Ordo Astri serves to reveal an Independent Thelemic School of the Mysteries to those so prepared. The grades of Initiation in the O∴ A∴ are obtained by personal work done and the keeping of a magical diary Record.
Ordo Astri Initiation
Let us say first and foremost that a Thelemic magical Order will not be found on the Internet. It will not be found in books, although books are an excellent place to start. It will not be found even by meeting the persons who are members of such an Order, or who claim to represent it. Initiation does not reside in any exoteric organisation. It is discovered, and resides, within the heart and soul of the Initiate. This forms part of the gradual unfolding of the central experience of the Initiate, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
The Order of the O∴ A∴ is a magical and mystical system of initiatory grades or degrees that assist the person to understand and realise Thelema as their own unique magical and spiritual path. The O∴ A∴ is not a religion, for our aim is Gnosis or Illumination, not belief. As a Thelemic Order, the general aim is for each to discover their True Will, which is the direct expression or true nature of the Self.
The aim and purpose of Ordo Astri is identical to that of the Great Work, which is to assist men and women in the obtaining of Illumination. Ordo Astri, the Order of the Star, is an Outer Order for an Invisible Collegium, presided over by Illuminated Souls, as according to tradition. These use symbols to communicate with human intelligence, such as the Egyptian Eye of Horus and Ankh of Life. It is the aim of magick to contact the luminous Intelligences that mediate the numinous source of all, beyond all symbols and symbolism. A contacted magical Order is able to assist with this through providing various means. Ordo Astri itself is one such means, for example. It should at the same time be understood that no magical system, or the results gained, is an end in itself but that all magical systems are there to help the person reach beyond all systems.
The Light and Dark Face of the Angel
Horus is the universal symbol or type of the Holy Guardian Angel. Like all Egyptian gods, Horus is polymorphic and thus able to assume many forms such as Hoor-Apep, Heru-ra-ha and Hormaku. The Great Work is to realise the True Self through the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and to help others accomplish the same. In our magical system, based on the Hermetic Tree of Life, there are three critical points in the journey of the Initiate, which are marked by the three veils of the Tree of Life. At each of these an adversary may be encountered as a force whose strength appears to match that of the aspirant, if not to actually exceed it.
The Dweller on the Threshold is first encountered before the person even sets a foot firmly on the path. This is the first spiritual crossroads, as the person considers making a firm commitment to the Great Work. They are greatly hindered by their lack of knowledge and experience. No sooner do they even consider the step, perhaps making tenuous contact with the O∴ A∴, than a tumultuous multitude appears, shouting and screaming at them to turn back. The rebellion may manifest in the voices and actions of other people, or the circumstances of the person’s life, but the real source is the undisciplined and disorganised state of the mind and soul of the candidate. It may also be that the person does not, in reality, wish to know any truth. In that case, they will soon end their association with the O∴ A∴
The second critical point is in the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Even while the aspirant is preparing their Oath and meditating on the shining one or augoedes, the Four Evil Princes of the World are stirring, for they seek ever to undo the magician and thwart his or her true purpose.
The third critical point is called the crossing of the Abyss, which is required before a person becomes a Master of the Temple. Crossing the Abyss requires encountering, entirely alone and without help, a force that seems to be utterly opposed to the further progress of the aspirant. Furthermore, it requires the aspirant to become ‘self-slain’, which is to say they must achieve the annihilation of their ego, and yet retain their sanity. Only thus may the nature of the self, and that which is called divine (Theos), be fully and truly realised, without the obfuscation of ego identification.
There follows a plan of the degree system and structure of the Order, which is outwardly identical to that postulated for the Order of the A∴ A∴ by Aleister Crowley in The Equinox, “One Star in Sight”. However, please note that while Thelema is our basis, the O∴ A∴ does not serve as a vehicle for the rites, ceremonies or practices of Aleister Crowley or of the O.T.O.
Third Order of the Silver Star
Ipsissimus 10 = 1 Degree
Magus 9 = 2 Degree
Magister Templi 8 = 3 Degree
Second Order of the Rosy Cross
(Babe of the Abyss is link between 2nd and 3rd)
Adeptus Exemptus 7 = 4 Degree
Adeptus Major 6 = 5 Degree
Adeptus Minor 5 = 6 Degree
First Order of the Golden Dawn
(Dominus Liminis is the link between 1st and 2nd)
Philosophus 4 = 7 Degree
Practicus 3 = 8 Degree
Zelator 2 = 9 Degree
Neophyte 1 = 10 Degree
(Probationer is the passage from the Outer Darkness)
The Order of the Golden Dawn
The Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, must be read and studied from the outset, preferably before making contact with the O∴ A∴ Generally speaking, the three chapters apply to the path of Initiation in reverse: the third chapter applies to the Outer Order or Golden Dawn, the second chapter applies to the Inner Order of the Rosy Cross, and the first chapter applies to the Invisible Order of the Silver Star. The principal work of the Probationer is to discover the secret nature of their self. To this end, they will agree to perform various tasks, all the while keeping a magical diary Record of their work. Traditionally, it is said they must seek to obtain a measure of control over the nature and powers of their own being. The magical power or vision that marks the true admission to the grade of Neophyte is that of the Holy Guardian Angel, or of Adonai.
The rest of the degrees in the Golden Dawn are really a continuation and development of this seeking out of the secret nature of the self, and discovering the True Will. The first four degrees, Neophyte, Zelator, Practicus and Philosophus, are elemental degrees, corresponding to Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and the four faces of the Sphinx of Nature. Malkuth symbolises the Universe, as the summation of the whole Tree of Life. The other three have planetary correspondences. Yesod (Zelator) is the sphere of the Moon, Hod (Practicus) is the sphere of Mercury, and Netzach (Philosophus) is the sphere of Venus.
The Dominus Liminis (“Lord of the Threshold”) is the link or passage between the 1st and 2nd Orders—it should all the while be noted that there is in reality but one Order that has three divisions for the sake of classification. The Dominus Liminis grade has no sephirotic correspondence but is theoretically located on the crossroads of the 25th and 27th paths. Elementally, the Dominus Liminis grade is Spirit as the equilibration of the four elements below. Thus, as these elements have their correspondence in the man and woman, each must seek ways to achieve this equilibrium in themselves. Traditionally, the Dominus Liminis takes an Oath in which they pledge to “obtain control of the aspirations of my self”. In this grade the person should perfect their knowledge and practice of all the rituals and other methods of the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. The magical power or vision marking true admission to the Second Order is the vision of the harmony of all things. This is conveyed by the Holy Guardian Angel.
The Order of the Rosy Cross
The Adeptus Minor grade (“Younger Magician”) refers to Tiphereth, the sixth sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and the Sun of our solar system. At this stage of the journey the aspirant must become a mystic in the true sense of the word, for the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is a mystical experience. The Adeptus Minor has this as their sole task to do and to achieve. The Adeptus Minor truly becomes a member of the Inner Order of the Rosy Cross when they have attained the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. They then realise themselves as an “Adeptus Within” (i.e., Within the Sanctuary).
The Adeptus Major (“Senior Magician” or “Master of Magick”) refers to Geburah, the fifth sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is the chakra of Mars. Spiritually, it corresponds to Death and so the symbolism of Initiation is the Vault or Sarcophagus. The task of the Adeptus Major is to express their True Will and no other—which is to say, the Will of the Holy Guardian Angel, not their personal self. The Adeptus Major obtains a general mastery of magick, including that which is called Jnanamudra in our system.
The Adeptus Exemptus (“Released”) grade refers to Chesed, the fourth sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is the chakra of Jupiter. Spiritually, this is the New Life that follows the ritual Death of the Adeptus Major. The task of the Adeptus Exemptus is to become emancipated from the bondage of reason, and to lead a pure, devoted life. This is to prepare them for the critical confrontation with the crossing of the Abyss.
The Babe of the Abyss is the link or passage between the Second and Third Orders, and has no sephirotic correspondence or paths but the non-sephira, Da’ath, the sphere of Knowledge and Abyss of the Tree of Life. Da’ath is the (false) crown of Reason, the Qabalistic Ruach. It is necessary to take the Oath of the Abyss to transcend this, the ultimate Dweller on the Threshold, and truly partake of the spiritual Neschemah or divine Intuition (Binah, the summation of the supernals). In poetic terms, borrowed from Aleister Crowley’s Vision and the Voice, it is to become Nemo (Nameless or No-one) in the City of the Pyramids under the Night of Pan.
The Order of the Silver Star or A∴ A∴
The Magister Templi grade (“Master of the Temple”) refers to Binah, the third sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This is the chakra of Saturn. The Magister Templi must take the Oath of the Abyss, which is “to interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my Soul”. The Magister Templi must become the complete mystic, an adept of impersonal love (Agape); they must perfect their Understanding of the Universe, and achieve Mahamudra.
The Magus grade (“Wizard”) refers to Chokmah, the second sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The traditional mundane chakra is the Zodiac (Mazloth), the starry girdle of Nuit. This grade is very particular to the True Will, since it is the source or very root of that Self. It is also the sephirotic location of the Logos or Word. The Magus must make every Act an expression of their magical Will, and must utter a Word that creates a new world system.
The Ipsissimus grade (“Own True Self”) refers to Kether, the first sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The mundane chakra is the Primum Mobile, the first movement of things. The Ipsissimus must know every phenomenon as God, which is to know the Soul of the World. The Ipsissimus is Master of all modes of existence or being, attaining All in the Great Night of Pan. Upon attaining this, the Ipsissimus withdraws at once within the shell of their humanity, keeping silence forever of the fact.
A Word on the Means
All progress is by Oath and Deed. According to Aleister Crowley (Magick):
A real Magical Oath cannot be broken: you think it can, but it can’t. This is the advantage of a real Magical Oath.
Although anyone may solemnly write their name to a magical Oath, that does not, in itself, make it ‘real’. A piece of paper, after all, is just that. In the same way, a person may be admitted to membership of an Order, but that does not mean they have truly entered any sanctuary or abode in the real sense. No ritual or ceremony will confer Initiation of its own accord, and no person on earth may confer true Initiation on another. Membership of the Order, and Initiation, are sublime matters of the soul. The work begins, nonetheless, with the Oath of Dedication (or Probationer Oath). Our book for the Probationership is The Enterer of the Threshold.
The Ordo Astri Newsletter, The 93 Current, is usually sent once per month, when the Sun enters a new sign of the Zodiac. We aim at all times to provide excellent, high quality literary content to our readers, related not only to Ordo Astri but also the Hermetic and Thelemic tradition in the wider sense.