The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Latin: Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae; or, more commonly, The Golden Dawn (Aurora Aurea)) was an organization devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Known as a magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was active in Great Britain and focused its practices on theurgy and spiritual development. Many present-day concepts of ritual and magic that are at the centre of contemporary traditions, such as Wicca and Thelema, were inspired by the Golden Dawn, which became one of the largest single influences on 20th-century Western occultism.
In 1888, the Isis-Urania Temple was founded in London. In contrast to the S.R.I.A. and Masonry, women were allowed and welcome to participate in the Order. The Order was more of a philosophical and metaphysical teaching order in its early years. Other than certain rituals and meditations found in the Cipher manuscripts and developed further, “magical practices” were generally not taught at the first temple.
It was on 19 April 1900, the first year of the 20th century, when the Irish poet W.B. Yeats came under astral siege in the headquarters of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at 36 Blythe Road, Hammersmith from a spell casting, hex issuing, kilt wearing, black Osiris masked Crowley armed with a ceremonial dagger intent on seizing the vaults within and claiming the temple and the order as his own.
Although Crowley’s flamboyant bid was thwarted by Yeats and the Metropolitan Police Constabulary, the inevitable schism that would ensue ultimately sealed the fate of the Golden Dawn who disbanded shortly after. Crowley would go on to form the A.’.A.’. in 1907 with Cecil Jones.