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By Henrik Bogdan

This quantity is the 1st finished exam of 1 of the 20th century's such a lot unique iconoclasts. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) used to be a learn in contradictions. Born right into a fundamentalist Christian relatives and trained at Cambridge, he used to be vilified as a traitor, drug addict, and debaucher, but respected as maybe the main influential philosopher in modern esotericism. relocating past the effect of up to date psychology and the modernist realizing of the occult, Crowley declared himself the revelator of a brand new age of individualism. Crowley's occult bricolage, Magick, used to be an eclectic mixture of religious routines drawn from Western eu magical ceremonies and Indic resources 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 workforce, 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 flow of the overdue Sixties and early Seventies and in lots of types of replacement spirituality and pop culture. The essays during this quantity supply an important perception into Crowley's foundational position within the learn of Western esotericism, new spiritual events, and sexuality.

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It is noteworthy that, typically, Crowley adapted the procedure to suit himself. Unlike Dee, he, the master magician, would be his own scryer. Neuburg, whom Crowley recognized to be a gifted clairvoyant, was the scribe. As the two men made their way through the desert, Crowley increasingly fell under the spell of his experiences in John Dee’s Aethyrs. He encountered celestial beings, both terrible and beautiful, who divulged in richly symbolic The Sorcerer and His Apprentice 21 language something of the realms in which they dwelt.

Although Crowley held to the idea of a hidden essential “Self,” a unique core at the heart of the man, magic taught him that the “I” of Aleister Crowley was only one possible self among many. The most terrible lesson that Crowley had to learn, however, and he learned it in the desert, was that it is precisely this “I”—that which apparently secures one’s place in the worldly order of things—that 34 Aleist er Crowley an d West ern Esot ericism must undergo dissolution in the ordeal of the Abyss. ”57 As in all magical practice, however, the Abyss can manifest in physical form, the plastic representation of its assumed qualities.

The key difference for Crowley between himself and Dr. ” Crowley would also have wished to argue that Perdurabo was no monster. He was an initiated magical self and in no sense represented a personal crisis of identity. The point here is The Sorcerer and His Apprentice 33 that an experienced magician is in control, through a ritualized series of practices, of the initiated personality; he (or she) can access it at will and hold it in perfect balance with the mundane self. In the true adept, there is no blurring of the line.

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