Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » World Religions » Esoteric Religions » Golden Dawn

Various religious organizations using the name Golden Dawn are similar to one another, and to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which splintered in the late 1800s due to personality clashes, in no small part related to Aleister Crowley's involvement in the organization.

Current Orders of the Golden Dawn are the result of a reconstruction of the original organization or splinter groups. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was once the largest magic cabal in the United Kingdom, although it didn't last long.

Although it claimed earlier origins, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was officially founded by William Wynn Westcott, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and William Robert Woodman in the 1880s.

The Cipher Manuscripts, a sixty-page collection of magical initiation rituals, believed to have been written in 1809, served as the organization's foundational documents. Golden Dawn tradition is that the manuscripts had passed from Kenneth R.H. Mackenzie, a Masonic scholar, to the Reverend A.F.A. Woodford, who is sometimes named as the Golden Dawn's fourth founder, although he died shortly after the Order was founded. Woodford passed the manuscript on to William Wynn Westcott, a Freemason, who decoded them in 1887.

Westcott called on Mathers for help in turning the documents into a system of order for the organization, and Mathers included Woodman in the task. Mathers is credited with designing the curriculum and rituals for the Second Order, which he called the Rosae Rubae et Aureae Crucis, or Ruby Rose and Golden Cross, while Mathers and Westcott were chiefly responsible for developing the ritual outlines in the Cipher Manuscripts into a workable format.

The decoded manuscripts included the address of Anna Sprengel, a prominent Rosicrucian who claimed to be able to contact a group of supernatural entities known as the Secret Chiefs, who were regarded as the authorities over any magical order. Reportedly, Westcott received permission through Sprengel to establish a Golden Dawn temple and to appoint Westcott, Mathers, and Woodman to the level of Adeptus Exemptus.

The Isis-Urania Temple was founded in London in 1887. Contrasting with Freemasonry and the Rosicrucian Order, women were accepted on an equal basis with men.

The Golden Dawn was the first of three Orders, the second being the Ruby Rose and Cross of Gold, and the third was that of the Secret Chiefs, although all three were together known as Golden Dawn.

Within the first few years, a series of personal problems led to the organization's dissipation and splintering. In 1891, Westcott's correspondence with Sprengel ceased, ending contact with the Secret Chiefs. Mathers professed to have established a link, supplying the rituals for the Second Order. Later, Westcott claimed that Mathers had assembled these rituals from other sources. Other members came to doubt the existence of the Secret Chiefs.

In 1897, Westcott broke ties with the Golden Dawn, leaving Mathers in charge. By 1899, the other Adepts were concerned with the leadership of Mathers, and his growing reliance on Aleister Crowley. When Crowley was refused initiation into the Adeptus Minor grade, Mathers vetoed their decision and initiated Crowley in 1900, prompting the expulsion of Mathers from the Order. Splinter groups began to form thereafter, while many others resigned from the Order, eventually leading to the closure of its temples, the last in 1978.

In recent years, an attempt at reconstruction of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn remains active, while other splinter groups are still in operation.

Contemporary Golden Dawn organizations include the reconstructed Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn, the Fellowship of the Golden Dawn, Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti, Golden Dawn Universum, Golden Dawn Ancient Mystery School, the Order of the Stella Matutina, Sodalitas Rosae+Crucis et Solis Alati, Orden Hermética de la Aurora Dorada, Ordem Esotérica da Aurora Dourada no Brasil, the Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn, the August Order of the Mystic Rose, the Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Alpha Omega Rosicrucian Mystery School, the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn.

Any of these, or others that may not have been mentioned here, are the focus of topics in this category. Denominations, associations, orders, organizations, or affiliated schools, publishing companies, or other entities associated with the Golden Dawn are appropriate topics for this category. Informational sites related to the Golden Dawn may also be submitted to this category, whether supportive or confrontational.



Recommended Resources

Search for Golden Dawn on Google or Bing