Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)

The Other Loch Ness Monster (2000)
Masters of Darkness: Aleister Crowley - The Wickedest Man in the World (2001) Dir. Neil Rawles.
In Search of the Great Beast 666 - Aleister Crowley (2007) Dir. Robert Garofalo.

Aleister Crowley (12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religion of Thelema. He was a member of the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as well as a co-founder of the A∴A∴ and eventually a leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). He is known today for his magical writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema, although he also wrote on other esoteric subjects such as astrology and magick.

Crowley was also a hedonist, bisexual, recreational drug experimenter, and social critic. In many of these exploits he "was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time", espousing a form of libertarianism based upon the rule of "Do What Thou Wilt". Because of this, he gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as "The wickedest man in the world." Alongside his esoteric activities, he was an avid chess player, mountaineer, poet and playwright. It has been alleged that he was also a spy for the British government.

In 2002, a BBC poll described Crowley as being the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time, whilst he has influenced and been referenced to by numerous writers, musicians and film-makers including Alan Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Jimmy Page and Kenneth Anger. He has also been cited as a key influence on many later esoteric groups and individuals, including figures like Kenneth Grant, Gerald Gardner and to some degree Austin Osman Spare.

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