By Tobias Churton
Published by Inner Traditions
Once again, Tobias Churton exceeds my expectations. He has to be the world’s leading authority on Aleister Crowley, and the man who has done so much to rescue the Master Therion’s reputation and legacy from rumour, myth, and hearsay (I recently saw a documentary where an author declared with a straight face that it was Crowley that had conjured up the Loch Ness Monster during his time at Boleskine!)
Crowley, and I cannot emphasise this enough, backed up his ideas with investigations. In our time, where ‘reality’ exists for so many people only on their devices, Crowley explored not only his own mind and spirit, but the world. His was a life less ordinary, a life truly lived in every sense of the word, and a significant part of Crowley’s ideas were formed in his time in India. In the 21st century, a time of fast travel and faster communications, we forget what an undertaking Crowley’s trips were: they were not run of the mill – they really were adventures.
There can be no better writer and researcher than Tobias to tell the tale of Crowley in India; he understands Crowley at a deep intrinsic level that cannot be surpassed or underestimated. Moreover, Tobias quotes extensively from Crowley’s unpublished diaries, a real treat that gives this book a special dimension indeed.
Context was very important to Crowley; wherever he was, he was there for a reason, and he learned as much as he could from his locale. Without a doubt Crowley’s Thelema was influenced by his studies of Yoga and Indian mystical practices. Now Yoga is commonplace in the West; once again Crowley was ahead of the curve. Crowley was also an accomplished mountaineer and this book covers his mountain climbing in India, including the record-breaking attempt on Chogo Ri (K2) and the Kangchenjunga disaster of 1905.
Inner Traditions deserve praised for the beautiful binding and presentation of this book; the photos are truly superb.
Overall, a fine and essential book, one that make the basis for a great film or documentary.