Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
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Aleister Crowley, born in Victorian England to a life of financial privilege and religious bigotry, rebelled against his upbringing in every way possible. He became a mountaineer, a bohemian, a writer of sensuous poetry, and a practitioner of what detractors called "the black arts." In reality, he was an uninhibited explorer of global spiritual traditions combining ritual magic with spiritual ecstasy. His winding path intersected ceremonial magic, Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, sex, drugs, poetry and music. And what he offered mankind was a manifesto for a new age: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." For the first time, the life of one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century is illuminated by a writer who is both an academic researcher and a lifetime practitioner.
moment. Then he devised a way to milk the game even further. When Skene again finished, Crowley feigned rapture. “Yes, yes, I see! If you would be so kind, I’d like you to repeat this lesson for my good friend, Princess Bathurst.” Princess Leila Ida Nerissa Bathurst Waddell. When Crowley bumped into Skene in London on October 11, 1911, it was another of their many subsequent encounters. This time Skene was on his way to the Savoy, where Isadora Duncan was throwing a wild fortieth birthday party
dubious about her musical career and appalled by New York’s high cost of living, was relieved that someone took on the financial burden of caring for her. “All he asked,” Crowley says, “was that I should introduce him to a girl who would be his mistress while costing him nothing.”98 Crowley obliged, introducing Coomaraswamy to the Owl; soon, the two began living together. “The cost of a double room being slightly less than that of two singles,” Crowley described Coomaraswamy’s frugal ways, “he
threatened him at one time;26 later, he wrote with exasperation, “You are a callous old sinner at times.”27 The two argued passionately about Marie, Yorke insisting that Crowley live up to his responsibility and AC accusing Yorke of sleeping with his wife. Twas to no avail. Yorke ultimately resigned himself to accepting Crowley’s vagaries and to maintaining a distance from him. In a note to himself, he wrote: It is a curious world. I cannot stand for A.C.’s behaviour in leaving Marie without a
Rafael Aguilar, Kayla Block, Craig Dickson, Paul Feazey, Christian Hartman, W. Adam Mandelbaum, Holy Pardieu, David A. Poole, Phyllis Seckler, Martin P. Starr, and Evan Verbanic brought corrections to my attention. Dr. Chris Hyatt and Jim Wasserman made the first edition of this book happen. I extend my deepest appreciation to all the wonderful people at North Atlantic Books who recognized that the time was right to update Crowley’s biography, including my editor, Erin Wiegand; copy editors
Determination of Extracts during Summer,” Journal of the Institute of Brewing 1908, 14: 9; “The Determination of Diastic Power by Lintner’s Method,” Journal of the Institute of Brewing 1908, 14: 13; G. Cecil Jones and John H. Jeffery, “The Estimation of Iron by Permanganate in Presence of Hydrochloric Acid,” Analyst 1909, 34: 306–16; “Purchase of Fuel under Specifications,” Journal of the Institute of Brewing 1911, 17: 182–209; “Note on Ground Almonds” (see “Proceedings of the Society of Public