Burgoyne, Thomas H. (1855-1894)

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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 scribe/secretary, 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.


Burgoyne, Thomas H. Celestial Dynamics. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1896.

. The Language of the Stars. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1892.

. The Light of Egypt. 2 vols. Denver: Astro-Philosophical Publishing, 1889, 1900.