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Westcott, William Wynn

(1,366 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Westcott, William Wynn, * 17 Jan 1848 (Leamington), † 30 Jul 1925 (Durban) One of the most prominent British occultists of his time, Westcott wrote many essays on a wide range of esoteric topics such as arithmology [→ Number Symbolism] ( Numbers: Their Occult Powers and Mystic Virtues, 1890), → alchemy ( The Science of Alchymy, 1893), → astrology ( The Origin and History of Astrology, 1902), Jewish Kabbalah [→ Jewish Influences V] ( An Introduction to the Study of the Kabbalah, 1910); and edited English versions of ancient and modern esoteric texts (such as the Sepher Yetzirah, 1887, or → E…

Crowley, Aleister

(5,786 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Crowley, Aleister (born Edward Alexander), * 12 Jan 1875 (Leamington), † 1 Jan 1947 (Hastings) One of the main figures in the history of English occultism [→ occult / occultism]. Despite his bad reputation and the controversies that have marked his life, his ideas have heavily influenced contemporary new religious movements of a magical [→ Magic] and neo-pagan bent [→ Neopaganism]. Crowley has left an enormous literary output, including almost any genre: from poetry and fiction to essay and autobiography. Apar…

Ordo Templi Orientis

(7,098 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Occultist organisation and initiatic Order, sometimes also spelt as “Order of Oriental Templars”. The OTO was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and has remained, up to the present, an important vehicle for the transmission of esoteric ideas and practices. One of its major features is the practice of sexual magic, which is considered the core of its teaching. The role accorded to Eastern doctrines and sexual magic makes the OTO different from several other magically-oriented, occultist…

Mathers, Samuel Liddell “MacGregor”

(1,654 words)

Author(s): Pasi, Marco
Mathers, Samuel Liddell “MacGregor”, * 8 Jan 1854 (Hackney (East London)), † 20 Jan 1918 (Paris) Together with → William Wynn Westcott, Mathers played a fundamental role in the history of English occultism as the co-founder of the → Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and as one of the leading intellectual forces behind the development of its teachings and ritual system. Little is known about his early life. He probably received some classical education at Bedford Grammar School, but the first definite date on re…