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  New Aeon and New Age

General Thelema Posted by <Xnoubis> on March 04, 2001 @ 06:35 PM
from the crowned-and-conquering-inner-child dept.

Recently the term “New Age” came into discussion, and it set me to thinking about the relationship between Thelema and the New Age movement. In some ways, Thelema is an outgrowth of the same wave of interest in the esoteric that brought us Theosophy and Spiritism, the nineteenth century equivalent to the New Age of the 1960s-80s. The more recent New Age probably owes more to Theosophy than Thelema (e.g., Atlantis, pyramids, crystal power), but there are still areas of overlap.

Of course, “New Age” is a nebulous term. There is probably no doctrine shared by all New Age groups. Also, amongst all of the many groups commonly considered to be New Age, very few refer to themselves that way. But since I've worked on the edges of the New Age industry – and an industry there is – I think that there are some generalizations that can be fairly made, always allowing for exceptions.

The main similarity that comes to mind is that both movements feature the idea of a momentous change taking place in human history. Generally, this is held to be an evolutionary event of some kind; sometimes, a matter of destiny.

Also, the concept of a group of “Secret Chiefs” who guide mankind's path is common to Thelema and to much of the New Age, but this in particular can be traced back to Theosophy on both sides.

I'd be interested in knowing of people's ideas regarding the contrasts between the two.

To me, the principle difference is that the New Age is often envisioned as an era of diminished conflict. In the vision of the New Aeon (as I understand it) conflict lives on. If there is to be progress, it lies in the direction of the increased refinement of these conflicts.

Another point that interests me is the eclecticism of the New Age, in contrast to the way that the New Aeon is often defined in terms of the acceptance of The Book of the Law.

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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by <Samael> on Monday March 05, @03:38PM

“To me, the principle difference is that the New Age is often envisioned as an era of diminished conflict. In the vision of the New Aeon (as I understand it) conflict lives on. If there is to be progress, it lies in the direction of the increased refinement of these conflicts.”

And you are right. I also note a tendency among many “New Agers” to be unable to understand the difference between having an open mind and gullibility. On a few occasions I've been reprimanded for being “negative” by pointing out some misstatements of historical fact which were untrue. One can actually be accused of wounding somebody's “Inner Child” or not honoring their “process”, by mentioning something as simple as the fact that the ancient Irish Druids did not eat potatoes.

It is also worth pointing out that some of the most vociferous opponents of Thelema I have come across were “New Agers”. I note a particular tendency towards a “Darkness/Light” dualism which they invoke when trying to explain why they find Thelema so horrifying.

“Another point that interests me is the eclecticism of the New Age, in contrast to the way that the New Aeon is often defined in terms of the acceptance of The Book of the Law.”

Though, that aside, Thelema has a very eclectic tendency as well. After all, there are so many Pagan Thelemites, Hasidic Thelemites, Christian Thelemites, and Buddhist Thelemites, etc, etc.

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by Shader XX on Monday March 05, @05:44PM

even though i feel some contempory connection to the “new Age” as a progression/offshot of the late sixties sensibility, ie.Allen Watts et' al…
the vanilla feel-goodism light over balanced as against dark ism is a symptom of some reactionary forces underling the whole so-called NewAge phenomona…i believe some elements within the
New Age movement are attempting to compensate for this, but on a whole the New Age is about some people “having the outer with the inner”…in other words they preach to a spiritual materialist crowd.

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by Tim Maroney on Monday March 05, @07:06PM

I'm not sure where in particular the idea that the “new age” is an era of peace comes from, but it's not a generally applicable description of the beliefs of new agers.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet's very popular sect, for instance, was made up of hard-core survivalists fond of stocking underground bunkers with weapons.

Crowley, for his part, vacillated on the issue of conflict. I recall that in “The Heart of the Master” he expressed a conflict-free vision of the new aeon at one point.

In both cases there is perhaps a belief that war will precede peace.

  • |Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
    by Mordecai Shapiro on Monday March 05, @08:19PM

    It is certainly a very common theme. Isn't the Revelation of John of Patmos saying much the same thing?\\

  • |Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Tuesday March 06, @07:25AM

    In all of the New Age circles that I ever came into contact with, the Elizabeth Clare Prophet group was embraced about as much as the Manson Family is embraced by Thelemites.\\

  • |Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Tuesday March 06, @09:21AM

    I should have put this more clearly.\\
    Once it became public knowledge what Prophet's group was up to, they were never again represented in New Age media or on the lecture circuits. The group was utterly anathemacized (um, is that a word?). And I interpreted this to mean that their militarism violated one of the few shared tenets of the movement they had previously been identified with.\\

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by <Nekial> on Monday March 05, @10:41PM


I'm sure someone out there is calling Thelema a New Age cult. How right would they be?

The Aeon of Horus movement involves, in my opinion, the following aspects, which the New Age movement does not:
1) a stress on Ceremonial Magick
2) a stress on skepticism and the scientific method

ahh, hell. I have to stop. I think there are many movements, all of which fall under the heading New Age. It's more a question of timing. “New Age” is a blanket statement which will expand to include any new form of spiritual endeavor. If there is any thing that saves The Aeon of Horus concept/movement from this company, it's pedigree. Anyone unaware of its history would of course call it New Age. To some, New Age is synonymous with Occult, or Esoteric.

What the various New Age movements/concepts seem to have in common is a shift of focus toward spirituality, and spiritual harmony, and the awakening/cultivating of Humanity's spiritual life. Some would include recent Buddhist activities, others would not…it's nebulous, mein gott, zo naybulous… akro…can't… necro… urp!

93 93/93

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by Mark Shekoyan on Tuesday March 06, @04:39PM

Though the “Shadow” has become a very popular topic in new age and humanistic psychology circles, there is a definitive attempt in many pop spirituality movements to negate, or downplay interior struggles on the way to realization. It seems to me that theory of Aeons acknowledges the psychic and historical frictions which ensue, or can ensue, in the transfer from one evolutionary state to the next. Furthermore, the Aeonic philsophy embraces these conflicts as a source of evolutionary juice for quickening the process.

Transpersonal Psychologist Ken Wilbur states that at the center of all spiritual development is the potential for the “Pre/Trans” fallacy. For Wilbur this means that there is an underlying tendency for people to confuse prerational and “regressive” states of consciousness with the transrational and evolutionary. In mythical terms, getting back to the garden of eden is definately not the same as moving forward to a new heaven upon the earth. This process may be seen more like a spiral, however, as we go back to move torward the future. Ouroborus bites its tail in every higher and refined cyles of becoming.

It seems to me that the denial of conflict, and the desire to “return” to Atlantean/Edenic Bliss that is often associated with the more simplistic of New Age beliefs, fits well within Wilbur's diagnosis.

The Concept of Aeonic Progression, as I understand it, also fits within Jung's notion of self individuation. According to Jung, just as an individual most come to grips with their own shadow, and then attempt to integrate it on their personal road to wholeness, so must a society. This process is often painful and frought with inner conflict. Unfortunately, given our societys collective lack of introspection, we're playing this psychic conflict out through our children and employees who are shooting one another in schools and offices expressing the cauldron of our collectively repressed inner demons.

The whole idea behind Jung's approach to therapy is to try and make the integration of these demons as easy and smooth as possible by opening the full range of consciousness to inquiry and reconciliation through dreams, art, and creative expression.

Though the new age has its own host of millenialist ideas and notions of immanent apoclypse and conflict, these are often marginilized for more palatable and comforting visions of James Redfields Celestine Prophecies. This kind of comforting vision fits very much within the American national character's drive for conveniance, comfort, and ease through pragmatic, technological and quick fix solutions which “shortcut” natural and aesthetic processes.
As in life, the path to great art can be painful.

On the other hand, and just as regressive,there is an embrace of this apocalyse philsophy coupled with the notion that happy father E.T.'s, Jesus, and mother UFO's will rush to the rescue and save humanity from its own mess. Both the longing for eden, and the hope for apocalypse coupled by a desire for the “Space Brothers” to save us, display a similar kind of regressive consciousness diagnosed by Wilbur.

The alternative to both of these evolutionary “errors” in my opionion, is the consciousness embrace of the process of awakening with all of its triumphs and terrors. As in Tantric and other nondual philsophys, both pleaure and pain lay the groundwork for the awakening to the Grace of Unitary Emptiness and Bliss.

Such a philosophy which acknowledges both conflict and connection, both creation, and destruction, as facets of the cyclical path torwards truth and grace, fits my understanding of Thelema and the progression of the Aeons. The moment the New Age acknowledges both sides of the equation, we'll be talking the same language.

  • |Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
    by Shader XX on Wednesday March 07, @03:11PM

    …let's compare the workings of Dee and Kelly, with the Babalon working, and all the contortions\\
    implyed, Dee worked for the queen, in those higher circles of intregue and influance, is it any wonder that he might of been hard put to come completely to terms with the “angelic keys” he\\
    was handed by “higher beings”…what happened to Kelly?…was Crowley Kelly in a past life?…is that why he still had some odd karma to work out?\\
    would a proper understanding of the tree of life, preclude us from the forces that are still moving in the “New Age” that are not what they seem? are all“ channelings” benificial? if thelemites are\\
    attempting do find and do thier “true wills”, how\\
    do “channeled” beings of so-called “new Age” sources match up to the idea of “true will”…are we any closer to working this out? or is the mass of confusion that surrounds any great endeavor preclude any real understanding of anothers “true will”? as this is such a secret process, to each individual, the unleashed desire, once the layers of repression and general madness and confussion have been torn away, which in fact is what happens, there is no nambie pambie “New Age” awakening, it is tumultuous, it is frought with all sorts of twists and turns of idenity and rememberance! the shattering effect of our egos is\\
    only a mirror to the distortions of everything\\
    that goes under the guise of religion, or for that matter the occult, at least in the western world,\\
    just look at all the strange contortions Crowley\\
    underwent in regards the Book of the Law?…and what of the Book of Desolation?…Look at the strange goings on in regards to Jack Parsons!…\\
    just a decade or so before the New Age became a house hold word! yes people were messing around with “spirits” around the turn of the century, with thier trances and seances, but these were merely departed ones, not transdimensional or exta- dimensional, how do we know if channelings of“ Micheal” or “Seth” or “Dirtbag” are not the opposite of what they claim?…look at the followings of groups that claim to follow various\\
    “entities” are they talking in clear voices about anything like “true will” is Celestine Prophecies“\\
    the benevolent baby pablem it appears on the surface? or is it in fact a product of something more sinister, a deliberate attempt to feed people\\
    watered down feel good mush, that puts them asleep, meanwhile reactionary hate mongering fundamentalisem gets even a stronger toe hold?\\
    if we as thelemites are incarnated to complete some important work began centuries ago, then we\\
    would already be aware of the obfuscations that\\
    are placed in our paths, are we all so unlike Jack Parsons? do we not have all to do our own small\\
    part of a babalon working?…is that not enique to\\
    each of us?…how can we all talk the same language as so-called “new Agers” when they are still talking through the tower of babel? Carl Jung nonwithstanding!…if the tree of Life is not about psychic balance, then it is about nothing at all! none of these so-called channeled entities, can replace what a thorough emersion into the Book of Thoth can accomplish! in my humble value judgment..be ready to go through changes!!! and please do take everything i say with a healthy dose of alchemic salt!….XX= (female)\\

**Re: New Aeon and New Age**
by <fysak> on Saturday April 14, @07:53PM

Gurdjieff's top English student J.P.Orage started publishing a periodical called “The New Age” in 1911 (long before he met G).

Once I had the fortune to play music with some “old hippies” who appeared to me to be pretty advanced adepts in the typical individualist eclectic style of the freaks of the sixties, the bass player had an old cabinet with lots of colourful stickers on it and the words “New Age” painted on it in great white letters. I said “er..hehe, New Age?” And he replied “it's a very old cabinet. It meant something diferent back then.”

Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
by <fysak> on Tuesday April 24, @02:50PM\\
Sorry, that should be A.R. Orage, of course.\\

Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
by <Xnoubis> on Tuesday April 24, @03:00PM
I've sometimes thought that it would be fun for a group of Thelemites to get together to practice Orage's Psychological Exercises, precisely because they were rejected by Gurdjieff. Indulge in somebody else's heresy for a change…\\

Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
by <fysak> on Friday May 25, @10:38AM
And what Thelemite heresy does groups of Thelemites indulge in so often that this change would be felt needed ?\\

  • |Re: New Aeon and New Age\\
    by <Xnoubis> on Friday May 25, @10:49AM

    I was thinking more of Thelema itself as being an expression of Christian heresy. Blaspheme the Gurdjieffeans rather than the Christians for a little variety.\\
    In my experience, Thelemites blaspheme their own conventions quite readily. It's one of our better traits.\\

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