Aleister Crowley and the Drug Revolution (Part I)

 

…by Jonas E. Alexis

 

 

Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist and black magician we discussed in the previous article, makes a point in his primer The Book of the Law that has had far reaching consequences in both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Crowley was convinced that the book was inspired by an entity that communicated through him:

“This book was dictated in Cairo [Egypt] between noon and 1 p.m. on three successive days, April 8th, 9th, and 10th in the year 1904. The Author called himself Aiwass, and claimed to be ‘the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.”[1]

What then was Aiwass’s message?

“I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, and be drunk thereof! Be strong, o man! Lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee of this.”[2]

Crowley himself followed that principle fully. Crowley “was a prodigious taker of hashish, opium, cocaine, and heroin long before they were even known to the general public.”[3]

Similarly, Alan Moore admitted that long before he got involved with writing comic books, he “was expelled from school for dealing with LSD.”[4]

Moore continues, “LSD was an incredible experience. Not that I’m recommending it for anybody else; but for me it kind of – it hammered home to me that reality was not a fixed thing. That the reality that we saw about us every day was one reality, and a valid one – but that there were others, different perspectives where different things have meaning that were just as valid. That had a profound effect on me.”[5]

Alan Moore

Aleister Crowley, the 33rd degree mason who wrote the occult script upon which much of the modern music industry is based, crossed the occult abyss—never to return.[6] But it was not without a huge price.

There are two competing accounts of his final days. The first one states that Crowley “slipped blissfully into the Buddhist state of final liberation, passing from ‘Samadhi to Super-Samadhi to Nirvana to Super Nirvana, expiring in the boundless bliss of the Infinite.”

The second account states that Crowley “died alone in misery and self-loathing, uttering the final words, ‘sometimes I hate myself.’”[7] One biographer said that Crowley declared on his deathbed, “I am perplexed…”[8]

The second account is much more plausible, since Crowley was taking eleven grams of heroin every single day during his last days, “enough to kill most men…most people who saw him in those days described him as ‘a bored old man who found the lonely evenings frightening.’”[9]

 Hugh B. Urban of Ohio State University declared that Crowley deliberately set out “to overthrow all established values,”[10] wherever those values are found. But Crowley was specifically trying to overthrow the values which he saw in Christianity.[11] Raised in a Protestant home, Crowley quickly rejected his Christian upbringing and substituted magic in its place.

Inspiration Through Drugs

Crowley set forth a diabolical principle here that should not be ignored, if one seeks to understand the weltanschauung of much of modern music and the entertainment industry.

In Crowley’s view, any work of literature, art, music, and film that is produced under the influence of drugs can spiritually be traced back to “the snake that giveth knowledge,” whether the producers, directors, musicians or entertainers are aware of it or not. (And by drugs here we are not talking about things like Tylenol or Nyquil.)

Crowley went on to say in his book Diary of a Drug Fiend that “…things like heroin and alcohol may be used and should be used for the purpose of worshiping, that is, entering into communion with the ‘Snake that giveth knowledge and delight and bright glory’ which is the genius which lies ‘in the core of every star.’”[12]

Crowley, however, was not the first individual to postulate these occult doctrines. The idea that drugs can be used as a doorway to the occult world has been known throughout the ages. Occult historian Colin Wilson writes:

“All over northern Europe traditional art shows the fairy-people and sorcerers surrounded by mushrooms, usually the ‘liberty cap’ mushroom, now identified as psilocybin, the same used by Native American shamans for around 4,000 years. The Irish Gaelic name for this fabulous fungus, Pokeen, means little god…Crowley spoke for this tradition when he  said true religion always invokes Dionysus, Aphrodite and the Muses, which he also called ‘wine, women and song.’”[13]

Colin continues, “Psychedelic drugs, which have the effect of immobilizing the ‘logical mind,’ and putting the subliminal power in the driving seat of personality, can produce revelations of beauty or of horror.”[14] Colin moves on to say, “the chief danger of psychedelic drugs, and probably marihuana, is that their habitual use would cause a drop in the brain’s serotonin production.”[15]

Psychedelic drugs can cause “a lack of self-control,” so that the person “would argue for the sake of arguing, whether he believed what he said or not, and find himself compelled to speak of things he knew would offend people. He believed himself to be accompanied by a familiar spirit, and was an unusually talented astrologer and prophet.”[16]

Abraham Maslow

Pop psychologists and gurus of the 1960s would call this a “peak experience.” This “peak experience” was quickly picked up by Jewish psychologist Abraham Maslow, who collaborated with Alfred Kinsey, a part-time disciple of Aleister Crowley.[17]

Scholar Joyce Milton writes,

“While not religious, a number of [Maslow’s] subjects had spoken of quasi-mystical experiences that led to lasting creative insights. These ‘peak experiences,’ as Maslow called them, were moments when the individual felt himself to be at one with the universe, egoless and yet wholly himself. They occurred when a dancer lost herself in the dance, a writer was transformed by an act of writing, a mother felt a mystical sense of union with her child…

“Although there was nothing explicitly religious about peak experiences, they could only be understood in the context of the psychology of religion. This was dangerous territory for a man who believed that religion was mere superstition as well as a major force for evil in the world.”[18]

And whenever this “peak experience” is harnessed through drugs, sexual revolution always follows. And sex was one of the central axioms of Crowley’s doctrine in bringing about vast social and cultural changes. He wrote,

“If this secret [of sexual magic], which is a scientific secret, were perfectly understood, as it is not by me after more than twelve years’ almost constant study and experiment, there would be nothing which the human imagination can conceive that could not be realized in practice.”[19]

Europe and America did experience this sexual phenomenon more vividly in the 1960s. And Jewish revolutionaries such as Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse, Sigmund Freud, and a host of others, harnessed that sexual power and unleashed it upon Western culture in general under different names such as psychoanalysis. Urban declares that for Reich and Marcuse,

“sexual liberation would become the necessary analogue and prerequisite of liberation from totalitarian political regimes like Nazi Germany.”[20]

As we shall see at the end of summer when we delve deeply in the issues surrounding Nazi Germany, Wilhelm Reich in particular was kicked out of Germany largely because of his revolutionary ideas with respect to sex.

Once again we have to come back to Maslow as a source:

“Prayer and worship didn’t make Maslow’s list of activities that may trigger peak experiences, though sexual intercourse and natural birth did. And ‘for the right people and under the right circumstances,’ LSD and psilocybin might make it possible to experience peak at will, without waiting for them to occur spontaneously.”[21]

Calling it “peak experiences” or other names, Crowley viewed that drugs could be used as a bridge to the occult, and this has been corroborated by a number of scholars. Gideon Bohak, a Jewish occult historian, tells us that in the Greek translation of the Septuagint in the third century,

“We thus learn that not only necromancy, augury from birds, and other divinatory techniques are entirely forbidden, but also the dabbling in pharmaka (plural of pharmakon, which means both ‘poison’ and ‘magical procedure,’ not to mention the meaning of ‘medicine,’ whence the English word ‘pharmacy’) and the reticing of incantations.”[22] Philo of Alexandria used the same Greek word to describe magic or sorcery.[23]

The famed British psychiatrist William Sargant wrote:

 “Like sexual techniques, drugs have also been used from time immemorial to induce feelings of possession by gods and spirits, and one of Aleister Crowley’s disciples is entirely in harmony with thousands of years of religious and magical tradition, and too much modern tragedy, when he says that “the only really legitimate excuse for resorting to drugs is the scientific one, i.e., for the acquisition of praeterhuman knowledge and power, which includes poetic inspiration or any other form of creative dynamism.

“Poetic inspiration, prophetic power and other forms of “creative dynamism,” whether drug-induced or not, have been regarded in many societies as the result of temporary possession of a human being by a supernatural being or force. It is a pity that modern proponents of the use of marijuana, L.S.D. and the rest have so seldom inquired into the vast literature of this subject, for the effects produced by various different drugs have been reported time and time again in the past.

In the East, the early Vedic hymns sang the praises of soma, the ‘King of Plants,’ omnipotent, all-healing, the giver of immortality, consumption of which elevated the worshipper to the level of the divine, and which was itself considered a god. What soma was is uncertain, but it may have been a mushroom, Amanita muscaria or fly agarics.

“Tantric and other Indian sects ‘have continually resorted to drugs to shift the plane of perception and attain ecstatic states and mystical illumination.’ Drugs, drinks, chemicals and special medicinal preparations were and still are used for this purpose.”[24]

The New Testament offers similar indications. In Galatians 5, Paul uses the Greek word pharmakeia to describe sorcery or witchcraft, from which the word pharmacy is derived. Here again we are not talking about things like Tylenol, and any rational person should know where to draw the line.

Even antidepressant drugs have proved to have negative effect.

For example, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold—and nearly all the teenagers who have committed terrorist acts in the schools—were taking antidepressant drugs.[25] Steven Kazmierczak, the student who killed five people and wounded several others in 2008 at Northern Illinois University, was taking Prozac.[26] Steven Kazmierczak

Other psychiatrists have seen the same link between drugs and the occult. Stanislav Grof, arguably one of the most eminent Freudian psychoanalysts who quickly discovered that drugs and spiritual enlightenment go hand and hand, came up with the term transpersonal psychology to describe the state of mind in which an individual can find himself after taking SLD.

Two of Grof’s books—Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research, and LSD Psychotherapy—are of major importance for many Jewish porn stars, including Annie Sprinkle.[27]

The late Michael Jackson, the self-styled king of pop who achieved stardom with his Thriller album in the 1980s, was, quite literally, a walking drug addict. Yet this did not come out until his untimely death in 2009.

The singer even had a song entitled “Morphine,” which has lines such as “Demerol, he is taking Demerol.” One report reveals that in 2004, Jackson “took more than 10 Xanax pills a night, asking his employees to get the prescription medicine under their names and also personally traveling to doctors’ offices in other states to obtain them…

“The document from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department contains confidential interviews conducted with two of Jackson’s former security guards as officials prepared for Jackson’s child molestation trial in 2005. According to the drug’s Web site, Xanax is for the treatment of panic disorder. The 2004 document details a dark picture of Jackson’s attempts to battle his sleeping disorder. One security guard that sheriff’s deputies interviewed said he expressed his concern about Jackson’s use of 10-plus pills a night to another staffer.

“The second staffer replied: ‘Jackson was doing better because he was down from 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night,’ according to the document. One of the guards said he and three other employees would get prescriptions for Jackson under their names. The second guard backed up the claim, saying he had picked up medicine for the singer that were in other people’s names.

“Years later in 2006, Jackson was in Las Vegas trying to jump-start his career. Deal maker Jack Wishna, who was helping the singer land a long-running show in Vegas, told CNN the singer would appear ‘drugged up’ and ‘incoherent’ — often so weak and emaciated he had to use a wheelchair to get around. Sources close to Jackson [said] that the insomniac singer traveled with an anesthesiologist who would ‘take him down’ at night and ‘bring him back up’ during a world tour in the mid-90s.[28]

One medical doctor, Sanjay Gupta, told CNN, “No matter how you cut it, this is an extremely high dosage of Xanax. It is a huge red flag…This dosage is exceedingly high for any human being.

Brian Oxman, an attorney for the Jackson family, declared that Jackson had a drug problem for years. Back in 2007, Jackson settled a law suit with a pharmaceutical department that claimed that Jackson owed them more than $100,000.

During a search of his Neverland home in 2003, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s department found syringes and Demerol on the property. And we also know that Jackson was also taking Diprivan, a powerful sedative, before his death.[29] This type of drug is only used by anesthesiologist.

Arnold Klein, Michael Jackson’s personal dermatologist, admitted that Jackson was using Diprivan way back when he was touring in Germany. Jackson’s last tour in Germany was in 1997, which led many to suggest that he might have been taking the drug for at least twelve years.

Blood tests also indicated that Jackson was taking Methadone and even Dilaudid, a narcotic drug. (Methadone is said to be a heroin substitute.) Factually, the self-loathing pop icon was, as one newspaper put it, “a walking drugstore when he died—he never stood a chance. The body can build up extreme tolerance to huge doses of drugs but eventually it overloads and just shuts down. That is what happened to Michael Jackson.”[30]

Jackson added other drugs on his list such as Fentanyl, Vicodin, Valium, Ambien, etc. Two months after his death, other reports began to uncover Jackson’s drug world:

Marijuana and numerous empty drug bottles were found by police officers at Michael Jackson’s home shortly after he died. Two bags of marijuana, a bottle of temazepam (used to treat sleeplessness), empty bottles of the sedatives lorzaepam and diazepam were discovered during the search. They also found four other empty pill bottles with no indication as to what may have been in them.”

Even on the day of his death, “as investigators were at the house, ‘family members of the decedent notified Los Angeles County Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter that they had located a quantity of tar heroin in [Jackson’s] bedroom on the second floor of the residence. Winter notified LAPD detectives of the found evidence.’”[31]

As previously noted, Jackson followed Crowley’s principle as set forth in Crowley’s Magick: In Theory and Practice, and there is no doubt that Jackson himself had flirted with the occult, despite the fact that he denied it in public.[32] Listen to the “king of pop” here:

“Anyway, I don’t do very many things until a certain force tells me to do them. The force tells me when and then I make my move.”[33]

On another occasion, he also acknowledged, “When I hit the stage it’s all of a sudden a ‘magic’ from somewhere that comes and the spirit just hits you, and you just lose control of yourself.”[34]

Anthropologists who have studied these phenomena for years have called them demonic possession and trance.[35]

The Marriage Between Drugs and Pop Culture

Two of the famous individuals who had discovered the supernatural powers of drugs were the late Timothy Leary, formerly of Harvard and an ardent follower of Aleister Crowley, and British intellectual Aldous Huxley, known for popular books such as Brave New World and The Doors of Perception. (It is said that it was Crowley who introduced Huxley to mescaline.[36]) After he heavily induced himself with psilocybin, Huxley told Leary in a chilling conversation:

‘Your role is quite simple. Become a cheerleader for evolution. That’s what I did and my grandfather before me. These brain-drugs, mass-produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.’”[37]  

The late British psychiatrist William Sargant wrote, “Aldous Huxley, in his writings and in talking to me personally, insisted that mescaline had taken him into the presence of God.”[38] Leary declared, “I am a revolutionary, and the faster this system [the culture and the Christian ideals upon which it was built] goes down the happier I’ll be.”[39]

 Yet Leary and Huxley were hardly the only individuals to have these “peak experiences” through drugs. Under the influence of drugs, Paul McCartney admitted that the Beatles’ songs and music would come through in less than an hour. Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s wife, confessed:

“More than anything it was the time and place when the Beatles came up. Something did happen there…It was as if several people gathered around a table and a ghost appeared. It was that kind of communication. So they were like mediums in a way. It was more than four people….As I said, they were like mediums. They weren’t conscious of all they were saying but it was coming through them…”[40]

Perhaps one well-known individual who understood the supernatural power of altered state of consciousness through drugs was the renowned psychiatrist R. D. Laing. Thomas Szasz writes:

R. D. Laing

“Laing began his personal use of LSD in the early 1960s, when it was still legal in the UK. He loved it. Laing hagiographer John Clay writes: ‘LSD opened up new vistas, new fields of experience for him, and he was to use it more and more…’

“With LSD he found he could ‘travel through time in a way that the past wasn’t simply at a distance but co-present.’ The LSD mystique was right up Laing’s alley, and so also was its appeal to his craving to violate boundaries as a therapist: ‘He took it experimentally with patients at Wimpole Street [his office].’

“Clay quotes Laing: ‘I now usually take a small amount of it myself if I give it to anyone, so that I can travel with them.’ In 1964, while lecturing in the United States, Laing sought to meet [Timothy] Leary. They met at Bill Hitchcock’s legendary estate in Milbrook, New York, where Leary was then staying.

“Leary recounted what happened ‘…He said that the only doctor who could heal was the one who understood the shamanic, witchcraft mystery of medicine.’ This, indeed, was the real Laing—the shamanic-mystical, all-powerful ‘doctor…’

“Obeying the law was for other people, not Laing. Laing deceived the Home Office when he applied, as he must have, for special permission to use LSD ‘in the therapeutic context,’ and then used it himself.

“He also deceived all those who believed him when he declared that mental disorders were disturbances in human relationships, not disorders of brain chemistry, and then proceeded to use a chemical with powerful effect on the brain to “treat” his “patients.”[41] 

Laing, of course, did not reveal his drug abuse, and even attempted to stop one of his friends (with whom he took drugs) from publishing a book about their “shamanistic” trip. This friend wrote:

“We began exchanging roles, he the patient and I the therapist, and took LSD together in his office and in my Bayswater apartment….Laing and I had sealed a devil’s bargain. Although we set out to ‘cure’ schizophrenia, we became schizophrenic in our attitudes to ourselves and to the outside world.

“Our personal relationships in the Philadelphia Association became increasingly fraught….That night, after I left Kingsley Hall, several of the doctors, who persuaded themselves that I was suicidal, piled into two cars, sped to my apartment, broke in, and jammed me with needles full of Largactil, a fast-acting sedative used by conventional doctors in mental wards.

Carl Sagan

“Led by Laing, they dragged me back to Kingsley Hall where I really become suicidal. I was enraged: the beating and drugging was such a violation to our code….Before I could fight back—at least four big guys including Laing were pinning me down—the drug took effect. The last thing I remember saying was, “You bastards don’t know what you’re doing…

“I had to figure a way to escape from this bunch of doo-gooders who had lost their nerve as well as their minds….In 1975, 10 year after I broke with Laing, I completed a coming novel, Zone of the Interior, based on my experience with schizophrenia. Published to widespread notice in the US, it was stopped cold in Britain by Laing’s vague threat of a libel action.”[42]

Carl Sagan had similar experiences with cannabis.[43] Sagan, speaking like a shaman, declared after many shamanistic trips,

I do not consider myself a religious person in the usual sense, but there is a religious aspect to some highs… cannabis has brought me some feelings for what it is like to be crazy, and how we use that word ‘crazy’ to avoid thinking about things that are too painful for us.”[44] Many of Sagan’s essays were written under the influence of cannabis.

And Michel Foucault, the French intellectual who contracted AIDS through homosexuality, took LSD and declared that it was the best moment of his life.[45] Foucault declared,

“Some drugs are really important for me because they are the medications to those incredibly intense joys that I’m looking for.”[46] Noted professor of philosophy Gary Gutting writes that Foucault “spent his life seeking extreme sensations from drugs and sadomasochistic sex…”[47]

Rock star Bob Dylan was a man with virtually no talent when he started his career as a rock musician. But when he started using drugs (he even publicly admitted he made a bargain with “the chief commander”[48]), everything else changed. The man who obviously could not string two musical consonants together became one of the famous figures in Rock history.

It was after taking drugs—in this instance marijuana—that one friend of Dylan declared that Dylan would have “a little pad and he’d write things down…just by a stream of consciousness.”[49] When asked to cut down some of the verses in his songs and writings, Dylan replied, “I can’t…They just keep flowing out of me.”[50] He went so far as to say that “drugs are medicine…I think everybody’s mind should be bent once in a while.”[51]

Heath Ledger as the joker

Heath Ledger, who redefines the meaning of the Joker in The Dark Knight, was heavily under the influence of drugs before and after the filming of The Dark Knight.[52]

Shia Labeouf, who plays in such top grossing films such as Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Krystal Skull, Transformers, among others, grew up in a home where his father would give him marijuana when he was ten years old. It was during the same time that Labeouf “began performing stand-up and ‘talking dirty’ at comedy clubs.”[53]

And both Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton, known for their roles in movies such as Terminator 2, were drug addicts.

Biographer Christopher Sandford has this to say about Sting: “drink and drugs became his constant companions, his most loyal friends.”[54] At one point, the artist was so heavily on drugs that he became depressed.[55]

Sting himself was influenced by Crowley. He wrote of Crowley’s tarot cards: “These cards were designed in the 1940’s under the supervision of Aleister Crowley. They’re quite stunning…My favorite tarot card is Death. Oh! Here it is! How strange Death should be right on top. Anyhow, I find it extraordinary how strong are the feelings this card inspires me.”[56]

Natalie Portman admitted, “Yeah, I didn’t touch pot till I was in my 20s. I didn’t get flat-out drunk until I went to college. But I think that’s a good thing in many ways.”[57]

The famous Hollywood director Oliver Stone was no stranger to drugs.

“Stone loosely based Scarface on his own addiction to cocaine which he had to kick while writing the screenplay. Stone has been rumored to use drugs while making films. On the DVD of Natural Born Killers: The Director’s Cut, one of the producers, Jane Hamsher, recounts stories of taking psilocybin mushrooms with Stone and some of the cast and crew and almost getting pulled over by a police officer—a situation which Stone later wrote into the film.

Oliver Stone

“In 1999, Stone was arrested and pleaded guilty to drug possession and no contest to driving under the influence. He was ordered into a rehabilitation program. He was arrested again on the night of May 27, 2005, in Los Angeles for possession of a small amount of marijuana.”[58]

Stone admitted, “It was a wild time. I was doing a lot of drugs. Grass and acid. I was into Timothy Leary…”[59]

Stone declared, “I’m seeing someone separately where I work in a trance state…I believe in meditation. I believe in prayer; you should go to deeper levels….I’m trying to reshape the world through movies”[60]

What has Stone learned from all of this drug trips? Stone declared back in 1987:

“I think America has to bleed. I think the corpses have to pile up. I think American boys have to die again. Let the mothers weep and mourn.”[61]

Stone continued, “I believe in [Jim] Morrison’s incantations. Break on through. Kill the pigs. Destroy. Loot. Fuck your mother. All that fuck. Anything goes. Anything”[62]

Brad Pitt, in a rare interview with CNN, declared in his early days in Hollywood, “I liked to smoke a bit of grass at a time, and I became very sheltered.”[63]

Sigmund Freud himself knew that there was a connection between drugs and the occult, and he was addicted to cocaine for most of his life.[64]

 And this is the atmosphere that has colored most of Drew Barrymore’s movie performances. Cocaine was Barrymore’s preference.[65]

In a nutshell, Crowley’s occult doctrine has become one of the main pillars that characterize a large section of the entertainment industry, an issue we shall pursue in the next article.


[1] Aleister Crowley, The Book of the Law (New York: Weiser Books, 1976), 5

[2] Ibid., 31.

[3] George Case, Jimmy Page, Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized Biography (New York; Hal Leonard Books, 2007), 99.

[5] Ibid.

[6] See for example Richard Kaczynski, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (Berkley: North Atlantic Books, 2002).

[7] Hugh B. Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 2006), 118-119.

[8] John Symonds, The Great Beast: The Autobiography of Aleister Crowley (New York: Roy Publishers, 1952), 296.

[9] Hugh B. Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 2006), 118.

[10] Ibid., 119.

[11] Ibid., 120.

[12] Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend (New York: Weiser Books, 1970), 365.

[13] Quoted in John Carter, Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons, x

[14] Colin Wilson, The Occult: A History (London: Watkins Publishing, 2003), 94.

[15] Ibid., 755.

[16] Ibid., 345.

[17] See for example Judith A. Reisman, Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences (Crestwood, KY: Institute of Media Education, 1998).

[18] Joyce Milton, The Road to Malpsychia: Humanistic Psychology and Our Discontents (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002), 52-53.

[19] Quoted in Hugh B. Urban, Magia Sexualis: Sex, Magic, and Liberation in Modern Western Esotericism (Berkley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press, 2006), 1.

[20] Ibid., 113.

[21] Milton, The Road to Malpsychia., 165.

[22] Gideon Bohak, Ancient Jewish Magic: A History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 77.

[23] Ibid., 78-79.

[24] William Sargant, The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing (New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1973), 99.

[25] See for example Kelly Patricia O’Meara, Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill (Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2006), chapter five.

[27] Annie Sprinkle, “How Psychedelics Informed my Sex Life and Sex Work,” http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v12n1/12109spr.html.

[28] Alan Duke and Saeed Ahmed, “Portrait of Jackson’s Pills Consumption Emerges,” CNN, July 10, 2009.

[29] Ibid.

[30] “Jackson Died of Lethal Levels of Potent Drugs,” The International News, July 11, 2009.

[31] Howard Breuer, “Marijuana Found at Michael Jackson’s Home,” People magazine, August 27, 2009; see also CNN, August 28, 2009.

[32] For a disturbing report on Jackson participating in Voodoo rituals and placing curses on “enemies,” see for example Maureen Orth, “Losing His Grip,” Vanity Fair, April 2003; “Michael Jackson Is Gone, But the Sad Facts Remain,” Vanity Fair, June 26, 2009.

[33] Quoted in Dave Marsh, Trapped: Michael Jackson and the Crossover Dream (New York: Bantam Books, 1985), 195.

[34] Quoted Nelson George, The Michael Jackson Story (New York: Dell Publishing, 1984), 18

[35] See for example Gilbert Rouget, Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations Between Music and Possession (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1985); Steven M. Friedson, Dancing Prophets: Musical Experience in Tumbuka Healing (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996); Judith Becker, Deep Listeners: Music, Emotion, and Trancing (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004); Richard C. Jankowski, Stambeli: Music, Trance, and Alterity in Tunisia (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010).

[36] See E. Michael Jones, Dionysos Rising: The Birth of Cultural Revolution Out of the Spirit of Music (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994), 165.

[37] Timothy Leary, Flashbacks: An Autobiography (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1983), 43-44; emphasis added.

[38] William Sargant, The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing (New York: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1973), 106.

[39] Quoted in David A. Noebel, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music (Manitou Springs, CO: American Christian College Press, 1974), 97.

[40] Rolling Stone, No. 485, October 23, 1986, 106.

[41] Thomas Szasz, Coercion as Cure: A Critical History of Psychiatry (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2007), 213, 214.

[42] Ibid., 216.

[43] See for example Lester Grimspoon, Marihuana Reconsidered (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971); Carl Sagan, “Mr. X,” http://hermiene.net/essays-trans/mr_x.html.

[45] See for example David Macey, The Lives of Michel Foucault (New York: Vintage, 1995).

[46] Quoted in Gary Gutting, Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 18

[47] Ibid., 2.

[49] Howard Sounes, Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (New York: Grove Press, 2001), 110-111.

[50] Ibid., 110.

[51] Ibid., 208.

[52] See for example Brian J. Robb, Heath Ledger: Hollywood’s Dark Star (London: Plexus Publishing, 2008); John McShane, Heath Ledger, His Beautiful Life and Mysterious Death (London: John Blake Publishing, 2008).

[54] Christopher Sandford, Sting: A Biography (New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 1998), 89.

[55] Ibid., 101.

[57] “Natalie Portman on Getting Drunk, Smoking Pot,” Huffington Post, December 3, 2009.

[59] Jason Kovar, “Oliver Stone,” http://www.goodfight.org/a_v_stone_oliver.html.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Quoted in Michael Medved, “Hollywood’s Disconnect,” USA Today, July 25, 2005.

[62] Quoted in Jason Kovar, “Oliver Stone,” http://www.goodfight.org/a_v_stone_oliver.html.

[63] “Brad Pitt on Love, Sex, and Fatherhood,” CNN, August 5, 2009.

[64] See for example Ernest Jones, The Life and Works of Sigmund Freud (New York: Basic Books, 1981); Peter Gay, Freud: A Life of Our Time (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988).

[65] Drew Barrymore, Little Girl Lost: A Child’s Descent into Addiction and Out Again (New York: Pocket Books, 1990), 140-141.

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Posted by on June 24, 2013, With 7989 Reads Filed under Government & Politics, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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18 Responses to "Aleister Crowley and the Drug Revolution (Part I)"

  1. Rand Clifford  June 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Jonas, you hit a major chord here. I’ve long been a fan of Aldous Huxley. Your part in this super essay regarding Huxley and Leary brought back some cherished memories of when I spent a little time with Leary and Liddy here in Spokane of all places. Gonzaga University presented “A debate on the legalization of drugs” starring Timothy Leary and Gordon Liddy. Charming old anecdotes from the two stars relating to their entangled roles in enforcement of marijuana laws and related hijinks stole the show, much to the delight of the crowd. Drug legalization was a no-show after introduction of the stars, replaced by those great anecdotes. The main buzz for me was talking to Leary and Liddy after the show. What I saw in the eyes of those two…the windows into their minds gave such a diametrically contrary view it was somewhat breathtaking. Your article is so good, similar feelings came back through your words. Thank you for the quality and scope of your writing. Looking forward to the next part.

  2. Dodd  June 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Mr. Alexis

    Thank you for yet another Interesting and informative article – I am very impressed with your scholarship.

    • Jonas E. Alexis  June 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks.

  3. carsondyal  June 25, 2013 at 12:57 am

    I’m sorry, but this article didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know from having used drugs in the 60’s, and on the other hand, it made many unwarranted assumptions about art and artists. I doubt if the author himself has taken these substances, and I wish he had. Then maybe he would stop promoting Christianity, which has had 2000 years to elevate mankind and you see the results around you. The last Christian died on the cross, as Nietzsche said.

    • Jonas E. Alexis  June 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      “I doubht that the author himself has taken these substances, and I wish he had.” The statement assumes that if one has not been a drug user, he therefore cannot make a rational statement about drug use or even study the effect of drugs. That is a dangerous position, for it would throw out everything we know about other subjects. Richard Dawkins did not study theology, therefore Richard Dawkins has no right to postulate any meaningful statement about theology! (In response to similar issues, one of my friends used to say, “Have you ever lay down your head under a semi-truck? How do you kow you won’t like it if you don’t try?”)

  4. Preston James, Ph.D  June 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Another outsnding article. The connection between crowley, drugs, sex magic, Kinsey, and current pedophile human compromise ops that run our Congress has been well established by your work. This is well written groundbreaking scholarship NOT available in academia where it should have been done first. Please keep up the great work. Can’t get this type of scholarship anywhere else I know of.

    • Jonas E. Alexis  June 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Thanks again.

  5. Mike Kay  June 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Mr. Alexis,
    In this piece you began to cover a wider scope of cognition than is standard in everyday parlance, yet then you abandoned this thread for a more sensational treatise, which does little justice to the topic of consciousness, states of consciousness, and the human access of them. The term congicentrism has to do with the belief that there are just two states of consciousness-waking and sleeping. In fact, we know quite well that this supposition is patently false, yet the prejudice continues on.
    We also know, from studying remnants of pre-christian history that survived the book burnings and genocides, that different cognitive states were routinely used throughout the classical world.
    Indigenous cultures worldwide enter altered states of consciousness with regularity, both with, and without a so-called “drug”.
    Humanity is unaware of its origin. Most of human history is completely lost. It is only in the last few thousand years that any manner of human history has escaped the vacuum, yet it is abundantly clear that altered states of consciousness are a staple of humanity, not an aberration. Taking this a bit farther, Zen Buddhism is centered on a permanent changes to consciousness, occurring due to the Satori experience, and mundanely referred to as enlightenment.
    I find your pieces to be educational, and this was no different, however I do find that your focus on altered states is too narrow.
    I am not advocating for modern pop “culture”, or its icons, nor am I defending a response to the judeo-christian power structure that is harmful and aberrant. I am saying that the depths of human consciousness are far beyond these artificial barriers, and that adequate attention must be spent on this characteristic to do the topic justice.

    • Jonas E. Alexis  June 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Hey Mr. Kay,

      Thanks again for your trenchant response. I understand that this issue opens up a wide variety of questions and other topics, but I thought it had to be addressed in a scholarly manner. I also do not deny that “different cognitive states were routinely used throughout the classical world,” an issue that I will briefly address in the next article.

      But it is undeniable that drugs were and are still used as a vehicle to the occult world throughout the ages. And this has been admitted by classical writers as well (see for example the works of E. R. Dodds and Daniel Ogden). Furthermore, this is not a “sensational treatise,” and I would highly recommend the works of other scholars like Hugh B. Urban, Gilbert Rouget, David Aldridge, Judith Becker, Susan D. Crafts, Arthur Versluis, etc.

      When I discussed the issues surrounding the origins of the universe in the article “God and the Intellectuals,” my view hopefully won’t be “too narrow.” Yes, the “Judeo-Christian” power structure has caused harm in the past, and I will be addressing the dark side of Christian Zionism by the middle of next month. But Christianity, at its essential root and tradition, has been a source for good in the world. The simple fact is that there is no such thing as the “Judeo-Christian” tradition. Christianity and Judaism were in conflict ever since their inceptions. Too much to detail here. Thanks again for your rational critique!

    • Mike Kay  June 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Mr. Alexis,
      I do understand that your perspective is the Christian perspective, and I respect that, but at this stage in my life, I find myself with questions, observations, and opinions that quite apparently are uncomfortable to the Christian mind set.
      I do believe it very true that Judaism and Christianity have had their serious differences, yet beyond a small core of authors, the popular front projects a comfortable world view of Christianity and Judaism as Siamese twins joined at the hip. Certainly there are many Christians who subscribe to this opinion. Thus, I do believe I’m on pretty solid ground when I write about a Judeo-Christian tradition. How is that Christianity can wholly accept a thoroughly Jewish inception, and still claim to be radically different from that seed?
      I would argue that it is not, and proof lies not in theology, but in practice on the ground. The essence of Jewish revolutions is the inevitable destruction of the host, yet the same has been true for the expansion of Christianity. Taking, for one moment, a broader perspective, the case can certainly be made that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
      I do believe that a distinction can and should be made between the reckless use of mind altering substances, and the use of certain plants as sacraments for mystical purposes. In the first case, the drug is used simply to feed an addiction, for recreation, or as a social norm. In the second case, the sacramental substance is being used in the act of ceremony, ritual, or myth for a specific purpose. For example, the Huichol do ingest Peyote, yet Peyote is not routinely consumed to merely intoxicate, Peyote is consumed within a ritual context for mystical realizations. Several anthropologists have documented and verified this.
      The Huichol are but one tribe which follows this model, there are myriad more, including the Classical mystical traditions of the Telestai and Magi, and I think we are on very dangerous ground if we equate their mysticism with Crowley’s heroin addiction.

    • Jonas E. Alexis  June 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      It is all right to have strong disagreement about Christianity. I had dozens of questions before I became a Christian. And quite frankly Christian Zionism has been repugnant to our cause. I am sure when the article “God and the Intellectuals” is released and when I begin to talk about Christian Zionism, we will have a more lengthy discussion about those “questions, observations and opinions.”

      To summarize a long topic, the central difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Judaism rejects Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In fact, Christ sets the parameters that would have far reaching consequences for both Christian in Jews. Moreover, the word “Jew” itself has a theological component and by the eighth and ninth chapters of the gospel of John it ceases to have an ethnic meaning. For example, the antagonists in the gospels were all Jews. In the book of Acts, the Jews who follow Judaism began to physically persecute Christians.

      In other words, to reject Judaism does not necessarily lead to anti-Semitism. For a serious Christian, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-people are all “sin” and must be purged once and for all. At the same time, serious Christians are also against subversive activities which Jewish revolutionaries have brought upon much of the world and which have brought untold miseries, from the Bar Kohba rebellion and all the way to the neoconservative movement.

      Jews, according to the gospel of John, are not “God’s chosen people” because of “super DNA.” By metaphysically and categorically rejecting Christ, they have made themselves enemies of Christ, enemies of God, enemies of reason, and indeed enemies of all mankind. In conclusion, they have become the “synagogue of Satan,” the theological cell from which all significant revolutionaries spring. We Christians pray for our enemies, including Jews, precisely because maybe one day they will see the light.

      I am looking forward to discussing our disagreement when “God and the Intellectuals” is published. Thanks again.

    • NavyBrat  June 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Hi Mike;
      Although you raise valid points in your criticism, you must consider the following: If you are preaching to the converted, you can stay on track with the treatise and everyone will be on board. If you go outside of the choir, you then have to be very aware of people’s “level of strangeness”, as you will quickly lose them because in their eyes, you will sound “too extreme”. Giving them cultural references that they can easily relate to – Beatles, Dylan, Brad Pitt etc enables you to meet them half way and bridge the credibility divide. I’ve had much experience with this – especially over the last 12 years when talking with people about 9-11. Rather than saying it was an inside job, just drawing their attention to certain anomalies like WTC7 and the physics of aviation fuel and the speed of free fall will be enough to start the process. Then you can talk about Larry Silverstein’s PBS confession and what Dick Cheney was doing that day, and the rest will naturally follow on from there.

      With regard to Jonas’ article – bravo, another excellent piece. I’ve read more books and articles than I can ever remember on these and related topics, and there are still things that I’m not aware of. I will say that drugs (the hallucinogens) most certainly give a tremendous spiritual insight. Spiritual power itself is neutral. It’s the way we use it that will determine good or evil.

      I eagerly await the next episode!

    • Mike Kay  June 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Brat,
      I used to care what people thought, but then I figured out that people are going to believe whatever they do regardless of what I have to say.

    • DaveE  June 25, 2013 at 6:53 am

      I agree and thoroughly liked your comments. I thought I might add that defending the truth, whatever you believe it to be, will always be uncomfortable to those who disagree, so ya’ might as well “let it all hang out” while trying to avoid getting into a fist-fight (or worse.)

      People process new ideas differently, but egotists will NEVER accept new ideas easily, it’s the nature of pride, vanity, ego, whatever you want to call it. Yet egotists are the ones that most NEED to accept new ideas, that’s the irony. I think Christ would agree, he certainly took some serious hits for trying to teach the Jews the truth. Judaism seems to be the mother of all ego-trips, pride to the twenty-third power. They’re PROUD egotists and seem to have no regard for anyone or anything of a nature higher than THEMSELVES.

      As for the nature of consciousness-expansion, with or without drugs, I think it all depends on your intentions. If you seek an escape, or running away, drugs become a crutch and will most likely destroy you. If you seek an awakening, drugs can be enlightening to a point, but will ultimately lose their appeal as one progresses up the spiritual ladder. You will realize you don’t need them, your consciousness is ALREADY expanded, all you need to do is learn to LISTEN.

      It’s a complicated topic, but anyway, thanks for references to drug-ABUSE and Judaism, / Satanism, which, IMHO, are one in the same.

    • Mike Kay  June 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      Leif,
      The evidence is that humanity has long lineages of mystical traditions, and that this mysticism, and the mystics themselves, regularly enter altered states of consciousness. In places where sacramental plants are available, it is common that these are employed, in areas where they are absent, or rare, then other techniques are used. One finds this abundantly present in Native America, where both traditions exist side by side.
      Joseph Campbell was one of the foremost authorities on the varieties of human experience, and he championed the opinion that civilization was a devolutionary step for humanity. Thus the visionary flights of the earlier Shamanic practitioners held for him at least, a core of real and genuine human experience.
      Humanity has been entering the numinous for a long time.

  6. Chandler  June 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Not one person on this list is one person I admire. Frankly, most of them have made jokes of themselves toward their latter years in life. The Beatles were geniuses along with Dylan. But look at them now? Dylan especially today, has become just another performer who has difficulty enunciating anything that can be comprehended. Drugs! The key to genius status? I am glad very very few children read this website.
    I despise drugs, and their presence. Many friends of mine are gone due to drugs. Health ruined. Cranial contents altered. Children abandoned, families separated. Friendships cast aside, priorities jumbled.
    Heath ledger left a daughter he thought very little of, or at least thought less of than his penchant for drugs.
    Not one of these people are in my admiration, or held in hero status.
    Our CIA and drug running history out of Vietnam has been well documented. Scourge of the earth, thief of sanity.
    So much has been lost to the drugs and the drug culture, it is nothing but shameful. Now, we Americans fine ourselves losing our country to the very same elitists who made sure we had drugs to distract and cloud our minds, so we couldn’t see what they were doing to get the USA under their control.
    Congratulations to all you druggies!!!!! What shining examples you all have been.

  7. Brian  June 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Well done!

    Excerpt from an article:

    Yesterday evening I was listening to a radio interview with William Ramsey, author of the book, ‘Prophet of Evil: Aleister Crowley, 9/11 and the New World Order’. He has also produced a video of the same name. The interview was about his book and film which looks at the connection, through Crowley, to the bringing down of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on September 11th, 2001 and proposes that this was an occult ritual. Many of these connections are numerological and from what I’ve read of his work he certainly makes a convincing case.

    Ramsey’s central thesis is that during Aleister Crowley’s life ands work there were four key numbers involved. These were 11, 77, 93 and 175. These numbers are essential to the occult, magical system devised by Aleister Crowley.

    11 was important because, amongst other reasons, ’11 is the number of magic itself’.

    ’77 … represents half of the formulation of sexual magic in both the O.T.O. and the Kabbalah. It is also the 77 infernal names of the Devil in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey.

    The cabalistic gematria values of the Greek words Thelema (Will), Agape (Love) and, Aiwass[6] in Crowley’s magical system equate to the number 93.

    Liber 175 in Crowley’s magical system is a ritual used to invoke any deity by adoration.

    The importance of the above is the observation that the four flight numbers on the day of 9/11 were 11, 77, 93 and 175. Ramsey’s conclusion is that 9/11 was, apart from anything else, an occult ritual.

    Excerpt from another article:

    William Ramsey (listen to his interview here) in his book, Prophet of Evil: Aleister Crowley, 9/11 and the New World Order claims that the numbers directly involved in the 9/11 atrocity, 11, 77, 93, and 175 (the flight numbers), are numbers directly linked to Aleister Crowley’s occult magickal numerology and practicies!

    11

    “‘The number 11 has a very strong influence on Crowley and suffuses all of his writings, and he tried to inculate it into all of his teachings…[11] symbolizes destruction, violence, defeat and death” “Firstly”, 11 is the number of Magick in itself. It is therefore suitable to all types of operation. “Secondly”, it is the sacred number par excellence of the new Aeon. As it is written in the Book of the Law: …11, as all their numbers who are of us.” (Crowley, Aleister, Magick: in Theory and Practice. Secaucus, NJ: Castle, 1991. 64. Print)

    ****http://intothefaerywoods.blogspot.com/2011/09/aleister-crowley-core-layer-of-matrix.html

    Based on their history the Mossad has a fascination with Satanic numbers, perhaps they think the numbers provide them good luck. They did the Madrid train bombings exactly 911 days after they did the evil 911 event.

    • Martin Maloney  June 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Regarding 77, the London bombings occurred on 7/7 of 2005.

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