Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, Vol 12, No 1 (2010)

Walk Like an Egyptian: Egypt as Authority in Aleister Crowley’s Reception of The Book of the Law

Caroline Tully
Issued Date: 11 Jan 2011


This article investigates the story of Aleister Crowley’s reception of The Book of the Law in Cairo, Egypt, in 1904, focusing on the question of why it occurred in Egypt. The article contends that Crowley created this foundation narrative, which involved specifically incorporating an Egyptian antiquity from a museum, the “Stèle of Revealing,’” in Egypt because he was working within a conceptual structure that privileged Egypt as a source of Hermetic authority. The article explores Crowley’s synthesis of the romantic and scholarly constructions of Egypt, inherited from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as well as the uses that two prominent members of the Order made of Egyptological collections within museums. The article concludes that these provided Crowley with both a conceptual structure within which to legitimise his reformation of Golden Dawn ritual and cosmology, and a model of how to do so.

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DOI: 10.1558/pome.v12i1.20


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