Seven-plus-seven years ago, I took it upon myself to journey in search of the site hosting Aleister Crowley's earthly remains.
Did I travel to the misty moors of the Scottish Highlands? Sadly, no.
Did I travel to the ancient, sun-baked shores of Sicily? Not quite.
Did I travel to the gloomy ports of Salem, or as many now know it, Arkham? Not this time.
Did I descend into the dank, corpse-lined catacombs beneath the Eternal City of Rome?
I drove twenty miles due west to a cow pasture in the New Jersey Skylands.
I don't know why this has been on my mind the past couple of days, but I felt compelled to repost this ancient report from the very earliest days of The Secret Sun. Perhaps the reason I did so will be revealed to us in the hours and days to come.
So, my friends, let's wind the clock back and make this dread pilgrimage together...
...I had discovered that Aleister Crowley's ashes had been buried practically in my backyard while browsing through an old issue of Weird New Jersey at a book store (appropriately named "Pandora's"). I came upon the revelation that Karl Germer, Crowley's successor as leader of the OTO, had either buried or scattered the beast's ashes near a tree on the grounds of his "estate" in Hampton, NJ.
By doing a little more reading on the topic I was able to pinpoint where the estate had been and decided to check it out sometime.
"Sometime" came about 6 months or so after reading the article. You see, I have a confession to make: although I'm fascinated by the man's colorful biography, I never got the whole Crowley thing.
About 20 years ago, one of my roommates ran off to follow the Grateful Dead and left behind a bunch of occult books like The Kabbalah Unveiled by McGregor Mathers and The Book of Thoth by Crowley. I tried reading some of these books and just didn't get it. My brain just doesn't work that way. I loved the Castaneda books, though.
I've long suspected that Crowley was essentially a practical joker, was he orchestrating his Kaufmanesque gags from beyond the grave?
After a short drive on one of NJ's increasingly hazardous expressways, I hit the highlands. Hampton is not far from the sprawl, but is a world away. It's largely rural, rustic Jersey. But as with the rest of the Skylands, it's being invaded by strip malls and superstores.
As you can see here, it's also being invaded by pyramids, which are sprouting like psychedelic mushrooms around here.
Anyhow, after getting lost a few times (and coming across a magnificent-looking ruined Victorian), I found the road which led to the location of the old Germer place.
At least as was described in the article.
However, it looked as if the old Germer place was now a working dairy farm. I didn't think it prudent to go knock on the door and say, "Oh, hi there. I'm looking for the earthly remains of the Wickedest Man (no longer) Alive, the Great Beast 666. Could you help me out?"
That kind of crazy-talk can earn you an ass-full of birdshot in Hampton.
Was there an unearthly light hovering over any of them, preferably in a color unknown to our light spectrum?
Well, see for yourself...
Ashes to ashes, Uncle Al.
Oh, Aleister, you're such a panick!
So, at the end of day, no portals opened, no saucers descended, no spirit-beings beckoned and no toads rained from the sky.
I felt a little sad for the old Beast. He - like so many other practitioners of the dark arts - died penniless, miserable and forgotten. And his earthly remains now reside beneath a cow pasture in the New Jersey sky country.
Perhaps the mischievous old scamp would appreciate the humor in it.
Now I can't help but wonder: Did Frater Bruce make the same trip during one of Maiden's visits to the Garden State?
Did he perform dark and forbidden rites in that humble cow pasture, raising not only the Great Beast 666 but a Prince of Hell as well?
The Secret Sun Institute of Advanced Synchromysticism is waiting for you to take the next step in your synchro-journey. Come level up.
And don't forget the all-night 90s lotus party over at SHRR. We're presently up to 1998.