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How to appreciate Crowley?


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
I have never heard of "Trust Fund Kid' expression- maybe here it would be 'Social Welfare disadvantaged Kid" but I get the drift. Yes, there was a long period of personal rebellion- and understandable for my son (fostered) and I can see the appeal of Crowley's writings. Which brings me to the writer that Debra spoke of Ayn Rand. I think Debra's words Disdain and disregard for others is hard to maintain once you've experienced the importance of friendship and the kindness of strangers. have great importance. Crowley's life as was perceived publicly seemed to have this disdain and disregard for others- and his words (whatever he may have believed) showed the same. As I said before- I find it too hard a task to think he actually matured past his rebellion.
I agree that Disdain and disregard for others is hard to maintain once you've experienced the importance of friendship and the kindness of strangers.

Things change when you stop running against the wind & go with the flow..... Perhaps that's age and maturity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
That is an interesting avenue...... I must lie down where all ladders start, In the foul rag and bone of the Heart I find it a shame, but not unexpected that Crowley Character has been isolated by his many deeds- but I guess that is how we know historical characters. Words and actions at variance. ~Rosanne
I tried to get Yeats _A Vision_ to make sense in college -- IT DIDN'T.... It took another 30 years of maturity & Magickal experience to get to unfold in meaningful ways

Mac22
Top   #141
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It's always interesting to see old threads resurrected...


I like the Thoth deck, and it's the one I've stayed with the longest, though recently it's not my most frequently used deck. But I have to say, I have very little appreciation of Crowley the man. I don't hate him and I don't love him.

I've only read one of his books. I didn't like his writing style. I found it obtuse and cryptic, where it wasn't downright incoherent. Just my opinion. But I don't keep reading entire series of books if I don't care for the writing. Some of his ideas and passages of his writing were fine, some even poetic, so I'm not throwing it out as garbage. I'm just not reading any further. There are probably a million or so books out there I want to read. I know I can't read them all in my lifetime, so I don't waste my reading time on writing I don't get more from than I did from his.

I've only read some brief biographies of Crowley online. They seemed objective and didn't demonize him or push his teachings unnecessarily hard. I've purposely stayed away from the more demonizing accounts because I don't want them to turn me off the deck -- which I love.

It's possible he was truly inspired on some level. I also think it's possible for a person to be truly inspired in some things and dead wrong in others, so I tend to pick and choose from among the ideas of many different people. The deck is stunning, and to this day I'm impressed with it. But Crowley the man and Crowley the writer just don't appeal to me as yet. That's not to say that twenty years from now I won't suddenly find they appeal to me more. But I'm not counting on it.

Nevada
Top   #142
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Always Wondering, Aeon--this thread started some time ago with similia's wonderings about reconciling the person and the deck. It remains an interesting question to some of us and it is a legitimate topic for discussion. Some have lost interest; others have changed their minds; others are just joining in.

Talking about the relation of "Crowley the man" and use of the Thoth deck seems to require getting a bit of handle on "Crowley the man" and that's where the dispute stalls, with those who find him immature, unconvincing, odious, whatever, being accused of bad faith.

I haven't seen any evidence of this. The "gotcha!" approach some on this thread have taken in responding to Crowley detractors isn't convincing. Greg has clarified his position and reasons for taking it; the attributions of attitude to Rosanne appear without foundation.

The larger question is whether the character of the man affects our use of the deck.

Rosanne answered that question, saying she sees the deck as Frieda Harris's and explaining why.

My answer is yes, it affects me.

I don't use the deck because what I know of Crowley is enough to discredit thelema for me, and I find the images curiously interesting but so deeply off-balance that I don't want to spend time with them.

I feel the same about the Osho Zen deck, given the story of Osho.

For me, tarot both reflects and aids human development by helping with self-reflection so we can live a more examined life. This is part of the process of freeing. A person can't be free without mastering himself. When those behind a particular set of images lead hypocritical lives, or are blind to their own motivations and use other people to their own ends--when they live and advocate a vision of human development that I see as false or evil--I leave those images aside and find others consistent with a more truthful vision of a good and examined life.

Here is the post that started the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by similia
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.
Top   #143
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I thought I'd add an example of a deck permeated by magic and whose creator has a very different sense of the life worth living, at least from what I glean from her web sites--that is the Ironwing Tarot by Lorena Babcock Moore. This is a deck with a visual appearance I find deeply appealing and I haven't got a shamanistic bone in my body but I see the spirituality in this deck as very deep. I don't think it could be produced by someone as eaten up inside as Crowley was.
Top   #144
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I like that deck Debra! I have been trying to think of a comparable deck and have been stumped.

In May 1939 Harris wrote to Crowley- part of which was printed in Duquette's book. Harris to my mind was an independent thinker and worked hard on her interpretation of the cards which apparently Crowley thought was her energy and her masterpiece albeit influenced by him. I think there is enough of her character in the Thoth Tarot to focus on it as her work. I was directed by a person on this forum to look at her work from a projective and sacred geometry point of view- and that for me has worked. The natural forces and principles of the so called New age (which have been called Gods) are very clear in her work- I think them full of vitality and it is one deck I feel the Astrology aspect strongly while using it- more so than say the RWS.

Harris wrote...
Quote:
If you are expecting the Tarot to be a means of getting money, or my position as useful for pushing it- I am sorry I am not the right vehicle for such an enterprise as I intend to remain anonymous when the cards are shown as I dislike notoriety.
.... and also this which gives me license to think of the Thoth as her work in the main.
Quote:
I think, looking at the finished cards you will remember all the sequences you have forgotten and I shall be crushed by alterations which will confuse the structure and design and any spectator without your knowledge and so suffer little children to come to thee and confuse them not by too much symbolism and stay thy hand from poor Frieda's tormented visions.
So whilst I see say the very beautiful Star card as an expression of the Goddess of Infinite Space (the Heavens) it is still card number 17 as in other decks.
~Rosanne
Top   #145
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Moderating Note


Hi Everyone,

I've edited this thread to bring in back onto the topic at hand again.

Posts that primarily discussed other contributors to the thread, seperate to the meritis of their argument; or posts comprising of discussion of the thread or forum itself have been removed. I've tried to do this in a way that didn't remove too much discussion of the actual topic. For the parts where this was impossible I am sorry.

For posts that contained a mix of topic and off-topic, I have edited out the off-topic and tried to maintain the pertinent discussion. Again where this has not worked, my apologies.

Being admittedly very biased in this discussion, I've based my decisions on the input of others in the moderating team. If anyone would like to discuss this further however I encourage you to PM me. Further off-topic discussion in the thread will be removed.

This was a fascintaing thread to me 3 years ago when I started it as a newbie to the Thoth. Its even more fascinating now to revisit it from another angle. Thanks everyone.

Simila
Top   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by similia
This was a fascintaing thread to me 3 years ago when I started it as a newbie to the Thoth. Its even more fascinating now to revisit it from another angle. Thanks everyone.

Simila
Thanks Similia!
Well I would like to know if you have changed your viewpoint from the original thread starter. Do you have a different view of Crowley now- some three years later?

Here is one reported statement from Crowley, that I have a hard time reconciling the use of Tarot (any Tarot) and the man Crowley.
There are no "standards of Right". Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with "moral principle"; there is no such thing

Does that mean there is no right or wrong conduct?
There is no compass?
These are the sort of things- that led me to find another way to view the Thoth Tarot- that could ignore the connection between the deck and Crowley.
I also find it a hard fact, that Crowley has turned many away from Tarot philosophically and leads to crazy beliefs that children are sacrificed or goats are killed etc etc. in organisations like O.T.O. Over the years, the most vehement arguments against Tarot that I have come across, although mostly ill- informed are to do with Crowley- not the Thoth Tarot. It is his link with Tarot that has been the talking point; his behaviour- his actions. It does not seem to matter that he has been dead for many years- his reputation lives on. This of course may not be the case of America- but here in New Zealand it is our connection to England.
I posted elsewhere that once words are connected to a person that people know about, the words take on another dimension; especially when they are at variance with their actions.
I want you to know that everything I did, I did for my country.
That sounds like someone like Nelson Mandela and you get a good feeling.
Well that was Pol Pot, and we do not have such a good feeling now.
So I wish everyone could be like Nevada and just use the beautiful deck- without its association to Crowley.
~Rosanne
Top   #147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Thanks Similia!
Well I would like to know if you have changed your viewpoint from the original thread starter. Do you have a different view of Crowley now- some three years later?
It's funny because I do, and I don't. But what I've discovered is it really doesn't matter. I started this thread seeking the kinds of discussion that is happening now, and three years later with some more knowledge under my belt, I realize its all irrelevant to me now. Has this thread in 3 years made any real difference to my utilization or knowledge of the deck? Nope, not one jot. Other threads here have been incredibly useful, but this conversation,.... nope. But its sure been fun to read.

I could insist Crowley was a failed magician for being unable to break his addictions. That is in my opinion a pointless discussion. We may as well ponder if a penguin is less of a bird for being unable to fly. Even Gods are bound by the rules of the universe, though maybe they can bend a few more of them than us mere mortals. The better question is, is Crowley a failed magician for being unable to cure his asthma, which made him dependant on heroin the prescription medication of the time? Now that is really interesting. Or even more intruiging, was Crowley a better magician for having an illness and a drug dependancy? That one's a mind blower. I know its my "diseases" that are my best friends in compelling me to learn and grow. Maybe Crowley had a whole lot more potential to grow than the majority. Or maybe I just need to pull off my 21st century rose colored glasses, and realize I am judging the man by the standards of my time, culture, and my own predjudices. How can I expect another person to have learnt the lessons that my parents were here to learn before me? Crowley probably reincarnated just down the street from my Mum's primary school where he struggled with them for himself

Crowley doesn't appeal to everyone, and his magick doesn't work for everyone. No worries I'm here to study his teachings, because it does work for me, and that's what I really want to hear more about three years later.
Top   #148
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Here is one reported statement from Crowley, that I have a hard time reconciling the use of Tarot (any Tarot) and the man Crowley.
There are no "standards of Right". Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with "moral principle"; there is no such thing
Does that mean there is no right or wrong conduct?
There is no compass?
These are the sort of things- that led me to find another way to view the Thoth Tarot- that could ignore the connection between the deck and Crowley.
There are no absolute standards of right and wrong. Morality is contextual and totally dependent of the individual involved and the situation(s) they are dealing with.
Example: Absolute moral systems say all killing is evil. But is the police officer who kills a crazed gun man to save lives an evil person? Of course not. But judged from the standpoint of absolute morality, the police officer is condemned as an evil person. Stupid isn't it?

Morality does not exist objectively outside of ourselves. The only moral compass we have is an internal one. The vast majority of people experience this via the silent voice of conscience. The trouble is that this inner voice is smothered from the day we are born by societies tribal taboos that define for you right from wrong. They are rules for children. Obey the rules, but never ask why. And to make matters worse, these tribal taboos that define what is right and what is wrong, differ from place to place, culture to culture. Being virtuous in one country makes you a sinner in another. You just can't win.

Someone who learns to listen to their own internal moral compass and thereby transgresses one of these arbitrary codes of conduct is branded immoral, evil, a sinner. What nonsense! But this is the usual accusation levelled at Crowley. He broke societies arbitrary taboos, therefore he is an evil man.

Thelema teaches that each man and woman is in essence divine. Human beings are inherently good. The big problem is society and external codes of conduct that dull our ears to our own selves and channel us in directions that have nothing to do with our own unique purpose in life.
Does this idea of an internal compass really disgust you that much?
Top   #149
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Unfortunately, from what I've witnessed in the world, the problem resides with the individual moral compass. Varying social and religious beliefs, mental illness, and economics all contribute to the problem.

It is this individual standard of morality that has the potential to cause much pain and suffering. This internal "standard" allows such a variance of belief, even within a single group, and the results are literally fatal. It is this individual standard that manifests itself as suicide bombings, when other members of the same society remain peaceful.

If one studies morality throughout the ages, in different places in the world, it's true that there is no "objective" standard of morality. Of course I'm not commenting on "what is", but "what should be".

I wish all of my fellow people would strive toward the goals of world peace, freedom, and love. Ideally, this would arise out of man's own hearts and minds -- a set of principles that respect the lives of others; and yes, these principles, once established, would be an objective standard of morality (if it isn't already and we just don't know it).

The evidence suggests this won't be for a long while.
Top   #150

 

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