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Author Topic: Aleister Crowley  (Read 3917 times)

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earthmuffin

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Aleister Crowley
« on: October 16, 2010, 12:23:25 AM »

Can anyone here tell me how he influenced Wicca, if at all? (GW? :whistle:)
Thanks in advance.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 12:58:46 AM »

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earthmuffin

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2010, 11:38:01 AM »

Somehow I missed you had answered. Thanks, GW!

I've been doing a little research (more along the lines of why Wiccans think Wicca is a shamanic religion to expand my essay) and I find myself confused about another point. Aren't most of the elements of Wiccan ritual (circle-casting, watchtowers, tools, symbols) from ceremonial magic? I have a hard time locating any books in which the authors admit this or discuss the history of these elements (though a large number of best-selling authors [except for Bonewits] discuss 'shamanic' Wicca)... and some even say Wicca isn't related to ceremonial magic (I think that might have been Buckland but now I can't remember). :confused: Apparently I need to read more but my library is very limited and there is only so much reading online I can do before my eyes want to drop out of my head.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2010, 12:30:31 PM »

Reading online hurts my eyes too. Yes, the ceremonial elements in Wicca come from ceremonial magic. No doubt, having done both. Also, the three degree structure and such things as "So mote  it be" and the word "cowan" come from Freemasonry. Gardner was a Mason. The thing is that gardner, when he was initiated into the New Forest coven, was only a First Degree, and so did not have the whole of their teachings. He seems to have filled in the gaps in his knowledge with elements from the Westen mystery Tradition, i.e., Hermeticism and ceremonial magic. It doesn't invalidate the religion, because it works well.
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earthmuffin

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2010, 03:06:29 PM »

That's what I thought. I found the Buckland quote from Wicca for Life. He says under Types and Forms of Magic "Ceremonial magic is quite different [from sympathetic magic] (and not really a part of Wicca, though some forms do dabble in it.)" I think this statement is misleading given the more than subtle influence of ceremonial magic on Wiccan ritual.

I'm beginning to understand the whole "fluffy" problem much better. Do you think the bulk of Wiccan authors today even understand the history of Wicca accurately? It seems like so much slanted information gets repeated over and over in one Wicca 101 book after another that the whole of the religion, Wicca, has probably become an amorphous blob of gibberish. I don't mean to be offensive to anyone, and perhaps I am naive and this is how most religions are, but it drives me crazy to find one person's opinion stated as fact and then copied and incorporated over and over and over on the internet and in books. This certainly seems to be what has happened with Wiccans identifying Wicca with shamanism. Cunningham even says to make a point that Wiccan's have a direct relationship with deity, that Wiccans do not need intermediaries like shamans. "We [Wiccans] are the shamans." I understand his point, but I don't think calling Wiccans shamans is accurate in terms of what shamans specifically believe and do, and people take a statement like that out of context and run with it.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 04:24:12 PM »

You are right, of course. Wicca is not shamanism, although the two can be incorporated, they are not the same thing. I think, too, that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what a shaman or medicine person is and does.

The incorrect information being passed about is a problem, especially on the 'net, where people tend to copy and paste info from one fluffy site to the next, where you have new "eclectic" Wiccans that study one of SRW's books and consider themselves an expert. I've been at this since about 1973, and I am by no means an authority, and anyone who thinks they are is fooling themselves, IMO.
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vordan

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 08:25:09 AM »

I have spent a lifetime reading, studying and have even been the High Priest of a Wiccan Coven. My opinion is that you are dealing with an evolving religion in it's early stages. Christianity in it's first hundred years would appear very different to to a Christian of today.  If it moves toward a shamanistic type of Shinto/ Toaist/ Hindu/ Buddist/ Native American/ whatever influence that is what it is meant to evolve toward. It is in motion like a river and can't be grasped. If you go to the river and snatch a handful of water saying, this which is in my hand is the river you would be wrong for the river is so much bigger. There are millions of people now following some form of Wiccan influenced spirituality each person contributing their uniqueness to it. What I am saying is don't try so hard to shove things into a box. I once had a conversation with a Hopi who told me that the problem white people have is that they want to define everything and use words for that which has no words. The appearance of Wicca as an amorphous blob describes more accurately human spirituality in general.
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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2010, 09:15:27 AM »


I reccomend this site, written by an actual historian, of the university degree type, who is also a practicing Wiccan: http://wicca.timerift.net/history.shtml 

peace,
ES
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earthmuffin

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 09:43:03 AM »

Thanks for the link, ES.

Vordan, I agree the evolution of a religion is really interesting-- and confusing. I think that Wicca may be in a unique position of maturing in the information age in which ideas fly almost instantaneously around the globe due to the internet (and Google) and I wonder what the effects of that may be.

I do like to categorize things; that's how I come to understand them, but I'm beginning to feel this age is more aptly called the misinformation age than the information age because of the high availability of incorrect information that swamps the internet. I guess I'm becoming an old fogey-- back in my day, you actually had to use the library to get your PhD.  :whistle:

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earthmuffin

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 02:48:40 PM »

I once had a conversation with a Hopi who told me that the problem white people have is that they want to define everything and use words for that which has no words.

This is an interesting point. I happen to be currently reading a book called "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess" that puts for an interesting hypothesis that the rise of language, which necessitates and linear thought processes, was responsible for the trend away from goddess worship, which the author sees as more of an intuitive right-brained process of understanding the divine.
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vordan

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 10:17:42 PM »

I do agree that there is a pretty massive amount of really bad information out there, especially about Wicca. Spirituality is often like stomping through a field of horse droppings figuring that there must be a horse out there somewhere.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2010, 01:13:57 AM »

I once had a conversation with a Hopi who told me that the problem white people have is that they want to define everything and use words for that which has no words.

This is an interesting point. I happen to be currently reading a book called "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess" that puts for an interesting hypothesis that the rise of language, which necessitates and linear thought processes, was responsible for the trend away from goddess worship, which the author sees as more of an intuitive right-brained process of understanding the divine.

I read it a long time ago. While interesting, keep in mind there was never any "goddess culture" or specific "goddess worship." These are modern feminist influenced constructs that pretty much are a load of BS.
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HappyZealot

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 02:20:39 AM »

b-b-but... b-b-but... the Venus of Willendorf is an ovbious artifact of matriarchal Great Mother Goddess cult that pervaded all of Europe.
That idyllic cult was sadly driven underground by the ascendant Cult of the Evil Doom Penis.  Or, Christianity.
 :gaah:

There's a great article called 'Witchcraft's Christian Roots' in the 2011 Witches' Companion.  [Not a bad publication imho.]
The author asserts that Gardner's revealed religion is "based solidly in Christian ceremonial magic, most notably the magic of the late-nineteenth century Rosicrucian society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn." (note the absence of the ostentatious 'k')
Interesting reply to the tired and smug claim that Christianity steals from Paganism.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 02:54:34 AM by HappyZealot »
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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2010, 03:32:43 AM »

While interesting, keep in mind there was never any "goddess culture" or specific "goddess worship." These are modern feminist influenced constructs that pretty much are a load of BS.

I am of the opinion that it is difficult, if not impossible, to fully understand spirituality in prehistory.  Our understanding of culture prior to the establishment of written language is based on far too little evidence to make definitive statements such as this. 
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HappyZealot

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2010, 03:53:12 AM »

I am of the opinion that it is difficult, if not impossible, to fully understand spirituality in prehistory.  Our understanding of culture prior to the establishment of written language is based on far too little evidence to make definitive statements such as this.
Good point; it is equally difficult, given the dearth of definitive evidence, to hold forth that a prehistoric Great Mother Goddess Cult(tm) actually existed. There is scarcely enough solid evidence thereof to fill Russell's Teapot. 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 03:55:01 AM by HappyZealot »
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earthmuffin

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Re: Aleister Crowley
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2010, 09:47:49 AM »

True that there is little evidence for one Great Mother Goddess cult, but there certainly is evidence of worship of many more female deities in general as compared to the monotheisms of today. So, I think the premise of the book still works (though I have only begun... will let you know my thoughts when I finish).
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