(continued from last post) One firebrand of a budding magickian named Edward Crowley joine

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

(continued from last post) One firebrand of a budding magickian named Edward Crowley joined the order in the 1880s. He prefered his middle name of Alistair, which he later transformed into the more familiar Aleister. He took the name Frater Perdurabo, meaning "I Endure", and ascended meteorically through the ranks of the organization. By the time he received his 6th Degree initiation, he began to question the assertion that MacGregor Mathers made that he was the only one to communicate with the "Secret Chiefs", and even the existence of such a group of people. He demanded that he be allowed to study for the 7th degree, the highest attainable within the order. MacGregor refused, and a power struggle ensued. The power struggle gutted the order, with several defecting to a rival order that Crowley had created called the Astrum .'. Argentum .'. . The AA's rituals were more chaotic, involved experiments in Tantric Sex and Psychedelic drugs like Psilocybin, Hashish and Datura stramonium, and had a far more Dionysian flavor than the Apollonian GD. In the grand tradition of one-upmanship within Freemasonry and Neo-freemasonry, the AA had not just 7 degrees accessible to initiates, but 10. The remainder of the Golden Dawn, including Dion Fortune and the beleaguered MacGregor Mathers, reorganized as the Stellar Matutina, which persisted until the 1930s and had ties to Theosophy. The AA later merged with a German order called the Ordo Templi Orientis that held similar interests in sex magick and the use of mind-expanding drugs. The OTO persisted even after the death of Crowley in 1940, and is presently experiencing a renaissance of sorts, despite an undeserved bad reputation of a similar sort to that which remains around Crowley. The old use of mind-expanding drugs and sex is down- played as optional, and the group now sees itself as an alternative religion based on a single commandment...to find one's destiny, or True Will, and follow it. This is the best rendering of the cryptic motto "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law; Love is the law, love under Will." The various offshoots of the Golden Dawn were not the only Magickal orders to emerge in the Gilded Age. There were several orders that identified themselves as "Rosicrucian", with the most durable being the Ancient Mystic Order of the Rose Cross, which is based in San Jose, California and is well-known for their ads in magazines for their "Mastery of Life" brochure. They are also remarkable for one of the finest collections of Egyptian relics outside of the British Museum and museums in Egypt itself. They, however, are just as innocuous as the local Masonic Lodge, with more of a mystic bent. The Theosophical Society of Yelena Petrovna Blavatskaya got its start in the 1880s, along with other organizations that were to one extent or another syncretes of Hinduism. Hinduism attracted many esoteric explorers especially from Britain, since India was a part of the great Victorian expanse of the British Empire, an empire that the sun never set on until well into the 20th Century. Offshoots of Theosophy exist even to this day, and Theosophy's concepts are very influential to much of the "New Age".

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank