Written by Algoth’s Grove
“Some critics of Freemasonry claim the recommended readings for some of the degrees of Masonry are “pagan.” Pagan, as they are using the term, simply means pre-Christian. The study of man’s moral and intellectual history allows the achievement of Masonry’s major purpose, the enhancement of an individual’s moral and intellectual development. Such a study has to start with the concepts of man and God as held by early cultures and evidence in their mythologies. The Greeks and Romans, as well as earlier people, had much of importance to say on many topics, including religion. The idea that a physician must act in the best interests of his patient comes from the pagan Hippocrates, and the concept that the government cannot break into your house and take what it wants on a whim comes from the pagan Aristotle. None of us would want to live in an world without these ideas.”
– Taken from “A Response to Critics of Freemasonry, Published 1994 by The Masonic Information Centre.
The word ‘freemason’ in itself has gained so much power that merely saying the word in public sparks fear and delusions of secret occult meetings where sacrifices and orders of killings are enforced. This could not be further from the truth. Just like pagans have been persecuted for ritual sacrifice and acts of demonic possession involving heinous crimes, so have the masons been completely misjudged. The question though is how did paganism and freemasonry end up with the same bad name?
Through the ages pagan authors and leaders who have influenced the pagan path have drawn immensely from their own freemasonry background. Gerald Gardner being a freemason with just enough knowledge to pass on through his teachings and founding of Gardnerian Wicca.
There is quite a large difference between the path of Wicca and the old teachings of the Druids, Asatruan’s and La Stregheria to name but a few. The ritualistic outline of modern pagan rituals especially Gardnerian and Alexandrian have masonic outlines in all of their workings. However, it must be noted that Gerald Brosseau Gardner entered freemasonry on 23rd May 1910. His journey toward Master Mason and claims made by Idries Shah have no firm grounding. The only lodge to accept his being a freemason is Lodge No. 107, Colombo, Ceylon.
Regardless of this, the material produced by Gardner, Sanders, Crowley and many more that we will outline below has its roots in freemasonry. What does this mean? It means order and structure was brought into a seemingly disordered view of witchcraft. How do you explain witchcraft, or any of the pagan workings and ways through a book without order? Freemasonry allowed many of our most influential writers of our time to bring order and hierarchical structure to a way of life that had not much of it.
Now for the list of Magical Masons:
Arthur Edward Waite:
All tarot readers begin with the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck. It’s founder Arthur E. Waite was a freemason. Initiated on 19th September, 1901. Even though his involvement with the masons was sporadic his involvement is documented and accepted by the freemasons. He is also the author of “A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry: Their Rites, Literature and History; Emblematic Freemasonry.” He was also involved with the Golden Dawn, entering the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA) in April of 1902.
William Wynn Westcott:
Besides being the co-founder of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, William Westcott wrote many occult orientated books, one of which was “Numbers: Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues.” He was initiated into freemasonry in 1871 on October 24th, becoming a Master in 1877 of The Parette and Axe Lodge No. 814, Crewkerne, Somersetshire.
There is no freemasonry acceptance or official documentation of Aleister Crowley ever being more than an initiate in Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343. However, even though he claims to have been a close companion of John Yarker, a recognised freemason and author on many masonic titles, there is no such evidence to be found anywhere. It must be noted that “The Grand Lodge of England does not recognise Aleister Crowley as being a member of the craft. All his affiliations are with irregular bodies, and so he is denied recognition.”
Known by the nickname, “The Last Magi.” Éliphas Lévi wrote extensively on magic and
Magical freemasonry. Two of his most beloved titles are “Doctrine of Transcendental Magic and History of Magic.” These two well known books were however written before he was initiated into masonry and his time in The Lodge Rose du Parfait Silence, Grand Orient of France, Paris, lasted between March 1861 – August in the same year.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky:
Interestingly enough, Blavatsky was presented with a Certificate of Adoption by John Yarker in the year of 1877. But author of Isis Unveiled and many more titles and papers attested to the fact that she had no affiliation with the freemasons.
“If you will kindly refer to my Isis Unveiled (Vol. II, p. 394), you will find me saying: “we are under neither promise, obligation, nor oath, and therefore violate no confidence”–reference being made to Western Masonry, to the criticism of which the chapter is devoted; and full assurance is given that I have never taken “the regular degrees” in any Western Masonic Lodge. Of course, therefore, having taken no such degree, I am not a thirty-third degree Mason.”
Manly Palmer Hall:
Including titles such as “The Divine Art, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Initiates of the Flame, and The Story of Healing.” Hall published over 150 esoterically spiritual and masonic books. He was initiated into The Jewel Lodge No. 374 on June 28th, 1954 and there is no known record of him quitting freemasonry.
Paul Foster Case:
Paul Case is the founder of The Los Angeles Occult School. His books such as “The Book of Tokens” which outlines an impressive collection of meditations on the Tarot Cards of the Major Arcana. He was initiated into freemasonry at The Fairport Lodge No. 476, on 22nd March 1926. Affiliated and Demitted from The Hollenback Lodge No. 319, Los Angeles in 1944 and Affiliated to Eagle Rock Lodge No. 422, Los Angeles. It should also be noted that he was initiated into the Second Order of the Thoth-Hermes Temple of The Golden Dawn in 1920 in New York.
There are many authors and leaders who profess connection with freemasonry. One such delusional character seems to be William Schnoebelen. The Grand Lodge of England does not recognise him or his outrageous claims. The internet is filled with falsehoods and fears and many people take these lies into themselves and spread tales of dread and horror.
There is no doubt that Gardnerian Witchcraft and many other lineages have there roots and ritual formations linked with the freemasons. However, how has this impacted the pagan front negatively. If anything, there is order and structure. There is a hierarchical degree form of study in place and if anything, there is, just like in freemasonry, a gentle teaching of love and acceptance toward a world of people who give back to the community.