Crowley both enraged and fascinated others with his rites of sex, magic and blood sacrifice Despite the excesses, some consider him one of the most brilliant modern times.
He was born Edward Alexander Crowely in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. His parents, members of a foundamentalist sect, the plymouth Brethren, raised him in an atmosphere of repression and religous bigotry. He rebelled to such an extent that his mother christened him 'the Beasr' after the Anyichrist.
Crowley was drawn to the occult at a young age and was fascinated by blood, torture and sexual degradation. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, but never earned a degree, instead devoting his time to writing poetry and studying occultism. in 1898, he joined the London chapter of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD) and quickly advanced to the highest grade. After leaving Cambridge he named himself Count Vladimir and pursued his occult activities full-time in London.
Stories of bizarre incidents circulated, perhaps fuelled in part byCrowley's mesmerising eyes and aura of supernatural power. Some indivduals professed to see ghostly light surrounding him, which he said was his astral spirit. His flat was said to be pervaded by an evil presence, and people who crossed him were said to suffer accidents. (This power was also claimed by Crowley's contemporary, the eminent novelist John Cowper Powyers, although Powyers feared and tried to sublimate this 'gift' in himself).
Fowllowing his explusion from the HOGD, Crowley travelled and delved into Eastern mysticism. He lived for a time at Boleskin Manor on the southern shore of Loch Ness in Scottland. He had an enormous sexual appetite, and his animal vitality and raw behaviour attracted an unending stream of willing women.
In 1903 he married Rose Kelly, the first of two wives, who bore him one child. He had a steady string of mistresses and also tried unsuccessfull to beget a child by magic, the efforts of which he fictionalised in a novel, Moorzchild(1929).
He spent World War I in the United States, putting out proGerman propaganda. In 1920, while driving through Italy, he had a vision of a hillside villa. He found a place on Sicily, took it over and renamed it the Sacred Abbey of the Thelemic Mysteries. Envisioned as a magical colony, the villa served as the site for numerous sexual orgies and magical rites, many attended by his illegitimite children. The behaviour led Benito Mussolini to expel Crowley from Italy in May 1923.
Crowley's later years were plagued with poor health, drug addiction and finacle triuble. He earned a meagre living by publishing his writings. Much of his nonfiction is rambling and muddled but continues to have an audience. In 1934, desperate for money, he sued the sculptress Nina Hammett for libel in her biography of him, Laughing Torso (1932), in which she stated that Crowley had practised black magic and indulged in human sacrifice. The testimony given at the trail so repulsed the judge and jury that the trail was stopped and the jury found in favour of Hammett.
In 1945 Crowley moved to a boarding house in Hastings, where he lived the last two years of his life, dissipated, drug-addicted and bored. Cowley's published books include The Book of Law (1904), Magick in Theory and Practice (1929) and The Book of Thoth (1944)
Dictionaty of the Occult 1996 Geddes & Grosset pg.59,60,61
*** I am not a fan of Aleister Crowley, but to have an opinion should have knowledge on the topic.