Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley (/ˈkroʊli/ KROH-lee; 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast 666, was an English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.

Born into a wealthy upper-class family, as a young man he became a member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Subsequently he claimed that he was contacted by his Holy Guardian Angel, an entity he named Aiwass, while staying in Egypt in 1904, and that he 'received' a text known as The Book of the Law from what he claimed was a divine source, and around which he would come to develop his new philosophy of Thelema. He would go on to found his own occult society, the A∴A∴ and eventually rose to become a leader of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), before founding a religious commune in Cefalù known as the Abbey of Thelema, which he led from 1920 through till 1923. After abandoning the Abbey amid widespread opposition, Crowley returned to Britain, where he continued to promote Thelema until his death.

Crowley was also bisexual, a recreational drug experimenter and a social critic. In many of these roles he "was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time", espousing a form of libertinism based upon the rule of "Do What Thou Wilt". Because of this, he gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as "the wickedest man in the world".

Crowley has remained an influential figure and is widely thought of as the most influential occultist of all time. In 2002, a BBC poll described him as being the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time. References to him can be found in the works of numerous writers, musicians and filmmakers, and he has also been cited as a key influence on many later esoteric groups and individuals, including Kenneth Grant, Kenneth Anger, Jack Parsons, Gerald Gardner, Robert Anton Wilson and, to some degree, Austin Osman Spare.

Core topics

The Book of the Law
Aleister Crowley
True Will · 93


Thelemic mysticism
The Great Work
Holy Guardian Angel
The Gnostic Mass

Thelemic texts

Works of Crowley
The Holy Books
Thelemite texts


A∴A∴ · EGC · OTO


Nuit · Hadit · Horus
Babalon · Chaos
Baphomet · Choronzon
Aiwass · Ma'at

Other topics

Stele of Revealing
Unicursal Hexagram
Abramelin oil
Thoth tarot deck

Read more about Aleister CrowleyControversy, Legacy and Influence

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Famous quotes by aleister crowley:

    There is only one really safe, mild, harmless beverage and you can drink as much of that as you like without running the slightest risk, and what you say when you want it is, ‘Garçon! Un Pernod!’
    Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

    Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
    Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

    The ordinary man looking at a mountain is like an illiterate person confronted with a Greek manuscript.
    Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

    I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff.
    Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

    Love stories are only fit for the solace of people in the insanity of puberty. No healthy adult human being can really care whether so-and-so does or does not succeed in satisfying his physiological uneasiness by the aid of some particular person or not.
    Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)