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1
Amun

Amoun was the Hellenicized name of a major Egyptian deity, in the native language Amun, "the hidden one" (alternative spelling "Amon"). He was one of the Ogdoad and was married to Ipet. He was also a Berber god, but there were differences between the Berber Ammon and the Egyptian Ammon. The Greeks honoured the Berber Ammon, and the Phoenicians mixed their god Baal with the Berber Ammon to create the god Baal-Ammon.

The Egyptian Amoun

He was, to begin with, the local deity of Thebes, when it was an unimportant town on the east bank of the river, about the region now occupied by the temple of Karnak. The Eleventh dynasty dynasty sprang from a family in the Hermonthite nome or perhaps at Thebes itself, and adorned the temple of Karnak with statues. Amenemhe, the name of the founder of the Twelfth dynasty, was compounded with that of Amun and was borne by three of his successors. Several Theban kings of the later part of the Middle Kingdom adopted the same name; and when the Theban family of the Seventeenth dynasty drove out the Hyksos, Ammon, as the god of the royal city, was again prominent.

It was not, however, until the rulers of the Eighteenth dynasty carried their victorious arms beyond the Egyptian frontiers in every direction that Ammon began to assume the proportions of a universal god for the Egyptians, eclipsing all their other deities and asserting his power over the gods of all foreign lands. To Ammon the Pharaohs attributed all their successful enterprises, and on his temples they lavished their wealth and captured spoil. (more...)

2
The birth of Venus by Odilon Redon

Aphrodite (Ἀφροδίτη, "risen from sea-foam") is the Greek goddess of love, sex and beauty.

Worship

The epithet Aphrodite Acidalia was occasionally added to her name, after the spring she used to bathe in, located in Boeotia (Virgil I, 720). She was also called Kypris or Cytherea after her alleged birth-places in Cyprus and Cythera, respectively. The island of Cythera was a center of her cult. She was associated with Hesperia and frequently accompanied by the Oreads, nymphs of the mountains.

Aphrodite had a festival of her own, Aphrodisiac, which was celebrated all over Greece but particularly in Athens and Corinth. In Corinth, intercourse with her priestesses was considered a method of worshipping Aphrodite.

Aphrodite was associated with, and often depicted with dolphins, doves, swans, pomegranates and lime trees.

Her Roman analogue is Venus. Her Mesopotamian counterpart was Ishtar and her Syro-Palestinian counterpart was Ashtart (in standard Greek spelling Astarte); her Etruscan equivalent was Turan. (more...)

3
Anatomical Man, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry.

Astrology In past centuries astrology often relied on close observation of astronomical objects and the charting of their movements, which might be considered a protoscience in this regard. In modern times astrologers have tended to rely on data drawn up by astronomers and set out in a set of tables called an ephemeris which shows the changing positions of the heavenly bodies through time.

Central to all astrology is the natal chart (other names for this diagram in English include horoscope, natus, nativity, astrological chart, map, birth chart, cosmogram, or simply chart). This is a diagrammatic representation in 2 dimensions of the celestial bodies' apparent positions in the heavens from the vantage of a location on Earth at a given time and place. Interpretation of a natal chart is governed by:

  • Astrological aspects: the positions of the heavenly bodies relative to each other.
  • Their positions relative to the astrological signs of the zodiac.
  • Their positions relative to the horizon (the ascendant), zenith and nadir, and in one of the systems of astrological houses.

Common traditions of astrology include Western astrology, Chinese astrology, Jyotish (Vedic astrology) and Kabbalistic astrology. All of these can be subdivided by type, such as natal astrology (the study of a person's birth, or natal chart), horary astrology (a chart drawn up to answer a specific question), and electional astrology (a chart drawn up ahead of time to determine the best moment to begin an enterprise or undertaking). Mundane astrologers believe correlations exist between geological phenomena (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc.) and astronomical phenomena (the movement of celestial bodies in relation to Earth). Political astrology has existed for thousands of years as well, while some astrologers use ancient methods that are supposed to be able to predict the weather and weather-related phenomena (storms, floods, etc.), which is collectively known as meteorological astrology.

A few Western but all Jyotish (Hindu) astrologers use the sidereal zodiac that uses the true astronomical positions of the stars. The majority of Western astrologers base their work on the tropical zodiac that uses a view of the heavens as seen 2000 years ago. (more...)

4
Photograph of the tomb of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province, China. Picture taken on April 21, 2005 by Rolf Müller. Confucius' posthumous name was "The Lord Propagator of Culture Ultimate Sage and Great Accomplisher" (大成至聖文宣王) which can be seen on the tomb.

Confucianism (儒家 Pinyin: rújiā "The School of the Scholars"), sometimes translated as the School of Literati, is an East Asian ethical, religious and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius.

Debated during the Warring States Period and forbidden during the short-lived Qin Dynasty, Confucianism was chosen by Han Wudi and used as a political system and a kind of state religion. Despite loss of influence during the Tang Dynasty, Confucianist doctrine remained mainstream Chinese orthodoxy for two millennia, until the beginning of 20th century, when it was vigorously repressed by Chinese Communism. However, there are recent signs of a revival of Confucianism due to the loosening political control as well as a surge of Chinese nationalism.

Since Confucius' death, many people, mostly in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, have professed Confucianist beliefs and seen in this historical figure the "Greatest Master."

Zhu Xi and other Neo-Confucians gave Confucianism renewed vigor in the Song and later dynasties. Neo-Confucianism combined Taoist and Buddhist ideas with existing Confucian ideas to create a more complete metaphysic than had existed before. Confucianism as it exists today is primarily a creation of Zhu Xi and the other Neo-Confucians.(more...)

5
Jacques de Molay.jpg

Jacques de Molay (1243-1314 e.v.)) served as the 23rd, and officially last, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and is probably the best known templar besides the order's founder and first Grand Master, Hughes de Payens. He is one of the Gnostic Saints.

Overview

De Molay's exact date of birth is in some doubt, but it is known that he joined the Knights Templar in 1265 at the age of 21 and rose through the ranks quickly. He was first appointed to the position of Visitor General in Britain, and later elevated to the post of Grand Preceptor of England.

After the death of Theobald Gaudin, the 22nd Grand Master, de Molay moved from England to Cyprus, where he remained until Pope Clement V summoned him to France in 1307. There he was arrested and jailed by Philip the Fair.

De Molay confessed under torture to "denying Christ and trampling on the Cross," and on March 18, 1314 he was led out to publicly confess the order's sins and his own. On this occasion he recanted his previous confessions and asserted that he was guilty only of lying about his sins in order to relieve his torture. He was taken to Ile de la Cité in the Seine and burned alive, along with Geoffrey de Charney, the preceptor of Normandy. (more...)

6
Aasigil.jpg

The A∴A∴, or "Great White Brotherhood," is an organized fraternity of men and women dedicated to the spiritual advancement of humanity. The current structure of the organization was designed by Aleister Crowley and George Cecil Jones in 1906 from the ashes of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The A∴A∴ revealed Liber AL vel Legis to the world through the Prophet Aleister Crowley, as well as the other Holy Books of Thelema.

In An Account of A∴A∴, Aleister Crowley writes,

This community possesses a School, in which all who thirst for knowledge are instructed by the Spirit of Wisdom itself; and all the mysteries of nature are preserved in this school for the children of light. Perfect knowledge of nature and of humanity is taught in this school. It is from her that all truths penetrate into the world; she is the school of all who search for wisdom, and it is in this community alone that truth and the explantation of all mystery are to be found.

In "The System of the O.T.O", which originally appeared in Magick Without Tears, Crowley says,

The A∴A∴ concerns the individual, his development, his intitiation, his passage from "Student" to "Ipsissimus"; he has no contact of any kind with any other person except the Neophyte who introduces him, and any Student or Students whom he may, after becoming a Neophyte, introduce. (more...)
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Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961 EV) was a Swiss psychiatrist and founder of the neopsychoanalytic school of psychology. At university, he was a student of Krafft-Ebing. For a time, Jung was Freud's heir-apparent in the psychoanalytic school. After the publication of Jung's Symbols of Transformation (1912 EV), Jung and Freud endured a painful parting of ways: Jung seemed to feel confined by what he believed was Freud's narrow, reductionistic, and rigid view of libido. Freud held that all libido was at base sexual, while Jung's psychological work continued to explore libido as multiple and often synthetic.

Jungian psychology

Jung was wary of founding a 'school' of psychology, and his co-workers recall many occasions on which he made statements along the lines of "thank God I am Jung and not a Jungian." This being the case, the term 'Jungian' is a bit of a misnomer. Jung himself preferred the term 'analytical psychology'.

Contemporary analytical psychology has diversified considerably in recent decades, establishing a range of methods and viewpoints, and exploring areas that were insufficiently studied by Jung himself (most notably child psychology). (more...)

8
Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cross - the Queen of Sheba Meeting with Solomon , Detail. (c. 1452-66, Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy)

Solomon or Shlomo Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה; Standard Hebrew: Šəlomo; Tiberian Hebrew: Šəlōmōh, meaning "peace"; Arabic: سليمان Sulayman) in the Tanakh (Old Testament), also called Jedidiah, was the third and last King of united Israel (including Judah), builder of the Temple in Jerusalem, renowned for his great wisdom and wealth and power, but also blamed for his later pacifism toward his converted wives in their worship of other gods. He is the subject of many later legends. He is also in a line of the biggest Kabbalah masters.

The name Solomon The name Solomon (Shlomo) means "peaceful," from the Hebrew Shelomoh (Arabic Sulayman). The name given by God to Solomon in the Bible is Jedidiah, meaning "loved by God", (2 Samuel 12:25), and some scholars have conjectured that Solomon is a "king name" taken either when he assumed the throne or upon his death.

Solomon's case is one of the few in the Bible where the name given by God does not stay with the character. Solomon's birth is considered a grace from God, after the death of the previous child between David and Bathsheba. (more...)

9
(Amulet representing a ram-headed falcon. Ancient Egypt, 254 BC (26th year of the reign of Ramses II), found in the tomb of an Apis bull in the Serapaeum of Memphis at Saqqara. Gold, lapis, turquoise and cornelian.Photo by Guillaume Blanchard, July 2004.)

Horus (Also Heru-sa-Aset, Hrw, Hr, and Hor-Hekenu) is the falcon-headed god of ancient Egyptian mythology.

Like many other gods the nature of what he was and the legends and stories that went with him changed over the course of History|history. Horus was an amalgamation of other, related deities, all of whom were sun gods and associated with the royal prerogative and the sky. Because Horus was a combination of other gods, it is rarely correct to refer to "Horus" as Horus was as much a family of related deities (though many had differing parentages) unified in one being; something similar occurs in many Christians' interpretation of the one God who manifests in three parts.

Heru-ur (also called Harmerti) is the oldest version of Horus, and was a falcon creator-god who was known for restraining Apep. His eyes were the sun and the moon; during a new moon, he was blind and was called Mekhenty-er-irty ("he who has no eyes") and upon the return of his sight, he was called Khenty-irty ("he who has eyes"). While blind, Horus was quite dangerous, sometimes attacking his friends after mistaking them for enemies. He was a son of Geb and Nut and was the patron god of Letopolis. (more...)

10
A depiction of the execution of Mansur Al-Hallaj

Mansur Al-Hallaj (c. 858 - March 26, 922) was a Persian mystic, writer and teacher of Sufism. His full name was Abu al-Mughith al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj.

He was born around 858 in Tur, Iran to a wool seller. Al-Hallaj's grandfather may have been a Zoroastrian. His father lived a simple life, and this form of lifestyle greatly interested the young al-Hallaj. As a youngster he memorized the Qur'an and would often retreat from worldly pursuits to join other mystics in study.

Al-Hallaj would later marry and make a pilgrimage to Mecca. After his trip to the holy city, he traveled extensively and wrote and taught along the way. He travelled as far as India and Central Asia gaining many followers, many of which accompanied him on his second and third trips to Mecca. After this period of travel, he settled down in the Abbasid capital of Baghdad.

Among other Sufis, Al-Hallaj was an anomaly, many sufi masters felt that it was inappropriate to share mysticism with the masses, yet Al-Hallaj openly did so in his writings and through his teachings. He would begin to make enemies, and the rulers saw him as a threat. This was exacerbated by times when he would fall into trances which he attributed to being in the presence of God. During one of these trances, he would utter Ana al-Haqq, meaning "I am the Truth" and also, "In my turban is wrapped nothing but God?" which was taken to mean that he was claiming to be God, as Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety Nine Names of Allah. more...