You Don't Have To Be An Angel …

November 14th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Johann_Sebastian_Bach

Over at the Big Think website, there’s a video of conductor John Eliot Gardiner, author of the new book Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, talking about Johann Sebastian Bach.

In his description of the famed composer, Gardiner reminds us that one need not be an angel to channel the divine.

As I was listening, it made me think of one of my own favourite rebels – Aleister Crowley.

Aleister Crowley

Though I don’t believe he was as wicked as he liked his reputation to be, there were definitely elements of his personality that would have been very difficult to deal with.

Thoth Devil

Despite that, the Thoth Tarot he created with artist Lady Frieda Harris is still my very favourite Tarot deck ever. It’s simply brilliant.

I think Crowley did somehow manage to channel something divine, though like Bach, there’s no doubt he himself was a bit of a devil.

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Witches, Wicked Bodies, and the Whore of Babylon

December 28th, 2012 § 2 comments § permalink

While visiting Phantasmaphile, a favourite blog of mine, I saw a post about a show next summer at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

Witches and Wicked Bodies will explore how witches and witchcraft have been depicted in fine art over the past 500 years.

As described by the museum, the show,

“will be an investigation of extremes, exploring the highly exaggerated ways in which witches have been represented, from hideous hags to beautiful seductresses.”

Some of the artists represented include Albrecht Dürer, Francisco de Goya, William Blake, Paula Rego, and Kiki Smith.

I’d love to see this show, and if I happen to be Scotland between July 27th and November 3rd, I’ll definitely be there.

But whether I make it to Scotland or not, I’m already struck by the William Blake picture being used to promote the show.

It’s called The Whore of Babylon and was created by Blake in 1809.

I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between it and Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot card #11 – Lust, (more commonly known as Strength) painted by Lady Freida Harris in the middle of the 20th Century.

It also features the Whore of Babylon and the 7-Headed Beast. Take a look …

Whores of Babylon by Crowley/Harris and Blake

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The Nightmare Paintings: Aleister Crowley

December 17th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

If you’re interested in Aleister Crowley and happen to be in the Perth, West Australia area, you might be in for a treat.

From now through February 28, 2013, the Buratti Fine Art gallery in North Fremantle, WA will be presenting, The Nightmare Paintings: Aleister Crowley.

The show features original paintings and works on paper by Crowley himself, created during his time at the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu Sicily between 1902 and 1923.

The works displayed include portraits, landscapes, and magical or trance paintings. I’d love to see them in person!!

The video below is from a similar show in Paris back in 2008 at the Palais de Tokyo.

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Ace of Fireworks

July 30th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Ace of Wands from the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris

The Ace of Wands can represent the seed of a flaming new energy, a reinvigorated spirit, or even the spiral dance of the soul.

One of my favourite versions of this card is from Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, painted by Lady Frieda Harris.

I love how the one torch contains all ten flames of the suit. It makes it clear that the whole is contained in the seed.

The fireworks display below reminded me of the Thoth Ace of Wands. Take a look …

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Windows to the Sacred

July 11th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Windows of the Sacred

For those of you lucky enough to be in the area of Perth, Western Australia, specifically the City of Fremantle, you might want to stop by the Buratti Fine Arts gallery.

As I discovered while visiting one of my favourite occult art blogs, Phantasmaphile, the Windows to the Sacred show will be opening this coming Friday, July 13th.

The exhibition is showcasing esoteric art from various traditions including work derived through automatic drawing, digital technology, printmaking, sculpture, and painting.

Works of contemporary Australian artists will be hanging alongside those of international and historical artists, including two pieces by occult master and creator of the Thoth Tarot, Aleister Crowley.

For Crowley’s paintings alone I’d take a look. One is an auto-portrait he did in 1922 titled ‘The Sun,’ while the other is called ‘The Moon (Study for Tarot Card)’, also from 1922.

The show runs until August 22nd. If you’re in the area, get down to see it!!

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Some Tarot Correspondence

May 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

My dear Tarot Buddy, Bill Tarot, sent me the link to this website – Know Your Tarot.

Not only is it a great Tarot resource with comprehensive descriptions of all 78 cards, symbol definitions, Tarot spreads, history, books, even jokes … it also has a page of free downloadable Tarot goodies.

There are links to free printable decks as well as Tarot e-books, cheat sheets, and pamphlets.

But the reason Bill Tarot led me there was specifically for the free download of The Correspondence Between Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley.

What a pleasure it was to read! I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Thoth Tarot, Aleister Crowley, or Tarot history in general.

Even for people making decks of their own, it might be fun.

Hearing Lady Frieda describe her own process could prove inspirational, or at least remind us that nothing worthwhile comes easy.

Thank you Bill Tarot for leading me to this gem!

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Aleister Crowley’s Rite of Sol

March 16th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Leila Waddell from the original production

If you’re a fan of the rock opera genre and Aliester Crowley, you might enjoy the new release by Eleusyve Productions.

The Rite of Sol is the fourth in a series of rock operas based on Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis, his ode to the seven astrological planets of antiquity.

Eleusyve Productions is a theatre group out of Seattle, Washington that’s committed to presenting all seven plays from the series.

They want to make them modern and accessible, yet retain the magic inherent in the originals.

The release of the Rite of Sol follows releases of the Rites of Mercury, Venus, and the Moon.

You can see a clip from the Rites of Venus DVD below. I think Crowley would have enjoyed it.

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Robert Anton Wilson on Aleister Crowley

October 28th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Eye in the Triangle by Israel Regardie

Eye in the Triangle

If you’re interested in Aleister Crowley and have some time, take a listen to the interview posted below with Robert Anton Wilson.

Author of over thirty-five books, and many other works, Wilson was perhaps best known for The Illuminatus! Triology.

I recently came across him in his introduction to Israel Regardie’s biography on Crowley called The Eye in the Triangle.

Regardie’s book is facinating, depicting Crowley as human, rather than wicked, delusional or a saint.

It reads as a fair account of the mystic’s life from the perspective of someone who knew him, worked closely with him for a time, and understood well the concepts of magic and initiation.

I’m almost finished the book, so it was kind of a thrill to come across this recording.

In it, Wilson clears up some of the enduring misconceptions about Crowley, while discussing his work and his influences.

He admires Crowley for the inroads he made in the understanding of consciousness, and at one point describes him as a sort of male mix of Sinead O’Connor and Madonna.

Among other themes, Wilson talks about the Golden Dawn, the Aeon of Horus, Thelema, magical initiations, Rosicrucianism, and the Masons.

He also describes why he especially liked Crowley’s Book of the Law and the Book of Lies.

I don’t know who did the interview, but you can find it posted at the Alchemical Archives blog.

They’ve got a lot of interesting recordings there. If you like this one, you might want to look around.

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Aleister Crowley, the Painter

December 26th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley

It’s a pretty fascinating video. Paintings by and of Aleister Crowley.

Kenneth Anger’s short film, The Man We Want To Hang, gets its name from the famous 1923 Sunday Express article that called Crowley the ‘Wickedest Man In The World.’

Released in 2001, the film was shot at London’s October Gallery in the late 1990s at a show called ‘An Old Master.’ The score is by Anatoly Liadov.

Paintings and other art work was drawn from the collections of Keith Richmond, Jimmy Page and the Ordo Templi Orientis International. They depict a variety of subjects from simple landscapes, to daemonic beings, to portraits of Crowley himself.

Creator of the Thoth Tarot and author of countless magical and other texts, Aleister Crowley was certainly notorious. And maybe he wasn’t such a fine artist. But I’d be thrilled to have any one of his paintings.

Why hasn’t someone made a Tarot deck from them yet?

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