For the past twelve days, I’ve been sauntering through the healthy climes of Italy. When the Prez first gave word of my “assignment,” I booked a flight to Palermo and eagerly waited my expense check. This was his faxed memo to yours truly:
“Foreign Correspondent Interlandi: The Contrarian will provide supplies and means for your immediate travel to Cefalu, Sicily, in order for you to take photographs of Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema. Western Union has your money."
It could’ve been my Great Shark Hunt, but that cheap bastard of a Prez only wired me 15 bucks with a pathetic note: “Hey Jeb, be sure to learn about Cefalu and have some ‘Za on me." Luckily, I had recently won a fair amount of cash in a game of chance with some street urchins in Amsterdam. Let that be a lesson to those scamps — never bet against a blue-eyed Italian on a hasheesh bender.
My time in Cefalu was flush with hiking, sun, gelato, vin della casa and seafood. On the last day I finally managed to find Crowley’s old residence, which proved to be a difficult search as there are no signs advertising its whereabouts. Situated beside the soccer stadium, the decrepit compound of that charismatic and influential magus still stands, enshrouded in palm tree-overgrowth.
The house has surely seen better days — its roof is crumbling away and the rooms are littered with rubble. In fact, there’s no reason at all to visit the Abbey, other than to see Crowley’s now-faded artwork on the sanctum’s innermost walls.
I experienced a warm, tingling sensation, however, as I stood on the floor where Crowley once performed his unique rituals. Hashish, goats, yoga, sodomy, cocaine, Egyptian incantations, 69ing. . . the energy still lingers. No, not really. Any sensations come solely from the historical imagination. But all in all, it was pretty cool:
DirectTV Antenna picks up "Cooking with the Scarlet Lady (a.k.a. Rachael Ray.)"
Translation: Perdurabo gives good head.
Better soak me in Michelob Ultra instead — I’m counting carbs.
If you want to know how it all really went down during those dark nights at Thelema, watch this clip. Yes, that is Ron Jeremy as the priest.
After Sicily I took a Ferry to Naples. I’m not a fan of that burg, and I don’t expect I’ll ever go back.
Rome is, other than Paris, my favorite city for overall aesthetics. Any metropolis that’s laden with statues and fountains (especially fountains) naturally wins my endorsement.
My favorite region in all of Italy is Cinque Terre. On the northern coast of the Mediterranean, these 5 coastal villages are all connected by an 8 mile hiking trail with bedazzling views of the verdant surroundings. The ambrosial air is perfumed with a sweet, floral fragrance. I also read a lot of Maupassant and Gautier on this trip.
Last stop was Florence, which is another open-air museum. I thank The Contrarian for granting me a period of renewal and professional leisure.
For anyone interested in Aleister Crowley, you might like to know there’s a new book on the way entitled, Aleister Crowley and the Temptation of Politics by Marco Pasi (my current professor). The English translation should hit the stores in a month or two.