The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) was founded in the 19th century in Great Britain by the occultists Samuel Liddel MacGregor Mathers, William Robert Woodman and William Wynn Westcott. S.L. Mathers was the major responsible for the rituals, which included elements from the system of enochian magic of John Dee. Samuel L. Mathers was also a member of the Hermetic Society (H.S,), the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and High Degree Masons. There were instruction on alchemy, Rosicrucianism, symbolism, astrology, Kabbalah and Hermeticism, among others. The Golden Dawn Order was one of the first hermetic orders in which women and men alike could follow a path of initiation. After some scandals and divisions, the Order continued to operate on several continents under the name Alpha et Omega from 1900 – 1940, which had temples in England, France and the USA. Also for many years there was a branch of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Australia. Finally, the Order of the Golden Dawn was definitively closed.
Some members with different degrees of initiation founded new lodges without authorization. Other members of the Order and successor organizations were Arnold Benett, Aleister Crowley, Arthur Edward Waite, Florence Farr, Robert Felkin, Dion Fortune (Violet Mary Firth), Annie Horniman, Arthur Machen, William Sharp, Pamela Colman Smith, W. B. Yeats. A large part of the successor orders and lodges lacked the true teachings and “inner” contacts. Among the successor orders were The Fellowship of the Golden Dawn Golden Dawn, Collegium Spiritu Sancti Golden Dawn, The Ordo Stella Matutina Sodalitas Rosae+Crucis et Solis Alati, Orden Hermética de la Aurora Dorada Ordem Esotérica da Aurora Dourada no Brasil, Fraternity of the Hidden Light, Builders of the Adytum, Hermetic Society of the Golden Dawn August, and Order of the Mystic Rose Order of the Golden Dawn in the Outer, some of which, however, had no authorization or only mutilated teachings. Finally, the teachings of the Golden Dawn itself were only rudimentary and covered only low parts of the initiatory path.
After the renegade member of a successor organisation, Israel Regardie, published a part of the rituals and instructions of the order, which, however, had numerous shortcomings and errors, a lot of unauthorised persons followed these publications and started their own orders. Even in modern times, blinded individuals found new orders after the amateurish publications about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and follow the delusion of this deficient mystery doctrine.
Michael Whitty was a premonstrator of the Toth-Hermes Lodge Alpha et Omega in the USA. In New York he founded the esoteric magazine AZOTH and was a pioneer in the Theosophical Society (TG). Michael Whitty founded the “School of Ageless Wisdom” together with another member of the Golden Dawn, the occultist Paul Foster Case, and also published assignments of the Tarot Keys in Azoth Magazine. Paul F. Case acquired an extensive knowledge about Tarot. Together with P. F. Case Michael Whitty founded the school “Builders Of the Adytum”. Since Case had no real access to the highest levels of initiation and instructions, his initiatory system was poor and had many flaws. In contrast, his outer school flourished, making misleading promises about the Order’s “inner contact” and initiatory system.
The principal founder of the Golden Dawn, William W. Westcott, was a physician, author, Mason, Rosicrucian, and theosophist. He was in the highest authority of the Supreme Magus in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) and also gave lectures in the Hermetic Society. Westcott translated the Kabbalistic book Sepher Yezirah from Hebrew and writings of Eliphas Levi. W. W. Westcott also wrote on astrology, numerology, talismans, alchemy, occultism and theosophy.
The Western mystery tradition works today as then with the tool of hermetic ritualism. The subconscious patterns of deception are supposed to be replaced by those of reality through the power of ritualism. The mistaken belief is that we are separate from the Creator and other beings. The ritual should be a pictorial representation in motion. Through intellectual understanding of our true identity and an attentive receptive attitude during the ritual, these changes can be achieved. Consequently, a new being is created.
During the initiation ritual a force is transferred to the student. We enter an alchemically “pre-tempered” room as a personality, like a laboratory, where we are tuned to new vibrations. This is comparable to the waves of a television station. The device receives only the channel to which it is tuned. During initiation, the sensitivity to this vibration increases and our vehicle is able to receive other channels that are more in tune with reality. Transformation occurs through symbols and invocations of the higher aspects of these elements. Each level of initiation takes several months to a year. During this time the student studies, meditates and performs basic rituals to harmonize the elements. An authentic mystery school can be recognized by the fact that there is an intact ladder of initiations at all levels of the Tree of Life, and no step can ever be skipped. The soul maturity of the aspirant determines the speed.
The Hermetic Academy is an authentic bearer of the Hermetic tradition and preserves the tools and teachings, the Western mystery tradition.