Aleister Crowley quotes

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Aleister Crowley

Birthdate: 12. October 1875
Date of death: 1. December 1947
Other names: Alexander Crowley, Ալիստեր Կրոուլի

Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.

Born to a wealthy family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected his parent's fundamentalist Christian Plymouth Brethren faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism. He was educated at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he focused his attentions on mountaineering and poetry, resulting in several publications. Some biographers allege that here he was recruited into a British intelligence agency, further suggesting that he remained a spy throughout his life. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was trained in ceremonial magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India. He married Rose Edith Kelly and in 1904 they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema. Announcing the start of the Æon of Horus, The Book declared that its followers should "Do what thou wilt" and seek to align themselves with their True Will through the practice of magick.

After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded an esoteric order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated Thelema. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis , rising to become the leader of its British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemite beliefs. Through the O.T.O., Thelemite groups were established in Britain, Australia, and North America. Crowley spent the First World War in the United States, where he took up painting and campaigned for the German war effort against Britain, later revealing that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement to assist the British intelligence services. In 1920 he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death.

Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual and an individualist social critic. He has been called "the wickedest man in the world" and labeled as a Satanist by the popular press. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over Western esotericism and the counterculture, and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema. He is the subject of various biographies and academic studies. Wikipedia

Works

The Book of the Law
The Book of the Law
Aleister Crowley
Diary of a Drug Fiend
Diary of a Drug Fiend
Aleister Crowley
Magick Without Tears
Magick Without Tears
Aleister Crowley
Moonchild
Aleister Crowley
The Book of Lies
Aleister Crowley
Magick
Magick
Aleister Crowley

„Acts which are essentially dishonourable must not be done“

—  Aleister Crowley

Appendix VI : A few principal rituals – Liber Reguli.
Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: Acts which are essentially dishonourable must not be done; they would be justified only by calm contemplation of their correctness in abstract cases.

„No event can be fairly judged without background and perspective.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Source: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1929), Ch. 23.
Context: To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worth while. The natural laziness of the mind tempts one to eschew authors who demand a continuous effort of intelligence. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
People tell me that they must read the papers so as to know what is going on. In the first place, they could hardly find a worse guide. Most of what is printed turns out to be false, sooner or later. Even when there is no deliberate deception, the account must, from the nature of the case, be presented without adequate reflection and must seem to possess an importance which time shows to be absurdly exaggerated; or vice versa. No event can be fairly judged without background and perspective.

„Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Introduction.
Source: Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.
(Illustration: It is my Will to inform the World of certain facts within my knowledge. I therefore take "magical weapons", pen, ink, and paper; I write "incantations" — these sentences — in the "magical language" ie, that which is understood by the people I wish to instruct; I call forth "spirits", such as printers, publishers, booksellers and so forth and constrain them to convey my message to those people. The composition and distribution of this book is thus an act of Magick by which I cause Changes to take place in conformity with my Will.)
In one sense Magick may be defined as the name given to Science by the vulgar.

„But exceed! exceed!“

—  Aleister Crowley, book The Book of the Law

II:70-71.
The Book of the Law (1904)

„Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign?“

—  Aleister Crowley, book The Book of the Law

I:26.
The Book of the Law (1904)
Context: Then saith the prophet and slave of the beauteous one: Who am I, and what shall be the sign? So she answered him, bending down, a lambent flame of blue, all-touching, all penetrant, her lovely hands upon the black earth, & her lithe body arched for love, and her soft feet not hurting the little flowers: Thou knowest! And the sign shall be my ecstasy, the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of my body.

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„Destiny is an absolutely definite and inexorable ruler.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Source: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1929), Ch. 48.
Context: Destiny is an absolutely definite and inexorable ruler. Physical ability and moral determination count for nothing. It is impossible to perform the simplest act when the gods say "No." I have no idea how they bring pressure to bear on such occasions; I only know that it is irresistible. One may be wholeheartedly eager to do something which is as easy as falling off a log; and yet it is impossible.

„I have known a printer object to set up "We gave them hell and Tommy", while passing unquestioned all sorts of things to which exception could quite reasonably be taken by narrow-minden imbeciles.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Source: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1929), Ch. 7.
Context: My mother was naturally a rather sensual type of woman and there is not doubt that sexual repression had driven her as nearly as possible to the borders of insanity.
My cousin Agnes had a house in Dorset Square. My mother took me to tea there one afternoon. A copy of Dr. Pascal was in the room. The word "Zola" caught my mother's eye and she made a verbal assault of hysterical fury upon her hostess. Both women shouted and screamed at each other simultaneously, amid floods of tears. Needless to say, my mother had never read a line of Zola — the name was simply a red rag to a cow.
This inconsistency, by the way, seems universal. I have known a printer object to set up "We gave them hell and Tommy", while passing unquestioned all sorts of things to which exception could quite reasonably be taken by narrow-minden imbeciles. The censor habitually passes what I, who am no puritan, consider nauseating filth, while refusing to license Oedipus Rex, which we are compelled to assimilate at school. The country is flooded with the nasty pornography of women writers, while there is an outcry against epoch-making masterpieces of philosophy like Jurgen. The salacious musical comedy goes its libidinous way rejoicing, while Ibsen and Bernard Shaw are on the black list. The fact is, of course, that the puritan has been turned by sexual repression into a sexual pervert and degenerate, so that he is insane on the subject.

„The people who have really made history are the martyrs.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Source: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1929), Ch. 4.
Context: Adaptation to one's environment makes for a sort of survival; but after all, the supreme victory is only won by those who prove themselves of so much hardier stuff than the rest that no power on earth is able to destroy them. The people who have really made history are the martyrs.

„We know one thing only. Absolute existence, absolute motion, absolute direction, absolute simultaneity, absolute truth, all such ideas: they have not, and never can have, any real meaning.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Appendix VI : A few principal rituals – Liber Reguli.
Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: We know one thing only. Absolute existence, absolute motion, absolute direction, absolute simultaneity, absolute truth, all such ideas: they have not, and never can have, any real meaning. If a man in delirium tremens fell into the Hudson River, he might remember the proverb and clutch at an imaginary straw. Words such as "truth" are like that straw. Confusion of thought is concealed, and its impotence denied, by the invention. This paragraph opened with "We know": yet, questioned, "we" make haste to deny the possibility of possessing, or even of defining, knowledge. What could be more certain to a parabola-philosopher that he could be approached in two ways, and two only? It would be indeed little less that the whole body of his knowledge, implied in the theory of his definition of himself, and confirmed by every single experience. He could receive impressions only be meeting A, or being caught up by B. Yet he would be wrong in an infinite number of ways. There are therefore Aleph-Zero possibilities that at any moment a man may find himself totally transformed. And it may be that our present dazzled bewilderment is due to our recognition of the existence of a new dimension of thought, which seems so "inscrutably infinite" and "absurd" and "immoral," etc. — because we have not studied it long enough to appreciate that its laws are identical with our own, though extended to new conceptions.

„The skeptic will applaud our labours, for that the very catholicity of the symbols denies them any objective validity, since, in so many contradictions, something must be false; while the mystic will rejoice equally that the self-same catholicity all-embracing proves that very validity, since after all something must be true.“

—  Aleister Crowley

777 (1909)
Context: The following is an attempt to systematize alike the data of mysticism and the results of comparative religion.
The skeptic will applaud our labours, for that the very catholicity of the symbols denies them any objective validity, since, in so many contradictions, something must be false; while the mystic will rejoice equally that the self-same catholicity all-embracing proves that very validity, since after all something must be true.
Fortunately we have learnt to combine these ideas, not in the mutual toleration of sub-contraries, but in the affirmation of contraries, that transcending of the laws of intellect which is madness in the ordinary man, genius in the Overman who hath arrived to strike off more fetters from our understanding.

„The Initiate who is aware Who he is can always check is conduct by reference to the determinants of his curve, and calculate his past, his future, his bearings, and his proper course at any assigned moment; he can even comprehend himself as a simple idea.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Appendix VI : A few principal rituals – Liber Reguli.
Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: A parabola is bound by one law which fixes its relations with two straight lines at every point; yet it has no end short of infinity, and it continually changes its direction. The Initiate who is aware Who he is can always check is conduct by reference to the determinants of his curve, and calculate his past, his future, his bearings, and his proper course at any assigned moment; he can even comprehend himself as a simple idea.

„The salacious musical comedy goes its libidinous way rejoicing, while Ibsen and Bernard Shaw are on the black list.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Source: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1929), Ch. 7.
Context: My mother was naturally a rather sensual type of woman and there is not doubt that sexual repression had driven her as nearly as possible to the borders of insanity.
My cousin Agnes had a house in Dorset Square. My mother took me to tea there one afternoon. A copy of Dr. Pascal was in the room. The word "Zola" caught my mother's eye and she made a verbal assault of hysterical fury upon her hostess. Both women shouted and screamed at each other simultaneously, amid floods of tears. Needless to say, my mother had never read a line of Zola — the name was simply a red rag to a cow.
This inconsistency, by the way, seems universal. I have known a printer object to set up "We gave them hell and Tommy", while passing unquestioned all sorts of things to which exception could quite reasonably be taken by narrow-minden imbeciles. The censor habitually passes what I, who am no puritan, consider nauseating filth, while refusing to license Oedipus Rex, which we are compelled to assimilate at school. The country is flooded with the nasty pornography of women writers, while there is an outcry against epoch-making masterpieces of philosophy like Jurgen. The salacious musical comedy goes its libidinous way rejoicing, while Ibsen and Bernard Shaw are on the black list. The fact is, of course, that the puritan has been turned by sexual repression into a sexual pervert and degenerate, so that he is insane on the subject.

„I am certainly of opinion that genius can be acquired, or, in the alternative, that it is an almost universal possession.“

—  Aleister Crowley

" Energized Enthusiasm : A Note On Theurgy http://www.the-equinox.org/vol1/no9/eqi09005.html" in The Equinox Vol. 1 no. 9 (Spring 1913) http://www.the-equinox.org/vol1/no9/index.html.
Context: I am certainly of opinion that genius can be acquired, or, in the alternative, that it is an almost universal possession. Its rarity may be attributed to the crushing influence of a corrupted society. It is rare to meet a youth without high ideals, generous thoughts, a sense of holiness, of his own importance, which, being interpreted, is, of his own identity with God. Three years in the world, and he is a bank clerk or even a government official. Only those who intuitively understand from early boyhood that they must stand out, and who have the incredible courage and endurance to do so in the face of all that tyranny, callousness, and the scorn of inferiors can do; only these arrive at manhood uncontaminated.

„ALL
may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon
MAGICK
and the right comprehension and right application thereof.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Introduction.
Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: I must make
MAGICK
the essential factor in the life of
ALL.
In presenting this book to the world, I must then explain and justify my position by formulating a definition of
MAGICK
and setting forth its main principles in such a way that
ALL
may understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being and every circumstance, depend upon
MAGICK
and the right comprehension and right application thereof.

„The essence of
MAGICK
is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government.“

—  Aleister Crowley

Introduction.
Magick Book IV : Liber ABA, Part III : Magick in Theory and Practice (1929)
Context: The essence of
MAGICK
is simple enough in all conscience. It is not otherwise with the art of government. The Aim is simply prosperity; but the theory is tangled, and the practice beset with briars.
In the same way
MAGICK
is merely to be and to do. I should add: "to suffer". For Magick is the verb; and it is part of the Training to use the passive voice. This is, however, a matter of Initiation rather than of Magick in its ordinary sense. It is not my fault if being is baffling, and doing desperate!

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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