“When Giants Walked The Earth” by Mick Wall – the Crowley chapter

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  • #110907

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    In the course of recently reading Mick Wall’s compellingly written 50th anniversary revised & updated history of the rise and fall of Led Zeppelin, When Giants Walked The Earth, I eventually came across the Chapter headed “So mote it be” (9), which concentrated on Crowley more than anywhere else in the work and is therefore of some relevance here (I will pass on writing a review about the rest of the book even though it’s an entertaining, well-written and reasonably rollicking read about the band).
    Unfortunately, however, the author’s editors/ advisors don’t really seem to have done their best in this Chapter as there are getting on for a score of howlers that I managed to detect with a growing incredulity and bemusement. (Perhaps Mick might have profited better had he posted a rough draft of what he intended to say here on Lashtal for advice before he proceeded? Still, there’s always the diamond anniversary, I suppose….) Maybe somebody else also reading it might come across another one or two which I may have missed out, or someone may have a difference of opinion with regard to my own interpretations?! That’s enough preamble, though- here we go then:

    “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn […] of which Crowley also became a leading light in 1898.” (p.227)
    No – He joined that in November of 1898.

    “[T]he A.A. – aka the Great White Brotherhood, Crowley’s own attempt at forming a secret magickal society” (p.231)
    There is no distinction made here between the “eternal” A.A. (the GWB) and the “temporal” A.A. (Crowley’s own attempt at forming the Golden Dawn).

    “[T]he O.T.O. […] which it seems likely Page was invited to join in the early Seventies, and to which it is believed – as far as anyone can tell given the vow of silence that being an initiate inevitably entails – he still belongs today.” (p.231)
    It is difficult to state with absolute certainty that he was never asked (I wasn’t around at the time then or in Grady McMurtry’s confidence) but nevertheless I’m pretty certain he never became an ongoing member up to today. There is no specific vow of silence in the [C.]O.T.O. about declaring whether anyone is an initiate or not and I’m sure some sort of whisper about it would have got out at some point, as with Peaches Geldof’s sometime membership.

    “At fifteen, his domineering mother discovered her wayward son having sex on her bed with a chambermaid and loudly denounced him as a little beast.” (p.231)
    This seems to conflate two separate legendary accounts. According to the Confessions his mother didn’t discover him whilst actually engaged “in flagrante delicto”, nor did she denounce him as a beast at the same time (this referred to an earlier scene of misbehaviour during his childhood).

    “[A.C.] was a student at Cambridge by then [1895] – reading moral sciences – where his insatiable appetite for all things immoral found him having illicit sex on an almost daily basis (mainly with other men) and enjoying his first taste of drink and drugs.” (p.234)
    His uncle had initiated Crowley into the company of the 3 Kings (including the Drin King) at the age of sixteen before then. Also so far as is known A.C. had no homosexual experiences prior to that at New Year’s Eve 1896 in Stockholm. And what other “illicit” sex would there have been at the time except with other men?

    “When his hated mother died three years later he inherited £40,000 (approximately £5 million in today’s money) and immediately left Cambridge for London” (pp. 234-5)
    His mother didn’t die until much later (1917). My economics is not so sufficient that I can vouch for the monetary values (which may or may not be correct.)

    “The turning point came during a visit to Cairo in 1904. […] There followed a four-month period of ‘insanity’ walking through China as Crowley attempted to become the ‘little child’ Aiwass had spoken of.” (p. 236)
    The walk through China did not occur Immediately afterwards in 1904 but a couple of years later. Although becoming the little child might have been a positive by-product it was not the actual aim of the walk, which was ostensibly to help effect a conclusion to Crowley’s Abramelin working abandoned earlier.

    “When he returned to England, he was ready to begin one of the most difficult magickal operations of all: the achievement of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel: an invocation taking six months that required expert magickal techniques, part of which involved being ‘crucified’ while swearing the following oath: ‘I, Per-durabo [sic], a member of the Body of Christ, do hereby solemnly obligate myself …” (p. 236)
    Crowley had already begun the (Abramelin) operation long before (1899; it would have been better to use the verb “resume” here rather than “begin”). As such, this operation does not involve any crucifixion; again this is being conflated with the ritual he undertook in July 1906 with and in the presence of fellow founder of the A.’. A.’., George C. Jones.

    “Returning to Britain in 1919, broke and saddled with a raging heroin habit” (p. 237)
    Not in 1919 – Crowley’s habit only really began to rage once he’d moved to Cefalu after 1920.

    “Clearly, involvement with The Beast came at a price. All three wives were eventually driven mad, with Hirsig actually committed to an asylum” (p. 237)
    Tough luck here, as Mick unfortunately hit on the one wife out of the 3 who didn’t get committed to an asylum!

    “Crowley spent his last years in and out of court, instigating futile libel actions or fighting actions taken out against him. After a minor heart attack he moved to a cheap boarding house in Hastings” (p.238)
    More than the last ten years of his life were “court free”. It must have been a very minor heart attack for it wasn’t publicised at all. Netherwood was a bit more than simply ‘a cheap boarding house’, as the recent excellent book about it demonstrably shows.

    “Newspapers claimed that at the Great Beast’s cremation in Brighton his followers conducted a Black Mass; in reality a Gnostic Catholic Mass, during which a priestess – yet another Scarlet Woman, presumably – took off her clothes (hence the lurid headlines).” (p.238)
    The actual funeral service was not like this at all: there was no nudity, therefore no Priestess divesting herself of her robe – no Black or Gnostic Mass at all – at most, Louis Wilkinson read out some of the Collects from it along with the Hymn to Pan and selected verses from the Book of the Law.

    “Amongst the detritus of his strange legacy were genuinely compelling works, such as his extraordinary treatise on yoga, Book Four” (p. 239)
    Eight Lectures on Yoga might have fit the bill better here… Book Four was primarily about magick, with much smaller parts on yoga contained within its Part I (Mysticism).

    “[Crowley was the] inspiration for Somerset Maugham’s 1902 novel, The Magician” (p. 239)
    However this, Maugham’s first novel, was originally published in 1908.

    “James Bond author Ian Fleming also modelled one of his most famous super-villains, Blofeld, on Crowley” (p. 239)
    No, that was Le Chiffre in Fleming’s original OO7 book, Casino Royale. Apparently he modelled Blofeld (at least partly) on cricketing commentator Henry Blofeld’s papa.

    “However, having sold the place in the wake of his impoverished return to Britain after the First World War, Boleskine continued to lead a strange existence.” (p. 245)
    No, the House was controversially sold by the George MacNie Cowie, the British O.T.O. Grand Treasurer General, without Crowley’s prior approval in 1913 (one year before the First World War started.)

    “Gerald Yorke, the epitome of the old-money English gentleman who had worked as Crowley’s secretary for many years” (p. 246)
    No again, Mick must have been confusing him with close friend and A.’. A.’. contemporary Israel Regardie, who worked as Crowley’s secretary for about two years (not ‘many’).

    “Dave Dickson speculates that it was around the time Page first met characters like Anger, Yorke and d’Arch Smith that he would have been invited to join [the O.T.O.]. ‘In magick what’s supposed to happen is that you meet someone almost by chance, in effect by destiny, the person who is going to instruct you.’” (p. 247)
    However as previously remarked, to my knowledge Page has never been initiated as a member of the ©.O.T.O.: I think (without checking cannot be sure) that one of the very early issues of the “OTO Newsletter” from the late Seventies expressly stated he was not a member, and I do not believe he has joined since.

    Norma N Joy Conquest

    #110909

    elitemachinery
    Participant

    So much misinformation about Crowley. A regularly updated aleistercrowleyfacts dot whatever would do good to combat the problem with loads of verifiable references. In addition to the obvious slander in the early years it seems writers are just plain lazy these days and could care less about facts. In addition to this it seems there have been or still are loads of “evil no do good-er wannabees” that have tried their best to practice vile deeds and claim that they are followers of good old AC. AC did revel in being labeled the “wickedest” a bit didn’t he? Infamous he was and infamous he shall be.

    #110912

    Tiger
    Participant

    So does it talk about how they struck the chord of terror in the hearts of christians and cracked open the Bastille ? Or is it just another sensationalist book ?

    #110913

    Serpent 252
    Participant

    On the http://www.ledzeppelin.com > Forums > Main Forum > Led Zep Trivia > Jimmy and Crowley > on the page 4, letter 4, one kenog had written “Here is a letter from the Caliph of the O.T.O. sent to Jimmy in 1977 requesting a meeting.”

    (here: https://forums.ledzeppelin.com/topic/15027-jimmy-and-crowley/?page=4)

    and sent the facsimile of the letter

    a letter

    (If I’ve failed to insert the image properly it’s here:
    https://content.invisioncic.com/r149629/monthly_11_2011/post-14347-0-86856000-1322330476.jpg)

    #110914

    ignant666
    Participant

    So did this meeting happen? The Zep site doesn’t say, or i missed it if it did.

    Probably not, as it was sent to the arena venue of a big tour four days before the first of two nights Zep played Oakland, and most likely never even reached him, and, if it did, he was probably too busy [EDITED BY MODERATOR] to meet.

    Would love to be wrong here.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  ignant666. Reason: clarity
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  lashtal. Reason: Potentially libellous remark removed
    #110916

    Serpent 252
    Participant

    I don’t know if the meeting happened. One chef free on the p.3 of the same Jimmy and Crowley topic had written:

    “Back in the seventies (I love saying that!) I was fortunate enough to meet and associate with Grady McMurtry. When I asked him about Jimmy he seemed rather non-plused. Later he told me that Jimmy had contacted him and asked about becoming an OTO initiate. Grady said Jimmy wanted to join as a fifth degree since he had been studying Crowley and conducting rituals for several years. Grady flatly refused this saying “Every one starts at novice and works thruogh [sic] the degrees.” Grady said Jimmy ended up joining Motta’s rival OTO. (Grady was legally declaired to be the true leader of the OTO on the day he died.)”

    This sounds to me highly improbable, that is, another Greedy’s story (I doubt he’d refuse any potential source of money for beer.) And Mr.Page joining Motta, c’mon… Plus, as you’ve said, Mr.Page had had much more serious business at hand.

    Then, there’s also a story of Kenneth Anger public announce of him cursing Jimmy after he (Jimmy) failed to deliver soundtrack for Lucifer Rising on time, or Jimmy had delivered but Anger had been unsatisfied with the music (I don’t remember which of these two is correct.) If they’ve both been in cOTO it’d be improper for Anger to publicly announce his cursing (in the best case scenario, of course; it is common knowledge how brotherhood works in cOTO.)

    #110919

    ignant666
    Participant

    From Wikipedia Lucifer Rising article:

    Back in London, Anger met Jimmy Page of rock band Led Zeppelin at an auction where they were both bidding for a piece of Crowley memorabilia. Becoming friends, Page invited the filmmaker to stay at his Scottish house on the banks of Loch Ness, Boleskine House, which had once belonged to Crowley. Shortly after, Anger convinced Page to compose the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising, with the rock star also giving Anger permission to move into the basement of his London mansion. Anger publicly revealed that Page was to provide the soundtrack in a February 1972 interview with Variety magazine, in which he erroneously claimed that the film was near completion and announced that Page was involved. Then, in April 1973, he allowed some of the footage for the film to be screened at a public appearance that he made at the State University of New York in Buffalo. However, in October 1976 Anger got into an argument with Page’s wife Charlotte, who threw him out of their London home; he was able to collect his belongings later that week, subsequently giving a press conference in which he lambasted both Page and his wife, stating that “I’m beginning to think Jimmy’s dried up as a musician. He’s got no themes, no inspiration, no melodies to offer.”

    Whatever may have happened over the LR soundtrack, there was not yet a (c)OTO for them to be fellow members of. Note that Grady gives his title as “Caliph”- he was not claiming to be “OHO” yet in 1977.

    If Page was a Motta OTO member, it was most likely a “mail order” membership, since i don’t think Motta left Brazil much. I agree that even this is unlikely; anyone in the UK trying to find “the OTO” in the mid ’70s was a lot more likely to find Grant, or the still-surviving Swiss OTO, which were the only “real” “OTO”s at that time, since Solar Lodge had folded by then (?- Shiva was gone but i have heard some stayed much longer?), and the Californian Coup d’Espirit had not yet happened.

    Here is audio of the show the night Jimmy probably didn’t get Grady’s letter (July 23, 1977, at Oakland):

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  ignant666. Reason: add
    #110928

    elitemachinery
    Participant

    @serpent252 said:

    Then, there’s also a story of Kenneth Anger public announce of him cursing Jimmy after he (Jimmy) failed to deliver soundtrack for Lucifer Rising on time, or Jimmy had delivered but Anger had been unsatisfied with the music (I don’t remember which of these two is correct.) If they’ve both been in cOTO it’d be improper for Anger to publicly announce his cursing (in the best case scenario, of course; it is common knowledge how brotherhood works in cOTO.)

    from wiki:

    However, in October 1976 Anger got into an argument with Page’s wife Charlotte, who threw him out of their London home; he was able to collect his belongings later that week, subsequently giving a press conference in which he lambasted both Page and his wife..

    Anger apparently had J. Paul Getty as a benefactor for many years financing his lifestyle and short films. When Getty died he was cut off by Getty’s wife (according to Anger.) More likely Anger was upset that Page did not see fit to become his new benefactor as Page was ‘so incredibly wealthy’ and they both loved Crowley and so on. Anger has complained of severe financial problems in later years although lately he seems to have it sorted. He has also made petty remarks several times about Jimmy Page not buying lunch when they met etc. If he cursed Page it was more likely for these reasons than for the soundtrack IMHO.

    Personally I think Anger’s curses are probably quite powerful and indirectly responsible for his personal suffering. But Page being a magician himself he possibly has the tools to combat with banishing rituals and such. Anger still tells the story of cursing Bobby Beausolleil after they had a fight and Bobby ran off (and we all know how that ended.)

    Re Page and OTO it is common for celebrities to feel entitled to be treated differently than common folk and the story about Page wanting to enter at a higher grade sounds plausible. Many organizations (Landmark Education, Scientology) have a system in place to deal with this that caters to the celebrity’s higher sense of self-worth.

    @ignant666 said:

    Probably not, as it was sent to the arena venue of a big tour four days before the first of two nights Zep played Oakland, and most likely never even reached him, and, if it did, he was probably too busy [EDITED BY MODERATOR] to meet.

    This made me gut laugh. There is no way he received this letter. It’s laughable that the OTO chose to send this letter to the venue and not to his management company or tour manager. A small amount of due diligence would have had much more possibility of success.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  elitemachinery.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  lashtal. Reason: Potentially libellous remark in quoted text removed
    #110930

    Shiva
    Participant

    JB: There is no distinction made here between the “eternal” A.A. (the GWB) and the “temporal” A.A. (Crowley’s own attempt at forming the Golden Dawn).

    That’s because the author (as well as 99+% of everyone else) hasn’t the slightest idea of either the eternal or the temporal format. The temporal version is obviously cited.

    My economics is not so sufficient that I can vouch for the monetary values (which may or may not be correct.)

    Based on research done (by me) in 1968, AC’s inheritance TODAY would be about $10 mil.

    The walk through China did not occur Immediately afterwards in 1904 but a couple of years later.

    Right. And it had the practical motivation of being an “escape tunnel” from possible repercussion involving the shooting of an assailant in a dark indian alley. Was his China Walk insane? It seems sanely enough reported in Confessions.

    Crowley had already begun the (Abramelin) operation long before (1899; it would have been better to use the verb “resume” here rather than “begin”).

    Right, again. But this seems strange. According to the timeframe, he had already had a dialog with his Aiwass in Cairo in 1904.

    I fail to find the enthusiasm to continue commenting on your excellent exposure of the biggest hack job of history. Anyone who has read the above several posts can easily see how whatever really happened (to anybody) is mashed, managled, and manipulated by really bad researchers. This sort of thing is exactly what I was up against when I wrote Solar Lodge.

    Ig: Solar Lodge had folded by then (?- Shiva was gone but i have heard some stayed much longer?)

    Solar lodge was officially named and founded in 1965. In 1972, I left, and the Tong moved on. But they officially (in court) disavowed any connection to OTO, and those three initials were never uttered again. The judge had ruled that they could not associate with each other. big deal. they all lived in the same house. (Well, there were three houses, side-by-side, and they all worked and associated with each other. All that was left was a 14-hour workday for food, a room, and $5 a week for cigarettes. Watta life! People dropped out, one-by-one, over the following months and years. they were still going strong in 1979, in Las vegas, but it was all business; no OTO, no mysticism, and certainly no public interface. In 2005, there were still eight of them, working as usual, deep in the Heart of Texas.

    #110939

    ignant666
    Participant

    For anyone curious about what may have been edited out as potentially libelous, here are some articles about [DELETED BY MODERATOR]

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  ignant666.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by  lashtal. Reason: "Moderating decisions – including the closure of accounts – will be undertaken without public or private justification or discussion."
    #110942

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    @shiva :

    According to the timeframe, he had already had a dialog with his Aiwass in Cairo in 1904.
    Yes, but wasn’t it not until much later that he recognised Aiwass as his being his own HGA?

    whatever really happened (to anybody) is mashed, managled, and manipulated by really bad researchers.
    Agreed, and the danger is that once it’s in print it is regarded as accurate by (some of) those coming afterwards, who may then perpetuate it themselves, and so on and so forth with – as with ‘chinese whispers’ – any semblance of truth in it degraded still further by repetition. The surprising thing is that most of the rest of the book seems fairly accurate and well researched and it’s strange Mick Wall didn’t appear to bother so much here.

    @serpent252 :

    I’ve never come across that letter before. Thank you for posting. In it Greedy McMurtry seems more intent in pursuing the possibility of holidaying at Boleskine manor than inviting JP into some org (which didn’t even get going under him until later on that year).
    But I agree, it’s very unlikely JP would have received it at the venue, even if sent by personal courier than by post (assiduous security being all what it was at that gig on the tour, and all that cough!) and that it was probably a case of ‘return to sender’ (address unknown). JP must have been so disappointed when (if he ever?) found out!

    @ ignant666 :

    For anyone curious about what may have been edited out as potentially libelous, here are some articles about [DELETED BY MODERATOR]
    howzah! This makes folk even more curious. What have I missed while snoozing deep in the arms of Morpheus?

    Incidentally no one seems to have noticed I forgot to put “wives” in quotation marks when referring to ‘Hirsig’ being the only one out of ‘3 (the others being Rose Kelly and Maria de Miramar) not to have been committed to an asylum for the mistake of ‘knowing’ the beast Crowley – as she was never actually married to him either (since he only ever had the 2.)

    N Joy

    #110944

    ignant666
    Participant

    Read Hammer Of the Gods, or the wikipedia bio of Jimmy Page, or just have a bit of a think, and i suspect you will guess correctly.

    I hope this is sufficiently elliptical to not get my account terminated?

    Whatever motive Grady (i think some posters have recently misspelled this?) may have had in reaching out to JP, he was so inept, or so naive about big rock tour logistics, that the letter probably went astray. One wonders why he didn’t write to him at Boleskine, since he knew that address?

    Can Michael comment as to whether there was ever any contact between Page and Grant? As i said above, anyone in the UK trying to find “the OTO” in the late 60s-early 70s would have been more likely to to look to him than the then-stagnant Californians. His name was right there on the title page of the Confessions edition of 1969, and his name may well have been in the London phonebook.

    #110946

    lashtal
    Keymaster

    ignant666: Your first post named the wrong female, and your second confirmed your own error. Your account was never going to be ‘terminated’ – I value your contributions here too highly – but if you’re going to make allegations relating to potentially criminal offences, you really need to get the name of the complainant correct! Anyway, back to the thread…

    #110947

    Jamie J Barter
    Participant

    `Read Hammer Of the Gods, or the wikipedia bio of Jimmy Page, or just have a bit of a think, and i suspect you will guess correctly.
    From my deduction I would guess that it was most likely to do either with JP’s fascination about the allure of what he called “The White Lady”, or else with his fascination about the allure of her more corporeal and somewhat littler sister.?…

    Whatever motive Grady (i think some posters have recently misspelled this?)
    Yes, there seems to be something the matter with the spellcheck…
    may have had in reaching out to JP, he was so inept, or so naive about big rock tour logistics, that the letter probably went astray. One wonders why he didn’t write to him at Boleskine, since he knew that address?
    Simply because he was so inept?! Or else ratarsed on the booze at the time?

    N Joy

    #110948

    ignant666
    Participant

    Fair enough, Paul. You are correct that i mixed up two famous LA rock aficionadas., and that the person i initially mentioned had recently dumped Iggy Pop for Johnny Thunders, and was living in NYC in 1977; see his song “Look Away”:

    I slept wlth Sable when she was 13
    Her parents were too rich to do anything
    She rocked her way around L.A
    ‘Til a New York Doll carried her away

    Perhaps i was misled by your edit comment on my second post (which did attempt to set straight the error you note in my first post), and thank you for being kind enough to characterize my carping, bickering, and bad jokes as “contributions”.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  ignant666.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  ignant666.
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