Second Pisces Decanate: Sylvester C. Gould

from The Last Eighteen Decanates Analyzed:

PISCES—2nd Decanate. The second decanate of Pisces is pictured among the constellations by ANDROMEDA—the Princess chained to the rock for the sea monster to devour. It symbolizes the earthbound condition of the human soul that passes to the spirit side of life obsessed with the desire for material reincarnation. It also represents those noblest of all mankind who suffer persecution and imprisonment that the rest of humanity may prosper.

The lives of persons born under this section of the sky are usually filled with restrictions and limitations. Often these conditions are assumed voluntarily as the price enacted by the world for the sake of assisting in its progress. When living at their best they are readily impressed by those on the spirit side of life, and are often chosen to carry out some important mission on earth. They grasp more readily than others the true meaning of universal brotherhood, and they get the most out of life through alleviating the physical and mental suffering of their fellowman.

Nicholas Copernicus, who was largely responsible for the adoption of the present system of astronomy, and suffered for his apparent heresy, was born with the Sun here. Charubel, author of Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolized, a seer and worker in behalf of the esoteric wisdom, had his Mentality in this decanate. And T. H. Burgoyne, author of Light of Egypt, and adept in the highest sense of the word, who suffered persecution for his views, was born with this part of the zodiac on the Ascendant. It is the decanate of SELF-SACRIFICE.

From Letters to the Sage, Volume One

            Sylvester Clark Gould, born March 1, 1840, was a New Hampshire editor and publisher, well-known for his knowledge of both New Hampshire history and esoterica. Gould entered the publishing industry as a newspaper printer in 1862, and in the following year he became a part-owner of and writer for the same newspaper. Although, starting in 1870s, Gould found stable employment as a depot manager for Concord Railroad, he maintained his interest in publishing and in 1883, with his brother Leroy, he began the journal Notes and Queries, which would be a popular periodical for fraternal, fringe math and science, and esoteric topics. This was followed 1907 with a new journal of the same type, the Rosicrucian Brotherhood. Gould himself was a member of over three dozen fraternal and esoteric groups, including the Massachusetts College of the Societas Rosicruciana, the Theosophical Society, the Order of the Sufis, the original H.B. of L., and a later group known as the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. He often held leadership positions in these organizations, and was put on the H.B. of L. Committee of Seven in September 1886. He died July 20, 1909, leaving a wife and daughter, Annie.

            Gould’s letters are primarily valuable for demonstrating his initial connecting with Johnson in 1885, and his reconnecting with him just prior to his 1908 claim that Johnson was still a member of the Order of Sufis. They also reveal that in later years Gould—who in 1883 Alexander Wilder described as someone who “hears everything”[1]—was somewhat out of the loop of Theosophical circles. In his December 27, 1906 letter, Gould asks if William Throckmorton—who died in 1893—is still living.

Manchester, NH

December 15, 1885

Friend Johnson—The enclosed letter speaks for itself—I have been for years a student of some of the mysteries. But not until I fell in with friend Peter Davidson did I discover an avenue to be escorted into the door—I had read “Isis Unveiled”. and noted the reference on page 308 of Vol II.[2] Also the Mckenzies Cyclopedia page 309. H.B. of L. invoice but did not know how to proceed—

I now await orders—[3]

Please rehand the letter of the Private Sec—Burgoyne—

I have read the Theosophist from beginning. And many others of kindred nature—not omitting The Platonist)—(No. 8. Vol. II. just at hand)

I am now about half through Godfrey Higgins’ “Anacalypsis”[4]—a remarkable work—

I am sure glad you are to—give us the “Dogma et Ritual” and “Denudota.”[5]             “the Perfect Way or the Finding of Christ”[6] &c.(4to)—has just reached me—  

I found in Boston last week a neat copy of “Hymns of Orpheus” from the original Greek with—Pre. Dis. on Life and Theology of Orpheus” London 1792[7]—pp 227.

I suppose you have all three books—but I only mention them as I have not the opportunities that some have to pick them up—they please me and all add interest to the subjects which interest me

            I have but few mystical works—perhaps 200—

            But more anon —

            Fraternally yours

            SC Gould

Office of Notes and Queries, S.C. Gould, Editor and Publisher

Manchester, NH

December 18, 1906

By Dear Sir and Bro—

            Having had some correspondence with our mutual co-laborer Dr. A. Wilder, he incidentally mentioned you. I had not heard from you for quite a long time, and really did not know whether you was still with us yet on this sphere. However, I am now, and always was, glad to hear your name mentioned.

            I gladly send you the last volume of N & Q,[8] free, and will send the 1905 volume if you care to have one for old friendship sake and pleasant memories.

            I send you also the first nos of The Rosicrucian—a new venture.

            I even now read The Platonist with great pleasure, and remember the many past [illegible] editions from you.

            Always yours

            S.C. Gould

Office of Notes and Queries, S.C. Gould, Editor and Publisher

Manchester, NH

December 27, 1906

My Dear Sir and Bro—

            I am delighted to again hear from you, and read your good letter just at hand. I always did. and do now, admire the head of Plato, Homer, and many others. I could name, and I had to first gaze at that head of Plato.

            I am glad to be corrected on the Concordance[9] author. I have had some knowledge of Platonic literature, had Thomas Taylor’s works and was surprised at the volume when I find it that I had never seen or heard of it. And so started the surprise and when I scrutinized my list of his works published by in Vol XI. p. 21 and did not find it (I send you that number now).

            Well. I thank you and shall published my mistake. But first I shall try and find who this Thomas Taylor was. And ascertain the facts

            When the Concordance came from London, I said to myself what a poor Concordance it was, and not any of our Thomas Taylor’s handi-work. I am glad for the information of the Alcott piece and will make a note of it. etc.

            This leads me to send you an advance sheet. of same Greek lines. and ask you to give me a free translation of them at your leisure

            I send you vols. 1905. and 1901. and some other pamphlets. reprints mostly as I frequently run off some for friends.

            You can have more of the later vols. if you wish as I have a good supply at present. I formerly sent N. and Q. to you. But when your name got off I know not. unless in reviewing the list at some time.

            I have been very free with the N. & Q. There is no money in it now. There is such a immense lot of stuff now published by machinery and so much is distributed free (sample copies) that many more get their reading free by the asking.

            Anyway vol. XXV, 1907, will round out 25 years. and the Matter in N. & Q. has out-grown title. and if I am spared and health[y] the second series will be under a new name and somewhat different in matter.

            I, being an old printer, have set nearly all my type and hence the saving in issuing the N. & Q. The Rosicrucian is a side issue for a while to I am writing answers to letters of inquiry—as to the RC.

            Some of the articles will also appear in N. & Q. in 1907.

            Dr Wilder’s art. in the R.P. Journal in the ’80’s will be the leader in July No. now in type.[10]

            Gen. E. N. Buford’s  lecture in Chicago in the ’80’s will be the leader in the April No 1907.[11] It is on “the Philosophers Stone”. But really it is a review of Gen E.A. Hitchcock’s works, a list of which will appear the article.

            Some way it seems to me there are but few platonic students now compared to former times or at least I do not know of them. Is Throckmorton still living?

            Good H.K. Jones has passed beyond several years ago. Dr Wilder is with us yet. I hear from him about once a month. I once had a few students here, but they have flown, or back slidden.

            Well, enough now—

            Always yours S.C. Gould  

Office of Notes and Queries, S.C. Gould, Editor and Publisher

Manchester, NH

August 30, 1907

Dear Sir and Bro—

            Your card at hand, and in answer will say, that the address of The Tantrik Order[12] is not given as to Box, or Street. My notice gives all, except that the journals are $2.00 a copy to be had of G.E. Stechert & Co. 129-133

West 20th St. New York City

I will loan you my copy, and do hereby send it by mail. You can have it a month or more

I shall be in New York City about Sept 12, 1907, and shall call on several whom I am in touch with and shall try and obtain more information about it, and if I do more than stated in the Journal I will enlighten you—and if you should obtain more light, please let me know—

            Always yours

            S.G. Gould

Tantrik Journal goes same mail as this Aug 30, 1907 11 a.m. 


[1] Alexander Wilder to Johnson, July 31, 1883.

[2] In which Blavatsky explains that Mackenzie was correct to note the existence of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, but was incorrect in asserting it was Rosicrucian-based, an idea most likely derived from Rev. James H. Wiggin (see H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings (hereafter, BCW) (Wheaton , Illinois: Quest Books), 1:121).

[3] This language seems to imply, curiously, that Davidson directed Gould to Johnson and not Cables, as might have been expected, since Gould was a member of Cables’ Rochester lodge and Davidson was also Cables’ guru, while Johnson’s guru was Ayton.

[4] Godfrey Higgins’ (1772-1833) posthumously-published two-volume tome that compares the world’s religions and myths with the intention of proving the existence of a since ancient, universal religion. Its full title is Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions (1833).

[5] The Kabbala Denudata (1677-78) by German cabalist Christian Knorr von Rosenroth (1636 -1689). The first English translation was made by S.L.M. Mathers in 1887, nearly two years after Gould’s letter.

[6] An 1881 book by Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland.

[7] This was written by Thomas Taylor.

[8] Gould’s journal, Notes and Queries.

[9] Gould had incorrectly assumed this to beThomas Taylor’s Concordance to the Holy Scriptures.

[10] The only article by Wilder to be published in Gould’s journal that year was his “The Rosicrucians,” which appeared in the September issue. So far, we have been unable to find the original in the Religio-Philosophical Journal.

[11] It in fact appeared in the August issue.

[12] Established by the American yogi Pierre Bernard on the US West Coast in 1905.