Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century, a prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life. Born to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and he was educated at the University of Cambridge, where he focused his attentions on mountaineering and poetry, resulting in several publications. Some biographers allege that here he was recruited into a British intelligence agency, in 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was trained in ceremonial magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India. Announcing the start of the Æon of Horus, The Book declared that its followers should Do what thou wilt, in 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded a Thelemite order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated the religion. Thelemite groups were established in Britain, Australia, and North America, in 1920 he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and he divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death. Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual and he was denounced in the popular press as the wickedest man in the world and a Satanist. Crowley has remained an influential figure over Western esotericism and the counter-culture. In 2002, a BBC poll ranked him as the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time, Crowley was born as Edward Alexander Crowley at 30 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on 12 October 1875. His father, Edward Crowley, was trained as an engineer and his mother, Emily Bertha Bishop, came from a Devonshire-Somerset family and had a strained relationship with her son, she described him as the Beast, a name that he revelled in. The couple had married at Londons Kensington Registry Office in November 1874. Crowleys father was particularly devout, spending his time as a preacher for the sect and reading a chapter from the Bible to his wife. Following the death of their daughter in 1880, in 1881 the Crowleys moved to Redhill. At the age of 8, Crowley was sent to H. T, habershons evangelical Christian boarding school in Hastings, and then to Ebor preparatory school in Cambridge, run by the Reverend Henry dArcy Champney, whom Crowley considered a sadist. In March 1887, when Crowley was 11, his father died of tongue cancer, Crowley described this as a turning point in his life, and he always maintained an admiration of his father, describing him as his hero and his friend. Inheriting a third of his fathers wealth, he began misbehaving at school and was punished by Champney
Aleister Crowley, c. 1912
Aleister Crowley was born as Edward Alexander Crowley at 30 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on 12 October 1875.