Crowley the man and the Thoth Tarot
"Dear Angel Paths, I really wanted to know your opinion on Alistair Crowley. I noticed that you use his Thoth deck in your tarot web site. I have been told that Alistair Crowley was historically a rather dark personality who used control and manipulation in his work with the occult (paying homage to the devil, no less). Is this true? I began to wonder about this assessment, because your web site is so overwhelmingly positive and gracious that I doubted you would use the tarot deck of a questionable individual. But because of the information I received about Alistair Crowley, I always avoided his tarot deck. What is your opinion about him? Am I mixing him up with someone else? Thank you for considering these questions." Diane
Aleister Crowley certainly managed to acquire himself an outstandingly flamboyant reputation, didn't he? I think when considering the man he truly was, you must first put his life and experience into the context of a world barely emerging from a puritanical Victorian era.
In my opinion, Crowley was an outstanding occultist to whom modern pagans owe a great vote of gratitude. His dedicated research, experimentation and ritual created a platform which was subsequently expanded and explored by those who subscribe to or use his teachings. It's unfortunate that his writing style was as obscure as it was since I think at times he tended to over-mystify certain aspects of occultism.
As an individual I think he can probably best be summed up as licentious, rebellious, and outrageous - not to mention at times egotistical. However, none of these traits makes him evil - I think he was a big personality who made his share of public mistakes, one of which was to so fervently and so publicly criticise the Christian belief with which he was indoctrinated in childhood.