Was William Yeats a Freemason?

Although suspected, it isn’t known for certain whether William Yeats was a Freemason. Yeats (born 1865) was involved in various occult groups and sciences, some of which had Freemasons as members.

Let’s find out more…


Who was William Yeats?

William Butler Yeats was one of the 20th Century’s most prominent figures and poets, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923. Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland and become a staple in Ireland’s social, cultural and political sphere.

As well as his literary works, Yeats was heavily involved in the Occult Sciences, and it is suspected that he may have been a Freemason.


The Early Years

Yeats was the son of an artist father, John Yeats, and a mother from a well-off merchant family from Sligo in Ireland. Soon after Yeats’ birth, the family relocated to Sligo, which Yeats would fondly remember as home. The young Yeats was educated in both London and then in Dublin’s Erasmus Smith High School.


A Poet emerges

Yeats’ father was an aspiring artist, in fact Yeats came from a quite artistic family. His fathers art studio, which was located near his high school, became a regular haunt of the young Yeats. Here, in his father’s studio he met many of the local artists and began to write poetry.

One of Yeats first poems told the story of a magician setting up a throne in a far off country in Central Asia. And this mention of magic, brings us to the Occult; Yeats was heavily involved in the study of Occult and Mystic Sciences.

Yeats wrote, “If I had not made magic my constant study I could not have written a single word of my Blake book…”.


William Yeats and Freemasonry

Yeats’ fascination with the Occult and Mysticism was not something he hid and this part of his life is well-known. In 1890 he joined the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”,  which was an organization devoted to the study of the mystery sciences including magic and paranormal activities. All founders of this Order were themselves Freemasons, and so it is suspected that Yeats himself also was a Freemason.



Yeats was a brilliant writer and poet, with significant portions of his works being inspired by mystic themes. His role in Freemasonry is a lot less clear, and so although he would most certainly have been in close contact with Freemasons and be acquainted with its principles

So, on this one, we can’t really confirm whether W.B Yeats was actually a Freemason.





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