Today is the birthday of the Prophet of the Lovely star who was born October 12, 1875 – the same year as the Theosophical Society was formed (as he loved to point out). The U.S. Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis – a fraternal Order he headed for a time – has this biograpy posted.
“Edward Alexander Crowley was born in Leamington Spa in 1875. He was educated at Malvern and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he changed his name to Aleister. He was a lyric and dramatic poet, with several dozen books to his credit, including a collaboration with Auguste Rodin. He is anthologized in The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse.
“Crowley was natural polymath, and made a name for himself as a poet, novelist, journalist, mountaineer, explorer, chess player, graphic designer, drug experimenter, prankster, lover of women, beloved of men, yogi, magician, prophet, early freedom fighter, human rights activist, philosopher, and artist. He has been compared to Sir Richard Burton, and Crowley is probably best known today as the author of the twentieth century’s most influential textbooks on occultism, and as the first Englishman to found a religion—Thelema—which is today a recognized faith around the world.
“Crowley was the enfant terrible of the Edwardian avant-garde of London and Paris. Witty and flamboyant, and an early champion of the aesthetic and inspirational virtues of drugs, sex, music and dance, he gravitated to the cultural exile communities: New York during WWI, the Lost Generation of Paris in the 1920s, and the decadent Berlin of Christopher Isherwood’s Mr. Norris in the 1930s. To those who crossed his path Crowley was unforgettable. He figures in innumerable memoirs, and became the basis for fictional characters ranging from Somerset Maugham’s The Magician to the villain in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.