The origin of the name

Funnily enough, if asked, I tend to say that Bogus Magus is just my nickname for someone who pretends to do magic (as in stage/street conjuring) – and rhymes with Hocus Pocus, like a spell.

In fact, the truth proves a litle odder. While studying with Robert Anton Wilson at the Maybe Logic Academy I realised I had to accept the fact that Uncle Bob had certainly involved himself in some Crowleyian exercises/experiments at one time. RAW didn’t have a lot of respect for astrology (which Crowley seems to have studied quite intensively), and didn’t seem to have ever joined a Crowleyian group, but insisted on respect for intelligence (whatever the person’s public reputation – think Timothy Leary, or Ezra Pound).

So in those forums I intended to show a certain intelligent curiosity, but found myself confronted by (and here they’ll hate me) what seemed like Crowleyians, Crowleyites, believers in Crowleyanity, or whatever.  It turned out later that at least some of them had a sense of humour, and tolerance for other’s viewpoints – but not many of them!

So I got a little belligerent (only in a debating sense) and pointed out that Madame Blavatsky (my dad had had a long Theosophical phase) published her Magnum Opus (two volumes of The Secret Doctrine)  HPB in 1889when Crowley was about ten years old, and Gurdjieff about twenty. I dislike ignorance, mostly. As though Crowley (like the supposed Jesus) doesn’t grow up around cultural influences, or steal ideas, or have human failings. He seemed fairly ambiguous about the ‘worship’ thing, although he exploited it at times, with few scruples.

I pointed out her profound influence on all the New Age stuff of that period (end of the Nineteenth Century), including The Golden Dawn – AND her warnings against practical magick, the dangers of siddhis, etc.

I knew full well that the Theosophical Society probably looks a bit flaky to men into Magick.  I only intended it as a put-on (in the trickster tradition) which I did not mean to accelerate into a flame war.

It amused me, in that situation, that I found myself arguing the parallels and differences between magic (with its shamanistic roots) and ritual magick (I won’t reiterate my case here but you might enjoy an imaginary meeting between Houdini and CrowleyMagical Means) – and playing the sceptic (trying to explain to Americans about the British class system, and how the arrogance of privileged people who studied at Cambridge, and never worked a day in their life, tends to put my hackles up).

They wouldn’t have it. They seemed to either mistake me for a sceptical materialist in denial, or a judgemental moralistic type (how wrong can you be) or something.

So it always secretly amused me that I had stolen my avatar name from Lawrence Sutin’s sympathetic and enlightening biog of Crowley, which I had simply read for my course work! You can see the section online here

He boots up his iMac to review the Akashic Record.

Magister: Read the charges.

iMac: Edward Alexander Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) stands accused of the standard crimes – Satanism, murder, reefer madness, hi-jacking the Rituals of the Golden Dawn, riding the Scarlet Women to death, whipping a minor poet with nettles, inspiring Black Metal cultists, abandoning his comrades to the snow demons of the Himalayas, failing to settle his bills at the Cafe Royal, and being a British gentlemen who should have known better than to become a bogus magus perpetrating bombast and buggery –

Magister: (wearily) We have heard all this before. Mr. John Symonds and his King of the Shadow Realm, Mr. Colin Wilson and his Nature of the Beast, Mr Alexander Hutchison’s The Beast Demystified, and all these ancient scandal sheets and psychedelphic papyri…is there any new evidence?

iMac: Our learned friend Professor Lawrence Sutin, an expert in jurisprudence, has prepared an appeal.

Magister: Very well. I suppose Mr Crowley had better materialise for us…Magister Templi draws a pentagram on his screen and slowly intones the Cry of the Tenth Aethyr. His garbled syllables of Enochian reverberate down the corridors mingling with the cries of the Court Ushers: “Bring Forth the Beast!” A great wind fills the Court. Through a vortex of whirling dust and sand Crowley rises from the well of the dock. He is sallow, flabby and priapically naked except for a bedraggled frock-coat and top hat. He coughs and curses as the hat slips off, revealing the familiar phallic dome of his skull.

heh heh


1 Comment

  1. Well, I remember it differently, but as a sub-personality, I would…

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