Ayton was a friend of William Butler Yeats.
Ayton had been fascinated by alchemy and the Occult most of his life, able to read original texts in Latin, he became a Freemason in 1866, and Master of the Cherwell Lodge no. 599 in 1878 and he also attended other Lodges in the area.
Ayton was a follower of Madame Blavatsky, and he may have met Eliphas Levi in the 1860s. Ayton was obsessed with the idea that the Black Brethren were abroad, with nefarious plans to damage England. Ayton was a fount of alchemical knowledge for the Golden Dawn, and his advice was regularly sought by the members.
Ayton became a member of the successor Order of the Golden Dawn. He was a supporter of the reforms of Arthur Edward Waite, which split the Order as the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn and the Stella Matutina.