A letter to Aleister Crowley from Cultural Virus:
This letter is intended to be apocryphal and humorous (I hope) and looks at some of Crowley's legacy without recourse to acolyte's hyperbole or society's condemnation.There is a pantheon of literature about Big Al - the self-styled Great Beast 666 and Messiah of the Age of Horus - and a suggested reading list is provided at the end of the article.
“Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole of The Law”I thought that as it is now 100 years since 'Liber Legis' was dictated by Aiwass, channelled through Rose, and written down by you, out there in the desert air as the Gate of the Aeon, it was time to drop you a line, out there, through the Bardo.Well your 'Great Work' has had quite an impact since you checked out of Hotel Earth (as I was checking in), although perhaps not in the way you had hoped. I first encountered your 'Magick in Theory and Practice' when I was 13 years old and was enthralled and intrigued despite the, sometimes, pompous tone which grated in the modern world.
My first woo-woo encounter in connection with you was in 1973, driving past your birthplace in Clarendon Square, Leamington Spa, in an old Morris Minor (it would have looked very modern to you) which had been round the clock a couple of times. By chance, I glanced down at the mile-ometer and it read 666.
Following the birth of 'Liber Legis' you announced to the world that you were the Messiah of the Aeon, the Age of Horus. Somehow this message has not translated too well into these times and your behaviour, so outrageous to your own era, would not be much noticed today, if anything you would have been outshone by Ozzy Osbourne. My Uncle Frank was one of the crew who sailed back with you and your heavily pregnant Scarlet Woman, Leah, on the SS. Sirius from New York to England and it may be of interest to contrast his view of the voyage with yours.
In essence it would go like this;-
You;- “On this voyage I was asked by the wretched purser to lecture on Freemasonry in return for a better cabin but, encountering fierce demonic opposition, I had to go on deck in the midst of a violent storm to make Invocation and Offering prior to my talk, in order to dispel these goetia.”
Uncle Frank;- “I remember shouting at this big, bald bloke wearing plus-fours to come off deck as it was dangerous and then realising that he was wanking with two hands, more for balance than length, I think, and shouting for 'eyewash' and 'an oobis', whatever that is!!??” (Note;-I think he meant Aiwass and Anubis but I could be wrong.)
You; “Before my lecture the storm had wrecked the radio mast. There was also little lighting left except for the glorious Soph Lura, the Astral Light, out of which emerged my Holy Guardian Angel coming towards me, her eyes not leaving my face and sitting elegantly in one of the many empty chairs. I knew then that I must abandon the planned subject of the lecture and declare my appointed Role as Messiah of the Aeon.The goetia returned and the lights went out, I naturally blamed the purser and created a Magical Offering which Leah placed in his jacket to ward off these dark forces”
Uncle Frank;- “The purser told me that this pompous, doped-up wanker had taken a shine to a Russian banker's wife who was in one of the best staterooms of the ship - right posh totty. He had just announced himself as the founder of a new religion to supersede Christianity, when we got hit by a wave - which brought the chandelier crashing down, and everyone fled the room. The bastard blamed the purser and put a turd in his jacket pocket so him and his missus got moved back to the worst room on the ship”
You; “Eventually I traced her room and in my utmost finery knocked gently at her door. Her maid was just leaving and said that her mistress was not present, I strode in nonetheless, and said that I would wait. Turning my magical powers upon the wench she had no choice but to leave and carry on her duties. I made a copious offering of Most Sacred Essence as a calling card into the central pages of a copy of my excellent erotic poetry book, 'White Stains' and placed it the centre of her large white bed. My Holy Guardian Angel returned and I emerged, resplendent, from her dressing room (where I had been bathing in the aroma of her feminine finery). 'Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law' I intoned and 'Holy Guardian Angel I await your Instruction'. ' Oh!!! the lecturer, please leave', she said. I obeyed naturally, it was Her Will.”
Uncle Frank; 'So he's only stalked this woman to her cabin and scared her so much she didn't sleep for a week. He was dressed in a kilt, with a red jacket that was too small for him and reeked of too much perfume, tobacco, opium and spunk. He staggered out from amongst her clothes and she told her maid later that she suspected that he'd been sniffing her knickers and shoes. He had brought her a book that she immediately threw out of the porthole without reading it. Her maid told me that there was something slimy in it”
A fair summation, methinks!!?? Basically, Baldilocks, you had a keen intellect, wrote some damn fine poems (including 'White Stains' and climbed some awesome mountains (although I would not have wanted to be amongst your crew - the complaints are still coming in form Kangchenjungra). You, no doubt had developed some significant mastery of the Magical Arts so why screw it all up by an almost adolescent desire to shock?
Losing your father early and being bullied through your teens by Uncle Tom, coupled with your Plymouth Brethren upbringing, all must have contributed to your behaviour. However, looking at your legacy it seems a pity that people only really remember you as 'Wickedest Man in the World' and 'Black Magician'- and neither epithet is true. Looked at in the light of these times your manifestation would have raised few eyebrows.
For instance, in your times there were salt cellars full of cocaine on the tables in Café Royale and it was freely available for purchase in Harrods till 1926.Now it is illegal, plentiful and easier to buy in London after 11.00pm than alcohol.Thus taking cocaine and heroin is not considered a Magical Act anymore. Anyway we can get the much more effective magic mushrooms delivered to the door like pizzas.The hashish these days is not as good as your time though, oh, and heroin is now called Smack! Onomatopoeic don't you think?
Your legacy rolls on through your published works and some strange offspring.OTO, the Magical Order that you ran from 1924 till 1946 is still active in America and UK and Kenneth Grant, who you bequeathed it to, is writing wonderful tomes, significant developments of your work on the Dark Side of the Sephirothic Tree, and in some ways surpassing it.
The weirdest spawn of your work in America is Scientology, which is a very wealthy religion that you would have loved to run and includes many famous people in its ranks. This is inspired by Little Ron, Jack Parsons' apprentice, who you berated when they attempted to create a 'Moonchild' in imitation and homage of your own work in that area. (I am sad to inform you that your very own Magical Son, conceived in ritual to be a 'Moonchild', still languishes in an American mental hospital where he has been for many years.) Jack was a devoted servant to you and 'The Work' but what with spying, building nuclear programmes, and initiating L.Ron Hubbard he has a lot to answer for! The most popular sport in USA now is stock-car racing - I kid you not! Come to think of it Scientology is probably the mass religion that they deserve to replace born-again Christianity.Many interpreters of your magical endeavours have arisen, ranging from the loopy to the cogent, however, because of your neurotic behaviour people still remember you as the man who killed Raoul Loveday at the Abbey of Thelema. The truth being that he should never have drunk that cat's blood, it's a sure way of getting enteritis.
It is also still mentioned how you turned the poet, Victor Neuberg, into a camel but after a buggering like you'd just given him I am sure he would have believed anything you told him, particularly as the opium hadn't worn off. Your provocative quote about 'killing thousands of children every year' has now been surpassed by the late Bill Hicks' remark about 'every morning, wiping out whole civilisations off my belly with a greying gym sock'. He was much funnier than you, Al. You still have your admirers though.
The famous musician Jimmy Page bought Boleskine House, Loch Ness, apparently you stilled owe rent from your time there. He also visited your old amanuensis, Gerald Yorke in the Cotswolds some years back. He came down on the train, humbly, for instruction and told Gerald how he had purchased your famous Egyptian Wand (not the other more famous Wand of the Aeon that you were always waving about). Gerald suggested that he looked behind his sofa where the real one resided. So, a black-market in fake Crowleyabilia! You would love that. Jimmy plays Rock Music which I am not going to attempt to describe or explain as there are no cultural meeting points for us, other than to say that it is Dionysian. If you were here you'd probably have been fronting one of these bands - Throbbing Gristle, perchance?
Anyway - all the best Big Al. Better luck next time!
Love is the Law. Love under Will.