Articles regarding the life and career of Australian violinist Leila Waddell
List 19: 1943—2015.
Also, see here for a list of lists related to Leila Waddell:
List of Lists.
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Recording of a piano piece
Composed by Roy Agnew
Performed by Roy Agnew and Beatrice Tange
Australian Broadcasting Commission (Sydney, NSW), 19 March, 1943.
[A freely-available audio file of a recording of a performance for radio of one part of a four-part work by Roy Agnew titled Youthful Fancies.
Agnew had, in 1926, dedicated a piece titled Winter Solitude to Doris Barnett. L.W. had also performed with Barnett and wrote in The International that she was "the finest pianist Australia has produced up till now".
See here for a video of a performance of it: Winter Solitude.]
[Orchard played in the 1906 complimentary concert and on other occasions with L.W..
See the article on him in the Australian Dictionary of Biography here:
Orchard, William Arundel (1867-1961).]
[Henry Hayward was the founder of The Brescians, the advance man for the West-Brescians show, a pioneering, cinema entrepreneur and went on to write books promoting Rationalism.
See the article on him in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography here:
Hayward, Henry John (1865-1945).
And, for further items regarding the West-Brescians show, see here:
List of Lists.]
By Hereward Carrington
Fate Magazine (Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.), September, 1949.
That Crowley possessed real magical power of some sort I have no doubt. I have attended invocational ceremonies of his, at which strange and fantastic things happened. I well remember one of these—when William Seabrook was also present—which lasted the greater part of the night. Crowley, Seabrook, Waddell and I were in the Magic Circle; the young man who was the subject of the experiment sat cross-legged in a Triangle, drawn on the floor, some little distance away. The room was filled with the fumes of incense, and the chanting of the ceremony—in English and “Angelic”—went on hour after hour . . . Under such circumstances one could not be sure that his senses were not deceiving him. ...
[Seems to be a reprint of "The Strangest Man I have Ever Known", first published in The Kalpaka (a Yoga, New Thought, etcetera, magazine, also published in Chicago), sometime in the 1940s. Crowley first met Seabrook in New York in 1915 but the similarity to the published description of the 1910 evocation in England at which Commander Marston was present casts some doubt on the account.]
Directed by Michael S. Gordon
Faun Film Productions, 1951.
"The girl from the bushlands with music in her heart"
[Loosely based on the book Prelude: The Early Life of Eileen Joyce, this Anglo-Australian production told a story of the young Eileen Joyce (1908-1991), in Australia, on her way to becoming a concert pianist of international renown. The book was itself so loosely based on her life that it was more teen fiction than biography but the film, though it can hardly be considered biographical, is the only one that portrays the early life of a female musician in Australia in that era. Despite its failings, Wherever She Goes still captures something of the character of Australia of the inter-war period and something of how a talented, young, female musician might have been treated. Joyce was of a generation after L.W. but many of the situations portrayed would have been of a similar character. Joyce herself performs at the beginning and end of the film and many of her recordings are available.
Filmed in 1949, the interiors were done largely at Pagewood studios, Sydney. There are also several location scenes, including in Tasmania and in Kalgoorlie, WA. It was directed and produced (as Faun Film Productions) by Michael S. Gordon, an Englishman known primarily as a film-editor, in association with Ealing Studios.
Joyce went on to study under Robert Teichmüller in Leipzig, as did Beatrice Tange. Tange was there in 1926 and Joyce began there in 1927.
A new DVD is available: Wherever She Goes.]
During the spring of 1910 Crowley and his mistress, Edith Y——, a young Australian violinist, were staying in Dorset. One day they performed a ritual for the purpose of evoking Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars. Their host, who witnessed it, was impressed, and he suggested to Crowley that he should make a public spectacle of such rituals. ...
[U.K. first edition, 1951.]
During the spring of 1910 Crowley and Leila Waddell, his Scarlet Woman, were staying with Commander Marston in Dorset. One day they performed a ritual to evoke Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars. Their host was impressed; he suggested that they should make a public spectacle of it. ...
[U.S. first edition, 1951.]
[John Symonds was selected by Crowley as his literary executor shortly before he died; a foolish choice, it has been said, considering how Symonds then proceeded to attack his character and life's work in this hostile biography. It has been suggested that the reason for the choice was that Crowley anticipated that Symonds would betray him but that it would still increase his fame. It has also been suggested that Symonds was the only sane man that Crowley knew.
Whatever, Symonds used his control of Crowley's large archive to write this book and subsequent versions. The first U.K. edition was published in November, 1951, just months after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act. Even then, it was a cautious, abridged version and Symonds and his publishers gradually introduced more explicit (and salacious) detail in later editions. However, it was still not until 1973 that a complete, revised edition appeared, such was the conservatism of the publishing standards of the time in the U.K..
It was a controversial book and, regardless of Symonds having relentlessly (albeit clumsily) attacked Crowley's character, it garnered hate-mail from detractors and supporters of Crowley alike. Despite its undeniable failings, it succeeded in introducing many people to the English graphomaniac's enormous legacy of writings, some of whom went on to became adherants to Crowley's doctrines. Some go so far as to cite The Great Beast as one of the books that ignited the cultural revolution of the 1960's.
Also, even with the pseudonym used in the early editions, and the extreme paucacity of original research on her, it restored L.W. to the public imagination. A pseudonym was used in the U.K. edition probably because Symonds did not know whether she was still alive or not. Indeed, it was not generally known to Crowley readers what had become of his Australian girlfriend until after around 2001.
There have been many foreign-language editions including Spanish and Italian ones.]
Ostensibly the classic biography of Victor Neuburg, but in reality, a study of Aleister Crowley and his relationship with one of his most gifted disciples. Neuburg was Crowley's partner in magical rites in the desert and in rites even more dangerous and controversial. This is a document of one of this century's most creative magical partnerships. Over a period of eight years it charts Neuburg's and Crowley's ground-breaking magical experiments in sexual magick, with Dee's Enochian system, and more.
By Irene Slade and Daisy Kennedy
Radio 4, BBC (England), 1969.
[An audio file of an interview with Australian violinist Daisy Kennedy (1893-1981).
From Adelaide, South Australia, Kennedy played in 1908 for the visiting virtuoso Jan Kubelik who advised her to study in Europe. He had toured Australia previously, in 1902, with Jaroslav Kocian, very successfully, arousing interest in their teacher, Otakar Ševčík. Kennedy went on to study under Ševčík in Prague; and at the Vienna Meisterschule. She played in London before the war, and later in the U.S..
See her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography:
Kennedy, Daisy Fowler (1893-1981).
Find more, including a transcript of the BBC interview and several original recordings, here:
Miss Eastermorn Waller, another violinist, studied under Mr Staell in Sydney, as L.W. had done, and travelled to Europe, with L.W., in 1908. Miss Waller also went on to study in Prague under Ševčík and to perform in Vienna.]
By Aleister Crowley
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley: an autohagiography
Cape (London, U.K.), 1969.
Most of my time in 1912 was taken up by the O.T.O. The Order was a great success and ceremonies of initiation were of almost daily occurrence. I was also very busy helping Laylah in her career. The problem was not easy. I soon discovered that it was not in her to undergo the dreary remorseless drudgery demanded by ambition to the classical concert platform. Striking too as her success had been in the Rites of Eleusis, it soon became clear that its source was the impulse of my personality. I could invoke the gods into her; I could not teach her to invoke them herself.
The truth of the matter was that her art was a secondary consideration with her. Secretly, she herself was probably unconscious [sic] of it. She was obsessed by the fear of poverty, the Oedipus-complex wish for a "secure future", snobbish ambition to improve her social standing. As soon as she passed the age of thirty and came into contact with the atmosphere of America, the spiritual and even the romantic sides of her character wasted away. She rushed desperately from one prospect of prosperity to another, only to find herself despised and duped by the men she was trying to deceive. At last she dropped to the depth of despair and in her drowning struggles lost her last link with life and love. She became a traitor and a thief; and bolted with her spoils to hide herself, like Fafnir, from the very eye of heaven.
I failed to divine the essential hopelessness of helping her. I idealized her; I robed her in the royal vestures of romance. The power and passion of her playing inspired me. Her beauty, physical and moral, bewitched me. I failed to realize to what extent these qualities depend upon circumstances; but it was clear by the beginning of 1912 that she could never get much higher than leading the Ladies' Band in The Waltz Dream as she had been doing. ...
[The first edition of The Confessions was published by Inky Stephensen's Mandrake Press in 1929. However, only two volumes of the projected six were published and L.W. was not mentioned in them. Much—but not all—of The Confessions was eventually published, in this single-volume abridgement of the six volumes, in 1969. It contains much material about "Laylah", as Crowley called her in it, and was most responsible, after The Great Beast, for raising L.W.'s profile from oblivion.
Once again, in referring to her turning 30, Crowley believed her to be five years younger than she was. He was referring to her birthday in the August of 1915 when they were both in New York, a month after the Statue of Liberty stunt.
In the above scanty passage, Crowley briefly described their falling-out. It remains the only known account of what occurred. However, it fails to specify even when it occurred. As he employed L.W. to write the music section in The International, in New York, through the winter of 1917-18, it was, apparently, after that time. Furthermore, Crowley alludes, apparently, by referring to Fafnir, to her stealing a ring from him. In Norse mythology, Andvaranaut, a magical ring, was stolen by Fafnir who then turned into a baleful dragon to guard it. Fafnir also appears in Wagner's Ring Cycle, as "Fafner". If L.W. did indeed take a ring from him, why and what she did with it remains unknown. Her side of the story has, unfortunately, not been told.]
In 1910 he discovered the use of mescaline, and devised a series of seven rites, which he called the Rites of Eleusis, and hired Caxton Hall for their performance on seven successive Wednesdays. Admission was five guineas, and the aim was, he said, to induce religious ecstasy. His latest mistress, an Austrian [sic] violinist called Leila Waddell, accompanied the group on the violin. John Bull reviewed them with hostility, and another magazine, The Looking Glass, devoted several issues to attacking Crowley. It was the beginning of the persecution that was to last the rest of his life. It cannot be maintained that it was undeserved. ...
[Perhaps Wilson imagined that because L.W. played in the Ladies Orchestra in A Waltz Dream, she really was from a Viennese garden. It would have been a supposition no less sensible or accurate than many he put in his many books on philosophy and the occult. Furthermore, by declaring that Crowley deserved the thirty-seven years of persecution, without trial, Wilson revealed himself as just another writer for the yellow press, one compulsively following in the tradition, started by John Bull and The Looking Glass, of making money out of sloppily-cadged-togethor, ill-founded allegations against Crowley.]
By various authors
Edited by Michel Parry
The 1st Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories
Mayflower (U.K.), 1974.
[Included is The Vixen (1911), by Aleister Crowley. The vixen character was based upon L.W.]
By various authors
Edited by Michel Parry
The 2nd Mayflower Book of Black Magic Stories
Mayflower (U.K.), 1974.
[Included is The Violinist (1910), by Aleister Crowley. The violinist character was based upon L.W.]
[Period photographs from Gundagai, south-west of Bathurst.]
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Produced by the Victorian Film Corporation, 1977.
"Flowering inside a perfectly ordinary girl is a totally extraordinary woman."
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Proverbs, IV, 7."
[Epigraph to the novel.]
[The 1977 film of the 1910 novel by Henry Handel Richardson about the trials of country girl from a hard-up, country family sent to a elite, Melbourne, boarding school. The film gives an illuminating insight into the milleu of well-brought-up, cultured, young ladies of the period when L.W. taught at similar schools in Sydney. Classical music is featured.]
Directed by Gillian Armstrong
Produced by Margaret Fink, 1979.
I remained at Possum Gully to tread the same old life in its tame narrow path, with its never-ending dawn-till-daylight round of tasks; with, as its entertainments, an occasional picnic or funeral or a day in town, when, should it happen to be Sunday, I never fail to patronize one of the cathedrals. I love the organ music, and the hush which pervades the building; and there is much entertainment in various ways if one goes early and watches the well-dressed congregation filing in. ...
"The choir sings and the organ rings," the uninteresting prayers are rattled off ...
a sermon, mostly of the debts of the concern, of the customs of the ancients, or of the rites and ceremonies of up-to-date churchism, is delivered, and the play is done, and as I leave the building a great hunger for a little Christianity fills my heart.
Oh that a preacher might arise and expound from the Book of books a religion with a God, a religion with a heart in it—a Christian religion, which would abolish the cold legend whose centre is respectability, and which rears great buildings in which the rich recline on silken hassocks while the poor perish in the shadow thereof.
Through the hot dry summer, then the heartless winter and the scorching summer again which have spent themselves since Gertie's departure, I have struggled hard to do my duty in that state of life unto which it had pleased God to call me, and sometimes I have partially succeeded. I have had no books or papers, nothing but peasant surroundings and peasant tasks, and have encouraged peasant ignorance—ignorance being the mainspring of contentment, and contentment the bed-rock of happiness; but it is all to no purpose. A note from the other world will strike upon the chord of my being, and the spirit which has been dozing within me awakens and fiercely beats at its bars, demanding some nobler thought, some higher aspiration, some wider action, a more saturnalian pleasure, something more than the peasant life can ever yield. Then I hold my spirit tight till wild passionate longing sinks down, down to sickening dumb despair, and had I the privilege extended to Job of old—to curse God and die—I would leap at it eagerly.
[From ch. 33.]
Ah, my mother! In my life of nineteen years I can look back and see a time when she was all gentleness and refinement, but the polish has been worn off it by years and years of scrubbing and scratching, and washing and patching, and poverty and husbandly neglect, and the bearing of burdens too heavy for delicate shoulders. ...
Oh that you could understand my desire to feel the rolling billows of the ocean beneath, to hear the pealing of a great organ through dimly lit arches, or the sob and wail of a violin in a brilliant crowded hall, to be swept on by the human stream.
Ah, thou cruel fiend—Ambition! Desire!
"Soul of the leaping flame,
Heart of the scarlet fire,
Spirit that hath for name
Only the name—Desire!"
To hot young hearts beating passionately in strong breasts, the sweetest thing is motion.
No, that part of me went beyond my mother's understanding. On the other hand, there was a part of my mother—her brave cheerfulness, her trust in God, her heroic struggle to keep the home together—which went soaring on beyond my understanding, leaving me a coward weakling, grovelling in the dust.
Would that hot dreary day never close? What advantage when it did? The next and the next and many weeks of others just the same were following hard after.
If the souls of lives were voiced in music, there are some that none but a great organ could express, others the clash of a full orchestra, a few to which nought but the refined and exquisite sadness of a violin could do justice. Many might be likened unto common pianos, jangling and out of tune, and some to the feeble piping of a penny whistle, and mine could be told with a couple of nails in a rusty tin-pot.
[From ch. 37.]
[The 1901 novel, by Stella "Miles" Franklin, depicted the life of a cultured, young woman growing up in country NSW in the 1890's with an ambition to become a successful writer that drives her to reject the conventional, country life. The novel was highly successful in Australia and soon became required reading for all young ladies who aspired to something more than the soporific servitude that was very often their lot—not just those who took the call to seek "a more saturnalian pleasure" seriously.
The verse was from "Desire" by Victor Daley (1858-1905). Members of The Brescians performed at a benefit concert for his family in Sydney in 1906 (before L.W. joined them).
Franklin was musical and sought employment as a travelling companion for the young Nellie Leach, the singer who later worked with L.W., around 1902. It is likely that Franklin and L.W. met in that period in Sydney.]
It is the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Holmes, at his Baker Street flat, receives a telegram from the brilliant young philosopher, Bertrand Russell, begging him to come to Cambridge to investigate the theft of a uniquely precious treasure — the mind of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Thus begins one of the most diabolically clever, suspense-laden re-imaginings of the Sherlock Holmes legend. Randall Collins, himself a pre-eminent American scholar, takes us into the intrigues of the Cambridge Apostles, who at the time of this caper include among their members G. H. Hardy, John Maynard Keynes, G. E. Moore, and, of course, Bertrand Russell. Why has Wittgenstein become lethargic and paranoid? Holmes and Watson set out to investigate some of the West's greatest minds.
But the trail plunges suddenly out of the abstract and into the blood and guts of occult murder, when Aleister Crowley, the high priest of post-Edwardian mysticism, enters the picture. Crowley's influence has drawn in Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf of Bloomsbury; has aroused the opposition of the benevolent mystic Annie Besant of the Theosophical Society; has fed off the arcane sexual religiosity of Leila Waddell, the "Scarlet Woman". At stake is nothing less than the fate of civilization.
"Are we through for now?" said Leila. "Or do you want to start tonight? Where's your flat?"
"There is one more thing I would like to do tonight," said Holmes. "We can do it right here. I want to put you into a trance."
"Into a trance?" She sat down again. "All right, that's slick. Let's go."
Holmes took his watch and swung it to and fro on its chain. Leila seemed familiar with the operation, for she stared at it and quickly became absorbed into herself, without a word of instruction. Within a minute her eyes had a glassy stare, and her lips began to move. ...
Her voice quieted and she was silent. Presently Holmes called to her:
"Leila! Speak again!"
She was still silent, her eyes closed.
Speak again! I demand it!
She squirmed in her chair a little, but her eyelids did not open and her lids remained tight.
"I abjure you," said Holmes in a deep voice. "In the name of the higher powers, speak!"
"The study of the Book is forbidden," she said. "It is wise to destroy this copy after the first reading." She was silent again.
"In the name of the demon," cried Holmes, "say on!"
She spoke again. "Whosoever disregards this does so at his own risk and peril. These are most dire." Once more she reverted to silence.
"Shall I speak his name?" said Holmes. "Shall I utter it loudly, for all to hear?"
"Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centers [sic] of pestilence," came the reply. "The study of this Book is forbidden. It is wise to destroy this copy after first reading."
I had no idea what this extraordinary performance might mean, and even Holmes sat silently for a few minutes. Presently Leila opened her eyes, and shook her head vigourously. She seemed very pleased with herself. ...
She got up suddenly and glared at him, swinging her sequined handbag menacingly. "You blokes are all alike, aren't you? Where's my reward? What was all that talk about ten guineas?"
"The ten guineas were for services implied but not rendered," said Holmes. "But I think this packet will pay you for your help this evening."
He handed across a small brown envelope.
Leila opened it and with one deft movement had it to her nose. "Good enough, Mr. Holmes. You're an all-right bloke after all. It's been a pleasure. You know where to reach me when you want me again." ...
[Naturally, as Crowley disliked the Holmes books, believing them to be psychologically unsound, he and L.W. ended up being transported into that world.
An Editor's Note to the above orocular speech said that it was quoted from The Book of the Law. Wisely, the Editor of Dr Watson's manuscript, Randall Collins, did not study the Book; or, at least, he did not study its Comment — which is generally believed to have been written, by Crowley, after the Great War. But, evidently, it was received, in a trance, by L.W., before it.
The Case of the Philosophers' Ring included photographs of the principals, including the "Bullet-head" photograph of Crowley and the "Laylah" photo of L.W.. Unaccountably, there were photographs of neither Holmes or Watson.]
By Ed Hutshing
Medina County Gazette (from the Copley News Service), 9 April, 1979.
THE CASE OF THE PHILOSOPHERS' RING; by Randall Collins; Crown; illustrated 152 pages; $7.95.
THE DEMON DEVICE; BY Robert Saffron; G. P. Putnum's Sons; illustrated; 285 pages; $10.95.
Two more late entries to the Holmes-Doyle Canon are worthy of interest.
Both have the tongue-in-cheek approach to reality. “The Philosophers' Ring” is “by Dr. John H. Watson, unearthed by Randall Collins” and “Demon Device” is “by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as communicated to Robert Saffron.”
In the latter case, Saffron was acting as a medium, while, in the former, Collins “found” the manuscript after a period of ratiocination that led him to the Theosophical Society.
WHAT Collins has done is go on an intellectual chase through history just before World War I broke out. His figures are real-life characters such as Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, Aleister Crowley, Annie Besant, Leila Waddell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Their links are through Cambridge University, secret societies, mysticism, philosophical breakthroughs in moral concepts and drug peddling.
The fun of the book lies in the fact that it is mind-boggling in its sinuous and sinister turns of thought. The reader is left hanging from the cliff, wondering if the villainy and hinted-at skulduggery is perhaps a form of self-hypnosis.
Collins weaves a tale that will not be to many Sherlockians' taste, but others will see the intellectual delight of The Consulting Detective and his bumbling but loyal companion, Watson, as a fitting addition to Holmes' adventures.
The main line of the kinky plot is that Wittgenstein is “having his mind stolen” and Russell wants Holmes to find the man and help restore him to his rightful place in philosophical society. This has Holmes and Watson going to Cambridge and becoming involved in everything from town-to-town rioting to an Alice in Wonderland adventure in the gardens of the campus.
THE reader has to have some idea of the time and place of history and the type of literary insanity that could bring forth an “Alice,” with not-to-subtle variations of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, in order to appreciate all the daffy nuances. As I said, it will not be to everyone's taste. ...
By Irene Weiss Peery
D.M.A. Thesis, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, 1987.
This dissertation examines three areas of the professional career of Australia-born George Frederick Boyle (1886-1948): those of pianist, teacher, and composer. The first chapter deals with his early life in Australia, from 1886 to 1910, and the beginnings of his career as a pianist and composer. Chapters II and III explore his career as pianist, composer, and teacher at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, from 1910 to 1922; at the Curtis Institute, from 1922 to 1924; and at the Institute of Musical Art (now called The Juilliard School), from 1923 to 1940. In Chapter IV George Boyle's ideas about the approach to the piano and his teaching techniques are discussed. Several articles written by Boyle and published during his lifetime are synopsized. These include his view on scales, practicing with the metronome, promoting keyboard accuracy, and unscrambling difficult passages. Many articles are quoted in full in Appendix E of the dissertation.
[George Frederick Boyle began his touring career aged just 14 and toured, as a teenager, with his mother, Australia and New Zealand. In 1901 alone he made a concert tour of more than 280 towns and cities. He played on a few occasions, in Sydney, with L.W.. He toured, in 1904, with a small company, including the soprano Violet Mount (later known in the U.K. music halls as "L'Incognita") and a comedian, called "The Sydney Concert Co.". He left Sydney for Europe to further his studies, aged just nineteen. He was given a farewell concert, in September 1905, at which L.W. performed as did pianist Doris Barnett (who L.W. later wrote in The International was "the finest pianist Australia has produced up till now"). Doris Barnett also performed Boyle's Rhapsodie in G minor at the complimentary concert for L.W. in 1906. Boyle studied under Busoni in Berlin and, after concert success on the continent and in London, and conducting both the Glasgow and Edinburgh orchestras, became a piano teacher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, USA. He conducted, in 1910, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra performing a piano concerto of his own composition. He was active in the U.S.A., teaching, composing, conducting and performing (including for player-piano, music rolls), in the decades afterward but was later largely forgotten there and in Australia.
A CD of a selection of his works was released in 2012:
Virtuoso Piano Music of George Frederick Boyle.
Another Australian pianist and composer, Roy Agnew, dedicated a piano piece, Winter Solitude, to Doris Barnett in 1927; and went on to play with Beatrice Tange (see The Gurgling Brook above).]
Crowley carried on, supported principally by Leila Waddell, Victor Neuburg and two authors who have left us interesting fictional accounts of this period, Ethel Archer and George Raffalovitch. ...
[The book that Ethel Archer left was The Hieroglyph, published in 1932. It was a loosely autobiographical novel about the doings surrounding a magazine of that title, based upon The Equinox. The Hieroglyph is now near-unobtainable, in any format.]
[Includes the L.A.Y.L.A.H. photograph.]
Once I found thee, alone, forlorn,
Waiting the call of the windy morn.
Now I dream of an olden sea,
And sea-birds twittering melody.
Once I found thee, O sister mine,
Rising, re-born, from the foam-flecked brine—
Thee! My Night, my mother obscene,
Gentle and curling and dark and green.
Mother of slime, and the things of dust;
Wonder in pain and joy and lust—
Mother of all men, queen of love’s star,
I tread in the wake of thy fairy car. ...
[A facsimile edition of the 1910 volume of Neuburg's poetry, which contained a poem dedicated to L.W.:
It was widely reviewed. A reviewer in Athenæum wrote:
"It is difficult to believe that the persons to whom certain poems are inscribed will experience any very lively gratification at the compliment."
It was reviewed by Katherine Mansfield in Rhythm but not until July, 1912:
"But there is another side to the poetry of Victor Neuburg. He appears to take strange delight in mysticism, which is never anything but second-hand. Mysticism is perverted sensuality. It is "passionate admiration" for that which has no reality at all. It leads to the annihilation of any true artistic effort. It is a paraphernalia of clichés. It is a mask through which the true expression of the poet can never be discerned. If he rejects this mask Mr Neuburg may become a poet."
This was, clearly, also an attack on Crowley and a call upon Neuburg to dissociate himself from the naughty camp forthwith. It took him a few years more before he obeyed but even then his fondness of passionate admiration for goddess figures, couched in quasi-classical terms, persisted.
Find a pdf here: The Triumph Of Pan.]
During the spring of 1910 Crowley and Leila Waddell, his Scarlet Woman, were staying with Commander Marston in Dorset. One day they performed a ritual to evoke Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars. Their host was impressed; he suggested that they should make a public spectacle of it. ...
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) poet, painter, novelist, explorer, mountaineer, chess master, classical scholar and drug addict was the founder of a religion called thelema, which, he claimed, had superceded Christianity. He was totally at odds with the morality of his time, as this account of his life clearly shows; but avoided confrontation with the authorities by always managing to find sufficient followers to sustain him in his beliefs. Reviled in his lifetime, his fame following his death has risen steeply: he made the pages of the Dictionary of National Biography; and his Abbey of Thelema in Cefalù, from which in 1923 he was ignominiously expelled, has been bought by the city of Cefalù as a tourist attraction. John Symonds is Crowley's literary executor, and his biography of Aleister Crowley is the fullest account of the life of this most bizarre Englishman. The present edition has been considerably revised and augmented, and will remain the standard work on Crowley.
[A greatly-expanded version of The Great Beast, this biography repeated many of the ill-founded calumnies of its predecessors and added a few more. The fourth edition (1997) was retitled The Beast 666.]
Edited and introduced by Keith Richmond
Illustrated by Dwina Murphy-Gibb
Explanatory essays by Keith Richmond and Terence DuQuesne
Mandrake Press (Oxford, UK), 1990.
The first major, separate study of Crowley's Rites of Eleusis. It includes a 40pp historical Introduction by Keith Richmond; essays "The Eleusinian Mysteries" and "Aleister Crowley and 'The Rites of Eleusis'" by Terence DuQuesne.
The Great Beast in Russia:
Aleister Crowley's Theatrical Tour in 1913 and His Beastly Writings on Russia
By W. F. Ryan
[And see here for a Russian translation:
The Great Beast In Russia.]
Superintendent P. Quinn followed DI Fitch's letter with a full report of all police intelligence on the life and crimes of Aleister Crowley up to 1916. It is from that report that we learn of the police interest in the 'widow's ₤200' in 1900, and the police observation of the Eleusian Rites in 1910. And there was more. Superintendent Quinn reported:
In April 1914 information was received by Police that Crowley was committing certain acts of indecency in the presence of females, in a room occupied by him at 2 The Avenue Studios, 76 Fulham Road, where he was visited by a woman named Waddell.
Police enquiries revealed that during the time he had resided at the above address he had been holding a certain kind of service at which incense had been burnt, and various instruments played, during which time a number of both sexes were present. Although he had been seen to commit an act of indecency in his studio on one occasion, no offence on which proceedings could be taken had been committed. ...
[The indecent service that the police had taken such a keen interest in was probably the recently-written Gnostic Mass.]
Performed by Annwn
Composed by Leigh Ann Hussey
Elf Hill Music & Mayhem Unltd., (Emeryville, CA, U.S.A.), 1999.
spread the news
in your head
light the fuse
songs of night
Scarlet Muse ...
This is a song about Crowley's sometime mistress and pet violinist, Leila Waddell — as a Thelemic violinist myself, I feel a kinship with her. She was a muse to him; and now she's my muse too. — Leigh Ann Hussey (1961-2006).
[Leigh Ann Hussey was a Californian viola and fiddle player, songwriter and singer. She was a member of the "gonzo Celtic rock" band Annwn, of San Francisco. Annwn put out a number of albums but this recording was not on any of them. It was a give-away proffered on the band's website in 1999. Hussey referred to L.W. as "my personal Thelemic Saint" and was clearly inspired by her example.
See here for the lyrics:
Find here a cache of recordings by Annwn and others:
Leigh Ann's Bands and Albums.]
Between 1870 and 1940, tens of thousands of Australian women were drawn to London, their imperial metropolis and the center of the publishing, art, musical, theatrical, and educational worlds. Even more Australian women than men made the pilgrimage "home," seeking opportunities beyond those available to them in the Australian colonies or dominion. In tracing the experiences of these women, this volume reveals hitherto unexamined connections between whiteness, colonial status, gender, and modernity.
[On the cover is a photograph of Annette Kellermann in a swimming suit and her career is examined at length. She was the daughter of a Sydney violinist and was a star of New York vaudeville, with her swimming show, when L.W. worked in New York vaudeville. Also, Beatrice Tange is mentioned.
Woolacott summarized her book in a chapter of this 2009 book available as a free download:
Australians in Britain: The Twentieth-Century Experience.
Woollacot examined Kellerman further in this 2011 volume:
Race and the modern exotic: three 'Australian' women on global display.]
The name “Aleister Crowley” instantly conjures visions of diabolic ceremonies and orgiastic indulgences—and while the sardonic Crowley would perhaps be the last to challenge such a view, he was also much more than “the Beast,” as this authoritative biography shows. Perdurabo (the magical name Crowley chose when inducted into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) traces Crowley’s remarkable journey from his birth as the only son of a wealthy lay preacher to his death in a boarding house as the world’s foremost authority on magick. Along the way, he rebels against his conservative religious upbringing; befriends famous artists, writers, and philosophers (and becomes a poet himself); is attacked for his practice of “the black arts”; and teaches that science and magick can work together. While seeking to spread his infamous philosophy of “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” Crowley becomes one of the most notorious figures of his day. Based on Richard Kaczynski’s twenty years of research, and including previously unpublished biographical details, Perdurabo paints a memorable portrait of the man who inspired the counterculture and influenced generations of artists, punks, wiccans, and other denizens of the demimonde.
[One of the first, serious attempts at biography of Crowley, the second (2010) edition is the first to attempt to address L.W. as a person in herself, including her life in Australia, rather than solely as a supporting character in the contested narrative of Crowley's life. However, Kaczynski still repeats the unsupported myth that L.W. was part-Maori. Crowley himself appears to have been unaware of this notion though it subsequently became wide-spread.
Much of the text is available here: Perdurabo.]
By Justin Scott Van Kleeck
Esoterica, Volume V, 2003, pp 193-218.
Crowley’s insight coming from the Bartzabel ritual and his resulting innovation led to further technical development—and thoughts of actually staging, as a sort of play, a ritual in order to create a group "enthusiasm" later in 1910. Indeed, he wrote a ritual for public performance to invoke the moon that involved a violinist—Leila Waddell, a member of the A.A. and Crowley’s lover—and poetry written for the occasion. The event, with tickets and all, took place in August. As Francis King describes (paraphrasing the account by Ethel Archer, an attendant and friend of Crowley’s), Crowley used tried-and-true staging techniques like lighting effects, curtains/veils, and costumes along with the music, poetry, and dancing. Further, in a shrewd move to help include the audience, the attendants "sat on cushions scattered around the circumference of the room, all its usual furniture having been removed." Apparently, Crowley’s new methods were not based on unsound opinions, as an attendant from the Sketch testifies: "We were thrilled to our very bones. … in very deed most of us experienced that ecstasy which Crowley so earnestly seeks." The writer may not "understand the ritual that runs like a thread through these meetings of the A.·. A.·.," but he admits "that the whole ceremony was impressive" and "artistic." We should note, of course, that the audience and performers partook of a "Cup of Libation" containing alcohol, fruit juice, and likely peyote beforehand—all in accord with Thelemic principles. Regardless, and as the Sketch review supports, it was apparent that magic rituals, presented in particular ways, in theatrical ways, could affect more than just the participants within the circle. They could initiate the audience, as it were. For Crowley, toiling to spread the Law and to liberate humanity from self-imposed restrictions, the ability to create such an extended effect was obviously astounding. ...
Theatre magick: Aleister Crowley and The Rites of Eleusis
By Tracy Ward Tupman
Ph.D. Dissertation, Theatre, Ohio State University, U.S.A., 2003.
In October and November of 1910 seven one-act plays were produced at Caxton Hall, Westminster, London, under the collective title The Rites of Eleusis. These public productions were as much an experiment in audience and performer psychology as they were an exotic entertainment. Written, produced and directed by leading cast member, Aleister Crowley, The Rites of Eleusis attempted to present a contemporary interpretation of an ancient myth in order to reignite the role and importance of mysticism in modern society. Through exposing the audience to a variety of sensory stimuli such as incense, rhythmic music, dance, and poetry, it attempted to create within the audience itself an altered state of consciousness which would make them co-celebrants within the performance/ritual. As Crowley stated in the original broadsheet advertisements for the productions, the Rites were intended “to illustrate the magical methods followed by a mystical society which seeks for illumination by ecstasy.” But Crowley intended much more: he hoped the audience would not merely view an “illustration,” but experience an actual state of “ecstasy” ...
By Steve Meacham
Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), Wednesday, November 26, 2003.
Steve Meacham looks at an Australian woman who inspired one of the first of the self-proclaimed drug and sex fiends.
[A review of Magic and Witchcraft, by Nevill Drury, in the familiar style.]
This book paints Sydney between the depressions of the 1890s and the 1930s as a prosperous city riding an international wave of modernism. In the pub, parlour and pulpit, people clashed over the significance of moving pictures, jazz, new dance crazes, the radio, gramophone records and cheap magazines.
By Clare A. Thornley
Thesis, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 2004.
The Royal Philharmonic Society of Sydney, formed as the Sydney Philharmonic Society in 1885, represented the rich tradition of amateur choral organisations present in Sydney in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Under the strong leadership of two of their conductors, Roberto Hazon and Joseph Bradley, the Philharmonic Society presented the Sydney and Australian premieres of many choral works, engaged the services of many international vocal soloists, performed for full houses, and was invited to perform at many important civic and state events. Yet this organisation has been forgotten by history and the Sydney music community. Although many issues contributed to the decline of this amateur organisation, the strongest factors included the Philharmonic’s inability to maintain consistency in their leadership in later years, a change in general musical trends from amateur vocal performances to professional orchestral concerts, an increase in competition from other entertainments, the establishment of the ABC, and an ongoing lack of support from the city and state governments. These were further exacerbated by the lack of support from members of the Sydney press, particularly the Sydney Morning Herald. Therefore, an in-depth study into the story of the Royal Philharmonic Society of Sydney not only uncovers the history of a forgotten music organisation, it also contributes to a deeper understanding of the musical performance culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Sydney.
Written by Kenneth Johnston
Performed by The High Pink Clouds
This is the High Pink Clouds version of my song Aleistar. This is the story of Aleister Crowley and Leila Wadell [sic] told in two minutes and eighteen seconds. Zenobia Marsh sings it, I produced the music. Recorded at Cthulhu's Caterpillar Plantation in 2005. — Kenneth Johnston
The old man said he was the beast
He filed points on his canine teeth
He drank the blood from his lady's hand
Just before he made his demand he said
In the morning we will watch the sunrise
For the Prince of the Power of the Air.
He said he knew his guardian angel
The dominon of the watery abyss
The Australian girl played her violin for him
Like this ...
In the end he drowned in gin
No scarlet lady by his side
And the members of his exclusive fraternity
Took it all much too seriously when he said
In the morning we will watch the sunrise for the prince of the power of the air.
[First released, also in 2005, on "The Curable Interns play ... Zenobia Marsh sings ...", performed by Zenobia Marsh and The Curable Interns, from Louisiana.
Also, an instrumental version, by the The High Pink Clouds, may be heard here:
The Australian Girl.]
He [Crowley] used music in his ceremonies, especially when he had the services of his 'Scarlet Woman' Leila Waddell who was an acomplished violinist according to contemporary accounts. ...
By Thelema Borealis, 2005
[Thelema Borealis is a "Thelemic Rock" band from Volgograd, Russia.
See here for their web journal: Thelema Borealis.
The album was posted on it in October, 2015.]
[A history and discussion of sexual magic, this book features the L.A.Y.L.A.H. photograph on the cover but has little about L.W. in the text.]
By Edmund B. Lingan
PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Vol. 28, No. 3, September, 2006, pp 23-38.
[Discusses revivals of The Rites of Eleusis in California in the late 1970s, and 1980s.]
Eleusyve Productions is an amateur theater group based in Seattle, Washington. Our goal at Eleusyve Productions is the presentation of the seven plays comprising Aleister Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis as musical theater pieces in a manner that will render them more fully accessible to a broad and discriminating audience, using music, light, dance and drama to enhance the poetry and symmetry of the original works. It is further our goal to make these completed productions available in as many formats and to as many markets as possible, in order to more widely circulate our artistic interpretations of this material.
[Eleusyve Productions has been performing The Rites since 2006, and continue to perform them. They also have DVDs, and online videos, of their performances available for purchase.]
The Fortean Times (U.K.), February, 2008.
Jack Sargeant talks to a modern day cinematic magus about his latest work—a series of films based on Aleister Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis.
ABC Books (Ultimo, NSW), 2008.
[Note: The 2007 listing is in error.]
[L.W. is the subject of a three-page article in the "Mad" section of this book, issued by what was then the publishing arm of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. It is taken largely from the obituaries and Crowley's autohagiography. In it, and in the introduction, and in an article on the English Theosophist Leadbeater, the spelling "Aliester" is used—presumably to indicate that a lie lay, literally, at the heart of Aleister Crowley.
Other subjects include Percy Grainger, Jessie Street and Rosaleen Norton.]
By Louis Stone
Dodo Press (Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England), 2008.
IN April of the following year, six months later, Ricordi announced the first performance of a “Bush Ballad” by an Australian composer. This work, which had been advertised for the previous season, and then withdrawn, was awaited with considerable curiosity. It was reported that it was a strange, bizarre composition, and Australian to the marrow.
Ricordi, who had found Sydney without an orchestral society, had begun in a small way by giving concerts on a Saturday afternoon with a band of capable amateurs. Then it became the fashion to subscribe to his orchestra, and with a sprinkling of professionals to strengthen them, he had transferred his amateurs to the Town Hall for the season of four concerts.
By a quarter to eight the shilling seats under the gallery were packed, and a fashionable crowd sauntered in a leisurely manner up the steps from George Street. A dense crowd blocked the entrance stopping to chat with friends in the portico, or studying the costumes of the arrivals by carriage and motor-car. Mr. Goddard, looking very handsome in his dress suit, stood on the steps watching each group that arrived. Presently Betty and Freda, and Gus and the geisha girl, came in sight, and he stepped forward to meet them. Betty flushed when she saw him, but Freda gave him a hostile look, and Gus shook hands with polite indifference. Ignoring their cold reception, he walked beside Betty and talked rapidly in a caressing undertone. Gus, who had booked the seats, led the way to the northern gallery, and they found themselves in the front row with an excellent view of the audience. A confused murmur of voices and the shuffling of feet rose from the floor as the ushers showed the late-comers to their seats. From behind the organ came the persistent sound of the A, and the tuning of violins. Then a medley of sound as the players tested their instruments, running up and down the scale, or trying a difficult passage to make sure of it.
Suddenly the players walked on to the platform, threading their way between the music-stands to their seats. Betty watched them eagerly, picking out the players who were there in time. Hessel was still leading the second violins, and another girl was sitting in Betty's old place behind him. It took her back to the time when Paoli had made eyes at her over the ivory mouthpiece of his flute. She thought of him with a curious detachment. It seemed very childish to her now, and she passed his band in the streets with indifference. Other and stronger emotions had driven him out of her mind. Mr. Goddard, ignoring Freda's sulky looks, paid her a flattering attention. Betty heard his running comment on the audience, and replied with a vague smile, her mind elsewhere. She had a curious feeling that Walter's eye was on her, and she looked about with a slightly defiant air, expecting to see him at any minute. But Ricordi, walking rapidly to the conductor's stand, opened the score, and tapping with his baton for silence, the concert began. ...
[Originally serialized in the Sydney magazine The Lone Hand in 1913 and 1914, this novel set in the classical-music scene in pre-war Sydney was published in London in 1915 with some cuts. This 2008, paperback edition was based on the complete version.
The "Signor Roberto Ricordi" character, an Italian conducter, was based on Signor Roberto Hazon; and so the story was set before September, 1907 when he last conducted at the Sydney Town Hall, before leaving for Milan.
The English author, Louis Stone, had his earlier novel, Jonah (London, 1911), which was also set in Sydney, republished by Inky Stephensen in 1933.
A freely-available pdf based on the cut version is available here:
Betty Wayside (1915).]
Aleister Crowley is best known today as a founding father of modern occultism. His wide, hypnotic eyes peer at us from the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and his influence can be found everywhere in popular culture.
Crowley, also known as the Great Beast, has been the subject of several biographies, some painting him as a misunderstood genius, others as a manipulative charlatan. None of them have looked seriously at his career as an agent of British Intelligence.
Using documents gleaned from British, American, French, and Italian archives, Secret Agent 666 sensationally reveals that Crowley played a major role in the sinking of the Lusitania, a plot to overthrow the government of Spain, the thwarting of Irish and Indian nationalist conspiracies, and the 1941 flight of Rudolf Hess.
Author Richard B. Spence argues that Crowley—in his own unconventional way—was a patriotic Englishman who endured years of public vilification in part to mask his role as a secret agent.
The verification of the Great Beast’s participation in the twentieth century’s most astounding government plots will likely blow the minds of history buffs and occult aficionados alike.
[The blurb, naturally, oversells the case made.]
By Raymond Salvatore Harmon
A Journal of Performance and Art
PAJ 91, Volume 31, Number 1, January, 2009, pp 91-97.
On March 7, 2008, I staged the first screening/performance of my forty-nine minute occult cinema piece Rites of Eleusis as a three-channel improvised video environment at Horse Hospital Gallery in London. Based on the seven public rituals performed by British occultist Aleister Crowley in 1910 in Caxton Hall London, my own seven seven-minute-long visual distillations of Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis represent a specific form of performance-based occult ritual.
By Vincent Bridges
Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, Volume 2, Number 16, Vernal Equinox, 2009.
On Tuesday, May 9th, 1910, a curious group of seekers gathered on a secluded Dorsetshire estate to evoke Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars. They included Aleister Crowley, newly infamous after the “Rosicrucian” lawsuit with Mathers, his magickal [sic] apprentice Victor Neuburg and his new love interest Leila Waddell, and the person apparently requesting the evocation, Commander Guy Montagu Marston, of the Royal Navy, the lord of the manor. The purpose of the ritual event was simply and straightforwardly that of espionage: they wanted to know from the spirit of all things Martial itself if “nation would rise up against nation,” presumably in Europe and soon. ...
By Mara Lynn Keller, Ph.D.
Rosicrucian Digest, No. 2, April, 2009.
The Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone are the oldest of the Mysteries in Greece, sharing rituals and beliefs with Egypt, Crete, Anatolia, and Thrace, with roots deep in the Neolithic age and the agrarian revolution. The Mysteries at Eleusis, called ta Mysteria, lasted almost two thousand years, from approximately 1450 BCE to 392 CE. The Greater Mysteries were celebrated in the early fall at Athens and Eleusis, in the middle of the Greek month Boedromion (roughly equivalent to our September), near the time of the autumnal equinox.
The Greater Mysteries (as the Eleusinian Mysteries were also called) were presided over by the Mother Goddess, but the story of both the Mother and Daughter constellates the center of the Greater Mysteries, serving as chrysalis and catalyst for the initiates’ spiritual illumination and transformation. In these rites of initiation, initiates participated in a reenactment of the mythos or sacred story of Demeter and Persephone, their unwilling separation and joyful reunion. ...
[A podcast version of this article, and the digest of articles on Eleusis, may be found here:
Rosicrucian Digest: Eleusis.]
Edited by Keith Richmond
The Teitan Press (U.S.A.), 2009.
The Progradior Correspondence comprises the text of ninety letters and other documents that were exchanged between "Frater Progradior" (that is Aleister Crowley's Lancashire-born follower Frank Bennett), and members of "the Beast's" inner circle, including Crowley himself, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Leilah Waddell, Leah Hirsig and others.
For generations, women have had to channel their strength and power into the role of muse, priestess, or earth mother—and always in the shadow of male magicians. This groundbreaking book shatters outdated notions of the Western magical tradition and presents a new paradigm that celebrates and empowers the woman magician.
Another unexpected boon was Australian violinist, Leila Waddell, who joined the A. ̇.A. ̇. in April as Soror Agatha. Dubbing her 'the Mother of Heaven' Crowley and Leila quickly became a wacky and creative couple. So much so that on 9 May, A. ̇.A. ̇. member Commander Guy Montagu Marston RN invited them to his house at Rempstone, Dorset. Marston's interests were sex, anthropology and magick; he had invited the right people. ...
Crowley found solace in summer 1911 with the 'Mother of Heaven', proto-hippy, 'beautiful person' and all-round sex goddess, Leila Waddell, at Fontainebleau, a favoured place of recuperation. ...
In 1913 Aleister Crowley came to manage his own all-girl band, The Ragged Ragtime Girls, an exciting precursor of Girls Aloud, the Spice Girls, and Bond.
What? Arriving in London from Australia in 1910, Leila Waddell had performed as a 'Ragged Gypsy', an act adorned by her violin, her beauty, and little else. ...
[Churton offers no reference for this assertion that L.W. had performed solo as a "Ragged Gypsy", let alone for the brevity of her costume. It is apparently based upon Tupman's dissertation in which she wrote:
"In 1908, Waddell went to England, and the following year obtained a position as the leader of the Gypsy band in a revival of Oscar Straus’s "A Waltz Dream" at Daly’s London Theatre. She played the role of Annerl, a violinist in the ladies' orchestra. She then became involved with an offshoot of this production, assuming the role of “The Ragged Gypsy” in appearances in England and Europe for the next year."
The latter claim is based on an earlier error, in the Sydney Mail obituary:
"Her principal experience there was as leader of the Gipsy Band on the stage in A Waltz Dream at Daly's Theatre, London. This gave her an impetus in a new direction, and in the character of the Ragged Gipsy she appeared with a group of girl violinists during a period of years at the Coliseum, Palladium, and other theatres, and ultimately toured France and Germany and other countries as far as Russia."
The report that there was a Gypsy band in A Waltz Dream is simply incorrect. There was, furthermore, no "offshoot" of A Waltz Dream, with a Gypsy band or otherwise, only a revival of the musical. Whether L.W. ever performed as the "Ragged Gypsy" apart from the Rag-time Girls act is not known. It is possible that she went solo in 1913-1914 but there is no evidence that she did—or that she performed with the Rag-time Girls after October, 1913. However, there is a report, dated 12 June, 1914 (in the SMH of 1 August, 1914), that she was doing well in the music halls at that time so she was, apparently, doing one or the other. And she did later perform in New York vaudeville without the Rag-time Girls—but in what act is unknown.]
By Amy Clanton
Ph.D. Dissertation, English, University of South Florida, U.S.A., 2011.
William Butler Yeats and Aleister Crowley created literary works intending them to comprise religious systems, thus negotiating the often-conflicting roles of religion and modern art and literature. Both men credited Percy Bysshe Shelley as a major influence, and Shelley's ideas of art as religion may have shaped their pursuit to create working religions from their art. This study analyzes the beliefs, prophetic practices, myths, rituals, and invocations found in their literature, focusing particularly on Yeats' Supernatural Songs, Celtic Mysteries, and Island of Statues, and Crowley's Philosopher's Progress, Garden of Janus, Rites of Eleusis, and Hymn to Pan. While anthropological definitions generally distinguish art from religion, Crowley's religion, Thelema, satisfies requirements for both categories, as Yeats' Celtic Mysteries may have done had he completed the project.
By Anne Rees
Australian Feminist Studies, Volume 27, Issue 71, 2012.
This article is an examination of Ruby Rich (1888-1988), an Australian feminist, concert pianist, Zionist, pacifist and eugenicist. Although much lauded by her peers, Rich has gone largely unexamined by historians, particularly in contrast to the recent research on her feminist contemporaries Mary Montgomerie Bennett and Bessie Rischbieth. I draw attention to Rich's remarkable life and varied experiences, and use her example to explore the relationship between feminism and eugenics in twentieth-century Australia. From the early 1920s, Rich became a prominent figure within several Australian feminist organisations and in 1926 was appointed the founding president of the Racial Hygiene Association of NSW, an organisation which espoused eugenics. Although it is often assumed that eugenics is innately anti-feminist, Rich remained an active champion of both feminism and racial hygiene for over 50 years. Her example therefore provides an opportunity to trace the unlikely sympathies between these two movements, and highlights the extent to which eugenics found acceptance among progressive members of the Australian community.
[Ruby Rich played in the 1906, complimentary concert for L.W. though still in her teens. She performed on the concert stage in the U.S. and U.K. pre-war and was a nurse during the war. Back in Australia in the 1920s, she was active in the Feminist Club, which L.W. performed for several times. Also, she was mentioned in the Woman's Budget interview with L.W. (2 May, 1925).
For her ADB entry, see here:
Rich, Ruby Sophia (1888-1988).
For some photographs of her, see here:
Find also this interview with Ruby Rich, in freely-available, audio files:
Ruby Rich interviewed by Hazel de Berg (156 minutes), 1976 & 1977.]
[A story, in the familiar style, derived from Aleister Crowley: The Biography, by Tobias Churton.]
A composition for violin
By Leila Waddell.
A newly-typeset, paginated and edited score
By Phil Legard
[A computer-generated, audio facsimile of this piece may also be found here:
Thelema: A Tone Testament.]
By Marlene Packwood
This book follows Crowley's Feng Shui journey from Leamington Spa to Hastings and all the places he lived in between. It assesses this Life Journey with Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology and the I Ching - illustrations and photos comprise the stepping stones on his spiritual path. Key places he lived in - Victoria St, London, Loch Ness and Sicily are all described and assessed. His trip to America during WW1 is described as well as the inevitable journey home, then London and Netherwood. A Life well Lived.
By Veronica Kelly
Popular Entertainment Studies, Vol 4, No. 1, 2013.
Two entertainments advertised as ‘revues’ premiered in Australia 1913-14; Come Over Here and Hullo Ragtime, both adverting to West End revues of the same titles. The immediate contexts of these productions exemplify the lines of local flow and blockage in the processes of the international circulation of personnel and genres of popular commercial entertainment, with its musical, visual or choreographic texts. Revues in this period were closely related to ideas of generic rule-breaking and cosmopolitan modernity. They are also intricately linked with the technologies of recorded sound which now complemented the sale of sheet music for domestic consumption and leisure. The main musical vehicles of revue are ‘ragtime’ music and its associated popular dances, and also the tango, whether in theatrical display or as social practice.
Alma Moodie is perhaps the most gifted violinist ever to have left Australia, acclaimed in Germany in her youth as a “rare apparition in the world of virtuosity”. Born in Mount Morgan, Queensland, in 1898, Moodie left Australia when she was nine for studies in Brussels with internationally renowned teachers. Through the tumultuous years of the First World War, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich she forged an exceptional career, playing with the likes of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under conductors including Nikisch, Furtwängler and Fritz Busch. Her untimely death in 1943 suggests that she was a victim of war just as surely as those many others whose fates were less ambiguous. By all accounts a charismatic personality and a prodigious musician, she left no recordings and has slipped into an obscurity as deep as it is undeserved. In piecing together the details of Moodie’s life, Kay Dreyfus reclaims her reputation as one of the outstanding violinists of her generation and as a leading exponent of the contemporary music of her day.
[L.W. claimed to have known Carl Flesch (Brisbane Truth, 23 November, 1924), and Flesch said that Alma Moodie was his favourite pupil so L.W. would have been well aware of her, even if they never met. Moodie's very high reputation as a concert performer did not save her from also being consigned to obscurity, along with Maud MacCarthy (1882-1967), and L.W., albeit for different reasons.
This book is available for purchase, including as a downloadable pdf, here:
Bluebeard's Bride: Alma Moodie, Violinist.]
By Aleister Crowley
Intoduction by Lon Milo DuQuette
Weiser Books (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.), 2013.
Volume II of The Best of the Equinox by Aleister Crowley, offers a treasure chest of dramatic rituals.
[Includes "The Rites of Eleusis". A sample of this book is available here:
The Best of the Equinox, Dramatic Ritual.]
By Geraldine Beskin
AMeTh Lodge Journal, Volume I, Number 2, 2013.
For the first time, in this issue – an article by a guest author who is not a member of O.T.O.: a fascinating study of Aleister Crowley’s trip to Russia with his troupe of Ragged Ragtime Girls, written by Geraldine Beskin.
By Amy Clanton
University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & the Arts, Issue 17, Autumn 2013.
The ritual plays of William Butler Yeats and Aleister Crowley question the dominant political, social, and religious values of their time, contravening traditional ideas of ritual as a conservative social force. This study analyses Yeats’ Celtic Mysteries rituals and Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis according to changing scholarly theories of ritual.
Reality Films (U.K.), 2013.
"In A Time Of Ignorance One Man Defied All Convention"
Since the onset of the human race there have been those who instinctively understood the nature of reality and sought to impose their will upon it by co-operating with and honoring the forces that governed it. ...
Hailed as the wickedest man alive and called the Great Beast 666 by his own mother, Crowley was also one of the most accomplished philosophers, poets, authors, mountain climbers, chess players and sensationalists of his or any other time. Aleister Crowley was a magnet to all, many were drawn to his presence and exceptional wisdom but there were also those that he repelled. This film looks back on one man’s amazing journey from his death bed.
[Sensationalist and inaccurate, this video has a L.W. character played by the English actress Pollyanna Richards.]
By Carlos Atanes
CreateSpace (U.S.A.), 2013.
Underground filmmaker Carlos Atanes has been trying to make a movie about Aleister Crowley and his Magick for more than ten years. In the beginning of 2007 this was the third and last attempt of the deal with Magick: "Aleister Crowley in the Mouth of Hell". This script is structured in the reverse order of the Major Arcana of Crowley’s Tarot. The plot describes the mystical trip of Crowley through the Duat—the egyptian underworld—, the encounters with significant characters in his real life—people as Hanni Jaegger, Fernando Pessoa, Leila Wadell [sic], Victor Neuburg, Raoul Loveday—and the confrontation with the demon Choronzon, his old adversary. Here you have the screenplay such as it was written and never filmed.
Written by Martin Hayes, art by R. H. Stewart
Foreword by Richard Kaczynski
Markosia Enterprises Ltd (U.K.), 2013.
The rites are wondrous things, the air heavy with incense. I intone while Leila Waddel [sic] provides the musical accompaniment.
And Neuberg [sic] dances like a fiend! ...
[Kaczynski also acted as a consultant in the production of this comic book.
A revised edition has been published:
Aleister Crowley: Wandering the Waste (2016).]
Written by Darrin O'Toole, art by Alan Hurley
DOT Comics (Dublin, Ireland), 2013.
After death, I found myself here, in this place.
Alone, not a soul in sight.
My violin my sole companion.
Decades past as I sat here in this void.
The void is a strange place when you have no soul, so playing the violin was the closest I got to a feeling.
Alone with my music and my thoughts, I looked back fondly on the great adventure of my life.
Decades past as I made beautiful music.
I must say, though I dared not say aloud ...
That I truly missed Aleister.
Not the demon he had become ...
But the man I met in Daly's Theatre.
The man I gave my heart to, the man who took my soul. ...
[Cheerfully maintaining only a tangential connection with reality, this comic book presents "the story of Leila Waddell, her lover Aleister Crowley, and what happened after they died". It plunders the mythic aura built up around the pair and makes such nonsense with the spoils that no hack could attempt to regurgitate the cacodaemonic tales kept on file in the newspaper morgue ever again. Unless, of course, they are themselves soul-stealing demons ...
And a second issue of Lady Babylon threatens ....
Find here a video of a reading from Lady Babylon by Anne Doyle and Darrin O'Toole:
Then there was Violet Duval, a chorus girl, who was assisted—exactly how is unclear—by Leila Waddell.
But London at the outset of war was no place for the King of the Royal Art. Crowley was convinced that he could best serve England from abroad. ...
Leila Waddell turned up, too, and helped Crowley with magick; although they kept in touch, she would eventually move on. ...
Based on field research and archival study, this book offers an in-depth exploration of the religious foundations, political and social significance, and aesthetic aspects of the theatre created by several of the most influential leaders of the Occult Revival: Katherine Tingley, Rudolf Steiner, Marie Steiner-von Sivers, Aleister Crowley, Alexander Mathews, and Gerald Gardner. The Occult Revival was an international surge of interest in the supernatural, magic, and Eastern mysticism that thrived in Europe and the United States between the late nineteenth-century and the mid-twentieth-century. By studying the theatre that was developed in affiliation with occult movements, this book shows how theatre contributed to the complication and fragmentation of Western religious culture during the turn-of-the-century Occult Revival and how theatre continues to play a part in the development of occult rituals and beliefs.
[Includes a chapter in which the Rites of Eleusis and Leila Waddell are discussed.]
YouTube, July, 2014
By Aunt Sofonda
Concocted by Mr and Mrs J. K. Norwood
Starring "Sweet Lucy" as "L.A.Y.L.A.H.".
This little song is about Aleister Crowley's girlfriend,
who played the violin.
It's nice to be a devil, when you're one like me,
It's nice to be a devil, when you're one like me-hee,
Mister Crowley, you can see,
It's nice to be a devil.
Hermes Trismegistus is a friend of me,
He waves his magic wand and we go out for tea-hee,
Mystic numbers, one, two, three,
It's nice to be a devil.
Well, those who hide are mystified,
Thou stridest in the middle, for the sake of the stride,
If the mystics are out there, seein' the light,
Why is everybody else sewed up too tight?
Well, it's nice to be a devil with blinky eyes,
It's nice to be a devil in a pretty disgui-hise,
Right there in your Book of Lies,
It's nice to be a devil,
It's nice to be a devil,
It's nice to be a devil.
[Commentary to chapter 77 of The Book of Lies:
"As will be seen from the photogravure inserted opposite this chapter, Laylah is herself not devoid of "Devil", but, as she habitually remarks, on being addressed in terms implying this fact, "It's nice to be a devil when you're one like me."."]
"Australian musical first modernism"
By Graeme Skinner
The expatriation of the best home-nurtured musical talent was a reality from the 1880s until the early 1960s. Among those who went abroad, and mostly stayed away, were Ada Crossley, George Clutsam, Grainger, Leila Waddell, Frederick Septimus Kelly, William Murdoch, W. J. Turner, George Boyle, Ernest Hutchinson, Arthur Benjamin, Peggy Glanville Hicks, Alma Moodie (Dreyfus 2013), Noel Newton-Wood, Banks, Williamson, Joan Sutherland, and David Lumsdaine. Fellow composers and music historians alike have cited expatriation – Grainger's in particular – as historical evidence of lack of relevance to Australian music. ...
[See here: The Modernist World.]
By Cynthia Crosse
Success Is Your Proof: One Hundred Years of O. T. O. in North America
Sekmet Books (New York, New York, U.S.A.), 2015, pp 61-70.
Leila found work immediately in London, and spent a successful couple of years touring Britain and the Continent. It was on the Continent in 1910, in fact, that she first met Aleister Crowley. Five years her senior, the wealthy, young Englishman was well-travelled; an accomplished climber, writer and poet. He was Cambridge-educated, articulate and witty, with dark-brown, piercing eyes: overall, an attractive package!
But then so was she. Standing five-foot-six with blue-green eyes, the striking Leila was sweet and unaffected. An accomplished classical violinist, she was well-travelled and independent; a charming girl with a broad Australian accent. One reporter described her as "bright, winsome, and full of enthusiasm."
A whirlwood romance ensued. ...
It is also likely that Leila was the first priestess in a Gnostic Mass. Though there are no records of this, Crowley and Leila returned from Russia where he had written the missal on August 30, 1913. Later that year, Crowley wrote to Kathleen Pritchard, inviting her to a performance of the Gnostic Mass ...
[Kathleen Susannah Pritchard was the first Australian novelist to gain international recognition; in 1915 with her novel The Pioneers. She was in 1913 working as a journalist, whilst pursuing other writing. She had contributed to The Equinox and was at least acquainted with the Equinox crew.]