History is taken and broken down into a series of Aeons, each with its own dominant concept of divinity and its own "formula" of redemption and advancement. According to Aleister Crowley, the last three Aeons have been (1) the Aeon of Isis, (2) the Aeon of Osiris, and (3) the current Aeon of Horus which began in 1904.
The three Aeons
The first Aeon of Isis was maternal, where the female aspect of the Godhead was revered due to a mostly matriarchal society and the idea that "Mother Earth" nourished, clothed and housed man. It was characterized by pagan worship of the Mother and Nature. Crowley describes this period as "simple, quiet, easy, and pleasant; the material ignores the spiritual" (Equinox of the Gods).
The Classical/Medieval Aeon of Osiris is considered to be dominated by the Paternal Principle and the formula of the Dying God. This Aeon was characterized by that of self-sacrifice and submission to the Father God. Crowley says of this Aeon:
Formula of Osiris, whose word is IAO; so that men worshipped Man, thinking him subject to Death, and his victory dependent upon Resurrection. Even so conceived they of the Sun as slain and reborn with every day, and every year. (Heart of the Master)
He also says of the Aeon of Osiris in Equinox of the Gods:
the second [Aeon] is of suffering and death: the spiritual strives to ignore the material. Christianity and all cognate religions worship death, glorify suffering, deify corpses.
The modern Aeon of Horus, with our times of self-realization as well as a growing interest in all things spiritual, is considered to be dominated by the Principle of the Child. The Word of its Law is Thelema (will) which is complimented by Agape (love), and its formula is Abrahadabra. Individuality and finding the "True Will" are the dominant aspects; its formula is that of growth, in consciousness and love, toward self-realization.
Of the Aeon of Horus, Crowley writes:
the crowned and conquering child, who dieth not, nor is reborn, but goeth radiant ever upon His Way. Even so goeth the Sun: for as it is now known that night is but the shadow of the Earth, so Death is but the shadow of the Body, that veileth his Light from its bearer. (Heart of the Master)
The Aeon of Horus is here: and its first flower may well be this: that, freed of the obsession of the doom of the Ego in Death, and of the limitation of the Mind by Reason, the best men again set out with eager eyes upon the Path of the Wise, the mountain track of the goat, and then the untrodden Ridge, that leads to the ice-gleaming pinnacles of Mastery! (Little Essays Towards Truth, "Mastery")
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Encyclopedia of Thelema
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