Crowley on Magic

Aleister Crowley

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 13 April 1934

EXCERPT : “In re-examination Mr. Crowley agreed that he had studied black magic, though only as a student. He had never practised black magic, and had always written about it in terms of strongest condemnation.

When Mr. Crowley’s evidence was concluded Mr. Justice Swift asked him to tell the Court “the shortest, and at the same time comprehensive, definition of magic which he knew.”

Mr. Crowley: Magic is the science of the art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will. White magic is if the will is righteous and black magic is if the will is perverse.

Mr. Justice Swift: Does that involve the invocation of spirits? – It may do so. It does involve the invocation of the holy guardian angel who is appointed by Almighty God to watch over each of us.

Is it in your view, the art of controlling spirits so as to affect the course of events? – That is part of magic. One small branch.

If the object of the control is good then it is white magic? – Yes.

When the object of the control is bad what spirits do you invoke? – You cannot invoke evil spirits. You must evoke them and call them out.

When the object is bad you evoke evil spirits? – Yes. You put yourself in their power. In that case it is possible to control evil spirits or blind spirits for a good purpose as we might if we use the dangerous elements of fire and electricity for heating and lighting.

“We [Thelemites] refuse to regard love as shameful and degrading, as a peril to body and soul.  We refuse to accept it as the surrender of the divine to the animal; to us it is the means by which the animal may be made the Winged Sphinx which shall bear man aloft to the House of the Gods.

“He provided detailed instructions for selected rituals and argued that the main goal of magic was Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel (i.e., mystical union with the Divine).

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