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Aleister Crowley, Myth and Magick

Aleister Crowley, Myth and Magick

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Published by Mogg Morgan
Mogg Morgan, text of old introductory lecture on life and ideas of Aleister Crowley -
Mogg Morgan, text of old introductory lecture on life and ideas of Aleister Crowley -

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Mogg Morgan on Jul 26, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/05/2013

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Synopsis - Crowley, Myth and Magick,When the popular press of the 1930s dubbed Aleister Crowley the 'wickedestman in the world' they started a smear campaign that is still taken seriously bythe majority of modern pagans. Mogg is a modern Thelemic magician, workingin the same tradition as Crowley, who often finds himself tarred with the same brush. In this talk he will argue that it is impossible to move beyond Crowleyunless one has first reached a mature understanding of the man's weaknessesand strengths. He will them go on to outline the new synthesis of Thelemicmagick that has grown out of researches of Crowley and which is part of theancient tradition of hermetic magick. He will argue that this magick has to bethe real core of the modern pagan renaissance if it is to progress.
Anarcho-tantrik-Thelema
Crowley, in case you've not heard, died in 1947. I mention that in case you areone of those whose is about to ask me for his current address.I first encountered the myth of Crowley when I was at school. I friend of mine,very much into rock climbing, suggested I take a look at an interesting book he'd picked up, about an Edwardian mountaineer who was also a 'Satanist.'I was at the time, browsing my way through the books in our local (Newport)reference library's 'private case'. Every library seems to have one of these, Inthe Bodleian, where I know live in Oxford; it’s called the Phi collections,(presumably Phi for phallus). Incidentally, they still keep a copy of the Kama
 
2Sutra in the Phi cabinet, although that seems a little unnecessary in these postsixty's days). In the British Museum it’s the private case. Librarians consign books to these cabinets that are not for the casual reader. In Newport librarythey weren't even catalogued and you could only borrow one if a) you hadsufficient maturity and/or b) you knew the title of the book.As a precocious youth I often braved the disapproving looks of the librarianwho looked alarmingly like my mother to ask for the Kinsey Report on HumanSexuality or Masters and Johnson etc. The doors of the case were flung back and the literary incendiary extracted and handed over 'under the seal'. I made a point of peering over the librarian's shoulder to see if there were any other titlesI ought to ask for. It was then that I saw a copy of Crowley's masterwork 
Magick 
, although then I didn't know it was a masterwork.The next time I went to the library I asked for that book. I took it to be seatand remember being mesmerised by the magick circle and sigils reproduced ionthe cover. From them on I guess I was hooked.It begins:'Existence, as we know it, is full of sorrow. To mention only one minor point:every-man is a condemned criminal, only he doesn't know the date of hisexecution. This is unpleasant for every man. Consequently every man doeseverything possible to postpone the date, and would sacrifice anything that hehas if he could reverse the sentence. Practically all religions and all philosophieshave started thus crudely, by promising their adherents some such reward asimmortality.'And he goes on:'No religion has failed hitherto by not promising enough; the present breakingup of all religions is due to the fact that people have asked to see the securities.2
 
3Men have even renounced the important material advantages which a well-organised religion may confer upon the State, rather than acquiesce in fraud or falsehood ...being more or less bankrupt, the best thing we can do is to attack the problem afresh without preconceived ideas' (page 7)Crowley's assessment about the origin of religion seemed to me true then, andstill does. Religion is basically the quest for immortality. And magick, is part of the same quest.Such clear statements of the aims of magick are rare in the many other booksthat have been written since Crowley.For example, Pat Crowther was giving a well-honed lecture at Leeds OccultSociety once, she went though the history of Wicca, the basic techniques,raising power, the supposed law of three fold return etc. etc. And in thequestion time, someone asked, but what was it all for?She was strangely lost for words, perhaps she'd never thought of the question,then or since. I not getting at her, such a question would probably put most of us off our stride. Try - what is magick?For Crowley there was only one reason for studying magick or as he put it 'onestar in sight'. Magick is a preparation for meditation, meditation on themeaning of life and the way of achieving immortality in it. The end was gnosis(explain). The continuing legacy of Crowley is to be found in this area, herestored to magick its ancient heart: ceremonial magick is training for Crowley used many different techniques to prepare himself for gnosis. Some of these techniques appear to us as very dark, and to some of his critics, assatanic. Some of Crowley's contemporaries, created a notorious image of 3

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