Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) was the first to record a personal account of initiation into Accepted Freemasonry. His writings help solve the debate between operative and "speculative" origins of Accepted Freemasonry, demonstrating that symbolic Freemasonry existed within the Masonic trade bodies. Ashmole was one of the leading intellectual luminaries of his time: a founding member of the Royal Society, an alchemists, astrological advisor to the king; and the creator of the world's first public museum. While Isaac Newton regarded him as an inspiration, Ashmole has been ignored by many conventional historians. Tobias Churton's compelling portrait of Ashmole offers a perfect illustration of the true Renaissance figure - the magus. As opposed to the alienated position of his post-Cartesian successors, the magus occupied a place at the heart of Renaissance spiritual, intellectual and scientific life. Churton shows Ashmole to be a part of the ferment of the birth of modern science, a missing link between operative and symbolic Freemasonry and a vital transmitter of esoteric thought when the laws of science were first taking hold. He was a man who moved easily between the powers of the earth and the active symbols of heaven. Tobias Churton is Course Lecturer on Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism at Exeter University and teaches in England's first master's programme in Western Esotericism. He studied theology at Oxford University and created the award-winning documentary series and accompanying book "The Gnostics" as well as several other films on Christian doctrine, mysticism, and magical folklore. He is the founding editor of "Freemasonry Today" magazine and the author of "Gnostic Philosophy". He lives in England.