You may not have been directly influenced by Aleister Crowley, but you have been affected by him.
Crowley, who lived from 1875-1947, was arguably the most influential religious leader of the past century. This is remarkable, considering that most people have never heard of him.
Crowley’s influence has affected every aspect of our culture, especially our media, religion and social values. He has even affected North Dakota State.
Crowley revived and popularized the occult, in particular by promoting his religion Thelema, which is grounded in the secret society “Ordo Templi Orientis.” In addition, many spinoff religions have resulted from Thelema, including New Age, Wicca, Discordianism, Chaos Magick and Satanism.
Many people regard Crowley as a prophet, including some Christians (though they view him as a prophet of Satan).
Crowley and his first wife, Rose, wrote “The Book of the Law” in 1904, allegedly under the direction of a spiritual entity named Aiwass. The Book has gone on to become a sacred text to many Illuminists.
The Book predicted that humanity was ready to enter a new period of spiritual evolution, known as the “Æon of Horus” (though some Illuminists refer to it as the “Age of Aquarius”). The Æon of Horus was supposed to be characterized by humanity embracing spiritual freedom absent from moral and social restraint.
Personally I think Crowley was a despicable man, though I admit that he genuinely practiced what he preached. In accordance with the Æon of Horus, he was a free spirit who lived as if there was no morality or consequences to his actions.
Some of his many exploits include: getting addicted to drugs (especially heroin), practicing every form of sexual deviancy known to man, eating feces, cannibalism and promoting human and animal sacrifice. By his own admission he did all of these things, as ridiculous as they sound.
The 1960’s counterculture was a direct result of Crowely’s influence. In fact, the counterculture’s de facto leader, Timothy Leary, openly admitted that he was carrying on Crowley’s work.
The counterculture was characterized by hippies, social justice warriors, free love, rock music and copious amounts of psychedelic drugs, particularly cannabis and LSD.
In addition to Leary, many other prominent figures from the counterculture cited Crowley as an influence. Counterculture musicians such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Doors and David Bowie were all inspired by Crowley (some were heavily inspired).
The prominent sexologist, Alfred Kinsey, admired Crowley. His work was the catalyst that sparked the sexual revolution, something Crowley would have been proud of. You may not have heard of Kinsey, though I guarantee every professor in NDSU’s women and gender studies department has.
This is a brief overview of Crowley’s influence; I could write an entire book on how he has shaped our culture. It is important to understand who he is, as I think he is the source for much of the moral degradation that has been introduced to our culture since the 1960’s.