I’m about an 8th of the way through my latest occult purchase, which I reviewed here and here. Magick: Book 4, Liber ABA by Crowley, and so many aspects of it play hand in hand with my own individual experiences and studies. I know Crowley has a very bad reputation, but that is the thing. A lot of people today have never read his works or his journals; therefore they create ideas about him because of his associations with the occult, bestiality, demons, drugs and abuse. People who have read his books in the past have taken him far too seriously and end up publicising how much they hate him, blaming him for their anguish and failures. If you didn’t learn to jump into something with an objective mind, it was not him that failed you. If you don’t listen to yourself, you’ll never truly know what you are capable of doing, and that is on any general ground. The one thing I love most about my being is how much I listen to myself and how I am able to distinguish between what is me and what is my ego. A lot of people fall into magick with ego, and they feed it whether they realise or not (this is a slight off topic thing for another post some time).
What is more messed up, he never told anyone to follow him, more than once. Like me, he was all about being an independent soul, on a journey of knowledge, spiritualism and magick. He was also a firm believer that you are the architect of your life, not a priest or the head of a denomination. He was one of the modern masters who reaffirmed that you could have a connection to the Gods without going through other human agents. Besides devout honour and worship to the cosmos of Gods and Goddesses above and around us, he also opened our eyes further to the soul and the energies we possess. Through him, and many other amazing authors like McGregor Mathers or Dr. John Dee, he introduced us to the unseen world of demons and angels. They had been viewed primarily through Christian lenses, but no more as you may learn in time. He made it evident that we do not live or fit in a box that society or religious institutions create for us, only we can create such things. He gave way to the many philosophical, scientific and magickal practices a lot of us spiritual folk, pagans, magicians and witches hold today. Many wonderful teachings you can learn from Yogi’s, monks or the like have been tried and tested over centuries, and Crowley, like so many authors of his time have only opened these ancient teachings to the world. We have a right to learn yes? If you don’t like Crowley or his works, as I see them as two separate things (whereas a lot see it as just one thing which is naive), then don’t worry, you don’t need to force yourself to be familiar with anything of his just because. Neither should you feel the need to slam those who find his works acceptable. I’ll share this rather long section from a preliminary written by one of his sorority sisters:
“Frater Perdurabo is the most honest of all the great religious teachers. Others have said: “Believe me!” He says:”Don’t believe me!” He does not ask for followers; would despise and refuse them. He wants an independent and self-reliant body of students to follow out their own methods of research. If he can save them time and trouble by giving a few useful “tips,” his work will have been done to his own satisfaction.
“Those who have wished men to believe in them were absurd. A persuasive tongue or pen, or an efficient sword, with rack and stake, produced this “belief,” which is contrary to, and destructive of, all real religious experience.” ~ Soror Virakam (Mary d’Este Sturges)
I love this note, because it is so simple and to the point. I’m sure you can find the full copy on the internet. I understand, now that I am thinking of a few books, that a lot of modern authors have written plainly and boldly that he is an evil man and ‘You should never look to him or his works!’ But he was part of the rich Golden Dawn history, and he helped Gardner form Wicca. As a person he was considered ‘insane’ or ‘wicked’ for the life choices he made, but no one is perfect. I know I’m not! Humans make mistakes. It took me a long time to learn how to listen to my true voice and not my ego. Like I said, learn to be objective and not to take things so seriously, that is what makes you the ideal architect of your life. There is no point jumping into every pool only to miss the boat that floats by. Focus on one point, but have an open mind about it. Eventually you’ll find something to tether you to the perfect island.
PS. Look at me giving good advice I was once given (about Crowley)…