"To know, to do and to keep silent."
—The man himself.
"Crowley had the first two down pat."
—Alan Moore, on the above.
Aleister Crowley (1876-1947), 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.
- The Antichrist: His Alter-Ego.
- Anything That Moves: What he claimed, anyway. Probably just for shock value, though.
- Arc Number: In Crowley's system of numerology, the number 93 was the numerical value of several significant words and phrases, and has become a common salutation among followers of Thelema.
- Bald of Evil: Albeit for only a short portion of his life, he was noted to change his appearance constantly.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Depraved Bisexual: Arguably a rare real life example.
- Ethnick Magician: He was a huge bigot as even noted by his contemporaries. He still got a lot from those guys.
- Freudian Excuse: Arguably the reason he hated the Church so much was because of his own upbringing in the Plymouth Brethen.
- Guardian Entity: The Ascended Demon Aiwass.
- According to some, Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Magick: Possibly the Trope Maker; he was the one who originally coined the spelling.
- Mean Brit
- Junkie Prophet to thousands of Thelemites worldwide.
- Nice Hat
- Junkie Prophet to thousands of Thelemites the world over. Thankfully, most of them don't try to imitate his lifestyle
- Occult Detective: Frequently referenced/mentioned such figures.
- Our Angels Are Different: His Idea of an Angel? Don't look it up. Don't.
- Purple Prose: In pages and pages.
- Refuge in Audacity: He pretty much OWNED this trope. This is a man who gloried in the title "the wickedest man alive," after all.
- Religion Is Magic: The religion Crowley founded, Thelema, is heavily intertwined with ceremonial magick. Although not strictly necessary, most Thelemites practice magick in one form or another.
- Religion of Evil: Averted, despite common belief, though his publicity hounding and antagonizing of Christianity did little to set the record straight.
- Satan Is Good: He did not actually worship the devil, as this would have by extension meant acknowledging the existence of Yahweh. The central Gods of his own Pantheon were mostly Egyptian Gods and Greek Gods, with a few Demons of Sumerian, Norse and Australian Aboriginal Origin. That said, he did play up the whole 'Great Beast 666' angle a lot.
- Self Insert: Sir Peter Pendragon and King Lamus from Diary Of A Drug Fiend, Cyril Grey and possibly Simon Iff from Moonchild (and other writings in Iff's case). Peter at least had somewhat of an excuse.
- Small Reference Pools: Any mention of a real life Occult Guru will almost certainly be him.
- Smart People Play Chess: Crowley was a noted Chess player in his time.
- Smug Snake: Could've been a Magnificent Bastard, just had too much ego.
- Take That: Many of Crowley's Real Life enemies (e.g. Samuel Mathers as SRMD, Arthur Edward Waite as Arthwaite) appear as villainous, Nazi-allied caricatures in Moonchild.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Not one himself but some think he may have advised and/or influenced them.
- Unreliable Narrator
- Xtremely Kool And Magickal Letterz
Anime and Manga
As the most famous practitioner of what Asians sometimes think of as "esoteric western magic," Crowley is often referenced in Japanese works about mysticism. His actual appearances in works include:
- 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.
- Transpose the L and R in his family name and you get "Clow Reed", the creator of the Clow Cards in Cardcaptor Sakura. He's presented in being an In Name Only version of the mage.
- 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.
- Frequently appears in the works of Robert Anton Wilson, most prominently in Masks of the Illuminati.
- 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 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't 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.