One of the most recent additions to the Castle of the Silver Star is the MIDI version of Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley with which this site at one time opened. It is a cut from the Blizzard Of Ozz album, Epic, c. 1979 E.V. While I enjoy the fact that this song exists, obviously about Aleister Crowley, I have never been terribly fond of Ozzy's lyrics. To me it sounds as if Osbourne had at the time an interest in the Beast, but only enough of one to be something of a fadist or mild enthusiast rather than a serious student of the life and work of the Master Therion. As a result of this, the lyrics of Mr. Crowley are misleading, misrepresenting the prophet and his teachings. It's just not right, so let's fix it. But first, let us look at the lyrics of the song, as culled from two web sites:
Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head?
(Oh) Mr. Crowley, did you talk with the dead?
Your lifestyle to me seemed so tragic,
With the thrill of it all.
You fooled all the people with magic [sic];
(Yeah) You waited on Satan's call.
Mr. Charming, did you think you were pure?
Mr. Alarming, in nocturnal rapport.
Uncovering things that were sacred,
manifest on this Earth.
(Ah) Conceived in the eye of a secret--
And they scattered the afterbirth.
Mr. Crowley, won't you ride my white horse?
Mr. Crowley, it's symbolic, of course.
Approaching a time that is classic,
I hear (the) maidens call.
Approaching a time that is drastic--
Standing with their backs to the wall.
Was it polemically sent?
I wanna know what you meant,
I wanna know
I wanna know what you meant.
I have no objections to the first line of Verse 1 as Ozzy, like so many others, obviously had great difficulty understanding the workings of A.C.'s mind, his motivations and his purpose in life, his True Will. But would I change this? I'm not sure, so let us leave this stand as it is for now and move on.
Line 2 of Verse 1 seems to be a naive and stupid question, showing the lyricist's basic ignorance of the subject of his song. It implies that Crowley may have been a necromancer, which he wasn't, not having performed the rites of necromancy, or possibly a spiritualist, or as it was more frequently called in his day, "spiritist". In The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, [Hill and Wang, NY, 1969 E.V.], he referred to it thusly:
"... the hypothesis of spiritism, which revolts my scientific spirit and is repudiated, by my instinct as an initiate, for a foul blasphemy and profanation ..."
In Chapter 21 of Magick in Theory and Practice, [Samuel Weiser, Inc., NY, 1973 E.V.], entitled "Of Black Magic...", on the subject of necromancy, Crowley wrote the following:
"All spiritists ... feel dirty even across the street; their auras are ragged, muddy and malodorous; they ooze the slime of purtrefying corpses.
No spiritist, once he is wholly enmeshed in sentimentality and Freudian fear-phantasms, is capable of concentrated thought, of persistent will, or of moral character. Devoid of every spark of the divine light which was his birthright, a prey before death to the ghastly tenants of the grave, the wretch, like the mesmerized and living corpse of Poe's Monsieur Valdemar, is a 'nearly liquid mass of loathsome, of detestable putrescence.'
The student of this Holy Magick is most earnestly warned against frequenting their séances, or even admitting them to his presence.
They are contagious as Syphilis, and more deadly and disgusting. Unless your aura is strong enough to inhibit any manifestation of the loathly larvae that have taken up their habitation in them, shun them as you need not mere lepers!*"
As a footnote, Crowley added:
"*It occurs in certain rare cases that a very unusual degree of personal purity combined with integrity and force of character provides even the ignorant with a certain defence, and attracts into his aura only intelligent and beneficient entities. Such persons may perhaps practise spiritualism without obvious bad results, and even with good results, within limits. But such exceptions in no wise invalidate the general rule, or in any way serve as argument against the magical theory outlined above with such mild suasion."
Despite the softening footnote, it should be obvious that Mr. Crowley was not one who was likely to practise necromancy or spiritualism, although he often found himself talking to those who were dead ... from the neck up.
Again, I am not sure I care for the next two lines of Verse 1, but to many, including Ozzy, Crowley's life must have seemed tragic as a result of a pursuit of excitement in life, and the opinion is not entirely without merit as Crowley did indeed seek out thrilling adventure and there was no shortage of tragedies in his three score and twelve years of life on this planet. Once more, then, let us leave these lines alone for now and move on.
The last two lines of Verse 1 I must object to. To say that Crowley "fooled all the people with magic" - and in point of fact, Crowley practiced magick - is to say that he was a charlatan. This is a popular opinion and one held by those who do not understand in the least the reality of magick ... spelled with or without the k. Such people seem to have a comic book mentality, a childish and naive idea as to what magick is, how it works, and what its primary function is. Just let me say here that magick, which works along scientific and psychological lines [primarily], is a system employed to reunite what I call the Divided Self. By way of the practice of magick, a man or woman gradually brings into alignment the conscious and the subconscious selves or aspects of the mind, which are by nature often, within us, at war with one another, the lines of communication between reason and libido frequently blocked off, at least partially. It is through magic that the practitioner removes that blockage and re-establishes the lines of communication between the conscious and the subconscious ["unconscious", some would prefer] so that a union, or rather a reunion is possible. When this has been accomplished to a high degree, the practitioner of magick makes contact with the supraconscious self or mind, that is to say, the Holy Guardian Angel, Genius, Daemon or True Self as opposed to the ego that up until then he or she had identified him- or herself with.
As for Ozzy's need to bring Satan into the song ... well, it must have sounded quite fine to him at the time, and certainly the evocation of the Christian God's archenemy was certain to win the approval of the adolescents he was trying to sell records to, but it is, nevertheless, quite misleading.
Although he has been and still is often falsely accused of being a "Satanist", as I successfully pointed out to the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Crowley was not a "Satanist", for he neither believed in nor worshiped the Judeo-Christian Satan. To A.C. Satan was merely a convenient poetic figure, a metaphor, and nothing more. Belief in Satan, in "the Devil", was to Crowley as it is to all sincere students of the esoteric, an insult to God. Belief in the existence of Satan, as he is commonly conceived, diminishes God the Absolute, the All. If indeed God is absolute, if God is all, then God must be everything, and consequently everyone, and even if one were to accept the existence of "the Devil", one would then logically have to admit that essentially God and "the Devil" are one. Be that as it may, let us quote the Master Therion again from Magick, the same chapter as above.
"The Devil does not exist. It is a false name invented by the Black Brothers to imply a Unity in their ignorant muddle of dispersions. A devil who had unity would be a God.*"
The footnote, it should be mentioned, begins with the statement that "'The Devil' is, historically, the God of any people that one personally dislikes." And it is clear to any sincere student of magic/k, religion and/or psychology that Satan, "the Devil", is a construct created in part from bits and pieces of pre-Christian ideas of God, used as a scapegoat for what is perceived as the "negative" aspects of human nature, and a bogeyman to frighten people into accepting a religion against which logic and common sense must otherwise revolt. The Christian "Devil" is a means of controlling "the faithful", and it was, in part, Crowley's mission in life to free mankind from the shackles of unreasonable fear, unhealthy repression, and unfair oppression. Thus, more so than the caricature of the Nazarene that misrepresents him and is by the majority of Christians worshipped as "Christ", Crowley was opposed to this bogeyman, this "Devil". Although there is validity in the argument that he was as opposed to the one as the other, since, in fact, there is little if any difference between the two, both the caricature of Jesus and Satan, as most Christians today know them, being little more than devices to control "the faithful".
Crowley did not wait on Satan's call, for he neither believed in Satan nor did he do much in the way of waiting, being of the temperament that reached out and took what was wanted rather than waiting for it to come of its own accord. And if by "waited" Ozzy meant that A.C. served Satan, well, again, he did not believe in Satan. He served the Silver Star.
Naturally I have no objection to Line 1 of Verse 2, although I suspect that Ozzy was being sarcastic. Crowley was magical and he could be quite charming ... when he wanted to be. As for Line 2, this was obviously sarcastic, but in point of truth he was "pure" ... pure, that is, unto himself, or his True Self, as well as to his ideals, Thelema and his True Will.
"Mister Alarming"? To some people, certainly. To fundamentalist Christians, to all of those who, even unwittingly, serve the slave gods, absolutely! But with whom or what does Ozzy claim he was "in nocturnal rapport"?
"Uncovering things that were sacred?" As Crowley often wrote, "Mystery is the enemy of truth." Nothing wrong with this.
And "conceived in the eye of a secret"? This could mean many things, perhaps it is even a reference to the "secret eye". Be that as it may, methinks Ozzy was simply running out of clear ideas as he added verses. Surely the part about scattered afterbirth sounds like a musician adding something just because it sounded right ... to him.
In Verse 3 Osbourne asks Crowley to ride his white horse, and I'm not quite sure what he means here. Is he asking Crowley to be his hero, his knight in shining armor astride a great white horse? Is this a reference to symbols in the Apocalypse of John the Divine? Or is this a reference to heroin, a subject of addictive interest to Ozzy at one time. He does say a bit further on in this verse that "It's symbolic, of course", but is he just being sarcastic again?.
Now who are these "maidens" who "call", and why are they calling? One thing is certain, more than a few maidens as well as those who had long before lost their maidenhead, called upon Crowley quite frequently, and he accepted them most warmly.
"Approaching a time that is drastic" is not difficult to understand for we are in the throes of the birth and childhood of a New Æon, a time of great upheaval and change. But why are they standing with their backs to the wall, and who is it that is in this position? Those maidens mentioned earlier? Are we all the maidens calling for our Beloved, the True Self, the Holy Guardian Angel, and do we feel that our backs are to the wall in a society so dominated ... for the time being ... by the followers of the slave gods? Some of us do indeed feel this way, and it should be remembered by those who would repress and suppress that a cornered "beast", no matter how gentle by nature, is apt to turn and fight fiercely when so trapped.
"Was it polemically sent?" Was what polemically sent? Thelema???
po·lem·ic n. 1. A controversial argument, especially one refuting or attacking a specific opinion or doctrine. 2. A person engaged in or inclined to controversy, argument, or refutation. - also po·lem·i·cal adj. Of or relating to a controversy, an argument, or a refutation. [French polémique, from Greek polemikos, hostile, from polemos, war.] -- po·lem-i·cal·ly adv.
Well, that word does indeed describe Aleister Crowley, the Great Wild Beast 666, and the philosophy of Thelema.
Finally Ozzy Osbourne cries out again and again that he wants to know what Crowley meant, so obviously he doesn't know, or at least he didn't know when he wrote Mr. Crowley.
So how would I rewrite the lyrics to Ozzy Osbourne's Mr. Crowley? Let me see ... here's a suggestion, off the top of my head, as it were.
Mr. Crowley, they don't know what you said.
Oh Mr. Crowley, in their nescience they dread.
Your lifestyle to them seemed so tragic,
With your love of it all.
You baffled the people with magick,
And they called your rise a great fall.
Mr. Charming, to your Self you were true.
Mr. Alarming, they won't give you your due.
Uncovering things that were sacred,
manifest on this Earth.
(Ah) Conceived in the eye of a secret--
They've mistaken your boundless mirth.
Mr. Crowley, you have travelled your course.
Oh Mr. Crowley, a knight on a white horse.
Approaching a time that's fantastic,
Your true Thelemites call.
Approaching a time that is drastic--
Proclaiming that the Law is for all!
It was polemically sent.
I want to spread your intent,
I want to spread
I want to spread your intent!
Have you any suggestions? And I wonder, do you think Mr. Osbourne might be convinced to more fairly and accurately rewrite his lyrics?