I first encountered the title “Frater” in The King’s Dragon, by Kate Elliot. Although the novel (and its sequels) are set in a magnificently researched alternate Europe during the early Medieval period, it did not occur to me that the title might genuine until some years later when I came across the authors Frater U.D. and Frater Barrabas. I began to wonder what the title meant and why someone would want to claim that title – especially F. Barrabas, a Wiccan magician. Recently, I was introduced to a magical blog by one Frater Acher. All three are ceremonial magicians of one stripe or another.
Once is an incident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a pattern. l have no doubt that the taking of titles is a long and storied tradition within (at the very least) Western occult practices. I have been led to understand that the titles within the Golden Dawn – and the Freemasons from whom they draw much of their ritual – can be quite elaborate. I know that it has been the peculiar practice among many American Wiccans to take the titles of “Lord” or (especially) “Lady” as part of their craft names. How widespread is this practice? How far back does it go? I now have a new area of research.