Quotes by Aleister Crowley
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Wikipedia Summary for Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley (born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947) was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.
Born to a wealthy family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected his parents' fundamentalist Christian Plymouth Brethren faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism. He was educated at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he focused his attentions on mountaineering and poetry, resulting in several publications. Some biographers allege that here he was recruited into a British intelligence agency, further suggesting that he remained a spy throughout his life. In 1898, he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was trained in ceremonial magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India. He married Rose Edith Kelly and in 1904 they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema. Announcing the start of the Æon of Horus, The Book declared that its followers should "Do what thou wilt" and seek to align themselves with their True Will through the practice of magick.
After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded an esoteric order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated Thelema. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), rising to become the leader of its British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemite beliefs. Through the O.T.O., Thelemite groups were established in Britain, Australia, and North America. Crowley spent the First World War in the United States, where he took up painting and campaigned for the German war effort against Britain, later revealing that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement to assist the British intelligence services. In 1920, he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death.
Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug user, bisexual, and an individualist social critic. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over Western esotericism and the counterculture and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema. He is the subject of various biographies and academic studies.
It is as if the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician intent upon a combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify and perfume the human soul.
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early. My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall.
I've often thought that there isn't any 'I' at all; that we are simply the means of expression of something else; that when we think we are ourselves, we are simply the victims of a delusion.
Sit still. Stop thinking.
Sanity is a compromise.
Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the Will.
Destiny is an absolutely definite and inexorable ruler. Physical ability and moral determination count for nothing. It is impossible to perform the simplest act when the gods say no. I have no idea how they bring pressure to bear on such occasions; I only know that it is irresistible.
Astrology has no more useful function than this, to discover the inmost nature of a man and to bring it out into his consciousness, that he may fulfill it according to the law of light.
The planet Saturn, which represents anatomy, is the skeleton: It is a rigid structure upon which the rest of the body is built. To what moral qualities does this correspond? The first point of virtue in a bone is its rigidity, its resistance to pressure.
This is th' abyss. Behold wherein I lurk
The lazar-house my mind, wherein do work
The horrid charnel-priests, whose loathly song
Sickens my soul, and quells the spirit strong.
Every one interprets everything in terms of his own experience. If you say anything which does not touch a precisely similar spot in another man's brain, he either misunderstands you, or doesn't understand you at all.
I seem to remember asking myself if I was insane, and answering, ''Of couse I am -- sanity is a compromise. Sanity is the thing that keeps one back.
Repeal all laws which assume that mankind is a herd of cattle.
Ever man is eternally alone. But when you get mixed up with a fairly decent crowd, you forget that appalling fact for long enough to give your brain time to recover from the acute symptoms of its disease -- that of thinking.
Cynicism is a great cure for over-study.
There is a great deal of cynicism in this book, in one place and another. It should be regarded as Angostura Bitters, to brighten the flavour of a discourse which were else too sweet. It prevents one from slopping over into sentimentality.
Imagine listening to Beethoven with the prepossession that C is a good note and F a bad one; yet this is exactly the stand point from which all uninitiates contemplate the universe. Obviously, they miss the music.
Like clouds in rain, like seas
Exultant as they roll,
We mix in ecstasies,
And, as breeze melts in breeze,
Thy soul becomes my soul.
The key of joy is disobedience.
You can only accomplish your object in life by complete disregard of the opinions of other people.
Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass and are done; but there is that which remains.
I'm a poet, and I like my lies the way my mother used to make them.
Do not imagine that art or anything else is other than high magic! -- is a system of holy hieroglyph. The artist, the initiate, thus frames his mysteries. The rest of the world scoff, or seek to understand, or pretend to understand; some few obtain the truth.
Acts which are essentially dishonourable must not be done; they would be justified only by calm contemplation of their correctness in abstract cases.
Man has the right ... to play as he will ... to think what he will: to speak what he will: to write what he will: to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will: to dress as he will.
Morality can muddle mystical understanding and virtue is only necessary in so far as it favours success. All wisdom must be encompassed in order to achieve enlightenment.
In the absence of will power, the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.
We place no reliance On virgin or pigeon; Our Method is Science, Our Aim is Religion.
Anything which throws light upon the Universe, anything which reveals us to ourselves, should be welcome in this world of riddles.
Some men are born sodomites, some achieve sodomy, and some have sodomy thrust upon them.
Further, an excess of legislation defeats its own ends. It makes the whole population criminals, and turns them all into police and police spies. The moral health of such a people is ruined for ever; only revolution can save it.
The old spelling MAGICK has been adopted throughout in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits.
To me, every dirty act was simply a sacrament of sin, a passionately religious protest against Christianity, which was for me the symbol of all vileness, meanness, treachery, falsehood and oppression.
Love is a virtue; it grows stronger and purer and less selfish by applying it to what it loathes; but theft is a vice involving the slave-idea that one's neighbor is superior to oneself.
Love is the only principle which makes life tolerable.
O Godhead of glory and anguish!
O Christ shone through Magdalen's tears!
Thy sons on the universe languish
In iron bands strong as the spheres;
With virtue Thy likeness we cover,
With priestcraft we mock at Thy power,
And the meanest on earth is a lover,
As vile as a flower.
Adaptation to one's environment makes for a sort of survival; but after all, the supreme victory is only won by those who prove themselves of so much hardier stuff than the rest that no power on earth is able to destroy them. The people who have really made history are the martyrs.
As above, so below.
The average man cannot believe that an artist may be as serious and highminded an observer of life as the professed man of science.
Black magic is not a myth. It is a totally unscientific and emotional form of magic, but it does get results -- of an extremely temporary nature.
Crime, folly, sickness and all phenomena must be contemplated with complete freedom from fear aversion or shame. Otherwise we shall fail to see accurately, and interpret intelligently; in which case we shall be unable to outwit and outfight them.
The increase of knowledge has forced
the thinker to specialise, with the result that there is nobody capable to deal with civilisation as a whole. We are playing a game of chess in which nobody can see more than two or three squares at once, and so it has become impossible to form a coherent plan.
The sole test of music is its power to exalt the soul.
There is only one really safe, mild, harmless beverage and you can drink as much of that as you like without running the slightest risk, and what you say when you want it is, 'Garcon! Un Pernod!'
The keystone… some have called God, some Brahma, some Zeus… some even IAO… but in truth, O seeker, it is Thy-SELF.
How right politicians are to look upon their constituents as cattle! Anyone who has any experience of dealing with any class as such knows the futility of appealing to intelligence, indeed
to any other qualities than those of brutes.
Your kiss is bitter with cocaine.
Happiness lies within one's self, and the way to dig it out is cocaine.
The most delicious sensation of all is the re-birth of healthy human love. Spring coming back to Earth!
To the eyes of a god, mankind must appear as a species of bacteria which multiply and become progressively virulent whenever they find themselves in a congenial culture, and whose activity diminishes until they disappear completely as soon as proper measures are taken to sterilize them.
We must conquer life by living it to the full, and then we can go to meet death with a certain prestige.
I am inclined to agree with the Head Master of Eton that pæderastic passions among schoolboys 'do no harm'; further, I think them the only redeeming feature of sexual life at public schools.
The Gods are but names for the forces of Nature themselves.
Don't talk for five minutes, there's a good chap! I've a strange feeling come over me -- almost as if I were going to think!
The Holy Guardian Angel is the spiritual Sun of the Soul of the Adept.
I did not hate God or Christ, but merely the God and Christ of the people whom I hated.
Oh, how superior is the Eye of Horus to the Mouth of Isis!
I was not content to just believe in Satan. I wanted to be his chief or staff.
This formula of Love is universal; all the laws of Nature are its servitors. Thus, gravitation, chemical affinity, electrical potential, and the rest -- and these are alike mere aspects of the general law -- are so many differently-observed statements of the unique tendency.
Light, Life and Love are like three glow-worms at thy feet: the whole universe of stars, the dewdrops on the grass whereon thou walkest!
I am perplexed.
The two seem, at first glance, to be opposed, but when you have advanced a little in both, you find that concentration learned in Yoga is of immense use in attaining the mental powers necessary in Magick; on the other hand, the discipline of Magick is of the greatest service in Yoga.
The true test of the perversity of a pleasure is that it occupies a disproportionate amount of the attention.
A madhouse of frenzied moneymaking and frenzied pleasure-seeking, with none of the corners chipped off. It is beautifully situatedand the air reminds one curiously of Edinburgh.
Astrology has no more useful function than this, to discover the inmost nature of a man and to bring it out into his consciousness, that he may fulfil it according to the law of light.
All that was ordered and stable is shaken. The Æon of Wonders is come. Like locusts shall they gather themselves together, the servants of the Star and the Snake, and they shall eat up everything that is upon the earth. For why? Because the Lord of Righteousness delighteth in them. (16:6).
When you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex instinct is God.
-Review of Ida Craddock's Heavenly Bridegrooms.
The man of earth is the adherent. The lover giveth his life unto the work among men. The hermit goeth solitary, and giveth only of his light unto men.
The mystic's idea of deliberately stupefying and stultifying himself is an abomination unto the Lord. This, by the way, does not conflict with the rules of Yoga. That kind of suppression is comparable to the restrictions in athletic training, or diet in sickness.
And allow me again to assure you that when you've got yourself going, doing your True Will, you won't find you have any time to get bored.
We of Thelema are whole-hearted extroverts; the penalty of restricting oneself is anything from neurosis to down right lunacy; in particular, melancholia.
The word of sin is Restriction. O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will! O lover, if thou wilt, depart! There is no bond that can unite the divided but love: all else is a curse. Accursed! Accursed be it to the aeons! Hell.
The truth of the profane was the falsehood of the Neophyte, and the truth of the Neophyte was the falsehood of the Zelator! Again and again the fortress must be battered down! Again and again the pylon must be overthrown! Again and again must the gods be desecrated!
Remember in any case, that not only the Adept, but anyone with the smallest capacity for Adeptship, is fundamentally an Artist; he will certainly not possess any of those bourgeois virtues which are just so many reactions to Blue Funk.
Look not so deeply into words and letters; for this Mystery hath been hidden by the Alchemists. Compose the sevenfold into a fourfold regimen; and when thou hast understood thou mayest make symbols; but by playing child's games with symbols thou shalt never understand.
30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops and does nought.
31. If Power asks why, then is Power weakness.
64. I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
It will be seen that the formula -- 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law' has nothing to do with 'Do as you please.' It is much more difficult to comply with the Law of Thelema than to follow out slavishly a set of dead regulations.
The intention of this Book of The Law is perfectly simple. Whatever your sexual predilections may be, you are free, by the Law of Thelema, to the the star you are, to go your own way rejoicing.
30. If Will stops and cries Why, invoking Because, then Will stops an does naught. 31. If power asks why, then power is weakness.
For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.
I do not want to father a flock, to be the fetish of fools and fanatics or the founder of a faith whose followers are content to echo my opinions. I want each man to cut his own way through the jungle.
When you have proved that God is merely a name for the sex instinct, it appears to me not far to the perception that the sex instinct is God.
To use legal or financial constraint to compel either abstention or submission, is entirely horrible, unnatural and absurd.
All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.
The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules--but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.
The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
He shall fall down into a pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of reason.
Love is the law, love under will.
It is the mark of the mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth.
Sex is the sacred song of the soul; Sex is the sanctuary of Self.
There is no part of me that is not of the Gods.
I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA .
Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence.
Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.
Men and women are not free to love decently until they have analyzed themselves completely and swept away every mystery from sex; and this means the acquisition of a profound philosophical theory based on wide reading of anthropology and enlightened practice.
When one walks, one is brought into touch first of all with the essential relations between one's physical powers and the character of the country; one is compelled to see it as its natives do. Then every man one meets is an individual.
Your friends will notice at once that glib vacuities fail to impress, and hate you, and tell lies about you. It's worth it.
The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
It is only necessary to destroy in oneself the roots of those motives which determine a man's course, in order to enjoy the omnipotence and immunity of a god.
Truth! Truth! Truth! crieth the Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations.
The Quest of the Holy Grail, the Search for the Stone of the Philosophers-by whatever name we choose to call the Great Work-is therefore endless. Success only opens up new avenues of brilliant possibility.
I was in the death struggle with self: God and Satan fought for my soul those three long hours. God conquered -- now I have only one doubt left -- which of the twain was God?
Initiation means the Journey Inwards: nothing is changed or can be changed; but all is trulier understood with every step.
It is necessary that we stop, once for all, this ignorant meddling with other people's business. Each individual must be left free to follow his own path.
Every incarnation that we remember must increase our comprehension of ourselves as who we are.
Those magicians who object to the use of blood, have endeavored to replace it with incense. But, the bloody sacrifice, though more dangerous, is more efficacious. And for nearly all purposes, human sacrifice is the best.
This Universe is a wild revel of atoms, men, and stars, each one a Soul of Light and Mirth, horsed on Eternity.
The essence of independence has been to think and act according to standards from within, not without.
The best models of English writing are Shakespeare and the Old Testament.
Religion itself becomes offensively monotonous. On every point of vantage are pagodas -- stupid stalagmites of stagnant piety.
There are no standards of Right. Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with moral principle; there is no such thing.
Do what thou wilt, the most sublimely austere ethical precept ever uttered, despite its apparent license.
Beauty is itself so unattainable that it escapes altogether; and the true artist, like the true Mystic, can never rest.
Woe to that seven months abortion who thinks to take advantage of the accidents of birth, and, mocking the call of duty, sneaks off to stare at a wall in China!
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.
Love is the law, love under will.
Remember that unbalanced force is evil; that unbalanced severity is but cruelty and oppression; but that also unbalanced mercy is but weakness which would allow and abet Evil. Act passionately; think rationally; be Thyself.
What is the meaning of Initiation? It is the Path to the realisation of your Self as the sole, the supreme, the absolute of all Truth, Beauty, Purity, Perfection!
Here again, there is no tabulation; for us it is left to sacrifice literary charm, and even some accuracy, in order to bring out the one great point.
The cause of human sectarianism is not lack of sympathy in thought, but in speech; and this it is our not unambitious design to remedy.
This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of Man, but He who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil; He bade 'Know Thyself!' and taught Initiation.
There are hardly half a dozen writers in England today who have not sold out to the enemy. Even when their good work has been a success, Mammon grips them and whispers: More money for more work.
Thus each step in sorcery is also a step in slavery; and that any man should put such power in the hands of another, no matter for what hope of gain, is one of the mysteries of perverse psychology.
This complaining rambling rubbish is the substitute which has taken the place of love.
Sit still. Stop thinking. Shut up. Get out!
The first two of these instructions comprise the whole of the technique of Yoga. The last two are of a sublimity which it would be improper to expound in this present elementary stage.
What is necessary is not to seek after some fantastic ideal, utterly unsuited to our real needs, but to discover the true nature of those needs, to fulfill them, and rejoice therein.
A single ego is an absurdly narrow vantage point from which to view the world.
By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe.
There is a single main definition of the object of all magical Ritual. It is the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm. The Supreme and Complete Ritual is therefore the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel; or, in the language of Mysticism, Union with God.
To train the mind to move with the maximum speed and energy, with the utmost possible accuracy in the chosen direction, and with the minimum of disturbance or friction. That is Magick. To stop the mind altogether. That is Yoga.
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!
May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early!
I am the blue-lidded daughter of Sunset; I am the naked brilliance of the voluptuous night-sky.
One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad.
The nails from a suicide's coffin, and the skull of the parricide, were of course no trouble; for Vesquit never traveled without these household requisites.
Love stories are only fit for the solace of people in the insanity of puberty. No healthy adult human being can really care whether so-and-so does or does not succeed in satisfying his physiological uneasiness by the aid of some particular person or not.
There is a splendour in my name hidden and glorious, as the sun of midnight is ever the son.
A burnt child dreads the fire.
Indubitably, Magick is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgement and practice than in any other branch of physics.
I've often thought that there isn't any I at all; that we are simply the means of expression of something else; that when we think we are ourselves, we are simply the victims of a delusion.
Balance every thought with its opposition. Because the marriage of them is the destruction of illusion.
Toronto as a city carries out the idea of Canada as a country. It is a calculated crime against the aspirations of the soul and the affection of the heart.
Every man and every woman is a star.
A Man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him.
For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect.
The 'lords of the earth' are those who are doing their Will. It does not necessarily mean people with coronets and automobiles; there are plenty of such people who are the most sorrowful slaves in the world. The sole test of one's lordship is to know what one's true Will is, and to do it.
Modern morality and manners suppress all natural instincts, keep people ignorant of the facts of nature and make them fighting drunk on bogey tales.
I can imagine myself on my death-bed, spent utterly with lust to touch the next world, like a boy asking for his first kiss from a woman.
To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worth while. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.
Indubitably, magic is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics.
In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless.
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
Intolerance is evidence of impotence.
The pious pretense that evil does not exist only makes it vague, enormous and menacing.
I have never grown out of the infantile belief that the universe was made for me to suck.
Chinese civilisation is so systematic that wild animals have been abolished on principle.
Falsehood is invariably the child of fear in one form or another.
Part of the public horror of sexual irregularity so-called is due to the fact that everyone knows himself essentially guilty.
The people who have really made history are the martyrs.
The conscience of the world is so guilty that it always assumes that people who investigate heresies must be heretics; just as if a doctor who studies leprosy must be a leper. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach.
I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff.
If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad.
Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness.
The ordinary man looking at a mountain is like an illiterate person confronted with a Greek manuscript.
Paganism is wholesome because it faces the facts of life.
The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.
The supreme satisfaction is to be able to despise one's neighbor and this fact goes far to account for religious intolerance. It is evidently consoling to reflect that the people next door are headed for hell.
I was asked to memorise what I did not understand; and, my memory being so good, it refused to be insulted in that manner.
To me a book is a message from the gods to mankind; or, if not, should never be published at all.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.