| Aleister Crowley was a magician. No, not the kind that saws women in half, although he did plenty of that, metaphorically. The other kind of magician. The kind that does magick with a K. Aleister knew how to live! His friends said that spending an evening in his presence could wipe them out for the week.
Crowley probably represents the path of ceremonial magick carried to the pinacle. He desired to pursue conversation with his Holy Guardian Angel and with a variety of gods, goddesses--and sometimes demons. And it can be said that Aleister was relentless in that pursuit. Crowley was also one of those amazing rarefied Victorian or Edwardian characters that could only have lived at the time they lived. The very possibility that there could be such a character in England seemed to end after World War One, although some of the characters themselves lived on in fossilized form.
Crowley had a meglomaniac side. Unthinkable that he would not be the center of attention at any gathering! He flung himself around the globe--Mexico, Ceylon, India, Burma, Paris, Cairo, China, Spain, Moscow, the Sahara, the U.S. He soon ran through his substantial inheritance. He had two male friends where the relationships didn't end in a quarrel: Allan Bennett, who became a Buddhist monk, and Oscar Eckenstein, one of his mountain climber friends. One reason Aleister wound up having fallings out with so many of his male friends was that he didn't really want friends-- he wanted disciples. There also operates the axiom that the weak are attracted to the strong. Some of Aleister's friends died of suicide.
Aleister ventured into the British Courts of Law a couple of times. In April 1911 he was one of the principals in one of those great British trials with the kind of wit reminiscent of the trials of Oscar Wilde. Crowley's friend Jones, a happily married man with several children, was trying to sue a scandal sheet which had proclaimed that sexual irregularities had taken place in the semi-darkened setting of Crowley's production of "The Rites of Eleusis." Dr. Berridge stated "I will not express it too strongly as I see that there are ladies in the court."
Mr. Justice Scrutton: "Any ladies who may be in this court are probably beyond any scruples of that sort."
Crowley did not help his case by pointing out that the judge's name was an anagram for "cuntsrot."
The judge ruled against Jones and by association against Crowley.
At the beginning of 1914 a series of Tantric-magical workings known as the Paris Workings took place between Crowley and Victor Neuburg. Daily magical operations lasted about one month. Shortly afterward, Neuburg removed himself from Crowley's life and appears to have had a nervous breakdown. Crowley is said to have put a ritual curse on Victor. Neuburg's friends could never again mention the name of Crowley in his presence so long as he lived. Norman Mudd, another of Crowley's friends, commited suicide. Raoul Loveday died under unusual conditions while living at Crowley's Abbey at Thelema. Yet, to many people, the entrance of Aleister Crowley into their lives was the biggest event that happened to them....
In the Mayfair Hotel one Sunday afternoon in l934, a lecture and demonstration on hypnosis was given to a carefully invited audience, many of whom were Harley Street physicians. During the question period, a large man with a heavy face, greying hair, clad in a brown tweed knickerbocker suit rose to ask a question in a contentious voice. The lecture answered abruptly and the crowd began to shout the man down. A writer, Alan Burnett-Ray, puzzled over the crowd's rude reaction while his mother and sister rose to leave, stating they could not stand the proximity to this man.
About 2 years later, Burnett-Ray acquired a rental income house. One day, a West Indian man who claimed to be an Adept brought along a friend who was seeking a flat. This friend was described as a "highly evolved personality." He was the same man to whom the lecturer at the Mayfair had been so rude.
This "highly evolved personality" turned out to be the tenant from Hell although Burnett-Rae did feel kindly disposed toward him. Other tenants complained of massive burning of powerful incense. Strange noises were heard during the night. Female visitors came and went. The incense burner, a lot of books and a machine for when the tenant had asthma attacks, plus the brown suit, were the chief possessions in the flat. Eventually, Aleister Crowley had to be asked to leave because he didn't pay the rent. (Notes from The Aleister Crowley Scrapbook by Sandy Robertson).
In his final years, Crowley's health was poor. He suffered severely from asthma. He ingested enough narcotics to kill a corner full of garden variety addicts. Money was scarce. In April l944 the bombing of London drove Crowley out of his flat at *93 Jermyn Street.(Click on picture page below) ( Ironically this flat faced the back of the churchyard of St. James, Picadilly. ) . He moved first to Bell Inn in Bucks. and later to Netherwood, a boardinghouse at Hastings. During this time of his life, he was to come into contact with a young man, barely out of his teens, Kenneth Grant. He ran Grant ragged sending him on errands, including trips to 93 Jermyn Street to extract possessions left there at his departure. The landlady gave Grant a hard time during these missions. Perhaps Crowley still owed rent. (ref. REMEMBERING ALEISTER CROWLEY by Kenneth Grant).
On l December l947 Aleister Crowley died of myocardial degeneration and chronic bronchitis.
LOVE IS THE LAW, LOVE UNDER WILL.
THERE IS NO PART OF ME THAT IS NOT OF THE GODS.
BE STRONG, O MAN. LUST, ENJOY ALL THINGS OF SENSE AND RAPTURE; FEAR NOT THAT ANY GOD SHALL DENY THEE FOR THIS.
| I am numbWith the lonely lust of
Thrust the sword through the galling fetter,
Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery,
O Pan! Io Pan!Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan!
Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle."
The Wickedest Man Alive
|ISRAEL REGARDIE 1907-1985|
|Francis Israel Regardie
Francis Israel Regardie was born 17, November 1907 in a street off the Mile End in London. Crowley was to call it "one of the vilest slums in London." He was not being very kind, nor was be being very inaccurate. In l921 the Regardie family moved to Washington D. C.
| Raised in a strict Jewish home, the teenaged Regardie originally started embracing the doctrines of Madame Blavatsky of Theosophy fame. His interest then shifted to Yoga and--going from worse to worst--he became interested in Aleister Crowley. Aleister, then in Paris, offered the not yet 21-year-old a post as personal secretary. Israel had to sanitize things a big to secure his father's permission to travel. It wouldn't do for him to tell his father that he was going to stay with the man who had been vilified in the press as "the wickedest man in the world." Israel set sail for Paris in October l928. Soon Crowley was meeting the introverted young man at the Paris train station with the words "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Crowley then asked Regardie if he had any money. The young man handed his savings over. Reportedly, it was spent on quality champagne and cognac.
The young Regardie was worried about social protocol as he ate his first meal with Crowley and his current Scarlet Woman. He presumably felt more relaxed when, at the meal's end, Crowley pounced on his ladyfriend and made love on the floor in front of his young guest. No one ever accused Aleister of being inhibited.
In March of l929 the whole trio got kicked out of Paris. Crowley was kicked out for allegedly being a German spy and drug addict. His girlfriend Marie and Regardie got the boot for associating with him. Nor could Regardie enter England for the same reason--he was considered undesirable because of his relationship with Aleister. For awhile he had to remain in Brussels. Eventually Crowley could no longer afford to keep Regardie as his secretary.
In l937 the two men had a big cat fight for reasons far more complicated than can be sorted out on these pages. Regardie apparently was eclipsing his master in successful publications. Regardie sent Crowley a copy of a recent publication and a kind note. Aleister responded by making fun of the name "Francis" which Israel had recently added. Israel then responded with his famous "Dear Alice, You really are a contemptible bitch" letter. Aleister responded with a scurrilous letter about Regardie, accusing him of everything from ingratitude to masturbation. And Aleister sent his letter to all of Regardie's acquaintances! (Ref. Gerald Suster, CROWLEY'S APPRENTICE.)
Regardie became interested in psychoanalysis, working with ideas of Freud, Jung and finally Wilhelm Reich. As he saw his own patients, he blended magical principles with psychiatric ones, as needed. Regardie's masterpiece THE ART OF TRUE HEALING presents the idea of a life force which exists in each of us. This life force, which is libidinal energy, can if properly used "...heal every affliction and ailment to which mankind is heir. We have only to become aware of this force. If we fail to do so, we face nervous depletion, depression, and very likely early death. One means of tuning in to this libidinal energy life force is the practice of the Middle Pillar Exercise, where one vibrates the Hebrew God-names of the stations of the Middle Pillar of the Qabalistic Tree of Life.