Aleister Crowley, Perhaps The Most Unique Person Ever
Aleister Crowley was one of the most bizarre, fascinating, and mysterious figures of the 20th century. Known in his own time as “the wickedest man in the world,” Crowley equally attracted and repulsed his contemporaries. From spiritualism and writing to mountain climbing, yoga, and the occult, Crowley left his mark on many different facets of life.
Facts about Aleister Crowley reveal a complicated, charismatic man who was not afraid to follow his own path. Born in 1875 to religious parents in England, Aleister Crowley ultimately flouted traditional morals and sought his own philosophical and spiritual beliefs that some people ridiculed and others embraced. He founded his own religion – known as Thelema – and was an important member of Ordo Templi Orientis, one of the most important secret society.
But Crowley was a man of this world, even if he was preoccupied with mining the secrets of other worlds. For better or for worse, it cannot be denied that Aleister Crowley was one of the most astonishingly original, imaginative people in modern history.
He Practiced Sex Magick – And Believed That Consuming Body Fluids Was A Sacrament
Crowley passionately believed in the importance of sex, and so sex was an important part of the rituals of Thelema. This so-called “sex magick” was supposed to be transformative and clarifying. Even body fluids were important to Crowley and his religion. As a member of the occult society Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), Crowley also added a new ritual based on anal sex to be practiced by members of the 11th degree. It is also important to note that Crowley had scores of intense, passionate affairs throughout his life. He considered himself to be bisexual, as he engaged in sexual relationships with both men and women. Crowley’s belief in the power of sex was thus a guiding force in his personal relationships.
He Founded A Religion After Hearing The Voice Of An Egyptian Messenger-God
While in Cairo with his wife in 1904, Crowley claimed that he heard the voice of a messenger from the Egyptian god Horus. The messenger’s name, Crowley claimed, was Aiwass. Crowley dutifully copied down everything Aiwass told him, and the writing became The Book of Law, the spiritual guide to Crowley’s new religion. Known as Thelema, the religion-philosophy emphasized individual will and magical ritual. Crowley believed he had been chosen as a prophet to help usher humanity into the Aeon of Horus.
He Was Addicted To Heroin And Cocaine
Crowley was a frequent drug user and sometime addict. After first being prescribed heroin to help with his asthma, Crowley quickly became interested in other drugs and how they might support his religious beliefs. Sadly, he developed an addiction to both heroin and cocaine, the latter of which eroded his nasal passages. He even fictionalized his own drug struggles in the novel Diary of a Drug Fiend. The novel also articulated Crowley’s belief in the power of Thelema to better a person’s life.
He Was A Member Of Elite Occult Groups
In 1898, the 23-year-old Aleister Crowley was initiated into the occult group, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Founded by a group of Masons in the late 19th century, the society embraced mysticism and the occult. Other members included novelist Bram Stoker, Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and poet William Butler Yeats. Crowley was drawn to the group by their shared interest in alchemy, though some biographers have suggested that Crowley may have initially infiltrated the organization under orders from the British secret services. Crowley did not fare well, however – he butted heads with other members (including Yeats) and failed to progress through the stages of membership. Crowley also joined the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) secret society, in which he became a prominent and active member.
He Once Faked His Own Death Just To See What Would Happen
Crowley loved the spotlight, and so he was curious what his death might reveal. So in 1930, while he was in Portugal, Crowley sought to fake his own death. He turned to his friend, the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, for help. The two staged Crowley’s death to appear as if he had jumped off a cliff. For effect, Crowley left behind what appeared to be a suicide note. As papers reported on the death of Aleister Crowley, the man was alive and well.
He Married His Wife To Save Her From An Arranged Marriage, Then Fell In Love With Her
In 1903, Crowley married his first wife, the widow Rose Edith Kelly ((the sister of his friend Gerard), in order to save her from an unwanted arranged marriage. It was intended to be only a marriage of convenience. However, during their long honeymoon voyage around the world, he fell in love with Kelly, writing her a series of love poems. Kelly would become instrumental in his mystical work. The pair had two children, Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith (called “Lillith”) and Lola Zaza. They would remain married until 1909 when they finally separate over the strain caused by Kelly’s alcoholism and Crowley’s infidelity.
He Taught That Magic Was A Middle Path Between Science And Religion
Aleister Crowley had a religious upbringing and was a brilliant student at Cambridge. Between faith and logic, Crowley felt that there had to be a middle way. He believed magic was a kind of bridge between science and religion. He took magical projects seriously and even spelled magic like “magick” to distinguish it from frivolous stage spectacles performed by magicians.