I wanted to do something a little different for my birthday - I think it’s good to mark occasions by doing something memorable and so we decided to have a look up on Zennor moors.
When we first moved to Cornwall, some 20 years ago, my and my husband Darren were pretty obsessed with beaches and surfing and as a result didn’t explore too much of Cornwall’s inner secrets.
We had walked up Carn Galva a couple of times over the winter and so Zennor moors was an easy decision to make as it was the next Carn along. Thankfully there was a break in (major) storms for the day and there was a beautiful big blue sky with large clouds.
The walk was fairly steep and overgrown, but the views were worth it. The sea looked magical and before we knew it we had found Zennor quoit.
The stones are really impressive and certainly add to a sense of magic and wonder up on the moors. It is such a beautiful and expansive place. So hard to get to yet so full of history and remnants of people long passed away.
We could see what we realised was the ‘old Aleister Crowley House’ and that seemed like too good an opportunity to leave. I have always been fascinated with tales about him and spent a holiday in Morocco being entertained by his book ‘Diary of a drug fiend’.
He led a life of notoriety, travelling widely and outraging society with his promiscuity and sexual adventures with men as well as women. He wrote sex poetry which was described by one critic as ‘ the most disgusting piece of erotica in the English Language’. I wonder if this still holds true or whether he was a bit ahead of his time? I haven’t read it so I cannot judge.
He travelled widely and he wrote The Law of Thelema which he claimed was dictated to him by an ancient Egyptian spirit. This text outlined his philosophy which got broken down into the dictum ‘do what thou wilt’ which endorsed the pursuit of individual will that isn’t hampered by popular views.
Aleister’ s connection with the house on the moors seems to be a little transient with him not actually living there, but instead rumoured to have conducted Satanic rituals in the house and also a black mass down at Zennor Church. It seems that he left quite the impression though and the cottage now shows signs of vandalism and graffiti created by those that are curious in his legacy.
The house had an aura of sadness to it that comes with neglect and abuse. The place is in such a beautiful area with profound natural energy that it seems a shame that it is in ruin.
After our stomp and exploration we went to have a hot chocolate in the newly opened Moomaid of Zennor ice-cream shop where we learned that the property had been sold last year.
The new owners are certainly in for a challenge, but I hope they manage to create a home that is sensitive to the area. It could certainly be a dream house despite its somewhat lively past.
Read this fascinating article by Greg Martin for more details on the history of the cottage itself including tales of hauntings and visits by monks: