Aleister Crowley

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Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley (1929)
Born 12 October 1875(1875-10-12)
Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England
Died 1 December 1947(1947-12-01) (aged 72)
Hastings, Sussex, England
Aleister Crowley (1902)

Aleister Crowley (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947) was a British mystic, occultist, writer, poet, mountain climber and nicknamed "The Wickedest Man In the World.".[1]

He was an influential member in some occult organizations, such as the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.),[2] and is better known today for his occult books and papers. He was bisexual.[3]

Crowley also started a mystical philosophy known as Thelema, the Abbey of Thelema, and revived the term magick.

Early life[change | change source]

Edward Alexander Crowley was born at 36 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, between 11:00pm and 11:59 p.m. on 12 October 1875.[4]

In 1895, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge after going to Malvern College and Tonbridge School. In his three years at Cambridge, his father died and left him a large sum of money.

In December 1896, Crowley took interest in occultism and by the next year, he began reading books on alchemy and mysticism. A year later, he published his first book of poetry (Aceldama), and left Cambridge, only to meet Julian L. Baker who introduced him to Samuel Mathers and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

In November 1899, Crowley bought Boleskine House in Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland.

The Golden Dawn[change | change source]

Samuel Mathers, acting leader of the Golden Dawn organization, acted as his early mentor in western magic. Crowley lost faith in his mentor's abilities in 1900 but did not officially break with Mathers until 1904.[5]

Death[change | change source]

Crowley died of a respiratory infection in a Hastings boarding house on 1 December 1947 at the age of 72.[6] He had been addicted to heroin after being prescribed morphine for his asthma and bronchitis many years earlier.[7]

Readings at the cremation service in Brighton included Hymn to Pan, and newspapers referred to the service as a black mass.[6]

Popular culture[change | change source]

  • The mysterious occult character, Oliver Haddo, in William Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician (1908) is largely based on Crowley, whom Maugham met in Paris in 1906-1907.
  • Ernest Hemingway references Crowley in his memoir "A Moveable Feast". In it, Ford Maddox Ford claims to have "cut" a man he thinks was Hilaire Belloc, but which in fact turns out to be "Alestair Crowley, the diabolist".[8]
  • In the song Quicksand on his 1971 album Hunky Dory, David Bowie sings : “I'm closer to the Golden Dawn, Immersed in Crowley's uniform of imagery”.

Sources[change | change source]

  • The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley (Tunisia 1923) : Edited by Stephen Skinner
  • Bull, John. "The Wickedest Man in the World". Sunday Express, 24 Mar. 1923. Unverified that this is the article:[9] Verification that the Sunday Express did make article:[10]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bottomley, Horatio] (1923-03-24). "The Wickedest Man In The World". John Bull. http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/module-subjects-viewpage-pageid-18.phtml. Retrieved 2006-05-28.
  2. Crowley, Aleister. Confessions.
  3. Goodreads
  4. Diaries; page 10
  5. Sutin, pp. 80, 90-91
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sutin, pp. 417-419
  7. Sutin p 411, 416, initial prescription p 277.
  8. Ernest Hemmingway, A Moveable Feast, from the chapter Ford Madox Ford and the Devil's Disciple
  9. 1923 March 24 - John Bull - Aleister Crowley Articles :: lashtal.com :: Home of The Aleister Crowley Society
  10. US Grand Lodge, OTO: Aleister Crowley

Other websites[change | change source]