Thelema: An Introduction to the Life, Work, and Philosophy of Aleister Crowley

Colin D. Campbell. Llewellyn, $19.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7387-5104-7
Campbell (Of the Arte Goetia) gives readers a glimpse into the adventurous life of countercultural figure Aleister Crowley (1875–1847) in this small but comprehensive book. Crowley was born to a wealthy family outside London and received a strict Evangelical education within the Protestant Plymouth Brethren sect. He then attended Trinity College at Cambridge. While on a mountaineering trip, he first met members of Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a “magickal” order that wed the Jewish mysticism of the Kabbalah with “Western occultism... a syncretic mix of Eastern tattwa symbolism, chakras, and similar practices.” Initially thrilled to find a group that would initiate him into occult practices, Crowley was quickly disappointed when he attained the Order’s highest status within two years and discovered that many of the secretive documents contained ideas he had already learned. Crowley then decided he must forge his own path. Campbell writes that Thelema, the partly Kabbalah-inspired “spiritual and social philosophy that Crowley spent his life defining and manifesting,” is bigger than philosophy or religion; its central premise is that one will do what one wants, and that people should set their own moral codes. The last part of the book is a detailed description of the symbolism of Thelema and of meaningful rituals associated with the Gnostic Mass. Thelemites will love Campbell’s concise book. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2018
Release date: 02/01/2018
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-7387-5523-6
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