Quarter leather with black cloth, black endpapers limited to 220 copies 618 pages with colour plates, Crown Quarto: 250mm x 180mm
Published by Hell Fire Club BooksThe grades or ‘Degrees’ of the Order
About this book
Reincarnated from an ancient Egyptian Priest, Ankh-f-n-Khonsu, self-proclaimed prophet of the modern age of fierce war and individual freedom, world-class mountaineer, novelist, psychologist, sexual revolutionary, artist, mystical poet, black magician, liar, cheat, murderer, spy, a living demon and god entwined.
The strange and extraordinary life of the infamous Aleister Crowley includes all the great and terrible things which he actually accomplished, as well as those he either dreamed of, claimed to be, or was accused of. Aleister Crowley defied description, embraced contradictions and sought to identify himself with every deity and demon, every godlike and dreadful thing of which the human mind can conceive until his ultimate attainment of the title ‘The Beast 666’.
Living without limits, without the borders or constraints of social, religious or moral controls, he expanded every aspect of his mind and consciousness to the highest heavens as well as the lowest hells.
Within the life of this one man can be seen the form of an age striving to be born: a modern age of power, limitless possibility, the arising of man and woman as gods on earth and the tearing down of false ideals, false moralities: the pillars of hypocrisy and corruption upon which the old world is always founded.
‘Every man and every woman is a star’: to him every human being, regardless of colour, ethnic origin, age, sexuality or any other aspect of their human condition, was as divine and daemonic as each other, there is no difference!
His radical philosophy of ‘Do what thou wilt’ taught generations of young people to throw aside the trappings of society and embrace their own destiny, to regard themselves and the fulfilment of their own desires as the ultimate good.
In his black magic mantra of ‘Love is the law, love under will’ is hidden the key of his vast occult knowledge: that every being contains the power to take control of themselves, their environment, society and the world itself by the channelling of a mysterious sexual force which exists in all creation.
Throughout his life Aleister Crowley both experienced and experimented with the sexual energies of the human body, engaging in hundreds of ‘sex magick’ rituals in order to refine his understanding of this occult process. His writings on the subject of sex, and on the subject of the effect of drugs in religious experience, are amongst the most detailed and accurate ever produced.
Educated at Cambridge University, Aleister Crowley late entered the occult secret society of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn whose inner order rituals Crowley obtained direct from their founder in Paris. The complexity and profundity of these rituals and instruction materials cannot be overemphasized, with its ten ‘grades’ or degree initiations, the Golden Dawn sought to raise its members from the earthly and elemental realms up through to the throne of God himself. It was from the wreckage of this order that Crowley formed his own ‘Order of the Silver Star’ which focused entirely on practical results.
The grades or ‘Degrees’ of the Order
Central to this ascent was the sublimely beautiful ‘Rose Cross’ esoteric system which joined together centuries-old teachings with a death and resurrection ritual enacted in a seven-sided tomb. Typical of his extraordinary ambition, Aleister Crowley was at the same time attempting the ancient ritual of ‘The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage’ a six-month-long ceremony to manifest ones ‘Holy Guardian Angel’.
The floor of the seven-sided tomb
Having bought an elegant property in the Scottish Highlands for the purpose of the long spiritual retreat described by the medieval magician Abramelin, Aleister Crowley immediately commenced to summon demons by the power of talismans in the book.
Talismans from the Abramelin manuscript dated 1458
Boleskine House, Scotland
His house, Boleskine on the banks of Loch Ness, was soon found to be swarming with the powers of darkness, servants and visitors went insane, dark shapes loomed…
Years later the house was bought by rock guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame, he is rumoured to have performed ceremonies of the dark arts there himself and the house mysteriously burnt down twice in subsequent years.
In his career as a mountaineer, Aleister Crowley led climbs to the ever-dangerous Kanchenchunga or K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, as well as setting records for the fastest ascent in Mexico. It was Crowley’s cavalier attitude to danger and his disregard for the safety of his colleagues on the tragic expedition to K2 that led him to be marked with the accusation of a murderer. A great believer in destiny, Crowley marched down from the mountain alone, completely unphased by the disaster which overtook those who dared to defy his leadership.
A keen student of world religions, Aleister Crowley spent years travelling in India, China and the far east studying the yoga systems and the secret teachings of Tantric gurus, but it was his experience in Cairo, Egypt that led to him taking the world by storm.
The Stele of Revealing
Receiving psychic communications from spirits and demonic powers was always a feature of Aleister Crowley’s life, but it was in Cairo that the ultimate message came through. Crowley’s wife Rose was the medium for the unveiling of what became the essential text of the new black magic religion Crowley sought to bring to the world: ‘The Book of the Law’, a series of savagely powerful and erotically charged utterances which revealed to Aleister Crowley his past incarnation as the Priest of the Moon God, Ankh-f-n-Khonsu.
It was in the Cairo museum which Crowley visited, that the spirits directed him to an artefact known as ‘The Stele of Revealing’ whose catalogue number was none other than the Number of the Beast himself: 666
Dozens of works flowed from Crowley’s pen in this period of his life, sublime poetry, rituals of high magic art, essays, literary and artistic criticism as well as works on demonology, drugs and sex.
The centre of this whirlwind of enthusiasms was always his ‘Book of the Law’ and himself as its prophet: ‘The Beast 666’ the power of evil on earth, but it was in Sicily at his ‘Abbey’ that Crowley finally formed the experimental community he dreamed of, the melting pot of souls that would shake the world.
One of Crowley’s black magic paintings on the walls of his Abbey
High up on the Sicilian coast with a view over the great rock on one side and the ocean on the other, Crowley established his ‘Abbey of Do What thou Wilt’, whose residents and guests took drugs daily, sacrificed animals, drank their blood and worshipped ‘The Beast 666’, Crowley himself, as the sole authority over humanity on earth. It was after the death of one of his students at the ‘Abbey’, the young Oxford scholar Raoul Loveday, that the Italian authorities expelled Crowley and ‘The Beast 666’ became truly infamous around the world.
After Sicily, Aleister Crowley set to work on his magnum opus, the ultimate treatise on the use of the occult arts. In this Crowley sought to place the keys to the mastery of all occult forces into the hands of humanity, to lead every man and every woman to the ultimate realisation of their own divine origin and powers.
By the end of his life, he had established two powerful occult orders whose aims were the study of the sexual-magical energies of the human mind and the use of it in political science, economics and in the arenas of artistic creativity, personal power, business, social uprising and war.