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Aleister Crowley

Edward Alexander Crowley (a.k.a. The Great Beast, The Wickedest Man in the World)

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

Crowley’s active lifestyle, especially in hiking and mountain climbing, staved off the maladies of his bad habits for years, but they have, at long last, begun to catch up with him. He has returned to London for additional nasal surgeries, and his health is beginning to fail him.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

Born in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Edward Alexander Crowley was the son of Edward Crowley, an engineer-turned-brewmaster, and Emily Bertha Bishop. His father died in 1887, when the boy was only 11, and the experience destroyed his ambitions of becoming a religious scholar and put him at odds with the Plymouth Brethren, the strict quaker-like denomination of his father, and with his mother, who began referring to him as “the Beast.”

Sexuality

Crowley was bisexual, despite homosexual relationships being illegal in the British Empire at the time.

Education

Crowley attended a Christian boarding school in Hastings, followed by Ebor Preparatory School in Cambridge. In 1895, he entered the Moral Sciences Tripos at Trinity College Cambridge. He began with Philosophy, but switched to English Literature.

In 1898, his occult education began in earnest with his initiation in the Order of the Golden Dawn. He would chase that particular interest around the world and throughout the rest of his life.

Employment

Having inherited a third of his father’s wealth, Aleister rarely, if ever, had steady work, instead seeking out occult knowledge or experiences in nature. He was an expert alpinist, climbing five mountains in the Bernese Alps, as well as participating in the first effort to climb K2.

If he had anything that could be called a profession, it was probably writer, as Crowley wrote poetry, plays, and, of course, a wide array of occult texts. In February of 1904, Crowley and his wife, Rose, posed as European nobility and took an apartment in Cairo, where they began invoking Egyptian deities. It was during this time that Rose allegedly became possessed by Aiwass, the messenger of Horus, and passed on to Aleister the occult secrets that would eventually become The Book of the Law, the founding document of Crowley’s pet religion, Thelema.

In the early 20th century, he began providing magical protection and tutelage for pay, due to his inheritance running out. He also became a published writer, including some short stories and articles for Vanity Fair. He also traveled the world, from the Middle East to China to the United States, everywhere seeking sexual conquest, ritual magic, and more places to publish his writing.

Accomplishments & Achievements

Crowley was initiated into a number of esoteric orders: The Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientalis, and, naturally, his own creation, A∴A∴. He was also a highly prolific writer, who produced occult texts, poetry, and fiction. Certainly he would have probably ranked the creation of Thelema, his religion based on the Aeon change of 1904, as one of his greatest occult achievements.

Failures & Embarrassments

One of Crowley’s most famous magical failures was a mystical assault on the Vault of the Adepts, one of the Golden Dawn’s temple spaces in London. The assault failed, the police were called, and the courts ruled in favor of the Golden Dawn, as they were paying the rent on the space.

Intellectual Characteristics

Crowley’s capacity to absorb and process information was profound. He considered a career as a professional chess player while at Cambridge, learned multiple languages, and mastered innumerable complicated occult rites. He mastered the numerological intricacies of Kabbalah and still made time to seduce what seemed at times to be half of Europe and much of Central Asia.

Morality & Philosophy

Crowley’s morals, such as they are, could probably be best expressed by the basic law of Thelema - “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Crowley’s wish to overturn much of modern society has pushed him into the arms of both Communists and Nazis from time to time.

Personality Characteristics

Motivation

Crowley’s parade of magical acts, Satanic dabblings, and flirtations with radical politics may have been the product of deep spiritual seekings, or the result of a far simpler truth: all of his controversial and subversive behavior did get him a hell of a lot of attention.

Savvies & Ineptitudes

Crowley certainly had a talent for self-promotion, and a charm that left a parade of ex-lovers of all genders behind him as testament. He was never very good with money, spending three times his annual incomes for years until he was forced into bankruptcy court, and even his most famous texts did not sell very well.

Vices & Personality flaws

It might, in the end, be shorter to say that he did not, as far as anyone knows, indulge in bestiality, because he pursued practically every other vice of the time. He kept a string of lovers, sampled every recreational pharmaceutical placed in front of him, practiced all manner of magic, to include blood sacrifice (though not, reportedly, unto death), and generally behaved in a way to earn himself the moniker of the “Wickedest Man in the World.”
Life
1875 1947 72 years old
Children
Hair
None
Quotes & Catchphrases
Some of Crowley’s most famous phrases were captured in his occult writings:
  • “Every man and every woman is a star.”
  • “Love is the law, love under will.”

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