Glossary entry for
Golden Dawn

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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