Thanks for your reply Sef, I’ll respond to your question first and then pose one for you.
‘……as you were kind enough to discuss yourself, and as the EPOCH is now being read and digested across the world, my question to you is this: What do you hope for your work to enable, enact, or create? Would you enjoy seeing the Chaobala worked into an entire current, or would you fear for another Crowleyanity modelled on Pope Pete?’
I hope that people will remember me as someone who did for magic a little of what Charles Darwin did for natural history. Darwin turned natural history into biology, as we now understand it, by making explicit its underlying mechanisms. Of course he stood on the shoulders of giants and the whole field would have gone that way eventually, but he brought it all together under a scheme that made so many things suddenly clear and actually simpler. It also connected biology up with geology and palaeontology and also with psychology, it separated biology from religion, and it gave rise to social Darwinism as a (rather questionable) political theory.
So I see myself as a scientist rather than as a guru of magic. Darwin led an adventurous and intellectually courageous full life, but whilst he deserves our respect and admiration; worship or emulation of his personal quirks and foibles seems pointless. If Carrolleyanity rather than my contribution to the ideas of magic becomes my monument then I’ll feel that I’ve failed. I restrict access to anything that could give rise to a personality cult; my life remains a private matter and more than complex and busy enough for me already. I’ve turned down a number of requests for TV appearances. I abhor the shallow vicariousness of celebrity ‘culture’.
With the EPOCH we have attempted to do quite a number of things.
Firstly we have taken a look at where the ideas of magic actually came from, and then we have looked where they led to, and then we devote most of the book to the future of magic.
The historical Tree of Life (Naples arrangement) seems far too small nowadays to accommodate the richness of the human experience so we have enlarged it. We have also decapitated its old monotheist head to allow it to sprout new growth beyond the traditional Platonic-Pagan-Monotheist (PPM) paradigm which has held it back. In place of some vague transcendental mystery at the top of the tree we have introduced a grafting of futurological concepts adapted from the Necronomicon Mythos in our Chaobala. We hope this enlarged map will broaden the horizons of magic.
The old PPM metaphysic gives a rather restricted view of humanity and the cosmos and we have sought to upgrade it in the light of modern knowledge into what we have called a Quantum-Neo-Pagan (QNP) paradigm.
Wizards of old had to have a detailed working knowledge of religion, for religion formed the cultural and intellectual backdrop to their times and they would have fallen foul of it, or appeared stupid, without such knowledge. Today’s wizards need to familiarise themselves with science for exactly the same reasons. Thus the EPOCH does not shy away from the interface between science and magic.
I hope magicians will take the EPOCH as a stimulus and a provocation to get down to some serious magical activity and thought, and to advance the subject into the future. We should remain respectful of the history of magic but not slavish adherents of it.
So now to my question to you Sef: –
Thanks for clarifying the matter of the HGA, I can see that you have far more interest in the idea that: – ‘Thelema is the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child-King, and if we are to live as Kings and ruthlessly prosecute our Will, we must take whole and full responsibility for our lives and our destinies.’ [see Part 5 of this series]
I have always found much of interest in Crowley’s work; he seems a bit of a Chaos Magician himself what with his eclectic borrowings from Mather’s western esoteric synthesis, and from Chinese, Indian and ancient Egyptian esoterics. However I don’t like what he did with The Book of the Law, and his idea of The Crowned and Conquering Child, and his eventual elevation of these ideas into items of unquestionable belief.
Crowley says of his own ‘Book of the Law’:
“Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilence.”
Well I’ll take the risk; I have already accepted the spoof honorific of ‘His Pestilence Pope Pete 1st ‘.
Crowley’s channelled work ‘The Book of The Law’ has always struck me as repellent; it reads like a mystical tantrum thrown by someone letting their psychopathic fantasies of sex and violence and world domination out of the dungeon, yet Thelemites hold it up as their most sacred text. I could not understand its popular appeal until I took a closer look at the mechanisms at work in militant Islam.
The Book of The Law has a very similar flavour to The Koran with all its rules, threats and blandishments and exhortations to conquest, plus you get to treat the scarlet woman with appalling misogyny if she misbehaves, plus you get a bit of impenetrable cabalistic obscurantism, and of course the whole thing remains unquestionable. Its only significant difference seems to lie in its demand that women act lasciviously rather than demurely.
Many have noted that Crowley rebelled against his Christian background and that he saw himself as the anti-christian messiah 666, but in The Book of The Law he begins to sound uncomfortably like another well-known Prophet. Crude Satanism merely inverts most of the Christian ideas. Thelema looks strangely like inverted Islam. All must submit to the will, not of Allah, but of the inner child, and yea, the women shall wear Basques not Burkas!
Crowley went to Egypt to soak up its ancient religion but it seems that the later religion and religious fervour of that country actually influenced him a great deal more. The Islamic style of religion can appear powerful and exotic to visitors, and in many places in his writings he seems rather enamoured of it. It seems no accident that the OTO with its kiblah and caliphs and its oasis’s borrows rather heavily from Islamic symbolism.
Some Thelemic apologists have attempted to interpret the Book of The Law as an allegory for some sort of personal struggle, but it has always looked like a guilty fantasy dressed up as a mystical religion to me, with all the appeal to contra-rational beliefs and subconscious desires that this entails.
But what do you make of it Sef?