Mishkan ha-Echad

Monday, 8 September 2008

Origins of the Golden Dawn Grades

The Gold- und Rosenkreuz Order, one of the first Rosicrucian orders in existence, seems to have had a major effect on the formation of the SRIA and Golden Dawn, as evidenced in Rosenkreuzery by I.A. Fessler, which gives the breakdown of grades as:

1 9 Junior
2 8 Theoreticus
3 7 Practicus
4 6 Philosophus
5 5 Minor
6 4 Major
7 3 Adeptus Exemptus
8 2 Magister
9 1 Magus

In the SRIA, the Junior became a Zelator, and the names of Theoreticus or Theoricus, and Philosophicus or Philosophus, can be used. The Adeptus tag was also added for the Minor and Major degrees, which seem unusual in the above layout, as if they are, indeed, missing part of their name. Templi was then added to the Magister grade, completing the layout.

It's interesting to note the numbers given to the grades. Since there is no tenth grade, the Adeptus Major one is "5=5", for example, and that does not fit nicely with the Tree of Life, like the "5=6" does. Sufficed to say, while these are undoubtedly the origins of the grade names of the Golden Dawn, the ones used by the latter seem to have made some major improvements, including the addition of Neophyte and the crown of the system, the Ipsissimus.
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