Saturday, May 28, 2011

I used to read Crowley

Every once in awhile, I have to admit that I used to read the works of Aleister Crowley. This tends to get me some black looks in Golden Dawn circles. The official word from on-high is that Crowley is a taboo subject---not that I have ever been much on obeying the edicts of the upper echelon, hence the occasional admission of past guilt.

Am I still guilty of reading Crowley? I am in Golden Dawn---what do you think?

Crowley has been placed in the biggest traitor category, thanks to his publishing of some of the early Golden Dawn rituals and teachings---but he also provides us with a baseline of what was actually being done at the time that he was in the Golden Dawn. In fact, he is the baseline that all students of the system can locate.

Crowley has been placed in the category of the biggest charlatan---but we actually have evidence that he was actually working the tradition, even after he officially left the system.

Crowley has been placed in the category of the biggest show-off that Golden Dawn ever produced---are we really sure that is true anymore?

Crowley has been placed in the category of one of the worst things to happen to occultism, but how many of us started off reading him?

There are some that believe that we should automatically reject the applications of anyone that admits to reading Crowley. I am not one of those people.


PhoenixAngel said...

I will never understand why people have their panties in a bunch about uncle al

S.V. said...

Crowley, or about Crowley, was the subject matter that first introduced me to occultism, in general.

Way back in the day, when I was 10 or 11, long before the advent of the Internet, I picked up a biography of Crowley at a public library. Being the age I was, much of it was well over my head. But still, some of the seed ideas inherent in "occultism," in general, were planted (or re-awoken) in my psyche.

I am not a follower of Crowley or any derivatives of Crowley. But I cannot see how reading his books would make a person a less desirable candidate. I have also read most of Kenneth Grant's books, as unweildy and cryptic as those works are. I think it makes for a more well-rounded knowledge base, without giving any particular credence to those systems.

My two cents.

dirkt said...

AC played in a whole different intellectual league, than his golden dawn contemporaries. he took their ideas to summits, they never dreamt of or even understood. and if you ask me, that hasen't changed very much in the present. his biggest accomplishment may have been, to apply critical scientific reasoning and comparative religious studies to the field of magic/mysticism, in his search for a practice of scientific illumination.
ok.. he had his flaws; thelema being maybe his biggest… but nobody's perfect ;)

Scott Stenwick said...

Regardless of your opinion of Aleister Crowley, if you're going to reject applicants solely because they've read something of his or expel initiates for reading the same, to my way of thinking you're not Golden Dawn at all - you're Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard believed that Scientologists should never be exposed to information critical of his system or anything that he personally disliked. That tradition has continued long after his death, with Scientologists being give special Internet filters to make sure they don't accidentally see something objectionable. IMO, that sort of superstition has no place in a genuine magical order.

Now, cautioning students not to take everything Crowley wrote literally is a whole other thing. That's just common sense.