Crowley’s views on football &/or the World Cup?

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    As the originator of the “AC & the bicycle” thread a few years back, i will risk throwing the fat into the fire (given our very international membership) by asking:

    Did AC ever express any views on the game of association football (known to Americans (and perhaps Australians also?) as “soccer”), or on any of the three World Cups during his lifetime (1930, 1934, 1938)?

    I can’t find any mention in the index of the Hag, and thought i’d throw it to the assembled masses of Crowley experts here.

    It is a vigorous outdoor sport, usually a Crowley-favored sort of thing, but is a group activity, where individual Will must sometimes be sublimated to the group, so hard to say where his experiences, thoughts, and prejudices, might have landed him on the football question.

    We should i suppose minimize any discussion of the current Cup.


    Full disclosure in case last bit ignored by respondents: Although American, i support Brazil, both because i like them, and in order to avoid divorce (my wife is Brazilian). Felicitations to UK readers basking in the glow of this morning’s 6-1 rout of Panama.



    I don’t recall ever reading about football in ACs writings.

    Maybe someone else can enlighten us if they have.

    I am supporting Portugal (wife is from there) , Germany (me partially raised there) and Korea (lived and worked there) but if I had my druthers it would be Netherlands and US (raised and from there, former and latter) but unfortunately neither country made the grade…


    Michael Staley

    I think the nearest he ever came to it was a remark in the Introduction to Liber AL, where he spoke about the growth of child-like emotions:

    Consider sport, the babyish enthusiasms and rages which it excites, whole nations disturbed by disputes between boys.

    I suspect that Crowley would have been more interested in football at club level, and there is every reason to suppose that he would have been a passionate Arsenal fan. He would have been enthralled (were he not long dead) by the dazzling artistry abd beauty of the Wenger teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Although not usually patriotic, before the match I – even I – set fire to my Panama hat and shredded my shares in the Panama Canal. Who says that results magic doesn’t work?



    Good stuff, Michael; thank you.

    I suppose you will eating Brussels sprouts this week?



    Crowley lived through two World Wars long before television and the Internet and mass media took over. They actually wrote letters in those days and read newspapers. I can’t imagine how long it took to send a letter to Pasadena from England. He did seem to favor more individual sporting pursuits such as climbing and chess. And had a tendency to betray groups if he wasn’t in control (Golden Dawn, climbing expeditions.) The world was probably less concerned with sports in those days, having just been through two World Wars.


    Michael Staley


    Being virulently anti-Brexit, I’m on a permanent diet these days of Brussels sprouts – another attempt at results magic.

    But more immediately, Belgium are a good team, so it will be an interesting match. Out of respect for my fellow viewers, though, I’ll hold the Brussels sprouts.



    Interesting thoughts, and actions, Michael.

    So if i wanted to emulate you, i might consider burning a deck of tarot cards each day, or at least the trumps?

    Can anyone else recall any AC discussion of football? To the other Michael: the three Cups during his lifetime were pre-WW II, and while of course as you say occurred in a less media-saturated time, they attracted plentiful coverage in the newspapers, both in Europe and the USA. The US finished third in the first World Cup, after all, a performance we have never come close equaling since.

    Off to be “disturbed by disputes between [Uruguayan and Russian] boys”.



    At Cefalu, AC invented a game/sport in order to get some daily exercise. It was called [gasp] Thelema, and it involved a BALL.

    He dewscribed the rules somewhere, which I cannot remember (the rules or the where).

    Puppies (we have a new one) and small children (we have none) are obsessively infatuated with balls. That obsession carries over into various forms of base-foot-basket-ball games. Soccer seems to be the most violent (among the fans), with riots and scuffles after many games.

    This sort of thing was VERY popular back in the days of the Roman Colosseum and in the basket-hoop courts of the Maya, where the loser (of an individual vs individual game lost his head.

    It’s all about combat and war, and the meek populace reveres it, because they can vicariously engage (and possibly unleash) their aggressive id.

    Yeah, consider sport.



    Thanx, Shiva! I have indeed been unleashing my “aggressive id” in recent days, albeit probably fairly harmlessly in screaming at a television.

    Following up on Shiva’s tip: There is a brief discussion of the game of Thelema, played with an “association football” (aka “soccer ball”), in Diary of a drug fiend:

    Thelema is so called because of the variety of strokes. It is a sort of Fives played with an association football, but there are no side walls, only a low wall at the back over which, if the ball goes, it is out of play, as also if it strikes outside the vertical lines painted on the wall or below a ledge about a foot from the ground. The ball may be struck with any part of the body so long as it is struck clean, and the game is bewilderingly fast to watch.
    After two games, the players were perspiring violently. The score was kept somewhat as in tennis, but each point had a monosyllabic name to economise time. It also had a certain startling implication – with the object of familiarising the mind with ideas which normally excited.[pp. 329-30]

    Can anyone provide further details as to this very-difficult-to-google (for obvious reasons) game of Thelema, or the OT, for that matter?

    Also, what do we suppose were the “monosyllabic name[s]” of the points, and/or their “startling implication[s?]”?




    Though totally not-on-topic, I am always amazed by what the speed of mail has been in ACs days. He answered correspondents sometimes after just one or two days. Today, it is hard to send anything to or from Italy (or Greece) in less than a week, IF it ever arrives…




    @shiva said:

    At Cefalu, AC invented a game/sport in order to get some daily exercise. It was called [gasp] Thelema, and it involved a BALL.

    I imagine Crowley inventing this game as a way to get healthy after ingesting copious amounts of cocaine on a regular basis at Cefalu?

    This seems to be a pattern amongst cocaine users, thinking that they can burn off the ill effects of the drug with vigorous exercise.

    I remember when Ted Demme (the director of the movie BLOW) dropped dead of a massive heart attack on a basketball court about 15 years ago.

    “On January 13, 2002, while playing a celebrity basketball game, Demme collapsed and died of a heart attack which may have been related to cocaine later found in his system during an autopsy.”

    After closely examining the facts I think we can scientifically conclude that cocaine is a dangerous drug, but basketball can f’n kill you!



    Ig: … screaming at a television

    Primal Scream/Screen Therapy. It’s supposed to be good for you as it blows away assorted, subconscious frustrations.

    Elite: … I think we can scientifically conclude that cocaine is a dangerous drug, but basketball can f’n kill you!

    On the Addiction Scale, cocaine is pretty high UP there on the list. Although less deadly (potentially) than the opioids, there is a specific biochemical chain of events that leads from one sniff of coca extract right into a constriction of the blood vessels of the heart … which, of course, may cause angina (pain) or ultra-constriction (death).

    Today (anf for the past 20 years, at least), Cocaine in this part of the world has been replaced to a great extent by “crack” cocaine and methamphetamine (Methedrine). Note: Methedrine was used extensively by both the allies and the axis in a widespread manner. They were called “pep pills” in that dreadful era where everyone needed to be alert for Looonnng periods of time.

    Basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, and other ball sports involving teams (rather than one-on-one combat) appeal not to MANY people, but to MOST people. “They” (the Establishment) make us play these team sports throughout our childhood, and I even had to take four (4!) semesters worth of “Physical Education courses in my first two years of college. You (any of you) have been plugged into teams sports a little or a lot as a child, right? It’s all practice for war. It is so ingrained into most of the global psyche, that many proficient team players earn millions of dollars each year, just for performing for the eager, biased populace … and winning.

    “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

    BS! If you don’t win consistently, you don’t get millions of credits.



    Well, fair enough, Shiva, but i would have point out that after the World Cup began in 1930, there has been only one World War, and since it re-started in 1950, none. [for any students of logic hastening to correct my fallacious reasoning here, this is what is known as a “joke”]

    It may be that sublimated nationalist combat is better than the other kind.

    Yes, i plead guilty to having been forced to play team sports throughout middle school and the three years of high school i completed before dropping out.

    At the time, i hated football/soccer, despite (or because of) playing it every fall.

    It was really punk rock that got me into sports (since so many friends and people i played music with were fanatics), and i suppose being a bicycle messenger got me into racing and then following pro bicycle racing.

    Primal Scream/Screen Therapy. It’s supposed to be good for you as it blows away assorted, subconscious frustrations.

    If this is so, i am well-served by this morning’s events (and yesterday afternoon’s), and likely to be the picture of perfect mental health around 4pm EST today. Also, i have had some good exercise this morning dancing around my living room filled with malicious delight after a certain recent event.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 4 weeks ago by  ignant666.


    Ignant, you bring up an interesting point of trivial (global) magnitude.

    People are sometimes calling the “Cold War” ww3, and the current struggle (centered in the middle East) ww4.

    But we know that’s just sub-classification. As O.M. wrote, “WW2, which will destroy civilization.” (paraphrased – SIC).

    It has never stopped, that great war called ww-One. The same instigator rose again and they called it ww-Two. But really, it’s just “The World War.” and it hasn’t stopped since (what? when?) .

    The Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that [started] 28 July 1914. – Wkipedia




    Did AC ever express any views on the game of association football (known to Americans (and perhaps Australians also?) as “soccer”), or on any of the three World Cups during his lifetime (1930, 1934, 1938)?

    I was once captain of my school football team and as a kid I was convinced I was going to be a professional soccer player.

    First off I doubt he ever played football in the middle class schools he went to as cricket and rugby are usually the main sports on the agenda.

    Anyway to answer your question he does talk about the ‘wings’ of the game of football in The Confessions but this is only used in some analogy about rules or something. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did pay to go and watch a football match at some point. I don’t recall him ever talking about the World Cup but I am convinced, as someone pointed out earlier that the “whole nations excited by disputes between the boys” must have been a reference to it.

    I believe that there is evidence that the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Incas have played games of ball that football could have originated from.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  dom.
    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  dom. Reason: grammar
    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by  dom. Reason: origins of football
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