A short-lived but influential British Druid order, the AAOD was founded in 1874 by Robert Wentworth Little (1840–78), an avid Freemason who also founded the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA). Like many Masons of his time, Little believed that Freemasonry had inherited the assembled wisdom of many ancient Pagan mysteries, and he was also influenced by theorists in the Druid Revival who presented ancient Celtic Druidry as a system of initiation parallel to Freemasonry. Another influence was the Ancient Order of Druids, founded outside Masonry in 1781. See Ancient Order of Druids (AOD); Druid Revival; Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (SRIA).
While many members of the original AAOD came from within Masonry, Masonic affiliation was not originally required to join. In 1886, however, the governing Grand Grove of the order voted to change its name to the Ancient Masonic Order of Druids (AMOD) and expel all members who were not Master Masons in good standing. Nearly two-thirds of the order’s members quit at that point, and formed a new organization under the original name, which continued in existence until sometime around 1900. The AMOD still exists as a Masonic side degree in Britain.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006