Inner Traditions, 2022. Hardcover. 384 pages. Brand New.
After an extraordinary life of magical workings, occult fame, and artistic pursuits around the globe, Aleister Crowley was forced to spend the last fifteen years of his life in his native England, nearly penniless. Much less examined than his early years, this final period of the Beast’s life was just as filled with sex magick, espionage, romance, transatlantic conflict, and extreme behaviour.
A detailed examination of the last 15 years of Crowley’s life
- Reveals Crowley’s sex magick relations in London and his contacts with important figures, including Dion Fortune, Gerald Gardner, Jack Parsons, Dylan Thomas, and black equality activist Nancy Cunard
- Explores Crowley’s nick-of-time escape from the Nazi takeover in Germany and offers extensive confirmation of Crowley’s work for British intelligence
- Examines the development of Crowley’s later publications and his articles in reaction to the Nazi Gestapo actively persecuting his followers in Germany
Drawing on previously unpublished diaries and letters, Tobias Churton provides the first detailed treatment of the final years of Crowley’s life, from 1932 to 1947. He opens with Crowley’s in the nick-of-time escape from the Nazi takeover in Germany and his return home to England, flat broke. Churton offers extensive confirmation of Crowley’s work as a secret operative for MI5 and explores how Crowley saw World War II as the turning point for the “New Aeon.” He examines Crowley’s notorious 1934 London trial, which resulted in his bankruptcy, and shares inside stories of Crowley’s relations with Californian O.T.O. followers, including rocket-fuel specialist Jack Parsons, and his attempt to take over H. Spencer Lewis’s Rosicrucian Order. The author reveals Crowley’s sex magick relations in London and his contacts with spiritual leaders of the time, including Dion Fortune and Wicca founder Gerald Gardner. He examines Crowley’s dealings with artists such as Dylan Thomas, Alfred Hitchcock, Augustus John, Peter Warlock, and Peter Brooks and dispels the accusations that Crowley was racist, exploring his work with lifelong friend, black equality activist Nancy Cunard.
Churton also examines the development of Crowley’s later publications such as Magick without Tears as well as his articles in reaction to the Nazi Gestapo who were actively persecuting his remaining followers in Germany. Presenting an intimate and compelling study of Crowley in middle and old age, Churton shows how the Beast still wields a wand-like power to delight and astonish.
“Tobias Churton gives the deluxe treatment to Aleister Crowley’s often-overlooked final years: As a life of magick, romance, controversy, and intrigue draws to a close, the Beast crystallizes his incredible experiences into his most mature works, does his part for the war effort, reinvents the Tarot, and forges relationships that will carry his legacy well beyond his lifetime. Crowley beguiles and endures to the very end.” ― Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley
Tobias Churton is Britain’s leading scholar of Western Esotericism, a world authority on Gnosticism, Hermeticism, and Rosicrucianism. He is a filmmaker and the founding editor of the magazine Freemasonry Today. An Honorary Fellow of Exeter University, where he is faculty lecturer in Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, he holds a master’s degree in Theology from Brasenose College, Oxford, and created the award-winning documentary series and accompanying book The Gnostics, as well as several other films on Christian doctrine, mysticism, and magical folklore. The author of many books, including Gnostic Philosophy, The Invisible History of the Rosicrucians, and Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin, he lives in England.