Aleister Crowley in the Desert

in The Place of Enchantment

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226642017
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226642031 | DOI:
Aleister Crowley in the Desert

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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Aleister Crowley's magical odyssey is deeply instructive of the potentialities of the psychologized magic of the fin de siècle, and illustrative of its dangers. Not least, his magical practice epitomized the ease with which the high aspirations of an Order like the Golden Dawn could metamorphose into those so-called black arts against which occultists such as Madame Blavatsky railed. In his Confessions, Crowley states that he could not understand the reason for this sudden identification with the forces of evil. He perceived his aspirations as religious, but from the outset there was also the issue of power and control. As a man, Crowley died virtually penniless in 1947 at the age of seventy-two. But as a modern icon, he became a cult antihero of 1960, and allegedly has his place on the sleeve of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Keywords: Aleister Crowley; Order; Confessions; psychologized magic; Golden Dawn

Chapter.  16060 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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