The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn: The Letters of the Reverend W.A.Ayton to F.L.Gardener, 1886-1905 by Ellic Howe
English | 24 Jan. 1985 | ISBN: 0850302889 | 112 Pages | PDF | 5 MB
Modern alchemist and member of the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn occult society. He was born April 28, 1816, in London, England, and was educated at Charter-house School (then in London) and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (matriculating 1837; Latin Prize Essay, 1838-39; B.A., 1841). He was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1841 and became a clergyman two years later. After serving in various country parishes, he was appointed vicar of Chacombe, Northamptonshire, in 1873.
Ayton was a Freemason and Theosophist as well as a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia before becoming one of the early members of the Golden Dawn in July 1888 at the age of 72, together with his wife. He took the magical motto Virtute Orta Occident Rarius (Those that rise by virtue rarely fall), his wife, Anne, took Soror Quam Potero Adjutabo (I will help as much as I can).
Ayton was a good Latin scholar, a firm believer in the Mahatmas of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, as well as gnomes and elementals. With his wife, he had been a secret practitioner of alchemy for many years and claimed to have rediscovered the elixir of life. The poet W. B. Yeats, also a Golden Dawn member, described Ayton as "the most panic-stricken person" he had known. Presumably as an elderly clergyman, pursuing secret researches in occultism and alchemy, Ayton was fearful of being discovered by his Church superiors. He also had obsessive fears about being under threat of occult attack from Jesuits, whom he designated the "Black Brethren." Yeats apparently regarded Ayton with friendly but amused skepticism. In his book The Trembling of the Veil (1922), Yeats wrote: "This old man took me aside that he might say—'I hope you never invoke spirits—that is a very dangerous thing to do. I am told that even the planetary spirits turn upon us in the end.' I said, 'Have you ever seen an apparition?' 'O, yes, once,' he said. 'I have my alchemical laboratory in a cellar under my house where the Bishop cannot see it. One day I was walking up and down there when I heard another footstep walking up and down beside me. I turned and saw a(1707) from Latin into English. He also transcribed a number of alchemi girl I had been in love with when I was a young man, but she died long ago. She wanted me to kiss her. O no, I would not do that.' 'Why not?' I said. 'O she might have got power over me.' 'Has your alchemical research had any success?' I said. 'Yes, I once made the elixir of life. A French alchemist said it had the right smell and the right colour' (the alchemist may have been Éliphas Lévi) 'but the first effect of the elixir is that your nails fall out and your hair falls off. I was afraid that I might have made a mistake and that nothing else might happen, so I put it away on a shelf. I meant to drink it when I was an old man, but when I got it down the other day it had all dried up.' "
Between 1886 and 1905 Ayton conducted an extensive correspondence with fellow Golden Dawn member F. L. Gardner. These letters, which contain valuable sidelights on occultism and Golden Dawn personalities, were published by Ellic Howe as The Alchemist of the Golden Dawn; The Letters of the Revd W. A. Ayton to F. L. Gardner and Others, 1886-1905.
In 1890 Ayton officiated at the marriage of Moina Bergson to S. L. MacGregor Mathers, both of whom played a key part in the history of the Golden Dawn. When A. E. Waite reorganized the GD in 1903, Ayton was a senior adept of the Second Order and was coopted as a co-chief. In 1908 Ayton translated Dr. Thomas Smith's Life of John Dee (1707) from Latin into English. He also transcribed a number of alchemical texts and Golden Dawn papers.DOWNLOAD:NitroFlare