Do what thou
wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Alexander (Aleister) Crowley was born October 12, 1875 in Leamington
Spa, England. His parents were members of the Plymouth Brethren. He
grew up with a biblical education and an equally thorough hatred of
He attended Trinity College at Cambridge University, quitting 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 which taught magic,
kabala, alchemy, tarot, astrology, and other hermetic subjects. It had
many notable members including A. E. Waite, Dion Fortune, and W. B.
Yeats. Crowley was initiated into the Golden Dawn in 1898. He advanced
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.
In 1903, Crowley married Rose Kelly, and they went to Egypt on their
honeymoon. After returning from Cairo in early 1904, Rose began
entering trance states. She told him that the god Horus was trying to
contact him. Crowley took Rose to the Boulak Museum and asked her to
point out Horus to him. She passed several images of the god and led
Aleister straight to a painted wooden funerary stele from the 26th
dynasty, depicting Horus receiving a sacrifice from the deceased, a
priest named Ankh-f-n-khonsu. Crowley was impressed by the fact that
this piece was numbered 666 by the museum, the number which he had
identified since childhood.
He began to listen to Rose, and at her direction, on three
successive days beginning April 8, 1904, he entered his room and wrote
down what he heard dictated from a shadowy presence behind him. The
result was the three chapters of verse known as The Book of the Law.
In 1906 Crowley rejoined George Cecil Jones in England, and they set
created a magical order to continue where the Golden Dawn had left
off. They called this order the A.'. A.'. (Astrum Argentium or Silver
In 1910 Crowley was contacted by Theodore Reuss, the head of an
organization 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 is taught in its highest degrees. Crowley
joined, becoming a member of O.T.O. Crowley rewrote the rites of the
Crowley referred to himself as "The Beast" and indulged in
every aspect of the occult and was obsessed with it. He was into every
form of sexual perversion you can imagine. He also had various
sexually transmitted diseases. Aleister Crowley died in Hastings,
England on December 1, 1947. However, his teachings live on.