In 1890, there was a schism in the cult, so he left England and traveled in the Orient. He founded his own satanic organization. The Golden Dawn would be affected by a major schism among its founding members.
The Golden Dawn
The organization, founded in 1887 by Dr. William Robert Woodman, Dr. William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers, was a hermetic society whose members are taught the principles of Occult Sciences and the magick of Hermes, Greek messenger of the Gods and guide to the underworld.
Famous members included A. E. Waite, who created the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck which is the most popular one today, occultist and author Dion Fortune and poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats. Its system was based on the Kabalistic Tree of Life, with ten degrees and an eleventh one for neophytes. According to members, secrecy was mandatory to protect themselves from public exposure, but there are also the elements of power, control and deception.
This was the occultism that the upper middle class German immigrants brought to America with them in the late 1800s and is what distinguishes them from the Pennsylvania Dutch. Incorporated in its teachings were the Key of Solomon, Abra-Melin and Enochian magick, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, William Blake’s prophetic books and the Chaldean Oracles. Lessons were given in astral travel, scrying, alchemy, geomancy, the Tarot and astrology.
he Golden Dawn’s Internal Problems
In addition to Crowley’s expulsion, there was rampant in-fighting among founding members of the organization. Woodman died in 1891 and wasn’t replaced. Mathers produced an initiation ritual for the Adeptus Minor degree. Most of these rituals were based on Freemasonry. Many members thought that he was a little eccentric, possibly a lunatic.
He claimed his wife, Mina, received teachings from the Secret Chiefs through clairaudience, psychic hearing. Mathers translated The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage, which he claimed was bewitched and created by a nonphysical intelligence. He claimed the Secret Chiefs had initiated him into a Third Order and was expelled from the organization. In 1897, members discovered Westcott's questionable activities in founding The Golden Dawn. He resigned. Schisms beyond repair had formed within the organization.
In 1917, it was reestablished as the Merlin Temple of the Stella Matutina which lasted until the 1940s when it declined after the publication of its secret rituals by former member Israel Regardie, Crowley's one-time secretary.
Crowley and the Golden Dawn
The rise and fall of this hermetic organization parallels the history of many occult groups. Highly intelligent people with mystical beliefs found these organizations and attract others who share these qualities. Eventually there are internal conflicts for various reasons. Some splinter organizations of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn still exist. Aleister Crowley, a heroin addict, died in Hastings, England on December 1, 1947 from a respiratory infection. His teachings also live on
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