Aleister Crowley and His Deviant Ways… a Fortuitous Story

Earlier today, I had a drop-in visit with a contact of mine at the University of British Columbia who told me a random story that I could not believe. I drop by her station now and again to catch up and this was the first time I made mention of reading tarot cards for a living, as there has been a bit of a boom of it recently.

“Oh, how wonderful!” and an onslaught of questions arose, but what really activated the conversation was when she asked which deck I use. I told her that I use the Aquarian deck, because of their benevolent nature and calm imagery. “I would never, for instance, use an Aleister Crowley Thoth deck on someone other than myself.” I believe that there is something of a wicked nature to this deck, especially if you have not read extensively on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the images are just a little too contemporary for my taste.

“He tried to seduce me, but I wouldn’t let him!”

Without naming any further names, it came about that this contact of mine once was in an area called Deep Cove, which is north of Vancouver. In the 1920s, a lot of intellectuals and controversial characters used to hang out there, including – allegedly – Aleister Crowley himself. My contact once visited the area about 40 years ago and ran into a lady who apparently ran with this set as the result of her husband’s literary involvement (I’m still debating whether to put his name or titles here as he is moderately famous – check again later). She was around 80-years-old at this time and was spouting off all kinds of random things, including relationship advice, how her husband used to walk around the area naked (“it upset the children in the area”), and how Aleister Crowley tried to seduce her just to show spiritual domination over her husband. “But I wouldn’t let him!” she declared. She then went on to tell my contact, when she was just about 20-years-old, how women would throw themselves at Crowley and send panties in the mail, etc.

Finally, the old lady gave my contact a book that she said was “probably” owned by Crowley himself, which had Victorian-era paper and was kept for about 30 years, before our storyteller gave it to a museum in “exchange for a favor.”

So she could understand why I don’t use that deck. Somehow using a deck inspired by someone who killed his first cat when he was 11-years-old and caught gonorrhea before the age of 18 just would not fit my program. She and I have a tentative date set to read her cards before she embarks on several speaking engagements.

It pays to tell people what you’re interested in! You never know what someone may have experienced.

– John Lett (Readings), author of Value$: A Mixed Economy

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