Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 0, Vernal Equinox 2001
1. The beginning is, of course, Creation. The tradition of the waters, while prominent in the Hebrew Bible, is not limited to the Judeo/Christian tradition; in fact it appears to be much older. The waters of creation can be traced to ancient Egyptian mythology, in the waters of the primordial Nu or Nun, which represents the watery chaos before creation.
Before the ancient Egyptian legends can be found the ancient Sumerian creation epic, the Enuma Elish. Here we find the gods rebel against their parents, Apsu and Tiamat. Apsu and Tiamat represent the watery chaos from which creation came. Tiamat is imaged as a great serpent or dragon, similar to the later Hebrew Leviathan. The similarity does not end here. In the Enuma Elish Tiamat is defeated by the god Marduk, who has been given the powers of the other gods. Markduk splits Tiamat’s body in half, creating the world. The splitting of Tiamat’s body to create the sky and land and waters below as a direct parallel in the first creation story in Genesis.
The creation of humanity from redness is once again a reference to both the Hebrew Bible and the Enuma Elish. In Genesis man, adam, is created from the dust of the ground. It is interesting to note that the word adam is derived from adamah, which means red earth, perhaps a type of red clay. The derivation of adam from adamah is a typical play on words used in Hebrew literature. In the Enuma Elish we are told that humanity is created from the blood of the god Kingu, who enticed Tiamat to wage war against Her children. While there is no mention of redness in Egyptian mythology concerning the creation of humanity, the use of clay is. The god Khnemu, who is depicted with a ram’s head, is often shown sculpting the first human from clay on a potter’s wheel.
2. Humanity, “male and female,” as well as the “living in bliss” is also found in other sources than the Hebrew Bible. The importance of humanity being created male and female is also stressed in the Zohar, written by Moses de Leon in the early part of the 14th century. The Zohar says that “any image that does not embrace male and female is not a high and true image”. While this can refer to the sexual mysteries of the Shekinah, a modern form of the Hebraic Wisdom, it can also mean that the aspirant towards the divine must have both their masculine and feminine aspects well balanced before spiritual progress is possible.
Finally we come to the Tree of Life, a symbol which can be found in many cultures around the world. This symbol, important to both Jewish and Hermetic Qabalah will eventually become the foundation of Hermetic Qabalah, almost to the detriment of other the branches of Qabalah. The Tree being “hidden all around humanity in plain sight” refers to the nature of the Tree as a symbol of manifestation and therefore creation, which humanity partakes of but is often blind to.
3. In Qabalistic tradition it is said that Adam, after he and Eve were forced out of the Garden, was given the Qabalah by the angels. Another story states that it is God’s revelation to Adam. I find no conflict between these two myths as the original Hebrew word for angel translates to messenger. It would have been likely, then, that God’s revelation would have been given through His messengers.
The “Path of Return” is phrase common to mysticism and it refers to the methods which humanity can use to return to its divine nature, i.e. the return to God-head. Almost every culture has its own mystical path designed to bring the aspirant closer to their conception of the Divine. In the mythological narrative I have created a mythical, primordial, Path of Return from which all others stem.
4. Humanity’s arrogance, in this segment, is a reference to the building of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is sometimes cited as being a ziggurat located in the ancient city of Babylon. The list of people from Methuselah onward has its origins in the Hebrew Bible, however its importance lies elsewhere. The story of Lamech, and especially his children, who are named Jabell, Tuball, Tuball Cain, and Naamah, are of great importance to the history of Freemasonry. It is in the “Legend of the Craft” that we learn that the sons of Lamech; Jabell, Tuball, and Tuball Cain, are responsible for the founding of geometry, smithing and weaving. The three sons, prophetically aware of the impending doom upon humanity carve all their knowledge upon two stone pillars so that it may not be lost with the destruction of the world by water. It is from the pillar of geometry that Freemasonry would have been derived. These pillars were the prototype of the Pillars of Boaz and Jachin used in Masonic ritual and later Pillars of Hermes and Solomon in Golden Dawn tradition.
5. The Flood is an aspect of many religions around the world, not just an aspect of the Hebrew Bible. The Bow of Heaven refers to the Rainbow of Promise that God sets in the heavens as a sign that he will never destroy the Earth by water. The Enuma Elish gives us a another Bow. This is the bow which Marduk used in His battle against Tiamat. We are told that he placed the bow in the heavens and made it shine.
6. The Flood is also featured in Babylonian mythology. We are told of at least one survivor; Utnapishtim. He is not, however, just a Babylonian character but was also given the name Noah by the ancient Hebrews. We may also find the parallels to the Hebrew bible in the Epic of Gilgamesh (corresponding verses from the Hebrew bible noted on the left):
Habiru is an Akkadian term denoting social outcasts, slaves and nomads. This word has been sited as the source of from which ‘Hebrew’ was developed .
7. The story of Noah’s granddaughter, Bith, and her son Fintan, is derived from Irish folk lore. Fintan, who is called the Blind One, the Salmon of Wisdom, and Goll of Assaroe is an important figure in Irish mythology. The Salmon of Wisdom is the oldest of the totem animals in Celtic mythology. It is from the Salmon that information is gained to free Mabon in the Mabinogion. Fintan’s own story is one of the transmigration of souls. He never dies but changes forms throughout history. Finally he takes the form of a man once the “age of humanity” is established after the flood.
8. According to Akkadian mythology, Gilgamesh’s parentage made him three-quarters deity. After the death of his close friend, Enkidu, the mighty Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, despaired of his own death and sought a plant which would make him immortal. To do this he had to travel to Utnapishtim, who lived across the Sea of Death. Even though Gilgamesh retrieves the plant, in the end he does not use it, and retains his mortality.
While it is not explicit, we may find concealed in this story an ancient initiatory path. Seen as such, Enkidu, who is the archetypal Wild Heardsman, acts as one of Gilgamesh’s initiators. It is Enkidu who introduces Gilgamesh to the mysteries of death. Utnapishtim acts as a second initiator then. He introduces Gilgamesh to the mysteries of life, which ultimately Gilgamesh is not ready for.
9. This section includes both Greek and British mythology. Chronos is chained by his son Zeus, at “the outermost edge of the world on the Isles of the Blest.” These Isles are associated with the British Isles. Because of this act, the British Isles are said to have become a place where the veil between this world and the Otherworld is thin and easily passed. ‘Otherworld’ refers to the mythological Celtic realm where the Mysteries of the Isles are kept. The beings of the Otherworld are gods and fairies. Many of the heroes of Welsh and Irish mythology also travel there. All of these beings travel between the worlds, but rarely stay in one or the other.
10. This is a summery of the first and second Battles of Moytura, which can be found in the Irish Book of Invasions. The concept of the mystical Sovereignty of a place, represented by the genus loci, has a long history in both Welsh and Irish mythology and mystical practice. This subject is explored in-depth by Caitlín Matthews in her books Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain and Arthur and the Sovereignty of Britain.
11. Here we briefly mention the Norse gods. Until the 20th century, with the Nordic mysticism of Hitler and the later creation of the neo-pagan religion of Asatru (which has nothing to do with Hitler), the mythologies surrounding this area largely passed by the Western Mystery Tradition. Most of the focus on Northern mythology has been on the Celts.
12. This point introduces the mythologies of ancient Egypt, focusing on what is probably one of the most well known stories, that of the death of Osiris.
13. Here Osiris takes up the role of the Dying God, made famous by the works of Sir James Frazer. The theme of the Dying God is ancient and can be seen in cultures all over the world, the latest version of which is the Christos, or Jesus the Christ. While these two versions of the Dying God myth are quite distinct, they both fall under the Way of Sacrifice and thus have more in common that might be visible on the surface. It is interesting to note that the Golden Dawn and its Inner Order, the Rosae Rubae et Aurae Crucis, use both deities to express this Path of Return.
It is from the black soil that the Nile river brings to Egypt every year that Egypt was given the name Kemet, which means black earth. The mythology here states that when Set dismembered Osiris he threw his genitals into the Nile, and they were eaten by a fish. It is through the life giving potency of Osiris that the Nile generated the black, life giving soil. However, because Isis could not find Osiris’ genitals he could not be fully restored to the land of the living. Instead he became King of the Underworld, the Taut.
14. A recount of part of Exodus.
15. This is part of the story of Hermes Trismigistus, from whom the term ‘hermetics’ is derived, along with the Greek god of the same name. It was Artapanus, a Jewish writer in the second-century B.C.E. who placed the life of Hermes during the time of Moses, who is called Mosheh in Hebrew.
The mythology of Trismigistus, which means ‘Thrice-Grand’, is mixed and very long. Over time Trismigistus, which I will use to differentiate between him and the god Hermes proper, was given the properties of the Egytpian god Djehuti (Thoth), the Greek Hermes; who had long been associated with Djehuti, and the Roman Mercury. These associations made Trismigistus the one who invented hieroglyphics as well as a mighty magician and sage. Eventually Trismigistus is identified with both of these gods, becoming truly immortal and timeless.
16. The Art of Kemet is one translation of the word alchemy; ‘al-chem-y.’
17. Ur was located just West of the Euphrates river, near where the Tigris and Euphrates join and go into the Persian Gulf. It is from here that Abram, who’s name is later changed to Abraham in Genesis, originated from. Abraham’s Mesopotamian heritage may explain the many parallels between Akkadian mythology and that which is in the Book of Genesis, as Abraham, or the group of people which he may represent, would have been extremely familiar with the religion of the area. The myths of the Hebrew’s likely evolved from its Akkadian roots through cultural exchanges as the Hebrews traveled throughout the ancient Middle East.
18. The Mil is a figure from Irish mythology. He plays no role in the stories associated with his children, instead the Mil seems to have already gained his fame and power. The wife of the Mil, is said, in the Book of Invasions, to be the daughter of the king of Egypt. The Mil’s sons are the mythological conquerors of Ireland, taking the land away from the Tuatha de Dannan. These entitieswere relagated to the role of the sidhe, or faire folk. The Celtic Sovereignty involves the spirit of the land, represented by any number of women and goddesses in Irish and Welsh mythology. Sovereignty chooses a particular person who is united with the land and its people on a mystical level to be the guardian and ruler of the land. In this case it is Aimairgin, a great bard, who achieves this through his poetry. It is because he has gained Sovereignty’s cooperation that humanity is able to conquer the Tuatha de Dannan and inhabit the land.
19. See point 15.
20. The Egyptian mystery religions were extremely popular in ancient Greece. The Samothracian mysteries revolved around the goddess Hekete, a goddess of the Underworld and of magic, and the three Kabiri of Lemnos; Axieros, Axiokersos, and Axiokersa are also prominent. A fourth, kasmilos, is murdered; Kasmilos. The story of Kasmilos has many parallels with that of the Masonic story of Hiram Abif. Hiram was one of the Master Masons in charge of the building of Solomon’s Temple. He is later slain by three other masons, much like Kasmilos is slain by the three other Kabiri.
21. Here is the beginning of the 500 years of the so-called ‘Pax Romana.’ The Roman Emperors, were worshipped as gods, in a manner similar to the Egyptian Pharaohs. These Emperors conquered most of the known world by the time of Jesus’s birth. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul, and many Roman era buildings, foundations, and even cities still stand in England.
22. This is the story of the founding of ancient nations of Israel and Judea, on the shores of the Dead Sea. In the Hebrew Bible David is forbidden by God to build the Temple. During this time the Ark of the Covenant resides in its Tabernacle. It is not until Solomon, David’s son, is king that the first Temple is built.
Solomon is the reputed author of a number of grimoires; books of magic spells and talismans. The most famous of these are the Lemegeton, containing the infamous “Goetia,” and the Greater Key of Solomon.
23. Herod features in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and generally malevolent in both books. While Herod was not directly responsible for building the second temple, he participated in its 500 year building program. His own contribution was to rebuild the façade of the Temple so that it once again appeared like the original Temple.
24. The term Jew is derived from Judea, one of the two kingdoms which would go to make up Israel. Eventually Judea fell but the term lingered. The Law refers to Torah, the five books of Moses. The literal translateion is ‘law’.
25. The word tradition important and goes back to Qabalah, which means tradition. Merkavah mysticism is derived directly from the Vision of Ezekial. In this vision he sees the Throne of God and the four living creatures, the chayoth, later identified as kerubim, before it. The fragments of this tradition exist in Hebrew mystical literature from the first century B.C.E. through to the 10th century C.E..
The method used by the Merkavah mystic, to ascend to the Throne of God, is remarkably similar to what we now know as skrying or astral projection. The mystic would traverse through seven temples in a trance-like state. Every temple had eight guards. Each guard had to be neutralized with a Name of power or a seal for the mystic to continue. In astral projection one may need to test and conversely pass the tests, of various spirits in order to further progress into the inner planes.
Even those who are capable of making the ascent will not necessarily survive the attempt, especially if the aspirant is unprepared or unworthy.
It should be noted that Merkavah mysticism differs from “standard” mysticism, in that the mystic does not attempt to gain direct gnosis of the divine. Instead the goal is the contemplation of the body of the divine upon its throne.
26. The Philosophy of Oracles is better known as the Chaldaean Oracles. These were written by Julian the Theurge in the second century C.E., though they are often attributed to the Persian mystic Zoroaster. Iamblichus of Chalcis would later attempt to use the Oracles to support a religion of his invention by presenting them as the actual religious texts of ancient Chaldea.
Besides these texts by Julian, real Chaldaean writings would be used throughout history. There is evidence of an 11th century archbishop making use of Chaldaean theurgy to summon demons. In the 19th century the Golden Dawn would use passages from the Chaldaean Oracles in its 3=8 and 4=7 rituals of Practicus and Philosophus.
27. This point starts the story of Joshuah, who was called Jesus in Greek. In the canonical Gospels of Matthew and of Luke we are given Jesus’ lineage. These trace Jesus back to king David. This is included to further credit the claim that Jesus fulfills the prophecy in the Hebrew Bible of the coming of the Messiah.
28. The various acts and feats of Jesus, depicted in the New Testament are akin to those of many other magicians during the time, and are similar to the feats of Moses. Jesus is unique in his selfless attitude towards his abilities; he does not perform them for his own fame but for the sake of others.
The phrase “Son of God” is occasionally cited to show that Jesus is accepted as God. This is a common phrase in Judaism. This title can be found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to a number of kings and prophets. Conversley, the term “Son of Man” was not widely used and seems to be an epitaph unique to Jesus.
As previously stated, the Path of Return attributed to Jesus is that of the Dying God or the Way of Sacrifice. While the Gospels differ on many points about the life and ministry of Jesus this is perhaps the one thing they do agree on. What makes Jesus’ specific form of magical-mysticism a Path of Return, as opposed to a form of enlightenment specific to the man Jesus, is his assurance that his enlightened state can be gained by his followers. He preached that by following him one can know God. Everything that he has done we shall be able to do, and more. By following his Path of Return to the end Jesus would have achieved God-head. One following Jesus’ path would, presumably, experience a similar kind of gnosis of the Higher.
29. Jesus’ message and Path is continually rejected by his contemporaries. This rejection by both the Jews and Roman hierarchy leads to Jesus’ eventual death. Three of the four canonical gospels also tell of his resurrection. This resurrection which parallels the Hebrew patriarch Enoch, who “walked with God; and he was not, for God took him”. Jesus is accepted by his followers to be an aspect of God. Enoch is considered to have become the archangel Metatron, who is the Voice of God.
30. This passage refers to more than just the New Testament. Over the last 60 years discoveries such as those at Qumran and the Nag Hamaddi have given us many, more writings attributed to Jesus and his disciples.
As previously discussed, Jesus states “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father”. It is not a coincidence that this passage occurs in the Gospel of John, which is thought to be Gnostic in nature. The teaching of many Gnostic sects read is that it is unnecessary to go through a priest to achieve gnosis of God. Only belief in Jesus is necessary.
31. The Second Temple is destroyed in 70 C.E.. Jesus makes a number of predictions about this in the various Gospels, and it did occurs approximately 30 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is now referred to as the Christos, which means “anointed.” Jesus’ anointing occurs before his death. The term is being used here to differentiate between Jesus before his crucifixion and after his resurrection and ascension.
32. The Cult of the Dying God, as well as the Path of Return associated with it, has already been discussed.
The “old images” referred to are those of Isis and the baby Horus. It can be seen that many of Mary’s attributes are derived from goddesses of an earlier period, one example is the doves of Aphrodite. Her image is also derived from older sources. The first churches and images dedicated to Mary were originally dedicated to Isis. The Marian title the theotokos or “Mother of God,” was also originally applied to Isis.
33. History shows us that Christianity spread quickly once it was no longer persecuted by the Romans. The ecumenism of the early Church fathers helped them to create a religion and iconography from that which was already familiar to the practitioners of the prevalent religions of the time. An example of this has been discussed above in the use of Isis imagery for Mary.
The two cults discussed here, Christos as Man and Christos as God, refer to the sects which would become the Catholic Church and the Gnostics. The appellations are meant to refer to where these sects put the emphasis in the mythology surrounding Jesus. The central aspect of the Jesus myth to the Catholic Church, and especially to Paul, is Jesus having been born a human. The Gnostic’s emphasis was on Jesus as God. They claimed that it was simply a man who died upon the cross and not the Christos, who was God. God cannot be killed in any way.
34. The old teachings referred to in this point are not Christian texts, rather the classical writings of the Greek philosophers and the supposedly ancient Gnostic writings. These Gnostic works were attributed to Hermes Trismigistus, and include the Corpus Hermeticum, which was actually written in the first century C.E.
The differences between the proto-Catholic Church and the Gnostic teachings go beyond their views of Jesus. The end goal of the Christos’ Path of Return is also different. The goal of the Church was a place in God’s kingdom after the Apocalypse, commonly denoted as “going to heaven.” The Gnostics placed emphasis gaining direct knowledge of deity, the process of gnosis, thus becoming like Jesus and God.
35. By the fourth century C.E. the early Catholic Church had gained the endorsement of the Roman Emperor and his court. In 325 C.E. the church council at Nicea developed the creed which is still used, in an only slightly modified form, by the Catholic Church. With the Creed the doctrine of the Trinity becomes dogma.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
36. With the fall of the second Temple priestly Judaism ceased to exist. Eventually Rabbinic Judaism form in its place and exists to this day.
37. The Book of Illumination, or the Bahir, is one of the oldest texts which is considered part of the Qabalistic tradition. Previous texts represent other forms of Jewish mysticism, such as Merkavah mysticism. It is in this book that the structure of the Tree of Life first appears. The later Qabalistic masterpiece, the Zohar, contains a great deal of commentary and expansion upon topics discussed in the Bahir.
38. The religion of Islam is founded in 622 C.E.. Mohammed, then a camel herder, received from the archangel Gabriel what would later be known as the Koran. Today Islam is one of the worlds largest religions.
39. Our attention returns to the British Isles. The Cymric lands are what is today commonly known as Wales. Bran is a Welsh god, who is of giant stature. In the Welsh Mabinogion Bran sacrificed himself so that the sovereignty of Wales, and the entirety of Britain, would be secure. He accomplishes this by having his head cut off. This head retains the ability to speak, and is buried under White Tower, in London, facing France. It was said that as long as the head remained there Britain would remain safe. When Arthur ascended the throne as a Pendragon, he dug up Bran’s head, stating that he should be the only one to protect Britain’s Sovereignty. Pendragon is the title given to the king of the land, who rules under Sovereignty. The Line of the Pendragons is discussed in detail in Caitlín Matthew’s Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain: An Exploration of the Mabinogion. Myrddin is the Welsh name for Merlin, the famous shaman/magician.
40. This is a mix of mythology and popular misconception. When exactly the Druids disappeared is unknown. Numerous authors state that when Christianity first came to the Isles the Druids welcomed it and worked along side of it. With Saint Patrick however this began to change and the authority of the Christ was exerted over that of the old gods. This information, however, may not be accurate. Evidence shows that early Celtic Christianity detested paganism and actively worked to destroy anything that hinted of it. In the 18th and 19th centuries when a highly Christianized form of Druidry was being developed that the above history was fabricated to make Druidry appear to be a pre-Christian Christian religion.
The Cauldron of the Goddess, of which there are many different versions in both Welsh and Irish mythology, is considered to be a prototype of the later Christian Holy Grail , which was alternatively Jesus’ cup at the last supper or the cup in which his blood was caught when he was crucified. This was said to have then been brought to Glastonbury, in Britain, by Joseph of Arimathea and his group of early Christian followers. Another Grail legend is that it was retrieved by Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve, from the Garden of Eden.
41. The legends surrounding Arthur’s death show that he returned some of the Hallows; the sacred items of the Sovereignty of the land, back to their keeper. Most notably we find the returning of his sword, Excalibur, to the Lady of the Lake. Arthurian legend holds that Arthur did not die of his wounds but was taken to Avalon where he was healed. It is said that he now waits in Avalon until the time when he is needed again in the world.
42. This is the time up to the Crusades of the Catholic Church. During this period, and later in the middle ages, the Church accepted some of the teachings which came out of classical Greece and Rome, such as the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato. Anything which was unacceptable, however, was destroyed. At the same time, Islam was spreading. Islamic scholars had a great respect for teachings older than their own and many of the ancient texts were translated into Arabic. It is from these translations that we have most of our knowledge about the ancient Greek philosophers.
43. History tells us that many people in Christian Europe believed that the new millennium, the year 1001, would bring with it the apocalypse promised in the Bible. With the spread of the Plague this seemed to be true. In retrospect, of course, we can see that it was not the case.
The first Crusade against the Muslims, who now controlled the Holy Land, began in 1096. There was a total of seven campaigns (not including the Peasants Crusade and the Children’s Crusade), the last in 1248.
44. The history of the Knights Templar is well documented. The Templars were formed at the end of the first Crusade. Nine nobles were encamped at the corner of the stables of the Temple of Jerusalem. The nobles were lead by Hugh de Payens, their first grand master. They were made an official part of the Church Militant with the aid of Bernard of Clairvaux.
45. Part of the Templar myth is that the group of original nine nobles found something buried at the Temple site. Theories abound as to what it may have been; anything from a talking head to the ark of the covenant, or hidden scrolls with the true teachings of Jesus on them. Some modern Templar speculators believe that whatever was found in the Temple was taken to Rosslyn, in Scotland before the demise of the Order.
Instead of these theories, we have chosen to follow the lead of Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips of the Aurum Solis. Denning and Osborne, in Foundations of High Magick, claim that what the Templars found in the site was information on the Ogdoadic tradition. This tradition stems from the traditions of Byzantium and the Near and Middle East and means “pertaining to the number eight”. The authors believe that the Templars, in adopting an eight-pointed star as their symbol later in the history of the Order, points to their initiation into the Ogdoadic tradition.
46. In 1307 Philip the IV of France had all of the Templars of the French Order rounded up and imprisoned on various, largely fictitious charges. By this time the Templars had grown in both size and power. They had become so powerful that they could defy anyone but the Papal throne itself. Regardless which version of history one would like to believe about what happened to the Templars after the suppression, all of them assert that some of the Templar mysteries survived the Order’s destruction.
47. The Zohar, or the Book of Enlightenment, was written at the end of the 13th century by Moses de Leon. Exactly where de Leon received the information that is contained in the Zohar is unknown. De Leon claimed that he copied the Zohar from an ancient source. There is evidence, within the text of the Zohar, that de Leon was an initiate of the Bahir. It is also believed that some of it came through automatic writing, which may very well have appeared to be a true transmission from the Divine.
48. During this general time period another event significant to the WMT mythology occurred. During the 14th century, Christian Rosenkreuz, the mythological founder of the Rosicrucians, is said to have been born. Christian Rosenkreuz, is called Father C.R.C. in the Fama Fraternitatis, the first of the Rosicrucian manifestos that appeared in Germany in the early 17th century. His history his told in both the Fama and the Confessio Fraternitatis. It is not until the third Rosicrucian tract, The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkruetz, was published in 1616 that the name Christian Rosenkreuz was used. It is the belief of some authors that Christian Rosenkreuz and C.R.C. refer to two different people. Doctor Paul Foster Case, in his True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order explores the evidence to this theory. Case points out that Johann Valentine Andreae has been identified as the author of the Chemical Wedding, and that its style is different from the first two manifestos. Christopher McIntosh refutes this in his Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order, however. He cites evidence that Andreae and his friends where the source of the entire Rosicrucian myth. The Rosicrucian mythology, and its Path of Return which mimics the life of the Christos, has become perhaps the most well known aspect of the WMT. Countless occult and philosophical societies based upon Rosicrucianism have been formed. Many of these still exist in the 20th century.
49. In the 15th century the Italian renaissance began. During this time a new interest in architecture, art and science began. Also during this time the Hermetic arts gained in popularity. They included magic and numerous forms of mysticism, alchemy, astrology, and the so-called “art of memory”. It was also during this time that the Corpus Hermeticum, written sometime before the end of the third century C.E., and Gnostic texts, were translated into the common languages.
50. Queen Elizabeth I came from the union of the Lancastrian and York houses, both of whom laid claim to the throne of England during the War of the Roses. Elizabeth took for herself the symbol of the Red and White rose, combining the imagery of both houses. Alchemically, however, this represented the combination of the Blood and the Gluten and was symbolic of the Great Work of the alchemists. While this may appear to be coincidence, it is known that Elizabeth was sympathetic towards the occult movement. This can be seen by her choosing as an adviser the alchemist-astrologer Doctor John Dee.
51. Dee was truly a renaissance man. He was a student of mathematics, philosophy, alchemy, astrology, and a number of other arts. Dee had the largest library in the world during his time. He was also the author of many books dealing with both the occult and mathematics.
52. Dee traveled extensively during his life time, and visited the courts of a number of nobles. Dee, and his assistant Edward Kelley (sometimes Kelly), received a corpus of esoteric wisdom by skrying through a shew stone. This shew stone which was given to Dee by angels or spirits. Skrying is a technique used by occultists that is a form of clairvoyance or far seeing. The term would not have been used then and was coined at a later date. The skryer looks into a spiritual realm to gain information. During these skryings Dee came into contact with an angel called Ave. Through Ave Dee and Kelley received what was to become the Enochian system of magic, which is said to make use of the angelic language. While much of Dee’s library was lost in the Great Fire, some of it still remains. Dee’s experiences with Enochian can be found in his diaries, printed by Merric Casaubon in Dr. John Dee’s Actions with Spirits.
53. In the early 17th century the first two Rosicrucian Manifestos were published in Germany. These manifestos were previously discussed in point 48. They claim to represent a secret organization that had been in existence since the 15th century and was coming back into the public view.
54. A number of influential scholars have been considered to have been either Rosicrucians or heavily influenced by Rosicrucian doctrine. These included John Dee, René Des Cartes, and Benedict Spinoza. Many people, past and present, have searched for the true Rosicrucian order. Others have claimed to be part of that Order. However, there is a saying about Rosicrucians that whoever claims aloud to be a Rosicrucian is not one.
55. The Masonic Grand Lodge of England was founded in 1717. There is evidence that Freemasonry existed in the middle of the 17th century. Furthermore, there is evidence in Scotland that Freemasonry existed there in 1641. This is five years before any reference to Freemasonry in England has been found.
56. The history and mythology of Freemasonry has already been discussed.
57. The Grand Lodge of England, which did much to formalize Freemasonry, was founded on June 24th 1717, in London, at the Apple Tree Tavern.
58. Freemasonry was not the only thing that originated in 1717. A few months later John Toland brought together a number of neo-Druidic groves in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. This took place on September 22nd, also in the Apple Tree Tavern. These groves came together to form the An Druidh Uileach Braithreachas. This means the Druid Circle of the Universal Bond. Many modern Druidic organizations can trace themselves to this group.
59. Iolo Morganwg’s Barddas was published in 1862. However it had influenced Druidic orders in unpublished forms since at least 1792. This work was instrumental in Druidry in Wales and England. Much of the Barddas is considered to be forgery on Morganwg’s part, information that is his own and has no historical source.
60. There are a number of Druidic orders in existence today. Many of these can be found from the web page of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. For an in-depth look at the various types of Druidic orders, and their lineage, see “Druid Revival in Brittany, France and Europe,” by Dr. Michel Raoult.
61. The Theosophical Society (T.S.), was founded in 1875 by Madame Helena Petrova Blavatsky (H.P.B.) and Colonel Henry Olcott. The T.S. was originally based on the WMT. H.P.B. claimed to have received her instructions from “Secret Chiefs.” These were highly evolved spiritual entities, who said to be charge of a secret Egyptian Order. H.P.B. and Colonel Olcott later converted to Buddhism and brought the T.S. with them. At this point H.P.B. contacted new Chiefs from the Orient. These were the Mahatmas Koot Hoomi, Morya, and Djwal Khul. It is the opinion of Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero in their “History of the Golden Dawn”, that the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was founded in reaction to this change in direction of the T.S..
62. The history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has been recorded by numerous authors . In short, a manuscript written in cipher was obtained by Dr. William Wynn Westcott. Westcott was a coroner of the Crown. He was also Supreme Magus of the Socitas Rosicruciana in Anglia (Soc. Ros.), a Rosicrucian Masonic order. These were deciphered by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, a young member of the Soc. Ros. The manuscript contained the outline of a number of initiation rituals. These were expanded into full rituals, grade material was written by Westcott and Mathers. They were joined by Dr. William Robert Woodman, an elderly Freemason, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was formed. A few years later Mathers claimed to have come into contact with the Secret Chiefs of the Golden Dawn. An Inner Order based upon Rosicrucian principles was founded, called the Rosae Rubae et Aurae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.), or the Rose of Ruby and the Cross of Gold. Anna Sprengel, Soror S.D.A., was a fictitious Rosicrucian Adept from Germany created by Westcott to lend authority and lineage to the Golden Dawn.
The creators of the Golden Dawn astutely synthesized mythology and tradition. They combined, in one coherent system the Rosicrucian and Samothracian mysteries, the Chaldaen Oracles, and Jewish mysticism and other mythologies. These masters of amalgamation also interlaced Enochiana, tarot, astrology and geomancy into the Golden Dawn system of magic.
63. The Golden Dawn ceased to exist in 1902-3. The Order had changed its name to the Morgenrothe, due to an embarrassing and very public court case the year before. The Morgenrothe later split into the Stella Matutina, headed by the British Adepts, and the Alpha et Omega, lead by MacGregor Mathers in Paris.
In 1912 one of the Chiefs of the Stella Matutina moved to New Zealand. There he founded the Smaragdum Thalasses branch of that Order. See the numerous works by R.A. Gilbert for more of the history of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the R.R. et A.C. Today numerous Golden Dawn organizations exist.
64. Aleister Crowley, nee: Edward Alexander, was a member of the Golden Dawn and was initiated into the R.R. et A.C. by Mathers. Crowley left or was expelled from the Order, depending on which sources one follows. In 1904, April 8-10, Crowley went to Cairo on his honeymoon in Cairo. Crowley received what was later to be known as “The Book of the Law” or Liber Al vel Legis. This book describes the coming of a new magical age, called the Aeon of Horus. This new aeon was to replace the old Aeon of Osiris, which is perhaps exemplified by the magic and philosophies of the Golden Dawn and R.R. et A.C.. The magical Word of this Aeon is “thelema,” which means “will” in Greek. This new doctrine, according to Crowley, replaces the Path of Sacrifice which was used in the R.R. et A.C. There is extensive controversy over the authenticity of the Book of the Law. Many books have been written on this subject as well as on Crowley’s controversial life and work. There are two main Thelemic organizations in existence today, the Ordo Templi Orientis and the A:.A:.
Thus far the Historicus Verus of the Western Mystery Tradition.
The Western Mystery Tradition covers over 7000 years of human history, extending virtually to the beginning of recorded history. The mythology of the WMT, however, stretches back to the dawn of time and the beginning of Creation. The WMT’s lineage can be traced from ancient Babylon and Sumeria, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Britain through to renaissance Europe and Victorian England. The histories that have been presented to the reader stop at the dawn of the 20th century. The Western Mystery Tradition is a living tradition, who’s mythology and history continue to grow and change with the times. To this history could be added the resurgence of paganism in Europe and the United States as well as the rebirth of the Golden Dawn in America. Today there are many esoteric organizations and magical religions which seem to change with every passing hour. In time these too will be added to the mythology of the WMT, which continues to grow.