Aleister Crowley - World Tragedy (56.0 Kb)
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This is one of the rarest of Crowley's published works. The book was privately printed in Paris in 1910 in an edition of 100 copies, but it seems certain that either the rather enthusiastic discussion of sodomy in British schools in the Preface or the books rather virulently anti-Christian sentiments attracted some censor's wrath, and it is generally believed that most copies were destroyed in the course of customs seizures. The fact that it was originally bound in exceedingly flimsy wrappers probably did not help the books ... More >>>
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This is one of the rarest of Crowley's published works. The book was privately printed in Paris in 1910 in an edition of 100 copies, but it seems certain that either the rather enthusiastic discussion of sodomy in British schools in the Preface or the books rather virulently anti-Christian sentiments attracted some censor's wrath, and it is generally believed that most copies were destroyed in the course of customs seizures. The fact that it was originally bound in exceedingly flimsy wrappers probably did not help the books longevity, and the few copies that have survived have, like this one, almost always been rebound.
Crowley possibly also played a part in the destruction - or at least mutilation - of some copies of the work. Timothy D'Arch Smith quotes a letter from Crowley to John Quinn in which the Beast wrote "100 printed. All mutilated of pp xxvii and xxviii [ie the homosexual references] except in a few copies in the hands of the author's friends." This copy has not been thus mutilated, perhaps for the very reason that it was from the collection of one of Crowley's friends: that is Wilfred T. Smith (1885-1957). Smith was an English-born disciple of Crowley's, who joined Achad in the first North American Lodge of the O.T.O., (British Columbia, No. 1), and later went on to found Agape Lodge in California. He was a lifetime follower of Crowley's, although the Beast treated him abysmally, and shunned him in his latter days.
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.