Magical Record of the Beast 666: The Diaries of Aleister Crowley, 1914–1920, edited with copious annotations by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, the 1993 third impression of the paperback from Duckworth, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Crowley called his Diary a Magical Record because it contains accounts of his magical experiments, including the details of his secret sexual magick and of his consumption of a variety of dangerous drugs. it was not written with an eye to publication. ‘I don’t particularly expect anybody to read it,’ he wrote. Hence the unguarded way in which he recorded his innermost thoughts and performances of secret rites. There is a veiled reference to this extraordinary journal in his Magick in Theory and Practice, 1929. ‘Yea, he [Crowley’s Holy Guardian Angel, Aiwaz] wrought also in me a Work of Wonder beyond all this, but in this matter I am sworn to hold my peace.’ The ‘Work of Wonder’ was his supreme initiation into the highest grade of the mystical Order of the Silver Star, the beginning of which is described in this volume. Crowley, who died in 1947, had to hold his peace about that, and certainly about his sexual magick. Today, in these confused times, strange creeds thrust themselves forward, asking to be examined. everything is in the melting pot and a way out of the chaos in being anxiously sought. There is no stranger creed than Crowley’s doctrine of Do What Thou Wilt. Nor are there any experiences more exotic than his mystical illuminations and initiations.
John Symonds is Crowley’s literary executor and biographer. Kenneth Grant is the present world head of the Order of Oriental Templars, the magical order which Crowley reorganized in the 1920s.”
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