Hermetic Lodge

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The Hermetic Lodge of the Theosophical Society was formed in London on April 9, 1884. This branch was a split from the London Lodge, formed by those who followed Anna Bonus Kingsford and her efforts to promote a revival of mystical and esoteric Christianity, the Kabbalah, and the teachings of the Hermetic philosophy. However, the Lodge did not last and was dissolved on April 22, to give origin to an independent organization, the Hermetic Society.


When A. P. Sinnett moved back to London on April, 1883, he joined the London Lodge, of which Dr. Anna Kingsford was the President.

Soon, tensions aroused between those who wanted to follow Mr. Sinnett's emphasis on Eastern teachings and those who preferred Dr. Kingsford's interest in Western esotericism.

Once it was seen that the two groups could not work together an attempt was made to run two Lodges simultaneously. On April 9, 1884, Colonel Olcott chartered the "Hermetic Lodge" for the study of the Kabalistic and Hermetic teachings under the inspiration of Dr. Kingsford.

The first meeting was held at the Chambers of Mr. C. C. Massey, and Mohini Chatterji made an address. Col. Olcott wrote:

Besides Mrs. Kingsford, Mr. Maitland, Mr. Kirby, and Mr. Massey, there were present Lady Wilde, her sons Oscar and William, and the wife and daughters of the late Dr. Keneally. These three ladies applied for, and were admitted into, membership.[1]


A number of members of the Lodge wanted to belong also to the London Lodge to profit from the instructions that came through Mr. Sinnett. Since this kept alive the conflict, Col. Olcott felt forced to issue a new rule to the effect that no person was allowed to be an active member in more than one Branch simultaneously.

The members of the Hermetic Lodge where unhappy about the situation so, after consultations with Mr. Massey, Col. Olcott suggested that Mrs. Kingsford should return her charter and form an independent society, thus making those members able to belong to both.[2]

On April 22, 1884, the Hermetic Lodge surrendered its Charter, and on May 9 it reconstituted itself under the name of the Hermetic Society. Col. Olcott was present at this inaugural meeting made a friendly address of good wishes and sympathy for the new society.

Mrs. Kingsford and E. Maitland retained their membership to the London Lodge until December 24, 1884.


  1. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Third Series (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 97.
  2. Henry Steel Olcott, Old Diary Leaves Third Series (Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974), 101.