An English magus of the first half of the 20th century. Claimed to usher in the Age of Horus in the channeling of Liber AL vel Legis. Founded the religion of Thelema. Reformed the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis. Formulated the A∴A∴ Wrote many books of poetry, magickal ritual and instruction, and high weirdness. His rather remarkable autobiography is entitled The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.

Also known as: Frater Perdurabo, το Μεγα Θηριον (To Mega Therion), V.V.V.V.V., The Beast 666, etc. (He was born Edward Alexander Crowley.)

(Incidentally, the demon Crowley in Good Omens is not Aleister, but rather Anthony Crowley.)

b_o_leary: Crowley was not a friend of L. Ron Hubbard's. They never met, despite Hubbard's lies to the contrary. Crowley did, however, denounce Hubbard as a con man after hearing what he did to Jack Parsons.
Both idolised and vilified, Aleister Crowley was the most controversial occultist of his time. He was a man of both brilliance and excesses. He considered himself the reincarnation of Edward Kelly, the notorious assistant to Dr. John Dee.

Crowley was born in Warwickshire. His father was a brewer and a preacher of the Plymouth Brethren. As a child Crowley participated in the preachings with his parents. Later he rebelled against their beliefs. As Crowley grew older he became interested in the occult. He also found he became excited by stories of blood and torture. He often fantasised about humiliation and bondage and discipline - not surprising in one from such a strict religious upbringing.

He enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge where he wrote poetry and pursued his studies in the occult. He also was a mountaineer and attempted climbing some of the peaks in the Himalayas. In 1898 he published his first book, Aceldema, A Place To Bury Strangers In.

Crowley was led to magic after reading Arthur Edward Waites - The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts. Crowley wrote to Waite and was referred to The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary.

On November 18, 1898, Crowley joined the London chapter of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn where he found he was a natural at magic and quickly rose through the ranks. He left Trinity College, named himself Count Vladimir and pursued his occult studies.

Crowley was intensely obsessed with S.L. MacGregor Mathers, the head of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and a magician. The two quarrelled , and Mathers supposedley dispatched an army of Elementals to attack Crowley. Crowley was eventually expelled from the Golden Dawn after fighting with other members as well.

He went to form his own Magical Society, the Ordo Templi Orientalis or "Order of the Eastern Temple". On three consecutive days in 1904 from noon till 1 p.m. , a spirit Crowley referred to as Aiwass manifested as a voice and dictated Liber AL vel Legis - "The Book of the Law". Admirers of Crowley say the book distinguishes him as one of the greatest magicians in history.

From 1903 to 1913 Crowley published the secret rituals of the Golden Dawn in his periodical, "Equinox".

Crowley kept with him a series of men and women with whom he indulged in alcohol, drugs and sex magic. Crowley made several attempts with various women to have a magical child - the Barbelith - but all failed.

From 1915 to 1919 Crowley lived in the United States, but in 1920 he went to Sicily and founded the Abbey of Thelema. In 1923 Crowley was expelled from Sicily and after some travel in the Middle East returned to England.

In 1929 he married his second wife Maria Ferrari de Miramar. Suffering from financial problems, poor health and drug addiction he became a shadow of his former self. He died in 1947 in Hastings.

Crowley's Number is 93(93/93).

His contribution to climbing is worth expanding on.

Apart from partaking in big mountain expeditions, he was one of the pioneers of rock climbing in the Lake District and in the Peak district of England. He was one of the first people to climb at the grade of HVS.

The year was 1996. I was in Norwich, England, as a participant in the Pipe Club of Norwich's annual pipe smoking contest. The events took place at the Lansdowne Hotel, and as part of the festivities, a luncheon was given on, I believe it was, the second day of the contest.

After the main course was served and cleared, the dessert appeared, and as it was a delight to be savored, some lively conversation began to flow. After finishing my dessert, over coffee I began to pay more attention to what the distinguished gentleman seated next to me was saying. He appeared to be well-educated and in his late forties, I reckoned.

As the talk carried on, the subject of “old Aleister” came up. I, finally able to take part in the conversation since I knew a bit about the great occultist, mentioned that I'd read a few of Crowley's works but didn't understand them very well.

It was then that the gentleman, whose name I can no longer remember, gently corrected my pronunciation of the Great Beast's name. With the proverbial twinkle in his eye, he said, “Ah, it's CrOwley like 'holy', not 'Craowlee' like 'fowly', lad. That's what the old boy used to tell them.” Apparently he'd learned this from one of Crowley's followers, with whom he'd studied.

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