American Z-Men: Kenneth Guthrie

American Z-Men: III
by Dr. Stephen Flowers

Kenneth Sylvan Guthrie (1871-1940). Guthrie was born in Scotland but came to the US as a young man. He was educated in Europe and in the US, receiving advanced degrees from Ivy League schools, but could not find a position in academia. He supported himself teaching French and German. In the 1890s he was ordained as an Episcopal minister and made rector of All Saints church in NYC. But his true passion was in esoteric studies: he translated works by Plotinus, Proclus, and Pythagoras. In 1920 he published his famous PYTHAGORAS SOURCE BOOK AND LIBRARY. He longed to be initiated into true *mysteries* and attempted to create a system for self-initiation based on Mithraic ideas. The result of this is his 1925 MITHRAIC MYSTERIES RESTORED AND MODERNIZED: A DRAMA OF INTERIOR INITIATION. The result is rather mixed. It is a verbose Masonic-style ritual drama that mixes elements of Mithraism and Zoroastrianism. The system is not based on traditional Mithraic grades and heavily admixes elements of orthodox Zoroastrianism. In the final analysis, though it appears to have been a highly personal project, with little to no ramifications beyond the work itself. Obviously Guthrie was impressed by Mazdan thought, and realized that it was at the base of what he had been studying among the Greeks his whole life, but it cannot be considered a sustained effort at the establishment of a Mazdan way in the West.