Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Samuel Liddel "MacGregor" Mathers, in Egyptian costume, performs a ritual of Isis in the rites of the Golden Dawn.

Samuel Liddel "MacGregor" Mathers, born as Samuel Liddel (January 1854November 1918), was a famous magician and one of the most influential figures in modern Occultism. He is primarily known as a founder of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical organisation which doesn't exist today, although several modern fraternities claim to continue its tradition.

He was born on January 8 or January 11, 1854 in London, England, under the astrological sign of Capricorn. His father, William M. Mathers, died while Samuel Liddell was still a boy. His mother, whose maiden name was Collins, died in 1885. He attended the Bedford Grammar School.

Mathers was an eccentric whose chosen lifestyle was unusual in its time. He added the "MacGregor" surname as a claim to Highland Scottish heritage, although there is little evidence of such in his family background. He was a practicing vegetarian, an outspoken anti-vivisectionist, and a non-smoker. He was also a supporter of women's rights and he had little interest in money (according to the Golden Dawn Research Center ( It is known that his main interests were magic and the theory of war (his first book was a military manual).

Mathers was initiated into an order of Freemasonry on October 4, 1877. On January 30, 1878 he became a Master Mason and in 1882 he was admitted to the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia where he became a member of its High Council within four years. In 1903, the Societas Rosicruciana became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

His wife was Moina Bergson (also known as Mina Bergson, Moina Mathers, Mina Mathers).

Mathers knew how to (to a degree) read and translate a number of languages, including English, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Gaelic and Coptic.

In addition to many supporters, he had many enemies and critics. One of his most notable enemies was, one time friend and pupil, Aleister Crowley.

Mathers died on November 5 or November 20, 1918. The manner of death is unknown; his death certificate lists no cause of death. Violet Firth (Dion Fortune) claimed his death was the result of the Spanish influenza of 1918. As few facts are known about Mather's private life, verification of such claims are very difficult.

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