ALEISTER CROWLEY Biography - Writers


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Aleister Crowley was born October 12th, 1875 at 36 Clarendon Square, Leamington,       
Warwickshire, England as Edward Alexander Crowley into a wealthy and religious         
family at the height of the Victorian era. Crowley despised and rebelled against       
his family at every turn, even renaming himself 'Aleister' to avoid sharing the       
same first name as his father, who passed away when Crowley was 11.                   
Like many naughty young boys, Aleister entertained himself through several             
activities, notably creating a "homemade firework" with which he nearly killed         
himself, as well as torturing a cat in several horrible ways to test the "nine         
lives" theory. He dispensed of his virginity at age 14 with the help of a maid.       
At 17, he contracted gonorrhea with the help of a street walker.                       
Crowley went on to attend Cambridge University, where he apparently studied           
alpine climbing, living in the manner of the privileged aristocracy and having a       
great deal of sex with both men and women. He also began working in the               
Diplomatic Service, but as Crowley himself said "the fame of an ambassador             
rarely outlives a century", and Crowley wished to make a greater imprint on the       
Having had this epiphany, he began searching for more lasting pursuits and in         
1898, at age 23, Crowley began his path of magical enlightenment by joining The       
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Led by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers other       
members included such notables such as William Butler Yeats, Maud Gonne,               
Constance Wilde, (the wife of Oscar Wilde), Arthur Machen, Moina Bergson, Arthur       
Edward Waite, Florence Farr, Algernon Blackwood and possibly, though records for       
their membership are shaky, Sax Rohmer and Bram Stoker.                               
The Golden Dawn's contribution to the Western Magical Tradition is definitely         
worth noting, because it was their synthesis of the Kabbalah, alchemy, tarot,         
astrology, divination, numerology, Masonic symbolism, and ritual magic into one       
coherent and logical system which led them to influence countless occult               
organizations to come. Mathers adapted the system of magic outlined by Eliphas         
Levi, and through Levi, the spiritual ancestry of the Golden Dawn was traced to       
the Rosicrucian Brotherhood and from there, through the Kabbalah to Ancient           
Egypt. Mathers' authority was held in part by his link to the "Secret Chiefs",         
the "true leaders" of the Order, with whom Mathers could communicate with only         
through metaphysical means.                                                           
Adopting the magical name Frater 'Perdurabo', Latin for "I Will Endure", Crowley       
advanced quickly through the ranks of the Golden Dawn, initially studying under       
Alan Bennett, who was Mathers' spiritual heir. Bennett left England in 1899 for       
health reasons, moving to Ceylon, what it now Sri Lanka, where he joined a             
buddhist monastery. Unfortunately, Crowley, left to his own devices, managed to       
severely fragment the order through sheer force of personality. In 1900, he           
completed the studies necessary in order to obtain the rank of Adeptus Minor,         
however the London controllers of the Order, disapproving of Crowley's                 
homosexual dabblings, refused to advance him. Crowley travelled to Paris, where       
Mathers himself performed the ceremony, which only served to further outrage the       
London members.                                                                       
The ensuing uproar caused several of the London members to resign, and Mathers         
was eventually expelled from the Order, specifically on the grounds that he had       
put its authority into jeopardy by revealing his suspicions that the founding         
documents linking them to an older occult order in Germany had been forged by         
another member (which they had been). Crowley attempted to obtain possession of       
the Order's property on behalf of Mathers, interrupting one of their rituals in       
full Highland regalia, wearing a black hood. As with any serious dispute between       
occultists, astral attacks ensued. Crowley reported that the rebels directed           
hostile magic against him as evidenced by the fact that his rubber raincoat           
burst spontaneously into flames and he found himself in a "furious temper" for         
no reason, so extreme that horses ran away in fear at the sight of him. In the         
end, however, it was the police who resolved the matter.                               
Crowley was expelled from the Golden Dawn, only 2 years after joining, chiefly         
through the efforts of William Butler Yeats, who reportedly did not approve of         
Crowley's magical methods.                                                             
Crowley, understandably tired of all the fighting, chose to travel the world,         
visiting Mexico, India, France, Ceylon, where he reunited with Alan Bennett and       
studied Yoga. He also married Rose Kelly, later revealed to be clairvoyant,           
travelling with her to Egypt.                                                         
In fact it was in Egypt, in March of 1904, that Crowley had the most important         
experience of his life. Crowley had been trying for several years to contact his       
Holy Guardian Angel using the methods described in The Book of the Sacred Magic       
of Abramelin the Mage with no success. However it was in Cairo that Crowley           
finally encountered an entity known as Aiwass, whom Crowley believed was his           
Holy Guardian Angel.                                                                   
According to Crowley's own account, while (unsuccessfully) trying to summon           
sylphs for his wife's amusement, she began to receive a very powerful psychic         
message from the Ancient Egyptian god Horus.                                           
Skeptical of his wife's sudden clairvoyancy, Crowley demanded answers to a             
series of questions from her, of which she had no possible prior knowledge. Upon       
answering all things correctly, he took her to a museum, and after passing             
several images of Horus (which the still skeptical Crowley reports, he "noted         
with silent glee"), she pointed across the room to a stele which could not be         
clearly seen from where they stood. When they examined the stele (now referred         
to as the Stele of Revealing, it was painted with the image of Horus, and to           
Crowley's further conviction, it was labelled as item number 666 in the museum         
Crowley had himself adopted 666 as his personal moniker in rebellion to his           
religious upbringing many years before. After invoking Horus, Crowley made his         
fateful breakthrough. For three days Crowley took dictation from the entity           
identifying itself as Aiwass, the resulting text, Liber AL vel Legis, became           
what is now known as The Book of the Law.                                             
This book was to become the central core of Crowley's philosophy. Crowley was         
named the Prophet of a New Aeon which would end the Age of Osiris and usher in         
the Age of Horus, a signal that a new era had begun for mankind, and that the         
old religions were to be swept aside.