular flow of visitors as the inquiry didn't particularly seem to phase him.
Anyway, good luck with your visit!
The links on this thread are incredible~! Thank you.
It is ashamed that The abbey will be knocked down and not restored for History.New things are good but sometimes preserving the past is good too. I am learning about all this in depth and this is very helpful to know.
the pictures of Aprodias are more than shocking, I visited the abbey a year before and it looked 100 times better.. seems the history about the abbey ended here.. I agree with the idea of builing an abbey in everyone's mind, but the house has just such an impressing history. I'll go there again in 4 weeks and I'll bring some new pictures home.. and this time certainly some other stuff before they open a Burger King in there. It's really a shame. By the way, I heard that Rodney Orpheus bought Boleskine.. at least something!
the pictures of Aprodias are more than shocking, I visited the abbey a year before and it looked 100 times better..
so we gotta go there soon, bro!
Lets invite them others, we can have there a big Party 🙂
Forgot to update you all on my pilgrimmage! I never actually made it to Sicily! When I got to Rome last year I met this Australian girl, you see, at the hostel I was staying in, and we got on well and I ended up returning to Venice with her for four more days in that magickal place. I guess the Abbey will have to be this year!
Australian girls can be so distracting!
I do hope they preserve it! 😥
The mails tell a sorry sorry tale. Its strange that whilst so many completly trashy sites are preserved for perpetuity, this one really interesting site is clearly on its very very last legs. Can anyone point me in the direction of a quick summary of what efforts have been made in the past 50 years - we know of Angers work with the whitewash, Page's efforts to buy. I am right in thinking most past efforts have been by individuals? Has anyone subjected the Scicilian/Italian authorities to a postal campaign; or the European Parliament; or ....
There are certainly enough people aware of the importance of the Abbey to be able to start a campaign of some sort - but where would it have to be aimed to have the most effect?
The building may not be savable - but as someone wrote earlier - a really thorough tracking and recording of the artwork inch by inch (centimetre by centimetre) etc wouldnt even cost that much. Italy must be awash with restorers and acxademics able to do this little job.
hi, i'm the webmaster of amprodias. i'm sicilian, i'm living in palermo and i go regularly to the abbey of cefalu' for update me on situation.
i've to reconstruct the history of crowley in sicily thanks to existing sources (i've order it) and living informat that has know and interview people connected to the abbey (now die) and now i'm writing a book on the history of master therion in sicily.
the abbey of thelema has been recognized as architectonical monument by the sicilian government, but the catholic church and ignorance influence the people about crowley: most people in sicily think that therion was a satanist and demonize him picture. the abbey it's on sale for years, the administration of cefalù in 1996 (at the international congress on crowley in sicily) was engagement to do a crowleyan's museum in the house and restore the great beast's painting: but the situation is stopped for no interest of local authority and bureaucracy.
i'm available for eventual situation for save thelema. i think to launch a petition. if anyone is interest to help me please contact me! and if anyone of you want to go at thelema abbey for a visit can contact me for a meeting.
(i'm sorry for my english)
Thanks for the update, Kybernetes, and also for the fascinating - though depressing - images from 2004 that you uploaded today to the Galleries.
Do you know how much is being asked for the Abbey, assuming it is still for sale?
I am certain that many visitors to LAShTAL.COM would be pleased to support your petition.
Owner and Editor
i don't know how much is it, but i can inform about this.
Hi Kybernetes, this year (summer) I will be again some time in Sicily. I would like to contact you. Can you email me?
I am very much interested in your interest in any individual that would like to make contact with you concerning Thelema Abbey. I will be in Sicily this year - July to October - all being well, with a group of like minded friends, our objective is to become/accentuate that that has already been done. We are a very relaxed people, with a deep interest in the esoteric and a great respect for our founder of Free Thinking - Freedom.
(for everyone that is interested to visit cefalu)
contact me at email@example.com
hi sisters and brothers,
yesterday we came back from Cefalu. The situation of the Abby only two years after our last visit there is horrible. A lot of real idiots painted and wrote their stupid comments on the walls in- and outside the Abby. Hunting for souveniers they will destroy it. The roof is broken in two more rooms. I give only a few (2 ?) more years than the whole Abby will be destroyed completly by wind, rain and idiots. The inhabitants of Cefalu will be happy, they fear more than 80 years after AC`s leaving his might to bring dark and bad things over Cefalu when they destroy it.
I made two appointments with Frater Kybernetes to meet him. In a very unsicilian way he came not to see us. I do not know what kind of guy he is. May be you have more luck with him.
Sure, we made a lot of fotos and a little film. I ask myself if it is good to give it to the public. May be more idiots will be thrilled and visit the abby. Sorry, I am not arrogant, only realistic.
Frater Kybernetes had problems with his his family, he told me in a mail, a bit late. He had no chance to meet us in Palermo or Cefalu. It´s ok. Think he is ok.
But there is another thing I quote Jan from the German OTO (Stuttgart)
I'll go there again in 4 weeks and I'll bring some new pictures home.. and this time certainly some other stuff before they open a Burger King in there
What does he meant with this? What I saw in the Abby was, that the word "cocain" in the famous sentence on the mural, was completly removed from the wall.
Is this the other "stuff", he brought home. If so, he is a Cretin, and nothing else.
HOOR has been establishing Abbeys of Thelema for years and a part of the requirements for advancement in the SOTO was the ONWERSHIP of the Lodge headquarters. That is to get to II*! Personally I am working on purchasing a home north of where I am at that I can establish as an Abbey with a room or two for Thelemic travellers to board in for a night or two and an appointment based Occult supply. I'll post when I get the work done. Part of the plan, if the basement is safe is to turn it into a functioning temple with a room so that people can perform magickal retirements etc.
There are 2 routes to the Abbey.
The abbey is best approached from the town, going directly towards the the football pitch which indeed overshadows it. I would suggest going, if my memory is correct, from Piazza Garibaldi, via Umberto 1, then via Gibilmanna which rises up from the town centre and twists round to the left, then take the right to the stadium entrance. You can then enter the stadium car park where you will then be above the abbey and can enter/view through the trees from there.
The abbey can also be approached from the front but because of recent building development and a new road this is more open. I think the road is called Via dietro castello. The local cemetery faces the area near the entrance which is at the bottom of a long overgrown garden or orange grove. You will see a gate in a dry stone wall opposite the cemetery. Go through this and you will see a large 2 storey house with a sign on stone pillars possibly "Villa Santa Barbera". The wall surrounding this building is covered in broken glass but beyond the wall you will see a small wire gate on the right. Enter here. The whole are is undergoing development, and you may be viewed from blocks of flats which rise behind the abbey. (Visitors are not always welcome.) The abbey is in a terrible state, and on my last visit I encountered a few desperate characters who were using it as crash pad. Best visited in the afternoon or early evening.
Another place of interest if you are looking for somewhere to stay Hotel Kalura just outside the town. The rocks at the foot of the hotel are where AC spent many leisurely afternoons paddling and carousing with local lads and lassies. I would not mention your interest to the staff though as they get a little touchy on this subject. Happy Crowleymas 🙂
Most of you are missing the point totally.
You are all behaving like history students.
Thelema is not in a building and it is not in dusty books. Thelema is in your work, and in your practice.
To think that going to Italy will take you closer to the "work" is serious delusion.
Thelema is in the work of the practioners who are taking the current forward, not the people living in the past.
The knowledge is not a museum.....
You are all behaving like history students. Thelema is not in a building and it is not in dusty books. Thelema is in your work, and in your practice.
To think that going to Italy will take you closer to the "work" is serious delusion. Thelema is in the work of the practioners who are taking the current forward, not the people living in the past. The knowledge is not a museum.....
To be frank, it's you that is missing the point here. To my absolute certain knowledge, no-one has ever used the pages of LAShTAL.COM to say that Thelema "is" in a building or a book. And I'm quite sure that no-one has ever suggested that going to Cefalu would further the Great Work.
There is Thelema and there is Crowley - and those two sets overlap. Consequently there is material on this site that is "Thelema-without-Crowley", there is material that is "Thelema-with-Crowley", and, as with this thread, there is material that deals with Crowley the man.
And how many times do I have to point out that at the top of each and every page of this web site is a banner proudly proclaiming it to be "Home of the Aleister Crowley Society"...
Owner and Editor
WOW! You have, once again, got to give Paul credit with a BURN on that one, Mr. hawthornrussell! 😳
It a a shame that no one in the local area of the ABBEY have any interest in its purchase (and therefore its upkeep), but, I suppose that it may be understandable. I mean, after all, it did house the Beast 666! Ahhh.. the ignorance of the blind!
I also am very surprised that the O.T.O. has'nt stepped-up here and purchesd this place themselves. It would seem to be in their best interests to keep the ABBEY forever as Holy Ground.
I would love that I could come and visit it! Maybe someday, perhaps, if she still stands. 😥
Any word lately of the ABBEY's situation?
👿 I wish they wouldn't destroy such a wonderful place...and for what? Soccer...
It's probably easy to underestimate the importance of the Abbey of Thelema. If it were in Britain then surely the National Trust would be interested in buying it for preservation -- after all, whatever anyone thinks of Thelema, it's a very important historical site in its own right. I don't think anyone's missed the irony of the two brothers who own it fighting over the property -- but if it gets demolished what will happen to the murals? Shall we start the bidding now?!
The ownership of the site of the Abbey is currently in dispute and there is little likelihood of the situation being resolved in the near future.
thanks i hope its possible to save all mural pictures !!!!
Perhaps the Abbey cannot be saved. Does anyone know or have a building drawing with room dimensions? I have some expirience with Auto Cad perhaps we could at least preserve this so at some point in the future a replica could be built. Ifnot perhaps someone traveling there soon could take some measuremnts and make a rogh sketch. Send me the results and I will produce a cad drawing and post it on this site.
I am also working on a photo-realistic 3D tour through the abbey (they did it with the Vatican, so why not?) - very sporadically though and so far only with the material that is available. Hope I can get there soon to have the house measured correctly and of course I will let you know, Wajii. Also, does anyone know if the Kenneth Anger film on the Abbey is somewhere available? The most interesting part of such a 3D tour would of course be the murals.
Wajii, did you get any data yet from anybody? If so, feel free to share it...
Anyway, I just got word that Joachim Koester, the photographer/artist who brought us "Morning of the Magicians" (see the news section), have been to Cefalu again, this time he did some filming. Editing and finishing his documentary will take until October or so, but parts of his film material accompanying his "Morning" photographs is already displayed at CASM, where he has a solo show at Center d’Art Santa Monica, Barcelona, opening June 30th. The saddest - but not surprisinging - news is that the house is unfortunately deterioating, people steal the paintings (or try to) mostly they end up destroying the walls in the Room of Nightmares.
Time is obviously running out for the Abbey and so this "digital abbey" might be a not too bad idea. Usually there are a lot of computer-related guys in the Thelemic community (might be worth an own thread some day). This could become a "group project", couldn't it? Or is this too much of "worshipping"?
Odd question: What would anyone think of destroying the abbey, in order to save it? I just read through all of the posts on this thread and I am not against preserving the Abbey in Cefalu, however I kept on imagining myself taking off the roof as if it were a doll house. I don't remember if the thought or the imagery came first, but I did think that if citizens of the city are destroying it with graffiti, then why not tear it down and salvage the pieces of the artwork that aren't yet spraypainted over? I know it would be amazing to have ownership over the building, but... That isn't going to happen. Not with the lack of people joining together to do so. The only way now is a petition, or an intervention of the quarelling family.
Has anyone done any magick on the subject? Any attempt at changing things with will? Perhaps the two brothers could use a ritual or two, though I never practice to effect people like that, only myself, I have no issues with others doing so and I very well may one day, too. I may right now if some one were to ask for assistance.
But someone else proposed a petition and no one else replied specifically.
I will fill out a petition. Otherwise there needs to be serious contact with the O.T.O., and an active thread for the figuring out of this issue. If you want something done, then do it yourself! Personally, I've suggested taking the building apart with my own hands! Though I will definately jump on board with as much as I can else-wise. I think a Sicillian person beginning the petition is a decent idea, though I am not sure politically if that would mean much.
I wonder who, if anyone has had what contact with these brothers, or quarelling land owners. Is it even true that they are brothers, as someone said? I have no excuses for not delving into this other than that I have no money to contribute and that usually means no leverage either, other than signing a petition which I can barely distribute. I know a few Thelemites who would sign it. If I can help more, anyone let me know.
I also think that the person who outta jump at the head of this should be very dedicated to Crowley, and his work, more so than I am myself. Hell... Maybe I will end up doing something about this pending on the replies, and if people seem interested enough and only not organized.
Bah. Let me know folks, where do you all stand on actually getting something done? Is there no hope, as far as you know? Has the O.T.O. done much, or anything? Questioning questioning.
"I know it would be amazing to have ownership over the building, but... That isn't going to happen."
Can't imagine that shack would be on sale for more than 80.000 dollars. You'd probably have
earned that back in a few years with 'The Crowley Hotel' where all sorts of occult tourists can buy reproduced copies of Crowleys weener. But personally I think it should be destroyed since the only reason to keep it up is Crowley's inane obsession with leaving ego relics and starting some sort of personality cult around himself. He even couldn't keep this out of his rituals.
"Danish artist Joachim Koester (*1962, Denmark) seeks out places that have a story - places with a certain art historical, sociological or historical importance. In 2005, for his Morning of the Magicians, Koester traveled to Cefalu, Sicily, in search of the villa used by English occultist and hedonist Aleister Crowley and his followers in the 1920s. Having eventually located the ruins of the building, Koester discovered, under many coats of paint, some explicitly sexual and drug-fuelled frescos from Crowley’s day. The Morning of the Magicians series researches and documents the visible and invisible traces of the history of such places as well as their present-day reality."
.. This quote is from www.fotomuseum.ch. This is a gallery in Zurich. From what I can see from a quick Google search, this exhibition of his has been making the rounds for the last year or so, and is currently at the above. What it does not say is whether or not there is a documentary film. Anyone have any info about this? Also, any updates on the War Between The Two Brothers, and property rights? the outcome - Destruction? One of the Posters hit it right on when he stated that it would be more profitable for them to open it up as a small museum. If someone could communicate this to them, and the fame of the former resident - perhaps the promise of entry fees would keep the hammers away for awhile. I think that the Abbey is of serious historical and cultural interest and should be preserved. Yes, indeed, if it was in England there would already be a museum and small gift shop...