Biography of Count S.L. MacGregor Mathers
Count Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854 - 1918) was born in London, England in 1854. 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 Bedford Grammar School, subsequently working in Bournemouth,Dorset, as a clerk, before moving to London following the death of his mother. Mathers distant grandfather fought with great gallantry at the siege of Pondicherry, with Lally Tollendal, and received from Louis XIV the title of Count MacGregor de Glenstrae, afterwards confirmed by James II, a French title that he naturally did not use in England.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers was destined to become one of the greatest modern occultists, co-founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founder of the Golden Dawn’s Second Order, the R.R. et A.C., and founder of its three order superstructure, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega (frequently referred to simply as the Alpha et Omega or A.O.). S. L. MacGregor Mathers wrote the rituals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn based on the Kenneth MacKenzie’s Cipher Manuscripts and wrote the rituals of the Golden Dawn’s Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. He was moreover the genius behind the Golden Dawn’s magical system, integrating Qabalistic, Egyptian, and Enochian magic into system of Elemental and Astrological magic unparalleled in the history of modern occultism.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers was a formidable scholar and linguist, reading and translating English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic. He was also a passionate translator of magical grimoires. His translations include The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, The Kabbalah Unveiled, The Key of Solomon The King and The Lesser Key of Solomon. MacGregor Mathers also translated The Goetia and compiled the magical hierarchies that were inappropriately published by Aleister Crowley as Liber 777 as though they were Crowley’s own works. When Crowley began to additionally publish MacGregor Mathers' Golden Dawn rituals and R.R. et A.C. magical system, he filed suit against Crowley. MacGregor Mathers penchant for secrecy proved his undoing, however, as he ultimately lost the suit for having failed to properly copyright protect his work.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers met Mina Bergson in the reading room of the British Library while doing magical research. The event would forever change his life as Mina would forever remain his muse. The Magus had met his High Priestess and Mina Bergson became Moina Mathers following the couple’s marriage in 1890. Although she was not destined to bear him any physical children, the powerful arc of sexual polarity between Miona and S. L. MacGregor Mathers gave birth not only to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the R.R. et A.C., and the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, but S.L. MacGregor and Moina Mathers became nothing less than the parents of modern magic in the English speaking world.
Mathers became a Freemason in 1877 and his mystical interests lead him in 1882 to become a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia where he became is an associate of Kenneth Mackenzie, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman, with the latter of whom Mathers "founded" the Golden Dawn following MacKenzie's death in 1888. In 1891, Mathers visited Paris where on July 30 he was initiated by representatives the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie, to whom Mathers henceforth referred to as the "Secret Chiefs."
From these "Secret Chiefs," Mathers received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi, as well as an esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian "Second Order," the Rosae Rubeae et Aurae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.). Immediately upon having founded the R.R. et A.C., Mathers moved to Paris to be near his "Secret Chiefs, where in 1894 Mathers founded the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 (presided over today by Golden Dawn Senior Adept, Jean-Pascal Ruggiu). While living in Paris, Mathers received advanced teachings about spiritual sexuality from his “Secret Chiefs,” notably certain techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic," which were intended for eventual inclusion in the Golden Dawn's projected Third Order.
In 1906, Mathers founded the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega (also known simply as the Alpha et Omega or A.O.) as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's projected entire 'three order' system, with the H.O.G.D as its first and the R.R. et A.C. as its second order. As Chief of the Alpha et Omega, Mathers took the title, “Archon Basileus.” Mathers’ present successor as Archon Balisleus of the Alpha et Omega is Golden Dawn Imperator and R.R. et A.C. Chief Adept, David Griffin.
Unfortunately, Mathers passed away in 1918 before he fully mastered the techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic" well enough to manifest the Alpha et Omega's planned Third Order. Mathers nonetheless did communicate some of the more advanced teachings regarding spiritual sexuality to certain select students, notably to Edward Berridge.