Alchemy in Three Hermetic Orders: G.’,D.’., O.T.O. and A.’.A.’.

    Three “Secret Societies”   The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders[1] describes a secret society as an exclusive organization that acts in its own special interest in favor of its members. This is a pretty broad definition.  Of course, secret societies form for various purposes, including collegiate fraternalism, politics, religion and […]

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Alchemy in Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism

    Speculative Freemasonry   Speculative Freemasonry had its genesis in seventeenth century Britain, where a mystical, proto-scientific culture thrived. Kirk MacNulty, in The Way of the Craftsman,[1]  builds on the well known work of Francis Yates, tracing the origins of Speculative Freemasonry to the Renaissance, which embodied three major schools of thought: Scholasticism, Humanism, […]

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The Medieval Hermetic-Kabbalistic Tradition and Rosicrucianism

    Magic and Science: Danger and Power    In the early days of science, thinkers did not separate science from spirituality. Until the nineteenth century, scientists maintained a holistic worldview that comprehended every aspect of experience and knowledge.  Copernicus revered Hermes Trismegistus, Tycho Brahe studied astrology, and Johann Kepler followed Pythagorean philosophy. Robert Boyle, […]

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tycho brahe geocentric

The Western Mystery Tradition: Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, and Kabbalah

    The Western Mystery Tradition   The eight interconnected systems within the Western Mystery Tradition are: the ancient Mysteries, Neoplatonism, Hermetic philosophy, symbolic alchemy, Kabbalah, early and Renaissance magic, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry and related fraternal organizations. These eight systems all describe the story of the unfolding of the cosmos as a progressive degeneration of cosmic […]

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Medieval European Alchemy

  Alchemy in Medieval Literature   The alchemist of the Middle Ages was usually a professed Christian, often a monk or clergyman, who studied what he could of Hermetic alchemy, Greek philosophy, the Jewish Kabbalah, and his own native and foreign magic. The Great Work of the alchemist, in emulation of the “Great Architect,” was […]

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The Liberal Arts and Freemasonry

  The Vitruvian Tradition   The liberal arts were based upon the Hellenistic education called enkyklios paideia, taught by fifth century BCE Sophists to the upper classes, and promoted by Roman luminaries like Cicero. The Classical Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (80 BCE – 15 CE), who was raised in the early liberal arts tradition, […]

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The Muslim Alchemists

      The Nestorians   In the fifth century a Christian sect called the Nestorians, who followed Nestorius, a Patriarch of Constantinople, were declared heretical and broke with the established church. This sect migrated to Persia with Greek manuscripts and translated Greek texts to Syriac Aramaic, monopolizing medicine and incidentally bringing alchemical literature to […]

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