1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beast, magus, poet, mountaineer
Aleister Crowley is one of the most fascinating underground characters of the 19th Century. This "autohagiography," as it is not so modestly called, is a more than 900 page account of his life, at least up to the time of his writing the Confessions, when he was in his mid-forties. An autobiography can never be objective, and this is especially the case when it...
Published on Feb 29 2004 by Lleu Christopher
3.0 out of 5 stars difficult, albeit interesting character
aleister crowley's "autobiography" is interesting, compelling... rubbish. crowley's eccentricism can be quite magnetic when it isnt obscured by the fact that he was an absolute loon. fun to read occasionally, no revelations held within.
Published on Aug 9 2000
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beast, magus, poet, mountaineer,
The Confessions gives the reader a multifaceted look at Crowley. There are long descriptions of several mountaineering expeditions to exotic places such as the Himalayas. Anyone interested in travelogues should appreciate this book, which covers much of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Crowley's main calling was magick (he invented this spelling to differentiate it from stage magic). Although he is commonly referred to as a black magician or satanist, this is far from clearcut. His early years of being raised by fundamentalist Christians (his own mother actually gave him the nickname, The Beast) set off a lifetime of rebellion against conventional religion. His often outlandish behavior and conflicts with authority figures contributed to his reputation as a dark magician. There is no doubt that he dabbled with demonic forces, yet reading his memoirs his basic intention seems to have been the progress and spiritual freedom of humanity. Crowley was a complex character, and this comes across in the Confessions. Parts of this long book are a little confusing; in some chapters, he rattles off one name after another, and he sometimes refers to people by their magickal names, which makes the cast of characters at least as challenging to keep up with as those in a Russian novel. His account of his actions in America during World War l, where he was accused of spying for the Germans (but insisted he was really a double agent for the British and Americans) is especially sketchy and made me wonder if he was telling the truth. On the other hand, he gives some very intelligent (if often condescending) commentaries on many societal issues. I found his comments on America, as he experienced it in the early 20th Century, especially interesting and insightful. One fact about Crowley that must be remembered is that he identified with the English upper class. He comes across as quite snobbish in many respects, including his disdain for many ethnic groups. He also had the aristocratic contempt for working for a living. Some of his remarks about women will not be appreciated by contemporary female readers. The fact is, his attitude on these issues was typical for his time (he lived from 1875-1947) and not evidence of anything especially sinister about Crowley. Crowley led a rather bohemian existence and had several wives and numerous affairs, many of which are recounted here (he was reputedly bisexual, although he does not discuss this in the book).
Whether you like, agree with or approve of Aleister Crowley, the Confessions are a fascinating, well written account of a truly unique individual.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best on the Market,
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth for the pornographer, satanist, and the cannibal junky,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A Decadent Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste,
Aleister Crowley(1875-1947) recounts his life and the pride he took in being a genius (he had memorized The Bible before he was seven), a poet, an adventurer, a world renowned mountain climber, a blindfold chess master, a lover, a sorcerer, and The Chosen Prophet of the Ancient Gods of Egypt!
But, above all: an English Gentleman.
Unfortunately his compatriots, like queen Victoria on a celebrated occasion, were not amused. The newspapers depicted him as a satanic, devil worshipping maniac. A charge which was somewhat unfounded and rather ironic since this was the man that satanic devil worshipping maniacs were too scared to mess with.
He was a passionate artist with a flair for danger, an extreme of the spiritual and the sensual, a cross between between St. John of the Cross and the Marquis de Sade. Only Rasputin could match him as a true historical figure that seems too improbable to have existed.
Neither man would be 'believable', even in lurid work of fictional melodrama. Yet they lived.
And A.C. topped Rasputin in possesing (or being possed by) a savagely sarcastic sense of humor which took no prisoners. Say what you will of him but one must grant him a remarkable talent for making enemies everywhere.
W.B. Yeats wanted him expelled from The Golden Dawn (The most influential Rosicrucian/Freemasonic lodge of the 19th century) on the grounds that 'a mystical society should not have to serve as a reform school for juvenile delinquents.' For his part, The Magus informs us that Yeats was full of black, bilious rage, because he, Crowley was by far the greater poet.
He once remarked that it was interesting that such a small county as Stratford had given England her two greatest poets, for one must not forget Shakespeare . . .
A.C. founded his own temple of 'life, love, and liberty' after his wife had a vision while visiting a museum in Cairo. The year was 1904 and the gods were ready to annoint an English Gentleman to bear forth their message to humanity and usher in a new era which would replace Christianity, as Christianity had replaced the crumbling faiths of the Roman Empire.
Thus 'The Book of the Law' came to be written (or dictated?) Its main tenet was "Do What Thou Wilt.'
Apparently Isis or Horus were fans of the novels of Rabelais, since that was the motto inscribed in his fictional abbey.
And, in all likelihood Rabelais probably got it from St. Augustine's maxim: "Love, and do what you will".
And if you can name which Greek philosopher thought it up first, treat yourself a trip to Cairo and listen closely to your inner voice. . .
It would hardly be surprising to be told that AC was reared in an ultrafundamentalist Christian sect and thus, he rebelled with vengeance.
What is surprising is that the quest for 'The Holy Grail' never left him, even as he climbed the Himalayas, seduced countesses, hobnobbed with Rodin, and made life quite interesting for anyone around him.
A fascinating look at a strange man and his times recounted with humor, sorrow and faith.
5.0 out of 5 stars Crowley, the beast, the genius.,
As a writer he is a fair penman but he does know how to spin a remarkable tale as he has a plethora of material to fall back on -- his life.
I had to wade through his majic and skimmed over those sections. Today they seem dated, a bit trite but to a serious student of the occult I'm sure, his studies and scholarship on the subject must be respected.
Crowley, like Michener can be verbose. But given the incredable amount of living he had done he might be forgiven. I have, and I give his Confessions five stars...
5.0 out of 5 stars The Confessions of A. Crowley,
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Trip with a Fascinating Man,
However, I will clarify my statement- although his autobiography is fascinating and rewarding, it's not something that you can finish in one or two sittings. It's the sort of book that you'll keep next to your bed for months with finishing, yet will felt driven to read on in Crowley's odyssey. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in modern Western spirituality, the world of Imperial Britain and it's quirkier characters, or Crowley and his religion, Thelema.
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Story of Mr. Crowley--Straight from the Horus' Mouth...,
Two years ago, I would not have imagined I would be reviewing Crowley books. Most of the information about this man seems to have been written by people who took all the myths surrounding Crowley seriously, or preferred to inform the reading public of the Controversial / Tabloid exploits Crowley was *supposedly* involved with. However, despite various Occult Researchers' whimsical attitude toward truth vs. tabloid money-making rumors, this book reveals Crowley as a MAN, not a "Beast."
To read the Confessions is to read of a Poetic Young man, who happened to be born into a society Indoctrinated with ridiculous concepts that his level of Intelligence simply could not submit to. The Subversive, Slave-like religion of his birth pushed him to explore other fields of interest and to study Comparative Religion. Reading his autobiography, it is obvious that he was simply too intelligent to be kept down in the mire of "Because."
This man thought for himself and lived for himself--despite society's ridiculous posturing and false "morality."
Basically, Crowley "tells it like it is," instead of adopting the complacent, indoctrinated attitude of his era and contrymen.
There is very little "Occult" information in this book--in fact, he mostly writes about his Mountaineering, Poetry and World Travel throughout most of these "Confessions." The occult-related incidents often seem to be thrown-in as an after-thought, as-if he would much-rather be remembered as a Poet.
Personally, I learned quite a lot about Anthropology from this collection of Travels in India, China, South America, etc. It is such a shame that the intellectual level of society (or lack thereof) cannot comprehend Great Men. Crowley was extremely well-educated--therefore, it is unlikely that younger generations will comprehend even a fourth of the material in this autobiography. Well-read individuals will be thrilled to add the Confessions to their library !
Don't be frightened by propagandists and money-mongers--this book was written straight from the Horus' mouth and sets the record straight.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Monstrous Ego of many personalities....,
I first read this book back in 1970 and it forever changed my life.I've studied his cryptic books since then,but always found this "autohagiography" the most enjoyable.Take him anyway you want but understand that Crowley ranks up there as one of the most unusual eccentrics in history...one of the "old school" Occult adventurers from the turn of the century who actually DID what he thought he could DO...made himself "god" (no small feat folks). Sure he was looney(duh),but through all his aspects showed himself as literate, scientific, intelligent, witty, devilish, daring and absolutely aware of his ability to confound the world. He died in relative obscurity in a sterile boarding house room,alone except for the presence of an attendant nurse who said his last words exclaimed were "I am perplexed". This book can be read on several levels, fact or fiction.Take a ride with the Father of Lies and remember, PERDURABO! ("I shall endure unto the end for in the end there is naught to endure")
5.0 out of 5 stars the best novel I have ever read, if it were a novel,
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Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography by Aleister Crowley (Hardcover - Jun 1979)
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