by R.T. Gault
from OrderoftheTwilightStar Website


From illegible chicken scratches mighty mystic acorns grow:
The first folio page of the Golden Dawn Cypher Manuscript.

This is a picture gallery for an in-progress essay about Arthur Machen and his association with the Order of the Golden Dawn, and it may relate the Machen's novels The Three Impostors (1895) .


Click Images to Enlarge

The Original Three Impostors

Young S.L. MacGregor Mathers impersonating a British Officer (circa 1882)



Dr. Robert William Woodman in Masonic Regalia. Woodman died in December 1891, leaving only two of the original Chiefs of the Golden Dawn in power.

Dr. W. Wynn Wescott, Coroner and occult scholar



The Later Three Impostors:

Deo Duce Comite Ferro
'Rioghail Mo Dhream
S.L. MacGregor Mathers as the Magus, drawn by his wife Moina Mathers



Vestigia Nulla Retrosum
Moina Bergson Mathers, wife of MacGregor Mathers. This is one of the few known picture of this lady. It was probably taken in the 1880s when she was Mina Bergson. She was the first non-founding member admitted to the order in March 1988.

Quod Sci Nescis
Sapere Aude
W. Wynn Westcott, resigned (or was forced out) of the Golden Dawn in 1897, leaving Mathers as the sole power


The Young Man With Spectacles:

W. B. Yeats in 1888, when he still sported a beard. A portrait by H.M. Paget. This is what Yeats looked like in the days when he was joining the "Hermetic Students", The Theosophy Society, and "deviling" in the British Museum along with most of the other people pictured here. Yeats officially joined the Golden Dawn on 7 March 1890, but may have been unofficially involved with it from the beginning.

Demon Est Deus Inversus
Classic 1890s W.B. Yeats, with spectacles, in his patented "poet outfit." When the London temple revolted against Mathers in 1900, Yeats became Imperator. He remained a major force in the splinter of the Golden Dawn known as Stella Matutina well into the 1920s



The New Woman:

Sepientia Sapienti Dono Data
Florence Farr in 1890. Actress, novelist, magician, and mistress of literary lions. An inscription on the picture reads "Do I inspire thee." Uh huh






Florence Farr in the 1890s. Farr joined the Golden Dawn in July 1890, became Cancellarius in mid 1892, became Praemonstrator after Wescott resigned, and was the head of the London Temple at the time of the 1900 revolt








Fortiter et Fecte
Annie Horniman, She bankrolled plays by Yeats and Farr, employed MacGregor
Mathers as a curator, and was one of the financial backers of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin






Vestigia Nulla Retrosum
Moina Mathers, this time as a priestess of Isis, in about 1900. Back when she was in art school, in the late 1880s, she met and became friends with Florence Farr, and Annie Horniman. The three of them used to hang out in the British Museum, dabbling in Egyptology and mystical books. By a strange coincidence Mathers, Yeats, Waite, and Machen were know to hang out there at the same time, looking for similar books.

Mr Dyson, a Walker in London:

An early picture of Arthur Machen with a beard. The source of the picture says it was taken in the 1890s, but this is doubtful. The "decadent" style of the 1890s was clean shaven. My guess is that the picture dates from the late 1880s. Picture originally appeared in The Collected Arthur Machen (Duckworth, 1988).






Young Arthur Machen, writer and actor, probably around the time he joined the Golden Dawn in 1899, and may have been the last member to join before the revolt of 1900. There is some evidence that he joined the order to distract himself after the death of his first wife. Machen followed his friend A.E. Waite into the Rectified Order of the Golden Dawn in 1904. He continued to unofficially collaborate with Waite on his works on the Holy Grail. He remained highly skeptical about the Golden Dawn and magical orders in general.

Mr Phillips:

Arthur Edward Waite as he looked in the early 1980s






Sacramentum Regis
Arthur Edward Waite, around 1900. He was one of the most prolific writers on occultism and magic. He is best known today for having created the most popular tarot deck in the world -- the Rider/ Waite Deck. He joined the Golden Dawn in January 1891.

Old Friends:

Arthur Machen at the Roman ruins at Caerleon, Wales. The hat and Inverness cloak became a trademark costume of Machen (as is was for his character Mr. Dyson), and he continued to wear it look after it was out of fashion.. This outfit and Machen's later round shape lead S. T. Joshi to wonder if Machen might be one of the models of John Dickson Carr's great detective, Dr Gideon Fell (the usual suspect for Carr's model was G. K Chesterton).

A. E. Waite in regalia of the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. On 4 November 1904 Waite constituted the Rectified Order of the Golden Dawn, one of the the many factions which stemmed from the original Golden Dawn. It closed down in 1914, and Waite went on to form The Fellowship of the Rosy Cross in 1915





Machen and Waite (left) together in 1936

The Beast:

Edward Alexander "Aleister" Crowley, novelist, poet, mountain climber, and ritual magician. Here he is shown as Osirus when he was in the Golden Dawn in 1899. This is the young man whom Machen learned had hired thugs to murder