Aleister Crowley - The Stratagem and Other Stories (195.0 Kb)
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The Stratagem and Other Stories, a small book of short stories written by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), occult magician, poet and self-proclaimed prophet of a new AEON., Including "The Strategem", "The Testament of Magdalen Blair", "His Secret Sin". The Testament of Magdalen Blair paints a particularly gruesome picture of what happens to human beings after they die. Indeed it is so nasty that it has been described in the Penguin Encyclopaedia of Horror & Supernatural as "one of the most horrible stories ever written."The bo... More >>>
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The Stratagem and Other Stories, a small book of short stories written by Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), occult magician, poet and self-proclaimed prophet of a new AEON., Including "The Strategem", "The Testament of Magdalen Blair", "His Secret Sin". The Testament of Magdalen Blair paints a particularly gruesome picture of what happens to human beings after they die. Indeed it is so nasty that it has been described in the Penguin Encyclopaedia of Horror & Supernatural as "one of the most horrible stories ever written."
The book was originally published in 1929 and one of a series of Crowley's works to be published on the new Mandrake Press label after a difficult period in which Crowley found it difficult to publish due both to financing and notoriety. The works published by Mandrake Press in 1929 were The Confessions of Aleister Crowley volumes I and II, and Moonchild.
Crowley hardly ever published collections of short stories, but the title story received such a good review from British novelist Joseph Conrad when he published it in The English Review that he thought it was a possible calling to conventional fame. "The Testament to Magdalen Blair" is the longer of the three and was originally published in "The Equinox" volume I, no.9 in 1913. It tells the haunting story of a psychic woman who delves into the dying, subconscious psyche of her husband and bears resemblance to Edgar Allan Poe's "Mesmeric Revelation" and "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". The third short story, "His Secret Sin", was first published in "The Equinox" volume I, no.8 in 1912 and has a pervert absconding a photograph of the Venus de Milo.
Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, (12 October 1875 - 1 December 1947) was an English occultist, prolific writer and poet, mystic, astrologer, drug experimenter, hedonist, aficionado of chess and mountain climbing, sexual revolutionary and social critic. He is perhaps best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. Crowley was also an influential member in several occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the Argenteum Astrum, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). Crowley gained much notoriety during his lifetime, and was famously dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World."
Aleister Crowley founded the religion of Thelema, which became adopted by the Ordo Templis Orientis (O.T.O.) as well as the magical order Argenteum Astrum, the Order of the Silver Star. He was also a highly controversial member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was known by the magical name of Frater Perdurabo.
Crowley's lifestyle was absolutely shocking in the era in which he lived. Besides his interest in the occult, he was sexually promiscuous with both genders (at a time when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain), frequented prostitutes, was vocally defiant against Christianity and Victorian and post-Victorian prudishness toward sexual subjects, and was a drug addict.
While Crowley detested Christianity, he considered himself an immensely religious and spiritual person. His writings record incidents of experiencing deity, and Thelemites consider him to be a prophet. In 1904, he encountered a being known as Aiwass, described as a "minister" to Horus, the central deity in Thelema, and as a Holy Guardian Angel. Aiwass dictated the Book of the Law, which Crowley wrote down and published, becoming the central Thelemic text.
Crowley's beliefs included pursuing the Great Work, which included gaining self-knowledge and uniting with the larger universe. He also encouraged seeking out one's ultimate destiny or purpose, commonly referred to as one's True Will.