GRADE: DEFINING THE GRADE
The Neophyte passes onto the tree (Liber
Pyramidos � see below for explanatory notes), binding the
house and its elements (Malkuth) in the Pentacle, closing the right
hand (Shin) round death and waking, closing the left hand (Qoph)
round the second sight, and with eyes to see the invisible (Tau)
does climb the pillar of strength.
The diagram above clearly shows the definitive
work of the Neophyte in establishing their House (Four Powers of the
Sphinx) and ascertaining the Formula of Admittance (Liber
VII), both of which are the methods for accomplishment of
the three Paths. The left and right Paths contain the functional
experience of the Practicus and Philosophus required within the
grade of Neophyte, from the method in which the tree is traveled
(the student, moving up the tree, travels all Paths from their
designated Sephirah simultaneously and completes the tasks of each
Path, even if the tasks lead to a place other than the next grade).
The Pantacle is a character expressing the universal science.
The Pentacle is a Pantacle expressed using the formula of the
elements configured to harmonize the four walls of the Pyramid
(Earth, Air, Fire and Water) with the base of the Pyramid (Spirit).
The construction and consecration binds one foot into the house of
Malkuth, allowing the other foot to travel the Paths. Further
detailed instruction on the construction of the Pentacle is given in
Liber IV Part II (this is
one expression of the universal science. The Adept creates another
Pantacle utilizing the Hexagram and the Magus a different Pantacle
using an altogether different formula).
�On the sunset
side were all the baths, and the bedrooms were in front of us as we
were. The baths were all of pale olive-coloured marble, and the
bedrooms had lemon-coloured everything. Then there were the kitchens
on the sunrise side, and they were russet, like dead leaves are in
autumn in one's dreams. The place we had come through was perfectly
black everything, and only used for offices and such things.�
[Quoted from Liber XCV]
(Death & Waking)
The double attribution of the 31st path is perfectly
formulated as death (the active component of Fire) and the waking
(the heart of the Spirit) both of which are easily comprehended, yet
require great passion and fortitude to accomplish. Therefore did the
Master Therion create the simplest of all instructions, so that the
full effort of the Will can be applied to the realization of the
Path, and not to the lengthy writing of the achievement. This
instruction is Liber CCCXLI
(specifically chapter 2 & 3).
�This passage was
all fire and flames and full of coffins. There was an angel blowing
on a trumpet, and people getting out of the coffins. My Fairy Prince
said: "Most people never wake up for anything less.� "
[Quoted from Liber XCV]
Here begins the training of the technical methods of Divination,
allowing the amalgamation of symbols extracted into other-conscious
knowledge, as well as the further interpretation of the wheel (the
movements of Assiah�the material world). Further detailed
instruction is given in Liber LXXVIII,
Liber XCVI, Liber
CLVII, and the Book of Thoth.
through a pool, each on the arm of a great big Beetle, and then we
found ourselves on a winding path. There were nasty Jackals about,
they made such a noise, and at the end I could see two towers. Then
there was the queerest moon you ever saw, only a quarter full. The
shadows fell so strangely, one could see the mysterious shapes, like
great bats with women's faces, and blood dripping from their mouths,
and creatures partly wolves and partly men, everything changing one
into the other. And we saw shadows like old, old, ugly women,
creeping about on sticks, and all of a sudden they would fly up into
the air, shrieking the funniest kind of songs, and then suddenly one
would come down flop, and you saw she was really quite young and
ever so lovely, and she would have nothing on, and as you looked at
her she would crumble away like a biscuit. [Quoted from Liber
The processes of Astral Visions, the Body of Light, and the Journey
in the Spirit Vision with control formulated through the
crystallization of the planes. Simply put, enough experience and
insight is gained so that the planes cease to be confusing and,
although not fully mapped out, travel is not accidental or confused.
Further exhaustive instruction is given in Liber
CCCXLI (Chapter 1).
�We came to a
dreadful dark passage again, so narrow and low, that it was like a
dirty old tunnel, and yet so vast and wide that everything in the
whole world was contained in it. We saw all the strange dreams and
awful shapes of fear, and really I don't know how we ever got
through, except that the Prince called for some splendid strong
creatures to guard us. There was an eagle that flew, and beat his
wings, and tore and bit at everything that came near; and there was
a lion that roared terribly, and his breath was a flame, and burnt
up the things, so that there was a great cloud; and rain fell gently
and purely, so that he really did the things good by fighting them.
And there was a bull that tossed them on his horns, so that they
changed into butterflies; and there was a man that kept telling
everybody to be quiet and not make a noise.� [Quoted from Liber
The Introduction of Probationers (Initiation)
The Neophyte, after passing Liber
Pyramidos, has the right (some traditions designate this as
an obligation) to Initiate and train Probationers. This can be
beneficial to the Neophyte by pushing their efforts and instigating
their progression into the next grade, lest the Probationer overtake
them. This can also go awry, roughly tossing the Neophyte from the
tree. The Neophyte should consult his or her Zelator before
introducing any prospective Probationers.
Study and Practice
The previous grade contained
general practices and study designed to prepare the Aspirant and
confirm their suitability. Every effort was made to eliminate
excessive memorization and lengthy tasks not absolutely necessary to
the grade, as most Probationers do not advance and any knowledge
gained is wasted after leaving the path that would have taken them
to the Gates of Initiation. Additionally, lengthy
memorization implants stronger shadows of what could have been and
the wasted potential resulting from the Candidate�s failure.
The Neophyte grade contains
specific areas of theoretical and practical study that requires
focus and diligent application. However the Neophyte consciously
pursues this focus and application at all times. A natural
consequence of properly applying him or herself to the grade work,
following the instructions included hereafter, will find many of the
tasks of the grade accomplished as a matter of course, and the
remaining tasks will not be seen as work, but as a passion.
The Astral Visions, Body
of Light, Journey in the Spirit Vision, Divination,
and Realization of the Wake World are not naturally divided
techniques. The building of any single ability furthers success in
all of them. They are interconnected and, although divided in the
lessons taught, of the same nature and realm. These abilities, when
developed, accomplish the tasks of the grade, including the Four
Powers of the Sphinx and the elemental formula. It is success in
these grade tasks that allow the measuring of attainment achieved.
It is important at this time to
point out that there is a difference in the training of male and
female initiates (The training of male and female Probationers is
identical and therefore did not require any explanation or
exceptions). This especially becomes important, as many of the
Master Therion�s writings have been interpreted as misogynistic.
Aleister Crowley�s writing style does not help this perception.
Being born and educated during the Victorian age, his style of
writing, especially the more scholarly Class B documents, reflects
the style of the day, which includes referencing a person or persons
in the (�he�, �him�, �mankind�, etc.)
masculine. Supporting these misrepresentations are selected
quotes taken out of context.
example, a favorite quote to prove Crowley was a misogynists is, �a
woman has no soul.� The full quote in context is, �A male
star is built up from the centre; a female from the circumference
inwards. This is what is meant when we say that a woman has no
soul.� Properly examined the quote can be restated as �the
man has a soul and the woman is the soul.� The
historical record clearly shows that male and female members of the
Order were equally valued. The Book of the Law, which
unequivocally states, �Every man and every woman is a star� and
the Master Therion, as the Messenger of the Law, followed its
principles. The vigilant student must take care to not misinterpret
what is being stated in any of the official A∴ A∴ documents. Missteps will occur, but these gradually
correct themselves as the knowledge learned becomes the wisdom
The training for men and woman does
need tailoring on some occasions within the instructions provided
and for some specific grade tasks. When necessary, the training and
instruction is clearly tailored to gender and the reason or need for
these changes is fully explained, in the hopes of preventing any
Many of the tasks accomplished and skills
developed in the grade are verified or tested as they are completed.
This begins with verification of Liber
Pyramidos and, with many steps confirmed in between,
finishes with testing in clairvoyance. Every thing confirmed and
tested throughout the grade does not require assessment in the grade
test itself, which is specifically designed to ensure that proper
techniques are being used in Ceremonial Ritual and in the
intellectual and analytical development of the Neophyte.
Opening of the Gate
original Neophyte Grade Entrance Ritual was a weeklong trial
carefully administered by a Member of a higher grade. It was later
adapted and changed into Liber
Pyramidos and designated a ritual to be accomplished during
the Neophyte grade. Specifically, as �A Ritual of
Self-Initiation based on the Formula of the Neophyte� (Quoted
from the cover page of Liber Pyramidos), and it is this ritual that
provides the means of passage onto the Tree of Life. This new
approach provides all students with a method of properly
experiencing the passage onto the Tree of Life, in a
self-administered ritual, written and anointed by the Master
Therion. Guidance and independent verification is still recommended,
but a thorough record of the preparation and of the ritual is the
next best alternative.
Seal of Life, being the Temple ritual for entrance into the
Neophyte grade, is still recommended for Aspirants working within a
group and provides: a means of recognition; a record of the grade
change; an announcement of the magical name (motto); and a means of
fundamentally changing the conscious perception of the Neophyte to a
new beginning and commitment to the work.
However, the Temple ritual does not constitute the stepping
onto the Tree of Life. It would be more accurate to say that it
represents an Aspirant who is about to pursue the passage.
follows that the first task of the Neophyte is the preparation and
performance of Liber Pyramidos. Although the ritual is
included on the grade list, it is not included on the Neophyte�s
grade test, however it will be difficult to make any significant
progress with the remaining tasks of the grade if the ritual is not
Pyramidos is easily found from a number of reliable sources, all of
them vary slightly, and has also been reprinted in the original
hand-written, hand-drawn format (Equinox volume IV, number 1 [Samuel
Weiser]). The version included herein, has the virtues of following
closely to the original hand-written version, and has been
successfully used by Students of the Invisible House Society for
more than a decade. The Neophyte may choose to use the version
included in this book, adapt the ritual from the original, or
acquire a copy of the ritual from some other source. As in all tasks
and rituals, it is the achieving of a desired result that is of the
Neophyte schedules a week of solitude for the accomplishment of the
ritual, as soon as it is realistically possible, after the Seal of
Life ritual. If for any reason there should be a delay in the
performance of this ritual, the Neophyte should progress with the
remaining grade requirements, as well as any of the recommended
Class B documents missed in the previous grade or with some other
intellectual task concurrent with the tasks of the grade.
notes that follow provide all of the essential instruction to aid in
the successful completion of Liber
The tools and setting for the ritual are constructed,
acquired or arranged by the Neophyte to the best of his or her
ability. Direction is provided in Liber
IV, Part 2.
Memorization and rehearsal of the ritual begins at the same
time as the tools and working space are being secured.
A description of the nature of the operation,
from an elevated perspective more advanced than that of the
Neophyte, but still invaluable as insight to the proper nature and
accomplishment of the ritual:
I shall try and describe
Ritual DCLXXI; since its nature is important to this great
ceremony of initiation. Those who understand a little about
the Path of the Wise may receive some hint of the method of
operation of the L.V.X.
And I think that a
description will help me to collect myself for the proper
adaptation of this Ritual to the purpose of Self-initiation.
soft is the air, and how serene the sky, to one who has
passed through the black rule of Apophis! How infinitely
musical are the voices of Nature, those that are heard and
those that are not heard! What Understanding of the
Universe, what Love is the prize of him that hath performed
all things and endured all things!
operation of Ritual DCLXXI is the preparation of the Place.
two forces; that of Death and that of Natural Life.
begins the Operation by a knock, to which Life answers.
Death, banishing all forces external to the operation,
declares the Speech in the Silence.
officers go from their thrones and form the base of a
triangle whose apex is the East. They invoke the Divine
Word, and then Death slays with the knife, and embalms with
the oil, his sister Life.
prepared, invokes, at the summons of Death ,the forces
necessary to the Operation. The Word takes its station in
the East and the officers salute it both by speech and
silence in their signs; and they pronounce the secret Word
of power that riseth from the Silence and returneth
they affirm; and in affirming the triangular base of the
Pyramid, find that they have mysteriously affirmed the Apex
thereof whose name is Ecstasy.
is sealed by that secret word; for that Word containeth All.
prepared Pyramid of divine Light there cometh a certain
darkling wight, who knoweth not either his own nature, or
his origin or destiny, or even the name of that which he
desireth. Before he can enter the Pyramid, therefore, four
ordeals are required of him.
and blinded, he stumbles forward, and passes through the
wrath of the Four Great Princes of the Evil of the World,
whose Terror is about him on every side. Yet since he has
followed the voice of the Officer who has prepared him, in
this part of the Ritual no longer merely Nature, the great
Mother, but Neschamah (his aspiration) and the
representative of Adonai, he may pass through all. Yea, in
spite of the menace of the Hiereus, whose function is now
that of his fear and of his courage, he goes on and enters
the Pyramid. But there he is seized and thrown down by both
officers as one unworthy to enter. His aspiration purifies
him with steel and fire; and there as he lies shattered by
the force of the ritual, he hears � even as a corpse that
hears the voice of Israfel��the Hegemon that chants a
solemn hymn of praise to that glory which is at the Apex,
and who invisibly rules and governs the whole Pyramid.
that darkling wight is lifted by the officers and brought to
the altar in the centre; and there the Hiereus accuses him
of the two and twenty Basenesses, while the Hegemon lifting
up his chained arms cries again and again against his enemy
that he is under the Shadow of the Eternal Wings of the Holy
One. Yet at the end, at the supreme accusation, the Hiereus
smites him into death. The same answer avails him, and in
its strength he is uplifted by his aspiration � and now he
he makes a journey in his new house, and perceives at stated
times, each time preceded by a new ordeal and equilibration,
the forces that surround him. Death he sees, and the Life of
Nature whose name is Sorrow, and the Word that quickeneth
these, and his own self � and when he hath recognised
these four in their true nature he passes to the altar once
more and as the apex of a descending triangle is admitted to
the lordship of the Double Kingdom. Thus is he a member of
the visible triad that is crossed with the invisible �
behold the hexagram of Solomon the King! All this the
Hiereus seals with a knock and at the Hegemon's new summons
he � to his surprise � finds himself as the Hanged Man
of the Tarot.
of the figure thus formed they crown with light, until he
glitters with the Flame of the Spirit.
not otherwise is he made a partaker of the Mysteries, and
the Lightning Flash strikes him. The Lord hath descended
from heaven with a shout and with the Voice of the
Archangel, and the trump of God.
installed in the Throne of the Double Kingdom, and he wields
the Wand of Double Power by the sings of the grade.
recognized an initiate, and the word of Secret Power, and
the silent administration of the Sacrament of Sword and
Flame, acknowledge him.
words being duly spoken and the deeds duly done, all is
symbolically sealed by the Thirty Voices, and the Word that
vibrateth from the Silence to the Speech, and from the
Speech again unto the Silence.
Pyramid is sealed up, even as it was opened; yet in the
sealing thereof the three men partake in a certain mystical
manner of the Eucharist of the Four Elements that are
consumed for the Perfection of the Oil.
Knox Om Pax
(Quoted from Liber
When the Neophyte becomes lost to the passion of the ritual,
perceiving a significant change of perception, that being a
departure from the mundane concerns and an admission or vision of
something beyond the everyday worldly concerns, the ritual is
achieved. For the passage onto the Tree of Life is accomplished in
just this way, by the first significant change in perception, born
from the passion of work, through the effort of ritual. Whereas the
Neophyte may still be bound to the illusionary world of the
material, he or she now confirms the possibility of worlds beyond
the limited existence of the visible.
Liber Pyramidos is more than what it would appear to be. It also
represents a ritual that is revisited by the Adept who anoints and
executes the working on a higher plane than that achieved by the
Neophyte, as an ongoing method of self-initiation. The formula
within the ritual is exactly the same in both versions. It is the
understanding that advances the ritual. Additionally, the ritual is
the FORMULA of the Neophyte; therefore many of the processes within
are utilized over the course of the student grades.
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