Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley were two of the most prominent figures in the history of Western occultism. Both were members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and both made significant contributions to the study and practice of esotericism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, their relationship was a complicated and controversial one that would ultimately end in bitter acrimony.
Mathers was one of the founding members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and played a key role in its development. He was highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge of the occult and his ability to translate and interpret ancient texts. Crowley, on the other hand, was a controversial figure who would later become known as the "wickedest man in the world" for his involvement in various forms of occultism and his personal life.
Despite their different personalities and approaches to the study of esotericism, Mathers and Crowley initially had a close and productive relationship. Mathers recognized Crowley's potential as a talented occultist and took him under his wing, mentoring him in the secrets of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley, for his part, was deeply impressed by Mathers' knowledge and authority, and looked up to him as a father figure.
However, tensions soon began to emerge between the two men. Crowley became increasingly dissatisfied with Mathers' leadership of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and began to challenge his authority. Mathers, in turn, became increasingly wary of Crowley's unorthodox approach to the study and practice of esotericism, which he felt threatened the order's integrity and reputation.
The relationship between Mathers and Crowley came to a head in 1900, when Mathers expelled Crowley from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Crowley responded by launching a series of public attacks on Mathers, accusing him of fraud and malfeasance. The dispute ultimately led to a split in the order and the formation of rival factions.
The controversy surrounding the relationship between Mathers and Crowley has continued to fascinate and intrigue scholars and practitioners of Western occultism. Some have characterized Mathers as a visionary leader and Crowley as a renegade rebel, while others have portrayed Mathers as a manipulative schemer and Crowley as a misunderstood genius. Regardless of the interpretation, their relationship remains a fascinating and complex chapter in the history of Western esotericism.