When Aleister Crowley established the Aeon of Horus in 1904 with his channelled Book of the Law, he set in motion a magickal current that literally changed the world.
Whilst the Aeon of Horus has most certainly conformed to the early expectations that Crowley had of it over one hundred years ago the Thelemic community has singularly failed to manifest anything remotely useful in the way of deeper insights into the 93rd Current.
Does The Magickal Union of East and West break this depressing trend?
The Magickal Union of East and West: The Spiritual Path to New Aeon Tantra was written by a long-term student of the Western Mystery Tradition, Thelema and Tantra, Gregory Peters.
In the early part of his book, he introduces readers to the basic principles of Thelema and Eastern mysticism and explains how the two interpenetrate. It is at this point that the first practical instructions are presented into Surya Namascar, or Sun Salutation (a powerful and energizing exercise based upon the use of the breath and on moving prana through the psycho-spiritual centers).
Further exercises follow, including techniques for building up and strengthening one’s aura.
In considering the significance of the Thelemic doctrine of ‘Do What Thou Wilt’, the author then looks at the relevance of the True Will in magickal work and with reference to Crowley’s seminal text, Liber Al vel Legis.
Following this the book takes a look at the crossover between Crowley’s Thelemic system and the Eastern Holy Texts of Hinduism and Buddhism before delving into an introduction into his own magickal operation, starting with the Magickal Vow then moving on to working tools and developing an understanding the Tattvas.
Peters then describes the various Rites that are necessary in order to perform the authors’ self-developed ‘Diamond Sapphire Gem of Radiant Light’ ritual.
At this point, the methods and exercises become more complex in their construction and do require from the initiate and degree of experience in temple working.
Here, the author reminds his reader that these are group rituals and that working them is best done in a non-solitary setting. Nevertheless, full instruction is given in every aspect of these advanced magickal techniques.
The book closes with additional references, commentaries, glossary of terms and an index.
Whilst some authors have been brave enough to tackle Liber Al and to make a stab at interpreting its hidden mysteries and enigmas very few contemporary writers have managed to get to grips with Crowley’s broader magickal system and to bring it into a 21st-century setting.
At its core The Magickal Union of East and West by Gregory Peters succeeds where so many others fail by virtue of the authors ability to understand that the Eastern practice of Tantra is not only key to the Thelemic and OTO systems of magick but is also an integral element to understanding the Book of the Law itself.
The fact that this publication carries with it the endorsement of the OTO says a great deal about its authenticity and advocacy. This is no ordinary commentary on Thelema—a cash-in on the growing interest in Crowley’s magickal system. Instead, it is a powerful and exciting exploration into a vitally new way of using and engaging with Crowley’s Book of the Law.
Additionally, this is also a publication that is easy to understand, clear in its aims and avoids a great deal of the metaphysical and magickal jargon that plagues other commentaries of this kind. It even does a better job at revealing the Eastern roots to Thelema, and their connections to comprehending ‘The Book of the Law’ than Crowley ever did himself.
Uncle Al might have been a great magickian but, as he himself so readily admits, his ability to translate his knowledge into a form that students could understand was poor. In many ways, this is the book that Crowley could, and perhaps should, have written himself.
Still, as the Aeon of Horus marches on, we are now in a different time and place. The magickal techniques explored in The Magickal Union of East and West do belong in a different age than the one inhabited by Crowley.
If you are at all interested in Thelema, Tantra or The Book of the Law, consider this text to be one of the greatest Thelemic commentaries and important working magical manuals of this post-Crowley era.