This paper reviews Jung’s experience of Philemon, a figure he claimed represented “superior insight”, and the role that Philemon played in his life. The paper then introduces the Western Esotericist, Aleister Crowley’s experience with the ‘praeter-human’ entity named Aiwass. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two imaginal figures that exerted autonomous power over the individual experiencing them. In Jung’s case Philemon helped him navigate a tremulous time in his life. In Crowley ’s case, Aiwass was the catalyst for the foundation of the philosophy and religion called Thelema. The questions this paper addresses are, what are figures of ‘superior insight’ and what power do they hold within the psyche? What are some of the benefits of contact with these imaginal entities and what are the dangers?
Lloyd Keane has a Bachelor and Masters degree in Religion from Carleton University ; he is also a PhD candidate at the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex . Lloyd’s primary interest is in an analytical psychological approach to world religions and Western Esoteric traditions.