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The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley

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.

Stephen Skinner's The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley from Weiser Books

“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.”


 

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Aleister Crowley: New, Used and Rare Books and Ephemera

You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #110: Aleister Crowley: New, Used and Rare Books and Ephemera. Including a Selection of Books from the Library of Wilfred T. Smith.

Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #110 Aleister Crowley

“Welcome to the one hundred-and-tenth of our on-line catalogues, this being another of our specialised Aleister Crowley lists.

The catalogue begins with three interesting new releases: signed copies of Marlene Cornelius’ Liber AL Vel Legis: The Book of the Law. An Examination of Liber XXXI & Liber CCXX; and David Shoemaker’s Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick, and the always-interesting and beautifully produced AMeTh Lodge Journal. Vol. I, No. II from AMeTh Lodge of the O.T.O. in London. The next item is “Dark Halo,” a signed and numbered Limited Edition Print of a portrait of Aleister Crowley by California artist Heather McMillen, with an accompanying hand-written poetic “homage to Aleister Crowley” by Blair MacKenzie Blake, author of The Wickedest Books in the World and other works.

The third section of the catalogue is devoted to books and ephemera by Aleister Crowley himself. Amongst the rarities included are a copy of the Cambridge University magazine Granta which includes an anonymous poem by Crowley, a copy of the vellum bound first volume of The [Collected] Works of Aleister Crowley with an extraordinary double inscription, and Nicholas Bishop-Culpeper’s personal copy of Magick In Theory and Practice, beautifully bound in full vellum. There is also a group of four autograph letters, signed by Crowley; each is significant in its own way, with topics ranging from Crowley’s alleged share holdings in Australia, to a defense of Aubrey Beardsley! A selection of copies of The English Review, each with a contribution by Crowley, are followed by a varied group of books and journals that in one way or another relate to “the Beast.” Included amongst the journals are a copy of Esquire Magazine from March 1970 with a detailed and heavily illustrated series of essays on Californian occultism, that also reproduces a newsclipping concerning the famous “Solar Lodge” “Boy in the Box” debacle; a complete set of Sothis Magazine from the 1970s, a collection of the first seven issues of the Typhonian magazine Starfire; and 3 consecutive issues of Picture Post Magazine from 1955 which serialised a well-illustrated but breathless account of Crowley’s life. Amongst the books in the same section are a first edition of The Macedonians by Mary Butts, the English novelist and serious occult practitioner who spent some time at Cefalu with Crowley, the very uncommon first edition of Tiger-Woman by Betty May, in which she recounts her own time at Cefalu, and Nina Hamnett’s Laughing Torso, a book which eventually led Crowley into bankruptcy after he sued it’s publishers for libel, and failed.

A selection of the rather abstruse “Ming” booklets by one-time Crowley acolyte C. F. Russell is followed by the first three volumes of his also often-baffling Znuz is Znees, Memoirs of a Magician. A link, to a separate page, leads to listings for a collection of 26 books that were formerly in the library of Wilfred Talbot Smith (1885-1957), founder of “The Church of Thelema,” head of Agape Lodge of the O.T.O. in California, a long term associate of Aleister Crowley, and subject of Martin Starr’s biography The Unknown God. The collection includes a copy of the First US edition of Aleister Crowley’s Diary of a Drug Fiend, and copies of a number of works that Crowley is known to have recommended to his disciples, including The Canon; three books by Sydney T. Klein; the James Legge, translations of The Tao Teh King and The Yi King; etc. Some of the books have presentation or other inscriptions by well known people within the Thelemic community, including C. Stansfeld Jones; Frederic Mellinger; and Helen Parsons Smith. Most of the books are stamped with the personal lamen, with phallic design, of W.T. Smith, which he used as an ownership stamp, and a few also have his ownership signature. Included in the collection are several books that are quite scarce in their own right; notably the works by the obscure American alchemical author Delmar DeForest Bryant and the First Edition of the Pancham Sinh, translation of The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. Returning to the present page, the catalogue finishes with a group of copies of the Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick, a magazine published by a small Thelemic group in Ohio known as the Bate Cabal in the late 1970s and 80s.” [via]

Aleister Crowley, Friends, and Followers

You may be interested in Weiser Antiquarian Book Catalogue #108: Aleister Crowley, Friends, and Followers.

“The catalogue starts with a work that has provoked considerable discussion even before its public release: Michael Effertz’s thoughtfully argued book Priest/ess: In Advocacy of Queer Gnostic Mass. There follows a section devoted to copies of The Book of the Law including a copy of the seldom-seen O.T.O. leather-bound Centennial Edition, limited to 418 numbered copies, signed by Hymenaeus Beta and the 1956 reissue of The Equinox of the Gods with the rare separate folder containing a facsimile of the original manuscript of “The Book of the Law.” Rare materials by Crowley in the following section include several letters from him to his collaborator on the Thoth tarot deck Frieda Harris, a superb first edition of The Book of Lies, a rare greeting-card type edition of The Hymn to Pan, and the original typescript of The Yi King: An Interpretation, a work which would later be published by Helen Parsons Smith as the Shi Yi.

Some of the most exciting items are found in the next section “Works by Friends and Followers of Aleister Crowley.” This includes Kenneth Grant’s copy of the Hatha-Yoga Pradipika of Svatmarama Svamin with Grant’s elaborate ownership inscription and his personal sigil as well as a list of the various titles to which he lay claim – on the half-title page, along with editions deluxe of Beyond the Mauve Zone and The Magical Revival. There is also a good selection of works by Jack Parsons including his own copy of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, with Jack Parsons’ ownership initials on the first blank. In addition to an unusual collection of publications by Louis T. Culling there is a nice group by Israel Regardie including a signed edition of The Eye in the Triangle.

The penultimate section “Works Relating to Aleister Crowley and his Magical Orders” includes a number of unusual books, some of which have a most interesting provenance. Thus a copy of L. Ron Hubbard, Final Blackout was a gift to Wilfred T. Smith and his wife, Helen (Helen Parsons Smith), a copy of De Villars’ Comte de Gabalis belonged to Reea Leffingwell (of Agape Lodge), whilst a copy of The Kabbalah; Its Doctrines, Development and Literature has ownership signatures of two California Thelemites, Joseph C. Crombie and Mildred Burlingame. Copies of Arthur Edward Waite’s superb edition of Eliphas Levi’s The History of Magic and William Stirling’s The Canon are both from the collection of Aleister Crowley’s student Arthur Edward Richardson, with his bookplate on the front pastedown, whilst the first edition of Richard Kaczynski’s ground-breaking biography, Perdurabo. The Life of Aleister Crowley, is a presentation copy inscribed to English Crowley scholar Nicholas Bishop-Culpeper. The final section of the catalogue is somewhat more whimsical, featuring books related to music and cinema which make some mention of Aleister Crowley. Not surprisingly many also invoke the names of Jimmy Page and Kenneth Anger.” [via]

The Yi King of Aleister Crowley

Thanks to volunteer effort, the rest of Liber CCXVI, the Yi King (I Ching) is now updated. Check it out, and if the unicode hexagrams don’t show up for you, scroll to the bottom of the page for links to two good, free unicode fonts which you may want to have on your system anyway. I’ll probably use a custom webfont to be sure those display eventually even for people without.

“Seek patience, self reliance, love and wit.
Though all things change, rejoice; for that is writ.” [via]