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Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin

Art, Sex, and Magick in the Weimar Republic
Hardcover Book
Publisher: 
Inner Traditions
 | 
May, 2014
ISBN:
9781620552568
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Publisher’s Description: 

A biographical history of Aleister Crowleys activities in Berlin from 1930 to 1932 as Hitler was rising to power

Examines Crowleys focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with magical orders

Explores Crowleys relationships with Berlins artists, filmmakers, writers, and performers such as Christopher Isherwood, Jean Ross, and Aldous Huxley

Recounts the fates of Crowleys friends and colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowleys lost art exhibition

Gnostic poet, painter, writer, and magician Aleister Crowley arrived in Berlin on April 18, 1930. As prophet of his syncretic religion Thelema, he wanted to be among the leaders of art and thought, and Berlin, the liberated future-gazing metropolis, wanted him. There he would live, until his hurried departure on June 22, 1932, as Hitler was rapidly rising to power and the black curtain of intolerance came down upon the city.

Known to his friends affectionately as The Beast, Crowley saw the closing lights of Berlins artistic renaissance of the Weimar period when Berlin played host to many of the worlds most outstanding artists, writers, filmmakers, performers, composers, architects, philosophers, and scientists, including Albert Einstein, Bertolt Brecht, Ethel Mannin, Otto Dix, Aldous Huxley, Jean Ross, Christopher Isherwood, and many other luminaries of a glittering world soon to be trampled into the mud by the global bloodbath of World War II.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters and diary material by Crowley, Tobias Churton examines Crowleys years in Berlin and his intense focus on his art, his work as a spy for British Intelligence, his colorful love life and sex magick exploits, and his contacts with German Theosophy, Freemasonry, and magical orders. He recounts the fates of Crowleys colleagues under the Nazis as well as what happened to Crowleys lost art exhibition--six crates of paintings left behind in Germany as the Gestapo was closing in. Revealing the real Crowley long hidden from the historical record, Churton presents the Beast anew in all his ambiguous and, for some, terrifying glory, at a blazing, seminal moment in the history of the world.

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