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The influence of Aleister Crowley on Gerald Gardner and the early witchcraft movement

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Chapter Summary

Contemporary paganism is characterised by a wide diversity that not only includes major currents such as Witchcraft, neo-shamanism, Heathenism, Asatru, Druidry and Goddess Spirituality, but these currents in their turn show rich variety in beliefs, practices and organisational structures. As discussed in this chapter, Aleister Crowley often connected the willpower with human sexuality which was seen as a powerful stimulus of the will. Crowley developed a particular form of sexual magic, and this form of magic would later become an important influence upon the early witchcraft movement as developed by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Crowley first came into contact with sexual magic in a systematic way through his involvement with the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), or the Order of Oriental Templars. After being initiated into the sexual mysteries of the OTO Crowley set out to explore sexual magic applying what he considered to be a scientific method.

Keywords: Aleister Crowley; contemporary paganism; Gerald B. Gardner; Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO); sexual magic; witchcraft movement

10.1163/ej.9789004163737.i-650.26
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