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The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley Paperback – April 1, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
Shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding, Aleister Crowley is one of the 20th centuryas most revered occult figures. With the Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley, readers are given a careful, comprehensive overview of Crowleyas life from poet to practicing magician as well as his lifeas work, including the basic principles and rituals of his magical practices. Set aside your preconceptions and dismiss the rumors. Crowley was certainly a complex, controversial, and colorful man, but the truth is far more interesting than the legend.
About the Author
Richard Kaczynski, PhD, has been a student of the western mystery tradition―and of Thelema and the works of Aleister Crowley in particular―since 1977. He has been a member of O.T.O. since 1987, and an international lecturer on magick since 1990. He is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley as well as the books Perdurabo Outtakes and Panic in Detroit: The Magician and the Motor City. Along with Hymenaeus Beta, he is co-editor of The Revival of Magick and Other Essays. Over the years, his writing has appeared in various magazines (High Times, Different Worlds, The Magical Link, Mezlim, Eidolon, Neshamah, Cheth) and books (Golden Dawn Sourcebook, Rebels and Devils). He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and cat.
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For those who are interested in joining any of the several occult organizations founded by Crowley there is an abundance of contact information, as well as a recommended reading list in the book. A safer introduction to the kind of thing Crowley was involved in may be gained by becoming a Freemason. Most of his organizations have a definite Masonic slant or cast to them. Not all magical organizations are so oriented.
For those who do not know anything about Aleister Crowley, born in 1875, he inherited a goodly sum of money, and like many inheritors, proceeded to throw it away, assuming that their funds would be replaced in some unknown way. By 1905 or so, Crowley was, for all practical purposes, broke. He then lived on what was essentially the charity of others and his ever-expanding reputation as being, `The wickedest man in the world.' This book is a paean of praise for his life and works, one of many written in that regard, but a better written and more informative book than most.
Crowley is one of these people in the occult community you either like or dislike. If you either like him or are indifferent to him, you really should read this book. If you dislike Crowley, it is unlikely this book will change your mind. There have been a few books written opposing Crowley, none of which are as worthwhile as this one. However, this book favors Crowley, and so it was not written with an even hand.
Highly recommended for both admirers and detractors of Crowley.
It taught me that Crowley rhymes with 'holy': Something which I find widely debated/unknonwn. It references a work of poetry Crowley wrote, which provided the insight on pronunciation (from Crowley himself!).
It also provides a list of Crowley's top 11 writings. Something I've been searching for, for quite some time! The list is in alphabetical order and names the most influential/important works written by Crowley. Good to know for those looking to study his beliefs.
This little book provides an overview of Crowley's life (written by the author of the most widely recommended Crowley biography I have seen), a brief overview of the Secret Societies/Groups Crowley belonged to and created, and provides some key texts/rituals for these Orders.
For how small it is, it truly packs a lot of knowledge on you!
I was looking for a "Crowley Primer" of sorts, and this book was exactly what I was looking for! -I didn't want to make a purchase of one of his biographies without knowing how interesting I would find his life or beliefs. I did not want to purchase any books regarding the Golden Dawn or Thelema (Crowley's own Magical Order) without having a bit of background on them to see if their beliefs and practices were worth looking into (and spending money on). This book provided me with the insights that I needed, and propelled me along a new found path of Esoteric study.
What should i have expected? Occult books never seem to be longer than 250 pages and less than 15 dollars. I was simply looking for an entry level, accessible volume for me. Someone who has only done light research and never performed a ritual and doesnt understand any random foreign language phrase in the middle of a paragraph. I'll consider buying Book 4 Magick Liber ABA, if i dont learn anything with it, i'll give up on Crowley.
The details of the magical practices is very limited and seems overly secretive, but Kaczynski notes that the "surprise" of the teaching is partly how it works on you. Conjecture aside, I thought this was an interesting book on a very misunderstood topic. It was well written and easy to digest in Kindle format. Lots of footnotes and references.
Too bad there isn't a lodge near me, I would like to know more about these fascinating people in vivo.
In hindsight, I wish it had included more discussion of Golden Dawn influences on his development. The author is very involved in Thelema, which may affect his objectivity. But admittedly there's no one qualified to write a book such as this who's dispassionate about the topics. Those are about my only complaints.