Aleister Crowley was one of those people who just had art in his blood, or at least that is what he believed. He was a painter, poet and novelist, among other things, but most people never saw the beauty in his paintings that he believed was there.
In the 20th century, as he was painting, he was also experimenting with all sorts of drugs. It was during this time when he also created his own religion called Thelema.
It was founded on ideas of finding one’s harmony with nature and achieving what he called “True Will.”
Sounds good, right? Well, this is where Crowley’s story takes a strange and dark turn.
This new ‘religion’, according to Crowley himself, was partially devoted to worshipping certain Egyptian gods. The Curse of Tutankhamun resulted in the death of 20 people who were excavating Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
Rumor is that Crowley was a satanist. He never admitted to placing a curse, but his diaries are believed to show a drastic change in his mood after those 20 people died.
People are known to say that his “mood lifted” once he received news of certain excavators’ deaths.
Why do people think he’s an occultist or satanist?
First, Crowley called himself ‘Great Beast 666’. Some terms used to describe him were “Wickedest Man In The World,” and a “Master Of Darkness,” according to Katie Serena.
Before Crowley called himself ‘Great Beast 666’, his own mother called him ‘the beast’. It certainly makes one wonder what kind of person someone is when their own mother calls them a beast.
In the song, “All Things Must Pass”, by George Harrison, it says, “Now the darkness only stays the night-time. In the morning it will fade away.
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It’s not always going to be this grey.” It makes me wonder if the darkness ever faded for Crowley.
It appears to me that even when rubbing elbows with painter Gerald Kelly and sculptor Auguste Rodin, his strange thoughts and beliefs were never far from his mind.
Katie Serena wrote, “Crowley’s image stands, amongst others, on the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and his motto, “Do what thou wilt,” is inscribed on Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin III vinyl.
David Bowie referenced him in the lyrics to “Quicksand,” and Ozzy Osbourne paid tribute to him with a whole song titled “Mr. Crowley.””
Despite one’s beliefs, it is clear Crowley had a unique mind. However, that doesn’t take away his status as an artist.
Even though very few people attended his funeral, the fact that so many current musicians have found inspiration with him, means that he left his mark on the world.
According to Johnny Depp, “We’re all damaged in our own way. Nobody’s perfect. I think we are all somewhat screwy, every single one of us.” I think that describes Aleister Crowley perfectly.
Those of us at Her Blaze want to hear your thoughts? Was Crowley a satanist who placed a curse on the Egyptian tombs?
If so, did his heavy drug use play a part? We will probably never know the real truth but he certainly makes for an interesting artist to learn about!