Crowley decided to spend some time, which he called a “magickal retirement,” in the local wilderness meditating and working on his translation and commentary for the Tao Te Ching. He had come to America in 1914, and by 1918 was low on funds. So some Hudson Valley friends staked Crowley to a tent, a canoe and some cash for provisions. To their alarm, he spent the money on gallons of red paint, brushes and climbing rope, which he used to paint Thelemic slogans all over the rocky outcrops of Esopus Island . . .
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