One of
the problems with which an aspiring Occultist must deal in the early stages of
his/her development is the still-pervasive influence of Aleister Crowley.

was a talented and entertaining writer, but an inept Occultist, who merely
adopted and adapted systems which had already failed, believing against all
evidence that those methods were capable of giving success and eventually
deluding himself that he had succeeded.

was nothing new in Crowley’s teachings, but he put them together more
attractively than any of his predecessors and was a more colourful character.
So, for the past few decades, would-be Occultists have sought to attach to
themselves something of the Crowleyan charisma, in the misguided but
understandable belief that an Occultist has to have an image, and with a less
comprehensible lack of faith in their own personalities.

failed. The only lesson to be learned from him is What Not To Do. Yet still
there are Occultists hopefully doing what he did, making the same mistakes all
over again and, like Crowley, refusing to learn from them.

Great Beast” was not a pathfinder, because he trod a well-worn and
retrogressive track. Complex ritual circumscribes itself and, whilst it may be
a useful discipline in the early stages, it must be outgrown if one is to make
progress. Similarly, sex-magick is one of the devices used in the quest for
self-understanding; a stepping-stone, not a doctrine in itself.

Crowley had ever met a genuine Occult teacher, the meeting would probably have
been unproductive. The dilettante would have recoiled in horror from the
instruction that he must undertake the most difficult task in the world,
achieving a knowledge and understanding of himself. And the teacher would have
recognised one who was enthralled in the shadow, not the substance, of

It has
been considered a sad reflection on Occultism that the best-known Occultist got
it all wrong. Not so: the ones who succeed are not heard of. They do not need
adulation or any other reaction from others. They have achieved a form of
self-sufficient which Crowley and his imitators could not even contemplate. To
by-pass the shade of Crowley, to recognise it as a mere distraction, is a
significant step on the Path, but there are many who will not or cannot take
that step, whether or not they have recognised their own limitations.

article taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 9, Society of Dark Lily (London