Since the founding of the SRIA, the delivery of research papers has been a central part of the purpose of our Society. There have been hundreds of presentations from members belonging to colleges within the Greater London area, spanning the entire breadth of esoteric knowledge and practice.
Soon after the formation of the Society, The Rosicrucian magazine was published in July 1868 and contained an Address from Robert Wentworth Little, alongside a poem of his entitled ‘The Pyramids at Sunrise’ and a short piece on ‘Notable Rosicrucian Books’ by Frater W. J. Hughan S.S.M that would be continued in future editions. This publication ran throughout the first decades of the Society as a record of its meetings and with many of the papers that had been delivered printed inside.
The First Report of the Metropolitan Study Group is found in what was by then labelled the Metropolitan College Transactions. In this report from 7th January 1902, the ‘President’ of the group Frater R. Palmer-Thomas, states that:
“a small band of M. Ms [Master Masons], who, in their wish for more Masonic knowledge, had gravitated into the ranks of the Soc. Ros. In Anglia, wished to meet together more often than at the quarterly convocations of the Met. College. They accordingly obtained the consent of the M.W.S.M. [Most Worthy Supreme Magus] to their so doing. Their object in the first instance was to exchange views, discuss questions, and study those liberal arts and sciences that are so frequently referred to in the Craft rituals.”
The Metropolitan Study Group was to be an esoteric equivalent to the long-running Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Masonic Research, which ‘does not meet our needs… [as] Occult science at the present day is a factor that cannot be neglected’.
The Second Report of the Study Group, from December 1902, by the ‘Hon. Sec.’ Frater Cadbury Jones, expands on this purpose and rhythm of the group:
“The Study Group, sanctioned by the M. W. Supreme Magus, meets once in every three weeks for the purpose of discussing matters connected with the ‘Hidden Mysteries of Nature and Science.’”
In that report he mentions that ‘an Initiation Ceremony some 3,500 years old has been recovered’ and that ‘Much time has also been spent in the consideration of Spiritual Alchemy’ alongside ‘inexpensive excursions…to ancient buildings in and Around London, special permission having been granted by the authorities to visit places not open to the general public.’
Topics and traditions that have continued right through to the modern era with our monthly Study Group sessions taking place to this day.