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Moonchild by Aleister Crowley

Moonchild (1917)

by Aleister Crowley

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Imagine my surprise at seeing how many re-issues there are of this work -- and how many LT participants have listed it! I read the First -- and at that time the only Edition some years ago and will add nothing much to the previous Reviews except to say that Crowley would have been astonished that so many people have taken it so seriously, probably much more seriously than he did himself. It's a lark, a jolly pass-time for a loveable screwball in his semir-retirment -- and incidentally, an unacknowldged inspiration for that hack-job ROSEMARY'S BABY. ( )
  HarryMacDonald | Dec 17, 2012 |
Lots of nakedness and frolicking in gardens, quite pretentious and yet, a bit of magick succumbed to, has never hurt a flea, well me...oh! yes, but that's an altogether different type of tale. A decent and fun read by Crowley, nothing read in advance is necessary for ones enjoyment, if you like this sort of tome, as I do. Of course I had read the Illuminatus Trilogy, before this book ~ but Crowley does easily, completely, stand on his own. ( )
  DreamingTikay | May 14, 2011 |
I read this book many, many years ago and thought it was a fair book back then. But upon rereading it recently I have found that there is just so much more to the book than my first reading. Of course I have had over the last couple decades been able to read much more about Crowley and his exploits and the Golden Dawn and its people who were in it and I would highly recommend reading a great deal more about all of these folks before reading Moonchild. Having done that the book definitely becomes more enlightening and explains Crowley's attitude to its members which are played out in this book. I mean this book had me in falling out of the chair when he started in on Arthwaite because I could readily agree with him in his thoughts after reading Arthur Waite's books. And his depiction of Mathers is just as funny. A good read, just do the prep and you will enjoy it more. ( )
  Loptsson | Sep 4, 2010 |
I read this novel as a youngster. I read it after a period wherein I was besotted with all things Huysmans. I was raised a Catholic, so I could appreciate the ritual, etc. but my callow intelligence couldn't put its callow head around all these, what Lovecraft would call Eldritch matters. So I bumped into Crowley via Colin Wilson. Needless to say that I had not much luck penetrating these recondite matters on my own, so I enlisted the help of Robert Anton Wilson's books, a writer that literally fell off the shelf, as Colin Wilson's Library Angel says they will, as I tipped-toed around the local, and only occult bookstore. Before you label me as an afternoon occultist, I must admit here that I viewed it all as a spooky cartoon. Twelve years of Catholic School beat all the 'belief' out of me. And today I believe that we don't know enough to say for sure, either way, it would take a lot of convincing - there I go again!
But back to the novel. Our author makes it plain that everyone is a second-rater next to him. He whips everybody through the streets with a whip he doubtless borrowed from 'Bitter' Bierce. Two who come in for his special brand of oppobrious heckling is the poet Yeats and the occult historian, Arthur Edward Waite. There is some truth mixed in with his vitriol but, to me, it sounds like sour grapes more than anything else. Here he describes the poet Yeats:

The third commissioner was the brains of the business. He was a man highly skilled in Black Magic in his own way. He was a lean, cadaverous Protestant-Irishman named Gates, tall, with the scholar's stoop. He possessed real original talent, with now and then a flash of insight which came close to genius. But though his intellect was keen and fine, it was in some way confused; and there was a lack of virility in his make-up. His hair was long, lank and unkempt; his teeth were neglected; and he had a habit of physical dirt which was so obvious as to be repulsive even to a stranger.
But there was no harm in him; he had no business in the Black Lodge at all . .

More about Yeats:

It would be only by an effort that he spoke in English; the least distraction would send him back into Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, none of which languages he understood. He was a peddler of words; his mind was a rag-and-bone shop of worthless and disjointed mediaevalism.
After a severe struggle, he would 'proceed to an allocution.' He never 'spoke'; he 'monologized.'

About his art:

And indeed he had a pretty amateur talent for painting in water-colors: some people thought it stronger than his verses. For ten days he watched the butter-fly net with extreme care. He wrote down the routine of the inhabitants by the hour. Nothing escaped him of their doings in the garden; and (as it happened) the preponderating portion of their work lay out-of-doors. He could not make nor head nor tail of the fact that the most important people were apparently doing no magick of any kind, but, careless lovers, enjoying the firstfruits of their flight to the South.

We are led to believe that in the psychic scuffle between Yeats and Crowley, Crowley always came out on top. Doubtless the dawns were something less than Golden when these two were on the stage.

A.C. didn't save all his invective for fellows such as the poet Yeats. He seemed always to have a burr in his saddle when the redoubtable Arthur Edward Waite arrived on the aulic scene. If the reader isn't familiar with Waite's prose, this bit won't have as much bite, but I'm willing to wager there will be something here for just about any reader's amusement:

His Grimoire (Waite's) was in reality excellent for its purpose; for the infernal hierarchy delights in intelligible images, in every kind of confusion and obscurity. This particular lucubration was calculated to drag the Archdemon of Bad Syntax himself from the most remote corner of his lair.
For Arthwait could not speak with becoming unintelligibility; to knot a sentence up properly it has to be thought out carefully, and revised. New phrases have to be put in; sudden changes of subject must be introduced; verbs must be shifted to unsuspected localities; short words must be excised with ruthless hand; archaisms must be sprinkled like sugar-plums upon the concoction; the fatal human tendency to say things straightforwardly must be detected and defeated by adroit reversals; and, if a glimmer of meaning yet remain under close scrutiny, it must be removed by replacing all the principal verbs by paraphrases in some dead language.
This is not to be achieved in a moment; it is not enough to write disconnected nonsense; it must be possible for anyone acquainted with the tortuosities of the author's mind to resolve the sentence into its elements, and reproduce - not the meaning, for there is none, but the same mental fog from which he was originally suffering.
An example or two:
Ru-volvolimperipunct (circle), Subinfractically (below), Suprorientalize (arise), Kinematodrastically (soon), Phenomenize! (appear)

Now, I will admit that it wont go well if I enter the land of A.E. Waite without a pile of reference books, but I won't go as far as to say that he has no MEANING.
Reading MOONCHILD these many years later was not as mystifying an experience as my fledgling attempt. But I can't help seeing in Crowley the precocious childe who is always capering to get his parent's or anybodies attention. It has come out in recent biographies that the Great Beast's claws were not nearly as lethal as he thought they were, though I am quite sure that he did every 'damned thing' he could to earn the name of 'the wickedest man in Europe.' ( )
11 vote Porius | Aug 21, 2010 |
I was assigned this one in a college class and thus went in with some trepidation. Despite my fears the book was pretty good in its depiction of the classic struggle between good and evil decorated with all the trappings of the occult you would expect from Crowley. ( )
  israfel13 | Sep 8, 2006 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Pred vama je najčuveniji i najbolji Kroulijev okultni roman! Tema je večna bitka između Sila Svetlosti i Sila Tame. Mlada devojka je upletena u magički rat između dva muškarca, i prisiljena je da izabere između jednog od njih. Kako priča odmiče čitalac proleće furioznim tempom kroz seriju magičkih zapleta, uzbuđenja i celokupnog okultnog repertoara, uključujući i Crnu Lozu. Sam Krouli se u romanu predstavlja kao lik Dobrog Majstora Magike.
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Author's Note:
This book was written in 1917, during such leisure as my efforts to bring America into the War on our side allowed me. Hence my illusions on the subject, and the sad showing of Simon Iff at the end. Need I add that, as the book itself demonstrates beyond all doubt, all persons and incidents are purely the figment of a disordered imagination?

   London, 1929
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London, in England, the capital city of the British Empire, is situated upon the banks of the Thames.
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Book description

Aleister Crowley, a prolific writer, wrote only a few novels in his lifetime. Moonchild is his most famour.
First published in 1917, Moonchild appeals to the new generation of readers who recognize Crowley as one of the most unique thinkers of his era. The book deals with the endless battle between the Forces of Light and the Forces of Darkness. A young girl is drawn into a magickal war between two men and is forced to choose between them. As the story unfolds, the readier is taken through an incredible series of magickal intrigues involving a Black Lodge.

Writing from his own experiences, Crowley describes the methods and theories of modern magickal practices, managing to persuade us that magick is a scientific reality - and that it works. Crowley's own personality reveals itself in the characters of the Good Magickal Masters.

The cover art is courtesy of the Ordo Templi Orientis archives. It was originally designed by Beresford Egan from the 1929 edition published by Mandrake Press, and has been modified for this edition.

Moonchild is a novel written by the British occultist Aleister Crowley in 1917. Its plot involves a magical war between a group of white magicians, led by the protagonist Simon Iff, and a group of black magicians over an unborn child. It was first published by Mandrake Press in 1929.

Moonchild is a novel held in high regard for its magical and occult significance and also for its complex and well written prose.

Aleister Crowley 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, writer, mountaineer, poet, playwright, yogi, and possible spy. He was an influential member of occult organizations, including the Golden Dawn, the A∴A∴, and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and is known today for his magical writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. He gained notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as "The wickedest man in the world."

Crowley was also a chess player in his youth, a painter, astrologer, hedonist, bisexual, recreational drug experimenter, and social critic.

This edition will include a long introduction by Don Webb, a noted horror writer and author of Aleister Crowely: The Fire and The Force provides a long introduction to the work with some wit and perhaps some wisdom.
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"The book deals with the endless battle between the Forces of Light and the Forces of Darkness. A young girl is drawn into a magickal war between two men and is forced to choose between them. As the story unfolds, the readers is taken through an incredible series of magickal intrigues involving a Black Lodge." -- p. 4 of cover.… (more)

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