Tag Archives: wickedest man in the world

Magick in Theory and Practice

Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley, the 1976 paperback edition from Dover, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Aleister Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice from Dover

This is the 1976 paperback edition from Dover of Magick in Theory and Practice by Aleister Crowley, which has appeared in a number of editions, as well as being contained within the Weiser “blue brick” edition of Magick: Liber ABA (Book 4).

“This is the foremost book on ceremonial magic written in the twentieth century, the summation of the thought and life practice of the century’s most famous necromancer and one of its most infamous figures. It was prepared by Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) specially for neophytes. Written at the height of his involvement, it is probably Crowley’s best book.

Although he draws on Buddhist, Egyptian, Tantric and Gnostic rituals and the teachings of Abramelin and other early mgai, Crowley is primarily concerned with his own system of Magick. (He added the ‘k’ to distinguish it from systems which have ‘attracted too many dilettanti, eccentrics, weaklings …’) Crowley appears in his many aliases—Perdurabo, The Great Wild Beast 666, The Master Therion, and through the many orders which he founded or to which he belonged.He appears in his role as poet and scholar. But he also appears as high priest, scandalous leader of black masses and sexual orgies, drug fiend, and ‘The Wickedest Man in the World!’

THe magical theory of the universe, ritual, elemental weapons, the Holy Graal, Abrahadabra, the gestures, Our Lady Babalon and the Beast, bloody sacrifice, purifications, the oath, charge to the spirit, clairvoyance, divination, dramatic rituals, black magic and alchemy are among the many topics covered. An extensive system of appendices provides many rituals, consecrations, correspondences, readings and other accessory material. Crowley’s graphs and charts illustrate the text.

Privately printed in a limited edition in Paris after every contacted publisher in Britain refused the work, this book has been a rarity since its first publication. This Dover edition will make Crowley’s Magick commonly available to students, the curious who have been denied ready access to Crowley’s system, and others who want to delve into the black arts and the occult.”


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.

Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste

Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste by Martin Hayes, illustrated by R H Stewart, is a new graphic novel which may be of interest. Richard Kaczynski provides an foreword to this book.

Martin Hayes and R H Stewart's Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste

“‘… deftly weaves together the spiritual and the mundane, truth and rumour, into what is ultimately a human story about one of the most ambitious people ever to live … a work to savour and return to.’ — from the foreword by Richard Kaczynski author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley.

Know then the life and times of England’s most infamous son. Occultist, artist, poet, prophet, record-setting mountaineer, drug and free-love pioneer, spy, scholar, and legendary bad-egg. Summoner of demons and loser of friends. An explorer of many realms who conversed with gods and angels but ended his days labelled ‘The Wickedest Man in the World.’ Aleister Crowley. A foolish genius. A much maligned history. A wanderer of the waste.”

Witch and wicked

Recent article about the Fri 13th opening of “Windows to the Sacred” exhibition which features work by Aleister Crowley and Rosaleen Norton at Buratti Fine Art in North Fremantle, Western Australia at “Witch and wicked” finally reveals more information about the exhibition in Australia around which I’d previously posted at “The Nightmare Paintings“.

The Sun (Study for Tarot, self-portrait) by Aleister Crowley


“Gallery director Robert Buratti says esoteric art is focused on the search for hidden knowledge of ourselves and our place in the universe.

‘The work is heavily influenced by symbolism and surrealism,’ Mr Buratti says.

‘It’s been an interest of mine kicked off by the exhibitions by Josephin Peladan in Paris in the late 1800s at the Salon de la Rose + Croix. While the Paris Salon was showing still life and landscapes, they were more showing works about spirituality.

‘Gauguin had a lot to do with symbolism coming to the forefront, so I’ve always thought it would be lovely to do a group show on it, but you don’t often get access to that sort of work.’

Buratti sought out the curators and researchers behind the highly successful 2008 Traces du Sacre at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the satellite showing of The Nightmare Paintings by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) at the Palais de Tokyo.

All of which landed Buratti in a huge bank vault beneath central Paris to view Crowley’s works. ‘It was like a massive prison, with steel balconies on each level and little doors full of boxes. There was an amazing amount of security. After going through several doors where two people unlocked them simultaneously, you finally get to the main room where some of the great art of Europe is locked away – literally centuries of collecting by private buyers rarely seeing the light of day.’

Dubbed by the British press as the wickedest man in the world, it’s the first showing of Crowley’s work in Australia. He turned his back on his Christian upbringing, and his mother, who called him ‘The Beast’. A drug user of wide range from opium to ether, he was also a heroin addict.

Described as a colourful occultist, mystic, magician and poet who courted the press, Crowley devised his own philosophy and started a commune in Sicily in 1920, until Mussolini threw him out of the country in 1923.

Buratti says during this time in Sicily Crowley painted feverishly. ‘The works in the show are from that period and were on display in the Paris exhibition.’

Across the world in Sydney, Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979), was influenced by Crowley’s writing. Called the Witch of Kings Cross by the tabloids, and devoted to the god, Pan, she has the dubious honour of having her work seized and destroyed by the Australian government. Her life was punctuated by high-profile legal cases for obscenity but in later life she became a tourist attraction.

Despite the controversial lives of Crowley and Norton, their small representation in the exhibition seems mild.

Back to the present, Canberra-based Kim Nelson and indigenous artist Danie Mellor provide a different slant together with works by James Gleeson (1915-2008), considered the father of surrealism in Australia.

Sydney-based Barry William Hale is also included. Better known internationally, his work across many media is influenced by everything from sorcery to the paper-cut tradition of indigenous Mexicans.

Hale will perform at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival with the group Noko in its WA premiere of a combination of projected images, experimental music and interpretation of magic.

The affable Hale says his adoptive father was an exporter who came home with exotic artefacts, photos and footage from places such as the highlands of Papua New Guinea, fostering an early fascination for other cultures. His biological parents, both artists, were pioneers of alternative living at Nimbin.

‘I’m always an aesthetic sponge to different expressions of human spirituality and drawn to uncovering different esoteric practices,’ he says.

Buratti says the exhibition is about doing something different but also linking into ideas happening around the world.

‘There’s been renewed interest in esoteric art from curators around the world. You don’t want to get too weird with it because you want to be comfortable with the content you’re putting in front of people, and you don’t want people to misunderstand what you’re about,’ he says.

‘It’s always difficult to tell how people will respond but the interest has been massive.'” [via]

The Moon (Study for Tarot) by Aleister Crowley


Update 12jul2012 @ 5:12pm – Now that I know the actual name of the exhibit, I’m finding information about this show all over the place. For example there’s a note about “Windows on the Sacred” on the front page of Fulgur Limited, LAShTal reported on this last month, and there appears to have been a very informative email newsletter that you can gander at online about this as well.

Really, people who think Aleister Crowley ever was the “wickedest man in the world” are fooling themselves

Really, people who think Aleister Crowley ever was the “wickedest man in the world” are fooling themselves, perhaps even desperate for a distraction from the truly wicked, as pointed out in “The Mysterious Mr. Zedzed: The Wickedest Man in the World” by Mike Dash over at the Smithsonian Magazine blog.

“In his prime, Zaharoff was more than a match for the notorious Aleister Crowley in any contest to be dubbed the Wickedest Man in the World. Still remembered as the inventor of the Systeme Zaharoff—a morally bankrupt sales technique that involved a single unscrupulous arms dealer selling to both parties in a conflict he has helped to provoke—he made a fortune working as a super-salesman for Vickers, the greatest of all British private arms firms, whom he served for 30 years as ‘our General Representative abroad.’ He expressed no objection to, and indeed seemed rather to enjoy, being referred to as ‘the Armaments King.'”

Aleister Crowley’s influence on Raul Seixas and Paulo Coelho appears to be a major topic in “Beginning, Middle and End”, a Brazilian documentary by Walter Carvalho

Aleister Crowley’s influence on Raul Seixas and Paulo Coelho appears to be a major topic in “Beginning, Middle and End”, a Brazilian documentary by Walter Carvalho due to release in March, according to “Crowley, Seixas e Coelho expostos“, an article from back at the beginning of January.

“Montanhista, enxadrista, poeta, crítico social, mago ocultista e dedicado pesquisador da ‘magia sexual’ e do efeito místico das drogas. Essas são algumas das qualificações do britânico Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Rotulado pela imprensa sensacionalista de sua época como ‘o homem mais perverso do mundo’, Crowley resistiu à morte e ao tempo e chega a 2012 intacto em sua aura de mistério e controvérsia.

O mago é um dos assuntos de maior destaque no filme ‘O início, o fim e o meio’, documentário de Walter Carvalho sobre Raul Seixas que estreia em março. Junto ao parceiro Paulo Coelho, Raul fundou a sua famosa Sociedade Alternativa baseado nas ideias de Crowley (em especial no ‘Faze o que tu queres, pois é tudo da lei’, ensinamento tirado do ‘Livro da Lei’).” [via]


“Aleister Crowley é montanhista, enxadrista, poeta, crítico social, mago e dedicado pesquisador da ‘magia sexual’ e do efeito místico das drogas no corpo” [via]
(“Aleister Crowley is mountaineer, chess player, poet, social critic, magician and dedicated researcher of ‘sexual magic’ and the mystical effect of drugs on the body”)


My naive attempt at a translation, with the help of Google’s translation robot:

Mountaineer, chess player, poet, social critic, occult magician and dedicated researcher of the ‘sexual magic’ and the mystical effect of drugs. These are some of the qualifications of the British Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Labeled by the tabloid press of his day as ‘the wickedest man in the world,’ Crowley survived death and the times and reaches 2012 intact with his aura of mystery and controversy.

The magician is one of the most prominent issues in the movie ‘Beginning, Middle and End’, a documentary by Walter Carvalho about Raul Seixas which debuts in March. Along with partner Paulo Coelho, Raul founded his famous Alternative Society based on the ideas of Crowley (in particular ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’ taken from the ‘Book of the Law’).” [via]

A Passion for Evil

For those in the UK, there’s A Passion for Evil, an upcoming stage production about Aleister Crowley which may be of interest by Purple Media in development with The Lowry. A Passion for Evil runs two nights, Sat Oct 29th and Sun Oct 30th.

If anyone attends this and wants to write a review, let me know … was it good? Was it a slide into to the Crowley Corollary of hysterical apophenic satanism or an interesting exploration worth having seen?

“Limited £5 tickets available on Studio shows – book now!

Aleister Crowley is one of the most controversial men of the 20th century.

A master of the occult, outstanding mountaineer, poet and writer. Crowley fearlessly pursued his search for the truth, exploring the world and the darker regions of his own mind, he rampaged through the hypocritical moral code of Victorian England.

They branded him the “Wickedest Man in the World” and there were allegations of human sacrifice yet even today he is followed by thousands.

In this piece of chilling theatre John Burns strips away the myth and seeks out the truth of the man they called The Beast.” [via]

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.”