Text from William H. Kennedy, Satanic Crime, pag 13-17, 2006

Aleister Crowley: The Godfather of Modern Satanism

In any discussion of contemporary Satanism, the figure of Aleister Crowley (1875-
1947) looms like a mafia Godfather over a shadowy underworld. Crowley (rhymes
with “holy”) is the single most influential character in the formation of modern
Satanism and Witchcraft (Wicca). Born into a wealthy family who were the sole
owners of a brewery and pub chain, Crowley resented the stern Christian
upbringing and harsh Victorian morals inflicted upon him in his native Britain. (1)

Crowley enrolled at Cambridge University but never graduated, having instead
chosen to embark upon a period of self-examination and the study of occult
doctrine. It should be noted that Crowley was a world-class mountain climber and
a minor celebrity as a young man. However, the majority of his time was spent on
the study of ritual magic and mystical practices. Much of this esoteric exploration
was Satanic in nature, despite claims to the contrary by Crowley’s contemporary

In his quest for spiritual enlightenment, Crowley used drugs with meditative
practices and sex rituals to form a system of sex-magick. (Crowley used the
alternative spelling magick to distinguish his metaphysical teachings from stage
magic.) Within this system, devotees claim that drugs, visualization, and the frenzy of
sex cause them to merge with their chosen deity. In one ritual which Crowley
undertook early in his career, he identified himself as Jesus Christ. In fact, the most
popular photograph of Crowley shows him postured like Christ on the Cross. (2)

Crowley’s mock crucifixion mimics Lucifer’s rebellion, which is recounted in Isaiah
Chapter 14. It constitutes a reenactment of the Fallen Angel’s attempt to invert
Heaven and be worshiped as God. It is a ceremonial imitation of Lucifer’s mutiny
and represents a mini-victory for the Prince of this World in that God is eclipsed.
Crowley himself was worshiped as God in this bizarre rite. At other times, Crowley
identified himself as Satan (and other, mostly ancient Egyptian deities) and
likewise encouraged his disciples to venerate him. Crowley chose the pharaonic
gods for rituals merely because a statue of Horus at the Cairo Museum had the
catalogue number of 666 and he saw this as a sign from Lucifer.

This notion of inversion is essential to understanding the phenomenon of
Satanism. Ultimately, inversion involves the replacing of God with something else as
an object of veneration. It really does not matter what replaces God so long as the
Christian Deity is eclipsed in the hearts and minds of followers. Crowley was well
aware of this notion of inversion, even going as far as to call his new religion
“Crowleyanity” as an inversion of “Christianity.” He symbolically inverted the
Divine order by replacing Christ with himself and had his deranged followers
venerate him as the Messiah. In his bid for spiritual power, Crowley directly
petitioned the Fallen Angel by praying and killing small birds before a human
skeleton mounted on a makeshift altar in his home. (3)

Crowley also claimed to have summoned Beelzebub and a host of 49 demons,
and, on another occasion, he claimed to have conjured up 316 Devils in an arcane
ceremony. Whatever one makes of these assertions, it certainly demonstrates
Crowley’s allegiance to the Prince of this World. (4)

Crowley later believed he was also the Anti-Christ. In his most famous work, The
Book of the Law, written at a time when Crowley was openly referring to himself as
The Great Beast 666, he wrote, “With my hawk’s head I peck at the eyes of Jesus.”
It is where he penned his credo “Do what thy will shall be the whole of the law.” The
book called for a New Age of global conflict, constant bloodshed, and the eventual
destruction of Christianity in an apocalyptic battle. (5)

Again, the inversion of the Christian faith was of utmost concern to Crowley. It did
not matter if Crowley played the role of Jesus or Satan — the primary goal was to
obscure the real Christ by whatever means necessary.

In his obsession to overturn Christendom, Crowley was even willing to adopt
atheism and communism. Just after World War I, Crowley wrote to the newly
installed Communist government in Moscow and offered his services as
propaganda minister for atheism with the express intent of deriding Christianity.

The fact that the Russian Reds had no metaphysical beliefs was of little concern to
Crowley. It was the Communist Central Committee’s vow to destroy Christianity
that really grabbed Crowley’s attention. The Great Beast 666 was only concerned
with the obliteration of the Christian Faith and would use anyone or any system at
his disposal to promote this agenda. The Communists must have believed that The
Great Beast 666 would better serve their revolution if he remained in the West. He
never received a reply. (6)

Crowley’s relationship with Fascism is somewhat complex. The Great Beast would
adopt any system that sought to replace the Judeo-Christian tradition but was not
one to subordinate himself in any meaningful way to any leader no matter how
appealing his ideas. In this sense, Crowley was certainly not a Nazi or Nazi

sympathizer. However, Crowley did state that the prophecies depicted in The Book of
the Law have cognates in a book of quotes entitled Hitler Speaks. Crowley
identified his system with that of the Nazi party leader. (7)

Virtually all of Crowley’s later disciples adopted strong elements of Fascism and
Nazi occultism as part and parcel of fulfilling The Great Beast’s agenda. One of
Crowley’s primary German followers was Matha Kunzel, who sincerely believed
that Hitler was following Crowley’s principles and became an avid member of the
Nazi party. The British occult writer Gerald Suster speculated that the rise of
totalitarian despots in the 20th century and the World Wars they started were, in
reality, a bleak fulfillment of The Great Beast’s forecasts concerning the epoch of
violence which Crowley believed would eventually topple Christianity. As will be
demonstrated, the trend of mixing Nazism and Crowleyanity would be continued by
The Great Beast’s devotees into the new millennium. (8)

Crowley’s version of Satanism still crops up in modern Devil worship. One can
find Satanists who worship themselves, Satanists who venerate the Devil as a real
being and atheistic Satanists who use this diabolical faith as a convenient
springboard to overturn Christianity. Oftentimes these competing convictions and
interpretations of Satanism cause division within this movement but this is to be
expected and in no way hinders their ultimate goal of destroying Christianity.
From a theological perspective it must be kept in mind that Hell is full of Devil
worshipers who bicker among themselves. So, it comes as no surprise that there is
squabbling among contemporary Satanic groups in this world.

Crowley belonged to various mystical societies over the course of his career,
including the Freemasons, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Ordo
Templi Orientis (OTO) which he was later to lead and set up new lodges in
Europe and America. The Great Beast started a commune in Sicily where he
combined hard drugs, magical incantations, and ritual sex with his strange
followers. Refusing to submit to any moral codes, Crowley allowed several preteen
children to witness sex rituals involving explicit carnal acts – including sex
with humans and goats. This is one fact his admirers never like to mention. (9)

There is also a vague reference to the human sacrifice of a male child in Magick in
Theory and Practice, but modern Crowleyites claim this is merely a “metaphor”
and that The Great Beast did not intend for his initiates to butcher babies in rituals.
Crowley even had his teeth filed into sharp points and would draw blood and
drink from his drug-addled acolytes. (10)

Trouble came to Crowley’s commune when one of his followers died from toxic
shock after ingesting cat’s blood from a sliver chalice during an arcane rite. The
authorities were informed of the death and the Fascist government deported The
Great Beast. The commune closed for good. Crowley turned much of his attention
to spreading the OTO with its sodomy rituals, which The Great Beast greatly
enjoyed. (11)

The modern founder of Witchcraft, Gerald Gardner, was an OTO initiate who
hired Crowley to formulate the primary magical ceremonies practiced in some
form by the vast majority of Wiccans to this day. Despite their claims that they are

practicing the continuation of pre-Christian Goddess religion, which survived from
ancient times, most modern Witches are merely celebrating the nature rites of The
Great Beast 666. Crowley certainly enjoyed the money he received to formulate
these Wicca rituals, but he must also have seen the potential this “Mother Nature”
religion had for further toppling Christianity. (12)

During the twilight of his life, Crowley worked to ensure his teachings would
continue after his death. One of his schemes was to infiltrate the Catholic Church
(an idea he may have gotten from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and
subvert it from within. For this end, he ordered his disciple Charles S. Jones to
convert to the Church of Rome and begin to replace it with Crowleyanity. Jones
was arrested once for indecent exposure in Canada. How well he did within the
Catholic Church is unknown. (13)

The Great Beast’s final years were spent in destitution. He made ends meet by
taking handouts from followers and writing a book on tarot, as well as selling a
brand of aphrodisiacs called Crowley’s Elixir of Life Pills which included Crowley’s
own sperm as the main ingredient. He died on December 1, 1947 with little
fanfare or media attention. (14)

Crowley was debt ridden and burnt out from drugs when he died. The lives of his
followers took an even worse turn, with many of his male and female sex-magick
partners eventually going insane. Two of Crowley’s wives and five of his
mistresses even committed suicide. One of his most loyal devotees, Norman Mudd,
filled his pockets with rocks and walked straight into the Atlantic Ocean, drowning
himself. (15)

His primary American follower was rocket designer Jack Parsons, who
revolutionized missile propulsion by inventing solid rocket fuel. One of Parsons’
magical partners was L. Ron Hubbard, who went on to found Dianetics and the
Church of Scientology. Parsons died in an explosion in the late 1940s, but not
before securing a place for The Great Beast 666 in American culture. (16)
In the late 1940s, the Berkeley OTO branch was frequented by actor and director
Kenneth Anger (b. 1930). Anger’s interest in occultism runs very deep, and his
interest in Crowley is obsessive. In his effort to understand The Great Beast, Anger
went on a 1950s pilgrimage to Crowley’s old commune in Sicily and made a film
based on Crowleyian principles entitled Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
(1954). (17)

Many years later, Anger would become a household name for penning the pop
culture masterpiece Hollywood Babylon (1981), the first book to expose the
rampant homosexuality and deviancy in the film industry and a must read for
anyone interested in American cultural history. No one can deny that Kenneth
Anger is a talented filmmaker and writer, even though one may strongly disagree
with his philosophy. Anger is still involved in Crowleyanity and is one of the major
promoters of The Great Beast’s worldview. However, Anger has a very low
opinion of those groups who claim to be the legitimate heirs of Crowley’s OTO. In
a recent interview Anger lamented:

…I’m not too keen on any group or cult. I’ve been to meet the various groups who
call themselves OTO which Crowley founded. But Crowley never ‘anointed’ them or
approved of them. All the groups are fighting with each other. There’s been raids,
thefts, houses have been broken into, books have been stolen, one house was burned

These are Crowleyites fighting among each other and I’m ashamed of them (18)
Crowley is hugely popular today — more so than during his lifetime. In 1967, he
appeared on the cover of The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. In a
2002 BBC survey of the 100 Greatest Britons, Crowley ranked number 73. (19)

End Notes
1-2) Drury, Neville, The History of Magic in the Modern Age, Carrol & Graf, (2000) p. 89.
3) Wilson, Colin, Rogue Messiahs, Hampton Roads (2000) p. 206.
4) Gardner, Martin, On the Wild Side, Prometheus Books (1992) p. 198.
5) Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas, Black Sun, NYU Press (2002) p. 216.
6) Wilson Colin, Aleister Crowley: The Nature of the Beast, Aquarian Press (1989) p. 137.
8) Goodrick-Clarke: p. 213.
9) Wilson: 1987 p. 132.
10) Gardner: p. 198.
11) Koenig, P. R., XI° Anal Intercourse and the OTO, online article:
12) Drury: p. 108.
13-16) Wilson: 1987 pp. 140 – 152.
17) Goodrick-Clarke: p. 214.
18) T.O.P.Y, An interview with Kenneth Anger, 1/22/05 online article:
19) BBC, BBC reveals 100 great British heroes, 8/22/02


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