Aleister Crowley is Back

Chemical Wedding, a movie about the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley, has finished shooting. Crowley is an interesting figure. He does come of as quite insane, though, the more your read about him. The movie was written by Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden.

Dickinson is not the first rocker to be inspired by Crowley, who died in 1947. Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page was a big collector of Crowley’s writings and even bought his Scottish estate. Ozzy Oosbourne, meanwhile, eulogized him in the song “Mr. Crowley”.

E. Jim has some Aleister Crowley references on his site. I have read some Crowley, but I am not a fan of the man. I recently saw some mp3 files of early 20th century wax recordings of Crowley reading some of his poetry and performing part of a mystical play. They are short and difficult to listen to, but the mesmerizing power of his voice can still be heard through the static and noise.

I used to own a book Magick in Theory and Practice by Crowley. This is actually part of his magnum opus. Magick IV. I found some of it distasteful, especially where he describes the best ways to acquire street urchins for sacrifice on the alter. His sex Magick stuff was creepy.

The part of Magick that I liked was the description of creating a magical sword. One must be dropped naked in the woods and survive without help of any tool other than ones made oneself. This is total self sufficiency. You must build a fire, mine ore, smelt the ore and create the sword or knife on a self-built forge without any kind of help or tool that you haven’t made yourself. The result will be a tool that is totally made by oneself. It contains a piece of your soul. This is is a fascinating idea. I doubt that Crowley actually did this, though. It isn’t easy, and I think that from what we know about him, he would have given up early.

Crowley, known as the Witch of Soho and The Wickedest Man In the World seems to have made his living by shocking people. He pissed off almost all of the occult leaders of his day and he was hated by the established religions. Today he comes across as a narcissistic fool.

Crowley is a great influence on modern fantasy and horror literature. A movie about the man would probably cash in at the box office.