In the early 18th century the Masonic fraternity emerged to change the shape of the Western esoteric tradition forever. Within a few decades the fraternity had spawned numerous esoteric societies that claimed to communicate with spirits, teach the secrets of alchemy, and to perform rituals of healing. During the next century the still-surviving Masonic Rosicrucian society was established, attracting the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn - William Wynn Westcott and S.L. MacGregor Mathers - and Theodor Reuss, co-founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), among others. Freemasonry: Foundation of the Western Esoteric Tradition explores the history of Western esotericism, beginning with the early Masonic Ritual, and its symbolism of natural law and death, essential to understanding the Craft, high-Degree Freemasonry, and the contemporary Western esoteric tradition. Other subjects explored include: - Mystical Masonic societies, practicing séances, alchemy, healing, etc.; - The Masonic influence on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the O.T.O.; - Masonic Lodges practicing Roman Catholic mysticism; - The contemporary Masonic-Rosicrucian society; - Aleister Crowley's adventures in Freemasonry; - The Rose Croix Degree; - Freemasonry and alchemy; - Wicca and Masonic symbolism. Freemasonry: Foundation of the Western Esoteric Tradition includes a series of 12 rare etchings by Hejonagogerus Nugir, originally published in Freymäurerische Versammlungsreden der Gold- und Rosenkreutzer des alten Systems (Amsterdam, 1779), presented here as plates. Fifteen chapters. Illustrated, with two appendices, plus bibliography. Indexed.
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