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Arnold Crowther  (1909-1974)

 

 

Written and compiled by George Knowles.

 

Arnold Crowther was a skilled stage magician and ventriloquist with interests in paganism and witchcraft.  He co-authored two books and a radio series on witchcraft, with his wife Patricia Crowther, and wrote numerous articles for a variety of magazines.  His greatest claim to fame though comes as the connecting influence between Gerald B Gardner, and Aleister Crowley.

 

Born in Chatham, Kent, on the 6th October 1909, Crowther was one side of twin brothers.  His mother was Scottish and his father, an optician came from Yorkshire.  Crowther from an early age was fascinated with sleight-of-hand magic, ventriloquism, and puppeteering.  From the age of eight he began practicing tricks and perfecting his technique in the secrecy of his bedroom.  By the time he was twenty he was a professional magic act, working in cabaret, touring around the country and overseas.

 

His career peaked in 1938-39 when he was invited to entertain Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at Buckingham Palace.  This led him to numerous like engagements entertaining the landed gentry of England, and also into contact with many of the days leading occultists and magicians.  At this time Crowther was a Freemason with interests in Buddhism, he didn’t enter the craft until very much later in 1960.

 

Crowther was a founder member and President of the Puppet Guild, and as a master puppeteer he made over 500 puppets during his career, mainly for use in his ventriloquism act.  He also collected unusual puppets and oddities, regularly giving lectures at his Masons Hall, and to other interested societies, on curios from around the world.

 

Before the start of World War II, Crowther met Gerald Gardner and his wife Donna after they had been to view one of his lectures on curios.  He and Gardner became good friends, sharing many similar interests.  Crowther soon became a frequent visitor at the Gardner’s London flat, and from there they would venture out together and browse the many antique stalls at the nearby Caledonian Market.  Rubbing shoulders with Gardner, Crowther soon became interested in the craft, however Gardner’s coven was still wary of adverse publicity.  They felt that Crowther might use craft information in his act, and refused to accept him.  Gardner predicted that “a very special person with fair hair” would initiate him when the time was right.

 

During the war years Crowther joined the Forces Entertainment’s Corps, and entertained troops all over Europe with his show “Black Magic”, the show also included an African Basuto choir.  Crowther would perform where and whenever he was required, like on the 10th November 1943 while en-route from Tripoli to Malta, he performed aboard a DC 3 airplane flying at 4,000 feet.

 

For a time during the war Crowther was stationed in Paris, and there he first learned of his past life as a Tibetan beggar monk.  He and an officer went to visit palmist, “Madame Brux”, who invited them to a séance.  After introductions the medium went into a trance and began to communicate with a masculine spirit.  The spirit claimed to have been Crowthers teacher in a previous life, and was his guide in this present one.  The spirit reported that Crowther had been a student in a Tibetan lamasery, he mentioned the name “Younghusband” and that he had been killed in a battle.  “Your possessions will be returned to you,” said the medium, and an object fell onto the séance table.  It was a Tibetan prayer wheel inscribed with “OM MA NI PAD ME HUNG” (see Translation below).

 

After the war had ended other Tibetan objects came into his possession, they included: a butter lamp, a trumpet made from a human thighbone, a drum made of a human skull, and a small rattle hand-drum.  An expert explained to Crowther that the “Zi-jed-pa” (The Mild Doer), a homeless mendicant class of Yogi regarded as saints, used such items.  They believed they would attain Nirvana after death and not have to be reborn again.

 

That being so, why then had he been reincarnated as Crowther he reasoned?  The expert explained that if he, as the monk, had killed someone, then he would have to be reincarnated to balance the karma.  Later at an exhibition of Tibetan curios in London, Crowther discovered that a Colonel “Younghusband” had led a military attack against Tibet in 1904.  During the attack “Younghusband” had killed another soldier, before he himself was killed.

 

Crowther returned to the public stage after the war, and continued to tour about the country.  During his travels he met and made the acquaintance of Aleister Crowley.  It wasn’t long before he introduced his friend Gardner to Crowley on the 1st May 1947.  An entry in Crowther’s dairy for that date reads: “Dr. G.B.Gardner Ph.D. Singapore and Aleister Crowley Prof, a magician, came to tea…”

 

In 1958 while travelling to perform on the Isle of White, Crowther met a lady “with fair hair”, Patricia Dawson.  She was performing in the same show as he, and they soon discovered a mutual interest in witchcraft.  Crowther offered to introduce her to his friend Gardner.  Over the following two years and after regularly meeting with him, Gardner initiated Patricia on the 6th June 1960 at his home in Castletown, Isle of Man.  Patricia in turn initiated Crowther, and the prediction Gardner had made to Crowther many years earlier, came true.

 

 

Arnold and Patricia Crowther with Gerald Gardner

 

Later that same year on the 8th November 1960, Arnold Crowther and Patricia Dawson where married in a private handfasting ceremony, officiated by Gerald Gardner.  The following day on the 9th November they married again in a civil ceremony, this attracted the attention of the media and was heavily publicized.  The Crowthers settled in Sheffield and used the media publicity to spread the word about witchcraft, and started many new covens throughout the country.

 

Crowther passed into the next world on the 1st May 1974.  “Or did he”?  If from his past life as “Colonel Younghusband”, he revisited as “Arnold Crowther”, has not his karma been corrected?  One wonders if he has finally achieved Nirvana?

 

In addition to his collaborated works with his wife Patricia, Crowther’s other published credits include:  “Let’s Put On A Show” (1964), a book of “how-to-do” magic, illustrated by himself.  “Linda and the Lollipop Man” (1973), a road safety book for children, and “Hex Certificate” (Late 1970’s), a collection of cartoons he drew on witchcraft themes.  His autobiography “Hand in Glove”, has not been published, but was serialized on BBC Radio in Bristol, Sheffield, Medway and Leeds between 1975 and 1977.

 

 

Translation of “OM MA NI PAD ME HUNG”:

 

Many thanks to "Moon Witch" an informative e-mail friend for her translation and detailed explanation of this inscription:

 

Literal translation "Hail to jewel in the lotus", this was a mantra, chant or prayer written in Sanskrit.

 

"Buddha Amitabha instructed, "If you want to relieve the suffering of the six realms, you must propagate the Six-Syllable Mantra "OM MA NI PAD ME HUNG" which will stop the rebirth and sufferings of the beings of the six realms.  Each of the syllables will eliminate the cause and condition to be reborn in one of the respective six realms.  "OM" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the gods’ realm.  "MA" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the demi-gods realm.  "NI" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the human realm.  "PAD" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the animal realm; "ME" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the hungry ghost realm.  "HUNG" will eliminate the cause and condition to be borne in the hell realm.  You must engage, keep, recite and absorb this mantra to empty the six realms."

 

The merits of the Six-Syllable Mantra are immeasurable and cannot be fully described even by the Buddha's of the three times.  Some of these benefits are:  Whoever keeps this mantra, his body will transform into the vajra body, his bones will transform into the relics of the Buddha and his ordinary mind will transform into the wisdom of the Buddha's.  Whoever recites the mantra for even one time will obtain immeasurable wisdom.  He will eventually develop compassion and perfect the six paramitas.  He will be born as a universal monarch.  He will achieve the irreversible stage of the Bodhisattva and finally attain Enlightenment."

 

 

Sources

 

The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft  - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

   Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft  - By Raven Grimassi

 

Websites

 

www.themystica.com/themystica.html

www.spiraltree.demon.co.uk/index.htm

www.mystical-www.co.uk

 

 

First published on the 04th May 2001, 21:12:38 © George Knowles

 

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Traditions:

 

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Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /

 

Other things of interest:

 

Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   

 

Sabbats and Festivals:

 

The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)

 

Rituals contributed by Crone:

 

Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon

 

Tools:

 

Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing

 

Animals:

 

Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat

 

Trees:

 

In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder

 

Sacred Sites:

 

Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /

 

Rocks and Stones:

 

Stones - History, Myths and Lore

 

Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:

 

Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble

 

Wisdom and Inspiration:

 

Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /

 

Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:

 

Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark

 

Old Masters of Academia:

 

Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras

 

 

Biographies

 

Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)

 

Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)

 

Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /  Amber KAnna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman Spare /  Biddy Early /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /  Charles Henry Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya /  Charles WaltonChristina Oakley Harrington Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Isaac Bonewits Israel RegardieJack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” /  Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John ScoreJoseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceMargaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMarie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMatthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPhilip HeseltonRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Robert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  

 

 

Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)

 

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