Crowley Goes to Hollywood and the Music Industry (Part II)


…by Jonas E. Alexis 


urbanProdigious scholar Hugh B. Urban of Ohio State University writes in his study Magia Sexualis,

“From D. H. Lawrence and Oscar Wilde to Havelock Ellis, many British intellectuals were throwing off the sexual shackles of their Victorian parents and embracing a new ideal of erotic liberation, including the most ‘deviant’ and ‘abnormal’ acts such as masturbation and homosexual intercourse.”[1]

Aleister Crowley was a product of that era. Crowley himself was born and raised in a puritanical family. He admitted,

“[T]o us Victoria was sheer suffocation….She was a huge and heavy fog; we could not see, we could not breathe….[T]he spirit of her age had killed everything we cared for….The soul of England was stagnant, stupefied!”[2]

The English socialist poet Edward Carpenter, who himself was a proponent of sexual liberation, made similar claims.[3] So did D. H. Lawrence and others.[4]

By the time that Darwinian metaphysics began to spread like wild fire in the 1880s, morality was viewed as a relic of the past. It was inevitable, then, that sexual decadence among many intellectuals and writers was widespread, most specifically in the life of Oscar Wilde, who ended up contracting syphilis as a result.

Wilde would hire boys as prostitutes from the poorest section of society and used them.[5] One biographer declared that Wilde

“lavished money and cigarette cases and other gifts upon these boys, and cultivated a reputation for generosity and good will of which they took shameless advantage. This was the ‘feasting with panther’ of which he spoke later.”[6]

Wilde used to say,

“Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.”[7]

If wickedness does not exist, why not using young boys as sexual toys? Wilde was more than once accused of “posing as a sodomite” and was eventually arrested for “gross indecency.”[8] Like Crowley and William Butler Yeats, Wilde was a member of the occult group the Golden Dawn,[9] which practiced sexual magic as a vehicle for power and energy.

Wilde called his lustful passion “the quenchless flame, the worm that dieth not.”[10] The Picture of Dorian Gray is in many ways Wilde’s own autobiography dressed up in a fiction form. Yet compared to Crowley, Wilde was simply a novice.

 Crowley was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, who believed that man “should make genital eroticism the central point of his life.”[11] Many of Freud’s disciples, including Wilhelm Reich and Herbert Marcuse, took that sexual principle and made it “the necessary analogue and prerequisite of liberation…”[12]

Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley

Urban writes,

“If there is one figure with whom the practice of sex magic is generally associated in the modern imagination, it is surely Aleister Crowley.”[13]

Crowley, Urban moves on to say, “made explicit use of the most ‘deviant’ sexual acts, such as masturbation and homosexuality, as central components in his magical practice.”[14]

“Between 1914 and 1918, Crowley’s own diary, Rex de Arte Regia, records a long series of 309 acts of sexual magic for a variety of purposes.”[15]

Those points are not without evidence. Occult historian Colin Wilson adds:

“Crowley set about performing sexual magic with diligence, sodomizing Victor Neuberg [“an orthodox Jew who had be-come an agnostic and with whom Crowley played the passive recipient”] in Paris in 1913 as part of a magical ceremony.

“He also practiced sexual magic with a companion of Isadora Duncan’s, Mary D’Este Sturges, and they rented a villa in Italy for that purpose. He also took a troop of chorus girls to Moscow—they were called the Ragged Ragtime Girls—and had a violent affair with another “starving leopardess” of a girl, who needed to be beaten to obtain satisfaction.

“Crowley claims it was his first relationship of this sort, but it was not the last. Physical sadism was another taste he acquired…

“Crowley had now filed his two canine teeth to a sharp point, and when he met women, was inclined to give them the ‘serpent’s kiss,’ biting the wrist, or occasionally the throat, with the fangs.[16]

“Crowley covered the walls with paintings of people having sex in every position, and painted his studio—which he called the Chamber of Nightmares—with demons.

“He was convinced that an adept could only become free of the need for drugs by taking them freely and mastering the need for them; so piles of cocaine were left around for anyone to take like snuff, while heroin was supplied by a trader from the mainland.”[17]

Crowley “is said to have taken part in 150 ritual murders, most of whom were children.”[18]

In a specific magical ritual, Crowley actually baptized a frog as Christ and crucified it on a cross.[19] The dagger which he used to crucify the frog was called “Dagger of Art.”

This obviously indicates that Crowley knew quite well how powerful art is in the fight against the moral and esthetic order. In his highly detailed text Magick: In Theory and Practice, he postulated,

“There are three methods of invoking any Deity. The First Method consists of devotion to that Deity…

“The Second Method is the straightforward ceremonial invocation…

“The Third Method is the Dramatic, perhaps the most attractive of all; certainly it is so to the artist’s temperament, for it appeals to his imagination through his aesthetic sense.”[20]

He went on to say:

“In the third [Method], identity is attained by sympathy. It is very difficult for the ordinary man to lose himself completely in the subject of a play or a novel, but for those who can do so; this method is unquestionably the best.”[21]

What the master Satanist ends up saying is that actors and actresses, or even writers, can easily become possessed without even being aware of it. In other words, actors and actresses could knowingly or unknowingly play the part of a possessed person in their work.

Put simply, actors and actresses can invoke a deity if they simply “lose themselves in the subject of a play or novel.” The actors may even call those phenomena by different names, but the end result, according to Crowley, is the same.

This “method,” however, is in fact quite old. It has been known throughout the ages, in every culture. From philosophers to musicologists, it is understood that drama and music can be used as a direct link to demonic possession.[22] Nearly all the Greek writers and dramatis were aware of this phenomenon. Plato declares:

“People who are psychologically somewhat fragile, and who as the result of [the] god’s anger suffer from divine madness, cure themselves by practicing ritual trance, which is triggered by a musical motto and takes the form of a dance.

“Music and dance, by the effect of their movement, reintegrate the sick person into the general movement of the cosmos, and this healing is brought about thanks to the benevolence of gods who have been rendered propitious by sacrifices.”[23]

Scholar Gilbert Rouget writes: “To convey the fact that the possession state has become total, that it is at its height, Euripides writes that the god ‘in his fullness floods’ the human body of the one he possesses. And the latter, he notes, is then able to ‘tell the future.’”[24]

Rouget goes on to make this stunning observation:

“Music, by acting as both the signal for trance and the support for dance, essentially allows the possessed person to publicly identify himself to the god possessing him or her.”[25]

The late Michael Jackson, who got his moonwalk from the teachings of Aleister Crowley, would have agreed. He said,

“Anyway, I don’t do very many things until a certain force tells me to do them. The force tells me when and then I make my move.”[26]

Aleister Crowley said that his primer, The Book of the Law, was inspired by an entity that communicated through him:

“This book was dictated in Cairo between noon and 1 p.m. on three successive days, April 8th, 9th, and 10th in the year 1904. The Author called himself Aiwass, and claimed to be ‘the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.”[27]

What then was Aiwass’s message?

“I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, and be drunk thereof! Be strong, o man! Lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee of this.”[28]

What is essentially important here is that Crowley viewed “strange drugs” as a doorway to the occult. Occult historian Colin Wilson adds:

“All over northern Europe traditional art shows the fairy-people and sorcerers surrounded by mushrooms, usually the ‘liberty cap’ mushroom, now identified as psilocybin, the same used by Native American shamans for around 4000 years.

“The Irish Gaelic name for this fabulous fungus, Pokeen, means little god…Crowley spoke for this tradition when he said true religion always invokes Dionysus, Aphrodite and the Muses, which he also called ‘wine, women and song.’”[29]

Crowley was not the only person to view drugs as a gateway to some other dimension. Aldous Huxley, who took drugs with the late Timothy Leary of Harvard, felt the same way. Here’s an interesting conversation between Huxley and Leary, held while they were under the influence of drugs:

“Huxley’s eyes were closed…Suddenly he clapped his hands against his bony leg. ‘Your role is quite simple. Become a cheerleader for evolution. That’s what I did and my grandfather before me.

“These brain-drugs, mass-produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.’”[30]

Keep in mind that Leary claimed to have been “Crowley reborn, and is supposed to complete the work Crowley began, preparing humanity for cosmic consciousness.”[31]

William Sargant, a famed British psychiatrist, wrote,

“Aldous Huxley, in his writings and in talking to me personally, insisted that mescaline had taken him into the presence of God.”[32]

Sargant added,

“Like sexual techniques, drugs have also been used from time immemorial to induce feelings of possession by gods and spirits, and one of Aleister Crowley’s disciples is entirely in harmony with thousands of years of religious and magical tradition, and too much modern tragedy, when he says that ‘the only really legitimate excuse for resorting to drugs is the scientific one, i.e. for the acquisition of praeterhuman knowledge and power, which includes poetic inspiration or any other form of creative dynamism.’

Rainer Werner Fassbiner
Rainer Werner Fassbiner

“Poetic inspiration, prophetic power and other forms of ‘creative dynamism,’ whether drug-induced or not, have been regarded in many societies as the result of temporary possession of a human being by a supernatural being or force.

“It is pity that modern proponents of the use of marijuana, L.S.D. and the rest have so seldom inquired into the vast literature of this subject, for the effects produced by various different drugs have been reported time and time again in the past.

“In the East, the early Vedic hymns sang the praises of soma, the “King of Plants,” omnipotent, all-healing, the gift of immortality, consumption of which elevated the worshipper to the level of the divine, and which was itself considered a god. What some was is uncertain, but it may have been a mushroom, Amanita muscaria or fly agarics.

“Tantric and other Indian sects have continually resorted to drugs to shift the plane of perception and attain ecstatic states and mystical illumination. Drugs, drinks, chemicals and special medicinal preparations were and still are used for this purpose.”[33]

And Leary himself knew exactly what was happening to an entire generation of young people through the drug movement, particularly through the music of the Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, and The Beatles. Barry Miles, in his biography of Paul McCartney, writes,

“Just as many of the great novels of the ‘Lost Generation’ of the twenties were largely written in an alcoholic haze, so much of the music of the sixties was made under the influence of drugs.

“The Doors made their first album on acid; Brian Wilson recorded some of the Beach Boys’ greatest tracks lying on the floor of the studio with the microphone adjusted so that he could sing from that position, so stoned on hash that he was unable to stand up.

“Eric Clapton’s most highly acclaimed track, ‘Layla,’ was made on heroin, as were ten years’ worth of Keith Richards’s contributions to the Rolling Stones. The Beatles’ use of drugs in the mid-sixties caused an enormous change in their music and attitudes.”[34]

McCartney acknowledged:

“So it was at a time when, having been to America, we started to expand our horizons…So once pot was established as part of the curriculum you started to get a bit more surreal material coming from us, a bit more abstract stuff.

“It was the first time I’d been exposed to all these new influences and had the time and inclination to bother with them all.

“I always have to give marijuana credit for that. It was Bob Dylan that turned us all on to pot in America and it opened a different kind of sensibility…”[35]

Under the influence of drugs, McCartney admitted, the Beatles’ songs and music would come through in less than an hour. Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s wife, confessed:

“More than anything it was the time and place when the Beatles came up. Something did happen there…It was as if several people gathered around a table and a ghost appeared. It was that kind of communication.

“So they were like mediums in a way. It was more than four people….As I said, they were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying but it was coming through them…”

Actors, directors and film producers come to similar conclusions, though they use different languages to convey their ideas. For example, Wes Craven, known for his work on horror films, admitted that he progressively became Freudian when he began to take drugs.

“I really felt that’s the way I perceive consciousness. That is, in my ways, a very carefully controlled dream of waking consciousness. That once you start to get into something like dreams, the mind becomes quite blurred.

“Certainly, during the time of my life when I was doing psychedelic drugs and so forth, I could see that suddenly reality all shimmers and it’s transparent.”[36]

One Hollywood producer and director who indirectly followed this principle throughout his life was the late Rainer Werner Fassbinder. One biographer wrote of the director:

“In later years Fassbinder had such a controlled relationship to cocaine that he used it as a working tool: he could lock himself in a room with four days’ supply, write like a madman without sleeping and eating and then sleep for twenty-four hours, before continuing in the same way. One of the scripts that was completed in this way was based on Pittigrilli’s novel Cocaine.”[37]

Another individual who followed that guideline in a slightly different way was Carlos Castaneda, who himself was an admirer of both Crowley and William S. Burroughs.

Castaneda when to UCLA and got a Ph.D. in anthropology. His doctoral thesis was entitled, “Sorcery: A Description of the World,” which later was published as a book entitled, Journey to Ixtlan: Lessons of Don Juan.[38] Yet many of his books turned out to be hoaxes.[39]

Castaneda, like his teachers Crowley and Burroughs, took drugs as a form of enlightenment. Among other things, he encouraged “psychosis, suicide, and murder.”[40] His lovers, “The Witches,” were said to have committed suicide.

Yet Castaneda provided the backdrop for the group The Eagle, which later sang one of the most popular songs of all time, “Hotel California.”[41]

The crucial point here is that both old and new actors and actresses could testify that drugs took them to places they perhaps would not want to go. And Hollywood is one of the many places on earth where one can easily find directors, actors and actresses taking drugs to “enhance” their performance.

Consider for example actress Helen Mirren, who plays in psychopathic movies such as The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. At the age of 63, Mirren finally admitted of smoking cocaine until the 1980s.[42]

Peter Greenaway—director of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover–described the film as

“a passionate and angry dissertation for me on the rich, vulgarian, Philistine, anti-intellectual stance of the present cultural situation in Great Britain, supported by that wretched woman who is raping the country, destroying the welfare state, the health system, mucking up the educational system, and creating havoc everywhere.”[43]

Regarding the vile and irresponsible languages in the movie, Greenway declared, “I took a very great pleasure in writing this part!”[44] Greenaway went on to admit,

“I wanted to create deliberately, almost in a technical way, a character of great evil, who had no redeeming features…

“European literature and all Western cinema have been full of evil parts. But there’s always this sneaking feeling when evil comes along, that it is something to be secretly admired or envied or is fascinating. I wanted to create a character so totally evil that you couldn’t even love to hate him.”[45]

Greenaway even admitted that the movie itself has a Sadean twist.[46] Greenaway loves to show films that include

“Cannibalism, murder, rape, necrophilia, a need for provocation…If we wish to have a living cinema, a cinema that deals with really important things rather than being some popcorn entertainment or ivory tower observation then we must have the courage to articulate and show these things.”[47]

Yet Greenaway himself admitted that he was deliberately corrupting the morals of his viewers. The fact is that Greenway could not have enough guts to watch his own corruption! He said:

“there were particularly horrible things that occurred in front of the camera in this film, things which I myself found difficult to watch.”[48]

We pointed out in a previous article that Heath Ledger, who redefined the meaning of the Joker in The Dark Knight, took drugs heavily, which eventually led to his tragic death.[49]

Some people claim that they need a cup of coffee every morning in order to function properly, and it seems that for some Hollywood celebrities, “strange drugs” are coffee.

Most of those celebrities, at some point in their careers, had to take drugs in order to enhance their performances. The list is basically endless: Shia Labeouf,[50] Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton (of Termanitor2), Robert Downey Jr., Drew Barrymore, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, Tila Tequila, Mischa Barton, Jeremy London, River Phoenix, David Hasselhoff, Farrah Fawcett, Nicole Richie, Macaulay Culkin, Edie Falco, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlie Sheen, Tatum O’Neal, Johnny Depp, Ed Harris, Michael J. Fox, Brittany Murphy, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Elizabeth Taylor, Kiersten Dunst, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Keith Richards, Colin Farrell, Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, George Michael, Naomi Campbell, Megan Fox, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt, etc. Natalie Portman admitted,

“Yeah, I didn’t touch pot till I was in my 20s. I didn’t get flat-out drunk until I went to college. But I think that’s a good thing in many ways.”[51]

Perhaps there are some truths in her corrupt lyrics, in which she admitted that she cheated on every test while at Harvard:



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A counter-argument would be for anyone to just watch an eclipse! Does that mean that some of the people who believed that the earth was flat were by definition wicked? Absolutely not. Ignorance could be the cause.

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[1] Hugh B. Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006), 111.

[2] Ibid., 112.

[3] Ibid., 114.

[4] . H. Lawrence, The Portable D. H. Lawrence (New York: The Viking Press, 1947), 651-652.

[5] See for example Lynne Kelleher, “Wilde’s Lust for Young Boys in the Spotlight,” Irish Examiner, January 30, 2012.

[6] Richard Ellman, Oscar Wilde (New York: Knopf, 1988), 389.

[7] Ken Mogg, “Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Paradox,” Senses of Cinema, May 2005.

[8] Elizabeth Kantor, Politically Incorrect Guide to English and American Literature, 157.

[9] Documented in John Carter, Sex and Rockets (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2004), 43.

[10] Neil McKenna, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde (New York: Basic Books, 2005), 109.

[11] Quoted in Urban, Magia Sexualis, 113.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., 106.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid., 122.

[16] Colin Wilson, The Occult: A History (New York: Random House, 1971), 362-363.

[17] Ibid., 365.

[18] Cathy Burns, Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star (Mt. Carmel, PA: Sharing, 1997), 102.

[19] Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), 206-201, 292.

[20] Aleister Crowley, Magick: In Theory and Practice (New York: Dover, 1976), 12-13.

[21] Ibid., 15.

[22] For a historical study on this, see for example, T. K. Oesterreich, Possession—Demoniacal and Other—Among Primitive Races, in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Modern Times (New York: University Books, 1996); Gilbert Rouget, Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations Between Music and Possession (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985); Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson, eds., Music and the Muses: The Culture of “Mousike” in the Classical Athenian City (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Frances S. Connelly, The Sleep of Reason: Primitivism in Modern European Art and Aesthetics,1725-1907 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995); John Burt Foster, Heirs to Dionysus: A Nietzschean Current in Literary Modernism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981); Charles Segal, Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides’ Bacchae (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982); Eric Csapo and Margaret C. Miller, eds., The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Martin Persson Nilsson, The Dionysiac Mysteries of the Hellenistic and Roman Age (New York: Arno Press, 1975); Carl Roebuck, ed. The Muses at Work: Arts, Crafts, and Professions in Ancient Greece and Rome (Boston: MIT Press, 1969); Steven M. Friedson, Dancing Prophets: Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996); Marina Roseman, Healing Sounds from the Malaysian Rainforest: Temiar Music and Medicine (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1991); I. M. Lewis, Ecstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism (New York: Penguin, 1971); Michael Tucker, Dreaming With Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth-Century Art and Culture (New York: HarperCollins, 1992).

[23] Quoted in Gilbert Rouget, Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations Between Music and Possession (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 205.

[24] Ibid., 191.

[25] Ibid., 206.

[26] Dave Marsh, Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream (New York: Bantams Books, 1985), 195.

[27] Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law (New York: Weiser Books, 1976), 5.

[28] Ibid., 31.

[29] Quoted in John Carter, Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 1999), xviii

[30] Timothy Leary, Flashbacks: An Autobiography (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1983), 43-44.

[31] Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger, Vol. I (Tempe, AZ: New Falcon Publications, 1977), 100.

[32] William Sargant, The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism, and Faith Healing (New York: J. B. Lippencott, 1973), 106.

[33] Ibid., 99.

[34] Barry Miles, Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1977), 184.

[35] Ibid., 185.

[36] Quoted in Brian Robb, Screams and Nightmares: The Films of West Craven (New York: The Overlook Press, 1998), 13-14.

[37] Christian Braad Thomsen, Fassbinder: The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius (London: Faber and Faber, 1991), 42.

[38] William Patrick Patterson and Barbara Allen Patterson, The Life and Teachings of Carlos Castaneda (CA: Arete Communications, 2008), 2-3.

[39] Robert Marshall, “The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda,”


[41] Some have suggested that the song “Hotel California” seems to be a reference to the Church of Satan itself. The church is located in “California Street.” The recording manager of the group admitted that they had dealings with the Church of Satan.


[43] quoted in Douglas Keesey, The Films of Peter Greenaway: Sex, Death and Provocation (NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2006), 82.

[44] Ibid., 83.

[45] Ibid., 82.

[46] Vernon Gran and Marguerite Gras, Peter Greenaway: Interviews (MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2000), 97.

[47] Ibid., 61-62.

[48] Keesey, The Films of Peter Greenaway., 83.

[49] See for example Brian J. Robb, Heath Ledger: Hollywood’s Dark Star (London: Plexus, 2002008).


[51] “Natalie Portman on Getting Drunk, Smoking Pot,” The Huffington Post, December 3, 2009.

Author Details
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Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, history of Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.
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