Leila Ida Nerissa Waddell (1880-1932) is a significant figure in the history of Thelema as Crowley's most celebrated "Scarlet Woman", and is immortalised in several chapters of The Book of Lies and the Confessions, where she is poetically addressed as "Laylah" - a transliteration into English of the Arabic word for "night".
Born in Bathurst (a region near Sydney, Australia), her ancestry included New Zealand Maori and Irish. She was esteemed as a violinist and tutor, having a concert held especially to honour her charitable activities and personal character in 1906, teaching at several exclusive schools, appearing with the local Conservatorium and Philharmonic Society orchestras, and performing in all the major cities of the young nation before her departure for England in 1908, where she met Crowley. As his magical partner, she practised Magick and became a founding member of the original company of the Rites of Eleusis. She was also, arguably, Crowley's most powerful muse, inspiring numerous poems and several chapters in The Book of Lies, which Crowley considered to be among his most inspired works.
Later, she also had modest success in the United States as a writer.
She returned to Sydney in 1923 to care for her elderly father, after her relationship with Crowley had deteriorated, dying of uterine cancer at the relatively young age of 52.
- This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.