Edward Alexander (Aleister) Crowley [rhymes with "holy"] was born October 12, 1875 in Leamington Spa, England. His parents were members of the Plymouth Brethren, a strict fundamentalist Christian sect. As a result, Aleister grew up with a thorough biblical education and an equally thorough disdain of Christianity.
He attended Trinity College at Cambridge University, leaving just before completing his degree. Shortly thereafter he was introduced to George Cecil Jones, who was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn was an occult society led by S.L. MacGregor Mathers which taught magick, qabalah, alchemy, tarot, astrology, and other hermetic subjects. It had many notable members (including A.E. Waite, Dion Fortune, and W.B. Yeats), and its influence on the development of modern western occultism was profound.
Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn in 1898, and proceeded to climb up rapidly through the grades. But in 1900 the order was shattered by schism, and Crowley left England to travel extensively throughout the East. There he learned and practiced the mental and physical disciplines of yoga, supplementing his knowledge of western-style ritual magick with the methods of Oriental mysticism.
The upshot was that he began to listen to Rose, and at her direction, on three successive days beginning April 8, 1904, he entered his chamber at noon and wrote down what he heard dictated from a shadowy presence behind him. The result was the three chapters of verse known as Liber AL vel Legis, or The Book of the Law. This book heralded the dawning of the new aeon of Horus, which would be governed by the Law of Thelema. "Thelema" is a Greek word meaning "will", and the Law of Thelema is often stated as: "Do what thou wilt". As the prophet of this new aeon, Crowley spent the rest of his life working to develop and establish Thelemic philosophy.
In 1906 Crowley rejoined George Cecil Jones in England, where they set about the task of creating a magical order to continue where the Golden Dawn had left off. They called this order the A:.A:. (Astron Argon or Astrum Argentium or Silver Star), and it became the primary vehicle for the transmission of Crowley's mystical and magical training system based on the principles of Thelema.
Then in 1910 Crowley was contacted by Theodore Reuss, the head of an organization based in Germany called the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). This group of high-ranking Freemasons claimed to have discovered the supreme secret of practical magick, which was taught in its highest degrees. Apparently Crowley agreed, becoming a member of O.T.O. and eventually taking over as head of the order when Reuss suffered a stroke in 1921. Crowley reformulated the rites of the O.T.O. to conform them to the Law of Thelema, and vested the organization with its main purpose of establishing Thelema in the world. The order also became independent of Freemasonry (although still based on the same patterns) and opened its membership to women and men who were not masons.
Aleister Crowley died in Hastings, England on December 1, 1947. However, his legacy lives on in the Law of Thelema which he brought to mankind (along with dozens of books and writings on magick and other mystical subjects), and in the orders A:.A:. and O.T.O. which continue to advance the principles of Thelema to this day.
Love is the law, love under will.
...And then Jacques Vallee arrived.
I had wanted to talk to Doctor Vallee for several months now and I immediately kidnapped him into a room which the other party- goers were not informed about. On the way, we spotted Hymenaeus Alpha (Grady McMurty), Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis, and his wife, Phylis.
The Skeptic had heard Jacques Vallee talk at a conference on Science and Spirit, sponsored by the Theosophical Society, earlier in the year. He had taken a new approach to the UFO mystery and was systematically feeding all the reports of extraterrestrial contacts into a giant computer. The computer was programmed to look for various possible repeated patterns. Jacques said that the evidence emerging suggested to him that the UFOs weren't extraterrestrial at all, but that they seemed to be intelligent systems intent on convincing us they were extraterrestrial. [Indeed, even as our Dear Brother Terence McKenna hath said, "We are part of a symbiotic relationship with something which disguises itself as an extraterrestrial invasion so as not to alarm us." -B:.B:.]
Now the Skeptic started pumping Jacques about his evidence that they weren't extraterrestrial. He started to explain that, analyzing the reports chronologically, it appeared that They (whoever or whatever they are) always strive to give the impression that they are something the society they are visiting can understand. In medieval sightings, he said, they called themselves angels; in the great 1902 flap in several states, one of the craft spoke to a West Virginia farmer and said they were an airship invented and flown from Kansas; in 1940s-1950s sightings, they often said they were from Venus; since Venus has been examined and seems incapable of supporting life, they now say they are from another star-system in this galaxy.
"Where do you think they come from?" I asked.
Doctor Vallee gave the Gallic form of the classic scientific Not- Speculating-Beyond-The-Data head-shake. "I can theorize, and theorize, endlessly," he said, "but is it not better to just study the data more deeply and look for clues?"
"You must have some personal hunch," I insisted.
He gave in gracefully. "They relate to space-time in ways for which we have, at present, no concepts," he said. "They cannot explain to us because we are not ready to understand."
I asked Grady McMurty if Aleister Crowley had ever said anything to him implying the extraterrestrial theory which Kenneth Grant, Outer Head of another Ordo Templi Orientis, implies in his accounts of Crowley's contacts with Higher Intelligences.
"Some of the things Aleister said to me," Grady replied carefully, "could be interpreted as hints pointing that way." He went on to quote Crowley's aphorisms about various of the standard entities contacted by Magick. The Abramelin spirits, for instance, need to be watched carefully. "They bite," Aleister explained in his best deadpan am-I-kidding-or-not? style. The Enochian "angels," on the other hand, don't always have to be summoned. "When you're ready, they come for you," Aleister said flatly.
"The outstanding quality of UFO contactees," Jacques Vallee said at this point, "was incoherence. I now have grave reservations about all physical details they supply," he said.
"They are like people after an auto accident. All they know is that something very serious has happened to them." Only the fact that so many cases involve other witnesses, who see something in the sky before the "contactee" has his/her strange experience, justifies the assumption that what happens is more than "subjective."
"Largely," Doctor Vallee summarized, "they come out of it with a new perspective on humanity. A religious perspective, in general terms. But all the details are contradictory and confusing." He regarded green men, purple giant men, physical craft with windows in them, etc., as falling into the category psychologists call "substitute memory," always provided by the ingenious brain when the actual experience is too shocking to be classified.
Grady McMurty -- Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis -- said, in effect, that the theory of higher dimensions made more sense to him than the extraterrestrial theory in terms of actual space ships entering our biosphere.
The two Los Angeles magicians agreed.
|Lam, an "extra-terrestrial"
Intelligence with whom Crowley
was in astral contact in 1919.
|This drawing by Crowley
appeared in an exhibition held
in Greenwich Village, New York,
in the same year
Aliens & Demons & the Bible
Doctor Vallee listened to all this with a bland smile, and did not seem to regard any of us as mad.
(A few days later, in discussion with the former Vacaville prison psychologist, Dr. Wesley Hiler, I asked him what he really thought of Dr. Leary's extraterrestrial contacts. Specifically, since he didn't regard Leary as crazy or hallucinating, what was happening when Leary thought he was receiving extraterrestrial communications? "Every man and woman who reaches the higher levels of spiritual and intellectual development," Dr. Hiler said calmly, "feels the presence of a Higher Intelligence. Our theories are all unproven. Socrates called it his daemon. Others call it gods or angels. Leary calls it extraterrestrial. Maybe it's just another part of our brain, a part we usually don't use. Who knows?")
Since everybody in the room at this point had either had the required experience, or was willing to speculate about it and study it objectively rather than merely banishing it with the label "hallucination," I went into my rap about the parallels between Leary and Wilhelm Reich. "The attempt to destroy both Dr. Reich and Dr. Leary reached its most intense peak right after they reported their extraterrestrial contacts," I said. "I keep having very weird theories about what that means..."
Grady McMurty nodded vigorously. "That's the $64,000 question," he said emphatically. "For years I've been asking Phylis and everybody else I know: why does the gnosis always get busted? Every single time the energy is raised and large-scale group illuminations are occurring, the local branch of the Inquisition kills it dead. Why, why, why?"
Nobody had any very conclusive ideas.
"I'll tell you what I think," Grady said. "There's war in Heaven. The Higher Intelligences, whoever they are, aren't all playing on the same team. Some of them are trying to encourage our evolution to higher levels, and some of them want to keep us stuck just where we are."
According to Grady, some occult lodges are working with those nonhuman intelligences who want to accelerate human evolution, but some of the others are working with the intelligences who wish to keep us near an animal level of awareness.
Somehow the conversation drifted away from Grady's concept of "war in Heaven." Several times, Grady tried to steer us back there, but each time we wandered on to a different subject. Tom said later that he felt a presence in the room deliberately pushing us away from that topic...
Dr. H. -- the psychiatrist whose bad acid-trip had started the Crowleymas party off so jumpily for me -- dropped by the next day, to thank me for "talking him down" from his anxiety attack.
He also, it soon appeared, wanted to tell me about his accelerating experiences with magick. It had started over two years earlier, after an intensive seminar at Esalen. Dr. H. suddenly found that he could see "auras." (The aura of the human body, known to shamans and witches since time immemorial, has been repeatedly rediscovered by scientists, most of whom were thereupon denounced as "cranks." Franz Anton Mesmer called it "animal magnetism," in the 16th century. In the 19th, Baron Reichenbach called it "OD." In the 1920s, Gurvich named it "the mytogenic ray." Wilhelm Reich rediscovered it in the 1930s, called it "orgone energy," and was destroyed by AMA bigots who charged that he was hallucinating it. Kirlian photography has now demonstrated beyond all doubt that this aura exists.) Dr. H. soon found, further, that he could use the aura as a diagnostic tool in analyzing new patients. This experience, Leary's books, and a lecture by me on Crowley's magick, led him to further experiments.
On a beach in Sonoma County, after taking LSD the day before and programming an opening of the self to higher beings or energies, Dr. H. (no longer under the direct influence of the drug) had an experience with Something from the sky. "It wasn't exactly a Higher Intelligence," he said carefully, "or, at least, I didn't receive that aspect of it, if it was Higher Intelligence. To me, it was just energy. Terrible energy. My chest was sore for hours afterward. I thought it would kill me, but I was absolutely ecstatic and egoless at the peak of it. If the chest-pain weren't so intense, it would have been a totally positive experience."
(MacGregor Mathers, Outer Head of the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn, and the first occult teacher of such worthies
as Aleister Crowley, poet William Butler Yeats and novelist Arthur
Machen, once recorded a meeting with the Secret Chiefs. These
ambiguous entities, known in several schools of occult training, are variously
believed to be discarnate spirits of the great Magi of the past,
living Magi who can teleport themselves about as easily as you or I telephone
a friend, "angels" in the traditional sense, or merely "beings we cannot
understand." In any case, Mathers noted that the meeting, although pleasant,
left him feeling as if he'd been "struck by lightning" and he also suffered
chest pains and extreme difficulty in breathing. Dr. Israel Regardie
has also noted that Alan Bennett, who was Crowley's chief teacher
for many years, developed asthma, a chest disease. Crowley developed
asthma himself as his contacts with the Secret Chiefs occurred more often;
and Regardie finally "caught" asthma for several years after studying with
Crowley, a condition which was only cured when he went through the bioenergetic
therapy of Wilhelm Reich.) [As an interesting synchronistic aside here,
Brother Whitley Strieber, the alleged Space Alien Abductee and prolific
author on such topics, also suffers from quite a touch of asthma. Coincidence...?
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Fallen Angels, Antichrist, Aliens & the End Time Lie
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,they shall deceive the very elect.