The Occult Lodge: Part Seven
A New Age
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. James E. Frey 32° KT, ROS
As occult studies entered into the 20th century its Christian and Kabbalistic influences would fade and occult leaders sought to re-create mythology they found interesting. With Crowley’s achievement in creating his own mythology and esoteric system, it inspired a New Age of occult groups, who began to form and adopt what they wished with very little Masonic influence. This stream of thought is found within society today within the New Age Movement. New Age has very little to do with Masonry objectively, but subjectively it still bears important elements of the lodge structure. New Age often includes types of moon worship, herbs, crystals, types of yoga, meditation, and candle magic.
The founder of Wicca was Gerald Gardner who was born in 1884 to an upper-middle-class family in Lancashire. During his life he worked as a civil servant, author, and amateur anthropologist. Gardner claims he was initiated into Masonry at Sphinx Lodge 113 in 1905, yet no record exists. Gardner claims to have left the Masonic fraternity in 1908 after he had received his Ancient Craft degrees. Interested only in obtaining the secrets of the Craft he took much of the symbolism and teachings to heart and began elaborating them into a system of his own creation.
Gardner worked through the structure of the OTO becoming the head of Britain. It was there that he began his contact with Aliester Crowley and shared his dreams of founding a Celtic themed magical society. He paid Crowley 200 pounds to write out this system of modern witchcraft and thus Wicca was born.
Crowley and Gardner used the lodge structure and many of the aspects and initiatory rituals of Masonry and incorporated them into Wicca. Compare these aspects of the Wiccan First degree with that of the Entered Apprentice degree; The initiate is blindfolded with a cabletow binding them, representative of the umbilical cord of material life and is conducted to the edge of the Magic Circle which in Masonic terms would be the lodge room. The Initiate is received by the tip of a sword and is told “it is better that thou plunge your heart upon this sword than to enter this circle with fear in your heart, and never to divulge the secrets of your coven” which is almost identical to the reception of the Apprentice.
All three degrees echo a Masonic Structure and seek to connect themselves to a stream of ancient pagan energy that had been lost for almost one thousand years. What Wiccanism did though, was make esotericism mainstream. From this mainstream new age movement would come a new breed of charlatans, gurus, self help books, pseudo-science, and attempts to revive long dead traditions.
James E Frey 32° classifies himself as a gentleman of the old world, which means he is known to stand in the great forests reciting poetry to fair-haired damsels while wrestling bears for sport. He is a District Education Officer for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a Past Sovereign Prince of the of Danville AASR, member of the Oak Lawn York Rite, Medinah Shriners, Royal Order of Scotland, Quram Council Allied Masonic Degrees and initiate of the Golden Dawn Collegium Spiritu Sancti. He is also a guest lecturer on Occultism and Esoteric studies in masonry for the R.E.B.I.S Research Society