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The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: An Autohagiography

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  604 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
One of the most famous books on the occult everwritten, this is a record of Crowley's journey into strange regions of consciousness: his initiation into magichis world-wide travels and mistresses, his experimerwith sex and drugs, and the philosophy of his famous Book of the Law.
Paperback, 984 pages
Published December 5th 1989 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1969)
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Violet I'm wondering the same thing. Looks like it's out of print, and all online copies are upwards of $65.

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I found 3 editions of this in the GoodReads database - 1 of the others calls it an "autobiography" & one just calls it "The Confessions of Aleister Crowley". "Autohagiography" means "autobiography of a saint" so reducing that to a mere "autobiography" is completely out of the spirit of the bk. I was tempted to create a new bookshelf here esp in this bk's honor: "megalomania" - but that's too easy a shot. Crowley was far from stupid & there's plenty of humor in his writings. &, ...more
Brian Holland
Mar 22, 2013 Brian Holland rated it liked it
This was a well written and interesting account of the life of a very strange yet fascinating individual. If Crowley were alive today, it would be interesting to discover if his lifestyle and ideas would come across as acceptable and normal. Though he was an extremely athletic and intellectual individual, one who may have been on the verge of some fantastic spiritual goals and magical discoveries, he never did quite reach those goals. Although some have labeled him 666 and the Beast, he didn't ...more
William Southwell-Wright
I started reading this book a bit over a year ago as I'd seen it sat on my mum's shelves for years and always wondered what it was like. Today I finally finished it. The fact it took me, a pretty quick and voracious reader, over a year says a lot. For a man who had what is on paper an interesting life, this is a terrifically slow and boring read. Much of the book details his mountaineering adventures as a young man, which whilst potentially interesting if you're into mountaineering hardly live ...more
Nov 01, 2016 Aaron rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: insomniacs
Shelves: autobiography, magick
I may come back to this one...
For someone who's usually rather witty and interesting, this sucked. I felt like someone trapped in an elevator with a pompous gasbag relating his adventures in one of the Boer Wars. I don't give a crap about mountaineering in the early 1900's. It also didn't help that the copy I had was given to me out of the bookstore trash years ago. As I read a page, it came right out of the book. There's a moldering pile on my nightstand now.
Supposedly, he wrote it while on opi
Michael Herrman
Apr 20, 2012 Michael Herrman rated it really liked it
For a glimpse into Victorian England (and China, and America, and every other place he visited in his travels) this is the tome to read. It's heavy, several inches thick, but offers a view into a world that most people never see.

Crowley was a prolific writer who eschewed moral and social mores that his peers took for granted, and as you read his account it becomes obvious that he was insane. Regardless, in his chosen realm, no single individual had a greater impact on the western mystical tradi
Jan 21, 2008 George rated it really liked it
How to act like a spoiled kid and blow a personal fortune
Mar 22, 2008 Sean rated it it was ok
People should not write books while smoking opium
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adventure lovers
My understanding is that there is an unexpurgated version of this out or coming out. This is a long but exciting and exotic read. Crowley is someone too often typified by the bad press he receieved. This, along with other books that he wrote, secures his reputation as a brilliant synthesist of spiritual paths, mountain climber, prankster, popularizer of sex yoga and so much more. The writing is crisp and filled with humorous observations. Find out what made Uncle Al the "wickedest man in the ...more
Raymond Strodl
Oct 28, 2014 Raymond Strodl rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
This is an interesting but very disturbing book about this strange man who is renowned as a master of the occult who called himself the Beast and amended the spelling of his name to ensure its numerology value was 666. He was known as a drug fiend and the most wicked man alive during his day. He is in my opinion along with de Sade among the most enigmatic and very strange authors and thinkers.

This is an excellent and we written book about this mans very strange life and the impact he has had on
Aaron Meyer
Nov 20, 2010 Aaron Meyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occult, biography
This is a large book and when I read it I thought this will take some time I hope it isn't boring! Boy was I wrong before I know it I am right there with Aleister going through all his exploits and many are the times I said to myself I've done that, I've done that, I been there, what's up? we have so much in common, no wonder I have always been attracted to this man and his work.!!! If you want to know the man then read this book. It's a blast, you won't regret it.
Derek Davis
Sep 12, 2010 Derek Davis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with time and a quiet temperament
OK, I never actually finished this, and the five stars are not, certainly, for honesty or clarity, but simply for the fact that Crowley was one of the greatest stylists of the English language. A son of a bitch, a charlatan, a pervert, perhaps a mystical genius (unlikely), man, could he write.
Dec 02, 2016 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
First off I wouldn't classify this as a book on the "occult". It does contain excepts from the Beasts' magical diaries, but it comes over more like a book on his own personal development, through his physical, spiritual and intellectual endeavours.
The writing style is typical of the period, in that it takes a while to find his voice, as the syntax can be trying. That said I managed to knock it off in 10 hours, according to the e-reader stats, and I wouldn't consider myself a fast reader. This
Aaron Shea
Mar 22, 2012 Aaron Shea rated it really liked it
An excellent book about an influential and incredibly interesting man. It was obvious that his upbringing in the Plymouth Brethren, a group that believed in the literal interpretation of the bible as the word of the Holy Spirit. He created a Thelema as a new rule for people that was given to him by a spirit that he conjured during his magick. He influenced Jimmy Page, David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ozzy Osbourne to name a few. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the ...more
James Wayne Proctor
Dec 28, 2014 James Wayne Proctor rated it it was amazing
For such a wicked, bloated "beast" Mr Crowley can nevertheless pack one heck of a wallop on the page. His descriptions of early school days and forays into magicks and the ever-tantalizing beat of his guardian angel's wings are written in such smooth constructions that one almost can forget the page-long paragraphs. They float. The section on his Everest efforts alone is worth cracking open this tome.
Mustafa Al-Laylah
Jul 09, 2008 Mustafa Al-Laylah rated it it was ok
Having spent an inordinate amout of time with the "Hag" (as AC was fond of calling it) I can say that this ranks as one of Crowley’s more challenging written works. This opinion is bolstered by the fact that prior to the new printing, due out sometime next year, the work had been butchered by Symonds and Grant (hence the rather low rating I give it here).
Oct 11, 2008 Craig rated it liked it
uncle Al, that noted satanist. This book is very entertaining. he does pat himself on the back a bit to much. But it is very funny, would have better if edited to take out a lot of the nonsense stuff. But a good read non the less
Dr. Barrett  Dylan Brown, Phd
I think every so-called Crowley fan or Thelemite or whatever should be forced to read this book from start to finish. It very effectively dispells many memes and confused gossop about Crowley which seems to travel around.
Oct 23, 2008 Robert rated it really liked it
A verbose biographic account of Aleister Crowley's extraordinary life. Though remembered for his Black Masses and black magic Crowley was a pioneering mountain climber. I have taken his work with me on two mountain climbs and a jungle trip in 1973 in the Orinoco River Basin.
May 11, 2007 Becca rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: occultists
even though it's oop, you can't say you know crowley till you've read this. find a copy -- it's worth the price.
Nov 03, 2015 Theresa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I want to say "what the f**k did I just read" but I probably truly read only about 1/3 of this thing total. So: "what the f**k did I just skim"

What a doorstop. Both Crowley and this book.
Craig Herbertson
Feb 12, 2013 Craig Herbertson rated it it was amazing
Crowley probably stretched the truth a little and misled but he is a fascinating man and well worth reading
Mar 26, 2015 Kevin rated it it was ok
no drugs, no sex, very little magic. mainly mountaineering, numerology, cabbala, critical analysis of his own poetry and writings. glosses over all the juicy stuff which says something about the man.
Jun 07, 2008 Old-Barbarossa rated it really liked it
Huge book and surprisingly little magic(k) in it. The travel stuff is damn good, with his mountain adventures particulary enjoyable. A lot funnier than I thought it would be too.
Robert IV
Robert IV rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2013
Christopher Delara
Christopher Delara rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2012
Sandy rated it really liked it
Mar 24, 2013
Elio Cerati
Elio Cerati rated it it was amazing
Apr 01, 2013
Cocytus rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2013
Jan Karg
Jan Karg rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2015
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Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, was a British occultist, writer, mountaineer, philosopher, poet, and mystic. He was an influential member in several occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the AA, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and is best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law , the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained much notoriet ...more
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“The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.” 195 likes
“Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.” 113 likes
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