Review -- Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified

ALEISTER CROWLEY
The Beast Demystified

by Roger Hutchinson

Review by G.M.Kelly
Castle of the Silver Star, 11th of June 1999 E.V.


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Ltd
7 Albany Street
Edinburg EH1 3UG

Copyright İ Roger Hutchinson, 1998 E.V.
£16.99

The truly awful thing about Crowley is that one suspects he
didn't really believe in anything.  Even his wickedness.
Perhaps the only thing that wasn't fake was his addiction to
heroin and cocaine.

                                         - Christopher Isherwood

So begins Aleister Crowley:  The Beast Demystified by Roger Hutchinson, the latest attempt at a biography of the man, in a mere 216 pages counting the index.  There is no question where this book is going from that point on.  It's downhill all the way.  And I suppose then that there is little doubt as to which way this review is going.  However, the reader should never be content to know the reviewer's opinion of a book.  One should learn why that reviewer has formed his opinion.

Chapter I, entitled Afterlife, begins with a simple quote, but from a man who has already done a great deal of damage to Thelema and the memory of Aleister Crowley:  "Those gifted young men, the Beatles, have added him to their escutcheon." John Symonds is credited with saying this, although here and practically everywhere else in Demystified the author refuses to add a footnote or in any way indicated the source of his quotes so that the reader cannot go to that work and check the accuracy of said quote or the context in which it was originally presented.  Of course, in regards to the above quotation it doesn't much matter.  However, it may matter in the case of other quotations.  One wonders if there was a reason for this.

Hutchinson tells us that John Lennon nominated Adolf Hitler {the cut out of his image was, at the last moment, not used}, the Marquis de Sade, Nietzsche and "the American 'black-comedian' Lenny Bruce" for the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as Lord Buckley, Dylan Thomas, James Joyce, and Oscar Wilde.  It was also Lennon, Hutchinson says, who chose for that famous album cover "a dimly remembered self-styled magician and seminal proponent of sexual and narcotic freedom called Aleister Crowley."  [Pages 10-11] One wonders here if that nasty old trick is being played by the author.  Has the name of a truly "wicked" man been evoked to set the scene, as it were?  Has the human demon who once swept the world with violence and bloodshed, Adolf Hitler, been called to literary manifestation by Hutchinson to dirty the image of the so-called "wickedest man in the world", or was the author merely stating facts?  This reviewer cannot help but to note that the next individual mentioned was the Marquis de Sade, known for his perversity, and that the names called forth seem to be of individuals with a reputation that becomes increasingly less "bad".  How appropriate then to place Crowley's name last on this list!  But I don't think that was the intention.  Once Hitler's name has been called forth, this spirit of destruction conjured in the mind of the reader, all else is tainted and "blackened", as it were, with the images that that name calls up in the mind.  It is an old trick used by literary assassins, but in this case not over done by forcing mention of Charlie Manson here or elsewhere in the book.  Frequently, literary assassins with less finesse than Roger Hutchinson will find some way to use both the names of Hitler and Manson, somehow connecting them to that of Crowley, to pervert the reader's perception of the latter man.  As I have said, it is an old and I must say over used trick.

Without wasting much time, Hutchinson begins his campaign against Thelema by perverting its meaning, the true focus of Aleister Crowley's work on earth.  On page 11 he wrote:  "That constituency was doubly delighted to learn that the bald and baleful man in the crowd had taken lots of drugs, had advocated the legalisation of narcotics and had used as his mantra the term:  'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law [sic].'  An exhortation custom-made to the late 1960s, many of whose population had already determined to establish a new civilisation upon the more prosaic proposition 'do your own thing'." Aside from the fact that the Beatles, especially Lennon, knew quite a bit more about A.C. before including his image on their album cover than Hutchinson seems to indicate, and the fact that Hutchinson [deliberately?] misquoted the line from Chapter I, Verse 40, of The Book of the Law by not capitalizing the "L" in "law" - not a minor matter according to The Book itself - Hutchinson, neither here nor anywhere else in his book explains just what "Do what thou wilt" means, and allows the careless reader to assume it implies something like "do your own thing", or do whatever you please - cater to the whims of the petty ego.  This, of course, is quite the antithesis of what the Law of Thelema actually means.  Of course we should enjoy life to the fullest, but not at the expense of others nor of matters more important.

"Do what thou wilt" simply means to discover and accomplish one's True Will, one's purpose for existing, which is the Will of the Universe or the Will of God, and this very often means ignoring the desires of ego, the false self, carrying out the mandates of the True Self, the essential being that manifests in this or that persona during incarnation.  Once one has discovered and sets about to accomplish his or her Will on earth, there is no sense of restriction by ignoring the desires of ego, for gradually the hold ego has lessens as one flies free in the bounds of one's Will, doing what one was born, created to do - a being finally free in it's own specific element.  The discovery and pursuit of one's Will is the freedom of the Star which has found its orbit in the universe of being and from that point on moves through that universe experiencing the bliss of its being, fulfilling its role as an expression of Existence.  But of course, Roger Hutchinson does not wish the reader to know this.  It is too sublime.  Too fine a concept.  It is Hutchinson's purpose in his book to portray Crowley as a crass, crude and ego-dominated hedonist whose only ambition was to gratify his petty desires of the moment at anyone's expense.  In other words, it is obviously Hutchinson's purpose to foster in the minds of his readers an image of the man that is a lie, to accomplish his goal as another of many literary assassins who, like parasites, nevertheless live off of the life and works of a man far better and finer than they could ever be, Aleister Crowley.

Incidentally, on that same page, Hutchinson refers to musician Jimmy Page as a "Crowleyite", a somewhat derogatory term employed by Crowley detractors to make parties interested in Crowley and his work seem silly for that interest.  Another old trick of the literary assassin.

On page 14 Hutchinson tells us that "Perhaps the most startling and complete revision of the value of the man's life and work occurred in 1993."  He went on to inform the reader that A.C. had not been listed in the Dictionary of National Biography published in 1950 E.V.

"It was a curious omission... Aside from his self-proclaimed magical powers, Crowley had been a mountaineer and published writer of some note - not top of the range, but of some note.  He had not exactly conquered K2 or Kangchenjunga, but he had climbed higher up those peaks than any other man of his time, and higher than anybody else was to manage for another two decades.  He had not dominated the best-seller lists, but his books had a certain brash integrity. ..."

Frequently throughout Hutchinson's book he makes reference to Crowley's bragging about "self-proclaimed magical powers", and yet throughout the works of Aleister Crowley said boasts seem to be few and far between.  The actual acquisition of so-called "magical powers" was never foremost on A.C.'s agenda, nor is it the true focus of any legitimate magician.  However, to go on about this, here, there and everywhere in the book, Hutchinson hopes to make Crowley look like a silly egotist.  More tricks to fool the reader.  More sleight of hand in the con artist's repertoire.

In discussing Crowley's abilities and achievements as a mountain climber it would be self-defeating to denigrate the man since top climbers today are beginning to recognize and proclaim the man's talents and successes in this field.  Besides, it makes Hutchinson appear to be fair in his assessment of the man.  As for Crowley's literary talents, he begrudgingly gives him some credit ... for "brash integrity".  Far more integrity than the literary assassin, collecting his blood money from the publisher who hired his work.

"And so, on page 162 of the Dictionary of National Biography, 'Missing Persons Supplement, 1993', Aleister Crowley appears at last, engraved upon the official tablet of British history.  It was a kind of posthumous knighthood."  It is, Hutchinson wrote, "an uncommonly kind thousand-word appraisal by Gerald Suster of the achievements of Edward Alexander ('Aleister') Crowley (1875-1947).  The DNB, after all those years and doubtless following much editorial debate, chose to classify him simply as a 'writer'.

Some time back, Mr. Gerald Suster sent me a photocopy of pages 162 and 163 from the Dictionary of National Biography, his entry on Crowley which I did not find in the least "startling".  Startling, of course, it may be to the mind of Roger Hutchinson since Mr. Suster refuses to take the easy way out in writing about Aleister Crowley, as do literary assassins such as Hutchinson himself, seeking instead to try to understand the man, his work and motivations, and fairly treat the much maligned Beast 666, giving praise where praise is due.

While Mr. Suster's entry on Crowley's behalf is primarily a statement of the plain and simple facts of the man's life, certainly nothing startling in that, he has also managed to make some good points in Crowley's favour:

"His poetry, from Aceldama (1898) via The Collected Works (3 vols., 1905-7) until Olla (1947), has consistently aroused extremes of praise and blame from critics.  Despite the fact that connoiseurs applauded and collected his sumptuously produced, privately printed editions in terms of the designer's art, his work became unfashionable after 1918, and appreciation was marred by the poet's increasingly vilivied personal reputation."

Mr. Suster went on from here to write:

"Crowley's principal concerns, however, consisted of his researches into ways of accelerating human evolution through increasing human intelligence by techniques of concentrating the mind one-pointedly, stimulating the central nervous system, and maximizing and mapping hitherto unexplored reigions of the brain.  This initially led him to ceremonial magick and London's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (1898) ..."

Mr. Suster went on to state in regards to The Book of the Law that

"Its principal commandment, 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law', to him meant not vulgar hedonism but the honest and honourable fulfilment of a person's deepest potential.

Did Roger Hutchinson miss that?  No.  He simply chose to ridicule it.

"But, in this tender reappraisal permitted by the passing years," Hutchinson wrote on page 17, "Crowley's abiding message to humanity had been 'not vulgar hedonism but the honest and honourable fulfilment of a person's deepest potential'."  After which Hutchinson wrote:

"Aleister Crowley would have laughed aloud."

Absolute nonsense, as Hutchinson himself proves with a later quote attributed to Crowley from an unspecified source.  Mr. Gerald Suster's explanation of Crowley's life work was beautifully concise and accurate, and knowing Aleister Crowley as I do from at least three decades of study and research, I can assure you that he would have been pleased with Mr. Suster's fair and respectful entry on him in the Dictionary of National Biography.  Hutchinson, however, would have you the reader believe that Crowley had spent his entire life trying to make a fool out of you, me and everyone else, while, in fact, it is Hutchinson who is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

"The mythology which he understood so well confused his hunters in death as in life, baffled those who followed him in good humour as in foul", the author wrote on page 17, and this may be so.  However, Hutchinson appears to be a man who, misunderstanding mythology as mere fiction, fails to grasp the value of this sacred literary art form.  In demystifying Aleister Crowley, which he has claimed to have done, Hutchinson has only done his damnest to tear out the very soul of our beloved Beast; removing from his life the very spiritual and magical essence which moved him through life so that he might portray to the reader a mere soulless, empty caricature of the man as if it were the true Man behind the myth.

In Chapter 2, Early Life, page 20, Hutchinson pulls the same stunt John Symonds did before him when he wrote that Crowley's purpose was "to aspire personally to usurp the throne of God."  This is an absolute and stupid lie, for the closest Crowley came to seriously making any statements even similar to this is when he taught that we are to find "God" not without, but within us, and this has been a thing that World Teachers from the Buddha to the Nazarene called the Christ have tried to teach humankind.  "There is no God but Man", emphasis on the first word, indicating something that is without and separate from us.  Aside from this there is no reason to assume that Crowley ever attempted to set himself up as a "god" to be worshipped.  However, it pleases the egotistical literary assassin to speak of his victim as if it were he who is dominated and controlled by ego.

Hutchinson mentions again and again that young Alick "was a plump child, running to fat, with chubby cheeks and a young girl's breasts."  [P. 29] And on page 43:

"There is a photograph of Alick Crowley taken at about this time.  It is an appealing shot of a teenager in a tight-fitting worsted suit and a school cap clamped to the back of his head.  The fully buttoned waistcoat strains to contain an incipient belly.  His chubby, rounded face makes him look younger than his years..."

What I found particularly interesting about this is how the above shows the degree of Hutchinson's inability to perceive the facts due to his less than objective and impartial perspective.  Or is he once more colouring the facts to guide the reader into viewing Crowley as he wants you to view him, rather than as he was?  If this is Hutchinson's intention he is a bigger fool than I imagine him to be, for one needs only to pick up a copy of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley to view that very same photograph and see for oneself that it depicts a rather pleasant and healthy looking lad, his "worsted suit" not at all "tight-fitting" but comfortably draped on his boyish but not corpulent body.  There is no "incipient belly" straining the buttoned waistcoat.  However, it pleases Hutchinson to portray Crowley, even in his early years, as a lazy hedonist and this false image that he conjures forth assists him in his dirty work.

We find that on page 45 Hutchinson presumes to know the deceased man far better than even I, after thirty years of study, presume to when he wrote "In the course of a long and eventful life, Aleister Crowley would affect never to understand those who were offended by his logical, consistent, straightforward behaviour."  I sincerely doubt there was anything affectatious about it.  While I myself have come to expect it and find myself pleasantly surprised when my expectations are not met, the offence others take at my logical and straightforward behaviour and expressed ideas never ceases to strain my ability to comprehend the antagonism simple reason and logic seems to elicit in many people.  My bewilderment is never affected and I very much doubt Crowley's was either.  It is, for the simple, honest man, nearly impossible to understand why honesty, common sense, reason and logic, should elicit either condemnation or praise.  Should not every mature, rational human being excercise reason and possess common sense, and isn't honesty simply the by-product of these things, of an ordered, rational mind?  Of course it is to be expected that a literary assassin such as Roger Hutchinson would not affect an inability to understand a simple, honest man, but rather that he would sincerely find such a man to be incomprehensible.  Finding him nigh impossible to understand, it is then only natural that he should view the honest man with a sense of humour and a means of expressing himself in jest and symbology as a dishonest man.  So perhaps I should not be so hard on Roger Hutchinson.  Perhaps he is merely doing the best job he can under the circumstances, against the self-created restrictions of his own dishonesty.  Then again...

With page 47 of Chapter 3, Salad Days, we come to this:

"Throughout the rest of his life, in a psychologically curious effort to escape from his family identity, Crowley would adopt a variety of noms de guerre."

Of course it may be that Hutchinson is merely following through with his agenda, to assassinate the character of Aleister Crowley, and by way of this, undo his work, but it may also be an example of how an amateur psychologist can over psychologize at times.  As it has been said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Hutchinson should have known better.  Earlier on in his book he made it quite clear that Crowley's first hero was his father, a man who may have proven to be "on the other side", but who defended his belief system, the only religion he actually knew, with direct honesty and righteous enthusiasm.  While Crowley may have had issues with some members of his family, and who among us approve of every member of our family? it seems that A.C. was quite content to be a Crowley.  As for his various noms de guerre, literally "war names", pseudonyms, they were adopted for more playful and often logical reasons.  When visiting foreign countries, for instance, especially in Crowley's day, a prince with an exotic sounding name would certainly get better treatment in a hotel than a common Englishman, especially with the sentiments regarding the English running at an all time low because of British colonialism.  Even in England the tendency to treat the foreigner, especially the foreign dignitary, better than one's own neighbour would have encouraged Crowley to play the name game.  Also it suited the actor in him, a character in the play of life, to assume different personas from time to time.  One might even argue that the man behind the name of Aleister Crowley was just too great to be constrained by manifestation in a single persona, but let us not go too far into this for fear that next fellows like Hutchinson will pull out their amateur psychologist's notebook and, affecting a German accent with a pensive look saying "I see", jot down the catch phrase of the day "multiple personality disorder".

There were many reasons for assuming different names, some logical, some playful, and it is not an uncommon thing for literary personalities to do this.  They are creative people and the most intimate canvas they can work on is themselves, and writers love to reinvent themselves from time to time.  It is the nature of a true literary artist.  The inability to understand this says something about the "writer" known to us as Roger Hutchinson ... if, indeed, that is his real name!

Hutchinson loves to mislead people, as he does on page 49 where he wrote that "The acquisition of foreign languages was, after all, another academic discipline, and Aleister Crowley was on the run from discipline."  I will not argue that as a youth he may indeed have occasionally rebelled against discipline, haven't we all?  However, Hutchinson uses such statements as this to try and make it seem as if Crowley had been a lazy duffer all his life, when in fact Crowley's discipline with the English language is quite evident in his writings.  Furthermore, Crowley pursued with enthusiasm the disciplines of ceremonial magic as well as the various branches of eastern yoga.  And mountain climbing, which Hutchinson himself admits he was expert in, requires a great deal of discipline upon which a man's life may depend.  All in all, it seems quite obvious that A.C. was a far more disciplined man than Mr. Roger Hutchinson, and I only wish Crowley were alive today to display his disciplined reason and logic in dealing with Hutchinson's literary assassination which I can only attend to in my simple, clumsy but honest way.

"His poetry was dreadful, and would always be dreadful", Hutchinson wrote on page 49.  However, as Mr. Suster has pointed out, that is merely a matter of opinion and there are connoisseures who embrace the man's poetic creations.  I am a simple country boy at heart, and I cannot claim to be the great, educated and experienced expert of poetry that Mr. Hutchinson seems to be claiming to be, but I know what I like.  Crowley's literary output was tremendous.  Some of his poetry does not float trippingly off my tongue, and some of it I simply don't get.  Unlike Mr. Hutchinson, I tend to blame this more upon my own deficiencies than any Crowley may have had as a poet.  On the other hand, much of Crowley's poetry is an absolute joy to read aloud, flowing as a good song should flow, dancing sound and evocative images given birth in a pastiche of words that could and in fact has indeed brought life back to the long dormant elder gods.

"Crowley's verse rarely, throughout the remaining fifty-five years of his life, got any better. ... Luckily Aleister's chess was much better than his poetry, and his climbing skills were superior to either of them."

So continued Hutchinson on page 50, and here I could not help but to observe that he often attacked and denigrated Crowley on a subjectively experienced art form like poetry, knowing that relatively few of his readers would understand poetry and might simply accept what he has written because, well, it's in a book so it must be true and the author must be an expert on the subject!  However, when it comes to Crowley's achievements at chess or mountain climbing, for instance, more concrete matters that can be more objectively determined as either a failure or success, he begrudgingly gives the devil his due.  There is also, in this, another of the literary assassin's tricks.  First, of course, it makes him appear to be fair in his assessment of the victim, for no one can be all bad, and this, naturally, would then incline the reader to accept what he is reading with less thought.  To go on and on about how absolutely evil or bad Crowley was would only encourage the reader to rebel, for deep down inside we all know that nothing and no one in this relative universe can be absolutely anything.  Secondly, giving the proverbial devil his due, sucks in the sympathetic reader as well as the antagonistic one.  Taking his cue from John Symonds' book The Great Beast, Roger Hutchinson tries very hard to please people on both sides of the Crowley issue, knowing that many will read into the book what they want to find therein, that which will give legitimacy to their opinions, ignoring mostly everything that is hostile or contrary to the opinions they have embraced.  This is a good trick indeed for it ensures a larger reading audience, more book sales, and more money in Mr. Hutchinson's pocket.  And after all, while income is made a necessary concern for us all in this economically based society, it is for men like Hutchinson the absolute bottom line.  If truth and genuine fairness get in the way of profit, then truth and fairness be damned!  There's money to be made!

Tossed out on page 54 by Hutchinson is that "by 1911 Aleister Crowley was unashamedly announcing himself as the head of a new millennial religion..."  And one must wonder why, this being a fact despite what anyone may think of Thelema, Crowley should be ashamed to introduce himself to the world as such.  Oh, but of course, according to Roger Hutchinson, Crowley was just putting all of us on and he did not even believe in Thelema.  When one considers how Crowley's entire life after 1904, or more specifically 1909 E.V., pivoted on his reception of The Book of the Law and had planted its roots in Thelema, the assertion that the remaining thirty-six years of his life was just one big joke is patently absurd.

Well, Hutchinson wishes you to believe that A.C. was just making a fool out of you, me and everyone else so that we will dislike the man, for who can like the person who makes us feel foolish?  The individual we believed in and who proved to be making saps of us all?  Guess what?  Right.  This is just one more trick of the literary assassin.  He's playing upon the readers' emotions and sense of self-worth, more often the common insecurity that most human beings experience.  Elsewhere, on page 135, Hutchinson wrote:

"...devoted throughout all to the religious credo which would certainly not grip the world, but which absolutely inspired Aleister Crowley:  do as thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law. [sic]"

Here Hutchinson not only contradicts his assertion that Crowley believed in nothing, not even Thelema, but it goes even further than this.  Here he has, even more obviously than before, perverted the Law of Thelema as stated in Chapter I, Verse 40 of Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX, commonly referred to as The Book of the Law:  "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."  This is a way of showing a lack of respect and reveals the compulsion to pervert and misrepresent.  Furthermore, Mr. Hutchinson here plays prophet by stating that the Law of Thelema "would certainly not grip the world".  But how can he be certain of this?  At the time when Christianity was a mere underground cult, most of the Roman Empire believed that it was but a passing fad, until the men in power began to see the real threat of this cult and began persecuting the followers of the Nazarene.  In time the cult found favour with those in power, it rose in status to that of not only a religion but a state sanctioned religion, and today the Christian church, more specifically the Roman Catholic Church, mocks the ancient Roman Empire by dominating Rome, which it has made its pontifical centre.  Thelema is a mere ninety-five years old, a mere infant "cult" in the scheme of an ĉon which has a lifespan of several thousands of years, and already the "cult" is being attacked, the followers persecuted, albeit in a less lethal manner in our more [ahum] civilized and enlightened times.  How can Hutchinson be so sure, so absolutely sure, that in time Thelema will not find favour with those in power, the Law of Thelema spread throughout the world to root itself in the very foundations of society and usher in the next ĉon of Truth and Justice?  Or is it, perhaps, wishful thinking on Hutchinson's part, afraid of change, afraid of the challenge Thelema's mere existence implies to the belief system that he is desperately clinging to?

As I read Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified I began to wonder if Roger Hutchinson felt himself, deep down inside, to be a friendless man, for he seemed bound and determined to exteriorize his feeling by making it appear as if Crowley were abysmally friendless throughout his life.  It may have been that like most individuals of genius, Crowley's friendships were more ill fated, and for the most part, the majority of anyone's associates prove to be fair-weather friends, our true friendships rare and few, sometimes fleeting due to circumstances, but to even imply that Crowley was friendless is absurd.

"Oscar Eckenstein," Hutchinson wrote on page 56, "would join that tiny pantheon of acquaintances whom Aleister Crowley could never bring himself to insult or even to criticise."  This implies that Crowley went out of his way to insult and criticise practically everyone but the few friends he actually had.  Of course, show me the man who believes he has a vast multitude of real friends and I will show you a fool or a madman.  And of course, our true friends give us little cause to criticise, and, if we are mature, decent people, we should have no reason to insult them.  I fear the evidence of his words makes it appear likely that Roger Hutchinson would be a poor "friend" to have indeed.

On page 87 Hutchinson wrote that Crowley was left "later in life as penniless as he was without friends."  And while it is true his financial state was abysmal in his last years {This would surely "prove" to a crass capitalist that Crowley was an utter failure.},  it is untrue to say that he was without friends for there was his devoted comrade Karl Germer, and the tempermental artist Lady Frieda Harris, as well as others, and yes, some people who haunt us today by the way they hung onto Crowley to later capitalize upon his name, reputation and work, but he was far from a friendless man in his last years.  However, we will concede the fact that his true friendships dwindled over the years, as they do with most of us, and in some ways he was sadly used and betrayed in those latter days.  But should we condemn a good man for the disreputable actions of the bad men who surrounded him at his deathbed?  I think not!

"That 'I rather liked him', from the careful {Arnold} Bennett, was as glowing a compliment as Aleister would ever receive", Hutchinson claims on page 108, and yet this is of course not only untrue, but what is so bad about this statement?  Liking a person, really liking another person is not as easy for a man like Arnold Bennett as it would be for the individual who tries very hard to dismiss the faults of his fellow human beings so that he may fool himself into believing that everyone is likeable.  The compliment that Bennett paid Crowley I can, after reading this book, hardly pay to Mr. Hutchinson.

And on page 134 Hutchinson claimed that "He wanted not critical friends, but undemanding devotees and lovers."  Yet look at the friends Crowley actually had:  Oscar Eckenstein, Allan Bennett and Arnold Bennett, Frank Harris, and many more very critical men who would have never let Crowley off the hook.  They were certainly not "undemanding devotees".  As for the women in Crowley's life, we cannot be sure, but it may have been that he preferred women who would not challenge him at every turn.  I once thought that such a woman would be wonderful, but oh how tiring it can become after facing a world full of challenge, to come home to the woman you love only to be challenged yet again at every turn!  No, once again Mr. Hutchinson is simply, well, lying.  He either does not in the least understand Aleister Crowley, as he claims to, or he is deliberately trying to paint the man "black", as it were, perhaps to undermine that which he brought into the world, Thelema.

Also, another book about that bad old Aleister Crowley can make a few bucks, or pounds, for the ill-disciplined hack writer who can spare the time to knock off another 200 pages or so of pure poppycock.

Referring to John Symonds as Aleister Crowley's "friend" as he does on page 62 and elsewhere, Hutchinson very much misleads the reader {Oh how unusual!} into believing that this back-stabber was indeed a "friend".  Symonds pretended to befriend Crowley in his last years, got himself made literary executor in Crowley's Last Will and Testament for his efforts, only to then write a brilliant book that both inspires in one a sense of compassion and reverence for Aleister Crowley while also slandering and misrepresenting the man.  He proved to be a good role model for Mr. Hutchinson!  However, John Symonds was not a true friend to Aleister Crowley in his last days on earth.  And if indeed Hutchinson believes his lie, then it proves further that he hasn't the faintest idea as to what true friendship is and this would then explain quite a lot about the man and his erroneous opinions.

In Chapter 4, I Can Call Spirits from the Vasty Deep, Hutchinson wrote that "There was schism within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn before the initiation of the neophyte Brother Perdurabo."  [P. 69] This pretty much puts to rest the myth that Crowley single-handedly destroyed the Golden Dawn while proving that even Hutchinson can accomplish some good with his work.  See, I told you that nobody can be all "bad"!

Also, on page 75, Hutchinson makes mention of an affair Crowley had had with a married woman and that "This 'seductive siren' was persuaded to hand over £100 (£5,000 a century later) to send Allan Bennett ... to rebuild his life in Ceylon. ... Crowley tired of his siren, with the result that Laura {her name was, Hutchinson believes} began to wonder aloud about getting her £100 back. ..."

Quoting Yeats in this matter:

"We found out that his [Mathers's] unspeakable mad person had a victim, a lady who was his mistress & from whom he extorted large sums of money.  Two or three of our thaumaturgists after, I think, consulting their master, called her up astrally, & told her to leave him." [P. 76]

Then Hutchinson goes on to mislead the reader into thinking that perhaps there was truth to Yeats' preposterous balderdash, although Hutchinson admits that no charges were pressed against A.C. after the woman had been persuaded to go to Scotland Yard, but of course then he proceeds to make excuses for the lady - well, after all she was married, and - yatta yatta yatta.

"...almost twenty years later," Hutchinson wrote, "Scotland Yard was requested by the Foreign Office confidentially to file a report on Aleister, it began with the words:

Aleister Crowley, who has passed under the names of Aleister Crowley, A.E. Crawley, Count V. Zoneret, Alastair McGregor and Earl of Middlesex, first came under the notice of Police in 1900, when he became acquainted with a widow with whom he cohabited.  Eventually left her stealing property worth £200.  She, however, refused to prosecute the man and no action was taken.

"(This report does not excite confidence in the police force.  They have entirely mistaken some of their subject's pseudonyms, and missed many others.  ... if Crowley had 'stolen' £200 - and as the assertion of theft was never proved or challenged in a court of law, it was surely rash for Scotland Yard to state it as fact many years later ... he {Crowley} saw no disgrace in the transaction. ...)" [P. 76-77]

And why should Crowley have seen "disgrace in the transaction"?  No law was broken.  There seems to have been no coercian whatsoever.  The woman either gave him the money as a gift for Allan or it was a loan, we cannot be sure, nor can we be sure if, indeed it had been a loan, she had ever been repaid.  The whole thing seems to me to be much ado about nothing.  The money was used to help another, a man suffering physically from a debilitating condition, and he was assisted to move to a place where the climate would greatly alleviate his suffering without bringing harm to another.

"Remnants of the Golden Dawn persisted," Hutchinson continued on page 77.  "It was better, considered its vestigial membership, without Mathers, and far, far better without Crowley."  An unnecessary slur and not necessarily true, for while the Golden Dawn continued, after Mathers was no longer a part of it, without real magicians like Crowley and Bennett, having lost scholars like Westcott, it began a rapid degeneration, sinking into the absurdities of "Spiritism".

Hutchinson, by the way, often quoting W.B.Yeats to get his derogatory remarks about A.C. into the book, merely shows us that it was Yeats who was obviously a prissy delusional lunatic.

In passing I might mention that Hutchinson, on page 79, describes Dion Fortune's "novella" The Winged Bull as "dreadful".  Perhaps by today's standards, but I found it delightfully charming and quaint with some interesting allusions to sexual polarity and dynamics.  "Dreadful", I think, was more than a bit harsh and unnecessary.

However, At the fork of the Roads, which is, "asserted Aleister, 'in every detail a true account,'" Hutchinson had a better opinion of.  He wrote that "It is a remarkable short story."  However, it proves to be a backhanded compliment when he continues:

"The best that could ever be said of Crowley's fictional prose style was that it was an improvement upon his verse (his non-fictional writing was better than either of them, without ever threatening excellence).  But his imagination - the well-spring of his being - was boundless, and his malice unequalled." [P. 81]

Of course Hutchinson himself seems to be displaying a lot of malice towards Crowley throughout, his animosity perhaps making it impossible for him to be any where near a fair and impartial judge of A.C.'s literature.  I find his Simon Iff stories {see elsewhere on this site} delightful, amusing and at times fascinating, the style usually quick and bright, the dialogue snappy.  His Diary of a Drug Fiend and Moonchild are enjoyable to read even today, as dated as they are.  And would Hutchinson consider the caricatures in these masterpieces of prose a sign of Crowley's "malice"?  He was just having fun, being a bit of a tease, allowing the imp in him to play a bit with these people who, for the most part, took themselves way too seriously.  Malice?  I suppose that Mr. Hutchinson would accuse me of harbouring malicious feelings towards him as he reads this review, and yet nothing could be further from the truth!  Why, without individuals like Roger Hutchinson and such works as this book of his, how would I ever have the opportunity to write such a review as this and display a talent that makes this dull old country boy that I am shine so brightly!

Of Crowley Hutchinson wrote on page 84 "...because he wishes it to be so, he is difficult to grasp.  At the age of twenty-five, the Aleister Crowley that Yeats, Fortune and the others saw, was the Aleister Crowley that they got.  Beneath the stage clothes beat a simple selfish heart; behind the black mask was a mind concentrated chiefly upon its next impressive operatic scene."  A mere poser?  Hardly.  There is some truth to these words, but that is intentional as it sugar-coats the lie and makes it goes down much easier, by-passing the critical faculty of reason.  You got it.  Another trick of the literary assassin.

Sprinkle a little truth here and there, easy to accept, and sneak in a lie or two and it goes right past reason without causing a single mental blink - if it's done smoothly enough.  He was difficult to understand, and certainly a part of him enjoyed that, yet there was a part of him that wanted to be understood and it was his true friends who became such because they did understand the man.  Yes, the actor in him, the playwrite and poet, looked forward to the "next impressive operatic scene", but he was obviously not all show.  Perhaps he may have been had he not pursued a magical career and received The Book of the Law, but these things did much to ground him, to give him purpose, and provide him with a serious foundation upon which to build his life.  He was no more selfish than most of us, and probably a lot less.  He devoted himself to his master in the Golden Dawn, Mathers, albeit that proved to have been pearls thrown before swine.  He was devoted to his teacher in magic, Allan Bennett, and was of great assistance to him, for instance in the incident already mentioned, whether the money came directly from Crowley or not, instrumental in resituating his friend so that not only could he improve his physical health, but also his spiritual health.  Eckenstein would have never climbed so often with A.C. if indeed he were terribly selfish, for climbers must rely upon one another unselfishly or perhaps die in their attempts.  Furthermore, Crowley gave a great deal more to the world than most are yet aware of, and his literary output was virtually given away for our enjoyment and enlightment.  Unselfishly he devoted himself to Thelema for most of his life, receiving so little in return that indeed he did die virtually penniless, having given his all to the Great Work.

On page 87 Hutchinson informs us that "we are almost entirely dependent upon Crowley's autobiography.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, however frustrating it may be to the biographer.  To be sure, Aleister Crowley lied incorrigibly and exaggerated habitually, but mostly about matters of finesse, performance, motivation; the components of character and legend.  Rarely can he be caught out on base detail, or in his relation of affairs which do not threaten his own reputation."  Of course, since this self-proclaimed biographer is so utterly dependent upon Crowley's own Confessions he must admit that it is not an entirely inaccurate volume.  However, he claims that Crowley "lied incorrigibly" and yet he does not provide us with a single example of such a lie in his 200+ page book.  Interesting, don't you think?  He says that Crowley habitually exaggerated - well, what storyteller doesn't, from time to time, embellish upon his story?  What a dull storyteller Mr. Hutchinson must be if he sees a bit of exaggeration as something dishonest.  And anyway, when in fact Crowley did exaggerate in regards to his performance or finesse in handling a situation, he has usually done it with tongue tucked firmly in cheek, expecting the rest of us to get the joke.

As for Crowley's motivation, this is speculative.  It's pretty damn difficult to read minds under the best of circumstances, I'm sure, and to read the mind of a man long dead has got to be pretty near impossible, wouldn't you say?  However, intelligent speculation as to Crowley's motives can be determined from a study of his life and personality, and in my considered opinion, whenever he stated or implied that his motives were focussed on the establishment of Thelema in society he was speaking the absolute truth, although admittedly he may have expected some personal benefit to come along with this, while also, most surely, expecting just the opposite.  His motives in dealing with others on a personal or professional basis were surely mixed, as they are for all of us, for even the supposedly most unselfish of us may harbour, somewhere in our psyche, a slightly selfish motivation for our unselfish deeds, even if it be only the joy we receive in giving joy to another.  And likewise, while Crowley may have struck out at a person for some stated noble cause, it's possible that part of his motivation was more personal and less noble.  He was, after all, only human.  And the point here is that probably not one of us, at any time, are motivated by only one thing, one thought, one desire, and we may state that we are motivated by a desire to do good, and it may be that that is our primary motivation, and we may not even realize that we have a secondary motivation, perhaps "to be loved".  This does not make the man who states only his primary motivation a liar.

As you can probably tell by the length of this review, while it is quite easy for the literary assassin to spout a few lies, pervert a truth here and there, and in 500 words or less slander a man who is no longer alive to defend or explain himself, it can be a complicated, time-consuming and arduous task to defend the victim of the literary assassin.  So what is my motivation?  Well, I'm afraid that if I explain that here Mr. Hutchinson will only call me a liar, so I'll refrain from giving him this opportunity.

Now here's where it starts getting really "good", kiddies.  Up until now Hutchinson's act of literary assault has been pretty mild.  From this point on he pulls out the big guns, and oh how "brave" the man who attacks and slanders one who is beyond his reach, a victim who can't fight back, who can't defend himself.  I wonder, did Roger Hutchinson count on a champion capable and ready for battle?

Page 91:  "So he," Aleister Crowley, of course, "travelled north through India early in the winter of 1901-02, and in March he met in Delhi with Eckenstein and his team."  This, naturally, in preparation for the climb of K2.

"...according to Crowley's version of the agreement, he personally had donated £1,000 towards the expedition, which entitled him to become second-in-command to Eckenstein's leader.  Many years later, however, Guy Knowles told Crowley's executor John Symonds that Aleister had handed over not a penny:  he, Knowles, had borne the financial burden.  This version of events accords perfectly with Crowley's attitude towards his and other people's finances."

According to who?  One man says one thing and the other man says something else and Hutchinson chooses to believe the latter man because he has determined, although he's already shown a lack of understanding when it comes to the workings of Crowley's mind, that Knowles' version of the story sounds more likely.  Unfortunately, Knowles is not the most reliable source for the truth in this matter.

Chapter 5, Up and Up in Paris, Strathpeffer and the Himalayas, begins with a quote from W. Somerset Maugham, presumably in reference to Crowley:  "He was a fake...but not entirely a fake."  And are we to believe Maugham?  Certainly!  And why?  Because he achieved success as a writer during his lifetime.  And does this qualify him to judge so harshly a magician and a man ahead of his time, as some might say?  Absolutely not.  Maugham's opinion is not only no more informed than that of the average man on the street, but having felt the sting of Crowley's wit more than a few times he had a chip on his shoulder.

On page 98 Hutchinson speaks of Arnold Bennett's meeting with Crowley, referring to his "version of that and a later meeting in his memoirs of Paris Nights, where he carefully disguised Crowley as 'The Mahatma'

The Mahatma said that he had arrived that evening direct from the Himalayas, and that he had been made or ordained a 'khan' in the East.  Without any preface he began to talk supernaturally.  As he had known Aubrey Beardsley, I referred to the rumour that Beardsley had several times been seen abroad in London after his alleged death.
      'That's nothing,' he said quickly.  'I know a man who saw and spoke to Oscar Wilde in the Pyrenees at the very time Oscar was in prison in England. [sic]
      'Who was that man?' I inquired.
      He paused.  'Myself,' he said in a low tone.

"This entirely reliable report is the record of one man desperately attempting to impress another."  But is it?  Or was Crowley just pulling Arnold's leg?  More likely Crowleyean humour than a desperate attempt to impress Bennett.

"He then detailed a series of publications from which he claimed Maugham had lifted wholesale sections of The Magician - publications which Crowley himself had told their mutual friend Gerald Kelly to buy..." [P. 101]  He claimedThe Magician, Maugham's first novel and an obscure one, difficult to find, is an incredible hack job of cut and paste, taking from this and that grimoire and work on magic.  It has a certain charm, the villian, Oliver Haddo being a caricature of A.C., but there is a good reason why you may easily find any but this one book by William Somerset Maugham.  Crowley claimed nothing.  He simply spoke the truth.

And finally on page 105, approximately half way through the book, we come to the following:

"To suggest, as one ardent disciple has done, that it is impossible for anybody to write about Aleister Crowley who does not understand and sympathise with his magic, is to speak a grain of truth."

But a grain of truth only?  Roger Hutchinson apparently does not understand the least little thing about magick, he is in no way sympathetic, that is to say, he doesn't believe in it, he is even antagonistic towards the whole subject, and thus his ignorance and closed mindedness make an important part of Crowley's psyche inaccessible to him.  Crowley's entire life was founded on magick.  Even as far back as his childhood days with the Plymouth Brethren when the Hebrew names of the Bible intrigued him like barbareous names of evocation.  He lived and breathed magick.  His life was predicated upon magick.  And for Hutchinson to practically insist that he can understand Crowley without knowledge of this, without himself being a practitioner, is like someone from Manhattan, who had never been out of the city, claiming to understand fully the workings of the mind of a man born in the jungles of Borneo, the social codes that guide his every thought, word and deed, the reasons for his fears and the source of his spiritual strength.  Even a trained anthropologist would not make such a claim until he had lived with the man, taken part in the tribal rituals, and learned the ways of the man from Borneo from firsthand experience.  Yet Hutchinson implies that he needs know nothing of magick to understand the magician?  What an arrogant little man he is, and how stupid, for you see, the psychology of the average man on the street and the psychology of a magician can be very different at times.  The man may fear fire because once he was burned or knows he can be burned, and he avoids it, while the magician may fear fire because he recalls a past incarnation which ended with him being burned at the stake, he will fear the fire, but as a magician he will face his fear and conquer it.  What the man may do for whatever reason, the magician may choose not to do because he perceives in this something that the man cannot see.  Hutchinson is an absolute fool, first illustrating that he knows nothing of magicians, then arguing that he does not really need to know anything about magicians, after which he goes on to claim he understands perfectly the mind of a magician.

After this idiocy there is precious little about magick, nothing in fact but a brief mention of the cornerstone of Thelema, just enough to prove that he does, in fact, fail to understand Thelema and is antagonistic towards it.

Regarding the reception of The Book of the Law from page 107:  "Aleister Crowley was to be its prophet, its saint, even in time its godhead."  Prophet, surely.  Saint, insofar as he successfully crossed the abyss, yes.  But nowhere does Crowley seriously claim to assume the role of God.  Once more, he taught that we are all gods and goddesses in essence, and it was up to us to realize our own individual godhood, that is, to discover and communicate with our True Selves, our Genius, our Daemon.  This "godhead" nonsense that Hutchinson virtually invents is a lie carried over from John Symonds' The Great Beast to make Crowley seem like an out of control egotist.

The Book of the Law, writes Hutchinson, "establishes a simple law, the Law of Thelema.  Thelema is the Greek for 'Will', and the Law of Thelema insists - famously, thanks to Crowley, although perhaps not yet so famously as 'Love thy neighbour' - 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.' [sic]

Love is the law, love under will.
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

"This was, the cynical may suggest, an extremely convenient set of maxims for a self-indulgent twenty-eight-year-old Edwardian man who was not given to restricting his pleasures. ..." [P. 107]

Yes, and Hutchinson has already proven himself cynical and more.  He childishly implies a "My holy book is better than your holy book" kind of thing, and then proceeds leave the impression that the Law of Thelema is absolute self-indulgence and nothing more.  Nowhere, absolutely nowhere in his book does he even try to truly explain the Law of Thelema.  If he does not understand this he cannot understand Crowley.  If he thinks he understands it but believes it is a licence to gratify the ego and nothing more he fails to understand it and again cannot understand Crowley.  If, on the other hand, he does understand it but chooses to prevent the reader from comprehending the heart of Crowley, then he is most certainly doing his best not to demystify the man, but to misrepresent him with lies, innuendo, and fabrications.  How ignoble such a man as this.

Again on page 106 Hutchinson says that Crowley "was a proven liar and charlatan."  Yet one must ask, proven to whom?  Certainly Roger Hutchinson has not proven it to his readers, unless of course his word is all the proof one needs in the matter.

"...he lied about his religion.  He boasted of supernatural acts which others, such as Gerald Kelly, would later disclaim as 'pure invention'. ...We cannot say how much of Aleister Crowley's magick was the genuine ecstasy of an imaginative mind, and how much of it was so much guff, laid on pour épater le bourgeoisie, or in a well-intentioned attempt to impress such bourgeois as Arnold Bennett. ... But this subject was a fierce imagination locked inside a rampant egotist.  Who is to say what he believed?  Who is to say what he saw?  Who is to say what he knew?  Who, in the end, is to say that Aleister Crowley did not learn to harness remote and unexplored corners of the human brain, and put them paranormally to work? ..." [P. 106]

Who, indeed?  Well, Hutchinson is saying!  Throughout his book he is claiming that Crowley was a liar, a charlatan, "a rampant egotist", and I find his assertions, well, quite egotistical.  And such statements as "he lied about his religion":  how so?  He doesn't explain this.  He just throws it out there for the reader to read and hopefully think what a rotter A.C. must have been to have lied about his religion.  But what does it mean?  Nothing.  It makes no sense whatsoever.  Even Hutchinson, elsewhere in his book, as I have already pointed out, says that he was devoted to his religion!  And now he claims that he lied about his religion?  Absurd.

"Crowley's attractions, and strength of personality, and limitless ego." [P. 109]  This was presented as a preface to an account of Crowley by Clifford Bax quoted by Hutchinson, the source of which is naturally not given, but it ends thusly:

'Exactly,' said Crowley, 'and in a thousand years from this moment, the world will be sitting in the sunset of Crowleyanity.'

But this was not ego speaking.  Crowley was speaking about a natural course of events, and with tongue in cheek employed the term that J. F. C. Fuller had coined, a term which amused him but which he never used in a serious way.  And yet, he was referring to Thelema, its future and its eventual demise to be replaced by something better.  But Hutchinson chose to ignore all of that and see only EGO.  One wonders if it is Crowley's ego that he sees or his own, too large, interfering with his line of sight.  Can Roger Hutchinson see past his own inflated ego to see anyone or anything else clearly?

On page 110 Hutchinson says that "Marriage and fatherhood unaccountably suited him..."  "Unaccountably?"  What is so difficult to comprehend here?  Crowley loved children, and in fact he sometimes thought of the whole race as children struggling to mature, and the ideal of marriage did indeed appeal to him.  Of course, one cannot escape the fact that it was difficult for Crowley to remain with only one woman.  He did not beat or mistreat Rose, he simply could not remain faithful to her or to any woman he knew in his lifetime.  There is no excuse for this, but there is a reason.  He simply had not met the woman who could adequately satsify his needs; a woman who embodied the ideals he had fallen in love with.  If he had met such a woman he would most probably have been a faithful husband because this, after all, was something that would have appealed to him.  There was nothing "unaccountable" about it.

The 1905 E.V. Kangchenjunga expedition, sans Oscar Eckenstein, is Hutchinson's next topic of discussion, or rather condemnation, and here is where he begins to let the big guns blast.

"For in the absence of Eckenstein, who else could the sainted Aleister respect?"  Hutchinson wrote on page 110, setting the mood and implying that Crowley had no respect for any member of his climbing party.  He continued, on page 111:

"Aleister Crowley and his team got nowhere near to hurting local feelings.  Crowley's behaviour alone took care of that:  it was, from start to finish, abominable. ...  By the time they reached 21,000 feet a coolie had died and there were effectively two leaders of the expedition:  Guillarmod, whom everybody else followed, and Crowley, who was going his own way.  'It was nothing more,' Aleister would unconvincingly attest, 'than the resentment of a foreigner at being led by an Englishman.'"

But of course we are not to believe Crowley, his words supposedly "unconvincing", and yet who are we to believe?  Guillarmod, who seems to me to be responsible for the disaster that followed after the mutiny and after Crowley was encouraged to leave the party?  It seems obvious that Crowley foresaw trouble in the way the coolies and Guillarmod were conducting matters, he tried to whip the coolies into shape, but they rebelled, probably at least in part for the reasons Crowley said, and from that point on A.C. could either follow them into certain peril and possible death, or leave the party that for all intents and purpose first left him.  What sane man would choose to die with the people who spurned his efforts to keep all alive?  Naturally Crowley chose to go his own way, the results of which were that A.C. survived without mishap while Guillarmod and the rest of the muntineers experienced the disaster that Crowley tried to save them from.

"Aleister Crowley, who was also still up at Camp V, had heard the cries for help along with Reymond.  But he did nothing.  His later explanation was that he had advised Guillarmod not to make the descent, and that once Guillarmod had rejected his advice the Swiss had also abrogated any claim on his person; and that although Reymond - who had 'not yet taken off his boots' - had indeed left Camp V to help, Reymond did not return to tell Aleister of the disaster and request his help.  So Crowley turned over and went to sleep.

"... He had fallen out with them, ignored their peril, and then deserted them on the side of the third-highest mountain in the world. ..." [P. 112]

In point of fact, they deserted Crowley.  And pardon my apparent callousness, but they then got what they deserved.  I doubt Crowley had imagined their peril had been so great, and after being spurned by them when things were okay, why should he have gone running when they met the fate about which he had warned them?  Humanitarianism?  Well, if Reymond would have returned for Crowley he may have assisted then, but whether he did or didn't probably did not matter in the least.  The damage was done, the fate met, and Guillarmod, not Crowley was to blame.  Likewise, the coolies having chosen to follow the wrong man, ignoring the man who was supposed to be from the outset their expedition leader, paid the consequences for their poor choice.  Of course Guillarmod would view it very differently and lay the blame on Crowley, but here we go again, as is so often the case with hack literary assassins.  Crowley is being blamed for the ill fate of people he tried to help avoid such a fate.  Crowley is blamed for not being there when they met their ill fate, after the expedition had made it abundantly clear that they did not want him there, but the man who was there, who led the coolies to their disasterous fate, is not being blamed, but rather vindicated, his story accepted over the most logical, rational side of the issue, Crowley's.

Chapter 6, Publisher and Entrepreneur, begins with the following from page 113:

"Why had he behaved as he did on Kangchenjunga?  Because it was in his character.  Under immense stress, in danger at a great altitude, with no Eckenstein figure to control or comfort him, with civilisation far away, the unrefined Aleister Crowley bubbled to the surface.  He revealed himself as a spoiled and weak little boy, who ran from rather than confronted unpleasantness ... In the end, nobody, not even Aleister, can have believed his own self-serving version of the tragedy."

Absolute nonsense!  How can Hutchinson say, with any semblence of honesty and logic, that not even Aleister can have believed his version of the tragedy?  All the author is here trying to do is make you believe the nonsense.  Of course Crowley believed "his version" because it was the truth.  The logic is stated above.  And for a man who was supposedly "under immense stress" it must have been very difficult for him indeed to turn over and go back to sleep in Camp V.  Moronic nonsense.  If a group of individuals are about to walk into disaster and I see their fate, I will do my best to convince them not to move forward, but if they tell me to go to hell and they are bound and determined to move forward against my earnest warnings, what am I to do?  Capture every one of them, tie them up, somehow constrain them to save them from their own foolishness?  And how does one do that?  If then these indivuals meet the fate I tried to save them from, what should I do?  Should I die with them in some gallant if insanely foolish captain-goes-down-with-his-ship nonsense, even if said "captain" had been demoted by the crew who mutineed?  Aleister Crowley was a compassionate man, but he was no fool, and his life was not so cheap that he should spend it so unwisely among the unwise he had tried to help.

Crowley was obviously a man who was very comfortable away from so-called civlization, he seems to have fled civilization every chance he got, as a matter of fact.  He did not need to be comforted by Eckenstein, although with Eckenstein by his side the two of them together may have convinced Guillarmod and the coolies not to walk into the mouth of disaster.

Crowley throughout his life faced "unpleasantness", how could he avoid it?  And he did not act like a spoiled and weak little boy, but rather like the man that he was, a man who tried but could not save fools from their own foolishness.

Hutchinson went on in his book to imply that Crowley had also carelessly abandoned Rose, and did this sort of thing throughout his life, but it is simply not true.  When Rose began losing it after the death of their child, apparently due to her carelessness - and note again that Crowley is blamed for these things because of his absence - and gave into her alcoholism, part of her nature before meeting Crowley, A.C. did all that he could to help her, finally admitting to himself that he could not save her from herself.  When she was placed in an institution to be cured of her alcoholism, as much as is possible, by trained physicians, Crowley did not immediately up and leave her.  He hung onto hope, he hung onto the marriage, and he was by her side as much as he could be.  However, as is often the case, there comes a time when one must realize that one can either waste one's life lost in the limbo of another's creation, or move on to achieve that which must be done in life to make one's life of worth and purpose.  Again, Crowley did not abandon Rose.  Rose abandoned Crowley, and first she abandoned herself, when she gave herself over entirely to alcoholism and despair. Crowley had the weight of an ĉon on his shoulders, a responsibility to future generations.  Should he have allowed one individual, however much he loved her, bent on self-destruction, also destroy him, his work, and the future of humanity?

"... From the age of thirty onwards he became impossible to live with, unless the cohabitee was in love with his body, his spirit, or his mind.  Luckily, a few people were.  For the rest, they might - like Arnold Bennett - still quite like Aleister Crowley in small doses, but extended exposure to his ego and what were increasingly perceived as his divine pretensions proved indigestible.  At about the same time he began to lose his hair, his money and his charm, and of the three, the last was the most costly loss."

So wrote Hutchinson on page 114, and yet even Hutchinson seems to indicate elsewhere that Crowley had plenty of charm to spare.  Was he to be despised because he often found himself in difficult financial straits?  And as for the loss of his hair ... oh how positively awful!  How infantile of Hutchinson.

One could say that for most of us, from the age of thirty onwards it becomes increasingly difficult to live with us.  We tend to get "set in our ways", and if we haven't grown with someone before that, it becomes more difficult to find others that we can stand or who can stand us upon a constant basis.  In other words, what he is indicating as something unusual in Crowley's life is actually quite common for most of us.  And of course the man of genius, the man on a mission, the man pursuing his True Will, is at times difficult for the average person to endure for long periods of time.  The man of genuis has a one-pointed focus that others cannot comprehend in their scattered minds and scattered lives.  He's even annoying to be around at times because he is so damned certain of himself and other matters that his mere presence reminds them of their own insecurities tending to make them feel even more insecure and impotent in life.  But is this certainty of self and purpose, this extreme self-confidence "ego"?  Not necessarily, and with Crowley, certainly not.  He knew who he was, what he was, and more importantly why he was, and he set about to accomplish what he knew he had been born to accomplish.  Such utter and complete self-confidence grates on the nerves of the majority one is surrounded by who lacks such confidence in themselves and their purpose, constantly doubting themselves and wondering if they even have a purpose.  Naturally, then, some will lable the confident man an egotist, either because they cannot understand how he could be so confident when they are not, or because the are envious of his self-confidence and prefer to believe and claim that he is merely an egotistical man.

After Hutchinson writes a bit about the Caxton Hall performance of the "Rites of Eleusis" he says on page 125:

"In its issue of Saturday, 17 December, The Looking Glass sent him on his way with a vicious couple of sentences:

...But why were Scotland Yard about to let him depart in peace?

...how was Scotland Yard supposed to stop a British citizen with a clean bill of legal health from taking a foreign holiday?"

A good point made and illustrating how unfair and absolutely hostile The Looking Glass was towards Crowley seems like a good deed on Hutchinson's part, but really, it's only to make him seem more fair than he is, and in truth he probably did consider that rag and its owner to be even worse than A.C. in many ways.

"The Looking Glass, more than any other publication, set rolling the reputation which was henceforth to haunt Crowley up to and beyond the grave."  A statement of fact written by Hutchinson on page 126, although this in no way causes him to cease and desist in his efforts to assassinate Crowley's character and memory.

So on page 130 Hutchinson tells us that, after having been slandered, George Cecil Jones "sued The Looking Glass for libel.  Crowley would have nothing to do with the case - 'If you touch pitch you will be defiled' - but Jones insisted upon pursuit. ... it centred on the one figure - Crowley - who had no direct part in the proceedings, and who refused to be called as a witness. ... Jones attested that he had become 'acquainted' with Crowley in 1898 and had never since known or seen anything wrong with him ..."  Continuing on page 133:

"Jones's, and some of Crowley's, friends were furious with Aleister for refusing to prosecute himself, and then for refusing to take the witness-box on Jones's behalf and prove to the jury what a fine upstanding fellow he really was.  'Through your own folly,' wrote John Frederick Fuller, 'you now find yourself at St Helena [i.e., ostracised]...I am extremely sorry that Jones should be the sufferer for your want of pluck.'  Crowley was naturally unrepentent.  The words 'sorry', and 'I may have been wrong', not to say 'I let you down', would always be as foreign to him as Friuli.  His stated reasons for failing to support Jones in a trial which revolved around the character of Crowley were that it was pointless to sue a bankrupt scandal sheet like The Looking Glass - and that his own Secret Chiefs had advised him in no uncertain terms against going to court.  Men who had on other occasions protested their belief in the existence of those Secret Chiefs, men like Fuller and Jones themselves, chose not to believe him.  In its own, less lethal way, The Looking Glass court case was another Kangchenjunga.  Hearing the sound of guns and the cries of his friends in distress, Crowley had decided that their trouble was not his trouble, and had walked away, alone, down the other side of the mountain."

In the matter of the Kangchenjunga disaster Crowley is blamed because he wasn't with the expedition after they had essentially abandoned him.  Again Crowley was blamed for Rose's ill fate because of his absence.  Here Crowley is blamed for Jones' defeat in court because he, the Beast 666, the Antichrist, hadn't taken the witness stand to prove what a fine and upstanding gentleman he really was.  Uh huh.  And does any sane person believe, really and truly believe that court, in those times, after all of the public slander of Crowley's name, would have been convinced of this fact no matter how much evidence had been provided, especially when the prosecuting attorney would have done everything to undo Crowley's work and did his damnest to make Crowley, on the stand, look as foolish as he had made Mathers look?

Again, Aleister Crowley warned a man, a friend, against a certain action and his warning was ignored.  How can one rationally blame Crowley for Jones' disaster after that?  And the point Crowley had tried to make is that it was useless to sue The Looking Glass as nothing good could come of it - and Crowley had been proven correct in the matter.  Apparently Jones, if Hutchinson and others did not and cannot, understood this for even Hutchinson is forced to report that after the trial Jones had no ill feelings towards Crowley.

Furthermore, why would any man "prosecute himself", especially when it would surely do no good?  And I sincerely doubt that A.C. refused to take the witness box.  If in a court of law one is called to be a witness, you either take the stand or see the inside of a jail for contempt of court.  Crowley simply hadn't been called to testify.  If there was fault in this, then it lies more with Jones' attorney than it does with Crowley, but of course Jones' attorney was probably afraid to have Crowley himself take the stand for fear that it would give the opposite side the upper hand.

Crowley had done nothing for which to repent.  He did no wrong.  The fact that he could not think of a way to help, other than to stay out of it and hope that Jones had chosen a good attorney, cannot be held against the man.  It was a difficult situation and given the time, the place, the circumstances, I defy Hutchinson to suggest what Crowley could have done to help.  Oh, Hutchinson might say that he should have had Jones' lawyer call him to the stand, if the attorney would have allowed it, but in all probability that would have made matters worse for Jones when the opposing attorney was done with Crowley, the man blasted in the press of their day and labelled "evil" in dozens of imaginative ways.

And who are we to doubt that the Secret Chiefs warned him against getting involved?  How many really understand who and what the Secret Chiefs are?  Obviously Hutchinson doesn't understand, for early on in his book he shows that he believes they are high adepts and masters who live in the Tibetan mountains.  Obviously he bought the Theosophist drivel hook, line and sinker.  Crowley understood perfectly who and what the Secret Chiefs are, and in him did they confir and advise caution, reason and logic.  The fact, if indeed it is a fact, that Fuller and even Jones himself did not believe Crowley in this matter of the Secret Chiefs may show that they themselves did not understand the true nature of these so-called Secret Chiefs, and that is all that may prove.

Crowley did not desert another friend.  To have tried to help him as Hutchinson suggest would probably have caused Jones more harm, things being as they were - there and then.  The blame lies not on Crowley's shoulders for Jones' ill fate, but first upon the slanders of The Looking Glass and its owner, then upon the court system of the time and place, as well as, possibly, upon Jones' own attorney.

Time and time again, men because of their own actions that Crowley advised against come to a bad end, and because Crowley chose not to act as foolish as those who chose to ignore his advice, Crowley is blamed for their fate.  Does this seem either fair or rational to you?

Back to Crowley's love, charming but unfortunately weak willed and alcoholic wife on page 134, Hutchinson wrote that "While Rose was committed to an asylum in that autumn of 1911, her former husband caroused around Europe."  This, of course, is supposed to show how heartless Crowley was, however, what was Crowley supposed to do?  Should his life have stopped because of another's determination to destroy herself?  The marriage was over, the marriage that took place about seven years earlier.  A marriage too lightly entered into by both of them, as is so often the case with individuals in their twenties, ending as do most such marriages, in time.  Nothing unusual here.  And when this happens one must go on with one's life, for anything else would be quite stupid indeed.  Furthermore, it would have only been natural, even under the best of circumstances, if the Kelly's, Rose's family, Crowley's in-laws, had wrongly blamed Crowley for Rose's downfall and probably they did everything they could, said anything that they thought might convince A.C., to stay away from Rose and allow her to heal and get on in life without him.  All of this would have been the natural course of events, and there is no reason to assume that they should have been different for Aleister Crowley's life.  Add to this the natural, if irrational, guilt Crowley himself may have felt, wrongly blaming himself in part for Rose's fate, as would any human being and man in love, and this, played upon by her family, may have helped him to move on in life and let her be.  It is not at all unusual for a marriage to break up after the death of a child, and at times it even seems necessary for the sake of both parties.  It's a sad and common fact of life, but Hutchinson is so bent upon the literary assassination of Aleister Crowley, a task far more simple than the one I now assume, that he chooses not to view or at least express these matters - to explain things in more common, human terms.

When Crowley's story comes to the time of the first World War, Hutchinson has the chance to fire off another shot at Crowley.  Funny, don't you think, that no matter how many literary assassins go after Aleister Crowley, no matter how many shots are fired at the man's back, Crowley still manages to survive and go on in society, influencing whole generations, more eternal than he could have ever become had he achieved physical immortality.

"He saw no reason to offer his own sacrificial blood, nor to encourage others to spill theirs.  He had found his own escape from the stifling normalities of post-Victorian Britain.  He was not one of the herd..."

So wrote Hutchinson on page 135, now, what? blaming Crowley for W.W.I because he would not sacrifice his life or encourage others to sacrifice theirs?  I'm beginning to wonder if Hutchinson might not be quite mad!

Apparently Roger Hutchinson believes Crowley should have joined up, donned a uniform and fought the Kaiser and his German army.  Well, one of the very first things you should do on this subject is to remember that this was not Nazi Germany during World War II, and the Kaiser was not Adolf Hitler.  Europe and especially England were being very hard on Germany and the people were in dire straits.  Diplomacy seeming to go nowhere while the German people were penniless and starving, war seemed the only way to rectify matters.  It was a far different matter during World War II, although again the German people were in a bad way and that was used by Hitler to gain power.  The "good guys" weren't all that good and the "bad guys" weren't all that bad.  There were no white hats or black hats among the world leaders and diplomats of the time.  The white hats of the heroes were worn by the soldiers on both sides, mere pawns in a game of global politics and economics.  To rush into battle in such an instance when one has fallen for the rhetoric of one's politicians may make one a bit of a fool, but at least one is a noble fool fighting for a cause one believes in and thinks is right and just.  However, for Crowley it would have been utterly absurd since he was in fact no mere pawn and could see clearly what was going on.  Nevertheless, he did try very hard to help stop the war, to bring it to a quicker end.  He tried to volunteer his unique talents to the War Department, but they refused to have anything to do with the man The Looking Glass and other papers had routinely vilified.

So of course we come to Chapter 7, The Renegade Englishman, and the following by Hutchinson on page 137:

"Some of Aleister Crowley's friends - most notably his executor and biographer John Symonds - would claim that, when the First World War broke out, he made 'every attempt to persuade the government to employ him'.

"...devoting himself to propagandising not for Great Britain but for its enemy, Germany, he would claim that he had actually been working for British intelligence as a fifth columnist and subversive element in the midst of Germany's American friends.

"It was an implausible claim, but not entirely impossible...."

While even Hutchinson cannot absolutely dismiss the notion, because he cannot find evidence to prove that Crowley had worked secretly for the British government he implies that this was not so.  Well it would be only natural if there never had been documents, or many if any, that would survive proving this.  After all, it was a government secret, and one that would surely not have been shared with many members of the government, not only for reasons of security, but perhaps in some cases to avoid later embarrassment.  What would one expect from a Christian nation who had employed the talents of the Beast 666?

And while John Symonds has proven himself something less than a real "friend" to Aleister Crowley, even he seemed to believe that Crowley was not a traitor and had, in fact, worked for his own country, Great Britain, in the war effort.  This in itself lends more than a little credence to A.C.'s claim made after the war.

Hutchinson argues on page 140 that "He could not possibly have endured this supposed double life if he did not enjoy their company."  And I ask:  Why not?  Does Hutchinson, like a kid who reads comic books, believe that all pre-Nazi Germans who believed in their cause were horribly evil, absolutely murderous beings, something less than human?  Some of them were no doubt quite charming and intelligent, and I am sure Crowley would have not only appreciated their intellect and company, but that he could in some ways sympathize with their cause.  This does not mean that he would have become a traitor and worked against his country.  A man's country is like his parents.  He may break their rules and disobey them.  He may disapprove of them in many ways.  He may rebel against them in a thousand ways, but if anyone should attack them, even if that attacker seems just in his attack, the man, if he is a man, will stand by his parents and defend them to the best of his ability.  It was no different for A.C. and his country, England.  The hack literary assassins would have you believe otherwise, developing a whole new branch of psychology just to set about to destroy the memory and work of the man, Aleister Crowley, but their attempts are all ill fated for someone will always come along to shed light on their tricks, their lies and their abysmal stupidity.

"In fact, {H.L.} Mencken - who was nobody's mug - became, and remained, so convinced of Crowley's wild sincerity and belief in the Kaiser's cause ... that the two men corresponded then and after the war, and met most amicably in London in 1922." [P. 141]

And why not?  Just because Crowley fought on the side of his own country, England, it does not mean that he did not appreciate Germany's cause and even sympathize with it.  Hutchinson either believes or wants us to believe or both that such matters as these are black and white, but it was not that simple.  It never is.  And besides, that these two men should be friends after the war is merely a testament to their manliness, their sense of honour, their maturity.  All this makes me think that Mr. Roger Hutchinson must be such an immature little boy at heart who sees only in black and white and who, once he holds a grudge against someone, simply can't let it go even after the conflict is done and the dispute resolved.

But of course, here on page 141, Hutchinson is going to tell us "The Truth" and, according to him, "The truth, of course, is that Aleister did not believe in much at all.  Not in the Irish cause, nor in the German cause, nor in the British cause."  Then he suggests that he was just getting even with "bourgeoise British moralities".  Petty minds like that of the literary assassin can only think in petty terms.  Starting with the concept of "belief".  Crowley did what he knew to be right in life.  To the best of his knowledge and ability he always at least tried to do right, right based upon logic and reason, sometimes right based upon compassion, but always right as was determined by his mission in life, his True Will.  Belief is irrelevant.  He actually believed in the German cause, at least in part, but compassion for his country put him on the side he, by nature, would consider right.  Reason and logic sided more with England than with Germany, but there was no absolute right and wrong.  There never is.  So one must simply do the best that one can in difficult circumstances and hope that the side one has chosen was indeed the more right of the two.  Hutchinson is absolutely infantile in his thinking and it explains why he is today producing such pieces of hack writing as Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified.

"Back in Britain, nobody quite got the joke," after the war, Hutchinson wrote on page 150.  The joke Crowley played on the German propaganda machine by leading it into the realms of absurdity.  And this is true.  Unfortunately for Crowley ... and Great Britain.

And now, Master Hutchinson, by way of his great and profound wisdom and understanding of human nature - forgive me while I gag a bit on these words - tells the reader on page 153 that

"The difficulty faced by all of those who tried to understand his behaviour between 1914 and 1917 was that they - all of them, from Viereck to Lord Edward Grey, from the Washington ambassador to the New York Times - took it seriously.  Because he did not, because Aleister took nothing and nobody seriously other than himself and his personal destiny, he fooled them all.  Like the death of Queen Victoria, the First World War delivered no shocks to the sensibility of Aleister Crowley.  It was not heartlessness, but something yet more egotistical and shallow.  It was that he had expected it."

The difficulty faced by Roger Hutchinson is that he is trying or pretending to try to understand a multidimensional, multifacted man, a magician, a fact which entails a very different view of life from Hutchinson's, upon a 24-hour basis, and not just when the magician is within his Circle of Art, while he himself, Hutchinson, seems to be a person with many limits, perhaps little better than one-dimensional, and with no understanding of the mind and psychology of a magician.  Furthermore, he is a man lacking genius who is pretending to understand and explain a man of genius.  But how can he?  The true magician can, on one level of thought, take things most seriously while on another level, viewing matters from a "higher plane" of consciousness, see the futility and absurdity of much of what we as human beings think and do, of what he himself as a human being thinks and does.

I myself take the trials and tribulations in my own life, naturally, quite seriously and work to improve matters, and yet I can view myself and my life, those very same trials and tribulations, from a loftier position and in doing so I cannot help but to see the humour in my concerns.  I chuckle at my own seriousness, my concern, my fears, my anger, because I can see that in the long run, none of it matters in the least.  One day I will die, so that all of my concerns for the world around me, for the future, seems silly viewed from a hundred years, a thousand years hence.  And really, I realize as I fret over tomorrow - how will I pay my bills? - the only point in time that really matters is the ever present NOW.  Still, one must function in the world as if the little things do matter, for in some ways they do, in the relative universe.  But these things are too difficult for Roger Hutchinson to understand.  Aleister Crowley is too difficult for Roger Hutchinson to understand.

After the so-called Great War, Hutchinson wrote on page 159:

"He left the United States disillusioned and broke:  'This is no country for the poet Aleister Crowley.'  And astonishingly, he was allowed unmolested back into the United Kingdom.

"It was not astonishing to Aleister Crowley, of course.  He considered such free passage no more than his due."

Astonishingly?  Perhaps so if indeed Crowley had been a traitor, but the fact that he was not denied entry into England after the war, the fact that Crowley was not arrested on sight, seems to me to indicate that he was in fact not a traitor, and this lends more credibility to Crowley's claim and the claim of others since that he had indeed been working for his country to reduce the German propaganda machine to absurdity.

"At the end of 1919 Aleister Crowley could have been presented with a charge sheet the size of his kilt.  But he walked home scot-free.  ...  How did he get away with it?"

The answer is obvious, but it is not the answer that appeals to Hutchinson so he claims that the British people were simply tired of fighting and, on page 161, "In the last resort, they did not consider him worth shooting."  Of course, when reason and logic tend to prove the literary assassin wrong and instead prove the victim right, the last resort is to simply denigrate the man.  Yet he cannot help but to observe, on page 162:

"Perhaps he would, after all, have made a useful double-agent."

There is no perhaps about it.  He had German friends.  He admired the German mind and was on record as an admirer, for instance, of Nietzsche and Richard Wagner, to name but two.  He actually did sympathize with the plight of the German people, so he would not have had to fake that and his sincerity would go more towards convincing the enemy than the best acting job of any average spy.  And his constant criticism of his own country, the kind of criticism that is just as common to one who loves his country as it is to one who hates it, inclined the Germans to believe that he was indeed on their side.  And of course with all of the bad press he had gotten it was easy to believe that this horrible "satanist" would also be a traitor.  British Intelligence couldn't have groomed a better double-agent to infiltrate the German propaganda machine than Aleister Crowley!

On page 163 Hutchinson tells the reader that in 1920 E.V. John Bull, another slanderous tabloid of Crowley's day, attacked "the slightly pathetic forty-four-year-old figure of Aleister Crowley."  And while it is true, it is the mark of a small man to denigrate Crowley by calling him "slightly pathetic".  By whose standards?  I never found anything pathetic in my 30 years of study about Crowley.  Sad, yes, because of how much he was misunderstood and under appreciated.  But pathetic?  No.  What I find pathetic is the low blows someone like Hutchinson must resort to in order to make money and misrepresent a man far better in every way than he could ever be.

Coming close to the end of this sad attempt at a biography, we come to Chapter 8, Addicted, Assaulted and Abroad, and it begins with the following quote, from which source precisely we are not told, by Aleister Crowely himself - and it is an interesting choice of quotations after all that Roger Hutchinson has said ... and not said in his book:

"They don't understand my point of view.  They misquote my words, after hearing them every time we have met.  They misinterpret four words of one syllable, 'Do what thou wilt'.  Finally realising their lack of comprehension, they assume at once that I must be one of the filthiest scoundrels unhanged.

How utterly true these words of the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley, proven even within the pages of this book whose author has gone so far to misrepresent the man, as have so many literary assassins before him.

Regarding heroin Hutchinson wrote on page 168:

"Aleister Crowley - however much he may deny it - had become one of those millions of addicts.  He would remain hooked on prescription heroin for the rest of his life."

"Essentially, he believed that addiction was no more than a state of mind to be conquered.  His earliest experiments with drugs had encouraged him in this delusion."

Yet a little further on, page 172, Hutchinson admits that

"...he was at least partly right, for a component of narcotic addiction is psychological."

And that

"This addiction did not proscribe his activities in the way that it would certainly have restricted (and does restrict) the heroin addicts of a later age."

And with good reason.  Crowley was absolutely correct.  The addiction to drugs not only has a psychological component, but even the physically addictive nature can be fought with a strength of will and so-called "mind over matter".  Of course, it may speed the process up - or in some cases slow it down - to emplooy other drugs to, say, beat the addiction to heroin, but ultimately it is the will of the addict to defeat the addiction which does the job, for without that the task is impossible.  Without that the drug is the master and the addict is the slave.

Crowley did not experience heroin addiction when he was measuring out his own dosages for experiments in altered states of consciousness, but only after taking the physician prescribed dosage for alleviation of the suffering caused by a number of illnesses that had assaulted him in old age.  And the most important thing here to remember is that even though this physician prescribed doage of heroin overwhelmed him, Aleister Crowley mastered the drug, or rather reasserted his own mastery over himself, and having beat the addiction he was strong enough of will to continue using, not abusing the drug - one of the few pain killers on the market at that time that had any effect upon him after, through experimentation, building up an incredible immunity to the effects of most drugs then available.  The proof of his mastery over the drug, over addiction, over his own body, is in the fact that as Hutchinson himself pointed out, it did not cause him to utterly waste the last years of his life.  He supervised tempermental artist Lady Frieda Harris in the painting of the seventy-eight cards of the tarot, after first designing them - undeniably one of the most remarkable decks ever created.  He also wrote The Book of Thoth, one of the greatest books ever written upon the subject of the tarot, and put together the volume we now known today as Magick Without Tears, a collection of letters written by Aleister Crowley that provide us with an incredible wealth of information hard to find in books on esoteric subjects.  He was, in fact, quite productive up to the day he died on the first of December, 1947 E.V., putting to shame the younger men and women who alternately assisted him and made his last few years a bit of a horror with their inane activities and accusations against one another.

"Most of the Sunday Express's generalised slanders were probably within the law.  One sentence, however, was clearly actionable.  Aleister Crowley had never even been charged with 'stealing money from a woman', let alone found guilty."

The above from page 178, remember that incident?  Another slandering newspaper did, but even Hutchinson has to admit that Crowley had not stolen the money, as the Sunday Express claimed - or perhaps he is still trying to appear fair and impartial in his judgment of Crowley and this is an easy matter to employ for this purpose.

In regards to the death of Raoul Loveday at the Abbey of Thelema, Roger Hutchinson more or less vindicates Crowley.  Well, why not?  Others, including Loveday's widow, Betty May, have vindicated Aleister.  It would be foolish to continue blaming Crowley for the young man's death when so much evidence to the contrary has come to light in the past several years.

"Crowley was not unmoved - Betty Loveday herself reported that he wept uncontrollably, before burying Raoul in the cemetery at Cefalù - and in the succeeding weeks he went down with a fever and lay bedridden for almost a month.

"Aleister Crowley was responsible for Loveday's death only insofar as he was responsible for running an unhygienic household, and for initially misdiagnosing the young man's complaint as a passing fever.  The latter cannot be held too strongly against him:  a qualified doctor was, after all, three times called up from Cefalù, and he failed to recognise the severity of Loveday's condition until it was too late.  And even if Raoul did pick up his infection from some ghastly ritual (which is unlikely, if only because it was probably quite unnecessary to try too hard to catch gastroenteritis at the Abbey of Thelema), nobody had told him to eat the black pudding made from goat's blood described in the Sunday Express." [P. 181]

As a matter of record, from Tiger-Woman: My Story by Betty May, first published in 1929 E.V. by Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd.:

"For a time I was convinced that Raoul had been poisoned by the blood of Mischette.  {A cat.}  But when he got steadily worse and a doctor was summoned I found out that he was suffering from enteric, a not uncommon disease in those parts.  It was then that I remembered how he had almost certainly caught this disease.  One day the Mystic {Aleister Crowley} had told Raoul and me to go off for an expedition together.  He was in one of his kindly moods and he said Raoul needed some relaxation.  He suggested that we should go to a marvellous monastery about thirteen miles off, where the monks would entertain us with food.  But he warned us of one thing, which was on no account to touch any water.

We were both delighted.  We started off.  It was one of the most wonderful days I have seen.  We went to the monastery, where the monks gave us bread and soup and showed us all over it.  On the way back the heat was appalling.  We were both so thirsty that we did not know what to do.  Suddenly we came to a mountain spring, bubbling up out of the ground.  It was an awful temptation.  I do not think that at that time either of us realized how important it was not to touch the water.  although the Mystic had done his best to impress on us the dangers of drinking, the spring looked so cool and fresh and pure that Raoul could not resist.  He knelt down and drank, but in spite of my thirst I managed to restrain myself, though with great difficulty.  I suppose I saved my own life.  Anyway, I am certain that this is how Raoul caught the disease.  He was at once given the right treatment, but no improvement was effected, and he sank fast."

Crowley is here vindicated by Raoul's wife, Betty May, a woman who did not even like Crowley, that one might say even hated Crowley.  Of course her story was a little bit different when she returned from Sicily and told her story, in anger, shock, and probably under the influence of a bit of alchohol as well, to a tabloid that then embellished her story further.  It's hard to say who threw in the part about sacrificing a cat and drinking it's blood.  Suffice it to say, that Raoul Loveday did not die because of Crowley, but rather because he failed to heed Crowley's warning about drinking water along the way, and yet so often has A.C. been blamed for the foolish actions of another that he advised that person against.  Also it should be noted in this place that while it may be that conditions at the Abbey of Thelema were something less than sterile, even this was not the cause of Raoul's death as Hutchinson seems to be saying, as the very words from the man's widow attest.

On page 205, in regards to the case of Crowley v Constable & Co Ltd, the publishers of Laughing Torso, Hutchinson tells us that

"Acting for Nina Hamnett, the barrister Martin O'Connor asked Aleister to deny that at Cefalù a cat was killed and its blood drunk.  'There was no cat,' protested Aleister, 'no blood, and no drinking.'"

"What really did for him," Hutchinson wrote on page 185, "was Mussolini's young crusade against secret and quasi-mystical societies."  Which was, as I have always asserted, the real reason Mussolini expelled Crowley from Sicily, and not because he was so evil that even that dictator who allied himself to Hitler could not endure him!

John Bull, Hutchinson tells us on page 186, "proposed the creation of a stateless citizen out of a man with no criminal record in Britain, the USA or Italy", once more, for whatever reasons, illustrating how unfairly Crowley was treated in his time.  He continued, on page 187, to speak of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, A.C.'s "Autohabiography", as he called it, with typical Crowleyean tongue-in-cheek:

"the book represented his apologia, his opportunity to explain himself and his career to the curious world.  It was also - not negligibly - easily the most accomplished piece of writing that he had achieved.  Freed from the pretensions of verse or the demands of fiction, both of which were well beyond his abilities, he proved to be a masterly and witty exponent of practical non-fiction."

Another backhanded compliment to be sure, but a compliment nonetheless and something of a statement of fact.  Just how excellent this book is may not be obvious to the young person in his early twenties reading it for the first time, but if he picks up the volume at a later point in his life and reads it again, he will perceive the beauty and splendour of The Confessions - it is almost guaranteed.

Chapter 9, The Long Descent, on page 189, Hutchinson tells us that Crowley was "Suffering regularly from heroin withdrawal", but indeed if Crowley was experiencing pain it was because of the various illnesses that he suffered from until his death at the age of seventy-two which he may not have been able to completely control or ignore by himself and perhaps lacked the money with which to purchased heroin to employ as a medication.  When it comes to drugs that are now labelled a "controlled substance" and "illegal", many people today cannot reason out that if indeed one can abuse a drug, it implies that one may also be able to intelligently use a drug, and this is what Crowley did in his latter days on the planet.

"'It was often hard to tell if he were serious or joking,' {Thomas} Driberg would claim, 'as when, soon after this, he told me that he had decided to nominate me as his successor as World Teacher.'
      "Aleister, of course, said that to all the boys. ..."

So quoted Hutchinson on page 190, and while this inclines one to view Crowley as a homosexual flirt, it is not entirely untrue, for in his last days Crowley was searching high and low among his acquaintances for someone to carry on his work, and his choices were few and poor.  Many young men had been considered, and only one of them, many years later, decided to use this consideration as proof positive that he was made Crowey's "Caliph".  But, alas, Crowley died without a successor.  There was simply no one about capable of picking up where Crowley had left off, and the Ordo Templi Orientis was left without an appointed or duly elected Outer Head of the Order, and Karl Germer, the only man then who was even remotely qualified for the position, did not want it, obviously wishing to see the O.T.O., as it had become without Crowley's direct management, die off and be forgotten.  Too bad one young man and then others later decided to use the idea of the O.T.O. and the ideals of Thelema to serve the petty desires of their egos.

"A Daily Sketch reporter wrote:

"... But stories about him have been exaggerated to a ridiculous extent.  Actually he is a very brilliant and interesting man, who has travelled all over the world observing religious practices and philosophy.  He has been in the most remote places, like the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and was once a tremendous mountaineer.
      Crowley, who is exceptionaly witty, is publishing a volume of his short stories soon, and these will probably be followed by his memoirs.  The latter, dealing largely with the practice of the magic arts, are unique and enormously long.

"The Sketch ... was correct in its final paragraph.  Aleister had finally found a publisher once more."  Implying, here on page 195, that the reporter was wrong when he called Crowley brilliant and interesting, witty and so forth?  If Hutchinson had at least one one-hundredeth of Crowley's brilliance and wit, Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified may have have at least become an interesting book.  However, I fear that the only thing which makes this book interesting is the subject, for it is difficult to be too dull when one is writing about Aleister Crowley.

"He may not have been clinically mad," Hutchinson inscribed on page 196, "but he was frequently hideously bad, and he was always dangerous to know."  Yet there seems to be nothing "hideously bad" about Crowley, even what little is actually said about the man in Hutchinson's book, and of course some men, like the literary assassin, naturally find the truth to be "dangerous".

In a 1933 E.V., Hutchinson informs us, in a court case which ended up by awarding A.C. £50 with costs,

"A sympathetic judge ruled that:  'There was not the smallest ground for suggesting that any book Mr Crowley had written was indecent or improper. ...'"

But Hutchinson doesn't seem to want to dwell on such things.

In court A.C. was asked to give some of the names he's used and he replied, according to Hutchinson on page 208:

"'they are so numerous I cannot remember them all offhand.  Every time I write a book I invent a new name for myself.'"

I found this personally interesting in light of a certain discovery I have recently made in a used and rare bookshop.  But more of that in another place.

Despite claiming that Crowley was a heroin addict, on page 209 he says that "...in his sixtieth year.  It was time for the Beast to retire."  And that "It was a dignified retirement, when all is considered. ..."

On page 210 the author referred to Crowley's meeting with John Symonds, calling the latter man the "first - bewitched - biographer," naturally implying that he, Roger Hutchinson, has not been "bewitched" by the mystery and myth which has surrounded Aleister Crowley throughout his life and into his afterlife.  However, obviously Hutchinson is not a man who can appreciate mystery and myth, a man who sees no difference between a myth and a lie.  How poor must his imagination, ay, his very world be - how dull, how lifeless, how plain.

This chapter ends with the following from Roger Hutchinson:

"there can be few more poignant indications of the lonely last years of Aleister Crowley than the fact that this young man, John Symonds, whom he had known for little more than a year, was appointed his executor at death.

"He died in his Hastings bed on 1 December 1947.  A nurse was at his side, and it was reported that he died unhappily, with tears streaming down his cheeks.  His penultimate phrase on this earth, reported that nurse, was 'I am perplexed'.  According to the same source, his very last words were:  'Sometimes I hate myself.'" [P. 211]

But we may never really know what Crowley's last words were, or even if he uttered any final comment upon life.  One person reports one thing, another yet something else, sometimes the same person says two different things, and by now we do not know how much the original story has changed in the telling from one person to another, the deliberate altering of literary assassins further complicating the matter.  However, if it is true that Aleister Crowley died with tears streaming down his cheeks, who can blame the man for it?  Look at the people who were a part of his life in his last years.  Of them only a few such as Karl Germer may have been true friends, while the younger ones, old in our time, have proven to be back-stabbers and users.

Perhaps on his deathbed the Master, nay, the Ipsissimus saw clearly into the future, our present and beyond, and to see how individuals and groups would pervert his teachings, use his name and works to make names for themselves, to accrue an undeserved profit while otherwise restricting access to his work so that the growth of Thelema in our society which so sadly needs it is stunted, its very existence and future threatened ... well, who could blame the man for shedding some final tears if this is what he saw from the viewpoint of his deathbed?

Chapter 10, To Ashes, the final and a very brief chapter, tells us that upon Crowley's death:

"The newspapers hardly knew what to write.  The horrors of the Second World War had, it seemed, put Aleister Crowley's misdeeds into a certain perspective.  Could he really be, in a century which had bred Adolf Hitler, 'the wickedest man in the world'?  They opted in the end for demystifying the Beast:  'He became a fat, olive-skinned man with heavy jowls and mean little eyes which made him look like a stockbroker when the market is bad.  He was crushed to hear himself described one day as "a rather harmless old gentlman"...'"

But here Roger Hutchinson reveals to us that what he calls "demystifying" is, in fact, denigration, for even if you completely disregard the magick, the mysticism, the spiritual ardour of the man, as Hutchinson has, Aleister Crowley was and always will be so much more than "a fat, olive-skinned man with heavy jowls".  If nothing else he was something that Roger Hutchinson and literary assassins of his kind can never be:

Aleister Crowley was a Man.

Hutchinson's last words in the book, on page 214, quoting one Geoffrey P. Wheeler:

"Of the real Crowley little was ever heard.  I like to think he has now become filled with an inner peace he never knew in the flesh."

I believe, and I must admit that I do not believe in much, that Crowley is well beyond all of this nonsense we take so seriously and abides now in a realm of peace that we on earth cannot comprehend.  Despite how often his corpse is metaphorically raised from the earth to profit some literary hack or petty cult leader, no matter how often his name is invoked because some scapegoat is needed by those who cannot take responsibility for their own actions and their own mistakes, our society cannot now harm the individual that was once known as Aleister Crowley for he has come to understand the words of The Book of the Law:

"But exceed! exceed!
Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine - doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous! - death is the crown of all."*

Love is the law, love under will.

*Liber AL vel Legis, sub figura CCXX, Chapter II, Verses 71-72.


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