Dublin Hermetic Society

Dublin Hermetic Society, inaugural meeting on June 16, 1885 by William Butler Yeats, Charles Johnston and George William Russell.

External references

  • https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hermetic-society-dublin — “Founded in 1898 by mystical poet “AE” (George W. Russell ) in Dublin, Ireland, after he left the Theosophical Society. The Hermetic Society placed great emphasis on meditation. It was not connected with the Hermetic Society (London).” (Note that the date 1898 appears to be wrong in that article.)
  • https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/first/b/brown-yeats.html — “'I was much among the Theosophists, having drifted there from the Dublin Hermetic Society' (Mem: 23), recalled Yeats of his early years in London as a young man. The Dublin society had been founded on 16 June 1885, with Yeats as the president of a small group of spiritual neophytes. George Russell, no joiner of groups, disapproved of their aims and kept himself apart. It was an early hint of the controversy Yeats would discover in the worlds of occultism and Theosophy where disagreements were endemic. It was also an introduction to the way in which leadership and conflict are inevitably joined in human affairs.”
  • https://www.totallydublin.ie/arts-culture/arts-culture-features/a-modern-panarion-glimpses-occult-dublin/ — “Yeats, initially president of the Dublin Hermetic Lodge (later to become the Irish branch of the Theosophical Society) left the Theosophical Society – or was asked to leave – in around 1890, just five years after he oversaw its formation in Dublin. Blavatsky passed away in May 1891, and a general decline in activity for the Theosophical Society would follow in the oncoming decades. After reaching a peak towards the close of the 19th century, the Theosophical Society, and particularly its Dublin branch, was very much on the wane by the outbreak of World War I. In Irish history it is studied mainly through the prism of W.B. Yeats, in whose biography it forms something of a footnote to his far more sustained involvement with the Order of the Golden Dawn. It’s perhaps not unfair to state that it is treated as a literary curiosity, or a fin-de-siécle perversion.”
  • https://www.vqronline.org/essay/ae-and-wb — “That Madame Blavatsky was working towards Theosophy; the Theosophical Society was founded in 1875; it had reached Dublin within ten years—Yeats gave the opening address to the Dublin Hermetic Society.”
  • Susan Johnston Graf, Heterodox Religions in Ireland: Theosophy, the Hermetic Society, and the Castle of Heroes https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0967088032000057816 — “After reading both books, Johnston was converted to Theosophy, and he recommended that his friend, W. B. Yeats, read Esoteric Buddhism. The book also had a profound influence on Yeats, and he and Johnston then formed the Dublin Hermetic Society. In a letter written to Ernest Boyd on 20 January 1915, Yeats said that the Dublin Hermetic Society was not 'Theosophical (in the present sense of the word) at the start, but was for general mystical study'. The inaugural meeting of the Dublin Hermetic Society was held on 16 June 1885, and Yeats was named president.”
  • Toshio Akai, On the Early Writings of AE and the Theosophical Movement of Dublin Lodge https://www.jstor.org/stable/20533367
  • https://jpellegrino.com/teaching/yeats.html — “1885 June: Founds Dublin Hermetic Society with AE and Charles Johnston.”


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