I’m no fan of Aleister Crowley. In truth, I never really cared for the man and as for his followers? Well they’re a mixed lot with some being downright worshiping the old bastard and hanging on to his every word as if it were some prophecy and other end of the spectrum with devotees who enjoy his system but are not so enamored with the man himself. Why my distaste? I have a few reasons.
First off he pissed away his family’s fortune. When so many people out there bust their asses trying to just survive and he is handed a free pass and shits all over it, that shows a real lack of wisdom. Oh but he’s such a great and wise man you say. Pfffft. Right. A wise man would not have done what he did regardless of how they felt about the family’s business interests. He was set for life and just squandered it on having a good time. Yeah that’s something to admire. Not much different than rappers today, eh?
Secondly, he received “new age” teachings via channeled information, i.e. his Liber Al or the book of the law. This pseudo-Egyptian garbage may turn on a few CM’s but as for me, I find it pathetic when compared to real magical Egyptian scholarship. To learn Crowley’s system, you’re forced to study his silly channeled book. Everything he writes thereafter is based on that book. It’s like he’s an early version of Ramtha or Lazaris.
Third, did he ever really have any sort of real magical prowess other than writing? Who did he heal? His curse against Mathers did squat as well as summoning the various spirits of the 72 while at war with McGregor Mathers. His Magick In Theory And Practice is a joke compared to some of the things I’ve actually seen real practitioners do and I’m not talking about flipping a bloody light switch!
Walking through a crowded restaurant, all decked out in ritual garb and holding a wand while concentrating that he was invisible? Really? If this story is true, it’s enough proof that he was little more than a kook. Funny how CM’s will argue in favor of this story yet sneer at other fringe occultism like Radionics or Remote Viewing.
Okay so you get the idea I don’t care for the man. I think he was more of a joker than actual player. There’s just not enough evidence to convince me he was the real deal. And frankly I do not get all of the hero worship modern practitioners bestow on the lunatic. For real? As if there were never anyone else in history that’s worthy of admiration other than this British blowhard?
There was Trimethius who taught Agrippa and of course Agrippa himself, both of whom made major contributions to magic and occult philosophy. Then we have Dr. John Dee who was a major figure in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. His career was quite the ride and aside from wife swapping with his partner Edward Kelly, I see little reason to dislike the man.
There were Ficino, Bruno and Lilly all of whom had staunch and colorful careers in the occult. While Francis Barret may have plagiarized Agrippa, he did teach students and thereby helped to spread magic around. Then there’s Eliphas Levi, the man Crowley claimed he was the reincarnated form of. Many folks revere his books quite well.
Moving onward there are other occultists of note such as Gerard Encausse, the man who gave us some amazing Qabala material as well as in-depth Tarot material. Then there’s Mouni Sadhu whose book on Tarot is a must read and study as he too delves deep into the mysteries using the Tarot as the focus. While I’ve met a few over the years who idolized S. L. MacGregor Mathers, it always seems that he had far more detractors than supporters and that’s a shame. He was brilliant.
Dion Fortune is another brilliant occultist even though she went crazy. Hey, mental illness is not something that you an simply wish away and I highly doubt she wanted it taking her mind in the first place, y’know? Her book on the Mystical Qabala is a must read as well. Then there’s William B. Butler who was a student of Fortune’s who wrote some good material and was a good role model.
What’s wrong with idolizing William G. Gray? His Sangraal system is quite good without excessive complexity or the insistent religion like Thelema has. Gray’s book, Ladder of Lights is a classic on Qabala and I’ve recommend it to students for over 20 years. Or how about John Whiteside Parsons, the famous rocket scientist who allegedly helped write Gerald Gardner’s rituals and supposedly - according to urban legend - caused the Roswel crash via his desert Babylon working? At least he helped give us the space program.
Gareth Knight is another worthwhile practitioner whose writings have spurred the imagination of many modern occultists especially those who have strong interest in the Arthurian legends. Or you could admire Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and the achievements she’s made over the years with her writings. Some feel Donald Tyson deserves a statue as well for his in-depth contributions to ceremonial magic. The recently late Don Kraig is another interesting character that is worth emulating and admiring.
And finally you have the late Israel Regardie. He was the secretary to old Crowley himself at least for a time. Regardie gave us the inner workings of the Golden Dawn and its complete system. Regardie contributed much more than just Golden Dawn books only as his Garden of Pomegranates and his book on the Geromancy divination system were superb. Also many consider his The Nature of True Healing to be an all time classic as well as his The Tree of Life.
It just makes no sense to me to idolize an otherwise disreputable man as Crowley was. I am willing to wager if he were alive today he’d be doing the whole Ramtha thing and raking in big money. LAM would be right up there with Lazaris and Ramtha in services and cash flow. He supposedly was to be the herald of a new age where he was to give magic to everyone yet he wrote about it in such a way that the average person is befuddled by his obtuse remarks and references.
I find nothing in Crowley redeeming nor worthwhile. When you’ve witnessed a living spirit like a LWA on a horse and instantaneously healing someone, the guys like Crowley become little more than a joke with their psycho-babble and excuses. They remind me of the modern priests who claim Jesus & his Apostles performed miracles but no one today from any of the churches can replicate those miracles.
The only redeeming quality I can find in reading Crowley is the comradery of other Crowleyites who worship the man. Like Scientologists who idolized Hubbard, if you idolize what they idolize, you’re with the IN crowd and thereby you’re “cool”, hip, smart, wise and neato. *eye roll* Personally I don’t give two shits about being with the IN crowd. Fuck ‘em. Just a bunch of poseurs pretending to be someone they’re not is all. I’d rather stand alone than bend over for the eleventh degree rite just to sit with them. Bah.