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Freemasonry is a root source of Western esotericism, though some members deny this, and most others downplay the influence because of the assaults of anti-Masons. Modern Freemasonry results from the transition from operative (working) stone masonry to speculative (spiritual) Freemasonry in the 17th century when esotericists such as Elias Ashmole were initiated. Its esoteric interests peaked in the late 19th century but are still active. The original speculative form was influenced by Rosicrucianism and Renaissance magic. The basic initiatory structure of Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and Gardnerian Witchcraft are derived from Freemasonry.
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