“Change we can be skeptical about” is one slogan of a campaign to promote the deceased British occultist Aleister Crowley for US President. AC2012, the campaign behind the infamous Magus, is encouraging voters to write in Crowley’s name, rather than vote for President Obama or challenger Mitt Romney.Crowley (1875-1947) courted notoriety, describing himself as “the wickedest man in the world” while calling his autobiography an “auto-hagiograhy” (a hagiography is a biography of a saint). His ceremonial magical practice, erotic poetry, opium addiction, and bisexuality, to name but a few interests meant that he remained a controversial character throughout his life. He traveled widely, including to the Himalayas, learned yoga and Buddhist meditation, translated the Tao Te Ching, wrote Sufi-inspired erotic poetry. He became a Freemason in Mexico, and dabbled as a fine art painter in New York.
In his later life, the English occultist propagated what he called “the law of Thelema” (Thelema is Greek for “Will”), which requires the devotee to discover his true self and to do his true will. According to Crowley, the true will could not conflict with the true will of the universe (of which the former was part), and, as such, imposing ones will on others was strictly prohibited.
In a certain sense, Crowley was an uber-libertarian. And this is part of what AC2012 is promoting. One pamphlet for the campaign quotes Crowley as saying: “The absolute rule of the state shall be a function of the absolute liberty of each individual will.” AC2012 also assures voters that Crowley “may be dead and British, but [that] he’s the best candidate for the office of U.S. President.”
Crowley appears on the cover of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and inspired Ozzy Osbourne’s single Mr. Crowley.