While Crowley detested Christianity, he considered himself an immensely religious and spiritual person. His writings record incidents of experiencing deity, and Thelemites consider him to be a prophet.
In 1904, he encountered a being known as Aiwass, described as a "minister" to Horus, the central deity in Thelema, and as a Holy Guardian Angel. Aiwass dictated the Book of the Law, which Crowley wrote down and published, becoming the central Thelemic text.
"Wickedest Man in the World":
The press dubbed Crowley the "Wickedest Man in the World" and repeatedly published exploits both real and fictional.
Crowley adored controversy, often describing his already scandalous behavior in even more offensive terminology. For example, he claimed to sacrifice 150 children a year, referring in fact to ejaculations that had not resulted in pregnancy. He also referred to himself as "the Beast," referencing the creature mentioned in Revelations, as well as representing himself with the number 666.
- Erroneous rumor
- Christian equation of the Beast of Revelations with Satan
- The common perception that all occult workings must involve Satan
- Crowley's embrace of the concept of Baphomet, commonly confused with Satan
- The fact that Crowley did write about summoning and commanding of demons, which he considered to be exploration of the self rather than a working with literal beings.
Connection with Other Religious Figures:
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, described Crowley as a good friend, although there's no evidence the two ever actually met. They did have an associate in common, Jack Parsons, and all three were members of the O.T.O.
Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, was certainly influenced by Crowley's writings, going so far as to sometimes plagiarize Crowley's words and rituals. (Most of the blatantly Crowleyesque material was later reworked.) There is record of the two men actually meeting only twice, both within the last few months of Crowley's life. No evidence supports the suggestion that Crowley created Wicca as a joke.