Tag Archives: Aleister Crowley

From the archive, 13 April 1934: “Black Magic” Libel Action

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 13 April 1934: Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, declines to make himself invisible in court

Crowley
Aleister Crowley, c 1938. Photograph: Hulton Getty

The “black magic” libel action again came before Mr. Justice Swift and a special jury in the King’s Bench Division yesterday.

https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2012/apr/13/archive-1934-aleister-crowley-libel-black-magic

Mr. Aleister Crowley, the author, claimed damages against Miss Nina Hamnett, authoress of a book entitled “Laughing Torso,” and Messrs. Constable and Co., Limited, the publishers, and Messrs. Charles Whittingham and Briggs, the printers.

Mr. Crowley complained that the book imputed that he practised “black magic” and he said this was a libel upon him. The defence was a plea of justification.

At the material time Mr. Crowley had a villa on the mountain-side at Cefalu, Sicily, which was known as the “Abbey of Thelema.” He denied that he practiced “black magic” there. He also denied that a baby mysteriously disappeared, as the defense alleged, from the “Abbey.”

Mr. Martin O’Connor (for Miss Hamnett) resuming his cross-examination yesterday, invited Mr. Crowley to try his magic in court. “You said yesterday,” said Mr O’Connor, “that, as the result of early experiments, you invoked certain forces with the result that some people were attacked by unseen assailants. Try your magic now on my learned friend (pointing to Mr. Malcolm Hilbery, K.C.). I am sure he will not object.” “I would not attack anyone,” replied Mr. Crowley. “I have never done wilful harm to any human being.”

When invited again Mr. Crowley replied: “I absolutely refuse.”

“On a later occasion,” continued Mr. O’Connor, “you said you succeeded in rendering yourself invisible. Would you like to try that on now for, if you don’t, I shall pronounce you an imposter? – You can ask me to do anything you like. It won’t alter the truth.”

Counsel then dealt with the ritual observed in the ceremonies at the villa at Cefalu. Mr. Crowley denied that a cat was killed in the ceremony and that part of the cat’s blood was drunk by a person taking part. “There was no cat, no animal, no blood, and no drinking,” he declared.

In re-examination Mr. Crowley agreed that he had studied black magic, though only as a student. He had never practised black magic, and had always written about it in terms of strongest condemnation.

When Mr. Crowley’s evidence was concluded Mr. Justice Swift asked him to tell the Court “the shortest, and at the same time comprehensive, definition of magic which he knew.”

Mr. Crowley: Magic is the science of the art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. White magic is if the will is righteous and black magic is if the will is perverse.

Mr. Justice Swift: Does that involve the invocation of spirits? – It may do so. It does involve the invocation of the holy guardian angel who is appointed by Almighty God to watch over each of us.

Is it in your view, the art of controlling spirits so as to affect the course of events? – That is part of magic. One small branch.

If the object of the control is good then it is white magic? – Yes.

When the object of the control is bad what spirits do you invoke? – You cannot invoke evil spirits. You must evoke them and call them out.

When the object is bad you evoke evil spirits? – Yes. You put yourself in their power. In that case it is possible to control evil spirits or blind spirits for a good purpose as we might if we use the dangerous elements of fire and electricity for heating and lighting, &c.

Happy Birthday Aleister

al

from Liber-Al.com

“Today is Aleister Crowley’s Birthday (12th October 1875).

Born Edward Alexander Crowley, he was an accomplished mountaineer, artist, poet, chemist and occultist, who is most well known for his esoteric books. He studied at Cambridge then travelled widely, and was amongst the earliest westerners to study, translate and bring back the key works of Eastern Philosophy. In his youth he was part of a team of mountaineers who very nearly climbed the then unexplored K2.

He was deeply involved in the world of fringe Freemasonry and magical orders, most notably The Golden Dawn. He studied and socialized there alongside all the great and good of the day (artists/poets/authors), along with the Order of Oriental Templars. Although vilified during his own lifetime by the tabloid press and accused of being a traitor, it has since come to light that during the wars he spied for the allies. Labelled “The Wickedest Man in The World” he often courted controversy and led a very liberal lifestyle that would hardly raise an eyebrow today – but did back then.

Keenly interested in personal freedom and the discovery and fulfilment of ones own personal destiny, he founded his own religious/philosophical movement which he called “Thelema”. It stated “Do What Thou Wilt” –  a counter culture statement of freedom embraced in the sixties, but often misunderstood to mean do what you like! John Lennon was a fan, and Crowley was featured on the cover of the Beatles “Sgt. Peppers” album. Another fan, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, bought Crowley’s old home (Boleskine house) in Scotland on the shores of Loch Ness. He died 1st December 1947. A complex and controversial person no doubt, a man ahead of his time, but a man who certainly left his mark on the world!

For those interested in reading more about him I highly recommend the excellent biographies: Aleister Crowley by Tobias Churton or Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley by Richard Kaczynski.”

 

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Jack Reynor and Bella Heathcoate in “Strange Angel”

Did you see the first season? I loved it. We’re still waiting to hear if the show has been renewed for a second season.

The post below really sums up my thoughts about “Strange Angel” – the CBS series on rocketry scientist and Magick practitioner Jack Parsons. Although many of the ritualistic sequences are presented out of sequence or completely fabricated, I’m thrilled that Thelema is finally being created for a mainstream audience.

What do you think of it?

Here’s the article by Peter Pendragon:

“Be blessed in the name of man. And if any god deny you for this, I will deny that god.”
– Jack Parsons

“On June 14, 2018 e.v. the CBS All Access service premiered Strange Angel, a streaming series based on George Pendle’s book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

There have been several reviews from the usual media outlets (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc.) as well as some preliminary dismissive comments online from my fellow Thelemites with regards to its historical accuracy, and the critics, Thelemic and otherwise, have been decidedly mixed in their opinions. So was the show any good? This first ever media portrayal of one of the most prominent Thelemites in the 20th century, who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — how was his history, his memory treated in this first of its kind program?

Yes, it was a fictionalized account with most of the characters names changed from their real life counterparts, or in some cases new people invented out of whole cloth. But the pilot’s inherent narrative, its juxtaposed elements of science and Magick, and its full throated embrace of Thelema itself is what stood out to me. “Do what thou wilt” is not just used in the show’s advertising as a summer series catchphrase — it actually provides a link to the narrative that is important in establishing the main themes of the pilot.

The cast is solid, the writing is allowed to take its time and explore the world of the series, and, visually, the show is a typical treat we have come to expect from Ridley Scott, who also produces The Man in the High Castle, which shares this show’s high end production values. Honestly, it was weird, surreal watching this, after having been in the O.T.O. for so long, recognizing the many easter eggs left for Thelemites, it seems, a small group of fanboys and fangirls to cater to, but what the hell. I noticed that they were quoting Class A stuff directly, and, God love ‘em, they even got the “A Ka Dua” mantra right. Now, they did modify the rituals, of course, which I frankly expected — it’s that the pilot was able to get so much right that was surprising. Yes, it’s weird watching what is essentially a streaming soap opera set in the early world of Magick and Thelema, but maybe now, after all these years of dwelling in the countercultural underground, perhaps it is time for the story of Jack Parsons and the O.T.O. to come out of the shadows.”

Frater From Another Mater

via Strange Angel: Darker Than You Think

Who really was Aleister Crowley?

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Since 2012 I’ve been immersed in studies of Jewish mysticism and ceremonial magick. I absolutely love it. It’s a fascinating, endless stream of information and mastery. Maybe it’s because I’m a Scorpio and I just gravitate towards mysteries in general; it’s certainly a natural progression from being a white witch for 30 years… plus I love Led Zeppelin.

Anyway, because of my interests, many of my friends ask me lately – “who was Aleister Crowley?”

That’s a question that brings a multifaceted answer. There’s a lot of rumors and wild information out there that come from anxious minds with unsubstantiated stories.  What I’ve personally found is that studying Magick isn’t evil, and neither was this guy (although William Butler Yeats did think he was nuts).

For the curious that want a straightforward, mostly neutral description of him, this article published yesterday is informative, and I want to share it:

“On this day in 1904: the ‘wickedest man in Britain’ completes his manuscript for a new religion”

by Dominic Selwood

“Edward Alexander Crowley was born on 12 October 1875 to a well-off family of Plymouth Brethren in Leamington Spa. He was a willful child, and his mother nicknamed him Therion, the Great Beast 666, from the Book of Revelation.

After school, Crowley went to Trinity College, Cambridge, to read natural sciences. He devoted little time on his studies, and excelled instead at chess and mountaineering. At 22, he decided all was worthless except magic and the occult. He changed his name to the Celtic-sounding Aleister, and spent his spare time writing poetry.

He left Cambridge with no degree and moved to London, where he joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. There he met and fell out with the poet W B Yeats, who memorably described Crowley as “an unspeakably mad person”.

Armed with rituals from the Golden Dawn, Crowley moved to Boleskine House on Loch Ness, where he tried to work a summoning ritual for his guardian angel. His work was interrupted, and after a stint mountaineering and meditating in Mexico, he came to believe he was the reincarnation of the Elizabethan alchemist Edward Kelley, who had acted as a medium in the “spiritual conversations” of the polymath Dr John Dee.

In 1903, Crowley married Rose Edith Skerrett, and while on holiday with her in Cairo, started receiving dictation from a spirit named Aiwass. He wrote for an hour a day on 8, 9, and 10 April 1904, completing the manuscript’s three chapters in as many days.

The result was The Book of the Law, or Liber AL vel Legis, and it announced the end of the Christian era, and the start of the Æon of Horus. It is the central text in the practice of Thelema, whose guiding tenet is, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. Although Crowley was the first to formulate Thelema into a set of beliefs, the idea originated in Rabelais’ 1534 book, Gargantua, in which the eponymous monster built the anti-church Abbey of Thélème.

 

Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley

Over the coming decades, Crowley developed his experience of magic, the occult, drugs, and sexual liberation, earning a reputation as “the wickedest man in Britain”. He wrote poetry, articles, and books prolifically, but spent all his inheritance and earnings on his experimental lifestyle. He died, penniless, in Hastings on 1 December 1947.

Crowley’s memory was resurrected in the 1960s, when he became a cult counterculture figure, featuring as one of the faces on the album cover for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1970, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, Jimmy Page, purchased Boleskine House, which he owned until 1992.

Aside from his considerable literary output, Crowley’s most enduring legacies are the principles and rituals of Thelema – which are practised by various occult groups – and the mystical Crowley-Harris tarot deck, which he designed, and had painted by his friend and disciple Lady Frieda Harris, wife of the Liberal MP for Bethnal Green.”

Original article can be found here

What do you think?