This system is mirrored in the table of astrological hours used by ceremonial magicians, in which the first hour of Sunday—for instance— would be the hour of the Sun, the first hour of Monday would be the hour of the Moon, and so on for the seven days and the seven philosophical planets. These planetary hours are equivalent to the sefirotic attributes, for Chesed is considered the sphere of Jupiter (and hence of Thursday), Gevurah of Mars (and Tuesday), Tiferet of the Sun (and Sunday), etc. One could then just as easily take the magician’s astrological hours and expand them to include years, multiples of years, etc. to arrive at corresponding planetary Aeons.
The point of this exercise is that time periods have subsets, and that these subsets have the same qualities as the various time periods themselves albeit with modifications. For example, the period Sun in the greater period Saturn (for instance) would not have the same quality of action as the period Saturn in the greater period Saturn, or the period Saturn in the greater period Sun. This system is actually used by Vedic (Indian) astrologers in their calculation method known as antardasas.
Using this as a theory, could there be an Aeon of Maat within the greater Aeon of Horus, as a subset of Horus?
As complicated—perhaps unnecessarily complicated—as all this sounds, we should be reminded of a statement by Crowley himself, when he writes:
…Aiwass, uttering the word Thelema (with all its implications), destroys completely the formula of the Dying God. Thelema implies not merely a new religion, but a new cosmology, a new philosophy, a new ethics. It co-ordinates the disconnected discoveries of science, from physics to psychology, into a coherent and consistent system. Its scope is so vast that it is impossible even to hint at the universality of its application. But the whole of my work, from the moment of its utterance, illustrates some phase of its potentiality,
and the story of my life itself from this time on is no more than a record of my reactions to it.38
Thus, a new cosmology is required, and it is entirely possible that this new cosmology would have at its heart a re-interpretation of all that has been written concerning the Aeons: their nature, their number, their chronological order, and their periods of time. One stands in awe at the scope of Crowley’s project for this New Aeon, and at the same time one measures it against the words of one of his contemporaries:
The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.39
Thus, Lovecraft himself was aware of the possibility of uniting the same sciences—Crowley’s “disconnected discoveries” and Love-craft’s “dissociated knowledge”—and was terrified that it would one day occur, and that the Aeon of Horus would become a “new dark age.”
Which leads us to the second implication contained within the Sefer ha- Temunah and in the deliberations of its sages: the idea that the world has already been created and destroyed several times over. The seventh 1,000 year period of each cycle is a time of “desolation” in which all life of the previous 6,000 years is wiped out. Depending on where we are in the great scheme of things—with experts offering opinions anywhere from the second cycle to the seventh—the world may have been destroyed at least once, and as many as six times already. This gives rise to the possibility that the 2,000 year cycle known to the astrologers could be replaced by the 7,000 year cycle known to the Kabbalists, meaning that the Aeon of Osiris (which ended, according to Crowley, in 1904) actually began in 5,096 BCE, and that the Aeon of Isis began in 12,096 BCE. Using these somewhat larger values gives us the historic coordination we need, for 5,096 BCE places us much earlier than pre-Dynastic Egypt and allows for the possibility that an Aeon of Osiris began at that time, and that there was a pre-historic matriarchal age beginning in 12,096 BCE for which there is no
written record but for which circumstantial evidence in the form of goddess statues and the like may be offered to support it.40
In any event, the Typhonian understanding of the Aeons is much closer to the Gnostic concept. Each Aeon is an emanation, a manifestation of a particular God, and they all exist concurrently as separate forms of awareness, of consciousness. One could go to great lengths to try to “prove” Achad’s system—the above few paragraphs give an idea as to how much calculation and speculation would be involved—but to Grant this is not necessary. The mere fact that we have imagined an Aeon of Maat is sufficient to claim its existence. To adhere to the idea of the Aeon of Horus as being exclusive to this time and place ignores the essential nature of the gods themselves as being beyond all considerations of space and time. If a middle-aged white man can sit in an ashram in Goa and commune with Kali, or a teen-aged girl can stand naked in a circle and draw down the Moon, then it is probably safe to say that Maat can be approached and her influence experienced in the present Age.
Grant’s anxiety—as expressed in Nightside of Eden and in his other works—is that the Earth is being infiltrated by a race of extraterrestrial beings who will cause tremendous changes to take place in our world. This statement is not to be taken quite as literally as it appears, for the “Earth” can be taken to mean our current level of conscious awareness, and extraterrestrial would mean simply “not of this current level of conscious awareness.” But the potential for danger is there, and Grant’s work—like Lovecraft’s—is an attempt to warn us of the impending (potentially dramatic) alterations in our physical, mental and emotional states due to powerful influences from “outside.” This “extraterrestrial” race has already been here, already made itself known (and hence the antiquity of the Typhonian Tradition, according to Grant), and is returning to the planet in greater numbers than before and with an agenda that only the adepts would be able to divine. This concept is emphasized in the Schlangekraft recension of the Necronomicon, where it is stated:
…for thou can never know the Seasons of Times of the Ancient Ones, even though thou can tell their Seasons upon the Earth by the rules I have already instructed thee to compute; for their Times and Seasons Outside run uneven and strange to our minds, for are they not the Computors of All Time? Did They not set Time in its Place?
Thus, once again it can be shown that the Necronomicon, Crowley, and Grant are in agreement on certain specific points of interest concerning the advent of the New Aeon. The idea that the human race is not the first on the planet is one that has been picked up and developed into an entire mythos by H. P. Lovecraft and expanded upon by Kenneth Grant. It is linked to the Lovecraftian idea of the Great Old Ones, gods—or alien creatures, or both—who came to the earth in “aeons past” and who will return again. The recurring of the Aeon of the Great Old Ones is cognate with Crowley’s recurring Aeons of the Egyptian gods. It is also connected to another Lovecraftian theme, the idea that there are people on earth who are in secret communication, usually telepathically but also through ritual, with the Great Old Ones and are preparing the way for their return.
Let my servants be few & secret: they shall rule the many & the known.42
- Geraldine Pinch, Egyptian Myth: A very short introduction, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 52.
- A ritual that was conducted between January 14 to June 16, 1918 by Crowley and a number of others, but mostly including Roddie Minor, known as Soror Achitha 555. It should be noted that 555 is the number most closely associated with the Necronomicon, as it is the value of the word in its original Greek. Grant associates this number with the Necronomicon Current, just as 666 is identified with the Thelemic Current.
- For instance, AL I:7: “Behold! it is revealed by Aiwass the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat.” AL II:8, “Who worshipped Heru-pa-kraath have worshipped me; ill, for I am the worshipper,” and AL III:35, “The half of the word of Heru-ra-ha, called Hoor-pa-kraat and Ra-Hoor-Khut.” Hoor-pa-kraat and Heru-pa-kraath are both original Egyptian forms of the later Greek Harpocrates. The name also figures prominently in the initiation rituals of the Golden Dawn.
- See, for instance, Aleister Crowley, The Equinox of the Gods, Chapter 8: “This child Horus is a twin, two in one. Horus and Harpocrates are one, and they are also one with Set or Apophis, the destroyer of Osiris. It is by the destruction of the principle of death that they are born.”
- See for instance his statement linking Aiwass with the Shaitan of the Yezidi: “Aiwaz is not a mere formula, like many Angelic names, but it is the true, most ancient name of the God of the Yezidi, and thus returns to the highest antiquity. Our work is therefore historically authentic; the rediscovery of the Sumerian tradition.” In Kenneth Grant, The Magical Revival, Friedrich Muller, London, 1972, p. 52
- The Great Bear constellation figures prominently in both the Schlangekraft recension of the Necronomicon and in Kenneth Grant’s work. The importance of this constellation—often neglected by western occultists—is detailed in the author’s own Stairway to Heaven: Chinese Alchemists, Jewish Kabbalists and the Art of Spiritual Transformation.
- See the author’s trilogy, Sinister Forces: Agrimoire of American political witchcraft (Trine Day, Walterville (OR), 2005, 2011) in particular volume 3, chapter 17: “Voluntary Madness,” for a more detailed explanation of this connection.
- See, for instance, The Equinox of the Gods: “I lay claim to be the sole authority competent to decide disputed points with regard to the Book of the Law, seeing that its Author, Aiwaz, is none
other than mine own Holy Guardian Angel, to Whose Knowledge and Conversation I have attained, so that I have exclusive access to Him. I have duly referred every difficulty to Him directly, and received His answer; my award is therefore absolute without appeal.”
- “I now incline to believe that Aiwass is not only the God or Demon or Devil once held holy in Sumer, and mine own Guardian Angel, but also a man as I am, insofar as He uses a human body to make His magical link with Mankind, whom He loves, and that He is thus an Ipsissimus, the Head of the A A ” Ibid.
- See The Master Plan by Heather Pringle, or the author’s own Unholy Alliance and Ratline for more details on the anthropological fantasies of the Nazis.
- “Isa” is the Arabic form of the name “Jesus,” and thus “Isa the sufferer” is an apt description but may not be what the Speaker intended. The Golden Dawn mudra for Isis specifically refers to her as “mourning,” and the characteristic of the Book of the Law is overwhelmingly Egyptian. While Crowley believed that Isa was a reference to Jesus, it is possible that he is mistaken in this regard. It should also be noted that the preferred pronounciation of “Isis” is “ee-set” or “ee-sa.”
- Aleister Crowley, Confessions, p. 399
- The number fifteen is suggestive. Grant understands it to be the number of female secretions known as kalas, which will be discussed later. Taken as a male/female pair, however, we are at the point of understanding the central secret of the OTO as well as of western esotericism generally.
- Cf: Liber AL I:29 “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union” for a Thelemite analogue. In this case the speaker is the goddess Nuit.
- From the Greek horothetes, the “giver of limit.” Had it been Aramaic, however, the word horos would imply “father” as in hor, horah. There is some dispute on this issue. But it becomes more interesting in light of the fact that Crowley—in at least one place—confuses the Aeon of the Father with the Son. In his Confessions, in a chapter entitled “The Historical Conception on Which the Book of the Law is Based” he writes: “To recapitulate the historical basis of The Book of the Law, let me say that evolution (within human memory) shows three great steps: (1) the worship of the Mother, continually breeding by her own virtue; (2) the worship of the Son, reproducing himself by virtue of voluntary death and resurrection; (3) the worship of the Crowned and Conquering Child (the Aeon announced by Aiwass and implied in His Word, Thelema.” (Reproduced in Aleister Crowley, Magick, p. 703) In this case Crowley has once again emphasized the now-disproven chronology of matriarchy-patriarchy, but more importantly he states that the Aeon of Osiris was the Aeon of the Son (i.e., of Jesus and other slain gods; Osiris may be considered in the same category of dead and resurrected god, but in what way can Osiris be considered a “son”?). The concept of patriarchy would seem to have been replaced—in at least this single instance in Crowley’s published work—by a filiarchy.
- Mordechai Gilula, “An Egyptian Etymology of the Name of Horus” in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, p. 259, Vol. 68. (1982), pp. 259—265
- Kenneth Grant, Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, Friedrich Muller, London, 1973.
- See Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-structure. Aldine, Chicago, 1969
- The number is interesting, and recalls the number of the Stations of the Cross in Roman Catholic churches which always number fourteen and which represent the crucifixion, i.e., a slain God.
- This episode is discussed more fully in the author’s Tantric Temples: Eros and Magic in Java, Ibis Press, Lake Worth (FL), 2011. For a more Crowleyan context, one should refer to his notes on The Paris Working (a series of occult rituals devoted to Jupiter which took place in that city from Dec 31, 1913 to Feb. 12, 1914) in which he writes: “The name of this Phallus is Thoth, Hermes or Ma. Ma is the god who seduced the Phallus away from the Yoni; hence the physical Universe. All worlds are excreta; they represent wasted semen.”
- A word which, incidentally, means “spilled seed.”
- This world has given some newcomers to Thelema a headache, for it seems it can be found nowhere else except in Crowley’s work. A tour through the usual search engines shows up nothing. However, the term Themaist appears in the Golden Dawn rituals with some associated detail, and in several different forms, thus illustrating once more how essential it is for an understanding of Thelema and Crowley’s ouevre to have access to the Golden Dawn material as a basis. See for instance Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, St Paul, Llewellyn, p. 339 “The Enterer of the Threshold”: “Before the Face of the Gods in the ‘Place of the Threshold’ is the name of Hegemon, and She is the Goddess Thma-Ae-St having the following Coptic forms: Thma-Ae-St … Thma-aesh
… Thmaa-ett…” etc., and for the same names written in Coptic script, see p. 352 Ibid. On page 375 of the same work we find four different versions of the name Thma-Est (this time) associated with the four letters of the Divine Name, YHVH with the further clarification “In the Equinox ceremony, the Hegemon in Air, Spirit, and the principal officer. She reconciles from East to West, and from North to South, and in a circular formulae.”
- Leaders of Egypt’s Salafi party as well as some more extreme members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who began the call after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate to the Egyptian presidency after the ouster of Hosni Mubarrak in 2012.
- The slogan “The Method of Science—The Aim of Religion” appears on the title page of every volume of Crowley’s occult periodical, The Equinox.
- AL I:37: “Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.” The terms obeah and wanga refer explicitly to Afro-Caribbean religions. This is a theme that was picked up and expanded by Grant in association with Michel Bertiaux, a Chicago-based magician who developed a system of magic out of elements of Haitian voudon. This will be discussed in greater detail in the chapters that follow. Crowley had access to some of this material through his friendship with the author and adventurer William Seabrook, but seems not to have made use of it. His interpretations of these words as published in his New Commentary are wholly implausible and ignore their obvious Afro-Caribbean meanings. Why?
- Confucius (551-479 BCE) was not a Mongol, but a Han Chinese of Shandong Province. “Mongol” may be a reference to the religion of the Mongolians which was an indigenous religion known as Tengriism (the worship of the Mongolian deity Tengri). One will find elements of Buddhism, shamanism, and even Islam among the Mongols at various times. But at the time the Book of the Law was written, most Mongols were Buddhists and had been for centuries; alongside their indigenous religion of Tengriism which was already dying out and would be gradually replaced by atheism, introduced by the Chinese at the time of the Communist revolution. Thus, there is no legitimate way to connect Confucius with the term Mongol. “Din” is an even more difficult reference. Crowley attempts to connect it to Judaism—the Hebrew word din meaning “judgment”— but the attribution is unworthy of him, as “Din” in this context is clearly referring to another race, i.e., “Mongol and Din.” Another option is to assume that he heard the phrase incorrectly, and that “Mongol and Din” was really “Mongol ad-Din.”Ad-Din is an Arabic term for “of the faith,” and in this context the entire line may be read as “With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol ad-Din” or “… the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist Mongol of the Faith.” As the Mongols were Buddhists, it may be a reference to a specific cultus or a specific personage within the cultus. There were several Muslim military leaders with the surname “ad-Din” and “al-Din” who fought the Mongols during various invasions. This is, however, a fanciful suggestion but is more logical than assuming “Din” is a reference to the Jews. Even the Islamic leader prominent in Templar lore was named Saladin, which is a Europeanization of the name Salah ad-Din..
- For instance, in the “Old Comment” to The Book of the Law in The Equinox, volume 1 number VII: “Following him will arise the Equinox of Ma, the Goddess of Justice, it may be a hundred or ten thousand years from now; for the Computation of Time is not here as There.” He further explains this
in his Confessions when he writes, “I may now point out that the reign of the Crowned and Conquering Child is limited in time by The Book of the Law itself. We learn that Horus will be in his turn succeeded by Thmaist, the Double-Wanded One; she who shall bring the candidates to full initiation, and though we know little of her peculiar characteristics, we know at least that her name is justice.” p. 399. (Thmaist is a variant of Maat used by the Golden Dawn and not found elsewhere, presumably a conflation of Themis—the Greek goddess of Justice—and Maat. Crowley explicitly identifies Thmaist with Maat, for instance in his The Book of Thoth where he identifies the ‘double- wanded one’ of AL III:34 as “Maat, Themis, the Lady of the Balance”: Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth, Samuel Weiser, York (ME), 1974, p. 25)
- This is a point that has been brought up by J. Daniel Gunther in his Initiation in the Aeon of the Child, where he states “These views are irreconcilable with historical evidence, and should therefore be reconsidered. If we are truly to understand the progression of the Aeons, it must be done by studying empirical evidence, not by static adherence to traditional interpretations. The Method of Science cannot be hamstrung by the Aim of Religion.” (Gunther, p. 166.) Gunther is a member of Crowley’s A A and is considered an expert on Thelema. This same attitude should be applied to all of the Crowley material, of course.
- Frater Achad, The Egyptian Revival, Samuel Weiser, NY, 1974
- The relevant citation is from AL I:54-56: “Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. The child of thy bowels, he shall behold them. Expect him not from the East, nor from the West; for from no expected house cometh that child. Aum!”
- The author, who has long personal experience of Eastern Orthodox liturgics and especially those of the Russian and Slavic churches, finds this explanation suspect as Crowley’s Mass has much more in common with Roman Catholic versions of the same than with Orthodox forms. And, especially, no Orthodox clergyman or lay person would refer to the Divine Liturgy as a “Mass” which is strictly a Roman Catholic term from the Latin missa. (The Orthodox churches do not use Latin.) However, the apostolic succession of the Gnostic Catholic Church owes more to renegade Orthodox lineages than to normative Catholic ones.
- As represented in the famous Thelemic greeting, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” and its response, “Love is the law, love under will,” both taken from the Book of the Law.
- There is some debate over whether the Jubilee year is the 49th year or the 50th year. 37 Sanhedrin, 97A.
- Crowley, Confessions, p. 398
- H. P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu.”
- Using this scheme, the Aeon of Horus began in 1904 and the first sub-period of Horus lasted 42 years before entering the “desolation” phase from 1946-1952 during which time Frater Achad proclaimed the Aeon of Maat. This would have been the Maat sub-period of the greater Horus period. Interestingly, 1946 plus 49 years gives us the year 2001, the year when everyone says “the world changed.”
- Simon, Necronomicon, p. 217.
- AL I:10
GODS, THE BEAST, AND MEN