Who Was Aleister Crowley?

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am interested in magic and have heard the name of Aleister Crowley. Do you have anything in your store regarding him? Paul P., Baltimore, MD


Complete Tarot Deck

Dear Paul: We have in our store the Complete Tarot Kit which will probably answer many of your questions. Not only does it have Susan Levitt’s book Introduction to Tarot, but also the Rider tarot decks of A.E.Waite and the Thoth deck of Aleister Crowley. Ms.Levitt’s book is great for beginners in that she explains the arcane symbolism of the tarot deck with great simplicity and insight and there are wonderful illustrations of the cards.

Both A.E. Waite and Aleister Crowley were members of the esoteric group, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in favor at the end of the 1800’s and beginning of the 19th Century. A.E. Waite’s Rider Deck is truly the most popular deck of all times, even though currently it seems many people are anxious to create their own decks. However, the truth is that most of them derive the majority of their symbolism from the Rider deck. A friend of mine who is a tarot reader prefers the A.E. Waite Rider deck as opposed to the Aleister Crowley deck because of its simplicity of image. She says that the meaning of the cards can become quite apparent because the images are so straightforward and obvious. While considered an expert in her field of tarot, she claims that while learning the basic meaning of the tarot cards can be quite easy, interpretation of the card layout calls for considerable insight and intuition.

The question of Who Was Aleister Crowley is not only a normal inquiry, but was actually asked many times by his contemporaries. Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist and mountaineer. Not only was Aleister Crowley a man who wished to fulfill himself beyond ordinary human abilities and become a master of magic and intellect, but also Aleister Crowley was an eccentric who shocked many people’s sensibilities during his lifetime. Aleister Crowley was suspected at first of being a spy for the Germans, although he was acquitted of that accusation when it was later discovered that British Intelligence had actually recruited Aleister Crowley for their own purposes. But Aleister Crowley possessed a scandalous nature, indulging in many lovers of either sex and was known to be quite promiscuous and licentious.

Referring again to my tarot reader friend, she also told me that for a time she had been enamored of the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck because the cards were so beautiful in color and image. However, she also told me she became disenchanted with the Aleister Crowley deck since she felt it did not adequately reflect the clients with whom she worked.

Aleister Crowley through his adventures and life sought to expand the limits of the human intellect and achieve a greatness and potential that was not always available to the majority of humanity—hence his interest in magic and esotericism. Aleister Crowley wished to be able to control his mind and awaken to consciousness. However, the path Aleister Crowley chose was also replete with scandal, excess and depravity.

Nevertheless, the Aleister Crowley Thoth deck is not to be missed when one is serious about magic and the tarot. The Aleister Crowley deck is full of Kabalistic and archetypal symbols and is truly a work of art.

Thanks for writing. Spiritual Explorer

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