Creator: Aleister Crowley
"To know, to do and to keep silent."
— The man himself.
"Crowley had the first two down pat."
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an influential English occultist, provacateur, hedonist, mountaineer, chess player, and artist dubbed "The Wickedest Man in the World." His motto was "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law; love is the law, love under will." He is known for his occult writing and drug experimentation
. Also noted for appearing on the cover of The Beatles
' Sergeant Pepper
album, drawing the interest of Jimmy Page
, and being the subject of the Ozzy Osbourne
song "Mr. Crowley." Not to be confused with Anthony J. Crowley
Aleister Crowley and his works provide the following tropes:
Media where Crowley plays an important roleAnime and Manga
- He is one of the most important characters in A Certain Magical Index, where he's the Man Behind the Man to all of Academy City, and is the number one heretic among the Magic Side. Aiwass is also his mentor.
- His Unicursal Hexagram is the main symbol for the Seal of Orichalcos in Yu-Gi-Oh!. In the dub, Amelda was changed to Alister in honor of the Hexagram.
- W. Somerset Maugham based Oliver Haddo, the villain of his novel The Magician, on Crowley, a contemporary of his. Haddo reappears as the villain of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume III: Century with even more specifically Crowleyan associations.
- Crowley retaliated by publishing an article in which he claimed that all the characters in The Magician were thinly-disguised caricatures of his and Maugham's acquaintances and the whole plot had been plagiarized from various other works.
- Frequently appears in the works of Robert Anton Wilson, most prominently in Masks of the Illuminati.
- Not directly, but he was the major source of inspiration for the villain of Dennis Wheatley's book The Devil Rides Out. Officially the two of them met and got on surprisingly well. There are rumours and good grounds for believing that Wheatley was an initiate of the Golden Dawn or the O.T.O. and directly studied with Crowley. As Wheatley became more socially respectable, he tried to deny the association.
- He is mentioned directly in To the Devil A Daughter where what is apparently Wheatley's version of the "Paris Working" is ascribed to "one of Crowley's young men".
- James Bond writer Ian Fleming was said to have based Casino Royale villain Le Chiffre on Crowley.
- In the Elemental Masters series, he is a disgraced Magician turned con man. The Elemental Masters positively loathe him, but consider him to be a useful idiot for keeping up The Masquerade; as long as people associate Magick with him and his crowd of drug addicts, they'll be less likely to see it as real.
- Two of the more powerful and important demons in Supernatural are named Alastair and Crowley, respectively. The latter in life sold his soul for a bigger dick - make of that what you will.
- He can be seen on the far left of the top of the crowd on the album cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.
- Probably the most well-known example: Ozzy Osbourne's "Mr. Crowley". Despite arousing the wrath of Moral Guardians, it's actually a very ambivalent and slyly humorous song, based around the protagonist's bemusement about whether Crowley was a genuine spiritual adept, a trolling charlatan, or both.
- Can's Tago Mago album was named after the Illa de Tagomago, which Crowley was said to have visited at one point. The side long "Aumgn" was supposedly based on one of his chants.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, Crowley is a common influence on Black Metal bands. French group Blut aus Nord have subtitled one of their albums The Destruction of Reason by Illumination after a quote from his writings and have titled a trilogy of albums 777 after one of his qabalistic writings. There's probably more as well but since they don't release most of their lyrics only the band is likely to know for certain.
- The rock band Choronzon and the Tangerine Dream song "Choronzon" are named after a babbling demon described in Crowley's writings. The Blackened Death Metal band Akercocke also named one of their albums after Choronzon.
- Reverend Bizarre's "Aleister" and "Cromwell" are both inspired by Crowley (the latter quotes the second half of Crowley's motto almost verbatim).
- He has an occasional guest role in The Scarifyers as an advisor on the occult to the heroes. They themselves believe he is utterly insane. He's depicted as rather camp and generally harmless.
- He appears as a boss battle in Shin Megami Tensei II with real magic powers and a One-Winged Angel form, as a horny, completely insane wizard who attempts to kill the heroes out of anger that he can' preform a wild demonic orgy. It's not made clear if it's really Crowley you see or if it's a demon assuming his form, and it's also not made clear if he dies or simply escapes after you win the battle with him.
- Elfen High: Where he appears as the sex-crazed wizard in charge of the school.
- Also a prominent character in the creatively named reboot Elfen High 2, though he is not the real Crowley here.