Alpha et Omega

A mystical offshoot of the Golden Dawn, marked by secrecy and a rich legacy in occult traditions.

Alpha et Omega, often abbreviated as A+O, was a hermetic and occult order that emerged from the ashes of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a society dedicated to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities. Founded by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in the late 19th to early 20th century, the Alpha et Omega inherited and further developed the rituals and teachings of its predecessor, amidst controversies and schisms that characterized the era of occult revival in Europe and America.

The Alpha et Omega was born out of conflict and ambition, evolving in a time when the Golden Dawn was rife with internal disputes, power struggles, and the quest for authentic mystical experience. Mathers, one of the founding members of the Golden Dawn, assumed control after other leaders departed or were ousted, moving to establish his authority and vision for the order. This leadership, however, was not without its challenges, as disputes with members over the direction of the Golden Dawn, as well as Mathers’s growing association with controversial figures like Aleister Crowley, led to significant strife within the ranks.

Despite or perhaps because of these challenges, the Alpha et Omega continued to grow, establishing temples across the United States and Europe. By 1913, Mathers presided over at least five temples, with the order expanding to include three more American temples post-World War I. Upon Mathers’s death in 1918, leadership passed to his widow, Moina Mathers, and later to other notable figures, until the onset of World War II when the order was officially closed, and its physical symbols were reportedly destroyed​​.

The rituals and teachings of the Alpha et Omega, once shrouded in secrecy, were integral to its identity. Unlike the Stella Matutina, another Golden Dawn offshoot whose rituals were published in the early 20th century, the Alpha et Omega’s rituals remained a secret until they were finally published in 2011. The order’s legacy is marked by its contribution to the broader Western esoteric tradition, influencing notable occultists like Dion Fortune and Paul Foster Case. Fortune was initiated into the Alpha et Omega but later expelled due to conflicts with Moina Mathers over the publication of secret teachings and Fortune’s own esoteric explorations. Case, after facing his own disagreements with the order’s teachings and leadership, went on to establish the Builders of the Adytum, a new esoteric school​​.

The decline of the Alpha et Omega mirrors the broader challenges faced by esoteric orders of the time, with the outbreak of World War II serving as a grim bookmark to its active years. The discovery of magical tools associated with the order on a beach in 1966, long after its official closure, serves as a poignant reminder of its once potent presence in the world of the occult​​.

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