Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was an English occultist, magician, mountaineer, novelist and poet. In the Strike series, he is first mentioned in Career of Evil, but is more frequently mentioned throughout the fifth novel, Troubled Blood.
Crowley founded the religious movement Thelema and was also member of the Golden Dawn, a secret society devoted to the occult and the paranormal – a magical order.
He was titled the “wickedest man in the world”, self-named “the beast” and was labelled as a Satanist by the press.
We know from the third Strike novel, Career of Evil, that Strike’s ex-stepfather Jeff Whittaker was interested in Aleister Crowley, as well as the Satanic Bible and Charles Manson.
“He liked death, Whittaker; he liked bodies. He claimed he’d been a gravedigger when he was a teenager. He had a thing about corpses. People took him for a hardcore goth, some ten-a-penny poseur – the necrophiliac lyrics, the Satanic Bible, Aleister Crowley” Career of Evil.
One of J.K. Rowling’s many Twitter headers whilst writing the fifth Strike novel, Troubled Blood, was that of three Thoth tarot cards, which were developed by Aleister Crowley.
She also uploaded a header photo of an astrological chart by Crowley.
In Troubled Blood, the detective inspector on the original Margot Bamborough case, Bill Talbot, turned to astrology and the Thoth tarot cards created by Crowley to help solve the case. Talbot frequently quotes Crowley in his unofficial case notebook, alongside the many pentagrams and strange drawings.
You can watch a video about the Thoth tarot deck below.
Crowley, as mentioned by Paul Satchwell in Chapter 47 of Troubled Blood, was born in Leamington Spa. “You don’t see it in many guide-books, because they don’t like it,” Satchwell tells Robin.
Satchwell directs Robin to drive into Clarendon Square, “where tall white terraced houses, though now subdivided into flats, retained a vestige of their old grandeur”, where Crowley was born. Satchwell tells Robin that Crowley was born at number 30. “No plaque or nothing. They don’t like talking about him, the good people of Leamington Spa.”
Aleister Crowley is also quoted by serial killer Dennis Creed later in the novel: “‘… I am unique and conqueror. I am not of the slaves that perish.’ Know who said that?” Creed asks Strike, who correctly identifies it as a Crowley quote.
For more information on Crowley, you can watch this YouTube video below.