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  Shades of Aeons
General Thelema Posted by Xnoubis on May 25, 2001 @ 03:03 PM
from the airing-my-era-errata dept.

As I've written before, I'm not always completely satisfied with Crowley's map of the Aeons, particularly the transition between Osiris and Horus. It fits well enough from one angle, but is something of a mismatch from others. For one thing, it seems to me that the leading edge of the transition from external authority to individual authority (which surely can be described as a movement from Osiris to Horus) began centuries ago, with the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Much of humanity has yet to make that transition, but it seems strange to treat it as a new direction, especially since other transitions have begun since then.

Perhaps the solution is to treat the overthrow of external authority as only a preliminary to the Aeon of Horus. With that in mind, I'd like to speculate about a series of sub-Aeons that could describe the process between Osiris and Horus with finer granularity.


Starting from Osiris in its pure form as the establishment of the authority of church and state, consider this sequence:

  • Set: The individual thinks for himself, makes his own observations, and strives as best he can to shape the material world to his liking. This is currently the predominant mode of the industrialized world.
  • Hathor: Caring for one another is what matters. This is the mode of friendship, "Love Power," and left-leaning politics.
  • Thoth: Intelligence needs to be applied toward the survival and sustainability of the entire system. This is the orientation of environmental design, systems theory, and cybernetics.
  • Maat: Wholeness, in all its subtlety, needs to be tuned into and experienced. Partial views need to be transcended. This is the perspective of some of the advanced spiritual systems that haven't gotten lost in religious dogma. I'm beginning to suspect, for example, that the higher aspects of Tibetan Buddhism could be characterized as Maatian.

It isn't easy for me to imagine what it would be like for the Maatian phase to be fulfilled. But I would think that from that wholeness would emerge the Will to Act. This, I suspect, is the establishment of the Aeon of Horus in its purity.

My critique, then, of the Aeonic progression as it is commonly understood is that without the prior grounding in the phases of Hathor, Thoth, and Maat, the impetus to transcend Osiris usually only takes us no further than Set.

(This mapping, like much of my thinking recently, has been inspired by Spiral Dynamics. In particular, this is an attempt to model the transition from Osiris to Horus as a Blue to Coral shift.)



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    Re: Shades of Aeons
    by cri hoor 217 on Friday May 25, @04:42PM
    "...finer granularity" Xnoubis wrote:

    and i am and i am not taking this out of context;

    i am in that one feels that one must listen with a very fine sifter,...and my sifter sifed this bit
    of: "finer granulatity" along the aeonic beach
    of infinite progression possibilities, one also
    must do a little algebra of the absurd to be able
    to fine sift the 'white'noise from the 'black' noise, as all the senses must come into play in this subtle fine tuning the signal to noise to zero ratio, in any so-called advanced spirtual system,as one moved down the "spiril dynamic", one must also be able to detect the 'group dynamic' inherent in such well intended phraseology of such
    quaint conumdrums of concatenous new age like symbology, nonwithstanding the tradition of such 'Osirian disguised' terminology...is this "finer granularity, descending in diverse paths into the
    Maatian singularity?!!!...Hmmmmm! or are we merely
    being dished up another fine feathered friend decked in a Horus mask, only to forget the universe in the grain of sand!...on the other hand i can put my Aeonic shades on and be cool, and admire the color spectrum...! coral is nice..!

    ah yes the hourglass and its "finer granularity"

    Re: Shades of Aeons
    by Colin S McLeod on Monday May 28, @09:15AM
    Xnoubis wrote:
    "...it seems to me that the leading edge of the transition from external authority to individual authority (which surely can be described as a movement from Osiris to Horus) began centuries ago, with the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution. Much of humanity has yet to make that transition, but it seems strange to treat it as a new direction, especially since other transitions have begun since then."


    Prat. Before trying to improve on the Writings one would imagine you'd read them. There is a passage in The Vision and the Voice about Luther's work of splitting the RC Church being a preparation for overthrowing the aeon. That the many developments in that last three hundred years of the last aeon had elements of the new, or that elements of the old still persist now, is no argument against a discrete transition. It is actually a part of the doctrine.


    The Secret Temple: http://www.duaut.net/

    • Re: Shades of Aeons
      by Mordecai Shapiro on Monday May 28, @01:54PM
      >That the many developments in that last three hundred years of the last aeon had
      >elements of the new, or that elements of the old still persist now, is no argument
      >against a discrete transition. It is actually a part of the doctrine.

      Burk. Why do you make such a statement without any backing whatsoever? Part of who doctrine? Yours? Certainly it doesn't make a bit of sense to a historian. Time is digital and analog. Every moment is a new aeon and yet it's all the same aeon. What makes March 20, 1904 so special is in your head. If Thelema remains the cultural backwater it is today it will never be anything more.


      • Re: Shades of Aeons
        by Xnoubis on Tuesday May 29, @11:44AM
        Let me emphasize that I'm attempting to reframe Aeonic theory away from the calendar and into value systems. So there are individuals and cultural movements operating from every Aeon. While there is a typical or default sequence for these Aeons, they can also occur out of order. And while the sequence implies a direction for future development, there's no guaranteeing that such development will occur.

        I think that this overcomes most of the usual objections about Aeonic doctrine as historicism. It does introduce issues such as whether value systems can be classified, and whether such classes can be thought of as having a sequence.


        • Re: Shades of Aeons
          by Jon Auviere on Tuesday May 29, @12:07PM
          I see where this may be leading, but general categorizations in this area either of passions or autocratic entities will not cut it for intense scholarly documentation. Changes occur so subtle sometimes that it's quite easy for them to be overlooked. And as to what purpose Crowley had in mind when drawing up his IAO formula as per Egyptian Gods which entities could never be known exactly, -this purpose is not realized unless examined in detail, that what was in fact desired was an influencial voice. Events like the world war perhaps steeped in this influence most likely had more to do with the world consciousness shifting than any one of Crowley's works directly.
          And since Crowley never retold history to any substantial length, he let others input and bias have more sway. Overall therefore it is knowledge and past experience which counts, and this cannot be revealed by sweeping categories.


    • Re: Shades of Aeons
      by Xnoubis on Tuesday May 29, @11:34AM
      Ah, where to begin?

      It's not my intention to improve on the writings, only to continue to investigate the ideas the writings brought up. It's difficult for me to see what the problem is with that.

      I am familiar with AC's remarks on Luther, and also the related claim that Enochian Magick contained the wisdom of the New Aeon, but "was wrested untimely from the Tree of Life" by Edward Kelly.

      Those statements help us to characterize the Reformation and Enochian, but there are still many puzzles that remain about history and its correspondences to Aeonic doctine.

      In particular, there is an individualism (that which I am referring to as the "Set" phase) that was new in Luther's time, predominant in Crowley's time, and is just beginning to wane in our time. Crowley has sometimes been dismissed by Pagans, Witches, and the like as being not the first of the New Aeon magicians, but the last of the Old Aeon magicians. While that observation is in some ways instructive, I think that it rests on a mistaken interpretation of Crowley's teachings as being centered in this Setian perspective.

      I see the teachings as saying, break through! For those stuck in submission to religious authority, the advice is indeed to attain Set. But I don't think that was all that Crowley was saying.


      • Re: Shades of Aeons
        by Colin S McLeod on Saturday June 02, @05:57AM
        Xnoubis wrote:"It's not my intention to improve on the writings, only to continue to investigate the ideas the writings brought up. It's difficult for me to see what the problem is with that."

        The problem is that in developing that still amorphous thing, a Thelemic identity, we have (besides, one presumes, the essental spirit of it) only the Writings themselves; and it is very easy for the enemies of Thelema to confuse the doctrines by augmenting them with divisive prattle. We have seen this in the aeonic doctrine itself with Achad's shamelessly-cowardly attack and that set a precedent for everyone and his ape to put up their variation. All they have in common is the essential denial of the plain and simple concept found in Liber 418. It allows a twit like Mr Shapiro to put up an entirely unsupported, by science or by the Writings, bit of nonsense such as "Time is digital and analog" (as if time is an mp3 player) and to immediately go on to infer that because everyone has their very own little non-aeon that the one plainly referred to in 418 has no historicity. And to then criticise a plain reading of 418 as vacuous subjectivity! And to put his Meaneth-Naughtism as the one saviour of Thelema! And to then expect -apparently with good reason- that this will be accepted by Thelemites as fair comment!
        I'm not one to argue over the interpretation of the Writings but, to me, where there appears to be a plain staement of fact, I believe the onus is on the revisionist to demonstrate why it should not be read plainly. When I asserted that the doctrine is in the Writings, it is because, by a plain and fair reading of them, it is; and I don't care to argue the toss about it. But because of the way the aeonic doctrine has been emptied of meaning by specious speculations, important associated doctrines, such as the prophecy of The Battle of the Throne of Spirit, are almost entirely ignored. That the most detailed of the few and scanty references to the aeonic transition is in the same aethyr (the 16th) as that prophecy might, I suggest, lead one to considering that the angel of the aethyr believed that the knowledge of the doctrine was required largely for the historical preparation for that Battle. But then I'm a literalist on that topic. And I still wonder why those who think A.C. made up the writings on a few slow Sunday afternoons in London waste their time with them.
        Which doesn't, I should admit, mean I am not open to ideas of sub-aeons. Mini-ages (often of the order of three hundred years) have a long history in the occult literature and I am quite prepared to entertain such an idea in Thelema - so long as it conforms with the Writings we already have.

        Shapiro wrote:"What makes March 20, 1904 so special is in your head."

        I have been accused of being big-headed but I wouldn't go that far.

        Shapiro also wrote:"If Thelema remains the cultural backwater it is today it will never be anything more."

        If you remain the twit you are you will remain the twit you are. And I suspect you will.


        Colin S McLeod

        The Secret Temple: http://www.duaut.net/


        • Re: Shades of Aeons
          by Mordecai on Saturday June 02, @04:18PM
          I suppose only time will tell. I hope you have fun with your Battle. :-)


        • Re: Shades of Aeons
          by Xnoubis on Sunday June 03, @12:11PM
          [First of all, let me point out that it's not necessary to be insulting in order to express disagreement with points raised. By most measures, your comment of 6/2 should have been moderated down into the Shells. I only half-minded being tarred with the colorful epithet "Prat" earlier, but now you've continued the name-calling onto Mordecai. I'll leave it be for now, since you're apparently a newcomer, but please -- address the idea, not the person who makes it.]

          Not everyone feels that Thelema is best served by making it more rigid. Certainly, we want to accurately preserve what Crowley wrote and did, and make it clear where his ideas end and ours begin. But I don't think that anything should be closed to investigation. Future generations may realize a stronger, more comprehensive Thelema appropriate to their time through just this process of questioning and creativity.

          I see nothing wrong with Achad's attempts. They don't work for me, though, so I don't use them. Nema's, for instance, do work for me -- many of them, anyway -- and I use them where appropriate.

          For some, like Mordecai, I believe, Aeonic doctrine makes little or no sense. I've always found it a little loose, but there's something about it I've wanted to preserve. Having recently rediscovered the works of Clare Graves, I'm currently considering the implications of Aeons as value-systems. Maybe it'll work, maybe not. If it's going to, though, I have to account for several other value-systems other than what seems to me to be pure Osiris and pure Horus. Hence the "Shades of Aeons" idea.

          > Which doesn't, I should admit, mean I am not
          > open to ideas of sub-aeons.

          Oh good. It didn't really sound like it.

          At this point, I'm considering whether these "Shades" I described could be arranged in the Thelemic tetrad from the Star Ruby and Reguli:

          • Pure Osiris (absolute authority)
          • Therion (individualism)
          • Babalon (caring)
          • Hadit (focus and intelligence)
          • Nuit (tuning into the wholeness)
          • Pure Horus (essential will)
          > important associated doctrines, such as the
          > prophecy of The Battle of the Throne of Spirit,
          > are almost entirely ignored

          That sounds interesting. Would you care to expand on that?


          • Re: Shades of Aeons
            by Colin S McLeod on Sunday June 10, @07:46AM
            >By most measures, your comment of 6/2 should
            >have been moderated down into the Shells.

            Ta. Wouldn't have liked to have seen my two best jokes wasted. But I was, as you seem to have appreciated, trying to make points I thought important. (And he did call me a burk!)

            >> important associated doctrines, such as the
            >> prophecy of The Battle of the Throne of Spirit,
            >> are almost entirely ignored

            >That sounds interesting. Would you care to expand on that?

            Well, yes and no. There are only two clear references to the Throne of Spirit and the other is in VII,III,21-23; and I don't know a lot more than anyone who cares to study them.
            But I will go so far as to say that my reading of those two sources is that the Osirian aeon was established by the employment of Osirian lying spirits and it wont be until that Battle and Victory that those lying spirits shall be overthrown. In this context it is very easy to interpret those who try to diminish the historical literalness of the aeon as servants of said lying spirits. And without gratuitous ad hominen attacks (damn!), I include Achad, Nema and Grant amongst their accursed number.
            I will also point out that the view that the aeon is also of a personal nature does not contradict that it is historical. The Next Step doctrine, as I see it, implies that a substantial number of the individuals of humanity are of a similar stage of spiritual development and are all going through the same spiritual transition more or less togethor. It doesn't contradict the possibility that there are individuals in the world ahead of or behind that general movement.
            More speculatively, I might also suggest that this pre-Battle period be taken into consideration by fellow literalists as possibly identical to the night of the "great orgy of worship and bliss" of VII,VI,21-25. Makes sense to me anyway.
            And once more I will assert that if one does not take plain statements literally, the Writings are diminished to Meaning Naught; and it begs the question of why such people bother with them in the first place. The obvious answer is that such persons have a vested interest in diminishing their authority.
            To say that you don't like to see Thelema made "more rigid" (that "rigidity" being merely the sort of firm statement that gods, one would imagine, ought to be able to make) is to set yourself above the authority of the writings themselves by disallowing the author/s the authority of making definite historical prophecies (and/or strategic instructions; depending on how one views that).
            Furthermore to object that you have a Comment-given right to interpret for yourself relies upon the authority of A-f-n-k...and on a plain reading of a plain statement. You simply can't, in my view, interpret away plain statements willy nilly and still retain any faith in the Writings having sacred authority. If aeonic doctrine "makes little or no sense" to us (and I can assure you I have had my own problems with it), the whole point of having an authoritative voice is that one defers to it and acknowledges ones own ignorance and failings of understanding. If one can't, in good conscience, do that then I suggest that the only honourable option is to walk away from the Writings altogether rather than abusing them by cadjing elements of them into mockeries of the original.

            CSM

            The Secret Temple
            http://www.duaut.net/


            • Re: Shades of Aeons
              by Xnoubis on Monday June 11, @11:58AM
              There are many possible approaches to Thelema. For me, the essence of what is Osirian is more an attitude toward doctrine than it is a particular doctrine. If a doctrine is believed to preclude further inquiry, it is Osirian, regardless of its contents.

              Then there are Thelemites who, it seems to me, would be happy to keep the Pope, the Vatican, and the Inquisition intact, provided that they swapped their Bibles in exchange for Liber ALs.

              I think that there's a place for observing and transmitting Crowley's work as written. But to reinforce Crowley's authority over our own is to confuse the messanger with the message. (Not because A-f-n-k said so, but because he was right when he said it.) There is so much that is valuable in his work; it doesn't need to be held as beyond question in order to preserve its value.

              But I suppose that Thelema has to be broad enough to include both of our views. This debate will probably be going on beyond our lifetimes.


              • Re: Shades of Aeons
                by Colin S McLeod on Tuesday June 12, @06:50AM
                >Then there are Thelemites who, it seems to me,
                >would be happy to keep the Pope, the Vatican,
                >and the Inquisition intact, provided that they
                >swapped their Bibles in exchange for Liber ALs.

                NO-ONE ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

                >There is so much that is valuable in his work

                Well, if I was to stop being the narrow-minded, Papist, simplistic, verbose, dogmatic, bigoted, petty and mean throwback to a time when people actually believed in something that I apparently am (and here I was taking your word for it that personal attacks were to be avoided), and was to be the nice, warm, fuzzy Thelie who believes in Naught which offends the least slave moron in the most ridiculous of the Ape Orders, I really would be incapable of seeing anything valuable in any of the Writings.
                Stripped of Authority, I really couldn't see anything in them I didn't already know to be true, just as you say. I wouldn't be able to see any difference between the White Rose and White Stains. Cut lose from respect for language, let alone from respect for me as an humble adherent, I would think that my type (and my sort, even) would dismiss it all with utter disdain. Probably with even more disdain than I, simply by reading the Writings as they are, by the simple rules of language, seem to elicit from the bulk of Thelemites. It really would make you think, wouldn't it? Perhaps for more than a moment.

                CSM

                (Proceeding to emulate the Firm of Fleecem, Grabbitt and Runn.)


                • Re: Shades of Aeons
                  by Mordecai on Tuesday June 12, @09:53AM
                  >Well, if I was to stop being the narrow-minded, Papist, simplistic, verbose,
                  >dogmatic, bigoted, petty and mean throwback to a time when people actually
                  >believed in something that I apparently am (and here I was taking your word
                  >for it that personal attacks were to be avoided), and was to be the nice,
                  >warm, fuzzy Thelie who believes in Naught which offends the least slave
                  >moron in the most ridiculous of the Ape Orders, I really would be incapable
                  >of seeing anything valuable in any of the Writings.

                  If I thought you were being sincere instead of being the sarcastic "wit" you obviously intend to be then I would congratulate you for finally recognizing that it is your perspective that determines whether or not there is anything of value in the Holy Books. But you aren't so I won't!

                  >Probably with even more disdain than I, simply by reading the Writings as they are,
                  >by the simple rules of language, seem to elicit from the bulk of Thelemites.

                  If you think that Michael and I represent "the bulk of Thelemites" you should get out more often. If you truly think that the rules of language are "simple" you know very little about them.


                • Re: Shades of Aeons
                  by Xnoubis on Tuesday June 12, @11:11AM
                  > here I was taking your word for it that
                  > personal attacks were to be avoided

                  I hope that you don't take my remark about Papism as a personal attack; it was only intended to express what I feel to be the logical conclusion of literalism. You might say, "The crucial difference between my idea of scriptural authority and that of Catholicism is..."

                  As far as Mordecai's response, hmm, you may have a point? If we are alarmed, not so much by you as by the growing prevalence of your stance within Thelemic discourse, it seems to me that it is all the more important to emphasize persuasion over moral outrage.

                  There was a time when we could have said, "Thelemic literalism? A contradiction in terms, except for a few extreme cases." However, literalists are often better than others at following orders (whether or not that's true of you), and so are useful to administrations. Literalists have thus achieved positions of prominence in Thelemic organizations, shaping policies in ways that encourage further literalism. So it behooves us to be careful.

                  Back into the meat of the issue, why does opening the Writings (or more exactly, the issues raised by the Writings) to inquiry necessarily render them meaningless?


                  • Re: Shades of Aeons
                    by Mordecai on Tuesday June 12, @11:57AM
                    The whole "personal attack" issue is tricky when dealing with some people. They interpret any attack on their ideas as a personal attack. F'rinstance, I never called Colin petty or mean, but I did characterize his ideas as displaying "petty meanness". Is that out of bounds? I thought that colorful language was okay as long as the only content of a post is not ad hominem insults. Certainly I don't think anything he has posted is Shell-worthy. He's actually quite well-spoken and intelligent for all that I think his kind of thinking is dangerous to us all. Check out his website at http://duaut.net for much interesting info about the Stele (and nice graphics). His thoughts on the Comment I found a bit more confused, i.e., he thinks it's okay to discuss the contents of one Class A document (The Comment), but not the others, and he doesn't give any convincing reason why this is so. He also talks about the Holy Books as having different layers of meaning, without giving the literal layer as supreme an importance as he seems to give it here. I also found an explanation for his indirect answers to me (by addressing my points through answers to you instead of to me) in his intention not to "argue". He's trying to be a literalist, but his dodge is rather transparent. I wonder what he'd think of Al Noor's "Orthodox" Thelemites?.


                    • Re: Shades of Aeons
                      by Xnoubis on Tuesday June 12, @01:28PM
                      > F'rinstance, I never called Colin petty or
                      > mean, but I did characterize his ideas as
                      > displaying "petty meanness". Is that out of
                      > bounds?

                      Under normal circumstances, no. I just think it was a little confusing since the point had just been made about personal attacks. To have a period of no heat at all would have gotten the point across more clearly, before moving on to explore the boundaries. But life and weblogs aren't always tidy. Oh well.


            • Re: Shades of Aeons
              by Mordecai on Monday June 11, @12:42PM
              >(And he did call me a burk!)

              I'm much less sensitive to name-calling than Michael, and in this case I couldn't resist the reference to my favorite English law firm, Burke & Pratt. I am horrified by your simplistic attitude toward Thelema (characteristically verbose, as many of these attitudes tend to be). Thought of this ilk will, in my opinion, quickly reduce the real insights of the 'Aeon of Horus' to the same sort of dogmatitis and Onetruewayism that plagues most of humanity's earlier religions. Your depiction of those who you disagree with -- "those who try to diminish the historical literalness of the aeon as servants of said lying spirits" -- makes it quite evident where this narrow bigotry is leading. I wish your sort would stick to monotheistic religions where such petty meanness is traditional, instead of fueling such a tradition within Thelema.


              • Re: Shades of Aeons
                by Xnoubis on Monday June 11, @01:35PM
                Your depiction of those who you disagree with -- "those who try to diminish the historical literalness of the aeon as servants of said lying spirits" -- makes it quite evident where this narrow bigotry is leading.

                But it's a question worth entertaining, if only for a moment, isn't it? I feel the same way you do on the issue of literalism, but I'm glad to have my stance questioned from time to time.


                • Re: Shades of Aeons
                  by Mordecai on Monday June 11, @01:53PM
                  Of course lily-livered liberals like you and I would never dream of resticting the rights of Colin and other fundamentalists to express themselves. And I do entertain his concepts, and I even admit the possibility that he is correct and I am wrong (I've been wrong before). What disturbs is the recognition that should his type ever actually achieve any power then people who think like me (and dare to express it) will suffer the same terrible persecution that the tyrants of every era have meted out, and this in the name of human freedom no less!


    Re: Shades of Aeons
    by cri hoor 217 on Thursday May 31, @03:53PM
    ...hmmmm...Crowley's gambit!

    truely a sphinx among sleeping dogs..

    but perhaps when the sphinx rises from the
    granularity of umpteen x umpteen refinements
    and shakes off the dust of the ages, the finer
    grains of his(her) words will finally speak, the riddle
    perhaps being a simple line of poetic justice....

    when we understand the the voice of the ancients
    all aeons will resolve into one aeon, one grain of sand, where it all began...

    Re: Shades of Aeons
    by Ataniell Rising on Sunday March 17, @10:21PM
    There definitely is a part of me that thinks the Aeon can't be tied to a specific point in linear time... especially not when it's so clear that so many folks are not living in it.

    93! your maya may vary,
    Ataniell

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