Talk:Aleister Crowley

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Former featured article candidate Aleister Crowley is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.

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In Sgt. Pepper album, when you play the very end backwards, it says something like we'll all be back as Supermen and I think this is a reference to Crowley's philosophy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Successful at chess?[edit]

"He was also successful in various other fields, including mountaineering, chess and poetry"

Chess? He joined and played in a university chess club, but gave it up after some time. How is that successful? At most he managed to defeat the club president, but so what? Seems a bit weird to claim that someone is successful in a field without backing it up with anyting substantial. (talk) 21:00, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

I read somewhere that he got a Blue for playing chess when at University. No reference available. I was puzzled as I thought you only got Blues for sport. 10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)10:28, 26 December 2013 (UTC)~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by AndrewHart500 (talkcontribs)

Dodgy photo[edit]

File:Aleister Crowley, Magus.png If that is the same person as the other 'Aleister Crowley' then some serious makeup has been used. Surely this photo is of a woman but the title is 'Aleister Crowley, Magus of the New Aeon' — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mtpaley (talkcontribs) 22:04, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

The image in question is a well known picture of Crowley in ritual garb. While the blurry quality of the image may feminise Crowley's facial features a little, it is mostly certainly of him rather than of a woman. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:00, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Male homosexuality "magic"[edit]

It is written in the text that it is sufficient to be a male homosexual to exert the most powerful magic. Now there are a lot of male homosexuals or "gays" I know and they are daily insulted by this very civil society of ours. Now if they had the power of magic, which is supposed to be very great wouldn't they make so that heterosexual people would be insulted instead of homosexual males? Stop writing bullshit, please: Crowley had many mistresses to go with him to perfom sexual magic, now if he considered heterosexual or lesbian sex to be less "powerful why would he take a woman, it is hard to convince a woman to do certain things, for his sexual thingies? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aufels (talkcontribs) 10:52, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” See? Aleister Crowley considered homosexual activity, particularly receptive anal sex, such a potent form of Magick simply—or most likely—because it made such very profound, life-changing impressions on him. And he wrote volumes of poetry about it. Yes, he also had many mistresses because he was bisexual and the office of the Scarlet Woman, Babalon incarnate, had to be filled. EIN (talk) 02:52, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

Too long![edit]

Especially the absurd introduction. (talk) 16:59, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

The article isn't in any way too long, but you are right that the introduction is. Will edit that down a bit now. --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 14:00, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

You've overlooked the fact that wiki pages only usually propagate the introduction elsewhere and not the entire text. You left the introduction far too short. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dara Allarah (talkcontribs) 14:58, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

I have not overlooked anything. Please see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Lead_section and Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Biographies for the style guide that should be used. The sections that were added in to the lead were in no way a suitable overview for the general reader, and also contained Original Research, which is an absolute no-no on Wikipedia - see Wikipedia:No_original_research. Also please do not engage in a reversion war on these edits - if you have good reasons for wanting that paragraph in, discuss it here first and let's come to a consensus, that's how Wikipedia works. --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 23:13, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

There was no 'Original Research' used. We are allowed to use what is obvious and evident, such as the exact text of a work and any and every anagram or piece of Themuru (anagram) in it - as was common in middle ages to establish a first in a scientific truth, (for instance Galileo). The text is obvious, the anagram is obvious, and your revision is based on the self-interest of your membership of the OTO and nothing more. You didn't like the fact that Crowley wrote the Aiwass anagram that says 'I sin, I was the master' because - quite simply - you fear its implications, but I do not suggest that it means anything. However it is present and I feel we should let the readership make up its own mind rather than a member of the church taking down an independent Thelemic master? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dara Allarah (talkcontribs) 23:39, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

Given the disagreement then I've asked an editor to clarify whether an evident perfect anagram in a text constitutes Original Research or not.

Dara Allarah (talk) 11:48, 8 November 2012 (UTC)

Deletion of cited material from Aleister Crowley[edit]

Stealthepiscopalian keeps deleting this from the article, although its clearly referenced:

"Furthermore, Crowley claimed to have discovered the Lost word of Freemasonry shortly after what he called the "abject anti-climax of the III°" which he received in Mexico.<ref>{{cite web|last=Crowley|first=Aleister|title=The Confessions of Aleister Crowley - Chater 72|url=|work=The Confessions of Aleister Crowley||accessdate=18 November 2012}}</ref>"

He contradicts the source material. Dara Allarah (talk) 05:41, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Hello. Please note that you will need to provide citations to secondary sources, not to Crowley's "Autohagiography". Crowley should not be used as a source for his own claims. People are not reliable when writing about themselves. Please use expert sources who can not only report on the claim, but give some independent analysis of the claim's veracity. Thank you. Yworo (talk) 07:07, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Noted - thank you Yworo. I've removed all the primary sourced material from the article as well as some that came from self-published web blogs or internal newsletters. Dara Allarah (talk) 12:04, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Please note that although I think the cleanup you have done here is excellent, it is not necessarily a problem to use self-published autobiographical sources. Wikipedia:Verifiability clearly states:

Self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, usually in articles about themselves or their activities, without the self-published source requirement that they be published experts in the field, so long as:

  1. the material is neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim;
  2. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  3. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the source;
  4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity;
  5. the article is not based primarily on such sources.

--Rodneyorpheus (talk) 00:54, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

See point 1. Nearly everything Crowley said about himself was an exceptional claim. Yworo (talk) 02:51, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Dara Allarah is attempting to use Crowley's Wikipedia page to advance her own original research on Crowley and the Book of the Law involving a modified Tree of Life she calls "The Temple of Solomon". I deleted a link from the external link sections to a post of her own authorship. She has no reliable sources for any of these claims. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:558:6008:20:35A6:7210:CFF1:8BCC (talk) 03:13, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I've deleted the Journal of Thelemic Studies from the external links. They have no peer review process and have produced 2 e-copies in 3 years, so it doesn't appear to be operating as a Journal no matter what its called. The only updated section is the blog. Odd that nobody noticed that... but I guess it's not talking about words that initiates are sworn to protect and keep secret, eh? lol. Dara Allarah (talk) 20:01, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

How on earth is it a problem to say that Crowley "claimed" something, and use his autobiography as a source? He did claim that, and that is absolutely the best possible source! 21:03, 10 April 2013 (UTC) (talk)

Yworo (talk) You make a good point! I think it's fine if the article states what Crowley claimed about himself as long as it's expressed " Crowley claimed to be a world class chess player, mason, etc etc" because that was the appeal of Crowley - he made himself into a larger than life figure and if we keep that out of the article because his 'autohagiography' is a primary source, it's doubtful we will find much support other than that and the article will also lose the appeal of Crowley's very creative ego. Lol even his autohagiography is claiming he is a saint! Halfman halfthing (talk) 23:01, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Well, we don't use the word "claim" as it implies the claim may be false and that's not neutral, but we can use said, stated, wrote, etc. Yworo (talk) 15:35, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
We use the word "claim" all the time, even in featured articles. I don't think it's non-neutral at all. Quadell (talk) 16:14, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
Follow-up: I just read WP:CLAIM, and I'll have to retract a little bit. It can be problematic to use "claim" too much, especially when there are not reliable sources that contradict the claim. "Stated" or "wrote" would usually be better words to use in most cases. Quadell (talk) 14:05, 2 December 2013 (UTC)


I've added a new section on Biographers and their affiliations to Crowley or his occult orders. It's so the reader has a window into the independence or otherwise of the biographers writing on Crowley.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome. Dara Allarah (talk) 07:56, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

None of this information is cited. I also don't believe it's relevant in any way. Do you have documentation of the lack of neutrality by O.T.O. members? There's no a priori reason to think they would be incapable of being neutral biographers. It's like claiming that an American couldn't possibly write a neutral biography of an American president simply by virtue of living in the same country his subject was once president of. Smells like a conspiracy theory Also, is a bullet list in the middle of an article like this acceptable? Hopefully someone who knows more than I do about Wikipedia standards can step in here... I'm just concerned about someone trying to wage a personal crusade via Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:558:6008:20:35A6:7210:CFF1:8BCC (talk) 17:13, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I was following the advice of a master editor who suggested it might improve the article.
My view is that listing biographers that have affiliations does not take a stance on the neutrality or otherwise of the biographer. It merely allows readers the opportunity to judge the matter for themselves with an informed opinion.
However - I'll add the citations tomorrow and will take out the bullets if they are against the style policy. Thank you. Dara Allarah (talk) 17:36, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree that listing the (supposed) affiliations of Crowley biographers makes no sense within the context of the article. Also, much of it is wrong, and all of it unsourced. For example: I am not a Crowley biographer, nor is Lon DuQuette or Jerry Cornelius. We each have published commentaries on aspects of Crowley's works, but nothing in any depth about his life. Tobias Churton is not to my knowledge an OTO member, nor has he ever claimed to be such. John Symonds was not a friend of Crowley (he barely knew him) but was his literary executor, hence his early access to Crowley's papers. Dr. Richard Kaczinski *is* an OTO member, but his biography of Crowley (and his recent "Forgotten Templars") are widely considered by third parties as first-class works and the best in the field. So overall, I can't see any reason for keeping such a section, it's entirely irrelevant as well as erroneous. --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 16:45, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I have removed the section since it deals with erroneous and uncited claims about living persons, which is a total no-no on Wikipedia. --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 16:48, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm putting the work back up as I intend to cite it shortly today (as I indicated yesterday). Please leave it alone until I've added the citations and them feel free to quibble over them if you like.
A biographer can include people that do partial biographies as part of a larger work, especially where they give the reader their opinion... which is why such matters as to their independence is important. And Tobias Churton most definately ought to be included since he claimed on a radio show that he had the full support of HB.
As you have a conflict of interest in this matter perhaps you should step back and consider if you should really be editing this section of this page, Rodney? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dara Allarah (talkcontribs) 17:45, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Updated the section with citations and links. I decided to remove Churton from the list, because I couldn't find the link that said he was OTO, and when I reviewed the Lashtal interview I found his comments that "My work had the support of the OTO's World Head and of Gerald Yorke's son, John Yorke" as well as "I was extremely fortunate to be given access to Bill Breeze's own research" probably did not indicate an affiliation.
Did I miss anyone off the list? If I did, it was accidental. Dara Allarah (talk) 20:36, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
I also changed the sub-header to 'Biographers and their links to Crowley or his occult orders', and formatted the list according to the pointers in the wp manual of style. Dara Allarah (talk) 23:05, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
  • I certainly do not have a conflict of interest, I am stating very clearly for the record that I am not a biographer of Aleister Crowley. Actually neither am I the Deputy Grand Master of UK Grand Lodge of OTO, so you're wrong on both counts there. I USED to be the Deputy GM but have not been for some time. If you still maintain that I AM a biographer of Crowley, please list the book I supposedly wrote and its publisher so that I can start claiming the royalties, I'm sure they would come in useful.
  • You cite Jerry Cornelius' "In the Name of the Beast" as a bio of Crowley, when it is in fact a biography of Grady McMurtry.
  • You cite a reference to Lon DuQuette being in OTO (that's never been any secret) but still don't cite what biography he supposedly wrote. To my knowledge he hasn't written one either.
  • You refer to Richard Kacyzinki as a member of cOTO. There is no such organisation as cOTO. He is a member of OTO.
  • You still refer to John Symonds as a friend of Crowley, referencing the headline in a short obituary (which headline was probably not even written by the obit writer, but by an editor with no knowledge of the subject) . At no time in the article does the obituary mention that Symonds and Crowley were friends, nor does any biography of Crowley that I know of. As far as I am aware, Symonds and Crowley met on very few occasions.

In short sir, you have once more crossed the line on statements about living people, despite me clearly advising you earlier that you were on extremely shaky ground here. Instead of heeding my advice, you repeat the error and try to justify it by accusing me of conflict of interest. Please don't engage in ad hominum attacks here: if you want to justify your work, then do so by sticking to Wikipedia policies and appealing to verifiable sources to back up your claims, not by personally attacking other editors. I have been an editor on Wikipedia for many years, with thousands of carefully referenced edits under my belt, and I don't think that anyone who has been around for any length of time here would seriously accuse me of putting my interests above the interests of creating fine articles.

On top of all those errors, I genuinely do not think that a list of Crowley biographers and their supposed relationships to Aleister Crowley, even if it WAS accurate, adds anything at all to the article. The article is about Aleister Crowley, and discussion of his biographers is best left to the specific articles on them, not in this one. I very much appreciate your attempts at improving this article, and I encourage you to continue to do so - but in this case I don't consider that anything about this section improves the article in any way. --Rodneyorpheus (talk) 07:56, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Rodney - Yworo suggested this section for good reason. Take it up with the master editor please. If there are small errors in the section then change them but if you remove the section entirely again then I shall report you and your conflict of interest.
And I'm not a Sir. If you want to use formalities you may call me Miss Dara.
I've already answered your issue about biographers. Partial biographies are used all over WP and you may be considered a biographer if you have written such. Lon has - as is even quoted in the main WP article. We can change your section to say that you were (not currently) the.... whatever it is you do for the O.T.O. *shrug* I've actually read 'In the name of the Beast' and accounts of meetings between Crowley and McMurtry and their correspondence is well documented by Jerry. I could easy use the work as an excellent source on Crowley as it contains McMurtys memories of Crowley. You appear to be inventing straw man arguments against the section. Stop it! I won't warn you again! Dara Allarah (talk) 01:12, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Without taking sides in this matter, I have reverted an unexplained removal of content. I later saw the discussion here, sorry to have missed it. Don't interpret my action as support for either side, an unexplained removal of content is still an unexplained removal of content, any way one looks at it, since there was no edit summary. Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:45, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Sorry about that, new to editing around here. I've removed it again, but added an edit summary. The content has no place on this page. -- (talk) 20:51, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I've replaced it. The content was suggested by a WP Master Editor II - Yworo - to improve the page.
Her exact comment on 18:05, 23 November 2012 was: "A section about the biographies, biographers, and their connection to Crowley and/or his Order might be a good improvement, so that readers have some idea which sources are likely to be more objective. The article has clearly mostly been written and edited by followers, and we have a continual problem with it becoming more of a hagiography over time, then needing to be NPOVed."
Please see her talk page for further details. If you feel that "the content has no place on this page" then please qualify your opinion with a reason and add to this discussion before removing content without explanation. I would appreciate it if you would point out any content that is incorrect even though cited (do you have an alternate citation that is more up to date for example?). And could you please point out where the alleged "ad hominem attacks against living persons" are (as you claimed on Tgeorgescu's talk page)? That claim has me completely mystified. Thank you. Dara Allarah (talk) 22:07, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
But what you've put in there doesn't tell the reader anything at all. Does being in O.T.O. mean that you can't be objective about Aleister Crowely? Do you have any sources to back that up? And Rodneyorpheus already answered most of your questions above, including the important issue of many of those people not being biographers at all. That information is far more appropriate to be added to the page of the individuals in question, unless you have some solid information to cite about the unreliability of works on Crowley.--2001:558:6008:20:146E:AC26:1874:BD65 (talk) 04:17, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I answered the question on neutrality (up to the reader) and on partial biographies / biographers to Rodney. Dara Allarah (talk) 07:18, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I agree, the information does not belong here. And by the way, there's no such thing as a "master editor", or at least, no such appellation we need pay the least bit of attention to -- other than a handful of tools which are not at all relevant to article content, we are all equal as editors of all articles (other than IP users, who sometimes are denied access to editing pages due to vandalism problems on those pages.) The edit warring should stop, please. --jpgordon::==( o ) 04:39, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I quite agree that parties with a conflict of interest should stop editing this section of the page and that if people seek to remove it then I would like to hear a valid reason for that removal otherwise it is simply vandalism/section blanking. I've requested arbitration from Yrowo. Can you leave the content until she can have a look at it and consider all the points made here. Thank you. Dara Allarah (talk) 07:18, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Well, it seems like this content is only supported by a single user who does not have a good argument for it being here other than paranoia about secret societies. Being a member of an organization is not grounds for calling into question the reliability of one's scholarly work. Dara Allarah, do you have any actual source for the relevance of this material (i.e., evidence that there actually is a neutrality problem in works on Crowley) other than your own suspicions about O.T.O. and A.'.A.'.? Los358 (talk) 05:12, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
As the first user to try and blank the page (Rodney) had a conflict of interest and one user gave no reason for his opinion then I'm not too worried. I can demonstrate the problem of neutrality and independence very easily Los. Just ask any fraternity member to answer a question that his oaths prohibit him answering - and Q.E.D. There is a lot left out of Crowley biographies from fraternity members because of their oaths and other more independent biographers are less likely to know about certain relevant material to Crowley's life. For instance - Crowley discovery of the 'Lost Word' was clearly very important to him but we can't mention it on WP because its a primary sourced exceptional claim and there are no biographers to cite as secondary sources. So you can see the problem that over time we start to get a skewed picture of what were the high marks in Crowleys life depending on the independence of the biographers used on WP to talk about Crowleys life. Some sources can therefore be clearly seen to be more independent than others!
Now there's a lot of O.T.O. biographers contributing to this page and for the most part they do a really smashing job - they quote letters, they dig into history, and its really independent... up to a point. For example: Remember that Crowley lept out of bed when he discovered the lost word and spent all night in a state of stunned rapture - going on to say in confessions that his time in Freemasonry was more profitable a study than any other. Does the WP article reflect that very important event? No. Does it make reference for how the Lost word influenced Abrahadabra or the Book of the Law or how it was used in the O.T.O. No. Why not? Well - the answer is clear to me and there's nothing independent about it. Q.E.D. !!! Dara Allarah (talk) 08:15, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
User blocked for edit warring. --jpgordon::==( o ) 16:44, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I didn't ask for a demonstration, which constitutes original research, I believe; I asked for actual evidence. Dara Allarah has no grounds for the claims she's making other than suspicion about O.T.O. members, and undue emphasis on the "Lost Word." I also fail to see what Rodneyorpheus's conflict of intrest is. There is also no basis for the claim that "a lot" is left out of biographies on Crowley due to the Oaths of the biographers. O.T.O. initiation rituals have been published a number of times. If anything was truly missing, it would be very easy for Dara Allarah to simply use, say Francis King's book, as a source. Also, the claim to the importance of the "Lost Word" in Crowley's life is highly doubtful. Also note that many of the people on that list never swore oaths in A.'.A.'. or O.T.O. and thus are not relevantly covered by the above argument. For these reasons I am removing the section on biographers that she has repeatedly reverted. --Los358 (talk) 20:33, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I not only repeatedly reverted the section from being blanked outright but I CHANGED IT to accommodate the views and objections of the editors here as I did so. I don't see any acknowledgement from the editors that the points and objections they made have been addressed as I changing the section. Well - screw this. Go back to editing wp without me and pretend that your hydra headed fraternal nepotism is independent. It isn't. Never will be. We all know there is an informal O.T.O. group that set out to use these pages on wiki to promulgate Thelema. (And if you din't know that Los - read some of these guys Talk pages in a little more depth). Before I started editing here these guys were simply putting forward the story of the reception without the good grace to place the words 'claimed' or 'alleged' before it. It was just straight up O.T.O. religious doctrine. You keep and eye on them then!!! Bye. Dara Allarah (talk) 05:13, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

“Influences” and “Influenced”[edit]

Many Wikipedia articles about persons list the individual's influences in her or his infobox. Anyone who's cared to look into Crowley's works can confirm that there's an immense number of writers who can be added to that list. EIN (talk) 20:56, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

There's a character, Nicholas Nookshaft, from the Thomas Pynchon novel Against the Day, that was probably influenced by Aleister Crowley, because of time period, relationship with secret societies, and sexual magical references: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

In the midst of reading Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, I visited this Wikipedia page to see if one had added Nicholas Nookshaft to this article - perhaps in a secton entitled "Depictions in Fiction". Many articles have a similar section, as noted above regarding "Influences". Would other recommend that such a section be added to the bottom of this page, similar to other bio articles on Wikipedia?

Example: ==Depictions in fiction== Crowley has been depicted in fiction (books, comics, songs, film) as characters both bearing his name, as well as characters resembling parts of his identity, by several authors & artists — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Picture removal being discussed, or voted on?[edit]

There is a recent ungoing discussion about removing many of the Crowley pics from the commons. Please join in. Here is the link. Thanks. Aleister Wilson 9:43 27-2-'13

User Yworo's categorization of Crowley as Buddhist writer[edit]

Yworo (talk · contribs) has now started arguing that Crowley is a Buddhist writer, and has put him for this reason in the dharmic writers template, see Template_talk:Modern_Dharmic_writers#Adding_Aleister_Crowley. By the way, he even put Sam Webster in the template. (I see that Yworo has already participated in some disucssions on this talkpage). --Trphierth (talk) 17:10, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

I haven't said he was a "Buddhist writer". I've said that he was just as much a "Dharmic writer" as Helena Blavatsky. There's a subtlety that you are missing here. Yworo (talk) 17:37, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
based on the "subtlety" just stated, this looks like a violation of WP:POINT.Coffeepusher (talk) 17:44, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
So to clear it up, I don't give a damn if Blavatsky is in the category, Aleister Crowley doesn't belong and that is what we are discussing here.Coffeepusher (talk) 17:46, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
There are actually sources which call him Dharmic, namely Sam Webster and also the Journal of Thelemic Studies. See Template talk:Modern Dharmic writers. This is better than the sources provided for Blavatsky's inclusion on that template, which are none. So no, it's not WP:POINT. The template is defined to include not only traditional Buddhist and HIndu writers, but syncretic writers as well. Crowley definitely falls into the syncretic category as it is being used on that template. Yworo (talk) 17:49, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm sorry, you missed a subtlety in your argument where you provided an either or fallacy to show that Blavatsky shouldn't be included. This is WP:POINT. Coffeepusher (talk) 17:52, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Not really, I accepted the argument that Blavatsky should be included and argued that it followed from this that Crowley should be as well. They were both syncretic occultists who based much of their work on Eastern religions and made up the rest. But your thinking this is WP:POINT has now led me to believe that none of the "Syncretic" writers are actually "Dharmic" writers. So thanks for your help. Yworo (talk) 18:03, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

As long as you don't include Crowley I don't care what this conversation "inspired you to do" just stop disrupting wikipedia to prove a point.Coffeepusher (talk) 18:13, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

This user Yworo has been bullying me since long time with this kind of behaviour.
Crowley is much more of a borderline case (as a dharmic writer) than Blavatsky, and with Bennet and Blavatsky already in the template and limited space it makes no sense to add him. But to respond to Yworo: Blavatsky was instrumental in the revival of Theravada Buddhism. Other members of her Society were even more closely linked to Indian and Hindu movements including Allan Octavian Hume, Annie Besant and others like Olcott who was instrumental in the revival of Singhalese Buddhism. Blavatsky's writings and life as a whole are more defined by Hindu and Buddhist religious thought than Crowley's. Blavatsky and Olcott converted to Buddhism. --Trphierth (talk) 18:34, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Crowley also was a convert to Buddhism. He writes about it in his early works. He also writes that he initially rejected the "Book of the Law" because he was a Buddhist and it offended his Buddhist sensibilities. He wrote an article on taking Buddhist refuge which made it clear that he had himself taken it (though that article is very hard to find). Yworo (talk) 18:36, 10 March 2013 (UTC)
Only some days before you added Crowley as a dharmic writer, you wrote "Next someone will claim that Aleister Crowley is "dharmic" because some bloggers have written that he is (seriously), and all kinds of "Magicians" will have to be added to it as well." That just shows that you were trolling, or as Coffeepusher said, disrupting wikipedia and was another part of the wikilawyering and forum shopping (as User:MER-C said) you did. The consensus (by all others including User:Ekabhishek) was against the inclusion. He is not even on the Template:Kabbalah, on which he would make much more sense as an important example of the Western reception of the Kabbalah. --Trphierth (talk) 11:29, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Yworo that Crowley should be regarded as a Dharmic writer. Thelema is western Dharma, and Crowley wrote extensively on Buddhist & Taoist topics. In the blue equinox a quarter of the book is devoted to Crowley's commentary on Buddhist texts that have been translated by Blavatsky, and Liber Trigrammaton is about the Tao and it's a Class A text too. Liber CCXVI is about the Yi King. Crowley translated the Tao Teh King, and he gives Yi King correspondences to the Tree of Life in the back of the Book of Thoth. Likewise he comments on how the Black, Yellow and White 'schools' (including Buddhism) are united under the Law of Thelema in Magick without tears and in his preface to the Book of the Law. In my view, Crowley is not only a Dharmic writer but developed the Dharma for the west. The wheel turns and we should acknowledge his contribution imo. (talk) 19:08, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

"Free" pictures[edit]

Based on information at the Commons deletion discussion, I've locally uploaded three pictures of Crowley which appear to be PD in the US. I have added two of them to the article- there is also File:Aleister Crowley, Magus.png, which I have not added to the article. Please also double check the information I have provided on the image pages. Thanks! J Milburn (talk) 12:04, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Too long again[edit]

The article is growing too long and needs to be pruned to 30% of its present length. Xxanthippe (talk) 00:02, 28 August 2013 (UTC).

As of this moment, the page is 86,568 bytes in length. Wikipedia's recommendation is that pages not exceed 100,000 bytes. Therefore, I respectfully see no reason for your assertion. In my opinion, the problem is not yet with the length of the page, but with the quality of much of the information. Many paragraphs in the latter half of the article are poorly or insufficiently referenced, in some instances not being referenced at all. This is a problem that I am endeavouring to rectify. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:00, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Non-free file problems with File:A.'.a.'. seal.png[edit]

File:A.'.a.'. seal.png is non-free and has been identified as possibly not being in compliance with the non-free content policy. For specific information on the problems with the file and how they can be fixed, please check the message at File:A.'.a.'. seal.png. For further questions and comments, please use the non-free content review page. -- Toshio Yamaguchi 10:42, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Aleister Crowley/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Quadell (talk · contribs) 12:35, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Nominator: Midnightblueowl

I will begin this review shortly. – Quadell (talk) 12:35, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

(While preparing this review, I noticed that I'm involved with another of your GANs, Midnightblueowl, as well as one of your FACs. I promise, I'm not stalking you; I just seem to be interested in many of the same subjects. I'll give you a little extra time, if you like, since you have so much open at once.) – Quadell (talk) 12:38, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
Much appreciated Quadell! All the best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:11, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

This article is excellent, and could well be of "Featured" quality already. It is extremely thorough, well-written, and sourced to a professional level. I only have one major concern, which I wanted to bring up.

I can't see the sources, so I can't tell whether or not Crowley can be said with certainty to have been a British intelligence agent. Up until the "United States: 1914–1919" section, the article takes a cautious, guarded approach. For instance, it always says something like "Biographers Richard Spence and Tobias Churton suggested that Crowley had done so as an intelligence agent under the employ of the British secret service, speculating that he had been enlisted while at Cambridge" or "Spence has suggested that the purpose of the trip might have been to explore Mexican oil prospects for British intelligence." But then, in the "United States: 1914–1919" section, the prose switches to certainty. "In reality, Crowley was a double agent, working for the British intelligence services ... the real intention was to make the German lobby appear ridiculous in the eyes of the American public." Is that certainty warranted here, but not in the former instances? The article gives no information on the evidence used in making such a determination. Since you have access to the sources, and I don't, could you check on that for me?

Beyond that, I have a very minor question. When you refer to Trift, do you mean Trift Glacier? It's in the Urner Alps, not the Bernese Alps, but it is close by. Do you have a way of knowing?

I'll put this on hold. Once you've dealt with the "level of certainty of spying" question, I'll be delighted to promote this. – Quadell (talk) 18:47, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Hello there Quadell, and thank you for your comments. It is established fact that during the First World War, Crowley worked for British intelligence agencies operating in the United States, during which time he pretended to be a Fenian and hence a German sympathiser; we have firm, documentary evidence of this. That being the case, Spence and Churton have suggested that in earlier life, Crowley had also worked for British intelligence, and that many of his trips abroad were at the behest of these services. There is however no hard evidence to confirm these suggestions, which mean that they should be treated with a great deal of scepticism. I hope that this clears up your main query. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:49, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and regarding Trift... I'm afraid I really don't know. Maybe it's best to leave that until someone with better knowledge of the subject comes along and can confirm it ? Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:59, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
I do believe it would be an improvement, and would make it clearer, to mention how we know that he was a British agent, just given the speculation about previous involvement. This is really not a GA requirement at all, just something I thought I'd mention, and you might want to shore that part up before it goes to FAC. – Quadell (talk) 20:38, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

This article is one of the most well-prepared, fascinating, and impeccably-sourced GANs I've had the pleasure to review. I'm happy to promote it. – Quadell (talk) 20:38, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

John Bull[edit]

"...right-wing tabloid John Bull" this might be an example of someone succumbing to their own prejudice, John Bull was published by Odhams in 1923, a company with a close association to Britain#'s Labour/Trade Union movement, that puts them the the Left of the political spectrum. However the left/right paradigm is riddled with preferential selection, of which this is an excellent example, making it useless as a meaningful adjective, so just get rid of it. (talk) 14:37, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

As the editor responsible for authoring that piece of text, I accept your reasoning and agree that the term "right-wing" is not the most appropriate descriptor of John Bull. Although I don't remember why I initially included it, it was probably to reflect the general reactionary and sensationalist attitude that the magazine took on certain social issues; in particular those related to Crowley and Thelema! I have removed the term, and thank you your comment. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:12, 2 December 2013 (UTC)


When we have a choice between "He would write a novel" and "He wrote a novel", why would we ever choose the former, unless we were being paid by the word? --John (talk) 20:23, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Changes like this (e.g. from "he would cook particularly spicy food" to "he cooked particularly spicy food") are wholly good. Quadell (talk) 20:54, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
As the primary author of the page, I agree too. Your revisions here have been most welcome John, so thank you! Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:12, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
My pleasure, and I appreciate being thanked. --John (talk) 21:53, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

History of A\ A\[edit]

I have been preparing an expanded section on the History of the Order. My unfinished work is here: User:PedroLamarao/History_of_A⸫_A⸫ Please, feel free to comment. (I am sorry for the name of the article, I am used to writing the abbreviated name of the Order with the ONE DOT OVER TWO DOTS character.) —Preceding undated comment added 20:58, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, I did not sign my post; also, I have added this section to the wrong Talk page... Though I would still like your comments. PedroLamarao (talk) 21:00, 27 January 2014 (UTC)

Partial review[edit]

These are review comments I prepared for the FAC before it was closed. They only cover the first few paragraphs of the article, but they may be useful in some future upgrading exercise. I am happy to continue reviewing in a PR context, if asked.

The prose needs going over by a competent copyeditor. At the moment it has many awkward and clunky sentences. I've not read much, but thus far:

  • "His father, Edward Crowley (1834–87), was trained as an engineer but never worked as one, instead owning shares in a lucrative family brewing business, Crowley's Alton Ales, which allowed him to retire before his son was born." Needs comprehensive rewriting. E.g.: "His father, Edward Crowley (1834–87), was trained as an engineer, but his share in a lucrative family brewing business, Crowley's Alton Ales, had allowed him to retire before his son was born."
  • "At age 8" is an Americanism
  • "the preparatory Ebor school" → "the Ebor preparatory school"
  • "Inheriting a third of his father's wealth, he began misbehaving at school..." What is the causal relationship here?
  • "developed his interests" → "developed interests"
  • "Bernese Alps" should be wikilinked
  • "Having adopted the name of Aleister over Edward, in October 1895 Crowley began a three-year course at Trinity College, Cambridge..." Again, how are these facts related?
  • Readers will be confused by the information that Crowley's tutor approved his transfer to a course that was not on the curriculum. So how/where did he study it?
  • Chess is a "sport"?
  • "Crowley also embraced his love of literature and poetry, becoming a particular fan of Richard Francis Burton and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many of his own poems appeared in student publications The Granta, Cambridge Magazine, and Cantab." Again in need of a reconstruction job. There is particular awkwardness in the juxtaposition of the literary "embraced his love of" and the vernacular "a particular fan". I would suggest: "Crowley also embraced his love of literature and poetry, particularly the works of Richard Francis Burton and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Many of his own poems appeared in student publications such as The Granta, Cambridge Magazine, and Cantab."
  • "Another hobby was mountaineering" – this is redundant; his interest in mountaineering has already been establiahed.
  • The word "claim" or "claimed" appear to be much overused in the article. Try some synonyms, e.g. assert, declare, maintained, professed etc.
  • "Several biographers ... believed that this was the result of Crowley's first homosexual encounter, enabling him to recognise his bisexuality." I'd say "this experience", and rewrite the final clause: "which enabled him to..." etc
  • "They broke apart because Pollitt did not share Crowley's increasing interest in Western esotericism, something Crowley regretted for years." The nature of Crowley's regret is somewhat ambiguously expressed here.
  • "as he considered" → "as he was considering"

Brianboulton (talk) 15:08, 4 February 2014 (UTC) This is great, thank you Brian ! I think that the article will be sent to Peer Review in the not too distant future. Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:11, 6 February 2014 (UTC) @Brianboulton:: if you are still interested, I've just sent this article to Peer Review ! Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:48, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

@Midnightblueowl:: I'm putting a note on my own talk page to remind me to look at this, as it won't be for a few days and I will forget otherwise. Brianboulton (talk) 14:55, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
@Brianboulton:: There's no rush or pressure at all - ) just thought that I'd let you know! Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 20:49, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Excessive information in the "Legacy and influence" section[edit]

As the user responsible for overhauling this article and bringing it up to GA standard, I have come to find that a major problem with it is the manner in which various users constantly add to the "Legacy and influence" section. Much of what is added is basically trivia, and more often than not these additions are not referenced, and when they are it is often quite poorly referenced. The fact is, Crowley has had a huge influence over various aspects of popular culture, being cited in hundreds of songs, novels, poems, and the work of other esotericists; this section should purely be for the most important examples of this, as cited in academic studies of Crowleyana. Hence, that Crowley is referenced in the work of international superstars Ozzy Osbourne or David Bowie is worth noting; that he is referenced in the work of Half Man Half Biscuit or Justin Vivian Bond probably is not. Were we to have an article on "The Legacy of Aleister Crowley" then we may be able to include all of this additional information, but here, on the main page, we are already at the limits of recommended text, so really shouldn't be adding anything new unless absolutely necessary and backed up by strong (academic) sources testifying to their relevence.

Recently, an editor added the following: "In 2013 Mandrake of Oxford published Tom Bradley's graphic novel, Elmer Crowley, a katabasic nekyia, in which, after making careful preparations to ensure himself a proper reincarnation, the dying Aleister Crowley flubs one syllable of the magickal incantation, and comes back as Elmer Fudd." I proceeded to remove it, asserting that while interesting, it was far from integral to an article on Crowley. However, an anonymous editor added it back in, maintaining that "The fact that this book is published by Mandrake of Oxford, a major conduit of Crowley material, makes it amply notable." I personally don't agree, so thought that I should bring it here to the talk page rather than end up engaging in an edit war. So what do other users think ? Is this piece of trivia really significant enough to warrant inclusion here ? Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:30, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

I'd cut the Elmer Crowley book again without noticing this talk thead. Given that it's only sourced to a review in a self-published group blog, I don't see that it even clears the bar of WP:V. --McGeddon (talk) 12:42, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Good call McGeddon, thanks. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:47, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

I find I strongly agree. Any references to material occurring after the death of the person in the title of the page might be interesting to some people of course, but unless they clearly add to the overall picture of the subject, Aleister Crowley, they probably belong elsewhere. Even a reference to Mandrake Press would be minor, since Crowley's involvement with it, according to the Wiki Page, was short-lived. Mandrake of Oxford had no connection with Crowley himself, as the Wiki page tells us it was not formed until 1986 (additions as to what they publish, claims regarding their 'major conduit of Aleister Crowley material' status and so on, might I suppose go on that Mandrake page, although the claim might be better verified.)Parzivalamfortas (talk) 13:57, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

British Intelligence link[edit]

The lede gave apparently false information (saying that Crowley claimed the government gave him a mission rather than him reaching out to them) and left out the one fact we actually know. When I tried to fix this, Midnightblueowl reverted on the grounds that the evidence was "contentious". I see no controversy about this basic point. The controversy is about whether or not Crowley ever did anything useful for British Intelligence after contacting them; Sutin says no, one or two other authors are wrong. (I joke. There is some doubt about this. But I think not very much.) Dan (talk) 08:24, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi Dan, thanks for bringing this to the talk page. My issue with your edits was not so much to do with the fact that you raised issues surrounding Crowley's wartime allegiances and the way that they are portrayed in the lede, but instead was because I have problems with the precise wording and use of citation. First, your edit added a citation into the lede (specifically to Sutin, pp. 249–250), despite the fact that we have no other citations in those opening paragraphs; the lede serves to summarize the referenced content found in the rest of the article, and thus doesn't need citations itself. The use of a single citation here looks messy, is frankly unnecessary, and is far from ideal. Second, I felt that the wording of your edit introduced a level of trivia into the lede that simply didn't belong – "though he was attempting to infiltrate the pro-German movement on behalf of the British intelligence services, according to then-lieutenant Everard Feilding" is not the sort of wording that we should include in the lede. Mention of Everard Feilding is comparatively trivial, and is not worthy of inclusion in these opening paragraphs (although I would argue that it might belong elsewhere in the article, at the appropriate chronological juncture). The original wording (", later alleging that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement at the behest of the British intelligence services.") was a more accurate reflection of the situation and doesn't rely on citing trivia, although I would be happy to discuss reforms to it if you feel them to be necessary.
It took a lot of hard work on my behalf to get this article all the way to GA status, so perhaps I am a little too defensive over it, and if so I apologise. I really do appreciate that you are not a vandal and are acting in good faith, and thus I am confident that we can discuss this and come to a happy consensus on appropriate wording. But I would ask that we not refer to Everard Feilding in the lede itself and that we not add a citation into these opening paragraphs either. Best for now. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:59, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Again, the lede seems flatly untrue. It also creates doubt in the reader's mind about something not in doubt, while ignoring genuine questions. As for trying to keep it simple, that has enough problems when we're only talking about Aleister Crowley (who published instructions for creating multiple personalities). Bring the intelligence community into it, and the whole approach starts to seem naive. Dan (talk) 21:32, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

How about the following as a proposed alternative wording for the lede: "later revealing that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement at the behest of the British intelligence services. Here, "revealing" is used in place of "alleging" and makes it clear to the reader that Crowley was not lying on this point, as other sources unearthed by biographers have confirmed ? Bear in mind that we must be cautious when dealing with the claims regarding Crowley and the intelligence agencies; there is certainly good evidence that he worked for them during the First World War, but the claims that he had worked as a spy since his university days (as championed by Richard Spence and Tobias Churton) remain unproven, conjectural, and controversial. Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:44, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Much better, but "behest" remains untrue even as a description of what I've seen Crowley assert. If he claims to have acted at someone's behest, you can usually assume that 'person' is a deity or has an ancient Etruscan name. Dan (talk) 05:29, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

How about "in conjunction with" rather than "at the behest of" ? Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:37, 5 March 2015 (UTC)


So, did Crowley actually catch syphilis from a prostitute while at Cambridge? This is the first I've heard of that, and no source is cited. Crowley apparently did claim to have "caught the clap" during his Cambridge days and he also caught malaria while in south Asia (don't recall exactly where, or whether anyone knows for sure where he caught malaria). But syphilis, while he was in his early twenties? Seems unlikely. Unless this can be substantiated, I suggest it be removed. Otherwise, it should have a citation. (talk) 01:11, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

I don't know why you thought that this was un-referenced, for there were a range of references at the end of this particular sentence. For instance, if you consult Sutin, p. 43, you will find the statement that "Crowley contracted a case of syphilis and had to undergo mercurializing treatments". Accordingly, I have undone your edit, but thank you for taking an interest in this article. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:29, 29 September 2015 (UTC)
You are correct. Thanks. (talk) 17:16, 3 October 2015 (UTC)

"invocations from the Goetia"[edit]

The article states that Crowley was "reciting invocations from the Goetia on a daily basis" but in fact he was reciting the 'Bornless Ritual," which though included in the Crowley published Goetia, does not derive from that section of the Lesser Key of Solomon, but is in fact from a Greco Egyptian MS. completely unrelated to the Solomonic tradition. I have been cleaning up and clarifying minor issues throughout this article and am a bit stumped as to how to correct this particular piece of what is essentially a misleading and, in its present form, not entirely accurate assertion. Stealthepiscopalian 08:35, 18 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

Thank you for taking an interest in potential problems that are existing with this article. The article itself has been created using the main Crowley biographies that are currently available (Booth, Sutin, Kaczynski, Churton etc), and the information therein follows their lead. It has subsequently been through both a GAN and an extensive Peer Review. In the example that you raise here, we again are following the example of the sources: for instance, Kaczynski (p. 154) referred to Crowley reciting "the Goetia's Preliminary Invocation every day". Accordingly, your recent additions to the sentence in the article would be considered WP:Original Research so I have removed them but amended the sentence prose so that it does not refer to the Goetia so specifically. I hope that that deals with the problem in a way that does not infringe on Wikipedia's policies. Midnightblueowl (talk) 18:45, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure how its original research, it's exactly what is given in the sources, including Crowley's own Confessions and Kaczynski. Stealthepiscopalian 19:54, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

I disagree with the statement that "it's exactly what is given in the sources". Indeed, three of the sources don't mention the nature of the invocation itself: Kaczynski (p. 154) referred to Crowley reciting "the Goetia's Preliminary Invocation every day", while Booth (pp. 233) referred to Crowley adapting "an invocation which he carried out in his mind several times a day". Churton (p 117) notes that "Crowley remembered the Abra-Melin Oath of Obligaton; he must 'Invoke often'... he would have to do it every day, week in week out, for months on end". It is only in Sutin (p. 167) that the 'Bornless Ritual' is actually mentioned, and the claims made there largely support your additions. Although I think that your added text was excessively lengthy and focused too much on minor issues, I'll incorporate a brief mention of this into the article at the appropriate point. Thanks for bringing this to wider attention. Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:16, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Egypt and The Book of the Law: 1904[edit]

This section is problematic in a number of ways and is likely to remain so. The main problem is that we have only Crowley's account to rely on, and that is clearly nonfactual in several ways. It is nice to see that that Boulak museum has been removed, since it was closed in 1902, but 'nearby museum' is frankly a bit too vague and a bit dodgy at best. From then on it proceeds as if Crowley's account it otherwise factual and given that the premise of location, in his account, was false then everything following is suspect. I don't believe there is even an assertion that Rose led him to the museum in any case, though Crowley claimed that once in the museum she led him to the exhibit of the Stele. It has been noted in several sources too, that there is no reason to suspect that the Stele was at the time labelled '666,' as it had been recatalogued at that point, though it was listed in the then outdated Budge Tour guide as such (remember this was Crowley's second visit to Egypt and his details often fit with facts that would have been true of the first visit but were not during the second). In order to maintain a Neutral Point of View here I think a number of things need to be reworded, for instance Crowley's false claim that this happened in the Boulak needs to be both acknowledged and debunked, and the course of subsequent events needs to be in something other than categorical language. I don't think we need to go as far as Richard T. Cole does in Liber vel Bogus, but the controversy should be transparent. This article shouldn't merely echo Thelemic mytho-propaganda on such an important point as the reception of the religion's primary sacred text. Stealthepiscopalian 08:50, 18 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

I'm certainly open to discussing potential prose alterations here. Bear in mind however that we already have wording such as "According to Crowley's later account," in place to ensure that readers do not necessarily take all of the claims at face value. The controversy surrounding the Boulak Museum can only be added in if we have reliable sources to support it, so we must tread carefully on that point to avoid Original Research or Synthesis. (Incidentally, I don't think that WP:Neutral Point of View means what you are suggesting that it does; it means that we have to present the information from the reliable sources in a neutral, non-skewed manner; it does not mean that we have to create a supposed objective, 'neutral' depiction of the subject matter at hand, which is arguably impossible). Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:01, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Crowley as Secret Service agent[edit]

The whole constant interspersing of the Crowley as Secret Agent theory has gotten out of hand in this article. Wouldn't it be better if it was isolated into a single section? The theory has it merits but is largely unproven in the mass of details presented by many of Crowley's more recent biographers. Trying to explain everything on this premise gets a bit tedious at times and would be better served in a succinct section on the subject, as a opposed to a constant running commentary. Stealthepiscopalian 09:37, 18 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian

Generally speaking, I disagree on this point, and feel that this information works better while being integrated with the general biographical content. After all, those of Crowley's biographers to have dealt with this divisive issue (Kaczynki and Churton) present the subject in this manner rather than divorcing it from their general accounts of Crowley's life. Moreover, there are problems in cleanly dividing the intelligence activities (both alleged and self-professed) from the rest of Crowley's biography; Spence and Churton use Crowley's alleged intelligence activities to explain his decision to travel to St Petersburg, join the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, etc. Similarly, there are problems in that Crowley admitted (or at least claimed) that he was involved in intelligence activities during the First World War. Would we cut this from the biographical accounts and relegate this to a separate section too, or would we deem it to be different? Creating such divisions would throw up all manner of problems that we would then have to deal with. Midnightblueowl (talk) 20:04, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

I see your point, but since you seem to be arguing for conciseness, there just seem to be a lot of references to what is a best a theory, to the exclusion of facts in other ways like the historical background of Crowley's magical practice, the dates of birth of his children, his lovers actual historical identities. There is more to Crowley than the constant implication that he might have been a spy. Stealthepiscopalian 20:09, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian

"There is more to Crowley than the constant implication that he might have been a spy." Well of course there is, but does not the article reflect that? It discusses all the major points of Crowley's rich and varied life without going into excessive detail on any particular point, and only brings up the question of possible intelligence work at those points where Spence and Churton have suggested this as an explanatory framework for Crowley's actions; it might be a recurring theme, but is hardly a "constant implication"! Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:29, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Just to reignite this a smidge, reading the article I was taken aback by the reliance on Spence, whose book seems only barely to qualify as a reliable source. (Published by a minor press, not particularly well-received within the larger literature, and on a topic where unreliable sources are going to abound.) I'm not opposed to mentioning Spence's claims in the article, but regularly returning to them does seem to me to give undue weight to a fringe interpretation of Crowley's career. Winter's Tulpa (talk) 20:52, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Spence has 10 citations out of 293, only one of these in the "secret agent" paragraph. This doesn't look like reliance. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:23, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
3.4% of the article's citations going to something that doesn't really qualify as a reliable source seems like a problem to me, yeah. Winter's Tulpa (talk) 03:35, 31 August 2016 (UTC)
Only three of these are unsupported by other references, and all of these are qualified as Spence's opinion. Still a problem? Fiddlersmouth (talk) 00:08, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
I think so, certainly; it strikes me as undue weight given to a deeply dodgy source. But it's not a hill I'm itching to die on. Winter's Tulpa (talk) 21:53, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Crowley's son[edit]

I am confused as to why adding the actual date of the child's birth and putting the identity of the mother in historical context detracts from conciseness. Beyond that the original assertions here are unclear in some ways given what is actually in the sources being used. It is clear that she asked Crowley to bear his child, the assertion "agreed" implies that he asked and she consented, which is not what the sources give. I think readers are interested in who she was. Stealthepiscopalian 19:44, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepicopalian

Why have this child's birth date and not that of Crowley's other children? Why reference some of the mother's other relatives? These are details that would of course be useful within a full published biography of Crowley, but are simply unnecessary for a Wikipedia article. We don't provide similar levels of detail regarding Crowley's other lovers, children, and friends, so I see no reason why these individuals should be treated differently. I'm certainly happy to debate potential alterations to the sentence in question if you feel that it could be improved but there's really no point in integrating what in effect amounts to trivia. Things have to be kept concise. Midnightblueowl (talk) 20:24, 22 December 2015 (UTC)

I would prefer inclusion of dates as opposed to exclusion. Wikipedia has become the standard for assigning dates to events, hence the very section on the main page noting notable dates for the date of access. I think the solution here is to find the other dates for his childrens' births. For what it's worth my edit is fairly concise and doesn't add much to the total length.

As for details regarding MacAlpine's ancestry, I found the connection to art history quite useful. Crowley has a long history in this context, Rodin and his first brother-in-law Gerald Festus Kelley being likewise artists of note. It aided me particularly in finding images of MacAlpine as she is a cited model in the period roughly contemporary with her first encounter with Crowley. Booth in particular notes extensive detail about her background.

But most of all I object to the term "agreed to," all of the sources indicate that she asked Crowley to have his child, Booth and Kazcinski off hand. "Offered to have" would be more accurate and true to the sources being referenced. Stealthepiscopalian 22:17, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian

I'm still not won over to the cause of including the birth date of Randall Gair or Crowley's other children, nor of discussing the ancestry of one of Crowley's many lovers. If you look at FA-rated articles on biographical subjects, you will see that this is not the sort of information that is generally included. For me, this just comes across as fairly trivial information that has no strong bearing on Crowley's life; it would accordingly be apposite in a full biography of Crowley, but not in a Wikipedia article. Regarding your third point, that of "agreed to", I think that you have a fair point however, and am happy to discuss any proposed changes to the wording at this juncture. Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:39, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Crowley Freemason[edit]

Again your revert gives false information. Crowley was not per se initiated into Freemasonry in Mexico but made one one sight. A peculiar but well documented process in Freemasonry, he wasn't in fact initiated until 1904 in France. This is fairly clear from all of the sources, so your revision actually introduces falsehood into the article. Also the vagaries of Freemasonic practice and recognition are ill served by your revert here. It wasn't a claim by Crowley since the sources indicate that afterwards Yarker recognized him, so there are clear facts in evidence. Stealthepiscopalian 19:49, 22 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

Again, this is an issue where I am happy to discuss potential changes to the prose to improve the accuracy, but we have to be cautious, sticking clearly to what the reliable sources state, and not adding in excess detail or trivia that distracts from the main discussion of Crowley's life. Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:05, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Claim implies here that Crowley is our only source. He is not. The Memphis & Mizraim and Antient & Primitive post Crowley admission documents have been widely examined by expert and reliable sources: Howe, Starr, Jones and the Grand Lodge of British Columbia. In the case of biographers, Kaczyniski and Churton, though they rely, in part, on the above mentioned secondary expert sources, do include further examination and analysis of primary sources. Kaczynski's Lost Templars is particularly helpful in this matter. All other sources (maybe Spence actually made a visit to the UGLE library regarding Crowley's rejection by them) are tertiary and not, as they say, best evidence.

How about: "Crowley was admitted into the 33° of what is now widely considered an irregular form of Freemasonry, while in the city." This says everything that needs to be said, doesn't give false information (Initiation though a widely used terms has a specific meaning in Freemasonry referring to the Entered Apprentice degree), though it doesn't say as much as I would like. We actually say nothing about Crowley's actual "Initiation" into Freemasonry, which took place later in 1904 at Anglo Saxon Lodge in France. Stealthepiscopalian 20:20, 23 December 2015 (UTC)Stealthepiscopalian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

Crowley as a Satanist[edit]

In the original form for which this article was awarded GA status, the lead stated that Crowley was "erroneously labelled a Satanist". More recently the "erroneously" label has been removed and my attempts to revert it to the former state have been undone. I do certainly appreciate that the definition of who is and who isn't a Satanist are fuzzy (it's a very grey concept), and Crowley did certainly make reference to Satan within his work (alongside a whole host of other deities and mythological figures from all corners of the globe). However I do believe that in the lead we should be unequivocal in stating that Crowley was not a Satanist, lest readers unfamiliar with the details of occult history (and that will be most readers) come away with the mistaken impression that Crowley was an unashamed devil-worshipper who openly venerated Satan as part of his religion. Indeed there have even been earlier attempts to add "Satanist" into the list of occupations that Crowley had in the very first sentence. Clearly, a lot of people (especially evangelical Christians, perhaps) view Crowley very simplistically as a Satanist, yet this is a severe misunderstanding of him and his religious philosophy. I do not think that Wikipedia should be contributing to this misunderstanding. Moreover, as per policy we should also be guided by what the Reliable Sources here say. For instance, in Booth's biography (p. 284) it states that "Crowley was being perceived as a worshipper of Satan. He was not", while in his academic discussion of the impact of Crowley on later Satanic groups, Dyrendel (p. 370) stresses that while Crowley made positive use of some Satanic iconography and terminology, he did not self-designate as a Satanist and should not be treated as such. I would thus urge for either the "erroneously" to be restored or for an apposite alternative wording to be proposed. Best, Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:09, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

How about just saying "accused of Satanism"? That might work as a good compromise. I would also scrap "because of his embrace of the title 'The Beast'" for there were really a range of reasons why Crowley was labelled a Satanist, and we needn't reduce it down to just one reason. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:48, 6 March 2016 (UTC)
I have to agree. "Satanist" is an illogical half truth, and has more than a hint of POV in it. He also studied and meditated with Bhikku Ananda Maitreya - do we also describe him as a Theravada Buddhist? The analogies are endless, mainly because the man used the worlds religions and mystical cults as a huge toolkit. To label him as an adherent of any of them would be grossly misleading. Fiddlersmouth (talk) 23:29, 6 March 2016 (UTC)

My point here is that the statement was that he was 'labelled" a Satanist, which was and is true. That is an historical fact, and does not mean, one way or the other, that he was such. In fact it is critical to understanding how Crowley was and is viewed. Whether he self designated as such is more or less irrelevant. As I pointed out before his later interpretation of his invocation to his Holy Guardian Angel, and other places are direct invocations of Satan. The issue is admittedly complicated, but to say he wasn't categorically is as simplistic and misleading as to say that he was. I have no problem with trying to explain this matter, but to deny it absolutely, as the term 'erroneously' does is nonfactual in too many ways. I don't think Crowley needs to be whitewashed in this way. Certainly orthodox Satanists like LaVey and Aquino consider him satanic, and critical the Satanist movement. Stealthepiscoplian (talk Stealthepiscopalian 00:08, 7 March 2016 (UTC)Stealthepiscoplian — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stealthepiscopalian (talkcontribs)

I agree this is a very complicated issue, surrounded by ambiguities and varying perceptions. The “Wickedest Man in the World” epithet refers to the kind of behaviour we now associate with the “Satanic ritual abuse” meme, which accusation I think fair to call erroneous—or at least greatly exaggerated. There’s no question Crowley frequently presented a Luciferian image, antinomian and often stridently anti-Christian (or Antichrist-ian, if you like), but it’s my impression that much of this was calculated to challenge his audience’s preconceptions, as in the premise of R.A. Wilson’s Masks of the Illuminati, or just mischievously provocative ‘weirding the mundanes’. There is also difficulty surrounding the identity of the biblical Satan: the serpent in the Garden of Eden (revered by some Gnostics for trying to ‘deprogram’ Adam & Eve), the persecutor of Job (acting as Jehovah’s agent), the tempter of Jesus in the wilderness, and the Great Beast of the Apocalypse are all generally treated in the popular imagination as aspects of “the Devil”, but from the POV of a mythographer or an occultist there are plenty of reasons to distinguish them. Crowley‘s usage of symbols & allusions is often specific to a particular field of discourse (or “plane“), so his remarks about, say, the Devil as the God of those people one despises, identifying Satan with the Egyptian Set, and Baphomet as solar-phallic Lion-Serpent, are only weakly connected—and scarcely consistent with the average reader’s notion of Satanism. Altogether this is just the most salient aspect of Crowley’s very complicated relationship with Christianity, which defies any simplistic characterization and deserves a carefully nuanced treatment.—Odysseus1479 02:11, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

Crowley in the movies[edit]

In the 2010 movie La Herencia Valdemar [1] (inspired by the huge Lovecraft literature) historical figures like Lovecraft itself and Crowley were portrayed (and not some little cameos. Okay, maybe Lovecraft). Maybe a movie section can be a great addiction ;)

Has this issue been discussed in academic and other high-quality sources, thus testifying to its notability? Crowley has of course been referenced in a huge range of songs, artworks, and forms of literature and we have to be very careful unless we end up with a long list of trivia at the bottom of this article. If academic studies mention a particular Crowley appearance then I would be inclined to mention it; if they do not then I would be inclined to leave it out. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:11, 2 October 2017 (UTC)