Abbey of Thelema

From 1920 to 1923, Aleister Crowley established a spiritual center for his new order in Sicily – it would be known as the “Abbey of Thelema.” His idea was to create a school for magick – not to be confused with magic, a term Crowley believed was reserved for tricksters who performed to a crowd on stage. Crowley’s sort of magick was centered around manipulating external events through meditation, ceremony and ritual.

The bible to Crowley’s new religion was “The Book of the Law”, which he had written by the instruction of his guardian angel Aiwass. The central belief of his organization was “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” Practitioners of Thelema, or Thelemites, do not believe this means do whatever you feel like doing, rather it’s an instruction to follow their true self’s desires. A major objective for Thelemites is to “Cross into the abyss”. This is a metaphor for death and rebirth that requires contact with a guardian angel that helps them become reborn into the supernal triad as an ascended person. “The great work” is an act of enlightenment in chasing one’s true potential. It can be seen across modern day Hermetic occultism.

Crowley would paint the walls of the abbey with Thelemic deities and symbols using oil paints from France. An area known as the nightmare wall featured a large yellow cyclops that Crowley deemed the eternal idol. He would encourage Thelemites to take psychedelic drugs then stare at the hellish painting until they had fully conquered fear itself.

Orgies and drug use were routine at the abbey, despite the prevalence of children running around on the premises. The children were even witnesses to the acts of “Sex Magick” – a belief that the soul’s intentions can be heard by the universe at the moment of orgasm.

Crowley’s drug use eventually spiraled out of control and he would later become a full blown heroin addict. The hedonistic practices at the Abbey of Thelema escalated in debauchery to include animal sacrifice and bestiality. But it became a hot spot for celebrities – attracting a British Model, Betty May, and her husband Raol Loveday. Betty never quite got along with Crowley – she considered the abbey dirty and didn’t enjoy life at the commune. After Crowley caught her reading a newspaper – a forbidden item – she left the next day while her husband stayed behind.

Loveday remained in the commune due to illness and his devotion to Crowley. He had recently consumed water from a local fresh spring despite Crowley’s warning that his immune system would not be up to the task. Loveday would die of a bacterial infection in 1923.

May blamed Crowley for her husband’s death and leaked his cult’s hedonistic practices to the press. She believed that her husband had become ill from drinking the sacrificial blood of a cat. Her story was picked up by Newspapers world wide. The fascist government of Mussolini ran Crowley and the Thelemites out of Cecily, and it would remain abandoned until present day. Those who visit claim it remains haunted and contains a supernatural presence.

  1. “What Is Thelema? | Occult 101.”, Da’at Darling, 3 Aug. 2020, Accessed 31 Dec. 2021.
  2. Barry Van-Asten. “Ghost Blooms: RAOUL LOVEDAY: THE CEFALU POET.” Ghost Blooms, AUDRAREP, 19 May 2018, Accessed 31 Dec. 2021.
  3. “Daughter of the Beast: Lola Zaza Crowley | History 101.”, Accessed 31 Dec. 2021.
  4. Anglis, Jaclyn. “Meet the ‘Wickedest Man in the World’ Who Horrified 20th-Century Britain.” All That’s Interesting, 22 Aug. 2021, Accessed 31 Dec. 2021.
  5. Thomas, Kristin. “Abandoned Abbey of Thelema – Where Occultist Aleister Crowley Shocked the World.” The Vintage News, 14 May 2018, Accessed 31 Dec. 2021.

Aleister Crowley 1905 Kachenjunga Disaster

Aleister Crowley K2 expedition

In 1905 Aleister Crowley agreed to a Himalayan mountaineering expedition up Kanchenjunga. Swiss doctor Jules Jacot-Guillarmod proposed the plan following their unsuccessful expedition together on K2 in 1902. Crowley agreed under the condition he lead the expedition along with Oscar Eckenstein, a mountaineering friend. Crowley wanted to set the record for highest altitude reached by man. Climber George Bell, an American physicist, biologist, and mountaineer, would later call the face of the mountain Crowley attempted to climb “A savage mountain that tries to kill you.”

Crowley insisted on bringing along a several volume library – he felt it was dangerous for men to let go of their civilization while in the wild. The crew would bring along a train of about 200 porters to carry an unreasonable 3 tons of luggage.

Crowley allegedly treated the porters brutally – with no compassion for the many among them who traveled barefoot. This lead to discontentment among the crew that only escalated.

Following a small avalanche and a hesitant retreat, Jacot- Guillarmod attempted to depose Crowley of his leadership position. Crowley rejected this request. Guillarmod decided to lead the crew back down the mountain, despite Crowley’s warning that his intended route was too dangerous.

As the rest of the crew retreated, Crowley remained in his tent and attempted to summon a demon. An avalanche occurred and instigated a chaotic scene with crew members crying out for help. Aleister ignored their pleas even as three porters and one of the crew members succumbed to their deaths. The evening of the event Aleister Crowley wrote a letter to the Darjeeling Newspaper in which he stated “”a mountain ‘accident’ of this sort is one of the things for which I have no sympathy whatever.” When Crowley passed by the survivors on his own way down, he neither stopped nor spoke to any of them.

“1905 Kanchenjunga Expedition.” Wikipedia, 23 Jan. 2021,

Crow, Footless. “Footless Crow: The Brief Mountaineering Career of Aleister Crowley- the Great Beast 666.” Footless Crow, 21 Jan. 2011, Accessed 29 Dec. 2021.

History, et al. “How Aleister Crowley, the Infamous Occultist, Led the First Attempt to Reach the Summit of K2 (1902) | Open Culture.” Open Culture, 16 Aug. 2018, Accessed 29 Dec. 2021.

The Boleskine House – Portal to Hell

In 1899 Aleister Crowley purchased the Boleskine House to perform a 6 month ritual called “The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage.” Crowley – regarded by even himself as “The Great Beast” – had been on the hunt for a property that matched certain specifications – it needed to be secluded, have doors facing the north, and room to construct a terrace with fine river sand. The sand was used to measure the success of the ritual – Crowley would be summoning spirits, and in that sand he would see their foot prints.

Crowley wanted to open up communication and knowledge of his guardian angel, whom Crowley believed to be Aiwass. The first instructions of the ceremony warn the user that the ceremony itself is to dangerous and should not be performed. Crowley didn’t care – he felt he was up to the challenge. He would live on bread and water for months, rise before dawn, and recite the incantations with the habitual discipline of a monk. The ceremony takes 6 months to perform.

The grave spiritual danger of the ceremony is that evil spirits must be summoned and compelled to serve the light. The room where Crowley performed the ceremony was so dark he required the artificial light of candles. In his isolation the shadows in the house began to appear as opaque figures.

Macgregor Mathers – founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Crowley’s occult group – interrupted Crowley during his ceremony. He required his assistance in Paris. Crowley never completed the ceremony – nor did he cast the spirits away. Jimmy Page would later claim Crowley had opened the portal to Hell.

After the second world war Major Edward Grant took ownership of the property. He was in Allaister’s former room when he took a shotgun to his head and committed suicide.

Jimmy Page, famed guitarist of Led Zeppelin, purchased the home in 1970. He was too busy to maintain it and invited his friend, Malcolm Dent, to reside there. Dent frequently experienced a malevolent presence in the home. The ominous feelings would develop into real world sensations – negligible sputtering steps at first, until one night it sounded as if an enormous hound were moving just outside his room. Dent recalled hearing a pounding on the door, only to find he was still alone the following morning.

The Boleskin House burned down in November of 2015 with nobody inside. Centuries earlier, on the same lot where the home would be built, it is said that a fire had also broken out. Only that time, the blaze occurred during a church congregation – and killed everyone inside.