Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

A biographical history of Aleister Crowley’s activities in Berlin from 1930 to 1932 as Hitler was rising to power • Examines Crowley’s focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with magical orders • Explores Crowley’s relationships with Berlin’s artists, filmmakers, writers, and performers such as Christopher Isherwood, Jean Ross, and Aldous Huxley • Recounts the fates of Crowley’s friends and colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition Gnostic poet, painter, writer, and magician Aleister Crowley arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1930. As prophet of his syncretic religion “Thelema,” he wanted to be among the leaders of art and thought, and Berlin, the liberated future-gazing metropolis, wanted him. There he would live, until his hurried departure on June 22, 1932, as Hitler was rapidly rising to power and the black curtain of intolerance came down upon the city. Known to his friends affectionately as “The Beast,” Crowley saw the closing lights of Berlin’s artistic renaissance of the Weimar period when Berlin played host to many of the world’s most outstanding artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, architects, philosophers, and scientists, including Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Ethel Mannin, Otto Dix, Aldous Huxley, Jean Ross, Christopher Isherwood, and many other luminaries of a glittering world soon to be trampled into the mud by the global bloodbath of World War II. Drawing on previously unpublished letters and diary material by Crowley, Tobias Churton examines Crowley’s years in Berlin and his intense focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with German Theosophy, Freemasonry, and magical orders. He recounts the fates of Crowley’s colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowley’s lost art exhibition--six crates of paintings left behind in Germany as the Gestapo was closing in. Revealing the real Crowley long hidden from the historical record, Churton presents “the Beast” anew in all his ambiguous and, for some, terrifying glory, at a blazing, seminal moment in the history of the world.

Aleister Crowley in America

Art, Espionage, and Sex Magick in the New World

Aleister Crowley in America

An exploration of Crowley’s relationship with the United States • Details Crowley’s travels, passions, literary and artistic endeavors, sex magick, and psychedelic experimentation • Investigates Crowley’s undercover intelligence adventures that actively promoted U.S. involvement in WWI • Includes an abundance of previously unpublished letters and diaries Occultist, magician, poet, painter, and writer Aleister Crowley’s three sojourns in America sealed both his notoriety and his lasting influence. Using previously unpublished diaries and letters, Tobias Churton traces Crowley’s extensive travels through America and his quest to implant a new magical and spiritual consciousness in the United States, while working to undermine Germany’s propaganda campaign to keep the United States out of World War I. Masterfully recreating turn-of-the-century America in all its startling strangeness, Churton explains how Crowley arrived in New York amid dramatic circumstances in 1900. After other travels, in 1914 Crowley returned to the U.S. and stayed for five years: turbulent years that changed him, the world, and the face of occultism forever. Diving deeply into Crowley’s 5-year stay, we meet artists, writers, spies, and government agents as we uncover Crowley’s complex work for British and U.S. intelligence agencies. Exploring Crowley’s involvement with the birth of the Greenwich Village radical art scene, we discover his relations with writers Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Dreiser and artists John Butler Yeats, Leon Engers Kennedy, and Robert Winthrop Chanler while living and lecturing on now-vanished “Genius Row.” We experience his love affairs and share Crowley’s hard times in New Orleans and his return to health, magical dynamism, and the most colorful sex life in America. We examine his controversial political stunts, his role in the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania, his making of the “Elixir of Life” in 1915, his psychedelic experimentation, his prolific literary achievements, and his run-in with Detroit Freemasonry. We also witness Crowley’s influence on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and rocket fuel genius Jack Parsons. We learn why J. Edgar Hoover wouldn’t let Crowley back in the country and why the FBI raided Crowley’s organization in LA. Offering a 20th-century history of the occult movement in the United States, Churton shows how Crowley’s U.S. visits laid the groundwork for the establishment of his syncretic “religion” of Thelema and the now flourishing OTO, as well as how Crowley’s final wish was to have his ashes scattered in the Hamptons.

Aleister Crowley

The Biography - Spiritual Revolutionary, Romantic Explorer, Occult Master and Spy

Aleister Crowley

Churton's illuminating biography includes a detailed account of Crowley's adventures as a British spy during World War I; his astonishing family background, with secrets that have remained hidden for over a century; his philosophical, scientific and psychological brilliance, comparable to say, Sigmund Frued; and his rich legacy of highly original ideas, which are finally receiving the consideration they deserve.

Occult Paris

The Lost Magic of the Belle Époque

Occult Paris

How fin-de-siècle Paris became the locus for the most intense revival of magical practices and doctrines since the Renaissance • Examines the remarkable lives of occult practitioners Joséphin Peladan, Papus, Stanislas de Guaïta, Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Jules Doinel, and others • Reveals how occult activity deeply influenced many well-known cultural movements, such as Symbolism, the Decadents, modern music, and the “psychedelic 60s” During Paris’s Belle Époque (1871-1914), many cultural movements and artistic styles flourished--Symbolism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau, the Decadents--all of which profoundly shaped modern culture. Inseparable from this cultural advancement was the explosion of occult activity taking place in the City of Light at the same time. Exploring the magical, artistic, and intellectual world of the Belle Époque, Tobias Churton shows how a wide variety of Theosophists, Rosicrucians, Martinists, Freemasons, Gnostics, and neo-Cathars called fin-de-siècle Paris home. He examines the precise interplay of occultists Joséphin Peladan, Papus, Stanislas de Guaïta, and founder of the modern Gnostic Church Jules Doinel, along with lesser known figures such as Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Paul Sédir, Charles Barlet, Edmond Bailly, Albert Jounet, Abbé Lacuria, and Lady Caithness. He reveals how the work of many masters of modern culture such as composers Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, writers Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire, and painters Georges Seurat and Alphonse Osbert bear signs of immersion in the esoteric circles that were thriving in Paris at the time. The author demonstrates how the creative hermetic ferment that animated the City of Light in the decades leading up to World War I remains an enduring presence and powerful influence today. Where, he asks, would Aleister Crowley and all the magicians of today be without the Parisian source of so much creativity in this field? Conveying the living energy of Paris in this richly artistic period of history, Churton brings into full perspective the characters, personalities, and forces that made Paris a global magnet and which allowed later cultural movements, such as the “psychedelic 60s,” to rise from the ashes of post-war Europe.

Deconstructing Gurdjieff

Biography of a Spiritual Magician

Deconstructing Gurdjieff

Beyond Meetings with Remarkable Men into the truth behind the self-crafted mythology of Gurdjieff’s life • Reveals evidence that Gurdjieff was a secret Freemason, relying on hypnotism, psychic research and spiritualism • Explores the profound influence of the Yezidis, esoteric Christianity, and the “gnostics” of Islam, the Sufis, on Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way teachings and the “Work” • Uncovers the truth behind Gurdjieff’s relations with Aleister Crowley • Accurately dates Gurdjieff’s real activities, particularly his enigmatic early life In November 1949, architect Frank Lloyd Wright announced the death of “the greatest man in the world,” yet few knew who he was talking about. Enigmatic, misunderstood, declared a charlatan, and recently dubbed “the Rasputin who inspired Mary Poppins,” Gurdjieff’s life has become a legend. But who really was George Ivanovich Gurdjieff? Employing the latest research and discoveries, including previously unpublished reminiscences of the real man, Tobias Churton investigates the truth beneath the self-crafted mythology of Gurdjieff’s life recounted in Meetings with Remarkable Men. He examines his controversial birthdate, his father’s background, and his relationship with his private tutor Dean Borshch, revealing a perilous childhood in a Pontic Greek family, persecuted by Turks, forced to migrate to Georgia and Armenia, only to grow up amid more war, persecution, genocide, and revolt. Placing Gurdjieff in the true context of his times, Churton explores Gurdjieff’s roles in esoteric movements taking root in the Russian Empire and in epic imperial construction projects in the Kars Oblast, Transcaucasia, and central Asia. He reveals Gurdjieff’s sources for his transformative philosophy, his early interest in hypnosis, magic, Theosophy, and spiritualism, and the profound influence of the Yezidis and the Sufis, the “gnostics” of Islam, on Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way teachings and the “Work.” Churton also explores Gurdjieff’s ties to Freemasonry and his relationships with other spiritual teachers and philosophers of the age, such as Madame Blavatsky, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Aleister Crowley, dispelling the myth that Gurdjieff forcibly expelled the “Great Beast” from his Institute. Showing how Gurdjieff deliberately re-shaped elements of his life as parables of his system, Churton explains how he didn’t want people to follow his footsteps but to find their own, to wake up from the hypnosis that drives us blindly through life. Offering a vital understanding of the man who asked “How many of you are really alive?” the author reveals the continuing importance of Gurdjieff’s philosophy for the awakening of man.

Aleister Crowley

The Beast Demystified

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) - mystic, writer, poet, astrologer, sexual revolutionary, painter, mountain climber and social critic - has a terrifying reputation. The contemporary press labelled him the 'wickedest man in the world', while he called himself the 'great beast'. Crowley dabbled in the occult, supported Germany in the First World War, was addicted to opiates, and many who associated with him died tragically in mysterious circumstances. Working from the starting point that behind the demonic reputation there stood a human being, and that beyond the self-proclaimed black magician there was a man hungry for publicity and fame, Roger Hutchinson lifts the smokescreen of mythology to reveal a truly astonishing figure. Why did this curious product of the Plymouth Brethren found the first 'hippy commune' in Sicily? What led this Cambridge graduate to be celebrated 20 years after his death on the cover of The Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album? Why did Mussolini expel him from Italy? Why did a British magazine label him 'the man we'd like to hang'? Roger Hutchinson reveals the real Crowley: warts, wickedness, talent, courage, cowardice and all.

Do What Thou Wilt

A Life of Aleister Crowley

Do What Thou Wilt

An exploration into the life and works of the modern mystic, occultist, poet, mountaineer, bisexual adventurer and drug fiend who was known to his contemporaries as The Beast'.'

Gnostic Mysteries of Sex

Sophia the Wild One and Erotic Christianity

Gnostic Mysteries of Sex

An exploration of the sexual practices and doctrinal secrets of Gnosticism • Reconstructs the lost world of Gnostic spiritual-erotic experience through examination of every surviving text written by heresiologists • Investigates the sexual gnosis practices of the Barbelo Gnostics of the 2nd century and their connections to the Gnostic Aeon Sophia, the Wild Lady of Wisdom • Explains the vital significance of “the seed” as a sacrament in Gnostic practice Examining every surviving text written by heresiologists, accounts often ignored in favor of the famous Nag Hammadi Library, Tobias Churton reveals the most secret inner teaching passed down by initiated societies: the tradition of sexual gnosis--higher union with God through the sacrament of sex. Discovering actual sex practices hidden within the writings of the Church’s authorities, he reconstructs the lost world of Gnostic spiritual-erotic experience as taught by initiated masters and mistresses and practiced by Christian couples seeking spiritual freedom from the world. Churton explores the practices of the “first Gnostic,” the historical Simon Magus, and explains the vital significance of “the seed” in Gnostic practice, showing it to be the sacramental substance par excellence. He illuminates the suppressed truth of why the name “Valentine” came to be associated with ennobling erotic love and reveals profound parallels between sexual gnosis and Tantra, suggesting that gnosis lies at the root of the tantric path. Solving a millennia-old riddle regarding the identity and secret symbol of Sophia, the mysterious Gnostic “Aeon,” Churton investigates Sophia’s connections to Barbelo, also known as Pruneikos, the Wild Lady of Wisdom, and the central focus of the Barbelo Gnostics of the 2nd century, whose religious sex practices so shocked orthodox Christian contemporaries that they were condemned, their cults of spiritual gnosis and “redemption by sin” driven underground. Churton exposes the mystery of Sophia in the philosophy of the medieval Troubadours and explores William Blake’s inheritance of secret Renaissance sexual mysticism through the revolutionary English poet Andrew Marvell. Showing how Blake’s sexual and spiritual revolution connects to modern sexual magic, Churton also examines the esoteric meaning of the free-love explosion of the 1960s, revealing how sex can be raised from the realm of guilt into the highest magical sacrament of spiritual transformation.

Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism

Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism

This volume is the first comprehensive examination of one of the twentieth century's most distinctive iconoclasts. Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was a study in contradictions. Born into a fundamentalist Christian family and educated at Cambridge, he was vilified as a traitor, drug addict, and debaucher, yet revered as perhaps the most influential thinker in contemporary esotericism. Moving beyond the influence of contemporary psychology and the modernist understanding of the occult, Crowley declared himself the revelator of a new age of individualism. Crowley's occult bricolage, Magick, was an eclectic combination of spiritual exercises drawn from Western European magical ceremonies and Indic sources for meditation and yoga. This journey of self-liberation culminated in harnessing sexual power as a magical discipline, a "sacrilization of the self" as practiced in Crowley's mixed masonic group, the Ordo Templi Orientis. The religion Crowley created, Thelema, legitimated his role as a charismatic revelator and herald of a new age of freedom. Aleister Crowley's lasting influence can be seen in the counter-culture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s and in many forms of alternative spirituality and popular culture. The essays in this volume offer crucial insight into Crowley's foundational role in the study of Western esotericism, new religious movements, and sexuality.

Beware the Witch

Beware the Witch

In almost every page of Beware the Witch, something supernatural happens. Dont be concerned if you dont believe in the supernatural. Just suspend your disbelief and go along with the ride. This novel is meant to be a roller coaster, not an exhibit. The goal is to thrill, excite, amaze, and maybe even get you to cry out in horror or perhaps laugh. Meet the three main characters. The witch is a spectacularly beautiful, hypnotically alluring, powerful, vengeful, and very dangerous woman with dark and destructive secrets. The man with six forms of ESP is the hero. At first, he is drawn to the witch. However, he later decides that he must kill her because he wants to prevent his new love from succumbing to the temptation of becoming a witch and giving allegiance to His Satanic Majesty. This new love interest is caught between her fascination with both witchcraft and sensuality and her drive to do no harm to herself or others. She dislikes her humdrum, repetitious, not-very-sober life. Then again, you cant simply flirt with powerful forces. You need to be in or out, committed or not. You must choose one or the other: God or the devil.