I would like to point out that the fact that Crowley has for so long (and is continually) villified in our popular culture speaks to his credit. Most of what society at large considers to be valuable to me is usually absolute garbage, and what it casts away and/or ignores is very often treasure. You have to take a few steps back, actually many steps back, to realize that a lot of the crap out there is being shoved down people's throats and most of society is basically being sheep-herded. We pretty much live in a plutocracy, or rule by a very small minority of wealthy people, who control media outlets, textbook manufacturers, and of course oil and gas companies and other big corporations. These people do not have the best of intentions for all of us in mind. So again, the fact that thousands of times more people will recognize Lady Gaga's name before they recognize Aliester Crowley's speaks very much to his credit. If Crowley were popular, I would really question his credibility.
The true test of his merit, however, is to read his writings. I own copies of The Book of Thoth and 777, and have read The Book of the Law. The latter
is absolutely breathtaking, albeit short, and my favorite is The Book of Thoth. Why? It's very comprehensive. It ties together many aspects of
Egyptology, mythology, religion, philosophy, and especially the Tarot and Kabbalism. It provides one of the most in-depth explorations of the
Kabbalistic Tree of Life.
Was Crowley an "evil" man? I would say no, that is, no more or less than you or I or anyone else. Was he a Satan worshipper? Absolutely not. Was he
misunderstood and villified--you already know the answer to that. Crowley was all about empowering people, and shared his knowledge freely. This is
the kind of knowledge that many in the elite are familiar with but try to keep a lid on. They would much prefer that people, rather than being
empowered, are praying to their "Lord and Shepherd" and believing that they are "sinners," basically rotten from the start. Crowley's work (and
you have to remember that a lot of his writings were actually channeled, and so cannot be directly attributed to him) supports my notion that we are
all equal, and all divine. We are taught that this is vain and "sinful, but can this be said considering the belief is that we are ALL divine
spiritual beings? Anyway, you can choose to believe what you want, because it's all about experience.
Edited to add the "Why?" part!
[edit on 8-7-2010 by maatunidy]