Red Poppy, by Aleister Crowley

Cicely Mary Barker - Fairy-Rings: The Poppy Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker – Fairy-Rings: The Poppy Fairy

From the collection Alice: An Adultery, a beautiful love poem for Mary Alice Rogers, a married woman with whom Crowley had a passionate affair in Hawaii. In the privately published 1903 edition, there was an 11th stanza , I reproduce it below. In the 1905 edition published by the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, it was titled “The Poem”, so in the 1906 edition of Crowley’s Collected Works, there was a footnote to the title, indicating “The poem in question.” CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Poetic Eros

Odilon Redon - The birth of Venus
Odilon Redon – The birth of Venus (1912) – from WikiArt

In the post “Components of Love” I presented the three types of love and friendship according to the ancient Greeks:

  • Eros is sexual love, generally driven by beauty; it is discriminating and it can be versatile, blooming or withering fast.
  • Storge is natural love, as it exists between members of a family, or the love of parents for children; contrarily to Eros, it is unconditional and long-lasting, and it grows slowly.
  • Philia is friendship, generally within a group, mediated by activities shared in common; it includes also philanthropy and humanitarian work.

The ancient Greeks also used the word Agape for affection and tenderness, similar to Storge. Then in Christianity, this word evolved to mean a purely spiritual, selfless and undemanding love embracing all humanity; in fact, such an ideal love is extremely rare in real human beings. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

Alice, by Aleister Crowley

Zinaida Serebriakova - Sleeping girl in the blue
Zinaida Serebriakova – Sleeping girl in the blue (Katyusha on a blanket) ( 1923) – from Pigtails in Paint

Around 1900, the occultist Aleister Crowley sailed for Hawaii aboard the Nippon Maru. On the ship he met a married woman named Mary Alice Rogers and had a love affair with her. He wrote a series of poems about the romance, which he collected in a booklet entitled Alice: An Adultery. It was published privately in 1903, then a second edition was published by the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth in 1905. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

The summit of the amorous mountain, by Aleister Crowley

August von Pettenkofen - Study of a Nude Young Girl
August Xaver Karl von Pettenkofen – Study of a Nude Young Girl – from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, via Wikimedia Commons

Today I present an erotic poem, probably full of hidden sexual meanings. Maybe the title refers to the Mons Veneris, and the four last verses of the first stanza also seem to hint at some sexual acts whose description was considered too obscene to be told explicitly in the early 20th century. The poem ends in ecstasy with a reference to Satan and Hell, as the latter seems to be more pleasurable than the Heaven of religion. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…

The May Queen, by Aleister Crowley

Children maypole dancing
Children maypole dancing (1900–1910) – State Library of Queensland

Before being devoted to the labour movement, May Day was an old Celtic celebration of spring and fertility, Beltane; throughout the centuries it evolved, with the maypole dancing by girls and the election of the May Queen, but it kept its hidden symbolism of youthful love. Crowley’s poem gives it back its ancient pagan meaning. CONTINUE READING / CONTINUER LA LECTURE…