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Flavius Claudius Julianus c. Sometimes now referred to as Julian the Philosopher , he was the last pagan Augustus of the Roman Empire.
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Immoral to a degree — and probably more than a degree — they certainly were. But they had the satisfaction that their life was the notorious life of Antioch, delectably sensual, in absolute good taste. His hot air about the false gods, his boring self-advertisement, his childish fear of the theatre, his graceless prudery, his ridiculous beard. His occasional remarks of a derogatory nature are either specifically directed towards a certain individual or express his disappointment in women who fear to achieve their full potential.
And of course there was his irreverent tongue-in-cheek humour, which Symonds could not grasp, to consider. Statements such as Symonds' have caused countless misconceptions about Crowley and they show the careless and irresponsible nature of the author of The Great Beast. We have barely skimmed through 40 pages of this page book and just look at all that we have written and illuminated! Perhaps we should sum this up here and this we will do by quoting, reviewing and analyzing what John Symonds wrote on pages 53 and 54 of his work.
He threw himself into any adventure that touched his fancy, the more horrible the better, and he was not afraid of madness.
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To me it sounds as if Symonds would be at home in the Victorian era. He sees inhibition as a virtue when in fact it is only the death of creation and the murderer of freedom. I shudder to think just how inhibited Mr.
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Symonds may be! And this illustrates one of the many problems Symonds has with trying to understand a man like Crowley, a man whose essential nobility of nature made fear and inhibition unnecessary. Aleister was a man born in Victorian times who was "ahead of his time" and would have been more at home in the 's, whereas John Symonds seems to be a man "behind the times" who would be far more at home in the era of Queen Victoria.
Symonds comes off as a stuffy and greatly inhibited individual, a bit of a prig and a prude, a terrible snob, who finds himself unable to experience life but would rather imagine it. Obviously, John Symonds embraces his fears and labels them virtues, rationalizing them, justifying them. This being so, he appears to be only a talker in life and not a doer. And it seems odd to me that he would harp upon the fact that A. Why should anyone fear madness, unless, perhaps, one is facing it with enough comprehension to perceive the degeneration of one's sanity.
Does Mr. Symonds have a phobia about madness?
Does he, perhaps, perceive inevitable madness in his own future? Most people are 'turned on' by sitting at home with a book, listening to music, or looking at a painting. Twisting the facts, Symonds is trying to show that Crowley was a man of horrible excess. One only needs to read Crowley's own words to discover that he was 'turned on' by reading books - Eckartshausen's The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary really turned him on! He greatly appreciated art - wrote a poetic tribute to Rodin.
Aleister Crowley was a highly educated man, cultured, and he greatly appreciated the arts. However, he was not content to just sit at home and imagine life - he was a Man who lived life. But again we get from this a picture of the author himself, John Symonds, and he must indeed be a very boring and dull fellow. He obviously doesn't have a clue as to what excites "most people", and be that as it may, Crowley was not "most people" - he was a unique individual with a powerful personality and character.
Symonds, in his book, goes on to say that "Crowley needed his Mexican whore with the worn face before he could write his verses about Tannhauser. Symonds has a lot to learn about poets, poetry and inspiration - not to mention the delights of sexual pleasure.
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One wonders just how asexual the author of The Great Beast is. Personally I love books, as well as music and art, but give me a lusty whore any day and I will fill volumes with poetry It is difficult to see how he arrived at this conclusion. Perhaps he means that Crowley did not fear veneral disease - the following paragraph regarding syphilis indicates this.
The fact of the matter is, A. Besides, "the body is the temple of the soul", and the instrument needed for carrying out the True Will, and Aleister was well aware of this fact. He did not fear V. Symonds seems to be a slave to pathological fear and this may account for his apparent asexuality. Symonds appears to be a prissy sort of man almost deathly afraid of getting germs from people.
But enough for now. What else can I say? The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself To realize one's nature perfectly - that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. As we will do here, we went through the book page by page and picked out statements pointing out not so much the errors of fact made by Mr.
Moderation / Criticism / Exposition / Exposés
Symonds but more so how the book says more about the author than the subject, Aleister Crowley. Without further ado we will continue our review where we left off - going onwards from page 54 of that book. It should be remembered that we concluded that John Symonds is a terribly inhibited man who would be more at home in the Victorian era and who, because of his Victorian attitudes, could not hope to understand and appreciate a man like Aleister Crowley who was far ahead of his time, a man who proves what Oscar Wilde said, that "it is personalities, not principles, that move the age.
John Symonds is relatively clever, so instead of voicing his opinions directly he slants his writing outrageously and implies one thing or another, leading the reader to an obvious conclusion - almost always an incorrect conclusion regarding the character and nature of Crowley. In this case he intends to show the reader that A.
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What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of intellect - simply a confession of failure. It is true, in a way, that A. Crowley was a great lover of archtypal Womanhood and what he loved most in the women he loved was the Goddess that was in each of them and when he fell out of love it was generally because the women failed to do justice to that Goddess within.
He craved that Goddess within each woman and naturally found it as close to impossible as anything can be to find a single woman who fulfilled his desire by completely realizing her full potential, the Goddess within. In this same section of the book Symonds mentions "the mysterious demon who drove him darkly onwards. Obviously Symonds lacked the personal experience of being in touch with the supraconscious and he here leads the unwary reader to believe that A. One's Way is never easy, but every difficulty is a joyous contest - a child's game that one does one's best to win while laughing in play.
A test of Symonds' wit and intelligence, especially in regards to magick and mysticism, is shown on pages 58 and 59 where he tells of how Crowley went to Ceylon to ask Allan Bennett a question. Symonds then tells the story of how Bennett and Mathers had once fallen into an argument some time prior to this regarding the god Shiva and how Bennett said that if one repeated his name often enough Shiva would open his eye and destroy the universe.
Mathers thought the concept absurd and the argument began, Bennett sought to end the argument by assuming an asana and repeating "Shiva, Shiva, Shiva" over and over again until Mathers became so enraged he would have shot Bennett on the spot had not Moina Mathers entered the room and stopped her enraged husband. Symonds concludes "That is the story, but what is true about it, and what Perdurabo [A. There was nothing to say about it.
The story spoke for itself. The question was obviously about Shivadarshana and Bennett showed his wit [and daring! Had Mathers succeeded in shooting Bennett to death he would have proven that the recitation of the mantra would ultimately lead to the annihilation of the ego and the destruction of the personal universe or the universe as perceived by the ego. There is nothing puzzling about this story, yet Symonds fails to recognize and appreciate the wit and wisdom [as well as the folly] of the incident.
Throughout the book John Symonds sneers cynically at Crowley, yet he does so subtly and unless one is on the lookout for the author's attitudes these remarks are likely to just slide by and thus fall into the fertile field of the mind to take root there and grow the nasty little weeds of Symonds' choosing. Perdurabo entered the temple. The sacrifice was offered - I think I have made it clear by now what this means Taken individually, these sneering comments can sneak past the critical mind, but carefully considered it becomes obvious that the author would like nothing better than to discredit Aleister Crowley and sabotage Thelema.
To this end Symonds subscribes to the belief that "the end justifies the means". Throughout the book, such as on page 63 where the Chogo Ri adventure and Knowles are brought up, Symonds brings another into the tale and invariably chooses that person's version of events over Crowley's, no matter how true A. Again, any means to discredit Crowley is employed and to Symonds' way of thinking anyone who disagreed with Crowley must have been telling the truth.
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He was not, he said, going to have forty centuries look down upon him. Such jests as this Symonds twists about to "prove" that A. On page 78 Symonds then informs the reader that Crowley persuaded his wife Rose to spend a night in the Great Pyramid which shows that he did not hold that "forty centuries" in genuine contempt. Not only does Symonds lack a sense of humour and thus cannot recognize a jest [or he purposely chose not to see the joke], but he cannot see that by taking the first statement seriously he has managed to contradict himself with the second.
This is just one instance where Symonds tries to make Crowley appear to be a mad man, yet the fact remains that although he did not fling accusations about as recklessly as Symonds implies, many people did steal from A. How many writers of the occult, for instance, steal A.