The late years of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries saw the zenith of an interest in the occult that spread across Europe and into the rest of the world. For England’s upper crust this meant a penchant for dabbling in Secret Societies such as the Golden Dawn and its offspring. The origins of these societies can be found in the burning of the library at Egypt’s Alexandria-but of that more later.
These societies hid beneath the veneer (or perhaps rock) of fashionable occultism in the Victorian and Edwardian age. They were true seekers of gnosis for reasons both good and bad-and Aleister Crowley was among the most outrageous of them all. Crowley was born wealthy. Early in life he set foot on the spiritual path and actually accomplished amazing things.
Much of this was hidden beneath a drive to replace his long spent wealth and an even stronger drive to feed the world’s press with material designed to enhance his public reputation as “the wickedest man in the world”.
The reputation lives on and few are aware today that he played roles as an intelligence operative in New York during the First World War and in London during the second. Fewer still are aware that during the early years of the formation of the Nazi Party, Crowley was drawing the attention of the long established occult masters of Munich, Germany.
Crowley privately published many books and papers on his occult research and experiences. In one of them he revealed information he claimed had been imparted to him from a spirit from the Inner Plane. German members of an ancient occult society recognized their own information-and accused Crowley of stealing and exposing secrets. Crowley met with them in Munich. His accusers soon learned the truth-Crowley really did receive the information “from the other side”.
Realizing he was in communication with “The Secret Chiefs” (read Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine) they took Crowley under their wing and empowered him to start a branch of their society in England. These same men later formed the Thule Society-the driving force politically and financially behind the fledgling Nazi Party and Hitler. Crowley plays a role in The Watch as an advisor to Winston Churchill on the secret rituals of the SS.