Dead Names, Dead Dog: Shooting the Messenger

In March of 1904, magician and explorer Edward Alexander (Aleister) Crowley was honeymooning in Cairo with his new bride, Rose. As he introduced her to his life and style of magic, Crowley found that his wife was giving him messages that he interpreted as being from beyond the worlds we know. Though he initially rejected the idea that his pedestrian English wife could be a medium, her speech led Crowley, on April 8-10, to dictate (or to compose) a work from a being from beyond the material world. This transmission turned into Liber Al: The Book of the Law. Heralded by some as a manifesto for a New Aeon, dismissed by others as the ravings of a charlatan, Crowley’s work has had an undeniable impact on modern occultism.

The Book of the Law, Crowley said, came to him from a being known as Aiwass or Aiwaz. Crowley interpreted Aiwass at different times as a manifestation of the god Horus, an aspect of the energy of Mars, and a reflection of his higher nature. In “Simon’s” Necronomicon, however, “Aiwass” is depicted as the equivalent of Lovecraft’s Azathoth – the blind idiot chaos that roils at the universe’s center.

We challenge “Simon” on this in The Necronomicon Files, and he responds indignantly in Dead Names:

Critics have attacked my equation of Aiwaz—the spiritual being who communicated the Book of the Law to Crowley in Cairo in 1904—to Lovecraft’s “blind idiot god of chaos.” As usual, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Had the critics looked a little deeper into the Grant and Parsons works, they would have found many references supporting just this point of view.

Kenneth Grant and Jack Parsons were two associates of Crowley who later went on to create a number of works that reinterpreted and elaborated upon his works. Their opinions should indeed bear some weight on this question. It should be noted that Crowley himself repudiated both men at different points in his career (though the finality of this with regard to Grant is open to question, and Crowley did so to practically everyone he knew).

Although these men’s opinions of Crowley’s experiences are indeed relevant, “Simon” ducks the main question – did Crowley himself believe that Aiwas was a “blind, idiot chaos”? After all, he’s the one with firsthand experience of that individual.

You’ll find out in two days.

Published in: on July 31, 2006 at 6:21 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Aiwass, Aiam, Aiwillby 🙂


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