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BLACK TO GREY:

Aleister Crowley, Kenneth Grant, & The LAM Current.

Born into a successful brewing family of Victorian Middle-Class respectability, the


Englishman who called himself Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was certainly one of the most
notorious characters of his day, and is very likely one of the most influential though still
controversial figures in the world of Ritual Magic, a veritable Picasso of the Modern Occult
Revival. Self-styled The Great Beast 666 and Prophet of the Aeon of Horus his defiant,
libertarian New Age, with its Message of Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole of the
Law he was dubbed by the press of his day The Wickedest Man in the World. Aleister
Crowley was, if nothing else, an adventurer in mind, body, and spirit and a seeker after
new sensations, new insights and new experiences. An inheritance as a young man left him
free to devote himself to a life of travel and exploration, in the realms of sex, drugs, and
occultism as much as the geographical.
Crowley sought to put forward a new approach to magic which he felt was better suited to the
fast-developing Modern Age of the Twentieth Century, and to this end founded his own
Order, the Argenteum Astrum, with its Journal of Scientific Illuminism, The Equinox
(motto: We place no reliance on virgin or pigeon, our method is science our aim is
religion.) He would write in a letter to a disciple later included in the collection eventually
published as Magick Without Tears the following statement of position:
My observation of the Universe convinces me that there are beings of intelligence and
power of a far higher quality than anything we can conceive of as human; that they
are not necessarily based on the cerebral and nervous structures that we know, and

that the one and only chance for mankind to advance as a whole is for individuals to
make contact with such Beings.
So, as well as a pioneer in the realms of magic & mysticism, many things can and have been
claimed by and for Aleister Crowley: without doubt he was an arch drug-fiend and
psychedelic pioneer (it is alleged he introduced Aldous Huxley to mescaline, in which case
his impact on the Sixties was incalculably more profound than just appearing on the cover of
Sgt. Pepper) Free Love proponent and omnivorous bisexual athlete big game hunter,
record breaking mountaineer, and world-class chess champion painter, philosopher, poet
and pornographer and perhaps even spy . . .
. . . but can we now add Aleister Crowley, Alien Contactee to the list?
New Year, 1918, and Aleister Crowley is living in furnished rooms in Central Park West,
New York City, when he decides to embark on a series of experiments in order to contact
higher intelligences with the help of his then-mistress and magickal partner, opiumsmoking pharmacist and former suffragette, Roddie Minor. [NB: Crowley spelt his magick
with a k to distinguish it from the magic of parlour tricks, but also to indicate by means of
Qabalistic code relating to the letter k the consciousness-expanding basis of his approach,
through yoga and ritual augmented by the use of sex and drugs.] His biographer, Richard
Kaczynski, writes in Perdurabo concerning what would become known as The Amalantrah
Workings:
As the Workings progressed, Crowley increasingly incorporated the IX0 [code within
Ordo Templi Orientis to indicate sex for ritual purposes], anal sex, Anhalonium
Lewinii [more commonly known as Peyote], and hashish in order to improve the
connection.

The Workings typically proceeded with Minor acting as a medium, having visions and
clairaudient communications, which Crowley would rigorously interrogate for any symbolic
meaning, and then interpret. At least one intelligence may even have come through to some
level of manifestation: the enigmatic being that has come to be known as LAM.
Also at this time in New York, Crowley indulged his recently revived passion for painting,
exhibiting a selection of his works in Greenwich Village under the title of Dead Souls.
Crowley was a decidedly self-taught artist, and his work is often crude, generally naive, but
certainly vivid. One drawing in the show was the portrait of a figure with a large, domed
head, looking remarkably like what would become the standard image of the Grey Alien in
later UFO lore except for the eyes, which are fairly narrow slits rather than the more usual
reptilian ray-ban look. Crowley also included the drawing as a frontispiece, titled simply
The Way, to an edition of founder of Theosophy Madame Blavatskys enigmatic work, The
Voice of Silence, to which he had added a Commentary, which he published the following
year, 1919. The caption underneath the picture read:
LAM is the Tibetan word for Way or Path, and LAMA is He who Goeth, the specific
title of the Gods of Egypt, the Treader of the Path, in Buddhistic phraseology. Its
numerical value is 71, the number of this book.
Apart from that, there is no further commentary on the picture by Crowley or anybody else,
for that matter until the picture passes into the hands of Kenneth Grant.
Kenneth Grant (1924-2011) was an English occultist and writer who met Aleister Crowley in
the last years of The Great Beasts life, when the ailing and wizened Magus was slowly dying
from the cumulative ravages of a lifetime of excess in the somewhat unlikely setting of a
guesthouse in Hastings, on the South Coast of England. After corresponding, the young Grant
was invited to go and stay with the aged Crowley as a kind of informal secretary-cum-

personal assistant. There has been much arguing back-and-forth and bitter wrangling over
just how much Grants time with the Beast can be counted towards the claim that he was
Crowleys successor, particularly where the vexed matter of the title to his Ordo Templi
Orientis is concerned, but that is not really of relevance here. What is of significance is that at
some point before his death in 1947, Crowley presented the drawing of LAM or the
Lama as he referred to it, which he said he had drawn from life (!) to Grant, planting a
powerful magickal seed in the young mans imagination. Drawing on his apprenticeship with
Crowley, Grant would go on to form a version of the O.T.O. which would eventually
become known as The Typhonian Order to distinguish it from the so-called Caliphate
O.T.O., which has incorporated as a copyright and legal entity in the U.S.A. starting with
his New Isis Lodge, which Grant wrote was:
. . . evolved by the present writer during the years 1955-1962 . . . for purposes of
traffic with the Outer Ones. Kenneth Grant, Outer Gateways (1990)
The godfather of Modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner, had been part of Grants circle in London,
as was occult artist Austin Osman Spare and alchemist David Curwen both of whom had
been mentors in their way to Grant and also Surrealist painter Ithell Colqhuoun.
Apart from his invaluable personal memoirs of Crowley and Spare, and some fine volumes of
occult fiction, Kenneth Grant is probably best known for the nine volumes of his three
Typhonian Trilogies written between 1972 and 2002. One of the few interviews ever given
by Grant, for the Skoob Occult Review in 1990, includes the following exchange:
Q: What is the purpose of your books?
KG: The main purpose is to prepare people for encounters with unfamiliar states of
consciousness.

Q: Do these include extraterrestrial encounters?


KG: Yes, extra-, sub-, and ultra-terrestrial encounters.
Grant has included Crowleys portrait of The Lama in a number of his books, referring to
him in his Outside the Circles of Time (1980) as an extra-terrestrial and praeterhuman
Intelligence and also asserting that: Lam is now known to be a link between the star
systems of Sirius and Andromeda. He also points out an interesting resonance with the
number 71, which Crowley originally attributed to Lam in 1918:
. . . I note that Jacques Vallee cites an entity calling itself 7171 who claimed to be
connected with UFOs. (UFOs: The Psychic Solution, p.83).
Grant also sees meaning in the fact that 1947, [T]he year of the first massive UFO
sightings, was also the year that Aleister Crowley passed from this life . . .
As a result, a Cult of Lam has evolved within the Typhonian Order which continues since
Grants death under the custodianship of his former right-hand-man, now successor, Michael
Staley. Experimental yoga-based methods involving mantra, meditation and visualisation
have been developed for making contact with Lam, or the Current he represents. Doubtless
the work continues, in hope that at least some of us can be prepared, for as Kenneth Grant
stated:
If man is able to integrate these new experiences into his psyche he must begin NOW
to think in terms at least of extraterrestrial encounter. If he does this the rest may
follow . . . the faculty of intuitive insight may be awakened and aligned with such
alien concepts.
Matthew Levi Stevens, January 2016.

Aleister Crowleys portrait of LAM.