Beginners Guide To Crowley Books

Beginners Guide To Crowley Books Cover

Book: Beginners Guide To Crowley Books by Frater Julianus

Beginner's Guide to Crowley Books by Frater Julianus The author would like to dedicate this Guide to his three Cats, in recognition of their constant Efforts to distract him from his Work. aleister crowley (1875 - 1947) is certainly the single most influential occult practitioner of the last century, as well as being the most controversial. His literary output is astonishing in both volume and variety, including poetry, drama, and fiction in addition to his core Magical writings. Since his writings have been drawn upon, often without acknowledgement, by nearly every occultist in the English-speaking world it behooves any person interested in Magick or Occultism to have some direct acquaintance with Crowley's work. The problem is that so many of his more famous books are notoriously difficult for the reader, often despite Crowley's own attempts to clarify his ideas for the general public.

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Frater Julianus - Beginners Guide To Crowley Books

The Equinox And A Demon In The Desert

The Equinox And A Demon In The Desert Cover During 1909-1913, Crowley published at significant personal expense a journal devoted to magic, yoga, mysticism, and, to a lesser extent, literature, titled The Equinox. Comprising mostly writings by him, it served as the official organ of the magus’ new magical order, the A:.A:. (purportedly an abbreviation of Argenteum Astrum [the Silver Star]). Many of Crowley’s most profound writings were published in its pages. Likewise, many of his books which are in print today, originally appeared in its pages.

After publication of the second number of the journal, Crowley and his new student, Victor Neuberg, travelled to Algeria in 1910, where Crowley undertook an arduous exploration of Enochian magic, first developed by John Dee and Edward Kelly in sixteenth-century England. Crowley viewed this undertaking as an important test. Specifically, he entered into the Enochian spirit world with magical formulas originally used by Dee and Kelly, wherein he had visions of the Enochian “Aethyrs” (i.e., levels of spiritual existence).

As he described what he observed and learned Neuberg recorded his teacher’s experiences and insights. Additionally, sometimes he and Neuberg practiced sexual magic, which included homosexual intercourse. On one such occasion on a desert mountain, according to the magus’ own report which was substantially confirmed by Neuberg, Crowley tested himself by invoking and confronting the demon of chaos, Chroronzon, a dangerous inhabitant of an Enochian Aethyr. The demon appeared and attacked Neuberg in the form of naked a savage, throwing him to the ground and attempting to kill him. Neuberg responded by invoking God and counter-attacking with a magical dagger. Thanks to his brave actions the demon was contained. No independent parties witnessed the event. However, regardless what exactly happened, such was the extremity to which Crowley pushed himself and his students in the risky quest for mystical knowledge and experience. In fact, Crowley’s harsh domination of Neuberg eventually compelled the student to break with the teacher.

Following his work with Enochian magic, the magus again turned his attention to the Equinox. Despite having sworn an oath of secrecy when he was initiated into the Golden Dawn, he had published in its pages several long verbatim selections from heretofore confidential Golden Dawn documents and was preparing to publish more. Mathers, author of much of this literature, responded by obtaining an injunction forbidding Crowley from further publication. However, he lost on appeal and his erstwhile student resumed dissemination of the once secret doctrine and rituals.

Still, Mathers apparently had his revenge. He almost certainly supplied information damaging to Crowley to a British tabloid called The Looking Glass. In 1910 it published a sensational expose of the magus, which detailed his purported immorality and wickedness and strongly implied that he was a homosexual. The resultant publicity, complicated by a related legal battle the following year, threw Crowley’s magical order, the A:.A:., into disarray and serious decline with many members resigning.

Luckily for Crowley he soon had entre to another magical order, the Ordo Templis Orientis [Order of the Eastern Temple], commonly referred to as the OTO. The German magus Theodore Reuss, who headed this order, appointed him head of the OTO in Great Britain. Crowley used his new position to promote Thelema among the British members. Further, at Reuss’ invitation he re-wrote the rituals to be used by all members to reflect Thelema. However, when Reuss was incapacitated by a stroke in 1920, he failed to succeed him as the head of the entire OTO organization.

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Review Of Persuasions Of The Witch Craft Ritual Magick In Contemporary England

Review Of Persuasions Of The Witch Craft Ritual Magick In Contemporary England Cover
Reviewed by Robert E. McGrath

This book is an ethnography of a sub-culture of contemporary England -- magicians. Following the traditional anthropological method of participant observation, the author joined several groups practicing "real" ritual magic in England in the 1980s. The observations collected over some fourteen months led to a doctoral dissertation for the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and to this book. The result is a thoughtful, questioning, skeptical, and unusually well-informed examination of one contemporary group of believers in the "irrational".

The main theme is "Why do people find magic persuasive?" (p. 8) Luhrmann does not "believe" in magic, and argues that most of the magicians studied did not "believe" in magic at first. But through time the magicians became convinced of the effectiveness and validity of magic. This is all the more remarkable because:

Magicians are ordinary, well-educated, usually middle-class people. They are not psychotically deluded, and they are not driven to practise by socioeconomic desperation. By some process, when they get involved with magic -- whatever the reasons that sparked their
interest -- they learn to find it eminently sensible. (p. 7)

What are these ordinary folks doing, and how did they come to believe in it?

The magical beliefs in question are themselves difficult to rationally define. The groups studied can be characterized as following various flavors of "neo-paganism" or "witchcraft". The common thread among the disparate individuals and groups is the actual
practice and belief in ritual magic. For this reason, Luhrmann refers to them collectively as "magicians" (specifically not meaning "conjurers" like James Randi and Uri Geller).

The magicians practice a wide variety of rituals using an extremely eclectic set of ideas and symbols. However, all share the core concepts: that mind affects matter, and that in special circumstances, like ritual, the trained imagination can alter the physical world. (p. 7) Besides ritual, the magicians also share a core technology: meditation, training in visualization, the development and skilled manipulation of complex symbol systems. Magicians also seem to share similar experiences with and feelings toward the practice of ritual magic.

One of Luhrmann's important findings is the actual effectiveness of the magical technology. As part of the investigation, the author studied the correspondence courses and participated in other forms of training commonly given to recruits for these groups. Luhrmann
describes the exercises in meditation, guided visualization, "path working" (a structured exercise in visualization, often done in groups), training in various occult symbologies and in how to "perceive" relations between symbols and between events and symbols.

Through the use of the magician-s training practices the author was not only able to learn a lot of jargon and theory, but was actually able to experience some very real psychological effects. Luhrmann describes experiencing some rather unusual subjective states, such as very real visual hallucinations. The author also developed a facility in vivid, controlled visual imagery, for seeing "connections" between events, and an increase in highly symbol laden dreams. These kinds of subjective experiences are widely reported and are often considered mystical or spiritual experiences by the person. Naturally, when these subjective experiences occur, magicians tend to take them as evidence of the "reality" and power of magic. It is interesting to read, though, of the deliberate use of these apparently effective techniques for increasing the frequency and intensity of such experiences.

A second key finding is that, for these magicians, belief follows action rather than producing action. Magicians begin to study and participate in magic for many reasons, usually not because they believe it "works". As they become more involved, they begin to develop facility with the jargon and symbol sets, and the practice becomes important to them. Eventually, many become convinced that magic is "real" and "really works". Luhrmann calls this "interpretive drift," and relates it to the process by which people become a specialist in any field:

Modern magicians are interesting because they are a flamboyant example of a very common process: that when people get involved in an activity they develop ways of interpreting which make that activity meaningful even though it may seem foolish to the uninvolved. (p. 7)

It is, Luhrmann says, "what happens as an undergraduate turns into a lawyer." (p. 7)

The reasons for this shift to belief are not clear. The experience of one or more unusual, subjective, "mystical," events can be very convincing. The practice of ritual magic may also have some very real therapeutic or psychological value to some participants. And one should not forget the sheer fascination of manipulating complex symbol systems, and the feeling of control which that may give. That, after all, is one of the fun things about becoming a scientist! For whatever reasons, as the practice of ritual becomes important to the magician, the "belief" grows.

When questioned by a skeptical outsider, the convinced magician may deploy many arguments in defense of the belief. In the section entitled "Justifying to the sceptics", Luhrmann describes these arguments:

There seem to be four primary rationalizations of magical claims themselves, four different ways of intellectualizing the idea that rituals produce results. I call these approaches realist, two worlds, relativist, and metaphorical. The realist position says
that the magician-s claims are of the same status as those of Tscience-; the two worlds position says that they are true, but cannot be evaluated by rational means; the relativist position says that it is impossible even to ask questions about their Tobjective-
status; and the metaphorical position asserts that the claims themselves are objectively false but valid as myth. (pp. 283-284)

These arguments are probably familiar to readers of Skeptical Inquirer, but Luhrmann's careful dissection of them might be useful reading for skeptics.

An important point to note, however, is that these arguments are more in the nature of rationalizations than real reasons for the activity. Luhrmann says that, although magicians practice magic for many and varied reasons, they believe in magic because they practice it. This idea is put in perspective in a scholarly discussion of the nature of belief, commitment, and irrationality. Some of the argument here is probably accessible only to a professional social theorist, which I am not.

Besides the admittedly academic content, this book contains a wealth of detail about contemporary magical practice in England. Among other information, Luhrmann gives the reader descriptions of rituals and their "meaning", a "Who's who" of magicians in the London area, a description of some aspects of the social organization of magicians and a bibliography of "what witches read". Most importantly, I think, this book provides a shining example of rational inquiry: a well-informed, skeptical, and yet gently sympathetic examination of a very human behavior. Despite the unrelenting critical evaluation, you will not find a harsh word about the magicians in this entire book.

Skeptics might note the reality and power of the technology used by magicians. There appear to be real and powerful psychological forces at play that are little understood and little studied. If, as Luhrmann suggests, the frequency and intensity of these interesting (and compelling) subjective experiences can be increased by training, this claim deserves serious psychological investigation.

If Luhrmann is correct in the description of "interpretive drift", and that belief follows practice, then it is clear that rational argument is not likely to sway the believer in this type of irrationality. If the real rationale for magical practice is the practice itself, no amount of argument, no demolition of the rationalizations offered will change the practitioner's personal commitment to magic. This, perhaps, explains some of the frustration a skeptic may feel when attempting to debunk some kinds of deeply held, but not clearly justified, beliefs.

If, indeed, belief follows practice there is a lesson for teachers of scientific and critical thinking: get people to do it, and to enjoy doing it, and they will come to value and believe in it. Watching science on television or reading about it in a magazine will never convince as well as actually doing science and having fun doing it. Critical thinking cannot be a spectator sport, everyone has to play it themselves. Make skepticism fun and cool, and it will flourish.

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Liber 106 Concerning Death

Liber 106 Concerning Death Cover

Book: Liber 106 Concerning Death by Aleister Crowley

A Treatise on the nature of death and the Proper attitude to be taken towards it. See also: Equinox III x.

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Crowley Most Important Mystical Experience And The Book Of The Law

Crowley Most Important Mystical Experience And The Book Of The Law Cover In fact it was in Egypt, in March of 1904, that Crowley had the most important experience of his life. Crowley had been trying for several years to contact his Holy Guardian Angel using the methods described in The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin The Mage with no success. However it was in Cairo that Crowley finally encountered an entity known as Aiwass, whom Crowley believed was his Holy Guardian Angel.

According to Crowley's own account, while (unsuccessfully) trying to summon sylphs for his wife's amusement, she began to receive a very powerful psychic message from the Ancient Egyptian god Horus.

Skeptical of his wife's sudden clairvoyancy, Crowley demanded answers to a series of questions from her, of which she had no possible prior knowledge. Upon answering all things correctly, he took her to a museum, and after passing several images of Horus (which the still skeptical Crowley reports, he "noted with silent glee"), she pointed across the room to a stele which could not be clearly seen from where they stood. When they examined the stele (now referred to as the Stele of Revealing, it was painted with the image of Horus, and to Crowley's further conviction, it was labelled as item number 666 in the museum catalog.

Crowley had himself adopted 666 as his personal moniker in rebellion to his religious upbringing many years before. After invoking Horus, Crowley made his fateful breakthrough. For three days Crowley took dictation from the entity identifying itself as Aiwass, the resulting text, Liber AL vel Legis, became what is now known as The Book of the Law.

This book was to become the central core of Crowley's philosophy. Crowley was named the Prophet of a New Aeon which would end the Age of Osiris and usher in the Age of Horus, a signal that a new era had begun for mankind, and that the old religions were to be swept aside.

The 3 key philosophical ideas outlined in the book are:

- Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law
- Love Is The Law, Love Under Will
- Every Man And Every Woman Is A Star

Interpretation of what "Do What Thou Wilt..." in contemporary times seems to have deteriorated into "do whatever you want...", however it seems clear that the meaning was more along the lines of 'doing that which your higher self dictates'. The higher self, or "Will" is present in all of enlightened people. In order to follow your "Will", one must know oneself. And self knowledge is the central basis of most successful philosophies.

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Liber 009 E Vel Exercitiorum

Liber 009 E Vel Exercitiorum Cover

Book: Liber 009 E Vel Exercitiorum by Aleister Crowley

1. It is absolutely necessary that all experiments should be recorded in detail during, or immediately after, their performance.
2. It is highly important to note the Physical and mental condition of the experimenter or experimenters.
3. The time and place of all experiments must be noted; also the state of the weather, and generally all conditions which might conceivably have any result upon the experiment either as
adjuvants to or causes of the result, or as inhibiting it, or as sources of error.
4. The AA will not take official notice of any experiments which are not thus properly recorded.
5. It is not necessary at this stage for us to declare fully the Ultimate end of our researches; nor indeed would it be understood by those who have not become proficient in these elementary courses.
6. The experimenter is encouraged to use his own intelligence, and not to rely upon any other person or persons, however distinguished, even among ourselves.
7. The written record should be intelligibly prepared so that others may benefit from its study.
8. The book John St. John published in the first number of the "Equinox" is an example of this kind of record by a very advanced student. It is not as simply written as we could wish, but will shew the method.
9. The more scientific the record is, the better. Yet the emotions should be noted, as being some of the conditions. Let then the record be written with sincerity and care, and with Practice it will be found more and more to approximate to the ideal.

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Ahab And Other Poems

Ahab And Other Poems Cover

Book: Ahab And Other Poems by Aleister Crowley

Mr. Crowley has amplified the Biblical narrative, has given to the savage figure of Ahab some-thing of the nobility of reason that rebels against the tyranny of his fate. There is a modern self-Consciousness in this tragic, brooding monologue. Mr. aleister crowley's previous work has been eccentric, and at the best he has done more to provoke curiosity than to give confidence. Now he chooses to handicap himself by printing his poems in a type that must inevitably impose restrictions upon many readers.

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Ambergris A Selection From The Poems Of Aleister Crowley

Ambergris A Selection From The Poems Of Aleister Crowley Cover

Book: Ambergris A Selection From The Poems Of Aleister Crowley by Aleister Crowley

Contains a Selection of Crowley's early published poetry, made by himself and a group of friends. Writing in the Preface, Crowley declared that "In response to a widely-spread lack of interest in my writings, I have consented to publish a small and unrepresentative Selection From the same. ..... This volume .... is therefore now submitted to the British Public with the fullest confidence that it will be received with exactly the same amount of acclamation as that to which I have become accustomed." Crowley was correct, and the book was widely ignored in Literary circles.

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Leah Sublime

Leah Sublime Cover

Book: Leah Sublime by Aleister Crowley

A pornographic poem of 156 lines written at Cefalu for Alostrael (aka Aleister Crowley). Aliester is reknown for one upping any who try to out smut him, out gross him. And I must say, although not the best of his works, or even teh grosses or most extreme, it is still a fine example of his works. And to think. Some call him the mages of the knew Aeon. Lucifer's own Jesus Christ. The beast 666. A true and worthy saviour by the standards of the coming of enlightenment. For one would need one as he to shock and offfend til the time that all that is shocking and offending is soon realized to be just words and hold no real power. It is all of the self and the power of 1,3,11,16,9! Hiruit! Save me know from the abstract and nonentity of the most dull and bored!!!

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Brief Introduction To The Religion Of Thelema

Brief Introduction To The Religion Of Thelema Cover

Book: Brief Introduction To The Religion Of Thelema by Aleister Crowley

Thelema is a universal philosophy or way of life. The religion of Thelema proposes the idea that physical existence begins with the interaction of two metaphysical principles. In the most prominent Thelemic Holy Book, The Book of The Law, these ideas are given form by association with the ancient Egyptian deities known as Nuit, the goddess of the night sky who represents unlimited possibility, and her lover Hadit, who represents the individual experience and is characterized as a Winged Serpent. The union of these two deities produces a phenomenon, which is identified with the Hawk Headed god: Ra-Hoor-Khuit, who represents the karmic law which dominates life.

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