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How to appreciate Crowley?

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Zephyros  Zephyros is offline
Join Date: 31 Jan 2004
Location: Israel
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There is no doubt that as an individual. he was disturbing. No, I don't think I would want him as a relative or to have him over for lunch. However, many great geniuses are a bit insane. Not that it makes things any better, but rather than focus on the bad things that he did, I prefer to focus on his volominous body of work that he left.

And any way, if we start judging the great writers, teachers, inventors etc. we would stop learning and doing what we do. Hemingway was a womanizung alcoholic, Nostradamus went into trances with what we know now to be drugs, and the list goes on and on... But then we woudn't stop reading Hemingway, now would we?
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vernissage  vernissage is offline
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I read that book last summer and I loved it. I am very intrigued by his life, ideals, beliefs. I'm not particularily disgusted by the "bad" things he's commited. It is not only the "good" that makes us who we are, afterall.

In concerns to the Thoth Tarot, I usually try to integrate a little bit of his intentions into the interpretations. The cards' meanings have become clearer for me since learning more about him.
Top   #12
thantifaxath  thantifaxath is offline
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gotta love

you have got to love someone who pushes the boundries ...Mr Crowley didn't give a toss about public opinion , did it his way ( more of a big deal in his day ), made some cracking cards , penned a few dry reads ....a good bloke
, makes me love my cards even more ...
Top   #13
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Kiama  Kiama is offline
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Yep, pushing the boundaries is what Crowley did best! I've also come to admire his sense of humour, and his outlook on life. (Very Nietzschian... Though anybody who says he is just into the 'dark side' hasn't read enough of Crowley or Nietzsche.)

Me, I don't care what kind of a man he was. I do care, however, about his magickal system, his philosophy, his ideas, and even his crappy poetry. Crowley wasn't a nice man, neither was Nietzsche. But they sure gave us some pretty amazing stuff.

I would have liked to have met Crowley though - just for lunch maybe.

Top   #14
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Nevada  Nevada is offline
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Originally Posted by Kiama
I would have liked to have met Crowley though - just for lunch maybe.
Me too, Kiama.

I think it's important to remember, in regard to everyone, that even what appears to be simply darkness has its depths. I've always seemed to attract the underdogs. In a workplace the most unpopular person tends to come to me to open up. I've made friends with some of these people.

Reputations and general impressions can be deceiving. Sometimes what you see on the surface is just a defense mechanism hiding a tender human heart. So, not knowing him, I can't pass any judgement on Crowley.

Top   #15
f. silvestris  f. silvestris is offline
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f. silvestris 

There's a lot to be said for using a horizontal, rather than vertical, measure for Crowley's work [ie: viewing it within its period & culture, rather than as part of a specifically occult stream]. Much of the silly &/or gross element in his writings & practice seems like 'Blast' style provocation - killing John Bull with Magick, rather than Art ...
Top   #16
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Indigo Rose  Indigo Rose is offline
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Indigo Rose 
A matter of mindset....

I don't like what I have read about Crowley, nor do I like things I read that he has written. I believe he focused on dark energies and dark work. For me, I can't get past the man to be able to work with the deck. However, I appreciate that others can. We all have different mindsets and ways of perceiving things. To that end I say those who are able to extract the best of his work and overlook the worst of him, more power to you.

Indigo Rose
Top   #17
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kwaw  kwaw is offline
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Crowley V. Waite

One way may to compare him with his peers. His and Waites deck are among the 'top ten' of popular tarot decks. How does Crowley compare with Waite?

Both were members of the Golden Dawn, both translated Levi, both worked with a female member of their order to create a tarot deck, both thought that the 'secret' of kabbalah was the sacrament of sex. Both hated, or at least, denigrated each other. Waite admired Levi but criticised from a scholarly standpoint everything he had to say; Crowley admired him so much he claimed him as one of his previous incarnations.

What about the tarot? How did Waite feel about Pamela and she about him? She wrote she had been given a poorly paid commision, he that he withdrew so as not to inlfuence her intuition, and that he was only involved in five cards whose symbolism he thought important; her work involves little but that of a commercial artist tracing previous examples. Waite in his LWB gives nothing but a list of DMs he has accumulated from a variety of sources, suggesting one may be better than another according to secret doctrines he cannot reveal; but indicating in light of his further works a total confusion based upon scholarship but lacking in revelation, inspiration and the conviction that comes with such. Where did his and Pamela's [the simple, uninspired person uncapable of understanding symbolism, according to Waite] go? Nowhere, it was a commercial enterprise that inspired no originality. Where was she, what contact did they have after he had used her? None.

Compare with Crowley and Harris, letters for seven years, before and after the tarot project, examining the detail of every card, rejecting several. She was there at his death, down to her we know Symonds lied or fictionalised when he said Crowley's last word were 'I am perplexed', as she was there and knew it a lie. And after his death helped for his son to go to America and supported him. Maybe she was wrong in her admiration and support of Crowley, but at least he inspired a contiuning admiration.

The tracings of Pamela dictacted by confused, dry and purposely unrevealing scholarship of Waite, or the originality of Harris by the revelation of Crowley, which do you prefer? Compare Waite's LWB the PKT, a compilation of DM's to which he gives no clue to his own opinion except to say they are fortune tellers meanings he holds in contempt with no relevance to a secret doctrine of which he is obliged to say nothing, and Crowleys BoT in which is reproduced extracts of his magical diaries recording personal dreams and visions.

Top   #18
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kwaw  kwaw is offline
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Crowley & Tradition

Another way maybe to appreciate Crowley in terms of the tradition of the holy sinner or fool, and an antinomian heritage that goes back to at least St. Augustine if not before; and the legacy and influence of his last years upon a neopagan revival.

Top   #19
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Hermgirl  Hermgirl is offline
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While I may not want to take him to the family picnic, or even feel entirely comfortable having dinner with the man, IMHO Crowley was a genius. He conducted himself with wit and humor, a huge amount of lore that has been attached to him is basically him letting people think what they want about him.

I think he lived his life to challenge people to think for themselves.
Top   #20


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