Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition
No. 11, Vol. 2. Autumnal Equinox 2006
by Samuel Scarborough
Welcome to issue number 11, volume two of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition on the occult revival of the 1700s. In the twenty-first century, we are all familiar with the great occult revival and movement of the late nineteenth century which helped shape the magical world and community of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, but there was an earlier occult revival in the 1700s that was a huge influence on the later revivals in France, England, and America that has affects that can still be felt in the beginnings of the twenty-first century.
The occult revival of the 1700s can be seen in such things as the foundation of a Grand Lodge of Freemasonry in England in 1717, the creation of a Druid Order in the same year also in London, the rise of the various other Rites of Freemasonry such as the Egyptian Rite, and the beginnings of Co-Masonry. These influences are still at work today through innumerable ways.
People such as Mesmer, from whom we get mesmerism; Cagliostro, whom was an alchemist and Mason; and Francis Barrett, the publisher of The Magus, which helped keep the information from the earlier Agrippa alive, all contributed to the occult revival in the eighteenth century. So strong was their influence, that even the great rulers of the time were drawn to many of the occult ideas. Peter the Great, and Catherine the Great of Russia, both were Masons, as were people like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and the Marquis de Lafayette of France. Mesmer held the court of Louis XVI of France in awe of his abilities and teachings.
Our contributing writers have looked at these and other influences from the 1700s and bring them to you in this volume of the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition.