William Robert Woodman
Dr. William Robert Woodman (1828-1891), one of three co-founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical order active in Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which practiced theurgy and spiritual development...


Early years

Woodman was born in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1828. He studied medicine and was licensed in
1851 and volunteered as a surgeon during Napoleon III's coup d'etat
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

. Afterwards, he set up his own practice at Stoke Newington where he also served as police surgeon
Police surgeon
Police surgeon could refer to:*Police Surgeon , a British ITV television series from 1960*Police Surgeon , a Canadian syndicated television series from 1971-1974, which starred Sam Groom; was known as Dr. Simon Locke in its first season* The topic of forensic pathology...

. He had a love for gardening
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

 and was a prominent horticulturalist and flower exhibitor. Inheritance left him with some property in Exeter, he retired there in 1871 to pursue his gardening aspirations, but moved back to London in 1887. So admired was he in that field of expertise that after his death, the Royal Horticultural Society
Royal Horticultural Society
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 in London, England as the Horticultural Society of London, and gained its present name in a Royal Charter granted in 1861 by Prince Albert...

 erected a memorial for his grave in Willesden.He was appointed Grand Sword Bearer of the United Grand Lodge of England
United Grand Lodge of England
The United Grand Lodge of England is the main governing body of freemasonry within England and Wales and in other, predominantly ex-British Empire and Commonwealth countries outside the United Kingdom. It is the oldest Grand Lodge in the world, deriving its origin from 1717...

, and he held high rank in many Orders, including the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine.

The Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia

Dr. Woodman was admitted into the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia on 31 October 1867 and appointed to the office of Secretary General in February 1868. He was co-editor for the society's journal, The Rosicrucian. In 1876, he was appointed Junior Substitute Magus, and in 1877 he was appointed Senior Substitute Magus. When Robert Little died in April 1878, Woodman, became Supreme Magus. Under Woodman, the Order expanded from London to the rest of England and was extending its influence to Australia and America.

In 1887 he was given the honorary grade of Exempt Adept, of the Isis-Urania temple of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888, in which he held the office of Imperator. His mottos in the Order were Magna est Veritas et Praelavebit (5=6, "Great is the Truth and it shall Prevail") and Vincit Omnia Veritas (7=4, "Truth Rules All").

Dr. Woodman died suddenly on 20 December 1891 after a brief illness. He left behind a letter naming William Wynn Westcott
William Wynn Westcott
William Wynn Westcott was a coroner, ceremonial magician, and Freemason born in Leamington, Warwickshire, England...

 as his successor to the S.R.I.A. and donating a portion of his library to the society.

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Dr. Woodman is the least known among the three founders of the Golden Dawn because he died before the creation of the Golden Dawn's Second OrderIn the Golden Dawn, no one was appointed to take his place in the Triad of Chiefs: Westcott became Praemonstrator and Mathers
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers
Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers , born Samuel Liddell Mathers, was one of the most influential figures in modern Occultism...

, Imperator.
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