With the near future release of William Ramsey’s new book about Aleister Crowley’s influence upon pop-occulture, to be titled Children of the Beast, we have been reviewing some of the many connection between he and various arts (see my review of a Ramsey book here). For previous relevant info about Crowley see here.
In his book Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal (see my review of the book here) the self-professed possessed professor, Jeffrey Kripal, makes some interesting connection:
“Lawrence Sutin’s…Two biographies of [Philip K.] Dick and Aleister Crowley signal the core idea of the present book, namely, that the roots and effects of sci-fi and superhero fantasy are magical in structure and intent.” (p. xv)
Furthermore, Jeffrey Kripal notes the following at his Rice University site:
“Mutants and Mystics focuses on how the paranormal has helped generate the popular cultural genres of pulp fiction, science fiction, and superhero comics…and demonstrates how their creative processes were intimately linked to both the earlier histories of Western esotericism (particularly Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Aleister Crowley, animal magnetism, and psychical research) and their own profound paranormal openings.”
“Morrison's interest in sexual magic goes back to the age of nineteen and an eerily successful experiment with the techniques of Aleister Crowley (the guy just never goes away). But his more recent speculations around mystical forms of eroticism and the reality-generating potentials of reading and writing are linked more directly to a contact experience that he underwent in 1994 in a Kathmandu hotel room overlooking a Buddhist temple, where, he explains, he had traveled to find enlightenment. He found it. Well, he found something.” (pp. 17, 19)
Indeed, whilst the sexual revolution (or, rather more accurately, sexual devolution) of the 1960s AD was thought to be about freedom maaaan and bucking the system it was, in actuality, implemented by the system and introduced to an entire culture sex magick. In this regard, and with specific regards to Grant Morrison’s experiences at a Tantric temple; Kenneth Grant notes that his book Aleister Crowley and The Hidden God:
“contains a critical study of Aleister Crowley’s system of sexual magick and its affinities with the ancient Tantric rites of Kali, the dark goddess of blood and dissolution represented in Crowley's Cult as the Scarlet Woman.” (intro.)
As an example of Morrison’s ubiquitous inclusion of occult themes in comic books, some of which are made in to movies ripe for greater public consumption, Prof. Kripal notes:
“Morrison's portrayal of the beautiful Phoenix in his famous New X-Men run (2001-4). Phoenix is an omnipotent supergoddess who possesses the human body of Jean Grey in order to do things like blip out the entire universe for a second or effortlessly bend space and time to her whim. In terms of cosmic scope and pure power, Phoenix has few, if any, peers.
Now consider how writer Morrison explains to his readers how Phoenix takes over Jean's body: ‘the Phoenix consciousness accesses its human host via the so-called Crown Chakra port at the top of the skull’…In other words, the Phoenix consciousness manifests in Jean's body through Tantric yoga.
Hence as we move toward the end of the second millennium and beyond, more and more superheroes begin to speak and act like Hindu or Buddhist mystics, and numerous figures (far too many to list here) are portrayed in the lotus posture of yoga.
Figures like Kirby's Eternals, Sharkosh the Shaman in Conan the Barbarian…Wolverine, Phoenix. Doctor Manhattan, Aleister Crowley in Promethea, and Magneto all take on this classic meditating pose, often with waves of metaphysical energy, plasma, or fire emanating from their subtle superbodies. A concrete historical example, again from the influential 1960s, may help here.” (pp. 170-13)
The aforementioned Lawrence Sutin, author of Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley, wrote a book about how Crowley was “a blustery coward, an arrogant, misogynistic racist with fascist leanings, and a callous user, as often threatened by his sexuality as he claimed to be liberated by it” and a “controversial individual, a frightening mixture of egomania and self-loathing” who was also “a groundbreaking poet and an iconoclastic visionary whose literary and cultural legacies extend far beyond the limits of his reputation” (emphasis added):
“The legendary Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) is a tantalizing and bizarre subject. As an occult leader, heroin addict, sexual adventurer, misogynist, and visionary, he is the inspiration for many vile Gothic protagonists. Author W. Somerset Maugham even devoted a novel, The Magician, to this chilling figure of indulgence and religious mockery…
Sutin admits that Crowley was ‘a shameless scoffer at Christian virtue’ and ‘a spoiled scion of a wealthy Victorian family,’ but he also sees him as a 20th century figure as ‘protean, brilliant, courageous, and flabbergasting as ever you could imagine’…
[Crowley] was one of the first Westerners to seriously study Buddhism and Yoga. He radically redesigned the traditional Tarot deck (thus the ‘Crowley deck’).”
That was from the Amazon.com review which, oddly, adds that “Contrary to common belief, he was never known to participate in satanic ritual—to do so would acknowledge the Christian church, which he was loathe to do (although he nicknamed his son ‘The Christ Child’).”
Crowley may not have wanted to acknowledge the Christian church in any positive terms but the fact is that his cosmology, as it is commonly termed, the premised worldview upon which he based his magickal philosophy is the Bible’s book of Revelation. In fact, he referred to his special magickal muses and sex magick partners (at least the female ones) as his scarlet women which is in direct reference to Revelation chapter 17 wherein it is written:
“one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.’
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.”
In fact, Aleister Crowley urged such bloodletting in his work about which we have written in the article, On Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law motto “Do what thou wilt”
L.J. Hurst also made a similar point in his article, Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley:
“Crowley was never a Satanist, and never claimed to have taken the left-hand path in magick - in fact, he rejected that, though he never claimed to be a white magician either.”
So, first, we must consider Crowley to be such an upright and upstanding fellow that if he said it, by golly, I just believe it and so it must be true (or, in this case, is he did not say it). Well, magickians are infamous for turning everything upside down, inside out and backwards. In some cases this is quite literal as some think that listening for satanic messages by playing records backwards (backmasking) was some goofy 1980s idea invented by fundi-Christians. However, they got the idea directly from Crowley who in his book Magick in Theory and Practice references “the law of reversal” which includes “to write backwards…walk backwards… watch, if convenient, cinematograph films, and listen to phonograph records, reversed…speaking backwards…read backwards.” Think, for example, the famous key word in the Stephen King story The Shinning which was “redrum” which is finally seen in a mirror to be “murder.”
So, if Crowley could have been a satanist even if he did not admit it. Moreover, for example, his Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) was, admittedly, “Lucifer” and “The Devil” (also from Magick in Theory and Practice). But, of course, some will argue that by these terms he did not mean that which most people mean by them; the biblical adversary.
Indeed, that is the point; he twisted and turned everything around so that he could actually claim to be dealing with “Lucifer” and “The Devil” and people will say that he was not dealing with “Lucifer” and “The Devil.” Also, note that Aleister Crowley claimed that his Book of the Law was dictated to him by a being and that being stated, amongst very many very troubling things, “With my Hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus” (“Hawk’s head” due to an Egyptian god motif).
This is also from Magick in Theory and Practice (chapter XII which is titled Of the Bloody Sacrifice: and Matters Cognate):
“It is necessary for us to consider carefully the problems connected with the bloody sacrifice, for this question is indeed traditionally important in Magick…For the highest spiritual working one must accordingly choose that victim which contains the greatest and purest force. A male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory and suitable victim. For evocations it would be more convenient to place the blood of the victim in the Triangle…But the bloody sacrifice, though more dangerous, is more efficacious; and for nearly all purposes human sacrifice is the best.”
Oh right, but by sacrifice he did not mean sacrifice, by children he did not mean children, by blood he did not mean blood and by giving detailed instructions as to how to do this for a ritual he did not mean to give detailed instructions as to how to do this for a ritual—wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
The Amazon review also contains a quote “From Library Journal”:
“[Crowley] was prominent in the movement to bring Eastern philosophies into Christian England and America.”
And this has worked so splendidly that, for example, may today think that Yoga (find out about Yoga here) is just stretching and meditation is relaxing (there are various forms of meditation but the basic point is to get your mind to be passive and thus receptive of that which demonic entities want to place therein).
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