Horniman, Annie (1860–1937)
Annie Horniman, a British dramatist and student of magic,
was born on October 3, 1860, in Forest Hill, England, and grew
up in Surrey. Her grandfather, a wealthy Quaker tea merchant,
invented the tea bag. Her father made the pilgrimage from
Quakerism to Congregationalism to the Church of England.
He served for a number of years as a Member of Parliament.
His inherited wealth allowed him to travel widely and he assembled
a large collection of artifacts from around the world that
he housed in a private museum.
In 1882 Horniman entered Slade School of Art (an affiliate
of the University of London), where she met Mina Bergson
(later Moina Mathers). She was eventually led to the magical
order founded by Mina’s husband, Samuel L. MacGregor
Mathers, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD).
She was initiated in 1890 and took the magical namemotto
Fortiter et Rocte. She progressed rapidly, and the following year
was the first initiate in the more advanced Second Order. In
1893 she became the subPraemonstrator of the Isis Urania
That same year, Horniman received a substantial inheritance
from her grandfather that allowed her to enter into the
world of the theater by backing the production of a series of
dramas staged by Florence Farr, another HOGD member. She
also became a major financial backer of Mathers as he continued
to develop the Golden Dawn.
In 1896 Horniman emerged as the opponent within the
Golden Dawn of Dr. Edward Beveridge, who advocated the occult
sexual theories of Thomas Lake Harris, the American
communal leader. Horniman felt that Harris’ teachings were
immoral. When Mathers sided with Beveridge, she resigned as
subPraemonstrator of Isis Urania. She continued as scribe for
several years, but in 1903 had a final break with Mathers. Before
the end of the year, she was expelled from the order. In
the following years she threw herself into theater work and in
the 1930s would be honored for her contributions to the British
After many years away from the occult, in 1921 Horniman
joined the Quest Society formed by theosophist George R. S.
Mead. She died on August 6, 1937.
Greer, Mary K. Women of the Golden Dawn Rebels and Priestesses.
Rochester, Vt. Park Street Press, 1995.
King, Francis. Ritual Magic in England. London Neville
Spearman, 1970.