There are too many myths about Aleister Crowley to list them all or attempt to prove them false. We have, however, occasionally addressed some of the more persistent and troubling false rumors spread about Aleister Crowley. Here are ten such myths, including links to the stories where we have busted them.
10. Myth: Aleister Crowley was a black magician.
Few things could be further from the truth, and Aleister Crowley directly contradicts this myth.
“I have been accused of being a ‘black magician.’ No more foolish statement was ever made about me. I despise the thing to such an extent that I can hardly believe in the existence of people so debased and idiotic as to practice it.”
(Originally mentioned in our Guide to the Aleister Crowley 2012 Campaign Ad.)
9. Myth: Aleister Crowley advocated pedophilia.
Aleister Crowley was one of the strongest advocates for children’s rights of his time. He was against all forms of child abuse, and has said that if he were in political power, he’d have parents who bully their children arrested. Moreover, he was unequivocal that abuse of anyone’s rights is contrary to his religious philosophy of Thelema.
“… acts invasive of another individual’s equal rights are implicitly self-aggressions. … Such acts as rape, and the assault or seduction of infants, may therefore be justly regarded as offences against the Law of Liberty, and repressed in the interests of that Law.”
(Originally posted in our post, Pedophiles in Wales.)
8. Myth: Aleister Crowley died alone in poverty.
When Aleister Crowley died, he had regular visitors in his beautiful home on top of a hill, overlooking the chalk cliffs where he learned to climb as a young man. He lived in this home, called Netherwood, with a number of other intellectuals. He kept a strong-box full of cash under his bed — property of his Thelemic organization, Ordo Templi Orientis. That he never took any of this money, though he could have easily done so, attests to his lack of material need at the end of his life.
“…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.”
(Originally mentioned in our post, Drugs and the Deathbed.)
7. Myth: Aleister Crowley advocated rape.
Of course not. Aleister Crowley upheld the rights of the individual. These rights do not extend to violating the rights of others. See the quote and link in #9 above, and here’s another one:
“To use legal or financial constraint to compel either abstention or submission, is entirely horrible, unnatural and absurd.”
(Originally quoted in our post, Pedophiles in Wales.)
6. Myth: Aleister Crowley was a drug addict and a failure.
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?
(We addressed this issue in our post, Drugs and the Deathbed.)
5. Myth: Aleister Crowley worked for the Nazis.
4. Myth: Aleister Crowley sacrificed male children.
In his book, Magick, Aleister Crowley referred to masturbation jokingly and dysphemistically as child sacrifice. See our post, Guide to the Aleister Crowley 2012 Campaign Ad, for more details.
According to Crowley’s diaries, he performed this “sacrifice” about 150 times per year from 1912-1928. That is a moderate amount of masturbation, but it would be an impossible number of murders which would make Aleister Crowley dozens of times more murderous than the infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory.
3. Myth: Aleister Crowley was the wickedest man in the world.
The tabloid article which gave Crowley this title also accused him of passing out drugs which made a person “…capable of participating in practices which no normal person could conceive of, much less describe.” Wait, what??
Read all about this in our post, Guide to the AC2012 Campaign Ad.
2. Myth: Aleister Crowley was the father of Barbara Bush.
Snopes has yet to deal with this issue; in the meantime, please pass along this link: Crowley/Bush April Fool’s joke!
1. Myth: There’s nothing magical about a shark eating a sea-lion.
As it turns out, there actually is something magical about a shark eating a sea-lion.
“Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will. … Every intentional act is a Magickal act.”
Find out more about the shark and the sea lion in our post, Guide to the AC2012 Campaign Ad.