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How to appreciate Crowley?

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How to appreciate Crowley?


I have just finished reading "Do What Thou Wilt" A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin, and would like to hear some others opinions on how "Crowley the man" affects your use of the Thoth deck.

I'd not had any knowledge of Crowley besides that gleamed from apologetic writers on the tarot deck. Based on that I had largely assumed his bad reputation was a sign of the puritanical time, and his own love of notoriety. Now having an idea of the sort of stuff he got up to , I am curious about how people temper their feeling for the deck with their feeling for the man.

I found his pretentious character was even more offensive to me than some of his more depraved actions. I find it hard to resolve that personality with a spiritual quester.

There are many more things Id like to say, but I suspect this may be a long conversation so I'll give my brain a chance to digest some more.
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Hm, I'm not sure appreciate is the word I'd use to describe my approach to his texts. I don't know much about his personal life, but he was able to tie together many different esoteric systems in his works and his deck which appeals to me. Whatever nasty business he got up to in his lifetime - I doubt it would offend me anyways lol.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isthmus nekoi
Hm, I'm not sure appreciate is the word I'd use to describe my approach to his texts.
LOL, perhaps tolerate is a better word I guess my real problem was that the grottiest stuff was used as significant "landmarks" in his magical career. So I didn;t have to option of saying "sure Crowley likes to $^$%^%^, but his magical career is interesting" cause in fact his magical career was $^$%^%^,.

Maybe it would help if I had an understanding of Thelema? Or perhaps Freida Harris? She seems to be the only woman who didn't get burnt by Crowley.
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I think he did, financially at any rate.

Didn't sheeffectivley pay him for paining the deck?
Five years of supporting him and his drug habit.

At least there were no goats involved.

Personally I like Crowley.

He was a character and an original.

He lived his life in a big way, good to read about, probably not so good to know.

All the people he used and abused let him do it. They were independant human beings, they could have left and walked away at any time. In the end most did.
Some people are like that.
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Actually...this is going to sound funny.


I didn't like Arthur Waite as a writer or person very much from what I've read of him. But I like his choice of a painter and like her work in tarot.

I don't personally care for someone like Crowley as a relative. But the painter Frieda Harris and her questioning from someone knowlegeable as Crowley, directed and filtered through her paintings of such concepts as a tarot, works for me.

I do sometimes enjoy a person's writings better if I find that I could respect this person as an individual that I'd like to have dinner with or as a friend--but some writers who have good writing might have bad ethics. It turns out in a spiritual philosophy class the historical survey showed most of the writers and thinkers who introduced a synthesis of Eastern traditional concepts to early and later twentieth century western worlds were rather troubled, even had bad influences and childhoods or lapses in personal ethics. We're talking about people such as Krisha Murti, Alan Watts, Ram Dass--I'm not certain, but the exception might have been the Dominican monk Thomas Merton.

I wish for stellar examples, but it's hard to be human--if I can find from an author a book that has pivotal, good writing or a deck with excellent art, I take what wisdom I can. I may not be able to take them as a good life example, but darn it, I'm not perfect either.

Don't know if that adds a good perspective, as it's a personal opinion...but hope it helps a bit.

Cerulean
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Thanks Cerulean, that was beautiful. I totally agree that so many interesting people have had similar experiences. It just seems to me that most people's (shall we say) "art" developed as a way out of the hardship. Crowley seemed to make the darker side of life his "art", which seems a bit reversed to me. (and perhaps more honest)

I think you are right to look at the Thoth deck as Harris's work (since it was her idea to re-invent the tarot) and consider Crowley as an occult reference is a way to overcome squeemishness.

Lillie I think you are right that Crowley was a bit of trouble for Freida. I meant more to say she got of light in comparison to the Scarlet Women who ended up dead/in an asylum/drug addicts etc... (and indeed he was allowed to do all these things to them).

Certainly he is a very interesting man!
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this may sound loopy, but sometimes I just pretend that none of that stuff about him is true. It works for me. ; ) I also avoid the info involving goats and such like the plague, after reading one account that left me feeling disturbed.
And other than that I try to think that it was his "higher self" who collaborated to make this beautiful deck with Lady Freida.
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Let's face it, there are a lot of reasons both to like and dislike nearly anyone who's lived, with a few exceptions. Yes, he was a colorful character.

I try to get what good I can out of Crowley's work, and not worry about what sort of person I think he was. I see him as a kind of tortured soul in some ways. Who can say what his private life was like, growing up or as an adult? Who can say how difficult it was for him to present his ideas to the world? I didn't know him, so I can't judge him by anything but his work. I sift through the ideas for what I can use and understand. His writings don't appeal to me all that much, because I think he tried to be too secretive and mysterious. Maybe there was some paranoia at work, or a feeling that he needed to protect his ideas. I don't know.

Lady Frieda Harris was equally important in the creation of the Thoth deck. The artwork is what draws me to the deck, so I pay attention to that. I learn what I can about the symbolism and let my intuition do the rest.

Nevada
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Um...I did hear they were rather mature...


And while it might not be such a factor in this day and age, in the 1940's, it was likely being in your sixties or seventies--especially if you were suffering from sickness as Crowley was--might have been a factor.

It seems Frieda Harris was a rather strong and assured person in her own right--which seems to come out when I see her correspondence cited. Certainly a sixtyish mature society lady with financial means who is paying an older man for input on her paintings of esoteric subjects--well, is in a different space than the naive younger women of sheltered or limited resources...but that's my opinion.

Maybe we should think of Crowley as getting off light to have such a sponsor contributing to his creature comforts and medical needs of old age...I've read or heard from Lon Duquette that his morphone was prescribed in a day and age they had different ideas of what helped people.

Oh well, sorry if this is off topic.

Cerulean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerulean
I've read or heard from Lon Duquette that his morphone was prescribed in a day and age they had different ideas of what helped people.
There were many recreational/magical drugs on top of the prescribed hard drugs (e.g. heroin for asthma). Much of his work/personality speaks to me of the personality of the drugs, rather than the man/prophet. I always wonder where people draw the line in that regard?
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