Years of frustration were now reduced to insignificance. Not even his shrinking fortune made any dent in his spirit and passion. If anything it made him even more determined. During an orgy in Paris, spanning weeks, gods, spirits and demons revealed themselves to him and the gathering. Master Therion and his disciples had many a wild night. One present, Victor Neuburg claimed the god Mercury had possessed him. One of the god’s commands was that they should rape and murder a young girl, and then cut her into nine different offerings to the ancient Greek gods. This was too much, even for Crowley, and he flatly refused. Old Mercury was insulted and left the assembly. Crowley continued unfazed his Journey. He allowed neither gods nor people to fuck with him, to make him stray from his chosen path.
From 1914 to 1919 he lived in the United States, writing for the German-American paper The Fatherland, where he condemned the British warfare. He did sexmagick with countless women.
During the summer of 1918 he retreated to Oesopus Island on the Hudson River to practice his craft in peace and quiet. Friends gave him money for the trip, but when they came to see him leave they discovered he had spent all the funds on red paint, brushes and rope. He declared that he, like Elijah, should be replenished by ravens. In the course of the summer he used the procured equipment to paint the same messages over and over again, which no one could avoid noticing on cliffs on both sides of the river:
He returned broke to London in December 1919. But didn’t allowed himself to be stopped by such details. An inheritance from an aunt, and other less traditional ways of getting money quickly made him land on his feet once again. After several visions and distinctive incidents he started searching for his Temple of Thelema. He found it on Sicily, outside the city of Cefalu in 1920, conveniently close to the mighty cliff of Cefalu. He visited the temples there, temples dedicated to Jupiter and Diana, and decided that the house with the two nut trees was home. He moved in with his two wives and three children. It wouldn’t take long before quite a number of special people joined them.
Master Therion called Pan and bade him to guard the central, major hall. The initiation of the temple also consisted of placing the most provocative, pornographic paintings on the walls. He explained patiently everything to his speechless congregation. He didn’t find the paintings provocative and pornographic at all, but saw them as beautiful and stylish renderings of «common human acts». As always, his goal was to make the gathering, and the world as a whole look at sex as it was... a truly mundane pursuit they should enjoy without the slightest guilt or shame. The shame was (and is) how today’s society is turning something so natural into a taboo, practically waging war against the generous nature.
During three happily shameless years Chioi Khan and his disciples lived in their paradise of Cefalu.
Concerning the rumors of all the «indecent and amoral» incidents supposed to have taken place there... The way I see it at least ninety-nine percent of them is probably true. And it also happened a lot that was never revealed to the public. There are numerous stories and accounts from the scene of the crime, naturally. They are, at the very least just as incoherent and contradictory as the rest of Crowley’s life. Here we are also touching upon something interesting that I will return to later in the article: «Unbiased» biographers need to minimize everything rebellious, shocking, outrageous... It is almost comical when Colin Wilson is describing Crowley as a man who desperately wanted to be accepted by his present. If so Crowley certainly didn’t do anything to appease anyone.
A tired has-been of an American actress, Jane Wolfe was placed in a tent, and more or less held there against her will, supposedly because her «high morals» disturbed the imbalance of the temple, and «because she was a life weary bitch». He told her at his most charming that «she had the sun, stars, moon, heaven, sea and Universe to play with». She glowed of strength and courage when she appeared from the tent nineteen days later. She had been forced to seen inward in meditation and thought, and regained her lost instincts. What the rush and stress of a modern society is making us forget.
People go to the cinema or a sports game or similar to be entertained, to feel for a short while that their life has purpose, to feel the boiling of the blood inside, in short to feel alive. A rare feeling for sure, in a society killing everything making life worth living. This is one important difference between Crowley and ordinary people. Except for during his early, depressive youth he didn’t need any surrogate for true experience and life. When he visited a pub he turned it into a happening, inevitable. Nothing held him down or back. He didn’t allow anything to do that.
The paradise at Cefalu, the Convent of Rabelais was, as expected besieged by slimy, two-legged worms. If there is a place in the world where Freedom and Joy are the norm, instead of the exception we witches and mutants know that the present day world will do anything to destroy it. There was a build-up, a reported ton of scandals and scorching newspaper articles before the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini ordered Crowley to leave the country.
Not very surprisingly, the problems kept piling up. Master Therion succeeded in being appointed as the new leader of the OTO. Something that led to the order being split in three. Nobody can claim that good ol’ Aleister avoided controversies. But once again the beast had landed on his feet.
One trifle should be mentioned from this period, an obvious example that the man exaggerated at least once in his life. He completed what many sees as his main work during those even more than usual stormy days; Magick in Theory and Practice. It was published in Paris. No English publishers dared touch the manuscript. One of the most pronounced recommendations in the book was that a human male child should be sacrificed for the best possible result, and then, to ice the cake the Magickian claims to have done this personally about hundred and fifty times a year between 1912 and 1928. Perhaps not so strange then that this and similar jokes led to headlines like these:
His third wife Maria became, coincidently, like the two previous, an alcoholic and then committed to an asylum. They didn’t have their husband’s thick hide. And like anyone traversing in his circles they were persecuted and harassed by various public and private authorities.
Everything in vain. Especially if the aim was to strike at Crowley himself or to silence him. He remained wild and rebellious to the last. Even though he was forced to keep a lower profile because of his age the last few years of his life, something easily understood. He died December 1st 1947, seventy-two years old, a miracle in itself considering his more than extreme lifestyle.
Have you ever heard anything even remotely similar? I can assure you that this little piece of wild and unbelievable tales is merely a small taste of the life of The Beast. To cover a substantially larger part of the variety and extension of his Magick many thick books are needed.
He was many things to many people, including himself. He realized early on that each person is potentially many, and made his utmost to live every one of them to the max. A childhood in chains was one childhood too many. He never more allowed himself to be limited to one life, one viewpoint.
Some has claimed that he needed a spokesman, that he that way would have been easier «understood» by those who reacted with hysteria to his ungodly behavior. I don’t agree. Something that should have been evident to everybody who professes to have studied him closely is that he certainly didn’t care shit about the public’s righteousness. He didn’t and wouldn’t give a fuck about anybody happened to know about him. Most of the people who have attempted to do a biography about his life and Magick (like Colin Wilson and John Symmonds) are suffering from the delusion that the way he lived was wrong and immoral. They can’t seem to realize that he very consciously and deliberately liberated himself from such narrow concepts early on. Those of us who have had just a slightest glimpse of Freedom Road know that nothing is wrong, immoral, right or wrong. Everything depends on viewpoint. These author do the same mistake as the technological/religious society as a whole, and put limitations on life and creativity. Others may attempt to draw a line between the man and the philosophy. That’s bullshit, too. The man and the artist are one.
Crowley’s lifelong philosophy, his message, if you will is crucial in everything he did. His conviction was that every human being is free and the moment it realizes this truth he or she stops being a mediocre. But also that one must act from this conviction or the freedom becomes something hollow and meaningless. The will to break free of a world filled with illusions and displays is mankind’s most valuable asset.
And finally, what about the incredible incidents he and others have described? What about Magick? His and others - and what is saturating the world? Is there something to it? I can testify to the fact that there is. There are werewolves, vampires, spirits, ghosts and a hidden world just beyond and side by side with the ordinary, the mundane. If you want to know more, liberate yourself from the blind obedience you have been taught with stick and hammer, and velvet glove since birth. Seek and you shall find.
Aleister Crowley was a human being, full of «faults» and «defects»... and will to live. If his life was a celebration of anything aside from life itself it is imperfection. In that way he was hardly any different from others. Everything else is merely smoke and mirrors.
As stated this is far from being his complete story. There are only two slightly different methods of knowing it: Either you must have lived it.. or you must live it.
«Magic is able to fathom and experience things that cannot be grasped by the human reason. Because magic is a large, secret wisdom, like reason is a large, common folly».
Paracelsus 1493 - 1541
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