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Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and PriestessesWomen of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses
By Mary K. Greer
Publisher: Park Street Press (October 1996)
Pages: 490 – Price: $29.95 review

Many people have heard of the Golden Dawn, or of Irish poet Yeats and his ghosts, but few have any inkling of the role of women in the formation of one of the most unusual and remarkable secret societies in Western occult activities. Women of the Golden Dawn reads like a combination fast-paced thriller and a biography combined!

Four women became known as the rebels and priestesses of the Golden Dawn. They are: Maud Gonne, Moina Bergson Mathers, Annie Horniman, and Florence Farr. Each woman held an important role in the Golden Dawn.

It would be safe to identify these women as four, powerful, magickal women. Set around a hundred years ago, here is a look at what feminist women were all about and why.

In the very heart of a repressive Victorian era, these women flourished and succeeded where others had failed. Maud Gonne was known as an aristocratic revolutionary. Moina Bergson Mathers was known for her documented skills as a psychic channel. Annie Horniman was a major patron of the arts. Florence Farr was an important actress of her era. Together, these women formed the heart of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, whose members included Nobel laureates William Butler Years and George Bernard Shaw, among others. These women made numerous important contributions to ceremonial magic, and Hermeticism..

The illustrations, photographs, and endnotes add to the complexity and triumphs found in the life of each woman. There is an enlightening chapter on Victorian womanhood.

Skrying in the spirit vision is an interesting chapter. The eight appendices are helpful and educational, and the one on the Dion Fortune battles will stun the reader with its honest facts.

This is a book that deserves a wide reading audience, and now that it is in paperback, it should reach a wider group of readers. Women of the Golden Dawn is highly recommended and enjoyable reading. There is much wisdom to be found in the actions and beliefs of these four women, who took brave stands in an otherwise repressive society towards woman.

Mary Katherine Greer is the author of many books and gives workshops in women’s mystery traditions. She lives in Nevada City, California.

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