Rose Edith Kelly was born on the 23 July 1874 at 78 Cambridge Terrace, Paddington, England, 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. Rose married noted occultist Aleister Crowley in 1903, and in 1904 aided in the Cairo Working that led to the reception of The Book of the Law. In 1911 Crowley had her committed to an asylum for alcoholic dementia. Upon her release she married Dr Gormley, a Roman Catholic. Her alcoholism returned. She died in 1932.
In 1880, the family moved to Camberwell 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 Town, 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, where she stayed six months.
Life with Aleister Crowley
The Book of the Law
On March 16 1904
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 Museum
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 from the twenty-sixth dynasty, 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 wrote down what he claimed he heard dictated from a shadowy presence behind him who identified himself as Aiwass (or Aiwaz, or maybe simply "I was"). The results were the three chapters of verse known as The Book of the Law.
Rose and Aleister divorced in 1909.
Rose had two children with Aleister:
- Nuit Ma Ahathoor Hecate Sappho Jezebel Lilith: born in July, 1904; died in Spring, 1906
- Lola Zaza: born in 1906.
- 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.