Aleister Crowley was a Total Hack Magickian (Part 2)

crowleymeme2Some of you might recall that earlier this year I was annoyed with Crowley-worshiping dickbags on the internet and wrote a piece about how much I personally detest the guy. After publicly writing about divine conversation with Holy Guardian Alien Intel on Facebook for nearly 2 years (like my new page for psychick communique), I kept wondering where the boring and rather primitive obsession with macabre subject matter and evil in general stemmed from within the modern Occult world. They’ve read Robert Anton Wilson, right? If you can’t realize that witch hunts are about a billion times darker and “more evil” than witchcraft will ever be, you probably shouldn’t be playing around with this shit in the first place. Seriously.

Then roughly the 5th or so Crowley fanboy started being a total contrarian prick to me and something clicked. Oh yeah, shit, these people idolize Crowley. Crowley was a total asshole to everyone around him. They’re emulating the guy. They think being a dick is part of the equation. Granted, when I got into magick nearly a decade ago, I went in with a romanticized version of Crowley too, stemming primarily from the aforementioned Robert Anton Wilson. It’s a bit different for me because I was summoned into the Occult by something inhuman (you can read all about that weirdness in my book super cheap). At that point I’d tried to read a couple of Crowley’s books at R.A.W.’s suggestion and thought they were godawful, which is an appropriate reaction.

So why was I reading Crowley? Why was Robert Anton Wilson? Well, because he’s marketed as some sort of mystical genius. You take that part out of the equation and what you’re left with is a crappy writer (tastes vary, just my opinion) with an amazing posthumous PR campaign. That being said, I did read a couple of biographies about the dude and found those rather interesting, even though I had zero interest in pursuing the Occult at that point. I now sort of wish I remembered which books these were in retrospect so I could pinpoint them. What I do remember is that they started with the premise that AC was some sort of ascended spiritual master and worked backwards from there. I drank the Kool Aid hook line and sinker and, after I’d gotten into magick, defended him in many a drunken conversation, even aped some of his already borrowed vernacular in my writing. Then one day I ended up randomly watching a documentary on YouTube that didn’t blatantly gloss over the absolute glut of unflattering personality traits possessed by the guy. You know, like the misogyny, the epic woman beating, the animal cruelty, the racism, the whole being a dick to everyone because he wanted to be all evil bullshit. The most hilarious thing is that I watched this documentary and immediately thought, “well, that was obviously made by Christians trying to slander him” to alleviate the cognitive dissonance I was feeling. Then a while later I watched another doc put out by (In Search of the Great Beast 666) and was sort of surprised that they were saying a lot of the same shit.

Hmmm, it struck me as a bit odd that both of these documentaries were just making up the same lies to slander a dude who’s long dead. Wilson told us that the whole “I am the great beast 666” persona was just a practical joke. These movies were painting a vastly different picture. Follow up internet research showed me that the documentaries weren’t really saying anything that wasn’t common knowledge. Aleister Crowley was an egomaniacal borderline sociopath with exactly zero sense of emotional intelligence. That seems to be the one thing that everyone can pretty much agree on in regards to AC. His apologists just pretend this isn’t significant because they’re apparently retarded. I abandoned having much respect for him right then and there solely because the idea that he was any sort of master magickian seemed pretty ridiculous in light of this new information. It just conflicted with everything I was being shown telepathically by the spirits, which mainly had to do with the karmic repercussions of my actions. 5th dimensional entities are showing me one thing. The idea that someone can be a total fucktwat to everyone around him and attain access to the higher realms is the precise opposite of what I’m being taught. Sorry last hundred years of Occult history. I think it’s fairly important to note that people who are assholes, are assholes because they themselves are miserable. So that’s your Occult hero, who you’re aspiring to be like. A guy who was abjectly fucking miserable. Yeah, that’s gonna work out. What these guardian entities were ultimately imparting on me was that unlike this lower dimensional hell realm we inhabit, the other side is more like a meritocracy. That’s the joke/test down here, in this realm. It doesn’t work that way. It’s up to us to make it so, to make it on earth as it is in heaven. In this world, the most famous Occultist is a guy who couldn’t do magick to save his life. Crowley was like 5-foot-tall, slow dude thinking he could be an NBA star, but I’ll get to that in a second.

First it should be noted that right around the time I was contemplating the assholic nature of the Crowley devotees I’d encountered online, I realized that I read an interview with Gary Lachman on Reality Sandwich a few months prior and that he’d just written a book on the seedier side of AC. Gary’s read way more about him than pretty much anyone. What a great book, and good lord, the first I’d read that even mentioned Crowley’s raging alcoholism. Seriously, I’d read 2 biographies and watched 2 documentaries. Neither one thought this was important apparently. What the fuck is that? Again, everything just sort of clicked. God, the sad state of the Occult. Religion has done such a good job of keeping this shit underground that this is where we are. One of the most talentless Occultists ever is now considered the supreme authority. These daemonic motherfuckers certainly have a sense of humor.

So why am I dredging this shit up again? Well, first off, apparently me making fun of people like EA Koetting and Aleister Crowley on the internet is basically the most popular thing I’ve ever done. I can’t log into Facebook these days (like my new page for psilopsychick intel) without answering questions about it. I am a man of the people. You want me to make fun of lame ass horror movie Occultists, I’ve got your back. Christ I could go on and on about it forever, but of course the real reason I’m doing this doesn’t entirely have to do with public demand, but rather like most things in my life, synchronicity. In this case, I stumbled on The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage at a thrift store…on Easter Sunday. Now, I can’t say I had plans of reading this thing, but you know, when the universe knocks it’s usually a good idea to answer the door.

In reading the book even I was sort of shocked. If there’s one point Abramelin wants the reader to take away from him, it’s that if you do magick without a purity of intent and will, if you are not doing it for the greater whole of humanity, it will blow up in your face. He says this over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. He won’t shut up about it. You can only command these daemonic forces around with the purity of your intent and will. With the inner light of God. Same exact thing I’d been taught by the spirits. If you don’t use it for the greater good, you’re doing so at your own peril. Crowley just completely ignored all that and what’s funny is that the story of Crowley attempting the Abramelin working is essentially the story of a magickian failing to do magick. No really, that’s the story. Crowley attempts the Abramelin work, then he gets distracted with some incredibly petty bullshit involving his lame ass Occult order (which dissolved shortly thereafter I might mention), so he abandons it. You know what makes this even more pathetic? Abramelin warns about this threat quite specifically. No really, he says daemonic forces will try and prevent you from completing the work with petty distractions. Crowley not only walked right into that trap, he walked into a trap he was specifically warned about. That’s your supposed super genius mega Occultist. As previously mentioned, based on my experiences, the guy had the exact wrong personality type for this sort of thing, which I’ll get into now, mainly because Crowley’s posthumous popularity is actually a great insult to an ancient mystical tradition as I found out reading Abramelin.

Egomania, Zero Sense of Discipline, and an Unwillingness to Change

Years before I started re-contemplating Crowley (he did in fact win a poll as the most popular Occultist on this site by a landslide), when people asked me about the potentiality of playing around with magick, the first thing I’d say to them would be: “how well do you handle criticism?” I’d ask them this because if I had to sum up the primary message I received from on high when I first started reaching out to the gods, it’d be this: “hey dipshit, you’re a total fuck up. If you stop being a total fuck up and pull your shit together, maybe there’s something we can do for you.” Crushingly brutal, but really no different than getting yelled at by a football coach, or a psychologist for that matter. It’s something I needed to hear. I WAS a fuck up. I was one of those arrogant kids who thought their horrible parents didn’t seriously screw them up on a psychological level. What these Holy Guardian Entities pointed out to me was, ummm, last time we checked you’re unconsciously trying to kill yourself with alcohol and narcotics. Oh yeah, hmmm, why is that exactly? I should probably work on that, huh. Took me years to right the ship, but I managed.

Crowley never did. Guy just kept digging himself deeper and deeper into a hard drug hole with each passing year precisely because of his own egomania. Again, this is another aspect of his personality that none of his biographers seem to question. They’re all in agreement there. Dude thought he was the absolute shit and loved to tell people about it. He was the “greatest living poet” by his own arrogant declarations. He bragged about being an influence on Hitler for Christ’s sake. Crowley was such an egomaniac that he sold out the Occult for his own interests. He didn’t care that the conservative press was slandering him and the Occult with him, he was just glad someone was paying attention. Hey everybody, look at meeeee!!!! Largely because of this, the Occult is what it is today i.e. a complete fucking joke.

So, can you be a master magickian egomaniac? Not really. People like Grant Morrison and I have gotten about as far into the shit as anyone (again, book you can read super cheap), and we both came back talking about the entirety of the human plotline being a singular interconnected narrative. This interconnectedness is why sigil casting works in the first place. You’re just a miniscule blip in an incomprehensibly large macrocosmos of thought. Just another talking monkey conjoined to the rest. This is why Abramelin keeps going on and on about purity of will and intent. We’re all one, if you’re not looking out of the best interests of the collective narrative, the macroverse will just point that out to you, often quite brutally.

Speaking of will, it’s beyond hilarious that a guy who constantly talked about the power of the will and “doing your true will” just so happened to possess exactly zero sense of willpower whatsoever. He’s a classic example of do what I say, not as I do. Another way to put that would be, he studied magick obsessively but actually sucked at it quite spectacularly. When reading about Crowley the one thing that seems fairly constant about his personality is that, if he had a hundred bucks in his pocket for rent and he was in a store with a bejeweled ceremonial cloak that’d look great for his next photo shoot, he’d spend the rent money on the cloak. If he was at a party with a book publisher and it’d be like, you probably shouldn’t sleep with that guy’s daughter because it’ll fuck up your prospects, Crowley HAD to sleep with the guy’s daughter. If he was out with his friends, had a big event the next day and someone offered him 20 lines of blow, AC was gonna suck down those lines. The guy’s daemons owned him. This is sort of the opposite of what you’d expect to see in a spiritual master, and no, I’m not claiming to be one like Crowley did. Another constant in my lesson plans from the stars has been my status as a developing child. I’m still basically like a little kid in the grand scheme of Godhood.

Part of the problem selling any sort of shamanic or Occult path (or Zen Buddhism for that matter) to the masses has always been that they want easy answers and any real spiritual practice involves insane amounts of discipline. Crowley had zero sense of discipline. It involves a shattering of the ego. Crowley had the most massive ego in the universe. It involves a willingness to change. Crowley was locked into his evil spooky villain persona (apparently because he couldn’t deal with the death of his father) and played the role of a drug addict prick until the day he died, which brings me to my next topic:


One of the more hilarious comments in response to the last piece I did on AC, was a guy telling me that harping on the fact that Crowley went broke made me seem materialistic. Errr, okay then. Let me phrase this another way, my point is precisely that Crowley was materialistic as fuck, which is a bit of an odd trait for someone claiming to be a spiritual master. Here’s the thing, Crowley was his time’s equivalent of a multi-millionaire and he worked for exactly none of this money. With that status, he could have easily lived the lifestyle of a multi-millionaire quite comfortably. That wasn’t good enough for him. He had to live like a billionaire and that’s why he went fucking broke. Repeatedly. Remember when I was just talking about ego? Mansions, trips around the world with servants, never working a day job or being bothered with anything but partying and writing terrible books? That’s what Aleister Crowley burned his money on. He thought he just deserved this life by virtue of him being so awesome. When he went broke, he ran out on tabs constantly because he just…had…to…live…that…life. As a matter of fact, in an era of absolutely psychotic wealth inequality, I think it’s pretty important to point out that the only reason I’m talking about the guy right now has to do with his money. Crowley did not possess the talent or acumen as a writer, artist, or Occultist to work his way into the collective imagination on his own. His high society connections did most of the heavy lifting for him on that front. Money is the primary reason we’re talking about a talentless hack magickian long after he’s dead. If you had a friend that dropped out of college to live off his trust fund, then after you’d spent over a decade working soul crushing day jobs to build up a little bit of savings and this friend showed up at your door asking you for money to help him in his spiritual quest, would you think this guy was a bit of a twat? Of course you would. Would you think he was a master magickian? Nope. But a hundred years later we do. So is the nature of celebrity and media myth.

Funny again, this can’t be verified, but Abramelin repeatedly says he used magick to amass quite a fortune that we was leaving for his kid, whom he was writing the book of magic for in the first place. Didn’t quite work out that way for Crowley. He started rich and went broke, because he was a complete fucking moron. Inherited more money, went broke again. And we’re supposed to think this guy was a genius.

But Crowley’s materialism didn’t just extend to his insistence on living a lavish lifestyle, it’s right in his practice. Hermeticism is supposed to be about the ascension toward Godhood, Crowley didn’t seem much concerned with being a God, he wanted to be a “Great Beast” a “Master Therion.” Guy lived his life like a pseudo Marquis De Sade which would be a lot cooler if there wasn’t already a Marquis De Sade. He was a sex magickian who seemed to have zero interest in making any sort of spiritual connection with his lovers. I’m not sure exactly how sleeping with as many people as humanly possible is going to help you attain higher exotic states of consciousness, but that’s what he thought. When he established his Abbey of Thelema, he was living with 3 different women and their kids. A Christian cult leader does this and he’s a creepy perv, but with Crowley it’s somehow totally bad ass, man. He liked to beat the fuck out of his lovers and have his lovers dominate him. Can’t say that’s my thing but whatever, tastes vary. He liked to surround himself with the grotesque and slept with the cheapest, nastiest prostitutes imaginable. Again, if you had a friend and were like, hey what are you doing this weekend, and your friend replied: “well, I’m gonna shoot smack and fuck the cheapest ugliest whores I can find.” You probably wouldn’t think that guy was very chill and/or awesome, and I hope you’d never really talk to him again, but somehow AC gets a free pass and is considered some sort of legend for this exact shit.

Well, anyway, wow, I could keep going and going but people’s internet attention span is pretty slim so I’ll have to continue this in future posts. Which is hilarious, because the whole point was to talk about how daemonic forces control people by getting them addicted to shitty drugs, but I didn’t even get that far. That’s the most interesting stuff. Stay tuned true believers.

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Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken

Thad McKraken is a psychedelic writer, musician, visual artist, filmmaker, Occultist, and pug enthusiast based out of Seattle. He is the author of the books The Galactic Dialogue: Occult Initiations and Transmissions From Outside of Time, both of which can be picked up on Amazon super cheap.
Thad McKraken