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The development of the will is stressed in Crowley's writings, although he himself seemed to exhibit little will power when one examines his life, squandering his fortune and winding up an alcoholic and drug addict. Crowley seems to have gotten the idea for Thelema from the novel by renegade Roman Catholic monk Francois Rabelais (c.1495-1553) called Gargantua and Pantagruel, written circa 1542 A.D. This tome attacked clerical education, medieval asceticism and monastic orders and gave a thumbs up to worldly pleasure. Along with dirty poems, Gargantua and Pantagruel contains a description of life at an imaginary monastery, the "Abbey of Theleme", whose rules are obviously quite different from those of the medieval monastery.

"All their life was regulated not by laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their free will and pleasure. They rose from bed when they pleased, and drank, ate, worked, and slept when the fancy seized them. Nobody woke them; nobody compelled them to either eat or to drink, or to do anything else whatsoever. So it was that Gargantua had established it. In their rules there was only one clause: DO WHAT YOU WILL!"

    This is an embarrassing bit of information for Thelemites who believe Crowley's claim that he really received a revelation to start a religion called "Thelema" from a demon called "Aiwazz", which also coincidentally has the motto "Do What Thou Will". This novel seems to have made an incredible impression on Crowley. Crowley would eventually even try to create his own "Abbey of Thelema" in Sicily in the 1920's, which we will read about a little later.

    Crowley's sexual appetites are well documented by Crowley himself. In his semi-autobiographical novel Moonchild Crowley reveals he often had to pay for sex, indicating he wasn't quite the sorcerer his followers paint him to be (i.e, his love spells didn’t work). Crowley was a bisexual, but he might be best described as a in, he'd try anything with anybody. Crowley had many affairs, with both men and women, and supported himself after his inheritance ran out by sponging off his lovers. In other words, he was a gigolo.

     Crowley commenting on his debauched life once wrote, "'To me, every dirty act was simply a sacrament of sin, a passionately religious protest against Christianity, which was for me the symbol of all vileness, meanness, treachery, falsehood and oppression.' [ from 'Satanic Extracts' by Aleister Crowley, edited by Cosmo Trelawney, Holmes Pub Group; (October 1995) ASIN: 1558182675 ] If people were told up front being an advanced magician involves being a drug addict, gigolo and sponging off people, no doubt many people would opt out of this career.

    Crowley developed a taste for mountain climbing while at Cambridge, and tried to climb Mount Everest a few times, but always failed to reach the top. Crowley likened the pursuit of the occult to mountain climbing. A person had to work hard at it and not stop to rest. If the occultist failed in his task, he would fall off the "mountain" into "the Abyss".

     Crowley was known to abuse his porters, and gave racist excuses to a British newspaper when interviewed as to why this was OK. On such an expedition in 1905, Crowley was deposed as leader of the group because of such behavior. During this climb, there was an avalanche later that killed several people. Crowley heard the cries for help, but did not even bother to look outside his tent, and this incident is hard to excuse, even by his followers. But this incident is far from being atypical of Crowley.

    Crowley was described, by friend and foe alike, as an egotistical, self centered, arrogant individual. He took much and gave little in return. He cared nothing about other people, except what he could get out of them and could be downright cruel to his disciples and friends. Crowley's life seems to have reflected his motto of "Do What Thou Will". Such a motto is the motto of a sociopath, if not a criminal, and it doesn’t make people better. Influenced by Nietzsche, He believed he was "beyond good and evil", and thought conventional morality did not apply to him. When looking at Crowley’s behavior throughout his life, it is hard to see any benefits of practicing Thelema.

    Crowley's system of occultism, like the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society before it, attempted to unite all forms of occultism into one system. Thelema was sort of a like a chop suey of the occult. Crowley's system included European ceremonial magic (from grimories like The Greater Key of Solomon, The Legementon, The Sacred magic of Abramelin the Mage, etc.) Gnosticism, Egyptian mythology, Buddhist meditation, Taoism, Tantric sex yoga, and drugs.

     There was also a strong and undeniable influence from Satanism. Crowley once said in his writings he rejected the idea of the Devil because "such a being would have to be a god", but this doesn't mean he didn't believe in Satan, he just rejected the Christian concept of him.

     Crowley said this about Satan, the Devil: "I was not content to believe in a personal devil and serve him, in the ordinary sense of the word. I wanted to get hold of him personally and become his chief of staff."

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