The Life of Uncle Al

A while back I went on a bit of a Crowley binge.  I wasn’t reading his works or studying his Tarot deck, instead I was studying him.  I read three different biographies in an attempt to learn more about the man behind all of those nasty, naughty stories.  I wanted to know if he really was the “Wickedest Man in the World”, or if he just got a bum rap from the press.  It is true that I could have gone directly to the source, reading all of Crowley’s works in order to get a better view of the man.  But, before I made the plunge, I wanted to know more about his life and how he became such a great Magnus.

What I discovered is that he was a bit of an egotist, a whole lot of showman, and just a dash of lonely little boy.  He was addicted to drugs, but partly because when he was a younger man, some of them were prescribed to help his asthma.  He went through many women in his life, and had a relationship or two with men.  I think he tried to be a family man, but I don’t think he knew how.

Reading the biographies didn’t really help me decide whether he channelled the Book of the Law.  It didn’t help me figure out if his Tarot deck was divinely inspired.  But I did learn about his life; about the man who became the magician.  I think that learning about these influences will help me better evaluate his writings when I read more of them.

And, you know, after reading so much about him, I can’t help but feel that at least sometimes he was actually maybe pulling our leg just a little.