Monday, January 14, 2008
THE HERMETIC ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DAWN
- One of the most famous occult societies of the 20th Century.
- The Theosophical Society was formed in 1875 by Blavatsky and Colonel Henry Olcott, originally focused on Western mysticism. In the early 1880's Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland joined the TS, and by 1884 they were the heads of the London Lodge of the TS.
- When Blavatsky and Olcott converted to Buddhism and changed their focus to Eastern mysticism Kingsford and Maitland left the TS and formed the Hermetic Society. This group attracted S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Dr. W. Wynn Westcott.
- The Golden Dawn was then formed in 1888 by Westcott, supported by Mathers and Dr. William Robert Woodman. Their goal was to continue the tradition of Western mysticism that had been abandoned by the Theosophical Society.
- These three men were steeped in the philosophies of freemasonry, rosicrucianism and the cabala. Westcott was a master mason and the secretary general of the SRIA, latin for the Rosicrucian Society of England. Woodman was a leading member of the SRIA and an expert cabalist. He initially played a lead role in developing Golden Dawn's cabalistic studies, but he died in 1891.
- Prominent members of the Golden Dawn include Florence Farr, the famous stage actress and head of the London branch; William Butler Yeats, also a member of the TS and friend of Blavatsky, who earned a Nobel Prize for literature in 1924; and Aleister Crowley, the celebrated Satanist and black magician.
- Until his death in 1991 Ellic Howe was the world's foremost authority on the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley. He was inducted into UGLE in 1970 ,and then only eight years later he was elected Grand Master of the QC Lodge.
- After Howe died Robert A. Gilbert became the most respected promoter of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley. He replaced Howe as the Grand Master of the QC Lodge. His book on the GD features an intro by Israel Regardie who was Crowley's friend, biographer and personal secretary. Regardie had also been involved in promoting LSD.