Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

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The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was an organization devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some people who were associated with the order and also with the Theosophical Society include William Wynn Westcott, Sir William Crookes, William Butler Yeats, Violet Tweedale, Florence Farr, Sidney Coryn, Isabelle de Steiger, Herbert Coryn, Oscar Wilde, John William Brodie-Inness, and allegedly, Robert Bowen.

The order incorporated elements of Theosophist Rama Prasad's work Nature's Finer Forces into its teachings.

Also, according to P. G. Bowen, the basis for the rituals of the Golden Dawn came from a "Club" founded in the 1860s in London for the practical teaching of magick, which was mentioned by Mahatma K.H. in Letter No. 11. Bowen writes:

My information concerning the Golden Dawn comes ... more directly from manuscripts left by my father [Robert Bowen], who was himself a member of the ‘Club’ mentioned by K.H. and was a very intimate friend of Anna Kingsford. He was also connected with the Golden Dawn in the early 90’s . . . He states definitely that Anna Kingsford, in 1885 (I think) formed an Inner Group in her Hermetic Society, and in it were Wynn Westcott and MacGregor Mathers. There was another member whom my father often mentions as ‘X’, or ‘A-A’ and sometimes as ‘Druid friend X’ or simply ‘The Druid’, and this person it was who brought the ‘Club’ material to A[nna]. K[ingsford]. Westcott and Mathers were given access to it, and later made it the basis of the Golden Dawn rituals. AE was an early member of the G.D.[1]

In the same letter (1937), P. G. Bowen says the following about Israel Regardie:

As for Regardie. I met him once in London, and he did not impress me, except for his obvious sincerity. I consider that he is a long ways short of the real inner knowledge. I have some doubts whether he possesses the real sequence of instruction which Mathers had, for the Golden Dawn split into innumerable branchlets, and the material was divided, and passed into the hands of many different persons of little knowledge.


  1. Letter to Mr. MacKinnon (July 22, 1937) preserved at Kenneth R. Small Archive of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society at Lomaland, 1874-1960 held in Special Collections University Archives, San Diego State University.