Burgoyne, Thomas H. (1855–1894)
Thomas H. Burgoyne, an astrologer and founder of the
Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, was born April 14, 1855, and
grew up in his native Scotland. Spontaneously psychic, he
claimed that as a child he came into contact with the Brotherhood
of Light, a group of discarnate, advanced beings who attempt
to guide the destiny of humankind. Today that group
continues as the Church of Light. At a later date he met a M.
Theon, purported to be an earthly representative of the brotherhood
who taught Burgoyne about the Brotherhood.
Burgoyne moved to the United States around 1880 and
soon afterward his writings began to appear in various periodicals.
He was brought into contact with Norman Astley of Carmel,
California, who also claimed to be in contact with the
Brotherhood of Light. Astley suggested that Burgoyne write a
set of lessons to introduce the brotherhood’s teachings to the
public, and Burgoyne accepted Astley’s hospitality at Carmel
while he worked on the lessons. They were published in 1889
as The Light of Egypt. The writing of the lessons occasioned the
establishment of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor as an esoteric
occult order and outer expression of the Brotherhood of
Light. The Hermetic Brotherhood was structured with three
leaders, a seer, a scribesecretary, and an astrologer. Burgoyne
became the scribe.
As Burgoyne understood it, the Brotherhood of Light was
an occult order formed to oppose the dominant religious powers
of the day in ancient Egypt. As the members died, they continued
the brotherhood from their new plane of being.
Burgoyne wrote several more books, including The Language
of the Stars (1892), Celestial Dynamics (1896), and a second volume
of The Light of Egypt (1900). He died in March 1894, in
Humboldt County, California, still a relatively young man, before
the last two were published. Henry and Belle Wagner continued
his work. Henry Wagner owned the Astro-Philosophical
Publishing House in Denver, Colorado, which published Burgoyne’s
books. Belle M. Wagner succeeded Burgoyne as scribe
of the Hermetic Brotherhood.
Occult historian Arthur Edward Waite claimed that Burgoyne
was, in fact, a name assumed by Thomas Henry Dalton,
who had been imprisoned in Leeds, England, in 1883, on
charges of fraud. Waite asserts that it was only after his release
that he met a Peter Davidson (also known as M. Theon and
Norman Astley), the real founder of the Hermetic Brotherhood
of Luxor. Waite asserts that Dalton fled to the United States to
escape the scandal of his arrest and continued the work of the
order in California.
Sources
Burgoyne, Thomas H. Celestial Dynamics. Denver AstroPhilosophical
Publishing, 1896.
———. The Language of the Stars. Denver AstroPhilosophical
Publishing, 1892.
———. The Light of Egypt. 2 vols. Denver AstroPhilosophical
Publishing, 1889, 1900.