Thelemic Theology Question

June 10, 2009

The website for OTO has a Thelemic Theology statement at the US Grand lodge. I would like a clarification of one statement;

“The Classical/Medieval Æon of Osiris is considered to have been dominated by the Paternal Principle, and its formula was that of self-sacrifice and submission to the Father God. The modern Æon of Horus is considered to be dominated by the Principle of the Child, the sovereign individual; and its formula is that of growth, in consciousness and love, toward self-realization.”

Is there any one available to discuss this statement?

Thank you


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  1. I’m not entirely sure what reply the OTO would give in response to your question as I’m not a member. However, I will do my best to briefly explain some of the concepts that relate to the above statement.

    The above statement relates to a Magickal formula and the evolution of that formula. As humanities ability to view itself or to view consciousness develops so too does the formula. It’s possible that they would see Magickal formula as being more connected to a Spiritual Law. As mankind has developed over its time on Earth there have been three formulas; each one developing on the last. The names for these formulas would be Isis, Osiris and Horus. I sense they would say that the old Formula of Osiris still works but the new formula of Horus works so much better.

    To help explain this I’m going to use an unrelated example. The old theory of the Four Elements, which was first introduced by the Philosopher Thales (he actually felt there was only one – Water), was revolutionary at the time but in modern day science, things have moved on and the most fundamental form of matter, that is the most fundamental component from which all mater develops, is String theory. In this sense, the Ancient model of the Elements still works but the modern day version works so much better; so too does this apply to Magickal Formula.

    Most Western based Magickal rituals will be constructed with the most recent Formula in mind. Having said that, the Golden Dawn doesn’t necessarily accept Crowley’s claim that a New Aeon arrived in 1904 and may possibly be still using the Magickal current of the old Aeon.

    I’ll try and give a very brief example of each Formula. The Aeon of Isis dates to about 2400 B.C. This was the age of the Great Goddess where she was worshiped by many cultures. At this time people did not understand the influence of the Sun, the seasons or of child birth, life or death. This was not an agricultural society; rather it was based on hunting and gathering.

    The Aeon of Osiris dates to about the time of the agricultural revolution, a time when the influence of the Sun became recognised as a major component in creating the right conditions for life. People were developing different technologies in order to plant crops based on this new found understanding. Child birth would no longer be seen as a great mystery; it is possible that the role men had in making a child was also understood. The concept of Death would have taken on new significance as is reflected in the Myths.

    It appears to humans on Earth that the solar system, including the Sun, revolves around us. This is due to the illusionary effect of the Sun rising and setting. The setting sun was seen as death and the rising sun was seen as rebirth. The new Formula of Osiris, tried to emulate this understanding as part of its Spirituality. In other words self-sacrifice was an important and new component in the Formula.

    Finally, These combined factors resulted in the Great Goddess being superseded by the god formula and the worship of the goddess was relegated to the status of wife.

    The Sun appears to travel across the Earth, of course we now know that the Sun remains stationary and the Earth, along with the other planets, orbits around the Sun. The Aeon of Horus is different in that there is a recognition that the planets revolve around the Sun. This places (consider astrology) the Sun as the basis for our spiritual advancement as it relates to the individual and the individuals Will. In this sense, all rituals are focused; certainly the Thelemic rituals are, on the privileging of the individual.

    This is a very brief outline of the three main Aeons and how it relates to Magickal formula. The reason then, that Osiris was, “the Paternal Principle, and its formula was that of self-sacrifice and submission to the Father God”, is due to the setting of the Sun.

    It was believed that in order to achieve in Spirituality that we needed to emulate this ‘god’ by sacrificing ourselves (the sun setting) in order to be reborn the next day. This also relates to the Hanged Man card (the dying god) and if you read the Book of Thoth, Crowley explains its significance there. When we turn our attention to the Sun, under the Aeon of Horus, we see that he makes no such sacrifice and that the sacrifice that was perceived to have taken place on the old Aeon of Osiris was an illusion.

    Therefore, given the Sun’s identity to individuality, it relates to, “… the Principle of the Child, the sovereign individual; and its formula is that of growth, in consciousness and love, toward self-realization”.

  2. My thought structure is to branch from a central understanding, with each branch clarifying the original statement. This voids semantics ability to confuse me…

    Is my central understanding sound?

    The First Aeon was Matriarchal Isis
    The Second Aeon Patriarchal Osiris
    The Third Aeon Motion/Vibration Horus

    The Aeon of Ma’at Balance?

  3. Yes, that is correct. However, I can’t recall Crowley ever mentioning an Aeon of Ma’at, not to say that that’s not the case, only that I don’t know and would be unable to comment properly on it. I would be really interested to hear more on this?

    In terms of your description of the First Two Aeons, I would say you understand them perfectly. What I find fascinating is that in the Aeon of Isis, given that they would have no concept of a Patriarchal structure, they would be unable to think of things as being Matriarchal in the manner in which we understand that term. Every idea and concept has a history, and this is a great example.

    When you mention that the third Aeon is an oscillation, I would be cautious in taking that idea too far. Horus represents the child; a separate and completely individual Formula (although still a development on the others). It’s a complete movement away from the illusions of the other two Aeons. Why do I say the other two are illusions?

    They are earth-centric philosophical positions which our current level of understanding has outgrown. We can no longer justify seeing ourselves as the centre here on Earth; rather we are the Sun which is the centre. In this sense, death becomes an illusion – because we have shifted our focus away from the birth, death and rebirth cycle that is observed on Earth.

    Crowley mentions that the transition of any Aeon is a difficult and traumatic one. Shortly after he mentioned that we had the World Wars; the power of Religion coming under question and so on. I think I remember him saying that this period lasts for a few hundred years or there abouts.

    Finally, we can think of the union of Isis and Osiris as a mystical act. Two separate things that unite in union, to produce a third thing, separate and unique.

  4. After you read the post I changed the word “oscillation” to motion/vibration to clarify Horus as a point of movement. Oscillation implies stagnation to me, where as motion/vibration precedes transition.

    As for Ma’at, the internet keeps my mind alive!
    I will post an article for the link…

    Thank you for your feed back.

  5. I do feel we are in the Aeon Horus the time of changing our thinking to the new age coming around 2012 or so which would be the Aeon of Ma’at I think we have a long way to go to be in the balance as people. But i have seen changes thru the years from when i was small to now. As a former member, we are taught at the House of Netjer the ways of Ma’at to get ready for this time era. 42 laws of Ma’at which if you read them they can be translated to us now and what we are going thru as people or what we should do. This is my opinion on this.

    • Thanks for your input Seshmet! Glad to see you join in our conversations. Perhaps we can continue our previous topics of discussion. BB

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