KONX OM PAX. Essays in Light. Signed.London: Walter Scott Publishing Co. 1907.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Presentation Copy inscribed to his great friend, Edward Thornton. One of 500 signed copies, additionally inscribed in blue/black fountain pen on the ffe: "Dear Thornton, / Here's luck! How is it / I never hear from you? / Aleister Crowley / [22 Chancery Lane WC]" Small 4to. The first issue bound in black buckram with white lettering [light out of darkness]. A very good copy with some minor shelf wear & surface rubs; the white silk screened titles still quite sharp - a bit of light foxing to the fly leafs [Signed by Aleister Crowley beneath his frontis portrait]. The book contains four essays primarily & was one of Crowley's own favourite works. He wrote glowingly of it in his 'Confessions', in particular describing the final essay 'The Stone of the Philosophers' as being " really beyond praise". "I now began to see that this was schoolboyish bashfulness, and to feel my responsibility as an exponent of the hidden knowledge, to treat my prose as reverently as my verse, and (consequently) to produce masterpieces of learning and wit. The "Dedication and Counter-Dedication" of Konx Om Pax is wholly admirable and it rises to a delightful satirical climax of four stanzas on the "empty-headed Athenians". "The Wake World" is a sublime description of the Path of the Wise, rendered picturesque by the use of the symbols of the Taro, and charming by its personification of the soul as a maiden. "My name is Lola, because I am the Key of Delights, and the other children in my dream call me Lola Daydream." "Ali Sloper; or the Forty Liars" shows traces of my old vulgarity. The dramatis personae contain a lot of bad puns and personal gibes, but the dialogue shows decided improvement; and the "Essay on Truth" is bo th acute and witty, with few blemishes. "Thien Tao" gives my solution of the main ethical and philosophical problems of humanity with a description of the general method of emancipating oneself from the obsession of one's own ideas, while there are passages of remarkable eloquence. The last essay in Konx Om Pax, "The Stone of the Philosophers which is hidden in Abiegnus, the Rosicrucian Mountain of Initiation", is really beyond praise. Its genesis is interesting. I had written at odd times, but mostly during my travels with the Earl of Tankerville, a number of odd lyrics. The idea came to me that I might enhance their value by setting them in prose. I therefore wrote a symposium of a poet, a traveller, a philosophical globetrotter, an a dept, a classical scholar and a doctor. They are made to converse about the chronic calamity of society, and the poems (ostensibly written by one or other of the men) carry on the thought. The result is, in reality, a new form of art; and I certainly assisted the lyrics by giving them appropriate springboards". - A.C.
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For the musician, see Konx-Om-Pax.
Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light is a publication by British occultistAleister Crowley, first published in 1907. The name Konx Om Pax is a phrase said to have been pronounced in the Eleusinian Mysteries to bid initiates to depart after having completed the tests for admission to the degree of epopt (seer).
This phrase, written in Greek as Κόγξ ὀμ πὰξ (in the original 1514 publication of Hesychius' Lexicon, it is two words, separated by a comma, Κὸγξ, ὂμπαξ ) , is not immediately intelligible in that language, and a number of theories have been advanced as to its origin and meaning.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers claimed it to have been derived from Khabs Am Pekht, which in the Egyptian language means roughly "Light in extension" or "Light rushing out in a single ray", which is used in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn's Vernal and Autumnal Equinox ceremonies.
Dudley Wright also claimed the phrase to be of Egyptian origin, but with the meaning "Watch, and do no evil".
Captain Francis Wilford claimed the phrase came from Canscha Om Pacsha, in Sanskrit.
Augustus le Plongeon proposed that the phrase derived from the Mayan language, as Con-ex Omon Panex, meaning "Go, strangers; scatter!".
The front cover image, portraying the title Konx Om Pax in stretched letters, is said to have been designed by Crowley while smoking hashish.
Syncretic materials introduce the work:
Three full pages of quotations introduce this work, signaling the syncretic intention of the author. Many sacred texts and sources such as Dante, Catullus, and Jesus are quoted.
The Wake World
An allegory for the ascent of a magickal practitioner through the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, accompanied by her Holy Guardian Angel. It was originally written by Crowley as a bedtime story for his daughter, Lola Zaza, with Crowley relating himself as the "Fairy Prince", a guide through the schema and sounding much like Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Thien Tao, or, the Synagogue of Satan
This parodic essay casts a Crowley character (Master Kwaw) as a Taoist advisor to the Japanese "Daimio" (daimyō) in a time of crisis. Kwaw advises a course of study in which people shall be taught the antithesis of their natural tendencies: the prostitute to learn chastity, the prude to learn sexual expression, the religious bigot to learn Huxley's materialism, the atheist to learn ceremonial magick.
Ali Sloper, or, the Forty Liars: A Christmas Diversion
A play that is over-presented with title credits, but is generally a simple dialogue based on Crowley's conversation with a friend and his wife on Christmas Day. With only two main speakers Crowley satyrizes himself as "Bowley", with the whole a means to present his inserted essay Ameth. The title is a mock of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, a tale from the classic One Thousand and One Nights.
Stone of the Philosophers Which Is Hidden in the Mountain of Abiegnus
A satirical conversation between a number of men, including "a socialist" and "a doctor", each one contributing a poem into their philosophical debate. Here Crowley takes the stance as "Basil Gray"; the work contains La Gitana, his popular love poem. It is thought[by whom?] that this work was inspired by the Zohar, where each Rabbi would contribute a commentary on the Tanakh.
- ^Marcus Musurus, editor, ΗΣΥΧΙΟΥ ΛΕΞΙΚΟΝ HESYCHII DICTIONARIUM, Aldus 1514 (first edition) http://archive.thulb.uni-jena.de/hisbest/receive/HisBest_cbu_00003536 Page 225 of site browser (the pages are unnumbered)- http://archive.thulb.uni-jena.de/hisbest/rsc/viewer/HisBest_derivate_00001239/BE_0395_0217.tif
- ^S. L. MacGregor Mathers. Address on the Pillars
- ^Dudley Wright. The Eleusinian Mysteries and Rites
- ^Captain Francis Wilford. Remarks on the Names of the Cabirian Deities, and on Some Words Used in the Mysteries of Eleusis, Asiatick Researches, v. 5
- ^Augustus le Plongeon. Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayas and the Quiches
- ^Gordan Djurdjevic. The Great Beast as a Tantric Hero, collected in Aleister Crowley and Western Esotericism, ed. Henrik Bogdan, Martin P. Starr