Aleister Crowley was born Edward Alexander Crowley on October 12, 1875 in Warwickshire, England. He was trained in ceremonial magick through the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn where he took the magical name “Frater Perdurabo” (Brother I shall endure to the end) and traveled the world exploring spiritual practices everywhere he went. He explored Hindu and Buddhist practices in India and spent some time in Mexico as well where he was initiated into Freemasonry. In 1904, he traveled to Egypt on his honeymoon (his wife was Rose Edith Kelly) and there he claimed he was spoken to by an incorporeal spirit named Aiwass who dictated to him what he would later publish as The Book of the Law which would serve as the basis for Thelema his own magico-religious spiritual practice.
In 1912, Crowley was inducted into the Ordo Templi Orientis and quickly rose through its ranks to leadership bringing Thelemite philosophy with him and leaving a permanent mark on the order. He also founded the A∴A and the ill-fated Abbey of Thelema, which appeared to be the beginning of the end of Crowley. This needs further development
Crowley was a prolific writer and his many works of both prose and poetry have been significant sources of inspiration for many magical practitioners. He is a somewhat controversial figure as he was an unapologetic drug user who enjoyed frequent sex with both men and women. He was by many reports, something of a douche and he led a libertine lifestyle that was offensive to many. He was accused in his lifetime of being a Satanist and of promoting human sacrifice and he encouraged such speculations with apparent glee, though they were untrue. He has also been criticized for his overly public promotion of magick and accused of being a money-hungry charlatan. But Crowley started his journey with a great deal of his own money which he spent largely on travel and education as well as less savory pursuits. When his family fortune was exhausted, he was indeed forced to live on membership fees and royalties and the goodwill of his followers and died virtually penniless. His rather colorful life story and questionable moral character notwithstanding, his work is hugely influential on many magical systems today and is considered required reading by many.
“There is no god but man.”
“Love is the Law, Love under Will.”
Crowley also wrote that “We of Thelema say that ‘Every man and every woman is a star.’ We do not fool and flatter women, we do not despise and abuse them. To us, a woman is herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is.” (Crowley, 1904)
And he wrote:
The Diary of a Drug Fiend (A novel)