The Nativity of the Beast


The Nativity of the Beast

crowleyToday marks the 140th Anniversary of the Nativity of the Beast, Aleister Crowley. We are less than two months shy of the 68th Anniversary of the Old Crow’s death.

Crowley is a notorious figure who cut a swath across popular culture becoming the archetypal embodiment  for the nefarious ceremonial magician.

It was an image he oftentimes cultivated, but he was more than the chthonian portrait he projected.

His accomplishments are legion. He was a brilliant poet, and his writings and observations on occultism, religion, philosophy, and more were (and are) no less so. He was a celebrated mountaineer, a world class chess player, a consummate artist, and a secret agent for the Crown.

Aleister Crowley was also one hell of an author. The Testament of Magdalen Blair alone should see him remembered as a master of the craft. Personally, it was Crowley’s Simon Iff that most captured my imagination. Iff appeared in several short detective stories in The International around 1918 and showed up in one of the finest occult detective novels ever written — Moonchild, published in 1923.

moonMoonchild is devilishly good, a thriller of the first order, but it is also funny and at times chaotic, filled with loosely veiled caricatures of everyone from occultist MacGregor Mathers to dancer Isadora Duncan.

Moonchild stands out largely because Crowley infused it with his personal philosophies regarding magick and the occult. It positively drips with esoteric knowledge and wisdom, presented in a fantastical but wholly believable manner that few others have been able to capture in prose form.

Perhaps because of his reputation as ‘the Wickedest Man in the World’, his fiction is largely dismissed or overlooked. More’s the pity, because Crowley was a wonderful storyteller.


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