The Nature, Structure, and Role of the Soul In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

The Nature, Structure, and Role of the Soul In the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of California State University Dominguez Hills

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Humanities


Albert Billings

Copyright by
Albert Billings
All rights reserved.

This work is dedicated to two individuals:

First I dedicate this to my wife, Rebecca, who has supported my endeavors in education and life over these last several years. The work of a graduate program is difficult for both the student as well as family. Without her support and help, I would not have been able to complete this thesis and the program.

Also, I wish to dedicate this to my friend, Richard Brzustowicz. It was Richard who, during my own undergraduate years, exposed me to Neoplatonism, the Renaissance theurgy deriving from it, and the continuing influence of Neoplatonic thought in Western culture over the centuries from the weird to the mundane. Aloha, Amigo!


The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a 19th century English society engaged in the creation of a systematic form of western esotericism. Its founders created a synthesis of previous strands of esotericism and spiritual thought that had existed in Europe. One aspect of this synthesis was the creation of a new vision of the soul. This soul went beyond a simple mixing of elements from earlier traditions and provided an integral portion of the spiritual vision that gave an overall purpose to the spiritual practices of the Golden Dawn. A discussion of the nature and structure of this soul, its key influences, and unique aspects gives clarity to some of the spiritual goals and vision of the Golden Dawn as a system of spiritual practice. This demonstrates a system of thought unique to the end of the nineteenth century that places it with other spiritual traditions of the world.