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Periodical: Shrine of Wisdom

Summary:   From Pat Deveney's database:

Shrine of Wisdom, The.
A Quarterly Devoted to Synthetic Philosophy, Religion & Mysticism.
1919--1947 Quarterly, semiannual
Altrincham, Cheshire, and then London, England. Publisher: Hermetic Truth Society.
1/1, October-December 1919-summer 1947. 5 s/- a year. 32 pp., free to contributors to the Shrine Manual Fund.

This was a learned, high-toned (and rather High-Church) effort, more mystical and philosophical than occult, that was devoted initially to the search for universal truth and the path to the divine that lay hidden beneath western classical and Christian traditions. It was written and edited anonymously and remains largely a mystery. It is said that it originated in the work of William S. Bowers-Tayler, a Christian Theosophist, who founded the School of Grecian Wisdom in Manchester, England, in 1911. This became in time the Order of Ancient Wisdom under the leadership of Frederick C. Heaton. Its stated purpose was "the continuance of the sublime work and teaching of our predecessors, namely, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, Plotinus, and Proclus." In 1923 this was merged with the more occult Universal Brotherhood to form what became the Universal Order, or the Integral Fellowship. The Universal Brotherhood is a mystery in its own right. It is said to have originated with the work of Merwin-Marie Shell (1863-1921). He was an American, a scion of the various intertwined elites of New England, who had helped organize the World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893. He was a convert to Catholicism and an adherent of Thomistic philosophy which he sought to use to elucidate contemporary philosophy, publishing "New Thought from the Catholic Point of View" in Mind (March 1894). There were many "Universal Brotherhoods" in the era, notably groups founded by Bruce Calvert, editor of Open Road, and by R.S. Clymer, none of which can be connected with Snell. The relevant Universal Brotherhood is that which Charles Stansfeld Jones ("Frater Achad") joined in 1921 and led from the 1930s until his death in 1950, and which, it is said, led Jones into the Catholic Church. Several members of A.E. Waite’s Order R.R. et A.C. were also said to have joined the brotherhood. The group had a ritual structure featuring candles, surplices, gowns, and incense and other ritual paraphernalia, and seems to continue today. Its teachings have been characterized as "a baroquely intellectualized form of sentimental monotheism" by an O.T.O. opponent. The group three degrees rising to "Self-abandonment to the Divine Will," communicated in secret written lessons.

The journal initially followed in the footsteps of Thomas Taylor and other Christian Neoplatonists and Platonists of the period, like Thomas M. Johnson, who was said to have been patron of the School of Grecian Wisdom in 1912. It published translations of Dionysius the Areopagite, Proclus, Pythagoras, Plotinus, et al., interspersing with them material on Laotse and others. BL; Bodleian; Columbia University; McGill University; NYPL.

Issues:Shrine of Wisdom V5 N17 Autumn 1923
Shrine of Wisdom V5 N19 Spring 1924
Shrine of Wisdom V8 N29 Autumn 1926

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