This study of the Order of the Golden Dawn (founded in 1888), perhaps the most famous of the hermetic societies in the British Isles, plunges straight into the group's mysteries and secret traditions with complete confidence in the reader's familiarity with the materials and magical formulae and with, alas, no glossary. MacGregor Mathers, a leading occultist, received great inspiration from his artist-wife Moina Bergson, the younger sister of French philosopher Henri Bergson, and the Isis to whom the Great Beast Aleister Crowley dedicated an early volume on magic and Yeats dedicated his mystical study A Vision. The Golden Dawn rivaled Madame Blavatsky's Theosophical Society and subscribed to the guidance of Masters or Secret Chiefs--long-lived wise men materialized from higher planes beyond time and space. Moina and Mathers entered into a celibate marriage, with her as the clairvoyant medium (or astral telescope) for his researches. The politics of the Golden Dawn and its squabbling splinter groups were rife with idiocy and greatly deflated their power to inspire, but a few secret groups persist with their esoteric handshakes, books, diagrams and signs. Dulling, as ff knitting needles had been plunged into the brain.