Understanding The Boomers: The 1920s Gave Us The 1960s

There is no law beyond do what thou wilt; every man and woman is a star; the word of sin is restriction.” For some, these three short epigrams heralded the end of Christianity and the dawn of a new age. They certainly provided successive generations of beats, hipsters, hippies, punks and ravers, whether they knew it or not, with a manifesto of sorts.

The words come from The Book of the Law, an obscure prose poem written 100 years ago by Aleister Crowley, often described as the key to the notorious Magus’s vast pantheon of writings. A multi-layered template of a magickal system, encompassing Qabalah, single-point meditation, sex rituals, excessive drug use and a good deal more, The Book of the Law made Crowley one of the 20th century’s hidden prophets, a truly outrageous figure presiding over rock culture’s original spirit of misrule.

… Yet the hysterical press accounts of sex, drugs and sacrifice at his Abbey of Thelema, in Sicily in the early 1920s, remain the core of the myth of Crowley as evil incarnate. It was an image, along with his famously hypnotic stare, that led Bond author Ian Fleming to model Blofeld on Crowley. They met when Fleming worked in British intelligence during the war. That a man so publicly reviled could still penetrate the corridors of power is a prime example of his unlikely reach. Crowley was Fleming’s first choice for interrogating Rudolf Hess when the occult-obsessed Nazi was captured in Scotland after a bizarre astrological sting.

It was also Crowley who gave Churchill his famous victory sign, a magickal gesture to counteract the Nazi’s use of the swastika…In the 1940s, one of his closest followers was a young Californian adept, Jack Parsons, one of the founding fathers of the American space programme. His work at the fledgling Jet Propulsion Laboratories lay the groundwork for the Apollo moon missions.

Rocket fuel, space exploration and Crowley’s brand of ceremonial sex magick was a powerful mix. Working with Parsons was none other than L Ron Hubbard, who later founded the cult of Scientology, which now attracts so many Hollywood stars….

A hundred years on, Crowley remains one of those figures often dismissed in public, but whose work is collected and studied in private. His immediate following may have been small, but his influence on modern culture is as pervasive as that of Freud or Jung. As an occultist, he can justly claim to have made a lasting change on the world, refashioning the occult with his famous dictum to combine the aim of religion with the method of science.

Tim Cummings,Beyond Belief,” The Guardian, July 9, 2004.


    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Crowley’s influence on American science fiction as a genre is staggering, and he also influenced Kinsey. He was sorta of the catch all prophet for modernists. I’ve not read him except for extracts in part because there’s not a lot of common grace functioning in his writings.

  2. from “Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering the Masses” Daniel Estulin, p 43 “Intelligence officers and cultists have a lot in common. Secrecy is a way of life for both the spy and sorcerer; they both use codes and code names; they both pretend to have access to mysteries not available to the general public; they both claim to be able to influence events at a distance with their special abilities and power. They both specialize in the manipulation of reality; both are aware that things are not always what they seem to be; and they are both ruthless and often amoral or immoral in the pursuit of their goals. And when one can so easily manipulate the perception of reality, one eventually comes to the realization that Truth, itself, is a malleable thing. So it was only natural that the cultist and the spy would gravitate towards each other and would try to learn from each other.”

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