Was Aleister Crowley a Satanist?
May 9, 2010
by L.C. Vincent
A Henrymakow.com reader wrote,
"Why is it that everyone associates Aleister Crowley with Satanism? Has not one author who mentions him ever read any of his works??? I can tell you that they have not... So where do they get the idea that Crowley is a satanist? It's not from his books because he doesn't speak of a "Satan" or "devil" except the one found inherent inside of every man and woman. Oh so maybe it's because he associated the number 666 with himself. And who pray tell made that number along with the number 13 a cursed number? The Vatican, that's right! Why would they do that? Hmm? Crowley identified the number 666 with the beast within him. He identified it so he could control it and get rid of it. Know thyself. That is key to his teachings. Do you know the literal translation of "Satan"? It's a Hebrew word, it means, Adversary. Not devil with pitchfork. To me this article is smothered with Christian overtones, which is fine but if you know Aleister Crowley, he hated Christianity. He thought it was a slave religion from the previous age. The age of Osirus, the age we are leaving. He wrote about the new age, the age of Horus, which we are entering/in.
I suggest, even better, I challenge you to pick up a copy of "The Law Is For All" By Aleister Crowley, read it 3 times then write an article about the book. I will tell you this, there is zero mention of "Satan" in the book. But don't take my word for it, read it yourself. " Reader Mark Martino
This letter was forwarded to me for comment. The writer, like many earnest yet naive readers of Aleister Crowley, mistakes Crowley's wit, charm, and worldly acumen as being completely out of character with what they consider a "Satanist." That, and the fact that Crowley rarely referenced Satan directly in his many writings. If he could be with us Crowley himself would undoubtedly laugh at the label while secretly acknowledging its accuracy.
Yet it is essential to start upon an agreed definition of
"Satanist" if we are to ever answer the question of whether or not Mr.
Crowley actually thought of himself in this manner, and more
importantly, acted upon it.
DEFINING THE TERM
So let us define our terms: a Satanist is one who worships the spiritual being known as Satan, often incorrectly misunderstood and equated with both Lucifer or "the Devil."
A "Satanist" worships Satan to align him or her self to be receptive to the powers which such alignment of Will can reputedly grant to Satan's worshipers on this Earth --- to bend reality in their favor while partaking of all the seven "vices" of Christianity, by positing their True Will, first and foremost, as primary and therefore having primacy over all other non-Satanists.
According to Crowley's conception of the universe, man has only one "work" upon this Earth in each incarnation: to find one's True Will or "work" in this world -- one's particular purpose in each incarnation -- and then to do it. In Crowley's cosmology, it is through the worship of Satan, who he considered to embodied in one's Holy Guardian Angel, that a person learns what one's "True Will" actually is. From that moment on, a person has no other spiritual obligation but TO DO one's True Will upon this Earth.
A SATANIST'S WILL
A Satanist's "Will" is simply the performance and enjoyment of
their purpose in Life without the slightest hindrance to its indulgence
and execution, no matter who may suffer by its realization. So a
Satanist worships -- and sacrifices -- to Satan for the specific purpose
of attaining certain goals.
Crowley would also note that in a world of Satanists, with everyone doing their True Will, there would be no friction and no wasted motion or emotions. All would be in accordance with Universal Harmony, as all would be doing and pursuing their True Wills. Everyone would be following their particular "star" (destiny), for we only suffer "dis-aster" (uncoupling or moving away from our "aster" or "star") when we no longer move forward in pursuit of our incarnate path, our True Will.
Our correspondent's perception and definition of a "Satanist",
on the other hand, like that of the general public, is probably more
along the lines of certain rock stars who have grown notorious as much
for their misunderstanding of occult truths as they have for their
licentious life-styles; or they may think of such personages as ex
carnival barker Anton Sander LaVey, confidante to the stars, as the dark
mystery man who represented "Satanic" truths to the famous so that these
ambitious people could perform rituals to Satan in order to "get what
Would Crowley admit to being that "kind" of Satanist. Heavens, no! But would he agree that he was a Satanist of any sort? To answer that question, we shall turn to no lesser an authority than Aleister Crowley himself on this matter.
On page 51 of "The Confessions of Aleister Crowley" (Bantam Books, 1970) Crowley has this to say about Christianity and Satanism: "It seems I possessed a theology of my own, which was to all intents and purposes, Christianity. My Satanism did not interfere with it at all. "
Between pages 516 and 517 we find over 30 photographs which show Crowley in a variety of dress and activities, including wearing the headdress of Horus, making the 'Sign of Pan' (the Goat Headed God) and a self portrait of the Master Therion (Crowley) as the Beast 666, a personification in which Crowley reveled and never abandoned, but rather cultivated, throughout his life.
Moreover, Crowley was head of the magickal order in England
known as the O.T. O. (Ordo Templar Orientis or Order of the Oriental
Templars). Not only did the original Templars worship the "goat headed
god" known as Baphomet, but Crowley, upon becoming the head of the OTO,
assumed the magickal name of Baphomet! (page 916).
Just as the Rolling
Stones recognized "Mister D" (The Devil) on their "Goat Head's Soup"
album, the god Baphomet, the goat-headed god with whom Crowley
personally identified by taking his name in the OTO, represents Satan
Kenneth Grant, current head of the OTO in England, confirms this in his book, "The Cult of the Shadow," on p. 212, where he identifies Baphomet as the god form "...adored by the Templars" ... in the shape of a goat.
Or consider Crowley's Satanic "invocation" (which means to spiritually as well as physically seek union and become one with) in "Magick" p. 357: "Thou Spiritual Sun! Satan, Thou Eye, thou Lust; Cry aloud! Whirl the Wheel, O my Father, O Satan, O Sun!"
Or perhaps this passage on p. 270 of "Outside the Circles of Time" by Kenneth Grant: "Crowley established contact with the Great White Brotherhood when he identified himself with the Beast 666, and with Set or Shaitan (Satan)...." Here, Kenneth Grant, spells it out so clearly that even the most casual readers cannot ignore the fact that Aleister Crowley saw himself as both the Great Beast of Revelation as well as the invocation of Satan.
But let us proceed further. We find the "Salutation to
Baphomet" (the goat-headed god of the Templars) written by Crowley on
page 210 of "The Secret Rituals of the OTO" by Francis King. And in
"Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God" by Kenneth Grant, THE ENTIRE BOOK
revolves around the fact that Crowley considered his spirit guide,
Aiwas, to be identical with his higher genius and his Holy Guardian
On page 18 of this book, Grant states: "...Crowley acknowledged Aiwas as a being identical with his daemon, his genius, or his Holy Guardian Angel...The Devil, Satan...of our particular unit of the Starry Universe."
There can be little doubt that Aleister Crowley considered himself to be the physical incarnation of the Great Beast 666 foretold in the Bible, and that congruent with this thought, Crowley worshiped Baphomet, the goat-headed god long associated with Satan, while also considering Aiwas, his spiritual guide, to be a direct manifestation of his Satanic Holy Guardian Angel.
Was Aleister Crowley a "Satanist"? Is the Pope Catholic?
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Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at