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Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The…

Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey (original 2009; edition 2009)

by J. Daniel Gunther

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Title:Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey
Authors:J. Daniel Gunther
Info:Ibis Press (2009), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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Intiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey by J. Daniel Gunther (2009)


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This book is an overdue contribution from a man who has had a deep but quiet influence on the practice and development of Thelemic magick. It is not directed toward the merely curious but uninformed; it is rather aimed at sincere aspirants who already have some acquaintance with the nature and importance of Thelema.

Gunther is highly conservative in his exposition, stalwartly defending two of Crowley's most fragile and difficult positions: the khabs and khu readings of Liber Legis I:8-9, and the "heh-tzaddi switch" interpretation of I:57. In the case of the former, he nearly persuades me. His philology certainly takes advantage of more knowledge than Crowley could muster. He is not a hidebound orthodox however. Although in an early passage Gunther seems to accept a superficial reading of the aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus as positive history, he later points out (albeit in a footnote, 166 n. 13) that a scientific approach cannot validate and should not accept this narrative on that plane.

The dependence on theories from "depth psychology" was a bit dismaying to me. While I will happily admit the overlap in subject matter between that discipline and magick, I believe it is the proper role of initiates to explain profane theories in terms of esoteric principles, not the other way around.

There is a praiseworthy amount of original interpretation of passages from the non-AL Holy Books, and (most delightfully) The Vision and the Voice. But the great number of long quotes from the Crowley corpus means that there is even less of the author's own prose than one might at first suspect in this 222-page book. Some of the most provocative and original material for practical purposes can be found in an unremarked diagram showing ritual postures (74), and an appendix tabulating "Some Useful Attributions" (214).

Gunther's writing in his own voice concludes: "And with this, Speech is done with us for a while." And yet he seems to have been on a rather extended lecture tour in the many months following publication. More to the good, I think.
2 vote paradoxosalpha | Dec 2, 2009 |
In 1904, Aleister Crowley become the Prophet of the New Aeon, declaring the Aeon of Horus, the Child dawning and that the worlds, inner and outer must change and reflect this. Gunther follows this belief and a century later begins to explore what the Aeon of the Child is all about.

James Wasserman says in the introduction "In my opinion, this is the most important original work to be published since the death of Aleister Crowley. ((18)) This obviously builds either a high degree of expectation or scepticism, or perhaps both. While I may think that is a bit of a grandiose claim, I did find the book interesting and educational.

Even though for the most part, this book seems written for those familiar with the cosmology of Thelema Gunther starts the book with explaining the Age of Osiris and the Age of Horus, the differences between them, and what changes have occurred and will occur. "For over two thousand years man had perceived his relationship with God in terms of a disjunctive doctrine that placed God above and outside man." ((55)) While that is a simplification of religion (and ignores much of the traditions of Asia) it serves as the foundation for the idea of the Age of Osiris, but now in the Age of Horus, the Aeon of the Child that changes. God is not external, God is not above, God is Man, and Man is God.

From there Gunther moves the focus to the basis of the New Aeon, what it means for humanity and the spiritual world. As the Aeons change, so to is magick supposed to change, the most well known example is L.V.X. as the keyword of the last Aeon, and N.O.X. as the keyword of the current Aeon. Gunther explores what this change is, what is symbolizes and how it is used. I would have liked to hear why this change occurred other than the Aeons shifted. He continued into the idea of the Messiah for this Aeon, and what they might represent.

I found this book very intriguing, as a growing fan of Crowley it is nice to see a work that is based in his system, but unlike so many is not a direct derivative or collection. Gunther even lets himself challenge some of Crowley's beliefs and mistakes, point out that "If we are to truly 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." ((166))

I found at a few points it was very unclear who Gunther was writing the book for. It is filled with complex symbolism and theories from the Thelemic system of magick, that even as someone who has been reading Crowley and Thelemic books, I felt a bit lost, yet 170 pages into the book, he feels the need to point out that Thelemites do not worship Satan. I can't imagine someone who may think that, understanding enough of the book to make it that far.

For those interested in the philosophy of magick, especially the cosmology put forth from Crowley and Thelema, this book will be an amazing read, and hopefully as Gunther plans it will be the first in a series of works. ( )
1 vote BlueFlameMagick | Jul 8, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0892541458, Hardcover)

In 1904, The Book of the Law declared the advent of a new period in the course of human history - The Aeon of Horus or Aeon of the Child. The doctrine codified in The Book of the Law and the numerous other Holy Books known as Thelma revealed Aleister Crowley as the Prophet of the new Aeon.

In this ground-breaking book, author J. Daniel Gunther provides a penetrating and cohesive analysis of the spiritual doctrine underlying and informing the Aeon of the Child, and the sublime formulas of Initiation encountered by those who would probe its mysteries. Drawing on more than 30 years of experiences as a student and teacher within the Order of the A;. A;. the author examines the doctrinal thread of Thelema in its historical, religious, and practical context.

This book is written in clear, precise language that will aid those students who seek to navigate the difficult terrain of the spiritual quest. More advanced students will find tantalizing clues to serve as guideposts and eventual confirmation of direct experience.

With numerous diagrams and detailed references encompassing ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic texts, the Apocrypha, the Old and New Testaments, alchemy, hermetic Qabalah, and tarot, as well as the writings of Carl Jung and Aleister Crowley.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:49 -0400)

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