Home Forums Thelema Thelema Aleister Crowley — Black Magician?

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  • #109568

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    The question I wish to ask fellow Lashtalians for your opinion and debate is: Is it in accordance with the Law of Thelema to actively wish to cause the death of another? There are parallels to be found here with Crowley’s account in Chapter 21 of Magick in Theory and Practice where he wrote: “The Master Therion once found it necessary to slay a Circe who was bewitching brethren. He merely walked to the door of her room, and drew an astral T [symbolic of Saturn and death] with an astral dagger. Within 48 hours she shot herself.” However the activity described below took place in 1915 — the same year when he assumed the grade of Magus 9=2 and therefore one assumes ought to have known better, although Churton fails (or is careful not) to offer any judgement himself here.

    From “Aleister Crowley in America: Art, Espionage and Sex Magick in the New World” by Tobias Churton (Inner Traditions Books, 2017):

    {Crowley] decided to “take an extreme course with the determination to bring permanent relief.” His magical intention was plain: to invoke the powers to rid Jeanne permanently of her husband, by such means to accelerate any tendency in Matlack Foster that would lead naturally to his death, and to remove any obstacle to Crowley’s formally marrying the Scarlet Woman so to establish the New Aeon afresh, after the Beast’s disastrous first marriage. […]
    The rite’s Object Crowley put in cipher: Θ … 40 … Φ. Given everything else in the context, the Greek theta almost certainly stands for thanatos, death; the 40 is the number of the Hebrew letter mem (M), and the Greek phi stands for F: “Death…M.F.” M.F. is Matlack Foster. There are plenty more clues. After “closing the temple” he went away at 3:15 a.m., continuing the mantra Θ.∆ … O.M.Φ. He then, employing gœtic magic, invoked (the Hebrew letter tav, T or Th) by (figure of seal of Solomon) using the proper names, and that also of [Hebrew, aleph], the notorious angel appropriate.” That archangel was Azazel, Hebrew angel of death. “This I repeated outside the apartment of the person indicated; and I further invoked [figure for Saturn] to protect my beloved Hilarion.” Crowley and Deroxe inhaled ethyl ether (diethyl ether) and took cocaine. Plunging his ring into the Holy Book “Thelema,” he found the words “a drop of the poison of eld.” So there can be little doubt as to what he was up to. (pp. 354-5)

    Importantly his [Crowley’s] next comment links the circumstance to Opus number CXXI with assistant Myriam Deroxe, where he had willed death on Matlack Foster: “I doubt almost whether Ops like CXXI are legitimate after all, whether indeed one should not ‘overcome evil with good’ in the world as well as oneself.” […] A note of November 16 indicates he met Jeanne’s husband and put a magical death-sign on him, “astrally”. […] The Object was death (in code) for Matlack Foster “for the third and last time!!!” He appears to have heard that Matlack’s health was failing so he wrote, “Please God this may finish the whole hellish business!” […]
    “Object: Semper eadem! — “ever the same!” Was that thanksgiving or a death wish on Foster? The result suggests the latter […] “The three previous operations had been unsuccessful, though some effect was evident. The return current may have hit us [a reaction effect reminiscent of “evil be to he who evil thinks”]. Soror H. has been very ill ever since leaving Buffalo, and I the day after I arrived in Chicago. We are still far from well. These Operations may be all wrong; but we had better go on if it kills us both.”(pp 359-60)

    In the circumstances I find A.C.’s use of the phrase above “accelerate any tendency in [the victim] that would lead naturally to his death” could be construed as rather disingenuous. A.C. could not know whether the True Will of his victim (here, Matlack Foster the individual in question) was to die earlier than he might, and particularly if the employment of any type of poison were to be involved. (As a matter of fact, he would go on to live another eighteen years). Whether this act of poisoning was actually carried through or not is not the point though; I am alluding to the intention here, and the Thought is forerunner of the Deed.

    Is this not Black Magic of the blackest hue, or at least that of an unpleasantly and distasteful muddy grey?

    Enquiringly yours, as ever
    Norma N Joy Conquest

    • This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Jamie J Barter. Reason: proofreading
    #109570

    Michael Staley
    Participant

    @Jamie

    Well, I take your point here, Jamie, but in my experience True Will is universal rather than personal. I don’t think that we, as apparent individuals, have an innate True Will; rather, a universal True Will is expressed through us.

    I know I’ve wished specific people dead at various times over the years, but those people are still in the land of the living so far as I know. Was I attempting Black Magic thereby? Yes, I suppose I was.

    #109571

    ignant666
    Participant

    In the first case, AC is claiming “psychic self-defense”, and i would bet in the second also.

    This is probably typical of folks who engage in these practices, which should be viewed as more silly than sinister.

    #109690

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    After 3 days, it seems only half a dozen lines of feedback from two posters has been generated. Can the age of the dynamic cut-and-thrust of online debating about A.C. & Thelema be well and truly over, or has the novelty of forum participation (and not just Lashtal) just worn off? As OP, I will also administer the last rites to this thread (possibly unless anyone else gets it going again)…

    @MichaelStaley :

    I know I’ve wished specific people dead at various times over the years, but those people are still in the land of the living so far as I know. Was I attempting Black Magic thereby? Yes, I suppose I was.
    Come, come Michael: there’s a significant whole world of difference between a momentary passing wish and a carefully thought out and executed pre-meditated plan of action, however.

    I’ve no doubt everyone’s experienced a momentary outburst of ill temper – such as, an explosion of road rage at someone cutting you up in traffic where one’s provoked to wind down the window and yell at them to “drop dead, you moron” without actually expecting them to expire on the spot as a result. Likewise, describing a similar incident to someone else saying “I could have Killed that bastard” – nobody really expects them to go ahead and do anything of the sort. However from the description given this episode doesn’t belong to this category, does it?

    A (IXth degree) magical ritual carried out repeatedly with the express intention of causing another person to die prematurely, whether they may have a “natural” “tendency” to do so or not, is by A.C.’s own definition of the term a black magical act. But of course, being A.C. and a 9=2 and the Prophet of the New Aeon we must make an exception and excuse him from any blame as he doubtless had his own very good reasons for behaving as he did way beyond the comprehension of far less perspicacious followers and otherwise mere mortals!

    @ignant666 :

    In the first case, AC is claiming “psychic self-defense”, and i would bet in the second also.
    According to the evidence though, it’s not A.C. who is being “attacked” and therefore would need to be on the defensive since he is the perpetrator and aggressor engaging on first strike.

    This is probably typical of folks who engage in these practices, which should be viewed as more silly than sinister.
    Silly rather than sinister, sure, if there wasn’t any trace of A.C. being serious. But going to all the time & trouble of premeditated planning aforethought and execution of at least three full IXth operations (or Opuses) indicates he’d spent a considerable amount of energy and resources on this. And lest we forget, he also thought about bumping Jeanne Foster off for good measure as well, indeed conceived of it as his “duty” (see Confessions, p. 805 for more detail): delusion, madness or what?!

    The lesson appears to be: it’s quite alright and in accordance with the Law of Thelema to at least plan to poison your lover’s husband if he’s in the way, or murder her as well if she’s outlived her usefulness as your (scarlet) woman and has now become an inconvenient nuisance.

    Am I being silly or serious, or simply trying to get a bit of interesting argument going?

    Facebook uber alles (for the borrowed time being now, anyway)
    N Joy

    #109701

    dom
    Participant

    After 3 days, it seems only half a dozen lines of feedback from two posters has been generated. Can the age of the dynamic cut-and-thrust of online debating about A.C. & Thelema be well and truly over, or has the novelty of forum participation (and not just Lashtal) just worn off

    How can the prophet of the aeon be a ‘black magician’? Your OP is a null and void question if you look at it like that and this probably explains the lack of interest.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  dom.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  dom.
    #109704

    ignant666
    Participant

    Despite all your hard work on the logic course, you still need to work on application of logic to real-world argumentation, david.

    One key step is identifying any unstated assumptions, such as your unstated assumption that all who post here believe AC to be “the prophet of the aeon”, or perhaps believe that “the demon Crowley” is above criticism as the earthly vehicle of Thelema.

    Anyone who knows much about his life knows that Crowley was often a horrible person, who said and did terrible, shameful things, and then lied about them. He saw himself as the victim of every life-circumstance, and constantly beset by traitors, disciples who stole his property, and women and men who proved unworthy of his Sacred Elixir.

    He thus saw himself as justified in doing things like cursing people by using what he believed to be very powerful magickal means. Of course, the real secret of the OTO is that the IX “technique” doesn’t work. But AC clearly believed (against considerable evidence) that it did.

    The episodes JB recounts are clearly not among AC’s finest hours, even if in real world terms they just consist of having sex while thinking mean thoughts about someone not present.

    Cursing folks also seem inconsistent with being an 8=3, what with ceasing to prefer anything to any other thing and what-not, but i can’t be bothered to cross-reference AC’s claimed attainment-dates and these incidents.

    #109706

    Tiger
    Participant

    you all move to fast
    still trying to figure out The Man Crowley The Adept Crowley The Demon Crowley The MASTER THERION, the left hand path, black magic, the bad guys from the good guys phew 🙂

    “people who use the dark side draw their power from miserable emotions such s fear, anger, hatred, and aggression. “
    Darko, Frater Shiva pg 223

    “To practice black magic you have to violate every principle of science, decency, and intelligence. You must be obsessed with an insane idea of the importance of the petty object of your wretched and selfish desires.”
    Black Magic is Not a Myth
    http://lib.oto-usa.org/crowley/essays/black-magic.html

    “It is not evil in itself. It arises from a defect of understanding. Until the Great Work has been performed, it is presumptuous for the magician to pretend to understand the universe, and dictate its policy. Only the Master of the Temple can say whether any given act is a crime.

    As explained above, in another connexion, he who “destroys” any being must accept it, with all the responsibilities attached, as part of himself.

    Then only are the goats, the lonely leaping mountain-masters, separated from the gregarious huddling valley-bound sheep. Then those who have well learned the lessons of the Path are ready to be torn asunder, to give up their own life to the Babe of the Abyss which is — and is not — they.

    The others, proud in their purple, refuse. They make themselves a false crown of the Horror of the Abyss; they set the Dispersion of Choronzon upon their brows; they clothe themselves in the poisoned robes of Form; they shut themselves up; and when the force that made them what they are is exhausted, their strong towers fall, they become the Eaters of Dung in the Day of Be-with-us, and their shreds, strewn in the Abyss, are lost.

    “ An adept known to The MASTER THERION once found it necessary to slay a Circe who was bewitching brethren. He merely walked to the door of her room, and drew an Astral T (“traditore”, and the symbol of Saturn) with an astral dagger. Within 48 hours she shot herself.” “
    CHAPTER XXI
    OF BLACK MAGIC
    OF THE MAIN TYPES OF THE OPERATIONS OF MAGICK ART
    AND OF THE POWERS OF THE SPHINX
    https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/crowley/aba/chap21.htm

    #109707

    dom
    Participant

    So you agree with my post and not Ignants?

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  dom.
    #109709

    Tiger
    Participant

    If a scary clown approaches you in a dark alley would you ask if they are trying to get your attention to buy their product or would you shoot first and ask questions later ?

    i look at van gogh’s art but not study the human that created it . But that’s me for the time Being .

    i will give you a small point

    but i would have to agree with Ignant that boyd is boring, resorting to trashy gimmicks and asking for a fast usher to the door even if the door is closed .

    #109710

    dom
    Participant

    @OP I think we had a 30 page ‘moral nihilism/True Will or not True Will or is there a difference anyway?’ thread in the past already.

    #109711

    Michael Staley
    Participant

    @dom

    @OP I think we had a 30 page ‘moral nihilism/True Will or not True Will or is there a difference anyway?’ thread in the past already.

    I daresay that many new threads created overlap with threads that have been created in the past. So what? Jamie’s thread is in the here-and-now, thus obviating the need to hunt out and disinter an old thread. Trebles all round, I think.

    #109729

    Michael Staley
    Participant

    What is Black Magic anyway? In the axioms at the front of Magick in Theory and Practice Crowley expresses the view that every act is a magical act. Thus, doing the washing-up is no less magical than summoning a legion or two of goetic demons to wreak havoc at one’s bidding.

    Later in the same book, Crowley expresses the view that any deviation, diversion or distraction from aiming for the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is, strictly speaking, Black Magic (I can’t locate the passage at present).

    So what, then, is meant by Black Magic in the context of the original post of this thread? Is it something typified by the baddie in The Devil Rides Out, for instaoce?

    #109730

    Shiva
    Participant

    MS: What is Black Magic anyway?

    Black Magic is “causing change to occur wherein the magician benefits at the expense of someone else.”

    #109731

    Michael Staley
    Participant

    @shiva

    Black Magic is “causing change to occur wherein the magician benefits at the expense of someone else.”

    Thanks. Yes, at first glance that seems a fairly standard definition. Of course, if every act is a magical act, and if Black Magic is causing change to occur to our benefit and at the expense of someone else, then we’re all pretty much Black Magicians I’d have thought. Getting a job at the expense of other candidates, making a few bob on the sale of an item, winning the National Lottery, etc., these and a myriad similar acts make us all Black Magicians.

    So the example cited in Jamie’s originl post – that of Crowley slaying a Circe who he thought was bewiching Order members – is in this context pretty small beer.

    #109732

    ignant666
    Participant

    slaying a Circe who he thought was bewi[t]ching Order members

    Doesn’t “a Circe who was bewitching brethren” most likely translate to “a woman who was sexually attractive, and would have sex with someone else, but not with me”?

    “Small beer” indeed- as a reason to “murder” someone, this seems a bit petty!

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