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Moonchild Paperback – 1 Jul 1971

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser; New impression edition (1 July 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877281475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877281474
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 415,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Aleister Crowley born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947) was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He founded the religion and philosophy of Thelema, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I read this book expecting great things from one of last centuries greatest minds. Instead I found myself wading through this book trying to find a story and finding the great occult truths buried within lacking much potency or vitality.

Knowing a bit about Crowleys involvement with the Golden Dawn it was interesting to note how many of its members (who he had fallen out with) were woven in to the story as thinly veiled characters. None of these people come off lightly, here - they are all portrayed as pathetic, overblown or downright evil. Its a shame that Crowley couldn't overcome his childish hatred for certain people to write a novel with more depth, more character and more spirit.

For anyone looking for an occult novel with more to offer, I would recommend Dion Fortunes novels (the Goat Foot God, Sea Priestess etc.). They demonstrate a maturity and wisdom that Crowley sadly does not show here.
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This is a novel by Crowley about a magical war between a white lodge ( led by Iff ) and a black lodge ( led by Douglas ) over an unborn child, the "Moonchild" of the title, with the action moving between London, Paris and a villa in Naples. It was written in 1917 in New Orleans.

Crowley keeps reappearing, first in the 1960's and now again in the jumble of ideas of the New Age movement. He was a mountaineer with expeditions to K2 and Kangchenjunga, otherwise "Brother Perdurabo" studying under "McGregor" Mathers, chief of the Golden Dawn movement, and also a good writer as this book shows. It switches between being surprising, humorous and stomach churning with Crowley showing his invincible English class prejudice along with the magical themes.

The main thread of the story is a Taoist one with the plot twisting and turning nicely around this axis. Supposedly Crowley identifies with Simon Iff and the forces of light but the undercurrent of the book and the not so obvious ending suggest a darker different conclusion.In any event it is probably a good idea to read some of the Tao Te Ching to catch the full flavour of the book.
Crowley was persistently hunted by the press and eventually bankrupted by legal actions but he didn't do anything to discourage the speculation. He loved to showboat ( the self-proclaimed Beast 666 ) and wanted the publicity. However, the relevance of the story for today is that strands of the New Age movement take the magical aspects completely seriously which is surely a trend worth watching.

His view on the advantages of being a magician:"...all one's different parts are free to act with the utmost possible vigour according to their own natures, because the other parts do not interfere with them. You don't let the navigators into the stoke-hole, or your stokers into the chart house".
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There are lovely moments of descriptive language, explanations of Crowley's philosophy and other areas of magical practices, but the read and story as a whole was difficult to keep focus on as I found it boring on the whole. I have read dozens of books by Crowley and I have found his magical texts and 'Diary of a drug fiend' much more interesting, engaging and enjoyable than I did this one. I marked out pages of interest in concern with magic but I doubt I will read the book all the way through again because the story itself is just not very interesting. I would advise that you read this as another book with information about Crowley's magic and philosophy rather than expecting anything in the way of a proper storyline, because if a story is what you are looking for the you will end up bored quite quickly, but hey this is only my experience and my view, you may yet love it!
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Revolution in the East, War in Central Europe. In England, Crowley is Cyril Grey, his other brain is Simon Iff. Two sides of the Moon. The child is not the plot of some ancient prophecy, oh no. It is more cunning than that, these adapts, men and women of will, who forge their own destinies, their own paths to greatness. The way of the Tao. Magick is ever existing and seemingly flows throughout the book, infusing the reader with adverse thinking patterns. Comparing the book to his original - Diary of A Drug Fiend, the language is just as smooth, but not as eloquent. However, it never ceases to amaze how Crowley, who is such an intricate, perplexed man is able to sympathise with Swedenborg's divine wisdom. Read between the lines and all will be revealed...

Hmmmm
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For those who have never read any of Crowley's literary efforts, this is a good place to start. Of particular interest is his own footnotes which go far to explain his relationships with other esoteric groups. In his main character (his wise self)readers of Dennis Wheatley's occult tales will recognise how he has lifted Crowley's adept to become The Duke de Richelieu. Quite a blatant bit of literary filching!
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Crowley rarely made an attempt to communicate his insights to a mass market. Magick is a terrifically complex subject to explain dry, however. The rationale behind the few fiction stories he wrote was to convey some of the arcane concepts in the midst of some semblance of a real-world context. This doesn't sound like an easy thing to do, and there is debate about how successful were the results. Perhaps this book should have been another of his plays, but perhaps he felt much more able to stoop to level of the laity with a glorious pulp fiction. He didn't do this often.

The best way to read this book might be to keep your sense of humour close by. It is Victorian, but has none of the usual stuffiness or blandness of its contempories. You should appreciate that as literary artist (and fluent French speaker), Crowley liked bold, sometimes black, brush strokes. To his mind, some natural concepts were so grand and fascinating that he would just vehemently dig in to the exploration of them. Like a maniacal anatomist of the spirit he didn't seem to mind getting his hands bright wet. On this occasion, however I think that he showed a fair amount of restraint in offending sensibilities, but if he did so on occasion in this book, it was done for noble reasons. Any talk about self-aggrandisement in this novel is completely off the mark. The vaudeville enemy in this piece is fashioned from his own DNA and with no less attention to detail than the grand white wizard and this was done self-consciously. Enjoy it!
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