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According to the Book of the Law, there have been two former aeons in the history of the world. The first was the aeon of Isis, an age of matriarchy. The second is that of Osiris, the aeon of the father, coinciding with the Judaic/Christian/Islamic era. A third aeon, that of Horus, began in Crowley’s apartment in the year 1904, based on the will (thelema), “true self in man as opposed to external authority, priests and gods.” Horus teaches: “Be strong, o man! Lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture: fear not that any God shall deny thee for this.” The essence of this message was highly congenial to Crowley: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

On their return to Britain, Aleister wrote to Mathers that the adepts had appointed him head of the order and declared a new magic formula, thelema. Soon after, he quarreled with Mathers and was expelled from the Golden Dawn for claiming that the latter had not met with adepts in the Bois de Boulogne, but with demons. Crowley promptly went to war against Mathers, launching a long-drawn-out occult campaign.

In the meantime, Crowley continued his mountain climbing expeditions. One was a disaster that put him in a very bad light: he led an excursion to Kanchenjunga in 1905 which failed. Crowley deserted his companions, leaving them to fend for themselves on the mountain. In 1910, he published a collection of homosexual poems which he claimed to have translated from the Persian. For the most part, however, he devoted himself to mission work, spreading the good news that a new aeon had begun. For that purpose he founded a new order of his own, A. A: (Argenteum Astrum), the “Silver Star.” This, he said, was the Inner Order of the Great White Brotherhood; the Outer Order, he said was the Golden Dawn. To promote the cause, he began publishing a house organ, Equinox, writing most of the articles himself. This went on for several years. In 1912, Crowley received a visitor in his London flat, Theodore Reuss, a high-ranking German Freemason who came to accuse him of betraying the secrets of the Masonic order. Actually, Reuss was another occultist who had learned so-called secrets of the Tantric Order of Hindu yogis, a sect which emphasizes mystical experience. They stressed the importance of sexuality as a mystical means to enlightenment. Reuss talked Crowley into coming to Berlin, where he was crowned “the Supreme and Holy King of Ireland, Iona, and all the Britains that are in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis.” Reuss’s Ordo Templi Orientis, founded in 1902, claimed to be a revival of the teachings of the Knights Templars, which had been disbanded during the fourteenth century. To join this order, the initiate had to perform the rite of maithuna or sexual intercourse. Crowley had no problems there. He practiced maithuna quite regularly from then on with prostitutes who had no idea of his occult ideas and connections.

When World War One broke out, Crowley prudently went to neutral America to continue proselytizing his various occult causes. He wrote:

“Now at last I have thee; the Slave-God is in the power of the Lord of Freedom. Thine hour is come; as I blot thee out from this earth, so surely shall the eclipse pass; and Light, Life, Love and Liberty be once more the law of Earth.

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