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Edward Alexander Crowley (Crowley, Aleister; the Great Beast)

Born: 1875 AD
Died: 1947 AD, at 72 years of age.

Nationality: British
Categories: Authors, Philosophers, Poets


1875 - Aleister Crowley was born Edward Alexander on the 12th of October to Edward and Emily Crowley in Leamington, Warwickshire. His father died when Aleister was eleven, and the boy and his mother went to live with relatives. He was a British occultist, writer and mystic.

1895 - Entered Trinity College, Cambridge. Though he rarely attended lectures and left without taking a degree, his time at Cambridge was not wasted. He began a program of self-education which involved reading everything he could get his hands on, becoming extremely proficient at chess, and enjoying the social venue available to a wealthy young college man of the times.

1896 - He traveled a great deal during school holidays, taking trips to St. Petersburg, Holland, and Scandinavia. It was in Stockholm on New Year's Eve that he had his first mystical experience, which was to shape his pursuits for the rest of his life.

1898 - Began to take his writing seriously and  he privately published the long poem Aceldema: A Place to Bury Strangers In. Though he had changed his name to Aleister early in his Cambridge career, he published this work anonymously under the moniker "A Gentleman of the University of Cambridge." Aceldema was followed by several other long poems including a mildly pornographic publication White Stains.

      - He left Cambridge and in November became an initiate in the Order of the Golden Dawn, under the tutelage of Samuel Liddell Mathers, one of the founders of the Order.

1900 - He progressed rapidly through the ranks and his efforts to assume a leadership role in the London chapter of the Order, against the firm opposition of fellow member W. B. Yeats, sparked a power struggle which eventually destroyed the Order.

1903 - After the dissolution of the Golden Dawn Crowley traveled to America, Mexico, Hawaii, and India, returning to England where he married Rose Kelly.

1904 - The Crowleys were in Cairo in the spring when Rose, who had previously shown little or no interest in the occult, became possessed by an entity named Aiwass.

1907 - 1911 - Under the direct influence of a spirit he identified as his Holy Guardian Angel, wrote twelve Holy Books.
1907 - During these years he also worked on nonmagical manuscripts and published several long poems including Sword of Song and began expanding his literary efforts to prose in the form of Konx Om Pax.

1909 - He announced in the first issue of his new publication The Equinox, the formation of a magical order, the A.'.A.'. (Argenteum Astrum or Silver Star). Though Crowley had done his best to ignore the dictates of The Book of the Law, the slim volume quickly became the central core of Crowley's magical system.

1913 - The A.'.A.'. was no longer flourishing and Crowley had been inspired by the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), a fringe Masonic order. He took the name Baphomet and became the head of the English speaking branch of the order.

1919 - He spent the duration of World War I in America, returning to England. He next went to Sicily where he began an abbey and battled a growing heroin addiction.

1923 - A disciple died of fever and his widow accused Crowley of complicity in his death, bringing unwanted notoriety to the abbey and leading to Crowley's expulsion from Italy.

       - He became World Head of the O.T.O.

1930 - He saw the publication of his seminal work Magick: In Theory and Practice.

       - He spent the years of World War II in London and in the country. He battled frequent bouts of ill health and a recurrence of his heroin addiction, prescribed by doctors for his asthma. He also finished a number of writing projects, including the Book of Thoth and a redesign of the 78 cards of the Tarot deck.

1947 - He moved to his last home, a residential hotel in Hastings, and died on the 1st of December.


Page last updated: 1:33am, 29th Mar '07

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