Walter Leslie Wilmshurst was born on June 22, 1867 in Chichester (West Sussex). By 1889 he was already working as a lawyer in Huddersfield (West Yorkshire), where he would later become president of the Huddersfield Law Society. He was initiated as a Mason at the age of 22 in Huddersfield Lodge No.290, and became famous for his writings on the mystical aspects of Freemasonry.
Wilmshurst was a great connoisseur of esotericism, as well as a regular contributor to the Occult Review magazine. Therefore, his identification with the mystical elements of Freemasonry was natural, and he wrote some works fundamental to understanding the ultimate nature of Freemasonry, including The Meaning of Freemasonry and The Masonic Initiation. He also published other articles such as The Mystical Basis of Freemasonry, Parsifal, Reason and Vision and Spurious Ecstasy and Ceremonial Magic. In 1927, he was the founder and first Worshipful Master of the Lodge of Living Stones No.4957, in Leeds, which was set up purely in order to study the more esoteric meaning behind Masonic ritual and symbolism.
Wilmshurst's work not only encompassed Freemasonry. In fact, he considered Freemasonry a form of initiation but not the only one. Among his non-Masonic works we find The Chief Scripture of India, the Bhagavad Gita, and its Relation to Present Events and Contemplations: being Studies in Christian Mysticism.
He became Provincial Senior Grand Warden of West Yorkshire in 1926, and in 1929 he was appointed Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies of the United Grand Lodge of England. Walter Leslie Wilmshurst was called for higher service in Huddersfield on July 10, 1939. He collapsed dead in the street while waiting for a cab.
Walter Leslie Wilmshurst
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