Re: RARA-AVIS: Aleister Crowley

From: Patrick King (
Date: 30 Oct 2007

Crowley was deeply hated by the religious right of the time, so they used the yellow press to discredit him. He died in a respectable rooming house in London at the age of 72 in 1947. He certainly was not as wealthy as his book sales in the 1960s, 70s, & 80s would have made him had he survived to see them all reprinted in expensive editions, re-edited, and fought over. But I don't think he was bone-crushingly poor at his death. The treasury for his "Order" was under his bed, so apparently he hadn't had to dip into it.

As to Crowley's drug addiction, Crowely developed asthma in his late 20s and in England at that time they perscribed heroin to deal with the problem. Heroin in England was treated in a completely different way than it was in the US. It did not have a stigma attached to it until the 1960 with the Rolling Stones and their followers started using it. You got a perscription for it and cashed it at the local clinic. Crowley was addicted to heroin. He describes kicking the drug in his Italian Diary from the late 1920s. As to whether he was ever able to really wein himself fully is doubtful. He always had asthma and heroin was really the only relief for it he found. But he was not a shivering junkie lurking in doorways and robbing handbags to get his fix. He was an old gentleman who played chess in the afternoon, and met with young people who were reading his books and exploring the ideas he'd espoused since he was himself a boy at Oxford.

I've found his books very interesting if you can see his metaphors for what they are. A lot of his readers spend years of their lives running in circles waving thier arms and waiting for something to happen. With a little luck it doesn't and you get over it. If you're unlucky, something does happen and you spend a few more years running in circles. When reading Crowley, it's important to see the humor and sarcasm, irony and contempt for commonly held beliefs that runs through his work. If one develops new beliefs based on it, you're lost.

He wrote a series of detective stories called The Simon Iff Tales. He also wrote two brilliant novels, MOONCHILD, which contains the best depiction of the old mage, Simon Iff, and DIARY OF A DRUG FIEND, which is a good description of his use of drugs and his attempt to control their effects using oriental forms of mind control.

Patrick King
--- Michael Robison <> wrote:

> Patrick King wrote:
> Apparently Miller fell out of favor with Crowley
> because he borrowed money from him and never paid
> him
> back. That's a switch! Crowley, himself, was
> notorious
> for borrowing money and not repaying it.
> **************
> I read Crowley's Confessions way back when, and then
> a
> few years ago read a biography that explains a lot
> of
> phrases he used in the book which were really codes
> for something far different.
> If I recall, Crowley died a nearly impoverished drug
> addict.
> miker
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