— Peter J. Carroll British occultist 1953
Context: The first aeon comes out of the mists of time. It was an age of Shamanism and Magic when the rulers of men had a firm grasp on the psychic forces. Such forces conferred a high survival value on puny naked man living in intimate communion with the dangers of a hostile environment. This form of consciousness has left its mark in the various underground traditions of witchcraft and sorcery. It has also survived in the hands of several aboriginal cultures in which the powers were used to enforce social conformity.
The second Pagan aeon arose with a more settled way of life as agriculture and city dwelling began. As more complex forms of thought arose and men moved further away from nature, the knowledge of psychic forces became confused. Gods, spirits, and superstition uneasily filled the gaps created by loss of natural knowledge and man's expanding awareness of his own mind.
The third, or Monotheistic, aeon arose inside of the pagan civilizations and swept their fold form of consciousness away. The experiment begun once in Egypt but failed. It really came into its own with Judaism and later with Christianity and Islam, which were offshoots of this. In the East, Buddhism was the form it took. In the monotheistic aeon men worshiped a singular, idealized form of themselves.
The Atheistic aeon arose within Western monotheistic cultures and began to spread throughout the world, although the process is far from complete. It is far from being a mere negation of monotheistic ideas. It contains the radical and positive notions that the universe can be understood and manipulated by careful observation of the behavior of material things. The existence of spiritual beings is considered to be a question without any real meaning. Men look toward their emotional experience as the only ground of meaning.
Now some cultures have remained in one aeon while others have swept forward, but most have never completely freed themselves of the residues of the past. Thus sorcery tainted pagan civilizations and even our own. Paganism taints Catholicism, and Protestantism... There are signs that a fifth aeon is developing exactly where it my be expected — within the leading sections of the foremost atheist cultures.
The evolution of consciousness is cyclic in the form of an upward spiral. The fifth aeon represents a return to the consciousness of the first aeon but in a higher form.
Chaoist philosophy will again become a dominant intellectual and moral force. Psychic powers will increasingly be looked to for solutions to man's problems. A series of general and specific prophecies may be extrapolated from current trends to show how this will come about.