8vo, first edition, original brown paper covers, title printed in black at head of upper cover, and at foot "This Essay must not be given to any but Adepti of the Order of R.R. & A.C.", minor spotting to title, otherwise a fine copy
The Order Rubidae Rosae & Aureae Crucis was a section of the Order of the Golden Dawn, the mystical society that Yeats had joined in 1890. He had been an active member, along with Annie Horniman, who joined the same year. At that time the society was dominated by William Wynn Westcott, whom Yeats had met at the Theosophist Society, but it came to be dominated by MacGregor Mathews. Constance Wilde had been a member but already left, and Yeats brought in Florence Farr (July,1890), Made Gonne (November 1891), John Todhunter (February 1892), and George Pollexfen (December 1893) among others. Yeats was much involved with the politics of the group in January and February of 1901; after failing to win support from the Council for their ideas, he and Annie Horniman and J. W. Brodie-Innes resigned their Council positions, and Yeats wrote this private pamphlet for the members in an attempt to regain authority.
The title page reads "Written in March, 1901, and given to the Adepti of the Order of R. R. & A. C. in April, 1901". The essay is signed D.E.D.I.—each member adopted a motto, usually in Latin. Yeats's was Daemon Est Deus Inversus. The total number printed is not known, but is likely to have been fewer than 100.
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