The former Highland home of occultist Aleister Crowley is to be restored and converted into a wellness retreat where yoga and meditation will be taught – as well as the teachings of the notorious religious leader.
Boleskine House on the south west banks of Loch Ness was destroyed by a fire in 2015 but has now been purchased by three as yet unnamed investors who paid a total of £500,000 for the property and gardens.
The Boleskine Foundation has now been launched to drive the restoration of the property with parts of the historic estate, which was built in the 1760s, to be opened up to the public.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the Boleskine Foundation has been in discussion with, Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), a religious organisation previously led by Crowley, about giving access to its followers.
READ MORE: Jimmy Page and his black magic Highland home
Crowley developed the religion of Thelema with many ‘Thelemites’ – who believe in individualism and the power of free will – considering Boleskine House to be a holy place.
A statement on their foundation’s website said it wanted to “preserve the historical the historical legacy and heritage” of the estate for the “greater benefit of the public”.
It added: “Upon its complete restoration, our volunteers intend to use the estate to promote education on the heritage of the house, to welcome the enjoyment of its structure and surrounding gardens, and to help to generate awareness of health and wellness.
“Such initiatives will include active outreach into the communities of which Boleskine House and its surrounding land holds significant historic value and benefit.
“Such communities include but are not limited to the local community of Foyers, the wider community of Scottish heritage and historic environment; and communities who value Boleskine to be of significant spiritual import, of which we will promote events and activities that facilitate health and wellness such as meditation and yoga as well as education on Thelema, the spiritual legacy forwarded by previous Boleskine House owner, Aleister Crowley.”
A statement on the Thelemites website said it was “truly fantastic news” that the new owners intended to co-operate with OTO to allow access to the house and land in a way “which has hitherto not been possible”.
Crowley, who bought Boleskine in 1900, conducted various black magic rituals at the house including a six-month long experiment to raise his Guardian Angel.
It is said the experiment was not properly completed, with the spirits raised by Crowley never fully banished leading to a number of unexplained events at Boleskine.
Crowley developed the new religion of Thelema, which observes a number of feasts throughout the year, after honeymooning in Egypt in 1904.
He claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity who provided him with the Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema.
They include the feast for the First Night of the Prophet and the Bride on August 12, which celebrates Crowley’s fist marriage to Rose Kelly, who assisted in his original revelations.
While it is planned to open up the main rooms of Boleskine House to the public , the property will be closed at certain times of the year to be used by those “who consider the house and lands to have spiritual importance.”
Memorial celebrations may also be held in the gardens, where ashes can be scattered for “certain communities who feel the estate holds spiritual importance”.
Boleskine house was built in the 1760s by Archibald Fraser, British consul in Tripoli and Algiers and member of Clan Fraser.
Crowley paid £2,000 for the secluded property, more than twice the market value of the day.
Boleskine became so important to Crowley that he taught his followers to focus their spiritual intent in its direction.
“For over a century, many people have considered Boleskine to be spiritually important, a magical place of sublime beauty,” the foundation said.
The cost of restoring of the building has been estimated at £730,000 with the foundation saying the revival of Boleskine House will be a “loss-making endevour”.
“Nevertheless, the buyers and volunteers or the project believe that Boleskine should be restored as a heritage landmark and opened to the public so that its history, spirit and legacy may be enjoyed for generations to come,” the foundation said.
Boleskine House was bought by rock hero Jimmy Page, founder of the group Led Zeppelin, in 1970 although he seldom visited Boleskine, which was later sold and used as a bed and breakfast.
A crowdfunder has been launched to support the restoration of the property with a clearance weekend of the fire-damaged house organised for mid-August. Volunteers are expected to come from around the world for the event, it is understood.
“The house was largely destroyed by a fire in December 2015 when it is understood the Dutch owner’s daughter and her partner returned from a shopping trip in Inverness to find the property ablaze.”