Konx om Pax: Essays in Light,
the book by Aleister Crowley
, is a short collection of exceedingly erudite mystical allegory
, interworked thoroughly with some of Crowley's better poetry
. Its tone is quite well introduced by the set of quotations
which precede the book's dedication
: for there are sixteen of them in fifteen different languages
! While many portions of this book are light and witty, it is certainly not easy going for one unfamiliar with the subjects. It remains quite intriguing for those with an interest in Crowley, be it religious
, or simply curious
The first essay, "The Wake World", is an allegory for the progress of the mystical initiate, told as a woman's journey through dreams with her "Fairy Prince" lover. The story is packed quite densely with the symbology of each grade of her ascent: most chiefly the sephiroth and paths of the Tree of Life, but also angels, dangers, rituals, and every other bit of directed esoterica the author could fit in there.
Next comes "Ali Sloper and the Forty Liars", a satirical play on the affairs of occultism in Crowley's Britain. The dramatis personae include parodies of George Cecil Jones, Samuel Liddell Mathers, William Butler Yeats, Crowley himself, and a cast of strange and terrible occult phenomena up to and including "The Terrible Tetragrammaton, Graeco-Jewish Wrestler."
The third piece, "Thien Tao; or, the Synagogue of Satan", presents Crowley's take on balanced discipline, in the guise of the tale of a Chinese Taoist philosopher come to Japan to advise the Emperor. The Mikado is troubled by the foundering of his nation and the rise of the politicking, democratic mob; the sage advises him to educate his people through a course of oddly Thelemic discipline. Unsurprisingly, the name of the sage is -- wait for it -- "Kwaw Li".
The book concludes with "The Stone of the Philosophers", the recitation of several of Crowley's more readable poems by an assortment of gentlemen -- and the undoing of a Socialist. The poems range in subject matter from love to paranoia and from faith to murder, and stand alone: