Freemasonry is an occult secret society and all Freemasons have aligned themselves with the occult. This is the obvious conclusion that people with just a casual knowledge of the lodge are forced to realize. The word occult means deliberately kept hidden: not revealed to others.
How can Freemasonry avoid being classified as occult when the Mason is forbidden by oath not to reveal what goes on behind the closed doors of the lodge even to his wife? All Freemasons have definitely participated in occult activities. This is an opinion that the Masonic book, "The Royal Arch: Its Hidden Meaning", published by the Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company heartily agrees with.
Many Freemasons shudder at the word occult which comes from the Latin, meaning to cover, to conceal from public scrutiny and the profane but anyone studying Freemasonry cannot avoid classifying Freemasonry among occult teachings (George H. Steinmetz, "The Royal Arch Its Hidden Meaning", Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co., Inc. 1946, p. 147).
Anton LaVey, the High Priest of the Church of Satan states:
"Masonic orders have contained the most influential men in many governments and virtually every occult order has many Masonic roots." (Anton Szandor LaVey, "The Satanic Rituals", Avon Books 1972, p.78)
Freemasonry is not just an occult secret society. Freemasonry has served for over two hundred years as a fertile recruiting ground for other occult orders. Men who have come together to practice Masonry have, many times, down through the years formed other organizations to plunge even deeper into the occult. The following is a study of a powerful organisation that has shaped much of political society.
Aleister Crowley: Father of Modern Satanism
The most disturbing example of someone being recruited out of Freemasonry into more bizarre occult orders is that of 33rd degree Mason, Aleister Crowley. During his lifetime, Crowley was proclaimed by the press as the most wicked man alive. Crowley's perverted life left a string of casualties among those who were foolish enough to get close to this man. Crowley's first wife, Rose, entered an insane asylum in 1911; his second wife, Maria entered an asylum in 1931, two years after her marriage to Crowley.
In a locked room with only Crowley and his son present, Crowley performed a ritual in which his son died... On a London street in 1934, a nineteen-year-old girl rushed up to him and declared that she wanted to have his baby. Crowley took her to bed. She, too, later entered an asylum (Aleister Crowley, "Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects", Time-Life Books 1989, p. 118).
Just a brief autobiographic sketch of Crowley's life is like an evening swim in a sewer. Crowley called himself the 'Beast 666' and Leila Waddell, his mistress, displayed the mark of the beast that was tattooed between her breasts.
The O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) and 'irregular' Freemason, Theodor Reuss
One of the most alarming things about Crowley's life was the way that he went from Freemasonry into the cult of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Crowley tells in his own words how 'irregular' Freemason Theodor Reuss recruited him into the O.T.O.:
"Although I was admitted to the thirty-third and last degree of Freemasonry so long ago as 1900, it was not until the summer of 1912 that my suspicion was confirmed. I speak of my belief that behind the frivolities and convivialities of our greatest institution lay in truth a secret ineffable and miraculous, potent to control the forces of Nature and not only to make men brethren but to make them divine. But at the time I speak of a man came to me, a man of those mysterious masters of esoteric Freemasonry who are alike its Eyes and its Brains, and who exist in its midst unknown, often, even to its acknowledged chiefs... This man had been watching my occult career for some years, and deemed me now worthy to partake in the Greater Mysteries." (Kenneth Grant, "Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God", Samuel Weiser p.174 - A footnote in this section says that the man the reference to is Theodor Reuss)
This certainly shows that members of other occult orders can work within Freemasonry often times without the knowledge of the actual leaders of the lodge. The O.T.O. was founded in 1895 by the Austrian Freemason, Karl Kellner. 'Irregular' Freemason, Theodor Reuss became its leader after Kellner's death. Reuss started a magazine called "The Oriflame" in 1902 with the help of Freemason, Franz Hartman. A 1912 jubilee edition of the magazine revealed information about what the O.T.O. activities really were:
"Our Order possesses the KEY which opens up all Masonic and Hermetic secrets, namely, the teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching explains, without exception, all the secrets of Nature, all the symbolism of Freemasonry and all systems of religion." (Francis King, "The Rites of Modern Occult Magic", The MacMillan Company 1970 p.119)
As we continue our study of Freemasonry and the occult, we need to look at another secret order that has networked with Freemasonry for many years, the Rosicrucian Society. Much could be written about the various Rosicrucian orders and their relationship to the lodge, but for the purpose of our study we will be mentioning only one; the Rosicruciana in Anglia. One had to be at least a Master Mason to belong to this organization and it is of particular interest because the members of this secret order gave birth to yet another secret society, The Order of the Golden Dawn.
In some respects, Westcott's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a by-product of his connection with a Masonic 'Rosicrucian' fraternity called the Rosicrucian Society of England, also known as the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, or more familiarly as the Soc. Ros. Membership was confined to Master Masons. It was not a Masonic Lodge but an esoteric society of Freemasons who were interested in occultism, the Kabbalah in particular, and Masonic symbolism. (Ellic Howe, "The Magicians of The Golden Dawn", Samuel Weiser, Inc. 1972, p.8)
All three of the original founders of the Golden Dawn were Freemasons: Dr. William Wynn Westcott, Dr. William Woodman, and S.L. MacGregor Mathers. As we shall see, the ties between the Golden Dawn and the Masonic lodge go much deeper than the fact that all were Freemasons. Dr. William Wynn Westcott's interests were occultism and Freemasonry. In order to practice ritual magic he established an occult secret society called the Golden Dawn in London in 1888. Since its founding it has been one of the most secretive and influential of all occult orders.
Madam Blavatsky was so excited about the existence of the Golden Dawn that she made an intriguing announcement calling the order 'The Hermetic Students of the G.D. in the Outer' in the June 1889 issue of her Theosophical periodical, "Lucifer". (Ellic Howe, "The Magicians of The Golden Dawn", Samuel Weiser Inc. 1972, p.47)
World renown witches, Janet and Stewart Farrar, authors of "A Witches Bible Compleat", give credit to the Freemasons of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - 'foremost gurdians of the Golden Dawn System' - for the modern cult explosion that we are experiencing today. They state:
"It is generally agreed that the biggest single influence in the modern expansion of ritual magic and the occult explosion in general, in the Western world, was the Golden Dawn. This magical fraternity, founded by Freemasons at the end of the 19th century, developed a complex ritual system with ten degrees of initiation relating to the Cabalistic Sephiroth." (Janet and Stewart Farrar, "The Life and Times of A Modern Witch", Phoenix Publishing Company, p. 121)
Dr. William Robert Woodman, an eminent Freemason, was one of the original founders that worked very hard to establish the Golden Dawn. He was a member of the Rosicrucian Society of Anglia, a Hebrew scholar and student of the Kabalah, and also wrote many occult manuscripts.
Dr. William Wynn Westcott
William Wynn Westcott was a London coroner who was forced to choose between his job and the Golden Dawn when the public became aware of his occult activities. Westcott chose to resign as head of the Golden Dawn (at least visibly). Westcott translated the Sepher Yetzirah, a Cabalistic text, and also wrote a book titled, "The Magical Mason". This Golden Dawn founder belonged to a truly impressive list of occult organizations which gives us an idea of how these occult organizations network.
William Wynn Westcott, an English Mason, appointed Junior Grand Deacon to the Grand Lodge of England in 1902 and the head of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and Golden Dawn, was also the Secretary of the Rite of Swedenborg, Knight Kadosch in Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rites, Grand Standard Bearer, Royal Arch, Grand Lodge of England, and Regent of the Illuminati and on intimate terms with one of its founders, the German Theodore Reuss 33rd, 90th, 96th, degrees. (Lady Queenborough, Edith Starr Miller, "Occult Theocracy, The Christian Book Club of America" 1933, p.298)
Westcott also worked closely with Theodor Reuss, the head of the O.T.O. Since their early existence, the O.T.O. and the Golden Dawn have maintained close ties. The father of modern Satanism, Aleister Crowley, was a member of both organizations.
See Dr. William Wynn Westcott's biography at the Grand Lodge of British Columbia Website:
S.L. MacGregor Mathers
Another of the original founders of the Golden Dawn was S.L. MacGregor Mathers, who was heralded at the turn of the last century as the most powerful and gifted occult practitioner in the world. Mathers was initiated into Freemasonry on Oct. 4, 1877 and became a Master Mason on January 30, 1878.
Mathers took Aleister Crowley and taught him what he needed to know to go on to become the father of modern Satanism. All did not remain peaceful between Mathers and Crowley and as the rivalry increased they actually engaged in a war of Black Magic. Mathers would receive instructions from 'Secret Chiefs' whom Mathers claimed were human beings with superhuman powers.
Mathers wrote what was called "Mathers Manifesto", a pledge of blind obedience to these 'Secret Chiefs'. The Manifesto stated:
"It was requisite that such a member should be one who, while having the necessary and peculiar educational basis of critical and profound occult archaeological knowledge, should at the same time be not only ready but willing to devote himself in every sense to a blind and unreasoning obedience to those Secret Chiefs. He must further pledge himself to obey in everything the commands of the aforesaid Secret Chief's 'perinde ac cadaver', body and soul, without question and without argument whether their commands related to magical action in the external world or to psychic world, military action in the external world, or to psychic action in other worlds and planes, whether Angelic, spiritual or demonic." (Israel Regardie, "What You Should Know About The Golden Dawn", 1987 Falcon Press, p. 181)
Mathers still influences the occult world today through his writings. Mathers wrote one of the classic books on the Kabbalah called, "Kabbalah Unveiled". Mathers also translated two of the most influential books of magical spells, "The Key of Solomon the King", and "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin, The Maji".
While Crowley was working the rituals of the Book of Abramelin he became possessed with his lifelong spirit guide, Aiwass. The demon Aiwass dictated the truly satanic book, "The Book of Law", to Crowley.
S.L. MacGregor Mathers's Biography: [www.golden-dawn.org]
Arthur Edward Waite
Another man who was initiated into the Golden Dawn at Mathers' home was Arthur Edward Waite. Waite proceeded to become a major force, not only in the occult world, but also in Freemasonry. Waite was praised by one of the greatest Masonic authorities of all time in one of the most popular Masonic books ever written, The Builders, by Joseph Fort Newton. The following is an excerpt of the tribute to A.E. Waite in The Builders:
"Perhaps the greatest student in this field of esoteric teaching and method, certainly the greatest now living, is Arthur Edward Waite, to whom it is a pleasure to pay tribute." (Joseph Fort Newton, "The Builders", Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, 1979, p. 57)
Waite was more than a Freemason; he was an authority on Freemasonry and was the author of "A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry". Waite is also the author of such occult titles as, "The Book of Black Magic", and "Devil Worship in France". "The Book of Black Magic" by Waite contains terrible conjurations given in the name of Satan and has spells to conjure Lucifer.
Another of Waite's book is called, "The Holy Kabbalah", which states in its introduction, "For the Kabbalist the ultimate sacrament is the sexual act, carefully organized and sustained as the most perfect mystical trance." (A.E. Waite, "The Holy Kabbalah", University Books, Citadel Press introduction by Kenneth Rexroth, p. ix)
Perhaps you are beginning to realize the connections between the Golden Dawn and Freemasonry are many. The Golden Dawn was not only founded by Freemasons but we can also document that in the early stages of the Golden Dawn it had a helping hand from the lodge. The fact can be established that the original Golden Dawn was allowed to use the Mark Masons' Hall to conduct rituals. They were given assistance by Masonic officials but the lodge was careful that this knowledge didn't become public.
From the beginning, the ceremonies of Isis-Urania were conducted at Mark Masons' Hall in the Great Queen Street (now demolished) but members were careful not to embarrass the Masonic authorities, being told that they "must not enter Mark Masons' Hall by the front door but go under archway and down passage, entering by a door on the right". (R. A. Gilbert, "The Golden Dawn Companion", The Aquarian Press, p. 31)
One of the early members of the Golden Dawn, Maud Gonne MacBride, left the organization after finding out about the Masonic Connections of the Order.
"Usually the G.D. held their ceremonies in the drawing-room of some member of the Order, but on one occasion I was summoned to an initiation ceremony of the Order in the Mark Masons' Hall in Euston Road. It set me thinking. If they met in a Free-Mason Hall, perhaps the G.D. was an esoteric side of Masonry." (Ellic Howe, "The Magicians of The Golden Dawn", Samuel Weiser Inc. 1972, p.70)
The Rituals of the Golden Dawn involved ritual magic and to be precise, they summoned and conversed with Demons. Nothing could be made any clearer than from reading an official account of their rituals by Israel Regardie:
"Yet, if there may arise an absolute necessity for working or conversing with a Spirit of evil nature and that to retain him before thee without tormenting him, thou hast to employ the symbol of the Pentagram reversed." (Israel Regardie, "The Golden Dawn", 1990 Llewellyn Publications, p. 280)
It is indeed hard to disagree with the conclusion of our witch experts, Janet and Stewart Farrar, when they stated that the biggest influence in the modern occult explosion has been the Freemasons of the Golden Dawn. The foundational works for Ritual Magic and Satanism are found in the writings of the men involved in the Golden Dawn.
Anton Szandor LaVey, high priest of the Church of Satan gives credit to the Golden Dawn as the source of his satanic invocations found in the Satanic Bible. LaVey tells about his translations:
"I have presented my translation of the following calls with an archaic but Satanically correct unvarnishing of the translation employed by the Order of the Golden Dawn in the late Nineteenth Century... the Enochian Calls are the Satanic paeans of faith." (Anton Szandor LaVey, "The Satanic Bible", Avon Books 1969, p. 155-156)
What about Janet and Stewart Farrars' own special field of expertise witchcraft? By now you can probably guess the answer. They definitely give credit to Freemasonry as one of the sources for the rituals of witchcraft. Doreen Valiente in particular contributed much to the final version of Gardner's "Book of Shadows", the unpublished body of rituals and Craft lore, traditionally copied out by hand by every new Witch from his or her initiator's version.
"There is no doubt that the New Forest coven's inherited rituals were fragmentary and Gardner had set about making them into a workable whole by filling the gaps with material he regarded as suitable from other sources, such as Freemasonry, the writings of Aleister Crowley, and the odd Kipling poem." (Janet and Stewart Farrar, "The Life and Times of A Modern Witch", Phoenix Publishing Company, p. 23).
Witchcraft and Freemasonry
Many researchers of the occult have pointed out the similarities between the initiation ritual in Witchcraft and the Masonic initiation ritual. There are many other similarities between the two crafts that could be documented and compared. One reason for these similarities is the fact that both evolved from an obvious common source, the Ancient Mystery Religions. Another reason is the fact that some of the most powerful and influential witches of Modern times have been Freemasons.
Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders
According to the writings of a Shamani witch, Gwyn Gwynallen, even the very name Wicca, the name often given to modern Witchcraft, originated from the writings of the two Freemasonic witches Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders. The next three paragraphs are what Gwyn Gwynallen has to say:
"Wicca, the name often given to modern Witchcraft, grew out of Great Britain from the writings of two people, Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders.
Gardner was a Freemason and also a Lodge Master of the O.T.O. He enlisted help from his fellow O.T.O. member Aleister Crowley in the writing of his rituals. Gardner was known as a sado-masochist and the Gardenian school of Witchcraft is named after him. When Gardner revealed his involvement with witch cults in his 1954 publication, "Witchcraft Today", he received a torrent of letters and within a few years covens were in operation all over England.
Alex Sanders was a Freemason and a black magickian and is also known as the founder of the Alexandrian school of Witchcraft which is noted for its use of sexual intercourse in the initiation rituals. These two branches of Witchcraft or paganism (Gardenian and Alexandrian), to our minds, are Wiccan." (Larry Kahaner, "Cults That Kill, Probing the Underworld of Occult Crime", Warner Books 1988, p. 98)
Any survey of the history of the relationship between Freemasonry and other occult orders would be incomplete without making mention of the master Freemason, occultist Eliphas Levi. He was initiated on March 14, 1861, in the "Lodge Rose of Perfect Silence" and the ceremony took place in the presence of a considerable number of Brethren. In a short reception speech, Éliphas Lévi, made the following statement:
"I come to bring to you your lost traditions, the exact knowledge of your signs and symbols, and consequently to show you the goal for which your association was constituted." (Caubet, "Souvenirs", Paris, Cerf, 1893, p.4)
Professor Carl Raschke of the University of Denver does an excellent job of expressing the importance of Eliphas Levi to the occult explosion:
"Nearly a century before Crowley, around the middle of the nineteenth century, there rose to fame in France a renegade Catholic rector called Alphonse Constant, who changed his name to Eliphas Levi. Levi was considered the Michelangelo of the suppressed traditions of black magic in the Christian West." (Carl A. Raschke, "Painted Black", Harper and Row 1990, p.37)
"The French occultist Alphonse-Louis Constant (a.k.a. Eliphas Levi), who influenced twentieth-century Satanism considerably, bought almost completely into the thesis that Templars were diabolists. And his engraving of the Templar idol Baphomet has become a classic article of iconography for today's black magicians, a sort of Satanist Mona Lisa." (Carl A. Raschke, "Painted Black", Harper and Row 1990, p.91)
Levi's engraving of the Baphomet was called the "Satanist Mona Lisa" by professor Raschke.
The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey explains how important this picture is to Satanists:
"The symbol of Baphomet was used by the Knights Templar to represent Satan. Through the ages this symbol has been called by many different names. Among these are: The Goat of Mendes, The Goat of a Thousand Young. The Black goat, The Judas Goat and perhaps most appropriately, The Scapegoat. Baphomet represents the Powers of Darkness combined with the generative fertility of the goat... The symbol of Baphomet is placed on the wall above the altar." (Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books 1969, p. 136)