Talk:Aleister Crowley

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Aleister Crowley (/ˈkroʊli/; 1875–1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema which he himself lived as an artistic endeavour in his exploration of humanity and spirituality. As well as his contribution to English occultism, Crowley was also a writer, a poet and play script writer, whom overall has contributed an extremely vast corpus of materials. Crowley's writings have grown in popularity since his death, especially among persons whom enjoy alternative literature, and yet have little interest in occultism. Like William Shakespeare, Aleister Crowley is one of the few genius to personally explore the human soul to its extremes, and write of it in descriptive and artist language. While William Shakespeare used theatre to explore a wide range of humanity emotion, and Beethoven used music; Aleister Crowley used himself, placing his exploration and creativity within his fanciful occultism. Nevertheless, the depth of Aleister Crowley's unique personal insight into usually unexposed aspects of the personality cannot be understated as a modern master and spiritual revolutionary. Crowley also successful in various other fields, including mountaineering, chess and poetry. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early twentieth century. Crowley's life and writings have influenced popular culture; and a great deal of publications have been written about Aleister Crowley as well as documentaries about his life. Born into a wealthy upper class family, as a young man he became an influential member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn after befriending the order's leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. Subsequently believing that he was being contacted by his Holy Guardian Angel, an entity known as Aiwass, while staying in Egypt in 1904, he "received" a text known as The Book of the Law from what he believed was a divine source, and around which he would come to develop his new philosophy of Thelema. He would go on to found his own occult society, the A∴A∴ and eventually rose to become a leader of Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), before founding a religious commune in Cefalu known as the Abbey of Thelema, which he led from 1920 through till 1923. After being evicted from Cefalu he returned to Britain, where he continued to promote Thelema until his death. Crowley was also bisexual, a recreational drug experimenter and a social critic. In many of these roles he "was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time", espousing a form of libertinism based upon the rule of "Do What Thou Wilt". Because of this, he gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as "the wickedest man in the world." Crowley has remained an influential figure and is widely thought of as the most influential occultist of all time. In 2002, a BBC poll described him as being the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time. References to him can be found in the works of numerous writers, musicians and filmmakers, and he has also been cited as a key influence on many later esoteric groups and individuals, including Kenneth Anger, Jimmy Page, Kenneth Grant, Jack Parsons, Gerald Gardner, Robert Anton Wilson and, to some degree, Austin Osman Spare.