Cor Hendriks – Aleister Crowley: Knox om Pax

Aansluitend bij het artikel over David Bowie volgt hier het een en ander over Aleister Crowley en zijn eersteling Knox om Pax. Het artikel van Wikipedia deelt mee:

Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light is a publication by British occultist Aleister 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.

Partial contents
Syncretic materials introduce the work:

· Ave: in John Dee and Edward Kelley’s Enochian language;
· the Egyptian hieroglyphs for the Stele of Ankh-f-n-khonsu
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” (daimyo) 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 that this work was inspired by the Zohar, where each Rabbi would contribute a commentary on the Tanakh.

· Yoga Publication Society. June 1982. ISBN 0-911662-49-9
· Teitan Press. Reprint edition, March 1990. ISBN 0-933429-04-5

Konx Om Pax is one of Crowley’s earliest occult publications, and it has often been found to be less than illuminating to new students of his work, despite its subtitle of “Essays in Light.” To lighten the burden of the first-time reader and to introduce its first facsimile edition, a few words are in order .

The mystification begins with the often-misspelled title of this curious collection of essays. It is taken from a barbarous phrase spoken in the Eleusinian mysteries, konx ompax, which was picked up by the originators of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and incorporated into their Neophyte initiation ceremony; the titles of the officers in the latter ceremony are also taken from the Eleusinia. Crowley underwent the Neophyte ritual in November 1898; in it he learned that these mystic words were the Greek cognates of the Egyptian “Khabs am Pekht,” here translated as “Light in Extension”—a bit of good mysticism but dubious etymology in keeping with the intellectual habits of the Golden Dawn’s magical founder, S. L. Mathers, who, as Crowley twits, “will borrow any required properties.” Nevertheless Crowley took the derivation at face value and in the “Dedication and Counter-Dedication” goes on to identify KONX with the “LVX of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross.”

The problem is already apparent: Crowley’s “baulking erudition,” as noted by his friend Louis Wilkinson, forms a severe block to the understanding of his message. Many of the references in the “Dedication and Counter-Dedication” would have been unintelligible to contemporary readers other than the minuscule number of Golden Dawn initiates, and the morass of arcane allusion only deepens as one turns the pages. An additional difficulty is that, at the time of the composition of Konx Om Pax in 1906-7, Crowley had little experience and less sympathy with prose; his interests, bar a few odd essays, had been confined to poetry, outside of which he had never previously attempted to convey his own evolving occult philosophy. The writing of this book marks a turning point in Crowley’s career as an author and teacher; he is still in a sense his own audience, as witness the many private jokes and references to details of his life, but at the same time he is trying to bring others into the Light that he has seen.

The solution to the difficulties of Konx Om Pax is not far off. The last twenty years have seen a considerable number of books published on the Tarot, the Qabalah and the Golden Dawn’s history and rituals. Many of Crowley’s books, including his Confessions —vital to comprehending his life and works—are now widely available. Armed with these weapons, it is only a matter of time and some small effort before a dedicated student sees the way through the obscurities of Crowley’s style; indeed, part of the beauty of his books is that he engages a reader’s attention with the certainty that there is something behind what he writes. It would be a pity to be deprived of the pleasure of discovering for oneself the mysteries and the mirth hidden therein. (MARTIN P. STARR)

Ik heb ook een uitgave van de Yoga Publication Society (Des Plaines, Illinois), zonder datum, maar die ik gekocht heb op 17-9-1981 (met hetzelfde ISBN nummer). Er is dus een oudere reprint geweest als boven staat aangegeven. Bij ‘Clouds without Water’, dat ik 24-9-1981 kocht, wordt in Wikipedia gemeld, dat het uit 1974 is. Aangezien de opmaak van beide boekjes dezelfde is, neem ik aan dat ook ‘Knox om Pax’ in 1974 voor het eerst is uitgegeven door de YPS.

Onder de ‘syncretic materials’, waarmee het boekje begint (in de PDF na de Dedication and Counter-Dedication), bevindt zich ook het volgende Nederlandse citaat van Daniel Heinz:

Hy is noch visch, noch vleesch: de wyste van ons allen
En weet niet wat hy is: hy kan oock licht ontvallen.

Ik heb nog niet kunnen ontdekken wie Daniel Heinz is en uit welk werk dit stamt.

De bijgevoegde PDF’s zijn afkomstig van het internet.

Aleister Crowley – KONX OM PAX
Aleister Crowley – Poems