Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers

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Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, born as Samuel Liddell Mathers (1854-1918), was a famous magician and one of the most influential figures in modern Occultism. He is primarily known as a founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical organization which doesn't exist today, although several modern fraternities claim to continue its tradition.

He was born on January 8 or 11, 1854 in London, England, under the astrological sign of Capricorn. His father, William M. Mathers, died while Samuel Liddell was still a boy. His mother, whose maiden name was Collins, died in 1885. He attended the Bedford Grammar School.

Mathers was an eccentric whose chosen lifestyle was unusual in its time. He 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 practicing vegetarian, an outspoken anti-vivisectionist, and a non-smoker. He was also a supporter of women's rights and he had little interest in money (according to the Golden Dawn Research Center ). It is known that his main interests were magick and the theory of war (his first book was a military manual).

Mathers was initiated into an order of Freemasonry in 1877. In 1878 he became a Master Mason and in 1882 he was admitted to the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia where he became a member of its High Council within four years. In 1903, the Societas Rosicruciana became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

His wife was Moina Bergson (also known as Mina Bergson, Moina Mathers, Mina Mathers).

Mathers knew how to read and translate a number of languages, including English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic.

Mathers died on November 5 or November 20, 1918. The manner of death is unknown; his death certificate lists no cause of death. Violet Firth (Dion Fortune) claimed his death was the result of the Spanish Influenza of 1918. As few facts are known about Mather's private life, verification of such claims are very difficult.

Mathers and Aleister Crowley

Crowley's two-year stint as a member of the Golden Dawn brought him into contact with occult mentors who would later become his enemies, Mathers being among them. In fact, when Crowley was first initiated into the Golden Dawn tradition, Mathers was not only his main instructor in Western magick and mysticism, but was also a very close friend and confidant. Ideological and personal differences would end their friendship, and Mathers would expell Crowley from the Golden Dawn organization around the same time.

Rumors of "magickal battles" between Crowley and Mathers - involving the invocation of malevolent spirits on the parts of both - abound, but many of these claims are unsubstantiated.


Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.