The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 edited, with additional material, by Stephen Skinner, the 1996 paperback from Weiser Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“The complete diaries of Aleister Crowley cover his entire career in magic, from his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, to his death in 1947. These diaries record the development of Crowley’s synthesis of traditional Western ritual magic with Eastern yoga, tantra and sexual magic—culminating in the creation of Crowley’s ‘Thelemic Magick.’ The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley: Tunisia 1923 show one year in Crowley’s life. This particular year was a major turning point in his life—he and his followers has just been banished by Mussolini from their beloved Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. It marks a time of introspection for Crowley. In it he fully records his magical acts, the internal and external influences surrounding these acts, and their results. Also included are references to the commentaries on the Book of the Law, passages detailing drug use, the practice of sexual magic, descriptions of how he derived Qabalistic meaning from his works and life, interpretations of ‘Yi King’ (I Ching) divination, and other thoughts of a philosophic, religious, and magical nature. In these candid glimpses into Crowley’s mind the reader can see both the egocentric, self-aggrandizing ‘Beast 666’ and the doubts and misgivings of a man dedicated to the spiritual path.”
The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.
Excepts from Aleister Crowley – Charles Stansfeld Jones correspondence at Analysis and Synthesis within the tag “Charles Stansfeld Jones”
“Again, Liber 175 is not merely a manual of devotion – it teaches how to turn whatever comes along to account. Thus, a man who wanted to learn Spanish, might be helped by that book; it would train him to translate every impression of the day into Spanish.”
“I should like you to demonstrate (a) that our methods develop the normal faculties of the individual sanely and wholesomely; (b) that they do not commit him to any specific course of action; (c) that the powers thus acquired may be applied at will to any problem of life; (d) that they act in a strictly rational and intelligible manner; and generally (e) that they are on all fours with accepted methods of training and education.” – Aleister Crowley, letter to C.S. Jones (April 2, 1923) [Source link redacted]
“The strategical aspect of our position at present is that we have the three things necessary – a Sacred Book, historical authority, and leadership of genius. The many Occult bodies in existence possess none of these things except sometimes the last of them in a very diluted and defective form. They are constantly put to new shifts to keep up the bluff. In such bodies there is however as a rule a grain or two of sincerity with odd scraps of ill-assorted knowledge. It should not be our idea to destroy these movements except the hopelessly fraudulent ones. We should, on the other hand, bring them into one fold under one shepherd. We should encourage them in every positive way to strike out for themselves. By being able to appeal to us for support, they will become more prosperous and therefore more honest and hard-working. I can not deal with such movements from this distance, and of course the position will be far stronger if the Manifesto comes from you. I am not sending it to any one who does not already understand the situation. You will see from my letter to Recnartus my ideas as to the general attitude that should be adopted with regard to the New Aeon. We do not want the Law of Thelema to be the slogan of a few specially selected imbecile but to be accepted by the busy business man as the sole solution of modern social difficulties.” – Aleister Crowley to C.S. Jones, March 1, 1925 [Source link redacted]
“One thing I will say: that I do not expect anything to come of qabalistic speculations. I think that they may even be extremely mischievous in times like the present. Our sole business should be to use the Law to reconstruct the world from the chaos into which it is already half tumbled. That formula is a simple one, and requires no specialised training. The work requires the cooperation of tens of thousands of people who have never heard of the Qabalah, and they have to be addressed in language which they can understand.” – Crowley to Jones many years later on August 28, 1936 [Source link redacted]