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Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light Hardcover – Facsimile, March, 1990


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Teitan Pr (March 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933429045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933429048
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,125,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A new introduction by Crowley scholar Martin Starr places the book in the context of the author's life and work. Hardcover, 144 pages, printed in two colors on acid-free paper, with duotone portrait of the author

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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 int! o 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.

For these reasons it was decided to make Konx Om Pax available again in facsimile, and leave the work of deciphering the text to the earnest inquirer...

The present facsimile is reproduced from a copy of the third issue, with the case design after the second issue. I would like to thank R. Williams for his technical assistance and Helen Parsons Smith for her loan of various copies of the original volume. MARTIN P. STARR

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Johnson on October 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My favorite book!A good familiarity with late 19th & early 20th century occult personalities, (especially the Golden Dawn) is very helpful. "The rites of modern occult magic" by Francis King, (also published under other titles) is a good primer. A scream from front to back. Crowley's biting satire is in top form here. This also contains my favorite selections of his poetry, esp "The disappointed artist" & "The suspicious earl".Guarenteed to offend almost everyone! This is a must for Crowleyites.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A very well-designed presentation of this material, which includes The Wakeworld, a lovely qabalistic fairy tale. This edition is becoming harder to find.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A very well-designed edition of this lovely qabalistic fairy tale, now becoming harder to find.
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By Ken on July 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read this wonderful, confounding book. Crowley isn't yet in full humbug mode when writing this... he's young and impetuous, full of rage and all the delight of a man straight out of college. He's not setting down orders, he's not giving you instructions, he's having some fun telling you some of his ideas. "Thien Tao" and "The Wake World" are the most important pieces in the book. "Thien Tao" is Crowley's mutant autobiography up to that point. He casts himself as an ancient Chinese sage, and explains the fall of the Golden Dawn in an amazingly subtle, very sharp satirical voice. "The Wake World" is a fairy tale about the progress of the student of Qabalah. It is reminiscent of "The Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosencreuz". This copy was a 1990 reprint, very lush and warm.
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