The Rites of Eleusis in the News – Part IV – “The RITES (or Wrongs?) of ELEUSIS”

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

The November 9th, 1910 edition of “The Bystander” ran an editorial entitled “The RITES (or Wrongs?) of ELEUSIS” which included an image of Crowley as the “Guardian of the Flame”.  In this article the editors suggest that a few newspapers have preferred to regard the Rites “as subjects for humorous treatment” and further “have chosen to use them as the vehicle for charges against Mr. Crowley of blasphemy” which was illegal in England at the time.  The editors then reveal that they have invited Crowley to defend himself in writing to which he agreed.  It is then announced that their next issue, released on November 16th, would include Crowley’s rebuttal.

These accusations were of course true, Crowley was being maligned in the press.  Maybe most damning was an article entitled “An Amazing Sect” published by the “Looking Glass” on the 29th of October which described the participants robes as “Turkish bath costumes” and wrote that the Mother of Heaven “attempted jujitsu” while standing on Crowley’s chest.

Crowley responded to his critics in resounding fashion with a full to page article entitled “Concerning ‘Blasphemy’ in General and ‘The Rites of Eleusis’ in Particular”- which is well worth the read, though likely did little to sway public opinion.

This article began with the following editorial note attached:

“The Editor wishes it to be clearly understood that The Bystander does not associate itself in any way with the views of Mr. Crowley.  We have offered him the hospitality of our columns to repel the serious charge that the “Rites of Eleusis,” now in progress at the Caxton Hall, Westminster, are “orgies” of a blasphemous character, and it is entirely for the public to decide whether or not he succeeds in doing this.”

The article ends with the Editor informing the reader that the following weeks issue will include an article by Crowley providing an actual description of the nature of the rites and detail their origins.  Crowley of course obliges and the followings weeks edition of “The Bystander” included his article “The Rites of Eleusis – Their Origin and Meaning” – which is also well worth the read.

My hope is that the images of these articles are legible, most especially if you zoom in, but if you prefer them in PDF form – I do believe these are available at the 100th Monkey Press.

Hope you have enjoyed this series of articles!

Love is the law, love under will


Frater Orpheus

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