ROBERT W. BROCKWAYTHE ROOTS OF NEW AGE
Mathers, during this time, translated and published three occult works: The Kabbalah Unveiled, The Key of Solomon, and The Book of Abramelin the Mage “as delivered by Abraham the Jew to his son Lamech, 1458.” Crowley was particularly affected by the latter work, which dealt with magical techniques involving rigorous meditation, somewhat like yoga. According to this belief, after a long period of strenuous discipline, one’s Holy Guardian Angel could be invoked. It was therefore somewhat like the Vision Quest of Prairies aboriginals.
Crowley moved from London to Boleskine House near the village of Foyers in Inverness, Scotland. Here he embarked on his personal quest, but instead of encountering his guardian angel, attracted a host of evil spirits. In the meantime, he continued to pour out torrents of verse. He also took up mountain-climbing, and travelled for that purpose to the Himalayas and Mexico. He met and married his wife Rose and wrote her a pornographic book called Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden. During all this time, he continued to try to make contact with the adepts, since, according to theosophical belief, he had no significant powers until he did.
During late 1903, when he was 28, Crowley and his wife went to Ceylon, and returned the next year. On the way, they paused in Cairo. Here he donned a silken robe, a coat of cloth of gold, and a turban, and said that he was “Prince Chioa Khan.” He and his wife Rose, posing as “Princess Khan,” drove about the streets of Cairo with “two gorgeous runners to clear the way for [his] carriage.” They were beginning to run short of funds, and also unsure about their future direction, when strange things began to happen. Aleister and Rose visited the National Museum in Cairo (then called the Boulak Museum), where the latter went into a trance and mumbled about Horus. She pointed to an ancient Egyptian stele on which the god Horus was depicted in the form of the hawk-headed Ra-Hoor-Khuit. (Ra-Harakhte). Crowley went to it, and fell back in amazement. The exhibit bore his number, 666, the mark of the Beast.
Soon after Crowley experienced what he later called “The Great Revelation of Cairo.” His guardian angel finally appeared, told him that his name was Aiwaz, and that Crowley was to take down a message for mankind. The angel also told him that he was the minister of Hoor Paar Kraat who was the Hellenistic Egyptian god Harpakrat or Harpocrates, “the messenger from the forces ruling this earth at present.” Aiwaz appeared on three subsequent occasions in the course of which he dictated The Book of the Law. It was, the angel told him, the text for a new aeon in the history of the world that was to last two thousand years. In other words, it was the announcement of a new age. Crowley’s doctrines and magic are based on The Book of the Law.
Fantastic as all this sounds, it was not really different from Joseph Smith receiving The Book of Mormon as dictated to him by the angel Moroni, or, for that matter, Mohammed confronted by the Angel Gabriel in the cave behind Mecca where he was told to write the opening verses of the Koran. We have here another example of modern day shamanism or prophecy.