Friday, March 16, 2018

Crowley, the Legend and the Lies :: Crowley Myths Exposed

Aleister Crowley--the Great Beast 666
Aleister Crowley


Introduction


Aleister Crowley--controversial, a prolific writer, a true free spirit that lived wild and free, and a top notch magick practitioner with keen intellect, is what he was. He lived his life the way he wanted to, and let nothing hold him back. He could be described as a hedonist, but was not without discipline--with what he achieved in his lifetime in volume of writing alone, with him few others could compare. And what he achieved in magickal pursuits, few others could compare. 

There is no doubt that he was loved by many and also reviled by many; ergo much has been said of him and much of it's foundless. Those that thought lowly of him told lies and exaggerated dilute partial truths, while those that thought highly of him at times made claims that were groundless, to appear as being closer to him than was factual. Furthermore, what was said long ago about this legendary magician, still carries on today. That's why we are going to sift through a few common myths--to see what brought them on, and see what the truth inside them looks like.


Myth Number 1: Crowley sacrificed humans in his magickal rites


Magickal ritual
Analysis: ❌ This is false.

The Truth:
In one of his works, "On the Bloody Sacrifice: And Matters Cognate," Crowley referred to masturbation, in his personal brand of veiled humor, as child sacrifice. For those who did not understand or that wanted to see the worst in him at a quick glance upon his work, the worst is what they found and remembered, thus the myth lives on. Crowley was serving up vital information in his own unique way, and apparently did not care if he'd be misconstrued--and he probably hoped to be misconstrued. So it's a definite no on the human sacrifice; however, there may have been a frog crucifixion. Allow me to explain why I say maybe...

But first, one could ask, why would Crowley sacrifice a frog anyway? Well, it is commonly held that it was done in order for Crowley to officially achieve the grade of Magus. And reading around it seems that everyone and his dog believes that a frog was killed, but that doesn't make it so. In the book "The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema," Lon Milo Duquette states that Crowley did not engage in animal sacrifice in matters magickal and spiritual. I tried to contact him to gain clarity, but failed. However, I consulted another long time OTO insider; I did not ask permission to disclose his name, but he's a veritable icon within Thelema. He told me that in Crowley's time and in an area he spent time in--New Orleans--there was a frog crucifixion ritual that had been traditionally performed, and that no one raised an eyebrow at that sort of thing back then. It appears that Crowley was influenced by that. And thus his ritual potentially (and likely) took place.

Crucified frog sculpture at Penn State Abington
Crucified frog sculpture; Image linked to source.

Reading the outline of the frog crucifixion ritual, it's clear that it's all about symbolically disengaging from the old Aeon, and clearing the way for new and better. It was not a game he played, it was not for fun, and it was not evil. To provide a clearer perspective of how far less than evil it was, quoting the same unnamed individual "People were rather cavalier in those days, regarding the suffering of animals. As late as the 1960s it was common practice in high school biology lab to kill one and cut it open while the heart was still beating. That's been replaced by less gruesome acts than vivisection in modern high school, for the most part. In Crowley's time, people would not have thought much about it at all. Not nice, of course. Less nasty than Spanish-style bull fighting, but that's still done."

Abramelin the Mage, on Amazon
Abramelin the Mage, on Amazon

I conclude this section here by quoting three people. My friend Adam K, who said "remember, people still believe that Crowley sacrificed children, because they don't understand the metaphor." And Lon Milo Duqette, who in the book referred to above said, "even though there are what appear to be references to the practice in some of the Holy Books of Thelema, animal sacrifice plays no part whatsoever in the magick of Aleister Crowley." And last but not least, quoting Crowley himself--his entire ritual as a matter of fact. Rather than actually quote from it I urge you to read it, as it's clear that said ritual was an important symbolic and magickal expression of justice--the justice of course being the obliteration of the old aeon, in order to enter the new--an aeon of truth and liberty. Thus in its way the ritual effectively summarized Crowley's greatest life work--Thelema.

Sure there will still be those who believe that Crowley killing the frog, if it even happened, was wrong, and perhaps evil. To them I say, consider this for a moment: this is how pigs, goats, sheep, cows and calves are killed for our consumption--an electrical current is zapped across their heart or brain (it may seem humane, but would you like it done to you? I didn't think so), and the animal is made unconscious before being killed. And in industrialized slaughterhouses, chickens are shackled and dragged through an electrified water bath; and humans collectively allow this. Anyways, I digress...

For the record, I the author, could not harm or kill an animal if my life depended on it. But, returning to the point and to conclude this section, the bottom line is that Crowley did not engage in human sacrifice.



Illustrated Goetia by Crowley; on Amazon
Illustrated Goetia by Crowley; on Amazon

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