Aleister Crowley is a Mushroom

Aleister Crowley was not a healthy human being. In fact, Aleister Crowley was probably a psychopath. After all, he discounted ethics of all kind and presented the world with principles, “Love under Will” and “Do what though wilt” that ae perfect excuses and justifications for bullies of every kind.

There are no “standards of Right”. Ethics is balderdash. Each Star must go on its own orbit. To hell with “moral principle”; there is no such thing. Aleister Crowley.

So sayeth the Lord high Aleister Crowley.

Fuck the world, and who cares who you hurt. “Do what though¬†wilt” and that’s “the law”, and that’s all he had to say about it. Subvert love, tie it to will, act with utter selfish abandon, and pretend that makes you a more evolved person. But poor Aleister Crowley, he was a mushroom. He grew up in toxic shit and was damaged by his toxic socialization. He had abusive parents, he dallied with pedophile priests, and he took ongoing abuse from the social system as a whole!

He recounts brutal bullying!

My uncle and aunt visited me at Cambridge. I told them about the Badger’s meeting, not in a spirit of complaint, but rather as Sir Richard Burton might have described his adventures among savages. Uncle Jonathan did not see the matter in that light at all. He made inquiries which confirmed my story; and told Champney point blank that this sort of thing had got to stop. Champney attempted to bluster, but on being threatened with the sanitary authorities, knuckled under. The matter, however, did not stop there. My uncle saw clearly that I was being brutally ill treated; and he made an application to the courts which resulted in my being called to see Mr. Justice Stirling in chambers. I have always been intensely loyal even to my enemies, and (for all I knew) the judge might send my mother and her brother to prison. So I lied like a little man and pretended that I was perfectly happy at the school. I do not think that he was entirely fooled by my protestations; and although I was not made a ward in Chancery, a promise was exacted that I should go to a public school and university as soon as I had passed the “Cambridge Local”.

He implies sexual abuse at the hands of “the cloth.”

While he was actually in charge of me his conduct was irreproachable, but after giving me up he invited me over to his mother’s house at Maze Hill to spend the night, and did his best to live up to the reputation of his cloth. I did not allow him to succeed, not because I could see no sin in it, but because I thought it was a trap to betray me to my family. Just before he left for Africa he invited me again, prayed with me, confessed to his offense, excusing himself on the ground that his elder brother Jack, also a missionary, had led him astray, and asked my pardon. Once again I adopted the attitude of the man of the world, “Tut, tut, my dear fellow, don’t mention it,” which annoyed him very much, because he wanted to be taken seriously as the chief of sinners.¬† (72)

He admits he was so brutally abused by his father that he disassociated (a sign of serious psychological disturbance) until daddy died!

Previous to the death of Edward Crowley, the recollections of his son, however vivid or detailed, appear to him strangely impersonal. In throwing back his mind to that period, he feels, although attention constantly elicits new facts, that he is investigating the behavior of somebody else. It is only from this point that he begins to think of himself in the first person. From this point, however, he does so; and is able to continue this autobiography in a more conventional style by speaking of himself as “I”. Aleister Crowley

And the outcome of all this abuse? Psychopathology! In the following account, Crowley details his remarkably horrific murder of some person’s cat, and he recounts it with the dispassionate and disconnected tone of a pure psychopath.

There is one amazing incident; at the age of fourteen as near as I can remember. I must premise that I have always been exceptionally tenderhearted, except to tyrants, for whom I think no tortures bad enough. In particular, I am uniformly kind to animals; no question of cruelty or sadism arises in the incident which I am about to narrate. I had been told “A cat has nine lives.” I deduced that it must be practically impossible to kill a cat. As usual, I became full of ambition to perform the feat. (Observe that I took my information unquestioningly au pied de la lettre.) Perhaps through some analogy with the story of Hercules and the hydra, I got it into my head that the nine lives of the cat must be taken more or less simultaneously. I therefore caught a cat, and having administered a large dose of arsenic I chloroformed it, hanged it above the gas jet, stabbed it, cut its throat, smashed its skull and, when it had been pretty thoroughly burnt, drowned it and threw it out of the window that the fall might remove the ninth life. In fact, the operation was successful; I had killed the cat. I remember that all the time I was genuinely sorry for the animal; I simply forced myself to carry out the experiment in the interest of pure science.

Yes, you read it right. At the tender age of 14 Crowley brutally butchered a family pet. Deny all you want, but I think most psychologists would view this sort of thing as the sign, at the very least, of a deeply disturbed child. It might even indicate the early development of psychopathic tendencies. There are certainly hints of this in Crowley’s total abdication of collective responsibility and his complete rejection of morality and ethics. Crowley states it himself, there is nothing higher than individual will. “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

Could it be true? Was Aleister Crowley a psychopath? And if so, what does that say about his “spiritual system.” Personally, and you may disagree, I think he was a psychopath. I think Aleister Crowley was a mushroom. He grew up in a toxic society and experienced abuse so profound that it caused him to dissociate and disconnect to the point of psychopathy. That’s a personal tragedy of biblical proportions to be sure, but there is a collective tragedy here as well, and that tragedy is the fact that some people, they call themselves Thelemites, look to Crowley as an icon of spiritual evolution. Crowley was a big-time member of this world’s secret brotherhoods where he wrote many books propagating “his” views on spirituality and creation. He even developed his own version of the masonic tarot deck! He was a prolific and influential psychopath who propagated a psychopath’s spirituality.

Or at least, that’s what I think. Of course, you may disagree. Given Crowley’s personal history, I think it is an idea worth thinking about. If Crowley was a psychopath, and if his spiritual ideas were corrupted by his psychopathy, then doesn’t this call into question the validity of his spirituality? Could Crowley’s Thelemic system really be nothing more than the diseased vomit of a serially victimized child? Given his personal biography, it is a reasonable question to ask. Was Crowley a psychopath and if so, did it corrupt his spiritual teachings. Put another way, if Crowley was a mushroom, was he the magic kind, or the poison kind? Did he really express the principles of a new aeon, or was he just a highly intelligent, but wounded and damaged child, taking out his anger and hatred on others while providing an intellectual justification for bullying and abuse of others.

Was he “The Beast”, as he claimed, or was he just a broken and wounded Fool.

The Great Awakening

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right path back home

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