The story of  Aleister Crowley, Magician

 A reading in two acts adapted and scored for four voices by Douglas Lockhart fromThe Confessions of Aleister Crowley  (autobiography), and The Great Beast  (biography) by John Symonds. 

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

                                          Aleister Crowley.


……..he was not afraid of madness; he pressed on into realms that would daunt all but the most courageous or the most foolhardy.

                                          John Symonds.




Some large black and white photographs of Alister Crowley ranging from early youth to his later years backing the readers. A smallish venue is to be preferred – no microphones. Four lecterns of not too imposing a structure are necessary to centre the piece and give it a touch of formality.


VOICE ONE: (Quote)          “We shall take all necessary steps”, said the Chairman of the committee for the Brighton County Council crematorium, “to prevent such an incident occurring again.”            (Symonds/456)

VOICE FOUR:        (Narration) 

5  December, 1947. A cold, grey afternoon. The body of Aleister Crowley, black occultist, poet, playright, journalist, philosopher, womaniser, chess player, mountain climber extraordinaire; blackguard, degenerate, possible cannibal and self-proclaimed saint, is about to go up in smoke. Everything  (for once), is under control.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)     Well, not quite. Enter an old friend of Crowley’s, Louis Wilkinson. He mounts the rostrum univited and immediately begins to recite the Hymn of Pan, one of Crowley’s better poems.                                  (Symonds/455)

 VOICE THREE:      (Softly intoned)

Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!            (Symonds/455)

VOICE FOUR:        (Narration)    Throughout his life, Crowley had imagined his death as a wholly fantastic event, a grand finale executed with magical precision. The world, awe struck and gladened by his having existed, would beat their breasts at his passing and allow him to be buried in Westminister Abbey without question or quibble.



Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyers for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me . . .

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          But it wasn’t the Hymn to Pan  that bothered the Brighton County Council; it was Crowley’s Gnostic Requiem, blasted out to remind everyone present that they were burying a magician, an Ipsissimus, a communicator with, and a controller of, demons and occult intelligences.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)        Aleister Crowley – with an ‘e’ before the ‘i’ for purposes magical and obscure.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Born the 12th day of October, 1874, at Clarendon Square, Leamington, Warwickshire – between eleven and twelve at night.

      (other actors look at VOICE THREE expectantly)

 VOICE THREE:      (As an after thought)   With Leo rising.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Died 1947, aged seventy-two in a rather seedy room, his magic wand resting in a corner, on the wall a painting of himself as The Beast 666 – an idealised self-portrait.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     A man of unusual imagination and views.

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “To me the spiritual world consists roughly of the Trinity and their angels on the one side; the devil and his on the other.”

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)           “In the Upanishads all manifested existence is Maya (looks around)  –  pure illusion.”

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “There is no satisfactory explanation of the appearance of the illusion. In Christianity evil is just as real as good.”

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley/resigned air)  “Since I must take sides with one party or another, it is not difficult for me to make up my mind. My first step must be to get into personal communication . . . with the devil.”

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)

     “I Perdurabo, Frater Ordinis Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, a Lord of the Paths in the portal of the Vault of the Adepts . . . do this day spiritually bind myself anew . . .”


VOICE FOUR: (Cont-)       “By the Sword of vengence . . .”

VOICE ONE: (Cont-)          “By the Powers of the Elements . . .”

VOICE FOUR: (Cont-)       “By the Cross of Suffering . . .”

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)   “. . . That I will devote myself to the Great Work: the obtaining of Communion with my own Higher and Divine Genius (called the Guardian Angel) by means of the prescribed course; and that I will use my Power so obtained . . . unto the Redemption of the Universe.  (Con/184)

VOICE FOUR:          (Very slowly)  Thrill with lissome lust of the light,  O man! My man!

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         A man in the tradition of Dr. John Dee, Cagliostro, Count Saint-Germain, Eliphas Levi and Madam Blavatsky. To be found standing between an Indian Guru and Mae West in a composite photograph of ‘People we Like’ on the cover sleeve of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Born into the unbelievably strict religious sect of the Plymouth Brethern. A sect founded by John Nelson Darby, an Irish clergyman and ex barrister about 1830. (Con/7/Symonds 23)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         They believed they were the only true Christians.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            They believed that Christ’s second Coming was imminent, that only the Elect (themselves) would inherit the Kingdom of God.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Out of this background emerged Alister Crowley, a little Christian knight unable to conceive of the existence of people so foolish or wicked to doubt that Plymouthism was not the true faith.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  By the age of four he could read perfectly well. The strange thing about this was not so much his precocity as the fact that he was much less interested in the Biblical narratives than in the Hebrew names:  E-noch, Ar-phax-ad, Ma-ha-leel. (Con/14)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)   A great love and respect for his father. His mother despised and scorned and treated like a servant.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Private tutors at six; at eight, taken by his father to his first school – St Leonards. An evangelical school, and very strict.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         A man named Hemmings teaches Alick chess, and loses every game after the first

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    From St Leonard’s to a school run by the Plymouth Brethern where he strives, like his father, to be a most devoted follower of Jesus.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         He at the same time manages to take first prize in Religious Knowledge, Classics and French, and begins to write poetry.

VOICE ONE: (With a terrible innocence)

Terror, and darkness, and horrid despair!
Agony painted upon the once fair
Brow of the man who refused to give up
The love of the wine-filled, the o’erflowing cup.
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging,’
No wine in death is his torment assuaging.     (Con/25)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Edward Crowley dies March 5, 1887.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    From the moment of the funeral the boy’s life enters an entirely different phase. The change is radical. Within three weeks of his return to school he gets into trouble for a first time. This appears to have been the first symptom of a complete reversal of his attitude to life in every respect.  (Con/28)

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)

“Christ’s a fable,” he tells a relative home from Australia because of bad health. “There’s no such thing as sin. You ought to thank your lucky stars that you’ve managed to live most of your life away from this hypocritical crew of trembling slaves.” (Con/33)

VOICE TWO:           Shades of things to come.

VOICE THREE:                Patagonia.

VOICE ONE:           A book on a bookstall.

VOICE FOUR:                  ‘Across Patagonia’ by Lady Florence Dixie.

VOICE THREE:                Fascinated by the long name. Pat-a-gon-i-a . . .

VOICE FOUR:  (as Crowley/reverie)
”I will be king of Patagonia.

VOICE TWO:           From good boy to bad boy.

VOICE FOUR:                  From God to Satan.

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)           “My falling away from Grace was not occasioned by any intellectual qualms; I accepted the theology of the Plymouth Brethern. In fact, I could hardly conceive of the existence of people who might doubt it.  But I found myself as passionately eager to serve my new master as I had been to serve the old. I was in fact anxious to distinguish myself by commiting sin.” (Con/44)

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)           “Here again my attitude was extraordinarily subtle. I wanted a supreme spiritual sin; and I had not the smallest idea how to set about it. There was a good deal of morbid curiosity about ‘the sin against the Holy Ghost’ which ‘could never be forgiven’, but nobody knew what it was.”  (Con/44)

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “The idea seems to have been that it was an ill-natured practical joke on the part of Jesus. The mysterious offence which could never be forgiven might be inadvertently committed by the greatest saint alive, with the result that he would be bowled out at the very gate of glory.” (Con/44)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    So he has to find out, if possible, what that sin is and do it very thoroughly. Why? Because he is in a very precarious position. He is opposed to an omnipotent God; but for all he knows that God might have predestined him to be saved! No matter how much he disbelieves in Jesus, no matter how many crimes he piles up, God might get him in spite of himself. The only possibility of outwitting his mother and father’s God is to bring him up against His own pledge that the sin against the Holy Ghost shall never be forgiven, then get a certificate from the recording angel that he has duly done it.” (Con/44)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     In search of a suitable sin which might earn him the diabolical V.C., young Crowley frequents the boys whose reputation for wickedness is best established, but finds nothing there but further unintelligible mystery – the reign of terror is so firmly in place throughout the school that nobody dare tell him the outright nature of this sin, even when knowledge of it is admitted. (Con/45)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  Mysterious hints are given; and at last a boy named Gibson tells him what action to make; but he does not tell him to what object to apply the process. (Con/45)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         It may seem extraordinary that nature should not have afforded Crowley an indication of what was meant, but he fails to make the connection, and carries out experiments based on ideas which afford him no results whatsoever, in fact the discovery of what is actually meant will be delayed for years.  (Con/45)

VOICE ONE:           Confusion.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         A Hymn of quite acceptable Christian piety written by Crowley in 1894.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Nothing to read but two books of Scott and Dickens. Ballantyne approved of and G. A. Hinty winked at. David Copperfield  banned.The Ancient Mariner  banned because he blesses snakes unawares – snakes are cursed in Genesis.  (Con/56)

I am a blind man on a helmless ship
Without a compass on a stormy sea . .

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)         “It seemed as if I possessed a theology of my own which was, to all intents and purposes, Christianity. My satanism did not interfere with it at all; I was trying to take the view that the Christianity of hypocrisy and cruelty was not true Christianity. I did not hate God or Christ, but merely the God and Christ of the people I hated. It was only when the development of my logical faculties supplied the demonstration that the scriptures support the theology and practice of professing Christians that I was compelled to set myself in opposition to the Bible itself.”  (Con/51)

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “When I eventually learnt how to use my astral eyes and ears, there was no confusion; the other world had certain correspondences with our own, but it was perfectly distinct.” (Con/51)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Crowley’s uncle Tom makes the mistake of engaging a tutor named Archibald Douglas – for Crowley, a very fortunate mistake indeed. (Con/53)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         From the moment they are alone, Douglas produces a complete revolution in Crowley’s outlook; he shows him, for a first time, a sane, clear, jolly world worth living in.  (Con/53)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Uncle Tom appears, gets Douglas out of the way, rifles his belongings, steals his private letters and dismisses him. (Con/54)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         But it’s too late. The young Crowley’s eyes have been opened – he has become as a god knowing good and evil.         (Con/54)

VOICE ONE: Poetry.

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)           “I could never tolerate smooth, insipid beauty. It was only when I was among the crags that I was happy. I demanded to be at grips with death in one way or another. The bourgeois ambition to get through life without unpleasantness seemed to me the lowest vilness and entirely in keeping with the moral attitude of the heavenly people in Paradise Lost.”            (Con/60)

VOICE THREE:      Aleister Crowley: poet.

VOICE FOUR:        In the hospital bed she lay

EVERYONE:           Rotting away!

VOICE FOUR:         Cursing by night and cursing by day,

EVERYONE:           Rotting away!

The lupus is over her face and head,
Filthy and foul and horrid and dread,
And her shrieks they would almost wake the dead;

EVERYONE:           Rotting away.

VOICE FOUR:         In the horrible grave she lay,

EVERYONE:           Rotting away!

VOICE FOUR:         Rotting by night, and rotting by day,

EVERYONE:           Rotting away!

In the place of her face is a gory hole,
And the worms are gnawing the tissues foul,
And the devil is gloating over her soul . . .

EVERYONE: (Softly)         Rotting away . . .

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)           “I could not see any sense in pretending that life was not full of horrors.  Paganism is wholesome because it faces the facts of life; but I was not allowed to take a normal view of nature. In my situation, I could not dismiss the falsities of Christianity with a smile; I was compelled to fight fire with fire and oppose their poisoned poultices with poisoned daggers.”                   (Con/62)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Public school. Malvern; then Tonbridge. Not a happy period for the young Crowley.    (Con/66)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Only happy when he’s climbing: Scafell Pikes. Helvellyn. Skiddaw. Saddleback. The Great Naples Needle.                     (Con/68)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Crowley’s poetry of this period is either amorous or satirical, or both.

Was thy fault to be too tender?
Was thine error to be weak?
Was my kiss the first offender
Pressed upon thy blushing cheek?

VOICE FOUR:                  Then comes the twist.

VOICE THREE:      (With gusto)
Heaven at your accurst creation
Shall become a hell of fire;
Death from kisses, and damnation
For your love, shall God require.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     It took years for his revolt to wear out. He clung to the idea of the wicknedness of love and the idea that it entailed divine retribution.              (Con/74)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Why? Because he wanted to add value to sin. Everything had to be spiced with moral satisfaction. Christianity had to be reluctantly held on to;  there was no fun in fighting it if it were all nonsense?                  (Con/74)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  His hatred for his mother also led to a thoroughly jaundiced view of women.

 VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)            “The most dominant mood of woman will always be motherhood. Nature itself, therefore, insures that a man who relies on a woman to help him is bucking the tiger. At any moment, without warning, her interest in him may be swept off its feet and become secondary. Worse – she will expect her man to abandon the whole interest of his life in order to look after her new toy!”              (Con/78)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          With no opportunity of preparing the set classics, Crowley passes the exams for Trinity College without difficulty, and on October 1 goes up to Cambridge, taking rooms at 16 St John’s Street.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      From that moment begins an entirely new chapter in his life, a life so extraordinary that it will earn him the title of the most evil man in the world.

VOICE THREE:      Childe Roland to the dark tower came . . .

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    These words were as real to Crowley as the battle of Waterloo.                    (Con/107)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  He deduces from the nature of things that life is a sacrament; in other words, all our acts are magical acts. Our spiritual consciousness acts through the will and its instruments upon material objects, in order to produce changes which will result in the establishing of the new conditions of consciousness which we wish. That  is his definition of magic.”                    (Con/110)

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)  “What I wanted was a manual of technical instruction.”

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            From a friend comes The Book of Black Magic & of Pacts.  Judging by the title, just what he needed.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     One statement in this book catches Crowley’s eye.    (Con/112)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    A Hidden Church  withdrawn from the world in whose sanctuaries are preserved the true mysteries of initiation.  (Con/112)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         A letter to the author elicits the suggestion that he should read The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary  by Councillor von Eckarts-hausen.                            (Con/113)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            He acquires a copy and retires with it for the Easter vacation of 1898. This moment proves to be the critical moment of his early life, for he is soon able to say . . .             (Con/113)

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)           “If we are ever to do anything, it can only be by the manipulation of those spiritual forces which lie behind the consciousness of which the universe of matter is but a symbolic phantasm.”                         (Con/114)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        During his three years at Cambridge, Crowley’s literary faculties make sudden strides. In characteristic fashion he refers to his first published poem as the summit of his Parnassus at one bound.  (Con/126)

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)           “I have never written anything better. Its technical excellence is remarkable and it is the pure expression of my unconscious self.”               (Con/126)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            He was at the same time playing chess and beating some of the finest players in England.                                     (Con/128)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        But decides to stop playing chess and concentrate on magic. (Con/28)

VOICE TWO:  (Throw away line)  And sex.

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “My sexual life was intense. My relations with women were entirely satisfactory. They gave me the maximum bodily enjoyment and at the same time symbolised my theological notions of sin. Love was a challenge to Christianity. Every woman that I met enabled me to affirm magically that I had defied the tyranny of the Plymouth Bretheren and the Evangelicals.”                             (Con/130)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    Councillor von Eckarts-hausen’s book tells him of a secret church, a secret community of saints, the members of which enjoy intimate communion with the immanent divine soul of nature. To them, the incarnation is a mystical or magical operation which takes place in every man. Each is himself a Son of God  who has assumed a body of flesh and blood in order to perform the work of redemption.             (Con/135)

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley/laughs)
“I did not see that this conception reposed on metaphysical bases as untenable as those of orthodoxy.”            (Con/135)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)               So he determines to make himself worthy to attract the notice of this mysterious brotherhood. For he can imagine nothing more exquisite than to enter into communion with these holy men and to acquire the power of communicating with the angelic and divine intelligences of the universe.                       (Con/135)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            His poetry is now charged with these aspirations: Song of the Spirit, The Quest, The Alchemist, The Philosopher’s Progress, Succubus, Vespers, Astrology  and Daedalus  each express his idea about the ordeals which might be expected on the path.     (Con/135)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley’s unique vision surfaces at this point. He tells us without a blush that the only adequate way to overcome evil is to utilise it fully as a means of grace.        (Con/136)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)                He goes to some pains to explain what he means by this.

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)  “When St. Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient,” he only went half way. One ought to leave no form of energy to rust. Every particle of one’s personality is a necessary factor in the equation and every impulse must be turned to account in the Great Work.”


VOICE TWO: (Narration)    It was around this time that he stumbled on a book called The Kabbalah Unveiled ,  by S.L. Mathers. Not understanding a word of it, but fascinated for that very reason, this book becomes his constant study while on the glaciers.              (Con/156)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    On the publication of his first play – Jephthah  – Crowley is accused by the critics of being too heavily influenced by Swinburne – the play is passionately dedicated to Swinburne. He rebukes his critics by saying that if at that time a new writer manifested any sense of rhythm, he was automatically classified as an imitator of Swinburne, if any capacity for thought, then an imitator of Browning.                     (Con/157)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)      He then takes a swipe at W.B.Yeats.

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)            “I have always been nauseated by pretentiousness; and the Celtic revival, so-called, had all the mincing, posturing qualities of the literary Plymouth Brethern. They pretended to think it an unpardonable crime not to speak Irish, though they could not speak it themselves; and they worked in their mealymouthed way towards the galvanization of the political, ethnological and literary corpse of the Irish nation. Ireland has been badly treated, we all know; but her only salvation lay in forgetting her nonsense.”                          (Con/158)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration) Yeats said that he thought Crowley mad, and that amid much bad rhetoric, he had written about six lines of good poetry.            (Symonds/52)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Like Byron, Shelly, Swinburne and Tennyson, Crowley leaves university without taking a degree.                     (Con/158)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            A friend introduces Crowley to the Welsh Magician George Cecil Jones. Jones quickly realises that Crowley has a tremendous natural capacity for Magick; he suggests that he join the same Hermetic Order – the Order of the Golden Dawn.  Crowley is initiated on 18 December, 1898.           (Con/167/169)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              The Golden dawn was an occult brotherhood divided into three parts, of which only the first, or Outer Order, carried the title of the Golden Dawn. When members reached the next grade, they passed into the Order of the Red Rose and Golden Cross. Three other grades existed: Magister Templi, Magus, and Ipsissimus. These grades came within the order of the Silver Star.                    (Symonds/147)

VOICE THREE:      (as Crowley/confidently)  “I began my practical work with astral visions, and found to my surprise that after half a dozen experiments I was better than my teacher.”              (Con/166)

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)  I took the Order with absolute seriousness. I remember asking whether people often died during the ceremony. I had no idea that it was a flat formality and that the members were for the most part muddled middle-class mediocrities. I saw myself entering the Hidden Church of the Holy Grail. This state of my soul served me well – my initiation was in fact a sacrament.”               (Con/169)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)  So much for the Order of the Golden Dawn.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  With the name “Perdurabo”, Crowley takes the grade of Zelator  in December, of Theoricus  in January and of Practicus  in February. He cannot proceed to Philosophus  for three months, so does not take that grade till May. And as a Philosophus  cannot proceed to the Second Order  in less than seven months, and only then by invitation, he has to cool his enthusiasm and await recognition.”          (Con/171)

VOICE TWO:           His biographer . . .

VOICE ONE:           John Symonds.

VOICE TWO:           Has something to say about this series of advancements.

VOICE ONE: (With a sneer)           “He certainly did better in the Golden Dawn than at Trinity College where, after three years’ study, he was given no degree at all.”             (Symonds/36)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         During this period Crowley moves to a flat in Chancery Lane under the name Count Vladimir Svareff – it was a habit of Crowley’s to take on exotic names and study (so he says) the reaction of others. He settles in and starts preparing to perform a magical rite called the Operation of Abra-Melin the Mage –  this necessitates that he cut himself off from everyone for six months and follow a prescribed set of magical rules. But he can’t get going on this until he has undergone his initiation.                              (Symonds/38)

VOICE ONE:  (Narration)    During a ceremony of the Order of the Golden Dawn  in the Spring of 1899, something very important happens to Crowley, he suddenly becomes aware of a tremendous spiritual and magical force in the room – it seems to emmanate from a man he has not seen before. While unrobing after the ceremony, this man . . .

VOICE THREE:      Allan Bennett.

ACTOR  ONE: (Cont-)       “. . . makes straight for Crowley, looks into his eyes, and says in a penetrating and menacing tone: Little Brother, you have been meddling with the Goetia!”                      (Con/171)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Goetia means ‘howling’, and is the technical word employed to cover all the operations of that Magick which deals with gross, malignant or unenlightened forces.                 (Con/171)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      Crowley timerously denies having done any such thing, and Bennett returns with: In that case, the Goetia has been meddling with you.                                                         (Con/171)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          The conversation goes no further; Crowley returns home somewhat chastened in spirit.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            But not for long; he has found the man he has been looking for – a real Magician, he suspects – and has no intentions of letting such an opportunity go by without a follow up. He describes Bennett as . . .

VOICE THREE:                “ . . . a pure mind, piercing and profound beyond any other I have experienced.            (Con/171)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  But Bennett is not a well man – he is ill with asthma, which he relieves with opium, morphine and cocaine – and is soon off abroad to a warmer climate for the sake of his health. Bereft of his Holy Guru, Crowley concentrates on the rite of Abra-Melin the Mage.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    In magic there have always been two schools, one invoking the forces of good, the other the forces of evil – white and black magic. Abra-Melin  teaches that the good, or Angelic, forces are superior in power to the bad, or satanic forces; and that the latter, as a punishment, have to serve the former. All material effects, all phenomena are the result of the actions of evil spirits working under the direction of good ones.                                                            (Symonds/37)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     And sometimes the other way round, for bad spirits occasionally manage to escape and, revengfully, do what harm they can.                                          (Symonds/37)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           These satanic forces conclude pacts with men and hold them in their power as Mephistopheles held Dr. Faustus; for man is the middle nature between angels and demons, and has attendant upon him a Holy Guardian Angel and a Malevolent demon.  (Symonds/37)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    Crowley had two temples in his flat; one white, the walls being lined with six huge mirrors, each six feet by eight; the other black, a mere cupboard in which stood an altar supported by the figure of a negro standing on his hands. According to Crowley, magical phenomena were a constant occurrence in these temples.                           (Con/175)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         It is said that when Crowley left this flat, and everything was dismantled, the atmosphere remained. Workmen, we are told, were put out of action. Casual callers would faint or be seized with dizziness or cramps on the staircase. It was a long time before the rooms could be re-let.            (Con/176)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           At the end of August, 1899, Crowley moves to the south-east side of Lock Ness, in Scotland, and settles down to get everything in working order for the Great Operation of Abra-Melin. The rite, fully titled The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, as delivered by Abraham the Jew unto his son, Lameck, AD, 1458 ,  had been discovered in Paris and translated by MacGregor Mathers, Chief of the Golden Dawn.

(Symonds/36)  (Con/177)

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)           “I had asked Jones to come and stay with me during the six months, in view of the dangers and interference already experienced at the mere threat to perform it.”


VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “It was obviously the part of prudence to have, if possible, an initiate on the spot. It is also very awkward for a man absorbed in intense magical effort to have to communicate with the external world about the business of everyday life.”                   (Con/182)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  But Jones can’t come, and after a month a friend by the name of Rosher finds the strain intolerable and runs away. “


VOICE ONE: (Narration)     One day, on coming back from shooting rabbits on the hill, Crowley finds a Roman catholic priest in his study. He has come to tell him that his lodgekeeper, a total abstainer for twenty years, has been raving drunk for three days and has tried to kill his wife and children.                                     (Con/182)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            A female Cambridge acquaintance takes Rosher’s place; but she too begins to show symptoms of panic and fear.  (Con/182)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    Meanwhile, other storms are brewing – the members of the London temple, jealous of Crowley’s rapid progress in the Order of the Golden Dawn, are refusing to initiate him to the Second Order; and that in spite of an invitation from their Chief in Paris.                (Con/182)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)     Invited to Paris, the Grade is conferred on Crowley by Mathers himself; he returns to Scotland to find that his female helper has fled to London and hidden herself.                   (Con/182)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          So what exactly had frightened these people? Crowley tells us quite matter-of-factly.

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)         “There were numberless physical phenomena for which it is hard to account. While I was preparing the talismans, squares of vellum inscribed with Indian ink, a task which I undertook in the sunniest room in the house, I had to use artificial light even on the brightest days. It was a darkness which might almost be felt. The lodge and terrace, moreover, soon became peopled with shadowy shapes, sufficiently substantial, as a rule, to be almost opaque. I say shapes; and yet the truth is that they were not shapes properly speaking. The phenomenon is hard to describe. It was as if the faculty of vision suffered some interference; as if the objects of vision were not properly objects at all. It was as if they belonged to an order of matter which affected the sight without informing it.”                    (Con/183)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Crowley makes some astonishing claims for this period.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     He claims to have been in contact with Angels of Fire  who inform him that they are at war with other angels to prevent the squaring of the circle  – whatever that might mean. And to have travelled far back into the past and witnessed the crucifixion.              (Con/186/Symonds/134)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           And to have gone back even to the beginning of time and witnessed the First of the Golden Dawns.            (Con/186)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley’s biographer tells us that Crowley’s visions aren’t real visions at all – merely phantasies. He tells us that they lack the numinous or authoritative quality of genuine visions, and that they left Crowley exactly where he started. There again, Symonds detested Crowley.                     (Symonds/135)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Anyway, the Order of the Golden Dawn  was at that moment going through its death throws – the London body was in open revolt against the Chief in Paris. Crowley arrives in London as envoy extraordinary on Mathers’ behalf, but only succeeds in making matters worse. The squabbling goes on for months, and ends with the Order’s virtual destruction. Crowley describes Mathers as being cast off by the Secret Chiefs, and of living in sodden intoxication. Their relationship ends in bitterness.                         (Con/191)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    The Secret Chiefs were conceived of as Masters who watched over the affairs of men from caves in Tibet or, in so far as they were spirits, from the empyrean. The concept was of ancient Indian origin and tradition, and had been popularised by Petrovna Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society. MacGregor Mathers was allegedly in touch with these Secret Chiefs.


VOICE THREE: (Narration)  Crowley does not return to his lodge on Loch Ness; the wanderlust is upon him. During June, 1900, he sails for New York, his intention being to climb the great volcanoes of Mexico.  The Abra-Melin  rite is again postponed. Crowley’s biographer tells us that he left behind him the shadowy shapes of Oriens, Paimon, Ariton, Amaimon and their hundred and eleven servitors to wreak havoc with everyone who came near.                             (Symonds/43)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Perdurabo stays in New York two or three days, travels directly to Mexico and finds to his delight that he is spiritually at home with the Mexicans.    (Con/196)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     From Mexcio to San Fransisco; from San Fransisco to Honolulu, Japan and Ceylon.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)   On having met up with Allan Bennett in Ceylon, Crowley practices Yoga and determines immediately that the fundamental principle of yoga is learning how to stop thinking.


VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)        “To get into a trance is of the same order of phenomena as to get drunk. It does not depend on creed. Virtue is only necessary in so far as it favours success. I am proud of having made it possible for my pupils to achieve in months what previously required as many years. Also, of having saved the successful from the devastating delusion that the intellectual image of their experience is a universal truth.”


VOICE FOUR:  (Narration)            This error, we are told, has wrought more mischief in the past than any other. Almost all religious tyranny springs from intellectual narrowness. The spiritual energy derived from the high trances makes the seer a formidable force; but if he is unaware that his interpretation is due only to exaggeration of his own tendencies of thought, he will seek to impose it on others, and so delude his disciples, pervert their minds and prevent their development.                             (Con/241)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    He adds that the two processes (mysticism and Magick) are essentially identical; the apparent difference arising merely from the distinction between the European and the Asiatic conceptions of the cosmos.              (Con/245)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            A few months later Crowley is telling us his Magick has proven much more far-reaching in importance than his mysticism. He calls Magick the practical side of spiritual progress.                      (Con/264)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Crowley’s philosophy was now rapidly taking shape. He was soon able to say: “It is a fallacy that the absolute must be the all-good. There is not an intelligence directing law. One has to be a philosopher to endure the consciousness of waste, and something more than a philosopher to admire the spendthriff splendour of the universe.”                     (Con/266)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Ceylon, India, Burma, Baltistan, Egypt, France. His friend Allen Bennett becomes a Buddhist; Crowley flirts with both Buddhism and Hinduism, but is not impressed with the monastries. He tells us that only an infinitesimal few, like Allan, really understand the machinery of the business.


VOICE ONE: (Narration)     And so he returns to Scotland, to Lochness, to Boleskine and the magical rite of Abra-Melin.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    During his absence the reputation of the house has become more formidable that ever. Crowley puts this down to the Abra-Melin  devils using the place as their headquarters and terrifying the natives.


VOICE ONE: (Narration)    And then the unexpected  happens.

VOICE FOUR:                  He gets married.

VOICE ONE:           Not because he’s madly in love.

VOICE TWO:           But to help out a friend.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            A party are staying at Strathpeffer, and invite Crowley over. There he meets Rose Kelly. Rose confides in him that she is being forced to marry someone she does not love.              (Con/380)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        The story awakens Crowley’s Shelleyan indignation; he tells Rose that all she has to do is marry him. He will return to Boleskine and she need never hear of him again.                          (Con/380)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    A simple solution which of course backfires. Crowley marries Rose at Gretna Green and discovers soon after that his absolute indifference to her has hurled her into love with him. Never one to buck the moment, Crowley conveniently falls in love with Rose and they take off on a honeymoon to blast all honeymoons.    (Con/384/391)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Off they go to Rangoon to visit Allen Bennett, and Crowley, ever the romantic, throws aside poetry, Magick and meditation because he is so supremely happy and intoxicated with his unexpected bride.                                (Con/389)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    He describes Rose as a ‘good women’; then explains what he means.

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)         “Her love sounded every abyss of lust, soared to every splendour of the empyrean.” On another occasion he describes his marriage to Rose as  ” . . . an uninterrupted sexual debauch.”


 VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        After much big game shooting, it is found that Rose (surprise, surprise) is pregnant.


VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Rose and Crowley head for Cairo, and home, on March 11, 1904. On arriving in Cairo Rose is made privy to one of her husbands magical rituals; it is his intention to invoke for her what he terms ‘the sylphs’. This he does, but she can’t, or won’t, see them, and goes instead into a strange state of mind in which she keeps repeating They are waiting for you . . . They are waiting for you.  Crowley tells us rather unconvincingly that he is annoyed by her conduct, and on March 17, repeats the ritual. Rose goes into the same strange state of mind and repeats her earlier remark, adding: It is all about the child.  And All Osiris. Crowley wants Rose to see the sylphs, but she again offers independent remarks. This time he is impressed. She tells Crowley that he has offended Horus, and astonishes him by instructing him on how to invoke Horus, promising him success on Saturday, or Sunday.      (Con/414)

VOICE ONE:           All very head scratching.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Rose then identifies the particular god with whom she is in communion from a pillar in the Boulak Museum, which neither of them had ever visited before. Crowley is struck by the fact that the exhibit bares the catalogue number 666.                               (Con/414)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    The invocation is a startling success. Crowley is told (he does not say how) that the Equinox of the Gods has come; that is, that a new epoch has begun, and that he, chosen one of the Secret Chiefs, is to formulate a link between the solar-spiritual forces and mankind.                         (Con/415)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        This isn’t at all surprising, for he has fallen out with MacGregor Mathers and just about everyone else belonging to the Order of the Golden Dawn, and cannot start his own legitimate Order until he makes, or appears to make (for the purpose of the magical record) personal contact with the Secret Chiefs – the Secret Chiefs are looking for someone else to lead things after having had to dump MacGregor Mathers.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Making inquiries about the strange pillar in the museum, Crowley has the inscription translated into French, makes poetic paraphrases of them, and is then mysteriously instructed by Rose to enter the room he has previously used at noon on April 8, 9 and 10, write down what he hears, and rise at exactly one o’clock. During those three hours he hears a voice behind him and writes three chapters of something called The Book of The Law;  on looking over his shoulder he catches sight of a being who identifies himself as Aiwass, suspended in a kind of cloud.              (Con/415)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Crowley’s biographer points out that Aiwas, or Aiwaz, was the messenger of Hoor-Paar-Kraat, that is to say, Set, the destroyer god, the brother and murderer of Osiris. He then reminds us that Set was also called Shaitan, and that Shaitan was the prototype of the Christian Satan. Although Crowley hardly knew it at the time, he had apparently caught a glimpse . . . of the Devil in person; or, perhaps more accurately, the Devil as archetype.                  (Symonds/84)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         Stunned by his experience, and by the material he has been given, he is then astonished by an injunction to publish the Secret Wisdom of the Ages  so that after the wreck of civilisation (a great war is apparently imminent) the scolars of subsequent generations will be able to restore the magical traditions.                                              (Con/426)

VOICE ONE:           The year is 1904.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Having been taught to dread the result of publishing the least part of the Secret Knowledge  because it might fall into unworthy hands, Crowley finds it very hard to accept the injunction from the Secret Chiefs to publish The Book of the Law.                     (Con/426)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    He quite obviously believed there was an almighty difference between his literary creations and the psychic reception of this strange and disturbing book; and that in spite of the fact that the book contains many of his favourite biblical characters, and a few direct quotes from the prose author whom he regarded as a high initiate, Francois Rabelais.                    (Symonds/84/128)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Oddly enough, Crowley actively dislikes The Book of the Law’s  contents so much that he refuses to obey the injunction to publish it; at least this is what he keeps on telling us. Could it be that even he realised he had gone a bit too far?

VOICE FOUR:                  (Intoned)
Do what thou Wilt shall be the Whole of the Law. There is no Law beyond Do what thou wilt. The word of the law is Thelema .                    (Symonds/84)

VOICE TWO: Narration)     Thelema was the name of the district in which Rabelais set his wonderous abbey, and meant will.            (Symonds/84)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Crowley’s philosophy is that there is no God, and that one can therefore do what one wills. God is dead. The aim of man is pleasure. The libido of the unconscious (the emotional craving prompting any specific human sexual activity) is therefore the true will of the inmost self. Freud, he tells us, misunderstood the Freudian position.                                              (Symonds/50/152)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     And so he and Rose return to Scotland for the birth of their first child, resume magical work in a desultory way, and pass the summer in an ecstatic dream. Sex. Salmon. Venison. His wine cellar and rock climbing.             (Con/428)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        During this period Crowley self-publishes a number of his own plays and poems, and remarks: I made a clean sweep of my literary dustbin. I had its contents carted away and dumped on the public.  He also prints a leaflet offering one hundred pounds for the best essay on his own work. This is designed to boost sales.  (Con/429/440)

VOICE FOUR:  (Narration)            The winner of the prize (the only person to enter) becomes an intimate friend and colleague, and eventually assists Crowley to execute the orders of the Secret Chiefs.                 (Con/429)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    There is only one thing to marr the perfection of that summer: psychic attacks directed against the whole household at Boleskine by the chief of the Order of the Golden Dawn  – MacGregor Mathers.              (Con/431)

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)         He succeeded in killing most of the dogs.

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)           The servants too were constantly being made ill. . . . We therefore employed the appropriate talismans from The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin  against him, evoking Beelzebub and his forty-nine servitors.            (Con/431)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        The attacks continue, and while playing billiards one afternoon with Ivor (or should it be Igor?), screams and oaths are heard coming from the kitchen – a workman putting in a new central heating system has gone crazy and attacked Rose. The offender is thrust into the coal cellar by Crowley, and the police sent for.            (Con/432)

VOICE ONE:           Mathers?

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Their child is born and called quite simply: Nuit Ma Ah-a-thoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith.                                        (Con/432)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           On May 6, 1904, Crowley returns to the East with the intention of climbing Kangchenjunga with some friends. He leaves Cairo for Bombay by boat on the thirty-first.           (Con/446)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        The attempt to climb Kangchenjunga ends in catastrophe. Ignoring Crowley’s instructions on how best to tackle the mountain, four men perish – at least this is Crowley’s story. He damns the English Alpine Club for their incompetence in a series of pre-emptive articles. Years later, a second expedition to climb Kangchenjunga ends in disaster for identical reasons, so maybe he was right. (Con/445/473)

VOICE FOUR:  (Narration)           Rose and Nuit Ma Ah-a-thoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith arrive in Calcutta on October 29, and Crowley gives her the option of walking across Persia or China. She picks China, and they take off on an epic journey which last for four months.            (Con/535)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Somewhere in Ton-king, in Indo-China (better known today as North Vietnam), Crowley leaves Rose and the baby and rushes off to Shanghai to meet a woman called Elaine Simpson. Elaine is a medium with whom he has been working Magick on the astral plane. To his annoyance, Elaine pronounces Aiwass’s communication of the Book of the Law, genuine.     (Symonds/118)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Which rather suggests that he was checking up on Aiwass. Anyway, through Elaine Simpson, Aiwass tells Crowley to break off his relations with the medium he’s speaking through because she won’t take part in a necessary sexual ritual, and Crowley, ever obedient, says goodbye and returns to England by way of Vancouver and New York.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    On arriving in Liverpool on 2 June, 1906, he is sent reeling at the news that his little girl has died of typhoid in Rangoon; he of course blames the mother, not himself for abandoning her in the middle of Indo-China. Someone later remarks that Nuit Ma Ah-a-thoor had died, not from Typhoid, but from acute nomenclature.    (Symonds/119)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Rose joins him, and they return to Scotland.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)  He writes that from this date till the first week in February, he was intellectually insane, the complete destruction of his ability to reason leaving him no other means of apprehension than ‘voiceless longing,’ known in the Cabbala as Neshamah.  He is about to cross what he terms the Abyss, the Abyss being the brink upon which one stands before abandoning the limitation of ideas constructed by reason.


VOICE TWO: (Narration)    It was essential that he learn the technique of crossing the Abyss with absolute thoroughness, for the Secret Chiefs, he tells us, had it in mind to entrust him with the task of teaching others exactly how to do it.

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)            “I knew that every event in my life had been arranged by the gods to be of use to me in the accomplishment of the Great Work.                                   (Con/556)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        On  ninth October, 1906, having prepared a full invocation and ritual, he performs the Sacred Magic of the Abra-Melin Rite, completes it, and to his amazement, is successful. He tells us that for over three weeks he bore the stigmata of his operation physically, and began to visibly radiate light – a split infinitive of some interest. In the month of December the Secret Chiefs formally invite him, through a brother in Magick, to take his place officially in the Third Order.  He does not feel worthy. Three years will elapse before he feels capable of accepting the offer.                 (Con/57)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley describes 1907 and 1908 as years of fulfilment. In 1907, he compiles his Cabbalistic dictionary, 777, Rose gives birth to their second daughter, Lola Zaza, and he kicks his mother-in-law down stairs to show her who’s boss. It is around this time he discovers Rose to be a secret drunk.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Professing to love Rose deeply, he divorces her because he cannot bear to watch her commit suicide – in a five month period she has obtained one hundred and fifty bottles of whisky from one grocer alone. It is agreed that he should be defendant as a matter of chivalry –  the necessary evidence is manufactured.                                         (Con/575)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     They go on living together, more or less;  but her condition becomes rapidly worse. On 27 September, 1911, she is certified insane.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)     Crowley then takes to writing prose instead of plays and poetry, finds that he enjoys it, and pours out a welter of material on the occult. But at no time does he mention The Book of the Law  as revealed to him by Aiwass  in Cairo.                                        (Con/576)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         This curious manuscript, instead of being published, is eventually lost, or mislaid, by Crowley, but surfaces again at exactly the right moment.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     1908. Crowley picks up a book called The Magician,  and discovers that it is by his old friend Somerset Maugham. Over a bottle of champagne and a pheasant, he reads The Magician  and immediately recognises the central character as himself. Oliver Haddo is  Aleister Crowley; his house Skene, is Boleskine. The hero’s witty remarks are, many of them, Crowley’s own.


VOICE TWO:  (Narration)   Maugham has taken Crowley’s life – his marriage, explorations, adventures, magical opinions, ambitions and exploits – added a number of absurd legends, and in Crowley’s terms ” . . . shamelessly published this patchwork of plagiarised truth and nonsense as a novel.”                                (Con/616)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Maugham and Crowley are fated to meet by chance a few weeks later.  Crowley informs him that he’s been very lucky, his article exposing the fraud in Vanity Fair  has been cut by two thirds due to lack of space. He adds on turning away:               (Con/617)

VOICE TWO:           “I almost wish that you were an important writer.”            (Con/617)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      Since his return from China he has made several experiments with hashish, and has found that his habit of analysing and controlling his mind enables him to get the best out of the drug. Instead of getting intoxicated, he becomes abnormally able to push introspection to its limit. This ability to control the use of drugs will not last long.                                    (Con/635)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         He is also experimenting during this period with what he terms materialisations.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     But is eventually convinced that it is not only a dangerous passtime to be involved in, but also an unprofitable one magically. To hanker after phenomena of this nature tempts one to distrust the subtler modes of realisations, he tells us.          (Con/639)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Seeking  research material for a writing project, Crowley studies manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, then returns to Scotland to search for some lost paintings of his own called The Four Elemental Watch Towers.  He takes two friends along (one is particularly fond of skiing, and Crowley assures him that he has extra pairs at Boleskine), but neither the pictures nor the skis are anywhere to be found.  (Con/646)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    An important point in a chain of events.

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)        They return to London, and Crowley describes himself as impelled mysteriously  to look in the loft of the house for his missing paintings. This results in his finding not only the paintings and the skis, but also the missing Book of the Law.                                        (Con/646)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley says that the ground was completely cut away from under his feet in that moment; he spends two days meditating on what it might mean, and concludes that every misfortune of the previous three years were due to his attempt to evade his duty with regard to this curious manuscript.     (Con/647)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Why? What was so important about that moment? There was nothing miraculous in the finding of the manuscript; it was an ordinary, everyday event, surely.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Not to Crowley.

VOICE THREE:  (as Crowley)      “I knew in myself that the Secret Chiefs had arranged that the manuscript of The Book of the Law  should have been hidden under the Watch Towers and the Watch Towers under the skis; that they had driven me to make the key to my position the absence of the manuscript; that they had directed Kenneth Ward’s actions for years that he might be the means of the discovery in such a way that I should understood it as I did. (Con/649)

VOICE FOUR:                  He adds.

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)           “Yes; this involves a theory of the powers of the Secret Chief’s so romantic and unreasonable that it seems hardly worth a smile of contempt. What we have to understand is that the universe is full of obscure and subtle manifestations of energy; we are constantly advancing in our knowledge and control of them. But what no one has as yet managed to do is prove the existence of extra-human intelligences.                (Con/649/652)

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)      

“I admit that my visions can never mean to other men as much as they do to me. I do not regret this. All I ask is that my results should convince seekers after truth that there is beyond doubt something worth while seeking, attainable by methods more or less like mine. I do not want to father a flock, to be the fetish of fools and fanatics, or the founder of a faith whose followers are content to echo my opinions. I want each man to cut his own way through the jungle.                                     (Con/671)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Crowley is assisted in an evocation of Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars, by no less a figure than Commander Mars ton, R.N., (no pun intended I’m sure) one of the highest officials of the Admiralty; and Leila Waddle, an Australian violist. Enamoured by the Australian, Crowley immediately begins to use her in his magical workings.             (Con/686)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    The newspaper editors who are reviling Crowley at this time are of course unaware that he is the chosen one, the Logos of the Aeon;  they are not even aware that a New Aeon has begun. They weigh the mere man, Aleister Crowley, in the balance of the Old Aeon of Christianity and find him badly wanting.     (Symonds/10)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         1911 sees Crowley alternating his time between Paris and the forest of Fontainebleau.


VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            In Paris he meets up with a magnificent specimen of mingled Irish and Italian womanhood – Mary d’Este Sturges, friend of Isadora Duncan – whom he refers to in his Confessions  as Virakam; she is a quick-tempered and impulsive woman, always eager to act with reckless enthusiasm. Crowley is mesmerized.

(Con 737/Symonds/174)                    

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     After a few weeks of skirmishing, he carries her off to Switzerland to spend the winter skating.  Like Rose, Virakam has neither knowledge of, nor an interest in, Magick, but she too is suddenly taken over and used as an instrument to relay information to Crowley – the Secret Chiefs are at it again!                                                  (Con/738)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            On ditching Mary d’Este Sturges, he takes up with Leila the Australian violinist in the Spring of 1912, and dictates a book of Magick to her; this book will not see the light of day until 1921.                              (Con/743)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         At the outbreak of world war one, Crowley  returns to England and makes every attempt to persuade the government to employ him; but they don’t want Aleister Crowley – he has too sinister a reputation.                                        (Symonds/224)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)     May I give you the Serpent’s Kiss? said Crowley to Nancy Cunard, interrupting her conversation about Hitler. She thought it too rude to say no, or to ask first what it meant, so she said yes, and got badly bitten on the wrist for her foolishness.                   (Symonds/224)

 VOICE FOUR: (Narration)          Rejected by the British government, Crowley crosses the Atlantic and offers his services to the Americans.                   (Symonds/228)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      But the Americans don’t want him either; they can’t think of a single thing for Crowley to do.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    But fate – in the shape of an Irishman by the name of O’Brian – will take a hand in the matter.                            (Con/817)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         In fact it will take Crowley by the hand and lead him into an altogether extraordinary situation.

ACTOR  FOUR: (Narration)         While reading a press cutting on himself on top of a bus trundling up Fifth Avenue (the press cutting describes Crowley as a great poet, philosopher, blackguard, mountaineer, magician, degenerate and saint all in one), he is arounsed from a mood of mingled gratification and disappointment by a tap on the shoulder.

VOICE ONE: (Irish accent)   I couldn’t help but notice that you’re reading something from England, are you English?

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Crowley affirms that he is.

VOICE ONE: (Irish accent)           Then are you in favour of a square deal for Germany and Austria?

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Being a cautious man, Crowley assures him that he is in favour.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    Which results in an invitation to discuss the matter further, and the handing over of a card.                     (Con/818)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Intrigued by O’ Brian, Crowley later follows through and finds himself in the offices of a weekly magazine called . . . The Fatherland.  To his surprise, the inmates know all about him.                                       (Con/818)

VOICE ONE:           O’Brian is never seen again.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)  During the conversation which follows, it dawns on Crowley that he has stumbled upon the headquarters of the German propaganda machine in New York.


VOICE ONE: (Narration)     So he drops a note to a certain Captain Gaunt of British Intelligence, but the British aren’t interested – it’s too small and insignificant an operation.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  Establishing himself as an Irish rebel and pro-German, Crowley goes on to become self-appointed spy and purveyor of information to British Intelligence, and takes to writing articles for The Fatherland.

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         The idea, he assures us, was to work up the Germans from relatively reasonable attacks on England to extravagances which would achieve the final objective of revolting every comparatively sane human being on earth.                                      (Con/824)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     What he forgets is that there are bombs dropping on England – British soldiers are dying in their thousands. No one is amused by his outbursts of veiled irony now approaching the level of verbal hysteria. In fact it is being assumed by all in sundry that the irritating balderdash being written by Crowley is the stark treason the German’s believe it to be.              (Con/825)

ACTOR  TWO: (Narration)            The New York Times  devotes no less than three columns to Crowley’s exploits, and in England there is, to say the least, consternation.

ACTOR  THREE:  (Narration)  Crowley  cannot think what has happened to the English sense of humour.    (Con/825)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            In summing up his own patriotism, he says that he thinks the English pot just as black as the German kettle, but that he of course prefers the English pot.             (Con/835)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    His biographer says simply that he had backed the side he now knew was going to lose, and feared retribution. (Symonds/14)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           On 12 October, 1915, Crowley leaps (in his own imagination) to the grade of Magus  after months of sexual magical practise with a number of women bearing the names of animals; this puts him on the level of a Buddha, he tells us. Ratification of the Grade takes place during the summer of the following year, 1916, when he is struck by lightening for a second time in his life and survives. A globe of fire struck at his feet, he tell us, and a spark leaped to the middle finger of his left hand.                   (Symonds/236)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     After a blasphemous magical rite to formally assume his exalted Grade of Magus in the Great White Brotherhood of Light, he takes up painting and places an advertisment for models. (Symonds/239)

VOICE THREE:      WANTED: Dwarfs, Hunchbacks, Tatooed Women, Freaks of all sorts, etc, etc.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              In the early part of 1918, Crowley gives a lecture in New York and meets up with Alma Hirsig. Two months later Alma turns up at Crowley’s studio on the corner of Washington Square accompanied by her younger sister, Leah. “Without wasting time,” says Crowley, “I began to kiss her.” Alma watches this remarkable performance, much surprised by her sister’s enjoyment of being immediately embraced.                   (Symonds/254)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           Crowley paints Leah’s picture and initiates her in sexual magic, paints (or carves) the Mark of the Beast between her underdeveloped breasts, and gives her the title The Ape of Thoth  and The Scarlet Woman, Alostrael.                                             (Symonds/256)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Sometime during the summer of 1918, Crowley decides to get away from it all; he acquires a canoe and paddles along the Hudson River to Oesopus Island where he falls into deep trance and obtains visions of his previous lives. By August he has found a new woman with orange-red curls who loves sex almost as much as he does. (Symonds/253)

Thrill with lissome light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!

Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me.

Come with Apollo in bridal dress
(Shepherdess and pythoness)
Come with Artemis, silken shod,
And wash thy white thighs, beautiful God,
In the moon of the woods, on the marble mount,
The dimpled dawn of the amber fount!

Do as thou wilt, as a great god can, O Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! I am awake
In the grip of the snake,
The eagle slashes with beak and claw;
The gods withdraw:
The great beasts come, Io Pan! I am bourne
To death on the horn
Of the Unicorn.

I am Pan! Io Pan! Pan! Pan!
I am thy mate, I am thy man,
Goat of thy flock, I am gold, I am god,
Flesh to thy bone, flower to thy rod,
With hoofs of steel I race on the rocks
Through solstice stubborn to equinox.

And I rave; and I rape and I rip and I rend
Everlasting, world without end,
mannikin, maiden, maenad, man,
In the might of Pan,
Io Pan! Io Pan Pan! Io Pan!

end of part one              




VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            1919. A few days before Christmas, Crowley arrives back in London, his idea of his place and purpose in the world completely changed – he now believes his responsibility to be the construction of a new civilisation to replace the one reeling towards catastrophe. For the next three years he will build what he believes to be an ark of refuge within which he will try to save what’s worth saving of the Aeon of the Dying God, the age of Christianity. This new civilisation in embryo will take the shape of a small community in Sicily founded on The Book of the Law.          (Con/871/933/4)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    There is a magical word to go along with this experimental community – Thelema.  Will. This word also implies a new religion, a new cosmology, a new philosophy, and a new ethic.                  (Con/420/Symonds/270)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Crowley remarks that the battle will rage most fiercely around the question of sex, but that the Book of the Law  solves the sexual problem completely. Each individual will have an absolute right to satisfy his sexual instincts as is physiologically proper for him. There is only one injunction: all such acts must be treated as . . . sacraments.                                          (Con/936/937)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    To Crowley, the villa in Sicily is really an Abbey, a Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum  – he has cards printed to that effect. It’s a one-storied building of stone plastered over and painted white with a tiled roof and walls eighteen inches thick. Five rooms lead off from a central hall, the Sanctum Sanctorum, or temple, of the Thelemic mysteries. A magic circle, upon which is superimposed a pentagram, its five points touching the circumferance, is painted on the red-tiled floor. In the centre of the circle is a six-sided altar with four candles on either side. To the east of the circle, facing the candle-lit altar is the throne of the Beast; to the west is the throne of the Scarlet Woman.     (Symond/ 271)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  On the inside of the circle are the Hebrew names of God.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      And on the walls . . . obscene paintings painted by Crowley himself.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Many people could not accept the Law of Thelema.  They found life in the abbey with its absolute freedom too severe a strain.The Book of the Law  anticipated this: The slaves, it said, shall serve.

VOICE TWO:          Slaves?    

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Crowley reveals that the bulk of humanity, having no true will, are virtually powerless, so the Thelemites will have to rule them wisely.        (Con/940)

VOICE ONE: (With a smile)          But of course.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            A very controversial place, the Abbey of Thelema.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    An American visitor (an actress called Jane Wolfe), is shocked by what she finds at the Abbey. She gazes with dropped jaw and glassy eyes at what’s going on around her.                   (Con/954)

VOICE THREE:      Crowley remarks:

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)                     “The attitude is, of course, characteristic of that vast class of moral cowards, whose only remedy for evil is to remove the occasion. They feel themselves helpless. Sin must follow temptation. Righteousness is only possible in the absence of an alternative. We of Thelema pursue a policy exactly contrary. We resist temptations through the moral strength and the enlightening experience which comes of making a series of systemic experiments with  divers iniquities.”                    (Con/955)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Which is to say that conscience makes cowards of us all.                         (Con/955)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    And that canned ethics breed crime.  (Con/955)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           The incorrigible sisters Leah and Alma Hirsig are the centre pieces of Crowley’s experimental community. Leah is pregnant; the father of her child has died in a car accident. They are joined by Ninette Schumway – governess for the child about to be born.                           (Symonds/265)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)  Ninette, nicknamed Cypris by Crowley, has a child of her own: Hansi.       (Symonds/265)

VOICE TWO:           Hansi becomes Hermes.

VOICE THREE:      Ninette falls in love with Crowley.                     (Symonds/265)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            And Leah, large with child, waits for them to return from their drunken meanderings in the woods.           (Symonds/ 267)

VOICE TWO:           Jealousy.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Cypris (Ninette) can’t take it. Did he not love her. Couldn’t they get married? During a riot of emotion she is informed by Crowley that he is above such pettiness. As a human being he has evolved to a higher ethical plane. It is not that he loves sister Cypris less, but that he loves the Law of do what thou wilt  more.  (Symonds/267)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    At the end of February, 1920,  Leah gives birth to Poupee.  Sister Cypris, unable to cure herself of the unthelemic desire to have the Beast all to herself, becomes pregnant by Crowley, and continues to hate her more exalted sister.                            (Symonds/268)

VOICE THREE:      Crowley remarks:

VOICE TWO: (as Crowley)  “She went from bad to worse during the following months, but I maintained firm correctness, and at last she gave up trying to drag me down to her ignoble level.”                           (Symonds/268)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  Not a strong child, Poupee; she has a digestion problem and is literally wasting away.                                   (Symonds/275)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              And there’s the problem of having two wives who are insanely jealous of each other.                     (Symonds/275)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            He sends a wire to Naples for some Allenbury’s gripe water for Poupee, who still hasn’t recovered, and tries to pull things into shape at the Abbey so that the Great Work  can go ahead.                   (Symonds/276)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)               The Thelemites are put through their paces summoning and banishing devils, conversing with Holy Guardian Angels and invoking gods. In a vision, Leah has intercourse with Aiwass (Crowley’s Guardian Angel) so that he might incarnate in their next bastard.                        (Symonds/283)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)              Strange cries from the Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum  startle passers-by. Sicilian peasants cross themselves and hurry home. (Symonds/285)

VOICE ONE:           (In a whisper)
I bid the night conceive the glittering hemisphere.
Arise, O sun, arise! O moon shine white and clear!
I seek them in their dread abodes without affright:
On them will I impose my will, the law of light.                                   (Symonds/138)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    On 14 October, described by Crowley as his saddest birthday – he was forty-five – Poupee dies. The Beast is crushed. He leads a weeping Leah into the temple where he waves his magic wand and strikes a bell as he blesses the baby’s departed spirit.          (Symonds/286)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          The death of the child is blamed on acts of magic by Sister Cypris because of things written in her magical diary. (Symonds/286)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            So Ninette is expelled from the Abbey. . . for a season. Crowley wasn’t a man to judge people too harshly. His motto was after all Do What Thou Wilt shall be the Whole of the Law.

VOICE THREE:      Yet there was discipline.

 VOICE ONE: (Narration)      Crowley was the only person at the abbey allowed to use the word ‘I’. Everyone else had to say ‘one’ instead. As a penence for breaking this rule, they had to cut their arm, one stroke for each ‘I’ – they were each given a cut-throat razor for that purpose.


VOICE FOUR: (Narration)           The men shaved their heads; the women dyed their hair red or gold and wore loose flowing robes of bright blue which hung from neck to ankle. This garment was lined with scarlet, and was provided with a hood and golden girdle.                  (Symonds/341)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)               And everyone had to keep a magical diary which had to be shown to the Beast.     (Symonds/341)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            In the Summer of 1922, an Oxford undergraduate called Raoul Loveday marries an artist’s model known in London bohemian circles as Betty May. Loveday is her third husband.                                 (Symonds/333)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          The ring slips from Raoul’s nervous fingers and rolls into a corner of the Oxford registry office. A bad omen, but not so bad as the mysterious outline of a young man lying horizontally above Raoul’s head in a photograph of the couple taken on the afternoon of the same day.               (Symonds/333)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    With a first in history, Raoul arrives in London looking for a job, meets Crowley and ends up in Sicily with a reluctant Betty May.                      (Symonds/333)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          In Raoul Crowley sees the design of the gods; he now has the pupil he badly needs.                                  (Symonds/334)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)                Betty May soon discovers that Raoul is married more to Crowley than to her.                                        (Symonds/334)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            The Lovedays settle into the Abbey, with Raoul in the post of High Priest – Betty helps with the chores. Raoul’s arms are very soon covered with cuts; Betty throws her cut-throat away and proceeds to cause trouble over not being allowed to read newspapers.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              She eventualy gets so mad with Crowley she writes a letter of complaint and posts it to the British Consul at Palermo, but after an all-round reconciliation retracts what she has written.                                     (Symonds/343)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            As a result of a magical rite in which a cat is sacrificed and the blood drunk, both Raoul and Crowley become ill – Crowley consults Raoul’s horoscope and predicts that he might die on the sixteenth of February at four o’clock.                               (Symonds/341)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              On the 16th of February, 1923, Raoul Loveday dies as predicted – at least that’s the story as told by Symonds, his biographer.        (Symonds/343)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    According to Betty May, her husband lay in bed in exactly the same manner as the phantom figure in the photograph taken on their wedding day. (Symonds/344)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)  According to Crowley, the gods had sent Raoul to earth to guide the Beast at a critical moment. He puts the point succinctly:

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)                     “The moment his work was done, he went out like a match having lighted my cigar.                      (Symonds/344)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              Betty May holds Crowley responsible for Raoul’s death. He has not paid the doctor’s bill, and as a result, Dr. Maggio delays coming to the Abbey – when he does come, it is too late.                              (Symonds/344)

VOICE FOUR:          (Almost chanted)
I am that I am, the flame
Hidden in the sacred ark.
I am the unspoken name,
I the unbegotten spark.

VOICE ONE: (Quickly in)              So intoned Crowley at Raoul’s magical burial.

VOICE FOUR:                  Hundreds of peasants come to witness the spectacle.

VOICE THREE:      Then all hell breaks loose.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    The Sunday Express in London interviews Betty May and . . . (Newspaper vendor’s voice) NEW SINISTER REVELATIONS OF ALISTER CROWLEY appears on the front page of that paper. It is even suggested that Crowley has murderd Raoul Loveday.     (Symonds/347)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Crowley remarks in his Confessions  that Betty May was made drunk by the gutter press and prompted to a sensational story full of falsehoods.          (Con/1016)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      To everyone’s surprise, Raoul Loveday is soon replaced by Norman Mudd, MA, lecturer in Applied Mathematics. Mudd, a devoted friend of Crowley from his Cambridge days, gives up his job, proceeds straight to Sicily and salutes Crowley as Lord and Master.

VOICE TWO:  (Narration)             Just like that!

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)  Summoned to the local police station shorty afterwards, Crowley is informed that he must leave Italian territory – an order has come from the Minister of the Interior.           (Symonds/349/Con/1016)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)               It is said that the inhabitants of Cefalu were very sorry to hear of Crowley’s expulsion – he had livened up their little town considerably.  (Symonds/350)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley’s expulsion from Italy closes a chapter in his life. He moves to a suburb of Tunis with his Scarlet Woman (Leah), leaving Norman Mudd and Ninette Shumway (Sister Cypris) in charge of the Abbey at Cefalu. Short of money, ill, and uncertain of his future, he analyses the Book of the Law  for a way out of his difficulties.(Symonds/359/362)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         While thrashing around for a way out of these difficulties, he began to regard his genius from a different angle.  He momentarily thought he was more of a psychologist or spiritual leader than a magican.               (Symonds/ 362)

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley/slowly)
I possess the power of causing spiritual crisis. Produce your crisis in your man and the rest follows . . . People instinctively recognise this power in me and are scared.                      (Symonds/362/363)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)               Finally, he will write to Trotsky in Russia suggesting that he be put in charge of a world-wide campaign for the eradication of Christianity.  (Symonds/363)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Meanwhile, back in Sicily, Norman Mudd, abandoned and broke, is composing a letter to the editor of Isis, the Oxford University magazine. It is published in the November issue, 1923. (Symonds/364)


VOICE THREE: (as Mudd)           “To Whom it may concern. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. I am an MA of Cambridge University (Mathematical scholar of Trinity College). I have known Alister Crowley for over thirteen years. He is admittedly one of the most remarkable poets and writers of the present day. I have studied his scientific memoranda with great care, and I am satisfied that they would lead to discoveries which will furnish mankind with a new instrument of knowledge and a new method of research. I have examined the accusations made against him by certain newspapers of a certain class, and find them without exception baseless falsehoods. I know that his ideals are noble, his honour stainless, and his life devoted wholly to the service of mankind.”  (Symonds/365)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley admitts to not being able to resist drugs during this period; in fact he compares drug-taking to living on borrowed capital.    (Symonds/365)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              After a trip to the desert, Leah falls ill as a result of her thelemic existence; she has been ill for well over a year. Broke and fed up, Crowley leaves his Scarlet Woman  in the hands of Norman Mudd and takes off for Paris – Mudd and Leah are stranded with not enough money to even pay one week’s board and lodging. They will later join Crawley in Paris.         (Symonds/371)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Broke, Crowley pawns his magick jewels, magick bell, and magick sword, his fur coat and cigarette case, and in a letter to Frank Harris (editor of Vanity Fair), states that his penuary and bad health are due to his being faithless in so many ways to his mission.                 (Symonds/374)

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)                        “I have tried in particular to combine my mission with living the regular life of an English gentleman. And the gods won’t allow it. They have check-mated my plans with ever-increasing severity, until I have been bludgeoned, stabbed, and starved into doing their work wholeheartedly the way they want it done.”               (Symonds/375)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)              He then  reveals the purpose of his mission.                                                  (Symonds/375)

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “To put it very crudely, Industrialism-Capitalism is heading for a cataract. The only alternative is Bolshevism, which won’t do either. Now, the Law of Thelema offers a Third Way. These last years I have been training various people to act as a brain for the human race. I have a number of people of some importance interested already; and the idea of my law suit against the Sunday Express  is to give me the opportunity of proclaiming this Law in such a way that it will attract all those who are ready to cut the painter, and come out from the raving herd, and assume Kingship to rule the disorganised and bewildered mob. I assure you the world is ready for this move.”             (Symonds/375)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Always a survivor, Crowley, accompanied by Leah, manages to scrape by in Paris; Norman Mudd, on the other hand, is destitute and ends up with ticket No 10513 admitting him to the Metropolitan Asylums Board for the Homeless Poor.           (Symonds/380)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Enter Dorothy Olsen, a rich American lady of thirty-two on a post-war trip to Europe.                 (Symonds/381)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              She is handed the magical name Astrid,  and prompty unseats Alostrael  (Leah) from her position as Scarlet Woman  – Astrid and the Beast run off together for a few days, and on their return Crowley announces that the Secret Chiefs  have ordered him to spend the winter on the North American Coast with Sister Astrid. They will go alone. He did not know when they would return.                          (Symonds/382)

VOICE TWO:           Crowley remarks in his magical diary . . . “Leah collapsed.” (Symonds/ 382)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         Leah will go on into abject poverty, as will Norman Mudd, but they will refuse to abandon hope in the Beast; in fact they will continue to strive on his behalf, and on behalf ofThe Book of the Law  in which they believe without reservation.  During Crowley’s absence, they will perform a magical rite of marriage and inform Crowley by letter of their union in the eyes of the gods. Later, Leah will go on the Paris streets and prostitute herself to stay alive.                         (Symonds/387)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            Crowley, meanwhile, is sunning himself in North Africa with Dorothy Olsen. They have sailed from Marseilles to Tunis, and while in the Mediterranean the Beast drafts a manifesto To Man.  The manifesto is aimed at the Theosophists, who are about to announce the emergence of the World Teacher, the coming Buddha , called Maitreya , alive and well and living in the consciousness of Jiddu Krishnamurti.           (Symonds/389)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    At Tunis, Crowley has his manifesto To Man  printed and issued. Within it he informs everyone that his term of Office upon the earth has come; he, not Jiddu Krishnamurti, is the World Teacher.       (Symonds/389)

VOICE THREE: (as Crowley)       “I took upon myself, in my turn, the sin of the whole world, that the Prophecies might be fulfilled, so that Mankind may take the Next Step from the magical Formula of Osiris to that of Horus. And mine Hour being now upon me, I proclaim my Law. And the word of the Law is Thelema.  (Symonds/389)

VOICE TWO:  (Narration)   The formula of the dying god  is typified by Osiris, Christ and Adonis, as compared with that of the Crowned and conquering Child, Horus, son  of Osiris. (With a smile) All very Gnostic.         (Symonds/390)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         After a trek through the desert, Crowley and Dorothy (not exactly the kind of name you would associate with the Great Whore of Babylon  or the Scarlet Woman of the Apocalypse), return to Paris in time for Crowley to receive an invitation to attend an occult conference in Germany.           (Symonds/392)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            The invitation is from Heinrich Traenker. Traenker, head of Pansophia  (an occult organisation with a small publishing firm of the same name) has had a vision of Crowley as leader of a group of masters, and sees him as a potential leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis  – Order of the Temple of the East founded in Germany at the begining of the century. (Symonds/391/179)

VOICE ONE:           The year is1925.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)   Crowley’s Law of Thelema is much appreciated in Germany. Traenker, after a few doubts, pronounces the book ‘a glorious manifestation’, and condenses its meaning into one word – civilisation.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)    Another member of the German O.T.O., Albin Grau, is not so charitable. Herr Grau’s sentiments on the bible of Crowleyanity are not without interest.                    (Symonds/397)

VOICE TWO: (as Grau)      “Unhappily, too late I have been made acquainted with the contents of Liber Legis. (The book of the Law) I thus to my horror got a glimpse of the future reconstruction of a primitive world order . . .             (Symonds/397)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         It is interesting to remember that Adolf Hitler, whom Germany was soon to follow, was at that moment waiting in the wings with a not dissimilar book in his hot little hand.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            At this point the story of Leah Hirsig begins to tail off; her magical diaries cease, and Crowley does not mention her again in his. She will have a child to a man she does not like and continue to live, for the moment, with ever-faithful Norman Mudd.  A few years later she will send Crowley a printed and signed circular renouncing her role as Scarlet Woman.  Sent from Spain and dated 6 September, 1930, this document is terrifying in its implications of demonic possession.

VOICE ONE: (Narration)      Thus Leah Hirsig passes out of Crowley’s life, leaving him to stride on glorifying the deathless gods. In her search for peace, Leah will became a Roman Catholic..                     (Symonds/400)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            On 16 June, 1934, Norman Mudd visits Guernsey and commits suicide by drowning.                                                 (Symonds/401)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          New Scarlet Women come and go in quick succession – Crowley rises from their embraces to replace dying Christianity with insurgent Crowleyanity.

VOICE FOUR:  (Narration)           He also publishes another book: Magick, and instructs his readers on how to make nature obey one’s will by bringing the power behind phenomena to heel with appropriate words and actions in the right frame of mind.  (Symonds/406)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         And shortly thereafter is instructed by the Minister of the Interior to leave France within twenty-four hours due to his being an undesirable character.   (Symonds/409)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Crowley maintained that he was expelled from France because of the machinations of a journalist in his employ, and because the Prefecture of Police thought his coffee machine an infernal device for distilling cocaine. But the actual reason was that the French thought him a secret agent of Germany, his connection with the Ordo Templi Orientis,  a cover story.  (Symonds/410)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Crowley then marries his new Scarlet Woman  – Maria Teresa de Miramar –  and returns to Britain; he has now reached the height of his fame across Europe.                    (Symonds/412)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    His appearance certainly provoked an attitude of awe. His bulk, and cold, staring eyes set in his fat, feminine face; his shaved head, oddness of dress, strange rings on his fingers and sweet, slightly nauseous smell caused people to stop in their tracks. And finally there was his aura, relentless and mocking, to deal with. It was said that when he walked into the Cafe Royal a silence fell upon everything and no one dared speak until he was seated.  (Symonds/412)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              At the peak of his fame he was called the Wickedest Man in the World,  which is why he was able to say . . . .

VOICE FOUR: (Quickly in)           Like Jesus.

VOICE TWO: (cont-)          That he had taken upon himself the sins of the world!

VOICE THREE: (With a smile)     Literally, not metaphorically.

VOICE ONE:           1930.

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    Maria (the new wife of one whole year) is left drunk on the floor after a cocktail party and Crowley heads for Berlin. There he meets Hanni Jaeger, a19-year-old artist, and falls in love.                            (Symonds/417)

VOICE THREE:  (Narration)         They end up in Lisbon, quarrel violently, and are thrown out of their hotel. Hanni leaves him soon after.          (Symonds/422)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)                     But  she will return, for a season; they will work much sexual magic together, then she will leave him for good, stealing his Book of Lies  in the process.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            His wife, Maria Teresa,  will be committed to a mental hospital. Crowley, remembering that the departure of his first wife (Rose) to the ‘Bug House’ as he called it, was the signal for the appearance of a new Scarlet Woman, waits expectantly for her to appear.                                    (Symonds/429)

VOICE TWO:           He doesn’t have long to wait.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            While walking down the Unter den Linden (in Berlin), he glances at an interesting female, and that does it.       (Symonds/429)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              Her name is Bertha Busch, nicknamed by Crowley Bill, or Billy, and she is thirty-six years of age. (Symonds/429)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          Crowley falls madly in love. . . .

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              His new sweetheart stabs him with a kitchen knife before fading out of his life like all the others.            (Symonds/430)

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            1935. The Nazis ban the Ordo Templi Orientis  and other occult orders in Germany.  Martha Kuntzel – a friend of Crowleys, and an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler for the very reason that his plans for civilisation are virtually identical to those laid down by Crowley in The book of the Law  –  is arrested and thrown into a concentration camp.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         1937. Crowley publishes The Equinox of the Gods, a work containing the full text of The Book of the Law  and a brief history of his magical career. It is a splendid production, embossed and bound in buckram.            (Symonds/445)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    On the evening of Christman day, Crowley enters a number of public houses, gathers a Jew, an Indian, a Negro, and a Malayan, takes them to Cleopatra’s Needle on the Thames Embankment, and at precisely 6.22 am on Boxing day, as the sun entered Capricornus, pronounces, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.  He then presents copies of the book to each person present and says:  (Symonds/445)

VOICE ONE: (as Crowley)  “I, the Priest of the Princes, present you, as representatives of your race, with The Book of the Law. It is the charter of universal freedom for every man and woman in the world. Love is the law, love under will.             (Symonds/445)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)               He then goes home to bed with a raging hangover.                   (Symonds/445)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         By 1942 a brilliant solid-fuel rocket expert at Pasadena has opened a Church of Thelema  in California. Crowley’s Gnostic mass – which takes at least forty minutes to perform, and requires a priest, priestess, deacon, virgin, two children and chorus – is performed everyday in their temple. News of the goings on attracts none other than Ron Hubbard, a young man described as having great magical potential. Hubbard is apparently in direct contact with some higher intelligence, and is interested in establishing a New Aeon.                    (Symonds/446)

VOICE FOUR:  (Narration)           With the assistance of Crowley’s magical secrets, Ron Hubbard will form his celebrated Church of Scientology – he will claim to have joined the Church of Thelema  with the express purpose of  breaking up black magic in America.                    (Symonds/448)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)              During April,1944, the bombing of London drives Crowley from his lodgings at 93 Jermyn Street, Piccadilly, to the Bell Inn, Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire. Lord Haw-Haw (William Joyce) suggests during a broadcast from Germany that as Britain’s religious services of intercession don’t seem to be doing much good, Aleister Crowley should be asked to celebrate a Black Mass in Westminster Abbey.

VOICE THREE: (Narration)         17 January, 1945, sees Crowley at ‘Netherwood’, the Ridge, Hastings, in a large, sombre, 19-century mansion standing in its own grounds and hidden from the road by tall trees.  (Symonds/450)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)               During the war years his devoted American followers send him tobacco, sweets and sugar, money and silk ties.                 (Symonds/450)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     His daily intake of heroin at this time rises from two or three grains to as many as eleven – sufficient to kill a roomful of people, according to his biographer.

VOICE FOUR: (Narration)            On 1 December, 1947, he dies of myocardial degeneration and chronic bronchitis – beneath his pillow is a parchment talisman consecrated for a great treasure .           (Symonds/454)

VOICE ONE: (Narration)     Having no wish to die, Crowley passed into a coma, tears flowing down his white cheeks. His last words were:            (Symonds/454)

VOICE FOUR: (as Crowley)         “ . . . I am perplexed.              (Symonds/454)

VOICE THREE: (Narration)          The breath had not long departed from his body when someone crept upstairs and stole his gold watch.  (Symonds/454)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)    On 5 December, Perdurabo, the wickedest man in the world, is cremated at Brighton. It is a cold, grey afternnoon.  Louis Wilkinson suddenly appears, mounts the rostrum and recites the Hymn to  Pan;  he follows it up with a few carefully selected passages from the Book of the Law. 

Give me the sign of the Open Eye,
And the token erect of thorny thigh,
And the word of madness and mystery . . .                        (Symonds/456)

VOICE TWO: (Narration)  The carefully selected passages cause something of a storm among the small crowd of newspaper reporters who just happen to be present. But it is theGnostic Requiem  that finally puts the cat among the proverbial pigeons. The chapel walls dissolve and the cold vanishes as Louis Wilkinson’s reverberating voice intones Crowley’s magical lines:                                           (Symonds/456)

Thou, who are I, beyond all I am,
Who hast no nature and no name,
Who art, when all but Thou are gone,
Thou, centre and secret of the sun,
Thou, hidden spring of all things known
And unknown, Thou aloof, alone,
Thou, the true fire within the reed
Brooding and breeding, source and seed
Of life, love, liberty and light,
Thou beyond speech and beyond sight,
Thee I invoke, my faint fresh fire
Kindling as mine intents aspire.
Thee I invoke, abiding one,
Thee, centre and secret of the Sun,
And that most holy mystery
Of which the vehicle am I!

Actors bow in unison.