Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers - Kabbala Denudata The Kabbalah Unveiled (457.0 Kb)
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Simultaneously with the publication of the Qabalah in 1887, he received instructions from his occult teachers to prepare what was eventually to become his esoteric school. In this connection were associated with him the late Dr. Woodman and the late Dr. Wynn?Westcott, both eminent Masons and Qabalists. They, with my husband, held high Office in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and other Masonic bodies. Since the year 1887, when the first edition of the Qabalah Unveiled appeared, the whole attitude of the thinking world h... More >>>
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Simultaneously with the publication of the Qabalah in 1887, he received instructions from his occult teachers to prepare what was eventually to become his esoteric school. In this connection were associated with him the late Dr. Woodman and the late Dr. Wynn?Westcott, both eminent Masons and Qabalists. They, with my husband, held high Office in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and other Masonic bodies. Since the year 1887, when the first edition of the Qabalah Unveiled appeared, the whole attitude of the thinking world has changed considerably towards occult philosophy and science. The gigantic strides made by science since the end of the last century, the staggering facts disclosed by its practical demonstrations, simultaneously with the development of the great occult movement, must strike all thoughtful people as the evidence of some imminent change in the evolution of this planet. Material science would appear to be spiritualizing itself and occult science to be materializing itself. If not clasping hands, they are certainly making tentative attempts in that direction. The Ancient Wisdom, the Sacred Books, taught. that we cannot understand Matter without understanding Spirit, that we cannot understand Spirit without understanding Matter. That Matter and Spirit are only opposite poles of the same universal substance. All through the Qabalah runs this axiom: "that Malkuth is in Kether, that Kether is in Malkuth." The same idea is repeated through the Gnostic teaching: "the earth that is in the heaven, the heaven that is in the earth."
The general constitution of the teaching, the skeleton of the work, was handed to him by his occult teachers together with a vast amount of oral instruction. The object of the establishment of this school was similar to that of the foundation in ancient times of centres for the Celebration of the Mysteries. The literature of this school, with a few exceptions, was written by my husband under the direction of these teachers, based upon the ancient mysteries, chiefly those of Egypt, Chaldea and Greece, and brought up to date to suit the needs of our modern mentalities. It is a system eminently suited to Western occultism, which a man can follow while living the ordinary life of the world, given that this is understood in its highest sense. Dr. Woodman and Dr. Wynn Westcott aided in the administrative side of this school and its teaching to a certain extent. M. MACGREGOR MATHERS.
Samuel Liddell (or Liddel) "MacGregor" Mathers, born as Samuel Liddell (January, 1854 - November, 1918), was a famous magician and one of the most influential figures in modern Occultism. He is primarily known as one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a ceremonial magic order whose offshoots still exist today.
Mathers was born on 8 or 11 January 1854 in Hackney, London, England. His father, William M. Mathers, died while he was still a boy. His mother, whose maiden name was Collins, died in 1885. He attended Bedford School, subsequently working in Bournemouth, Dorset, as a clerk, before moving to London following the death of his mother.
His wife was Moina Mathers (nee Mina Bergson), sister of the philosopher Henri Bergson.
Mathers died on 5 or 20 November 1918 in Paris. The manner of his death is unknown; his death certificate lists no cause of death. Violet Firth claimed his death was the result of the Spanish influenza of 1918. While this seems likely, few facts are known about Mathers's private life, verification of such claims is difficult.
Samuel Liddell Lifestyle:
Mathers added the "MacGregor" surname as a claim to Highland Scottish heritage, although there is little evidence of such in his family background. He was a practising vegetarian, or (according to some accounts) vegan, an outspoken anti-vivisectionist, and a non-smoker. It is known that his main interests were magic and the theory of war, his first book being a translation of a French military manual. He became more and more of an eccentric towards his later years, as was noted by W. B. Yeats.
Mathers was introduced to Freemasonry by a neighbour, alchemist Frederick Holland, and was initiated into Hengist Lodge No.195 on 4 October 1877. He was raised as a Master Mason on 30 January 1878. In 1882 he was admitted to the Metropolitan College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia as well as a number of fringe Masonic degrees. Working hard both for and in the SRIA he was awarded an honorary 8th Degree in 1886. Same year he lectured on the Kabbalah to the Theosophical Society. He became Celebrant of Metropolitan College in 1891 and was appointed as Junior Substitute Magus of the SRIA in 1892, in which capacity he served until 1900. He left the order in 1903, having failed to repay money which he had borrowed.
Upon the death of William Robert Woodman in 1891, Mathers assumed leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He moved with his wife to Paris on 21 May 1892. After his expulsion from the Golden Dawn in April 1900, Mathers formed a group in Paris in 1903 called Alpha et Omega (its headquarters, the Ahathoor Temple). Mathers choosing the title "Archon Basileus".
Mathers was a polyglot; among the languages he had studied were English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic, though he had a greater command of some languages than of others. His translations of such books as The Book of Abramelin (14thC.), Christian Knorr von Rosenroth's The Kabbalah Unveiled (1684), Key of Solomon (anonymous 14thC.), The Lesser Key of Solomon (anonymous 17thC.), and the Grimoire of Armadel (17thC.), while probably justly criticized with respect to quality, were responsible for making what had been obscure and inaccessible material widely available to the non-academic English speaking world. They have had considerable influence on the development of occult and esoteric thought since their publication, as has his consolidation of the Enochian magical system of John Dee and Edward Kelley.
In addition to many supporters, he had many enemies and critics. One of his most notable enemies was one time friend and pupil Aleister Crowley, who portrayed Mathers as a villain named SRMD in his 1917 novel Moonchild. According to Crowley's memoirs, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, Mathers was in the habit of ostensibly playing chess matches against various pagan gods. Mathers would set up the chessboard and seat himself behind the white pieces, with an empty chair opposite him. After making a move for himself, Mathers would then shade his eyes and peer towards the empty chair, waiting for his opponent to signal a move. Mathers would then move a black piece accordingly, then make his next move as white, and so forth. Crowley did not record who won.
Earlier, Crowley wrote in his diary that 'As far as I was concerned, Mathers was my only link with the Secret Chiefs to whom I was pledged. I wrote to him offering to place myself and my fortune unreservedly at his disposal; if that meant giving up the Abra-Melin Operation for the present, all right.'
Samuel Liddell Mathers Bibliography (not full):
- The Key of Solomon the King: Clavicula Salomonis
- The Goetia: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Lemegeton - Clavicula Salomonis Regis
- The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
- The Grimoire of Armadel
- Greater Key of Solomon
- Astral Projection, Ritual Magic, and Alchemy
- The Golden Dawn: The Unpublished Lectures of the Hermetic Order of the A.O.