New Aeon: Aleister Crowley and Raul Seixas on Thelema and Counterculture

Vitor Cei (UFMG/FU-Berlin)

Abstract: The main objective of this paper is discussing Crowley’s doctrine of Thelema and its central concept of the New Aeon. It puts into question its historical constitution, its values and consequences to the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on some theoretical presuppositions implied in its reception by the Brazilian composer Raul Seixas. Taking Crowley’s short text “Liber Oz” as a guideline, it demonstrates that the English occultist was a mythical and controversial writer, poet of the unrestricted freedom and of the will as a maxim sovereign, besides being a defender of the use of sex and drugs to magical purposes. His esoteric discourse stimulated existential trajectories of great refutable power, making him the counterculture guru. Raul Seixas, a son of the postwar period who followed the counterculture movement and sang against the Brazilian dictatorship, made from his poetical creation the social spirit from his time. In Seixas’s music, including some songs composed in English (such as “Love is Magick”, “Morning Train” and “Sunseed”) it’s possible to find a memory of the tensions that occurred in Brazil during the military dictatorial times. In this meaning, we look for the resonances in his work of the questions that aim his time: alternative culture, authoritarism, censorship, cultural industry, magic, utopia/dystopia, violent conflicts and violation of human rights. When the wind flied and swept the old streets, the world was able to glimpse the beginning of a new age.

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