AE (Æ), as he is more commonly known, was the Irish writer, painter, and mystic George William Russell (1867-1935). Russell was more of a crusader for external as well as internal liberation. He was a prominent attendee at local Theosophy meetings, and actually lived at their lodge for a number of years. In his early years he met with William Butler Yeats, who was also involved with the Theosophy Movement, and their friendship lasted a lifetime.
Russell was a natural mystic who explored the ‘supernatural’ realms through his paintings and his writings. He claimed to frequently experience trance states in which he would have visions of other times and places. These experiences were then aided by his own research into Gnosticism and non-western wisdom traditions. AE - George William Russell – was one in a long line of Gnostic ambassadors.