Glossary entry for
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was an occult society founded in London in
1888 by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, Dr. William Wynn Westcott and Dr W. R. Woodman.
These men drew upon their backgrounds in Rosicrucian and Freemason societies to
form the rituals of the Golden Dawn. Astrology, tarot, Kabbala and the Egyptian
mysteries formed the backbone of their teachings. Well known members were W. B. Yeats, Maud Gonne, the actress
and author Florence Farr, Aleister Crowley, A. E. Waite, and the authors Algernon
Blackwood, Arthur Machen and John Brodie-Innes. Due to internal strife and
particularly the antics of the controversial Crowley, the Golden Dawn split up in
1902. Some members continued with their own occult/mystic groups. The Golden Dawn
set the standard for occult practices, and most twentieth century occult groups
are indebted to it in some way.
Contributed by Alan Pert, Sydney, Australia
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