Aleister Crowley dabbled in many different arenas within the witchcraft and Neo-Paganism movement. He mingled throughout many circles that brought him closer to organizations that related to magic and spirituality. In this article, you will learn why the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is important in this history timeline, as well as a few significant books published during this time.
1890’s: Aleister Crowley becomes a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Other notables also joined this organization, which included the likes of William Butler Yeats. For those of you not familiar with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it is often referred to as the Golden Dawn and served as a magic-related order during the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Some of their practices involved the development of the spiritual self. The order was established by three men (Dr. William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers), who were Freemasons at the time and also members of another society. In the end, the practices and beliefs of the Golden Dawn would go on to influence many other associations.
1899: Aradia or the Goddess of the Witches is published , written by Charles Godfrey Leland.
1910: Crowley takes part in a meeting with the leader of German Masonic order known as the Ordo Templi Orientis (or O.T.O.). The group combines Masonic rites with a variety of traditions, including those of the Rosicrucians, the Templars, and the Illuminists. It wasn’t too long before Crowley became a part of the order, and over time surpassed varying levels associated with the order. In case you are not familiar with the above groups, the Rosicrucians belonged to a secret society consisting of mystics, who supposedly formed during late medieval German times and dealt with the ancient past, spirituality, and the physical universe. The Illuminists followed a belief system that centers on experiencing spiritual enlightenment.
1912: The Great Britain and Ireland branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis named Crowley their Grand Master. This international organization centered on religion was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. A popular law connected to the group stated “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” and “Love is the law, love under will.” Members become initiated into the secret society, going through a range of ceremonies and rituals, which focus on spiritual and philosophical teachings. Charters were spread across France, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, and the United States.
1921: The Witch-Cult in Western Europe is published by Margaret Alice Murray , a British anthropologist and Egyptologist who became rather prominent in her academic circles. She contributed greatly to the realm of Egyptology and was well into the study of folklore, which influenced the theories regarding various cultures and religion, especially those with a connection to the Horned God. It is said that her ideas were important to the start of Wicca and other neopagan religions. Many historians were not pleased with her association with witchcraft because they felt she used evidence inaccurately just to prove a theory.