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Rose Edith Kelly (born 23 July 1874 in Londonmarker, Englandmarker, died 1932) married noted author, magician and occultist Aleister Crowley in 1903. In 1904 she aided him in the Cairo Working that led to the reception of The Book of the Law, on which Crowley based much of his philsophy and religion, Thelema.

After their in 1909 divorce, she married Dr. Gormley, a Roman Catholic.

Early Life

Rose Edith Kelly was born at 78 Cambridge Terrace, Paddingtonmarker, Englandmarker, to parents Frederick Festus Kelly and Blanche Bradford Kelly. She was the oldest of three children, her siblings being Eleanor Constance Mary and Gerald Festus.In 1880, the family moved to Camberwellmarker Vicarage, where her father served as the curate for the Parish of St. Giles for the next 35 years.

In 1895, Rose escorted her brother Gerald to Cape Townmarker, South Africa, where he convalesced from a liver ailment during the winter of 1895-96. In 1901, widowed after a two year marriage to Major Skerrett (described consistently as an "older man"), she joined her brother Gerald in Paris, Francemarker, where she stayed for six months.

Marriage to Crowley and "The Book of the Law"

On March 16 1904, Crowley tried to shew the Sylphs by means of a ritual to his wife, Rose. Although she could see nothing, she did seem to enter into a light trance and repeatedly said, "They're waiting for you!" Crowley took Rose to the Boulaq Museummarker and asked her to point out Horus to him. She passed several common images of the god and led Aleister straight to a painted wooden funerary stele, the Stele of Revealing, from the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt, depicting Horus receiving a sacrifice from the deceased, a priest named Ankh-af-na-khonsu. Crowley was impressed by the fact that this piece was numbered 666 by the museum, the number that he had identified with since childhood.

This synchronicity and others caused him to pay closer attention to what Rose told him. At her direction, on three successive days beginning April 8 1904, he entered his room and starting at noon, and for exactly one hour, wrote down what he claimed he heard dictated from a shadowy presence behind him who identified himself as Aiwass. The results over the three days were the three chapters of verse known as The Book of the Law.

Rose had two children with Crowley: Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith (born in July, 1904, died in Spring, 1906) and Lola Zaza (born in 1906). Rose and Aleister divorced in 1909.

In 1911 Crowley had her committed to an asylum for alcoholic dementia. Upon her release she married Dr. Gormley, a Roman Catholic, but her alcoholism returned,

Kelly died in 1932.

See also


  • Thelemapedia. (2003). Rose Crowley. Retrieved 8 August 2005.
    • Crowley, Aleister. (1979). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. London;Boston : Routledge & Kegan Paul.
    • Hudson, Derek. (1975). "For Love of Painting - The Life of Sir Gerald Kelly". London: Peter Davies.
    • Martin Booth. (2000). A Magick Life - a biography of Aleister Crowley. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

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