Every now and then I’ve thought if Aleister Crowley ever visited Finland. He did, after all, visit Russia. It’s not too far fetched to consider him stepping on the ground of Finland on his way to Russia. Nevertheless, mentions of Finland in books of or about Crowley I’ve read of are almost zero – and I’ve read quite a few of them over the years.
I finally came across a book that mentions Crowley and Finland. Richard B. Spence writes in his Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (Feral House, 2008):
By the time Crowley left Cambridge in summer 1898, he had steered far away from a diplomatic career, the orderly life of an English gentleman, and most other conventional paths. He had become a seeker of spiritual enlightenment, and to that end a student of occult wisdom and practises. A critical early experience occurred at the end of 1896, a spiritual crisis or mysterious “calling” he experienced while visiting Stockholm. What he was doing in the Swedish capital is a mystery. British records show that Crowley received a passport on 28 December 1896, just in time for the boat to Stockholm. Curiously, British subjects did not require a passport to visit Sweden or much anywhere else. One place that did require the document was Russia, and Stockholm was a main transit point to Russian-ruled Finland and thence to St. Petersburg. Could Crowley’s “crisis” have been a tyro spy’s jitters over a pending mission?
Again, there is no solid proof about the Beast in Finland. No photos, no records of any kind to support the possibility.
Spence’s book is, by the way, a very interesting piece. When I first heard of it I thought it was some sensationalistic nonsense about “Crowley the spy” without credibility, but I have needed to correct my views on that later. I mentioned Spence’s work previously in my review of Tobias Churton’s biography of Crowley.
Some years ago there was some talk in the internet in a Finnish forum about Crowley having an illegitimate child in Finland. I’ve not heard, seen nor find anything credible to support that claim. As wild as the claim is it is not impossible either, but there is absolutely no proof for it. I regard the claim currently just a baseless claim, a wild but certainly an entertaining idea. Any thelemite in Finland would love that claim to be true, I think, but most likely the claim is just a wild idea someone got into his head and just put it out in the net.
To strech the subject a bit – It’s not unheard of that a big esoteric name would have had an extramarital child with a Finn. G.I. Gurdjieff, a contemporary of Crowley, had a child with one of his most loyal follower’s (Dr. Leonid Störnval) wife. A very interesting book by the late child is available: Nikolas de Val (Nikolas Stjörnval): Daddy Gurdjieff: Quelques souvenirs inédits. The subject is also touched upon in an academic paper that is part of the publication called Western esotericism (based on papers read at the Symposium on Western esotericism held at Åbo, Finland, on the August 15-17, 2007. Ed. by Tore Ahlbäck. Pargas: Tibo-Trading Ab. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 20).
Well, at least some more or less thelemic stuff is coming from the UK to Finland that can be proved. Current 93 will perfom at Savoy Theatre, Finland, on 18th of March this year.
P.S. Check out also the recently published The Drug and Other Stories by Aleister Crowley. It has foreword by David Tibet, the frontman of Current 93.
A song for the day: Current 93: Earth covers earth (Mesikämmen used to have this on vinyl back in the 90’s).