“The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as “drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and infusing them with influences from self-helpand motivational psychology, holistic health, parapsychology, consciousness research and quantum physics.” The term New Age refers to the coming astrological Age of Aquarius.“
“The movement aims to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. It holds to “a holistic worldview,” emphasising that the Mind, Body, and Spirit are interrelated and that there is a form of monism and unity throughout the universe. It attempts to create “a worldview that includes both science and spirituality” and embraces a number of forms of mainstream science as well as other forms of science that are considered fringe.”
“The origins of the movement can be found in Medieval astrology and alchemy, such as the writings of Paracelsus, in Renaissance interests inHermeticism, in 18th-century mysticism, such as that of Emanuel Swedenborg, and in beliefs in animal magnetism espoused by Franz Mesmer. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, authors such as Godfrey Higgins and the esotericists Eliphas Levi, Helena Blavatsky, and George Gurdjieffarticulated specific histories, cosmologies, and some of the basic philosophical principles that would influence the movement. It experienced a revival as a result of the work of individuals such as Alice Bailey and organizations such as the Theosophical Society. It gained further momentum in the 1960s, taking influence from metaphysics, perennial philosophy, self-help psychology, and the various Indian gurus who visited the West during that decade. In the 1970s, it developed a social and political component.“
“The New Age movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from monotheism through pantheism, pandeism,panentheism, and polytheism combined with science and Gaia philosophy; particularly archaeoastronomy, astronomy, ecology,environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, UFO religions, psychology, and physics.”
“New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion,Christianity, Hinduism, Sufism, Judaism (especially Kabbalah), Sikhism; with strong influences from East Asian religions, Esotericism,Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Idealism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Universalism, and Wisdom tradition.”
“Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religion and philosophy of Thelema. In this role he identified himself as the prophet who was entrusted with guiding humanity into the Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.”
“Born to a wealthy evangelical Christian family known as the Plymouth Brethren, Crowley came to reject this faith to embrace western esotericism, poetry, and mountaineering. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he embraced his bisexuality. Some biographers have claimed that he was recruited as a spy for British intelligence there, a role they allege he maintained throughout his life. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, before moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness, and travelling to Mexico and India to study Hinduand Buddhist practices. He married Rose Edith Kelly and they travelled to Cairo in 1904; there, Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema.”
“After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kangchenjunga, Crowley returned to Britain where, in 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded theA∴A∴ as a Thelemite order. After spending time in Algeria, he was initiated into the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in 1912, rising to become the leader of the Order’s British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemite beliefs. After spending the First World War in the United States, where he worked for British intelligence services to infiltrate the pro-German lobby, in 1920 he moved to Cefalù in Sicily, to run a commune known as the Abbey of Thelema. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided his time between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death.”
“Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being openly bisexual, a recreational drug experimenter, and a social critic. As a result, he was denounced in the popular press as “the wickedest man in the world” and erroneously labelled a Satanist. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over western esotericism and the counter-culture, and continues to be recognised as a prophet in Thelema. In 2002, a BBC poll ranked him as the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time.”
“In the religion of Thelema, it is believed that the history of humanity can be divided into a series of Aeons, each of which was accompanied by its own forms of “magical and religious expression”. The first of these was the Aeon of Isis, which Thelemites believed occurred during prehistory and which saw mankind worshipping a Great Goddess, symbolised by the ancient Egyptian deity Isis. In Thelemite beliefs, this was followed by the Aeon of Osiris, a period that took place in the classical and mediaeval centuries, when humanity worshipped a singular male god, symbolised by the Egyptian god Osiris, and was therefore dominated by patriarchal values. And finally the third aeon, the Aeon of Horus, which was controlled by the child god, symbolised by Horus. In this new aeon, Thelemites believe that humanity will enter a time of self-realization and self-actualization.
Within the Thelemite religion, each of these aeons is believed to be “characterized by their [own specific] magical formula”, the use of which “is very important and fundamental to the understanding of… Thelemic Magick“.
“Thelema is primarily a philosophical law, which has been adopted as a central tenet by some religious organisations. The law of Thelema is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law, love under will.” The law of Thelema was developed by Aleister Crowley, the early 20th-century British writer and ceremonial magician. He believed himself to be the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a spiritual experience that he and his wife, Rose Edith, had in Egypt in 1904. By his account, a possibly non-corporeal or “praeterhuman” being that called itself Aiwass contacted him and dictated a text known as The Book of the Law or Liber AL vel Legis, which outlined the principles of Thelema. An adherent of Thelema is a Thelemite.
The Thelemic pantheon includes a number of deities, primarily a trinity adapted from ancient Egyptian religion, who are the three speakers ofThe Book of the Law: Nuit, Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. Crowley described these deities as a ‘literary convenience’. The religion is founded upon the idea that the 20th century marked the beginning of the Aeon of Horus, in which a new ethical code would be followed; “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”. This statement indicates that adherents, who are known as Thelemites, should seek out and follow their own true path in life, known as their True Will rather than their egotistic desires. The philosophy also emphasizes the ritual practice of Magick.
The word “thelema” is the English transliteration of the Koine Greek noun θέλημα: “will”, from the verb θέλω: to will, wish, purpose. In the New Testament as well as the works of Plato, thelema includes the ideas of will, choice, inclination, desire, including sexual desire, and pleasure. As Crowley developed the religion, he wrote widely on the topic, producing what are collectively termed the Holy Books of Thelema. He also included ideas from occultism, Yoga and both Eastern and Western mysticism, especially the Qabalah.“