"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse
One of the coolest articles on Aleister Crowley I've seen in mainstream media... Of course, it's in The Guardian (you'd never see it in the US press).
A hundred years on, Crowley remains one of those figures often dismissed in public, but whose work is collected and studied in private. His immediate following may have been small, but his influence on modern culture is as pervasive as that of Freud or Jung. As an occultist, he can justly claim to have made a lasting change on the world, refashioning the occult with his famous dictum to combine the aim of religion with the method of science.[Big thanks to Lashtal for the link!]
But while the hippy era is most closely identified with the explosion of the occult, it was punk that was the manifestation of Do What Thou Wilt. The energy of punk at its purest was about disruption, chaos and transformation - with whatever magickal accoutrements came to hand. Bands from Throbbing Gristle and Killing Joke to the Only Ones, Eddie and the Hot Rods and Coil absorbed, by osmosis or design, the essence of Crowley's Thelema.
Rock'n'roll has always been the devil's music, with a powerful, uncontrollable element of invocation, and Crowley is one of its grandfathers. Rock's initial spirit of upset, outrage and teenage rampage was the very spirit Crowley believed was unleashed with The Book of the Law.
In the age of the crowned and conquering child, it doesn't matter whether you believe in Crowley's magick or not. Like Tarot or astrology, it's not a question of belief; it's whether and where the pattern fits. "Certain actions," said Crowley, "produce certain results." Sentiments worth bearing in mind for those curious about the life, work and legacy of this extraordinary, flawed, complex and often shocking figure.
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