Episode 214: Aleister Crowley: Sex, Spies, and Magic

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  1. On this episode of the Sofa King Podcast, we look back and the wild and wicked life of occultist, spy, poet, and sexual guru Aleister Crowley. Crowley is known for writing the world’s most influential textbook on magic and occultism and creating the religion Thelema, which is still worshiped around the world.

Aleister Crowley was born in England in 1875 to a very wealthy family. He had a strong relationship with his father, but his mother didn’t like him and actually gave him his nickname of “The Beast.” When his father died of cancer, Crowley inherited a third of the family fortune, making him a member of the social elite in England. He attended Cambridge, but mostly to socialize, have sex (a lot), and learn poetry. He didn’t officially graduate because he instead became interested in the occult and joined the Order of the Golden Dawn.

His time in the Golden Dawn was formative for Crowley, but he didn’t stay long since he was publicly homosexual, and the group shied away from it. This lead to him traveling a lot on his family fortune, eventually making his way to Egypt to study the ancient forces there. He married and went to Cairo, where he claimed to have met his guardian angel named Aiwass who dictated the rules for his new religion, a book called The Book of the Law. The practices in the book were so bizarre that even Crowley refused to follow them, but they started his time as a religious leader. He started a smaller cult and eventually the larger Thelema.

Aleister Crowley’s story is very dense and filled with a crazy amount of adventure (and sex). He was massively influential in all of popular culture and inspired everyone from Ian Fleming (creator of James Bond) to the Beatles. So, what is the difference between magic, religion, and science? What did Crowley do as a spy in World War One and World War Two? How did he develop a symbol that countered the Nazi swastika? What was sexual Magick, and how was it practiced at his infamous Abbey? Why did he die penniless and hooked on heroin? Listen, laugh, learn.

Here is the wiki that Crowley’s religion runs if you have questions: http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Main_Page

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