Crowley was a recreational drug experimenter and a social critic. In many of these roles he “was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time”, espousing a form of libertinism based upon the rule of “Do What Thou Wilt“. Part of his philosophy of Thelema was the use of “sex magick” and the speculation about the sexual rituals that were practiced by the followers of Thelema has been a subject of fascination for many. Because of this, he gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, and was denounced in the popular press of the day as “the wickedest man in the world.”
Crowley has remained an influential figure and is widely thought of as the most influential occultist of all time. References to him can be found in the works of numerous writers, musicians and filmmakers, and he has also been cited as a key influence on many later esoteric groups and individuals, including Kenneth Grant, Jack Parsons, Gerald Gardner, Robert Anton Wilson, and to some degree, Austin Osman Spare.
He is also frequently referred to as a Freemason, and it has been the subject of debate for many years. He was a member of many “Masonic-like” groups, including the Ordo templi Orientis, but the Grand Lodge of England does not recognize him as a Freemason because none of the organizations he belonged to were recognized Masonic bodies or lodges. All of the groups in which he was a member were irregular (clandestine) organizations.
Aleister Crowley was not a Freemason.
Todd E. Creason, 33° is the founder of the Midnight Freemasons blog and continues to be a regular contributor. He is the author of several books and novels, including the Famous American Freemasons series. He is member of Homer Lodge No. 199, and a Past Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL). He is a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, the York Rite Bodies of Champaign/Urbana (IL), the Ansar Shrine (IL), Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, and Charter President of the Illinnois High Twelve in Champaign-Urbana (IL).