Religion and Philosophy

The Whole of the Law: The Political Dimensions of Crowley’s Thought

By Keith Preston

The Whole of the Law
Crowley painted in 1917 by Leon Engers Kennedy

              The fame of Aleister Crowley is principally derived from his reputation as a notorious occultist. It is this reputation that has made his name legendary in numerous counter-cultural and youth culture circles, ranging from contemporary enthusiasts for witchcraft of varying sorts to purveyors of certain shades of heavy metal music. Yet for all his status as a legendary figure, Crowley is not typically regarded as a political thinker. To the degree that his ideas are considered relevant to political thought at all, Crowley is frequently caricatured as a shallow nihilist or merely as a debauched libertine. Extremist political subcultures of varying stripes have attempted to claim him as one of their own. Whether they are neo-fascists, egocentric individualists, or nihilist pseudo-anarchists, many with an extremist political outlook have attempted to shock the broader bourgeois society by invoking the name of Aleister Crowley. This state of affairs regarding Crowley’s political outlook is unfortunate, because an examination of the man’s political ideas reveals him to be a far more profound and insightful thinker on such questions than what is typically recognized.

It is indeed understandable that divergent political factions would attempt to claim Crowley for themselves, given that his political thought is rather difficult to classify and cannot be reconciled with any established ideological paradigm. His ideas and pronouncements on political matters have to be understood within the wider context of his thought and worldview. Merely citing a quotation or opinion on some matter issued by Crowley here or there is to invite the risk of misrepresenting the wider body of his thought by assuming his association with some particular ideology or philosophical stance with which he did not identify. Crowley’s ideas have been particularly misrepresented in the United States, a nation that differs from most other industrialized countries and virtually all other nations of the Western world in that it possesses a large population of religious fundamentalists. The large Protestant evangelical subculture in the United States includes within itself a substantial number of people who continue to believe in the reality of the powers of witchcraft and in the existence of Satan as a literal personal being who acts as an evil supernatural force within the natural world. This subculture contains within itself an abundance of sensational literature and small-time demagogues claiming to have identified some form of evil occult force operating in the broader society through secretive organizations or through the manipulation of forms of popular culture such as film, the arts, television, rock n’ roll music, pornography, and the like.1 Within the literature and rhetoric of this subculture, the name of Aleister Crowley is often used almost as a synonym for evil and Satanic forces.

The obscurantism and ignorance demonstrated by these elements often produces an ironic result. Parallel to the religious subculture of those warning of imminent dangers posed by occult forces of the kind supposedly represented by the likes of Crowley is a corresponding youth culture built up around an occult mystique utilizing many of the same names and symbols that figure prominently in the shrill hysteria of the Christian fundamentalists. The reigning principle of social psychology operating here is one where the occult mystique is presented by the demagogues and sensationalists in the standard manner of the “forbidden fruit,” which defiantly rebellious, independently minded, or merely curious youth subsequently seek to consume. Hence, the proliferation of such youth culture phenomena as heavy metal rock bands with demonic names and song lyrics, and displaying occult symbols as a logo. That Crowley never identified himself as a Satanist and that his religion of Thelema is hardly a variation of Satanic thought (even if some self-styled contemporary Thelemites also fancy themselves as Satanists) is a fact that is often completely lost to these cultural undercurrents.2 Just as Crowley’s religious thought has been so badly misunderstood or misinterpreted, Crowley’s thought on political matters has suffered similar abuses.

Do What Thou Wilt

Perhaps no aspect of Crowley’s thinking has been more misunderstood than his famous pronouncement: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.Widely cited by critics and supposed admirers of Crowley alike as an incitement to anti-social egocentrism or as mere nihilism manifesting itself as a kind of adolescent-like rebellion, this passage is given such amateurish interpretations by those who completely ignore or misunderstand the concept of “the will” in Crowley’s outlook. For Crowley, the notion of “the will” is something of a synonym for the destiny of the individual which is built into the metaphysical fabric of the cosmos. Yet, Crowley was not a fatalist, and “the will” should not be confused with “fate” in the sense of some inevitable outcome pre-ordained by a providential or supernatural force. The will is something an individual must discover for himself through introspective, spiritual, or esoteric pursuits. The Crowleyan concept of “the will” is remarkably similar to the Nietzschean idea of “the will to power” in that it involves a form of self-overcoming and ascension to a form of existence that is greater than concern with mundane human pursuits or enslavement to base desires. This aspect of Crowley’s spirituality might also be compared to the meditative pursuits found in the Eastern traditions. To find one’s “true will” is to find one’s “calling.” An elitist, Crowley regarded the discovery of one’s “true will” as something only the special few were capable of achieving. Such people are those who shine brighter than the rest of humanity. Crowley used the analogy of a star to describe the individual human personality. For Crowley, all people are stars, but some stars shine much greater than others.4

One of Crowley’s most important works was The Book of the Law, which appeared in 1904. Crowley claimed that this work had been dictated to him orally during a stay in Egypt by a spiritual being called Aiwass, who became Crowley’s Holy Guardian Angel and who was the messenger of the ancient Greek god Horus and two other deities. The Book of the Law is supposedly the record of that dictation.5 The mind of a contemporary Western intellectual would no doubt be inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as mere quackery or charlatanry. However, it must be recognized that the claims of Crowley regarding his having received supposed revelation from Horus differ in no significant way from those of similar claims found in many of the world’s great religious traditions or in forms of popular or contemporary religion possessing substantial numbers of adherents. The Islamic tradition maintains similar claims regarding the revelation of the Koran to the Prophet Mohammed. The evangelical Protestant tradition in which Crowley himself was raised likewise regards the Bible as having been revealed to its authors by means of divine inspiration. Crowley’s claim of having received special knowledge contained in The Book of the Law resembles as well Joseph Smith’s claim of having discovered the sacred text of the Book of Mormon. Lastly, Crowley’s supposed encounter with the being of Aiwass greatly resembles the practice of “trance channeling” common to some contemporary “New Age” religious practices. In other words, the spiritual claims of Crowley and his followers should not necessarily be dismissed as any less credible or fantastic than comparable spiritual beliefs held by persons and religious communities possessing greater numbers of adherents or higher levels of political or cultural respectability. Crowley’s religion of Thelema is properly regarded as a contemporary pagan, polytheistic counterpart to these rival religious systems.

The Political and Social Context of Crowley’s Thought

Aleister Crowley originated from the British upper-middle class. His father’s family owned a successful brewing business thereby making Aleister, born in 1875 and originally named Edward Alexander Crowley, a child of the classical British bourgeoisie of the late nineteenth century. His parents were converts to a fundamentalist brand of evangelical Protestantism, a faith which Aleister became skeptical of and rejected while still in his teens. His father died when he was only eleven, and while Crowley later referred to his late father as his friend and hero, it is known that his relationship with his mother became rather strained, though the source of the family conflict is not specifically known. As a university student, Crowley became a sexual adventurer, pursuing sexual relationships with prostitutes and other promiscuous young women he met in seedy locations, and began experimenting with homosexuality as well. That Crowley would devote his adult life to the pursuit of activities regarded as extreme taboos by the sectarian religious environment of his upbringing motivates one to consider the question of to what degree his early family and religious experiences influenced his later outlook. A Freudian might be inclined to regard Crowley’s fascination with sex, drugs, and the occult as stemming from a compulsion to differentiate his own identity from the sacred beliefs of a mother he apparently greatly disliked. Likewise, the ability of sectarian religious communities to provoke rebellion on the part of those initially indoctrinated into their tenants during their formative years is well-documented. One can only speculate as to the nature of the impact of such experiences on Crowley.6

Crowley’s thought on political and social matters resembles greatly that of a number of thinkers who emerged in the first half of the twentieth century as critics of the modern industrial era and its cultural impact. The industrial civilization of modernity had brought with it an exponential population growth, a greatly expanded middle class, an increasingly commercialized society, and a dramatic increase in urbanization. Political ideologies like liberalism, democracy, and socialism became increasingly influential and began to shape the nature of modern statecraft. The principal cultural impact of these developments was the uprooting or dislocation of many aspects of traditional society and the growth of a new kind of mass society comprised of workers, consumers, professionals, technicians, businessmen, journalists, and politicians. These dramatic changes were alarming to their critics for a variety of reasons. Conservatives of different types saw such social developments as undermining traditional forms of authority and social cohesion, and thereby generating anomie, crime, hedonism, impiety and the like due to the decline of the fixed social norms associated with more traditional social institutions. These criticisms were, of course, not unlike those of contemporary social conservatives. However, another criticism of modernity advanced by such thinkers is one that is now less well known and would likely be considered quaint, archaic, or even viciously retrograde by the modern liberal mind. Some were also concerned with the impact of the growth of mass society, commercialization, urbanization, and egalitarian political values on high culture and on the natural elites. Of course, one of the earliest and most profound critics of modernity of this kind was Nietzsche. Subsequent thinkers of this type included a number of individuals whose own thought was often markedly different from one another. Such intellectuals included Auberon Herbert, H.L. Mencken, Hilaire Belloc, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Vifredo Pareto, Julius Evola, Ernst Junger, Rene Guenon, J.R.R. Tolkien, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Aldous Huxley, and Bertrand De Jouvenal. Also representative of this kind of thinking were a number of French writers and intellectuals associated with a tendency that has been called “anarchisme de droite,” or “anarchism of the right.” Among these were Édouard Drumont, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Paul Léautaud, Louis Pauwels, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline.7

Different though their specific outlooks may have been, a common thread in the thinking of these critics of modernity was their rejection of the belief in innate human equality inherent in the rising ideological forces of the era. The advent of mass democracy, universal suffrage, and parliamentary politics was regarded by these thinkers as the replacement of statesmanship with mob rule. The trend towards universal education was seen not as a means of uplifting the ignorant masses but as a process of lowering those of superior ability and intelligence to the level of the mediocre. The commercialization of culture and society and the corresponding growth of the mass media were seen as diminishing the significance and prominence of traditional forms of high culture in favor of the lowbrow manifestations of popular culture that now dominate contemporary societies. Yet another concern advanced by this strand of thought was related to the effect of mass democracy, mass society, and egalitarian values on individual liberty. Contemporary liberals habitually assume that liberty and democracy are synonymous with one another, or at least share a complementary role. More cogent or perceptive thinkers have understood the inherent tension between egalitarianism and liberty. The modern democratic state, for instance, ultimately places the fate of the individual’s well-being in the hands of the shifting whims of popular opinion and equally shifting coalitions of fickle and narrowly-focused special interest groups. Efforts to eradicate inequality have led to the phenomenal growth of the state and the ever escalating intrusion of the state into areas of society where political interference was previously regarded as taboo. These earlier proponents of aristocratic individualism were often quite prophetic in their diagnosis of the predictable political consequences of radically egalitarian ideologies. It is to this strand of now somewhat obscure thought regarding political and social questions that Aleister Crowley himself belongs.

Crowley’s Aristocratic Radicalism

Though of bourgeoisie origins, Crowley regarded the commercial values of capitalism to be incompatible with genuine elitism. Like others who shared a similar critique of modernity, Crowley regarded the elevation of the business class to the status of the ruling class as a form of social degeneration. Like Nietzsche and Junger, he championed the decline of bourgeoisie society and hoped for its replacement with a new kind of nobility. Crowley obviously differed from Christian traditionalists who objected to modernity mostly because of its success at undermining the authority of the Church. Indeed, Crowley predictably admired previous anticlerical tendencies such as Freemasonry and even declared the Illuminati founder Adam Weishaupt to be one of the saints of Thelema. Yet Crowley’s outlook was hardly compatible with the egalitarian ideals of modernity that grew out of the French Revolution. No less than Julius Evola, for instance, recognized many of Crowley’s ideas as compatible with his own religion of Tradition.8

Some of Crowley’s views resembled those of the Social Darwinists. Few statements of Crowley summarize the nature of his aristocratic radicalism with more clarity that these:

“It is the evolutionary and natural view . . . Nature’s way is to weed out the weak. This is the most merciful way too. At present all the strong are being damaged, and their progress being hindered by the dead weight of the weak limbs and the missing limbs, the diseased limbs and the atrophied limbs. The Christians to the lions.9

“And when the trouble begins, we aristocrats of freedom, from the castle to the cottage, the tower or the tenement, shall have the slave mob against us.”10

“We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter, and delicious languor, force and fire are of us . . . we have nothing to do with the outcast and unfit. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings; stamp down the wretched and the weak: this is the law of the strong; this is our law and the joy of the world.”11

Yet for all of his championing of the superior man over the mediocrities, the strong over the weak, and the special few against the inconsequential many, Crowley was not a proponent of tyranny or injustice. He opposed the totalitarian ideologies of Communism, Fascism, and National Socialism which arose during his lifetime.12 Like many anti-modernist or anti-egalitarian thinkers of the time, including even the classical liberal Ludwig von Mises13 and the anarchist Peter Kropotkin14, Crowley engaged in a brief flirtatious fascination with Mussolini when the fascisti first emerged as a political force, but soon came to reconsider such sympathies. Indeed, Crowley had established a Thelemite commune in Sicily in 1920 which was subsequently closed by the Mussolini government three years later with Crowley himself being expelled from Italy.15

Like many intellectuals who were concerned with the effects of modernity and a commercialized society on high culture, Crowley understood that the growth of human culture had historically been intertwined with the growth of a leisure class. In traditional societies, it had been the aristocracy that comprised the leisure class and therefore devoted much of its energy to cultural pursuits. Like comparable thinkers of the era, Crowley understood that the decline of traditional aristocracies in favor of a society comprised of businessmen and laborers devoted to the pursuit of mere profit or sustenance conflicted with the maintenance of a culture-producing leisure class. Therefore, Crowley became attracted to systems of economic thought that offered a third way beyond egalitarian socialism and the commercial values of capitalism. A number of ideologies of this kind emerged during Crowley’s era from both the Left and the Right. These included Guild Socialism, Syndicalism, Catholic Distributism, Social Credit, and the worker-soldier state promoted by Ernst Junger and the National-Bolshevik Ernst Niekisch. Crowley himself outlined a similar scheme for his ideal Thelemic state. Like the proponents of Guild Socialism and Syndicalism, Crowley favored a parliamentary system with representation based on profession and occupation rather than geography.16 Crowley described his proposed system in these terms:

Before the face of the Areopagus stands an independent Parliament of the Guilds. Within the Order, irrespective of Grade, the members of each craft, trade, science, or profession form themselves into a Guild, making their own laws, and prosecute their own good, in all matters pertaining to their labor and means of livelihood. Each Guild chooses the man most eminent in it to represent it before the Areopagus of the Eighth Degree; and all disputes between the various Guild are argued before that Body, which will decide according to the grand principles of the Order. Its decisions pass for ratification to the Sanctuary of the Gnosis, and thence to the Throne.17

The esoteric terminology in the above statement aside, the pagan occultist Crowley was essentially advocating the same system of economic governance as the Catholic traditionalists G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc.

Regarding the structure of the state itself, like most proponents of aristocratic individualism, Crowley was a monarchist. He believed that the duties of government itself should be conducted by a non-elected Senate. The Senate would be chosen by an Electoral College appointed by the King. Crowley’s idea of the Electoral College was a conceptually interesting institution that was essentially a kind of political monastery. Members of the Electoral College would commit themselves to a vow of poverty, and be selected from the ranks of volunteers who had previously exhibited excellence in fields of scholarship, the arts, or athletics.18 One might guess that a man such as Crowley who engaged in so many pursuits that were in defiance of the social or even legal norms of his time would not favor a form of political government prone to arbitrary or intrusive interference in individual lives. Regarding matters of law, Crowley was for the most part a libertarian. He succinctly described this outlook in the Book of the Law:

Man has the right to live by his own law— to live in the way that he wills to do: to work as he will: to play as he will: to rest as he will: to die when and how he will. Man has the right to eat what he will: to drink what he will: to dwell where he will: to move as he will on the face of the earth. Man has the right to think what he will: to speak what he will: to write what he will: to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will: to dress as he will. Man has the right to love as he will:…”take your fill and will of love as ye will, when, where, and with whom ye will.” Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.19

While Crowley was clearly not an anarchist or a libertarian in the sense of a modern bourgeois liberal, the above statement is in its essence as much a libertarian-anarchistic creed as any ever issued. For Crowley, the chief aim of politics was to afford every individual the opportunity for the discovery and realization of their “True Will” tempered with cautious recognition that only the superior few will succeed in such pursuits. One might be tempted to compare the ideal Thelemic state of Aleister Crowley with Max Stirner’s idealized “Union of Egoists” or, obviously, Nietzsche’s hope for the ascension of an ubermensch.

The political thought of Aleister Crowley retains its relevance to the present era in the same manner that the thought of his contemporaries who shared similar or overlapping views and critiques of modernity remains relevant. The ongoing process of decay of Western cultural and political institutions becomes increasingly evident with each subsequent generation. The currently reigning ideology in Western society is a synthesis of mass democracy, economism, and an increasingly nihilistic and absurdist form of radical egalitarianism. The political tyranny and cultural destructiveness inherent in such an ideological framework will continue to become ever more obvious to greater numbers of people. Two great questions will emerge from this crisis: “What went wrong?” and “What might an alternative be?” Aleister Crowley is yet another thinker from the past who saw the crisis in advance and who might be considered as yet another possible source of inspiration and guidance in the future.

Originally published in Crowley: Thoughts & Perspectives, Volume Two, a compilation of essays on Aleister Crowley, published by ARKTOS.


1 Victor, Jeffrey S. Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend. Open Court Publishing Company, 1993.

2 Rabinovitch, Shelley; Lewis, James. The Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-Paganism. Citadel Press, 2004, pp. 267-270

3 Crowley, Liber Legis (“The Book of the Law”). Maine: Samuel Weiser, 1976, 2: 25.

4 Bolton, Kerry. Aleister Crowley as Political Theorist, Part I. Counter-Currents. Counter-Currents Publishing, September 2, 2010.

5 Crowley, Aleister. The Equinox of the Gods. New Falcon Publications, 1991.

6 Sutin, Laurence. Do What Thou Wilt: A Llife of Aleister Crowley. Macmillan, 2000; Kaczynksi, Richard. Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (Second Edition). Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2010.

7 Ollivier-Mellio, Anne. H.L. Mencken: Anarchist of the Right? Attack the System, November 24, 2009.

8 Bolton, Kerry. Aleister Crowley as Political Theorist, Part I. Counter-Currents. Counter-Currents Publishing, September 2, 2010.

9 Crowley, Aleister. The Law Is For All. Arizona: Falcon Press, 1985, p. 175.

10 Ibid., p. 192.

11 Liber Legis 2: 17–21.

12 Aleister Crowley on Politics. The Arcane Archives (accessed April 5, 2011).

13 Mises, Ludwig von. Liberalism. 1927. Said Mises: “It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success. Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.”

14 Anduril, Victor. Anarchic Philosophy. Attack the System (accessed April 5, 2011).

Said Kropotkin of Mussolini: “I am delighted by his boldness.”

15 Bolton, Kerry. Aleister Crowley as Political Theorist, Part II. Counter-Currents. Counter-Currents Publishing, September 3, 2010.

16 Ibid.

17 Crowley, Aleister. Liber CXCIV, “O.T.O. An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order,” paragraph 21, The Equinox, vol. III, no. 1, 1919.

18 Bolton, Kerry. Aleister Crowley as Political Theorist, Part II. Counter-Currents. Counter-Currents Publishing, September 3, 2010.

19 Crowley, Aleister. Duty (accessed April 5, 2011).


The Political Writings of Aleister Crowley

“An Account of A.’.A.’.” In Gems from the Equinox. St. Paul, MI: Llewellyn, 1974, pp. 31-41. (All subsequent references to this work shall appear as Gems.

“An Appeal to the American Republic.” In The Works of Aleister Crowley. Des Plaines, IL: Yogi, n.d., pp. 136-40.

Atlantis: The Lost Continent. Malton, ON, Canada: Dove, n.d.

The Book of the Law. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1976.

“Concerning the Law of Thelema.” In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, New York: Weiser, 1974, pp. 225-38.

The Confessions. London: Arkana–Penguin, 1989.

The Heart of the Master. Montreal, PQ: 93 Pub., 1973.

“An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order.” In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 239-46.

“Khabs Am Pekht.” In Gems, pp. 99-110.

The Law Is for All. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon, 1983.

“The Law of Liberty.” In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 45-52.

Liber Aleph: The Book of Wisdom or Folly. York Beach, ME: Weiser, 1991.

Liber Oz. Published as a single card in 1942.

“Liber Porta Lucis.” In Gems, pp. 651-55.

“Liber Trigrammaton.” In The Law Is for All, pp. 339-44.

“Liber Tzaddi vel Hamus Hermeticus.” In Gems, pp. 657-62.

The Magical Record of the Beast 666. Montreal, PQ: 93 Pub., 1972.

Magick in Theory and Practice. Secaucus, NJ: Castle, 1991.

Magick without Tears. Tempe, AZ: Falcon, 1973.

“The Message of the Master Therion.” In The Equinox, Vol. III, No.1, pp. 39-43.

“An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the Order.” In The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 1, pp. 207-24.

The Scientific Solution of the Problem of Government. Ordo Templi Orientis, 1936.

The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. Publication information not available.

“Thien Tao.” Konx Om Pax. Des Plaines, IL: Yogi, n.d., pp. 53-67.

6 replies »

  1. Your assessment is largely correct, I think. In his autobiography (“autohagiography”) Crowley laments the demise of feudalism… It’s not exactly the Sixties’ image of the man. Crowley is interested in us actualizing our “will” in accordance with timeless values/virtues. This might illustrate the point: A moment ago I heard an advertisement, in which the listener was told that he could vote for the best movie at some event. Crowley would say that consent of the masses was not important. One should make great art regardless, if one is an artist. He would think that great art is, by virtue of being great, illustrative of the eternal.

    Regarding Freemasonry, this is often misunderstood. Yes, it is sometimes “anticlerical”, sometimes anti-Christian (in some Masonic “jurisdictions” in France, Italy, etc). But other jurisdictions require members to be Christians, and to practice their religion. Crowley joined the fraternity in Mexico. It was probably more esoteric than most jurisdictions.

    Regardless, Freemasonry requires the cultivation of man by himself. Hierarchy is, theoretically, an organic one. Freemasonry has often been linked, by historians, to the creation of democracy — and they have a point. But, it’s complicated, and we should probably not see it as one thing. We should recall that Freemasonry was patronized largely by aristocrats, and that it created a kind of aristocracy (with degrees, knighthoods, and ceremonies) for the man who cultivated himself. It also absorbed some Catholic symbolism.

    Regarding the Illuminati, at the time Masonic bodies and Grand Lodges condemned the movement, as did the Golden Rosicrucians (which required members to be Freemasons). I am always perplexed by the fascination with the Illuminati.

  2. From my research I think much of the talk of “the illuminati” is like talking about UFOs. Which UFO encounters is one speaking of? Is the phenomenon to be characterized by all the specious data as well as the more credible data? Doesn’t it make more sense to talk about specific UFO encounters instead of lump it all together and make it subject to an up-or-down vote? I feel the same way about the Illuminati — it’s all veiled in secrecy and rumor, which doesn’t mean it’s not a real thing, just that’s it’s difficult to ascertain what that thing is with the kind of precision we seek.

    Basically I’m of the opinion that when people talk about “the Illuminati” they are referring to any number of related conspiracies that operate as secret societies within secret societies (or organizations that have similar levels of security, such as the CIA). I think most wise people use symbolic systems as tools for how they exercise power, and I think the occultism is functionally a way to communicate between members without letting the public on (whether it represents something more, I’m not interested in discussing in this forum). When people wave their hands and talk about “the Illuminati” they’re using a historical conspiracy to talk about current conspiracies that perhaps share a pedigree but are in dynamic tension with each other.

    I like what Robert Shea said about the Illuminati:

    We say in the novel that the original Illuminati were dedicated to religious and political freedom and that this secret organization somehow became perverted so that in recent centuries the Illuminati had become a vehicle for a monstrous authoritarianism. Thus the myth of the Illuminati is an archetype for every political movement, from Lenin’s Bolshevism to Reagan’s Republicanism, that has promised people greater freedom while loading them down with more government. People can be fooled in this way because they are not sure what freedom is. Freedom is a word whose meaning has been worn away by overuse, like a coin that has passed through too many hands. We need to be clear about what it means to us when we use it and maybe not use it quite so much, but use other, more precise words instead.

    In ILLUMINATUS! we suggest that freedom begins in your right to define yourself and to insist on the validity of your own perceptions and your own thoughts. To change to a new point of view because you find it convincing is, of course, merely an exercise of that freedom. But freedom is lost when you are coerced or frightened into denying your own way of seeing reality and into accepting a point of view you cannot really believe in, be it that of a family, a teacher, a boss, a party, a church, a state. And an amazing thing is that when each of us insists on his or her own vision, it does not divide us. It unites us as no externally imposed unity ever could. It unites us in reverence for that inner light which we can only find by knowing ourselves, never by denying ourselves, that light by which each one of us can truly be said to be illuminated – the true Illuminati.

  3. I personally think conspiracy theories breed mental disorders… They eliminate most forms of logical thinking and sound analysis in ‘followers’ which sets off a mental chain reaction causing them to believe almost anything they read regardless of actual evidence. I had a rough time getting out of the ‘conspiracy realm’ when I was 17 but eventually passed through with the help of Robert Anton Wilson’s writings who I tend to agree with about the Illuminati:

    Thomas Jefferson also sheds the Illuminati in a different light than what is typical:

    “Wishaupt seems to be an enthusiastic Philanthropist. He is among those (as you know the excellent Price and Priestley also are) who believe in the indefinite perfectibility of man. He thinks he may in time be rendered so perfect that he will be able to govern himself in every circumstance so as to injure none, to do all the good he can, to leave government no occasion to exercise their powers over him, & of course to render political government useless. This you know is Godwin’s doctrine, and this is what Robinson, Barruel & Morse had called a conspiracy against all government. Wishaupt believes that to promote this perfection of the human character was the object of Jesus Christ. That his intention was simply to reinstate natural religion, & by diffusing the light of his morality, to teach us to govern ourselves. His precepts are the love of god & love of our neighbor. And by teaching innocence of conduct, he expected to place men in their natural state of liberty & equality. He says, no one ever laid a surer foundation for liberty than our grand master, Jesus of Nazareth. He believes the Free masons were originally possessed of the true principles & objects of Christianity, & have still preserved some of them by tradition, but much disfigured. The means he proposes to effect this improvement of human nature are “to enlighten men, to correct their morals & inspire them with benevolence. Secure of our success, sais he, we abstain from violent commotions. To have foreseen, the happiness of posterity & to have prepared it by irreproachable means, suffices for our felicity. The tranquility of our consciences is not troubled by the reproach of aiming at the ruin or overthrow of states or thrones.” As Wishaupt lived under the tyranny of a despot & priests, he knew that caution was necessary even in spreading information, & the principles of pure morality. He proposed therefore to lead the Free masons to adopt this object & to make the objects of their institution the diffusion of science & virtue. He proposed to initiate new members into his body by gradations proportioned to his fears of the thunderbolts of tyranny. This has given an air of mystery to his views, was the foundation of his banishment, the subversion of the masonic order, & is the colour for the ravings against him of Robinson, Barruel & Morse, whose real fears are that the craft would be endangered by the spreading of information, reason, & natural morality among men. This subject being new to me, I have imagined that if it be so to you also, you may receive the same satisfaction in seeing, which I have had in forming the analysis of it: & I believe you will think with me that if Wishaupt had written here, where no secrecy is necessary in our endeavors to render men wise & virtuous, he would not have thought of any secret machinery for that purpose. As Godwin, if he had written in Germany, might probably also have thought secrecy & mysticism prudent.”

    I would like to see a re-emergence of the Illuminati in this image but having a purely anti-statist bent with a disregard for most other forms of morality. That is where people like Peter Thiel or other rich decentralists could come into play as Koch Brothers or Georges Soros’ for insurrectionaries.

    As for Crowley, I think it’s sort of easy to cast him in a certain light because he’s written so many different things and was not entirely serious or upfront all of the time. The same can be said for Robert Anton Wilson… Shortly before his death I recall him posting on the Maybe Logic forums about his support for the Minutemen and how jobs needed to be protected from illegal immigrants. The forum was private and his position can only be proven if Maybe Logic still has the old forum in their database. Then you have this absolutely stupid “update” to Bob ( from Douglas Rushkoff (supposedly a good friend) who talks to him not as he really was but as he ‘wanted’ him to be when it seems to me that Bob would’ve had much more sympathy for the Tea Party position in his later life than for the OWS position. He will forever be co-opted for his left leaning ideas but not for his right leaning ideas. My point is that people co-opt or degrade certain aspects of historical figures and cast them in a light that isn’t necessarily true.

    One of the more static aspects in Crowley’s life was the actual practical framework and training within the Thelemic system of Magick. Here the comparisons can be made to individualist anarchism and Nietzsche’s Will to Power with much more certainty and evidence [through years of research]:

    “The Unicorn is speech. Man, rule thy Speech! How else shalt thou master the Son, and answer the Magician at the right hand gateway of the Crown?”

    “The Horse is Action. Man, rule thine Action. How else shalt thou master the Father, and answer the Fool at the Left Hand Gateway of the Crown?”

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t like the article [though, Horus was Egyptian ;)] and the near insane comments on it at Alt Right.

  4. The reason it is hard to interpret Crowley, is because he purposely fed his followers completely different ideologies. Israel Regardie for instance vehemently defended Crowley when people called him a Satanist, even though Crowley quite clearly indicated time and time again that Pan/Satan were the same thing, and that Crowley called this the ‘All’ or God (Ref: Liber Samekh). In the higher grades of the OTO Crowley tried to institute coprophagy for instance, and ritual sodomy, and this is a fact; I am well studied on Crowley.

    Adam Weishaupt was likewise almost a carbon copy of Crowley when it comes to his political ideologies and modus operandi. He told all his followers that he was an Anarchist that wanted to see all Crowns and Governments laid low to the ground, even though he scuttled off to the safety of the Saxe-Coburg Ducal House when the Bavarian Govt hunted him down. Truth is he was actually working for an element in the Oligarchy to transform representative Government back to feudalism under one Crown. The Saxe-Coburg became the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and sit on the throne of Britain and the British Commonwealth to this very day.

    No other monarchy in Europe officially anoints their sovereigns anymore, not even the Pope since Vatican II. There is only one Crown left that is anointed officially, and that is the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Windsor) who sit on the throne of over a dozen nations, and hold great sway over the Fiat US Dollar because the City of London is the largest International USD trading hub in the world, and the DTCC handles ALL USD denominated derivatives trades internationally out of a subsidiary in the City of London – because it is out of the reach of the US regulators or even the FBI etc…

    The real question should be ‘who was Crowley really working for?’, because he was purposely an ideological chameleon depending on who he was talking to, or who each particular book was aimed at (just like Weishaupt). Weishaupst followers such as Knigge all testified to this tendency for internal deception in the Order, or at least that Weishaupt would nurture self-deception and cognitive dissonance of members of the Order … All for the Order was the mantra.

    Is a Crypto-Synarchy compatible with Anarchy? Or is populist Anarchist sentiment a prerequisite for a crypto-synarchy to exist when representative government was the real enemy the whole time? Feudalism is the aim IMO, and popular Anarchy seems to me a requirement of Oligarchy in order to suppress just laws and constitutional norms. Constitutions and just laws aren’t perfect, but they are more of an obstacle to oligarchy than the general public.
    Just my opinion. I am well aware of the counterproductive nature of the current judicial and legislative systems, but I believe a Reformation is preferable to a complete destruction of the foundations (ie, ‘the terror’ of the French Revolution).

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