6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick

Founded in England in late 1870s Aleister Crowley was one of the great characters of the 20th century—an author, a magician, a writer, an alchemist, a philosopher, and spy self-proclaimed drug addict, and a sex addict. He was also known as the great beast” and the “wrongest man in the world.” He played a major role in developing alternative religions such as Wicca, the Apotentiary, and the Ordo Templi Orientis. He founded the Order of Thelema, a semi-Satanic cult whose famous edict was Do what you want.”

Crowley is too occult as Tolkien is a fantasy—he set the stage in which everyone else plays. Basically, if you’re dabbling in dark stuff, you know, Aleister was actually there first.

Crowley was an avid sex-hound and moved a lot. Crowley traveled extensively in Asia, Egypt, India, Australia, and the Far East. He also explored North America with sex magic, and other strange stunts. Here are six places in the Atlas where the infamous occult made his mark.

1. 36 Bly the Lane

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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London, Blythe Lane

Blythe Lane was the former site for the London Temple of Golden Dawn Hermetic Order. (Photograph: Philip Perry/CC BY–SA 2.0

Though he was interested in the supernatural from childhood, Crowley’s first foray into organized magic (or “magic” as he preferred to spell it) was with the Golden Dawn Hermetic Order. Crowley was well-liked by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Maters, his cofounder. He rose through the ranks quickly. However, not everyone was a fan. The London chapter, which had already found faults in Mather’s leadership especially disavowed him for the eccentric, bisexual Crowley. This caused a split between the two Order factions. Mathers was not ready for his leadership.

W. B. Yeats (poet and chief of the London chapter) was the head of the meeting in 1900. He was struck by an “astral siege” by none other than Aleister Crowley. Crowley, dressed in a black Osiris Mask and a kilt, and the mistress burst into a temple, casting spells, waving daggers, and was accompanied by Crowley. They were attempting to carry the temple to Mather’s, but they were unsuccessful. The police arrived, the scuffle went before the court, and the Golden Dawn chapter in London won (as they paid their room rent). Now that George’s Cafe has not been described, it remains in the former site of the Temple of Secret Society, with no hint of its former existence.

2. The Boleskin Building

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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The Boleskin House, taken in 1912.

The Boleskin House, taken in 1912. (Photo: Aleister Crowley/PD USA)

Crowley arrived in the Moleskin House in darkness. The manor was built on top ruins of a 10th-century Church that was destroyed during the service. All the members were killed. Crowley purchased the Boleskine House in order to stand out and perform the Book of the Holy Magic of the Magic of Abramelin. Crowley’s occultism was well-known during this period, as well as his black magic, both in Scotland, and elsewhere in the world. Mathers called Crowley to Paris during this period. So, he left without dispelling the “12 Kings and Dukes of Hell” he had summoned, and several locals blame the house’s tragic past on the evil spirits left behind.

Second, the two children of Crowley’s housekeeper died mysteriously and unexpectedly. Crowley also revealed that Crowley claimed that a former estate worker had been drinking and had tried killing his entire family. Even though the house was sold, dark energy was still present in it. In 1965, the army major who had owned the house committed suicide using a shotgun. However, the next owner, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, spent a very short time at the estate, instead of leaving it to a friend who didn’t mind the mysterious claws, groans, and numerous ghostly appearances, but was annoyed by the Crowley and Page fans who sometimes tried to break into the house and defile the grounds. The house was never inhabited by ghosts or witchcraft, and later owners disowned any rumors of hauntings. However, residents returned from a shopping trip to find it completely engulfed in flames in 2015.

3. Crowley’s Magic Retreat

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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Fresh Hampshire site of Aleister Crowley’s enchanted retirement.

Evangeline Adams’ New Hampshire house, where Aleister Crowley spent his magical retirement. (Photo: J.W. Ocker’s courtesy)

In 1916, Crowley spent four months at the home of the famous medium, Evangeline Adams, in what he called a “magic retirement.” It didn’t mean a break from cocaine, opium, sex magick, and extended rituals. In fact, the reverse is true. Crowley did double his work in Hebron and wrote a lot of prose, poetry and magical instruction. He was a ghostwriter on some of Adam’s books on astrology.

4. Isle of Esopus

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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That’s the island seen by ships.

That’s the island seen by ships. (Photo: Data map ©2016 Google)

Crowley spent 40 days, 40 nights (as Jesus Christ) on a small island in the Hudson River. His mission was translation of Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese philosophic text. He didn’t bring a lot of food, but he brought a lot of red paint, and he even put himself to work on Thelemic Graffiti on the rocks of the island. Curious families watched as the bald, robbed victim on the island began to carry his rations. He was visited by artists and fans who brought him food, drug, and company.

Crowley later stated that he had dreamed of his past life while on Esopus Island. However, all of them were very powerful. His former self included the Taoist Ge Xuan and Renaissance Pope Alexander VI, as well as the alchemist Alessandro Cagliostro and the magician. Eliphas LeviThis blog has a lot to offer. The island is accessible by sea and is open to the public today. For those who wish to follow in the footsteps of the infamous occultist, there are camping facilities.

5. Inferno, Boca do

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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CASCAIS, Portugal

Opening to Boca do Inferno cave.

Boca do Inferno’s cave mouth. (Photograph: Beatrizpereirap/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Any meaning he gives to salt must be able to forge his own demise at least once. When he visited Portugal in 1930 and was disturbed by his new mistress, Crowley seemed to have committed suicide in the Boca de Inferno (“Mouth of Hell”). His uncle, the poet Fernando Pessoa, handed Crowley’s suicide note to the newspapers, helped explain magic symbolsHe translated the mischievous Portuguese into English for the police and the media. Crowley reappeared three weeks later at the Berlin museum’s opening, suggesting that this whole incident was more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Today, a small white plaque mounted on the rock gives the text of Crowley’s note: ‘Não Posso Viver Sem Ti. An outer ‘Boca De Infierno’ apanhar-me-á não será tão quente com a tua,’ which translates loosely to ‘Can’t live without you.’ The other mouth of hell that’s going to trap me won’t be as hot as yours.” That would be touching if all of it were real.

6. The Abbey of Thelema

6 Dark Places Where Aleister Crowley Performed His of Magick - Secret Societies
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CEFAL Relevant, Italy

Decay at the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu (Sicily).

Decay in Cefalus’ Abbey of Thelema. (Photo: Frère Kybernetes/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Crowley’s magical career has reached its pinnacle in a small Sicilian city. For a small amount of money, he, his two lovers, their children and other followers, moved into a one-story home facing the Mediterranean Sea. It was called the Abbey Of Thelema. The common room was devoted to ceremonial rituals and maintained a scarlet “magic” circle marked with the main Thelemic deities’ symbol. Crowley’s own bedroom, called la chambre des cauchemars” (or “room of nightmares”), was entirely hand-painted by an occultist with explicitly erotic frescoes, hermaphroditic goblins and brightly colored monsters. This private space was used by Crowley for night initiations that involved psychoactive drugs. It was an eerie cinematic representation of hellish debauchery, a Bosch-like image.

Dark Places in which Aleister Crowley Performed His Of Magick

Magick considered his temple to be a school of magic and gave it a fitting collegiate motto: “Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum”—”College to the Holy Spirit.” The Cefalù era was one of the most fruitful and happy of his life, even as he suffered from drug addiction and had to write the Drug Fiend’s scandalous Diary to fund his community. He was able to attract a wide student body due to his growing interest in dark magic and occult. But in 1922, the experience of monasticism ended when Raoul Loveday, a young disciple, fatally died of typhoid fever from drinking polluted spring water, even though Loveday’s wife insisted that it was from drinking cat’s blood.

In 1923, the Mussolini government expelled Crowley and his family. The tyrant had no sympathy for erotic or mystic art. After the Abbey was closed, the villagers painted the murals white, believing them to be demon-like. This removed a significant part of Crowley’s history and work in Cefalù. The Abbey of Thelema remains, a secret monument of mysterious, magical decay.

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