History

Modern History

Late 1800’s

In the late 1800’s, a group of three Freemasons, also members of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (the S.R.I.A.), William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Wescott, and Samuel Liddel Mathers, formed a new esoteric organization known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Using a foundational document known as the Cypher Manuscript (decoded primarily by Wescott) they created an initiatory system of study that included rituals, Hermetic philosophy, and other practices associated with the Western Mystery Tradition.

William Wynn Wescott

Samuel Liddel Mathers

1888
In 1888 they opened their first temple in London and admitted both men and women. Their rituals and practices were designed using both the Rosicrucian grade system and the Hierarchy of the Freemasons. Over the next thirty years the HOGD would expand and splinter until several new, but similar organizations were formed. One of these Orders, known as the Alpha et Omega (headed by Mathers), spread to the United States in the early 1900s. Several temples were founded in the U.S. during that time, including the Thoth-Hermes Temple in New York.
1918
In 1918, a man by the name of Paul Foster Case, a life-long student of the Qabalah, was admitted into the Alpha et Omega and initiated into Thoth-Hermes Temple. After several years with the organization, and a later difference of opinion with the leadership of the organization. Case created a new esoteric organization for the study of the Hermetic Qabalah called the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), which is still in existence today. As part of that work he co-designed an updated Tarot deck, wrote several books on the Tarot, and a created significant amount of correspondence work designed for individual study of the Tarot, Qabalah, and Alchemy. These exemplary lessons are still available today through bota.org.
 
His seminal text, The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, conveys a key allegory of personal transformation and outlines the Rosicrucian graded system of initiation. In addition to his books and correspondence courses, Case edited and added to the materials associated with the initiated section of the Golden Dawn.  His new rituals altered the tools called the elemental tablets and revised the dialogue, regalia, and speaking parts of the ceremonies. Case’s updated rituals, meant only for the eyes of initiates of the Order, remain unpublished to this day.

 

 
 

Paul Foster Case

Ann Davies

1950’s
In the 1950’s after decades of dedicated service to the Light, Paul Case passed the leadership of the BOTA on to his successor, Ann Davies, who continued to teach, write and build the organization until her death in 1975. During her tenure as Prolocutor General she trained seven young aspirants, known as the “stewards,” to carry on the tradition and disseminate the work of the BOTA. The first student to be named as one of these stewards was Paul Clark who joined the BOTA at the age of 12, an unprecedented occurrence that required Reverend Davies’ special dispensation. Throughout his time as a member of the BOTA, Paul Clark taught classes, toured and gave lectures, organized groups, and performed the duties of the Executive Counselor (a role previously held by Harriet Case). He was also personally trained by Ann Davies for future leadership. During this time, Clark completed the initiated work in the First Order of the Rosicrucian grades and then passed into the Second Order of study and ritual. Upon her death, Ann named Jacob Fuss, her husband, as her successor, although he remained in that role for only a short period of time. Soon after, Will Chesterman was elected to the position of Prolocutor General or head of the BOTA. Around this time, Paul Clark and the BOTA parted ways, by mutual agreement, again due to differences among members of the local leadership. However, recognizing Paul’s abilities and authentic dedication to the Work, Will Chesterman gave Paul Clark copies of much of the material in the BOTA’s archives, both for his own personal work and to share with others if, in Clark’s opinion, such activity was ever warranted in the future.
1982
In 1982, along with five other former BOTA initiates, Dr. Paul Clark founded the Fraternity of the Hidden Light and was installed as Prolocutor General or “Steward,” as he so named the position. Since that time, Dr. Clark has been dedicated to sharing and spreading knowledge of the Hermetic Qabalah as well as the initiated ritual work (re-written by Case himself), to sincere and dedicated aspirants who are ready for this unique experience. During his time as “Steward” Dr. Clark also authored an extensive body of rituals, correspondence work, and several books still available to interested seekers. His books are currently available on amazon.com. Through the OHM, initiated ritual work is available to all honest, qualified, earnest seekers who desire the transformation that is made possible through initiation in the Hermetic Tradition.
2018
In 2018, Dr. Paul Clark retired from his position as Steward. Now, his chosen successor, C.L. Forbes, whom he carefully trained and who has served the Order for many years, along with a group of well-qualified individuals, has embarked upon a new and exciting chapter in the evolution of the Hermetic Tradition. The OHM, dedicated to the very same ideals set forth so long ago, along with the intention to build upon that outstanding foundation, has been formed. Using much of the body of work created by Paul Foster Case and Dr. Paul Clark, the Ordo Hermeticus Mysteriorum is committed to spreading the Light to all interested seekers.

Ancient History

Humanity has always pondered the secrets of the universe.  For millennia, we have, as a species, looked for meaning and have sought greater understanding. Were we created by an omnipotent loving intelligence? Does life exist after death? Mystery Schools have long addressed these questions and have existed to help seekers to find answers within their own beings and consciousness.  They teach that the truth isn’t out there – it’s “in here.”  By exploring inner worlds with archetypal symbols and creating practices to open individual consciousness to Divine energies, humans have gained access to realities that would appear magical or miraculous to many.

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These Mystery Schools date back to ancient times; have been created, have disappeared, and have then been reborn again from time-to-time in a number of civilizations around the world, both in the East and the West. In the West, notable among these Schools are those that were dedicated to Isis and Osiris, the Zoroastrian Mystery Schools, the Mysteries of Dionysus, the Mithraic Mysteries, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Gnostics, the Essenes, the Sufis, the Knights Templar, and the Orders of the Golden and Rosy Cross. 

The systems of study and ritual used in Western Mystery Schools today can be traced to teachings in Ancient Egypt and Greece. Hermetic philosophy includes the foundational phrase, “Know Thyself” which is known to have been inscribed at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and is thought to have been used in Ancient Egypt as well. The Egyptian Mystery Schools were dedicated to training their students to serve the rest of their civilization by using mathematics, psychology, medicine/surgery, and astronomy. The Mystery Schools also taught spirituality and promulgated the idea that there is no necessity for an arbitrary demarcation between the outer and the inner life. The Egyptian Mystery Schools combined concepts that we would characterize as scientific with esoteric ones, to form a broader philosophical system.

In the Mystery Schools of Greece, students were taught that by “knowing self” they could become one with their Higher Soul and ultimately attain contact with super-consciousness. This process was aided through the cultivation of virtue, which built up the personality and aligned it more closely to the divine. In Greece, architecture was often a form of spiritual allegory.  A physical structure was a combination of symbols that corresponded to the work of building an “Inner Temple.”  Again, as in Egypt, mathematics and the power of numbers and proportion were used to convey Divine principles. For example, the irrational numbers of Pi and Phi were used to describe God. It was taught that the point at the center of a circle stood in relation to its circumference as a human individual might be conceived in relation to God. The concept of Phi was also used to represent the ratio or spatial relationship of the tiny atom to huge and distant planetary systems.  In this manner, the relationship of the parts of the universe to the whole was conceptualized.

Centuries later, extraordinary developments of the Western Mystery Tradition occurred in Europe, most notably in seventeenth century Germany.  A mysterious group of “seekers” declared themselves to be a secret brotherhood and they published an astounding allegory of initiation in documents called The Fama Fraternitatas, The Confessio, and The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz.  These same documents would later influence the creation of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and the founding of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Moreover, these three seminal Rosicrucian works are the subject of Paul Foster Case’s book, The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order.  Today, they may still be mined as a treasury of images and narrative that point the way to illumination. A number of Western Mystery Schools continue to build upon all of these outstanding traditions, including the Ordo Hermeticus Mysteriorum, as is outlined above, each carrying on the Work in a variety of forms.