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Dashwood's Hellfire Club - Demythologized

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The Hermetic Hour

The Hermetic Hour


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On Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 the Hermetic Hour with host Poke Runyon will present a discussion on Sir Francis Dashwood's 18th century "Hellfire Club." We will recount the outrageous exploits attributed to Dashwood and his cult of "randy rakes' and merry ne'er-do-wells who called themselves "The Medmenham Friars" or "Franciscans" after "St. Francis" Dashwood, their founder and sponsor. Lots of fun, but behind all this naughtiness there was a genuine libertine appreciation for the erotic beauties of Classical Paganism. Dashwood was closer to Thomas Taylor and William Beckford, and the later Norman Lindsay -- and even our own Frederick Adams, than to De Sade and the French satanists. The Medmenham Frairs were certainly libertine, but their devil was Pan, not Satan, and their diety was the Goddess. Dashwood, before Crowley, was influenced to replicate Rabilias' Abbey of Thelema and carved "Do What Thou Wilt" across the door to his chapel. From Dashwood we get "The Frair's Club" and probably "The Bohemians." He was a successful politician and public servant, married and respectable until slandered in the press in his later years. Hopefully we will have Dave and Ann Finnin call in. They visited "The Abbey" and were conducted through the infamous grotto by the present Earl of Dashwood, and can give us a first hand look at the remains of a Pagan enclave that flourished at the time of the American Revolution.