Book III of Crowley’s The Diary of a Drug Fiend is entitled Purgatorio, and indeed we have already seen the characters Lou and Peter through Heaven (Book I – Paradisio) and Hell (Book II – Inferno) – but how does the Christian (specifically Catholic, more specifically Dante’s) vision of Purgatory work within the principles of Thelema? There is, of course, redemption through suffering, ritual and prayer – but the concepts of Christian sin and virtue are very different from Thelema’s. The goal of the Christian afterlife is to reside, ultimately, in Paradise, purged of mortal and moral flaw, at one with the laws of a singular God. Does Crowley’s Purgatory (defined here as the Abbey at Telepylus) serve a similar purpose? How does Crowley’s controversial stance on drug use and abuse help play into the Thelemic ideal of virtue (for lack of a better word)? Finally, how do the many references to Lamus as “Satan,” “The Devil,” and “demonic” work in the interest of Crowley’s Thelemic message?
This will be our last post on this book! I want to thank everyone who has participated in the discussions. The next Book Club Selection (#WBC4) will be announced at the end of this week.