Tag Archives: The Great Beast

The historical place of Aleister Crowley in fact and fiction is explored a bit and somewhat sorted in a column about "Bad Books you never want your co-workers to know you're reading"

The historical place of Aleister Crowley in fact and fiction is explored a bit and somewhat sorted in a column about “Bad Books you never want your co-workers to know you’re reading” at “LURID: Aleister Crowley – Print The Legend!” by Karina Wilson.

“If there’s one individual who straddles the line between lurid fact and fiction, it’s the Great Beast himself, Aleister Crowley. The foremost Shadow Trickster of the twentieth century, his influence spills across philosophy, law, religion, journalism, international politics and all kinds of creative writing. His shaven headed, pointy eared, bulgy eyed, lugubrious visage has become a symbol for black magic and devil worship. If you’ve read much horror fiction, or seen many horror movies, you’re bound to have encountered him in one shadowy form or another. And, as with any other nebulous figure who keeps popping up in your life, it’s worth trying to figure out where he came from.

Sixty-five years after his death, there are myriad versions of Crowley still extant. Posthumously, most public figures become the result of consensus, their after-death persona defined by broadly agreeing biographers. Over time, an individual’s contribution to culture is distilled into a logline, a snappy summary sentence or two, so that he or she can be slotted neatly into their place in history.

Not so with Crowley.” [via]


The Beast Mr. A. Crowley by ~75agulhas on deviantART

“Crowley was a maelstrom of veiled truths, half-lies, deliberate disinformation, shifting perspectives and mea culpa confessions — the ultimate unreliable narrator. He lived a life of constant invention and redefinition, although he stayed true to his core beliefs. He began life as a wealthy aristocrat, but had run through five inheritances by the time he hit his forties, and became dependent on his followers’ donations. At the beginning of World War One he was a British patriot, then claimed to be an Irish sympathizer with the German cause, but, before the ink was dry on the Treaty of Versailles, tried to convince British intelligence that he had been pushing pro-Allied propaganda all along. He was a misogynistic sexual sadist, described as physically repulsive and ‘slug-like’, but he fell passionately in love with a series of intelligent, fiery ‘Scarlet Women’ — who reciprocated his affections. He was devoted to the metaphysical creation of a Magic Child, but he neglected his flesh-and-blood daughters.

It probably doesn’t need to be said: people either loved or hated him.” [via]

Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism

You may be interested in Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism (and via Amazon), edited by Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr, and scheduled for August 2012 from Oxford University Press and September via other retailers like Amazon. The hardcover is listed at a steep $99, but there’s a $35 paperback due in Sept (and via Amazon).

“Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr offer the first comprehensive examination of one of the twentieth century’s most distinctive occult iconoclasts. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was a study in contradictions. He was born into a Fundamentalist Christian family, then educated at Cambridge where he experienced both an intellectual liberation from his religious upbringing and a psychic awakening that led him into the study of magic. He was a stock figure in the tabloid press of his day, vilified during his life as a traitor, drug addict and debaucher; yet he became known as the perhaps most influential thinker in contemporary esotericism.

The practice of the occult arts was understood in the light of contemporary developments in psychology, and its advocates, such as William Butler Yeats, were among the intellectual avant-garde of the modernist project. Crowley took a more drastic step and declared himself the revelator of a new age of individualism. Crowley’s occult bricolage, Magick, was a thoroughly eclectic combination of spiritual exercises drawing from Western European ceremonial magical traditions as practiced in the nineteenth-century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley also pioneered in his inclusion of Indic sources for the parallel disciplines of meditation and yoga. The summa of this journey of self-liberation was harnessing the power of sexuality as a magical discipline, an instance of the “sacrilization of the self” as practiced in his co-masonic magical group, the Ordo Templi Orientis. The religion Crowley created, Thelema, legitimated his role as a charismatic revelator and herald of a new age of freedom under the law of “Do what thou wilt.”

The influence of Aleister Crowley is not only to be found in contemporary esotericism-he was, for instance, a major influence on Gerald Gardner and the modern witchcraft movement-but can also be seen in the counter-culture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in many forms of alternative spirituality and popular culture. This anthology, which features essays by leading scholars of Western esotericism across a wide array of disciplines, provides much-needed insight into Crowley’s critical role in the study of western esotericism, new religious movements, and sexuality.” [via]

“Foreword – Wouter J. Hanegraaff
1. Introduction – Henrik Bogdan and Martin P. Starr
2. The Sorcerer and His Apprentice: Aleister Crowley and the Magical Exploration of Edwardian Subjectivity – Alex Owen
3. Varieties of Magical Experience: Aleister Crowley’s Views on Occult Practice – Marco Pasi
4. Envisioning the Birth of a New Aeon: Dispensationalism and Millenarianism in the Thelemic Tradition – Henrik Bogdan
5. The Great Beast as a Tantric hero: The Role of Yoga and Tantra in Aleister Crowley’s Magick – Gordan Djurdjevic
6. Continuing Knowledge from Generation unto Generation: The Social and Literary Background of Aleister Crowley’s Magick – Richard Kaczynski
7. Aleister Crowley and the Yezidis – Tobias Churton
8. The Frenzied Beast: The Phaedran Furores in the Rites and Writings of Aleister Crowley – Matthew D. Rogers
9. Aleister Crowley: Freemason! – Martin P. Starr
10. “The One Thought that was not Untrue”: Aleister Crowley and A. E. Waite – Robert R. Gilbert
11. The Beast and the Prophet: Aleister Crowley’s Fascination with Joseph Smith – Massimo Introvigne
12. Crowley and Wicca – Ronald Hutton
13. Through the Witch’s Looking Glass: The Magick of Aleister Crowley and the Witchcraft of Rosaleen Norton – Keith Richmond
14. The Occult Roots of Scientology? L. Ron Hubbard, Aleister Crowley and the Origins of the World’s Most Controversial New Religion – Hugh Urban
15. Satan and the Beast. The Influence of Aleister Crowley on Modern Satanism – Asbjorn Dyrendal” [via]

Gnock Gnock Gnocking on the Gnostics’ Door

Gnock Gnock Gnocking on the Gnostics’ Door” is a teaser for a report about experiencing a celebration of the Gnostic Mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica at Sekhet-Maat Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis, in Portland, OR, by Joel and Amanda as part of an ongoing series “Year of Sundays” over at Beliefnet Voices.

“When Amanda and I started our church tour, I’d had it up to here with vanilla religion. I wanted to take a walk on the wild side (read: nothing Christian), but it turns out that, for a city that prides itself on ‘keeping weird,’ Portland doesn’t have much to offer in that regard.

And then I heard from a member of Home PDX that there is a place in town that can satisfy all that and more!

It’s the local chapter of Ordo Templi Orientis, based on the teachings of occultist Aleister Crowley—a.k.a. The Great Beast—and purveyor of the only Gnostic Mass in these parts. It sounded quite gnice.

Steeped in pagan ritual, it promised sharpened gnives and a bare gnaked virgin! I gnew it would be loads of fun—and definitely out of our comfort zone. Even though our gnees gnocked a bit as we entered their lodge yesterday, the service didn’t disappoint.”

Aletheia and The Un-Magickal Record of the Great Beast 666

Weiser Antiquarian just sent out an email about two new books, both limited runs and signed by the authors, in which you may have some interest.

The first is Aletheia, Astrology in the New Aeon for Thelemites; a volume on astrology by J. Edward Cornelius. Limited to 418 numbered copies.

“This new book ‘Aletheia,’ is a short, practical work on astrology, with the emphasis on its use as a tool for self-knowledge and mastery by the magician or mystic. Not surprisingly it draws from and builds upon the insights of Aleister Crowley, examining among other things the relationship between astrology and the Tree of Life, the Daimon (or “Holy Guardian Angel”), and the initiatory system as taught by Crowley. Chapters comprise: Introduction, Foundations, Our Daimon and Kundalini, The Three Fates, The Lot of Fortune and the Nodes, The Tree of Life is Constantly Growing, The Twelve Houses and the Tree of Life, Interpreting the Houses, The Planets, The Mystery of Chiron, Ceres and the Asteroid Belt, The First Four Houses and the Man of Earth, Aspects, Conclusion.”


The second book is The Un-Magickal Record of the Great Beast 666. Volume One: Sez – Drugs – Prophetic Roles by Richard T. Cole. I assume this is one of the fruits to develop from the Nicholas Bishop-Culpeper collection which Weiser Antiquarian has recently started to make available to the collectors’ market.

“The book comprises an Introduction – “Occult Pulp Faction” by Sandy Robertson, a selection of essays by Richard T. Cole, and thirty-three facsimile reproductions of rare articles relating to Aleister Crowley, drawn from a variety of magazines published between 1939 and 1982, including: Auctions Record (1972) – Book & Magazine Collector (2008) – Smith’s Weekly (1924) – True (1939) – Sensation (1939) – Everybody’s Weekly (1949) – Fate (1949) – Sci. Fi. Quarterly (1953) – Action (1953) -Punch (1955) – Picture Post (1955) – People (1956) – True (1956) – Real Action For Men (1957) – Stag (1959) – American Book Collector (1961) – Adam (1964) – Real (1966) – Jaguar (1966) – Penthouse (1967) – Forum (1970) – Zodiac Monthly (1970) – Prediction (1970) – Strange (1971) – the Realist (1971) – High Times (1978) – Unexplained (1980) – Sounds (1982).”

Obvious there’s an intention for more volumes, and further there’s apparently a crossword puzzle “competition (with some rather lovely prizes) being run by the publisher that closes in December 2011.”

Aleister Crowley makes number 4 on a list of eerie recordings

Aleister Crowley makes number 4 on a list of eerie recordings, with mentions of A∴A∴, Ordo Templi Orientis and The Book of the Law at “Top 10 Eerie Recordings

“We have already covered lists of historic recordings and incredible recordings, so now we are presenting you with a list of eerie recordings. These all feature themes or sounds that are spooky in one way or another.”

“4 The Great Beast
Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, writer, mountaineer, poet, yogi, and possible spy. He was an influential member of occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and is known today for his magical writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as ‘The wickedest man in the world.’ The recording above is an incredibly rare one – the speaker is Crowley and he is reading from some of his magickal [sic] writings.”