Drugs and the Deathbed

Various myths about Aleister Crowley appear from time to time, which we will take a moment to briefly address. In this post we will discuss two myths surrounding Crowley’s use of drugs and his death.

Myth:

Aleister Crowley was a heroin addict until his dying day. He was just not perfect, not enlightened, and he failed. Why would anyone follow this guy or want to be like him? Does AC2012 encourage people to strive to be like Aleister Crowley?

AC2012:

We certainly do not suggest that anyone try to live like Crowley lived. He said that “we must each cut our own way through the jungle.” What we hope is that people all over the world will hear his message of liberty and renounce slave religion. Crowley’s sole “commandment” (if you want to call it that) is that each of us know and do our own will.

Concerning drugs, Aleister Crowley was prescribed heroin for his asthma, a common medical practice at the time, and he became addicted like anyone would. He later used heroin recreationally and sacramentally, as he did with many drugs including cocaine, hashish, ether, peyote, and pretty much anything that he could get his hands on to try. He was after all a scientist, trained as a chemist even, a mystic, and a psychonaut. What do you expect?

If this fact is enough to keep you from taking any of Crowley’s ideas seriously, we commend your anti-intellectual dedication and suggest that you also consider the advice of Bill Hicks:

“Go home tonight and take all your albums and all your tapes and all your CDs and burn ‘em, ’cause you know what? The musicians who made all that great music that’s enhanced your lives throughout the years? Rrrrreal fuckin’ high on drugs.”

Aleister Crowley was prophet of the New Aeon, and he preached freedom and sovereignty of the individual as the guiding principle of politics. He viewed this freedom as a necessary precondition for being able to accomplish one’s will, or fulfill one’s inmost nature. In the goal of accomplishing his will, Aleister Crowley was definitely not perfect and he did not always succeed. Of this, he was more than well aware, and he wrote:

Here then let me make open confession, and say thus: though I pledged myself almost in boyhood to the Great Work, though to my aid came the most puissant forces in the whole Universe to hold me to it, though habit itself now constraineth me in the right direction, yet I have not fulfilled my Will: I turn aside daily from the appointed task. I waver. I falter. I lag.

Let this then be of great comfort to you all, that if I be so imperfect–and for very shame I have not emphasized that imperfection–if I, the chosen one, still fail, then how easy for yourselves to surpass me! Or, should you only equal me, then even so how great attainment should be yours!

Be of good cheer, therefore, since both my failure and my success are arguments of courage for yourselves.

Myth:

Aleister Crowley died lonely. His last words were “I’m Perplexed.” He died penniless. Obviously whatever his teachings were, they did not help him in the end. Therefore his writings are worthless.

Netherwood, Aleister Crowley's final home

Netherwood, Aleister Crowley's final home, was also home to a number of other intellectuals. In this beautiful place, on acreage atop a hill, with a view of the cliffs AC climbed as a child, Crowley was frequently surrounded by friends and family.


AC2012:

Do you really think that no wise or intelligent person of any value should ever be perplexed, feel loneliness, or lack investment capital? Really? We take it then that you are a Scientologist.

For those who are curious about the real story of Aleister Crowley’s death bed, we offer the following from Lawrence Sutin’s Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley, the recollection of Patricia MacAlpine, mother of Crowley’s son Aleister Ataturk:

“…the beast [Aleister Crowley] remained in good spirits, enjoying the comings and goings of Aleister Ataturk and the other children, who adored him in turn. Crowley did, however, remain in bed. The day before he died, he talked calmly and at length with MacAlpine. The following day was a still one but at the moment of Crowley’s death, which came quietly, the curtains in his room were caught in a gust of wind and a peal of thunder was heard. ‘It was the gods greeting him’ said MacAlpine.”

Moreover, while Crowley had spent his small fortune on publishing, he did not die in a state of poverty. His friends and brethren willingly supported him, just as he had done in so many ways for them throughout his life. As a testimony of his lack of need, he was responsible for keeping a locked box of money belonging to Ordo Templi Orientis, which he did, and never opened it. On his death he left everything, consisting most importantly of his intellectual property, to this same Order.

To learn more about Aleister Crowley’s life, there are two extremely good biographies available right now:

Do you know of a Crowley myth worth addressing or making fun of? Please write us: aleister.crowley.2012@gmail.com.

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About ac2012

We realize that Aleister Crowley is dead. And British. And, moreover, not running for office. Nevertheless, we believe that the most effective vote you can cast in 2012 is one for Aleister Crowley. “The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.”
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16 Responses to Drugs and the Deathbed

  1. Rowie says:

    Thank god there are still people who dare to use their own common sense. The fact people are still talking about “The Old Crow” has to count for something? I still see him as an important person who tried to hack his own way through the jungle of religious indoctrination and media brainwashing. Thumbs up for AC2012.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Highly entertaining philosophies here….however….Incorrect Lon, His last words quite the contrary, ‘Father, into thy hands i commit my spirit”

  3. IAO131 says:

    At least he didn’t poop himself to death like Buddha.

  4. Diana says:

    So very sorry to burst your bubble but he left a hideous corpse behind. In fact Aleister bastardized tantric yoga tenets to suit his own perverse needs for satanic rituals. I could care less how you distort the truth to make him seem heroic he was a drug abuser and black magic wizard who respected no one not even himself therefore he believed in nothing . Anyone who a true and enlightened belief system will easily look 20 to 30 years younger than their biological years. Your article is totally a work of fiction. Good luck convincing others they should follow the ramblings of a selfish man man who disobeyed the karmic laws of Mother Kali Devi Ma. Indian ritual is saco red and so is the Kabaalah so once you temper with anyone’s spiritual belief systems you play with fire and you play with Karmic Law.

    • ac2012 says:

      Nonsense. The facts are very well documented, and you are repeating tabloid lies.

    • Ienpu says:

      Yeah..Gandhi Looked Fabulous. Your New Age nonsense holds no water and is the response of someone who knows little to nothing on any of the subjects you spoke of above. Epic Fail.

    • Bob says:

      Well you know what even if you were right that’s a lot better then defameing an amazing name like Diana by being an idiot. Just thought it might help you get through life to realize that.

  5. Frater oMen says:

    What some of the critics perpetuating those myths fail to realize is that according to the Bible Jesus the Christ died a betrayed, publicly humiliated, penniless criminal.

  6. Pingback: Ten Crowley Myths Busted by AC2012 | Aleister Crowley 2012

  7. David says:

    Concerning deathbed perplexity, PLEASE see line 666 (!) of “The Ascension” from “The Sword of Song”.

  8. Pingback: 10 More Reasons to Support Aleister Crowley in 2012 | Aleister Crowley 2012

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  10. Lon Milo DuQuette says:

    …I seem to recall someone else’s last words were, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

  11. ac2012 says:

    Yeah, that makes so much more sense than the report of the person who was actually there. Not.

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