As to my study of Islam, I got a sheikh to teach me Arabic and the practices of ablution, prayer and so on, so that at some future time I might pass for a Moslem among themselves. I had it in my mind to repeat Burton’s journey to Mecca sooner or later. I learnt a number of chapters of the Koran by heart. I never went to Mecca, it seemed rather vieux jeu, but my ability to fraternize fully with Mohammedans has proved of infinite use in many ways.
My sheikh was profoundly versed in the mysticism and magic of Islam, and discovering that I was an initiate, had no hesitation in providing me with books and manuscripts on the Arabic Cabbala. These formed the basis of my comparative studies. I was able to fit them in with similar doctrines and other religions; the correlation is given in my 777.
From this man I learnt also many of the secrets of the Sidi Aissawa; how to run a stiletto through one’s cheek without drawing blood, lick redhot swords, eat live scorpions, etc. (Some of these feats are common conjurers’ tricks, some depend on scientific curiosities, but some are genuine Magick; that is, the scientific explanation is not generally known. More of this later.)1
- Symonds, J., Grant, K. (Ed.). (1969). the confessions of Aleister Crowley (1989 ed. p. 388). London: Arkana Penguin Books. ↩