Neophyte and Elemental Grades

of the Order of the Golden Dawn


Because of the confidentiality of sacred materials, we do not here provide full transcriptions of the Golden Dawn grades. Instead, herein are selected segments that indicate the general attributions of each of the four “Elemental Grades,” the preliminary Grades of the Order, as well as the initial Neophyte grade.

Neophyte (0=0

Address of the Hiereus

As you have now passed through the ceremony of your admission, allow me to congratulate you on being admitted a member of this ancient and honorable Order, whose professed object and end is the practical study of Occult Science. Let me therefore advise you to remember this day as a marked one in your existence and to adopt and cultivate a mental condition worthy of this Order. To this end let me first earnestly recommend you never to forget due honor and reverence to the Lord of the Universe, for as the whole is greater than its parts, so is He far greater than we, who are but as sparks derived from that unsupportable Light which is in Him. It is written that the borders of his Garment of Flame sweep the ends of the Universe and unto Him all return. Therefore do we adore Him, therefore do we invoke Him; therefore in adoration to Him sinks even the Banner of the East. (Done)Secondly, let me advise you never to ridicule or cast obloquy upon the form of religion professed by another,for what right have you to desecrate what is sacred in his eyes? Thirdly, never let the seal of secrecy regarding the Order be absent from your recollection, and beware that you betray it not by a casual or unthinking word. Fourthly, study well that Great Arcanum, the proper equilibrium of mercy and severity, for either unbalanced is not good; unbalanced severity is cruelty and oppression; unbalanced mercy is but weakness and would permit evil to exist unchecked, thus making itself as it were the accomplice of that evil. Lastly, do not be daunted by the difficulties of Occult Study and remember that every obstacle can at length be conquered by perseverance.



Minimum Requisites for Advancement

Before you can pass on to the next Higher Grade of this Order you will have to make yourself perfect in the following:

The names and alchemical symbols of the four elements.

The names, astrological symbols and elemental attribution of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

The names and astrological symbols of the seven planets, also their houses, exaltation and triplicity in the Zodiac.

The names, characters and numerical values of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The names and English meanings of the ten Qabalistic Sephiroth. A lecture on these subjects of study may be obtained on application. When you know these thoroughly you must signify the same by letter to the Cancellarius or Scribe. You will then be examined and if found perfect you will be eligible for admission to the next higher grade, should the higher powers approve your application.

Zelator (1 = 10)


Dedicated to Adonai Ha-Aretz (Lord of Earth)

First of the four Elemental Grades. The title comes from the Greek root for a zealous disciple, one who studies with great intent and enthusiasm. Its theme is the element of Earth, and establishes the Initiate in Earth-of-Malkuth. The central imagery involves the various items found in the Courtyard and inner area of the Tabernacle, the ancient Israelite sacred enclosure used prior to the building of a permanent Temple.


Hierophant's Explication (From Advancement, 1st Part)

The Zelator Grade is a preparation for other Grades, a threshold before our discipline, and it shows by its imagery, the Light of the Hidden Knowledge dawning in the Darkness of Creation; and you are now to begin to analyze and comprehend the Nature of that Light.



Minimum Requisites for Advancement (See Second Knowledge Lecture)

The names and alchemical symbols of the three principles of nature (rajas – sattva – tamas / sulfur – mercury - salt)
The metals attributed in alchemy to the seven planets.
The names of the alchemical particular principles, the Sun and Moon of the Philosophers, the Green Lion, the King and Queen.
The names and astrological value of the Twelve Houses of Heaven.
The names, astrological symbols and values of the aspects of the planets.
The meaning of the Querent and Quesited (Seeker and the Object Sought for)
The four great classes of astrology (natal, horary, electional, mundane)
The arrangement of the ten Sephiroth, Hebrew and English, in the Tree of Life. This is especially important.
The three pillars of the same.
The names of the four orders of Elemental Spirits (gnomes – sylphs – undines – salamanders)
The names and descriptions of the Kerubim (man, lion, bull, eagle)
The meaning of the Laver and Great Altar of Burnt Offerings of the Sacrifice and of the Qlippoth or Shells.
The names of the ten Heavens of Assiah, in Hebrew and English
The names of the four Qabalistic Worlds, Hebrew and English (Atziluth – Briah – Yetzirah – Assiah)
The names of the twenty two Tarot Trumps and Four Suits.

Theoricus (2 = 9)


Dedicated to Shaddai El-Chai (Vast and Mighty One, Lord of Air)

Second of the four Elemental Grades; establishes the Initiate in the element of Air-of-Malkuth, and the corresponding Sephira of Yesod-of-Malkuth. The term Theoricus derives from an ancient Greek term related to student or disciple. The imagery of the ritual (not reproduced here) takes one further into the mysteries of the ancient Hebrew Temple.


Prayer of the Sylphs (from Closing)

Let us rehearse the Prayer of the Sylphs or Air Spirits. Spirit of Light, Spirit of wisdom whose breath giveth forth and withdraweth the form of all living things. Thou, before whom the Life of Beings is but a shadow which changeth, and a vapor which passeth, Thou who mountest upon the clouds, and who walketh upon the wings of the wind, Thou who breathest forth Thy Breath,and endless Space is peopled. Thou who drawest in Thy breath and all that cometh from Thee returneth unto Thee; ceaseless Movement in Eternal Stability. Be Thou eternally blessed. We praise Thee and we bless Thee in the changing Empire of created Light, of Shades, of reflections, and of Images and we aspire without cessation unto Thy immutable and imperishable brilliance. Let the Ray of Thine Intelligence and the warmth of Thy Love penetrate even unto us, then that which is volatile shall be fixed, the shadow shall be a body, the Spirit of Air shall be a soul, the dream shall be a thought. And no longer shall we be swept away by the Tempest, but we shall hold the bridles of the Winged Steeds of Dawn, and we shall direct the course of the Evening Breeze to fly before Thee. O Spirit of Spirits, O Eternal Soul of Souls, O imperishable breath of Life, O Creative Sigh, O mouth which breathest forth and withdrawest the Life of all Beings in the flux and Reflux of thine Eternal Word which is the Divine Ocean of Movement and of Truth. Amen.

Minimum Requisites for Advancement (See Third Knowledge Lecture)

Three principal parts of the spirit (Neschamah – Ruach – Nephesch)
Three Mother Letters (aleph – mem - shin), Seven Double Letters, Twelve Single Letters
Difference between Astral spirits, Elemental spirits, and Angels
Meaning of the four suits of the tarot in terms of the Four Worlds and Four Letters of the Name
Significances in the Fylfot Cross (Svastika) (17 squares: 12 signs + 4 elements + Sun)
Significances of the Caduceus of Hermes
Significance of Luna (Moon) on the Tree of Life (waxing = mercy, waning = severity, full = Sun of Tiphareth)

Practicus (3 = 8)


Dedicated to Elohim Tzaboath (Lord of Hosts, Lord of the Waters)

The third of the four Elemental Grades, the Practicus (as in 'practitioner') ritual establishes the Initiate in the sphere of Water-of-Malkuth and the Sephira of Hod (Hod-in-Malkuth) i.e. Mercury. The path from 2=9 to 3=8 involves traversing the 31st Path, the Path of Shin (Fire) as well as the 30th Path, the Path of Resh (the Sun card). The central imagery of this Grade involves the Mysteries of Samothrace, an ancient Greek cultural myth, and explores the symbolism of the Garden of Eden.


Prayer of the Undines (from Closing)

Terrible King of the Sea, Thou who holdest the Keys of the Cataracts of Heaven and who enclosest the subterranean Waters in the cavernous hollows of Earth; King of the Deluge and of the Rains of Spring; Thou who openest the sources of the Rivers and of the Fountains, Thou who commandest moisture which is as it were the blood of the earth, to become the sap of the plants, we adore Thee and we invoke Thee. Speak thou unto us Thy mobile and changeful creatures in the great Tempests of the Sea, and we shall tremble before Thee. Speak to us also in the murmur of the limpid waters and we shall desire thy love. O Vastness wherein all the Rivers of Being seek to lose themselves, which renew themselves ever in Thee, O Thou Ocean of infinite perfections, 0 Height which reflectest Thyself in the Depth, O Depth which exhalest thyself into the Height, lead us into the true Life through Intelligence, through Love. Lead us unto Immortality through sacrifice, so that we may be found worthy to offer one day unto Thee, the Water, the Blood and the Tears, for the remission of Sins. Amen.

Minimum Requisites for Advancement (See Fourth Knowledge Lecture)

The Sixteen Figures of Geomancy (names and meaning)
Numbers and Geometric figures of the planets (3 4 5 6 7 8 9)
Magickal squares of the Planets
Signifance of Solid Greek Cross of 22 squares (used already for admission into Theoricus)
Significance of Solid Triangle (Tetrahedron)
Significance of Greek Cross (13 squares: 12 signs + Sun) (Unlike the Fylfot Cross, the elements are not included)
Significance of Cup of Stolisties diagram (embracing 9 of the Sephiroth excluding Kether; admission badge to this grade)
Significance of the Symbol of Mercury on the Tree of Life (embraces 9 of the Sephiroth excluding Kether)
Attributions of Tarot Trumps (elements, signs, letters)

Philosophus (4 = 7)


Dedicated to YHVH Tzabaoth, Lord God of Firey Hosts

The fourth of the four Elemental Grades, Philosophus establishes the Initiate in the sphere of Fire-of-Malkuth and the Sephira of Netzach. It involves traversing the 29th (Qoph), 28th (Tzaddi), and 27th (Peh) Paths of the Tree of Life: respectively the Moon, the Star, and the Tower in Tarot terminology. Central symbology involves the mysteries of the Fall and its effect upon the Tree of Life.

Prayer of the Salamanders (from Closing)

Let us rehearse the prayer of the Salamanders or Fire Spirits. (Knocks) Immortal, Eternal, Ineffable and uncreated Father of All, borne upon the Chariot of Worlds, which ever roll in ceaseless motion. Ruler over the Ethereal Vastness, where the Throne of Thy Power is raised from the summit of which Thine eyes behold all, and Thy pure and Holy ears hear all, help us thy children, whom thou hast loved since the Birth of the Ages of Time. Thy Majesty Golden, Vast and Eternal, shineth above the Heaven of Stars; above them art Thou exalted, O Thou Flashing Fire. There Thou illuminateth all things with Thine insupportable Glory, whence flow the ceaseless streams of splendor which nourish Thine Infinite Spirit. This Infinite Spirit nourisheth all, and maketh that inexhaustable treasure of generation which ever encompasseth Thee, replete with the numberless forms wherewith Thou hast filled it from the beginning. From this Spirit arise those most Holy Kings, who are around Thy Throne and who compose Thy court. O Universal Father! One and Alone! Father alike of Immortals and of Mortals! Thou hast especially created Powers similar unto Thy thought Eternal and unto Thy venerable Essence. Thou hast established them above the Angels who announce Thy Will to the World. Lastly, thou hast created us as a Third Order in our Elemental Empire. There our continual exercise is to praise and to adore Thy desires. There we ceaselessly burn with Eternal Aspiration unto Thee O Father, O Mother of Mothers, O Archetype Eternal of Maternity and of Love, O Son, the flower of all Sons, Form of all forms, Soul, Spirit, Harmony and Numeral of all Things. Amen.

Minimum Requisites for Advancement (See Fifth Knowledge Lecture)

“Azoth” (= Essence; A to Z)
Meaning and Significance of AIN, AIN SOPH, AIN SOPH AUR
Significance of ABBA – AIMA – ELOHIM
Significance of Calvary Cross of 12 Squares (Path of Qoph – Rivers of Eden)
Significance of Calvary Cross of 10 Squares (Path of Peh – Ten Sephiroth – Double-Cube Altar opened up)
Significance of Pyramid of the Four Elements (Path of Tzaddi)
Significance of Cross of the Hegemon's Badge
Symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life (Embraces 10 Sephiroth)
Hebrew names associated with the Elements
The Qlippoth on the Tree of Life (names and meanings)

The Portal Grade


After completing the four Elemental Grades and spending a sufficient amount of time in learning the accompanying materials, studying the deeper aspects of Outer Order symbolism, and undergoing the necessary interior work, the Initiate now comes to the Portal Grade. Though it is not connected directly with any Sephiroth, it does help balance an Initiate by returning him/her to the Middle Pillar (after coming to Netzach in the 4=7 Grade.) It is connected to the Element of Spirit, and prepares the candidate to pass through the Veil of Paroketh to the Sphere of Tiphareth and the Grade of Adeptus Minor, though his actual advance to that degree is by no means assured.

Alchemical symbolism is emphasized in the Portal Grade, and the Initiate comes face to face with Inner Order officers for the first time. The Portal is a new beginning for the Initiate, preparing him for the Second Order. That which was Black becomes White. For Nine months the Initiate will gestate in the womb of mystery before his confrontation with Brother C.R.C.

The Paths involved at this Grade are fivefold: Kaph, Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Mem; but only one of these will serve the Initiate's proper and balanced advancement, as he will discover. To progress, the Initiate must learn the meaning of Temperance.

Minimum Requisites for Advancement to 5=6 (See p. 87-110 in black book)

A thesis on the rituals
A meditation on the various crosses which have been used as admission badges so far (their meaning / significance)
Complete diagram of the Tree of Life
Practice of control of the Aura
Placing of the Tree of Life in the Aura
Tattvas (Vedic elemental shapes)
Astrology and Divination (various forms – some level of mastery demonstrated in at least one)

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