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The Mystery of Cefalù: Devil worshipers?

The Mystery of Cefalù

Devil worshipers?

A few weeks ago a very strange piece of news went around the newspapers: the existence near Cefalù, in Sicily, of a small colony of curious characters: a man, three women, some children as permanent residents and various other men and other women as casual residents. The villa transformed into a small Mecca, sanctuary and propaganda center of a bizarre new form of worship! The sect described by some in dark colors: worship of devils, magic, exorcisms, based on grossly immoral practices. We wanted to know a little better what it was and these are the results of our investigations.

“Do what thou wilt”.

The head of the brand new brotherhood - a certain Alexander Edward Crowley - came to settle in the redeemed Sicilian land after being evicted from the United States of America and more precisely from the city of Detroit in Michigan where his teachings and rites celebrated by him ended with it being processed and banned. The sect's motto was this: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. At the services, men and women attended wearing a thin gown as the only dress and sang the hymn to Pan, composed by Crowley himself who claimed to be Baphomet IX, the holy King of Ireland, [Jonah?] and the reincarnation of other great historical figures such as Cagliostro, Edward Kelly, famous astrologer from the time of Queen Elizabeth, and Pope Alexander VI.

Moving away from American land, Crowley disappeared for some time until he was tracked down in Cefalù. This happened following the exhibition of a portrait of him entitled The Beast by the painter Jacob Kramer, and even more following the publication of a book of his titled «The Diary of a Drug of Fiend». Then there was a great uproar in England when a certain Mrs Lloyd reported. Her husband had died in the villa de Cefalù and Signora Avena denounced Crowley, responsible for the death of her husband, a death that would have occurred due to the abuse of cocaine and morphine.

The Mystery of Cefalù Alexander Edward Crowley (Aleister Crowley)

The Mystery of Cefalù The very strange rite (Gnostic Mass)

From our police information specially sent on the spot by the English Government, after having made a diligent investigation and having questioned the attending physician, he was convinced that Mr. Lloyd, who arrived from the Indies in very poor health, had died of malarial fevers.

The very strange rite.

Given the groundlessness of Mrs Lloyd's accusation, it seems to us that the details she reported to The London Express about the mysterious rites that were celebrated until the end of last April in the so-called “Abbey of Thelema” is apparently called in this way, in memory of that other famous medieval abbey of Rabelaisian memory.

“The largest room in the house is windowless with a stone floor. On it is painted a large orange circle in which black triangles are intertwined. The room is lit with candles. In a tripod supported by three small fauns incense burns. In a cup are small buns made with beak's blood, honey and flour. In the room there are oddities that are impossible to describe.

“Many foreigners have come to the sanctuary, all wealthy people because Crowley needs a lot of money to provide himself with the various narcotic drugs that he uses continuously: hashish, cocaine, heroin, opium, morphine, ether.

“He keeps three women with him as wives, all three who came with him from America: a housekeeper, a school teacher and a film actress. There are real children.

“He draws the principles of his new religion from some maxims of Pythagoras and uses those to make proselytes; but his system leads to the last steps of human depravity.”

When Crowley appeared in Cefalù he seemed to be called Alastor of Kerval, Guardian Knight of the Sacred Lance, while his favorite companion bore the name of Countess Lea Harcourt, Virgin Priestess of the Holy Grail. The teaching given to neophytes was collected in a Book of the Law which the author considers as his masterpiece and which he claims was dictated to him by Satan himself. And in fact the book is divided into three chapters that would have been dictated by the Devil to Crowley, when he lived in the Egyptian city of Cairo, on April 8, 9 and 10, 1904, for an hour each day. Satan, appearing to Crowley, would present himself with the Syriac name of Aiwass, and would declare himself the messenger of Hoorpa-kraot, the Egyptian god of Silence and the Secret.

After the necessary initiation, the neophytes in the act of promotion to the grade of minerval would have signed a special oath to spread the doctrines contained in the “Book of the law” to the world. In this formula the Knight and the Virgin Priestess are respectively called the Beast and the Scarlet Woman, terms taken from the Apocalypse. A kid would be killed in the initiation ceremony. The “cakes of light” would be made with the kid's blood; while in other cases the blood of black rooster would have been used; and at other times the blood voluntarily offered by one of the faithful hypnotized by the head of the coven.

Our thorough investigations conducted in Cefalù allowed us to know exactly how things are at this moment. There is, in what is being told, something true, there is also - as it was easy to predict - a lot of imagination and therefore a lot of exaggeration.

The “nightmare room”.

We extract the most lively news from the correspondent reports:

“The international colony found in the Santa Barbara villa was started about three years ago by Mr. Alessandro Edoardo Crowley, who calls himself Alastor of Kerval, who came here with a woman, Frau Ninette, and two children. Later they were joined by a second woman, the so-called Countess Lea Harcourt, and by other people.

“Several times the villa inhabited by the colony has been the object of visits by the public security, also because it was said that there could be the sale or use of cocaine, but nothing has ever been found. Crowley - or the Lord as he is called by the insiders - is evidently a writer, since he spends almost all day and often even nights studying and delving into his publications, we do not know if he is of a literary, scientific, cabalistic or erotic nature. These publications are numerous and collected in various very rich volumes.

“When the sun rises and sets, the Lord and all his guests make “prayers” to the star, reaching out their hands towards it. Then in the evening, at home. in the “hall of the temple”, they perform “the rite” or “the ceremony”. The Lord and the others wear kimonos: the Lord's is in silk and gold. On the floor there are triangular grains, as well as with small triangles are decorated the stools here which the colony takes place during the rite. Large candles are lit and incense burned in a magnificent Pompeian-type altar - since everything in the house is … Pompeian!

The Lord, in the villa has his study which also serves as a baby room and which he calls la chamre aux cauchemars, room of obsessions, or nightmares, or bad dreams. This room is dedicated to the Amore.

“However, these people have so far not given any scandal to the public, since out of scandal they did not want to retain the shape of the masculine dress that women often wear to come to town: military shorts and socks.

“The colony takes the name of Collegum ad Spiritum sanctum and this is how its members register all their correspondence and that is how they receive the incoming mail.”

What is the latest news from Alastor of Kerval and Countess Lea Harcourt?

Towards the end of April they were struck by a hard but very just measure of the Government: the expulsion from the Kingdom. The two left for Tunis; but they hope to return “finding that the place of the villa for the panorama, the solitude, the tranquility is the best in the world”.

Giovanni E. Meille.


Thelema

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