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Various: Crowley and Politics

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.politics,alt.thelema,talk.religion.misc,alt.magick.order
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Various: Crowley and Politics (Women: Abortion)
Date: 20 Dec 1997 15:01:31 -0800

[technical difficulties enforced delay]

maat@IO.COM (Baphemetis Continuity):

[Crowley] lived in a time when
there was no such thing as 'safe and legal abortion'.
Therefore, his experience of it was as a criminal act
that put women at an extreme health risk.  He refers to
it in his writings as 'criminal abortion'.  However, it would
seem his antipathy toward the subject was not entirely based
on 'health risk' or 'harm reduction'.

[quoting Crowley on abortion]

""  I propose to mention an incident, despite its strictly medical 
character, as a warning to the world of the utter idiocy of woman 
as a class and the criminal idiacy of trained nurses in particular.  
They are the most dangerous animals in the community.......

  (paragraph about a nurse dosing Rose with ergot when she thought 
she was pregnant and didn't want to be)

  I really don't know why I didn't prosecute that filthy nurse.  
Even if her diagnosis had been correct, I consider criminal abortion 
in any circumstances woever as one of the foulest kinds of murder.  
Apart from anything else, it nearly always ruins the health of the 
woman, when it fails to kill her.

  The vigour of my views on this point strengthens my general attitude 
on the question of sexual freedom.  I believe that very few women, 
left to themselves, would be so vile as to commit this sin against the 
Holy Ghost; to thwart the deepest instincts of nature at the rist of 
health and life, to say nothing of imprisonment.  Yet criminal 
abortion is one of the commonest of crimes and one most geneally 
condoned by what I must paradoxically call secret public opinion.  
And the reason is that our social system makes it shameful and 
punishable by poverty for a woman to do what evolution has spent 
ages in constructing her to do, save under soncditions with which the
vast majority of women cannot possibly comply.  The remedy lies entirely
with public opinion.  Let motherhood be recognized as honorable in 
itself, and even the pressure of poverty would not prevent any but a few 
degenerate women, with perverse appetites for pleasure, from fulfilling 
their function.  In the case of such it would indeed be better that 
they and their children perish.

  There is yet a further point.  My marriage taught me many lessons, 
and this not the least: when women are not devoted to children - a 
few rare individuals are capable of other interests - they take a 
morbid pleasure in conspiring against a husband, especially if he be 
a father.  They take advantage of his preoccupation with his work in 
the world to conceive and execuate every kind of criminally cunning 
abomination.  The belief in witchcraft was not all superstition; its 
psychological roots were sound.  Women who are thwarted in their 
natural instrincts turn inevitabley to all kinds of malignant 
mischief, from slander to domestic destruction." 

                        Confessions - pp 415 - (Penguin/Arkana Ed)
		[edited for form, slight edit on typos - tn]

Chewy, isn't it.  I don't have time to pick it apart strand by 
strand, as I'm practically pre-coffee here.  But there are several 
things to point out.

The implications are many.  The primary inference is that women are
*born* to physically reproduce, and that to fail to do so - most 
especially to thwart that 'purpose' by a willed act - results in
'malignant mischief'.  This fits congruently with his statements
about witchcraft and 'the false creations of women' specifically 
dealt with in Liber Aleph, in the letter called "Further Concerning
This", which follows "On the Proper Path for Woman".

Those of you who are researching A.C. and witchcraft would do well
to take note of these two references.  He thought it was nasty stuff.

A.C.'s belief, popularly summarized as "anatomy is destiny" translates
across much of his writing about women, men, society, and the interrelation
between them.  This is such a case.  Note how blithely he conflates his
belief about 'most women' into a condemnation of women who do not fit into
that catagory.

I've been told  repeatedly by a mentor that A.C. believed the soul entered
the fetus at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy.  Which would mean
that only second trimester abortions are 'evil crimes against nature'. But,
I've yet to see a reference that proves it, and in fact, based on the what
I quoted, I kind of doubt that A.C. had it coded out that way.  I don't see
him making the distinction.  If anybody has got the reference in print 
though, I need it, so send it to me.

I must say that I fail to see how A.C.'s paternalistic and sanctimonious
views on the subject are particularly useful, other than as a point of
reference and matter of historical record.  They are hardly the building
blocks of ethical Thelemic reproductive choice.


"bishop" :

Without entering the loaded debate over individual morality in the 
subject of abortion, the request of references to Crowley's opinion 
on the subject was answered by Content and others. However, 
Crowley's -- as usual -- widely narrow (but at times opposing) views 
were only seen from the work of _Confessions_.

Crowley shows his views in his commentary (from _The Law is For 
All_, part III)  that the "best women have always been sexually 
free" and that with this understanding the "crime of abortion will 
lose its motive in all but the most exceptional cases."

Earlier (in part II) he contradicts himself to say:

"One who is unfit to survive ought to be allowed to die. We want 
only those who can conquer themselves and their environment. As 
for 'those dependent on him' it is one of our chief objects to 
abolish the very idea of dependence on others. Women with child, 
and infants, are no exceptions, as might seem.

[He is doing well until he concludes:] They are doing their will, 
the one class to reproduce, the other to live; the state should 
consider their welfare to be its first duty; for if they for the 
moment dependent on it, it is also dependent on them."

Also; aside from the cutting titles found in _Magick Without Tears_ 
such as "Family: Public Enemy No. 1" and "'Mother Love'" (in 
quotation marks as if one of those dirty words), we see that 
Crowley defines three kinds of women in a postscript; Isis-class, 
Osiris-class, and Horus-class. The Horus-class of woman he defines 
as one to which "a child is dull at the best, at the worst a nuisance."

It seems to me that Crowley as man or prophet, though reacting to 
his times of criminal abortion and bad family history, did not have 
a clear _ideal_ of the Thelemic family or of the morals in which 
individuals (with or without children) should approach such issues. 
Since Liber AL does not hit on the subject of child rearing, I have 
to agree with Content that this particular thread does us little 
good than viewing A.C. in a historical context with no major 
relevance to the future.


Paul Hume  [in response to Content]:

I am too pooped to do chapter and verse...but Iliel's big vision of the
candidates for the incarnate soul of the Moonchild is at the end of the
third trimester. The Levi reference...p. 176 of the Book 4 edition of
MT&P: "The date of Levi's death was about six months previous to that of
Aleister Crowley's birth. The reincarnating ego is supposed to take
possession of the foetus at about this stage of development." (pg. 51-52
of the old edition pagination).

=============================================================== (Rose Dawn):

#>From: Patrick Crumhorn 
#>      I know of no such reference offhand, either, though AC may possibly
#>have been familiar with the Jewish (Talmudic? wanna help
#>out here?) view that the soul enters the fetus at the "quickening in the
#>womb."  So as long as you haven't felt the li'l monster kick, it's ok, I
I kinda figured AC may've arbitrarily decided that the soul enters the
fetus in the 2nd trimester, rather than at conception, since otherwise
he couldn't have been Levi in a past incarnation... .

(emailed replies may be posted);; 408/2-666-SLUG
  join the esoteric syncretism in alt.magick.tyagi; 

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