Saturday, 24 September 2011
Confessions Of Aleister Crowley - My Impressions
It's hard to really call this a review, as I actually didn't read the entire hefty tome in one go, but instead dipped in and out of it over a period of about a year, so my memory of certain parts is likely to be lacking. Here I will try to give my impressions.
Firstly, don't expect this book to be all Magick, Crowley had many varied interests, the other main one being Mountaineering, so expect to spend long periods reading precise details of his expeditions.
This autobiography covers in detail the period right from his early days in the Golden Dawn, right up until the foundation and subsequent demise of the Abbey Of Thelema at Cefalu, which Crowley had set up to put into practice the Law Of Thelema. Of course Crowley also talks a lot about his childhood, as the son of very strict Plymouth Brethren parents.
He talks about his first meeting with Alan Bennett (who was a highly respected adept in the Golden Dawn), who he stayed friends with for many years, even after Alan went to Ceylon to become a Buddhist Monk.
Crowley also talks about his loyalty to, and later contempt of MacGregor Mathers and the various internal battles in the Golden Dawn.
Details of the famous (or infamous) workings of the Abramelin at Boleskine House, his later meeting with his own Holy Guardian Angel in Egypt (Aiwass) and the revelation of The Book Of Law, all make for interesting reading. Not to mention Victor Neuburg and the Enochian workings which eventually lead to the invocation of Choronzon!
The final section of the book talks about the founding of the Abbey Of Thelema at Cefalu (Palermo) and the various visitors. Surprisingly, there are not many details of exactly what went on at the Abbey in terms of practices, this may have been the ideal opportunity for Crowley to have set the record straight about a few things.
Obviously, being an autobiography, the story is very much told from the point of view of Aleister Crowley, but after so much rubbish, half-truths, and sensationalist paranoia about The Great Beast, this remains something he has left in his defence.
The end is quite sad, especially the tragic death of Raoul Loveday, which according to Jane Wolfe one of the members present at the Abbey, was due to him drinking polluted water, and not some bizarre black magic ritual as the press reported at the time.
I would recommend this book to those who are really interested in Crowley and the origins of Thelema, but be warned it's a very long book, and at times hard going if you are not interested in Mountaineering!
Abbey of Thelema - Photo Gallery