The Crowley “Joke” & My Allergic Reaction to Occultism

I posted this at a thread at the forum but it seems worth restating here for a wider audience.

Crowley later claimed that his comment about performing the child-sacrificial ritual 150 times a year was a joke-reference to masturbation. Back in the day when I was more naïve about these things, I took him at his word. Now I’d counter with two points: firstly, even if it were a joke, or “joke,” he could hardly not have known that countless people who read this passage (in his most famous book) would have taken the exhortation at face value. In how many cases might the words have been acted on? Did Crowley care?

Secondly, from what I’ve come to understand in the past few years of looking into the systemic, ritual abuse of children in the UK and elsewhere, one of the standard methods of these practitioners is to make “jokes” about what they do—or rather to speak openly about it and then, if they are met with a shocked response, claim to have “only been joking.” Apparently this same method was practiced by Neil Kramer on and after the recent podcast we did together (in reference to his desire to be a contract killer). Those who take the boasts seriously but are not disturbed by them, on the other hand, can be trusted with further disclosures.

This doesn’t mean everyone who makes “jokes” about such stuff is applying this method; for all I know Crowley and Kramer were/are as innocent of the dark dealings they like to brag about as their respective legions of followers need to believe they are (or at least need others to believe). At this point I don’t really care. Joking about such stuff and/or professing it to be irrelevant betrays a complete lack of sensitivity to the stark reality that’s being both concealed and facilitated by these cavalier attitudes.

I confess that currently I am suffering from an extreme allergic reaction to this sort of overly intellectual, starkly insensitive “masculine” energy, hence this post comes from a desire to be as clear as possible about my personal feelings about this, without trying to assert that it is necessarily anything more than that (personal).

I have an extreme sensitivity to alcohol too, probably partly because my mother drank while I was in the womb (and even during my birth process). As a result, I can’t have a glass of wine without suffering from a hangover the next day, and so I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in years.

At this point, I feel the same way about occultism. Whether it is due to the toxicity of the substance or my own allergy to it is largely irrelevant, to me at least; either way, I wish to create some distance.

29 thoughts on “The Crowley “Joke” & My Allergic Reaction to Occultism

  1. interesting that the revelations of all this “dark matter” at the heart of our civilization seem to largely be provoking an “autoimmune” response, for example in Britain where society has been given a glimpse of what was going on but is now largely looking away

    it is no doubt easier on a certain level, though not “better”, for us to avoid these subjects. it seems the “pain” of hearing about what’s been going on is given greater importance than the pain of the victims

    as impossible as it is to find a “final” answer to these problems, silencing discussion of them altogether is hardly ideal

  2. Strange you should mention that (ref Kramer’s comment) I listened to said Pod Cast and was depressed for several days after. I’ve enjoyed Niel’s work over the last couple of years, and thought him to be a noble man always emphasising the value of good conduct; he then kind of wrecked it all with one fell swoop, when in my mind he was being quite genuine about his desire should such an opportunity present it self….. For all his talk of authenticity, ‘the winged man promised many things, to leap and bound from cloud to hill, at last the truth began to sink, he had no special skill at all, he was just like me tied to the wall’…. Is he just another guy with a goatee who’s gotten carried away? oh maybe I’m being a bit harsh on him?….Maybe he was aknowleging the shadow?

    • fear of being harsh accompanied by the impulse to come up with rationalizations to defend/explain …. these are familiar to me in my own psychological reactions, but also things I have read about betrayal trauma, how desperate is the need to find a way to retain trust in the caregiver, even to the point of betraying our own sense of right or true.

      without being too intrusive, i hope, depression is a strong reaction to something that to many (apparently) seems quite trivial (tho again I relate, it upset me also); have you considered that the experience could echo something in your past?

      • Thank you for such a thoughtful reply Jason. Like all great consolers your words hold a looking glass to the reader’s psyche without the feeling of intrusion. Of course i can’t burden Mr Kramer’s wayward quip with the weight of my depression, even if it garnished it for a period of time. Yes….. I would say your point about betrayal trauma was on the money; I have tended to seek out patriarchal figures and overly identify with them. Henry Miller was a case in point, I internalised his work to such a point I was no longer sure where his persona ended and mine began, and I would definitely connect that to the echo of bitter childhood trauma. So we identify these deep-rooted fractures; we shine the torch light on them, then what? Would you say they dissolved of their own accord?

        • It releases us from the tension of straining NOT to see; that, in my opinion is what oppresses us and distorts our souls’ expression, not the wound per se. It also may be what prevents the healing, if we contort ourselves into a protective position that only keeps the blood from flowing where it needs to go, to the wound.

          Put differently, it’s not the trauma that prevents us from living but the delusional beliefs (crucial fictions) we create to hide it from ourselves. Once we let ourselves see, they are no longer necessary, or possible.

          And you don’t have to thank the looking glass for showing your face. 😉

  3. Why don’t you share the entirety of the “On the Bloody Sacrifice and Matters Cognate” chapter with its accompanying footnotes from Aleister Crowley’s Magick: Book 4 so that its actual context can be understood? Why are you relying on such an obvious propaganda piece to make an argument against Crowley’s “jokes”? This is the very definition of a straw man argument. This is also one of the usual tactics used when it comes to divert attention away from the real child abuse and molestation that goes on; point to the “weirder” elements in society, like those who may adhere to alternative ideas like occultism for example, as the only ones who engage in abusive practices when in fact child abuse, sexual or otherwise, happens much more frequently in your regular old average households by average people that no one suspects nor do they want to suspect. Magick and occultism has little to nothing to do with it. The only thing “ritual” about it is that it happens over and over while everyone turns a blind eye.

  4. Hi Jasun – i am wondering what you mean by ‘occult’? I ask because i see it defined quite variously and you don’t provide an explanation in the text. I’ve seen people define ‘occult’ as OTO, Kabbalah, LaVey-style satanism, western esoteric tradition including various secret societies like masons and odd fellows, yoga, heavy metal, diamond vehicle/tantric buddhism, and etc. I grew up in a town in the USA where the fundamentalist protestant christians thought the catholics were occultists.

    • I meant it in the quite strict sense of Western Occultism, which can be traced back to Theosophy, Golden Dawn, Matherson, & Crowley. I would be willing to extend that to all the other traditions with some qualification, since I’m not so familiar with those. I do Yoga twice a week, but it’s strictly for physical health. I have no interest in the spiritual aspects, so-called.

      Someone might counter that Jungian psychology is a form of occultism, and certainly Jung dabbled and (like Freud) there are reasons to distrust him and his work (tho nothing remotely comparable to Crowley, IMO). But I have met a few Jungian therapists and the like and they seem balanced enough to me; not so with Crowley-followers. My general rule is to judge a school of thought (besides taking a few courses if you can, and which I have), by its “graduates.”

      • ” I do Yoga twice a week, but it’s strictly for physical health. I have no interest in the spiritual aspects, so-called.”

        How is it that you believe this is possible? I can’t imagine you believing anyone else making that type of claim about any other spiritual/religious system.

        Also, you are very convinced of the importance of keeping our experience grounded in the body (i may not have made the best statement there, but you speak on this topic frequently enough) – in that case, the ability of yoga to calm the relationship between body and mind, to cultivate a respectful, attentive, and non-reactive conversation between body and mind should be a positive beyond the ‘strictly physical’, wouldn’t it?

        • yes, I meant I have no interest in learning or talking about them, not that there are no spiritual benefits, per se.

          it’s similar to how I approach house reno: it’s certainly spiritual, but not because I have to add an overlay to it; the physical IS spiritual. My own physical condition (tightness etc) reflects an internal imbalance; address the physical in the right way and the inner takes care of itself is my view. I benefit internally from yoga simply by showing up.

      • Hi Jasun! i don’t see a ‘reply’ option for your answer, but in any case i’m glad i asked – your explication fits nicely with what i know from doing the yoga as well as your own viewpoints as i understand them. I was confused! 🙂

        I’ve been following your work on and off for years now – and i have noticed the biggest changes in you since you started fixing up the house. It seems that working with physical practicalities and mundanities is a very valuable balance to us super-thinky types.

        And we get nice stuff that way, too – woohoo! Happy day, give my best to the legume, steph

  5. Using the excuse of “I was only joking” when someone gets offended is a common tactic in my experience. But sometimes its true and in some (tho not all) of those cases the joke itself is offensive. I suppose the safest way to go would be to refrain from all jokes. But think this is earnestness to a fault and creates a humorless world which doesn’t seem very appealing to me. So this raises the question: what is appropriate humor (assuming that is the actual intent and not an excuse)?

    • We could all — collectively — decide to change our name to “humor beings” , instead of the commonly used term “human beings”. This is my proposal to fix the conundrum addressed by sweatyk.

      This would encourage us all to constantly tease things apart into to their (each our own) essential component parts/wholes.

    • While humor is notoriously subjective, I’d defy anyone to make a case for the Crowley passage (or even NK’s admission) as humorous, intentionally or otherwise.

      What we’re looking at here, at best, isn’t a joke but a wind-up, something meant to trigger people’s emotional/moral reactions and then expose them as being reactive, moralistic, square, and humorless (or, to be more charitable, to allow them to see their own reactive natures). At best it’s a form of manipulation (set up and expose) and in most circumstances it would be termed passive aggressive behavior, or subtle bullying. Gurus and the like get a free pass for such antics via the notion of crazy wisdom. But is crazy wisdom really an explanation for the behavior, or only an excuse? In other words, does it really help anyone beside the perpetrator?

  6. On your podcast with Neil Kramer I was struck by your reaction to Neil offering to hunt you a deer, you said ”i’m very impressed, that’s the most impressive thing i’ve heard about neil kramer, that changes everything’ (25mins in part 2)
    Is hunting a deer so different from being an assasin? Or was your reaction a joke? Perhaps he thought being an assasin would impress you.

  7. I realized after that I should have checked that he also guts and skins the deer; that is the part that impresses me (tho I am sure shooting a deer is not easy either).

    Is hunting deer really so different from being an assassin? Are you serious?

    I don’t think he was trying to impress me, he had already brought up assassin as a valid life path on Red Ice the week before we spoke.

  8. Someone tell me how the word iconoclast came to subtly enter my mind a few times these recent days.
    I only check the sites off synchromysticblogspotters aggregation page which auticulture is now one.
    I didn’t know the word, unlike “sodomy” which “the spirit” does refer to one who come out of her…

  9. Holly cow, you sure are hung up on Neil Kramer. I don’t want to keep swooping in on his side, partly because I’m sure he dose not need it, but mostly cause I don’t care. What I do care about is how easy the thread of consciousness can be lost, ether by the over relating to someones persona or disliking, both are equally good.
    I guess I should admit that through my own GURU of ADHD, I have never fell into the trap of a human GURU type (besides Don Juan, but of course he was a “fictional” character based on archetype) and so have always been able to get around personae to the message it’s self. This is mostly, I think< due to my inability to stick with one thing too long.
    Personally I would say that you and Neil are contemporaries and both a bit guilty of self indulgences.

    Lastly, and I think you may know this, the deeper you go down the rabbit hole (or whatever the preferred euphemism one chooses to represent consciousness expansion or whatever…) the more tricky and sophisticated are the "traps", thus helping one who would see to not get stuck and keep going/growing, and one who can't see, places to get stuck until they ripen…so it goes

  10. Especially the part on child-murder shows how smart-mouthing is usually on expense of a much more important reality. Hedonism and Narcissism are not as harmless, as modern media want us to believe. I would further wonder why an occultist who is at terms with his chosen path has so much need for anything anathema to occultism.

    Personally I always thought he should have returned to university and graduate. That badly handled inferiority-complex made it damn hard to consider him an empowered self. And up to this day Crowley is known for his social scandals, nowadays fame-phishing, and not for anything noteworthy of occult prowess which the world did not get done without him.

    I think your ‘allergy’ is a wise move. Just like turning off TV and doing something lively with ones life instead. Occultism spoils our own inner well-being much more often than it furthers our survival or prosperity. Goodbye!

  11. It’s not exactly a joke, but it is a coded reference to masturbation. For Crowley, his semen was both “the sacrifice” and “the sacrament”. References to “the child” in the context of sacrifice, in his writings, refers either to the male’s semen or to the female’s mentrual blood. In the original chapter, Crowley does give the admonishment that – if the reader is not an initiate of the highest degrees – he/she won’t understand the concept properly and should therefore leave the whole subject alone. I realize that won’t abate your concern, which I’m not dismissing.

    You said: “he could hardly have known that countless people who would read this book…”, but it’s not reasonable to assume he envisioned that at all. He had 3000 copies printed, so at best he was envisioning 3000 people reading that chapter, and no doubt realistically expected to sell less than half that number – since that was typical of his various books actual past sales. I’m sure he wasn’t expecting random people with no prior interest in his writings or the subject of ceremonial ritual to “pick it up because it looked interesting” at their local booksellers, either. Do you think that was his intent/belief?

    I am in agreement with you, about Occultism in general. I’d also say more specifically, that “sex magic” is a stupid & pointless superstitious practise. You seem to be missing something important here, however. Crowley was, in his lifetime, a person of very little importance and infintismal influence on the society in which he lived. He should be nothing more than an eccentric historic curiosity today – of interest to no one other than certain kinds of academics and tiny communities of Thelemic esotericism-nerds – and that would probably be the case, if not for the well financed and media savvy, cultesque slanderers & demonizers of his day and of every day since his death. Popularization of Crowley’s existence and his writings has never been powered by the tiny fringe of genuine fans. It is powered by people like you. Have you gone through those postings of yours on Rigorous Intuition, and here, and counted the number of times you referenced him? Crowley, Crowley, Crowley, you are obsessed with him whether you recognise that or not, and you continuously broadcast his name and imaginary exploits. Look in the mirror, Mr Horsley. You’re a Crowley evangelist.

    • Ex- and repentant. Hence posts of this nature. Is your point that looking at Crowley at all, even to break the spell of the mythmakers, is only adding energy to the egregore? If not, then it seems dualistic and a bit hysterical. Surely the quality of attention and sort of analysis counts for something?

  12. Come now, Mr Horsley – you are an intelligent and insightful person, with exactly the right family history, social history and life journeys to answer that question for yourself. But if you wish, I will spell it out. Perhaps someone else who reads this may benefit from it – who knows?

    Does it make any difference if a sexual sadist masturbates to “120 Days of Sodom” or to the graphic details of a genuine abuse victim’s life history narrative? Remember that Dennis Cooper said:

    “For reasons I don’t understand, I had been fascinated by the axis of sex and violence for as far back as my memories went. When I was a child, I had nightmares in which that combination of impulses was paramount, and when I hit puberty, those kinds of scenarios entered my fantasy life. I found them both extremely terrifying and very exciting in equal measure…
    I was riveted by real-life crimes of that nature, both in history and in the world around me, and I would obsess over them in secret, recounting them in detail as well as trying to analyze my interest in them in diaries…
    When I was really young, maybe 12, there was this article in a newspaper that these three boys who were 11, 12 and 13 or something like that had been found naked and killed in the mountains right behind where I lived. I remember I was so excited about it, it was weird. I thought it was the most fascinating story I’d ever heard. I do remember that all my friends who I talked about it with thought it was totally weird. They were all like, “eeek-aauk!” So I knew there was something weird about me. And then I made a friend of mine go with me to look for the place where they were killed. We used to go hiking up there all the time. We went camping for three days trying to find the exact spot…”


    “Basically, I stumbled on the entrance to a kind of secret, utterly amoral little world that existed in the nooks and crannies of Amsterdam where very extreme things went on and were made available to me.
    That in and of itself hugely influenced my prose, and was a revelation, as well as giving me the need and energy to experience real life equivalents of my most profound and scariest fantasies first hand, then write about them both while I was in that state and when I was sober and myself. It helped me understand the difference between the fantasy of something and its actual nuts and bolts, and having the most extreme experiences available to me helped me understand who I was in relationship to them. My experiment escalated over the course of about eight months until I found myself in one situation where things went so out of control that I was forced to make the most important decision of my life…”

  13. Freemasonry-Crowley-Theosophy-ALS Ice Bucket Challenge-Brave The Shave

    “According to Gnostics, it is the most primal aspect of God. To Greek philosophers and the Pythagoreans, the circumpunct represents God, or the Monad – the point of the beginning of creation, and eternity. It is the sun of astrologers and astronomers; the alchemical gold of the alchemist …

    As you can see, the circumpunct is a symbol that can help evolve our souls to become truly illuminated. An enlightened soul who is “I AM.”

    In order to know the meaning of this symbol, you first must understand how the world in which we live operates.

    The modern man-made world is ruled by chaos which confuses people and often leads their souls astray. Man-u-fact-ured chaos. This is why the motto of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry is ORDO AB CHAO. A Latin term meaning “Order from (out of) Chaos.”

    33rd Freemason, and one of Masonry’s foremost scholars, Manly P. Hall had written about the circumpunct in the Lectures on Ancient Philosophy view;

    The keys to all knowledge are contained in the dot, the line, and the circle. The dot is universal consciousness, the line is universal intelligence, and the circle is universal force – the threefold, unknowable Cause of all knowable existence (the three hypostases of Atma). In man the spirit is represented by the dot and conscious activity or intelligence by the line. Conscious activity is the key to intelligence, because consciousness belongs to the sphere of the dot and activity to the sphere of the circle.”

    “Freemasonry is absolutely full of symbolism. One of the objects most closely linked with the Brotherhood is the compass, which would be the most useful instrument, of course, for producing a circumpunct.”

    The circled dot, circumpunct, or circle with a point at its centre is an ancient symbol. It can represent:

    Other uses

    A nazar is a circled-dot-shaped amulet believed to protect against the evil eye
    # As a symbol of an Entered Apprentice Freemason[1]

    Duncan, Malcom (1866). Duncan’s Masonic Ritual and Monitor or Guide to the Three Symbolic Degrees of the Ancient York Rite, and the Degrees of Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and the Royal Arch. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald.

    In a letter from Charles Webster Leadbeater to an underage student (Leadbeater also encouraged his students to undertake magical masturbation)

    “I am glad to hear of the rapid growth and strength of the results. Twice a week is permissible, but you will soon discover what brings the best effect. The meaning of the sign [here appears a circle with a dot in the centre] is urethra. Spontaneous manifestations are undesirable and should be discouraged. [Then the coded passage which reads:] If it will not come without help, he needs rubbing more often, but not too often or he will not come well. Does this happen when you are asleep? Tell me fully. Glad sensation is so pleasant. Thousand kisses darling.” [coded passage ends] [15]
    (also see

    (Leadbeater also had a book called The Circle Within My Circle)

    “The theme of Moore’s From Hell was Masonic ritual murders that bring about the 20th century. In Watchmen, a similar sacrificial rite brings about the 21st. Both Dr. Manhattan and William Gull (in From Hell) are, has been observed, Antichrist figures; symbols of patriarchal rule centered on the rational intellect–scientific dictatorship. Their God has been wrongly placed in the head (thus the circumpunct over Dr. Manhattan’s forehead) and not in the heart.

    The Lost Symbol: Special Illustrated Edition: A Novel

    In Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, the bald villain Mal’akh tattoos a circumpunct on his head, thinking that it is the Lost Word (it isn’t). Read esoterically, Brown’s novel is a perfect alchemical allegory: they encounter the Hand of the Mysteries and find the Unfinished Pyramid in the Heart of the Earth, which the then have to “heat”. The capstone of the pyramid is actually carried by Langdon in a little cube-shaped box, which later unfolds into a cross. (He had the capstone with him the whole time, you see.) The villain has a tattoo of a Masonic arch on himself, and Brown explicitly says that his phallus occupies the “keystone”–but of course, since he castrated himself, he will never find the Lost Word, which Brown identifies with the Logos. At the end of the book, they find the Lost Word in the “heart of a nation”–beneath the Washington Monument. ”

    {Osiris’ Phallus = Washington Monument)

    Excerpt from the Lost Symbol

    “As Langdon peered through the predawn mist at the sprawling geometry of museums and monuments before him, his eyes returned to the Washington Monument. He pictured the lone Bible in the buried cornerstone and thought of how the Word of God was really the word of man.

    He thought about the great circumpunct, and how it had been embedded in the circular plaza beneath the monument at the crossroads of America. Langdon thought suddenly of the little stone box Peter had entrusted to him. The cube, he now realized, had unhinged and opened to form the same exact geometrical form—a cross with a circumpunct at its center. Langdon had to laugh. Even that little box was hinting at this crossroads.”

    Excerpt from the Lost Symbol

    “Mal’akh stood naked in the billowing warmth of his steam shower. he felt pure again, having washed off the last remaining scent of ethanol. as the eucalyptus-infused vapors permeated his skin, he could feel his pores opening to the heat. then he began his ritual.

    First, he rubbed depilatory chemicals across his tattooed body and scalp, removing any traces of body hair. Hairless were the gods of the seven islands of Heliades. Then he massaged Abramelin oil into his softened and receptive flesh.

    Abramelin is the sacred oil of the great Magi. Then he turned his shower lever hard to the left, and the water turned ice cold. He stood beneath the frigid water for a full minute to close his pores and trap the heat and energy within his core. The cold served as a reminder of the icy river in which this transformation had begun.

    When he stepped from the shower, he was shivering, but within seconds, his core heat emanated up through his layers of flesh and warmed him. Mal’akh’s insides felt like a furnace. He stood naked before the mirror and admired his form. perhaps the last time he would see himself as a mere mortal.”

    Abramelin oil, also called Oil of Abramelin, is a ceremonial magic oil blended from aromatic plant materials. Its name came about due to its having been described in a medieval grimoire called The Book of Abramelin written by Abraham the Jew (presumed to have lived from c.1362–c.1458). The recipe is adapted from the Jewish Holy anointing oil of the Tanakh, which is described in the Book of Exodus (30:22-25) attributed to Moses.

    Abramelin oil became popular in the Western esoteric tradition in the 20th century after the publication of the S. L. MacGregor Mathers English translation of the The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (1897), and especially via Aleister Crowley, who used a similar version of the oil in his system of Magick. There are multiple recipes in use today and the oil continues to be used in several modern occult traditions, particularly Thelema (created in 1904 by Crowley) and the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica.

    ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
    Brave the Shave

    I don’t watch much tv but the Priors were usually shaven-headed followers of ascended beings called the Ori in the Stargate Universe

    (Ori City of the Gods Exterior shot, then Interior, Doci’s Chamber of Fire. Prior leads Daniel in. We see a robed man, not bald like the Priors, facing away from the camera and toward a large, altar-link structure with a symbol half-way between an ankh and the symbol for Venus. Entering the chamber, the camera pans right to show that one entire wall is fire behind a fence and gate arrangement. The Prior bows.)

    So were the Engineers in the Alien-Prometheus Universe

    The Engineers, also known as Pilots[1] (after the individual discovered on LV-426), Space Jockeys, Ossians or Mala’kak, are an ancient extraterrestrial species of unknown origin. They possess some of the most advanced technology in the entire galaxy, with special emphasis placed on their skills in Genetic Engineering. Credited with the creation of mankind, Engineers are believed to have been beneficent Creators of sorts who sailed the stars terraforming primordial celestial bodies and seeding them with the foundations of biological life. As such, they are revered by some as gods by the species they created.

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