Aleister Crowley In The Occult Essay Research

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Aleister Crowley In The Occult Essay, Research Paper Aleister Crowley in the Occult: Natural Proclivity or the Product of Outside Influences? Aleister Crowley engaged in activities and wrote literature that have earned him the title of ?most evil man in the world.?(Leek, 30.) He lived a life that most people would publicly denounce as ?sinful? but secretly wish that they could live. Crowley?s background suggests that he was influenced greatly by many people and events to become the way he was. But was it the people and events more so than a natural inclination that led him to his involvement in the occult? Born Edward Alexander Crowley on October 12, 1875, Crowley started out with a happy though somewhat unusual childhood. His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop Crowley, and father,

Edward Crowley, were members of a strict religious fundamentalist group called the Plymouth Brethren. Among this group, Edward Crowley was a known and respected leader and pamphleteer. In fact, years before the birth of his son, Edward published a pamphlet titled The Plymouth Brethren (so called), Who they Are?Their Creed?Mode of Worship?etc. Edward Crowley was highly religious to the point where, ten years before Edward Alexander was born, he foresaw the death of Christianity and the temporary accession of the Antichrist. He wrote: There can be no doubt but that they [the religious systems] will continue their course, that they will grow worse and worse, waxing bolder and bolder against God until the Antichrist himself will be revealed, who shall oppose and exalt himself above

all that is called God, or that is worshipped; who shall sit in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, and consume with the spirit of His mouth. (Hutchinson, 19) During his childhood years, Edward Alexander, or ?Alick,? as he came to be called, accompanied his father on many traveling sermons. As a child, he showed a natural precocity and intellect. Young Alick also had unremitting curiosity. In one instance, walking in a field, Edward told Alick to avoid a clump of nettles. Alick could not understand why, and his father asked him if he?d rather take his word for it or learn by experience. Alick chose to learn by experience and dove into the nettles. (Hutchinson, 26.) As stern as Edward Crowley was, young

Alick looked up to him. ?His father was his hero and his friend, though, for some reason or other, there was no real intimacy or understanding?(Crowley, 48). Alick spent much of his childhood with his father, accompanying him from village to village or studying the Bible with him. He was not displeased with Christianity in any way as he was growing up. Aleister Crowley himself noted later, however, that ?his sympathies were with the opponents of heaven?(Crowley, 44). He preferred the stories from The Book of Revelations, especially the Dragon, the False Prophet, the Scarlet Woman, and the Beast, whose number was 666. For all the happiness Alick experienced in his childhood, certain events were to lead him away from the influence of the Plymouth Brethren. When Alick was a young

boy, his mother bore a second child, a girl, who lived for only five hours. The death of Mary Grace Elizabeth Crowley in 1880 was, we may assume, a traumatic occasion for the family. It was certainly disturbing to five-year-old Alick, who deeply resented being taken to see his sister?s corpse, and during the rest of his sixty-seven years on earth, attended only one other funeral before his own. (Hutchinson,28) Alick did not attend school until he was eight years old. Life outside the Plymouth Brethren was something of a shock to young Alick. He was sent to a strict Evangelical private preparatory school, but it was not, of course, the closely-knit family life he was accustomed to. School did not agree with Alick. Though unusually intelligent, he was chubby and not athletic. This