Having a strong interest in factually based, historic works, I was quite excited to hear of the release of the English translation of Marco Pasi’s paper. I had prior knowledge of the initial, Italian release in 1999, then the expanded German edition, including glossy,
full colour black & white images in 2006, I expected great things from his English translation. Acumen Publishing Ltd released the current edition in paperback form, at the tail end of 2013 and a copy was promptly ordered. It arrived in the first week of the vulgar new year and judging from its cover, it was akin to a late present arriving in the post.
The soft pastel colours of the front cover image “The Vulcan of Fortune”, by Fredrick Soderberg, is quite impressive but the text print is not. A slight ghosting of the font means that it is slightly soft looking. Then again, it is a soft cover! Quickly leafing through the pages I was somewhat disappointed to see that the
full colour black & white images of the German edition where missing, actually, it turns out that no images at all are included. Not owning the German edition, it would have been a good visual aid, being able to identify the characters/individuals, when reading the Marco’s work. Not essential of course but a nice distraction that I personally enjoy, in editions such as this.
The above is the sum of the negative aspects of the book, what it contains in the way of research is staggering may I add. Having further expanded on the two previously released editions, just over half of the 238 pages form part of the actual paper. The rest is made up of an introduction of the book, a quick rundown of the life of Aleister Crowley, 2 no. Appendix contains copies of letters and research, extensive notes, bibliography and finally an index.
So Marco substantially provides actual evidence on the comments and acts surrounding AC’s flirtation with Politics. There are plenty of avenues for further, independent research and Marco has expertly cataloged his sources, which in turn could make a serious researcher very pleased indeed.
Knowing that Aleister was well traveled and had a penchant to rub shoulders with the rich and affluent, it comes as no surprise that he would have encountered many influential people or those with close ties to political leaders.
Some of the names may be familiar, George Sylvester Viereck, Hermann Rauschning, J. F. C. Fuller, Tom Driberg, Gerald Hamilton, Fernando Pessoa, Maxwell Knight, Walter Duranty and others. They range from Nazi sympathisers with links to Hitler, Communist Party members, Irish Republicans and MI5 agents. A broad range of political ideologies and allegiances. It is understandable that AC could be the focus of a lot of bother, when traveling, even if you discount his Magickal practices and sexual orientation.
Liber Oz and a few other sparse and not too detailed works from AC are all that we really have in order to gain insight into how he would envision his ideal world to operate. It’s all well and good saying that he would have been a Libertarian or an Anarchist for example but after reading Marco’s publication, it is still pretty difficult to define exactly how AC thought countries or the world should be governed. Taking the a verse from Liber Al, “Every man and every woman is a star” could lead you to a possible totalitarian viewpoint. As all though we do all continue in our own orbits and carry out our wills, we are all still part of the universal oneness. So a possible Communist or Kingship/authoritarian state maybe what he had in mind?
It was clearly obvious that once AC understood the message contained within Liber Al, a few years after it was received, he wanted to overthrow the old religions. In particular Christianity as he deemed it a slave religion, – “All I wish to do is to justify my agreement with Shelley and Nietzsche in defining Christianity as the religious expression of the slave-spirit in man”. He used his contacts from many countries and states in order to look for a void and to fill it with his message of Thelema. It is in his actions in this regard, that Marco then pinpoints as evidence, that AC may not have had a political stance at all. Simply a Prophet, delivering a message, which he would push until his dying day. With so much turmoil revolving around the first and second world wars, there would have been plenty of opportunities in order to promulgate this teaching. The German socialist movement of the Nazis as they came to power, the fall of Lenin and even various links in MI5 are a few that are investigated.
So after reading this insightful publication, I think the reader comes to the conclusion, it could simply be a flirtation, a temptation of using Politics, in order to bring Thelema to the masses. For AC, in his time here, it sadly did not materialise and personally I think that it does not need to convert the masses. It is down to the individual to want to be in control of their own Wills and to know thy self, having to be told and have it forced by a state, strips that away from you don’t you think?
EDIT: A couple of spelling errors and grammar have been corrected in this article and links to the individuals mentioned. It was originally included within the within the Irish Order of Thelema‘s Bi-annual Journal. Which can be downloaded in full from their website. HERE
EDIT: The mention of full colour photos in the German edition. This is incorrect. The German edition (Graz/Austria 2006) has 8 pages of b/w photos between pages 160 & 161. Thanks to Markus from LAShTAL Forums, for bringing this to my attention.
The book itself can be bought on Amazon HERE
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