At the same time, I sense something like a Gestapo knock, an attempt by the real world to force itself into my carefully maintained happiness, something undeniably capable of smashing my fragile life. The pain which is unaccountable and new, which speaks of its own growth and victory, which speaks of disorder and loss in short bright stabs.
N.B.: In 2014, when I wrote this post, I provided the best information I had about this document. It is the current position of OTO that the document mentioned here was not authored by Aleister Crowley, writing as Gérard Aumont, but by Aumont proper. As of April 2018, Hymenaeus Beta posted A Note on Gérard Aumont which cogently makes the case that Aumont, and not Crowley, was the author of this document. I have begun a section at the library for information about and the writings of Gérard Aumont, which may be of interest. I have made some edits in brackets to this old post to reflect this new information.
A typed copy of The Black Messiah by Gérard Aumont has arrived at the Reading Room from an anonymous sender. This essay, circa 1926, [seemed at the time I wrote this to be] written by Aleister Crowley himself although he wrote it under the name of a Tunisian student (as he [seemed to have at the time I wrote this] with the contemporaneous essay The Secret Conference which appears in The Heart of the Master & Other Papers), is quoted from by Starr in The Unknown God: W. T. Smith and the Thelemites, and was published in the Yorke microfilm archives where it can be found by those who have access to that; but it is otherwise an apparently intentionally rare document to get to read.
“Writing under the name of a Tunisian disciple, Gérard Aumont, Crowley deepened his propaganda war against Krishnamurti, this time setting forth the battle in racial terms, which would most definitely not have swayed Theosophists. A regrettable example is his essay, The Black Messiah, where The Master Therion is touted as the white race’s savior, in contrast to Besant’s ‘marionette Messiah, a kala admi—a nigger!’ It was a new low in self-promotion.” — Martin P Starr, The Unknown God, p 165; quoting the essay.
And, yes, indeed, I feel the essay as a whole expresses just as reprehensible and nauseating a typical racist sentiment as you might think, but is particularly significant because in it [Aumont] explicitly links Thelemic and racist ideologies; moreover, in that peculiar way that racists have of interpreting religion and peace and love to include racism and war and hate:
“White men and women must choose between these alternatives: Will they yield, content to be the black man’s slave, after having been his master? or will they stand to, and reply by an energetic spiritual reaction, which will restore the threatened equilibrium of the races?
The white champion has appeared, He who, under the aegis of the Spiritual Masters of the planet, has proclaimed the Law of Thelema, the Law of Love, comprehended and directed by Will: the Law which bids each man pursue the proper orbit of his destiny, and develop himself around his own true centre of Light, will bring back welfare to his own race, and establish Peace with Victory upon the Earth.”
Even if one weakly apologises that [the author] was simply and only saying whatever otherwise ethically questionable propaganda was necessary to cajole rubes or just playing a role demanded by wearing his ring on a contrarian hand that day, as if those weren’t also problematic in and of themselves, this still seems to me to sustain as disgusting and damning stuff.
Obviously make up your own mind about such things, but this seems to me one of those times when eyes wide open and unclouded are required. Make of it what you will, but one way or another it seems this must be considered part of the whole corpus of […] writing and thought on the topic of Thelema. And, in my estimation, if one is to be intellectually honest and serious about The Comment (“All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself”), a Thelemite’s religious duty is to study, and requires ready access to, all of Crowley’s writings (even when not explicitly Thelemic, though this one clearly is). [While this document, as it turns out now, shouldn’t be considered part of Crowley’s writings, I feel it is still important for members of the tradition to openly discuss problematic material and attitudes in the tradition, both historical and any ongoing, so that these can be addressed clearly, instead of suppressing or ignoring them, or stifling discussion about them, which lets them fester. I find it refreshing and heartening to see these and other problematic issues discussed more often lately, and openly, such as in Hymenaeus Beta’s public and prominent note as well as recent statements by Sabazius.]
The essay itself ends with what appears to be a bit of […] poetry which I don’t immediately recognize appearing elsewhere, so I quote that here as well, though I personally find all this “free, equal” “Savior of the Earth” triumphalism to be strikingly and skin-crawlingly appropriate for what one would expect from extreme and exclusionary religion-infused racist ideological rants:
“Ho! for his chariot wheels that whirl afar!
His hawk’s eye flashing through the silver star!
Upon the heights his standard shall he plant
Free, equal, passionate, pagan, dominant,
Mystic, indomitable, self-controlled,
The red rose glowing of the cross of gold…
Yea! I will wait throughout the centuries
Of the Universal man-disease
Until that morn of his Titanic birth…
The Saviour of the Earth!”
Apollon, qui pleurait le trépas d’Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas céder la victoire à la mort.
Il fallait que son âme, adepte de l’essor,
Trouvât pour la beauté une alchimie plus sainte.
Donc, de sa main céleste il épuise, il éreinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brisés soupirent une exhalaison d’or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de l’Absinthe!
Aux cavernes blotties, aux palais pétillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d’aimant.
Car c’est un sortilège, un propos de dictame;
Ce vin d’opal pale avortit la misère,
Ouvre de la beauté l’intime sanctuaire
— Ensorcelle mon cœur, extasie mon âme!
Apollo, who mourned at Hyacinthe’s demise,
Refused to concede this victory to Death.
Much better that the soul, adept in transformation,
Had to find a holy alchemy for beauty.
Thus with his celestial hand he drained and crushed
The subtlest harvest of the garden goddess,
The broken bodies of the herbs yielding a golden essence
From which we measure out our first drop—of Absinthe!
In lowly hovels and in glittering courts,
Alone, in pairs, drink up this potion of desire!
For it is sorcery—as one might say—
When the pale opal wine ends all misery,
Opens beauty’s most intimate sanctuary—
—Bewitches my heart, and exalts my soul in ecstasy!
“The American Civil War would have resulted in the utter ruin of the whole country had it not been that Grant, in the moment of victory, forgot all about Simon Legree, dismissed the whole howling of the wolves of the press as nonsense, and observed succinctly: Let us have peace.” [via]
“All that has happened in the third degree is that he has symbolically passed through a great and striking change: a rebirth, or regeneration of his whole nature. He has been ‘sown a corruptible body’; and in virtue of the self-discipline and self-development he has undergone, there has been raised in him ‘an incorruptible body,’ and death has been swallowed up in the victory he has attained over himself.” [via]