There are many conflicting accounts of his final days: according to some hagiographic accounts, he slipped blissfully into the Buddhist state of final liberation, passing from "Samadhi to Super-Samadhi to Nirvana to Super Nirvana, expiring in the boundless bliss of the Infinite."In sum, Crowley might be said to be a remarkable reflection of the era in which he was born.

While deliberately setting out to overthrow all established values, he was perhaps only expressing the darker underside or "secret life" of the Victorian world in which he was raised: Crowley was a contemporary of Freud; he grew out of the matrix of Victorianism...

Yet Crowley would also push this discourse about sexuality a good deal further than most of his contemporaries would have dared; indeed, Crowley would make acts such as masturbation and homosexual intercourse keys to magical power.

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One need now only browse the shelves of any Barnes and Noble bookstore or surf the endlessly proliferating web-sites on the Internet to discover the secrets of Tantra, Sex Magick and Tarot But the question remains: how much did Crowley actually know either first hand or second hand about Indian Tantra?

And what connection, if any, did his system of sexual magic have with traditional Indian Tantric practices?

According to his own account, Crowley's guardian Angel, Aiwass, appeared to him and dictated The Book of the Lawannounces the dawn of the third Aeon of mankind: the first aeon was that of the Goddess Isis, centered around matriarchy and the worship of the Great Mother; the second aeon was that of Osiris, during which the The peak of his magical career-- and also of his infamy as the wickedest man alive -- was in the period after 1920, when he founded his own ideal spiritual community called the Abbey of Thelema at a farmhouse in Cefalu, Sicily.

The original inspiration derived from Rabelais' classic work of 1534, Gargantua A thinly disguised image of Crowley himself, the central character, Peter Pendragon, describes his rapid descent into cocaine and heroin addiction, as he careens through the affluent, excessive and wildly hedonistic life of the roaring twenties, exploring every possible sensual pleasure and moral vice.

Educated at Trinity College in Cambridge, Crowley was from an early age fascinated with poetry and pagan religion and was a prolific author of both verse and prose.

While still a student at Cambridge he had published his first collection of poetry, Aceldama,(1898).

As we will see below, it seems possible that he also learned something of the esoteric techniques of Indian Tantra --- though perhaps not as much as most contemporary adepts generally suppose.

However, it was in 1904 that Crowley would receive his first great revelation and the knowledge that he was to be the herald of a new era in human history.

If this secret [of sexual magic], which is a scientific secret, were perfectly understood, as it is not by me after more than twelve years' almost constant study and experiment, there would be nothing which the human imagination can conceive that could not be realized in practice.impact on contemporary new religious movements, esotericism and occultism, even as he has been almost entirely ignored by academic scholarship.