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Aleister Crowley, The Occult Legend's Legacy

Updated on January 17, 2016
The most famous image in the history of occultism.
The most famous image in the history of occultism.

An Introduction

"The King of Depravity", "the wickedest man in the world", and "The Great Beast". All fitting names for the 20th century's most famous occult magician Aleister Crowley. In his estranged career he not only managed to bewilder and shock the general public but he also managed to get booted out of three separate countries. Millions of words have graced countless pages in numerous books detailing every aspect of Crowley's deranged persona. He was immortalized in an Ozzy Osbourne song, "Mr. Crowley" and his image lives on as the most recognizable one in occult history. Oddly enough no real proof exist to back up any of his magical claims.

As with many names that circulate the occult movements of the world Crowley was as steeped in mystery as he was an intellect that was nearly unrivaled in it's day. His works have grown into countless libraries and he even made an appearance, by name only of course, at the trial of the West Memphis Three actually being used as evidence against a young Damien Echols.

A Childhood of Regrets

Crowley's upbringing was not all to uncommon. His father was a very well to do brewer in Leamington. He was a lay evangelist in his later years and Aleister found that very disappointing. He often wanted more of his father in a way a celebrity child might desire. Crowley would often be quoted as referring to his mother as a "brainless biggot" or worse titles he felt she had deserved. He found his childhood very demeaning and drab. At one point he quoted it as "nothing happy ever existed in my childhood"

In 1895 he became obsessed with writing. It overcame his life. He would enter Cambridge hellbent on proving to the world he was unmatched as a poet. His almost incomprehensible and erotic laden works were little more than a mild annoyance to his tutors who found his writing without class. Crowley would tell classmates "it is a strange coincidence that one small country should give England the two greatest poets, for one must not forget Shakespeare".

Despite the meanderings he continued to distribute under the terms of poetry his intelligence was never questioned. The only sheer thought was how is someone so smart incapable of writing a better prose piece. It bewildered his professors and his peers alike.

Mr. Crowley By: Ozzy

Very unusual indeed!

Crowley was over the top in all aspects of his life.
Crowley was over the top in all aspects of his life.

The beginning of bad things

Crowley's teachers found his writings did not merit the greatness for which he did and he soon left Cambridge and headed for London. It was there his journey into the occult would begin. His first act was to join the Hermatic Order of the Golden Dawn, a very mysterious secret society. Crowley, always convinced of his superiority would never be satisfied as a standard member and soon he would undertake plans to overthrow the leadership of the group and take over. This plan would prove to be in vain as Crowley not only failed to assume command he was exiled from the group. This endeavor sparked a rage in him that prompted him to create his own secret society. A society he could control. One were he would be the supreme entity.

Thus was born the notorious Astrum Argentirium, or Silver Star. This group would place heavy focus on sexual magics. This was not a new concept but one Crowley would pervert even further as time went on. His sexual appetite would prove to be one of his worse qualities. At age 19 he contracted gonorrhea. His sexcapades would only get worse as time started to weave him into the thing he wanted to be the most, the beast.

Crowley's desires would continue to boil inside him like a bad stew and eventually when they would erupt it would take him to new lands of experience and unusual behavior.

The Birth of the Great Beast

 Crowley developed his name, "the Great Beast" from the Biblical book of revelations.

"And I saw a beast rising from out of the sea, with 10 horns and 7 heads..... and a blasphemous name upon it's head"

Crowley found this to be very pleasing to his already inflated ego. He particularly liked how the beast was portrayed with a scarlet woman riding on it. He put this in context with his lust for sexual devensy and propaganda.


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The Beast Begins to Travel

Crowley would visit Egypt, India, Mexico, and even the USA. While staying in New York a friend of Crowley's made what many believe to be the only real accomplishment of magic he had ever performed. William Seabrook claimed to have met Crowley on 5th Avenue where he would walk behind a passerby. The two individuals would step in perfect sync with each other. Suddenly Crowley would mimic every move the gentleman made. His arms matched perfectly and even the posture would line up. It was like a shadow or astral ghost. Without warning Crowley slumped down and regained his footing. The gentleman was not so fortunate as his legs flew out from under him as if he had been shot. Seabrook tried to find a reason for this but failed to do so.

Eventually under the guidance of Aiwass, Crowley's supposed guardian angel he would pen and produce "The Book of the Law". The complex book was not an easy read and found it's following very slowly. The general point of the text was "do what though wilt shall be the whole of the law". This furthered the view that he held that to be enlightened one must undertake orgies, drugs, and practise total abandon. The idea was taken from Francois Rebelais, a french writer. It was his work that gave Crowley his motto. "The Mythical Abbey of Theleme in Gargantua Pantagruel."

The Beast Branches out

 In 1920 Crowley founded his own Abbey of Theleme. It found it's home on the dusty and diluted outskirts of Cefalu, on the northern coast of Sicily. Designed to be a center of occult learning, it failed to ever reach that potential.

The London Sunday Express reported that the curriculum was made up of "unspeakable orgies, impossible of description suffice it to say that they are horrible beyond the misgivings of decent people. Rumors even circulated that blood offerings and bestiality were among Crowley's lude acts at his center for learning. All it took was word to get to the newly instated Benito Mussolini to start a very bad ball rolling in Crowley's direction.

In 1923 he and his desciples were expelled from the country.

The Fall of the Great Beast

 Crowley found himself in France but after he was discovered dealing heroin he was asked to leave yet another country. In 1914 he had established a relationship with German connections. He had joined the Order of the Templars of the Orient (OTO) This German group made outlandish claims that they held the key that opens up all masonic and hermetic secrets, namely the teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching explains without exception all the secrets of nature and all the symbolism of free masonry and all systems of religion.

That connection gave Crowley a home in Germany and soon would allow him to become the leader of the OTO. From there he briefly returned to England where he peddled home made cure alls in hopes of recapturing the legacy he had started. On December 1st 1947 he passed from this world unaware of the mark he had made in it. He died a peaceful death on his bed in Hastings.

His books at that time failed to be seen with sincerity and passion. Now they fly off bookstore shelves and adorn countless walls of occult and paranormal text including Dravenstar's own library. His influence is as vital in the world of the occult as Houdini's to the world of stage magic. Why is he so popular now?

Ozzy said it best, "Mr. Crowley It's symbolic of course"


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    • Ceida Uilyc profile image

      Geomaria George 

      4 years ago from Kerala

      Good summary of Crowley. As the author said, I came here checking how much I knew about Crowley. Surprisingly, I believe that he was just poetic about his entire rant. I mean, if you write chants and believe in them and keep on writing it in depth; then, bury it somewhere only to be discovered a thousand or let alone a hundred years later, you'll be worshipped as an enlightened on of the bygone era.

      I loved every bit of it. Never too dragging or dilly-dallying. Waiting for more. :D

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      7 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      lol, I would have to agree. His arrogance was legendary.

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      7 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I've never read any of his books and don't keep them around. I've always thought he was too self-obsessed to really know what Witches are about.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The King is dead but not forgotten

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      9 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      I plan on doing a more in depth one when time permits. Thanks for taking an interest.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      9 years ago from Summerland

      lordraven, very interesting topic, but don't forget that crowley wasn't always such an evil and demeaning figure. in his early days of practicing magic, he pupilled sybil leek and you can read a pretty personal account of what sybil experienced with crowley in her book "diary of a witch". she does go on to admit that crowley lost control and went too deep into a dark place. funny thing is, sybil leek actually did the same...she eventually wrote a book called "book of curses." this book described how to put a death curse on an enemy and she even talks about how witches poison people. i think maybe these people started out in a good place, but with selfishness and greed were taken to a dark place in the world of magic. thanks for sharing! can't wait to read more!

    • lorddraven2000 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sam Little 

      9 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      I am going to do that in a leter hub. This is just an overview to see if there is an interest. I have tons of Crowley material. I find him interesting but at the same time I think he is a bit over the top for me.


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