Saturday, October 9, 2010
Alesiter Crowley: Satanist
A letter (above) was forwarded to me several weeks ago for commentary and analysis. The writer, like many earnest yet naive readers of Aleister Crowley, mistakes Crowley’s wit, charm, and worldly acumen as being completely out of character with what they consider a “Satanist” to be by their definition of the word. That, and the fact that Crowley rarely referenced Satan directly in his many writings leads them to think that Crowley was not a Satanist. Crowley himself, if he could be with us to answer this charge, would undoubtedly laugh at the label while secretly acknowledging its accuracy.
And why is that? First and foremost, Crowley would have disputed this writer’s very definition of the word, and so he would no further admit to being a “Satanist”, based on the common misperception of the word, then he would admit to being a Catholic priest, or a Christian.
Yet even in this, Crowley would hypothetically offer an objection, being that he did, indeed, serve as a High Priest at various spiritual rites, and in the matter of Christianity, would no doubt admit the hidden truths buried behind centuries of dead dogma and purposely distorted Christian teachings.
Yet it is essential to start upon an agreed definition of “Satanist” if we are to ever answer the question of whether or not Mr. Crowley actually thought of himself in this manner, and more importantly, acted upon it.
So let us define our terms: a Satanist is one who worships the spiritual being known as Satan, often incorrectly misunderstood and equated with both Lucifer or “the Devil.”
A “Satanist” worships Satan to align him or her self to be receptive to the powers which such alignment of Will can reputedly grant to Satan’s worshippers on this Earth --- to bend reality in their favor while partaking of all the seven “vices” of Christianity, by positing their True Will, first and foremost, as primary and therefore having primacy over all other non-Satanists.
According to Crowley’s conception of the universe, man has only one “work” upon this Earth in each incarnation: and that is to find one’s True Will or “work” in this world -- one’s particular purpose in each incarnation -- and then to do it. In Crowley’s cosmology, it is through the worship of Satan, whom he considered to embodied in one’s Holy Guardian Angel, that a person learns what one’s “True Will” actually is. From that moment on, a person has no other spiritual obligation but TO DO one’s True Will upon this Earth.
A Satanist’s “Will” is simply the performance and enjoyment of their purpose in Life without the slightest hindrance to its indulgence and execution, no matter who may suffer by its realization. So a Satanist worships -- and sacrifices -- to Satan for the specific purpose of attaining certain goals or accomplishments which are in congruence with their Satanic, dominant world view of their True Will.
Crowley would also note that in a world of Satanists, with everyone doing their True Will, there would be no friction and no wasted motion or emotions. All would be in accordance with Universal Harmony, as all would be doing and pursuing their True Wills. Everyone would be following their particular “star” (destiny), for we only suffer “dis-aster” (uncoupling or moving away from our “aster” or “star”) when we no longer move forward in pursuit of our incarnate path, our True Will.
Problems arise, according to Crowley, because we live in a world where one’s True Will is hidden from ourselves, so most people go about living their entire lives completely blind and oblivious to the purpose of their incarnation. That being the case, the true Satanist’s exercise of his or her True Will will often be in direct conflict with and in violation of the wills of other persons who are doing whatever they may be doing in life, because the actions of these persons are based on their lower emotions and physical desires, but not on their True Wills.
Our correspondent's perception and definition of a “Satanist”, on the other hand, like that of the general public, is probably more along the lines of certain rock stars who have grown notorious as much for their misunderstanding of occult truths as they have for their licentious life-styles; or they may think of such personages as ex carnival barker Anton Szander LaVey, confidant to the stars, as the dark mystery man who represented "Satanic" truths to the famous so that these ambitious people could perform rituals to Satan in order to “get what they want.”
Would Crowley admit to being that “kind” of Satanist. Heavens, no! But would he agree that he was a Satanist of any sort? To answer that question, we shall turn to no lesser an authority than Aleister Crowley himself.
On page 51 of “The Confessions of Aleister Crowley” (Bantam Books, 1970) Crowley has this to say about Christianity and Satanism: “It seems I possessed a theology of my own, which was to all intents and purposes, Christianity. My Satanism did not interfere with it at all. “
Between pages 516 and 517 we find over 30 photographs which show Crowley in a variety of dress and activities, including wearing the headdress of Horus, making the ‘Sign of Pan’ (the Goat Headed God) and a self portrait of the Master Therion (Crowley) as The Beast 666, a personification in which Crowley reveled and never abandoned, but rather cultivated, throughout his life.
Moreover, Crowley was head of the magickal order in England known as the O.T. O. (Ordo Templar Orientis or Order of the Oriental Templars). Not only did the original Templars worship the “goat headed god” known as Baphomet, but Crowley, upon becoming the head of the OTO, assumed the magickal name of Baphomet! (page 916). Just as the Rolling Stones recognized “Mister D” (The Devil) on their "Goat Head’s Soup" album, the god Baphomet, the goat-headed god with whom Crowley personally identified by taking his name in the OTO, represents Satan incarnate. Kenneth Grant, current head of the OTO in England, confirms this in his book, “The Cult of the Shadow,” on p. 212, where he identifies Baphomet as the god form “...adored by the Templars” ... in the shape of a goat.
Or consider Crowley’s Satanic “invocation” (which means to spiritually as well as physically seek union and become one with a discarnate entity) as quoted in “Magick” by Aleister Crowley, p. 357: “Thou Spiritual Sun! Satan, Thou Eye, thou Lust; Cry aloud! Whirl the Wheel, O my Father, O Satan, O Sun!”
Or perhaps this passage on p. 270 of “Outside the Circles of Time” by Kenneth Grant: “Crowley established contact with the Great White Brotherhood when he identified himself with the Beast 666, and with Set or Shaitan (Satan)....” Here, Kenneth Grant, spells it out so clearly enough that even the most casual readers cannot ignore the fact that Aleister Crowley saw himself as both the Great Beast of Revelation as well as the invocation of Satan.
But let us proceed further. We find the “Salutation to Baphomet” (the goat-headed god of the Templars) written by Crowley on page 210 of “The Secret Rituals of the OTO” by Francis King. And in “Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God” by Kenneth Grant, THE ENTIRE BOOK revolves around the fact that Crowley considered his spirit guide, Aiwas, to be identical with his higher genius and his Holy Guardian Angel. On page 18 of this book, Grant states: “...Crowley acknowledged Aiwas as a being identical with his daemon, his genius, or his Holy Guardian Angel...The Devil, Satan...of our particular unit of the Starry Universe.”
In summary, I would think there can be little doubt that Aleister Crowley considered himself to be the physical incarnation of the Great Beast 666 foretold in the Bible, and that congruent with this thought, Crowley worshiped Baphomet, the goat-headed god long associated with Satan, while also considering Aiwas, his spiritual guide, to be a direct manifestation of his Satanic Holy Guardian Angel.
So was Aleister Crowley a “Satanist”?
Is the Pope Catholic?
L C Vincent
Copyright 2010, L C Vincent, all rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any media, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of the author.