Curses and Clues


Compiled by Hunter MacKenzie

A collection of lesser-known but interesting quotes from Aleister Crowley, gleaned from various things he wrote…

“Life is a sacrament; in other words, all our acts are magickal acts.”

“We are the poets! We are the children of wood and stream, of mist and mountain, of sun and wind! and to us the rites of Eleusis should open the door of Heaven, and we shall enter and see God face to face.”

“Logic is responsible for most of the absurd and abominable deeds which have disgraced history.”

“Monogyny is nonsense for anyone with a grain of imagination. The more sides he has to his natures, the more women he needs to satisfy it. The same is, of course, true, mutates mutandis, of women.”

“Magick had fallen into desuetude chiefly because people would follow the prescribed course of action and get no results. If one does not understand anything about electricity, one cannot construct a dynamo; and having so failed, one cannot get oneself electrocuted.”

“Shallow critics argue that because the average untrained man cannot evoke a spirit, the ritual which purports to enable him to do so must be at fault. He does not reflect that an electroscope would be useless in the hands of a savage.”

“The mind is a mechanism for dealing symbolically with impressions; its construction is such that one is tempted to take these symbols for reality. Conscious thought, therefore, prevents one from perceiving reality.”

“Almost all religious tyranny springs from intellectual narrowness. The spiritual energy derived from the high trances makes the seer a formidable force, and unless he be aware that his interpretation is due only to the exaggeration of his own tendencies of thought, he will seek to impose it on others, and so delude his disciples, pervert their minds and prevent their development. He can do good only in one way, that is, by publishing the methods by which he attained illumination: in other words, by adding his experience to the sum of scientific knowledge.”

“I had not realized that Magick was the practical side of spiritual progress.”

“The essential identity of all religions… is the same mountain seen from different sides and named by different people.”

“What we call ultimate truth is in reality no more than a statement of the internal relations of the universe which we perceive.”

“It is one of the most frightful consequences of increasing age that one finds fewer and fewer of one’s contemporaries worth talking to.”

“A poem is a series of words so arranged that the combination of meaning, rhythm and rime produces the definitely magical effect of exalting the soul to divine ecstasy.”

“We already know that certain spiritual or mental conditions may be induced by acting on physico- and chemico-physiological conditions. Morphine makes men holy and happy in a negative way; why should there not be some drug which will produce the positive equivalent?”

“When one is working in the eye of God, when one cares nothing for the opinion of men… when one has surrendered forever one’s personal interests and become lost in one’s work, it is merely waste of time and derogatory to one’s dignity to pay attention to irrelevant interruptions about one’s individual affairs. One keeps one’s powder and shot for people who attack one’s work itself.”

“When Freud says, quite correctly, that dreams are phantasms of suppressed sexual desire, the question remains, of what is sexual desire the phantasm?”

“I have myself constructed numerous ceremonies where it is frankly admitted that religious enthusiasm is primarily sexual in character. I have merely refused to stop there. I have insisted that sexual excitement is merely a degraded form of divine ecstasy.”

“There is, of course, extreme danger in coming into contact with a demon of malignant or unintelligent nature. It should, however, be said that such demons exist only for imperfectly initiated Magicians.”

“Facts are judged by their fertility. When a discovery remains sterile, the evidence of its truth is weakened. The indication is that it is not a stone in the temple of truth.”

“Disappointment arises from the fear that every joy is transient.”

“The Abyss being crossed… I understood that sorrow had no substance; that only my ignorance and lack of intelligence had made me imagine the existence of evil.”

“Intolerance is evidence of impotence.”

“Just as extreme hunger makes a man shovel down anything that looks like food, so the ache of the soul for truth makes it swallow whatever promises.”

“Imagine listening to Beethoven with the prepossession that C is a good note and F a bad one; yet this is exactly the standpoint from which all uninitiates contemplate the universe. Obviously, they miss the music.”

“The only love worth having or indeed worthy of the name is the spontaneous sympathy of a free soul.”

“Whatever is not ultimately useful is a source of distraction and anxiety. It gets in one’s way.”

“I fail to understand why it should be considered excusable to seduce a woman and leave her to shift for herself, while if one receives her as a permanent friend and cares for her well-being long after the liaison had lapsed, one should be considered a scoundrel.”

“We all do so many stupid things, for bad reason or no reason at all. ‘Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do’ applies to nine-tenths of our actions.”

“A very strange theory, that about death… I wonder if there’s anything in it. It would really be too easy if we could get out of our troubles in so simple a fashion.”

“Just as soon as you start seriously to prepare a place for magickal Work, the world goes more cockeyed than it is already.”

“Fear is the source of all false perception.”

© Copyright 2004 by Hunter MacKenzie. Republished 2011, 2015.

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