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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Aleister Crowley: from Thelema & O.T.O. to Beatles' "Sergent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"



I bought a copy (in Italian, of course) of "Magick" by Aleister Crowley several decades ago... I was attracted by that yellow cover, typical of "Astrolabio Ubaldini" publishing company, the thickness of the book itself and this so "strange" mix of yoga and assorted weirdness - including some B/W pixes of obscure poses and ceremonies - which poured from that book.

It also was one of the most expensive books on the bookstore shelves... I remember I downpaid it in two monthly instalments...

In those pre-Web days, this book - which still remains in my library, now with its cover a pale yellow, about forty years later - worked to a young me as a catalyst and a goldmine, more or less what still happens these, present days, while lazily browsing and surfing the Web... the extremely various topics, from Cabalistic hintings to yoga and its several declinations... I sure didn't paid a lot of attention to what I later discovered - i.e. white magic, sexual ceremonies, and all the other paraphernalia such a complex persona lived on his own skin in an extremely various and - to some extent - exceptional life: mountaineering in Himalayas, playing chess with Fernando Pessoa, travelling (in early XIX Century) China, Japan, Mexico, the USA, Tzarist Russia and whole Europe, meditating in Buddhist monasteries, living in Egypt and much, much more...

My deep, sincere interest - better: need - in meditating and related originated from an apparently "wrong" book written by an eccentric heroin addict (...) who was changing women as we usually change shoes and who was often called a satanist (!)... nonetheless, Crowley was, for me, and for many others around, the right ingredient at the right moment...

Holistically, he sort-of connected the points between different cultures, the exotic, the esoteric, the untold and unknown... from him I read of Taoism and Buddhism, and - don't ask me why - my musical tastes followed new paths - i.e. Popol Vuh in early '70s and the healing, deep meaning of introspectivness and self-consciousness of electronic and Krautrock... and ethnic (mostly Indian music) and classical music, with a definite taste for Stockhausen's which still is well here after decades.

While friends were heavily into dope (smoked, mostly...) I was - like a young monk, building my - very - inner self with the support of the most mysterious stuff around: music.

I guess that the very same happened to more famous people, like Jimmy Page and David Bowie... hey, I'm not into controlling people and events by the means of "magic", but sure the flawed, unpopular, Aleister Crowley had - for a younger me, down to the present days - a weight and a role as - as I already pointed it out - a catalyst.

More than some obscure (or not?!?) sexual ceremonies or cats killing, while in Cefalu' - Sicily (Italy), I'll always be in debt with his writings and linking to "other" worlds and knowledges... maybe the same Beatles felt in their hey days, when they placed Crowley near Mae West (cover upper left side) on their seminal "Sergent Pepper..." cover...

Didn't them?!?!

Sure as iconic as it can be, and a "pop" - yet still an obscure one - character.

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