Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
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Aleister Crowley, born in Victorian England to a life of financial privilege and religious bigotry, rebelled against his upbringing in every way possible. He became a mountaineer, a bohemian, a writer of sensuous poetry, and a practitioner of what detractors called "the black arts." In reality, he was an uninhibited explorer of global spiritual traditions combining ritual magic with spiritual ecstasy. His winding path intersected ceremonial magic, Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, sex, drugs, poetry and music. And what he offered mankind was a manifesto for a new age: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." For the first time, the life of one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century is illuminated by a writer who is both an academic researcher and a lifetime practitioner.
Discussions of this undertaking had begun with Crowley as early as November 1918. Because OTO had its origins in high degree Freemasonry, however, the similarity of its rituals made the Detroit Masons uncomfortable. As Crowley recounted, However, when it came to the considerations of the practical details of the rituals to be worked, the general Council of the Scottish Rite could not see its way to tolerate them, on the ground that the symbolism in some places touched too nearly that of the
henceforth known as Frater NChSh (Serpent) or Frater Scorpio, became Crowley’s new secretary. He was not yet twenty-one. In person, Crowley proved to be venerable. He played chess frequently because his phlebitis often kept him homebound. On weekends when Yorke visited, he would set each of them up at a chessboard; then, seated in his favorite chair, smoking a pipe of perique tobacco and warming a snifter of brandy, he would sit with his back to them and call out his moves, playing them both
Victore (sic) Neuburg is listed with his mother Jeannette Jacobs (married, age thirty-one), residing at 123 Highbury New Park. Other residents include Jeannette’s mother Rebecca (age fifty-nine, widowed head of household), and her six siblings Hannah (age thirty-four), Benjamin (age thirty-one), Sydney (age twenty-nine), Theresa (age twenty-seven), Edward (twenty-six) and Montague (twenty-one). See RG12, piece 173, 43: 23. The 1901 census for the same address still spells his name Victore, but
Countless Ways?” Philadelphia Inquirer, 4 Dec 1921. 17 Passport application, 10 Feb 1919, National Archives, College Park, MD. 18 Marriage record, Q2 1914, GRO, London, 1a: 1243. 19 The Equinox 1913, 1(10): 91–2. 20 Leah Hirsig to Norman Mudd, 12 Aug 1923, Yorke Collection. 21 “Samuel A. Jacobs, Designer of Books,” New York Times, 17 Sep 1971, 46. “Fine American Bookmaking of 1930: The American Institute of Graphic Arts Holds its Ninth Annual Exhibiion,” New York Times, 15 Feb 1931, 60. 22
46 UK incoming passenger list, Carmania, 7 Feb 1921. 47 Norman Mudd to Leo Marquard, 10–12 Feb 1921, BC 587, Leo Marquard Papers, University of Cape Town. 48 Biographical information on Mudd is drawn from Ninette Shumway to Frank Bennett, Apr 26, 1923, New 92, Yorke Collection, and Mudd’s own autobiographical statement in New 116, Yorke Collection. 49 Greene, Moments of Being, 21. 50 Spence, Secret Agent 666, 188, reports that Rome’s Central State Archive has a dossier on Crowley, containing