Last year we celebrated Aleister Crowley’s birthday with this fine guest post on OF, from billyjane:
Aleister Crowley (Oct. 12, 1875 - 1947) is one of the most controversial figures in the annals of modern occultism.
Along with the Freudians, Crowley believed that most of humankind’s ills were caused by inhibition of the sexual impulses. Consequently, much of Crowley’s magick drew its impetus from the release of psychic energy through sexual activity, including homosexuality and other practices that earned for Crowley the distinction of being named one of the most sinister figures of modern times.
In his day, and for some time afterward, the name of Aleister Crowley was almost synonymous with evil. Crowley’s own mother, a fundamentalist Christian, dubbed him “The Great Beast 666,” a diabolical image drawn from the Book of Revelation….
Before his death Crowley was rumored to have started a group on the American West Coast that included the study and practice of alchemy. The deaths of several persons as the results of mysterious explosions (see recent posts on Jack Parsons) were connected with this practice; but if a Crowley cult ever existed, it had all but vanished within a few years after his death.