Temple of the Dark Moon


Despite being a small and fairly isolated country, New Zealand has had an interesting history with respect to attracting various occult and esoteric fraternities, from as far back at the 1840s - many of which are still in operation today.

At the 4th annual New Zealand Pagan festival (held in March 2003), Roel van Leeuwen spoke on this very topic, and has generously provided the Temple of the Dark Moon the following time-line based on his lecture. It should be pointed out that this is far from being a comprehensive list, as other occult and esoteric organisations such A.M.O.R.C., the O.T.O., Society of Guardian, Order of the Nine Angles, Order of the Moon, Lectorum Rosicrucium, and the Silver Star (non-Crowleyite), as well as more Pagan orientated organisations, were omitted due to timeframe, or adequate information available.

Due to the number of years Roel has personally dedicated to researching this subject, and the simple fact that this research is still ongoing, the Temple of the Dark Moon is not able to provide his lecture in its entity. When any further and additional information comes to light, no doubt the time line will be amended to include any new information.

NZ Occult and Esoteric Fraternities
© 2003, Roel van Leeuwen


Foundation of the first Masonic Lodge in New Zealand - Lodge Ara 348


Foundation of Loge Francaise Primitif Antipodienne - Founded in Akaroa under a warrant from the Grand Orient of France (Folded in c1846)


Foundation of Egyptian Rite (Cagliostro's Rite) - Four Chapters were founded, being Sphinx (Dunedin), Memphis (Christchurch), Cleopatra (Wellington) in 1876, and Zola (Auckland) 1877. Charter to operate the Sovereign Council (33 degrees) and defunct by 1882. The Zola, Memphis and Sphinx Chapters were all to eventually change alleigence to the Ancient and Accepted Rite/Rose Croix.


Theosophical Society (Wellington) - The first attempt at establishing the Theosophical Society by E.T. Sturdy. While it existed it included Sir Harry Aitkenson (Premier of the Dominion of NZ) as well as other leading political, social and intellectual lights. The lodge was not to last more than a year.


Amalgamation of most of the English, Irish and Scottish lodges to form the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.


Antient and Primitive Rite 33°-96° of Memphis and Mizraim - Two Chapters founded, Wellington No.14 and Waimea No.19 in Lumsden. The rite only worked up to the 18th degree and folded in 1909.


Theosophical Society (Dunedin) - Despite strong opposition from local Churches, the Theosophical Society established a permanent foothold here, and slowly the Society spread throughout New Zealand.


Foundation of Loge L'amour de la Veritie (Grand Orient of France) (Wellington) - Folded either in the same year or in 1890.


Foundation of the Christchurch College of Societas Rosicruciania in Anglia (SRIA) - First college founded in New Zealand. It is from the SRIA that the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn grew out of. Other Colleges in New Zealand are Ashmolean (Auckland), Sirius (Wellington) and Felkin (Napier).


Foundation of the Smaragdum Thallesses Temple, H:.O:.49 of the Order of the Stella Matutina (Golden Dawn) (more commonly known as "Whare Ra") (Havelock North) - Dr Robert Felkin, his wife (Harriet) and daughter, Ethlewyn, founded the Smaraghum Thallesses Temple, and when Dr and Mrs Felkin return to England shortly after, Ethlewyn guided studies for about a year before she too returned to England. Foundations of their house, Whare Ra, are laid down by the famous architect, Chapman Taylor who later became a member of both the Golden Dawn and the Order of Table Round (see 1916)


International Co-Freemasonry - This Order admits men and women equally into the Masonic body, and thus is deemed 'irregular' by the male-only lodges (ie, no visiting or communication). Dr and Mrs Felkin also permanently emigrates to New Zeland in this year to continue the Golden Dawn work and also to form the Order of the Table Round, a neo-Arthurian mystical and chivalric order.


Dr Robert Felkin dies.


Establishment of Tauhara Trust - Mrs Felkin buys land near Taupo to establish a centre for propagating organic and biodynamic horticulture/agriculture, as well as a retreat centre. In 1970 the Taupo Council bought the land and in 1971 the Trust bought land in Acacia Bay, just outside Taupo, where the Trust currently operates from.


Mrs Harriet Felkin dies.


Ethlewyn Felkin dies.


First Visit by Anne Davies, head of the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), an offshoot of the Golden Dawn, founded by Paul Foster Case in 1921-22 - In the early 1960s Frank Goodie, Auckland bookshop owner, played a recording that Anne Davies made of some Qabalistic chants to Alistair Wallace, a member of Whare Ra. Wallace thought he discerned a hidden code in the chants, and started correspondence with Davies. As a result, she visited New Zealand in 1963, 1964 and 1969 with a view to establishing the BOTA here. Initially they attempted to amalgamate with Whare Ra, but Whare Ra adepti vetoed the idea. During her first two visits, Davies established groups in Auckland and Wellington. Part of Davies enthusiasm for visiting New Zealand was that she had been receiving communication from the inner planes that she was to bring some "lost sheep of British descent from somewhere south into the fold".

Mid 1960s

Frater Albertus (Dr Albert Riedel) visits New Zealand - Frater Albertus almost single handedly revived the study of traditional alchemy. Frater Albertus set up his Paracelcus Research Society in the heart of the Mormon kingdom, Salt Lake City. He was also active in the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC). During a visit to Australia in the early 1960s, Frater Albertus visited New Zealand, including Whare Ra.


Closure of Whare Ra - On 28 August 1978 a letter was circulated to members from which the following extract states:
" ... Those of you who have been present at the recent Equinox ceremonies will sure have been aware, not only of the lack of numbers, but also the lack of power in the temple. Those who have read their annual reports can scarcely have failed to notice that no new members have been admitted since 1975. Indeed there have been no grade ceremonies at all for the last two years or more. ..."

By 1979 the vast bulk of Whare Ra's property, regalia, documents and material had been burnt.


Foundation of the Thoth Hermes Temple of the Golden Dawn (Wellington) - Founded by Pat and Chris Zalewski. The Zalewski's derived their charter and teaching from Jack Taylor, an old Whare Ra Adepts, and Provincial Grandmaster of the Order of the Table Round.
Note: Neither Taylor nor Percy Wilkinson (see 1990-93) could legitimately warrant a temple. However, this is no great mark of shame as there is NO Golden Dawn temple in existence that holds an authentic warrant and this most certainly includes David Griffin's Paris Charter organisation, or the Hermetic Order of the Morning Star International. In fact, the Thoth Hermes temple (through Taylor) and the Horus Temple (Wilkinson) could claim the strongest lineage after the closure of Whare Ra.


Establishment of the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross (Christchurch) - The Fraternity of the Rosy Cross is the second of Waite's two attempts to 'rectify' the Golden Dawn. The first attempt, "Holy Order of the Golden Dawn" lasted only a few years. The Fraternity of the Rosy Cross lasted until Waite's death in 1942 when the Order went into abeyance before being resurrected in London in the early 1960s. In 1985 a charter was given to Humphrey Tibbs (Christchurch) in order that the Order may be propagated.


Horus Temple of the Golden Dawn (Hawkes Bay) - Founded under charter and instruction from Percy Wilkinson. After the closure of the temple, the principle officers went on to alchemical pursuits.


Establishment of the New Zealand Alchemists Guild - Founded by the principles of the Horus temple, the Guild taught a highly structured course in practical and spiritual alchemy as well as magickal theory. The Guild underwent numerous evolutions before finally shutting its doors in 2000/01


Foundation of Auckland chapter of the Order of the Table Round


Second Fraternity of the Rosy Cross Temple (Havelock North) consecrated.


Regular Martinism, under the auspices of L'Ordre Martiniste et Synarchique, was established in New Zealand (including Auckland, Wellington and Havelock North).


Roel van Leeuwen is a graduate student in History, with a particular interest in military history and alternative spiritualities. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. thesis, ‘Child of Earth: the Legacy of Dr Robert Felkin’ and the History of Esoteric Societies in New Zealand.

As well as his academic interests, Roel is, or has been, a member of various Orders and Societies in New Zealand since 1987. These include the Builders of the Adytum, SRIA and Order of the Table Round.

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