Crowley, Aleister, 1875-1947

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1875-10-12
Death 1947-12-01
Gender:
Male
Britons
Artificial languages, English

Biographical notes:

English poet and writer on the occult.

From the description of Letter : 21 Warwick Road, [London], to [Frank] Harris, [1906?]. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122365912

From the description of Letter : Hastings, Sussex, to Frieda [Harris], 1947 November 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122530555

From the description of Untitled verse beginning "How like Orestes," New Year, 1909. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122472938

From the description of Untitled verse beginning "Yea! God himself upon his throne," [1910?]. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122692650

From the description of Untitled quatrain beginning "I am dark & distingué & dapper," [ca.1909]. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122453059

From the description of Untitled poem beginning "How like Orestes," New Year, 1909. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122385620

From the description of Untitled poem beginning "For them I wrote the Book of Lies," [1913]. (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122547412

British occultist, writer, philosopher, mystic.

From the description of Aleister Crowley letters to Herbert Sherman Gorman [manuscript], 1930-1936. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 176633371

Aleister Crowley was an English writer and occultist.

From the description of Aleister Crowley fonds. [1947]. (University of Victoria Libraries). WorldCat record id: 667848416

Aleister Crowley was a British author and occultist. Rebellious from an early age, he joined The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult organization with numerous high-profile members. He was later expelled, but continued to practice a highly alternative lifestyle in Europe and the United States, publishing several works including The Book of the Law. His life was marked by drug abuse, sexual excess, rituals, and black magic.

From the description of Aleister Crowley letter to C.K. Ogden, 1931 Aug. 10. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 53148146

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley in Leamington, Warwickshire, was an occultist, eccentric, author of poems, erotica, and writings in the field of magic.

From the description of Astrology 1915 [manuscript]. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 26271831

From the guide to the Aleister Crowley's Astrology, 1915, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.)

Aleister Crowley was a Scottish poet, novelist, and mountaineer, best known as a controversial occultist.

From the description of Aleister Crowley papers, 1905-1929. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 41148637

English author and occultist.

From the description of Aleister Crowley Collection, 1889-1989 (1901-1953). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122492191

Aleister Crowley, 1875-1947, was born Edward Alexander to Edward and Emily Crowley in Leamington, Warwickshire. His father died when Aleister was eleven, and the boy and his mother went to live with relatives. Supported by a legacy left by his father, Crowley entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1895. Though he rarely attended lectures and left without taking a degree, his time at Cambridge was not wasted. He began a program of self-education which involved reading everything he could get his hands on, becoming extremely proficient at chess, and enjoying the social venue available to a wealthy young college man of the times. Crowley traveled a great deal during school holidays, taking trips to St. Petersburg, Holland, and Scandinavia. It was in Stockholm on New Year's Eve 1896 that he had his first mystical experience, which was to shape his pursuits for the rest of his life.

After his mystical experience Crowley began to take his writing seriously and in 1898 he privately published the long poem Aceldema: A Place to Bury Strangers In. Though he had changed his name to Aleister early in his Cambridge career, he published this work anonymously under the moniker A Gentleman of the University of Cambridge. Aceldema was followed by several other long poems including a mildly pornographic publication White Stains (1898).

Crowley left Cambridge in 1898 and in November became an initiate in the Order of the Golden Dawn, under the tutelage of Samuel Mathers, one of the founders of the Order. He progressed rapidly through the ranks and his efforts to assume a leadership role in the London chapter of the Order, against the firm opposition of fellow member W. B. Yeats, sparked a power struggle which eventually destroyed the Order in 1900. After the dissolution of the Golden Dawn Crowley traveled to America, Mexico, Hawaii, and India, returning to England in 1903 where he married Rose Kelly. The couple took an extended honeymoon which took them back to India in 1904 where their daughter was born.

The Crowleys were in Cairo in the spring of 1904 when Rose, who had previously shown little or no interest in the occult, became possessed by an entity named Aiwass. Over the course of three days Aiwass dictated a text to Crowley which became known as Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law. In this work Crowley was named as the Prophet of a New Aeon which would end the Age of Osiris and usher in the Age of Horus.

Between 1907 and 1911 Crowley, under the direct influence of a spirit, wrote twelve Holy Books. During these years he also worked on nonmagical manuscripts and published several long poems including Clouds Without Water (1908) and began expanding his literary efforts to prose in the form of Knox Om Pax (1907). In 1909 Crowley announced in the first issue of his new publication The Equinox, the formation of a magical order, the Argentum Astrum or Silver Star, also called A.A. Though Crowley had done his best to ignore the dictates of The Book of the Law, the slim volume quickly became the central core of Crowley's magical system. By 1913 the A.A. was no longer flourishing and Crowley had been inspired by the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a fringe Masonic order. He took the name Baphomet and became the head of the English speaking branch of the order.

Crowley spent the duration of World War I in America, returning to England in 1919. He next went to Sicily where he began an abbey and battled a growing heroin addiction. In 1923 a disciple died of fever and his widow accused Crowley of murder, bringing unwanted notoriety to the abbey and leading to Crowley's expulsion from Italy. In 1925 he was elected World Head of the O.T.O., and 1929 saw the publication of his seminal work Magik: In Theory and in Practice.

Crowley traveled between England and Germany a good deal during the 1930s. He initially admired aspects of the Nazi system, but by the time World War II started, he was disillusioned and spent the years of the war on the south coast of England. He battled frequent bouts of ill health and a recurrence of his heroin addiction. He also finished a number of writing projects, including the Book of Thoth and a redesign of the 78 cards of the Tarot deck. In 1945 he moved to his last home, a residential hotel in Hastings, and died on December 1, 1947.

From the guide to the Aleister Crowley Collection TXRC00-A20., 1889-1989, (bulk 1901-1953), (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin)

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, writer and mystic. His interests and accomplishments were wide-ranging: among other things he was a poet, painter, astrologer, and social critic; he experimented with various drugs and was an excellent chess player. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge where he read English literature and became interested in the occult, investigating alchemy, mysticism, and magic. He was involved in several occult organizations, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.).

Crowley is perhaps best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law which laid out the central tenets of Thelema, a religious philosophy he developed. Thelema's often-misunderstood emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual will, famously phrased as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," was later adopted in various forms by many Wicca, Pagan, and Neo-Pagan groups.

From the guide to the Aleister Crowley Papers, 1911-1944, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Occultism--Manuscripts
  • Religion and philosophy
  • Occultists
  • English literature--20th century
  • Occultism
  • Enochian magic--Manuscripts
  • Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO)
  • Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
  • Tarot
  • Occultists--Correspondence
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • Argenteum Astrum
  • Authors, English
  • Occultists, England
  • Illumination of books and manuscripts--Specimens
  • Tarot cards
  • Authors, English--20th century
  • Manuscripts--English
  • Astrologers
  • Bookplates--Collectors and collecting
  • Enochian language--Texts--Manuscripts
  • Secret societies
  • Literature--British
  • Astrology--Manuscripts
  • Occultists--Great Britain

Occupations:

  • Authors
  • Occultists

Places:

  • Illinois--Evanston (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • England (as recorded)