By Henrik Bogdan

This quantity is the 1st entire exam of 1 of the 20 th century's so much specific iconoclasts. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) used to be a research in contradictions. Born right into a fundamentalist Christian kinfolk and expert at Cambridge, he was once vilified as a traitor, drug addict, and debaucher, but respected as possibly the main influential philosopher in modern esotericism. relocating past the impression of latest psychology and the modernist knowing of the occult, Crowley declared himself the revelator of a brand new age of individualism. Crowley's occult bricolage, Magick, was once an eclectic blend of religious routines drawn from Western eu magical ceremonies and Indic assets for meditation and yoga. This trip of self-liberation culminated in harnessing sexual strength as a mystical self-discipline, a "sacrilization of the self" as practiced in Crowley's combined masonic staff, the Ordo Templi Orientis. the faith Crowley created, Thelema, legitimated his position as a charismatic revelator and usher in of a brand new age of freedom. Aleister Crowley's lasting effect should be noticeable within the counter-culture move of the past due Nineteen Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies and in lots of types of replacement spirituality and pop culture. The essays during this quantity provide an important perception into Crowley's foundational function within the research of Western esotericism, new spiritual events, and sexuality.

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The order’s name spoke to the realization of a Rosicrucian rebirth, the regeneration of the old, corrupt world and the dawning of a new spiritually enlightened age—timely notions for many at the fin de siècle. The Golden Dawn is now chiefly remembered as a formative influence on the literary imagination of the poet and playwright W. B. Yeats, but its largely middle-class adherents numbered in the hundreds and included gifted men and women from the world of arts and letters. In contrast to Freemasonry, with which the Golden Dawn had certain links, women were welcomed as members and rose to positions of prominence.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, established in the late 1880s, represented itself, in some respects correctly, as a direct link with the arcane traditions of the past. Although its founding documents were probably spurious, and its major rituals undoubtedly the work of Victorian scholars and magicians, its teachings were based upon an imaginative reworking of Hermetic writings further informed by nineteenth-century scholarship in Egyptology and anthropology. The order’s name spoke to the realization of a Rosicrucian rebirth, the regeneration of the old, corrupt world and the dawning of a new spiritually enlightened age—timely notions for many at the fin de siècle.

The experience was overwhelming for both men, but it temporarily devastated Crowley. ”16 Crowley remembered nothing of his return to Bou Saada. As he slowly came to himself, however, he knew that he was changed.  .  . 17 Crowley felt that he had ceremonially crossed the Abyss—a term reminiscent of Nietzsche (whom Crowley greatly admired) but denoting the last terrible journey that a magician must make before he could justifiably lay claim to the highest levels of adeptship. Master of the Temple, a grade of enlightened initiation achieved in Crowley’s own magical order only by those who had crossed the Abyss, meant renunciation of all that life meant.

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