Boleskin House

"Apart from my daily work, my chief preoccupation was to prepare for the Operation of the Sacred Magick.


The first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation. There should be a door opening to the north from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered with fine river sand. This ends in a 'lodge' where the spirits may congregate. It would appear the simplest thing in the world for a man with forty thousand pounds, who is ready to spend every penny of it on the achievement of his purpose, to find a suitable house in very few weeks. But a magical house is as hard to find as a magical book is to publish. I scoured the country in vain. Not till the end of August 1899 did I find an estate which suited me. This was the manor of Boleskine and Abertarff, on the south-east side of Loch Ness, half way between Inverfarigag and Foyers. By paying twice as much as it was worth, I got it, gave up my flat and settled down at once to get everything in order for the great Operation, which one is told to begin at Easter.

Aleister Crowley (Oct. 12, 1875 – Dec. 1, 1947)
Aleister Crowley (Oct. 12, 1875 – Dec. 1, 1947)

The house is a long low building. I set apart the south-western half of my work. the largest room has a bow window and here I made my door and constructed the terrace and lodge. Inside the room I set up my oratory proper. This was a wooden structure, lined in part with the big mirrors which I bought from London." [1] - Aleister Crowley


The 'Operation' to which Aleister Crowley alludes can be found in The Book of The Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage and is a work to obtain an audience and conversation with one's Holy Guardian Angel. Some claim that Crowley was succesful in the Operation, some say he got board with the timely operation and failed, some claim that dark shadows now haunt the house and grounds since Crowleys conjurations whilst other claim he summoned up the Loch Ness Monster himself! Little did I know as I drove down General Wades Military road in the stop-start rain that I would have use for my own Guardian Angel in a few days time. Anyhow, the beast in the greasy depths of Loch Ness was occupying my thoughts rather than the Great Beast dead for fifty years plus.


The rain was mostly start as I pulled up just after the gates to Boleskine House. It was going to be a quick visit, a chance to take what would hopefully be a 'spooky' photograph through the trees of the house and a quick saunter around the buriel

ground opposite. I didn't want to hang about the house and disturb the occupants too much and add to the menagerie of weirdo's and freaks I'm sure they get from time to time. On the down side my final photograph of the house doesn't so much look 'spooky' as 'obscured.'

Rather than forboding and a lair of great evil, Boleskine, (the name Boleskine adds up to 418, the number of Aiwass, ABRAHADABRA, the Great Work), seemed pleasant and bright with its white walls and large windows; an altogether welcoming and warm place in perhaps one of the most beautiful locations one could wish for. Legend tells that there was once a church on the site which caught fire trapping the congregation inside and burning them all to death, this tale continues that there is an undeground passage that links the formerchurch/house to the buriel ground opposite.


Crowley considered Boleskin to be a Thelemic Kiblah, an Arabic word which refers to the direction of Mecca, the holiest shrine of Islam. It has a slightly different meaning in Thelema where it is identified with the east. Boleskine is mentioned in several rituals written by Crowley: 'Liber V vel Reguli,' The First Gesture: The Oath of the Enchantment, which is called The Elevenfold Seal, begins:


          The Animadversion towards the Aeon.
          Let the Magician, robed and armed as he may deem to be fit, turn his face towards Boleskine, that is the house of The Beast 666.
          Let him strike the battery 1-3-3-3-1
          Let him put the Thumb of his right hand between its index and medius, and make the gestures hereafter folowing. [2]


Boleskin House was built in the late Eighteenth Century on land acquired from the Church by the Honourable Archibald Fraser, a relative of Lieutenant General Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat at the time. The Honourable Archibald Fraser reputedly chose this site for a house in order to irritate Lord Lovat, whose lands surrounded the property, in retribution for Lord Lovat's support of the English during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Recognised as a site of historic interest the burial ground holds several of the family graves and is notable for the remains of the original Chapel and Grave Watcher's Hut. The Grave Watcher was employed to prevent body snatchers from defiling the graves. The buriel ground today appears well maintained and peaceful although some areas are vandalised with badly written and punctuated graffiti by devotees of The Great Beast 666, ironic when Crowley in his younger days and in his own opinion considered himself to be a great poetic talent!


As is traditional with anything written on Boleskine House I'll conclude with the fact that Jimmy Page once owned the place, blah, blah and blah!

[1] Aleister Crowley: The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, (Arkana, UK, 1989) p184.
[2] Aleister Crowley: Magick, (Guild, UK, 1989) p411.