July 12, 2012 TOLS

A favourite theme for discussion in Thelemic circles is, “When we run the world.” Will there be a global libertarian synarchy? A caste-based theocracy, as Crowley liked to advocate? Some variation of existing political systems? Or some entirely new paradigm for ordering human relations?
I don’t much care. I often shock Thelemites by saying this, but the discussion, and similar topics of broad impact, never struck me as useful. Apart from the obvious fact that the Thelemic polity is decades away from overt influence on systems of government, it has always struck me that socio-political change is a consequence of a shift in consciousness more than in beliefs or attitudes. Determine your own True Will and aid others in finding theirs; but don’t bother looking for consensus on something as hopelessly entangling as global politics.
Anybody can re-arrange their opinions; but only when there is a fundamental turning around in our concept of what we are is there a significant, effective change in what we do. In fact, once such a change occurs, avoiding such change is next to impossible.
The notion of an Aeon of Isis is not specifically referenced in The Book of the Law. Rather, it was inferred from the fact that the Aeon of the Father (Osiris) was giving way to that of the Son (Horus). The logic of biology required Crowley to postulate an earlier Aeon of Isis, the Mother.
One axiom in mystery schools that work a version of the Qabalistic Tree of Life is that the teachings of one grade, or the experience of one sephirah, are only properly comprehended when the student enters the next stage. The same can be said of the Aeons. The Aeon of Isis represents humanity working from within the vital soul or Nephesh, as opposed to following purely biological or physical instincts. Consciousness was emerging at this point, mostly in tribal form, or perhaps centred around a sacred ruler who alone embodied some form of higher awareness. Only in rare and probably unpopular individuals did effective consciousness of the Ruach or individual self-awareness otherwise emerge.
Opinions on when the Aeon of Osiris began vary from Fifth Century BC Greece, with its emergent schools of philosophy, back as far as the first societies using systems of writing and astronomical and architectural science, almost three millennia earlier. In that Aeon, whatever inspires the human race was working towards developing Ruach-consciousness, which meant a struggle with Nephesh-consciousness and mass-mindedness.
The Aeon of Osiris presented a difficult journey. It meant abandoning an overarching sense of wholeness, and a oneness within community. Indeed, the formula of attainment itself, as noted, required self-sacrifice, not self-assertion. Gradually, the sciences developed, and the individual began to be valued for him or herself.. But the mass-mind, while driven to evolve, simultaneously fought back, and persecuted or murdered many individuals as they emerged, from Socrates down through the burnings of the Counter-Reformation.
The Aeon of the Child was inaugurated a little over a century ago. This would have been the first time such a specific date could have been announced, a result of the accumulated sense of individuality within time and space that came out of the prior Aeon. Although Chapter II of The Book of the Law largely focuses on completing the process of self-assertion out of mass-mind, the third chapter clearly indicates a fundamental shift to one of awe-struck awakening that must follow.
One way of looking at the Book (and there are many) is to see echoes of the Aeon of Isis in the first chapter, where Nuit is presented as “the continuous one of heaven.” The perspective of the text is one of far greater awareness and discrimination than was possible in that Aeon, but in some ways it does recapitulate a unified state of existence. However, Nephesh, the level of instinctual urges and reactive “thought” is a small mirror of Neshamah, the supernal soul. Chapter One invokes a mood and atmosphere of exalted, transcendent consciousness, and reading it aloud with due reverence demonstrates that.
The same applies to Chapter Two, where the analytical reason so hard won in the Aeon of Osiris is dismissed: “Also reason is a lie; for there is a factor infinite & unknown; & all their words are skew-wise. Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!” (II, vv 32-33). The aim is, again, to reach toward Neshamic consciousness, which is presented with bewildering intensity in Chapter Three.
Hazards we face in the Aeon of Horus include not just the enslaving aspects of an unexplored and ungoverned Nephesh, but persistence of the habits of the Aeon of Osiris. “If this be not aright; if ye confound the space marks, saying: They are one; or saying, They are many; if the ritual be not ever unto me: then expect the direful judgments of Ra Hoor Khuit!” (I, v. 52) That is, by engaging in excessive speculation about world government (or any similar impractical topic) we are excluding Ra Hoor Khuit, the embodiment of Neshamic consciousness in this Aeon. The judgments are inherent in the act: to exclude is to separate ourselves from Neshamic comprehension.
Attaining to the famous Knowledge and Conversation of the HGA, which includes initiating a shift into Neshamic consciousness, means opening to Ra Hoor Khuit. But as in the past Aeon breaking out of mass-mind was the great sin, to be punished by persecution in some form, in this one the equivalent sin in the eyes of others is often seen as refusing a rationalistic perspective as one’s primary stance on Thelema.
We can’t manage life without reason, any more than we can manage without satisfying our animal appetites and instinctual selves. But appetite unbound leads to illness (or at least serious indigestion), just as an unfettered instinctual side leads us to the cells in the police station; and endless ratiocination just leads to more of the same. The great task of this Aeon is about opening to the supra-rational.

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