Long before the establishment of Freemasonry as a fraternity, a group of mystics founded in Europe what was called the "Society of Unknown Philosophers.” Prominent among the profound thinkers who formed the membership of this society were the alchemists, who were engaged in transmuting the political and religious “base metal” of Europe into ethical and spiritual “gold”; the Qabbalists who, as investigators of the superior orders of Nature, sought to discover a stable foundation for human government; and lastly the astrologers who, from a study of the procession of the heavenly bodies, hoped to find therein the rational archetype for all mundane procedure.“  

– Rosicrucian and Masonic Origins, by Manly P. Hall