The legend of Grigori Rasputin, commonly referred to as simply, “Rasputin,” has a significant reach. Even before I was aware of the tsarist government in Russia that allowed his rise to power, before I know who Tsar Nicholas II was, pop-culture had left me acutely aware of the Russian mystic that proved so difficult to kill, his death became the stuff of legend. Like Aleister Crowley, those heavily involved with the occult look to men like Rasputin as undeniable proof of the power available to human beings if they could only master a twisted and darkly real version of Harry Potter’s spells.
Little is known about the early life of Rasputin, though there’s plenty of conjecture. What we can surmise for sure is that he was likely born in January of 1869, and by 1897 he converted and joined the Russian Orthodox Church. Despite holding no official position within the church, he managed to captivate church and social leaders while on a pilgrimage sometime between 1903 and 1905, and by November of 1905, he met the man who would be the final Tsar of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II.
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