09 Apr The legacy of the spook Crowley
ARGENTEUM ASTRUM A∴A∴ should ring a bell to anyone who ever got in touch with the occult secret societies of the 20th century. A∴A∴ is one of two secret societies closely associated with the legacy of British occultist, MI6 spy and would-be Antichrist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), the Argenteum Astrum (Latin for “silver star”) was created by Crowley in 1908 following the instructions of the Book of the Law, the revelation Crowley believed he had received in 1904 from the ruling powers of the world in the new Aeon of Horus. The Book of the Law instructed him to salvage what he could from the rituals of the previous Aeon of Osiris; in Crowley’s view, these included those of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the secret society in which Crowley received most of his magical training. The order is occasionally misnamed the Atlantean Adepts as a result of a British reporter’s incorrect guess. During Crowley’s lifetime the meaning of the initials “A∴A∴” was a secret imparted by him to initiates under an oath of secrecy; one of the many newspaper exposés of the Great Beast guessed at the meaning, and missed. The Ordo Templi Orientis was another matter. In 1912, Karl Reuss made Crowley head of the British branch of the OTO, and he proceeded to make the order a vehicle for his new religion. By 1913 he was enmeshed in bitter quarrels with Reuss and other members of the order, and in 1914 he left Britain for America, leaving a remnant of the OTO in Britain to struggle on for a few more years before collapsing after a police raid. Once in America, Crowley and his Canadian acolyte Charles Stansfield Jones attempted to spread the OTO, and once again quarreled with Reuss, who tried to recruit AMORC founder H. Spencer Lewis to spread Reuss’s branch of the order instead. More about this in a post about OTO.