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By Henrik Bogdan

This quantity is the 1st finished exam of 1 of the 20th century's such a lot unique iconoclasts. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was once a research in contradictions. Born right into a fundamentalist Christian relatives and proficient at Cambridge, he used to be vilified as a traitor, drug addict, and debaucher, but respected as maybe the main influential philosopher in modern esotericism. relocating past the effect of latest psychology and the modernist realizing of the occult, Crowley declared himself the revelator of a brand new age of individualism. Crowley's occult bricolage, Magick, was once an eclectic blend of non secular workouts drawn from Western eu magical ceremonies and Indic resources for meditation and yoga. This trip of self-liberation culminated in harnessing sexual strength as a mystical self-discipline, a "sacrilization of the self" as practiced in Crowley's combined masonic crew, the Ordo Templi Orientis. the faith Crowley created, Thelema, legitimated his function as a charismatic revelator and bring in of a brand new age of freedom. Aleister Crowley's lasting impression will be visible within the counter-culture move of the overdue Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies and in lots of varieties of substitute spirituality and pop culture. The essays during this quantity provide the most important perception into Crowley's foundational position within the examine of Western esotericism, new non secular hobbies, and sexuality.

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Crowley used self, ego, and soul as interrelated, if not synonymous, terms. ”45 It was never Crowley’s concern to provide a precise ontology of human identity, and he drew on an eclectic metaphysics when he alluded to the nature of being. Crowley’s commentaries, however, suggest that he predicated his experiential sense of self on both an esoteric and a liberal-humanist understanding of a The Sorcerer and His Apprentice 29 unique individual essence. ” Crowley was a man who knew all about masks.

Lawrence—later to be immortalized as Lawrence of Arabia—was undertaking a walking tour in the Middle East, and that rumors concerning Lawrence’s homosexuality were linked with his early close relationship with an Arab assistant. It is also relevant that Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas had anticipated Crowley’s discovery of Algeria and enjoyed all that Algiers had to offer. 38 For these European men, an apparent acceptance of le vice contra nature was part of the lure of the Arab world. Although it went far deeper than that for Crowley, as for Lawrence, the desert signified the expression—often the honorable expression—of a heterodox male sexuality.

Unlike Dee, he, the master magician, would be his own scryer. Neuburg, whom Crowley recognized to be a gifted clairvoyant, was the scribe. As the two men made their way through the desert, Crowley increasingly fell under the spell of his experiences in John Dee’s Aethyrs. He encountered celestial beings, both terrible and beautiful, who divulged in richly symbolic The Sorcerer and His Apprentice 21 language something of the realms in which they dwelt. Crowley understood much of the symbolism and began to realize that the Calls did indeed give the scryer access to an intricate but cogent and coherent universal system of other worlds and beings.

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