Time to get over the Crowley hero worship

Posted on June 1, 2008
Filed Under Magic | 8 Comments

I was pretty dismayed when I found out they were going to make a movie about Crowley. As if he doesn’t already have enough hero worship. So I was fairly pleased when I read Dave Evans review of the new movie, in which he states, “For anyone who regards Crowley in a positive light, this is going to be excruciating, and possibly infuriating. For anyone who regards him in a negative light, this appalling falsehood of a film is going to reinforce existing prejudices and add some new ones in people who assume the film is based on something accurate as to Crowley’s behaviour.

And you know what I have to say to that: Good…Fantastic.

Because honestly, if there’s one thing I’m tired of hearing in the occult community, it’s how Crowley is all that and a bag of chips, and how he’s contributed so much to magical thought and practice. You know what: Crowley plagiarized a lot of his work from Pascal Beverly Randolph, and while he wrote some decent material on magic, his writing isn’t the best, his theory on how magic works is sloppy, and the fact is other people have written better works since he died. His only two claims to fame is that he published Golden Dawn material that the public wasn’t supposed to see and much like LaVey he was able to be a really good showman. I honestly wonder if people would hold him in the same reverence, if he hadn’t known how to make such a spectacle of himself.

Time to get over the Crowley hero worship. He isn’t all that and a bag of chips and he never was. He was a magician who contributed to the occult knowledge, but there are many others who also contributed to occult knowledge who seem to get thrown to the side because OMG Crowley!!! When I hear how Crowley’s writing is poetry, I’d like to point out he’s a great imitator of Swinburne and in fact cribbed his poetry style from Swinburne. When I hear how nothing that comes after Crowley is valid, I want to ask the person if s/he has actually read anything other than Crowley (and chances are they haven’t). When I hear how great Crowley is and how much he did for magic, I just want to say, “yeah he did a couple things, and there are so many others who have done even more.”

And as for the fact that the movie on Crowley might reinforce some falsehoods…guess what they aren’t falsehoods…not really. Crowley brought it on himself with all of his activities…He wanted to be bigger than life and notorious and that’s part of his legacy. That film just depicts some of the aspects of Crowley that people don’t want to see because it takes some of the shine away from him.

Get over the hero worship of Crowley, seriously. It’s time to recognize he’s just one among many. If you want to recognize what he did, sure take time to appreciate his works and how they’ve influenced your life, but don’t treat him like he’s the patron saint of magic. Go read some other works, go do some magic, and stop focusing on just what he did.

Honestly, I’d love to hear people talk about what other authors did in the same tone of reverence they give him. Actually, no I wouldn’t. I’d rather people just focus on magic and using it to make their lives better. I think the biggest problem I really have is that people set Crowley up in their minds as some kind of saint of magic they probably never think or even try to go past him, to reach for their own stars, for their own heights…better to look at what he did than actually try and surpass him or simply work magic because you recognize it has value in your life…that’s the impression I get so often when it comes to Crowley and how people practically roll over with bellys up when they talk about him.

So yeah get over the hero worship…Crowley’s dead and gone and been so for over half a century. He isn’t coming back. And his works on magic are ok, but there are others…but really, just stop praising him and start doing some magic and thinking for yourself.

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