The Confessions of Aleister Crowley : An Autohagiography by Crowley, Aleister

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley : An Autohagiography by Crowley, Aleister


The Confessions of Aleister Crowley : An Autohagiography

1989 softcover published by Penguin

The Confessions of Aleister Crowley : An Autohagiography, is a partial autobiography by the poet and occultist Aleister Crowley. It covers the early years of his life up until the mid-late 1920s but does not include the latter part of Crowley's life and career between then and his death in 1947.

The Confessions provides Crowley's own point of view on the many incidents of the first half of his life. There are long descriptions of several mountaineering expeditions to exotic places such as the Himalayas. From his early years of being raised by fundamentalist Christians, Crowley describes how he became a rebel against conventional religion and how his behaviour and conflicts with authority figures contributed to his reputation as a dark magician. He does not deny dabbling with demonic forces, yet his memoirs reveal that his aim was the progress and spiritual freedom of humanity. Crowley's complex character is revealed in "The Confessions" and he naturally displays bias towards his own points of view (for instance, in defending his actions in such incidents as the disastrous expedition to Kanchenjunga, and his abandonment of his first wife Rose Kelly in the Near East).

The volume only covers part of Crowley's life until the 1920s, as (the material was all written by the late 1920s, when Mandrake Press issued the first two sections in hardcover), the one-volume edition is over 900 pages long. Crowley often refers to associates and enemies by their magickal names, which makes the cast of characters challenging to follow. Crowley was independently wealthy, and published his many volumes of prose and poetry in lavish editions, exhausting his wealth via both this means and via extensive travel and luxuriant living under varied pseudonyms and assumed identities. In consequence, there were stages of his life in which he and those around him were penurious in the extreme, such as the time at his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalù, Sicily. Crowley led a bohemian existence, was married more than once, and had innumerable mistresses, of whom some were magical partners designated by him as "Scarlet Women". He was also bisexual and had love affairs with men in his university days and later.

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