The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
A secret society devoted to studying and practicing of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the latter parts of the last century and early part of the 20th century.
Most notibly a magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was active in Great Britain and focused its practices on theurgy and spiritual development.
While numerous present-day concepts and ideas of ritual and magic that are at the centre of contemporary traditions, such as Wicca and Thelema, were inspired by the Golden Dawn, which became one of the largest single influences on 20th century Western occultism.
Alistair Crowley & the Golden Dawn.
Alistair Crowley born Edward Alexander Crowley, on the 12th of October 1875, died 1st of December 1947, was a noted and controversial occultist.Founding the religion of Thelema, he wrote widely, identifying himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century.
Unconventionally defiant, he lived life according to his own dictum: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’
While being a prolific writer, he published widely over the course of his life.Born to a well to do family in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected his parents’ fundamentalist Christian Plymouth Brethren faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism.
On a visit to Sweden, he experienced a life-changing vision which persuaded him of his spiritual vocation, a calling which he marked by changing his name to Aleister.
He was educated at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, where he focused his attentions on mountaineering and poetry, resulting in several publications.
In 1898, he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was trained in ceremonial magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he went mountaineering in Mexico with Oscar Eckenstein, before studying Hindu and Buddhist practices in India.
A brilliant climber, big game hunter, and inveterate traveller, Crowley explored Mexico, India, Egypt, America, and much more besides.He married Rose Edith Kelly and in 1904 they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt, where Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema.
After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain, where he attracted attention as a prolific author of poetry, novels, and occult literature. In 1907, he and George Cecil Jones co-founded an esoteric order, the A∴A∴, through which they propagated Thelema.
In 1920, he established the Abbey of Thelema, a religious commune in Cefalù, Sicily where he lived with various followers. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923.
He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death.
In 1920, he moved to Sicily, where he established the Abbey of Thelema as the headquarters for his new religion. Here he pursued spiritual enlightenment, declaring himself Ipssissimus – beyond the Gods – in 1921.
Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual, and an individualist social critic. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over Western esotericism and the counterculture and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema.
He is the subject of various biographies and academic studies.
While Crowley’s interests combined the erotic and the esoteric.
Gradually he evolved his own set of beliefs which drew on Oriental, ancient Egyptian, and an assortment of other traditions.
The wickedest man in the world?
During the Thelema Abbey scandal, one newspaper referred to Crowley as ‘the wickedest man in the world.’
He would have denied this, claiming that his work was truly good because it freed men from earthly rules and opened up truly spiritual experiences.
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn from the Latin: Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae; or, aka, the Golden Dawn (Aurora Aurea)).