George William Russell was an Irish nationalist and organizer, an essayist, a poet, a painter, and a mystic.
Russell worked for many years with the Irish Agricultural Organization Society (IAOS), a farm and land co-op. He became an important organizer and spokesman for the group, helping to establish local credit unions that would work for the people they served and build local communities. The IAOS stood in opposition to the established banks that answered only to their stockholders in London.
Russell was a close friend of his contemporary, W. B. Yeats.
As with many spiritually-minded people of his era, he was a theosophist, interested in clairvoyance and Eastern mysticism.
He adopted his pen name “AE” for Aeon, to suggest the transcendent quest of the human spirit.