- Crowley, Aleister
- (1875–1947)British writer and occultist who gained notoriety in the media as a practitioner of black magic and the “wickedest man in the world.” Though self-styled as “The Great Beast 666,” Crowley’s system of “magick” is equally associated with the maxims “Love is the Law, Love under Will” and “Do what thou wilt,” which were embraced by a number of selfempowerment groups in the second half of the 20th century. Crowley became interested in the occult while studying at Cambridge and joined the Golden Dawn, where he met such luminaries as poets W. B. Yeats and Victor Neuberg and novelist Arthur Machen. In 1904 in Cairo, Crowley received The Book of the Law through the medium of his wife Rose, a treatise which he claimed inaugurated the “new aeon” or New Age of Horus. Crowley founded the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily, where he hoped to attract followers to his new “Law of Thelema,” but the venture had limited success. Crowley wrote prolifically, his most notable works being Magick (1973), the novel Moonchild (1929), and the voluminous journal The Equinox, of which he was editor. Crowley died in near obscurity in a boardinghouse near Hastings in Kent, but has nevertheless had a major influence on contemporary esotericism. Contemporary Western shamans whose practices include the working of magic owe much of their knowledge and practice to Crowley, as well as to fellow occultist Austin Osman Spare.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.