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LONDON, in England, the capital city of the British Empire, is situated upon the banks of the Thames. It is not likely that these facts were unfamiliar to James Abbott McNeill Whistler, a Scottish gentleman born in America and resident in Paris but it is certain that he did not appreciate them. For he settled quietly down to discover a fact which no one had previously observed; namely, that it was very beautiful at night. The man was steeped in Highland fantasy, and he revealed London as Wrapt in a soft haze of mystic beauty, a fairy tale of delicacy and wistfulness.It is here that the Fates showed partiality; for London should rather have been painted by Goya. The city is monstrous and misshapen; its mystery is not a brooding, but a conspiracy. And these truths are evident above all to one who recognizes that London's heart is Charing Cross.For the old Cross, which is, even technically, the centre of the city, is so in sober moral geography. The Strand roars toward Fleet Street, and so to Ludgate Hill, crowned by St. Paul's Cathedral; Whitehall sweeps down to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Trafalgar Square, which guards it at the third angle, saves it to some extent from the modern banalities of Piccadilly and Pall Mall, mere Georgian sham stucco, not even rivals to [9] the historic grandeur of the great religious monuments, for Trafalgar really did make history; but it is to be observed that Nelson, on his monument, is careful to turn his gaze upon the Thames.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946774422
Publisher: Mockingbird Press
Publication date: 02/25/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 236
Sales rank: 738,965
File size: 337 KB

About the Author

ALEISTER CROWLEY, born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 - 1 December 1947, was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He was the founder of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. A prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life. Born to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected his fundamentalist Christian faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, where some biographers allege he was recruited into the British intelligence agency. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and trained in ceremonial magic under Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India. He married Rose Edith Kelly, and in 1904 they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema. Announcing the start of the Æon of Horus, The Book declared that its followers should adhere to the code of "Do what thou wilt" and seek to align themselves with their Will through the practice of Magick. After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded a Thelemite order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated their religion. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the German-based Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), rising to become the leader of its British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemite beliefs. Through the O.T.O., Thelemite groups were established in Britain, Australia, and North America. Crowley spent the First World War in the United States, where he took up painting and campaigned for the German war effort against Britain, later revealing that he had infiltrated the pro-German movement to assist the British intelligence services. In 1920, he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death. Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual and an individualist social critic. He was denounced in the popular press as "the wickedest man in the world" and a Satanist. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over Western esotericism and the counter-culture, and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema.
Elizabeth Ledbetter is a researcher and writer focusing on the history, philosophy and structure of alternative religions. Her interest in this area stems from her traditional Catholic upbringing, which exposed her to the colorful world of angels and saints-along with their more hellish counterparts. After lapsing from the Church, her spiritual nature asserted itself and led her on a search for a replacement to the religion she left behind. Her journey has been fulfilling; she has encountered and studied a number of diverse faiths and beliefs from the New Age and Occult communities. She has had the pleasure of meeting and learning from the independent and intriguing people who find themselves on the outside of mainstream religion. She enjoys searching out ancient or forgotten texts for her studies and bringing them to new audiences in modern formats. She holds a history degree from a large public university in the South and lives in Tennessee with her husband and two dogs.

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