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Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers is Born

Today in Masonic History Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers is born in 1854.

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers was a British oculist.

Mathers was born Samuel Liddell Mathers and added the MacGregor to portray himself of Scottish Highland descent, although no records show that this is true. Much of Mathers private life is hidden so many facts are in question. Mathers birth date is even in question, some put it on the 8th others on the 11th. Although he was born in London, England at 11 De Belevoir Place.

Mathers was a polyglot and spoke many languages included French, English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Galeic and Coptic. With this skill Mathers would translate books, his first was a French military manual. War being another of Mathers' passions.

Mathers was admitted to the Metropolitan College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA), a masonicly affiliated order. It was with two fellow members of the SRIA that Mathers would form the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Golden Dawn). The organization was dedicated to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities.

Initially the Golden Dawn was a competing organization to the SRIA, keeping some of the rituals and requiring the person to be a Freemason to join. By 1888 the Golden Dawn had removed all requirements for Freemasonry and were allowing non-masons and women to join the order.

One of Mathers enemies would be his former friend and pupil Aleister Crowley. Crowley wrote of Mathers in his memoirs that Mathers had claimed to have played chess matches with pagan gods. As Crowley describes it, Mathers would setup a chess board and place a chair on both sides of the board. Mathers would always play as the white pieces, after Mathers would move he would stare at the chair across from him until he received word of the other players move.

Mathers died in Paris in 1918. Again the date is unclear, some have it as 5 November, others have it as 20 November. Even his death certificate does not have the cause of death on it. It was claimed that his death was the result of the Spanish Influenza of 1918.

Mathers was initiated into Hengist Lodge No.195 in Bournemouth, UK. He was initiated in October of 1877 completing all three degrees within 18 months. In 1882, much like other aspects of his private life, Mathers demitted from the lodge. There appears to be no record of why he chose to leave the fraternity.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.