In this essay Crowley extols the inspirational virtues of this mildly hallucinogenic green liqueur, and speaks out against the rising tide of prohibitionism that was sweeping the country as the first U. About Author: Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley, 12 October - 1 December was an English occultist, prolific writer and poet, mystic, astrologer, drug experimenter, hedonist, aficionado of chess and mountain climbing, sexual revolutionary and social critic. He is perhaps best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law, the central sacred text of Thelema. Crowley gained much notoriety during his lifetime, and was famously dubbed "The Wickedest Man In the World. He was also a highly controversial member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was known by the magical name of Frater Perdurabo.
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In part VI he writes thus: Ah! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable and so terrible? The effects of its abuse are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart: its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that they are not as other men.
But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating the wreckage of its abuse. We do not curse the sea because of occasional disasters to our marines, or refuse axes to our woodsmen because we sympathize with Charles the First or Louis the Sixteenth. So therefore as special vices and dangers pertinent to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues that adorn no other liquor. I have chosen to reproduce the whole part III, devoted to a brilliant description of the prohibitionist, which remains true for any type of bigotry, whether with respect to alcohol and drugs or to unconventional sex: III.
The Prohibitionist must always be a person of no moral character; for he cannot even conceive of the possibility of a man capable of resisting temptation.
Still more, he is so obsessed, like the savage, by the fear of the unknown, that he regards alcohol as a fetish, necessarily alluring and tyrannical. With this ignorance of human nature goes an ever grosser ignorance of the divine nature.
He does not understand that the universe has only one possible purpose; that, the business of life being happily completed by the production of the necessities and luxuries incidental to comfort, the residuum of human energy needs an outlet. The surplus of Will must find issue in the elevation of the individual towards the Godhead; and the method of such elevation is by religion, love, and art. These three things are indissolubly bound up with wine, for they are species of intoxication.
Yet against all these things we find the prohibitionist, logically enough. It is true that he usually pretends to admit religion as a proper pursuit for humanity; but what a religion! He has removed from it every element of ecstasy or even of devotion; in his hands it has become cold, fanatical, cruel, and stupid, a thing merciless and formal, without sympathy or humanity. Love and art he rejects altogether; for him the only meaning of love is a mechanical—hardly even physiological!
But why perpetuate it? Art is for him the parasite and pimp of love. He cannot distinguish between the Apollo Belvedere and the crude bestialities of certain Pompeian frescoes, or between Rabelais and Elenor Glyn. What then is his ideal of human life? So crass a creature can have no true ideal. There have been ascetic philosophers; but the prohibitionist would be as offended by their doctrine as by ours, which, indeed, are not so dissimilar as appears.
Wage-slavery and boredom seem to complete his outlook on the world. But when they are recognized as utterly noxious to humanity—the more so that they ape its form—then courage must be found, or, rather, nausea must be swallowed. May God send us a Saint George!
Keep always this dim corner for me, that I may sit while the Green Hour glides, a proud pavine of Time. For I am no longer in the city accursed, where Time is horsed on the white gelding Death, his spurs rusted with blood. There is a corner of the United States which he has overlooked. Thence it reaches northward to a most curious desert land, where is a cemetery lovely beyond dreams. Its walls low and whitewashed, within which straggles a wilderness of strange and fantastic tombs; and hard by is that great city of brothels which is so cynically mirthful a neighbor. This, then, is only the beginning and end of things, this "quartier macabre" beyond the North Rampart with the Mississippi on the other side.
Absinthe: The Green Goddess