598. Contemplation (XII)
There are three stages with Aleister Crowley: first, you think he is a devil-worshipper and Satanist—pure evil; second, you think that he is an amiable fellow who says many true things; third, you realise that while he says many true things he is overall a negative influence. I never had much interest in Crowley and magic—I always thought it was a bit silly and an obvious fraud. If you gave me a choice between science fiction and fantasy, I would choose SF—I am not a “fantasy” type naturally, although they are actually the same genre; Star Wars replicates knights, wizards, and the feudal system in space.
If you read Crowley, he is indeed very amiable and makes many true points; and he emphasises that his approach is scientific—“Our aim is religion, our method science” could be taken as his motto. However, you have to bear in mind that Crowley murdered a cat when he was a teenager; he devised nine ways to kill it (stab, poison, strangle, burn etc) nominally to “scientifically” test if it really had nine lives. I think this sadistic pseudo-scientific approach (why not poison it once and see if it stays dead?) underlies Crowley in general. What was Crowley? A psychopath. The triad for psychopathy: bed-wetting, pyromania, and cat murder. A boy at my school crucified a cat and shot it full of arrows. “Boys will be boys,” the headmaster said. Perhaps—or, boys will be psychopaths. Personally, I think psychopaths kill cats to release the feline spirit energy—so that serial killers will attain the cat’s stealthy and predatory nature; the cat is a witch’s familiar, after all.
The fact that Crowley was a psychopath explains why he exploited, used, and generally mistreated everyone around him. Nevertheless, Crowley was not truly “evil”; he belongs in that category who are damned to Hell but will be saved—he was not lukewarm. Indeed, in his own quasi-scientific terms he condemned hypocrisy as an “endothermic state”, divided against nature and so bound to be dissolved—so he grasped the essence of the New Testament and indulged his bestial ways without hypocrisy. He was what he was.
So Crowley was not evil in the way Biden and Obama are evil—non-entities and hypocrites who never make a commitment and cover everything up, make the world dead. Yet the fruits from Crowley’s own religion, Thelema, were rotten. Crowley hoped to make gnosis available to the masses and usher in a new aeon—the Aeon of Horus, an end to the dark kali-yuga. His slogan: “Every man and woman a star”—taken to mean every man and woman returned to a guileless child-like innocence that Jesus would have approved of. The problem arises when you see the results of Crowley’s gnosis, as delivered in a scientific form: Scientology, The Process Church, Charles Manson, Jack Parsons—all the fruits from Crowley’s gnosis and all defective and unbalanced, from Manson’s “Family” to Parsons’s conjured spirit that warned him he would be blown up (he was).
Crowley belongs to the democratising movement that is itself said to constitute the kali-yuga. Hence his gnosis eventually degraded into “chaos magic”, an even more stripped-back formulation—barebones magic, directly explained in quantitative scientific terms, that “gets results”; no frills magic, magic without even Crowley’s pretence to poetry. From Crowley to chaos magic there is step down in quality; and, presumably, we will step down again into an even more debased formulation as the age darkens—if the art is not itself lost altogether, either condemned as being unscientific or relegated into quantitative science in some perverse way.
So one cheer for Crowley—he was alive and not a hypocrite. His name interests, by the way: the self-adopted “Aleister” perhaps relates to his brewery family, “Crowley’s ales”—“ale-ister”; and the “crow-”, it is pronounced as in the bird, is an ancient symbol for Apollo and Lud—Britain’s primal deity; “Lud-don”, London—Lud’s town. Perhaps this explains the British mage’s power.