Portal:Aleister Crowley

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Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), was a British occultist, writer, mountaineer, poet, and yogi. He was an influential member in several occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and is best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained much notoriety during his lifetime, and was dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World."

Crowley was also a chess player, painter, astrologer, hedonist, bisexual, drug experimenter, and social critic. He had also claimed to be a Freemason, but the regularity of his initiations have been disputed by a member of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon.

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Portrait of John Dee. Sixteenth Century, artist unknown. Original in Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK. According to Charlotte Fell Smith, this portrait was painted when Dee was 67. It belonged to his grandson Rowland Dee and later to Elias Ashmole, who left it to Oxford University.

Johannes (John) Dee (July 13, 1527 - 1608 or 1609) was a noted British mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I of England. He also devoted much of his life to alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy.

Dee straddled the worlds of science and magick. One of the most learned men of his time, he had lectured to crowded halls at the University of Paris when still in his early twenties. He was an ardent promoter of mathematics, a respected astronomer and a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England's voyages of discovery. At the same time, he immersed himself deeply in Christian angel-magic and Hermetic philosophy, devoting the last third of his life almost exclusively to these pursuits. For Dee, as with many of his contemporaries, these activities were not contradictory, but particular aspects of a consistent world-view. (more...)
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Icona Today in Aleister Crowley's life

June 3:

  • 1902 - Spent evening "with Eckenstein weighing out the flour supply and painting the sacks."
  • 1906 - "A.'. a sad and mechanic exercise."
  • 1907 - Back to London.
  • 1928 - “Kasimira and I have been discussing the possibility of our marriage for two days. Ask the Yi: shall I marry Kasimira
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...that one of Aleister Crowley's predecessors had petitioned Charles I to take away the family coat of arms? This is what A.C. writes in his “Confessions”, p.45:

“He was very thoroughly grounded in geography, history, Latin and arithmetic. His cousin, Gregor Grant, six years older than himself, was a constant visitor; a somewhat strange indulgence, as Gregor was brought up in Presbyterianism. The lad was very proud of his pedigree. Edward Crowley used to ridicule this, saying, “My family sprang from a gardener who was turned out the garden for stealing his master’s fruit.” Edward Crowley would not allow himself to be addressed as “Esquire” or even “Mr.” It seems a piece of atavism, for a Crowley had petitioned Charles I to take away the family coat of arms; his successor, however, had asked Charles II to restore them, which was done. This is evidence of the satanic pride of the race. Edward Crowley despised worldly dignities because he was a citizen of heaven. He would not accept favour or honour from any one less than Jesus Christ.”

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Aleister Crowley in young age

Edward Alexander Crowley was born at 36 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, between 11:00pm and midnight on October 12, 1875.

His father, Edward Crowley, was trained as an engineer but according to Aleister, never worked as one. He did, however, own shares in a lucrative family brewery business, which allowed him to retire before Aleister was born. Through his father's business he was an acquaintance of Aubrey Beardsley. His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop, drew roots from a Devon and Somerset family. Both of his parents were Exclusive Brethren, a more conservative faction of the Plymouth Brethren.

Crowley grew up in a staunch Brethren household and was only allowed to play with children whose families followed the same faith. His father was a fanatical preacher, travelling around Britain and producing pamphlets. Daily Bible studies and private tutoring were mainstays in "Alick's" childhood.

On March 5, 1887, his father died of tongue cancer. This was a turning point in Crowley's life, after which he then began to describe his childhood in the first person in his Confessions.

After the death of his father to whom he was very close, he drifted from his religious upbringing, and his mother's efforts at keeping her son in the Christian faith only served to provoke his skepticism. When he was a child, his constant rebellious behaviour displeased his mother to such an extent that she would chastise him by calling him "The Beast" (from the Book of Revelation), an epithet that Crowley would later adopt for himself. He objected to the labelling of what he saw as life's most worthwhile and enjoyable activities as "sinful".

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"For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union."

(Liber AL vel Legis)

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