Book: The Secret Rose And Rosa Alchemica by William Butler YeatsFor those who are familiar with Yeats' poetry, particulary his beloved early poems like "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," reading "Rosa Alchemica" is an experience of joy. Called by critics his best work of fiction, "Rosa Alchemica" incorporates not only the lush language and imagery of early Yeats, but also his personal interests: Irish culture, myth and legend, and his lifelong membership in the society of the Golden Dawn, a secret society that believed it could practice magic. Yeats believed that "poetry and romance cannot be made by the most conscientious study of famous moments and of the thoughts and feelings of others, but only by looking into that little, infinite, faltering, eternal flame that we call ourselves." And if this is so, then "Rosa Alchemica" is purely of Yeats' self, for he was a member of the Society of the Golden Dawn for over thirty years. Although he was unwilling to publically acknowledge all of the society's beliefs, which included three orders of magi, including the highest order that reflected Robartes himself, Yeats sincerely believed that the realm of the magical and spiritual was real.
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