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How to appreciate Crowley?


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Greg Stanton  Greg Stanton is offline
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Sorry, I assumed everyone knew that I WAS giving my opinion.

I didn't mean to start a flame war, and I'm not going to respond to any of the assaults on my character -- so if you feel the urge to call me more names, I recommend you re-read the forum rules, "Respect our Members". Enough said.

Many years ago, in my OTO days, I attended a screening at a man's house -- he'd made a few films back in the '50s, and had quite a bit of knowledge about Crowley as well as a staggering amount of memorabilia. This included letters (a number of them were exchanges between Crowley and Victor Neuburg), photos, first editions, films, etc. He told me about the animal sacrifices performed at the Abbey of Thelema. He was not there, but had gathered from his research that a number of sacrifices were performed there and that the place was "awash in blood" (exact words). He showed me 5-6 photographs of Crowley killing a cat. It was, literally, gutted alive.

I have never seen these photographs reproduced anywhere, but I know what I saw with my own eyes, and it sickened me. This is when I started questioning my "magickal" (as opposed to magical) pursuits.

It doesn't matter whether this man sacrificed many, or "only a cat and a goat." Any person that willfully causes a creature to suffer needlessly is monstrous. So, in my mind, in my opinion, knowing what I do about Crowley, he cannot be appreciated. Or perhaps he can only be appreciated by others like himself.

Regarding the books, "Magick Without Tears" is his most practical endeavor (though I disagree with much of what he says). 777 is useful if you find Kabbalah/correspondences useful -- I don't -- though "The Complete Magician's Tables" by Stephen Skinner has now surpassed this volume in quality. 777 did not contain any original research by Crowley, but was part of the stash of manuscripts he stole from Mathers (which also included the translation of the first book of the Goetia, which is now correctly attributed to Mathers). It is interesting to compare "The Book of Thoth", "Liber T" and "The Magical Images of the Decans" to see the extent of Crowley's indiscretions -- he never questioned the absurdity of aligning the pips 2-10 with the astrological decans in Picatrix (which pre-dated Tarot by centuries -- there is no relation between the two). The rest of what I have read from the man is more concerned with impressing rather than teaching the reader. Very little of what Crowley wrote is practical information. You have to do a lot of work for little reward. Again, this is my opinion after 20 years of study.

And yes, in my opinion, Crowley was a failure. A magician, by definition, is in control of his life, his body, and his environment. Crowley couldn't control any of these. He was addicted to drugs and had to beg money from his friends and followers. His head was in the clouds while his world fell apart. Which brings me to my next point...

After 20 years of immersion in the current standard of Western Occultism, I had little to show for my efforts -- except a storehouse of esoteric knowledge, some cool tools, an awesome library, and a collection of interesting friends (most of whom, like myself, have moved on in our thinking). I was living in a fantasy world, deluding myself that this type of "Magick" was effective and giving me what I wanted. In all honesty, I was getting more tangible results from Hoodoo spells than from my GD studies.

Ultimately, I ditched everything (except my friends). I returned to the actual texts (Agrippa, deAlbano, Bruno, etc) to see where I (actually Crowley and the Golden Dawn) had gone wrong. Authentic magical practice (without the k) has very little to do with how the Art is practiced today. No, I don't perform the LBRP anymore, nor do I invoke the Watchtowers -- these are futile gestures invented by Westcott/Mathers to satisfy the need to deliver "secrets" to their subscribers. All the shortcuts we've been taught are wrong. The Circle of Art must be physically drawn on the ground, as given in the authentic souces, not drawn in the air as you have been led to believe. Talismans must be forged out of metal, not written on paper. The Abramelin operation actually takes 18 months, not 6 (please trouble yourself to read the original German MS, not the incomplete French MS that Mathers translated and which contains many errors -- and no I haven't done it yet). I could go on, but I won't. In other words, you can trash just about every book in your library that has that little half moon on the spine (though I think the Tyson Agrippa is excellent).

I'm out of words, for now. Sorry if I offended anyone with my opinions, but they are mine and I stick by them. If you find any of my facts to be off base, please correct me -- the truth is more important than my ego. Thank you.
Top   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stanton
Sorry, I assumed everyone knew that I WAS giving my opinion.
I guess I was just trying to make the point that it's always good to be clear that it's your own opinion, especially here where people are quite passionate about Crowley and his work.

For me personally, I've only recently started working with the Thoth deck and learning about Crowley and his ideas. As yet I have not quite formed an opinion of the man although there are certainly things about him that I struggle with. I feel quite drawn to the deck and so am focusing on that right now. Because I'm so new to it all, I always appreciate reading the opinions of others so I appreciated your last post Greg.

I'll preface this next paragraph by saying that I accept that I know basically KNOTHING in the big scheme of things and so if I sound ignorant and naieve then I apologise. One interesting thing I find about Crowely is that he is idolised by so many and yes dispised by so many - it's like he's just one big contradiciton, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Sometimes I read about him and feel filled with admiration, other times I feel sick in the stomach. But when I think about tarot as kind of a road map or framework for reconciling the opposites in our natures and becoming 'whole' or 'complete' in some way, then it's as if Crowley wanted to show both extremes of his nature as some kind of proof that this reconciliation was possible. Or.... maybe I just want to believe that so I can work with the deck effectively.

I'll be quiet now....I'm feeling a great sense of 'what the hell would I know?' at the moment
Top   #92
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Thanks for sharing your story Greg Stanton, I enjoyed reading it.

I believe Crowley is an important figure, and one who must ultimately be reckoned with by anyone wishing to progress along the path; but I often feel he is given a degree of importance beyond his actual measure. He's an interesting character to stop and ponder, but I personally wouldn't hang around too long. Of course, just my view.
Top   #93
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I raise my glass to abrac!

To Greg Stanton
As is most likely known by some, I have tried to appreciate Crowley and the task was too great.
Immanuel Kant said there was three ways of recognising spiritual immaturity. They are according to him....
When a Book takes the place of our understanding
When a spiritual director takes place of our conscience
When someone decides what our diet (of any intake) should be,
Then we are not enlightened individuals, so not spiritually mature.
Congrats on having your own criteria and sharing your considered opinion.

As to Crowley, Demosthenes is reported to have said way back before Christ-
Whatever your actions are, such must be your spirit.......
~Rosanne
Top   #94
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This is what I like about this place. You can present well researched facts and documented histories time and time again until you are blue in the face. But it just doesn't seem to convince for some reason.

But dream up a "cock & bull story" (as we call them over here), and because it agrees with what people want to believe it is accepted without question. No need for proof here. No need for confirmation. Evidence? Pah! What's that eh? Facts are just those annoying things that get in the way of a good yarn, right?

No, no need for anything at all except a half baked story that confirms peoples worst fears or panders to their existing predjudice. And it is lapped up as if it were gospel truth.

And under no circumstances must Greg's bluff be called. That just wouldn't be fair now would it. After all, he's telling us what we want to believe....
Top   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stanton

but was part of the stash of manuscripts he stole from Mathers (which also included the translation of the first book of the Goetia, which is now correctly attributed to Mathers).
The original translation and compilation has always been attributed to Mathers; Crowley himself identifies Mathers (under his magical motto in the order) as the translator in the preface and claims his (Crowley's) only role was in the business transactions involved in seeing it through to publication.
Top   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stanton
There are also accounts of infant (human) sacrifice performed by Thelema, but I have not found any actual evidence to support this
Hey Greg. You claim to have studied Crowley for around 20 years. So how is it that you seem to be completely ignorant of the real intent behind Crowley's claim to have sacrificed 150 male children every year between 1912 and 1928? That's 2250 little boys sacrificed by Uncle Al and no one noticed. How odd.

I'm sure with your experience though you knew it was nothing but an over the top and ellaborate blind for ejaculation during sex magick? I admit that it is something that misleads the casual reader, the beginning student, and literal minded morons. But most people figure it out pretty quickly. When it comes to studying Crowley it's almost an elementary piece of knowledge. Which is why it seems so odd that you don't know it. If you did you would never have mentioned it in the first place.
Top   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Hey Greg. You claim to have studied Crowley for around 20 years. So how is it that you seem to be completely ignorant of the real intent behind Crowley's claim to have sacrificed 150 male children every year between 1912 and 1928? That's 2250 little boys sacrificed by Uncle Al and no one noticed. How odd.

I'm sure with your experience though you knew it was nothing but an over the top and ellaborate blind for ejaculation during sex magick? I admit that it is something that misleads the casual reader, the beginning student, and literal minded morons. But most people figure it out pretty quickly. When it comes to studying Crowley it's almost an elementary piece of knowledge. Which is why it seems so odd that you don't know it. If you did you would never have mentioned it in the first place.
I wasn't referring to Crowley's absurd "claim", but the accounts of others.

And what you said proves my point about Crowley's books -- their real purpose is not to teach but impress, to establish the notoriety of the author.

Most authors strive to make their meaning clear to the reader. Crowley was an elitist. Time after time I was told by my teachers to "read between the lines", that Crowley was "testing your intelligence", etc. This is fine up to a point, but I believe the business of teaching requires clarity.
Top   #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
This is what I like about this place. You can present well researched facts and documented histories time and time again until you are blue in the face. But it just doesn't seem to convince for some reason.

But dream up a "cock & bull story" (as we call them over here), and because it agrees with what people want to believe it is accepted without question. No need for proof here. No need for confirmation. Evidence? Pah! What's that eh? Facts are just those annoying things that get in the way of a good yarn, right?

No, no need for anything at all except a half baked story that confirms peoples worst fears or panders to their existing predjudice. And it is lapped up as if it were gospel truth.

And under no circumstances must Greg's bluff be called. That just wouldn't be fair now would it. After all, he's telling us what we want to believe....
Something in what I've said has caused some rather emotional, visceral responses. I hope you will explore this further, and I wish you well.
Top   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Stanton
I wasn't referring to Crowley's "claim", but the accounts of others.
Can you at least provide a reference?
Top   #100

 





 


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