THE NEOPHYTE

IT was on November 18, 1898, that through the introduction of Fra. V.N., and under his guidance P. entered the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and became a Neophyte in the Grade of 0 = 0 in the Outer.

It may be of some interest to the reader, and also it may in some ways help to elucidate the present chapter, if a short account of the origin of this order is first entered upon. But it will be understood that the following historical sketch, as well as the accounts we are about to give of the rituals themselves, are very much abbreviated and summarised, when we state that, the actual MSS. in our possession relating to the G.'. D.'. occupy some twelve hundred pages and contain over a quarter of a million words.

The official account of the G.'. D.'. (probably fiction) known as "The Historical Lecture," written and first delivered by Fra. Q.S.N., runs as follows:

"The order of the G.'. D.'. in the Outer is an Hermetic Society which teaches Occult Science or the Magic of Hermes. About 1850 several French and English chiefs died and Temple work was interrupted. Such chiefs were Eliphas Levi, Ragon, Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, and Fred Hockley. These had received their power from even greater predecessors, {239} who are traced to the Fratres Rosa (sic) Crucis of Germany. Valentine Andrea (opera A.D. 1614) has given an esoteric account of the S.R., probably he also edited the 'Fama Fraternitatis,' *

* See "The Real History of the Rosicrucians," by A. E. Waite.

or 'History of the Society,' which must have been derived from the old records of C. R.'s *

*Viz., Christian Rosencreutz.

pupils. ...

"The first order is a group of four grades: the second order is a group of three grades of adeptship.

"Highest of all are those great rulers who severally sustain and govern the Third Order, which includes Three Magic Titles of honour and supremacy; in case of a vacancy the most advanced 7 = 4 *

* Vide Diagram of the paths and Grades.

obtains by decree the well-earned reward. The grades of the first order are of Hebrew design; of the Second, Christian.

"The Rituals and Secrets are received from the Greatly Honoured Chiefs. ..."

The account given in the first paragraph may or may not be correct; and the following "History Lection" written by a brother of the Order of the A ∴ A ∴ throws considerable light on the origin of the above Society; and what is of still more interest to us mentions P. and his final rupture with the Order of the Golden Dawn. It runs as follows:

"Some years ago a number of cipher MSS. were discovered and deciphered by certain students. They attracted much attention, as they purported to derive from the Rosicrucians. You will readily understand that the genuineness of the claim matters no whit, such literature being judged by itself, not by its reputed sources. {240}

"Among the MSS. was one which gave the address of a certain person in Germany, who is known to us as S.D.A. Those who discovered the ciphers wrote to S.D.A., and in accordance with instructions received, an Order was founded which worked in a semi-secret manner.

"After some time S.D.A. died: further requests for help were met with a prompt refusal from the colleagues of S.D.A. It was written by one of them that S.D.A.'s scheme had always been regarded with disapproval. But since the absolute rule of the adepts is never to interfere with the judgment of any other person whomsoever --- how much more, then, one of themselves, and that one most highly revered! --- they had refrained from active opposition. The adept who wrote this added that the Order had already quite enough knowledge to enable it or its members to formulate a magical link with the adepts.

"Shortly after this, one called S.R.M.D. announced that he had formulated such a link, and that himself with two others was to govern the Order. New and revised rituals were issued, and fresh knowledge poured out in streams.

"We must pass over the unhappy juggleries which characterised the next period. It has throughout proved impossible to elucidate the complex facts.

"We content ourselves, then, with observing that the death of one of his two colleagues, and the weakness of the other, secured to S.R.M.D. the sole authority. The rituals were elaborated, though scholarly enough, into verbose and pretentious nonsense: the knowledge proved worthless, even where it was correct: for it is in vain that pearls, be they never so clear and precious, are given to the swine.

"The ordeals were turned into contempt, it being impossible {241} for any one to fail therein. Unsuitable candidates were admitted for no better reason than that of their worldly possessions.

"In short, the Order failed to initiate.

"Scandal arose, and with it schism.

"In 1900 one P., a brother, instituted a rigorous test of S.R.M.D. on the one side and the Order on the other. ..."

Here we must leave the "Lection," returning to it in its proper place, and after explaining "the Diagram of the Paths and the Grades," enter upon the Ritual of the 0=0 Grade of Neophyte.

It will be at once apparent to the reader that the Diagram of the Paths is simply the ordinary Sephirotic Tree of Life, combined with the Tarot trumps, the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the thirty-two paths of the Sepher Yetzirah, the signs of the Zodiac, and the signs of the planets and the elements.

The following account of it is taken from S.A.'s copy No. 2 of the "Ritual of the 24th, 25th, and 26th Paths leading from the First Order of the G.'. D.'. in the outer to the 5 = 6, Associate Adept speaking:

"Before you upon the Altar is the diagram of the Sephiroth and Paths with which you are already well acquainted, having marked thereon the grade of the order corresponding to each Sephira, and the Tarot Trumps appropriated to each Path.

"You will further note that the First Order includes: Malkuth, answering to Neophyte and Zelator, and the element of earth. Yesod to Theoricus and air. Hod to Practicus and water. And Netzach to Philosophus and fire.

"Of these the last Three Grades alone communicate with the Second Order, though cut off from it by a veil which may {242}

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{243} only be drawn aside by invitation from the Second Order for the Philosophus who has passed the five examinations symbolic of the five elements and the five Paths leading from the First Order thereto, and who has been duly approved of by the Higher Powers.

"The Three grades of the Second Order are entitled: Adeptus Minor, or Lesser Adept, 5 = 6 answering to Tiphereth, the Reconciler, in the midst of the Sephirotic Tree. Adeptus Major, or Greater Adept, 6 = 5 answering to Geburah. And Adeptus Exemptus, or Exempt Adept, 7 = 4 answering to Chesed."