This was not the case for four women in particular: Florence Farr, a well-known actress; Annie Horniman, a wealthy heiress who built two world-renowned theaters; Maud Gonne, an aristocratic revolutionary and international spy who incited riots with her inflammatory speeches; and Moina Bergson Mathers, an innovative artist who also channeled inner teachings from unseen Secret Chiefs.
In 1889 Moina's closest friend from the Slade Art School
, Annie Horniman
, had just returned from a European jaunt observing the avant-garde theater on the Continent.
There are indications that during these travels she
had fallen passionately in love, which was either not returned or had ended disastrously.
Alienated from her
devoted herself to practicing astrology and magic while following the latest movements in European theater through her
was fiercely independent and outspoken, a staunch feminist, who smoked incessantly and was among the first to publicly wear bloomers (a daring-and much-ridiculed-gesture in that age).  Each year she
traveled through Europe, going from place to place riding a bicycle, even through arduous mountain country, and then shocking the management of exclusive hotels by arriving in torn and dirty bloomers.
Although considered by some of her
acquaintances to be sexually prudish to the point of mania, and overly zealous about upholding laws and regulations, her
vision was daring and ahead of its time.
"She was essentially a rebellious woman," wrote Sir John Irvine about Annie Horniman
On the metaphysical side, Annie was a gifted astrologer, diviner with Tarot cards, and ceremonial magician, and much of her theatrical knowledge probably went into the staging of Golden Dawn rituals.
was the first person initiated into the new Inner or "Second Order," and was selected by the Matherses to consecrate their Ahathoor Temple
But eventually Mathers expelled her
for insubordination, saying that she
exhibited "intense arrogance, narrowness of judgement and self-conceit" in demanding the expulsion of a member who was, she
felt, espousing sexual rituals with elementals.
was known by the magical motto of Fortiter et Recte ("bravely and justly"), which aptly indicated her
own feelings about her
To give an example of Annie's metaphysical healing work: a friend had written her
requesting help for a young boy who had developed epileptic fits attributed to obsession.
decided to do what she
could by "scrying on the astral plane," which was a Golden Dawn technique of staring at an appropriate symbol as a gateway to occult visualization.
describes the experience like this in her
In other words, Annie
entered a vision through an imagined veil emblazoned with a golden hexagram and red cross; this guaranteed her
safety on the astral plane and assured that she
would meet the figure she
had probably also invoked.
The sign she
later made with the sword signified the four Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton (Yod, Heh, Vau, Heh), a name of God.
Shaw had written one of his earliest plays for Florence to act in, and now Florence and Annie
commissioned a new play from him.
Yet it is this very ability at which Moina
, and Florence were expert and seemed to most enjoy.
The remaining members- including Yeats, Florence, and Annie Horniman (recently reinstated after her banishment by Mathers)-formed the Stella Matutina Temple.
worked closely with Yeats in the reorganization required when the great schism occurred.
also devoted herself to assisting Yeats in his
As the result of a series of four Tarot readings done in 1903, she
decided to build the Abbey Theatre as a home for the Irish National Theatre Company
Maud Gonne, observing Annie
with Yeats, wrote in her autobiography:
"I had been much amused in Dublin watching the rivalry between Lady Gregory and a rich English woman, Miss Horniman; both were interested in Willie and both were interested in Irish theater.
had the money and was willing to spend it, but Lady Gregory had the brains.
Lady Gregory won the battle; Miss Horniman's
money converted the old city morgue into the Abbey Theatre, but it was Lady Gregory's plays that were acted there.
brought back Italian plaques to decorate it but Lady Gregory carried off Willie to visit the Italian towns where they were made.
Annie was eventually ousted as Yeats's patron and producer by the greater enticements of Lady Gregory, but this left her free to follow her need to create a theater of her own visioning.
Bergson, Farr, Gonne, and Horniman were agents of change who transformed the Western tradition of Renaissance alchemy, astrology, Hermeticism, and ceremonial magic from an intellectual exercise into a dynamic psychospiritual process of self-growth, creativity, and healing.
 Rex Pogson, Miss Horniman and the Gaiety Theatre, Manchester (London: Rockliff, 1952), p. 7.